From the monthly archives:

October 2011

Nakasu No More

October 29, 2011

 

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”  Isaiah 49:16

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"Special Treasure,” written in Malayalam, the language of Kerala.

The name has a lovely tone to it.  Nakusa is the name given to thousands of little baby girls every year in north India.  Beneath the rhythm of the six letters though is a meaning that poisons the life path of the innocent.  The name means “unwanted” in Marathi, the language of Maharashtra.  It is given to the little infant girl in the believe that it will insure that the next baby will be a boy.

Often times, it is not the choice of the mother or father.  Tradition, family pressures and superstition play more a part than the lack of love of the parents, particularly the mother who often grieves over the same neglectful abuse done to a daughter that was visited on her.  Along with the stigma to the child is the oft times regret of what the parents did to the child through the name, especially when the promised boy child does not arrive.  There is enough guilt to go around for all when an innocent child is labeled Nakusa – “Unwanted.”

Would it be too simplistic to draw a parallel to so many other unwanted’s today?
Every day in America…

  • 40,000 children are physically attacked at school.
  • 70% of pornography winds up in the hands of children.
  • 3,288 children run away.
  • 2,989 children see their parents divorce.
  • 1,849 children are abused or neglected and five die each day.

The list of the abuses never lessens and is always increasing.  In other words, the name Nakusa becomes more common everyday.  You know one of these children.  Very likely, you have felt the sting of Nakusa yourself.  Would it surprise you that God’s name for you is very different?

….the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure.  Deuteronomy 7:6
….Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’ Hosea 1:10
….Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  1 John 3:1

I was a small boy when I learned to pray.  In fact, I do not remember a time in life when I did not have an almost daily awareness of God.   I thought of God as being very big, very old, very kind and very distant.  I knew God to be real just like I knew Him to be separated from me.  I could pray to Him but there was never a knowing of this Old Giant who sat at the top of what seemed like a mountain of white steps leading to His throne.  In my mind, I was at the bottom of those steps always looking up.

A day came when the God that I knew to be real also became needed.  I had created a chasm, a gulf that grew between the bottom of those steps and my life until there was nothing left but fear.  Without knowing God, there was little left but fearing Him to the point of trying my best to distance myself and make peace with Him at the same confusing time.

The fear grew and grew until one day I was offered a solution.  If I would stop trying to run and instead plea for mercy undeserved, Jesus would appeal to His Father on my behalf.  I was told that Jesus’ life was given to bridge the divide between a holy God and the mess I had made of my life.  As genuine as God had seemed to a little five year old who prayed, “now I lay me down to sleep” the realization of God at that moment changed my pain into healing, every sin into forgiveness, and my fear into the safety of His loving hands.

How do I know there is a God who loves you the same way?  I cannot deny someone that I actually know.  God cannot be a fantasy if He rescued me, changed me and loved me everyday since.  And you can also know how deeply and completely God loves you if you come to that throne on the terms of the One who sits on it.  It is as simple and profound as life can get.

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands”… The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.  Isaiah 49:32, Deut. 33:27

So here I am, no longer Nakusa, Unwanted, but inscribed on the palm of the hand that created the world. “Inscribed” means indelibly etched and every time He catches a glimpse of that hand, He thinks of me.  I do not understand it but neither do I have to because I have come to know His love that has set me free. His bible is filled with the promises that the One who loves me will never leave me and never again leave me alone.

You can know that acceptance as well. It will mean more than a name change because it is a life change.  Jesus stands ready to take you to the throne and what you will find is the overwhelming love found in the palm of His loving hands.

Unwanted will be in the past, Nakusa no more.



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What Legacy Will You Leave?

October 21, 2011

But Manasseh did not take possession….  Israel did not drive them out completely…
Zebulun, Asher and Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants…
“Therefore, I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.”  Judges 1:27-2:3

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This could be the last generation... are they worth a Godly legacy?

They had had a pretty good run.  After crossing the Jordan and living the good life as conquerors the generation of Joshua began to hand the reigns over to the next generation.  In other words, they began to die.

The result is the end of the book of Joshua and the beginning of the book of Judges which follows the conquering of Canaan with government and order.  The problem was that instead of driving out the enemy they made friends with them.
Yahweh’s  instructions had been abundantly clear.

  • Make no covenant with them…
  • Show no favor to them…
  • Do not intermarry with them…
  • Tear down their altars…
  • Smash their sacred pillars…
  • Burn their graven images with fire…

Why?  Because God knew that the sin of the land would swallow them if they did not.  They were not chosen for their sober-minded discipline or because they were better than everyone else after all. God had simply chosen to love them, redeem them and call them His own out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth (See Deuteronomy 7:1-11).  Why God chooses any of us remains the defining mystery of His love, but He does.  And it is unconditional, unwavering and unrelenting.

They wasted their moment. They squandered their season and chose to make water-downed deals instead of obeying God.  The results were frightening but before I go there, allow me to simplify and apply.

Every generation has a privilege and a responsibility to the next generation.  If we obey God and do not waste the moment we have to complete our mission, the seed of obedience grows into the fruit of a godly endowment, one of the greatest legacies a person can receive. If we disobey God and waste the time given then the seeds of those choices will hinder the work of God in the next generation.  Instead of moving ahead in the Kingdom mission, the next generation will first have to overcome the fleshly thorns and thistles of the past.

I know a church that thirty years ago was a great blessing to the Body of Christ. In fact, God used that church in my generation as a launching pad for revival and training that scattered ministry all over the world.  Thousands of young people were discipled and trained, myself included, and the gospel was spread in that season of blessing all over the world.

Yet there was a sin in the leadership of the church.  Without giving details, it was a common failure that was never dealt with which soon spread through the church.  And now?  The magnificent campus that welcomed thousands of young people is now home to a homosexual church.  The ministry that was so powerfully used by God in such an explosion of grace has little left but regrets of what could have been.

  • They made covenants instead of war…
  • They looked away from sin instead of dealing with it…
  • They were fascinated by the attraction of worldly trinkets…
  • They allowed altars to remain instead of destroying them…
  • They ignored the idols in their midst…
  • They did not allow the fire of holiness near to their hearts.

What today could be a watershed of revival history instead is a shell of former glory.

It is the same wastefulness that happened to Joshua’s generation, so much so that the bible records the sobering legacy of half-hearted commitment in Judges 2:10…

‘There arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.”

Half-hearted commitments result in half-baked lives, useless to feed the gospel to a new generation hungry for the true God.

Every generation has a time-line it is living out until the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed.  What legacy will this generation leave for the next?  What report will be given before the throne of God on that Day?

  • We have squandered the wealth that God has given.
  • We have made a mockery of marriage and the unborn.
  • We have neglected our children to worship at the altar of Mammon.
  • We have substituted holiness for the gospel of me-ism.

And yet it is not too late to change.  It is never to late to change.  Our children and grandchildren are being handed a legacy and it is our right and responsibility to fashion and form it to our choosing.   But, mind you, it will take battle and not appeasement, victories and not truces, single focused choices and not convenient concessions to turn the tide.

The tragedy of the next generation beyond Joshua was that they knew the religion but did not desire a heart relationship with God.  It is frighteningly similar to a generation that claims today that they do not believe in God yet are “very spiritual” in their lives.  Translation?  They live to serve themselves.  Like the generation that arose that “knew not the Lord”, today a generation has arisen that only desires to know the god of self.

Appeasement never conquers evil so don’t look the other way.   It’s not to late to hand the next generation a model of holiness and today’s church is the only one that can do it.  After all, this next generation could certainly be the last. That alone is reason enough to give them our best.
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I am writing this while in India teaching church planters and evangelists who will lead the greatest revival in the history of this country.  Pray for them, won’t you?



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