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Can you be Jonathan?

We are living in times now where so many desire the spotlight, or at least their fifteen minutes of fame. This holds true for even those of us who profess to be in the Kingdom of God. Lord knows I have been guilty of this mindset and still have to cast it down at times. I remember when my pastor spoke on Jonathan and David, and for some reason, I have been thinking a lot about the life of Jonathan. Questions have arisen in my mind about various aspects of his life and whether or not I could handle myself in those times when I appear to be in the position he was in with David. In the past, I’ve read and listened to the story of Jonathan and David a few times and ended up feeling kind of sorry for Jonathan. Yes… To me it seemed like he got screwed over big time! He gives up his right to the throne because God chose David. But then to add insult to injury, then he dies in the midst of war at a young age. But of course, my perspective has changed because I’m now more spiritually mature… (smile)

I admire people that seem to be “wired” like Jonathan. They are comfortable being in the background and seem to have no desire to be seen. And I’m not talking about fear either, but genuine people who naturally like being behind the scenes. After David killed Goliath, Jonathan knew that David was the chosen one, despite him being heir to the throne after his father Saul. Check out I Samuel 18:1-5. (NASB) Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then
Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

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Dang… That’s some serious HUMILITY right there… He willingly gave up all of the rights and privileges that came with being king. He gave David all of his “princely” attire and weapons because he loved David as much as himself. He made a covenant with David, meaning that he would always support and protect him at all costs. If you read further, you’ll discover that Jonathan even helped hide him from his own father Saul who was trying to kill him. Yet, at the same time he still loved his father until the end when they were both killed.

One thing that seems obvious with Jonathan is that he was in NO way threatened by David’s anointing. Unfortunately, many of us today are quite the opposite. I would like to think that if I’m in a position to be around someone who is in a position of honor, I would sit under their tutelage. I believe that we miss opportunities to grow and develop when God places people in our lives that are in a higher place of authority and/or who are experiencing a greater level of success. We get threatened because we compare ourselves to them, usually not knowing the price(s) they have paid and the character they have developed in order for God to trust them in that high place. Instead of learning from them, we compete with them or find ways to get offended. So sad. Our egos must die! They have no place in the Kingdom. It is all about Him.

Something else I can confidently conclude about Jonathan is that he was COMPLETELY SECURE in who God created him to be. He didn’t need to be king in order to be affirmed or feel accepted. We obviously knew that God smiled upon him and that was enough for him. Serving David was a great joy because he was the ultimate servant. He knew that he was called to under-gird David and was perfectly comfortable in doing so. Paul said it best in I Corinthians 12:14-18. 14For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body,just as He desired.

We have forgotten that we are all on the same team, which is the Kingdom of God. We all have one purpose that is carried out through the different paths and unique gifts. Jonathan was obviously more than okay with this reality. I also believe that he saw the bigger picture. He knew that Israel would be restored under David’s rule. He embraced his path and trusted God with his life even unto death. I realize now that Jonathan died an HONORABLE death and that the generations of his relatives were blessed for it. This is a teaching point. Our blessings, whether we see them or not, often lie in our willingness to be HUMBLE. Some of us could be missing out on promotion because God is requiring us to be a Jonathan before we can be a David. Very simply, you have to learn how to follow before you can be an effective leader. There are many people in high places who will tell you about their small and humble beginnings. They will tell you of the character-building situations that they have endured.

So are you willing to die to yourself for the sake of the Kingdom? If God has chosen someone for a certain task or role, who are we to question or to get offended because it’s not us? Do we really believe that God’s plan for our lives is the best? The truth is that we are all CHOSEN, but to walk down our own unique paths. Jonathan embraced his path and as a result, we are reading about his life thousands of years later! His legacy of being a servant still lives on…

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2011

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I Want to Know Purity…

I want to know purity
I want to be like the water that flows through artesian wells
Filtering away everything inside of me that doesn’t give life
Transforming me into a vessel that can manifest miracles
Because of His power flowing through me

I want to be clean like the water that rushes down mountainsides
Quenching the thirst of those who seek righteousness and truth
I yearn to shine like the purest of gemstones
Radiating a piece of heaven here in the earthly realm
I want to be like the unique diamond that has never been found
I want to be the hidden treasure that is buried deep in the ground
Sparkling with His rays of splendor
Illuminating truth in the most inward parts

I wish I could recapture the innocence of a child
The smell of a newborn baby
That would somehow manifest the reality
That as far as the east is from the west
He has buried my sins
Only this would be tangible in some form
Making me pure…

I want to be like the sunset’s reflection over still waters
Peace residing on the shoreline
Giving rest to all who desire to be one with Him

pure water

I hope my passion for His Kingdom
Becomes hot like the lava that bursts forth from nature’s fury
I want to be a part of the remnant
The church without spot or blemish
I want to walk in truth as a vessel
A part of the fruit that was bared
When He hung his head on the cross and declared
“It is finished”

I want to be pure
Like the nectar of wild orchids
That bumblebees use to form the sweetest of honeycombs
I want to lose my fear of total surrender
To the One who formed me in my mother’s womb
I want to be adorned with righteousness fit as a bride
Prepared to be eternally joined to the bridegroom

I want to know purity
In my thoughts and in my deeds
From impure motives and unclean thoughts
I yearn to be set free

I want to go from glory to glory to glory
Until I am simply a reflection of the One
Who knows the beginning and the end of the story

May I desire purity just as a man desires his wife
May purity itself give this temple life
So He will always dwell inside of me

I want to know purity
Embrace her mystery
Be like the oxygen released from Amazonian leaves
Breathing in purity
And following her into eternity

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

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Rich in Spirit

Luke 6:20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

New life was breathed into this scripture as I and the rest of the mission team walked the dirt roads of a village/town community outside of Managua, Nicaragua. A couple who started a missionary ministry called Lifelink International established a school for children in preschool to third grade in this community. I have heard about poverty in developing countries and have seen all kinds of images in the media for most of my life, only now it was real. The hot sun beamed down as I gazed at homes that were the size of a large bedroom that housed entire families. My heart became sensitive as I saw young mothers holding babies in places that here in this country we would consider filthy. Normally, I would expect people to frown and not be inviting or accepting to outsiders in these types of conditions. However, most of the people we encountered smiled and were very courteous. A couple of families even invited us into their homes, completely void of any shame. This was almost mind-boggling to me because I would likely be embarrassed to live in those types of conditions and wouldn’t want anyone I didn’t know personally in my space. But then I realized that this was mainly because I have grown up in a “developed nation” where everything is convenient and the standard of living is much higher. In this country, even those who live in what is considered to be poverty would be filthy rich compared to the large majority of people living in Nicaragua. In the U.S., we have so many options and opportunities. We can compare our situations to many others from all walks of life socioeconomically. In countries like Nicaragua, the people don’t really have the concept of poverty because it is simply their way of life. It is the norm and they don’t have much in which to compare their situations. They are only poor from a materialistic perspective, but they are filthy rich in spirit.

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My heart went out to the people as I toured their homes. I walked on their dirt floors and gazed up at the tin roofs. I marveled at the outside cement holes that served as the toilets and the make-shift outside stalls with garden hoses to provide the water for showering or washing up. The beds were about equivalent to the ones that are in jails and prisons. Some of them even had cardboard stacked up in place of where a thin mattress would normally be. There were some overhead power lines that these homes would tap off of to provide electricity for their outdated TVs and small stoves. As I walked around one of the homes, I sweated like a pig because there was obviously no air conditioning and it had to have been almost one hundred degrees inside. The lady of the home just smiled and held her newborn baby. She smiled just like all the precious little faces at the school did. These little ones do not know the concept of poverty and are able to smile and laugh in the midst of situations that would drive most of us into depression, crime and a victim mentality. These resilient kids anticipate each day of school as an adventure and express a genuine excitement. Amazing how people living in what is considered extreme poverty can smile and love life, yet those of us who seemingly have everything will complain over a minute form of adversity. So as my heart went out to them, maybe their hearts should have went out to me… They have more faith than I do yet they live in conditions that would make me question the God I believe in. Wow… One of the highlights for me as we walked through the town was playing with some little boys who were chasing these gigantic cockroaches in the road. In this country that would be considered nasty. In this country our kids need electronic devices to grab their attention instead of doing things like chasing giant bugs lol.

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The average Nicaraguan makes approximately the equivalent of $2 per day. Another statistic I heard my pastor mention one time during one of his sermons that was people who make $50,000 or more per year are in the top 1% wealthiest in the entire world. Individuals making $25,000 per year are in the top 10% in the world. As startling as these statistics might be, for most us in this country they don’t hold that much weight. Our quality of life is judged by whether or not we can afford an I-Phone or I-Pad. So spiritually speaking, I can see why Christians in other nations have more testimonies about miracles and supernatural occurrences. God is all they have. They don’t have technology and money to get the glory instead of the Lord. Without all of the distractions they are able to enjoy more deeper and intimate relationships with God. They are able to witness His power at work in their lives and those around them on a constant basis, in a more tangible way. They are RICH in spirit. Spiritually, it is almost like they have an advantage over us because they are more able to give Him unhindered praise. I’m not saying this necessarily for the sake of comparison; I’m simply trying to show us how convenience and materialism can keep us from really experiencing the Kingdom of God in a much greater way. They can also hinder our true reverence of Him, which again will keep us from seeing the miracles of each day. What I think is really sad is that the fact that generally speaking, Christians who live in developing countries have way more faith and belief than us in North America. While I agree that people in developing countries may need our resources and more opportunities, they don’t need to become like us. They may be “last” for now, but they will be FIRST in the next life.

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Matthew 19:23-24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (NKJV)

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Spirituality

 

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Divide and Conquer

Mark 3:24-25 says “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” NKJV

We are living in probably the most turbulent of times in this country since the Civil Rights era. That era along with the Civil War are the only times I can think where this country was more divided. With the election looming next week, all the rhetoric is prevalent in all of the media outlets as we wait to see who will be the Commander-in-Chief of this country for the next four years. However, I don’t intend to write specifically about the election or about the division of this country. I intend to write about the division of the CHURCH.

Now considering politics, evangelical Christians and fellow believers have traditionally supported the Republican Party politically and this continues today. However, there are other believers, especially minorities who have supported the Democratic Party. On the surface, it might appear that one party represents Christianity more than the other. But when I look at the BIGGER picture, I just don’t see it. We also have to keep in mind that politics is just that: politics. There are so many hidden agendas behind things that seem “good” and there is so much corruption in the political world that I don’t see how any believer can devote themselves to either party. Contrary to popular belief, neither party has, or ever will uphold the standards of God. There are other issues besides gay marriage and abortion folks! Also, I believe actions and attitudes speak much louder than mere words and political talking points, even if it does involve a little Christianese. So I bring all of this up because in the past couple of elections I have heard so much rhetoric about how “true Christians” would vote for a certain candidate and/or political party. Even now when I look on social media outlets and even hear televangelists speak, people are now willing to question or even doubt another’s salvation or “level of faith” based upon whom they chose to vote for! This should not be! I understand that iron sharpens iron but this clearly is not it! It is tragic for people to actually believe that others are “tares” and not wheat solely based upon which candidate they choose to support. I believe that we all need to realize that embracing this mentality is falling right into the enemy’s plan of division amongst the body. True enough the Word specifically talks about the separation of the wheat and the tare, but basing this upon a man-made political ideology is way off base and irresponsible at best. We are fighting each over this mess forgetting that no true politician can be godly! There are always going to be gaps in ethics according the ways of God because of the inherent nature of politics… and capitalism. If there are any godly politicians, they will likely have a very short career. But of course, we have allowed political smoke and mirrors to cloud our vision of unity in the body.

The enemy also has the church engaged in cultural wars. Whether it is the style of the worship arts (mainly music) or the style of preaching that occurs in the pulpit, Christians are fighting over what style or culture they believe is more pleasing to the Lord. Instead of working together and adopting a “Kingdom mindset,” there is more interest in who is right and who is wrong. Instead of understanding that God made us all uniquely and appreciating the beauty who each person is called to be, we are willing to tear each other down and isolate from people who don’t do “church” or “ministry” the way that we might prefer. So it is not a big surprise that it seems more rare to see churches working together to help manifest the Kingdom of God in the earth. I have heard so many instances where churches have made the effort to be multi-cultural only to backfire because people only want to do “church” and ministry according to their familiar traditions. Sadly, many folks are still only comfortable worshipping with people that look like themselves. Yes, even in 2012, Sunday mornings are still the most segregated day of the week in the great old USA. Just recently, I read an article about racism in the church in an online Christian magazine. The blog comments below the article were shocking and left me a bit dismayed. They were the exact type of comments one would see on any of the major news network sites. I became angry as I read comments stating that certain races were “cursed” and others revolving around “reverse racism” and affirmative action. In other the words, the comments were WORLDLY even though we are supposed to be set apart. I believe the Heavenly Father is going to augment the issue of RACISM in the body and bring it to the forefront so that the bride can be healed from this sickness.

In these last days there is also a spirit of discord amongst the brethren. I have witnessed at least 4-5 church splits just in the last fifteen years in the city where I went to high school and college. And even some of the churches resulting from the initial splits have had their splits as well! Now there are a few small churches in the western side of this particular city that are doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! And this is all because of folks who want to be “right” and leaders who ultimately don’t follow the Holy Spirit. It seems like everyone has an agenda! What is wrong with us? I guess I would have to write a book to answer that question but ultimately it can be narrowed down to a short list:

  • Arrogant, prideful and greedy leaders who want to be worshipped and believe they can do no wrong (See II Timothy 3:2-5)
  • Competition amongst ministries, leaders and members within the church
  • Gossip and slander
  • Churches operating like businesses, corporations and places of entertainment
  • Lack of the Kingdom mindset
  • Worldliness in the church
  • Immature believers who carry a spirit of discord and who are unwilling to grow spiritually – See Proverbs 6
  • Holiness is no longer right

I have seen so much garbage play out in the church it is not even funny. Oh, and let’s not forget about scandals that end up in the mainstream media.

I believe maybe one of the core issues is that the brethren are still unsure about their value to the Kingdom and the beauty of their unique purpose. As a result, their insecurities cause so much drama within the church! There are so many individuals who are operating way out of their purpose with the church structure and body! I Corinthians 12:12-25 talks about the different parts of the body and how they must operate as intended in order for the body to function as a whole. Paul stated in Colossians 3:12-13 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

I Corinthians 1:10 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

I hope that we modern day believers can follow this example. I hope that we can become the real church, the real bride that will rock this world to its core! But I think we have a long ways to go… Right now those outside of the faith are mocking and scoffing at the church because it hasn’t shown them anything different. The church lacks power, authority and influence due largely in part to the divide that exists within it. But right now the enemy and his minions are having a field day with the church! They are laughing and using the lack of unity to further the kingdom of darkness! Souls are hanging between heaven and hell, yet we’re fighting over who leads the praise team. A plethora of social ills exists in society, but we’re too busy fighting over theology (denominations = division) to address any of them or at least be of influence. The church should be an example of people loving one other and the cultures being reconciled, but racism and prejudice is just as real in the body of Christ as it is in the world. When does it ever end?

On a more positive note, I acknowledge that there is a remnant of churches in this nation that are spirit-filled and bearing much fruit. There are churches and leaders who are DESPERATE to see the lives of the people change and for the harvest to be brought into the Kingdom. They are willing to sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom. There are no perfect churches or leaders; however, the focus should be on the Kingdom. The focus should be on people being saved, healed and edified. So can we stop all of the useless fighting? Can we sucker-punch the devil and his minions by operating in a spirit of unity and love? I sure hope so…

Nathan Allen Copyright© 2012

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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The Hypocrisy of Politics

What’s the point of being against gay marriage and abortion if you’re a racist and a bigot?

How can you tout “Christianity” when your elitism and lack of compassion show that you really don’t live it?

But on the flipside

How can you cry out for social justice if you believe it’s ok for babies to be killed in the womb?

And when your ways of achieving “equality” will only bring us all closer to the tomb?

You can talk about family and God and how they’ve taken prayer out of schools

But I can see your hypocrisy in how you regard different people and how you worship money

You don’t have me fooled

You’re like a wolf in sheep’s clothing

Having only a form of godliness

Full of haughtiness

While the moral compass of those referred to as “liberals” appears to be broken

Pointing us in directions that will only lead to destruction

What good is it to have social justice but no righteousness?

What good is it to have righteousness but no social justice?

A friend of mine said it best…

There is no such thing as a godly politician

And so while millions of dollars get spent on campaigns for who can tell the most lies

There’s a million more mouths of children full of hunger and unanswered cries

Progressiveness is just a fancy way of saying the Bible is no longer relevant

So it’s no surprise that the church has become a big room full of elephants

The tea party wants to take America back

Wants people to stay in their place

While those who fit the mold of what they define as a true American make up the upper echelon of society

But then organizations like the Rainbow Push Coalition and the NAACP are desperate to stay relevant and gain notoriety

I think we all know they need to sit down somewhere…

And so sadly now when I hear the term “Evangelical Christian,” I just cringe

Because most of them believe that Jesus Christ would have been a Republican

Democrats want rights but without responsibility

They operate with a mentality that says “Whatever feels good to me”

Jesus Christ has no political party

Only the ways of the Father

Prophecy will be fulfilled no matter who is elected President every four years

Politics has done nothing but sow discord and the Heavenly Father is shedding tears

While Satan and his minions are now sitting back laughing

Because this country is divided past the point of no return

She will fall, fail, crash and burn

Because it seems as though we will never learn

That “politics” have no place in the Kingdom of God

Nathan Allen Copyright© 2012

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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