Judah Smith 10/17/14 “Home Sweet Home”

I was just feeling heavy-hearted. I feel like this once in a while and literally my internal voice will say to me “I want to go home”. It sometimes feels childlike to say that. Like I’m at work. Or I’m out doing something and for whatever reason I just want to go home. I was remembering today that one of the teachings during the Hillsong Conference touched on this very topic. I recorded the message for later use while listening to it live and today decided to listen to it again at my desk during my day at work. Just listening to Judah’s voice made me happy. It reminded me of the great time of preaching and worship during those three nights and two days. I often feel this way after events such as this and even after Sunday services at church. I just want to be in that place forever. I don’t want to go back into my stress or my “real life” during the week. I want to dwell there in those moments 24/7.

Have you ever felt this way?

I think it often comes when I am overwhelmed, non-confrontational, and just overall not in a happy place. We all go through times like this when we’d much rather be at home with the kids, or in bed, or snuggling up by a fireplace watching movies. Whatever your “home” image looks like. But today it dawned on me that what I really actually want is to be at peace, at home, with Jesus. Sometimes I just want to feel safe. I want to re-calibrate. I want to refuel. After listening to this message I don’t feel 100% night and day but I certainly feel better than I did before.

I hope this encourages you:

Major Points from “Home Sweet Home”:

  • Is my soul healthy? Is my soul well? Is it well with your soul?
  • Scripture says “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” – 3 John 1:2 ESV
  • God is concerned with the inside far more than the outside–this is why the mind, soul, heart, and spirit are mentioned so much in the Bible.
  • Judah travels a lot and hates traveling and loves the feeling of relaxation and the natural exhale you let out when you are finally back home. This is something about being home because is your space and your sanctuary. You need to go home and you need to visit home often. People were designed to have homes – if you do not visit your home often it affects your personality, your emotions, and your overall health.
  • When was the last time my soul was home? How is my soul? In order to find out we have to go back to Creation.
  • Man was created as a shell/deactivated. When Adam was created there was no mention that he was human, alive, or living until he receives the breath of God. Genesis 2:7 KJV “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
  • When you speak about your soul you are simultaeously speaking about the breath of God. We are all living on borrowed breath. Therefore your soul is the breath of God.
  • To be truly human we must use the breath He gave us and use it to bring Him praise–all of creation is a theater for God’s glory
  • All of creation yearns for Jesus’s return (hills, lakes, trees, etc) all understand they exist to worship God. The trees get it. Their limbs shake in excitement waiting for Him to come. They can’t wait. (This is a wild thought isn’t it?)
  • In scripture Jesus is told that he must make people stop praising Him. Jesus replies that even if a human won’t praise me–even the rocks and trees will grow hands and mouths to praise me.
  • Luke 19:37-38 “Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

    Blessed is he who comes,
        the king in God’s name!
    All’s well in heaven!
        Glory in the high places!

    39 Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!” But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”

  •  Psalm 103 has 22 verses which is equivalent to 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet..it’s the A-Z of life–beginning and ending with “bless the Lord”
  • The Hebrew mind would have read the Psalm and instead of merely understanding it to say praise the Lord oh my soul they would recognize that it is really saying “praise the Lord oh my breath”
  • Judah’s friend is a recent follower of Jesus. Was convinced of Jesus being the real deal when he read the book of John after seeing someone else was reading that book. He explained his experience as follows “it was like coming home” something within him knew this was home. This book was home. What it was saying was home.
  • You can go home even when you’re not physically in your home. This can be through reading the Bible, singing a song, listening to a song, anything that brings your soul home no matter where you are physically.
  • Concluding story of Mary and Martha—“Mary has chosen the better thing.” Perfect illustration because it takes place in a house. Mary is literally home but she is at home in Jesus’s presence. Luke 10:42 shows Jesus addressing the condition of Martha’s soul: “But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

So today no matter where you are, does your soul need to go home? I encourage you to take a moment whether it be in your bedroom, in a public bathroom, in a dressing room, or on your lunch break to visit home. Give rest to your weary soul. I can guarantee you will feel more rested than when you started.

Photo Credit: https://www.premierproductions.com/tour/hillsong-conference-usa-2014/new-york-city-ny

Thursday Inspiration 10.9.14

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Today was far too busy to start with a positive thought but I can end with one before bed. The Lord is with me and His words are everlasting in hope, truth and love.

Matthew 24:35-44 (MSG)

32-35 “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.

Monday Inspiration 9.29.14

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Today I feel sick. Just run down. I’m actually going to bed and it’s not even 9 pm. I like this simple thought that I can find refuge in His wings. My body may be weak but He is strong. He will watch over me as I rest. It is a comfort to remind yourself of such simple truths.

Photo credit: etsy.com

Thursday Inspiration 9.4.14

I like this quote because so often I think we strive to be perfect and we’re not. We’re human. The only perfect one is God and He has no match. But one day we will reach our full potential and sin no more and will be fit for our new bodies in Heaven:

1 Corinthians 15 MSG

35-38 Some skeptic is sure to ask, “Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this ‘resurrection body’ look like?” If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.

39-41 You will notice that the variety of bodies is stunning. Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form. You get a hint at the diversity of resurrection glory by looking at the diversity of bodies not only on earth but in the skies—sun, moon, stars—all these varieties of beauty and brightness. And we’re only looking at pre-resurrection “seeds”—who can imagine what the resurrection “plants” will be like!

42-44 This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we’re raised, we’re raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!

45-49 We follow this sequence in Scripture: The First Adam received life, the Last Adam is a life-giving Spirit. Physical life comes first, then spiritual—a firm base shaped from the earth, a final completion coming out of heaven. The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly. In the same way that we’ve worked from our earthy origins, let’s embrace our heavenly ends.

50 I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives don’t in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very “nature” is to die, so how could they “naturally” end up in the Life kingdom?

51-57 But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

58 With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

In the meantime we need to be real. Not prideful of our salvation, not in denial of our sinful struggles, real humans trying to become more like Christ:

Ephesians 2 MSG

He Tore Down the Wall

1-6 It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

11-13 But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.

14-15 The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

16-18 Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.

19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belonghere, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

 

In other words we are called to be real. To be authentic. To point people to God. And we can’t do that by striving to be perfect or above all of the people who haven’t found Jesus yet. 

Put down the mask. Don’t consider yourself more high than you ought. And help show someone that it’s all about Him and His perfection–not anything we did to earn it.

Photo Credit: http://www.fox.com/red-band-society/

Tuesday Inspiration 9.2.14

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I’ve had two strange dreams. One happened last week and one was a couple of months ago. I couldn’t figure out how I felt about the one from a couple of months ago and sort of hemmed and hawed until I forgot to write about it. I’m still going to do that and am holding myself accountable to that. However, I’ve been praying before bed lately, in light of some just unpleasant–unwanted dreams that I believe have been attacks from the Enemy, for God to show something to me again. I kind of miss that with Him. For a while I thought I was maybe learning a new skill, a new way to talk to God but it doesn’t seem to be happening as much as it was. Was it because I never blogged about it like I did with my other dreams? I’m not sure. I know it’s not a punishment or anything but I don’t want it to disappear.

When I saw this photo it reminded me of my bed time prayers lately. I’m waiting. I’m listening. Where are the messages You have for me God? God promises in Jeremiah 33:3 (MSG) ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’

I looked up a two things about sleeping: 

HowStuffWorks: “During REM sleep, several physiological changes take place. The heart rate and breathing quickens, the blood pressure rises, we can’t regulate our body temperature as well and our brain activity increases to the same level (alpha) as when we are awake, or even higher. The rest of the body, however, is essentially paralyzed until we leave REM sleep. This paralysis is caused by the release of glycine, an amino acid, from the brain stem onto the motoneurons (neurons that conduct impulses outward from the brain or spinal cord). Because REM sleep is the sleep stage at which most dreaming takes place, this paralysis could be nature’s way of making sure we don’t act out our dreams. Otherwise, if you’re sleeping next to someone who is dreaming about playing kickball, you might get kicked repeatedly while you sleep.”

 

WebMD: “Usually, REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after sleep onset. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes, with each recurring REM stage lengthening, and the final one may last up to an hour. Polysomnograms show brainwave patterns in REM to be similar to that recorded during wakefulness. In people without sleep disorders, heart rate and respiration speed up and become erratic during REM sleep. During this stage the eyes move rapidly in different directions.

Intense dreaming occurs during REM sleep as a result of heightened brain activity, but paralysis occurs simultaneously in the major voluntary muscle groups. REM is a mixture of encephalic (brain) states of excitement and muscular immobility. For this reason, it is sometimes called paradoxical sleep.

The percentage of REM sleep is highest during infancy and early childhood. During adolescence and young adulthood, the percentage of REM sleep declines. Infants can spend up to 50% of their sleep in the REM stage of sleep, whereas adults spend only about 20% in REM.”

I just find that information really interesting. 1. We dream in REM 2. Dreaming has restorative benefits in NREM sleep but in REM sleep we has heightened brain activity similar to being completely awake 3. We spend less and less time in REM as we get older 4. Your body is in essence frozen until you leave REM sleep

I’m not a doctor. I don’t know what I’m talking about really in regards to the scientific authenticity of what I’m about to say but the idea that God could speak to us when we are in a deep level of sleep, paralyzed in deep sleep, free from distractions, and fully heightened to His voice and visions for us is kind of amazing to think about if that was His intention with creating sleep stages and dreams. If sleep was only for awesome naps and restoration for our tired bodies there would be no point in dreams. Right? But I like to think God saw an opportunity to create illustrations for us, both good and bad , ones of hope and ones of warning, so we could have uninterrupted communication with Him.

With all that said I’m believing that this isn’t the end and I will continue to be shown things in my sleep. Things that God wants to show me and tell me things when I am completely undistracted and restored. 

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com