Saturday, April 25, 2009

Soar On His Wings by Robert Ricciardelli

God has a purpose for Christian men and women! This is no surprise to those of us who have made the choice to love God with all of our heart soul and mind, and love our neighbors and all of those the Lord brings our way abundantly. These two pillars of our faith are the foundation for everything we do in life. First things first, love God, for it is out of the abundance of our love and relationship with Him that makes loving others even possible. Mercy and grace flow out of our lives of service to the King and His Kingdom. If we truly love Him, we will truly obey Him and submit ourselves, our lives, our resources to the guidance of His precious Holy Spirit within us.

The revelation of His priorities is vital because truly every part of our being is His. Every moment, every day, every victory, every trial, every abundant season and every season of lack is His, for it is He that is our very breath and the sustenance in all things. To be Father pleasers we must have a listening ear, a giving spirit, and a desire to do good to others which will agree with the Spirit and the Word. As we live the exchanged life of service to Him, our agreement allows His presence to flow and impart freedom to others. As ambassadors for Christ we are reflections and channels of God’s love for all people.

If we are His people called by His name, we will live our lives fully in Him and works of God will be manifested. And it is truly work, a conscious choice to forsake self in order to fulfill His purposes for our lives. But there is a kingdom dynamic we must know.....we must rely on The Lord Himself working through us, and not to work in our own strength. Jesus said in John 5:19 that He Himself could do nothing of His own accord... We therefore should know that we are powerless except for the choice to receive His power in and through our lives.

Isaiah 40:29-31 reflects an awareness of this truth.

29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Following are some principles from this passage that are worth considering.

First, God does not expect you to do by yourself what only He can do by working through you. The Lord gives the energy, power, and tools you need to do your God-given tasks. Second, even the young and energetic will become exhausted if they try to serve God in their own strength rather than in His power. Third, through all the difficulties of life, God renews the energy of the faithful. He grants men and women of faith new strength so that they can fulfill their call to service.

God loves you! He loved us before we loved Him. The is good news of faith in the King is that we now become sons of the Almighty God, and can operate as His sons. Father can now use imperfect people like us to do great things for Him. HE will fulfill all in us for His glory and purposes. In those moments when we fail, become weary, or feel discouraged, God will give us the strength to continue to the end.

Father bless my brothers and sisters around the world. Strengthen your servants that are in the trenches of this world doing battle for your kingdom. Father, advance your kingdom mightily through each of us. Mold us into the image of your son, so that every motive and intent is pure in the love of God. Give us God power to replace our power, Give us your will to replace our own will and give us your burden for the lost. Renew the vision in your people to know there is no greater revelation then the cross and resurrection of your son and the power of the gospel to bring in your harvest in Jesus name!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Who Got Left Behind? by Robert Ricciardelli

This sure is an interesting season... No doubt people are scrambling to make sure they are not "Left Behind". Not sure where you are in your eschatology, but we can certainly presuppose that the famous books and movie series are highly fictional. So where does that leave us? Behind for sure, but not left behind. Father certainly has not left us behind, but in many ways we have left Him behind. Besides all the normal trends in societal degradation of biblical standards, there sure is a lot of frightened believers.

Jesus said He would build His church and it was to be a people that the gates of hell would not prevail against... Seems like at times the hosts of hell are giving us a whooping. Well it is time for God's people to put out an all out assault on the enemies of God and especially the biggest enemy at times, ourselves. Where is our overcoming faith? Where is the true identity of the believers that will stand in Him, regardless of their circumstances?

Well I am asking the Lord to put an all points bulletin out on me. That He would capture me more, and use whatever it takes to do so. We play a huge part in all of this, and we all must reckon with the fact that the Father desires us to be baptized completely through death to self, and allowing Him to rise us up for His purposes and glory. To live an exchanged life, our life for His, where there is no other way, and no retreat from His best.

This is not the end of the story, the Word of God has clearly pointed to a new creation through Christ Jesus. A creation of "Agape Life Carriers" to the world. And it time for us to mount up in His strength, and begin to be carriers of faith instead of fear, and concern for Him and others instead of self. We will overcome worldly cares bey passionately pursuing the Father and His Kingdom. To live is Christ and to death is gain, in whom shall we fear?

There is a new heaven and a new earth that the Lord has waiting for us. The new heaven and the new earth can wait, but the world needs us now. Let's set our sites on the beginning and the end of our faith, Jesus Christ our Lord and begin to realize transformation in our own hearts, and then extending it to others. This is an awesome season to be alive in Christ, with so many opportunities to serve and just do good to others.

With our ways "left behind" we can now live for Him and His ways. Lord may we all live with your intentions for us and for your Kingdom to come upon this earth as it is in heaven.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Love Crucified Arose by Robert Ricciardelli

Love Crucified Arose!
By Robert Ricciardelli

Long ago He blessed the earth, born older than the years,
And in the stall a cross He saw, through the first of many tears.
A life of homeless wandering cast out in sorrow's way,
The Shepherd seeking for the lost, His life, the price He paid

Love crucified, arose, the Risen One in splendor
Jehovah soul Defender, has won the victory
Love crucified, arose, and the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke, is beating once again
(Love Crucified Arose- Michael Card)

Are we living daily in the reality of Christ’s sacrifice, and the power of His resurrection? So great a love was given to us, and all we needed to do was respond to Him. Out of this Great Love, He is beckoning to love Him, love others, and be His Christ carriers to the world. We have received His resurrection power and are commissioned by Almighty Father to carry out His redemption plan for the world.

Father’s love is beyond human description. His love is not expressed because of what is in us, or by anything we could ever do. His love encompasses who He is is, and extends to us by the nature of who He is. He loves us because of the fact that He is love. He sent His son to die for the unlovely, and the undeserved. How can we describe such wondrous love?

Exodus 34:5-7 gives a great picture of the nature of God.

Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation."

Let’s take a look at the nature of the Father in this passage:

¬ Merciful and gracious: Merciful could be translated, "full of compassion." In five of the 13 times it is used, this word is translated full of compassion in the NKJV. This is the first place in the Bible where this Hebrew word rachuwm is used.

¬ The same word was also used regarding Israel and the Exodus in Psalms 78:38: But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath. This is compassion in action.

¬ The word translated gracious comes from the idea "to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, or to bestow." It is grace, giving to the undeserving.

¬ Grace is still the greatest word I know in representing the undeserved, and free gift of the Love of God."

¬ Longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth: The idea behind the word longsuffering means that God is slow to anger. He doesn't have a short fuse and is patient with us.

¬ We all know what it is like to deal with people who have a short fuse - the slightest offense, the slightest perceived wrong, and they are up in arms about it. God isn't like that. He is longsuffering.

¬ Not merely adequate, but abounding is this great God of glory. He has barns and silos full of love and faithfulness; he is stacking it in the streets looking for a distribution system." (Erwin)

¬ Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin: God's goodness is shown concretely towards us in His forgiving character.

¬ Iniquity and transgression and sin are all mentioned so no one would think there was some type of sin , or sin nature, God was unable to forgive.

¬ This revelation of the character of God to Moses forever puts away the idea there is a "bad" God of the Old Testament, and a "good" God of the New Testament. God's character of love and mercy and grace is just as present in the Old Testament as in the New Testament.

¬ Psalm 86:15 repeats this exact same revelation of God: But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

¬ His loving, gracious, and giving character do not "cancel out" His righteousness. Nations and generations have paid the price for rejecting His Goodness and His Governement. Because of the work of Jesus, the righteousness of God is satisfied and the grace and mercy of God are righteously given.

As we continue on this path towards bringing His Kingdom, His love, and His influence and nature to the world, we not only have the Word of God to give us the standards of His ways, but we now have His Spirit within us to empower us walk in His Divine standards. We now are carriers of His presence wherever we go, and in every context of life. We must take the high road, His Agape road to get there.

Bob Mumford has written a great book that Joyce and I highly recommend called “Agape Road”, that disseminates the differences between the foundations of Eros, or self-love, and His Agape love that is pure agenda-less love. Will we choose His life, and His Agape Road? Will we choose to exchange our life for His? Can we diminish thoughts of self, while being consumed with loving thoughts for Him and for others? In the power of His presence within us, and His love that desires to extend from us, we can make a difference to the glory of God.

Love crucified arose, may be arise each day, empowered for every good work as "Father pleasers".

"The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But His resurrection gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice." – Henry Knox Sherrill.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Hearers" Can Change the World! by Robert Ricciardelli

"The world is dying for want, not of good preaching, but of good hearing.”
(George Dana Boardman)

It is time that Gods people begin to take the initiative in seeking the Lord like never before. Going to church on Sunday and yet not living as the church on Monday has given us a powerless message to society. We have an identity crisis in the fact that we have created a place for ministry instead of a people mobilized for the work of the ministry. We are a nation of kings and priests, filled with the Spirit of the Living God, and supposed to be a church in which the gates of hell has no chance in hell to defeat.

As the Body of Christ continues to go through a global transition, it is increasingly evident that much of what might have worked in the past, right or wrong, will not work going forward. The times of leading with fear, control, and manipulative tactics to capture the lost, and lead the gullible is over. It has had its day, and the results are in, it simply has not been effective in impacting society around us. Organizational agenda’s can serve the system so well that it leaves little ability to serve the needs of the people inside or outside the system, beginning with authentic relationships.

Ears to Hear!

Are we hearing the Lord’s voice for our own lives, or have we become accustomed to listening to the voices of others in how we live, move, and have our being? Teaching others to hear the Lord's voice for themselves is often a threat to some systems and its leaders. Letting God speak His directives to His people can sometimes threaten others agendas. If leaders are not being discipled by Jesus, and His Kingdom principles, then how are they able to teach, disciple, and lead others to Him? By not being disciples themselves of His Eternal Kingdom, then to where and to what are others being led? Religion? Agenda filled organizations? Another movement or trend?

God’s people can begin to bring God’s presence to others when Christ is leading them daily in their personal lives. He will direct them to faith communities that will allow them to grow in the areas of "one anothering". We all must attain another level of obedience in pursuing His Kingdom standards because we understand that His life matters most. As we live the exchanged life, we can trust the Father for all things, and to work out all things according to His plan.

All that we would seek to accomplish must be done because we are hearing His voice. His destiny for us can only be fulfilled because we have the revelation and vision of His plans and purposes. This does not mean we may know the forseeable future, but that we are obediently moving towards our future as Fathers children who desire to please Him above all things.

Where do we start?

We must get a hold of the fundamentals or foundations of our faith, starting with, God is love. It is not all about trying to sin less and become better. Conscientious living of the moral majority standards is not the answer. The law proved to the world long ago that the answer is not in following the do’s and the don’ts of the law, as interpreted by the "Whose Who" of our faith communities.

Morality can only change because His loving presence has overwhelmed us to the degree that sin nature that was once prominent, continues to lose its steam because our former lives have been exchanged for His agape life. The answer is a Person, the answer is the Lord Himself, and not anything we can do.

When we choose Jesus, it means we do not choose us before Him any longer. It means we have relationships that are not birthed by agendas, but by His love and by truly caring for each other. It means we choose His ways and no longer our ways. It is a constant battle, no doubt, and one that needs intimacy with a most glorious Father and Savior. And the methods of our journey can no longer be carnal, but strategically supernatural because He lives and moves us towards His best daily, as we submit to His directives in every sphere of life…

And so we seek Him, we listen, and learning Him, we become empowered to bring His transformational Spirit into every environment and rejoice in all He will do through our lives. Gods "Hearers" can truly change the world.