Sunday, January 15, 2017

Is it time for an oil change?

There are many different things that come to mind when you hear the word oil. Many people think of oil as being the petro-oil we are warring for overseas that affect both the stock market and our gas tanks. Others may simply think of castor or olive oil that go into or on our bodies. These oils can also be used as a cooking agent or fragrance. In the natural sense, oil, as just seen, has a myriad of uses that come as a resource which benefit humanity.

The Bible speaks to similar uses of oil throughout its pages, yet bring to life it's spiritual analogous usage (oftentimes in later passages).

For example, in Ester 2:12, we see the "oil of myrrh" referred to as the fragrance/perfume that the virgin women used on their bodies in preparation for being chosen by the king. Books later, we read in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 Christ (the risen King) diffusing His fragrance on His people who then exude His aroma before people.

In Isaiah (61:3), the prophet spoke about the good news of salvation from God as a promise that one would recieve "the oil of joy for mourning." This oil of joy, given by God, would aid in the comfort and care towards all who mourned. In this way, oil was set apart to be a healing agent. Luke 10:34 shows us in the parable of the good samaritan how the samaritan used oil to soothe the wound of the traveling man. Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 speak of the anointing of oil in the name of the Lord for healing. Instead of its practical and medicinal purposes, this time it specifically referred to the healing power of the Holy Spirit (Yahweh Rophe - the Lord who heals).

As mentioned earlier regarding our modern day use of oil as it relates to economic trade, oil was similarly used in biblical times as a key item of commerce. Ezekiel 27:17 shows this as oil was used in the days of the Israelites during a treaty involving other nations as a sign of loyalty.

Another significant use of oil was in customary use of lamp fuel. The process to generate this fuel stemmed from an olive tree for which the evolution of retrieving oil from olive trees were quite symbolic to the refinement process of God's people. See, when the harvester was ready to retrieve the olives, he had to shake the tree to let them fall to the ground so that he could pick them up for the refinement process. After they were shaken down, they were pressed tightly to extract the highest quality oil. The olives were then pounded in mortar and strained through a wicker sieve. In Exodus 27:20, God commanded the children of Israel to bring the highest quality "pure oil- of pressed olives for light." Only this would cause "the lamp to burn continually." See the purity of the oil was indicative of the standard God demanded for all sacrifices offered presented before the Lord. This command for the lamp to never go out was a perpetual statute throughout the period of the Aaronic priesthood and it was to be a "statute forever to the generations on behalf of the children of Israel."

The Lord's command of night and day incense was to be carried out through the continual use of pure oil (holy and pure living of the people) which burned and fueled the lamp stand. The natural use and application of oil was to be seen as spiritual fuel for God's people to live pure and holy lives that burned bright before God and people.

Oil is the agent for which God uses to prepare us for the standard of living for which we have been called. By putting us through the pressing, pounding and straining process we have the ability to exhibit the highest quality light, fragrance and healing. This is truly a sweet aroma to Lord.

As Christ our Lord who IS the light of the world and the lamp unto our path continues to prepare us for that great day of His coming, let us then realize how important our is oil which burns within us.

So Lord, we pray that as we are on the road of life, You would continue to service the vehicles of our bodies. Tune us up Lord, pull us over, send us to the shop so that we can get the necessary oil changes in our lives. Lord, fill us up with Your godly fuel, so that we may be anointed with the oil of joy and the fragrance of Your Son Jesus. So that others may smell of your goodness of salvation. Lord for those of us who are running our bodies on the wrong grade of oil, empty us and pour into us Your pure pressed rich glory. Then send us back on the road of life so that we can glorify You and Your kingdom.  Lord we worship and burn for You alone. You are like oil. You are our healer, provider, guide and light unto salvation. Amen.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cheap Bread

Is that what you're buying?

Oh wait you're into the gluten free, non gmo, trans fat free bread right?

Better yet, you're on the lettuce wrap kick- skipping the bread all together...after all you're watching your "carbs."

Well whatever bread regimen you are on ...or not on...here's some food for thought for today.

Avoid working to buy the bread that spoils..... because the Bread of Life is much more satisfying.

Christ encouraged listeners shortly after His miraculous 5k person impromptu lunch and learn to "work for the forever food that He [promises] to give (John 6:27) "...which is Himself...because He is the Bread of Life.

Many of us push this notion far from our lives because we are so caught up working for cheap bread.

Bread that will eventually spoil...

Bread that will go in one way and out the other ....in t-minus 24-48 hours...if not less....

But I get it...it's so easy to stuff ourselves with the world's cheap bread (i.e. love of money, corporate/career success, material comfort, and actual food/eating our feelings)

We do this to try and take the edge off our internal spiritual hunger (that quite frankly never gets fed because we have focused so much on feeding the rest of ourselves in these other ways).

One quote says..."We fail to realize the dangers of living in an affluent, consumer-driven society in which we can be consumed by the things we desire. So many of us are like sponges, soaking up the world's good things with no space left for God."

If any of this is touching a hunger pang right now...feed it...ask Christ to saturate your dull appetite and remove the taste for cheap bread.....

I heard His Healthy Multi-Grain is da bomb!

-quote from "Praying the Names of Jesus" by Ann Spangler



Conversation Starters


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Happily Ever After = A Life of Broken Pieces


So many of us reject anything in this life that does not appear to be leading us to a happily ever after. We manipulate, twist and turn, moan and complain, cry and pout when things dont go our way. We ask God- "what in the world? can't you see i'm trying down here...can't you see i'm trying to do the best I can...my heart really is to be the best person I can but these things keep happening to me...pushing me seemingly further and further away from where I really want to be."

Well what if we re-shaped the lenses of our eyes and saw life's happenings in light of how Christ saw what it meant to be a cornerstone. See He welcomed His 'happily ever after' calling to live a life of continual brokenness, where each day...piece by piece...that is what was being broken...Himself. In fact, He even egged it on to a certain degree (Psalm 118:22).

I know this may not sound 'happy' to you but think about it....

What if we resisted less and welcomed more a 'cornerstone' life mentality.  A mentality that rests and shows confidence that the right path to triumph is remaining on the course set before us. A course that, on the surface, may not be likeable or pleasant... a course where even when it is not desireable nor what our fantasies of what a happily ever after life looks like...we begin to see it as such.

So when will your happily ever after begin?




Monday, November 21, 2016

What happens when the Momentum stops....

A moment of stillness and frustration can cause a year of goodness to fade so easily. A few months of being in a holding pattern can halt ones hopes towards the future. That dreaded word begins to resurface reminding you of what is happening to you and what you need to be - patient.

What happens when the good times pause and when the momentum of life suddenly halts?

You suddenly lose sight of the big picture. Quickly losing an aerial perspective you forgot how insignificant the cares (while earthly valid) are strangling your faith and joy and ability to enjoy life and appreciate the many things that have not stopped. Things like the ability to breathe, eat or have clothes to put on, etc etc.

So what do you do?

Choice A: continue to let the momentum pit stop frustrate you every single moment

Or

Choice B: Recognize that you are halted, but not allow your valid emotions of frustration to overtake you to the point where you cannot enjoy life now....to where you lose hope, faith, a remembrance of goodness.

Lord help us to choose Choice B.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

My Identity is not in my Circumstances

Oh how I need to be reminded of this....

On a lazy Sunday evening listening to a song that has been saved to my library I hear the words of a song ring loud and clear into my soul: "our identity is not in whatever is happening to us right now our identity is seated at the right hand of God...and He is feeling just fine."

Wow....

I then close my eyes and meditate on this for a moment and declare this truth over myself...

Now granted the song, as you will hear below, speaks to a different audience/situation than what I am currently facing...yet I realize I can apply the same truth and principle.




While I may not be getting persecuted for my beliefs at the moment...I can relate to the feeling of the song where one's current situation is not desirable; in fact it is quite discouraging.

Having to "start over" in life or rebuild from ground zero is a place no one wants to be...but it's a place I find myself in...and the path ahead involves patience, perservence and persistence.

Three potentially spiritually and mentally draining p's to 'success'.....

In the meantime, there is a fight against frustrating thoughts about the current state in life as it relates to "where I should be"..... that is.... in comparison to my personal thoughts about my current life landmark, societys' statement about it, and where others are along the way....

See I already know the truths about "plans" and "the process" of life...and how it's all a journey...but it still doesn't stop the self-identifiable questions peering into my thoughts....

So it's good to just get a real authentic reminder and encouragement in an unexpecting way such as what has just occurred to me.

Thank you Lord