Be Perfect?

Jesus commands us to do what He knows is impossile for us: “Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.” Matthew 5:48, TPT.  But it’s not the result He’s after so much as the process. The command is for us to seek to know Him. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him and all of the people He has connected us to.

In 1 John 3:10-15, we learn about the imperative of love. How it works is seen in the contrast. When we fail or refuse to love even our brothers, other Christians that live and work and attend church and school with us, our immediate family of God, then we die spiritually. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love” our brothers and sisters in Christ. But if we can’t or won’t love them, we abide in death. 1 John 3:14, NKJV.

Now if we allow our feelings and emotions to run rampant, indulging in hate, then we are guilty of murder. “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15, NKJV.

Jesus doesn’t stop there though. If we want to follow Him, we can’t limit our love to our friends and those who act and think and believe like us. We must love our enemies. Jesus unambiguously commands us: “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44, NKJV.

This is the work of our lifetime, to seek to be perfect, whole, balanced, not doing those things we know are wrong, but quick to recognize our faults and ask forgiveness; allowing the Spirit of the One who sacrificed His life for each of us, while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), essentially still His enemies, to guide and direct our lives.

Each choice to love someone, especially those who hate and mistreat us, makes us more like God, who is perfect. We won’t fully attain this goal this side of heaven, but we will have joy for the journey. Practice makes perfect.

Amen and amen.

The Multitude

In Luke 5:15, as in several other places in the New Testament, we learn about the “great multitudes” that came out to hear Jesus so they would be healed of their infirmities. Most of us then and now just want God in our lives so He can fix something for us, often something we’ve broken ourselves. Even those of us who have been saved and want a deep relationship with God too easily choose to live separated from Him.

If we want God to be nothing more than a repairman, if we speak to Him only as a 9-1-1 call, then at best we forfeit His most delightful, satisfying blessings. What we want is to get what we want from Him and then move on to live our lives without interference. Mostly, if we claim to be Christian, we have to admit, if we’re honest, that we treat God like an elderly parent who we hope to inherit lots of money from but rarely visit, and when we do, it’s only because we have to.

God allows that kind of shallow connection, but it is an exceedingly dangerous way to live. Not only do we miss out on the deepest joy and most sustaining peace, we risk all of eternity separated from God. On many occasions, Jesus warned His followers about the danger of not loving Him enough to want to know and do God’s will. His most terrifying statement is, “I never knew you; depart from Me…” Matthew 7:23.

Thank God, though, there’s hope for rebels and fools like me. When we realize that we’re standing in the mob, wanting only what God can do for us like spoiled, selfish children, we don’t have to stand with them, yelling, “Crucify Him!” Instead, in that moment, we can ask Him to forgive us and turn our hearts back toward Him. His mercies are new every morning: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:23.

Amen and amen.

 

Yahweh Highway

Interstate 24 on the southern edge and 64 on the north carry travelers east and west.

I57 connects north and south of this region we call home. We know that the tragedy and trauma, the dark clouds of poverty, and all manner of mayhem and death are not natural; they are demonic.

A decade has passed since we claimed healing for our land. It is high time to reclaim the truth of the heritage of our name: Little Egypt can no longer connote misery and shame. We are the bread basket, the heart of this State, the provision in this era of famine. People are dying for lack of sustenance from the Word, from having nothing to consume but the empty boxes labeled promises from the world.

We are soaring above as we wait on the Lord but rooted and grounded solidly in God’s love. We understand and accept and are using the keys we’ve been given to unlock God’s power to turn the evil unleashed into our region into lovingkindness. In humility but without shame, we accept the mantle of Melchizedek, both priest and king, as Christ lives in us and we allow Him to reign.

Distractions cannot impact or bind us because the great and mighty gavel of the Lord’s judgment has landed with a thunderous sound, releasing His river of living water to refresh and cleanse our land. He has sent us out to execute His judgment, the sentence of imprisonment to bind Satan’s realm, freeing the redeemed.

“Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls salvation and your gates praise.” Isaiah 60:18

The authority to execute God’s judgment is our burden and joy. He has released His arrow to the North and the South. In answer to God’s leading, through the blood, oil, and salt, we have annointed the entire area. God’s light now shines to light the way for all who are called by His love.

The Spirit of the Lord now goes before, allowing us to safely rest, trusting Him to keep evil at bay and tragedy and trauma slayed. We rest in Him as we continue the push and pull of praying against evil, poverty, addiction, and disease, and calling for God’s light to shine and our authority in Jesus to prevail against all forces of darkness.

We have seen the water shimmering above, below, and all around, pouring brilliantly through His open window to fill our homeland and wash us clean, breaking off the chains of fear and dread. Malachi first saw the refiner’s fire and knew the launderer’s soap would purify us as priests and kings, making this offering pleasing to our Father, who has come near us that we may witness His judgment “against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, and against those who turn away an alien–because they do not fear” God, the Lord of hosts.  We listen as God tells us now that He is rebuking the devourer for our sakes, and He assures all who will listen that the fruit of this ground shall no longer be destroyed and this vine shall not fail to bear fruit for us who are out in His field. “‘And all nations will call you blessed, and you will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3.

The Yahweh Highway is open and clear. Travel it freely wherever He leads, with praise in your heart sung out loud without fear.

Amen and amen.

 

Triage

Some say it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that’s true,

but all villages include thieves and liars and fools.

Whether we like it or not, each makes an imprint the child carries with him always.

So what our children really need is a triage team that prays;

some who see the yearnings, and some who see the fears,

some who battle the enemy, and others who know the tears

the child has cried, alone in the night,

as well as his greatest delights.

Every day brings another load of emergencies to prioritize, stabilize,

and heal from the inside out.

It takes a triage team, waiting nearby, standing in the gap,

knowing when and what to pray about

to raise a child who’s always protected,

knows s/he is loved, now by us,

and eternally by God.

Amen and amen.

Magnify

Old people connected by family ties

to a young virgin girl,

not only a virgin in body,

but surely innocent of the ways of the world.

 

Old Zacharias did what he knew to be right

and served his Lord but that

shred of doubt made him

deaf and dumb, unable to tell even

Elizabeth the wonderful news

or hear her joy and delight.

 

Like Zacharias, Mary could not believe

the marvelous truth at first,

but God did not need to shut

her mouth or ears; she and

Elizabeth both pondered

these things in their hearts.

 

The Holy Spirit so sweetly and

powerfully at work in this

time and place to birth

the only way back

to the God of the world.

 

Old Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth,

the young peasant girl Mary,

and the babies who would

herald and fulfill the dawn of

salvation; every soul ever born now

able if willing to magnify the Lord

through His Son Jesus Christ.

Amen and amen.

(From Luke 1:5-80, NKJV)

Fully Human

Jesus was fully human and fully God

all at once throughout His lifetime

until His death on the cross.

And then, His human body was fully dead,

but His Spirit lived on,

even before we were able to see Him

outside of the tomb.

 

The Scriptures tell us

He did battle with Satan and won

while we still thought Him dead, entombed.

 

Before the cross

came Gethsemane,

where Jesus fought with His humanity.

His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

He longed for friends to watch and pray and stay with Him.

But even that smallest request

was too much for even His closest friends

who could not stay awake, even for an hour.

 

In that garden, in both His humanity and diety,

Jesus saw both the torture and the victory;

He knew the earthly pain and heavenly glory to come.

His earthly humanity rose up against that unbearable pain

of flesh and Spirit;

the nails piercing flesh and crushing bones

was nothing compared to

the seering torment of His Father turning away,

His heart ripping hatefully from His chest

and our sins marching in with sickness and wicked evil

and hate and pride and selfishness and everything

unholy poisoning and ripping Him to shreds.

 

He saw it all

alone, with no friends to comfort

or even sit by His side.

Knowing all too well,

He asked for what His humanity

and ours always desires,

“Take this cup from me.”

None of us, even Jesus in His humanity,

want our part in the kingdom

to include suffering.

 

Like Jesus, we know,

if He’s graced us to know,

that all things are possible

for our Father in heaven.

But here in our humanity

we rarely if ever

truly say and mean what Jesus said and meant:

“Not what I will,

but what You will.”

That is the process of life,

the work of our decades,

the ultimate going-home goal.

Amen and amen

(from Mark 14:32-42 NKJV)

For my Grandchildren

May the love of our Father God,

who has infused us with love for our children,

pass unbroken from all those who loved

my Grandma, Anna Lupeny Jenkins,

down the line to my parents,

MaMa Betty and Elmo Jenky,

to me and the father of our children,

and be strengthened as it flows through my sons,

Josh and Jake,

and on to their children and children’s children,

from everlasting to everlasting.

“But Lord, Your endless love

stretches from one eternity to the other,

unbroken and unrelenting

toward those who fear you

and those who bow facedown in awe before You.

Your faithfulness to keep every gracious promise You’ve made

passes from parents, to children, to grandchildren,

and beyond.” Psalm 103:17 (TPT)

Amen and amen.