This is a re-posting of Micah’s latest update:
Hello everyone, I am back with another update! March was a great month. It was very relaxing and it was enjoyable for me to get a restful month as we are going to be busy for the next few months getting ready for Awaken the Dawn. The prayer room has been really sweet the past month. Just about every day cooperate repentance or thanksgiving (everyone thanking God for what he has done for us) has broken out. This doesn’t usually happen in the prayer room but the Lord is rooting out our selfish desires and reminding us of where we came from so that we can be even more grateful for where we are. Then last Friday at our Burn Service, United Pursuit band came to lead worship. If you don’t know who they are you can go here: Set a Fire or Waterfall. All of their songs are just love songs for Jesus. It was so refreshing.
Also we are still adding things to Awaken the Dawn every day. You can check out some of the resources below:
In my own life the Lord has continued to show me the Father’s heart as I mentioned in my last post. I am coming to know Jesus as the Bridegroom and the Judge and God as the Father and the Judge. I am learning all of the attributes if Jesus, God, and Holy Spirit and learning they are the fullness of everything at all times. Us in our carnal ways can only be happy, sad, angry, or loving, one at a time, but God isn’t like that. He is love. He is always love and has always been love and what that means is that even in his wrath and judgment he is love, because he cannot be anything besides love. I love describing it like this; He doesn’t have a love drawer or a wrath drawer that he opens and shuts as he pleases but he is a God of consistency. He is love all of the time and at the end of the age when he comes back to rule with us he isn’t going to shut the wrath drawer, but rather lavish us believers in love for all of eternity and poor his wrath into the Lake of Fire for eternity. The sooner we realize that God is love in all things and that he is just in all things, the sooner we could lose our offense with him about the hard things that we don’t understand, such as death or sickness or the End Times.
As far as my own life goes, I am doing well. A couple of weeks ago Emily and I went to visit my family and some of our family friends, the Adams, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We went to this amazing hotel with a water park, we went hiking, and we just spent time with my family. Then we drove over the mountains into North Carolina and went to a wedding with Emily’s family. It was a great weekend. I love seeing my family and Emily’s and it is just nice to get away some times. One time I heard someone say, “It is easy to see God in the pretty things in life, but can you see God in the filthy and rundown things?” I completely agree with this statement, but there is something about being in the mountains that does wonders to my heart. There is no place quite like it for me. It is like I can finally breath. I honestly do not know how people that live in the mountains ever get mad. And as I was driving over the mountains, watching the sun come up I was just reminded of the creativity and beauty of the Lord. There is nothing like seeing small towns far below you as you round the side of a mountain and thinking how the Lord created all of it. He is so much smarter and wiser than we ever could be and yet he loves us regardless of our failures, even to the point of becoming a man and taking all of our sin. That is love and if you ever question whether he loves you, then just remember that he sent his son to take on all of his wrath so that we could live with him for eternity, and if you still do not know if he loves you then nothing else can prove it. I know life gets hard, but he is never distant.
So I preached a lot in this update but it was from the Lord.
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The other night, as we were beginning to think we had survived April Fool’s Day, Tiffanie and I were getting ready for bed. We felt like victors after the battle. I’m not sure where they got it, but my children have taken up the hobby of playing pranks on April Fool’s Day on their unsuspecting parents (My guess is – Tiffanie).
Madison started the day by taping the hand sprayer by the kitchen sink. When someone turns the water on they are met with a stream of water. I watched her do this. I suggested that she re-consider – you know – ‘How would your mother feel when she gets soaked?’ Five minutes later as I needed to rinse a coffee cup I fell into her trap. SOAKED! My shirt was soaked.
Thomas, on the other hand put his prank on the shelf till that night.
About 11:00 PM we noticed a facebook post warning us to be on the look out. We strongly tried to convince him to go to bed and not to awaken the sleeping giant or open that can of worms.
Thinking we had won. we went on to bed and immediately fell into one of those deep hard sleeps.
Twenty minutes later he struck!
He had a sound effect of this horrible scream and amplified it through his stereo.
YES it got our attention. We came busting out of our room into the hall. He could tell it was a bad idea when he saw us gasping for breath and frightened out of our minds!
A Truly Bad Prank !!
As I went back to bed filled with adrenaline and emotional upheaval, I began noticing something very interesting. Although I was keyed up physically and emotionally, my inner-man remained quiet and still. It was like a smooth glassy lake. I noticed that His Spirit was still at rest and at peace deep within me. I realized He hadn’t changed, even though on the outside I was completely shaken. I grasped the meaning of “…a peace that passes understanding…” in a new life-giving way. It seemed that everything in me was unnerved and ruffled. However, His presence was unchanged and just as strong as ever.
The peace of the inner-man is something to be desired. It is something He promises. It is something that remains true – even in the midst of turmoil. It amazes me that He is strong enough to be felt during times of fear.
Eph 2:14 starts by saying that “He, Himself is our peace…” Although Thomas’ prank was not a fun time in the Maisel home that night, I am thankful that I was assured by His strong presence in the inner-man. I wouldn’t trade knowing that for anything.
Oh, by the way… Mr Thomas gets to meet Mr Pulling Weeds by hand this weekend.
This is a re-posting taken from Micah’s update at the Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace. He has been there since August of 2010.
I am thankful for all that God has done in and through him since he drove to Virginia that August morning. I can truly say that his life has been so transformed.
As we continually gaze at a loving Father, we are changed inside our spirit-man and even our countenance looks different ( But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Micah has been looking to God for all provision. This includes financial means as well. God is proving His faithfulness to Micah in ways that surprise us all. We hear of miracles often.
I can’t imagine a better life – than the one that is totally engaged and captivated by a life-giving, loving Father. I appreciate my son’s obedience to God’s call on his life – that of an intercessory missionary.
Follow this link to Micah’s update. http://micahmaisel.wordpress.com
Leave a comment of encouragement for this prayer warrior. Pray for continued strength, deepened passion, and the heart of Christ as he ministers to the Lord and as he intercedes for those that need Jesus.
As Tiffanie was going through some boxes in the garage this past weekend in an effort to purge ourselves of accumulating “stuff”, she held up this old bent rusty nail. “Nick, here is your old rusty nail. Is this something you want to keep? Oh YES!
I hadn’t thought about this nail for a long time. It had been buried in a box in the garage. It’s always amazing to me how God will use some of the most common things to speak deeply and profoundly to me. I remembered the message that went with this nail and why I have kept it all these years.
About ten years ago I was in Costa Rica for a short-term mission trip. We were working with a local pastor in a building project for his church. Our job was to first, remove an outdated old structure that once served as their worship sanctuary, and then begin construction on a new fellowship center.
The old building was covered with an aluminum which was filled with large gaping holes. The wooden sides have been there for a long time as well. The building was in poor shape, to say the least. Most of the wood used in the original construction was actually cut from a nearby rainforest and hewn into boards and wall studs (probably using crude hand tools). Many of these boards already had many nail holes from previous projects throughout the years. You see, nothing in the third-world rainforest is ever wasted. They have a great recycling mind set.
We pulled the existing structure down and began the task of reclaiming any materials that were salvageable – no matter what size. We would stack wood together that could be later used in the next project. It was amazing just how much was re-usable.
My job was to pull all the nails out of the boards and stack the wood in piles according to size and length. I had been working for what seemed like hours – pulling nails out. Some of the wood was dry and the nails released without much effort. However, some of the wood was wet when the nails were originally driven in. This caused the wood to grab the nails and hold on – making them more difficult to remove.
Without warning I found one of those impossible nails. I tried bending the nail, banging on it from the other side, and using larger tools and even pry-bars. Nothing I tried worked. That nail just wasn’t coming out! I called a friend over to help. Although I felt a little embarrassed that I couldn’t budge this stubborn nail, I knew I needed help.
The two of us worked on this for several minutes – but no success. Eventually we called a third person into the project. Now, it was a challenge! Three guys were not going to be beaten by this one rusty nail. Finally, after using all of our strength and nail-removing knowledge, that rusty nail began to move – ever so slightly.
With everything we had, we pulled, we used leverage, and pulled some more – then finally it came out. There it was, one rusty nail! We had won! We were the champions. Yes, there were “high-fives” and a victory shout. The score was Three strong men – 1; Rusty Nail – 0.
I sat down and looked at this rusty nail – our trophy. I was reminded how God is constantly pulling things out of our lives, as He continually redeems us, and uses us in His kingdom – just like this church wanted to re-use these boards. Some nails popped right out. Some nails (those strong-holds, in my life, I hate letting go of) are a little more difficult.
I saw a board that seemed unusable because of the rusty nail. He sees a board, that with a little effort, and a rusty nail removed, could be used to help hold up a building. He sees a board that can be redeemed and not just thrown out.
I am thankful that He looks at me as one that can be redeemed, re-used, and re-fitted for the kingdom of God. I am thankful that He continually, and lovingly removes things in my life that look like rusty nails. Just like that board gets a second chance to be useful – I am thankful that He sees me in the same way.
I kept that nail as a reminder. Each time I run across it, I take a minute and remember His patience, kindness, and goodness – and His strength in my life.
In our last Basics of Discipleship class our topic of discussion was “Jesus, The Object of Our Saving Faith“. The underlying premise seemed pretty obvious. It seemed like such an easy topic to discuss. I was a little concerned that everything could have been said and the meeting would have ended within five minutes, leaving another 55 minutes to fill with discussion. However, God had other plans. What started as an obviously simple topic gave way to some really rich and deep discussion.
Many people only know Jesus as “Saviour” (this is the Jesus that keeps us out of hell). Some see Jesus as “Lord” (they think of Him as boss). Some see Jesus as “Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer…..and the list could continue on and on….”
Often we know Him through the things He does – and not necessarily knowing Him for Who He Is. Yes, He saves us, delivers, redeems, and fills us. I am thankful for the things He does. But I have to wonder what it would be like if I pursued Him as a person – not just for the things He does. How might my life be different if the object of my faith was just getting HIM (not focusing on What He does)?
It’s impossible to separate Jesus, the person from the things He is willing to do for me. He bears fruit from the essence of who He is. His various offices should point me back to Jesus as a person – not just Jesus the “doer”. Knowing Jesus as Saviour and Lord should be like walking in a front door to someone’s house. It’s the invitation to seek a deeper relationship with Him – to get to know other dimensions of who He is – with the ultimate goal – getting to know Him, just for who He is.
I am glad that over the years, I have gotten to know my wonderful wife more deeply than I had ever imagined. Each day I learn something new about her. If I just focused on the things she does – I would miss out knowing the incredible person that she. My life would certainly not be as rich and full and meaningful.
The same applies to knowing Jesus. Thank God, I was invited into a blossoming beautiful relationship with Jesus and with the Father at the point I knew Jesus as Saviour. As I look back through the years I can absolutely see the times I have grown. These times didn’t come as a result of watching the Lord at work – they came from the times we just spent “hanging out together“.
If I look at this relationship from the Top-Down (Jesus’ perspective looking at me) I can see that the object of His obedience to His Father was me. It wasn’t a list of the things I could do for Him. It wasn’t because I was a great person or would have made a great addition to the kingdom team. He loved me and wanted to know me – not for what I do – but for – Who I am.
Thank you, Jesus for all the things You do. Without them, my life would be in shambles. But there is so much more to knowing You than what I see You do. I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal more of You to me. I am thankful that I get to know You and I will spend eternity getting to know You better.
Yesterday, I posted some quick thoughts I had in response to what I read in Crazy Love – Francis Chan. Chapter four – Profile of the Lukewarm – has gotten under my skin. I just can’t seem to get away from it. It is raising some difficult questions in my heart that seem to have my full attention.
I thought about just quoting some of these other profiles…. (Quotes from Crazy Love by Francis Chan, Chapter Four, Profile of the Lukewarm)
Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go. (p.68)
Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church … as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver. (p.69)
Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. (p.69)
Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life in Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. (p.70)
Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers. (p.71)
Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. (p.71)
Lukewarm people gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. (p.72)
Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a PART. They give Him a section of their time, their money, and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives. (p.72)
Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors and missionaries, and radicals. (p.73)
Lukewarm people love each other but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. (p.73)
Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. (p.74)
Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation…..Regarding this, CS Lewis writes, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” (p.75)
Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxeries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, “Jesus never said money in the root of all evil, only the love of money is.” Untold numbers of Lukewarm people feel “called” to minister to the rich; very few feel “called” to minister to the poor. (p.75)
Lukewarm people do whatever is necesary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without it requiring too much of them. (p.76)
Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God. (p.77)
Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at the age of twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or because some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation“. (p.78)
Lukewarm people probably don’t drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong. (p.79)
Now – the best part –
…. Even though there are people that are living as Lukewarm, the fact is that Jesus still loves them and is pursuing them (me) with unending, never weakening, outrageous love. Once I see this and experience His outrageous love – I know my response to Him would be completely different. Lukewarm people need a genuine life-changing touch from God’s Spirit.
I have been reading Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. This has been an eye-opener for me. As I began reading Chapter Four, Profile of the Lukewarm, I knew I would be reading about “those-kinda-people”. I had already decided that this chapter could help me “if I ever ran into a Luke-warm person.” Well I would, at least have something to talk with them about. Like I mentioned earlier – this book has been an eye-opener for me. This chapter is no exception!
Funny, how God likes to surprise us and pull the rug out from under our feet. Funny, how conviction can jump up when least expected. Funny, how the truth can “get in my face”. Funny, how now the finger is pointing back at me.
One of Francis Chan’s points:
LUKEWARM PEOPLE are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones, Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers.
Now, I would call that a “punch in the gut”. I tell you, the more I read through this chapter, the more I find myself having to confess and seek forgiveness. I can also see the growing list of things that God is wanting to work on in me.
Lord, help me find renewed passion for You each day. Help me not get choked by the cares of everyday. Help me to not be half-hearted about following You and serving others.
I was reading today’s (Jan 22) entry from “My Utmost For His Highest” . It poses a very interesting question….
Which causes me to look more to God – Blessings or Distress ???
Often a blessing comes around, and it gets most of my attention. I see the blessing. I think of how this improves things. The first thing out of my mouth – “Wow, what a Blessing!”
The article goes on to mention that we tend to be distracted away from looking to God, Himself when we focus on the “blessing”. We see His Hand – but this keep us from seeing His Face.
In reality I find my problems, trials, concerns and worries tend to make me look to God. As much as I dislike these pressures I can see that they cause me to run to God for His help. This describes me much better. It seems that I am constantly coming to Him because I have a problem. Talk about motivation.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:10)
What makes you look to God?
You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. Joshua 23:14
Over the years I have seen God’s Hand move quickly and at times with might, strength and power. I have seen miraculous things happen. I have watched prayers get answered and have seen His faithfulness countless number of times.
I have also seen long periods of time between hearing from God and seeing it come to pass. I have watched 14 years come and go and I still believe the things He spoke to me then will one day happen. There have been times that I questioned and wondered if I really heard from Him; times that I thought, “I couldn’t be farther from seeing these things – it’s a million miles away – am I just going in circles – should I just throw in the towel and walk away…….” Then, out of nowhere would come that gentle breeze of His Spirit that would re-fire these promises again, and I could find the strength to keep trusting. A good sermon, a passage from a book, a speaker, a Bible study, my wife’s encouraging words, and just in prayer would be all it would take to renew vision in me.
God’s Word is true. His promises WILL come to pass (None will Fail – because He cannot fail). I may fail Him – but He can never fail or fall short.
Lord, I don’t always understand Your timing. But I ask You to use it to teach me Your Ways. Teach me as a Father teaches His children. Help me not loose sight of the vision You have placed in my heart 14 years ago. Help me walk/run the race set before me with endurance. Thank You for Joshua 23:14. Let it bring life to me and to others.
Last night we had a pretty neat discussion in Youth. I wanted to go over the devotional verses from the previous “Fasting Calendar”. It was neat to see how the story unfolded.
Day One Psalms 25:4-5 Make me to Know Your Ways… Teach me….Lead me (Prayer changes us)
Day Two Colossians 1:10 Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord (Prayer makes us grow in the God)
Day Three Phillippians 3:13-14 Forget the past and press on toward the prize (Prayer prepares me for the future)
Day Four Ezra 8:23 …and they fasted and sought God – and He heard them (Prayer from an empty spirit cries out to God)
Day Five Isaiah 54:2-3 . enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out your cords (Prayer enlarges our capacity to receive from the Lord)
Day six Mark 9:29 …this kind comes out only through prayer and fasting (Prayer strengthens me to do incredible things)
Day seven Luke 22:42 ….not my will but Yours (Prayer turns over control to God).
When we got to the end we put everything together to make one paragraph. This is what they can up with…
God makes us know Him by showing us His ways and makes me to know them. This makes my daily journey a walk that is worthy of the Lord. Now I can forget the past (the bad things and even the good things) and push myself to press on. Pressing on brings me to the place where I am empty in myself – I see that I really need Him – so I cry out from a “dry place”. I know that God hears me. That means I need a bigger place for Him to be in me. Again, I realize that it must be His strength and this only comes from deep hunger and constant prayer. Seeing all this, I know that I must completely give God absolute control of my life.
Wow, this filled would have the dry-erase board!
We all had an “ah-ha” moment.