Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Narrow Road of Salvation

Last Friday night I sat in a small, elegant prayer room, Open Door House of Prayer, in Ft. Pierce listening, tapping notes on my iPad, as a man shared about Jesus, about the things the Lord was speaking to and showing him.

I was filled with awe, stirred to know and love Him more. As the man spoke, scripture opened up in my own heart. (Note: Always a good sign the man speaking is not about himself but the God-Man, Jesus.)

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14, New International Version, ©2011)

We quote this verse in the church as a salvation passage. Those who are saved are on the narrow path, and those who are not are on the road to destruction.

And that is true. Right. Jesus is the only way to salvation.

But yet, Jesus also said many are called but few are chosen. As I sat in the prayer room Friday night the reverent fear of the Lord began to stir my heart. The world is trying to make salvation wider, easier. The church is going along with eager enthusiasm. "Like us, like us! Sure, we'll agree Jesus isn't the only way."

Danger! It's the exact opposite. We need not be finding a way to widen the road to heaven, but opening our eyes to realize how very narrow it is!

We must go THROUGH Jesus. Not around Him. Not in front or behind him. But through Him which means we are completely lost in Him.

Rachel Hauck, You (insert name here) must be lost in Him. Not found any other way than IN Him. Meaning, who is Rachel Hauck? Only who He says I am and I don't care about finding myself or being defined any other way.

Jesus loves humility. The Father loves Jesus and He is the only one in whom the Father is well pleased! Does Love Win?

Yes. In fact, Love already won. At the Cross. End of sentence. Some things in God are defined, exact and we can know! This idea that God is so awesome, wise and infinite we can't understand Him is of the world.

We can know Him. How do I know? He sent His Son, THEN gave us the Holy Spirit. If you're not knowing Him, maybe you need to ask the Holy Spirit to invade your world.

Jesus is the one whom the Father wants to glorify and magnify. And nothing, nothing will get in the way of His will -- to glorify His son.

Not our fame, or well being, or will, or desires, or right to pursue happiness will distract the Father from making His Son's name known in all the earth. Nothing! The Father WILL glorify His Son to the Nations!

Only God can reveal God.

We are called to be like Jesus. You know what He did? "Made Himself of no reputation."

And what do I see in people, in me? Wanting to be of a reputation. Seeking to expand, broaden, redeem, polish, hone, care for and coddle MY reputation.

But Jesus is longing for HIS nature to be formed in me. In you.

See? The road is narrow!

Jesus is to be the center of everything. God is not going to allow His Son's name to go on much longer as a powerless name.

Christianity has to be about a person, the Man Christ Jesus, not about performance, or oy! doctrine or theology.

We focus more on our doctrine than scripture. We give more credence to theology than Jesus.

We are so busy trying to "get out of here," and we're missing that He, Jesus, is trying to get into us and create perfect vessels!

John the Baptist said this, "He must increase so I can decrease!"

We have to let Him increase in us so we can decrease, so He can be formed in us.

Every day we live and breathe is precious to the Lord! Oh, how that makes my heart sing. We are here for a purpose. He is incredibly intentional!

In Christ is hidden all the wisdom and revelation. The New Testament is a revelation of the purpose of Jesus the Christ.

We must know the Word. We can't rely on the doctrine's and traditions of men. Not John Calvin. Not Rob Bell.

The road is narrow. To pass through we must let Christ be formed in us. We must ask Jesus to increase.

How can you tell if you're choosing yourself or Him? What's the focus of your want, belief, goal, or desire? If it's not Jesus, pure and simple, it's about you.

Same with me. Daily I have to lay down my wants. Yet, oh, how extravagant His love, His will, His desires for me. For all of those who love Him.

Love HIM! He'll do the rest. And His best is beyond our wildest imaginations.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy 19th Anniversary to my Hubby!

Hubby and I married 19 years ago today after four years of friendship-oddship.

When we met, we were 27. Ready to settle down, tired of the Christian AND non Christian dating scene.

I travelled around the country and world training newspaper editors and reporters, and classified advertising reps how to use my company's computers for daily production.

He was the youth and singles pastor, full time staff at the church I'd recently started to attend.

He'd been a Christian for about 4 years. I'd been following Jesus for 20! With a brief time out for college shenanigans.

When I moved to Melbourne, FL, I wanted nothing but to pay off school loans and get 100% in love with Jesus. I prayed a prayer that changed my life, set me on a difficult but glorious journey. I know that I know He is Lord.

Hubby was working out his young salvation with fear, trembling and wisdom. When we met, we actually intimidated each other a bit. He was a pastor who heard God. I was the daughter of a pastor, long time saved, and could also hear God.

Our initial attraction was interesting. He was more interested in me. I was dubious. He had a beard. Yet, I was interested. Then God flipped the tables on us. Literally.

He spoke to me one Sunday afternoon. "He's your husband." ARG! There's no way I wanted to "hear" the cute single singles pastor was my husband. Just line me up with the looney ladies.

But the Lord spoke to me over and over. Confirmed it in many ways.

Meanwhile... He told Husband. "Be her friend." Or "You're just going to be friends." Either way, a budding romance went kapoot, fast.

He thought we were only to be friends. I kept feeling, hearing, wondering if we weren't going to be married!

We confessed our thoughts. But we respected each other enough to wonder who was really hearing. Or what kind of creative answer God was going to give us.

Hubby would say, "We think it has to be A or B, but I bet God has a C answer somewhere."

Really? Like what? I never doubt God's ability to go outside our human boxes, but I couldn't see an alternative to "You're going to marry him." I mean, either we were going to get married or not!

What? In fifty years after his first wife dies? I mean, what other answers were there?

Interesting, hubby's initial attraction to me "romantically" vanished when the Lord told him we were to be friends.

So, that's all we were for three years.Friends. Best friends.

Then through a series of events, very colorful and interesting events, hubby began to ask the Lord if I was the one he was going to marry. All the while, he still had no feelings for me other than friendship.

More interesting and fun events transpired and one day, on a day God spoke to Hubby four months in advance, he saw me walking across a parking lot and all the feelings he needed to fall in love exploded in his heart.

Whoa! For me, I had to ask, "Who is this man?" Wow!

Friend to lover in 0 - 60 seconds.

We were married six months later. Today. March 21, 1992.

I am so very blessed and honored to be his wife, to know, respect and love this man, to serve him and the Lord's people with him. He's my friend, my confidant, my cheerleader and supporter.

When I graduated from college, I prayed, "Lord, I don't know what to do with my life. I know I'll only be satisfied and content if I'm doing what you want. I know I'll pick the wrong man to marry. I don't know who to pick. Only You know. Choose for me."

God is so good! God does good things for those who love Him. Not always are they simple or easy things. My journey through fear and anxiety was horrendous, but oh, the love of the Lord carried me through. I know Him in a way I'd never have known without those scary times.

Yay God! Thank you for my husband! Thank you for 19 great years. So peaceful and easy.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are you ready? He's coming!

The Friday of the Japan earthquake and tsunami I had an overwhelming sense while driving to meet friends for lunch, "He's coming! He. Is. Coming!"

Excitement met with expectation met with, "Wow!" My spirit rejoiced while my mind search for all the reasons I should be afraid. I mean, have you read Revelation? Yeah, it gets ugly.

I'm not a pretrib rapture believer. There's no Bible to support it. There are 150 chapters in the Old and New Testament dealing with the second coming of Jesus. They point to the Church partnering with Him, praying for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

Yet I know as evil increases, so will the glory and light of the Lord. The book of Revelation is the book of Acts supersized.

Isaiah prophesies this:

"For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the LORD will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
-- Isaiah 60:2

We have a job to do. It will be completed when Jesus returns. We are His partners on the earth, boots on the ground and our prayers and intercession will wage war against the evil rising on the earth

The Spirit and the Bride say come! Revelation 22:17. (We can't say come if we're not here.)

The buzz this week is Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins. I've not read it yet, but will when it releases. But I've read quotes and discussed the book with others. There's an idea that a loving God won't send anyone to hell.

We send ourselves to hell but not believing in Jesus. So says Bell.

While God the Father is loving eternally, Bell forgets about the Father-God who is also eternally just. Is Bell thinking deep about the Father's heart. Bell asks, "Would He send anyone He claims to love to hell?"

To which I gaze at the Cross. The Father loved and continues to love Jesus and look what He asked Him to do.

That's the point. Jesus and the Father loved each other and US so much, Jesus submitted to the Father's plan of redemption.

If you don't receive it, you receive the result. Wrath. Which includes a fiery hell.

Here's what Jesus says, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Here's what why I'm writing this blog. Do your own prayer and study on the second coming and on hell. Expand your resources and above all, read the Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. Hang around like minded men and women who are interested in the truth, not affirming theology. There's a lot of bad theology out there.

John 14: 26: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

1 John 2:27: "As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

Hard times are coming. Our faith, our hope will be tested. Unless we are rooted and ground in Him, we just may falter.

Know Him. Know Him.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yet Another Thing Women Have to Do

On my way to check my Yahoo mail account this morning, I saw a news feed: The Workout Women Avoid, But Shouldn't.

I tell you, my heart went, "Pllfffbbttt," and stuck out it's tongue. Well, if it had one it would've.

I don't know about y'all, but I'm sick, sick, sick of articles and "experts" telling women how they should look, what they should weigh, what they should do and how they need to think, feel and believe.

Personally, I love lifting weights. I do believe in the results. But don't put that pressure on a woman who doesn't lift weights, or wants to lift weights.

There are so many things women are required to do I want to shout, "I've had enough and I'm not going to take it any more."

Women, we are less liberated than ever! We have to earn the bacon and fry it up in the pan. We have to look like we're 30 all the time no matter how many birthdays we've had.

We have to eat right. Exercise right. Be available for our children and husbands, family and oy vey do not forget those ole girlfriends. Snap. Snap.

It's ridiculous. Be yourself. Be who God created you to be. Stop listening to people who are clueless as to God's magnificent call and design for women.

We have a valued roll in His plan for the world and the coming return of Jesus. And it's doesn't have anything to do with lifting weights and forgoing caffeine.

Okay, hear me. Those things are fine if you have the time and grace, and if you're not looking at them to affirm, approve and define you; if you're not finding your worth and righteousness in what you do and how you look, or heaven forbid, what you do or do not eat.

God is after pure, loyal, heart. Volunteers in the day of His power. Psalm 110:3. That's what I want. A heart of God's. To be loyal and devoted to Him. To lift my heart toward His.

And yeah, maybe a couple of 12 pound dumb bells and round of push ups! I do like my clothes to fit well. ;)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Life Comes at You Fast, Sometimes Furious

Friday afternoon I sat in a sun spot falling through the Florida room windows, talking to my agent, going over my next book ideas, my thoughts coming together after a brain dead week.

I'd been on deadline, traveled to St. Louis for a board meeting, spent 7 days with 18 writers and Susan May Warren, then flew to my sisters for a surprise 40th birthday party.

I arrived home on a Sunday night at 10:30 only to be up and at the court house for jury duty Monday morning. I was selected for a jury pool. A criminal case. I mean, man, isn't that every writer's dream!

But not me. I just wanted to go home and sleep. I thought I was going to nod off as the lawyers pep talked us. I wasn't selected and by six o'clock I was home and in my jammies.

By Friday afternoon, I'd recovered. I'd slept in, gone to lunch with friends, and began thinking of a new story idea.

And there I sat, chatting with my agent, ending the conversation, when a text message binged up on my iPhone screen.

"Jim Maher was just killed in a motorcycle accident."

What? I squinted at the screen. Surely I was reading wrong. I didn't have my reading glasses and... What? Impossible.

Finding my glasses, I read it again.

"Jim Maher was just killed in a motorcycle accident."

My heart broke. Hanging up with my agent, I called my pastor, my husband and the friend who texted me the news.

I called Jim's son, Reuben.

It was true. My former pastor, friend, worship leader and worship mentor was dead at 63.

As the news spread and people began to call, email and Facebook, I found an emotional plane on which to land. While gone from this life, Jim stood before Jesus. He'd finished the race, and he'd finished well.

Oh, that we all might here, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest."

Jim is in a place where there is no more pain or sorrow. No more struggle with sin and sickness. He is with the king of glory.

Jim had an amazing heart to love and serve. The man could take off in worship with the strum of the first chord.

When he moved from our city to Kansas City in 2000 to join the International House of Prayer staff, I was given an incredible opportunity. To lead worship.

He'd trained me by example. By having me on his team. By opening up his heart and loving the Lord above his own glory or fame.

Jim was a '60s hippie and Nam vet who should've never lived to 63. In '68, he was a helicopter gunner and during a fight, his chopper was hit. Jim was thrown clean from the open door and landed in the brush.

When they were rescued, the team asked, "Where's the man who sat here?" They pointed to the gunner's seat.

Jim said, "I'm the gunner."

They said, "No, the man who sat here is dead." The bullet hole in the seat was proof. By all evidence, Jim should've been killed before he was thrown from the helicopter.

But the Lord spared him.

After searching through drugs and all the eastern, meditation religions, Jim started reading his Bible and the Lord awakened his dead, cold, wounded heart.

But Friday, while riding his motorcycle on the first pretty day of March, on his way to a park with his daughter and her son, a truck turned right at a light, didn't see him, and the accident was unavoidable.

Jim's death is tragic and a loss. We can't understand how God saved a drug addicted twenty year old but took a husband, father, grandfather and full time worshipper-intercessor.

But His ways are not our ways.

I like that Jim is in glory with Jesus. That his race on this earth is done. And he finished well.

What remains with me is his laugh. I can still hear his laugh. Jim's imprint is on my heart probably more than I'll ever know or realize. His wife and children blessed me. His son is like a brother to Hubby and me.

Hubby said this to me the day Jim died. "Jim survived Nam, but died on a spring day in Kansas City, riding his motorcycle. It's true. It's appointed once for man to die."

A friend of mine recalled this as one of Jim's prayer verses: Eph 4:1 "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called..."

Oh, let that be all of our prayer. To walk in a manner worthy of the calling.

Jim Maher, well done. See you soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Once upon a time there was a blog here... and I wrote it... and once upon a time I'll blog again. I promise! Next week! I promise.

Between travel and the My Book Therapy Deep Thinker's Retreat I was BRAIN DEAD!

Hey, maybe those would've been good blogs!

See you next week.