Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Love?



Sometimes you think you are getting along pretty well in your relationship with God. I mean you may actually think you're on the super highway to making progress when all of a sudden you will read a verse and you experience a spiritual blow out. When this happens you have to stop, pull over and replace the tire you have been traveling on. You replace it with the spare tire. One that you knew was in the trunk but you didn't really pay much attention to it. That is what happened to me today. I came across a verse that I knew, kind of like knowing where the spare is, but I had not really studied it. Had no need to because I was traveling on the tires that I knew about. Well, when I came across the verse this morning, I had a blow out. I had to pull myself over and change tires, so to speak. What am I talking about? You have a concept or idea from something you either read in Scripture or were taught. You filed this idea away and have tried to live by it. You felt like it was truth and you desired to make it a part of your life. Well, my blow out forced me to take the spare (which was the real truth of God) and put it in place of the tire that was flat.
I Thessalonians 4:9
But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are TAUGHT BY GOD TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
I highlighted the part that blew my tire out for effect. Concerning love, we are taught by God to love. I had the notion that it was simply something I was called to do. You know....love everyone. Well how has that been working out for me? Not to good. Oh, I put forth the effort but you know, you just run into people who are, how shall I put this? Unlovable.

When I came to this verse, I found out that the category of "unlovable" does not exist. I only put people in that category because I don't know how to love them. Oh, I can say it with words and it sounds all flowery and good and spiritual, but the truth is, I don't love them. If this was the end of this posting or thought, it would leave us in a precarious place, but praise be to God he didn't leave us stranded on the side of the super highway with out a spare.

I have read the verse from I Thessalonians multiple times but never saw or made the connection that God teaches us to love. Of course He does! That is the fruit that Holy Spirit brings forth that we read about in Galatians 5. I hear many people teach and talk about the fruit of the Holy Spirit but they do so under the mistaken idea that fruit is "multiple" as in many fruits. But if you read the verse from Galatians, it says "fruit"...singular. All the character traits that follow the word Fruit of the Holy Spirit are different shades or types of love.

Galatians 5:22
But when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, or controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: Love
Joy - This is love that is excited

Peace - This is love that is at rest. Love that is at peace with everyone around us.

Patience - Love that waits. We are always in a hurry. Hurry to do this or that. Hurry to see something happen that we have prayed for. Love is patient.

Kindness - Love that responds gently. Love that does not repay evil for evil.

Goodness - Love that gives away and is not based on what it can get in return.

Faithfulness - Love that trust and carries out the duties and calling of our heavenly Father without question.

Gentleness - Love that is balanced. Love that suffers with no thought of revenge.

Self Control - Love that is restrained. Love that is tempered with the heart of the Father and does not run without purpose of direction.

When will I get through my thick religious skull that the highest calling God has given us is to love. I think I will chase this today and see what happens.

God on you........
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Do You Receive?

I Thessalonians 2:13
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

I was taken by the last part of this verse which says "The word of God which also effectively works in you who believe."
We are called to let the word of God into our hearts when we hear it. For too many, they set guard over their hearts their own ability to decide what is right and what is wrong. What is for them and what isn't. We don't have that luxury. We do not take power away from God to declare his rightness or wrongness as we see it. We are called simply to let the truth "richly" dwell in us.



Colossians 3:16 reads:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another......"
We need to always receive what we are taught and what we read in Scripture. To let it take root deep inside our hearts and become the fertile ground that the Holy Spirit produces fruit from.

No pastor or teacher should ever stand before a group of people and teach what he thinks they want to hear. He should realize that he answers only to God and only God can give the true word needed to be heard for the moment. The word of God is not sent out to receive the accolades or praises of mankind.It is spoken forth for correction and discipline. To open our eyes to the what is lacking in our lives so that we can repent and move on with Christ.

The verse from Colossians says that the word of Christ should dwell in us. The word of God takes up residence and makes a home in our hearts. The word dwelling in me will drive out and remove false ideas and attitudes and behaviors that are not from God.

What or who is dwelling in your heart today?
God on you.........
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Touchy Touchy

I Thessalonians 1:4
Knowing, beloved, your election by God.

We tread dangerous ground today. Well, it's dangerous only if we make it that way. "What," you may ask? Why the "E" word. Election.
Also tied to the "P" word.....predestination. I want to throw those two words aside because they actually point to a greater word. Sovereignty. As in the sovereignty of God.
Websters Dictionary defines sovereignty as supremely powerful / possessing absolute authority within a given sphere/ Superior to all rivals.
That would define who we think God is, but not really what God does. We have trouble believing in a God that truly is sovereign and rules according to his wishes and plans especially when it comes to intervening in our daily lives. We have no trouble in believing God orchestrates the natural world around us. But we have great difficulty grasping the fact that God indeeds rules our very lives. Why do we have trouble? Because we want to be the measure and last voice that decides what is fair and what isn't. We have no trouble running to God when things don't go our way but when life totally collapses on top of us, we blame God and become angry and spiteful toward Him.

How sovereign is God? Let's take a look.
I didn't ask to be born.
I didn't ask to be born a male.
I didn't ask to be born to the family I was born into.
I didn't ask for the parents I had.
Yet, God was sovereign over it all. He chose He placed. He gave. He leads and continues to do so on a daily basis and my only task. The only thing He expects from me is to obey. That's it. Obey.

I spent the evening last night with a young man who is very angry.
He is angry at people who have wronged him.
He is angry because he is getting ready to re-enter society and he feels like he doesn't have everything he needs to be successful.
He is angry because he chooses not to forgive others.
He asked me, "What do I do Brother Mike?" It wasn't what he wanted to hear but I looked at him and said, "Obey."
Our sin have made us little "gods". We want only the blessing of God and not the rule of God. Not the expectations that He has for us. That would crimp our style and put a damper on our fun.
We want to be the sovereign ruler of our life. Well let me ask you one question. "How has that been working out for you?" Not to good, huh.
Obeying God is too simple a plan for some. It doesn't fit into their lives or hearts. There has to be something else. No, there isn't anything else. God is sovereign. He has lead all of us to this point in time, June 28,2009 and today our choices will reflect whether we truly believe that God is sovereign or that we deny this fact.

Our churches are filled with people that unconsciously believe that somehow God works for them. Or that they are God's special project and that God's job is to keep them happy, keep them from harm and keep them from losing their lifestyle. What a bunch of bunk.
God is God in spite of what I do or do not have.
The plans of God do not come to a grinding halt because my 42 inch plasma flat screen television went on the fritz.
We would do well to understand exactly who we have been called to worship.
This is not the God of the Sunday School flannel board.
He is the Lord God Jehovah. Creator and ruler of all we can see, touch, taste, smell and hear.
Yet within all that He is, His heart is to have relationship with us.

Hebrews 1:10-12
You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You remain;

And they will all grow old like a garment,
like a cloak You will fold them up,
and they will be changed.
But you are the same, and Your years will not fail.


God on you....
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

He Will Listen to you

I just finished attending the first meeting of our 40th Anniversary High School Reunion. The thing that caught me was the list of names of the people I graduated with and the word "deceased" by their name.
It was a very sobering reminder that today is given to me by God to worship Him in every facet of my life. I draw great comfort from the fact that God, will indeed, listen to me. Not only that, He will speak to me and direct me.

This is one of my favorite songs by a man named Mark Heard. Mark has since left this world, shook off the mortal coil we call a body and gone to be with Jesus. I am so grateful that Mark's voice and guitar still proclaim truth.

I have posted this video here before, but felt the need to revisit it. Thanks for humoring me.

God on you......
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Death....The Final Frontier

Psa 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

This has been a week for the death of celebrities. First there was Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson's sidekick from the Tonight Show. Farrah Fawcett, heart throb of kids back in the 70's. Then yesterday news was reported of the death of Michael Jackson. It seemed as thought the entire force of News outlets were focused on these three individuals. In no way do I wish to demean or speak ill of them.

Perhaps I should look at the way the world looks at these three. As with anyone, we seek to put people in the best light as humanly possible. We want to forget and forgive their past indiscretions and mess ups. We want to focus on their contribution to the arts and mankind at large. But their death only serves to highlight what Scripture says. It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment. We have a tendency to elevate those of celebrity status beyond the reach of God himself. That these people are the untouchables. We are such a fickle bunch. We revel in their success and at the same time, we relish their downfalls. Maybe we are more responsible for their actions than they are? No. We all stand before God on our own to answer for the things we have done and the decisions we make. We don't really want to believe these things. We want to believe that we are a byproduct of evolution. A creation by chance and by being so, there are no limits or boundaries to hinder our expressions of who we have been created to be. There is not God or gods who can tell us what to do or how to live. After all, we are a by product of chance, therefore we hold no responsibility to our actions. Oh, my friend, how contrary to the Word of God can you be. Your very existence, your next breath, the beat of your heart only continues because God Almighty has decreed it to be so. He needs not your belief to exist. He doesn't need your opinion to form the basis for his decisions and plans. We need to fall on our faces and give thanks that He has not returned yet to bring His people out, thus sealing the fate of those who have rejected Him and His offer of salvation.

My prayer is that each of these three found the truth of Jesus before they passed from this life to the next. Death is merely the vehicle used to transport us. It is here on this side of death that we make decisions for or against the offering of eternal life Jesus has extended. He doesn't beg, he doesn't cajole, he simply says, "All who are weary and heavy laden come to me and I will give you rest."

In the death of celebrities, the world seeks to hold them up and remember them in a kind of false view of their lives. We seek to find the good in these three in an effort to not look at ourselves. Those we thought would never die have succumbed to the curse of Adam, that is death. No one escapes, no one cheats it, we all enter eternity this way. Society seems to somehow view these three celebrities collective talent and success as the measure of their spiritual goodness and worthiness. Society has lifted them beyond responsibility for the things they did here on earth.

We will all give an account of our life here.
We will all stand before God.
The unbeliever for why he rejected Jesus.
The believer for his works here on earth.
I do not wish to place a mark on those who have recently died, I only want you to consider the truth of God in the light of what society says is right.
God wins every time.
Find Him today for yourself....

God on you........
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Word.....Plus

Have you ever gone to a conference where some well known Bible teacher or speaker is going to be?
Have you ever gone to a Worship conference where a well known worship leader was going to sing and play?
Have you ever gone to the Holy Land, Israel, and walked and viewed the places we have heard about all our lives?
What did you come away with?
The feeling was tremendous.
"I could sense the presence of the Lord."
Well let me ask you a question.
When is the last time you read the Word of God and was blown away just like when you attended conferences and meetings?
Never?
Why? Why is it that we view the Word of God as dry and something that we are required to read? We sometimes treat the Word of God as though if God himself did actually reveal to us some truth, we would label that among miracles.
Why do we have a disregard to the power of the Word of God?

I know that we are not called to live our lives searching for the next spiritual high or the Hallelujah fuzzies, but we seem to be a generation of Jesus junkies. Not the Jesus of Scripture but the pre packaged, glossy, fun Jesus. One that blesses without regard to the status of our hearts. We want the glitz and glamor but please don't make us read that book.
We can quote page and paragraph of THE SHACK.....
But we are ignorant of the Justification of God.
We have prayed JABEZ's prayer until we are blue in the face.....
But we couldn't tell you one thing about Sanctification.....
We can sing the latest worship hit from the Time Life Series......
But we are hard pressed to tell what it means to walk by faith and not by sight.
We are an ignorant people when it comes to the Bible.
Ignorant doesn't mean we are stupid. Ignorant means we don't know.
Yet it is this incredible Word given to us by God that is the fore most vehicle through which He speaks.
Hebrews 4:12-
For the Word of God.........His communication with us, his creation... Word means we listen and take in. We don't engage in conversation as to what God was REALLY saying. The Holy Spirit in us, teaches us the wisdom and knowlege of God.

Is living and Powerful.......If it is alive, then it is relevant to every generation and every situation that we may face.

Sharper than any two edged sword...........what is a sword good for? War..defending yourself and at the same time, it can cut open and reveal what is inside.

Piercing.............nothing can stop the sword from going deep inside even the division of soul and spirit. It is the battleground where God prevails every time.
and of joints and marrow.

And is a discerner of thoughts ......................The Word of God uncovers sinful thoughts which lead to transgressions (deeds and actions)

And intents of the heart..............The Word of God actually is preemptive in that it deals with our sin while they are still just thoughts and intents. We actually haven't carried or acted upon them yet. God intercepts them before we have an opportunity to put them into practice and they become deeds. He saves us from the deed bringing consequences that may harm and follow us for the rest of our lives.

Read the Word of God today.
Ask God to increase your hunger for it.
Become a lover and student of His Word.
It brings health to your soul and strength to your body.

God on you..........
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Salvation

I grew up in the church. I can't remember a time when I wasn't at church. My Mom taught girls group, the G.A.'s, short for Girls Auxiliary, as well as a Sunday School class, so if the doors were open, I was at church.
My Dad, on the other hand, had no time for church. He spoke many times about a salvation experience he'd had as a young boy and laid claim to being a Methodist. We became staunch Southern Baptist eventually coming to rest at Gallant Baptist Church.

I remember that the pastor of Gallant Baptist, Bro. Lewis Woods, came to our school one Friday to lead our morning devotion. He was an older man, early 70's, slight of build but burned with passion for Jesus. He spoke of sin and hell and other things that I was just beginning to understand. I was in the 4th grade. Bro. Woods, at the end of the devotion, began to talk about what "being saved" really meant. As he spoke, I will never forget that my heart began to do strange things. It would beat really fast and I had all these thoughts racing through my 4th grade mind. Sin? Am I a sinner? I mean I had stolen that piece of candy from Pawdy Moore's store, but Mom had made me go back and apologize for my actions. She also made me sweep his store every day for a week, but was I a sinner? Bottom line..........I was. I may not have killed anyone. I may not have been public enemy #1, but had I died that day, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have received hell as my reward.

I remember Bro. Woods asking if anyone wanted to be saved. It was a blur, even to this day, as it was like having an out of body experience. I found myself slipping from my desk and walking to where Bro. Woods was. He shook my hand and hugged me along with others from my class who had come forward. He took us all into the cafeteria and spoke to us about what it meant to be saved and the decision we had just made. I felt light and new and free and different. I couldn't explain what had happened but I knew something had. I couldn't wait to get home to tell Mom and Dad.

My Mother, the daughter of a Baptist minster, was excited and she cried when I told her what had happened. "Your Grand daddy would be so proud of you," she told me. I remember that night, taking our family Bible to bed to read. I was partial to Daniel and lions den. I had to ask Mom to help me find the story. I remember lying there in bed, reading and looking at the picture of painting that help to illustrate the story. There was Daniel standing among 8 lions, hands folded in prayer, face turned to heaven. The thing I remember most about that picture was the look on Daniels face. Peaceful and without fear. "There is a real man," I thought to myself. Any man who could spend the night in a den full of lions and look like that had to be o.k.

Little could I have known where this one act in early 1960 would lead. How could I have known that the little boy in the 4th grade would be lead by the God who saved him into a life of work with people in recovery and addiction. Today I am grateful for everyone who spoke life into me.
Bro. Lewis Woods / Mr. and Mrs. Vivian Phillips / Rev. Don and Venita Gentry / Rev. and Mrs. D. E. Hendrix/ Rev and Mrs. George Creel / Jim Bentley / Winston Kennedy / John and Marilyn Bruce / Lanier and Linda Ellis / W.A. and Geneva Lutes / Charles and JoAnn Bryson / My Mother, Florene Bynum / John Wimber/ Keith Green / and countless others that may have slipped my mind this early morning. I am who I am today because of the grace of God and the people he put in my life at different points, to speak to me and point me in the right direction.

God on you.......
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot....

Funny how your mind plays tricks with you.
Each year when summer rolls around here in Alabama, it seems to be the hottest one on record.
We swelter under the humidity and sun.
Iced tea and shade seems to be the duty of every Southerner.
Every where you go, conversations seem to dwell on the heat.
"Going to be a hot one today!"
"You could fry an egg on that sidewalk."
Seems as though the natural world has grabbed our attention and won't turn loose until the first cool snap come this October.
I think I need to have the attitude of the Apostle Paul according to what he wrote in
Philippians 4:11.
"Not that I speak in regard to need for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."

Whatever state Paul finds himself in, he is content. Paul is talking about something other than the weather, he is talking about his life. Paul was put in prison, flogged, whipped, stoned, left for dead, drifted on the open sea when the boat sunk. He has endured things you and I could only imagine, yet in everything that has happened to Paul, he learned to be content. What was his secret? I think if I wrote something down, it would be conjecture on my part. I wish not to guess about Paul.
I do know this though, Jesus is a stability that comes to each of us when we accept Him as Lord and Savior. He is a stability in spite of whatever we find ourselves going through. In other words, He is our contentment. Our focus is to be turned from our circumstances and placed on Him.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim (get it)
in the light of His glory and grace.

Whatever state you find yourself in this morning, look to Jesus.
Read His Word.
Talk to Him.
Keep Him up front in your thoughts.
Don't make decisions based on your emotions. Find His peace and ask Him to guide you in what ever you face today.
You might be surprised at the contentment you experience.........
Just like Paul.

God on you......
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p.s.
I used the example of the weather merely to draw our attention to the need to be content.
We all face situations and circumstances that have deeper ramifications than the weather.
Finding the place of contentment in the middle of such places affords me the ability to not make rash, hasty decisions that bring bad consequences with them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beyond The Veil pt. II

I am suppose to conduct a funeral service today. It is never an easy task but when the one who has died is a believer, there is a hope and comfort among family and friends that does ease the pain.
Why do we grieve?
Is it because time together, at least for now, has ended?
Is it because we look at the one who has died and think about all the things that they will not see or get to participate in?
They will never know the thrill of being a grandparent.
They will never see their children grow up, marry and build lives for themselves.
Grief carries a lot of different meanings for each of us.
I grieved for my parents when they died, Mom in 1981 and Dad in 1985.
I remember sitting in my chair then night after the funeral for my Dad.
The strangest thought came to me.
Here I was, 34 years old...
married..
Two sons..
and the thought comes to me that I no longer have parents. I belong to no one. I was orphaned.
I began to cry. I had, in an instance, flash backs of my parents through memories of my growing up years. It was like a film played in my mind and in an instant, I saw my Dad young and strong. My Mom taking me to my first day of school. I still don't know why that happened. It was just part of the way I grieved for the death of my parents.
So much has happened in my life since my parents died, and they have missed it. Or have they?
Paul writes in Hebrews that we are "surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses." He never fully defines who the witnesses are but if you read chapter 11, it is a record of the great believers of Scripture. Could it be that those who have gone before us have the ability to see what is going on with those they loved? I do believe so.

One thing I know is that with each passing day, I am made painfully aware of this thing called our mortal body. How it is deteriorating and breaking down. I am also growing in hope and faith as God strengthens the inner man. Death is the great mystery. We can talk about it, pontificate about it and teach about it all we want. But the one thing I know is that Jesus broke the power and took the keys to death, hell and the grave. He has afforded me the greatest opportunity in the world. To spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Not a bad deal.....

God on you.....
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beyond The Veil

I don't know that I am right in what I am about to write.
According to Scripture we know that there is a life beyond this life.
In order to understand it, we have come up with boundaries and concepts to help us understand and make sense of it all.
We know that death is the transport from this life to the next. We know that death allows one type of life to end while another begins.
We call it "passing over", as if to walk through a curtain or move from one room to another.
Our faith and our belief in Jesus has given us hope and trust that enables us to turn loose of those we love who have died.
We grieve for them because we remain on this side of the transformation.
We are locked here in our flesh with all our emotions and memories, while those who have died (if they are believers) are now in the presence of Jesus.
What we believe to be true, they now know as truth.

Psalm 116:15 reads: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
What an incredible thought.We grieve when a loved one dies, but God has a different reaction. He rejoices that another one of His children has entered His eternal presence. Death is not the end, but a new beginning.

I don't know that I will truly understand death until I taste it myself. It's not something I fear and at the same time, not something I am eager to experience. It is a fact of life here on this side of eternity. We are born ---we live our lives---we die. But the more I read in the Bible, the more comfort I take not only for myself, but for those I love. I realize that my humanness is the part that grieves when we loose someone we love but at the same time, the spirit inside me reassures me that this is only temporary separation.
At some point, I will be reunited with those I love who lived their lives for Jesus, He being their Lord and Savior.
What a comfort......
God on you
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stopping To Rest

1:49 p.m.
Finally getting to stop for a rest. It has been wide open X 10 today.
Seems like every fire that I put out another popped up somewhere else.
There is a lot of spiritual stuff up in the air today as if to draw our attention away from the meeting tonight, or at least put us in a deep hole of emotional stuff to keep us from hearing God.
Now that I have a chance to sit down and catch my breath, I can feel God saying, "Keep the course, don't deviate one way or another."

Part of me, early today, wanted to simply deal with the stuff that was happening and then call off tonight's meeting and tell everyone to go to their dorm rooms and think about the day. That wasn't realistic to expect such behavior. God was showing me that at times, he does come and kind of clean house and uncover things that need uncovering so people can repent and move on with their lives. Today was such a day.

I will slip off my shoes and socks and let my feet rest on the carpet. I will wiggle my toes and stretch my legs and I will enjoy it because it is one of life's simple pleasures that God gives to me. Pleasures such as cool mornings.
Quiet times to reflect on Him.
Bright starry nights when the heavens seem to have come down close to the earth and you could almost stretch your hand out and take a star.
The sound of grand kids calling your name.
To feel my wife's hand on mind.
Her Baked Beans.
Seeing something new in John 3:16 just when I thought there wasn't anything else I could learn from it.
Hearing the 11 p.m. train blow his whistle each night as he passes through Attalla. It lets me know what time it is and also brings a comfort that goes deep inside me.
Making music with the people God has surrounded me with.
Cold Watermelon.
Seeing someone awaken and come to Christ for the first time.
Baptism in the creek.
Coming around the curve at Rapha and seeing that cross shining at night.
I could go on and on about the things that give me pleasure but I will stop so as not to bore you.
Just know that we should be about the business of living.
And living for Him.
Enjoy the little things and don't over look them.

God on you............
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Friday, June 19, 2009

RUN!

No words necessary...
Come out from among the world and let us be taught the difference between the Holy and the common.
Let us run with a sense of purpose to save those who don't know that everything around them is crumbling.
Give me strength to tell one more.
Give me courage to love one more.
Give me wisdom to see one more.
God on you.......
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Agony by Leonard Ravenhill

The church is bathed in comfort.
Padded pews and chairs...
soft lights....
all of these things attest to the comfort of the flesh and yet every Sunday people sit in agony. Lost and destined to eternity that only God can save them from. It can be stated in several different ways but Jesus is the answer to the unknowing question follows people around.
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The GUISE Reunion

Here they are in all of their radiant splendor: From left to right....David Finlayson blowing his nose. NO...not really, David is playing Harmonica. I'm in the center without my now notorious beard. And Guitarist exratordinaire, Mr. Brook Finlayson. We went by the name THE GUISE back in the 80's. We came together kind of by accident. David and I had been playing together as DREAMER and Brook sat in with us one night. The rest was history. I remember our very first serious practice (if there was such at thing with the three of us). We were in the living room at Brook's house and was going to do a song by a friend, Arnie Sanford, "SING WITH ME". David started the song and when it came time for Brook and I to come in on vocals, there was some magic there. The three voices blended and made this incredible sound. We stopped right there in the middle of the song and just looked at each other. Collectively we uttered a "Carumba!".
Over the coming months we put together a song list and began to play at different places, but always returning to our roots playing at SKYLIGHT, the Saturday night coffee house run by CHRISTIAN BROTHERS.



To say we were ecclectic was the understatment. We sang a version of Amazing Grace that was part Southern Gospel with the vocals and part Don-Ho-Hawaiian with slide guitar. IN fact the guitar that Brook used to play slide on was fished out of a garbage pile. The strings were so high off of the frets that he only used it to play slide on. There was a lot of orginal material sung by the Guise. Some good and some good, there was even some songs that were good.

Brook singing his own composition of HOW COULD YOU BE SO GOOD. That is still one of my favorite songs to this day. I had the pleasure of sitting in and playing bass on a studio version that was recorded of that song.
David Finlayson's WHERE ARE YOU NOW. We transplanted that song from DREAMER to the GUISE.

My own composition of GUILTY, a reggae rip off from Eric Clapton's I SHOT THE SHEIRFF. I have written this to simply let you know that tonight (Friday 19th) THE GUISE will be playing once again at MOONSONG cafe up on Noccalula Mountain. Concert begins at 7 ish....who knows what time we will really start.

I am so looking forward to playing with Brook and David again.

If you don't have anything to do, drop by and drink a cup of joe and listen to some ol' coots make some pretty good music.

Hope to see you there....

Michael b

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Precious Lord, Take My Hand"

TImes are dark
Life is hard
God is faithful
Take my hand Lord, I'm ready to walk with you.
I'm ready to surrender my way for Your's.
I cannot continue on the path I have chosen because it will only take me farther away from you.
I choose today to lay hold of your promises and hide them in my heart so they can be walked out by my feet.
You are God...
I am not.
Thank you for saving me.
michael b

Come On Down

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth........

Sometimes the simplest and yet most powerful statements are found in the verses that we skim by in our reading.
What could we possibly understand from this verse in Genesis?
Well for one thing, it shows us that God does not seek to prove his own existence. He is! He was! And He shall be! At the start of time. The first second of the first minute of the first hour of the first day, God!
He is a creative, working, establishing God whose plans are righteous and giving.
Right off the bat, God creates the heaven and the earth.
What can we learn about that?
That God's nature is to come down to us. He began in the heaven and then came down to earth.
The perfection of heaven and God's nature is brought to the earth and recreated.
Even in the fall of mankind, God came down from heaven in the form of Jesus the man, in order to secure our future and fate by his death and resurrection.
Matthew 6:10 reads: Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
See that?
His will, His plans, His purposes that exist in heaven are to be brought down and completed here on this planet.
He is in the process of choosing for himself a people. A royal priesthood to carry out the desires and plans laid since the foundation of the world.
That plan is being played out around us every day and with each passing moment we draw closer to the completion and fulfillment of it.
Wow!
Come Lord Jesus!

God on you.................
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

China In Darkness

I continue to find weather events that, to me, speak of God revealing himself and his plans for planet earth. This picture is from Beijing China and it was taken at 11:30 a.m. their time. A storm moved in and plunged the city into total darkness. This was reported by ABC news correspondents. It is a reminder of what God said would happen in the Spiritual side of our lives.
Isaiah 60:1-2 reads:
Arise, shine for your light has come!
And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people. But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you..

This event took place in China. A country that is fast becoming the dominate world power on the political stage. To me the darkness of the storm is a spiritual barometer and evidence of the truth that this nation is a dark nation. Praise God it is also a nation that has many, many home churches. The church of Jesus Christ is alive and prospering in spite of the oppression and demonic activity that has been ruling for years.

You may discount what I'm saying and I wouldn't blame you. These events and signs that come to us are hard to put within the framework of our western mindsets. I wholly lean on the fact that these events........these storms in China and clouds in Iowa and earthquakes in the Midwest are all from God declaring to us that we need to see for ourselves what has been prophesied in the Word of God.

God on you......
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This Is My Father's World

IF ever I wanted to declare a victory song, this is the one I would sing.
To stand and declare to every principality and every spirit that this creation, this earth is my Father's world.
God almighty spoke it into being.
He set it spinning and he watches over it.
Every atom of every molecule declares the wonder and awesomeness of God.
This planet.....
This earth....
This orb......
belongs to Father God.
All praises are due Him.
Rejoice today...
Praise Him today....
Shout unto the Lord.......
Call on the name of the Lord.....
Dance before Hiim.....
Don't just sit there, join the celebration of the body of Christ.
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When Someone Speaks For God

I guess one of the most gullible groups of people today are Christians. If it is coated in a religious covering and is flashy and full of glitz, we believer's are like fish drawn to the hook. We bite! This attitude comes from not growing up and becoming mature in God. From looking for, as addiction tells us, the easier softer way.

I am, in no way, where I need to be with God, but I am striving every day to grow up. When someone comes to me and says, "Hey, God told me to tell you................." and then they give me a prophetic word or some Scripture, I always receive it. I receive and I hold it loose. Why? Because if God has told someone else something He wants me to know, once I'm aware, He will tell me. If I do not hear God on the matter, I lay down the word that was given to me.
We see this attitude in Scripture. The attitude of receiving a word from God by a good friend or someone you work with. In I Chronicles 17: 1-4 reads:
Now it came to pass, when David was dwelling in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, 'See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under tent curtains." Then Nathan said to David, "Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you." But it happened that night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,"Go and tell My servant David, "thus says the Lord.....you shall not build me a house to dwell in."

Nathan goes to David to tell him what God has said about not building the Temple. What does David do? In verse 16, David went in and sat before the Lord and spent time in prayer to find out the truth of what God desired him to do. David did not take Nathan's word and run with it. He did not lean wholly on the word of Nathan, even though Nathan was David's right hand man and had given him good council over the years. David went before God to find out what was right and wrong.

God desires us to be a discerning people. To not fall for every Christian (I use that term loosely) fad or 'latest' thing that comes down the religious super highway. How many "Prayer of Jabez" Books are lying around in closets and drawers? This was the hot word from God a few years ago and everyone was jumping on the Jabez bandwagon. Why isn't the Bible, The actual WORD OF GOD a hot commodity? Because it takes time to read, and time to digest what you have read. It takes effort to listen to the Holy Spirit as He brings instructions and life out of those words found in Scripture. It is so much easier to run down to the local Christian bookstore and snatch up the latest, greatest, hottest thing going on today. The word of God stands unchallenged against every other book written. It has been tested and not found wanting or lacking. In fact today, you don't test the Word of God but according to Hebrews 4:12 it tests you. It uncovers your heart and not only that, it reveals the motivation as to why you do what you do.

God desires each of us to grow in Him and part of that growth is becoming a people of discernment. There are too many voices out there all claiming to speak for God. If you don't know the true one, you can get swept up and carried away.

God on you......
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Our Church


God is good! We got new carpet in the chapel and it looks tremendous. The carpet was given to us by a man in Chattanooga. It has been stored away for sometime until we could get it put down.
The time came.
The necessary man power was available and I am grateful to every one who helped in the project.
The carpet is a light, sandy brown and looks great. I can't wait until Saturday night when we have service there.
I have been blessed to be pastor here at Rapha and both Vicki and I can't think of another place we'd rather be than out here. God's call has covered us and we truly enjoy just being here even when we don't have to be. Yesterday morning we had driven to Wal-mart to buy some groceries. In the process of walking the store Vicki had gotten some doughnuts and as we were exiting the building, she said, "Let's drive out to Rapha and get Barry to make some coffee. Let's just go hang out." We did and the our time with Barry and John was a God appointment. We covered our finances that the church brings in and through prayer, put together a plan we think is from God on how to disperse the money.
It's not the amount taken but the fact that it is all given away.
Our meetings are on Saturday evenings at 7:00 p.m.
Periodically things come up and we aren't able to host the meeting, so check back here on the blog to see if we are. I usually try to post and let people know if the meetings have been cancelled.
Pray for us as we pray for you...........
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One Thing I Know

I would love to be someone who was proficient in the theology of the Scripture. Someone like John Piper or John MacArthur. Maybe a Charles Stanley or even a John Wimber. Someone who could debate the intellectual side of Christianity and the doctrine of the church. I am not such a person. I find myself and the calling God has given to me to be best summed up in the answer the blind man gave to the religious rulers in John 9:25.
"One thing I know.........though I was blind..........NOW I SEE!"
Very simple.
The man's lot in life was changed drastically by the hand of Christ.
He couldn't explain the whys.
He just knew the outcome was more than he could ever have dreamed of or thought up in his own mind.
I am the same way.
This Jesus came to me and turned my life upside down at the age of 13.
I knew that He wanted me to be a preacher.
Yet, I knew that I never could do this. I had to many excuses and reasons to even hope that God could use me. So......I ran.
For 34 years I ran.
I ran to different jobs. Different towns, towing my family with me.
Finally God spoke and began to put the pieces in place once I stopped and said, "yes." But even then, I didn't realize it was the pieces that would lead me to be a pastor.
My life over the last 15 years has been an incredible roller coaster as God has shown time and time again His favor and grace. Like the former blind man in John 9, I can't explain how it happened. I just knew my life was one way and now it isn't. Jesus is the reason for the change.
That is why my message is simple.
Just Jesus.
He can take away your sins.
He can break the power sin has over you.
His death and resurrection has provided a spiritual door to walk through into a living, changing, wonderful relationship with God.
How do I know.....?
Once I was lost....
But now I am found.
Was blind.
But now I see.

Find out the truth of this Jesus for yourself.
IF you have any questions, feel free to email me at
mvb1972@att.net
I'd love to hear from you.

God on you.....
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good Saturday Night

I guess the one part of Scripture that will follow me forever is Psalm 134. Back in 1999 when we started a Saturday night meeting for people in recovery, I had someone come to me with that verse telling me that they thought it might be from God as an encouragement. I read it and it made sense but more than that, over the years that followed, it has brought me great peace.
Psalm 134
Behold, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift you your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. The Lord who mad heaven and earth, bless you from Zion!

Last nights meeting was no exception. Worship ran longer than normal and no one seemed to care. We even move into some prophetic areas where the songs were spontaneous and from the heart. I encouraged those present to join in and simply sing what was on their hearts......they did!
I gave a short message from Acts about the need for community and the behavior that is to be found among a group of believers. The real message came as different ones there stood and spoke from the heart about what God had done and was doing in their lives. Some read Scripture, some merely told stories of God's goodness that had been made evident in what was going on with their lives.

I asked for those who were really struggling with an area in their life to raise their hands. Nine or Ten raised their hands. I called them to the front and asked them to form a circle. I then asked for those who wanted to participate to come up and form another circle around these who were struggling. We began to pray over everyone that God would come and meet them right where they were. The prayer wasn't so much about answers or solutions to the struggle as much as it was simply, "O God...I need you! Forgive me of sin I have committed against you."

We took communion for the second week in a row, something we don't normally do at Rapha. I felt like since our meetings were moving into a new direction and we were simply trying to be obedient, God wanted this table to be set each week. It was a very tender time as one by one, the men filed up to receive the bread and the wine.

As I turned out the lights after the meeting, everyone long since gone from the building, I looked back inside and thanked God for allowing us this place to meet with Him.
It was a good night.
Now, we get ready to meet Him again at 7 p.m next Saturday.

God on you.......
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Cloud

These photos are not touched up or doctored in any way.



I stand corrected on the post from yesterday concerning the prophetic word I wrote. The pictures taken of these cloud formations were shot on June 20, 2006 and are now just coming to light for study. I do not want to, in any shape form or fashion, lead anyone astray by anything prophetice I have written. I do still contend that these apperances in the heavens are speaking forth what God is bringing out in His plans to retake His creation and usher in His Kingdom.
Thanks...
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Psalm 34:1-8

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord.
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt His name together.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
What an attitude to carry around all day! One that is focused on God and with everything that is done, we continually bless and praise Him. I let the concerns of the world get to me and it draws my attention away from the One who saved me. Somehow I do believe that when we are inwardly focused on praising God, even while at work, our outward appearance changes. Our attitude becomes more in line with God's heart. We become servants and not workers.
Be that today!
Be a servant that has a heart of gratitude.
Rejoice in the Lord.
All that He is....
All that He has done....
All that has been given to you..............Rejoice!
God on you this day.......
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Signs In The Heavens And On The Earth Below


This was a picture taken from the 11th floor office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa yesterday, June 11, 2009. It shows a new "type" of cloud. The person who shot the picture said that the clouds were churning and moving, rolling and twisting and, as you can see, the far background is a greenish-yellow hue to it. Meteorologists said this was the first sighting of a new type cloud since 1951.
What do I make of it?
I definitely believe God is speaking through this event.
I am currently using Audio Cd's of the program QUICK STUDY w/ Rob Hembree in my morning devotions and today was from II Chronicles 16 - 17.
The was the basis for the study this morning?
When we (a nation) rejects God's Word and God's plans, we set ourselves on a path of destruction. King Asa of Israel was confronted by a true prophet sent from God. Asa had him arrested and thrown in prison because he did not like what the prophet had told him. Isn't that like our country today? The government will not speak the truth as they only seek to put a positive spin on whatever the message is for today.
How are decisions being made today in our government? If our leaders are deciding the fate of our country outside the will of God, they are probably doing so with hearts of fear. This will give our enemies encouragement to rise up against us. Instead of hearts of fear, we and our leaders need to develop hearts of faith. The message that should be coming from the House of God is that our God is not overtaken by the plans of man. He still seeks a people to call His own. A people who will become His people and that He would become their God.
Proverbs 4:23 reads, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the
issues of life."
Last year I taught a message from an event that God showed me was very relevant to our nation. An earthquake hit the Midwest in April of 2008. God used this even to show me and confirm to me that I was to keep teaching and speaking on returning to God with all our hearts. I won't go into the entire teaching, but the message was that the "heartland" of our country had been shaken and cracks had formed. It revealed the hidden things that were wrong with buildings and homes by the shaking as foundations were exposed.
IN the spiritual, this shaking was to awaken us to the fact that our weaknesses are being exposed. God was shaking (Hebrews 12:25-29) That is what we currently see in the financial markets and in the economic system of our nation. To put it bluntly.........they have been exposed and now man is trying to rescue them. Massive amounts of money is being poured into these areas. The Government says that this influx of money is working, but yet the country is rocked by fear. The Government is trying to be the voice of peace and reason,but they are speaking outside the will of God. It will not work. God is our answer.
If we turn to him and repent, confessing the sins we lovingly hold on to, He will be faithful to come and forgive and heal. Some who read today's posting may feel that I have slid over the edge somewhat, trust me. I haven't.
I have watched these events play out since Oct. 10, 2003 when God first spoke to me concerning the repentance of our country. More than that, the repentance has to start with those who claim the name of Jesus. We need to repent of pride and arrogance. For being an unloving people who are concerned only with our own lifestyles and comfort.
To me, the photo taken in Cedar Rapids is a symbol that God has come down and is at work in our nation. It can be a time of great repentance and renewal or if we choose to remain proud, it can be a terrible time of judgment for our sin.
I find it interesting in the chapters that were read this morning that in II Chronicles 17:9 it speaks of King Jehoshaphat. The leadership of the country was following the Word of God and we read in verse 9 - 10 "So they taught in Judah and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them. They went through out all the cities of Judah and taught the people. And the fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the land that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Judah or Jehoshaphat."
Did you see that? When the Word of the Lord was taught to all the people, the fear of the Lord fell on the enemies of Judah. We need a nation wide teaching and proclaiming of the Word of God. IT should not be tied to any denomination or group. No one should take credit for it. It should be the cry of hearts to hear the Word of God that we may give due worship and praise to the One who has seen us through time and time again. That we return to God because He is calling us to repentance.
The picture of the clouds speak of the Holy Spirit of God. In Genesis 1:2 -- The earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the ddp. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Our nation is without form. Form denotes solidness and stability. We are diverse, separated people who claim a false sense of unity. Our country is void of knowledge of God. Notice that I did not say we were void of knowledge about God. That is our problem, we know about Him but we truly do not know the God of Scripture. Darkness covers our land and the Spirit of God hovers over us. To convict us of our sins and to draw us into repentence. Should we continue on the road of our current choice, we will fall under the judgment of God which will be delivere by His Holy Spirit. God help us that we may return to Him.
Share this message.
Tell others.
Pray.
Start reading and speaking the Word of God.
I said at the beginning of this post that this was the first sighting of a new type of cloud since 1951....that would be 58 years ago.
Psalm 5
Verse 8 reads...
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face.
Could it be that God has truly spoken to us thought these acts in nature? Earthquakes and clouds? Our human mind seeks to discount it, but our spirits affirm the truth that it is all found in the Word of God.
God on you...........
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Perception


This is a photo I took of the moon. Tell me..........is the moon rising or is it setting? Perception is everything. Perception can be steeped in wrongness as our own opinions do not always line up with the truth. Just because you perceive something and have an opinion, even a strong one, doesn't mean that you are right.
Many today, even believers, use their perception when reading the Word of God. They decided which parts are for them, or the parts they believe, and which are not. That is a dangerous game to play. Our perception of God and His word affects the way we approach him.
Take for instance the verse in Revelation 1:14. The last part of this verse reads, "His eyes like a flame of fire." When you read that verse what comes to your mind? How do you view this Jesus whose eyes are burning like a flame of fire? Do you perceive him as being angry, mad? Do you think of him as being one coming to bring punishment? Think on this.
What if the eyes of Jesus mentioned in this verse from Revelation looked like a fire in a fireplace on a cold winters night? What if his eyes were like a candle's flame, flickering and moving in the darkness. Do you see how our perception of God affects the way we think of Him. That is why believer's need to get into the Word of God to truly find out who He is. We, in this country, have lived too long under the assumption of "Knowing about God" is the same as "knowing of God." It's not. God has called us into relationship, one that is living and growing and changing every day. It isn't about a collection of facts and insights of who God is. It isn't about collecting data every Sunday when we go to church, it is about meeting and walking with Him, God, every day. About hearing Him and obeying what He tells us to do. This knowledge of God and His presence invades our very lives and affects every decision we have to make. I am so amused when people who are speaking out on the religious views of those who might either be in a political office or are running for one. "We need to keep our religious views to ourselves because that is a personal choice." Keep it to yourself? You can't if you are truly chasing and following this God. It isn't a hobby.It isn't something that you can pigeon hole for a later time. If you truly have relationship with God, then it is at the very core of your being. It is who you are and it is what you do.
How do you view God?
God on you........
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For your information, the photo of the moon? It was setting. I took the picture before 5 a.m. last week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Will It Really Be Like?

The throne of God. What will it be like to actually stand (or lie face down) in this place? What will it sound like? What will it smell like? Will it be sensory overload?
It seems to me that there are two types of believers.
1.) Those who focus on heaven. They sing about it. They talk about it. They read about. They study it. They write about it. It seems to fill their every thought.
2.) Those who focus on life here, now, on this planet. They too, like category #1 are saved, but you never hear them give any voice or opinion about heaven. Their focus is in the here and now.
As James Ryles says, "We can sing about the Sweet Bye and By, but we live in the nasty here and now.

I have been thinking a lot about heaven lately. Maybe this is the groaning that the Apostle Paul writes about that creation suffers with. Sometimes the "stuff" of this earth can be over powering and over whelming. It seem to suck the very life out of you. You loose momentum and spark. It is times like this that I have to go into my office here at home, shut the door and sit down to read. I usually find myself in Revelation Chapters 4 and 5 reading about life around the throne of God. It seems so foreign and yet strangely familiar at the same time. I think the spirit in each of us who follow Jesus brings the familiarity of heaven into our here and now, almost to keep us from growing too home sick.
Jesus, in his prayer found in John 17 says, "I do not pray that You (father) should take them out of the the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."
Jesus knew that we would be conflicted.
Living here. Working here. Laboring for the Kingdom. Worshiping here, yet not belonging here.
It is hard sometimes to remind myself that my home is beyond all I can see, touch, taste, smell and hear. That life there cannot be compared to life here. Yet it is the Holy Spirit in me that drives me on to share with one more person. To pray with one more person. To love one more person. Am I silly or crazy to want everyone to fall in love with Jesus? I don't think so.
So as I walk around with my heart and eyes looking up for His return, my feet are firmly planted here on this earth to carry out the command to "make disciples."
Marantha Lord Jesus!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Evening 9:50 p.m.

My day is almost over. I have to go to Wal-mart and buy some dog food for the pooch.
It has been a good day and a day of discovery.
It started out this morning with study in II Chronicles 1 where I saw a different view of Solomon. Someone who wavered between serving God and serving himself. One moment Solomon would be all over God. "I want to build you a house. I want to worship you. I want this and I want that. I want wisdom to serve and rule YOUR people." God, who keeps His word, says, "O.k.!"
But then Solomon turns right around and begins to collect horses and chariots which is in direct violation of what we read in Deuteronomy 17. In this book and chapter, God warns about kings who collect horses and chariots and especially the ones who go to Egypt for help. Guess what? That is exactly where ol' Solomon went. He didn't remember too well for in the next part of the Deuteronomy chapter, God says the king should have a copy of the laws and the books of Moses and he should keep them next to his throne and read them daily. Strike 2 for Solomon.
I'm telling you this guy was headed for a fall and later on we see it happen. The kingdom splits into two factions who wage war against each other and to put it bluntly, it's all down hill after that.
Moral of the story?
Listen to God. Do what he says not what you think he said. Or better yet, don't substitute your plans using God's name to endorse them. It makes for bad politics and really lonely holiday's.

God on you..........
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The Cross


For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.
We have made it into jewelry. We have painted pictures of it. It has been the focus of songs and poems that stretch across history. Why? It is just a simple piece of wood that has no value in and of itself. It doesn't even exist anymore but has, like humanity, rotted and decayed and returned to the soil as the years have passed it by. This cross, this instrument of torture and death is the focal point for humanity and for those who follow Jesus. It was on a cross that the tide of sin and the power it contained was broken once and for all time. It was on this bloodstained piece of wood that the curse brought in through another tree in the garden of Eden was broken and the strangle hold it had over humanity was released.
It was the simplest of simple means to kill someone. A piece of wood that was shaped to hold a human body. The body was tied or nailed to the wood and left there to simply waste away until death took life away, yet the Apostle Paul stated above that the cross is or represents the power of God to save us. So some the cross is foolishness. These, who reject the cross, look at those of us who embrace it as being foolish, simpletons, and mentally deficient. We are in need of a crutch to get through life because of our state and lot. They view us as being emotionally crippled and in need of a myth or fable to give our lives purpose. I say to you today that the cross of Christ is the ultimate crutch on which to lean because all of humanity is crippled beyond repair. We are lost and our destiny is Hell itself. If not for the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ countless more untold millions would plummet over the edge of the abyss and fall headlong into eternal damnation. But Jesus, in his love, gave himself as the ultimate sacrifice once and for all time that mankind might be restored unto relationship with God. What a Savior!
On a hillside outside of the city of Jerusalem, the battle of battles took place and through the death of one came forgiveness of sin. Early in the morning on the first day of the week, this same Jesus who was killed, walked out of a borrowed tomb into the light of a new day. A new season and a new era where salvation was offered to all.
Praise God!
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Early Morning

This is a photo I took out at Rapha last November when Nori and Barbie Kelley came to give their "Farewell" Concert before they left to move to Japan. I like this photo because of the contrast between the lights of the buildings and the light color and texture of the sky.

I am a sky watcher, if you will. I find that my mind and heart are drawn to God whenever I stop and focus on the sky whether it be at night or in the day. This particular instance, a storm was approaching. Wind was beginning to pick up and the clouds were rolling in, as if to herald the arrival of rain. I think God is like this. There are always signs and events to herald his arrival at a meeting or service. It isn't like God is hiding behind the curtain on the stage and on cue pops out with a "Ta-da!" God is heralded when His Word is read. He stirs to come when the offering of praise is on the lips of His people. Heart that are awakened to look up for the coming of the King begin to beat in anticipation. His presence fills our time and space and we have communion with Him.

I know that God is everywhere, but I also know that God is "no where". By that, I mean that when our focus is turned to God, we are suddenly more aware of Him. It is not something that we can turn on and off like water, but it is part of His heart to interact with His people. God is the one who moves into our time and space. We can only say, "Yes Lord, I will follow." I know that this may sound mystical or slightly not what you may hear in church, but believe me that God does announce His coming when we gather to meet with Him.

Look for God today.....
God on you.......
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Monday, June 8, 2009

The Sounds Of Silence

I have been tying to be open and listen for God. Sometimes it is very easy and at other times, it is like trying to grab a fist full of water. Just isn't happening.
Yesterday I had two different people, in passing conversation, at two different times and places make reference to the impact our ministry was having on their lives. It wasn't a big hoopla deal, just simple reference to. It did not occur to me until last night that this was God speaking. He was encouraging me that we were on the right path.
So what happens if we don't learn to listen for God?

Today's passage is from:
Amos 8:11
"Behold the days are coming," says the Lord God, "That I will send a famine on the land. Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord."

This prophetic word was proven true by the silent years called the inter testament period between the Old and New Testament. God did not speak and remained silent.
I write this to make a point. During that time, when God was speaking, the people de-volved into behaving or acting on what they thought God would want them to do. Their interpretation of what Scripture they had led a very chaotic time. I think of it like this.
"IF I'm not hearing God..........And I don't know what is next........I will simply make up what I think God wants me to do." We usurp the authority of God and begin to dictate our own will into God's will. It is a very subtle thing as we feel like we are doing a good work for the Lord. Truth be known, the rule of thumb (and scripture) I use is that I continue to walk in the last word I heard from God until he tells me different. Doesn't matter what my flesh is saying. It doesn't matter what others around me are telling me, I walk in the last thing He told me to do until I receive a new work or place He desires me to be.

Listen for God today as you read the Bible.
Read it, but be sure to study it.
God on you..........
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

It Was A Good Day

What a wonderful day. God is and continues to be gracious in more ways than I can count. Yesterday we baptized 10 in the creek at Rapha. Families gathered on the banks to watch something they thought never could happen. They never thought they'd see their sons, fathers and husbands come to relationship with Jesus. I have been baptizing in that creek for 11 years now and I never tire of climbing down that bank to the water. I love standing in that water and looking into the faces of those men who make there way out to where we are. I love to see them when they are lowered under and then pulled up. There is always a release of emotion when they come up.
Yesterday was a first in my 11 years at Rapha. Part of our leadership in the church is made up of two former clients: Barry Hooks and John Arrington. Yesterday they assisted me in the baptisms. These two are living proof of what God can do, and it was only fitting that they help in the baptisms of these new converts. Like I said, it was a wonderful day.
Thank you, Lord!

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hdabakkuk 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 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.
Look beyond your situation.
Look beyond your circumstances.
Look to Jesus.
Savior.
Author and finisher of our faith
Lion and Lamb
Messiah
Christ
The Anointed one of God.
God on you............

Friday, June 5, 2009

Secular Influence on Religious Epistemology - A Warning

PLEASE! Take time to watch this...
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Yahweh

Forever...beyond what my mind can comprehend.
Forever..longer than I could ever sustain....
Forever...His knowledge is higher than mine.
Forever...the God of eternity.
Let your goodness pass before us!

John Piper - A Problem with Christians in Evangelicalism

I really appreciate John Piper and his message.
I read in the Book of Acts where Peter gave the first messsage on Pentecost. There wasn't an altar call. No music. No Choir. Just the Word of God. People cried out to Peter, "What must we do to be saved?" That is the power of the message. What must I do to be saved?
God help me to not shy away from speaking the truth.
Help me to not seek the favor of man and his praise and applause, but let me wholly lean on Jesus.

Find God this weekend.
Meet with some other believers.
Read His Word.
Talk to Him and then listen for Him.

Michael b

What Say You?


HE is....
He isn't....
He might.....
He might not....
Some say, "Yes!"
Some say, "No!
Who is right?
He is.
Jesus.
What difference does it make for us to argue.
Be ready.
Be prepared.
Be watchful.
Be vigilant.
We fall prey to the mind game of, "Well, he hasn't come back yet and it's been thousands of years. He must not be coming back.
Here is what THE Word says.
His Word.
His Bible.
I Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout. With the call of the archangel, and with trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words.
This will be the true beginning of the end when Jesus gathers unto Himself His church. Not the brick building, Sunday Go To Meeting people. But among those who do go to church, the ones who truly had surrendered their hearts to God. The ones that others in the church viewed being as fanatical and weird. The ones that never got invitations to church gatherings because all they wanted to do was pray for someone or talk about Jesus.
I believe like I have never believed before that Jesus is truly coming back and it might be sooner than most of us would think. I don't' know why I feel this way. I am not looking to escape anything or have this desire to simply want to run away. If anything, I burn today more intense and more passionately to make disciples. To see others come to a saving knowledge of who this Jesus is.
Marantha, Lord Jesus!
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It Changed Everything



6 Days That Changed Everything

June 5, 1967 in HistoryEvent:6 day war between Israel and Arab neighbors begins.Arab demonstrators calling for war with Israel. Egypt mobilizes thousands of its troops in and around the Suez Canal. Nasser finds no Israeli buildup, but continues massing troops.


May 16, 1967Egyptian commandos dispatched to the Sinai peninsula Egypt moves into Sinai, demands U.N. peacekeepers withdraw.


May 19, 1967UNEF soldiers leave their positions in the Sinai.Tens of thousands of Egyptian troops mass in the Sinai.May 22, 1967casus belli according to international law, cuts off Israel from its only reasonable shipping route to Asia and halts the flow of oil from Israel’s primary supplier, Iran.Act of War; Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.


May 23, 1967 U.S. President Johnson warns Israel not to attack first.


May 24 - June 4, 1967

Israeli NCOs inspecting personal arms of reservists in the field.Six Arab countries deploy more than 230,000 troops close to Israel's boundary lines.


May 27, 1967

Nasser cancels planned Egyptian attack on Israel.


May 30, 1967

King Hussein of Jordan and Pres. Nasser of Egypt sign a mutual defense pact.'Jordan and Egypt sign mutual defense pact.


May 31 - June 4, 1967

Iraqi President Abdur Rahman Aref'. "Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map!


THE WAR

DAY 1, JUNE 5, 1967

Egyptian air force jets lie destroyed on the tarmac by Israeli air force bombing on the first day


8:15 am: Israel destroys Egyptian Air Force. Fearing thousands of civilian losses by the Egyptian Air Force, Israel preemptively strikes and destroys 311 Egyptian planes, most on the ground. Thirteen bases are rendered inoperable.


8:30 am: Israel sends message to Jordan, pledging no attack, if Jordan stays out of war. Israel passes message via Chief U.N. Observer Odd Bull to Jordan’s King Hussein. Israel promises not to attack if Jordan stays out of the war, but warns that Israel would respond forcefully otherwise.


10 am: Jordan attacks Israel. Nasser tells Hussein Egypt has inflicted staggering damage on Israel.

At 9:30 am, Hussein informs his people that ’the hour of revenge has come.


At 10 am, Jordan begins attack on Israel. Over 6000 shells hit Jewish Jerusalem, 900 buildings are damaged, including Hadassah Hospital. Twenty civilians die, over 1000 injured. ’Very heavy machine and mortar fire, probably cannon, continuous in Jerusalem’, reported the British consul-general at around 11:30am.


Noon: Syria and Iraqi Air Forces attack Israel.

12 noon, Motivated by Jordan’s attack, Syrian MiG’s strike Galilee settlements, including Kibbutz Degania, home to PM Eshkol. Iraqi planes fire on communities in the Jezreel Valley and Afula.


12:30pm: Israel strikes Jordanian airfields in Mafraq and Amman.In response to Jordan’s attack, Israel seeks to destroy Jordanian air capabilities.


1pm: Israel strikes Syrian air bases In response to Syrian air attack, Israel strikes Syrian air bases, destroying 2/3 of Syria’s planes, but losing ten of their own.First day of fighting. Israel destroys most of Egyptian air force. Jordan, Syria and Iraq attack Israel.


DAY TWO

JUNE 6, 19672

Massive Syrian artillery barrage on Galilee communities.Over 250 guns shoot an estimated 45 tons of ammunition per minute on the towns.

5:50 am: Massive Egyptian retreat begins Afternoon: Lebanon attacks Israel with planes in the Galilee


4:30pm: Israel and Jordan accept terms of U.N .cease-fire, but Egypt and Syria do not.


11:30pm: King Hussein of Jordan orders his troops to retreat, then reverses himself.Second day of fighting. Fighting continues on all fronts.


DAY 3

JUNE 7, 1967

10am: ’The Temple Mount is in our hands’ Israeli troops gain control over eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, home of the Jewish Quarter and the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount. Jews had been denied access to these sites during the nineteen years Jordan had occupied eastern Jerusalem despite stipulations of the 1948 Jordan-Israel armistice agreement. Israel leaves the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, Muslim holy sites in the Old City, under the administration of Muslim religious authorities.


12:15pm: Israel breaks Straits of Tiran blockade Israeli forces take control of Sharm al-Sheikh from Egypt. Israel opens the Straits of Tiran to all ships. Throughout the day: Syria continues shelling Israel’s northern communities.


DAY FOUR

JUNE 8, 1967

Israel Defense Forces take control of Hebron and other West Bank towns. Syria continues shelling northern Israeli communities.According to American ambassador Barbour, ’Syrian shelling of kibbutzim and settlements in Israel has been continuous and incessant...Some kibbutzim have been completely leveled above ground.


DAY FIVE

JUNE 9, 1967

Fifth day of fighting. Israel and Syria in heavy fighting on the Golan.


DAY SIX

JUNE 10, 1967

Israel gains control of the Golan Heights. Evening: Ceasefire agreed to by all parties.



The mood of our country seems to be one of anti-Israel at this moment.I am not here to lift Israel and look the other way when mistakes have been made on their part. I am here to say that the United States of America should consider the slippery slope they have started on by dissing Israel in order to curry favor with the Muslim World.We claim to be a Christian Nation and yet but the looks of things, we haven't really studies the Scripture.Israel and the Jews are God's chosen. According to Romans 9 / 10 /11, the only reason Gentiles have access to salvation and relationship with God is too make Israel jealous. We have been granted this incredible gift from God simply because the Jews rejected it.There will be a time when God will gather the Jews again.They will see Messiah.They will know that He is Jesus.We are told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Let us do that.We should also pray for the Muslim world that the Word and Spirit of God would open their hearts also to the truth of who Jesus is.I fear that we reject one (Israel) to embrace another (Muslim) and in doing so, seal our fate in the hands of God.One only has to look at history to see what happens to those nations who have turned their back on the Jews.Dare we travel that same road.God on you..........mb

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Called Out People

Grand kids had Vacation Bible School last night, so after they were dropped off at church, we invited Chad and Robin over for supper. It was a good evening as we ate burgers and made plans for our vacation in July. Last year the entire Clan Bynum spent a week in Ft. Walton. It was such a hit that I told Vicki we have got to make this an annual event. A time where the family can be together, play together, and just love on one another for an entire week. I'm so looking forward to it.

I still continue to be lead by God's Spirit to study in I Chronicles. Not exactly what you would call as light reading. Lists of names and families, interspersed with a few verses that give tidbits of information about the people in the book.

David, in I Chronicles 11 and 12 is now coming into his own as King. Saul is dead and David takes the city of Jebus ( known to us as Jerusalem). The elders of the Northern Kingdom come down to Hebron to anoint David, thus restoring the nation of Israel under one King. All of this takes place because David waited on God. David had opportunities to kill Saul and usurp the throne from him, but David chose to wait on God. Those who wait on the Lord enjoy the plans that God has for them.

I Chronicles 11:9 reads: So David went on and became great, and the Lord of hosts was with him. That is the reason that David was an over comer. God's Spirit rested upon David. David, during his time as king, made some bone headed mistakes. His fling with Bathsheba brought trouble right into the palace and caused David's family to be the poster children for dysfunctional behavior. But David never wavered in his love for God or his willingness to stand for correction from God's hand. That his the heart that I want today. A heart that seeks God's presence at every turn.

Get into God's word today.
Study it.
Feast on it.
God on you........
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Did You Read That !!!

I have been writing and teaching about the holiness of God. That this God we claim to believe in and worship is the same God we read about in the Bible. He is the God who spoke into existence every thing we see, touch, smell, hear and taste. Yet somehow there seems to be this disconnect between who God is and who we really think He is.

I have been wrestling with giving God the reverence and worship that is due Him, not because of what He has done but simply because of who he is. I don't think this worship can be scripted or rehearsed, I think it has to flow from our hearts as a true offering of praise. I do believe that we can sing songs that have been written about God, as long as we are singing to Him. I believe that from this place, the spontaneous songs and praises of God will come. But we have a tendency to hold back for fear of looking foolish. I don't see too many people holding back at football games, or concerts or at a NASCAR race. Why is it we become so reserve? Is it because we fear God. Now don't get me wrong, fear of God is a good thing. We don't need to become chummy with Him. He is not the "big guy". He is not the "Man upstairs". He is Almighty God who rules over everything. What falls under everything? Everything.

God has had me in the two books of Chronicles this week. Not really reading one can sink your teeth into, but none the less, I am trying to be obedient. I came across a verse today that made me stop and think.

II Chronicles 2:3
The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, and Shelah. These three were born to him by the daughter of Shua, the canaanitess. (now pay attention to this part) Er, the firstborn of Judah, was wicked in the sight of the LORD, so He killed him.
How does that fit into your view of God? Oh but Michael, that is the Old Testament and we know that there wasn't any grace and it was hard and it was the law and God must have been having a really bad day. Oh yeah?
How about in the New Testament where Grace abounds in the book of Acts where we read about a couple of liars.....Ananias and Sapphira. God struck them dead! What are you trying to say? I am trying to say that we need to remember who it is that has called us to salvation and relationship. That this is the real God who sits in heaven and carries out His plan in spite of the sin and evil in the world. He is not overcome by it. He doesn't sit around crying and whining about "what am I going to do?" He is not deterred by anything. He is not surprised by the depth of sin in humanity. He patiently goes about working with those who are saved to bring the Kingdom of heaven to earth. That is His will and that is His plan.
Try getting in touch with the majesty and awesome power that God possesses.
Read Chapters 4 and 5 in Revelation to get an idea of what is going on around the throne of God.
Me?
I can't wait to see it firsthand....
Talk about worship.........now that is worship.
God on you....
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Listen!

I Peter 5:5-6
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

We don't like to think of bad things happening to us.
We don't like to talk about situations that could cost us our lifestyle.
We want to think good thoughts and happy thoughts, yet I am surrounded on all sides by books and tapes and the voices of men I know hear God and they are all saying the same thing. We need to be prepared for a hard season that is approaching. I do not write these things as one who is fearful and I pray that you do not lapse into that place of fear. If you are saved, you are in the hands of the living God and He will sustain you no matter what.

I do not claim to be a prophet or a seer of the future, but it really doesn't take much to see that the behavior of our country as our leaders go from one self-centered decision to another is leading us down a road to where only God can save us. Is this coming season judgment from God? I think it may be.

What does God hope to accomplish if judgment does come to the United States? Does God simply want to see us suffer for our rejection of His Word? No. Humility is the goal of judgment. Humility to the people. To break the proud and presumptive heart of a stiff-necked people. We read in James Chapter 4 where if we bow before Christ, He will lift us up. God cannot heal a proud people...........he can only heal those who are broken.
I will be the first to tell you that I do not want to go through any judgment, but I am learning that God gives grace to those who do.
Grace---the empowering presence of God in my life that enables me to be who He created me to be and do what He has called me to do. No matter what the future holds, God's grace is sufficient. There isn't any darkness, any sin, any weapon, any plot or devise of man that can overcome the grace of God. That is what I cling to.

I think we are going to see a division in what we call "Christianity" between those who are truly following and listening and obeying God, and those who are simply playing at religion. I pray that my heart be found pure and on fire. I pray that I not embarrass my God. I pray that I do not stand before Jesus thumping my chest like Peter, proclaiming, "Never...I will never deny you, Lord." I pray that in humility I simply follow.

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