Kamis, 08 Desember 2016

The Mighty Warrior

Apostle Colette Toach

The Mighty Warrior

My child, even when you do not feel strong and capable, it does not change who you are. You are a mighty warrior and inside of you is the strength of a lion.
No matter what you face, know that you have what it takes, to take up your sword and overcome. I have given you my life and my strength and what I have, it is also yours. Do you see me casting mountains into the sea? Know that you can do the same. Do you see how I can multiple the loaves and fishes? In the same way, you can see miracles.
Know that you are not alone as you face every battle. It is not up to you to bring the victory, child. It is I that fight alongside you. All you have to do, is choose to pick up your sword. When you choose to believe in who I am, even when you feel weak, your step of faith, will empower you. You will feel the mighty warrior rising up inside of you, and you will see that My grace is sufficient for every need that you have.
So, do as you see me do. Stand and use your authority, as you have seen me do. Stand and tell the enemy to flee. Speak forth miracles and indeed, you will see them before your eyes. Amen

The Changing Vessel

Apostle Colette Toach

The Changing Vessel

I have many gifts to offer you, child. There are many talents and many gifts that you still have yet to see. For I have hidden my treasures in earthen vessels and inside of you is a chest of gems and jewels that you have yet to discover.
When you allow my hands to shape and mold you, when you trust me to lead, you will discover abilities that you did not know you had. For I know the potential inside of you and what you are capable of.
I can also shape you into something new and bestow strengths in you that you did not have before. So know that you are not limited in what you can do and offer Me. For when your boast is in Me, there is nothing that you cannot do.
There is no weakness that cannot be made into a strength. There is no limit to what you can accomplish, child. So do not limit yourself to the strength of your own hands, or trust in the one or two talents that you have, but offer what you have to me, and see just how much I can do through you, says the Lord. Amen.

Senin, 14 November 2016

Church, This is a Call for Familial Friendship

Church, This is a Call for Familial Friendship

In all of the controversy over Jen Hatmaker's statements on same-sex marriage, the phrase that continually rings in my ears is Rosario Butterfield's: "The cross is ruthless." She referred first to the ruthlessness between the cross and an unconverted person and then described how the cross is equally relentless toward the converted. This latter relentlessness--how the cross requires me daily to come and die to self and live to God--is something I've not always understood. Nonetheless, the cross has been relentless in my life, pursuing and crucifying my claims on self-rule and self-glory. The gospel, because it is by nature sacrificial, requires my self-sacrifice.
Church, the gospel lays claim to us all. Christ lays claim to our ambitions, our money, our minds, our work, our children, and, yes, even our sexual activity. We cannot lay out for the unconverted a Christianity that will "make life better," when in fact faith in Jesus often makes life more difficult, because the priceless value of knowing Him comes at a cost to self. We become no longer our own; everything we are and do must be submitted to someone else--namely Christ.

We certainly can't lay out the benefits without the costs for the unconverted, but perhaps even more so we must be careful about this within the church. We must be talking about the costs of following Christ with one another. What does the gospel cost you, unmarried Christian? What does the gospel cost you, Christian businessman? What does the gospel cost you, Christian mother pregnant with a baby the doctors tell you to abort? What does the gospel cost you, faithful pastor? What about you, college student studying at a public university antagonistic to faith? What does the gospel cost you, widow or widower? What does it cost you, dear reader?

The costs and demands of the gospel are some of the most vulnerable stories we hold, because they are sensitive and they are difficult and we're not always sure we're getting it right. These are the stories where our doubt and wrestling reside.

I can tell you what the gospel has demanded of me. Even typing that sentence brings tears to my eyes. I live where I live, write what I write, parent the way I parent, spend my money and my time the way I do because of the gospel. I've said goodbye to people and places I didn't want to say goodbye to, I've struggled with loneliness, I've overlooked offenses, I've had to place others before myself in ways that has made me feel invisible at times--all for the sake of the gospel. The cost of following Christ has seemed unbearable at times, especially when self rises up, bucking for a fight.

The truth is that there is beauty in self-sacrifice. I look back at all my wrestling against the claims of the cross and I'm beyond grateful that the cross has won. I'm still here. I'm still walking forward. The benefits of submission to Christ are becoming more and more joy-filled to me. And I also see the goodness of God to work on me slowly, otherwise I'd be crushed.

Do you know what encourages me when I'm faced with the call of the cross in a newly exposed area of my life? It's when I look around at the beloved people in my church and see that the cross is just as relentless in their lives. My single friends who want to be married could be traipsing around the city dating and sleeping with anyone and everyone. They could be taking their future into their own hands rather than waiting on the Lord and entrusting themselves to Him. My married friends who have experienced difficulties in their marriages could be taking their husbands to divorce court. My same-sex attracted friends could be succumbing to their desires. They hold steady in truth and grace for the sake of the gospel, and their stories not only compel me to do the same, but they also solidify our bonds of unity and friendship and show me anew the surpassing worth of the gospel.

We're in a new day, Church. We can no longer think of church as something we do, as if its a social club or somewhere we go to get a shot of "feel better." We must instead help create a culture within our churches of familial friendship. Kevin DeYoung says that friendship is the most important-least talked about relationship in the church, and I tend to agree. We must be actively pursuing deep relationships with others within our churches in which we bravely share how the gospel is laying claim to our lives. Of course, this requires vulnerability, and not vulnerability simply for its own sake, but so that we can know and be known in a way that helps us endure in truth and grace. If we don't do this, everyone stands apart as individuals, either not realizing how the gospel lays claim to them or believing they're the only ones having to give something up and, therefore, counting the cost as too great.

Church, this is a call to pursue and value familial friendship. We cannot call, for example, same-sex attracted people to submit their desires to Christ, quite possibly abandoning a dream for marriage, without offering the safe haven and deep companionship of lifelong family. We cannot call for singles to submit their sexual desires and hopes for marriage and children to Christ without also offering ourselves as their family. Church, listen to the words of our Christ:

"Peter began to say to [Jesus], 'See, we have left everything and followed you.' Jesus said, 'Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.'" (Mark 10:28-30)

The call of the gospel is to walk away and never come back. We belong now to Jesus. But He says that those who leave everything behind will be enveloped into family--the Church. He describes the benefits of the Christian family as far outweighing the costs of submitting ourselves to Christ.

This is our way forward in these times. This is how we hold both grace and truth together rather than simply condemning or, on the other hand, loving without truth attached. We share our stories--because we all have them--of how Christ has laid claim to us and how we're wrestling to submit to Him. We continually call our friends to die to self and live to God. (I believe this willingness to address sin is what makes friendship distinctly Christian.) We allow our friends to do the same for us. And as we call each other to walk away from who we once were, never to return, we invite them into a Church that looks like family more than anything else.

To Be With Him

To Be With Him
“He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him…”
-MARK 3:14

The first order of business was not the preaching or the sending forth; it was simply being with Jesus. During those times of being alone and apart with Christ He revealed Himself to them in a deep way. They walked with Him, watched Him, and listened to Him for three and a half years. Just as importantly, they learned to walk with each other. They learned how to serve one another in love. When Jesus finally did send them forth to preach they actually had something worth sharing and worth listening to.

Your primary calling as a disciple is to BE with Jesus, because that is how you LEARN OF HIM. It is not learning about the Christian faith – that is a thing. It is not learning about Bible doctrine – that is a thing. It is not learning about Christian things or religious things or spiritual things. It is not learning about the Bible. It’s not even learning ABOUT Jesus, it is learning OF Jesus FROM Jesus.


Source: "The Church in the Wilderness"  by Chip Brogden

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I am your brother,
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Chip Brogden 

A Call to Praise

Apostle Colette Toach

A Call to Praise

My child today is the time to dance in my presences, knowing that I watch jealously over you. For in the dark times, my hand covered you. In the difficult times, I prepared the way for you. Now I am opening the way before you and I invite you to dance.
For joy is your greatest weapon against the enemy and it is also what draws you closer to me. So walk in this fruit of the spirit today and see how it pushes back every dark cloud and opens up the way before you.
For when the enemy has stolen your joy, he has stolen your hope and you no longer see ahead. You no longer want to keep walking. So do not look at what you see. Do not dwell on how you feel in the natural. Rather step into joy! Stand in faith, knowing that I am watching over you as a jealous groom - standing to protect and cover you, everywhere you go!
Come now and shake off the remnants of the past. Shake off the last traces of fear and dance before me in praise today and watch the heavens open on your circumstances says the Lord.

Press Towards the Goal

Press Towards the Goal
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the
upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
-PHILIPPIANS 3:14

God has a purpose for the universe: that in all things Christ would have the preeminence. This is the Heavenly Bullseye. Since you, dear reader, are part of the universe, you are one of those “all things.” So this purpose includes you.
Actually, this is the same purpose He had in mind for Adam: that Christ would have the preeminence in him. But Adam chose an independent path and failed to give Christ the preeminence. He took the preeminence for himself. Adam missed the mark, which is a life submitted to, and totally dependent upon, God.

Source: "The Irresistible Kingdom"  by Chip Brogden

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I am your brother,
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Chip Brogden 

Draw up a New Battle Line

Apostle Colette Toach

Draw up a New Battle Line

Rise up and take the land that is set before you my child, for I fight on your behalf. Did I lead you to this land for you to be defeated? Did I lead you to the gates of the enemy, only to be overcome? No, I led you to this place so that you might have the victory!
For you have asked me why I led you into darkness. You wonder why I led you into situations that seemed impossible to overcome. I did not lead you here to overcome you my child! I led you here so that you might become the overcomer!
For you cried out to me and I answered your prayer. You sought me and I led you into this direction. You wanted change and so I have given you the power to bring about that change. You cannot bring the change though in the safety of your own battle lines! To take this land, you need to reach beyond what you have had before and take new land.
To reach the goals you have asked me for, means taking land you did not have before! This means taking the enemy's land. So do not be discouraged, but realize that I have led you right to where you asked me to take you. I have put a sword in your hand. I am giving you the opportunity to take this new land. All that is left for you now child... is to fight!