Got a lot done in the yard. Flower beds cleaned out. New plants planted. Mulch hauled in and placed.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Got a lot done in the yard. Flower beds cleaned out. New plants planted. Mulch hauled in and placed.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
When in fact, they aren't. All of those things are important in bringing stability to your life and a sense of order, but you don't stop working your program. You don't quit following hard after Jesus. Studying his word (not reading but studying). Spending time in prayer. Sharing your story. These are the disciplines that keep us focused.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Seems as though it rolls around far too often, but that is life.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
It has been good to have "little feets" going up and down the halls. Sometimes a home can get to quiet.
Last night was the 3rd anniversary of our meetings at Rapha (Actually it will be on the 28th). 3 years ago I preached my last sermon at Gadsden Vineyard and my first message at Rapha on the same day. A lot has happened over these past 3 years. We have seen a lot of faces come and go (and some come back again). We have watched as God worked among us and in each of us to bring about the awakening that leads us to follow hard after him. Our worship team (Debbie Handy, Barry Hooks, Wayne Wimpee and yours truly) continues to pursue God through worship. It isn't always pretty or musically correct but the heart is there and that is what is important.......a heart that wants to worship.
Seth Barber spoke last night from the book of Mark. He spoke about the rich young man who came to Jesus asking what he must do to be saved. In the end, the young man could not do what Jesus asked him to because he loved his lifestyle too much. Seth wanted everyone to see that there is something we hold on to that separates us from God, and it is this "something" that we need to surrender. There were 4 saved, which always excites me. When someone is saved that is like "PAYDAY" with a huge bonus attached.
Next weekend brings us visitation at Rapha along with our Saturday night meeting. As usual, walking out of the chapel last night I was grateful and thankful that God had once again come and did what He does so well.....changes lives. Then I realized that we get to do this again next Saturday. How cool is that?
Verse of the Day:
A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Preparing to go to lunch. The cooks grilled out today and the smell infiltrated the camp. Guys came pouring out of the dorms to simply go and stand around the grill talking and laughing with the cooks hoping for a "freebie" of lunch to sample. I think the ability to BBQ is a gender, in-born, ability. Each man seems to be an expert on how to grill and what to grill. Each man thinks their sauce and the way they cook is better than everyone else. Maybe we need to have a BBQ cook off out here.
I have been parked in the book of Isaiah for the last week, currently reading in Chapter 7.
One of the commentaries I'm using said that the state of Judah ,as we read in Isaiah, is pretty much the state of our country today. Funny part was this commentator died in 1988 and did not live to see the moral mess we have sunk to here in 2009. The focus of the passage was that God extends his mercy and forgiveness for long periods of time, wishing that the people would repent and return to Him. God does tire of their attitude and at some point will send forth His judgment on the people and the nation. The commentator says that this is where America stands. The call to repent has been sounded and yet our country continues to run after the false idols of society.
He gave 3 steps to a nations downfall:
1.) Religious Apostasy
2.) Moral Awfulness
3.) Political anarchy. this is where the people begin to cry out for a change in the government. Lo and behold we are seeing this in the form of the United States moving from a Democracy to a Socialistic nation. This change being the answer to all our questions.
The commentator I'm reading states that we have a kind of backwards belief in where we think the problems of our nation begin. We believe that our problems begin with the political system and spread to our churches and teachings. No!
5 things that spiral downward in a nations downfall.
1.) The undermining of the sanctity of the home.
2.) Higher taxes
3.) an higher focus on pleasure
4.) Building of great armaments when our greatest enemy is found within ourselves.
5.) Decay of religion, denying the power and fading into a mere form.
I have spent a great deal of time this week praying for the church and its leaders.
We are in need of a revival that will shake us to the very core to wake us up.
Let it rain!
God on you......
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Received a call from someone who came through the program 4 years ago.
Had a rough time when they left, but remembered the teachings and was able to recover quickly and get on with their life.
This person is currently working in the prisons with a ministry team once a month and visiting his local jail each week to talk, pray and minister to those inside.
As I talked with him, you could hear a peace, a confidence and a passion in his voice as he spoke of what God has done for him. It is these calls that lift me and encourage me to keep on.
Thank you, Lord.
Your timing is perfect.
Verse for the day:
He raises the poor out of the dust,
and lifts the needy out of the ash heap
that He may seat him with princes...
with the princes of His people.
While I do believe this view, I think it stops short of God's intention for those who are saved.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered. "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."
Yet sometimes genuine love can be found in those hard words.
Someone speaks truth to you and it strikes a part of you that knows what has been spoken is truth. Sometimes we want to not believe what has been spoken. We want to talk a little louder or posture a certain way in order to convince others that what was spoken wasn't true. But we know different. We know it was and it uncovers a defect in character that sin has produced in us. Only the truth of God and the work of the Holy Spirit can bring change that is needed.
Peter went on to deny Christ, but aren't you glad the story didn't end there?
Aren't you glad that Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood in Acts Chapter 2 and gave the first message on the day of Pentecost? I am.
We are all a work in progress and would do well to learn and accept this fact.
As much as I hate having my heart uncovered, it really lets me know that God in fact loves me so much He isn't willing to let me get away with anything.
embrace the truth.
Let God's truth change you.
God on you.......
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I have been thinking a lot lately about the current state of affairs in our world.
Bad to worse would be the understatement.
Whose behind it?
The Kingdom of Darkness with Satan as the ruler, the prince of the power of the air.
Just as God has ebbs and flows to his plan and his work, what if the devil copied God in this respect? We know that the devil never had an original thought in his head and that he only seeks to copy what God is doing to discredit the real move when it comes.
During the 90's when the renewal hit and prophecy was up, what was the devil doing?
He had psychic hot lines and new age spiritualist who heard from beyond.
But when the renewal began to cool down, so did all the hoopla over the prophetic.
Copy to discredit the real thing.
What if the kingdom of darkness had ebbs and flows to it?
We know that God is constantly at work bringing about the culmination of his eternal plan for humanity and this planet. We also know that the devil is constantly at work to disrupt and derail as much of humanity as he can because he knows that he can't beat God. Where is this going?
What if the devil had revivals?
What if he had protracted times in which he stirred up and released his spirit upon those who were his disciples? By disciples, I'm not speaking of blatant-in-your-face devil worshipers. I speak of merely those who do not have relationship with Jesus. The unsaved. The lost.
What if what we are currently going through is one of those revivals? Where the behavior and mentality of people seem to have gone over the edge and the most simplest things have become skewered and twisted because people's opinions have moved away from God.
II Timothy 3:1 states that in the last days (we are there.....ever since Jesus ascended...we are in the last days) perilous times will come. The word perilous can also be translated as difficult or stressful. Isn't that what we are seeing? God said this was going to happen. I believe that God allows it to happen for a reason. God knows the heart of mankind and that given the right setting and opportunity, the sin nature will rise up and bring forth all manner of destruction and death.
If God knows this, why does the church and those who are saved spend so much time in prayer asking God to correct or remove what He has deemed will happen? Should not the church be about the business of the Kingdom? Feeding the poor. Casting out demons. Visiting those in prison. Healing the sick and yes.........even raising the dead. We spend far to much energy praying against the dark instead of bringing light. That is how you dispel darkness. You bring light. You go and do the works of Jesus. You proclaim the good news of the cross.
Arise (get up..move out)
Shine (we are light...act like it)
For your light (Jesus the Christ) has come!
And the glory (nature of) of the LORD is risen upon you.
For behold, the (not some, not a...but a specific darkness) darkness shall cover the earth.
and deep darkness the people.
But the LORD will arise over you. (we will are beacons to those wandering hopeless and helpless in this darkness).
And His glory will be seen upon you.
It's time for the people of God to lay down the headlines and emails and begin the pursuit of following hard after Jesus no matter what part of the darkness he leads us into.
God on you.....
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The Fire of God has not gone out.
The Prayers of the saints have not fallen to the ground.
What we think is warfare today will pale in comparision to what lies ahead.
God grant me strength that I don't cut and run but that I become a warrior for you. Handling the Word and truth rightly.
May your name be exalted over this camp and over the camps of the saints around the world.
God on you............
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind; "Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them."
I don't know how I would respond if I found myself in the same position as Job?
Arrogant? I don't think so.
Demanding answers from God? definitely not.
I always try to keep my thoughts and my heart focused on one thing when approaching God.
He is God and I am not.
That may sound silly and maybe even foolish to some.
Of course He's God. We all know that. But do we? Do we really understand who it is we are praying to? I am placing myself in this category of trying to understand.
Sometimes I think I come to flippantly to God with my shopping prayer list in hand expecting Him to fill my every whim, want and desire. Truth be known, I probably need to humble myself. Did you ever notice when there is a national catastrophe we don't really have a problem humbling ourselves? 9/11......churches filled up. I'm sure God heard a lot of "why did this happen?" As days passed and time moved on, the churches emptied and life returned to normal. We blame God for all the bad.
We never praise Him for the good.
We are a fickle bunch, are we not?
I like the first part of Job 40.
Then the LORD said to Job, "Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God's critic, but do you have the answers?" Then Job replied to the LORD, "I am nothing---how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hand over my mouth in silence. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say."
Job became very much aware, as we all need to , that we have been called into relationship with Almighty God. The God who spoke everything into existence. The God who gave His son as a ransom for me. I think He deserves my worship. I think He deserves my obedience. I know I have said this kidding but somehow there may be some truth. I have commented on several occasions about what I am going to do after life is over and I stand before Jesus. I have told several that I'll probably just fall on my face and worship Him for a couple of billion years.
Keep in mind the divine pecking order:
God on you.......
Monday, April 13, 2009
My oldest son, Chad, is a basketball coach. I have watched him minister to young men.
God on you.......
Friday, April 10, 2009
Somewhere between apologizing for American history - both distant and recent; genuflecting before the unelected, bigoted king of Saudi Arabia; announcing that he will slash the US's nuclear arsenal, scrap much of America's missile defense programs and emasculate the US Navy; leaving Japan to face North Korea and China alone; telling the Czechs, Poles and their fellow former Soviet colonies, "Don't worry, be happy," as he leaves them to Moscow's tender mercies; humiliating Iraq's leaders while kowtowing to Iran; preparing for an open confrontation with Israel; and thanking Islam for its great contribution to American history, President Obama made clear to the world's aggressors that America will not be confronting them for the foreseeable future.
Scripture encourages us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
We can still do this, on behalf of our country.
We need not stop praying for Jerusalem and for the Israeli people.
All you have to do is look at the nations who have opposed the Jews. Not one is in a place of prominence, in fact all have been relegated to a mid-level importance in the affairs of the world. I believe that the spirit of Ishmael is contending with the spirit of Isaac for the right to rule and reign in this world. This doesn't mean that God has been caught off guard, his plans are without fail.
What I do believe is that it is time for the body of Christ to be the body of Christ and quit worrying about public opinion. This will not afford us the right or opportunity to be proud and arrogant, no. For too long the church has been about the business of saber rattling. Pounding our chests and proclaiming what we are against. It is time we be about the business of love and prayer. Humility and purity are in short supply within the church today. When we aren't celebrating our own efforts we are creating an enemies list.
In one respect, the devil has won.
He has drawn the professing church (not to be confused with true church) into fighting on the devils terms and turf. What if the church suddenly became the real church and disappeared? What if humility caused us to walk and serve in love without fanfare or billboard. What if we reflected the nature of Christ, not with mass media or manipulation but through genuine love that speaks truth and does not back down when assaulted by the world.
We read in Acts 4:29 of a prayer that was prayed by Peter after being released for preaching the Word of God. "And now Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that thy bond-servants may speak thy word with all confidence (boldness).
America's future is found in Israel's safety.
If we reject and turn from Israel, we risk grave consequences.
Pray for the leaders of this country to awaken from their own self-delusional sleep.
Let the heavens be filled with the prayers of the saints for the safety of Jerusalem.
God on you.......
Bill W. ~ Founder of A.A.
Ephesisans 4:29 ((Recovery Bible)
Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that you words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Our words we choose and use say a lot about our character.
As the world around us continues to spiral downward into a moral black hole, we need to realize that God has granted to those who believe an incredible gift. That words we speak when directed by the Holy Spirit can bring healing.
Maybe I should be more careful about not only what I say, but how I say it.
Seems like everyone is talking but no one is really saying anything.
Personal opinion rules the airways and hearts of the people.
Yet, those who follow Jesus has words of truth that can set people free from the bondage of their sin.
Choose your words carefully.
Speak them in love.
Let God do his work .
Sound's like a plan
God on you...
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
This is an untouched photo taken by the Hubble telescope at some part of the galaxy that doesn't have a name. It is so far out that it is known by numbers.
Scientist say this is a rotation of dust particles and bits of space debris that has been caught up in a gravitational pull of a nearby star.
Without Christ, there isn't life....
With Christ, there is life eternal.....
By that, I mean that God seems to cause certain parts of His nature to be more evident than others.
During the 50's the emphasis was healing.
Great crusades move throughout our country as men preached the Word of God and followed it by demonstrating this truth. The men were not to be the center of attention but God. The men and women who carried this Word were merely conduits through which God flowed to bring healing to many.
During the 60's, the move was toward the Father heart of God. We learned that God had a softer side, if you will. I don't say this to make God out to be a wise old grandfather who gleefully doles out quarters to his grandchildren. We were made aware of the love of God.
During the 70's and 80's, we saw a change in the music of the church.
Some would say that the church embraced the secular side of music, I would disagree.
I simply believe that the body of Christ changed. By that, I mean that those who were being saved brought a new sound and a different style of worship. Even today in mainstream Southern Gospel, you can hear the tempo's and tenor of music from many different streams. The Words are the same, but the vehicle used to deliver has changed.
In the 90's we saw a world wide renewal break out. First in a small church in Toronto and then in a church in Pensacola, Florida. Each operating from a different model but producing the same result. The face of the church was changing world wide. What was once a stoic and somber Church of England became alive with purity and power of the Holy Spirit as people "brought back" what was going on in Toronto.
I write all of this to say that I truly believe we stand on the beginning of the next season.
There are stories I am receiving from here in our own town of healing.
A man I personally know and have prayed for on countless occasions was healed of cataracts last week. It happened through an interaction and sudden appointment with a group from Redding, California who came to Gadsden to minster. Other stories are filtering to me of others who were healed.
I truly believe we are receiving the "now" part of the future Kingdom of God. What do I mean by that? We see in Revelation the fullness of the Kingdom. No more death. No more sickness. No more tears. Today, in our time, we still see sickness and tears and death. But even in this, we see the splashing over of the goodness of God as he continues to interact in our time and space.
There are other pieces to this prophetic puzzle that I have been studying and praying about.
Hopefully in the near future,God will release me to share what I think is going on. As always, we hold loose the things God shows us, waiting the confirmation from Him.
God on you.......
Monday, April 6, 2009
THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
"There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."
I see this all to often in the lives of people who are trying to work a program of recovery. This knowing comes too often from having "Tried" to live clean and sober. The idea of living life becomes a mental concept that is played out and carried out under the direction and guidance of the one caught in addiction.
Underlying problem with any addictive behavior is a broken relationship. Because of our sin, we have a broken relationship with God. The very one who gives us life and has the power to enable to walk in freedom, we reject because of sin. Our sin commands us to live outside the influence and control of this God. The sin belittles us into believing that we know what is best, not God. Wasn't that the promise of the serpent in the garden of Eden? "God has kept from you information. God doesn't want you to see and understand as he does!" The serpent beguiled Eve with the greatest promise ever......."Eat this fruit and your eyes will be opened and you will be like God." If I am like God..........I don't need God. That is the curse we carry today.....We have convinced ourselves, through out sin, that we are like God. Able to discern the difference between good and evil. Just because one can discern the difference doesn't mean one can make the right choice. As Charlie Daniels said in his song, "When I had to choose between good and bad, I'd pick bad two out of three."
Don't just know the path. Walk it.
God on you......
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
April fools day.
I haven't played any pranks or jokes today, although my grandson, Tyler, played one on me.
It lead to fits of laughter and hugs as he reveled in the thought of getting one over on Poppa.
Taught from II Kings 5 last night.
The story of Naaman the leper.
Powerful man: Commander of King's Army
Man of integrity: Mentioned in Scripture.
Then comes the words........"But he was a leper."
All the positives were shot down with those 5 words: But he was a leper.
He begins the journey to be healed at the suggestion of an Israeli slave girl who knows of a prophet.
Naaman makes the trip to meet this man of God, Elisha.
Naaman arrives. Elisha sends his messenger to the front door and dispense with the wisdom for the cure of Naaman's leprosy. Go wash yourself (or dip) seven times in the Jordan river.
Naaman is furious on many different levels.
(1.) I am important.
(2.) This prophet doesn't even come to meet me personally, he sends his messenger.
(3.) Whats up with this "Go to the Jordan and dip myself 7 times?"
(4.) This is not the way I want it to happen.
(5.) We've got rivers in our country that are much better than the Jordan.
This is so like people who come into recovery.
They want to be clean and sober, but they want it on their terms.
12 Steps? You've got to be kidding me? That's too simple.
There are other ways and rehabs that are so much better than this.
The addictive mind looks for the softer, easier way.
The sin driven mind looks for the softer, easier more pleasing way.
But God says, "Jordan River and 12 Steps."
Naaman eventually gave in and did what he was told.
He was healed.
Imagine that? Doing what we have been told to do. Wouldn't that be called obedience? I think so.
"You want to follow me?" Jesus said.....
"Deny yourself....Take up your cross.....and let's go."
Three simple things that will provide life and life abundant.
The human mind still screams, "That's too simple! It has to be harder than that."
I do love God......
He understands exactly how simple I am.
God on you.....
There is an unspoken division among people that looks at the 12 steps as being only for people in addiction. I've heard many a perso...