Eric Dares to Be Great

Highlights of birthday week 2009 (in chronological order):

  1. June 20: Par-tay at Cascades with the local gang of friends–which ended with a great game of ultimate frisbee!
  2. June 21: Tigers game at Comerica with my beautiful wife–which ended with 4-3 win for the Tigers!
  3. June 23: A night out with Heather, including dinner at Daryl’s and dessert at Cold Stone–and ended with a great massage!
  4. June 28: Fun day with the family (parents, brother and his kids) at Nixon water park and then Loomis Park for a BBQ. And it ended with my brother Daring to be Great at the Parlour! (To see how my brother finished the dare… you’ll have to visit the Flickr photo gallery).
  5. June 29: Good bike ride with my parents to Concord and back on the Falling Waters Trail. Heather and I finished our time with them with a mighty-fine meal at Cracker Barrel.

Thanks to all who helped make my 30th birthday so special!

Rebuild the Wall of Righteousness

Ez. 22:30 — “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.”

Did you realize that righteousness actually protects a nation? God is actively scanning America’s horizon, looking for those who will stand up for the Word; who have allowed zeal for the Father’s house to consume them; who will respond in passionate opposition to evil in the spirit of Nehemiah. He’s looking for those who will rebuild our wall of righteousness.

It’s not okay that millions of babies are being killed each year. It isn’t a political issue; it’s a moral—no, a spiritual—issue. And it’s a fight we can’t tire of fighting. It’s not okay that the God-ordained institution of marriage is being trivialized, novelized and made anything-but sacred. It’s not ok that America is shedding its Christian heritage, forgetting the God who led us to establish a new nation under the banner of freedom. And there are dozens of other dire situations we simply CANNOT be okay with.

While each of these are dire in-and-of themselves, we must realize that they are simply firstfruits of darker realities that lie ahead if the walls of righteousness are not raised. You think the spirits of convenience, selfishness, death and genocide that drive the abortion agenda will stop with killing unborn children only? No, it’s after the elderly and disabled, too. And then it will widen its reach further to the sick, the powerless, the unskilled, the poor… those who are perceived to offer little to society. And then it will simply go after the un-perfect—and that encompasses all of us.

Chinks in the armor of Godless, human “morality” will be fully exploited until that armor is replaced by the uncompromising and infallible righteousness of the Lord and his Eternal Word. We have to be passionate for the ways of God. We have to desire his law and precepts and Word like David did in Psalm 119:

5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your decrees!
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
as much as in riches.
20 I am always overwhelmed
with a desire for your regulations.
30 I have chosen to be faithful;
I have determined to live by your regulations.
31 I cling to your laws.
Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!
32 I will pursue your commands,
for you expand my understanding.
36 Give me an eagerness for your laws
rather than a love for money!

May we pray and cry out that God would change our hearts to desire his righteousness to be exhibited through our lives and throughout our land. May we be OVERWHELMED with desire for his regulations. May we CHOOSE and be DETERMINED to live by the Word. May we CLING to God’s ways and PERSUE greater understanding. And may we respond to the Word with more excitement and delight than we would winning the lottery.

God WANTS America to pull out of its spiritual malaise. He desires to show mercy and doesn’t delight in judgment. But we need to awaken. We need to begin rebuilding our wall of righteousness.

Rom. 13:11-12 — “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

What’s in a name?

Jaeson Ma offers this interesting note concerning the name “Emma” and it’s current standing as the most popular name for female newborns. He says:

Two years ago I wrote a series of blog posts about baby “Emma.” The name comes from the Latin name “Emmanuela” which comes from “Emmanuel” or “God with us.” The Spirit of the Lord showed me this generation would have prophetic connection with this name. Mainly, that God’s presence, the revelation of God as Loving Father and Passionate Bridegroom, would be revealed to this chosen generation.

Curious what the most popular male name currently is? Jacob. It has been for the past 10 years. 

A verse containing the name “Jacob” has always caused me to pause with curiosity about its exact meaning. Psalm 24:3-6:

Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the LORD,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

I still don’t pretend to know exactly what David is getting at in this passage, but there’s a parallel he’s drawing between the patriarch Jacob (whose name means “Supplanter” and might be most famous for wrestling with God) and those who seek God’s face. Maybe its Jacob’s rawness and willingness to get dirty with the Lord that actually made him a great God-chaser.

Regardless, what the passage states is that those who seek God’s face in the spirit of Jacob are among those who “may ascend the hill of the LORD, stand in His holy place, have clean hands and pure hearts, and don’t practice idolatry.”

What’s exiting is the thought of bringing together the Emma and Jacob generations; we now have “God With Us” and “Those Who Seek Him”.

Our world desperately needs the Emma and Jacob generations to arise and take their rightful places. And these two generations desperately need our generation to take our rightful places as spiritual fathers and mothers, offering them a sky-scraping floor—our ceiling—as their starting point in pursuing God.

Bad Plan

Say you were charged with leading a battalion of troops into battle. Now tell me if these are the kind of soldiers you’d want to be leading: they are convinced enemy forces don’t actually exist, they believe the weapons they are equipped with don’t work and they think the training they’ve received is useless.

It would be a pretty bleak situation. Soldiers like that would be a harm to not only themselves, but to all the others in the battalion. Enemy victory would be almost guaranteed.

Unfortunately, it just so happens God’s battalion of American forces is made up of many such soldiers. It’s sad. Barna reported recently that “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist.”

What!!!!?? Is it any wonder the American church — and as a result, Americans professing to be Christians — struggle to live in the victory made available by Jesus? It is, in fact, a pretty bleak situation. And many Christians are, in fact, a harm to themselves and a harm to those around them.

But it doesn’t have to stay this way. Joel 2:12-14

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him

A grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?

God is always, ALWAYS, poised to respond to a sincere, repentant cry for mercy and forgiveness.

And please, please, please read the Bible. All of it; not just your favorite parts. Genesis to Revelation. (And if you find Revelation intimidating or confusing or scary or irrelevant, ask God to teach you and then read it in faith. It’s The Revelation OF JESUS CHRIST —not A Revelation About the End Times For Those Who Might Be Interested. Anyone who wants to know Jesus in ALL of his glory needs to read and begin understanding Revelation.)

Influenza A (H1N1)

There are now 10 reported cases of death as a result of H1N1 (Swine Flu). Ten. 1-0.

In other news, about 115,000 babies will be aborted today.

Google News results from the past week for “Swine Flu“: 165,347,121

Google News results from the past week for “Abortion“: 21,073


by Ian McIntosh

Give it a listen. It just might break you and bring you to tears.

“There is a light that shines within me,
there is a hope that burns inside me.
Deep within my soul, my very existence,
there is a being waiting to be freed.

“A child who knows no fear, pain, or rejection.
There is an emotion all encompassing of
excitement, joyfulness, gladness, and love.

“The creative potential of laughter
and the undeniable power of an infants joy live inside me.
Unmeasurable are my limits for I call You FATHER.
Unimaginable my potential for You have called me son.

“There is someone inside of me, waiting to be unleashed,
whom You embrace, whom I long to be.
There is an all consuming fire,
a light that permeates from my very being.

“You have unlocked me, God.
The doors You open, no man can shut.
I will praise You for all my days, for You are good.

“You have released me, God, with Your love.

Fully Engaged: Preface

I’m getting married in 20 days. That’s a crazy, but awesome, reality! When God created me, one of the primary things He created me for was marriage. How fun to consider that 20 days from now, Heather and I will be husband and wife. Around this time, three Saturday’s from now, we’ll be dancing away like fools, enjoying our reception in each other’s company, along with family and our closest friends.

Being engaged is an amazing experience, actually. I highly recommend it. God’s been flooding me with all sorts of unexpected revelations these last few months, none of which I’ve shared about on this blog, as far as I can remember. Most have come in my Forrester while driving back from Valparaiso after a weekend with my love. Those drives, usually late at night, are typically very full of reflection, thanksgiving, prayer, intercession and worship — the last three of which do a great job keeping me awake and alert 🙂

So, over the next three weeks, I hope to dive deeper into these thoughts. I should have been jotting notes here and there all along as God’s been talking to me about this, because the specific revelations seem to have faded into the grander theme. But I have a hunch that as I dig into the theme, God will bubble many specifics back to the surface.

The grander theme is quite basic and simple, actually: A man and woman being engaged in the natural, in many ways, points to the engagement of Jesus and His bride, the church. By taking a closer look at my thoughts, feelings, longings and desires during this season of life, I’ve gleaned a new perspective on what thoughts, feelings, longings and desires God is birthing (or trying to birth) in me His church. What has been awakened in my soul from falling in love with and being engaged to Heather in the natural mirrors what should happen in the spirit as we fall in love with and are engaged to Christ. If these things aren’t happening, then one might have reason to wonder if something is missing or out of place in our relationship with Christ.

I won’t be jumping into specifics in this particular blog, but as an exercise for you married or engaged folks, I encourage you to take some time and reflect on what it was or is like to be engaged. What were your hopes and desires? What stirred you and made you happy, giddy and excited? How did things change once you had found your love, communicated your desire to spend your life with him or her, and became engaged for marriage? What priorities emerged? What things faded in importance? The list could go on for some time…Now, begin drawing some spiritual parallels to these and let the Holy Spirit talk to you about some of these dynamics in your relationship with Him. Take this idea with you into times of studying the Word and allow God to show you His desire for intimacy with you.

One of the primary symbols of our relationship to Christ is one of a bride to a bridegroom. I believe the season of enagement between a man and a women has as much potential as any to reveal how we ought to be relating to Jesus as we prepare for that great wedding in heaven.

A prayer inspired by The Lord’s Prayer

Lord, you are holy. You are perfect. You are good and complete in every way. And I desire to see you, your name and your Word revered as such.

Lord, I ask that you send your Kingdom. We are lost without you and are in desperate need of more of you. So I ask that you come with your presence and your glory and inhabit us in a new and fresh way. I ask for more of your Spirit. I ask that you help us humbly decrease so that you could powerfully increase. Your original plan was that heaven would be established on earth, so I declare in the name of Jesus that You Who began a good work will be faithful and bring it to completion. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord, give us eyes to see to the daily bread you provide. We confess, Heavenly Father, that we often crave the provision of this world more than our heavenly portion. But we ask, Father, that you help us crave the pure spiritual milk of the word, that we may grow. Yet, we thank you and praise you that as we seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, you are faithful to add to our lives the material things we need. We confess, Lord, that we are in need your provision and we trust you to provide it.

Father, many of us have been unwise in how we’ve handled what you’ve given us. We’ve accumulated debt when your Word has shown us a better way. Forgive us these sins and our debts, Father. As we honor your will and your ways for our money, I ask that you bring quick resolution to our financial burdens. Teach us to properly steward the resources given us. Empower us by your grace to bear the fruit of self-control. Give us generous hearts just as you are generous. You’ve told us that it is better to give than to receive and we declare that you are right.

And help us also be quick to forgive, just as you are. We have sinned much and have been forgiven much, Lord. Thank you so much for modeling perfect and unconditional love and forgiveness. We want to be reflections of that to the world. Much has been given to us and we acknowledge that much is now expected of us.

Lord, we know that you never tempt us. You have shown us that “each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” Our human nature is fallen and we as a people are in need of a savior to be made right in Your eyes. Thank you, Jesus, pure spotless lamb, for being the necessary sacrifice for our sins. Thank you for delivering us from the snare of our own fallenness. Thank you for delivering us from the evil one. You have called us out of darkness and into your marvelous light. And I thank you, Father, that when I am tempted, you always provide a way out so that I can stand up under it. I thank you that you truly have set the captives free.

You are God and there is no one like you. You are holy, completely unique and set apart from all of the created order. The heavens declare your glory, God, and the skies proclaim the work of your hands. Yet, we know that today we still only see dimly. One day we will see your glory fully. Father, we long for that day. We long to be united with you and to have the eyes of our understanding completely enlightened, that we may know you entirely.

You are worthy of all worship, honor and praise, Heavenly Father. Of the increase of your government, there will be no end. And we confess that we need your government to increase. We need your rule and influence in our lives to grow. Because we need your goodness, Father. We need your life. Apart from you, we have nothing.

Thank you for choosing and electing us to be your sons and daughters. Thank you that it is your nature to love us and your good pleasure to give us the kingdom. I love you. I ask and pray all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.