Craving Wisely

My cravings are set on fire by my hunger and thirst. The pressures of life push and pull me to an empty place. Once I get there, my soul demands to be filled. I cannot deny or escape it.

To be alive is to crave more life. I am always hungry and thirsty because I have been created for renewal. As long as I am breathing I will be craving.
For some reason, I find myself journaling this… “Coming to terms with the primal source of life…the kingdom of God… the Spirit of God. It is the presence of God that provides power, stability, breath, life, and more.”

I began to think about prayer. It is bringing my hunger and thirst to the bread of life and the living water… King Jesus. Wisdom tells me that my cravings drive what I do. The reason I pray is to not be a fool when it comes to my heart intentions… what I am REALLY trying to get.

Jesus said, “Blessings on people who hunger and thirst for God’s justice! You’re going to be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6 – The Bible for Everyone) or “How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness.” (The Passion Translation)

We are right now under pressure from adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us are careening toward a confrontation with our heart motives… what we REALLY crave.

I hear the anchoring voice of the Spirit urging me to come to him every day to eat the bread of life and drink the living water that only comes from King Jesus. Only a fool would ignore Him.

God, lead me in heaven’s wisdom. – Amen

My Story #4

I was the fourth of five children. Maybe I picked up my “go with the flow” style from having two older sisters and an older brother. I quickly learned that the best way to be happy was to stay out of trouble and the best way to do that was to do whatever other people expected of me. I don’t believe that anymore… but, I have to confess that it is still my default game plan when I let myself run on “auto pilot”.

So, as a boy I embraced faith in Jesus and the Bible as God’s word I think mostly because that is what I was expected to do. Really, as I think about it now as I have completed the first half century of my life, I have spent most of my time living up to other people’s expectations. What a trap! But, I am learning how to be free.

I did pray “the sinner’s prayer” when I was eight or nine years old. I don’t remember exactly. You can’t find the sinners prayer anywhere in the Bible by the way. So, whatever you need to say to God about your own mess is your business. It will still be the sinners prayer and it qualifies 🙂

I was raised to believe that once I prayed the “sinners prayer” admitting my sins to God and asking Him to forgive me, I could then feel completely secure that He would do just that and He would also purify me from all guilt and dirtiness. That was amazing to me! Best of all I wouldn’t have to go to hell. That place of torment was reserved for the devil, his angels and everyone who didn’t pray the prayer! I can’t remember anyone saying those exact words to me. But, that’s the way I saw it. Even though I wasn’t sure I was going to like heaven I was fully convinced that hell was out of the question.

This was all happening of course in the emotional (and probably psychological) storm of discovering that I might not get to be with God or my family (I was convinced they would all make it) in Eternity. Pretty confusing stuff! But there was one more “mind twisting” hurdle for me.

As I listened to Christians around me talk and I tried to listen to my dad’s sermons a belief was engraved on my mind. From what I could gather, my family and my church believed that once I had become part of God’s family in His kingdom, I could still be bounced out of there if I committed sins and didn’t get them confessed and forgiven right away.

So, as I gained more independence and had more chances to do things my parents didn’t now about which were sinful and then had to lie to cover it up, I was sure that I had been expelled from God’s family more times than I could count. Throughout my teen years I would let sin and guilt stack up until I couldn’t handle it, knowing that I wasn’t a Christian anymore. I don’t know how I became such an authority on my own status in God’s kingdom. But, I was pretty sure of myself and I was confident I had walked away.

So, when the terror of going to hell and/or the heavy load of guilt got to be too much I would come clean to my parents and God of course and get reinstated as part of the family of God again. It sounds so strange now. But, that was the way I experienced my relationship with God.

Mixing this very insecure approach to knowing God with my game plan of staying out of trouble by simply living up to everyone’s expectations turned me into a “Chameleon”. The definition of a chameleon is:

“a small slow-moving Old World lizard with a prehensile tail,

long extensible tongue, protruding eyes that rotate independently

and a highly developed ability to change colour.”

That was me. I had a highly developed ability to change colour! This is where my two names came in handy. Dana became the worldly “unchurchy” party guy with my school friends and Dan became the clean living, polite, Christian young man. I began to realize that I really wasn’t either of them. But, I couldn’t seem to let go and share that with anyone except for a few of my friends (who had no idea what they were doing either) and as I mentioned before I felt I could open up a bit with my sister Dawn. Somehow I knew she understood and would never reject me.

What I didn’t know is I was never rejected by my family or God. I wasn’t expelled or bounced out of His kingdom at all. Jesus was with me every step and every minute of each day. I just didn’t know it was him.

to be continued…

Jesus prays for us…

In John 17:20 Jesus says, “I am praying… for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” If you are believing in Jesus today, it is a result of the message that has been passed down to you through many generations from the original apostles. Therefore, this prayer request is for you.

Jesus prayer for you didn’t end that day in the Garden of Gethsemane. The early church taught that Jesus rose from the dead, ascended to the right hand of the Father, was given the name that is above every name & that he poured out the Spirit on all people.  Anyone who will receive Jesus and believe in Him has the right to declare that they are a son or daughter of God. The living presence of Jesus comes to live with us and in us.

He isn’t confined to the past, to a set of beliefs or doctrines. We benefit greatly from studying the historical Jesus and we are nurtured and anchored through our beliefs and doctrines. But, Jesus is more than that! He is alive. To this very day, Jesus is fulfilling His plan in building His Church.

When we talk about “knowing” Jesus, we are talking about having a living relationship with the ascended Jesus. His Spirit is with us and even in us as we are united with Him and each other through Jesus life.

What about Jesus prayers for you? Does he still remember you to the Father? A vital teaching from the New Testament is that Jesus is continually interceding for us. Romans 8 is stuffed full of powerful affirmations of the reality that the Spirit of Jesus himself has entered our lives and dwells in us as children of God through faith in Him. In v. 34 we are taught that Jesus pleads our case to the Father and in vv. 26-27 Paul writes about the Holy Spirit helping us by interceding for us.

As we grow as friends of Jesus & co-workers with him, it is crucial that we remember that His agenda and the desires of His heart are what shape and form us into the Church. It is true that our response is required in order to “flesh out” the church on the earth. But, it is still at His initiative!

Have you surrendered your will, your heart and your daily agenda to Jesus? Have you had the eyes of your heart opened to understand that He is praying for you continually? In order to have our lives shaped and conformed to his prayer in John 17:20-26, there is no other way we can begin other than surrendering each day to His active will and mission in our world and in our lives.

Re:FUEL May 8 recap

Every Wednesday night we gather on site @ Kings Valley Church for “FUEL”. Our focus for FUEL is always worship & prayer in the presence of Jesus Christ.

As we gathered in last night, Pastor Kelly called us to remember 2 Cor 10:3-5:

 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

As we worshipped and listened for what was on the heart of God, it became clear that we should agree together for a clearer revelation of Jesus in the midst of us and in our region.

Many received personal prayer ministry in their prayer group and there was a profound sense of speaking the word of the Lord into each others lives!

It was so refreshing and such great food for our souls to hear a great testimony of a mom who has recently come to Jesus for a fresh start!

Everybody needs a time and a place to worship with a group of good friends in the presence of Jesus! That’s what FUEL is all about and we would love for you to be part of it… every Wednesday night in the KV worship center @ 7 pm.