The Unknown God

Greek & Roman altarsDo we really know the God we serve? Is it really the God of all creation?

Or is it a pretty-packaged god, made in our own imaginations?

I say this because I observe that we are very religious in all aspects. Most people that call themselves Christians live a very religious life. Many even live what most would call a “holy” life. Abstaining from lusts and all sorts of ungodly behavior. That is to be commended. We do not live in ancient Greece but what Paul dealt with about 2000 years ago is not much different than today both in secular circles but also in the Church.

Acts 17:22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

If you will humor me for just a few minutes I will explain my dilemma.

Imagine, if you will, an altar. Not just any old altar but the altar of your life. On that altar sets all that is truly important to you as exposed by your checkbook, ways you spend your time, what you watch, what you say, what you listen to, and who you spend your time with and other things that are important to you.

On that altar are statues (idol) that represent each item of importance.

For example, one such statue might be of a human, because you fear man’s opinion more than God’s opinion and political correctness or other’s opinions determine who you are. (this is one of my problems, just so you know; can’t teach what you haven’t already been through)

Another statue might be yourself, because most of what you do revolves around what is comfortable for you, what you want, your dreams, aspirations, success in your own eyes, etc. (yeah, I have this one too, we can’t all be perfect now can we?)

Another might be a TV. Now that one hits home doesn’t it? That black box that gets more of our time and energy and speaks more into our life than the Word of God. (can’t deny this either)

Another might be the job. Not just any old job but either the one you long for above all else that means success for you that you are willing to sacrifice all else or it’s just a job that encompasses all your energy so you have nothing left for anyone else.

So you get the picture? I’m sure there are many more “idols” that we set up in our life. But what really got me is the one to the “UNKNOWN GOD”. I “KNOW” God, personally. I have a relationship with Him. He has revealed Himself to me in more than one way. However, I don’t live like I know the God of creation. Look at the rest of Acts 17…

23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

This God is not one can claim to know lightly. This God requires our ultimate worship- in Spirit and in truth. This God requires a change to happen in us. This changes what we do, how we talk, what we watch, how we treat money. This requires repentance-a turning away, changing our mindset, renewing our mind with the Word of God.

I feel I have done a great disservice to God, the one and only true God of all. I have placed other gods in my life. I have worshiped at the feet of self, money, man, and sin. I have idolized other things in my life above HIM. I spend my money on non-kingdom things, I pursue non-kingdom things, I spend my time at anything other than living for HIM.

2 Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

This scripture describes people who have a god(s) but NOT THE GOD. Christians, it is evident by these things…

1. Religion without relationship

To have a relationship requires Time and Energy. It requires talking to Him, reading His Word. Living a life of worship and devotion. Do you spend more time communing with God or watching TV or reading books?

2. No power

Read the book of Acts. Everywhere the disciples went (not just the Apostles) mighty signs, wonders and miracles followed the Word they preached. The power of Almighty God was evident to prove His Word. We don’t have that power because we have too many “idols” on the altars of our life.

3. No presence

I change what I read, what I watch, listen to, who I listen to and what I do because I love God and I LOVE His Presence. I don’t want to separate or grieve Him because of the things I allow in my life or poor choices I make. I choose to walk as holy as possible and when I mess up I repent quickly. I am quick to know He is always near me and always loves me. Because of that I am careful what I do.

The worst thing you can do right now is say to yourself “so-and-so needs to read this…he/she really has this problem”. We ALL have this problem.

The problem with all these idols in our life is that we water-down the ONE True GOD. We package Him in a cute little box and bow just the way we want Him-our way. Some people package Him as a distant, un-involved father figure. Some package Him as a tyrant, waiting to strike them with a lightening bolt. Others just package Him in a nice 2 hour service on Sunday mornings. But live however they want the rest of the week. God is still the “Unknown God” to them. They do not know the REAL God, Jehovah.

Is your God the one in the Bible? I know that sounds like a silly question…but just think on it for a minute. Compare your mindset of WHO God is to the Word. Have you ever blamed God for something bad that happened? Then that’s not really GOD that you serve. You serve a man-made god. Jehovah is good and is always good and all good things come from HIM. Do you still maintain sin in your life and justify it? God loves you and wants all to come to repentance but He is also a just and holy God. What you serve is man-made. Have you truly changed the way you live your life? Because when the one and only God is served you not only change but want to change. If not, then you serve a little powerless man-made figment of your imagination.

I believe that the Body of Christ, all who love God and are called according to His name-Christians-is being called to a higher standard today. Again I say “read the book of Acts”. That is a picture of what should be happening in the lives of all believers and if it is not we must seek God’s face, His true face, until we see his power and presence in our own lives today. We must seek the one true God until all other idols are crushed in our lives. Until we see Him for who He really is, not just a micro-sized version but ALL of who He is according to scripture and revelation. He will reveal Himself as you seek His him.

This is my prayer…

…your Kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…

Lord come…your will be done in my life as it is in Heaven, I bend my will to yours, I choose you over everything else. I want more of you in my life. Teach me who you are. Reveal your goodness to me. Open my eyes to see the revelation of your greatness and power. I want more of you, only you. Amen

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Speakpeacealways writer is very talented and has a heart for the people of God. Pray for the body of Christ!

I now have a new word …”churchanity”.

speak peace always

They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they’ve laid Him.

Swinging censers, white red robes

Glowing mitres

Chants and genuflections

They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they’ve laid Him.

The Amplified and Extended 10 commandments

Shrieking mikes, pounding basses

PhDs, M.Divs, and Revs

They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they’ve laid Him.

Be very frightened of the Lord’s rejection

His whip is out for your correction

Examine your soul

Weep and mourn

Pay your tithes

Don’t question the shepherd of the flock

Churchanity has taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they’ve laid Him.

Families struggle to make ends meet

The worn and weary find no listening ear

Jesus’ loved sheep stand out in the street

Waiting for His bride to rise and draw near

Churchanity has taken my Lord away, and I don’t…

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Jesus came to Church?

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I was visiting tonight with a friend. Our conversation turned to church (as it normally seems to in my house). We discussed what church is like. She complained about falling asleep in church. I laughed, I think that is so true. (She tells the truth bluntly and unashamedly–as we all should.)

Except, when I was growing up there was no falling asleep when my Dad preached. He was very lively. His voice would rise and fall as his passion for God’s word streamed from his lips. Occasionally, he would slap the pulpit, waking everybody up, as if they were sleeping to begin with.

Why do our churches sleep? Not just the ones nodding off during the sermon. But the hearts of the people, going through the motions, as if God is not even real?

But HE is REAL

What if Jesus was at church Sunday morning in service? Would it be any different?
I can picture people mingling in toward the double doors to find their seat (as if it was labeled with their name). They gaze forward, only to catch a glimpse of a radiant white robe. Staring, they realize this dark headed man has nail holes in his hands and feet. They realize this man is Jesus!
In quiet conviction some retreat back through the open doors.
Some of the more holy, quit wispering in the pews about sister so and so and her teenage boy. Silence strickens them as they bow their heads and pretend to pray. Others, whose faces reveal a look of disbelief,search out the pastor to inquire about todays festivities. “What entertainment could the youth group have in store for us today?” they ask.

How would the service be like?

Would behavior be reserved, in holy reverance, with each pew sitter with straight backs looking straight ahead with no thought or mention of what the neighbor in the next pew is doing? Would notes be passed around the young people’s group? Would everyone sing along to the chosen songs with gripe or complaint?
Would the order of service be as normal? Pray, Sing, Pray, Offering, Preach…and in some churches…pray again?

Would I act any different than I normally do?

I can almost imagine the scene. But one thing I know for sure…The Glory of God would fill that auditorium. The tangible presence of my God and King, indescribable, peaceful and joyful all at the same time. Undeniable presence of the Holy Spirit.
It would not be quiet!
David danced before the Lord.
Trumpets, tamborines, harps all played music loudly for the Lord.
People shouted in triumph.
Acts 2:6 Outsiders heard a loud sound and came running. They heard praising and worshipping in different languages. They thought the people were drunk!

All this does not sound common in today’s churches. We are more civilized and proper.
Or, have we just came so far away from what God intended…to a non-real life of a Christian pew sitter? Go through the motions like a good little girl. Tradition says we must. Mother says I must. My friends will be there.

Is there more than this?
Yes, I am here to proclaim to you the gospel of Christ. Everywhere Jesus went multitudes swarmed him. They pressed in through the crowds just to see him. Many searched hard to find him so themselves or a loved one could be healed. Demons fled in terror. Hearts were mended. Minds were quieted from doubt and fears.
Real love abounded from him as if you could soak it up like a sponge. Forgiveness and reconciliation were given. Restoration was eminent.

Have our hearts grown cold and calloused?
Unable to feel the tangible presence of God? Unable to feel love? Unable to give it freely? Do we even recognize it anymore?
What is love anyway?
It’s not in the gossip or the back stabbing. It’s not in the harsh looks or the judgement. It’s not in the selfishness. Love is not in the note passing or the penciled in “I love you” from the desperate teenager.
Love is allowing God fill your heart with forgiveness, patience, understanding, and mercy to overflowing capacity that if flows out of our very being into our actions and our words out to others. It reconciles the family, the friend.

Has “Church” been reduced to pretty singing, organ playing, and stirring sermons, at best?

I refuse to think that is what God intended. I read the New Testament and see a live, thriving, loving church where miracles were an everyday occurence. People served each other unselfishly. Helped the poor, visited the sick, clothed the naked and fed the starving.
Early church goers were so full of Jesus that it didn’t just show 1 day a week or maybe even Wednesday. It was everyday in their homes, at work and on the streets. When they arrived at the scheduled place of meeting (church) they were so prayed up, studied in the Word that God just seemed to pour out of them onto any needy, hurting soul within earshot.

Acts 2:17 NIV “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all pepole. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”

This is a promise from Jesus himself to anyone who believes in him.

John 14:12 NLT “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.

And He never changes

Hebrews 13:8 NIV Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

This is what He does…

Luke 4:18 NIV “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,

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Prayer:

Heavenly Father, renew the sight of your people to see who you really are as the God and Creator of all things. As real and available. Take off the blinders that hinder the truth. Set your light to shine in the darkness of every unholy place of our hearts. Reveal your love to us. Help us find the REAL church that you ordained to heal the sick, proclaim your goodness and share your love with the world. A place of healing for the wounded hearts and deliverance for the bound up soul.
Set your churches free to serve you without hindrance or reservation. In freedom and in spirit and in truth. Reveal the truth to the leaders. Cleanse our hearts from unholy things. Take out our hardened hearts and replace with one on fire and passionate for you. Give us the ability to dance before you as David danced so we can say “I will be even more undignified then this!” in the presence of my King..to serve and worship HIM without selfish desires.
We seek you with our whole hearts. Show us your REAL! Not just a figment to talk about on Sundays. But to KNOW you.
In Jesus Name! I pray for all the people that read this to be stirred. I pray for all the churches that proclaim your name to be free. I proclaim that freedom now. Send your Warring angels to fight for your churches, for your people, for the bound up in chains, for the addicted, for the hurting. Demons must flee at the mention of your name in faith. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Akiane Kramarik – A Child Prodigy painted this picture of Jesus.

Call To Prayer

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I sit up late into the night with a heavy burden for our churches.

Daily, my heart is stirred for a deeper walk with The Lord. Daily, I yearn to know Him more.

Join me In a fervent seeking after God’s heart for the church body. Actually, more truly spoken…a repentant prayer on behalf of God’s people who have lost their first love.

How far our body(church body of saved souls) has strayed from the selfless walk of daily sacrifice of self and service to the King. We are busy with mundane daily activities. Many that have no purpose except to steal time of prayer and fasting from our God and King.

What if we got a glimpse of heaven from our earthly beds?
What if that stirred up the longing within our hearts to seek after God with a humble heart?
Those you seek shall find and the door shall be opened…

What if we could see with heavenly eyes of our loving Father?
To see the hearts of man not just the outward appearance? To love others so deeply that it impacted the kingdom of darkness by snatching away hungry souls? Hungry for the love of our God and King?

My prayer is for His people to return to Him with a renewed love and steadfastness of heart. So clear in our call to serve Him by serving others. So fervent in our love for Jesus that we never hesitate to share the truth of the gospel. So eager to spend time with Him we daily spend time in prayer and talk to Him.

God is preparing His bride for Jesus soon coming. Are we ready church? Are we ready?
I sit in church services where the Spirit of God moved among the people but only few answer the call.
Church services should be a place of healing, deliverance and salvation. Where believers are annointed and equipped for every good work. Where the power of God is manifested among the people because the hunger and expectation are almost tangible.

Prayer
Oh sovereign Lord that sits enthroned in the heaven in great light. Hear our humble plea for your people. We repent of our pride. We repent of disobedience. We repent of our secret transgressions. We repent of our lethargic attitudes toward your Kingdom. Forgive us, we need you in our homes, at work, at church, in the streets.
Send your latter rain! Send a great outpouring of your Holy Spirit with great signs and wonders. Send your convicting power to reveal and prick our hardened hearts and draw us closer to you. Draw your people to you and engulf them in your holy presence. We invite you to come into our lives and mess us up for you! Get all in our business, get all in our well laid plans. We give every thought to you, every plan, every day! In Jesus wonderful Name, Amen!

Identity in Christ

identity in Christ

Last weekend I had the great honor of speaking at a women’s conference in Lewisburg, TN. They were an amazing group of women, hungry for God.
I prepared this bookmark for the women to take home and use as a study guide.
Everyone needs a reminder of who they are in Christ. The world tells us everything opposite of God.

Use this bookmark as a reminder that you are NOT who the “world” says you are.
You ARE what God says you are.

1. Look up the verses
2. Pray the verses over you
3. Recite the verses using your name or “I”
4. If you have difficulty believing what God says about you say the verses in the mirror until you believe it

God’s word is the truth about you. It is also a weapon to fight the lies of the enemy. You can use these verses to fight the lies you believe about yourself.

Body of Believers

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Imagine a majestic tree. This vibrant tree so complete with millions of leaves. Each leaf an integral part of the nourishment of the tree. Each leaf significant.

This tree represents the Body of Christ. The body of believers that seek after Jesus Christ and follow Him. When they believe they are grafted into the knowledge of God. Just as a gardener grafts together independent branches. You become dependent on Christ. Grafted to partake of His presence, His glory, His mercy, His righteousness, His forgiveness, His healing, His majesty, His mystery.

Each person is an important part of the overall body. The body cannot fully function without a nose or without a mouth…
This majestic tree requires each leaf doing it’s part.

Know that you are an important part of the Body of Christ. Each person is endowed with a measure of faith as well as gifts, talents and insight.

I ask you this question…
Do you know your worth? Do you know your value? Do you know that you are significant?

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