The Leper’s Prayer

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Oh precious Father in heaven,

how great are Your mercies toward us!

Who are we that you care so much for us?

  Only You care for our life that we ourselves had lost.

  You have heard our crying out and reached out to us in Your perfect love.

  Oh Savior, our King, praise be the Name above all names that walked with us,

talked with us, and put His holy arms around us!

You and You alone have made it possible for us to receive life.

  The payment You made for us is beyond our understanding,

but we receive it with arms wide open.

We embrace You and cry out for joy at your compassion.

Praise be to the Holy Spirit, praise to the Power that heals us!

The hand of the Almighty God,

He has given us freedom from bondage.

  I offer myself to You as a leper, full of death;

but You embrace me as a child of Light!

  Your mysteries are far above me and I am humbled by Your favor.

Heal me, Lord.

I know you are willing;

perfect my willingness to receive your act of love

as a wonder from the heights of heaven itself.

  Praise God for His goodness,

and let me shout for joy as a prisoner to death no more.

For Your name’s sake, I will confess Your salvation

and remember to thank You the rest of my days.

  In the name of the Christ and for His sake,

Amen.  And Amen.

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It Is In God’s Hands…Or is it?!

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Some have heard me say in response to the statement “it is all in God’s hands” that, “It is in God’s hands…but He just put it in yours!”  Now this may disturb your theology, but let me show you a section of Scripture that effectively says the same thing.  This part of Zachariah, in context, is referring to the re-building of the Temple.  In our modern context, it is symbolic of rebuilding the Church.

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’

Says the Lord of hosts.

‘Who are you, O great mountain?

Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!

And shall bring forth the capstone

With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

‘The hands of Zerubbabel

Have laid the foundation of this temple;

His hands shall also finish it,

Then you will know

That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.’” Zachariah 4:6-7 (emphasis mine)

As we can see here, God’s Spirit is credited with the leveling of the obstacles (mountain), but God uses the hands of Zerubbabel to rebuild!  So for us to sit back and watch God work and not be concerned with the outcome is quite frankly…unbiblical.  For too long, the church has not concerned itself with the rebuilding of our broken condition because we assume that “it is in God’s hands” or we have been convinced that “Jesus is coming at any moment, so I’ll just wait here at the bus stop”…He would disagree with you and point you to every instance in the Bible where His work is done, He would show us that it always requires (by His design) a person willing to make a choice.  Do you really think that the “bride” is ready for the “catching away”?  Do we really look like the picture of what Christ Himself describes as “His adorned bride”?  He will not make us do anything for Him, for that would go against free-will!  Abraham had to make a choice, Moses had to make a choice, David had to make a choice, all of the prophets had to make a choice, and even Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane had to make a choice…”Nevertheless, not My will but Your will be done”.  So I pose this question to you:  What choice will you make today?  Remember it is a daily issue; it is not a once-in-a-lifetime decision, a once a week decision, a once a month decision, but rather a daily decision to crucify the flesh.  God uses people to carry out His plans; we can either join Him in His work or refuse to do so!  For too long we have tried to fit God into our little lives and He is imploring us to fit our lives into His!

So today we are being asked by the Lord of hosts to be a willing vessel, to offer up our hands and feet and heart to Him, and to be willing to be an ambassador for Christ.  Again, it is your choice.  The Lord asks, “Who will go for Me?”, and we can either ignore the call or say, “Here am I; send ME!”

We all live in a world desperate for change; each of us individually long for change, a closer more authentic walk with God.  But we must come to grips with the clear mandate that change necessarily starts with the person in the mirror.  When Jesus walked the earth, His ministry was to the sinners and the rejects of society, to the people locked into a prison of bondage to self and spiritual forces of evil.  He did not parade around, He did not come to set up an earthly kingdom, He didn’t go around complaining about the Romans, He did not expect people to come to Him, but on the contrary, He went to them and met them where they were.  He did not set up an ivory tower and send out a call for all to come and hear Him preach; He moved from town to town, from person to person, and from suffering to suffering.  One day the King will rule here on earth, but until that time comes, He gave us a clear message on how the kingdom of God is preached and how the power of the kingdom is manifested: by going, by doing, and most of all by loving in action; Paul tells us that “the kingdom of God is NOT in word, but in POWER.”  Nothing is more powerful than love; it is the currency of faith.

Jesus gave us a model of what a true leader looks like.  A true leader is a servant, a person willing to wash the feet of others, a person who does not judge people but only loves them, and a person willing to lay their own life down for the people He loves.  Those people whom God loves are you and I, those people are the drug addicts, the prisoners, the prostitutes, the unlovable, the wretched, the hypocrites, the rich man, the poor man, the proud, the ugly, the lovely, the religious, the pagan, the liberal, the conservative, the Republican, the Democrat, the free, and the slave.  Jesus made no distinction of whom He would extend His very life for; Jesus used the eternal force of love to change the people around Him.

Today, we as Christian ministers of fire have cheapened His call, bastardized the gospel, and laid to waste the kingdom built on love.  We have decided to revert back to a comfort level of self-perceived holiness, a spirit of apathetic religiosity.  The Bible warns us of this!  The cure for a carnal mindset is, and always will be, love.  Some Christians view carnality as lust, perversion, murder, and the like; Christ wants to remind us that a carnal mind includes also pride, division, dissention, and all paradigms built by man. The same theme is echoed in Paul’s letters as he literally begs and pleads with the church to stop being divided and choose to walk in the Spirit. When we rely on religion, we are relying on the flesh.

We first must understand in our spirit just how much Christ loves us, and that love will change us glory to glory; the next step is to share that love and pour our lives into others without prejudice.  If we want people to change, then we need to love them back to change.  Notice when the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus as the crowd seethed in anger to stone her, Jesus did not judge her.  He knew that people could not change without first coming into contact with His love.  But once the woman met Jesus, He told her to sin no more.  Why?  Because she now knew where the power “not to sin” came from …love. We obey because we love our Abba Father, we choose to follow Him because He has made us joint heirs in the kingdom, and we drop everything we are doing because nothing is more valuable and precious than the promise of eternal and infinite love from the One that proved His love by laying His life down while we were yet sinners! This message simply cannot be kept hidden under a layer of fear, a cover of hypocrisy, or an illusion of “live and let live”.

So our job is to introduce people to Jesus by introducing them to His love.  The Bible tells us that if we truly love God, then the proof of that love is in loving our fellow-man regardless of their condition.  The book of 1 John also tells us that if we say we love God but do not love our neighbor, then we are liars!  Ouch.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I cannot in and of myself love my neighbor, let alone my enemy.  But the love of God in me, the love of God “downloaded” in me in His presence, the love that is poured out by the Holy Spirit, can and will empower me to love.  So all our ability to affect change in the world starts with finding His love; He beckons us to find our true spiritual nature in His presence, and to find the person in the mirror who God loves so dearly.  You don’t deserve it, none of us do!  Are we willing today to “take up our cross” and crucify our selfish, carnal nature and stand before God as salt and light in the world?  Are we willing to let God love us back to health so we can love others back to health?  If not, then we cannot expect real change to happen in our lives, our families, our communities, or our nation.

So I come full circle here. God chooses to do His work through us. Could He do it another way? I guess He could, but that is not the way He set up the kingdom. So when someone laments over the defeats in life, the condition of our church, the backsliding of our nation, and sighs an excuse of, “Well, it’s all in God’s hands”, remind them that indeed it is in God’s hands but He just put it in yours! If you want to see things change, then in the Name above all names and in the power of the Holy Spirit, get on your knees and pray for repentance and get ready to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. If that seems harsh, I apologize; but we need you…furthermore, God needs you! A precious woman of God I know once said something prophetic; she said, “Well, the way I see it is that God can either work through you or go around you!” I decided years ago that I was “all in”, that I was going for broke, and that I would never look back. Are you with me? Believe it or not, there are dangerously few that are willing to put their hand to the plow and not look back; like the rich, young ruler they walk away saddened that they simply cannot or will not give up the comforts of life to pursue the only thing actually worth pursuing…this is profoundly sad…

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Wake up oh church!  You are a royal priesthood, you are ministers of fire, you are high priests, and you have been called out to be God’s elect.  So act like it!  Rule in His kingdom in love, for love is the most powerful force in the universe. If we operate in any other construct than love, then it is not of God.  For God IS love.  You see, my brothers and sisters, the real beauty of love is the choice to love. We have a choice to make: choose our feeble little kingdoms, our feeble little lives, our pitiful paradigms of what defines a life or choose Christ; choose religion or choose the radical life in the Spirit, choose judgment or choose mercy, choose to let God use your hands and feet or continue to ignore the Creator.  We pray for God to move, but He is waiting for US to move!

May you take this message to heart and let it change you. Be bold, be courageous, and be beautiful,

Gideon

Father Shake This Place…

O my soul, why do you faint within me?

O foolish heart, why do you melt in my chest?

The saint trapped in this body of corruptible seed,

I know I would lose hope without the Promise.

O Father shake this place…

I pray all the day long for your Hand to be outstretched,

I am haunted in the night watch by the enemy,

When my eyes are open they see only You,

When my eyes are closed they see only darkness.

O Father shake this place…

My enemies of doubt and fear have surrounded me,

The curse of time has haunted me,

Why must I be tossed in the tempest of the sea?

Why must I walk in the desert of loneliness?

O Father shake this place…

The walk of faith as a man is the persecuted road,

The child with his childish thoughts is now passed,

But I long to be a child again at the kingdom’s gate,

The wonder of Your creation sparkling in my eyes.

O Father shake this place…

I stand firm as the siege continues to press me on all sides,

I lift the banner of Christ however weary my arms,

The refiner’s fire is the enemy’s playground,

But faith will prevail when all dross is consumed in the flame.

O Father shake this place…

Like the sunrise, Your healing chases away the darkness,

Like the living water that quenches the thirsty soul,

You Father will give strength to my bones

And heal the brokenness that is my only offering.

O Father shake this place…

So I wait in prayer for the Spirit’s breath of new life,

I look only to You O Holy One of Israel,

Renew me and make me to shine in your glory,

Lift my head as I stand on the Rock of my salvation.

O Father shake this place…

Remember me Father in my time of need,

Bend me to your will but don’t break my spirit,

Let me stand in your presence and be transformed,

And give me rest in your perfect peace.

O Father shake this place…

For all that can be shaken will be shaken,

This man is shaken by the wind of Your voice,

Build out of my emptiness all of Your fullness, O God

And I wait upon you alone Lord to restore my soul.

O Father shake this place…

So I praise you Father with my hands lifted up,

My lips testify to the greatness of our King and Savior,

I lift my life up to you as a sacrifice,

Burn me up with your unfailing love!

O Father shake this place…