Posted by: matthewharri | December 14, 2010

Strong Meat: On the Hunt for My Soul’s Eternal Food

Paul (um, I mean, the “writer of Hebrews”) says in Hebrews 5:13-14, “For every one that uses milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

I believe this passage is reiterating Jesus’ teaching that “the Kingdom of heaven allows violence, and the violent take it (the Kingdom) by force.” (Matthew 11:12) What we need not imagine is bludgeoning and clamoring our way up the “survival of the fittest” ladder to heaven. It’s not that kind of violence He is advocating. He is speaking of spiritual violence, an active “fighting against” the lusts of our flesh, a resolve of soul to not partake of anything that would defile us or offend our heavenly Father in any way.

Let’s take a look at one of the most non-violent creatures on the planet: a newborn. What is needed for a hungry babe to obtain milk? Absolutely nothing! The milk comes to him. That’s the nature of things. It’s perfectly appropriate for a newborn’s sustenance to come right to him, for him to sit around and wait for milk. However, it is quite unbefitting for a teenager, much less a full-grown man.

On the other hand, what is the process for obtaining meat? First, we must assume the deep freezer is empty and the grocery store is closed. Meat is obtained in the very time and energy consuming process of getting up early, searching for tracks and clues left behind by the animal, finding a hide, waiting, remaining quiet, then sighting and fighting the animal until they are overcome. You must win the battle with the animal in order for meat to be your prize. Yes, killing is necessary for the obtaining of meat. Soooo not PC, I know.

So, if physical violence is necessary in the natural for the obtaining of physical meat, then what the writer of Hebrews is saying by implication is that spiritual violence is necessary for the spiritual obtaining of meat for the soul and is an evidence of maturity.

Maturity in righteousness demands focus of soul. The process does not come easily or naturally, and often is not that enjoyable. Unlike the newborn who simply wails until something comes his way, the mature man or woman of faith must intentionally and energetically pursue righteousness, must hunker down into an appropriate “hide” (Jesus called it the “secret place”), must eagerly and attentively search and pursue truth from the Word, must violently fight against the flesh and must, in the end, overcome. The end result of the violent struggle is maturity, something heaven is joyfully full of, which is why it not only allows violence, but actually demands it.

Though the process of sanctification (increasing God’s righteousness in one’s life) may be unenjoyable, the fruit (albeit meaty fruit) of such rigors, is not just enjoyable to the soul that overcomes, it is also a veritable banquet of righteousness destined for the delight of many.

Father, by the strength of the Holy Spirit and by following the example of Your Son, Christ Jesus, I declare that it is my destiny to walk in mature righteousness. Help me in my weakness. Forgive me as I stumble. My true heart’s desire is to be pleasing to You, to live according to the righteous standards you have given. Grace me to follow your ways, to traverse victoriously upon the narrow and difficult path that leads to life. Amen.

Posted by: matthewharri | July 21, 2010

What’s YOUR Worldview?

Without a worldview, you’re navigating the journey of life without a compass, a map, a pack of food, or perhaps, in no small terms, without a sun at all.

Who’s driving this ship? Do I have any say at all in determining my ultimate destination?

Everybody’s got a worldview, most just don’t sit to think about it long enough for it to effect their lives or their decisions. It’s your filter through which you sort out meaning in your life.

Here’s a list of questions that will help you ascertain the parameters of your worldview. Remember, if you find that the manner in which you live your life does not reflect your answers to these questions, then something needs to change, either your worldview or your life.

1) Who am I?

     What is my place in the grand scheme of the universe?

2) Where did I come from?

     Where did the material universe come from?

3) How did I get here?

     What was the process that led to my existence?

4) Where am I going?

    What do I hope to ultimately achieve with my life?

5) How should I conduct my life?

     What informs my beliefs in this regard?

6) What do I know for sure is true?

     What do I know for sure is false?

7) What do I know for sure is right?

     What do I know for sure is wrong?

8  ) Does God exist?

     If so, what is His nature and what should my response be to      Him?

9) What happens to me after I die?

Blessings!

Posted by: matthewharri | June 8, 2010

Confused Moon, Ashamed Sun

Isaiah 24:23 says,

“Then the moon will be confused and the sun ashamed, for Adonai-Tzva’ot will rule on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, with His glory manifest to the rulers of His people.”

What in the world could be the reason for these strange prophetic descriptions? What could ever overwhelm the moon? What in the world could so out-shine the sun as to ashame it? There is only one thing: the earthly reign of Messiah Jesus, Adonai in the flesh, in all of His uncreated glory.

The moon wonders that he’s not reflecting the light of the sun anymore because there’s another Light Source, nearer and brighter than the sun. The light He reflects has different properties, living properties, not simply wave-particles anymore, but penetrating, living packets of life.

The sun, who I like to consider as the most faithful evangelist and prophet of the Second-Coming, when faced with the raw glory of it’s Creator’s earthly reign, is forced to shamefully admit that burning billions of tons of gas every second was not enough to accurately prophesy of this cosmic event. In fact, seeing the glory of Jesus reigning in Jerusalem will inspire it to burn 7 times brighter! (see Is 30:26)

Ever felt inadiquate of your witness of the Gospel? Ever wondered if you’re even reflecting His light at all? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so beyond compare, so full of mystery and glory, infinitely wondrous and beautiful, you’re in good company. Take a seat next to the moon and sun.

PS – Don’t let the location specificity slip by you. Mount Zion is Mount Zion. Jerusalem is Jerusalem.

Posted by: matthewharri | March 25, 2010

The Punjab Prayer Union

Here are the 5 points to the Punjab Prayer Union, established by John Hyde and held up in his committment:

1) Are you praying for the quickening in your own life, in the life of your fellow-workers, and in the Church?

2) Are you longing for greater power of the Holy Spirit in your own life and work, and are you convinced that you cannot go on without this power?

3) Will you pray that you may not be ashamed of Jesus?

4) Do you believe that prayer is the great means for securing this spiritual awakening?

5) Will you set apart one-half hour each day as soon after noon as possible to pray for this awakening, and are you willing to pray till the awakening comes?

Now that’s a place to start.

Posted by: matthewharri | March 4, 2010

3-Year Old Theology

The other day, my 3-year old turned to me and said,

“Papa, I had a dream last night.”

Half expecting this to be his on-ramp to a session of flexing his imaginative muscle, I asked him to tell me what his dream was. His response was the following:

“There was this big, mean dragon. A voice said, “He has power to kill.” A smiling man (Man) appeared in the sky (he opened his hands as though to say “poof”) and there was a funny noise. Then He was walking on the ground and He picked up a stick, hit the dragon and killed him.”

I was stunned. I know what has been sown into his little spirit and this was of an entirely different order. I thought, “It has started.” As a father, my heart was struck with the thought, “God, WHAT have You put under my care?”

We’re talking about a theologically sound dream here: the existence and power of evil, the Second Coming of Jesus, God’s happy heart, the power of the Cross (sticks are a picture of the Cross), Jesus’ killing him who has the power over death!

Although I am tempted to think he really doesn’t know what all his dream means, I’m beginning to think that maybe I am the one who needs further enlightenment. They say in order to mature in God you must become more and more like a little child.

I was also struck with this thought: as we continue to get closer to Jesus’ triumphant, glorious splitting of the sky, and as we continue to ask the LORD to fulfill His promise of pouring out His Spirit on all flesh, HE IS ACTUALLY GOING TO DO IT!

A word to parents: God wants us to be prepared for Him to use and speak through our little ones in powerful ways. Children are blessings, avenues of God’s grace, love and revelation. May He continue to multiply His presence through our little ones.

Posted by: matthewharri | February 25, 2010

Catching Up

Seasons. They change. Often, faster than we would like, escaping us before we are able to wring all of the life-giving sap we know still resides deep inside their recesses. New seasons come and new seasons go without asking or giving you much time to thank them for their eternal influence or to give them a proper goodbye as they float by. We grasp for them, trying to encase ourselves about in that familiar warmth once again. But time, God’s great 5-star General, commander and organizer of events who has but one objective, to bring back to Earth the Risen Son of God, makes concessions with no one and compromises for no thing. Fulfilling his mandate is for the good of all – especially his own, considering how relaxing his existence will be after Jesus sends him into semi-retirement.

Biblically, we are brought to the perspective of eternity – life is but a vapor, a quick wiff of smoke, unfurling and dancing about before the eyes of it’s on-looker for one quick, but pleasurable, moment.

Pictures. They capture the essence of what life truly is: a fraction of a moment crowded with subjects of fondness and flooded with the blushed colors of living. They prolong and give access to the full abundance that each moment brings: seasons and flavors of eternity. A good picture, like a good recipe, like a good life, blends well the bitter with the sweet, composes the light against the dark, moves with ghostly, unfocused blurs across the palatte of our memory. Each one worth 1,000 sessions of 1,000 tears. Each tear worth 1,000 memories.

Thankfulness. Sometimes comes through tears of remembrance. Concentrated, liquid joy relived.

Thank You, precious Lord Jesus, for the seasons of life. For in them, we find You and we find joy.

Posted by: matthewharri | August 6, 2008

The Ministry of the Father – 1 Thess. 2:12

Paul tells the Thesalonians that he treated them like a father would treat his own children. The words he uses are vivid and paint an incredible picture of what our heavenly Father has done for us:

for you know that we treated each one of you the way a father treats his children – we encouraged you and comforted you and appealed to you to lead lives worthy of God, who calls you into His Kingdom and glory.

A father encourages:
This word encourage is embodied in the word picture of a father standing before his little toddler and encouraging him to come forward toward him. The father is in a place ahead of the young one and is calling his forward. The Father, in a similar way, has gone before us and continually calls us, encourages us, inspires us, motivates us to come after Him, to follow Him and approach Him.

A father comforts:
This word means to “come along side of”. This is exactly what God has done in sending His Son to us, to walk with us and experience all the same temptations that we face every day. He is not a distant God who does things from an ivory tower. He gets His own hands and feet dirty as He comes along side of us to walk and comfort us along the way. The Holy Spirit Himself is called “the Comforter” because He is with us all the time.

A father appeals:
This word can also be translated as “to charge” or “to give a witness”. This is the word “maryreo” or the word from where we get “martyr”, which in the ultimate sense is what bearing witness means. The word picture for this is of someone who comes in behind to push you toward your goal, even pushing so hard that they lose their own life. It is clear that this is exactly what Jesus did on the Cross, pushing the entire human race up to God, setting before them the high vision of living holy, righteous, and resisting sin unto bloodshed.

So here in these three words we have a God who is in front of us, calling us to Himself, beside us comforting us in our sufferings and behind us pushing us into our destiny! What an awesome God we have.

You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

-Psalm 139:5-7

Warning: Contains purely opinionic material that is not meant to be taken too literally.

People sometimes criticize God’s design of the human body. I hear complaints most often about knees, backs and necks. Although I have yet to see any other option to improve the human design, I wonder if there might be a reason we were designed the way we were. Maybe our bodies are perfect refections of our relationship to God, full of weak spots and points of common misuse or injury.

Knees
Knees are probably the most problematic joints in the whole body. They are not to bend past a certain degree (although they are often made to) without risking injury. Knees probably suffer the most abuse as well, bearing a great burden and being leveraged in many different ways. If your knees go out, you’re stuck, you will not be able to move. They attach the biggest and strongest muscle group in the body (quadriceps) to tiny little toes that propel the body into motion.

I see the knees being a picture of the centrality and necessity of LOVE in a believer’s life. No matter how much power the Holy Spirit may give to you, there will be no forward movement of the Body if it does not flow through the channel of the love of Christ. Love bends the human soul further than a loveless soul could ever be bent. Love allows itself to be leveraged, bent, stretched, and to be burdened. But love is also easy to abuse and take for granted. It’s only when your knee goes out and you realize you can’t use it that you realize how much you need it. If you find yourself living a loveless life, you will be incapacitated in the Spirit, unable to move forward at all except you are reminded every step of the way of the lack.

Love is the ONLY thing that moves a person forward in God and it is the ONLY thing that moves the body forward as a corporate people.

Backs
When the back or spine gets out of alignment, vital nerves get pinched and it cripples the entire body. Without the spine holding us up, we would all be a bunch of spineless invertebrates, something like jellyfish that fill up and deflate according to whatever currents come its way.

I see the spine as a picture of the knowledge of God’s COVENANTS in our lives. If we simply believe that faith and love comes or goes with particular feelings or emotions, we will be as spinelessly useless in the Kingdom as a jellyfish tugboat. When our relationship toward God is based on ANYTHING ELSE BUT COVENANT, His covenantal faithfulness, He unbreakable promises toward us, we get out of alignment with His mercy and cut off the flow of His grace into our souls. But if we understand His covenantal nature, that He is a covenant-keeping God, the He cut a blood-covenant with us, that He promises to be very near unto us until the very end, it fills us with TRUE faith, faith that is more than a feeling, faith that is more than an emotion, but REAL FAITH – the trusting of God to complete and fulfill everything His Word says He will accomplish despite our weakness and brokenness.

Necks
The neck is the most vital yet unprotected area of the body. It’s much easier to kill someone by attacking their neck than it is their head or chest. The neck carries and turns the head, the most concentrated place of experience-oriented organs. It carries the message from the head to the rest of the body. If you get a break in the neck, paralysis of the whole body, of all 4 limbs, is inevitable.

The neck is a picture of our WILL. God has given us this precious and vital gift of free-will so that He may have a company of voluntary lovers. Yet the area of the will is the most attacked place in a believer’s life. A believer’s life in God is most easily killed through the will – whether it’s self-will of decisions energized by unclean spirits, it’s the will that separates the desires of the Head (the will of Jesus) with the actions of the Body (the good deeds of the Church).

Father, may our love increase more and more for You and for our neighbors. May our trust be placed fully in Your covenant-keeping nature, not in anything that we can muster up ourselves. May our wills be submitted to the will of your Holy Spirit, quick to respond and joyful to submit to Your perfect leadership, in Jesus’ name AMEN

Under His control, the whole body is being fitted and held together by the support of every joint, with each part working to fulfill its function; this is how the body grows and builds itself up in love. -Ephesians 4:16

Posted by: matthewharri | August 4, 2008

2 Ways to Keep from Quenching the Prophetic Spirit

I had a quick dream where Bob Jones (a current prophetic voice in the church) was speaking to my family around a round-table and told me that there were 7 things that quenched the prophetic spirit. There were 7 doors around the perimeter of this room and he took me into two of them. (I actually think I went into them all but I only remember 2 of them…sorry)

Door #1 – In this room was a news broadcast and he told me that news programs quench the prophetic spirit.

This sounded far-fetched for me, a news junkie, who always likes to keep up with what is going on around the world. But we read in Philippians 4:8 to “focus your thoughts on what is true, noble righteous, pure, lovable, or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy.” The news is definitely not any of these!

The news propagates the testimony of the devil and of unrighteous mankind. The essence of the prophetic spirit is the testimony of Jesus! (Rev 19:10). If we fill our minds with the slime that spews forth from humanity’s brokenness and Satan’s raging hatred, we can only expect very little of the testimony of Jesus to flow from us.

I think that it was more of a preoccupation with the news that was being highlighted. I do not think it’s wrong to watch the news, but hey, we’ve got the Holy Spirit. We have access to divine intelligence and He will make sure to tell us what we need to know. I don’t want to know any more than I have to.

Door #2 – In this room was a bunch of violent video games.

In the same way, we fill our minds with violence and the spirit of murder (anger) in the name of entertainment and venting aggression. What about those certain systems that have come out now that actually require that the player move their bodies and wave their hands to make their characters on the screen respond? Now we have an entire generation that is learning the actual movements of the hands that it takes to sneak up from behind somebody and break their neck! One more step between virtuality and reality…broken down.

Well, sorry to rain on people’s parades. I personally like the news and video games. But I have been much more careful about what I fill myself with after I had this dream.

Posted by: matthewharri | August 4, 2008

Day 36 – God is my Increase

In my barrenness, I believe in faith that You are my fruitfulness. As I sow seeds of the Spirit, I expect to receive a harvest of the Spirit in due time. I cannot expect it the next day any more than a farmer could expect his seeds to bring forth a harvest the day after he sows them. Natural harvests take their cues from the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. I do my part – faithfulness, trusting You and showing compassion. You do Your part – you bring the increase. Whatever I sow in weakness (everything!) I will reap in power. I can do nothing of my own unless I stay tapped into Your sap of life found by abiding in the Vine of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. Enlarge my territory. I want to glorify you by bearing much fruit that will last forever. Move my tent pegs. Prepare me for the increase You long to bring to me in Jesus’ name AMEN

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

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