Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting Caught....The Ultimate Uncovering

I spoke last night from John Chapter 8 where the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. Picture this: Jesus sitting teaching at the Temple. People every where listening to what He was saying when suddenly a commotion and a noise erupts as these men come storming into the middle of the crowd. Cries of "Adulteress" and "stone her" rose above the din of voices from the multitude. Jesus, unshaken by this staged event" sat quietly.

There in the middle of the fuss stood one woman, the accused. Now say what you will....say it isn't fair.........say they, the religious rulers, are not right but you cannot say that the woman isn't guilty. She is, and it is this guilt that demands she be killed according to the Law of Moses. It is from this place, the place of being ultimately caught, that the woman offers no plea.

The one thing I pointed out last night was that those who have built a history of sinful behavior that breaks the law, live their lives escaping the punishment they deserve. They hire lawyers to get them off the hook, even though they are guilty. They beg, cajole, use and manipulate anyone and anything (including the legal system) to get off from having to serve jail time or be punished in any shape, form or fashion. Yet, there is coming a time when they will be ultimately caught and be forced to stand before God to give an account of themselves. At that time there will no lawyers to rely on. No legal wrangling to get out from under THE punishment they have brought upon themselves. They are "ultimately" caught.

I see this in the behavior of guys who come through our program. They have skated the law and punishment and have managed to escape. They bring this same mentality to being convicted by the Holy Spirit. Please God! Let go free. Forgive me and I won't do it any more, only to return to sin shortly thereafter. God will not let this slide. They will be a payment for the sin that is collected in the account of whomever continues to live in darkness. The Bible clearly states, For the wages of sin is death. Wages......that which we earn. That which is due us. We will be paid if we do not come to Jesus for salvation.

I like what Jesus told the woman after all her accusers had left. She is there alone with Jesus, not knowing what is going to happen. Jesus asks her, 'Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one Lord." Jesus spoke with compassion in his voice, "Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more."
There in those two statements we see justification and sanctification.
"Neither do I condemn you." She was justified. Jesus wasn't excusing her sin. Jesus was winking and saying, "It's all right...just don't do it any more." This was a glimpse of what would be brought into play upon Jesus' death and resurrection. The door to relationship with God would be thrown open to wide to all who answered the call to salvation. Praise God! What a Savior.

I am grateful for the gift that God has extended to me in my salvation.
My desire is to truly "go and sin no more.' No excuses. No manipulation. Just a chasing after Jesus with all my heart.
It was a good night.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hymn"Here is Love Vast as the Ocean" Welsh Church

Being my heritage is from Wales, i have been strangely drawn to the study of Evan Roberts and the 1904 Welsh Revival. How God's Spirit came and a country was undone. Crime all but disappeared during the revival. Pubs closed down for lack of business.
The song in this video is most associated with the Welsh Revival. HERE IS LOVE VAST AS THE OCEAN. Oh that I could understand the depth and width and height of God's love and that it is directed toward His children, His followers, His church.
Sit back and enjoy this offering today.
Ask yourself, "Do i truly know this God?"

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Sodom Had No Bible

MY PICK BOOK OF THE WEEK:

Written by evangelist Leonard Ravenhill in 1971, this book is as relevant today as when it was first published. Burning with a passion to see the church of Jesus Christ walk in the purity and power they are called to, Ravenhill issues a call to revival. A call to awaken from the stupor that has invaded most churches today. Churches who substitute programs and fluff for the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. Here is an excerpt from the introduction to SODOM HAD NO BIBLE.

"I offer it as my considered judgment that the main reason why we do not have heaven-born, Spirit-operated revival in our day is that WE ARE CONTENT TO LIVE WITHOUT IT. Lesser blessings make us happy. Another bus for Sunday School is all that some ask. A bigger attendance this year at Easter and Christmas elevates the joy of many promotion-geared churches. Other boast in a bigger offering for mission. But I warn you again that the devil and hell fear none of these paltry flesh-born goals. Revival alone shakes the devil's kingdom, breaks his power, robs him of eternal possessions, and releases his captives. Out of revival alone springs a vanguard of men who will eagerly hazard their lives for His dear sake. Revival alone inspires men to carry over sized lads without a murmur as did their Lord. Men who will blaze new trails where souls by the million now sit in darkness and the shadow of death."

I find myself convicted and yet strangely encouraged to break free of the status quo that is the church. To speak a little clearer the danger and consequences of rejecting salvation for the comfort of this world. We have become Esau and have traded the eternal birthright for the temporary bowl of stew that only feeds our fleshly appetite. Let revival come! Let it begin in my heart. Where ever the devil has done work or tried to plant a seed, come Lord Jesus and rip it out and let the Kingdom of God take root inside of me. Awaken me from my slumber to the sound of your voice calling, "Go out to the deeper water and let down your nets." Go out to the place where you have refused to go. Go and know God.

I never know who reads this blog. I urge you...........no! I appeal to you.......if you do not know this Jesus of whom I write. Stop reading and cry out to Him. "Come Lord Jesus and show me what to do. How do I get saved?"
Confess your sin...your independence from God. That desire you carry around to run and rule your own life. Where has this gotten you? Are you happy today? Are you satisfied and full of peace? No! Confess that you have tried to master your own life independent from God.

Receive God's forgiveness. IT isn't about what you feel. It is about what you believe by faith.
Scripture reads: "if we are faithful to confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."

Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit: This is like the ultimate compass that will begin to guide you and give you direction.

Get into His word (Bible) and find a good Bible teaching church. Go and connect with those who are there.

Talk to God: Religious folks call it "praying". It is you being honest and open with God. More than talking, learn to listen for God.

If you have done these things---find someone and tell them what has happened. "Hey man! You aren't going to believe this.....I got saved."

Now go out and live.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thirst-Day

Rain today.
Weatherman says that this is the last round and we should be drying out for the weekend. That is good news.
My back yard resembles a marshy, wetlands. I fully expect to see members of the EPA sorting around in the yard ready to proclaim that the Federal Government is going to set aside the yard as a wildlife preserve.
Speaking of wildlife preserve. We are up to our ears in baby ducks. We have 29 new ones with more on the way. I love watching them chase after their mother, all waddling and running trying to keep up. Of course in the back of my mind, I know that danger lurks at every turn. Hawks, turtles, coyotes and other such varmint would love nothing better than a tender young duck for a meal. I guess there is something spiritual here as we are like those little ducks. We run after Jesus, realizing that He is our refuge and hiding place. If we stray away from Him, we place ourselves in danger of being destroyed by an enemy who does not have our best interest at heart.
Psalm 91:4-6
He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
Trust in God.
Draw near to Him with your mind and your heart. Do that and your body will follow.
Commit your ways to Him and then find the peace needed to make it through today.
Give thanks.

God on you.......
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Same Song....Second Verse

Cloudy....Rainy....Overcast.....I know that come July and August, we will be wishing we had saved some of these days.
Breakfast with Jim Bentley today. These past few weeks have been good for me and have helped me find a stable place emotionally and spiritually. I look forward to my Wednesdays.

I continue to focus upon the task at hand. To learn to walk daily obeying what I "hear" God saying. Sometimes I'm good at it. Other times I wonder if I will ever learn. I guess that is the gist of being an imperfect human following a perfect God. Thank you for Your grace today LORD.

Hebrews addresses these issues:
Hebrews 5
V.12- For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principals of the oracles of God; and you have come to
need milk and not solid food.
We should be older spiritually but because we have not taken serious this call to follow Jesus, some find themselves still 'babes' not being able to progress to sold food of the word and the relationship but still lapping and drinking the milk.

V.13 - For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
Sometimes we read verses like this and think to ourselves...of course babes need only milk. The difference in this example is that we choose to remain babes. We choose to not grow. To not move on and delve deeper into the Word of God. We want to remain babes because it is comfortable and no one expects a lot from us. Ouch! It's time for me to grow up before I grow older.

V.14- But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
I like this verse. Those who are full of age---this does not compute linear age of years, but spiritual maturity. Notice is says, "by reason of use have their senses exercised." It is about practicing and walking and trying and risking and messing up and getting it wrong only to get up and try it again. That is how you grow! As you grow and learn, you become better at hearing God and discerning what is and what isn't from Him.

Get into Hebrews 5 for yourself and see what God would say to you.
God on you today!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mom

She was the quintessential Mom.
Stayed at home and took care of us until a doctor told her that getting a job would be the best thing for her health. Mom had Arthritis and many was the morning that she had trouble getting around. The doctor suggested to her about going to work thinking that the movement of a job would help with the stiffness that came with ol' Arthur, the name my Mom used to refer to her disease.
She became a waitress.
She was good at what she did.
She worked at the Riverboat Restaurant when it was owned by Senator Jim Martin.
She met a lot of famous people while there.
My favorite story was one concerning Country Music Star Roy Clark.
Mr. Clark and a group of his friends had come down from Nashville to attend one of the races at Talladega.
They had come to the Riverboat for dinner one evening and my Mom was their waitress.
As always, she went above and beyond to give them the best service she could. Eventually the dinner ended and everyone got up to leave. When Mom went to clear the table, there wasn't any tip at all. She was very frustrated because she felt like she earned a tip by the service she had provided. But that was the way it went sometimes.
The evening progressed and her shift was almost over when Roy Clark came back through the door and walked over to where Mom was sitting. He explained that he thought someone had left a tip, but found out that, by mistake, no one had. He apologized for the slight and proceeded to hand my Mother $100.00. "I hope this makes up for our error. You really are a good waitress," Mr. Clark said. My Mom was beside herself and she told that story on numerous occasions or when ever Roy Clark was on television.

Today, May 26th, my Mom died.
I was there by her bedside when she shed the coil of this life to cross over and find out the truth of what she had believed since childhood. The belief that God was who He claimed to be and was able to do what He promised He would do.
How simple and easy death comes.
I remember sitting by her bed, listening to her struggle with each breath. Inhale.......a long pause.........exhale. Doctor's had told us that it was only a matter of time. I tried to picture what death would look like. Would there be one final battle as my Mom drew breath?
It wasn't anything like I pictured.
I was sitting there holding her hand. She drew a deep breath..........................then nothing. No exhale. No movement to her body. It just stopped. Yet in that moment, my Mom made the transition that we all must follow.
I remember thinking to myself, " That's it? That is all there is to death? One moment you're drawing breath, the next it's over?" Yes, that is the way it is.
The next few hours were a blur as phone calls were made and the plans were begun for Mom's funeral.
In all of this activity, I had called a good friend, Don Rakestraw, to let him know of my Mom's death. He shared with me a verse that has brought me great strength over the years.

Psalm 116:15
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.
God, who possess all power and authority, still sees the passing of His creation as something that is precious and not to be feared.
Another of my friends made reference to death being the ultimate healing.
No longer would my Mom suffer.
No longer would the strife and trouble of this world affect her. She was home. She was with my Grandfather and Grandmother. She was with her brother. She was with her Lord.
So each year on May 26th, my mind is drawn back to a hospital room at Gadsden Regional Medical Center, and how my Mom made the transition from this life to the next.
I know that I will follow at some point.
I pray that I can do it as well as my Mom did.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

And God said.......

The most incredible thing God does, he does so without fanfare and recognition, to some degree. It happens before us over a period of time and yet we really don't see the implications of this work. What work you may be asking? Why the work of creating a "new" people from something that did not exist.
I Peter 2:9-10 reads:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Hm who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: who once were not a people but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
We are incapable of making this happen. We possess no power or ability to create a "new" people or group from something that did not exist. Just as Jesus proclaimed, "I am the way, the truth and the life, we see that it is WHO Jesus is and WHAT Jesus did that opened the door to this creation of a new people.
I am clearly aware of this process and work of God as I see lives changed and empowered to take their place in this people who now "ARE". Knowing all too well the change that has taken place within myself that has lead me to be counted among these who now "ARE." It has nothing to do with church membership (I'm not against it). It has nothing to do with our denominational flags we have chosen to walk under (I'm not against that either). IT has every thing to do with recognizing that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith and we look unto Him for everything needed to walk through this world.
Have a great Memorial Day....
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Good Sabbath to you

President says in an interview, "we are out of money."
Swine flu sweeping the world as the number of infected increases.
States going bankrupt.
Banks failing.
Everything we have put our trust and future in is collapsing except for one.
The Lord God Almighty.
I'm not so sure how concerned He is with my standard of living as I have already had to address that issue back in 2006.
He is more interested in His Kingdom. Taking back His creation. Issuing the call for those who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him to receive rest, instruction and guidance to walk out their days here on planet earth.

Seems as though every one is focused on events and situations rather than God.
We want God.
But the God we want is a god who will straighten out this world mess so we can get on with our lives.
How selfish are we?
Jesus died for my 42 inch flat screen TV complete with Home entertainment system.
"Oh, I watch Christian TV and there's nothing like seeing all those televangelist in High Definition.
I think High Definition is when the Lord God on high, defines what truth is. As all these events unfold around me, I find out how petty I am and how much I am in need of a Savior.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength
He will make my feet like deer's feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Do you see this?
Our salvation and care are not dependent on the world situation.
We continue to love and chase after God no matter what.
I pray that I do not fall prey to the message of the world and loose sight of what is important. I pray that my walk with God is not so shallow that at the first sign of trouble or danger, I run away to embrace the darkness of the world.
You may ask, "How can you say such things?" Because I know human nature and I definitely know myself.

So on this cloudy, dark, rainy Sunday morning, settle in with God and His word.
Let it permeate your very being with His truth.
Ask God to show you how he sees you.
Spend time with Him today.

God on you........
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Twila Paris - We Will Glorify

Look beyond what stands in front of you today.
Look past the hurt and the pain.
Look up and see that your salvation draweth nigh...
Worship like you've never worshiped before.
Heart, soul, body, mind...every being of your existence giving glory to God.
Then go out and walk in peace today....
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Heart Beat

Short night last night.
Left Rapha at 10 p.m. and didn't get into bed until after 11.
Vicki let me sleep this morning while she made the coffee.
I'm usually the early riser who prepares the Mocha Java for the ladies of the house.

I am currently reading THE NARRATED BIBLE "In Chronological Order".
What that basically boils down to is that all the scripture has been placed in order as to God's plan for the ages. I'm reading it like a novel in order to simply better understand what fits where. You know if you read in Isaiah something that happens in I Chronicles and Ezra (just an example...don't go looking for something) it is sometimes hard in your mind to place it within the entire scope of the Bible. This chronological version helps to do that. Kind of help make sense of all the different kings who ruled Israel.

Friday is here already and another meeting to prepare for.
I have some of the worship music ready but still not finished.
Message? Not sure.
I've been reading a lot about God's call for Israel to return to Him from their sin.
I have done a lot of searching this week to see what is in me.
I don't think we ever outgrow this behavior of searching our hearts.
It's kind of like PEZ candy.
You pull the head back on the PEZ dispenser and a piece of candy pops out. When you take it, another piece moves into place. I think that this is way it is with God. As I surrender things (behaviors and attitudes a.k.a. sin) to Him, as he removes it, another is revealed. I am grateful that he hasn't stopped and continues to work in me.

Vicki is off today, but she has a gazillion errands to run so I pray that she get some time for herself. We will be together tonight and hopefully go out to eat. She is my love and I am grateful for every day God gives us together.
That's about it from here at Rapha....
Thanks for reading the blog and tell your friends about us....
Until next posting.....
Hasta Lasagna!
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

To Do List

THINGS TO DO TODAY:

1.) Rejoice Always - Don't allow my circumstances or situations to dictate my response. Lift my vision higher and see the goodness of God all around me and in me.

2.)Pray without ceasing - Don't stop! Walk around in an attitude of prayer. Keep an ongoing conversation with God telling Him how you feel, what you see, answers you need as you pray. In others words.....speak, listen, act on what you hear.

3.) Give Thanks - I am to give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.
God's will? Yes....to live as one grateful and thankful. How can I be thankful when bad times come? My thankfulness is directed at the one who sustains me.........the giver of life, Jesus.

4.) Do not quench the Spirit - Always allow the Holy Spirit free reign in your life. The moment you begin to question what God is doing, that means you are the judge of whether you will accept or reject God's leading. Boy, I know this sounds so new age, but be one in the Spirit. Jesus did say something about "Denying ourselves."

5.) Do not despise prophecies - prophecies? this means "The truth of God". It may be present tense or future tense. Either one, Listen! If someone claims to have a word from God for you. Smile and say, "o.k." Let them give it and then hold that word loosely. IF it truly is a word from God, He will reveal it to you.

6.) Test all things: Hold fast what is good - Wow! I sometimes have what I refer to as "The baby bird" syndrome. I walk around and spiritually have my mouth open like a baby bird willingly accepting what ever is dropped into it. Can't live like this. I like the last part, hold fast what is good! Cling to it, take it into yourself, put it to use and don't let go. Don't trade it away for what the enemy is offering.

7.) Abstain from every form of evil - Notice it didn't say "abstain from evil" but everything that even looks evil.

There you have it!
My To Do List taken directly from I Thessalonians 5:16-22

Have a great day!
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Let Me Introduce The Man

If you ever have attended Sunday School or had your Mother or Grandmother read to you from the Bible, then you probably know who the person above is. David ....soon to be King of Israel. Hand picked by God to take over from King Saul. Saul had disqualified himself from the Kingdom by his disobedience. A revelation of character if you will because of bad choices that Saul made concerning directives given to him by God. God said do it this way and Saul had other thoughts. Not a good basis for relationship if you ask me.

God makes a statement about David in Acts 13:22. We read:
"I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will."
What an incredible testimony. God said this about David, that he was a man (God recognized the frailty and failure that lived in David) after His own heart (What God wanted, David wanted) who would do all (What falls under "All"? Everything) His will.
I know what your thinking. "Yeah but David messed up." David didn't mess up. David sinned.
He counted the people, against God's wishes.
He courted and manipulated a married woman in order to have sexual relations with her.
Then, learning she was pregnant, concocted a plan in which to murder her husband.
Doesn't sound like David was a man after God's own heart does it?
There was forgiveness and David was wise enough to realize when he sinned that he could be restored. Oh, David wasn't into "I go sin because I know I can be forgiven of it." No, he never took God's gifts in such a manner. Here in the New Testament....such a testimony spoken by God over a man like David.

What would God say about you today?
What would God's testimony be concerning you and your relationship with Him?
I have tried to imagine what mine would be but you know, when you get into this area, you either have an inflated view of yourself, or you are in that "O LORD, I'm not worthy" stage.
I do want the attributes that David possessed. To have a heart after God's heart and do all that God's will dictated.
Hmmmm.
Food for thought.

God on you.....
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What He Said

He came out of nowhere.
He didn't look like them.
He was strange and yet there was something very familiar about him.
He didn't come and mingle in their midst trying to curry favor.
He didn't smooze with the leaders or look for opportunities to advance his own career.
He didn't perform any miracles.
Seas didn't part.
Ax heads didn't float.
No one was healed.
No one was raised from the dead.
Giants weren't slain, but the very foundation of an entire nation was shaken to the core by this man.

John the baptizer.
He came armed with a message.
Repent.....change your minds, your hearts and your ways.
The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
He stood on the outskirts of a major city and they came to him.
From all walks of life.
From every socio-economic level you could imagine.
They streamed forth to hear and to see for themselves.
What did they see?
A man.
Dressed in ways that reminded them of the prophet Elijah. In fact some believed that it was Elijah returned.

This man revealed the cracks and holes in a religious system that was strangling the very life from a nation. What once was good and Holy was now corrupt and pretentious.
This man did it with words.
He did it with language.
Spoken forcefully and not held back for fear of what others might think or do.
Words.
Oh these weren't just any words.
These were words spoken through this man by God Almighty Himself.
This man was merely a conduit for God to act through.
But it was the Words....

When the religious rulers approached to hear this man for themselves, they were met with "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Not the way to influence people and win friends. Now they were without reason to see the truth. It had been spoken to them.

Words.....
We want flash and glitz today.
We want current and hip.
What we need are words.
Stripped down, unadorned, truth from the Word of God.
We need to "hear" God for ourselves.
We need to return to His written word.

We need to be awakened.
How does this happen?
Listen.....
You'll hear the Word of God saying, "Wake up!"
We want miracles but we will not invest the effort to see the greatest miracle of all.
A life changed.
A life changed by Words.

"Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

God on you........

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Monday, May 18, 2009

God Is Good..

Remember the prayer we use to pray at meals when we were kids?
"God is great"
"God is good"
"Let us thank Him"
"For our food."

Well, guess what? God is good.
I listened to Scott Parker speak yesterday at Gadsden Vineyard Church.
He spoke on the goodness and greatness of God, using verses I had never tied together in this context.
Hebrews 3:9 -- Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw my works for 40 years.
Hebrews 3;10-- They go astray in their heart. And they have not known My ways.
God took care of Israel the entire time they traveled in the wilderness.
He fed them.
He gave them water.
He even brought His presence to lead them by day and warm them by night as the Fire of God rested in the middle of the camp.
He took them on a route that would keep them safe from warring factions and countries that would have destroyed Israel.
He was good.
Yet they (Israel) did not see this goodness. Why?
Self-centered and self-focused. Led by their base desires. No trust in God. No faith in God. Even with all of this, God's goodness continue to fall upon them.

All this begs me to ask myself a question. How much of God's goodness do I miss because of my own pettiness and self-centered view? Ouch! Come on Mike! I have to go there. I have to know for myself so I can allow the Holy Spirit to change me. I don't want to wander for the rest of my life and not see the goodness of God. Would it be possible to go to church for 40 years and miss God's goodness? I think so. If it can happen in the wilderness, it can surely happen in a brick building or structure. How sad would that be.

Be grateful today and find the goodness of God in your own life.

God on you........
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VERSE OF THE DAY:
Titus 2:13-14
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Like An Easy Sunday Morning

Already well into my 3rd cup of coffee.
I am suppose to play on the worship team at Gadsden Vineyard Church this morning.
Debbie Handy will lead and, as always, it will be my pleasure to worship with her and the others.

Last night's meeting at Rapha was a doozy.
Good crowd.
Visitors.
Babies.
Babies?
Yes. Donnie and Shannon Toole brought their new daughter to the meeting.
When ministry began, I wanted to pray for their daughter so they brought her up front.
I gathered some people around and we prayed over her asking God to keep her and lead her into a more complete relationship.
I asked Shannon what her name was.
"FAITH"......was the reply.
Faith! Fill her with her namesake Lord.

We got to pray for a young man.
Big, muscular....rough.
He has had a hard life.
In and out of jail. Spent time in the state prison.
He wants to change, but carries around a lot of emotional baggage from his past that he isn't sure he can change.
As he stood there, I only heard three words.
They weren't even unique words, or mystical words. Just three.
I told him that God wanted to relay a message, and that it was just three words.
"I.........Love..........You."
When I spoke those words, this young man began to cry and sob.
I saw him go limp as though the very life had been sucked out.
Three little words that went to the very heart of who this young man was.
How quick we are to dismiss the power of love especially when it comes from God.
Not any more. I will not dismiss or discount the power of God's love.

It was a good night.
We (the leadership) all wound up at Cracker Barrel afterwards to talk and laugh and go back over the evening in a kind of critique to see if we need to do anything different.
I look forward to the meal afterwards.
I have been blessed to be surrounded by a group of wonderful, godly people.
So now, Saturday has come and gone.
We prepare for the next one.

God on you..........

VERSE OF THE DAY:
Psalm 65:4
How blessed is the one whom you have chosen, and brought near to yourself.
To dwell in your courts.
We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy
temple.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

John Piper's Response to President Obama

I have watched this video for several different reasons, the primary one being how John Piper conducts himself in talking to President Obama.

Speech is a hot topic these days and I can see a time, not long from now, when speech will be policed. That saying the wrong thing according to those in positions of authority and power, will bring punishment.

Unless something happens.......
Unless we allow God to act....and by that I mean, open our hearts to obey the call to follow Jesus, every day, every way....
We will have church meetings and gatherings that will grow weaker and smaller because of our disobedience.

I do not write these words as one who is unafriad.
I write them as one who has followed this Jesus for a number of years. In this following, I knew that this was where we were headed. A time of defining. We will be defined by who we believe not what we believe. Like Paul, I claim that I know "WHOM" I have believed and am confident in His ability to keep what I have entrusted to him until the day of salvation.

I will say what God desires me to say....
I will say it where He wants it spoken....
I will follow my Jesus....
Not as a martyr, but simply as one who believes.
Whatever happens, happens....

God on you....

Stop And Rest

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Mathew 11:28
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Saturday is a day of rest for me.
IT is one of the busiest day in my week also.
How can it be one in the same.........a day of work and a day of rest?
I rest in the middle of the preparation for the meeting tonight.
The Worship music has been prepared.
The Chapel has been set.
Prayers have been prayed (and continue to be) over our gathering tonight.
Yet, I spend the day trying to stay focused on God and the message.
Telling my mind to quit trying to drag me off into areas and thoughts that are not pertinent to the meeting tonight. Sometimes the outside world screams and pulls to draw my attention away from the work at hand. It is a battle.

It is all about resting in God and not moving or listening to those "voices" in your head that tell you different.
I spend the day surrounded by worship music.
I quote and read aloud a lot of Scripture.
I try to walk in peace and not allow myself to become distracted from the work at hand.

The passage in Isaiah reads that there is a refreshing, a renewal when we wait on God. The word "wait" is also translated "hope". Could it be that the two are tied together? Waiting and hoping. Not simply for hopes sake, but that our hope find direction and purpose in God. Let's flip the Isaiah verse around and read the "anti-Isaiah" verse.
Those who do not wait (or hope) on the Lord shall lose their strength. They shall stay grounded with out the ability to rise above their situations and circumstances. They shall run (without) purpose and grow weary in the process. They shall walk and eventually be physically, mentally and spiritually overcome to the point of fainting.

Sometimes we feel as though the best thing for us is to keep busy. Keep plugging away and that somehow our own efforts will punch through the wall and afford us access to new places. That, my friend, is the true definition of Insanity. Doing the same thing over and over (beating our heads on that wall) expecting each time to be different. You know something I've learned about that ol' wall? It doesn't care how many times you beat your head on it. your the one who suffers.

Find that place of rest today.
Enter into it and lay claim to your spot.
Don't allow the world to drag you back into the turmoil and confusion.
Rest and wait on God.

God on you............
mb

Friday, May 15, 2009

1904 Welsh Revival Film

I have begun going back and reading and listening to different accounts of the Heroes of Faith. Men and women who had a call on their lives and could do nothing less than follow it.
Being of Welsh decent, I have always had an affinity to the Welsh Revival and Evan Roberts.
IT's not enough to watch videos such as this and read accounts of the great move of God and go away thinking that somehow we have partaken of it. No! We need to yield ouselves, spirit, soul, and body to God and ask Him to come and revive us.
IF ever a time existed when the church of the living God needed to be awakened, it is today.

Send the fire, Lord!
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wretched Man That I Am!

I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms. And in the Great Day my Resurrection body will rise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer." - John Paton

I lean too much on the stories told by others.
God created me to tell my story. Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that we would be clothed with power when the Holy Ghost had fallen and that we would be His witness. Get it? We would testify to what we know personally. Not what we have heard others say. We take the preaching of God's Word and let it burn in us, but we walk out the truth created by the Word of God. We speak of what we know, what we have seen, what we have experienced.
How shallow some of our stories would be.

Would our stories be all about us....
Or would they involve what God did through us to bring someone into His Kingdom?
It is time for us to truly be about the work of the Kingdom rather than tidying up the kingdom. Would we dare pray for Holy Spirit to be coming into our midst and messing up our lives and schedules and jobs. REVIVAL~ To revive that which is dead or fainted. That is what I am in need of.............being revived.
My greatest fear is not sin or hell...those questions have been answered.
My greatest fear is that I will miss what God is doing.
I will miss my part in it.
I will be so self-absorbed that I will not see the fire or feel the Holy Ghost.
God, do not let me miss you!

Hebrews 10:31 reads:
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Yet we are so in need of being awakened from our spiritual slumber that we don't realize that this is where we are headed.....into the hands of a living God.

Hebrews 12:28-29 reads:
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shake, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

The quote at the beginning of this blog is from John G. Patton, a missionary for the Presbyterian church who served on the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. An island filled with natives who practiced cannibalism. Who killed the wives of the men of the village when the man died. They believed that a woman should join their husband if he dies so she can serve him. John G. Patton served years after his own wife and son died there on that island. He served alone, except for the fact he wasn't alone. The Spirit of Almighty God walked with him and that island was claimed for the Kingdom of God when John G. Patton finished this life here. It cost John Patton to serve God. But all that John Patton lost, in the eyes of the world, was gain in what he found in Christ.
John Wesly, upon his death, left behind a Bible, A pair of reading glasses, very little money and oh yeah.........the Methodist Church.

I fear that we, the body of Christ (Dare I use that name?) are more interested in our comfort than in the kingdom. Let us serve God from pews and A/C. Let us hire mercenaries for God to go and do the dirty work of the kingdom. Hard? I think so and yet I am pointing the finger at myself not who ever is reading this. I find that I become quiet complacent here at Rapha. Feeling all "godly" in my office surrounded by my books and Bibles. Oh God! Forgive me for my laxness.
No one....
No one....
who claims the shed blood of Jesus for their salvation is exempt from the call of Christ to make disciples. You don't make disciples by sitting or ordering them from Amazon.com. you make them by going out looking for the right materials and gathering them all together. What material? Lives that are broken and in disrepair. Lives where hope runs dry. Lives where everyone else has given up on this life, but not God. You bring them into the Kingdom by prayer and proclaiming the Word of God. That mankind stands guilty before the throne of God unless there is repentance and confession and a receiving of forgiveness.
We all aren't called to far away places.
But we all are called.
A calling is for your life, not your pocketbook.
To obey is better than sacrifice.
We cannot wait.
We must rise and being to walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have received from Christ.

Blessing today and may God rest upon you and your families.
Please pass this blog along to others if you feel that it is of any purpose.

God on you.....
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A Total Disconnect

Do you have a hard time connecting what you read about God in Scripture with your everyday life?
Do you find it difficult to "see" the God you read about in your circumstances or situations?
I know many who are like this.
Could it be that our view or concept of God isn't who He really is at all? I think the answer may be yes.
Understanding who God is isn't a mental exercise.
It isn't us exerting our will to find, seek out and uncover some great hidden truth.
Understanding God comes one day at a time. Sometimes one moment at a time.
It is us walking out today under his guidance. Notice I said guidance and not leading.
John 16:13 paraphrased shows us this: When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He will guide you into all truth. Most people agree with this verse. Trouble comes with what we do once we are guided there. Do we simply acknowledge this truth or do we set about with a purpose to let God work in us to make the truth a reality? You see, when we are guided into truth, the truth usually concerns us and the work God wants to do in us. We see our hearts as God sees us. We see all the attitudes, the sin, the behaviors that we carry around and yet, covering it all, God's truth is proclaiming God's ability to free us from these things.

If we are faithful with the little things, He will entrust to us the bigger things. Faithful with the truth that we are given today. Do we let this truth spur us onward to chase Jesus or do we simply give a nod of the head to it? It's kind of like some people we see in working in recovery. Step #1 says that we "admit that we are powerless over our drug or alcohol and that our lives have become unmanageable." We see people admit this over and over and over, yet they are not willing to do anything about it. They spoke the truth........."My life is a mess and I'm an addict." Yet they were not willing to move on into a better way of living.

Father.......Help me to not run away from your truth that you will show me today. Help me to embrace it and allow you to work in my life. Help me to not usurp your will with my own simply to feed my sin nature, but help me to bow before you and say, "Your will, Lord, not mine."
Amen.......

God on you.........

VERSE OF THE DAY:
John 16:31
Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe?"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

12 Steps To Total Insanity

I thought this new 12 Steps To Total Insanity was great.
It is the mindset of those caught in legalism.
Those who came to Jesus by faith and then suggested that He sit down while they take over.
I guess you could say it is the 12 Steps to being a Pharisee.

1. We admitted we were powerless over nothing. We could manage our lives perfectly and we could manage those of anyone else that would allow it.

2. Came to believe that there was no power greater than ourselves, and the rest of the world was insane.

3. Made a decision to have our loved ones and friends turn their wills and their lives over to our care.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of everyone we knew.

5. Admitted to the whole world at large the exact nature of their wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to make others straighten up and do right.

7. Demanded others to either "shape up or ship out".

8. Made a list of anyone who had ever harmed us and became willing to go to any lengths to get even with them all.

9. Got direct revenge on such people whenever possible except when to do so would cost us our own lives, or at the very least, a jail sentence.

10. Continued to take inventory of others, and when they were wrong promptly and repeatedly told them about it.

11. Sought through nagging to improve our relations with others as we could not understand them at all, asking only that they knuckle under and do things our way.

12. Having had a complete physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown as a result of these steps, we tried to blame it on others and to get sympathy and pity in all our affairs.

From The ACA Communicator -
March 1990 - Omaha, Council Bluffs Area Intergroup

My Journey

If you haven't noticed, I am a restless sort of guy.
My blogs keep changing.
My postings take on a different feel and subject at the drop of a hat.
I would be diagnosed as being O.C.D.
Truth be known.....I keep trying to get away from who it is God called me to be. Some how in all of this call, I think I could do it better or bigger or with more panache'. God keeps letting me try and I keep falling on my face only to return back home with a huge "I'm sorry, Lord....can I just be who you called me to be?"

I began writing and sending out different tid-bits and thoughts 15 years ago (has it really been that long?). It began with our first home group. Since Vicki and I were hosting a meeting every other Saturday night, some of the people needed a reminder as to which week the meeting was on. I begin to mail out reminders to them. Over the course of time, the bi-weekly reminders turned into articles about what God was doing with us and with the people of our group. It became known as the Greene Street Letters. It grew in number and scope as God grew us. Eventually we were mailing out 100 hard copies and over 400 Email copies every other week.

The Greene Street Letters came from the simple fact that I lived on Greene Street. A kind of typical American Suburban neighborhood where nothing ever seemed to happen. I knew better as God was showing Vicki and I new things every day. The LETTERS was just a vehicle to get the word out.

Over the years the Greene Street Letters has changed to:
Notes From The Outer Banks
Blues Notes
The Edge
Journey Place
In 2006 upon moving to Rapha on a full time basis, I began to blog and post on line under the title of CHURCH@RAPHA. I even tried NEW COMPASSIONS for while but nothing ever seemed to fit.
15 years later, I am back where I started.
This blog will forever be known as THE GREENE STREET LETTERS.
It will continue to simply be updates from what is going on around us here in Attalla, Alabama.
If you read this blog, please pass it on to others.
Feel free to use anything I post here.
Feel free to post comments, or simply drop by and peruse the writings and draw from it what you need for the day.

God on you........

VERSE OF THE DAY:
II Corinthians 5:9
Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hodge Podge

Making disciples.
Jesus commanded it.
God ordained it.
We do it.
Making disciples.
What is a disciple? A follower of Jesus. One who studies the Word of God. One who prays. One who believes with his life and not his head. When you believe with your life, your body follows where the Holy Spirit directs.
Disciples are not massed produced.
They are hand crafted.
Hand crafted by God's hand.

As much as I like to see someone saved and come to know Jesus, it is a greater thrill to me when you see that same person becoming a disciple.
That is my goal.
Make disciples.
I have one right now that is in the camp.
He is hungry for the Word of God.
Not one who is simply reading the words but is asking questions.
He comes every other day to my office and we spend time together as he asks questions. Marking in his bible answers and references to other scriptures.
He speaks of situations he has faced and how he applied what he was reading in Scripture to those situations. He is amazed that the Bible is a practical book for daily living in the Kingdom of God.

This man has progressively gotten stronger spiritually since coming to Rapha. This has made him more sure of who God truly is and has caused this man to trust God.
This man now has the capacity to chase God and hear God for himself.
Has he arrived?
Has any of us arrived?
No!
We never cease the chase.
We never loose our hunger for God and His Word.
Each day is another opportunity to learn more. To apply what we have learned as problems occur. Another day to be light and salt.
I know that I know this man who is a disciple will, in turn, make others as he has been made.
That is what the Kingdom is all about.

God on you.........

Verse of the Day:
II Timothy 2:2
And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Who Am I?

Mother's Day has come and gone.
Vicki was treated like the Queen of Auckland, as we do every year on that day.
I prepared all the meals and cleaned up afterward.
The hardest decision she had to make yesterday was what to watch on TV or if she wanted to take a nap in the living room or on the bed.
I am blessed beyond measure to be have been married 37+ years to her.

I remember early on in our marriage when who God desired us to be was backwards.
I did not want to truly be a husband and make decisions.
Because of this, I pushed it all over onto Vicki.
I went to work. I took my check and put in the bank and said, "You take care of everything."
I gave up the authority that God created me to carry simply because I didn't want to be concerned with all that "stuff" that goes with being a man.

I see so many men today who have done likewise. They have bought into a lie that the world has perpetrated about who and what a man is. There is such a "beat down" from the world about all the wrong done in the past by men that there is an emasculation going on both spiritually and mentally among men. Look at the commercials you see on TV. Who is the doofus in every commercial? Dad. He is the bumbling, stumbling, don't-know-anything, guy that is the butt of all jokes.

Before you go postal, I want you to know that I am not advocating being a heavy handed tyrant when it comes to being a man. Lording over "your woman" beating her into submission. No! Scripture says that husbands are to love their wives as Jesus loves the church. That means a husbands chief duty is to provide an environment where his wife can become all God created her to be. To protect her. To love her. To guide her. That is what men do.

It wasn't until Vicki and I started attending Central United Methodist did we hear a series of messages about getting your house in order. Number one in the series was about husbands and wives occupying the right role in the marriage. That one hit home. It wasn't an overnight thing when it came to reversing the roles Vicki and I were carrying around. It was a struggle and sometimes a battle, but with the Holy Spirit guiding and working in us, we each began to change into who God created us to be. That was when we found peace in our home.
Make sure that your house is in order and that you are who you were created to be.

God on you.........

Verse of the Day:
I Kings 2:2
I am going the way of all the earth. Be Strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To My Wife And Mother Of My Children

It has been a blessing and a true gift from God to watch my wife over the years as she has changed through it all. Giving birth to our first son, Chad, when she was twenty. Fearful about whether or not she could be a good mother. Well sweetheart, I think you passed that test with flying colors. Look at our two sons. Both established in their work. Both are godly men who have married godly wives. I think you did pretty good. So on this day, I celebrate your eternal contribution to the two men we call sons. You did good Vic!

Proverbs 31:10-11, 26-31
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teachings of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways for her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying, "Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Seekers - I'll never find another you (1968)

Sometimes you can find God in the strangest places. Not because He's hiding but because we never thought to look for Him there.
This song by the Seekers was a song we use to play back in 1969 when I was with Campus Crusade for Christ. There wasn't any such thing as contemporary Christian music and that might have been a good thing. Someone brought me the "45" record (remember those?) and it struck me that this song was like it was pulled from the book of Songs of Solomon. This incredible love that between two people. Of course the symbolism is that the young girl represents believers or the body of Christ. The young man would be a symbol for Jesus.
Anyway, I can remember playing this song....the room full of young people singing, some with their eyes closed...some with hands raised. Now some 40 years later, I understand the truth in saying, "There will never be another you, Lord!"

God on you....

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A Day To Myself

Wow! No message to prepare (at least for today).
No Worship set to work up.
No setting up for a meeting tonight.
The guys are going to Covenant Christian Church tonight for a special night of food and worship.
Blessings on the meeting tonight.
But today....
I have a semi-day off.
I am going to study. Currently in Isaiah and loving it. Seeing and reading and understanding in a new way. That is cool...
I will be available to talk and counsel anyone who wanders down the hall and into my office.
So I'm looking forward to what lies ahead.

For whatever reason, I have been focused on Jesus' return. I'm not going to get into whether you believe in Pre-trib, Mid-trib or post-trib rapture....the fact matters that Jesus is coming back. I have tried to wrap my head around what it will look like, what it will feel like, and sound like. To no avail, even my best Hollywood special F/x can't seem to draw a picture. In my heart of hearts I know that He will return. There is a selfish part of me that wants it to happen while I am alive. I would love to see it. Like I said, that is pretty selfish on my part.
I have been watching and reading and listening to several different teachers and pastor/preachers and each one seems to speak confidently on what they believe concerning end times. I seem to be one who holds it all loosely, waiting and watching. Sometimes our confidence will cause us to look foolish. I have a book in my library that I purchased earlier this year titled JESUS' RETURN IN 1994. Needless to say, this teacher/author missed it. I do not know when, but I don't think His return will be much longer.

The Christianity I see today is very self centered and shallow.
We don't talk about sin.
We refuse to teach on hell.
We water down the gospel in order to get people to come to church.
We focus on the felt-needs of others through programs and events to get people to attend.
Instead of STANDING ON THE PROMISES, we seem to be SITTING ON THE PREMISES.
I do not lift myself to any standard or say, "Look at me...Be like me." No! I say walk in a manner worthy of the calling, that each who claim the name of Jesus will carry the calling out.
Be the body.
Do the works of Christ.
Be the body.

Verse of the Day:
Isaiah 12:2
Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid; For Yah, the LORD, is my strength and song. He also has become my salvation.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cracked Pots

It has been a good week for me. There are things going on inside of me that I know are from God. I feel like the interstate in Atlanta though, always a work in progress. I don't think I have ever driven to Atlanta without seeing some kind of construction work on I-20. In the Kingdom, I think the same hold true for us as believer's. There will always be these "spiritual" orange cones and yellow flashing lights to signify a work in progress. That is just part of the deal when you have been saved.

I have become very much aware of the frailty of our humanness. Those things that make us uniquely human in God's creation. How we have the ability to deceive not only others but ourselves. To convince ourselves that we are in a good state of mind, yet all the while be walking in darkness. I see a lot of this. I see men who stay in the program for well over a year, and yet when it is time to go, they leave with motives and intentions that you know are going to send them right back into their old lifestyle. You can talk to them and they will assure you that God is still number #1 in their lives and that they are going to be alright, but you know that it is all a smoke screen. As humans, we truly are earthen vessels.....or as I heard it so eloquently put...we are all "Cracked Pots". God has placed within those who are saved a precious treasure. What you may ask? The light or understanding of the nature or glory of God as seen in Jesus Christ.
Because as we come to understand who Christ is, we begin to understand who we are. When we see ourselves in light of who Jesus truly is, we see all the cracked places in us where sin has damaged us. When we acknowledge these "cracks", God brings healing through the work of the Holy Spirit and we are made whole.

To understand myself in the light or awareness of who Jesus is.......that is the incredible work God does in the life of a person. Like Peter, after pulling in the catch of fish after Jesus told him where he would find them, I fall to my knees and say, "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man."
Jesus doesn't depart. He begins the healing and restoration of our lives. He places a call inside of everyone who says "yes" to following Him. Then He empowers them through the presence and filling of the Holy Spirit and sends them out (cracked pots for Jesus) to infect and affect their community. Let God's light shine through your broken places today. Someone needs to see it.

God on you.......

Verse of the Day:
II Corinthians 4:8-10
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not despairing. Persecuted, but not forsaken. Struck down, but not destroyed. Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Revelation Now


I have been studying.....wait for it........her it comes.......in the book of Revelation. NOOOO!!!! Not Revelation!!! Yes.
I found a book by a man named Clarence Larkin that was written in 1919. I first was made aware of Clarence Larkin while I attended Central United Methodist. He had written a book called Dispensational Truth, and I was drawn to it to study and read it.

Yesterday, while visiting my local Christian Bookstore, I ran across a copy of REVELATION by Mr. Larkin and decided to purchase it. The very first thing I encountered was something that I don't think I ever read in any other commentary on this particular book.
Revelation 1:3-- Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Notice....it says you are blessed when you read this book. No where does it say you have to understand it. It is a book filled with imagery and symbolism and in-your-face-truth. If you begin a study on Revelation you will find a gazillion commentaries with a gazillion different ways of looking at the book. Mr. Larkin said we are simply blessed when we read it. We are blessed when we "keep those things which are written in it." What things? Salvation.......our inheritance..........over and over and over Jesus says, "To him who overcomes." The blessing comes from pressing on in Christ. Not giving up. (and as a side note...you can't press on when you're sitting down doing nothing)
No matter what your slant is on scripture, it is hard to refute that we are living out God's plan today. Each day that passes pulls us closer to the events in Revelation. Some of which are currently being played out around the world. All the talk of moving to a one world government and a one currency financial system are all precursors to events we see in Revelation. We are in the most incredible times and seasons as we will see God in a way that we have never seen Him before.
In John16:33 we read:
These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Praise God!
The only peace that will be available will be in Christ. Turmoil and stress will be the order of the day. But those who follow Jesus will be in peace.

Maranatha LORD Jesus!
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Verse Of The Day:
John 16:31
Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe?"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Next Step: What Now?

There has been an undercurrent or theme to what I have posted over the past few days. I didn't really have language for it until last night. I was in my office at Rapha reading my Bible when God began to give me bits and pieces of what has been going on over the past 6 years.
It began in October of 2003 with a weekend vacation. Vicki and I had driven to a secluded spot and spent the weekend reading and praying in an effort to renew ourselves. That entire weekend was about repentance. It was in every verse I read. It was in every prayer I prayed. A friend of mine had given me some tapes to listen to and this was the main topic of every tape I put in........repentance.
For the past, almost 6 years, God has been preparing people for such a time as we find ourselves in here in America. God is not daunted by what has happened to our nation, in fact, He has issued a call to the body of Christ to step up and become all that we were created to be. In the process of this "being" who God has called us to be, we begin to do for the Kingdom. We begin to push back the spiritual darkness of this land by doing the works of Christ. First and foremost, we learn to love. We love the unlovable and usher in the Kingdom of God.
We also have got to draw from the past. Those who have gone before us in that line of believers that stretches to the ages long since past. We draw from what they learned of God. We draw from the mantles and anointing they carried. How can I say this? Because God showed me in II Kings 2:14 a similar situation.
Elijah had been taken to heaven by a fiery chariot and Elisha was left to carry on. His only request of Elijah was to receive a double portion of his mantle or anointing. Elisha picks up the mantle or cloak of Elijah and goes to the Jordan river. Standing there he proclaims, "Where is the Lord, The God of Elijah?" He then struck the waters of the Jordan and they divided. Elisha was saying, "Where is the power and presence of the God of Elijah? Will He be with me?"

That is the cry that is needed in the body of Christ today.
That is the cry that should be on the lips of every believer.
"Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" As this is proclaimed, we should allow God to put on each of us the anointing of the Holy Spirit and go forth in the purity of God.
This is the next step.
The Anointing of God....The Holy Spirit. Not for emotional hoo-ha's and whoop-de-doo's but the anointing of God to be a witness for Christ. Proclaiming the word of God and demonstrating the power of God.
Foolish you may say.
Those things have long since past and are not for today, you may think.
I think not.
God on you....
Verse of the Day:
Psalm 72:12-14
For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help. The afflicted also, and him who has no helper. He will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy he will save. He will rescue their life from oppression and violence and their blood will be precious in his sight.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No Longer...



God is merciful in his dealing with me. Me? I want to follow hard after him.
I want to stand and be counted among the body of Christ. I find myself dealing with those inner demons of self. There are days when they don't surface at all and life is good. There are days when doubt and fear and insecurity rise up as a beast to consume me. On these days,I fall to my knees in prayer asking for God's grace to help me move on. I know that I know that I know that God's grace is sufficient. That means there is nothing else needed. No outside source can produce anything worthy or of use to me. Just the Grace of God! It is here in this battle of humanity and divinity that one can gain understanding of the awesomeness and greatness of God. For He contains all power and authority and could wield it at any moment, but chooses to hold back because of his love for his creation.
I need to learn to rest in God.
To not expend so much energy trying to analyze who I am in light of God's word. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. He convicts me of sin in my life, and at the same time leads me to repentance where I can be made whole. It is this cycle that runs over and over and over in the life of a believer. As you draw closer and closer to God you are uncovered by the majesty and purity of God. You see yourself in the light of all that is holy and pure. How could we not be undone by this? Yet in this undoing of our very soul, God reaches out and forgives, fills and restores us. Praise God!
It is this word that God is doing all over this world. You will not read about it in the newspapers. You won't hear the major networks reporting it, but rest in the knowledge that God has a remnant of believers. God is not daunted by numbers of the enemy or the amount of wealth he possesses. God with the breath of his nostrils can dry up the seas and scatter mankind.
Psalm 2 reads:
Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The Kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed; Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us!
He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury.
Find your life in Him today.
Commit yourself to follow hard after Him.
Rest in Him today!
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Two Moravian Missionarys

How small are my efforts....
I dare not judge them with my own eyes, but look wholly to the one who has called me....
For He has the will and way to call me out to other places...to other peoples......and I...
All I can do is answer and say, "yes, Lord!"
Pray that we all have the courage and strength to go and be where God is calling us to...
God on you........

My Eyes Are Dry - Keith Green

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Lift up Your Eyes....

There is much pain out there.
There is much pain in me.
It's not the fact that we have pain (physically and emotionally), but what are we going to do with it?
Are we going to let it consume us? Are we going to stay tied to memories and actions of others that keep us from moving on with God.
Maybe this is the hard part of loving someone, especially when it is someone close to us who has hurt us. God commands us to love. To love big. To love unconditionally. To love without fail or a without a hidden agenda. We are called to love and not expect anything in return. That is hard to do when it is someone close to you. But God will provide grace to see you through. He will take our pain and use it for good. That is a promise.

In Psalm 34:15 we read:
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.
Either this is true or it is a lie. God looks to us especially when we hurt. We want the hurt to go away. We want situations to be different than they are. God says, "I know you are hurting, but this hurt will cause you to grow so that the next thing that comes along, you will have strength and stamina to deal with it.
Psalm 34:19 reads:
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.

Take heart today in who you are in Jesus.
Remember what your position is in Christ.
Say it out loud.
Say it with purpose.
"I am a child of the most high God."

God on you..............
Verse of the Day:
John 13:34
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Great American Novel

This might be a little to "out there" for some. To me it ranks us there with Keith Green's ASLEEP IN THE LIGHT and Steve Camp's PLAYING MARBLES WITH DIAMONDS. All in reference to the church and the ineffectiveness of how we are trying to carry out the mandate of God for this world.
Thanks Larry for this song.
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New Beginnings

Once more into the breach. New week, new day, another opportunity to change. You may disagree with me, but I don't think you ever stop changing as the Holy Spirit continues to work inside you. I think one of the most destructive mindsets is when a believer feels like they have arrived. They are at the pinnacle of their relationship with Jesus. Nothing else is needed. No more work to do. They belong to a church. They tithe. They sing in the choir. They read their Bible. They even witness, but there is nothing more God need do inside of them.

Jesus used farming a lot in the parables he told. Planting, watering, and sowing/ reaping. I think he did so because of it was so close to the work that God does in His children. All we truly want is the harvest. Open the windows and pour out your blessings LORD! We're not really interested in breaking up the fallow ground of our hearts in order to let God plant inside of us. What is it He plants? How about the "Fruit" of the Holy Spirit? All the positive characteristics that change us more to look like our elder brother, Jesus. Those are brought forth over time, it isn't an instant "poof-o" thing.

Psalm 1:3 reads that we will be like "Trees planted along the riverbank bearing fruit in due season without fail, and our leaves will never wither and in all we do we will prosper."
We will bear fruit in due season, or when the time is right.
You don't grow watermelons in the winter time. You plant, water, weed, and harvest at the appropriate time.

Today, I have to be patient and allow God's plantings in my life to produce.
I have to realize that He is in control.
Don't be anxious.
Wait in hope...

God on you.....

Verse of the Day:
Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let each one who hears them say, "Come." Let the thirsty ones come----anyone who wants to. Let them come and drink the water of life without charge.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Morning Ruminations

Storms last night. Rain this morning. It is a lazy kind of day. A third-cup-of-coffee kind of day.
Last night's service was very different.
There has been so much turmoil in the air surrounding those who have chosen to abandon what they were taught concerning their lifestyle in order to return to their old ways. It doesn't matter what the reason is, it simply boils down to "I want to do what I want to do." There is a rejection of the truth when told to them. This I will never understand, especially when doing the right thing is a way to life and a restored relationship with Jesus.

I really wasn't sure about what to do for last nights meeting. I really didn't have a message but I did have a kind of hodge-podge of ideas about what I thought God wanted. I began the service by reading a list of names of the people who had come through the program and now were dead.
I read slowly and with purpose.
Each name brought up a face in my mind, and with each face, I remembered stories and events surrounding each man's stay at Rapha.
The purpose in this reading of the names was simply to remember.
Remember the good of each one of these men.
Remember what it was that lead them off into destruction.
Why?
Because those of us who are left alive have to press on.
We remember.
But we move on in our recovery.
I opened the floor up to anyone who had a verse or a testimony. This was a really good thing as man after man stood to share what was going on in their life.
We started the meeting on a solemn and somber note, but ended with a renewed commitment to not quit but press on with Christ.
It was a good evening.

Verse Of The Day:
Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Visitation Day



Vicki and I went to supper with the kids and grandkids last night. A good time was had by all. Much conversation about life and how God was working through it all. I marvel at the wisdom of my son, Chad. He and his wife, Robin, are in the process of getting their house in order on all levels of work. I hear, when he speaks, things that he has learned over the years. He is much wiser and bolder than I was at his age.

I received an invitation to speak Sunday morning at Convenant Christian Church. This is a real honor for me, as this church does so much for the men who come through the program. They are a very loving and giving people who have heart for those who are struggling through addiciton. To be able to go and speak on a Sunday morning......in Big Church! That is so way cool.

It has been a good week here at Rapha. We have a number of new guys who have come in to go through the program (thank you, LORD!). A number of new "city" guys coming from jail to work out their fines (Thank you again, LORD!). whenever you have an influx of new people there is an uncertainity in the camp as everyone is trying to fit in and learn how to live here. So this week has been a week of orientation.

It has also been a week of learning how to not focus on things that will draw your attention away from what you have to do. Not being caught up in drama and expending a lot of energy that is needed in your own personal journey with Jesus. This is where I am currently. Trying to stay on task and move on.

Don't forget that next weekend, we will not be hosting a Saturday night meeting.
Don't forget that next Sunday is MOTHER'S DAY!!!

Verse of the Day:
"And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven."

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Month/ New Day

May 1st. A new day for the new month. May 1st has been recognized as a "workers" holiday over the years. My Dad worked at Republic Steel and on May 1st each year, the company would host a picnic for the workers. Lot's of food, games, music and prize give aways. Times have changed. No longer does someone go to work for a company expecting to retire from that company. That's not part of the American Dream. Our country has changed because the people have changed. It wasn't a quick, strategic move of management or of unions, but over the years people's moral and ethical view of life drifted with no anchor or truth to keep them in place. We replaced God with our own ability to decide what is wrong and what is right. What is right soon became whatever benefited "me" the most. It didn't matter that it was at someones expense.

I believe that God grants us tests and situations to reveal the "psyche" of the country. For what reason? So that we are without excuse when we bring judgment down on ourselves. To me, that is why it is so important that I share my story of what God has done for me and my family. The way He delivered us in our darkest times when divorce seemed to be the only option. How His faithfulness gave us plans and direction to get out of a financial mess that, to us, had no answer. I have seen almost 38 years of God's hand in our family. Don't talk to me of how God is dead or that He is merely a concept to give the broken and down trodden hope. I remember talking with one man and upon finding out that I was a follower of Jesus, made the comment, "I guess believing like that is o.k. but it just seems to me this Jesus is just a crutch for people who can't make it on their own." A crutch? You bet He is! When you're cripple, you need a crutch.

Verse of the Day:
Judges 2:10
After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.

Little Life? Or Big LIFE?

Great story in the news today about scientist (gotta love these guys and gals) are doing a study to determine what death really is and ...