God of the Desert

NEW POST

Let this sink in.

A good friend recently told me, “Sometimes the only way out is through”.

If God is God and he cannot lie, then he is God over everything. He never needs and will never need our help or assistance to be God. He doesn’t need reminder text messages, Evernote, memos, timers or alarm clocks. He’s not a part time lover nor does he take days off. He’s God when there is abundance and he’s God when there is scarcity. He’s God in the mansion and he’s God under the bridge. He’s God in the luxury car and he’s God on bus or bicycle. He’s God when there are thousands in the 401k and he’s God when there are pennies in your pocket.

We are very quick to thank God when we experience the blessings, prosperity, influence, positions with organizations and his favor in our lives, and rightfully so – we should thank him because he deserves our praise. But sometimes we are verrrrrrry slow to thank God in the midst of our lack and desert filled situations. I submit to you today a simple idea that has revolutionary consequences. If you catch this it will change the way you think, live and draw you into a closer relationship with the Lord.

He is God of the Desert

Many times we associate desert like situations with sin or the “plan” that God didn’t have for our lives, after all Scripture says that Jesus came to give us an abundant life. However, there are many instances in Scripture when desert like situations and surroundings had nothing to do with sin, moral decay, bad decision making or something produced by Satan.

Sometimes the “desert” is designed by the Lord who sees the ultimate plan for our lives. He knows where we are, what we need and how we need it in correlation (relationship) to our present circumstances and our future selves, work and impact for Him and his kingdom. Notice, the desert isn’t just for others, collectively – it’s meant to be experienced by us, individually.

Deserts are necessary

I have yet to find someone who loves deserts! No, I’m not talking about a geographical location or even a destination in Africa. A desert by definition is a dry, barren area of land, especially one covered with sand, that is characteristically desolate, waterless and without vegetation. And sometimes our lives and surroundings resemble a desert – they become dry, waterless and lifeless. More, sometimes the things that once brought life, enjoyment and fulfillment have evaporated and become callous. Deserts don’t hold punches or play favorites! They hit you where you are regardless of the color of your skin or bank account.

Deserts have a way of changing the landscape of our hearts, shaping our character and revealing our motives in ways that mountain top experiences can’t. The God of Scripture walked closely with those who experienced desert like situations:

  • Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert after being led there by the Holy Spirit before he launched his ministry in Matthew 4
  • Abraham had just finished worshipping God and went into the desert (Negev) in Egypt to seek help when a severe famine hit the Land God had promised him and his descendants in Genesis 12
  • The Children of Israel where lead into the desert by their leader Moses to experience God’s promise after being freed from Egyptian slavery that lasted 400 years in Exodus 12

Yet, God was with all of them.

Here are some things to think about

  • Deserts are tools that are meant to draw us closer to God
  • Deserts dont last forever
  • Deserts reveal what our hearts yearn for the most
  • Deserts dry up the excuses we have for not seeking God
  • Deserts can make us sensitive to God’s presence and move
  • Deserts allow us to experience God’s super natural provision
  • Deserts help us distinguish needs from wants
  • Deserts prepare us for what’s ahead

Therefore, be encouraged and know that the God who created you is walking with you through your desert. He’ll continue to remain faithful and so himself strong because he can’t neglect himself or his Word. I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to lead you into all truth, comfort and reveal himself to you in new ways. #peace

Pray For President Donald Trump

How do you reconcile what is happening in our World and Culture with our faith in God through Jesus? Is God looking and listening to the cries of his people? How come so many of His called faith leaders, preachers & teachers and those endowed with great gifts and abilities are opposed to one another for the cause of God – as if we know his every move (Even though Scripture records that his ways are not our ways and that some of his plans will continue to remain hidden – Isaiah 55:8-9 and Ecclesiastes 3:9-11)? How come Democrats, Republicans and Independents are brazened with starkly different views for the people of America? And is there a difference between facts and truth, especially when facts become twisted and truth becomes a  blur for the sake and gain of certain people groups?

If the concern is over:

  • Righteousness vs Sinfulness
  • Injustice vs Justice
  • Rich vs Poor
  • Bigotry, Racism, Sexism and Homophobia vs Tolerance
  • Nationalism vs Globalization
  • Black vs White
  • Liberals vs Conservatives
  • White Supremacy and Privilege vs Minorities
  • United States vs Everybody
  • Islam vs Christianity

Then we haven’t scratched the surface or began to chop away at the root causes. It’s easy to point out the symptoms of our societal woes but it’s a lot more difficult to diagnose and prescribe healing and treatment to the disease. Bandaids will no longer work, our country’s fever is coming to a boiling point and something has to give or blow.

It’s also easy to think that we are ALL on the same team – humanely and spiritually speaking.

Scripture records in Ephesians:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
– Ephesians 6:12 ESV

There is a world we cannot see and it is filled with constant warfare between the powers of darkness and light for dominion of Earth and the souls of men. These powers are very real and if we are not careful we will foolishly fight these spiritual forces of darkness with our human understanding, flesh and blood.

Consequently, I’m convinced we can do more in the way of praying for ALL people, President Trump and our Elected Officials vs cursing, protesting and arguing our points on social media and in our pulpits at the new executive orders that have been handed down. Now, will there be a time for demonstrations and protesting? Yes, because our President isn’t Jesus and he’ll make decisions that don’t have God’s heart at the center. Is there place for peaceful demonstration? Yes, it is embedded in America’s DNA. But my point is, faith in God requires action in prayer.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

– 1 Timothy 2:1-4

You may or may not agree with everything happening with our current administration and or protests. You may deem the other side unlawful, unconstitutional, bigots, religious zealots, the lost liberal left, self-righteous, deserving and or undeserving. Justice to one group may feel and appear like injustice to another. American to one group may seem un-American to the other. These are very real facts. But the truth is, if we pray we cannot go wrong! When we pray to the God who moves mountains and saves men souls he has a way of reminding us that he still sits on the throne and nothing happens on his watch without his careful eye paying attention to every detail. In addition, this doesn’t mean trials, indifference or tribulations won’t come and try to shake us – they will! On the contrary, we pray so that we’ll lead peaceful, quiet, godly and dignified lives in every way. I believe that prayer changes outcomes, wins battles and transforms the hearts of men more than shouting, cursing and demonstrations. Now, history proves that nonviolent civil disobedience demonstrations have there place. Billions of people wouldn’t have rights if it weren’t for powerful demonstrations.

A Few Powerful Demonstrations Include

  • The 1930 Salt March for Indian independence from England led by Mohandas Gandhi
  • The 1963 March on Washington for racial inequality led by Martin Luther King Jr and other leaders
  • The 1989 Cape Town Peace March led by Archbishop Tutu, Mayor Gordon Oliver and others that fought against apartheid and the tyrannical South African government later freeing a jailed Nelson Mandela

But make no mistake, it starts with prayer. Prayer invites God into our situation to show himself to be God.

More, when we pray for ALL people this is pleasing to God! Now, praying for ALL includes those you do not agree with! Praying for ALL people may include but are not limited to:

  • The white pastor who doesn’t talk about social justice or social engineering but fancy’s himself with concepts and principles of white supremacy
  • The black pastor who only concerns himself with God’s grace and not God’s holiness
  • The rich man who doesn’t bother himself with the poor but only that which pads his pockets
  • The liberal who loves gay civil rights but hates and is intolerant toward your conservative views and rights
  • The politician whose policies oppress the poor, strip widows of help and hurt children but will give his friends tax breaks because they create jobs
  • The immigrant who peaceably lives next door to you and says hello at every opportunity
  • The white police officer who loves black people by show and recognition of his awards in an urban area but is targeted because of his uniform
  • The black male who wears hoodie walking through a residential area with Skittles only to be targeted by a white male whose bizarre behavior has become more and more apparent for all to see that there was something more to this one-sided story

And we pray for ALL people because God desires all men to be saved (The Romans Road) and to come into the knowledge of His truth and not our cultural truth, distorted facts, propaganda, conservative narrative, liberal media and certainly not our alternative facts.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who wins souls is wise.
– Proverbs 11:30

Therefore, be wise with your time and energy and pray for President Trump and ALL people without delay because lives depend on it – this is bigger than the contrasted list above. It’s about God reigning and ruling in the hearts of his people minus our puny and putrid agendas. This battle is not between flesh and blood but spirit and you have to fight spirit with the Spirit.

What do you say?

Whose Voice Are You Echoing?

I remember living on 1312 Patton Dr. in Odessa, TX when I was in elementary back in the 90s. My favorite things to do were to blow up horny toads with fire crackers, play Nintendo with my brothers and ride my Huffy bike with my friends in this dirt lot down the street from my house. And when the street lights came on between 6 and 7pm every evening it never failed that I would hear my mother’s voice bellowing my full legal down the block name, “JEREMY QUINN BUTLER!”. She didn’t have to walk down the street in her slippers and mumu or get in the car and drive over to the next street to find me terrorizing my friends. All she had to do was utter my name and I would be at the house in point 5 seconds.

My parents trained me at an early age to recognize their voices and to another I did not go! Mainly, because I didn’t want to end up like the little kids on the milk cartons. More, Jesus says:

A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers… 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. – John 10:5, 27-28

Jesus plainly says that we, his sheep, know His voice because we heard God’s call for salvation through his message and responded in faith to trust him as Lord and Savior.

WE would all like to believe that we bring something special and original to the table. And the truth is… regardless of what our table is (family, work, church, relationships)… we do. The DNA that runs through every fiber of our being is both complex and unique. Even science has proven twins born of the same blood, mother and father are somehow genetically different.

Yet, at the end of the day as diverse as humanity is we end up only echoing TWO voices from the moment we are born until we die. These two voices have been opposed to each other since the beginning of mankind. More, one of these voices disguises and manifests itself in different forms and often, though reluctant and resilient, imitates the other Voice in a last-ditch effort to take as many with him and his angels to the Lake of Fire.

Who are you listening to?

SIDE NOTE: The voice you echo the most is a tell-tell sign of where your allegiance lies. Also, the voice you echo the most is the one you probably listen to the most… and words have power to change outcomes. So, echoing a voice is not mere chance or accident. It’s a statement of who you roll with! Will you speak and echo what God says? Or will you speak and echo what the accuser of the brethren, the father of lies – Lucifer (Satan, himself), says?

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. – Ephesians 4, 5:1-2

Ephesians 4 talks about Christian unity and living (truth, forgiveness, love, speech) and leads us right into chapter 5 with a “Therefore” Statement. Paul is using this cause and effect clause to explain how we must live as a result of everything that was written in Ephesians 4. In conclusion, he says that we are called to imitate and live like Christ, reproduce his love in relation to other people and authentically mimic or echo his voice as a direct result of us trusting in Christ.

Here are some questions to ponder:

  • Whose voice are you echoing in your everyday life? Why do you think that is?
  • Do you consider yourself a sheep?
  • Does your echo effect others in a positive or negative way?