Amazingly Beautiful! In Flight Flash Mob!


Yearning. Burning.

This is a repost from June. I was reading it again and really felt like God was realigning me on many of the points I previously outlined here. Hopefully you will get something out of it as well. Enjoy!!

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Today my heart is full of hope, but I am faced with a reality that not everyone that says that they believe the Gospel will in fact meet Jesus at the end of all things.

Are we really praying for God to purify our hearts?  Are we praying at all? I am faced with a reality that we are still searching out what we truly believe.  We are indeed of little faith, and I fear that we have amazed and astonished God at how without faith we are.

You see, this day I am yearning, longing for God in a very deep way. I pray that I would count my life as nothing before the beauty of God, before His infinite wisdom and holiness.  I am appalled at my own impurity and  the stubbornness of my heart, that I am coming to some conclusions about the nature of my flesh and my carnality versus the nature of God.

1. I am unwilling to deny my plans and my future, but God says I must if I am to follow Him.

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, butwhoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. – Mark 8:34-35

2. My impurity prevents me from seeing God, but Jesus said that the pure of heart would have access to His heart.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

– Mathew 5:3-10

3.  I believe that I can do good things with my life and make good decisions about my future, but Jesus says that apart from Him I can do nothing good.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” — John 15:1-8

This is just a starting point for me, but I am beginning to understand that my life is not my own. All of my striving and energy put into doing good things could be a carnal intention of my heart that will only lead to separation from God, not communion with Him.  These three points are burning in my consciousness, and my response is simple.

1. I desire to save my life.  So I must lay my life down for the sake of the Gospel if I am to experience what Jesus calls “abundant life.”

2. I want God to use me to do good things.  I want to be a servant to my generation and to the nations of the earth.  Therefore I must confess that there is no good part in me. I must confess that there is nothing desirable in me.  Apart from Jesus Christ I have nothing of real value to offer anyone.  However, as I make a conscious choice to abide and be intimate with Jesus everyday, His will becomes my will. My carnal nature decreases and the nature of God takes control of my life and I will bear much fruit which is the Father’s glory.

3. I want to see God.  I want to feel His heart.  I want to know what He is feeling and thinking. I have to know Him!!  Psalm 27:4… This ONE thing I seek!!!  This One thing I desire!!  That I may dwell in the house of the Lord.  So I must be pure of heart.  I must be pure of heart. There is no other way to truly see God and have access to His wisdom, emotions, and mysteries.  Psalm 24 says: Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? He that has clean hands a PURE HEART.

Are we making the time to take inventory of our lives and ask God to purify us and make us clean?  Can we look beyond our own desires to have fun, to play games, to get married, to have a family, to achieve the American dream, to feel good, to be happy?  Can we lay down what we want for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of knowing and having access to the heart of Jesus Christ?

Come!!! Let us reason together!!  Are we in this thing for ourselves and for our own fame?  Are we pretending to be Christians or are we true disciples of Jesus Christ?

God forgive me!!  I have made a mockery of your grace towards me.  I want to know you!!  I must have you!!  You are all I crave and delight in.  Your word is true.  If you say I must deny myself, then I will deny myself.  If your word says that I can do nothing good without you, then I don’t want to live without you.  If your word says that the pure in heart will see you, then I desire purity and holiness to be the standard for my life.  Speak to me!! Search me God and hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against you!!!  In Jesus’ name…Amen.

Yearning. Burning.

Branden


Wisdom and Folly: Competitors for the Souls of Men

Proverbs 9:1-18 — Wisdom has built her house…she cries out from the highest point!

__ The woman Folly is loud…she sits at the door of her house on a seat at the highest point!

Did you know that there are two houses contending for your soul? Did you know that your heart is the most warred over possession in all world’s history? Good news for you today! You are indeed valuable, if not the most valuable possession this side of heaven. Why? In a nutshell, as human beings, we have been given the ability to say ‘yes’ and to say ‘no’ to Jesus or to the devil. The Father intentionally made us with the ability to choose whether we wanted to be controlled by His spirit or to be controlled by the influences of this age. Do not be confused about it; we are all slaves to something, whether it’s a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. He has not and will not ever force Himself on us, although His heart longs to be tied up and deep in eternal communion with us, His spotless bride, full of wisdom and knowledge. His desire is that we would not choose, and thereby settle for, any lesser demonic pleasure. Never fear! God’s strategy for winning our affections is ingenious and infallible. He allowed the fallen angel Lucipher to become His adversary in the cosmic battle over the souls of weak human being like you and me so that we could choose life in Christ over death in bondage to sin. It sounds ludicrous, but God in His wisdom continues to be forevermore the author of a perfect strategy that I will help unfold for you here.

Proverbs 9 lays out a scenario depicting two competing houses: the House of Wisdom and the House of Folly. They are strategically placed next to each other at the highest point in the city. Both of their cries are identical saying, “Let all who are simple [and lack judgment] come in here!” The two houses are contending for our souls, knowing that in many cases we lack wisdom, judgment, and understanding of the age in which we live.

Let me tell you about two women that live in these houses, one named Wisdom and the other named Folly. Proverbs tells us that Folly is an adulteress and a seductress. She lives to lure young men with promises of rich, tasteful delicacies into a trap that will only lead to their death and destruction. The warnings are clear in Proverbs 5:8 —

“Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house,”

Also in Proverbs 7 the writer depicts a young man, lacking in judgment, walking along the direction of the house of the adulteress at twilight, as the day was fading and dark of night set in.

The Woman Wisdom makes her identity and her plea known to all who will listen in Proverbs 8 saying, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” Proverbs 9 continues to expound saying that Wisdom has built her house; she has prepared her meat and mixed her wine. Both Wisdom and Folly make an elaborate plea for intimacy and communion with a young, infantile, and immature generation looking for love, affection, and self-worth.

How does one choose Wisdom over Folly? Assuming that the preference is for a man to choose Wisdom over Folly, two things are needed in order to make the better decision: the spirit of the fear of the Lord and knowledge of the Holy One.

What is the ‘fear of the Lord’? What am I to fear? If perfect love casts out all fear and if God is love, then what of God am I to fear? The answer is in the question, so to speak. If God is love and if there are pleasures in that love then the reasonable inference is that the fear of the Lord is actually a fear of not having access to those pleasures or to the love that prohibits the fear of man but instead promotes the fear of separation from the sincere and loyal companion Jesus Christ and all His benefits.

Holiness is a particular characteristic of God, if not the central component through which other traits of God manifest. Knowledge of the holiness of God and a knowledge of God as holy are different and and perhaps equally as beneficial. The knowledge of holiness provides an intellectual understanding of God as pure and unwavering in who He is with an expectation that we should be holy as He is holy. The knowledge of God as Holy assumes a relationship with God through which he reveals His holiness and by His spirit gives us great joy in living a holy and whole life before Him. To seek knowledge of the Holy One is to get understanding, eternal understanding of that which makes up the helix of God’s immortal DNA. By knowing this we can come into a fuller understanding of how we are made in His image and in the genetic heredity of His holiness. It is the beauty of such a thing that should captivate and fascinate us.

Wisdom and Folly cry out from the same highest point! Why? In order to give a man the opportunity to choose. God is not controlling. It is a gift to have the ability to choose life over death.


Not Letting Go: Because He Loves Me I Will Love Him

“I’m not letting go! I’ll never let go!” That is what He said to me. “I will never let go of you Branden!”

Sounds like a scene from a popular movie called TITANIC, right? Some love-stricken statement that was surely loosely lobbed into existence in a fleeting moment, right? Young love equals weak love, right?

OH! God forbid! I will not despise the days of my youth! Perhaps it’s time we loved again as if it were the very first time. You remember that time? Do you remember when He met you and declared that He would never let go of you even when you would not hold on to Him, but instead would cling to the thing that tried to separate you from the greatest love of all? I remember.

Sometimes I resist Him. I am so often locked in gaze with something else, a distraction only. I am saying to that lesser love, “I will never let go!” Oh, but Beloved, He is so gracious and slow to anger. I need Him to never let go of me. I need Him to pursue me and to love me with all the fierce jealousy of creation! My flesh does not want to be found by Him; it wants to remain lost in deception, enslaved to the will of our mortal Enemy or of man. One day I will look at Him with my eyes burning and my heart truly on fire. I will say to Him, “It’s all because of You! Because You loved me first I will love You! I WILL NEVER LET YOU GO!”

Oh help me to never forget how hotly You pursue my heart! How fervently You pursue the nations! Will You capture my gaze with true love? Make me born of water and of Spirit and I will be only Yours. Let a true cry of eternal devotion come from my being, from my belly. I will never let go, be it in this life or the next. Let it be said of me that I was lovesick and that I was tenacious. At the end of my days let me say with confidence that I besought the greatest pearl of the cosmos and that I never let go of it. Let it be said of me that I loved Him so much!

I will never let go.

I will never let go.


You Have the Sweetest Name

What is in a name? Is in our culture do we even attribute value to names when they are issued? I often work with children whom do not know the meaning of their names, much less the origin. So what is the big deal? What is really IN a name?

We know that many bible characters had significant names and were often given their names by angelic visitation or divine inspiration. We even pray “in the name of Jesus”. These things I feel we know and have some level of understanding. I hope to pose something enlightening if not revealing about the heart of God and his love for man.

God loves names. So much so that He gave himself many names! Almost too many to count and I think we are still learning and will be blown away at how many secret and majestic names he really possess. We have yet to encounter the depth of His wisdom regarding the giving of names and the attribution o meaning to those names.

Incredible is the heart of God when it comes to our very own names! They should indicate the matter and density of our person. I have the sweetest name because God has ascribed meaning to it. How amazingly validating to know that before the foundations of the earth God dreamed of me. He knew me. He knew my name. He designed that my name would be a witness of the name of Jesus in the earth and in the heavens. Ha!

YES!!!! I have the sweetest name.

And yes…

His name is even sweeter!