Friday, July 27, 2012

Give Me Peace

let me find a place on this earth where my soul can be at peace
perhaps in the mountain valleys, where streams run free and clear
as they roll like laughter down grassy hillsides
where I can ponder questions, and my spirit find release

for there to be light, must there be darkness?
for there to be glory, must there be shadows?
this world is full of contrasts, paradoxes, mysteries
somewhere in all of this, is there a place, where my heart can be at peace?
a place where there is no trouble, only quietness
yet each quiet moment is a moment that burgeons with sound
as the energy of the eternal bursts forth through everything

for there to be joy, must there be heartache?
for there to be healing, must there be pain?
for there to be greater glory, how deep must this suffering be?
like a grizzly of the mountains, You bound with rumbling power
bound through me, cast my sin, as far as east is from west
like the ram along the roadside, You run, You run, You run
and where You want to be, You will be there
but will You be here, when I am weighed down by sorrow?
when I am burdened
will Your Spirit search out darkness and fill it with light?
will Your glory seek out the shadows and clear them out with brightness?
will the peace of Your presence find my troubled heart and flood it with silence?

I am breaking under the pressure, under the weight of these crushing shadows
and under the strong chastisement of Your glory
as You pull me through, my life is taut
and I fear it might break beyond repair
so, here I wonder, will You search me out and fill me with Your glory?
forgive that which must be forgiven and cleanse that which must be cleansed
and, for once, give me an answer plainly, one void of mystery
speak to my present with no finger to my future
because if I can’t make it now, I can’t make it there
and I can’t get there unless You go with me, and give me peace

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rise Up, O Lord!

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.”
Psalm 18:16-17

I can utter no prayer
I can voice no cry
for my soul is weary, downcast
and I feel I must deserve this darkness
these shadows must be my home
and I wonder if I will ever rise again to see
the breaking of the dawn
the sunlight on my face
for the shame of things I’ve done
and the dreariness of each passing moment
caves in around me with each passing day
the destiny I thought I’d see
the wonderful world I dreamed would open up before me
is just that… a dream
never a reality
a besieged city I am
in my distress, I cry out to the Lord
please answer by setting me free
answer me
because the hordes of hell have encamped against me
the forces of evil they rise up
with wicked intention, to destroy my life
they seek me out to devour me
to accuse me
to remind me of my sins and how I fail
and I wonder if I will ever rise again to see the light of day
the breaking of the dawn
the rising sun and all its splendor
or the village at the end of the river
where my true love awaits
when the moon stands up to crush me
I pray
that the Morning Star would alight in my heart
and awaken wings of angels
to come to my rescue
Hosanna!  Come save me!
for I am drowning in this river
this river I thought would take me deep in You
it seems to have arisen around me
to swallow me
and I am crushed in its clutches
in such despair, will I ever escape?
will I ever be free?
will You come to me, in this valley of my confusion
on the sea of my storm will you say, “peace, be still”
rebuke my enemies, strike them on the jaw!
break their teeth
because, in this moment, I cannot lift a hand against them
I cannot raise my hand or utter a word
for I am frozen in my affliction
so tired, I am so tired of fighting
an enemy who comes at me, in waves after waves
upon the shore of my soul
Lord, please come, restore
robbed and plundered, I cry out, restore!
lead me beside quieter waters
lead me, Lord, I pray
be still, my soul, be still
rise up, O Lord, rise up!
with healing in Your wings
hide me in the shadow of Your comfort
nudge my side tonight, O angel of deliverance
break my chains, break them asunder
and drive them to the place of no return
for I am weary, O Lord, from battle
I pray, dear Jesus, restore my soul
if I am Your servant
if I am Your son
if I am Your treasured possession, the apple of Your eye
dear Jesus, I cry, take me as Your inheritance
draw me deeply, I pray
into the shelter of the Most High
in deep distress, I cry,
O Lord, rise up!

“Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
In my alarm I said,
‘I am cut off from your sight!’
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
Psalm 31:21-22

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back from Honduras!

Just got back from Honduras!  It was an awesome trip.  We ministered all week in different areas around the city of San Pedro Sula and God did many wonderful things.  Here are some pictures (if you'd like to see more please visit my facebook page).


Tuesday night I preached at a church on the River of God, with my friend Josh Torres translating.

We shared the gospel all week.  Here Carey is sharing the message with a group.
This lady came forward to accept Christ.


And we distributed food, stuffed animals, candy, flip flops and on one day even ice cream, to lots of Hondurans.
On Friday we ministered at a school.  Here Andrew Rholdon is challenging the students.  I was particularly moved at this school when we prayed for a 12 year old girl who's mother was sick and the girl cried as we prayed for her.  It was very touching.
On Friday and Saturday night thousands gathered to lift up the nation of Honduras in  prayer.  On Friday night the President of the country was there, along with the mayor of San Pedro Sula.  Saturday night was powerful, as it appeared many were delivered from demonic spirits.   
Here's our Mountain Creek Church team photo.  It was a blessing to serve God in Honduras with so many fun people.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leaving for Honduras....

Leaving for Honduras tomorrow afternoon... prayers are appreciated!  Our team will be ministering all week in Honduras.  I'll be back next Sunday afternoon, July 22nd.  God Bless.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Forever

I remember you
the faint memory of your gaze upon me
the sound of your voice, when you spoke my name
I ponder, as I remember
how we danced past midnight
holding you in my arms
was like heaven for one day
still the morning sun arises
and I must find my place in all of this
but, I pause, and I remember
the tone of your skin at twilight
your tender voice as you chided me
for what I should have done
and should have remembered
but both you and I knew
it was no matter
and your smile said you did not really care
all you cared is that I was there
to hold you by the curbside
to whisper your name
and tell you things
which stirred your laughter
like the soft notes of a piano
a crescendo of your giggle
that reminds me
how you delight in me
and I in you
and we will, indeed, hold each other
forever

Friday, July 13, 2012

Not Be Denied

restless like a hurricane
about to unleash a force
so mighty, so strong
You will not be forgotten
uneasy like the night
You cannot wait
to release Your strength
with determined eyes
of fire
so deep they penetrate
even the deepest darkness
even the the most cavernous place of hell on earth
I can feel You rising up
about to unleash Your fury
for this is why You came
to release the prisoner from darkness
to bind up the brokenhearted
to heal every wound
stirred up like a fountain of the deep
I can feel the gushing of Your life
about to explode
it's a passion that cannot be quenched
a compassion that cannot be denied
it will not be
like a basketball player driving to the hole
You will finish what you started
and in You all things will be complete
for this You died
for this You bled
for this You poured out Your passion
in the garden, drops of sweat
Your face like flint
Your gaze steadfastly towards the cross
to purchase our redemption
with determined eyes
you will not be denied
you will not be
for this reason You came
to destroy the works of the devil
pour it out
You will pour it out
like the mighty rush of a waterfall
plunging from a mountain side
Your word will accomplish
what is set forth to do
it will clear the way
You will not be denied


Lord, there is a passion that burns inside me
to see You, to behold Your power and Your glory
pour it out, pour it out
I want to see Your face
I want to see the captives set free
the blind to receive sight
those bound up by demons to be released


Lord, we are crying out, we are crying out!
that in our days You would renew Your holy works
that these latter years would be greater than the former
You said the kingdom suffers violence
and the violent take it by force
may the sound of our voices
fill the throne room of heaven
in that place, may my voice be heard!
may the sound of our prayers
echo in heaven tonight
and resound there
the prayer of earth will rise
for we will not be silent, no we will not be silent
we believe, yes, we believe
and we will not be denied

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Show Me Your Glory

Lord, I want to see Your face
show me Your glory
hide me in the cleft of Your rock
as Your glory passes by
may my face radiate with Your splendor
unveiled
I stand before You
as a man
unworthy
unholy
but I pray, show me Your glory

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Expecting Great Things...

I read this today in an e-mail devotional from David Wilkerson:  "God is more prepared to keep His promises to you than the devil is to ruin you. Indeed, no matter how near the enemy comes to you, the Lord is all the nearer."  You can read the entire devotional here, if you'd like.

I'll keep this short... the quote above is really encouraging to me.  It seems, this year, in my life, the enemy has been nearer, perhaps more than ever before.  Yet, despite the temptations to give up, I believe I am on the verge of a breakthrough in my life.  I feel like I must be close to God doing some significant, or Satan would not be fighting so hard.  So, I am excited about what God is going to do.  A little nervous too, to be honest.  Next Monday our team leaves for Honduras and I'm expecting great and mighty things!

God Bless,
Jon

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Give the Devil Six Good Kicks

“The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
-Psalm 2:4

The Lord laughs.  Who does He laugh at?  He laughs at the nations, people, kings and rulers who take their stand “against the Lord and against his Anointed One.” (Psalm 2:2)  There’s little point in fighting against God cause He always wins!

As Christians, we do indeed have an enemy who rises up against us.  There may not be nations, kings or rulers who are fighting us personally, but, there are certainly demonic spirits who have set themselves against us.  “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) 

Thank God, our enemy is a defeated foe!  He “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8)  But his days are numbered.  His day of reckoning is coming. 

Satan’s attacks will work against him, because the church of God is an army.  Stirred from her slumber, she will rise up and chase him down and defeat him.  Like David we can say,

“I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.” 
(Psalm 18:37-38)

Yes, the Lord has armed us “with strength for battle” (Ps. 18:39).  Through Him we are able to destroy our foes (vs. 40).  And I like this part: 

“I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind;
I poured them out like mud in the streets.” (vs. 42)

When I was a boy I was in a group called Royal Rangers (kind of like Boy Scouts).  We were Outpost #6.  At one of the large campouts we went to we had to come up with a chant, like a military cadence.  Ours’ went like this:

“We are outpost #6
We gave the devil six good kicks
When we had him on the run
We gave him 6 more
Just for fun”

That’s an attitude we ought to have against the enemy!  Of course, it’s not a foolish attitude.  Apart from Christ, not one of us is a match for the devil.  If you read the rest of Psalm 18 you know David didn’t overcome his enemies in his own strength.  But covered by Jesus’ blood, clothed in His righteousness, under the shadow of His wings, we cannot be defeated!

Through God we will do valiantly,
For it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
Psalm 60:12, NKJV

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Gonna Be Worth It

This past week, at my church, we had a prayer time for our team going to Honduras on a missions trip (leaving July 16th, by the way).  It was a great time of prayer and blessing each other, speaking words of encouragement, prophecy and exhortation to each other.  I think we were all built up in the Lord.  One of the girls on our team gave a word of encouragement to me.  Part of what she said was, "It's gonna be worth it."


I don't remember all that she said, precisely, but I believe she referred to some of the trials I have been through, essentially saying that everything I've been through is going to be worth it.  I don't repeat this here to draw attention to myself, but, hopefully to bring some encouragement to you as well.  We all go through trials.  Sometimes those trials run deep.  Sometimes our trials are obvious to others.  And sometimes, we may feel that others are unaware of the burden we carry.


Interestingly enough, the girl who encouraged me, referenced my sun burnt feet.  Three weeks ago we did a car wash as a fundraiser for our missions trip.  I was wearing some sandles that left the tops of my feet exposed.  When I saw they were getting pink from the sun I applied sunscreen, but it was too late.  By the end of the day they were burnt pretty bad.  By later that next week I was concerned enough to call the 24 hour phone line of my health insurance and speak to a nurse.  What if they get infected and I lose my feet?!?  That would not be good.


Within a couple of days of calling my insurance help line my feet started to look better.  Now, 3 weeks later, they're still pink, but much, much better.  Was the pain worth it?  Sure, it was, because we raised money for the trip.  In this case, my pain could have been avoided.  But, in life, there is certainly pain we simply cannot avoid.  


Enough people saw my feet that first week after they were burnt to comment on how bad they looked or express concern.  It hurt bad enough that I sort of limped around for a short while.   Yet, with my shoes on, and if I would have walked normally, no one would have ever seen my pain.  I could have hidden it.


Likewise, there is some pain in life that everyone sees.  It's obvious.  There may be other pain that we try to hide.  Or, perhaps we're not trying to hide it, it's just not as obvious to others around us.  Perhaps we want others to see, to help, but we don't know how to reach out and tell others how bad we are hurting.


Our pain can be very personal.  The hidden things of our hearts may find expression through a downcast face.  People may ask us, "Are you okay?"  "Is something wrong?"  We may or may not be comfortable telling them the truth.  "I'm fine."  "I'm doing okay."  Are we really?  Sometimes life is like that.  We may ask ourselves, "Does anyone really know what I'm going through?"  "Am I the only one who hurts like this?"


Indeed, there are times, when we pour our hearts out to God, and it seems only He is the one who understands.


The Scripture says, that for a little while, "you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials." (I Peter 1:6)  Grief, to me, implies something deeper than just having a bad day at work.  Grief seems like something more prolonged than sun burnt feet.  How about a problem that just never seems to go away?  How about a temptation that buffets your soul and you just want to be free of it?  How about an emotional wound that just never seems to heal?  How about a loved one you care about deeply, who continues to suffer physically or emotionally?


Prior to pointing out how we may have had to "suffer grief in all kinds of trials," Peter tells us that, "In this you greatly rejoice..." (vs. 6)  What, exactly are we rejoicing in?  Well, we're rejoicing in some unchangeable facts of God:  


  1. God has given us mercy (vs. 3)  
  2. We've been born again (vs. 3)  
  3. We have hope through the resurrection of Jesus (vs. 3)  
  4. We have an inheritance in heaven (vs. 4)  
  5. We are shielded by God's power through faith (vs. 5)  
  6. Our salvation is on the way (vs. 5)


Despite our present difficulties, we have much to rejoice in!  As we lift up our eyes to heaven, the reward that awaits us does seem worth the pain of our temporary circumstances.  Yes, for now, there are some trials.  There is some grief.  But the Scripture goes on to say, 
"These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (vs. 7) 
God is doing something on the inside of us that is priceless.  Our trials test and refine our faith.  Yet, there is glory when Christ is revealed through our trials.  We are being conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. (see Romans 8:29)  You may not see it now, but it's going to be worth it.  The end result, the finished and polished product, is going to reveal Christ to others.  When you emerge from your trial, tried and true, refined as gold, it's gonna be worth it!    
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."I Peter 1:8-9

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Secret Place

"And I—in righteousness I will see your face;
    when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness."
Psalm 17:15

drawing me, You are drawing me
away from crowds and peoples
to the secret place
to forget the world and all around me
and enter a cloud of glory
You change me, in the secret place
You do not charge me with my sins
in the secret place
You see my future and my destiny
in the secret place
You see who I am from eyes that only see
who You have created me to be
perfect in Christ
I offer up my tears
complete in You
I offer up my pleas
with loud cries and fervent prayers
I cry out for peace
You've formed and fashioned me
in the secret place
in this jar of clay, You've been pleased
to release Your power and Your glory
in my weakness, Your grace has been sufficient
Your strength has been perfected
You are drawing me, drawing me
to abide with You
to commune with You
to find myself deep in You
frolicking in Your stream
searching out the innermost, intimate places of Your river
You are calling me, to the secret place
to forget the world around me
and find myself in You
to awake to Your likeness
my face aglow with Your glory
You are calling me, calling me
to the secret place



Who I Really Am

Lord, tonight, may I return to more pleasant memories
days long ago
when my mind did not swirl with confusion
and the room was not crowded
only You and me, it was still
now my soul is commotion
and today, fuming
dancing like a child, crying, notice me, notice me!
validate my existence
tell me I am loved and accepted
and that you are proud of who I am
who I am is not who I was
but who I was is still in there somewhere
and, I'd like him to pop out and wave to the crowd
and let everyone know, this is who I really am
you have told me who I am
but I've found it hard to believe
I believe, please help my unbelief
I am amazed that you could see what you see
when I'm looking at me
and our views are not the same
skeptical
yes
indeed
until the day I am made whole
until the day darkness is driven from my soul
and the one you've been preparing
in the hidden, secret place
emerges from the water
though these years have been cluttered with anger
and these days have been marred by condemnation
and my soul has been wounded in brokenness
in the hidden, secret place You've been preparing a treasure
beloved Son, I long to hear
with you I am well pleased
I long for the day when they'll see
who I really am

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Face to Face with God

The story of Jacob wrestling the angel, in Genesis 32, has always been one of my favorites.  Jacob, the supplanter, the deceiver, an imperfect man, has a divine encounter with God.  It’s awesome how God meets with us in the midst of our own struggling and striving.  I believe His desire is that we would be changed and transformed in His presence, no longer identified by the old nature of our flesh, but identified by the new nature of the Spirit.  God is forming a spiritual man in each one of us.

“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” (vs. 24, NIV)  Imagine that, wrestling with God!  Certainly Jacob was aware of the divine presence before him.  Even more, he was probably deeply aware of His own imperfections and unworthiness.  We are all this way before a holy God.    

In this divine moment of destiny, aware of his own deep need, and the utter holiness of the one before him, he refuses to let go.  “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” he says. (vs. 26, NKJV)  So at that place God blesses Jacob.  He gives him a new identity.  No longer Jacob, which means “Supplanter” or “Deceiver,” but now Israel, “Prince with God.” 

Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (vs. 28, NKJV)  As Jacob rises from that place, he is a different man.  He has a new nature, a divine nature and a divine identity.  He says, “…I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” (vs. 30) 

The story of Jacob reminds us that, despite our own sins and weaknesses, we can wrestle with God and prevail in prayer.  It reminds us that God does not reject us because of our weaknesses, but blesses us as we overcome in faith.  No longer identified by failures, we can glory in the faithfulness of God’s covenant love for us.    


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's Gonna Be Worth It (Poem)

when the trials run deep
it's gonna be worth it
do you believe it?
when all around you all you can see is darkness
and the memories of past sins crowd in with confusion
and when, in the midst of prayer, anger rises up in your heart
from a moment remembered
and you wonder
will I ever be delivered?
will that moment ever come?
will I march out of Egypt with plunder?
will I see the promised land?

in the midst of fire
gold is being refined
but, then you look at yourself
with disgust
at the wounds that fester
and wonder how many nights you'll have to swat away swarming demons
harassed and helpless, you cry out
for the Shepherd
lead me into better pastures
fill my heart with joy and laughter

when the suffering runs deep
it's gonna be worth it
when the work of God has been perfected
it's gonna be worth it
when He has tried me, indeed
I will come forth as gold
though He slay me, yet will I trust Him
though I ask, why, why, why?
still I will persist
yet, I will be faithful
I will lift up my heart to Him

to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul
let me not be ashamed
let not my enemies triumph over me

these momentary trials
exhausting as they seem
they're going to be worth it
this pain that never seems to end
it's going to be worth it
a desire fulfilled, a tree of life
a heart weighed down by bitterness no more
it will come
though it tarry, wait for it
it will come
in that day He brings you into rich fulfillment
lift up your eyes, lift up your eyes
lift them high
it's gonna be worth it

Prayer Equals Peace

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...