And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full (1 John 1:4).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

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Friday, January 8, 2010

At His Feet

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!" (Revelation 1:17-18)
Photo by Mary Williams Hyde

A late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Praise God, at least He knows what I'm doing when it seems to me like I'm just wallowing around in myself.

A lot of things have changed since the last time I was truly available to the Lord. At times, as I struggle to have a deeper relationship with my Lord and Savior, I seem to run into those conflicts of the soul and spirit. Thank God that He is in control and all I have to do is wallow around until HE BRINGS ME OUT OF IT!

Have you ever noticed that at times God gives you an idea, through the Holy Spirit, and you know it is truth and may be a new revelation to you, but you feel you haven't quite got a full grasp of it yet? In the meantime, the Lord puts someone in front of you that was rather unexpected and they seem to need or be struggling for the very thing that He just let you in on a while before. The coolest part of that is that we didn't have to go find someone to share with, He provided that, and in the process of us sharing, the Holy Spirit is truly our Teacher and reveals what we're speaking in more detail. Even to the point of conviction or edification of our own understanding, so that all parties become blessed. Amazing and Awesome to me!

With the New Year there have been some changes in my little family's life that I believe have started a new chapter in more ways than I am probably aware of yet.
In November, Ronda, the girls, and I left the ranch in Nevada and moved to Idaho. That is a huge change for me, as well as my girls. God is doing a mighty work in my remaining family there and I was hindering that for now. He opened up a way for us to move to an empty house that a friend and brother has here.

The only reason I've shared any of this is not really for what I'm doing, but for what God is doing with me and in me. PRAISE GOD!

It amazes me how at times I can be so submitted and pliable to the Holy Spirit to teach me and help me, and a month later wake up and realize that somewhere along the line I lost focus and have pretty much been running on my own strength, in a way useless to God. Thank God sometimes He shortens the chain and it doesn't take too long to hit the end of it and be snapped back into His reality.

About a week ago, God brought to my attention that I'm not exactly walking completely in His will, and therefore, I'm not truly in His presence. When we were in Nevada, I had been praying for direction. I had been telling Him that I wanted everything He had for me, that I wanted to give Him all of me. I desired His best for me even if that meant giving back some of His blessings.

Praise God! He opened a door and my friend had an empty house to move into, when He saw it fit for us to move. I really never thought I would do this, seeing as how the last year with the Lord has been so filled with Him, but some how on the move up here I put Him on the back burner. And yep, I'm sure I left Him simmering. Forgive me Lord! Praise God for His GRACE!

I didn't even feel the need to call upon the Holy Spirit to feed me or teach me.
Because God was sending us to Idaho and His timing is perfect!

An empty house!
Hey, we were in need of a house.

A job?
We'll worry about that when we get there. Thank God for an open door and a house. Let's get packed and move!

After about a month of moving, back and forth between states and holidays, Ronda and I came up with a brilliant new plan. We'll take the month of December off! A great plan, had I used it to benefit my spirit more than my flesh. I went to ropings and saw friends I hadn't seen in a while. All the time my conscience was on being a good example of Christ. I hadn't forgotten about Him completely!

What I didn't realize until just hours ago, it seems, is that He's upped the ante!

Now I have time on my hands. I don't have a day full of jobs that we'll never get done in a day, day after day. I had learned to stay focused on Him throughout the day because that was my escape from never being caught up with our work. I just praised Him, did the work we could, and went on in His bliss.

Haa! Now I have no work to speak of. So it should be simplicity, sublime, right? WRONG!
Now my mind, out of desperation, is waking up 4 hours before daylight, just to pace back and forth with a cup of coffee in my hands, realizing that I could step out the back door and spit on three different neighbors' property, and I begin to make up things that we need to work at figuring out.
What do I want to do when I grow up?
How are we going to make a living? Etc...
The thing that cracks me up is that, I STILL DON'T KNOW!

Here is what I do know.
God's timing is perfect!
He moved us down here!
Had a house waiting!
I got to spend more than a month with my girls uninterrupted because of work, some times pushing Ronda's sanity, I think!
We found a church and bible study that feeds me and challenges Ronda and I!
I lost my way and got stuck trying to make plans in my own strength!
When I try to press in or seek His presence it just felt dry, until 2 days ago!

Other than a small testament that you may be able to relate to, most everything up to this point is irrelevant compared to what I would like to share now.

As I've shared in the past, scripture and the revelation He gives us is all woven together, kind of like a ball of yarn, one thing leads to another. I'm going to attempt to try to make this simple without too many rabbit trails.

I said before that I felt like all I was getting was this dryness when I tried to press in and enter His rest. I believe the reason was that in the process of moving, I not only put Him on the back burner, but I may have moved the stove to the back yard.

Revelation 2:4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love."The word "left" means "to send away or to neglect."
I had done that and He had that against me.

How now do I fix that?
Revelation 2:5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--- unless you repent."

Where had I fallen?
What is the first works?
Matthew 22:37 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."
Matthew 22:38 "This is the first and great commandment."
Mark 12:30 even adds not only our heart, soul, and mind, but with all our strength. "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment."
Wow, that sounds like something that we might have to put forth some effort to do!

There are a few things that I would like to expound on before we finish the rest of Revelation 2:5. The first works, if some of you got lost in my thinking, is to love our God, our Lord, our Savior. The word for "love" there, if I understand correctly, is agapao, the verb or action of the word agape. If you remember from the previous discussion a few months ago, this love is the type that we cannot achieve without the Holy Spirit, without Helper, without the Spirit of God!

Bare with me here, because we're going to get off on a bit of a rabbit trail, but I promise I'll wrap it all up as the Spirit leads me to.

Do you remember the scripture where Jesus speaks about a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand? (Luke 11:14-26) He's talking about being demon possessed, which I don't believe is possible for a believer. However, what the Spirit revealed to me through that scripture is that in Luke 11:23 "...he who does not gather with me scatters."The move up to Idaho had scattered me, not to the point of no return, but to the point of losing focus on loving on Him. I wasn't loving Him with all my strength, because I had shifted my focus from Him to what He had set in motion! That dryness that I was feeling was there because I had let something other than loving Him take up residence in a house that had been put in order prior to that (Luke 11:24-26).

So now what?
Well, the rest of Revelation 2:5 answers that!
Repent!! And return to those first works.
Loving on Him is key as we'll find out, because He states (remember this is Christ speaking in Revelation) "or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place."

Wow, does that mean He's going to come and snuff us out?
Ahhh yes, in the sense that in Matthew 5:14-16 and Luke 8:16-18 you are no longer effective for the Kingdom of Heaven and in Matthew 6:22-23 you would no longer have spiritual eyes to see with, but slip back into seeing nothing of God's reality.
Repent! Repent! Repent!

So hopefully you followed me up until now, because I have one more example, I pray, that will help us realize the importance of just loving Him, and lead to another piece of our flesh being nailed to the cross.

In Luke 10:38-42 we meet Martha and Mary. It says that Martha pretty much busies herself with serving the Lord, basically being a good hostess to her guest. Mary on the other hand just plops herself down at His feet and listens to Him talk, probably as He taught His disciples, leaving Martha to do all the work.

In Luke 10:40 we see that she is distracted with much serving and finally loses it, and demands Jesus to tell Mary to help her. Jesus in a loving tone (I believe) says "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things." He states a fact that we can gather from previous verses and our own experience. Then Jesus defends Mary.

Because of all the things that were needed, Mary had found the best one and that was at His feet loving Him, hanging on every word!

If we might take this a bit farther, as I was writing this down my eyes were opened a bit more. So for the sake of revelation, PRAISE GOD, let's say that Martha represents our soul, which is either led by our carnal desires or by our spirit, and Mary represents that spirit inside of us, that pure seed.

Now look at the scripture again, Luke 10:38-42.
In verse 38, notice that Martha (our soul, led by the flesh) invited Him in because she knew that is what she should do because of who He is.

In verse 39, what did Mary (our spirit) do? She immediately began to worship and love Him.

In verse 40, Martha (same one as before) after welcoming Him in, began the task of serving and busying herself with those things that SHE THOUGHT would be important to Him. To the point that Martha (same one) tries to throw a guilt trip on Jesus because Mary (our spirit) is worshipping instead of scattering herself all over the place trying to serve Him.
Don't you think that if Jesus had asked Mary to get Him something she would have leaped up and done so? The difference is Martha was trying to do it in her own strength, and was getting worn out, where Mary could have done it filled with the joy of just being in His presence.

It's becoming apparent to me how important it is to start the day at His feet as Mary did, before we start doing those tasks that Martha had put in front of herself. When we do this, it is easier to go throughout the day doing the tasks God has prioritized, and our spirit can stay at His feet loving Him!

Those desires of our soul must come into line with our spirit; Martha must sit down with Mary and find rest, so that Mary can lead Martha to do those things which Jesus desires.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You for Your grace. I thank You that You allow us back even after we've neglected You. Thank You that the more love we give to You, the more love You give to us. Lord, I pray that eyes will be opened and hearts softened when this is read and that your anointing would go forth and minister to those that can receive it. May You create in us a hunger to ante up when the stakes get higher.

WARNING: Please take everything you read and hear concerning my Lord before Him and get His opinion of it. I share those things that He has revealed to me at this time, but I reserve the right to change my opinion as He brings me into an ever deepening and revealing relationship with Him!

Ty Van Norman

Monday, October 12, 2009

Learning To Love

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:34-35).

The Californios - Photo by Mary Williams Hyde

Greetings, fellow lost and seekers of His righteousness!!!

Thank God that the time that I have been away from the keyboard this last month or so has brought about some new revelation to some old trials that I seem to deal with in my flesh on a daily basis. Thank God for His love which defines His grace and mercy, or is it the other way around?

So, love for one another.
What is that?
How do we get that?
Why is it easier to have compassion for some and not others?
First of all what is love?

One definition of love is 'ahab,' (ah-hahv). To have affection for someone, to like, to be a friend, love romantically, love of ideals or pleasures (Psalm 97:10).

Another is 'phileo.' It has a similar meaning as the first: to be fond of, cherish, take pleasure in, have a personal attachment for (John 21:15).

Another is 'agape.' It means an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable good will, always seeking the best for another, no matter what. It is self giving, asking nothing in return and doesn't consider the worth of its object (Romans 5:5).'Agapeo' is the verb of 'agape' or the act of it (John 3:16).

So, here we are back to the question of: Why is it easier to have compassion for one and not so much for another?

We see that the definition for love in Psalm 97:10 is a description of a general love we have for those things we desire or appreciate. The same with 'phileo,' it is a love by chance. I love God, I love my wife and children, my mom and sister. I love a good steak, I love the feel of a good horse under me or an easy swinging rope etc..... Are you getting the picture?! These things are all love that we can experience and feel of in our FLESH! So even in our flesh we are capable of love by chance to a certain degree.

'Agape' refers to a love by choice, to the will rather than the emotion. It does not need chemistry, affinity, or a feeling. John 3:16 starts out with, "For God so loved (agapeo) the world...."

That means He loves everyone unconditionally that He created. Even the person we see in our work or down the road or around the corner, who through the eyes and understanding of our flesh may be a dork or doesn't fit in to our presence or is different in appearance or even may go to a different church or have a different gift or talent or, better yet, doesn't worship like we do.

How long is our nose or has it become the plank that protrudes from our eye? Haaa, we often think this is just for unbelievers and yet there is no reason for them to be aware of it. This is for us, who claim to have a love ('agape') for God, but can only by chance muster some 'phileo.'

Ohhhh, sweet Jesus, a REVELATION!
Then are we capable of 'agape' in our flesh?
How then are we capable of 'agape' or 'agapeo'?

Ahhh, there it is, the heart of our topic today.
It has to be a surrendering of our will! Something that in our flesh we are not capable of. This surrender can only take place by the help of the Holy Spirit.

In John 13:34-35 Jesus says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus is not speaking of 'phileo' here, He is speaking of 'agape.'
If this is a new commandment, how then are we to attain it?
We know that we can not fulfill the law.
This then separates 'phileo' from 'agape' and flesh from spirit.
If we can not obtain this love in the flesh, then the only way we can accomplish it is through the Spirit. It then has to become something we desire by a surrendering of our will.

Christ's love is not capable or inspired by our human qualities or flesh, it is grace motivated.

If then this is a commandment and something we are to do in His name then, in John 14:14-18, Jesus says we are to ask it in His name and He will send the Spirit as our helper to abide with us and help us to accomplish God's glory.

We see an example of this in John 21:15 when three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him and Peter's reply is, "Yes, Lord I love You."
Jesus asked Peter if he had 'agape' for Him and Peter answered that he had 'phileo' for Him. 'Phileo' was all that Peter was capable of in the flesh, because he had not received the Spirit yet. Later in his writings, Peter makes reference to 'agape' and 'agapeo,' but it wasn't until after the filling of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.

In John 21:15, Jesus tells Peter to feed His lambs (meaning those that are new in Christ, new believers).
In verse 16, He says, "Tend My sheep" (take care of His people, meet their needs physically, just as He had). Notice He said sheep not lambs.
In verse 17, He says, "Feed My sheep" (meaning spiritually through discipleship and scripture). Once again He said sheep not lambs.
Do you see it!
Precious Royalty! Do you understand it! It is imperative that we see that there is a maturing here. As we look at verse 18 we see why.

In verse 18, "When you were younger (lambs), you girded yourself and walked where you wished (meaning we are operating on our own strength, equipping ourselves, doing what we please, fulfilling our own flesh), but when you are old (sheep), you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."

With that maturing we will surrender our will to that of our Father's (1 Timothy 2:8).
He will equip us and give us boldness (Acts 4:31).
He will care for our needs, give us strength to endure those tribulations, through the Spirit, as we surrender our will for His, glorifying Him (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5).
Without this taking place there is no way we can "Follow Him" as in verse 19.

Brothers and sisters, this wasn't just for Peter. This is for every one of us to FOLLOW HIM with every being of our spirit!
That can not be accomplished without a maturing of the Spirit within us, a surrender of our will, a crucifying of our flesh!

Thank You for Your wisdom. Thank You that Your Son could be our example of 'agapeo.' Lord, I lift up those that call you King, that you would fill us with a new desire to seek Your will for our lives and give us this 'agape' love for those around us that we might fulfill Your greatest commandment and glorify Your name in our maturity.

On a side note, when the Romans were getting ready to crucify Peter, he requested that he be crucified upside down because he didn't consider himself worthy to be crucified the same as his Lord Jesus.

May the maturity you find to FOLLOW HIM glorify His name as the Spirit anoints you with his love! (1 John 1:5, John 14:23-24)

Ty Van Norman

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Two Robbers

"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:39-43).

"Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him" (Mark 15:32).
Tuscarora, NV - Photo by Chrissy King

Greetings, fellow lost and found!

I was sitting here with a list of subjects to expand on, but with no definite direction from God. Then I realized it doesn't matter this time, because the list was given to me in the course of seeking His face. Just step in the water and let Him part it.

Have you ever noticed how one subject always ties you to another as we contemplate God's word and the Holy Spirit's teaching? Why is that? Maybe because that is completion; you can't have part of something without the one part existing and influencing the other part.

I don't believe that God wrote His word without every jott and tittle having a meaning or purpose. Nothing was written to fill space between two subjects.

That being said - let's step in!

As Jesus hangs on the Cross for the world's sin, there hang beside Him two men, both robbers. In Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32, scripture says that they reviled Him along with the multitude. Then in Luke 23:39-43, as one robber blasphemes Christ, the other rebukes him and asks him why he doesn't fear God when he himself is being put to death the same way. Then the good robber (if you could call him that) admits to their guilt and the justness of their punishment. Not only that, but he defends Jesus as being innocent, and then goes even further to ask the Lord to remember him.

What just happened? One minute this robber was a part of the crowd and the next he had set himself apart. I believe God allowed him to have a revelation. Remember, crucifixion wasn't a fast death. So he had been mocking Christ for probably hours with the crowd. I can imagine him getting quieter and quieter as his thoughts began to wander to what he had heard of this man beside him, this King of the Jews. Some time in those few hours there was an uprooting!

I'm sure there are many different ways this account could teach us. As I write this I see more of them.

Here is one thing God has revealed to me.

So how does this apply to us now?

On one side we have the old man representing our sinful, carnal nature, and on the other side we have the new man that just experienced a revelation. Jesus hangs between the two, the gateway to salvation and eternal life.

Those of you who know who Christ is, know what the old and new man are and the difference.

Romans 5:12 and Romans Chapter 6, speak of that. We often find ourselves struggling to keep from returning to the old man's ways. Paul talks about the battle between his flesh (the old man) and his redeemed new man, who walks according to the Spirit (Romans 7:13-25).

How do we crucify the old man as Paul talks about in Galatians 5:24? How do we nourish the new man Christ has made us?

We crucify one by feeding the other. Did you notice in Romans 7:23-25 that Paul talks of his mind? In Romans 8:7 it says that my carnal mind is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God.

That tells me that I need to subject my mind to the things of God, because I'm not naturally going to do that.

You see, as we look at the two robbers, we see ourselves. We see on one side our natural, carnal nature, and on the other side, that self that had a revelation and became redeemed through Christ.

Does revelation stop there? It dare not! I believe we have to continue to have revelations of who God is and how He works in order to feed our new self. If revelation stops, the Spiritual growth stops.

Here is a revelation that God gave me as He began to mold me into something useful. My thoughts are not my own. They either come from the Trinity, my flesh, this world, or Satan (basically unbelief). Now if we go too far this could get complicated - for now, let's keep it simple. My thoughts are either from God or they are unbelief. I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal that unbelief to me and take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:4-6), and hold it up to the Cross. If it does not measure up to the Cross, I cast it down and move on. In doing so, I begin to subject my mind to the law of God. I set myself up for fresh revelation from the Holy Spirit.

What I put in my mind is what is on my heart and what comes out of my mouth. Jeremiah 11:20, 17:10, and Revelation 2:23 state that God will search our hearts and test our minds.

Matthew 12:34 states that out of the abundance of our heart our mouth speaks. If I don't fill my mind with the goodness of God, how can I have the mind of Christ? How can I have a sound mind? How then can I have that redeemed life that He has promised me? How can I experience Him in His fullness?

Father, I lift up those of us struggling between the old man and the new. I pray that we would begin to subject our minds to you, Lord, so that you could bless us with that revelation that stills our mind and stirs our spirit. Thank you, Father, for your Word that is sharper than any two-edged sword. I pray that the power behind it may begin to sever the old man from the new man, so that we might walk with You in Paradise on a daily basis.

May God's revelation cause a revolution between our nature and our righteousness.

Ty Van Norman

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Brokenness

This is just my opinion, but I believe that we have to experience God before He truly becomes real to us.

How do we experience Him?

One way is through our own testimony of what He has done in our lives or through someone else's testimony. We begin to experience God when we start recognizing His activity in our lives and in the lives around us.

Tuscarora, NV - Photo by Chrissy King

Have you ever had those days that just seem to be a struggle? Some days are just a constant fight for me to stay out of my flesh and fill my mind with God's goodness!

July 23 was my birthday! "A glorious and joyful day?" you might ask.

That depends upon how you look at it, in the flesh or through the Spirit.

It seems that I spent most of the day sacrificing my will for those of others I love, a good thing, but I did it with a beaten attitude. In a sense serving someone else because I knew it would honor God, but with no joy inside of me. Trying to press in, but being distracted in my spirit.

Couldn't God give me His joy?!
Isn't that a fruit of the Spirit?
Couldn't He see me in need and impart that to me?

Aaah! There beginneth the lesson, that day, for me.

After struggling all day I was on the verge of being spiritually exhausted, to the point of wondering if I was becoming depressed. (I know, not a Godly thought, but satan is predictable and he had to try.)

On the way home my wife, Ronda, asked me what was bothering me and without hesitating something deep within my spirit answered with, "I don't know. I just feel alone."

Haaa, there it was! Where did that come from!?
Well, in the process of making a short story long, I'll tell you.

We all know that life is unpredictable; it is full of ups and downs, good times and bad, and life and death. Those life experiences either draw us closer to our Father or we seek comfort in the wisdom of the world and its ways consume us.

My family has been in the business of raising horses and cattle for at least 5 generations, but over the last 3 years my partners in this have gone to be with our Lord and Savior. Leaving me to be, at times, overwhelmed with my responsibilities. When my father died, my brother and I took over those responsibilities. In December 2008 my brother left me alone here to deal with this without him. But in that process he left me with everything that now, I pray, defines who I am. Troy put me in the presence of my God in an overwhelming and glorious way through his death. (You might think that was rather sick to see it that way, but flesh and blood did not reveal that to me. I won't pretend to know God's thoughts behind His timing, but I do know that His timing is everything, it is perfect!)

Troy is my brokenness! God was preparing me, with my son's death in February 2006 and my father's death in April 2006, for what He was about to do to me through my brother's life and death in December 2008.

You see!!!! God became real to me in a powerful and glorious, super natural way in that hospital room! Not because of where I was, but because my brother was a righteous!!, redeemed!!, lover of our God!!!

I believe that some time in our life we will all, every one of us, experience a form of brokenness in our life that defines who we are in Christ. When that time comes which way are you going to turn? The world has many definitions for depression, but do they stand up to the power of the Cross!!?

I find myself revisiting my brokenness at times. Why?
"Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty; And before honor is humility" (Proverbs 18:12).
I cannot honor my God without humility first!
My brokenness then becomes a twofold blessing:

First it brings me to this humility! The realization that I totally depend on my God for everything, even my next breath! When I realize that I am nothing without Him then I am in a place where He can use me. I become available to Him.

Second, I then experience His fullness and power and my spirit screams with boldness, "But as for me, I trust in YOU, O LORD; I say, "YOU ARE MY GOD!!!!" (Psalms 31:14).

My prayer for you, beloved brothers and sisters, is that you would recognize your brokenness for what it can be. Use it to get into the presence of our God so that you can experience His powerful touch in your life and create in you a deep hunger for more of Him.

May your brokenness define God's work in your life through your declaration of it!!


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Double Your Mind Around This!

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

A friend that was leading a bible study I went to this past week asked us a question that another person had brought to his attention. The question had everything to do with the topic that night, but was not the main subject.

Before I ask the question, I find it exciting how the Holy Spirit can take us to a whole new revelation of God's word when it is spoken.
In answer to Thomas's question in John 14:5, Jesus states in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Here is the question to you as it was given to me.
Do you believe John 14:6?
Do you believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life? And that no one comes to the Father except through Him?

Oh Saints! As I ponder this I realize the question has weight to it, it has depth far greater than what our own understanding can comprehend. It was a question birthed by the Spirit to bring us to a realization of what He really is and who we really are in Him!

That statement (John 14:6) defines our whole being as a believer.
Without believing it, we then stand outside the temple gates unable to be forgiven, unable to praise, unable to sacrifice, unable to wash ourselves in the word, unable to experience the fruits of the Spirit, unable to worship, unable to feel His touch or hear His voice.

Where then does that put us?
What do you see in the people around you?
Who do you see in the people around you?
There are millions of lost people in this world, are you just a number?
I'll bet Satan doesn't even know my name, but God knows how many hairs are on my head and how many I lost yesterday!

Jesus said "I am the way (the only way to meet God), I am the truth (God's righteousness and all the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are revealed), I am the life" (He gives us eternal life, but He also equips us and fills us with His life as we struggle here in this world). No one comes to the Father but through Him (we cannot even be in the presence of God or enter the Kingdom of Heaven without recognizing who Jesus is and what He has done).
We should find this encouraging, as believers, that we now have a purpose in life. You are one of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

This is my prayer for the week:
"Lord, that you might reveal your way, your truth, your life to me, so that I may walk in your will and spend time in your glorious presence. That you would unveil your word to me, so that your knowledge and understanding would become mine. Thank you Father that I am one of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, that I have a purpose through you."

I would like to encourage you to get into the word daily, if not hourly, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it and teach you from it. Expect to experience God the more you become available to Him. Start with John chapters 14-17.
May the wisdom you find in our Lord set you apart!


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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cowboy Christmas

And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God (Luke 8:1).

Grangeville, Idaho - Photo by Ken Lund

The 4th of July weekend is often called "Cowboy Christmas" because of the many rodeos that are held. For lots of cowboys, the couple of days before and during the 4th of July weekend are fast and furious, and jam-packed with travel to multiple rodeos. Wade rode saddle broncs at three ICA (Idaho Cowboy Association) rodeos; Vale, OR, and Hailey and Grangeville, ID. He placed and took home a check in all three rodeos. Good job, Wade! Now that really was Cowboy Christmas! More importantly, he got the chance to mingle, meet, and share the Training for the Cross ministry with other cowboys behind the chutes.

Photo by Mary Williams Hyde

And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable (Luke 8:4).

Jesus spoke to people in parables, stories of common experiences that they were familiar with and could easily understand. Wade has common experiences with rodeo and ranch cowboys, and can speak about and demonstrate the Gospel in ways that cowboys respect and understand. This is what makes participating in rodeos such an important part of the Training for the Cross ministry. Those "behind the chutes" acquaintances and friendships can reach cowboys who would never step foot inside a church.

Amaia's faithfulness and companionship to travel with Wade to the rodeos is another display of what Paul calls "simplicity and godly sincerity" (2 Cor 1:12), Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Tit 2:12).

Even with the hectic pace, Wade and Amaia were able to watch the fireworks with Amaia's family, and Amaia was able to have a fun time with her beloved nieces and nephews.

Photo by Michelle Escujuri Larzelier

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15).

Both Wade and Amaia have "honest and good hearts" and surely are "bringing forth fruit with patience." Look for Wade in the saddle bronc at another ICA rodeo in Glenns Ferry, ID on Saturday, July 18th, 2009.

(Special thanks to Michelle Larzelier for her great photo of Wade and Amaia!)

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