Archives For victory

image courtesy: digitalemu @

image courtesy: digitalemu @


Fear is one of those things that can keep us ’stuck’—hindering us from knowing the life of fullness and adventure we yearn for and found in Jesus. In two previous posts, we’ve looked at the reality that decisions made from a posture of fear are seldom great, and examined some of the symptoms of living from a place of fear. What can we do to live more in the freedom of joy and purpose God has for us rather than the prison of fear?

In my own life, I’ve found the following to help in avoiding leading or living from fear: Continue Reading…

check.001In the last post, we looked at a story wherein someone living from fear loses the thing they were trying most to protect.

The truth is, if we’re living from a posture of fear, we’re not only avoiding the fullness-of-life-now God makes available to us, but it’s possible we’re living in a place of disobedience and rebellion: Scripture is clear that fear is not for us to own; save the fear of God, it seems to me every other time fear is encountered in Scripture, there is a call or reminder to see that fear broken by God’s reality and activity. Fear positions us to be pulled away from God’s best.

How can we know if we’re living from a position of fear?

Here’s a bit of a ‘symptom-checker’ that I’ve found helpful, though I’m sure it’s far from exhaustive: Continue Reading…

“Holiness” is a funny word: it can bring to mind strange rules and fiery preachers… and sometimes things are done in the name of ‘holiness’ that make it appear the antithesis of love.  So, please don’t let the topic of this post keep you from going any further.  I freely admit that some of our definitions of holiness are misguided and potentially hurtful; I also admit we’ve been distracted by conversations related to but not central to holiness. Discussion about the Wesleyan stance on alcohol is best left to another post (or ginormous tome).  No, we’re not perfect in how we approach the outward look of holiness… neither am I perfect in how I live, believe, or do life.

But our passion is the truth that the work of Jesus who lived, died, rose again ascended into heaven and even now pleads for us really does make us newThe impossible call of God’s Spirit to be holy is met by the overwhelming grace of God’s Spirit and we are made such. We really believe a person can be transformed by grace into being exactly who God calls us to be in Scripture.

I tell people I grew up in a home church environment where the ‘flash and pizzaz’ of the Holy Spirit was more the focus than the real power of God’s Spirit, that It wasn’t until my time at Bethany Bible College that I learned of God’s love so great he not only rescues but renews deep, deep down.  What would have been different in my life and heart had I first been exposed to the message of grace-given holiness?  I believe God’s Spirit gives incredible gifts to the Body (many times us holiness folk shy away from and end up missing out on our full potential here, but that is also a discussion for another time…); that he can heal, give supernatural knowledge, amazing insight, holy discernment, and raise the dead; that he can  inspire men and women with dreams & visions, allow us to proclaim his Word, and be used as vessels to change the world in his power.  But one of the most powerful, loving, amazing things I have seen him do is right a crooked spirit.

We Wesleyans like to proclaim we are part of the Holiness Tradition; I hope our passion for God’s Spirit does not morph simply into a list of rules and remembrances of the Good Ol’ Days—as so many traditions do—but that we find ourselves renewed with passion to proclaim that there is a loving God who rescues and re-wires.  He is powerful, loving, strong and mighty to save.

This is part 1 of a series.  You can read the introduction here.

The Gimmies

October 6, 2009 — Leave a comment
Greed<Image courtesy of bejealousofme>

Christmas is coming.

Now, we may not be very far into autumn, Halloween is still almost a month away, and Thanksgiving is a distant thought for those of us here in the US.  But reminders are everywhere that Christmas is coming and retailers are working hard to instill a bad case of the gimmies in every consumer.  It’s a disease that strikes young and old alike, when raw consumerism and selfishness reign, and though self-restraint may keep us from actually verbalizing, “Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie…” the sentiment can still be found in many.

But The Gimmies aren’t something unique to the Christmas spending season or retail marketing.  Somewhere deep within each of us is the desire to grab a hold of the stuff that isn’t ours but we think we deserve.

In Joshua 7, Achan did exactly this.  He grabbed a hold of some of the very things God said were only God’s, and, as shared in the last Joshua post, the result was disastrous for the people of Israel.  Achan held onto something that wasn’t his and the consequences were dire.  His actions should cause each of us to ask if we aren’t holding onto things not ours… things even greater than the shiny new _______ (you fill in the blank) we desire when flipping through the Sunday ads.

Are we attempting to possess something that isn’t really ours?  Do we recognize that even ‘our’ job is simply God’s chosen vehicle for his provision in our lives and that it isn’t really ours at all?  That our job isn’t ours to squander or take advantage of; it isn’t ours to do with as we please… because it simply isn’t ours?

What about ‘our’ church?  We often try to make church what WE want… either in the name of some sacrosanct tradition, because of ‘righteous indignation,’ or in the name of ‘reaching the lost at any cost’ when, at the core of it all we’re just fighting for personal preference and comfort… what we want when we want how we want.  And yet, Scripture is clear that the Chruch is Christ’s body over which he is the Head… and as the Sovereign King, His design and desire are all that matter.

Or how about family?  Parents (I’m treading lightly here because I recognize I’m not a parent) sometimes forget that ‘their’ children are really lives which belong to God and the parent is given brief stewardship over.  Spouses are called to love, respect, protect, and submit to one another not because they belong to each other but because God has, in a sovereign but loving manner, given husbands to their wives and vice-versa.

We all too often commit the sin of Achan, taking the things that are devoted to God and trying to claim them as our own.  To those of us in Christ, our call is one to a life of continued, consistent obedience, even in those areas of life which may seem too big/special/scary to trust to God.  But they (and we) are His, and so is the victory we seek.

Victory: Simple

September 29, 2009 — Leave a comment
72934671_d95e4b1b5c<image courtesy of graylight>

Over the course of the last few Joshua posts, some ideas have been shared about where victory for the Israelites wasn’t found as they fought in the somewhat well-known battle for Jericho and their less familiar defeat at Ai.  As counterintuitive as it may seem, we discovered that the key to their victory wasn’t in a flashy move of God, attempting to conquer, or self-confident.

The key to their victory—and the key for us to find victory and freedom in what we face—is simple:

Joshua 7:10-13 (TNIV)—

10 The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

In seeking God for understanding about the source of their defeat, the Israelites discovered the source of their victory: Obedience.  Their victory wasn’t theirs at all but came about as a direct result of their obedience to God’s direction.

The instructions to Israel about how to fight the battle for Jericho had been clear: march around the city day after day (even though it probably looked and felt ridiculous) and then when the city was invaded the people were to dedicate certain objects to God.  The source of Israel’s defeat at Ai was their  disobedience at Jericho: they had only followed PART of the instructions.  Even ‘worse,’ only part of Israel followed part of the instructions—for the most part, everyone seems to have very carefully followed God’s direction and acted within the parameters which had been set for them.

But there was one man who didn’t.  One.  A man named Achan took hold of some the very things God said belonged only to Him and claimed ownership of them for himself.  As a result all of Israel was defeated; one man’s disobedience meant the suffering of an entire people.

Our personal disobedience never effects only us.  Our personal sin is never personal.  Our individual issues reach far beyond our personal experience.  This is one reason the Church is called to judge herself and we are reminded of our existence as a single Body not a group of individual people.

Victory for us, our churches, our families, our communities is found in our  obedience to the Lordship of God’s Spirit.  This may be simple, but it is not easy—the incredible thing is that through Jesus Christ, we have access to the desire to obey and through Christ we have the ability to find obedience (and, therefore, victory).