Friday, July 31, 2009

I see you - Michael W. Smith

Oh the thought that fills my mind and my heart that you, O' Lord, are greater, more majestic, have more ability and power than I can dream of or imagine. That the very best of my thinking. The very height of human thought and will pales in comparision to who you truly are.

God, I desire to know you.
Not know of you.
I desire to be swept up and empowered by your gift, the Holy Spirit, to walk out my days here on this planet all for your glory.
You are everything I am not.
You are beyond what I could hope for.
Today, let me love you.
Let me die to this world to live for you.
Not in flowery words or human efforts but in the simplicity of the Gospel that transforms hearts, minds, souls and spirit.
That we may see your return either from this side of heaven or in the gathering as we come back with you......
Blessed be the name of the Lord.....
mb

Last Day Of July

Friday...July 31st.
The last day of the 7th month of the year of our Lord, Two-thousand and Nine.
We enter into the August with much anticipation of what the rest of the year holds.
We have managed to make it this far. It has been hard, but here we are still standing, still above ground and sober.

Today, I am sick.
Temperature. Congested. Didn't sleep last night.
I am staying home because I don't want to spread it to the other men at the camp.
I hate being sick.
I hate missing work.
I will pull the covers over my head and sleep the day away. That is what I do when I am sick. I go to bed and sleep. There is not doubt in my mind that when I get up tonight, I will feel better.
Say a prayer for me if you will.
Thanks.

Verse of the day:
Mark 14:28
But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet
you there.
Jesus says these words so matter of fact as though there isn't anything unusual about them. He references his death and resurrection with the same tone as someone who might say, "I've got to run by the store and pick up some milk and bread, I'll see you later at home." I think this behavior and attitude must have undone His disciples. There wasn't any fanfare in these words. There wasn't religious posturing. Jesus simply spoke the truth from His understanding of what He'd been called to do.
He didn't say, "Boy! I hope I'm raised from the dead," just a simple "after I am raised from the dead." He knew that He knew that He knew this was part of the plan and nothing or no one was going to be able to stop Him.
That is the Jesus I want to follow~

God on you, just for today....
MB

Thursday, July 30, 2009

John Wimber's Lecture - How to Discern Manifestations of the Holy Spirit

My Spiritual Father.
My Mentor....
How many hours have I sat listening to this voice. Taking notes. Cross referencing verses. Going back to listen to what was spoken. I am grateful To God that He let me find John and to spiritual things that were planted in me. May I give them away and may I do so freely.
God bless you..........
mb

Don't Be Afraid of the Rain/ Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark



The hard rain comes down....falling, swirling, noise on dry ground.I shelter myself from the whole not the part, as if by some cosmic chance I can hang on to the truth in my heart.The hard rain comes down......invading and touching my space.I long to feel the coolness of His truth, I long to simply see the outline of His face.
For He, the Holy Spirit, has come down to invade my space.
The Hard rain.

I am fallow ground, broken and ready to receive...To move on, carry over, cross near, and furthermore....just to leave.Leave the old lifestyle of sin and profane and that which blinds and binds..fall heavy on His mercy and the call that is birthed within His time.The Heavy rain...
The Hard rain....
Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Joel 2:23-24

Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God;for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you----The former rain.... and the latter rain in the first month.
The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

Where Is The Voice That Teaches?

Ezekiel 44:23
They will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and what is unclean.

Seems to me today that there aren't any voices (or at least I am not aware of any) that are speaking about what is holy in our society and what isn't. We seem to have adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude about what is and isn't acceptable for those who are believers. You won't hear a lot of messages about purity and holiness. Why? Because it infringes upon our liberty. The one statement that I hold to is one that I heard years ago. Liberty and freedom does not give you the right to do what you want to do.......if affords you the opportunity to do what you ought to do.

We somehow have the idea that because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us we can take the attitudes and behaviors of the world and turn then into things that are Holy before God. I don't believe that is the way it works.

Think on this today-----Are there things in your life that are displeasing to God? Do you try and justify your actions under the guise of God's grace?
Seek that which is holy and cut off that which isn't.
God on you...........
mb

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lamps And Light Bulbs

It would be so easy for me to sit here and try to explain or tell you what following God really meant. I could clothe it religious speech and jargon that really would not explain it. I could try and use big words to give you the impression that I am a learned man but that wouldn't work either. I guess the best way to describe what a day to day walk with Jesus really is about, is found in Psalm 119:105----Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.
What does that mean? How does that translate into my every day walking around, eating, sleeping life? It means that first of all I have to read and study "YOUR WORD". Not trying to find a hidden gem of knowledge but to simply pull out the truth for me. Notice that the word becomes a light (in the Psalm passage). The word become illumination and understanding and helps me to spiritually see what I need to do when I come to circumstances and situations that block my way. The Word is a lamp that I hold on to. I take the the lamp and stretch it out in front of myself (this would represent my future) to see what is out there that may cause me to stumble or fall. The Word of God becomes the light, the glasses that give me fresh new powerful vision to see.

I like the way Psalm 119:105 puts it: It is a lamp for my feet. Not my head, not my hands but my feet. Where the feet go, the rest of the body will follow. If you can't see spiritually where to go, you don't need to be walking. Let the Word be the light that shines before you. Notice how the verse reads: A lamp for my feet and a light for my path. That means that there is a predetermined course or way that has been laid out for me and I am to simple follow it. The name of this path is obedience. Pure and simple we are called to walk in obedience to God and the only way we can ever hope to accomplish this is through the illumination of His Word in my life that changes the way I view things and the way I make decisions. This is the transformation that comes through the indwelling or filling or whatever term you use when the Holy Spirit invades our lives and our time and space.

Psalm 119:130
As Your words are taught, they give light. Even the simple can understand them.

Psalm 119:133
Guide my steps by Your word, so I will not be overcome by any evil.

Psalm 119:59
I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow Your statutes.

What are you using to direct your life today? God? Or the world?
God on you........
mb

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Kind of Christian Are You?

I find it odd that my previous post had to do with labels that we give ourselves or that others attach to us, and yet here I am posting about.....you guessed it....labels.
If you could describe yourself in a non-religious way, how would you describe yourself and your attitude and behavior in your relationship with Jesus?

One group I particularly enjoy being around are what I call "ninja" followers of Jesus. They are always ready for spiritual warfare even though they may not look like it. They have the ability to move in and out of different circles of people in the body of Christ, enjoying the company but always looking and keeping watch on what the enemy is doing. "Ninja" followers of Jesus have allowed themselves to be trained by the Holy Spirit to not back down from spiritual warfare and the attacks by the enemy but, like David the shepherd boy in I Samuel 17:48, when the enemy drew near to attack, David ran toward the enemy to meet him. Ninja followers have a taste for blood (so to speak...don't write any emails saying that I have lost it or gone over to the dark side) and do not shrink from a fight when God gives them permission to engage the enemy.

I'm not a ninja follower. I want to be. I don't know if that is my role in this relationship I have or not. It may be something He (God) is growing me into. I don't shrink for attacks. I don't cower and bemoan my lot in life. Sometimes, the attacks by the devil and his bunch of cronies catches me off guard and I may fall back to regroup, but I don't cut and run. I think maybe God is looking for His people to develop a spiritual backbone and not cower in fear at the least little sign of resistance. Help me Lord......Teach me Lord.....

God on you....
mb

Labels

Sometime people may misunderstand my ramblings in the previous posting when I wrote down a series of labels to identify my theology. Trouble is I think the more you label, the more you pin people down into places that may seem static. In other words, you think you know them and what they stand for.

Take for instance my belief in a pre-trib rapture. I believe it. I believe there is Scripture to support it, but I also hold it very loose. Keith Green used to put it like this, "pray for pre but prepare for mid or post."

There are certain eternal truths that are not open for discussion by me or anyone else.
Virgin birth.
Death of Jesus.
Resurrection of Jesus.
Reconciliation / justification / sanctification / regeneration / not open to debate.

I have always tried to associate and surround myself with people who simply loved Jesus and were living for Him every day. They sought the council of the Holy Spirit in all they did and were tied to the lusts of this world. I really didn't think, well this one is a Calvinist or this one is a Pentecostal. I just saw Jesus in them and wanted to hang out thinking I might learn something.

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

LEFT BEHIND OR LEFT ALONE?

I don't always agree with Perry Stone but he is very balanced in his teaching as he strives to look at all sides of a matter. He gives all the view points and then explains why he believes what he does.
Me? I believe in a pre-trib rapture.
You might even classify my as a fundamental/ Charismatic / Dispensational / Believer. In fact you might find it hard to pin down who I am. to be honest with you I hate labels. If you want to know who I am.........well, I am a follower of Jesus.
God on you today.............
mb

Monday, July 27, 2009

John Piper - Are You a Church or a Club?

Are we comprised of living stones that change and give away and love daily, or are we a church of hard brick. Fashioned by the world, crafted for outward appearence? God help us to be those living stones.

A Very Special Day

Psalm 27:13
What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living.

I stood with my wife yesterday as my grand son, Tyler, was baptized.
That is an overwhelming thing to take in.
To stand there and realize that what you are seeing is the result of your own son talking and praying with his son. A new generation that has been brought under the blood of Jesus.
Tyler had come home from vacation Bible school with tons of questions for his father.
Chad took the time to explain each one and to make sure Tyler understood what he was being told. In the end Chad asked Tyler if he would like to "ask Jesus into his heart." Tyler said yes, so the two of them knelt down and prayed together.

Chad took Tyler to see their pastor and to let Tyler share his story. Yesterday was the beginning of the journey for Tyler Bynum. He comes form a long line of Methodist pastors and teachers on my father's side, and Baptist pastors and teachers on my mother's side. I know that if read this you'll think it the prideful ramblings of a grandfather, and you might be right. But there is something else here that I believe is from God and has to do with Tyler.

On the day Tyler was born, as we were going to the hospital, God gave me a scripture. I will not go into the manner in which the Scripture was given, suffice it to say it was not a normal everyday occurrence. The Scripture? Exodus 13:1 -- The Lord said to Moses, "Sanctify (consecrate, set apart) to Me all the first born males. Whatever is first to open the womb among the Israelites both of man and of beast is Mine."

Over the past 7 years, whenever I would tell this story of receiving this verse, I have been viewed as taking something out of context. I have been told that this verse was directed only to Moses and is not relevant for today. Well, if that's the case then let's stop trying to win people to the Kingdom because the Great Commission was directed to the disciples and not to us. I don't really concern myself with what others think. I know that God gave me this verse for a reason. He gave it to me as we pulled into the parking lot of Riverview Regional Hospital on the very morning my grandson was born. Guess what? I did pray over him. When he was born and my son brought to me his son and lay him in my arms, I wept. I looked down at this tiny life and thought, "God has set you aside for His purposes." I placed my hand on his head and I prayed over Tyler, setting him aside for God.

Yesterday was the next step. I saw the goodness of God here in the land of the living. I am full when I stop to realize the power and awesomeness of God as He works His plans here on planet earth. When I consider His hand and the way it has rested upon my family all these years, it is enough to make me want to bow before Him and praise give Him the praises due His name.

God does not slumber........
God is not at rest............
He worketh His plans in spite of the petty strength of the enemy and mankind.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus! Come!

mb

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Most Unusual Night

Wasn't sure how the evening would turn out. Seth Barber was to be our speaker and he always brings a good word, one that is relevant to the guys and their recovery. I was kind of up in the air about worship...should I play this song or should I drop it. I spent the better part of the day trying to hear what to do. Even as we started the meeting, it felt disjointed and like we were trying to make something happen. When ever that happens, I always try to just step back and remind myself that God is in control....it is His meeting, not mine.



We had the message first instead of worship (out of necessity). Seth laid a good foundation for a time of prayer at the end. The message was from II Samuel, telling the story of Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan. Very much in line with 12 step teaching about being powerless and seeking a power greater than ourselves who could restore us to sanity.


We moved into worship and you could tell (not at first but as we moved through the song set) that God was going to do something. I talked about what it meant to be saved. To have the power, pull and influence of sin broken and being free to chase God in our every day life. When I asked who was feeling their heart being affected ( racing, beating fast, not sure what to make of it---have no language to describe what is going on...you just know you are uncomfortable) 8 men raised their hands. We prayed together and as we did, you could tell that God was doing a work. Several of the men were crying, heads down, shoulders slumped.....but it wasn't tears of sadness, but relief and joy. They had been saved.



The cool part was what didn't happen. Sometimes the power of God's Holy Spirit is not always evident. During the service a young man who was present, stood and slowly made his way to the back door and left. I didn't think much of what had happened.....maybe he had to go to the bathroom. Later, he returned after we had finished and wanted to talk. He was having a hard time putting into words what was going on. With tears in his eyes, he handed me a folded sheet of paper and said, "Just pray for me." Here is the content of the note.

Brother Mike
I don't know how to explain to you how I feel. But I had to leave the service tonight because I felt ashamed of myself because i want to live like God wants me to but there is always something telling me not to. I'm not worthy of God's time but I just can't shake that feeling. It hurts and breaks my heart that I hurt God. I know that Satan thinks I'm a nobody, but God tells me everyday that I'm somebody. I just want you to pray for me. I want to be the servant that God wants me to be. Pray for me..........I need it badly.

Pray we did.
I'm asking that you join me in these prayers that God would continue to cover this young man and stir his heart until he steps across spiritually into the new life God has waiting for him.
This is why I do what I do.
Yes, God called me to it.
Yes, I do so willingly, but when you get people come to you truly searching God's heart for their life...that is payday.

Thank you Lord!
Michael and Vicki Bynum

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The WORD of words

O.K.....I confess that I get a little crazy when it comes to this book we call the Bible. I go over the edge in some people's eyes. But I cannot get enough of it. I study it, I read it, I mull over what I read. I have several translations and I am continually swapping and cross referencing verses. I love it.
It's not about me collecting information or trying to become some kind of spiritual intellect. Most of what I study is related to recovery since, if you want to be truthful, we are all recovering from the fall of man and the sin that came with it.

There is a wonderful verse in Psalm 119.
Verse 130. It reads The unfolding of Your word brings light. It gives understanding to the simple. A book thousands of years old is still as relevant today as it was on the day these words were first put down. I love that phrase "the unfolding of your word". It paints of a picture of something being stretched out and revealed a little at a time for the one who is reading it. The Bible is a written voice that speaks beyond our hearing and goes deep into our "knowing" if you catch drift. If you are saved then you have within the key that will unlock the door that will bring you understanding. That key being God's Holy Spirit.
John 16:13-15 reads:
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine, therefore I said He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

It says that the Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit) will guide you, show you, lead you into what? All truth. What falls under that description, All Truth? Everything. Every part and partial and smidgen of truth. The greatest truth that the Holy Spirit can lead us into is truth about ourselves as seen against the truth of who God is. It is from here that I surrender my life and my will to God. Why? Because I see myself as God sees me yet at the same time, I see the gift of eternal life that God is offering to me. What an incredible concept. The God of all creation is showing me how I measure up to Him and His standard. Truth is........I don't measure up. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory or nature and character of God. God doesn't leave me in this place of falling short, He then extends to me this gift to accept the work of Jesus on the cross. By saying "yes" to God's invitation, I am given new life. Not just a new behavior or outward appearance, but one that begins with an inside transformation. I am like a new born baby, hence the term most Christians use, born again. As this newborn, I have to learn how to "live" all over again. I am seeing the world through a new vision or view. It is from this new view or vision that I develop this hunger to read God's word.

You may think me a weirdo or a fanatic.
You may wish for that same desire to consume the Bible.

Ask your heavenly Father to give you that hunger and then begin to read. Start in the gospels of the New Testament. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This is a great way to begin to see Jesus and how He interacted with mankind. If you have any questions E-mail me at

mvb1972@att.net I am not going to tell you that I have all the answers you need, but I will try and help you as we both learn.

God on you........

Michael / Vicki Bynum

Friday, July 24, 2009

This Is My Father's World - 2nd Chapter of Acts

I cannot tell you how this song impacts me. To stand here at Rapha on a dark, starlight night and look up. Look up and for that brief moment in time realize how small you are and how big your heavenly Father is. To view His handiwork and know that if He poured this much of Himself into creation, how much did he pour into you. How much more does He long for relationship with you.
This truly is my Father's world and I unashamedly proclaim His glory and greatness.......
Come quickly Lord Jesus

Finding The Center

Yesterday's posting was on recognizing how powerless we are because of our dependency on outside influence, be it alcohol or drugs or whatever, to manage the day to day affairs of our live. Living this way really puts the skids on what you and I would refer to as good judgment. The inability to control and make good decisions is only complicated by the fact that in our own minds we don't want to admit to this behavior. We are doing fine. We are just having some set backs. Set backs? We haven't seen these kind of set backs since Uncle Harry refused to get on Cousin Noah's ark. There is a verse associated with this first step and it is found in Proverbs 14:12....
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.


Do you see this? Did you catch that verse? There is a way.........a behavior........an attitude that seems right....its seems socially acceptable..........it appears to make all the sense in the world........but the end result of this way, this decision is headed to only one place.......death, both physically and spiritually. Let's move on!


If we had stopped here at this first step, that would be a pretty hopeless place to pitch our tent. I am grateful that this first step is only the beginning. Each step builds on the other which takes us out of and above our dependencies. So now that I've admitted I am powerless and that my life is unmanageable, what next?


There must be someone or something that can aid me and help me with what seems like these insurmountable living problems I have created. Ahhh! There is help. The Calvary has arrived.
Step#2
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

At the same place we admitted our inability, it is there we began the search (whether we were aware of it or not) to find an answer to our problems. Many of you may be reading this and think that it all sounds like mumbo jumbo or some kind of formula for self help. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If I have a problem and that problem is found within me, why would I think that the answer would also be inside me? You may be reading this and wonder what in the world am I talking about. Let me put it this way. You don't really have an alcohol/drug/dependency problem, you've got a living problem. You have a broken relationship with the one person who possesses the power to help you rise above all the destruction and pain created by your bad choices. That person is Jesus Christ. He is the power that can restore you to sanity. If I am in need of being restored to sanity, what does that say about my current state? It says that I am living a life of insanity. Insanity is the lack of ability to make sound decisions.

The answer to (this sounds so flippant but trust me, it isn't) all our problems is found in Jesus. Not the church, not some pastor (even though I am such an animal) but in Jesus. The church is where I go to hang out with people who are like me, kind of tore up from the floor up and looking to Jesus for the answers to my problems. Let's take a look at what we have so far.
We admitted, by that I mean we are brutally truthful to ourselves and those around us that we are powerless and not able to manage our own lives.

This powerlessness and inability to manage our own life has turned our focus from our self to looking for a power greater than us who can restore us to being able to make sound decisions.

Here are some verses that may help as you take this journey to a new beginning.

Philippians 2:13 - For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure

John 3:17 - For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.

Luke 9:56 - For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.

Mark 9:23 - And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.

May God richly bless you and lead you into truth...

Michael / Vicki Bynum

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The First Step....


How is your life? Peaceful? Does your daily journey have purpose or do you simply hope you make it through the day? Before you go all religious on me and before you think I am going to go all religious on you, consider something. You are not alone with these feelings that are inside you.
You are not some kind of mutant or alien from another world. Even if you look at other people and they seem to accomplish far more than you can or ever hope to, consider this. They have the same struggles and problems that you face.
If you think that money, wealth and power is the leverage used to escape the troubles of this world, you are sadly mistaken. With money, wealth and power come problems that may surpass what you and I face. If this isn't true then why do the famous, the wealthy, the movers and shakers of our world commit suicide or die from drug overdoses or go through multiple marriages never finding someone they can settle down with? The answer? Their lives are unmanageable. They may not admit it but when the curtain closes and the lights go down and they are left to themselves, they struggle just like everyone else. What's the answer? We have a living problem. We don't know how to live. We look to all the wrong examples for guidance and if we don't like what we see, we make up our own rules. How's that working out? Not to good.
I want to put down for you to read a simple place to start in this really crazy non-living problem we are trying to deal with (unsuccessfully I might add). Are you ready? Here it is.
We admit that we are powerless over our dependencies (alcohol, drugs, what ever you have to have to get you through the day)----that our life has become unmanageable.
When I say admit, I am saying that you come face to face with the hard truth. This doesn't mean you are a failure, but simply powerless. No amount of will power, want to, strength, cunning, or manipulation can break you free from your dependencies. You must have something to help you cope (more like gives the appearance of coping) with life. You may be emotionally damaged and can't make decisions, instead of dealing with problems, you escape through drugs/alcohol or whatever you use). Instead of dealing with life, we seek to build a false reality to escape into where we are under the false impression that we are safe and not hurting anyone. This is the delusion that we live under.
Then the hard truth comes with "Our lives have become unmanageable." We like to think we are the captains of our own destiny, but we delude and deceive ourselves with this view.
Each of us is born with a nature that bends toward doing or behaving in a way that is selfish, self-centered and wants what it wants when it wants it. If you don't believe me, watch a group of young children (2-3 years of age). You put them in a group and put one toy in the middle and watch what happens. One of the toddlers will grab the toy and say, "Mine! Mine! You can't have it!" Now no one taught this child to be greedy and selfish.............it came natural. This nature we are born with is called a sin nature. As you grow, so does this nature and left unchecked and not dealt with, the things it desires become more and more destructive. This nature is such a part of who we are, we can't really see it. We think, "Well, that's just the way I was born." True, you were born that way, but God doesn't want to leave you there.
The first step? Coming to the place where you know that you know that you know, you are powerless and your life has become unmanageable. From here we can move on.
Tomorrow: The Second Step
God on you.......
Michael / Vicki Bynum

Prayer Request

Just a note to let you know that Vicki and I would love to hear from you.
If you have need of prayer, feel free to drop us a line by E-mail:

mvb1972@att.net

Or you can leave a comment at the end of the posting of the day on this blog.
We'd love to pray with you and for you.
We don't send any mail out other than this daily blog.
We don't have any gifts to offer other than Jesus.
We aren't looking for any money or support from you.
Just consider our offer.


God on you............
Michael & Vicki Bynum
Rapha Ministries
Attalla, Alabama

Love?

Larry Norman wrote a great line for a song he recorded back in the early 70's.
Larry wrote: Beatles said all you need is love and then they broke up.
This is the way of the world.
Love that is shallow and flesh motivated.
Love that is not pure and holy.
Today's study took me to Jeremiah 31.
In this chapter, Israel is about to be over run by the army of Babylon. Doom and gloom spread across the land and the people. These actions have been brought to Israel's door because of their sin and rejection of God, yet within this dark period of no hope, God speaks forth and begins to lay out his plan for restoration.

In Verse 3 we read:
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying,"Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you and again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tamborines and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice."

The word that caught my eye this morning was the description of the kind of love God has. It is an everlasting love. I truly have no concept of the word "everlasting," other than to say that it is a pretty long time. I can't comprehend a love that can be sustained for such a period of time. My own ability to love is such that I would falter and fail, not being able to do so. Yet here in this verse God speaks of having an everlasting love. God's ability and choice to sustain such a love boggle my mind. Even more troubling is that this affection is directed to me. God loves me not because of anything I possess but because that is who He is. I John says that GOD IS LOVE. It doesn't say God loves, or God can love...................GOD IS LOVE. We try and put God, his character and His emotions into a human form so as to be able to understand Him. But we can't really do this because God is holy, God is perfect and God is pure. An untainted love for a creation that continually turns its back on Him is something that we can untangle to understand. This is the fire that draws me to Him. This God whose ways are higher than mine and whose thoughts are deeper and more complex than anything my feeble mind could come up with. God, who sees all, knows all and yet in the midst of this still loves me with an everlasting love.
All I can say is that I am grateful for this.
Find God today......
He is looking for you......
mb

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Famous atheists last words before dying

I am convinced to my very core that Jesus is the door through I must enter to meet God. Not only meet him but have relationship here on earth. Not a mental exercise of intellect to understand the Bible, but a living, changing, growing interaction between Him and me. I, as a student and follower, God as the greatest teacher of all time. Class is in session and that class is called life.
May you find it today in Christ.
God bless you.
mb

Today

Joshua 3:5
And Joshua said to the people, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

Two time frames.
Today and tomorrow.
Do this particular thing TODAY......
Because the LORD is going to do something wonderful TOMORROW among you.
I need to take care of His business in my life today so that my tomorrow can be set to receive the wonders (his choice of what they are) tomorrow.

Sometimes I think so much about tomorrow or even yesterday that I don't prepare anything today. I fret and worry and wring my hands "Oh what shall I do?" and expend so much emotional energy on actions that do not profit me in any way. I need to center myself in God and Him in me and find out what it is I am to do today. What is it that God wants me to see or read and then transplant that to my heart where it will change my behavior and/ or attitude?
That is the discipline of the Kingdom of God.
To realize that when I get up first thing in the morning, my life has been set apart for God's purposes (sanctified) and that I need to be obedient as I walk and move through my day. If you get an opportunity, find yourself a copy of the biography of Rees Howell. He was so in love with Jesus and the call to follow that Rees Howell, some would say, took life to the extreme. He went as far as to pray about whether he should spend money for a stamp to mail a letter or should he wait. After reading the incredible life this man lead, who am I to judge him. The fruit of God was very much evident. Rees Howell believed in taking care of today so that tomorrow would be prepared to reveal to him the wonders of God, whether it be through Scripture or through interaction with someone else.

My prayer is that I truly understand and walk out the call to follow.
Pray for me!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Galatians 6

V.14
But far be it from me to glory (in anything or anyone) except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

I have been parked on this verse since yesterday morning.
I've read it in 4 different translations. I have used Strong's Concordance to break the verse down.
The one thing that I come away with is that the Apostle Paul (who wrote this) says that his focus, his purpose, his joy, his compass all point and is found in the place, the work and the person of Jesus Christ and what took place outside of Jerusalem the day He died.

On that hill, Calvary, we read about the culmination of a plan that was first spoken of in Genesis 3:15. God proclaimed in that verse that His son was being sent to the world. There in the garden God said, "I have a plan to undo the damage that has been brought about by the choices mankind made."
To me this plan for the redemption of humanity is the illumination of the power and authority and love that God possesses. He wasn't taken aback by the actions of man in choosing to disobey. God came and pronounced the judgment for man's actions and then immediately began to work His plan to save the same people who had chosen against God's wishes and desires.

This work that took place on Calvary's mount was an eternal work. It has been 2000+ years since Jesus' death on a cross but the power of it, the intent of it has not been dimmed or diminished in any way. The blood of Christ carries the same ability to free people from the power and penalty of sin than on the day it was shed.

Notice what happened to Paul after his encounter with Jesus.
1.)The world was crucified to him (Paul). There was nothing in the world (material things, power, prestige, lust and all the behaviors the world the world finds of value) that Paul had a desire for. The world was dead to him. It was the presence of Jesus and the promise of life to come that was now the fuel that drove Paul. The promise and hope that God is who He truly says He is and does what He says He will do.

2.) Paul was crucified to the world. The world turned it's back on Paul, but focused it's hatred squarely at him because of the message he brought. He was an enemy of the world and as Paul states in V.17 --For I bear on my body the (brand) marks of the Lord Jesus (the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions--these testify to His (Jesus) ownership of me!).

As the song says, "My sin, not the part, but the whole...has been nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, It is well with my soul."

Live free in Christ today....
God on you....
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Monday, July 20, 2009

It Was Forty Years Ago Today.....


Has it really been 40 years since Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 flight first set foot on the moon? Today being the anniversary, I think back to that Sunday evening when everything stopped in this country and people sat in their living rooms to watch this epic adventure unfold.
The 60's had been the decade for man to flex his muscle and show what he was capable of. The human ability to overcome obstacles and solve problems was never so evident as with the NASA program. The future was ours! Society and mankind would forge a new frontier and life would become better here on planet earth. Nothing was farther from the truth than this idea of new era and a sort of utopia. Lets see what happened.
1.)Viet Nam continued to rage on eventually with our pulling out and the fall of South Viet Nam.
2.) Our president was embroiled in a scandal that would eventually lead to his resignation in disgrace.
3.) The economy sky rocketed as the price of oil went up to record numbers. This, in turn, brought double digit interest rates and double digit inflation.
4.) More war. Grenada, Panama, Kuwait and Iraq not to mention being tied up in Afghanistan.
5.) riots and death in the streets of American Cities as gangs show up to claim turf.
All of this is a far cry from the visionary view we had coming from this moon landing. Things have gotten worse, as Scripture said it would. Yet in all of this darkness, God continues to call unto himself a people. A people who fall in love with him and his word. A people who love God and each other as they love themselves. A people who expend themselves on ministering or serving others for Jesus' sake and name. A people who are grounded in the day but whose hearts and hope lie in the return of Jesus. As James Ryles puts it so eloquently, "We sing about the Sweet By an By but we live in the nasty here and now.
Man cannot nor will he be capable of solving the problems that we face here on earth. Why? Because the Bible says that the heart of man is wicked above all things. There is a deception that runs throughout society and without the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct, mankind will rely upon his own strength and intellect to address issues. We have cast God to one side in order to create our own TOWER OF BABLE. Look what we can do! There is nothing beyond our reach! Or so we think. There is a time of accountability that we are currently entering into and the things that man has placed his heart and love upon are going to crumble and lie shattered on the ground. The only thing that will remain are the eternal things of God. That you can take to the bank. "Michael, you sound like a prophet of doom." Well, I'm not. IF I am anything, I want to be known as a voice of hope. A voice that points to Jesus Christ as the only solution. "Sure of yourself aren't you?" No, I'm not. I just know that over the past few years these are the things I keep running into. Jesus is the answer. You might not like the answer. You might not want to hear about the answer. But none the less, He is the answer. Denying it won't make Him go away.
Search for yourselves.
Ask God to show you the truth.
May God richly bless you.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

It Was A Good Night

We were small in number last night since it was pass weekend, but what we lacked in numbers was made up in enthusiasm.
Since a lot of the guys were new, I did a short teaching on what worship is and exactly who it is we were worshipping. The one thing I have learned over the years is that you never take anything for granted when it comes to religion or theology. You never assume that the other person is on the same wave length, so to speak, as you are. Their concept of God may be far removed from your understanding, so with this in mind, I wanted to make sure that we all were on the same page.

Even though we are a church (a community of believers), we do not operate like what most people think of when they think of church. For the most part, the men who come through the program are there for 7 weeks. So it isn't like we are trying to build a permanent base or place for them. We do encourage them to return if they can't find a church home once they leave. We are a place of encouragement to chase God. A place where they can learn how to worship and pray and even minister to others. We are a door way to the larger part of the body of Christ. We are an entry point where they can began to feel comfortable with church.

When we moved into our praise and worship time, the room came alive. There were moments where the presence of God was very much evident in the room. Several came down for prayer and received ministry for things they were struggling with. This was a huge thing as some of these men have never been prayed for like this in their entire lives. To move out from where they were sitting to go and stand for others to come and ask what their need was and then be prayed over......this was our community doing the stuff, or the work of Christ last night.

I guess the best way to describe what takes place on Saturday night at the Chruch@Rapha is found in Psalm 103.

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
All my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
And forget not all his benefits.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
he redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion.

He satisfies my desires with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle.

Each Saturday night is different. No two services are alike.
We go into each meeting with a rough outline of what to do, but we hold it loosely because we know that God is going to come and I'd much rather let him have his way.
Every Saturday night as I am walking to my truck, I have the same thought....."Wow! God, how are you going to top that? What are you going to do next week? "
That is why I do what I do.
I love God!

God on you....
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lest We Forget

Saturday is here and with it comes our gathering tonight. In the past I would have referred to this as a meeting or a service but not today. It is a gathering of people who want to be together. To share in what has happened over the past week. To tell their stories of what God has done to them and for them. It is a time to encourage one another, to pray for one another and to join together in giving thanks to God that we are sober and above ground today.

We have a new group that will join us tonight.
Since our way of gathering is so different from what you would find in most churches, from time to time I have to go back and revisit for these new ones the purpose of why we do what we do. To reintroduce them and myself to who God is. See, we take for granted that we truly know God. We become comfortable with the concept we have of God. I think this is a dangerous behavior to carry around. I need to remember. I need to revisit and commit myself again to following Jesus. We are even told in the book of Revelation that the church at Ephesus forgot their first love. They continued on in carrying out the work of the kingdom but forgot why they were doing this.
Taken from the Association of Vineyard Churches Statement of Faith is who I believe God to be.

We believe that God is the Eternal King.
He is infinite.
He is unchangeable Spirit.
He is perfect in holiness, wisdom, goodness, justice, power and love.
From all eternity He exists as the One living and true god in three persons of one substance.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit----equal in power and glory.


We gather every Saturday night to give thanks and proclaim our love and allegiance to God.
Our hearts are tugged to give our allegiance to the earth and the stuff of this world, but we will not surrender our will or our lives to such folly. The course of this world ends in death, both physical and spiritual.
Those of us who have been saved and are being saved even at this point today, have a destiny that awaits us upon either our death or the return of Jesus Christ. That destiny is to live with Him forever and ever. Not to be some sort of heavenly creature that spends eternity sitting on cloud, clothed in white, plucking on a FENDER harp. No! We have been called to "know" to understand and see the perfect truth of who God is. That is what I look forward to the most. To actually get to talk with God in all three parts. To see the people I have read about in Scripture and to be able to talk with them. To ask Paul about his personal conversion experience. To spend time with Moses and ask him what it was like being on a mountain forty days and forty nights with the Lord God Jehovah as company. To ask Noah if at any time during the building of the ark did he feel like giving up. To sit and talk with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and ask her if it just washed over her from time to time the fact of who she had given birth to. That is what I look forward to when heaven is my reward.

I can hardly wait.
God on you...
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Friday, July 17, 2009

The Sound of Rain

I don't know if I can clarify what went through my head as I watched this video.
The fact that we, God's creation, have the ability to recreate sounds that God created. I was taken with this and even felt myself praying and thanking God for imagination and creativity. To think that some believe we were a by product of random chance. Sorry, can't go there on that one.
In the Beginning.......God!
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Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

The title to today's posting (Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?) comes from the name of a song written by the band CHICAGO. Could be that this song is more prophetic than one may have given credence to .
The next line of this song state, "Does anybody really care?"
Is that the way it is in our town?
Does anybody really stop and think about what time it is according to God's plans?
I'm not here to make any rash predictions or to sound like some Old Testament prophet crying out, "Repent! Repent! The End is Near!"
Although that might not be a bad idea.
The man who usually comes to teach here at Rapha on Fridays is out so I am filling in for him today. During the course of the evening, as I was studying on what to teach, I kept coming back to the third chapter of II Timothy. Paul makes a strong point in the opening words of this chapter by saying, "But know this." Paul is saying pay attention Timothy and understand the time you are living in. Paul describes this time as "In the last days." Much has been made over this and even in our own time whenever something catastrophic happens, pastors, teachers and prophetic voices everywhere began to chorus of "We are living in the last days." Well, duh? You think? I mean every day that passes is one day we are closer to the return of Jesus. As John Wimber use to put it, "I don't know when Jesus is coming back and I don't know if we are in the last days. What I do know is that we are last-er than we have ever been."

Paul tells Timothy that in these last days perilous times will come. Does that mean perilous times for each of us or for us as a group or community? I believe that it means whatever happens will effect each of us. The strange part in this statement is the word "perilous". This word carries the meaning of stressful or oppressive times. If you read the list that follows you see that it is a list of character defects. We are already seeing this list come to light in our own country as the moral fabric of our nation has completely unraveled and each man does according to what he believes is right. We have thrown off the restraints of ethics and God's standard to embrace a self-deluded life of feeding our sin appetite at every turn. Hold nothing back but feed that nature whatever it wants. God help us!

Verse 13 reads: But evil men and imposter's will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
The love of self will be so strong at this point in history that the norm of the day is to survive by deception. At the same time, those who deceive will become deceived by others. It will be a dog eat dog survival with no regard to the word of God.

Verse 14- But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.
We cannot fall prey to the behaviors that will be all around us, we must continue in the teaching and leading of God. Funny part in all of this is that if you aren't being taught and you don't know how to hear and follow God, it may be a difficult time. I can see many who claimed to be saved and be a follower of Jesus will fall away because of their own self imposed ignorance. They didn't take the time to study the Word of God. They did not take the time to discipline themselves in learning to follow the Spirit.

Even though II Timothy Chapter 3 begins with a very depressing message, Paul leaves us with hope at the end of the chapter.
V.16-17 - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete thoroughly equipped for every good work.
This Bible, this word of God will enable us, along with the working of the Holy Spirit, to become a complete person....
One that is not just ready for what ever happens, but is thoroughly equipped (that means we have at our disposal everything we need to survive these last days) to do the good works that God has put before them.

God on you..........
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Many More Times?

I found myself at the county jail yesterday to visit someone who had contacted me that they had placed me on their visitation list.
I was standing in the waiting room when the deputy in charge began to call out the names of the men who were were receiving visits this day. Of the 5 names that were called of inmates to receive visits, I recognized 4 of them from time they had spent at Rapha. As I mulled over in my mind these 4 names, I remembered the time I had spent with each one.
Some expressed a desire to change from their old lifestyle. Some even went as far as telling me they wanted to be saved. Some were baptized. Here on this day, each one of these men were in jail because they had not changed but had retained the mentality and behavior of their old lifestyle, a lifestyle of sin and of following the dictates of their own heart rather than listen to the voice of God.

I know that these men had heard the truth during their stay at Rapha. Teacher after teacher had spoken over them the power and ability that God gives each who come to Him in repentance and surrender of their own will.
Step #1 of the 12 steps: I admit that I am powerless over my addiction---my desire for drugs and/or alcohol----that my life has become unmanageable.
Unmanageable---the ability to make sound decisions. The ability to decide what is best for me. The ability to take personal responsibility and action for my own well being. Step #1 says that we have lost this ability to conduct our own personal business.

I hear so many men who say these things. The words fall from their lips like the memorized words of a nursery rhyme spoken by a small child. "I know I have a problem." "I know that if I don't change I'm going to die or go to jail." NO!!! You don't know, because if you did the truth would have hit you between the eyes and you would crumble into a heap much like the destruction left in your path because of your addiction. The truth strikes deep in the heart. It undoes every argument erected to defend bad behavior and sinful living. No manner of justification will every knock down the truth of God.

The man I spoke with yesterday seemed to be broken and contrite. He wept when he first came into the room where we spoke. He said he was embarrassed and ashamed to see me but that he needed to talk of what he had done. I assured him that what was done was in the past and that the main concern now was to repent and find God's will and that this will may not include freedom. He did not like that part but was able to acknowledge that everything was out of his hands and in the hands of God. It was an uncomfortable conversation as I listened to him explain and try to reason why he'd done what he had done. I told him that there was only one reason for his actions........sin. He had made the conscious decision to cast aside the leading of God's Holy Spirit to follow the path of his own doing. This path took him away from God's protection and peace and led him to this jail where the man now sits.

If you can, pray for this man today. Pray that God's mercy would be extended to him and to the sentence the judge will pronounce over him. Pray that whatever the outcome, this man would continue to grow in God and move on with his life. Please pray for this man's family that God would grant them peace in this entire episode.
God on you.....
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today....just today

Psalm 94:18-19
I cried out, "I'm slipping!" And your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

I love the transparency and humanity that we read in Scripture of those who penned these words. How unlike today, in our society, would we be so bold as to admit to such things as falling away from God or our minds being filled with doubt. Some would look at this and claim, "You are proclaiming negative things....you should speak positive words so that they will come to pass." Speaking into existence the things which are not. I don't know much about that except to say that the more I am honest in prayers and in my daily life, the more of God I see and hear.
I hear numerous teachers and pastors make such statements as, "You should not doubt God!" I know that is the place I am headed to, but I'm not there yet. Here is how it works for me. Sometimes I do doubt. The thought comes to my mind, but instead of letting it roll around and grow and turn into belief, I cut it off and began to pray. I talk to God and I confess the doubt. I tell Him that I know this is not part of his plan for me, but none the less the doubt is there. Then I begin to say out loud the things I know to be truth. I repeat verses that reassure me that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. This causes the doubt to dissipate and I find peace once again. But to those who simply say we should not doubt, lets have some mercy on those who do struggle with it. This is not to say that I walk around full of doubt and questioning every thing that goes on. From time to time I find myself in situations or circumstances that cause the doubt to come up. We are a weird breed aren't we.
Find God today
Be Honest and open before Him.
Thank Him for making you the way you are, what with your quirky view of life and your sense of humor. Then ask Him to bring His best out in you, removing all the wrong character traits you carry around, allowing His Spirit to produce in you His nature.

Thanks for stopping by today....
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mercy Me - The Love Of God

My posting over the past few days has been done with a bite to it. I know that words have been typed and posted that carry weight and purpose. I never, never, never loose sight of the heart of Father God. I never want to forget that it was love that held Jesus to the cross. Not the syrupy, silly love the world offers. But divine love...divine choice not based on emotion but on the idea of redemption and restoration of a creation that was crumbling under the penalty of sin. God looked and sent his son to pay the price. How can I even write these words and not fall to my knees weeping over this wonderful gift of salvation that has been afforded me.
I want to learn to love a God loves.
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Trusting In Lying Words

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself in an unusual place as far as my heart and the Word of God. I have watched on television as our government has tried to deal with crisis after crisis as our economy has somewhat tanked and I have wondered and thought, "Is this part of the judgment that we may be facing?" The easy answer is yes, but that is not an answer I want to latch on to. I would like to count it as merely life, or the righting of a lot of years of bad leadership. I don't think I can bring myself to believe this though. What I truly believe is that we are seeing judgment come to this country. I pray that I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

I have been studying the book of Jeremiah and while I hold no degrees or could give you a good reason to read what I am about to write, I trust that you will ask God to show you the truth.
Ever since the end of WWII, our nation has been on a slippery slope of self gratification.
Men came home from WWII and found themselves in the middle of a new prosperity. Homes were bought. Families were raised, and a new level or lifestyle developed and life was good.
Fast forward to today.
The generation birthed during the prosperity, the baby boomers (of which I am one) found themselves with more at their disposal than any other generation had before. Church became something you did. You attended because it was the thing to do. The Word of God was traded for a social gospel during the 1950's. Being a Christian was based more on how you treated your fellow man and the good you sought to do in your town and community rather than a confession of sin, repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life. The reality of what it meant to follow Jesus was pushed to the back and relegated as being old fashioned and out of touch with our modern world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We sought to replace the mandates of God with the new, flashy, and more relevant word. This new word displaced such antiquated notions as sin, the blood of Jesus and confession with new ideals such as Jesus loves you just as you are.We no longer spoke of sin but rather of problems we face. The truth of God was re written to be a self-help encyclopedia that would lead you to your destiny.

All during this time there were several so called "revivals" that appeared. They would flash on the scene and quickly die out. This is not to say that God was not at work or that fruit didn't come from these meetings. But all the while, the lifestyle of this country became our god. We worshipped at the catalogues and paid our tithes in plastic to the god of this age. We gave a head nod to the real God in order to keep our status as a so called Christian, but our hearts were consumed with the next best thing we could buy. Lifestyle became our God and we could not ever be content until we had purchased the next new thing that would make it even greater.

We comforted ourselves with the thought that "this great nation was founded on the principals and word of God." Somehow no matter how bad we may become, we could always rest on this fact. Our heritage has become our "get out of jail" card. Yet in Jeremiah's day, the people felt the same way. It was a time of religious reform and the Temple was alive with activity. In II Chronicles 35 we read where King Josiah held a passover that was bigger, better and more lavish than any that had ever been held before. If you looked at the surface, life appeared to be headed in the right direction. But you can't judge by looking at the surface. I Samuel 16, God tells Samuel, "You look at the outward appearance, I, the Lord God, judge the heart."

In Jeremiah 7, God has sent Jeremiah to the Temple to stand in the gate at the entrance and proclaim this prophecy to the people who were coming and going from the Temple.
V.3
Amend your ways and your doings: and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these."
Jeremiah was saying that the people felt secure and that their lives were decent and faced no danger because they had the temple. They went daily to perform their religious duty and did so without fail, but their lives were filthy with sin and with the worship of Baal, the false deity of the day. The people had no problem with making these two behaviors match up. In other words, the people had separated God from their every day life. Serving God was no more than showing up at the temple and giving a sacrifice to the priests and participating in whatever feast was going on.

The one thing I struggle with in my own personal life is walking out daily what I know God desires me to do. When I say struggle I don't mean that it is a hard path to walk, but that there is much to distract me and draw my attention away. If living like this is considered to be fanatical, then so be it.....I am a fanatic.
What I know is this.
Unless the church wakes up and understands the time we are currently in, it will find itself completely shut out of society with no voice at all. It will carry no weight because its message is not relevant to our day.
We have sold the truth of God in order to get people into our sanctuaries. Once there, we had nothing to offer them except programs and agendas.
Is it too late for us? I don't think so. I have begun to pray and repent for my sin and my attitudes that I carry around. I am praying that God would have mercy on the church and that he would send a revival not a reformation. A move of God's Spirit that would shake us to our very core and awaken us from our slumber. I pray that God would call out our names and like Lazarus, we would awaken from death, shake off our grave clothes and step out into the light of day.
God help me!

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Monday, July 13, 2009

God Has Blessed America

I have seen the bumper stickers while traveling down the highways of this land.
I have seen the signs in store windows and at churches in various parts of this country.
We all proclaim that "God bless America".
My question today is "why?"
Why would God bless us when we turn away from Him?
We proclaim ourselves to be a Christian nation and yet we do so by lip service only.
The complete council of the Word of God is not being taught in our churches. I struggle with this as I find myself, at times, wanting to teach something that will "tickle" the ears and make me look good. Such things come from my flesh and is not the leading of the Holy Spirit. God forgive me! More than this teaching of the complete council of the Word of God, we need to become a people that lives to obey and walk in His ways.

Our country today and in years past, has been under the leadership of men who give lip service to our spiritual heritage. Who use the phrase "Christian" with a vague, non descriptive definition of that word. They do so to get elected. They march under the pledge that our religious belief's should be a private thing. How can something that is life changing be private and kept put aside like some token or souvenir? These men and women want to govern and change the direction of this nation to remake America into their own image and agenda.

In the book of Jeremiah we read of a religious reform that swept the nation of Judah.
Under King Josiah ( II Chronicles 34) he led a reformation to return Judah to the ways of King David. The problem with reform is that it is merely an outward form of obedience. The heart is not involved. There is no change to the heart. No conviction. No repentance. It merely follows the idea of "We can be good." We have proven over and over that we are incapable of being good. Revival takes place when the heart is involved. When the Holy Spirit brings conviction and repentance. Then and only then can true change be brought to the land.

It begins with the house of God or, in this case, the professing Body of Christ.
When a nation falls, it starts with the religious teaching and up bringing of the people.
What kind of people is the church producing? Are they ablaze for the word of God? or are they shallow in their understanding of God? Do we have people mature in the faith, warriors for prayer.....or do we still have nurseries full of spiritual babies?

We have sought the easy way, the easy path for too long. We have sought the popular path in order to entice the world into our sanctuaries only to find out that we are influenced by them rather than the other way around.

Seven times in chapter 3 God refers to Judah as "backsliding". Do you know what backsliding means? We have an idea but what I found in Scripture is different than what I thought it meant.
It refers to the idea of a cow being loaded into a wagon or cart. The cow puts down their front legs and stiffens them to keep from going into the wagon. Willful disobedience and rebellion--bracing ourselves to keep from doing what God desires of us. This can come in many forms...as simple as excusing our need for reading and studying the word of God, to keeping silent when God lays it on our hearts to speak to someone or minister to them. We dig our heels in to keep from moving in obedience to God's Word.

America needs more than a Reformation. It needs revival. We need, as His people, to confess our sins (not very popular), repent and turn to God. Simple as that.
Are we willing to?
I am. I am so tired of dry, dead services where we are simply going through the motions.
Come Holy Spirit!
Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Father God, have mercy on us as we come back to you!

God on you today.......
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Corner

If anything, I want to be responsible for what God has given to me.
I know that this blog is one of the things he has entrusted me with. It began in 1994 with a simple mail out to a few folks to remind them of a home meeting (we referred to them a KIN SHIPS) that my wife, Vicki, and I hosted every other Saturday night.
The note grew as I began to include what was going on in our lives as well as the life of our kinship. We put the GREENE STREET LETTERS down in 2002. But I kept writing and keeping a journal over those years. When I began to blog, I wanted to do a Greene Street Letter but it just never came to be.

When I changed the name of this blog back at the first of the year (thanks Bobby Sparks), I began to see a change in the perception of the blog. More people began to log on and read. That was an encouragement to keep on writing. What I'm trying to say is that we each should find out what God has entrusted us with and be a good steward with it. The "what" we have been given by God is not important for each of us has a corner of the kingdom to influence for God. It may be in a classroom or a factory. You may work in a hospital or an office but where every you are, look for ways to influence those around you with the Word of God. Please! Let God lead you in this. WE don't need to jump on soap boxes ( I don't know that I've truly ever seen a soap box) and become a pharisee for Jesus. Our greatest prayer should be for God to teach us to love others as He does. Without that 4 letter word.....L....O....V...E, the apostle Paul says that we are nothing more than clanging cymbals and empty thoughts and words. Love brings purpose to what we do and say. Not the love the world has, but the love that only comes from God.

I confess that I struggle with this.....loving others. I say it with my mouth, but find it hard to carry out in the real world. I don't want to simply give lip service to this but truly be changed by the Holy Spirit. I want to love those that deep inside, I don't want to love. Then and only then will I know that I am truly growing in God. No more games or acting religious. I need to be about the business of loving. Now don't confuse love with excusing. God does not excuse or turn away from sin. Every thing God does to bring someone to repentance is done with love, kindness and mercy. Seems as though I tend to use judgment, criticism and pressure. Like I said, I have a long way to go.
Pray for me as I will pray for you that we all learn to love with Kingdom Love.
God on you......
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Home Again

It is good to be back home after our vacation.
The entire family was together for a week and I am recharged and ready to go.
I spent the entire week enjoying the company of my wife, children and grand children, blessing God for the good measure he has blessed us with.

My study this past week was in Jeremiah, and the one thing that has followed me was from Jeremiah 1:5 where God tells Jeremiah "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."
Sometimes the simplest of words convey thoughts that are beyond human comprehension. The idea that God, creator of all, truly does know us, even from before we were formed is mind boggling.

I walk around here on this planet feeling alone and insecure wondering what the next event or situation is going bring, yet God (who I claim to believe in) knows all. He sees in advance and is not taken aback by any of it. Of course we get all mad and go off and pout when things don't go the way we want them to, but that is the beauty in all of this. God does love us and cares for us.
Case in point.
Saturday night when we arrived in Ft. Walton, we stopped by Publix Grocery to pick up some items before we went to our hotel. The car died. It wouldn't crank. It wouldn't turn over. The engine was dead. Me? I go into a funk. We had pretty much depleted our funds to go on this vacation and we didn't really need car repairs thrown into the mix. I managed to get the car towed to a local dealer who told me they would have it ready on Monday. Monday came and with it a phone call from the dealer. Seems as though when they were working on the van they discovered a problem with our transmission. Praise God! More trouble. Ahhh, but here is where God was looking out for us. If we had not had the battery trouble we did, we would not have known about the transmission until it was too late and we really would have had major malfunction. So God (some of you may not believe this) used the battery (he allowed it to happen) in order to reveal the real problem which was transmission. Some of you may be thinking God doesn't really have time for batteries and transmissions.........yes He does!

God knows me! He knows me so well that he allowed this battery to die there in the Publix parking lot rather than on the side of the road along Hwy 98 where there aren't any phones or means of getting in touch with someone (cell service is Kaput in this area). He knew that it was cheaper for the transmission problem to be fixed than to let it develop into a full blown torn up transmission that would have required a greater deal of money than we had with us. God is good.
What ever you are experiencing today, know....I mean really know. Wrap your mind around it and hang on to the fact that God knows you. He knows what you need. He knows what you can stand emotionally, physically and financially. He will bear you up and lift you through whatever you face today.

It's good to be home.
Come and visit THE GREENE STREET LETTERS anytime.
God on you.......
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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Taking Time Off

I will be on vacation until July 11.
Look for new posting to begin on the 12th.
Have a safe 4th of July
God blessings on you all....
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Friday, July 3, 2009

Handel - The Messiah

This music stirs me deeper than my flesh or mind. It goes to the very depths of who I am and causes me to want to break forth in praise to God to whom I own everything.
My life.
My past.
My Present and future.
The very breath I breathe and the next heart beat should He decide to give me on.
Praise God!
You are worthy to receive our praises!
God on you............
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Brother Lon


Here he is! Lon Woodrum. Dapper isn't he? Lon liked bow ties and the Word of God. He would have rather talked about Jesus than eat. And how that man could talk about Jesus.
I wrote about Lon in the previous posting and how I first met him at Central Methodist. He would come up to teach and speak at the church and make the trip to Brahser Springs to take part in the services. He was old fashioned by todays standards. Come to think about it, Lon didn't think to much about today's standards either. His only standard was the Bible.
I wish that you could have heard him speak. Being a journalist, Lon had a gift with words. He was what I guess I would refer to as an orator. He knew how to master and allow the Holy Spirit to guide him as he spoke.
I remember one sermon he gave in particular. The title was "Who Is On Your Rope?" It was about the apostle Paul who was lowered over the wall one dark night in order to escape being caught and killed. Bro. Lon said that anyone could teach on Paul. If you couldn't teach on Paul you might as well pack up all your books and Bible and get out of the ministry. Well, Bro. Lon wanted to speak about the two men who lowered Paul out that window and down that wall. Two men who were never named in scripture but who had as great a responsibility for seeing the Gospel put down in writing as Paul, who wrote it did. If these two men had not lay hold of that rope and took responsibility for seeing that Paul made is safely from the city, the greatest books we have in our Bible might not have been written.
Bro. Lon took that idea and asked "Who is on your rope today?" Who is it that God has placed in your path that you are suppose to be obedient to so that the Kingdom of God might be extended?
I marveled at this man who could take words and paint as vivid a picture as any artist with paint and brush. I am richer to have known Bro. Lon.
God on you....
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Brasher Springs Camp Ground


David Finlayson and Florrie Noojin have both been writing lately about their experiences at Camp Bethlehem. Their family made the trek each years and many friendships and stories were made and came out of these family trips.

I didn't get to participate in such events until after Vicki and I started going to Central United Methodist Church and found out about Brasher Springs Camp Ground. Funny part was that I knew about Brasher Springs having grown up nearby in Gallant. Truth be told, I was Baptist and believe it or not, there was an unspoken "thing" between Baptist and Methodist back in the day. We Baptist viewed the Methodist as "out there"....."You know they don't immerce you they just kind of tickle you with water, they sprinkle" We would say. We baptist go whole hog....you're going under all the way if it breaks the ankles of every frog in Rocky Hollow (or Holler if you're really southern). As the years roll by I find such antics to be...well, I'm not going there.
Once Vicki and I joined Central Methodist we found out about the meetings each year at Brasher Springs. They are held in what is referred to as the Tabernacle. It is an open air meeting under a huge pavilion. There is something truly wonderful about going and singing the old hymns and hearing preaching and teaching that is not watered down or held back.
I first encountered Brother Lon Woodrum at Brasher Springs. By the time I met Bro. Lon, he was 83 years old and still going strong. Now if you referred to Bro. Lon as a Pastor or Preacher, he would be quick to let you know he wasn't any of those. He was an accomplished Journalist who loved God and talked about Him. I will tell you without reservation that I have never heard anyone share God like Bro. Lon could. Bro. Lon passed away a number of years ago and I do miss that man.

It was always good to meet up with friends at Brasher Springs. Gavin and Ellen Harris, Johnny and Connie Burttram and Jennifer. There was always a strong contingency from Central who attended each year. I haven't gone to Brasher Springs in a number of years, but you know what? I think I might this year.
God on you...
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The Revival Hymn

I posted this video last year.
I need to revisit this again and understand that the body of Christ is not confined to the United States of America but the world. We in America do not hold a franchise on Christ. He did not look like us. He came to rescue, to save, to redeem and bring into His Kingdom those who were lost. Those living outside the will of the Father.
Those of you who happen to find your way to this blog, know that I am honored that you would stop and visit here. I pray every morning as I post here on the Greene Street Letters that what is written would be used by God. That it might awaken someone today, to the fact that God wants to change you. To take away the curse and power of sin in your life. To put His Spirit inside you as a compass or true voice that can guide you today right where you are and right where you live.
May you find this God who has so radically changed me!

God on you....
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What's In Your Mouth?

The title of today's posting comes from the commercial about the Capital One Credit Card. The catch phrase is "What's in your wallet?" The inference is that your wallet has no use or purpose without the Capital One Credit Card in it.
What's in your mouth? What is it that you speak daily? Does your words give value to what you believe or are you simply imitating what you hear on the daily news.

Paul writes in I Thesssalonians 4:18:
Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The word "therefore" is a connecting word. Paul is tying two thoughts together, so for us to understand what the verse is referring to, we have to look back at the context given in the preceding verses.
Paul is referring to the rapture.
The rapture has fallen out of favor with a lot of churches today.
The rapture is old had. antiquated and out dated.
My friend, be careful about what you allow to roll around in your brain. Be careful about the subtle voices that you listen to that don't disallow for the rapture. They simply don't teach it or speak on it.
They speak on the fact that we should be focused on what needs to be done now.
They promote a social gospel of doing good works and helping people.
This kind of teaching, while not evil, carries with it a trap that snares us. What trap? The trap of feeding our flesh. Inflating our ego. Putting us at the center of God's will and not God himself.

I am not here to debate or discuss the position of the rapture in relation to God's plan. I am simply here to say that if Paul says we should comfort one another concerning the calling up by the Lord Jesus Christ of his church, then we should be speaking on the subject.
In fact the word "Comfort" used in the verse carries with it the idea of teaching or exhorting each other. Why? Why speak out on the Rapture?
Because it builds hope within us. It tells us that no matter how hard or bad things get here on earth, at some point the Lord Himself. Do you see that? The Lord Himself will descend. He isn't going to send angels after us. He will come.

The custom in Jewish Weddings was for the husband, during the betrothal period, to work and prepare a place for the couple to reside in. Did Jesus not say that he was going away to prepare a place for us and that it he was going away, would he not come back and get us? I think the answer is yes. This brings comfort to us on so many levels. It soothes my spirit and lets me know that what I am going through here on planet earth is temporary.

Some say the rapture is pie-in-sky-theology.
My friend, I say it is Jesus-in-the-sky-truth.
Read the words of I Thessalonians 4:13-18 for yourself.
Take heart!
Jesus is coming back to call his bride unto himself.......and thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Maranatha, Lord Jesus!
God on you..........
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Kingdom Work Doesn't Always Look Like What We Think It Does

Parking lot was crowded yesterday. It was near noon and people were taking care of their business, hurrying in and out of the building. I...