Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I see trees of green........
red roses too
I see em bloom.....
for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.
I love to hear Louie Armstrong sing "What A Wonderful World."
The thought behind the words is that we need to look for the beauty
all around us.
Some would look for the beauty at the expense of remaining blind
to all the "ugly" in the world.
Some people can't see anything but the ugly.
There isn't anything beautiful to be seen in this world.
Some people refuse to see only the beauty and reject any knowledge of the "ugly"
part of creation.
To me, it is a mixture of both.
This morning I went out to get the newspaper.
5:15 a.m. / sky still dark.
And it was alive with stars.
The Temperature was in the low 50's, cool breeze
the sky was just ablaze with stars.
I stood at the edge of my yard looking up thinking to myself
"Man....God...you did good!"
Yet I knew that a few doors down from me
A mother and father was missing a child of theirs who was in prison.
The beauty lay above me and the ugly was less than 200 feet from
my front door.
I wonder how Jesus felt when he walked this earth.
He was seeing creation in a new way....from the human perspective.
I wonder what he thought as he was praying at night, looking up into the sky....
seeing the stars and the moon?
I wonder what he thought the first time he physically held a new born baby?
Or what was it that made him laugh?
Maybe something a child said or a game that was being played nearby.
I know that for all the hatred and ugliness in this world,
it will, at some point in the future,
be replaced by a government that will be unlike any other that has
ruled on this planet.
What government?
The Kingdom of God.
Then and only then will I be able to.....
"Think to myself....what a wonderful world!"
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

Monday, September 28, 2009

D-E-A-T-H!!!!

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 if there is "Life after death."
I guess the question I would have to ask is......................"Is there life before death."
What I see is that a number of people run around trying to find life.
They don't find it in a job, but they put in their mandatory 40 hours and then use the remaining off time to "experience" life on some level.
To them, life is anything that happens outside the sphere of their normal everyday existence.
They take up skydiving....("It makes me feel alive!").
They take up mountain biking ("I feel alive when I'm blasting down that hill!")
They climb mountains ("I conquered a fear and I'm alive!")
But the life they claim to have found fades and becomes a memory causing them to seek out even greater thrills and experiences.

Jesus, in John 10:10, says, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." The inference there is that Jesus is the source for this life, and He goes on to state that "He has come." His presence and His willingness to enter our time and space is the vehicle through which this abundant life flows. We cannot get it on our own, that is why He chose to bring it to us. We cannot seek it out and lay claim to it. He offers it as a free gift to those who would receive.

This abundant life is not for a later time. It is not found within the "sweet bye and by." It is found in the "nasty here and now." Life..............now! Life............that is above whatever the standard is that the world has offered. Life that is eternal. Life that pays dividends on this side of heaven as well as the other. Jesus said that He had come to offer to sinners this gift of life abundant.
To offer life would be to say that, "what you are currently experiencing that you would claim to be life, is less than what He has to offer."

Why not trade today?
Why not look into Jesus, as my brother, Larry Norman, would say?
He's got the answer.....
Jesus, not Larry.

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

Last Monday Of The Week

What a weekend.
Fast.....
Flew by....
But a good one.
Visited with friends at the new house last night. It was a chance to catch up and drink a cup of coffee. Find out what's going on in the "Vineyard" world and share a bit about what's going on in "Rapha-land".


Saturday nights meeting was something special.
Seth Barber spoke on what real salvation is.
Seth's messages have become more intense and reveals the heart of a man who isn't about playing at recovery or relationship with God.
Seth has a way of pulling everything back to center with his teachings and I truly appreciate his coming and sharing.

A number of men came forward to be saved.
We will watch and see the fruit that is produced by God's Holy Spirit.
We will continue to pray over them and help them learn what it means to walk with Jesus.
Like I said....
It was a good weekend.

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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Enjoying The Day


Sometimes where I am is a dark place.
Other people's darkness floods and covers me.
I am grateful for God's peace and light and protection
against all the darkness.
Because it is so spiritually dark, God sometimes gives me a gift.
I refer to these simply as "a day to enjoy."
Today is such a day.
God desires us to be like little children.
Not childish, but child like.
To enjoy things simply because they are.
To enjoy everything about life.
The wonder of it.
The gift that comes with it.
The handiwork of our heavenly Father all around us.
To simply have "a day to enjoy."
It started last night.
I took my grandson to Gadsden City High School's homecoming game.
He wanted to go really bad but because his dad is a coach
there was no one to take him.
I did.
It was a present from God.
It rained.
We sat in the rain wearing our poncho's as this was an adventure.
We were doing something that normally we wouldn't do.
We were getting away with something that we normally wouldn't get away with.
That is the adventure.
We yelled when Gadsden scored.
We booed when the officials penalized Gadsden.
We ate pizza (although a little soggy from the rain)
We drank Mellow Yellow's
and we made a memory.
That was the enjoyable part.
A little something to catalog away in our minds.
Something we can pull up when times are hard.
A memory that will bring a smile to our face.
That is what last night was about.
I am at Rapha today and the rain continues.
It is a soft day, if you know what I mean.
Nothing pressing.
No deadlines.
I am here and .....I am here.
It is a present from God and I thank Him for it.
We will gather tonight in the chapel for our meeting.
Worship.
Share among ourselves stories from the past week of what God has done
to us and through us.
We will pray.
We will be the body of Christ.
It is an enjoyable day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Keys, Steps, Secrets.....Who Is Right?


Sometimes I think Christianity is its own worse enemy.
Let me rephrase that.
Sometimes I think what passes for Christianity is its own worse enemy.
If you go to any Christian bookstore you'll see rows upon rows of books with titles like "12 keys to unlocking your hidden potential." Or "7 keys to finding your destiny."
The subtle message behind these books and others that carry similar titles is that there is a hidden truth that is hidden from you (average Joe Schmoe Believer)in the Bible. Oh it may be there in Scripture but you are not skilled enough to see it, recognize it, or decipher it.

Since that is the case, you should buy the latest, greatest book because you are in need of a particular book to help you rise above the "common" believers so you can occupy a special place in the kingdom.
To me this kind of thinking flies in the face of the greatest book ever written THE HOLY BIBLE.
John 16:13 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. God has given to us the greatest tool ever to transform our earthly minds into understanding the will, mind and plans of God. He has placed within every believer His Holy Spirit to be our compass, our communicator to God, to show us how to live.
The mindset of a believer searching for so called "hidden" things in an effort to better their life or lifestyle is something that is not from God. To me it goes back to a subtle suggestion from the devil to us as he spoke to the woman in the garden of Eden. "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good an evil."
The inference is that God had with held information from the woman and that by eating the fruit, intellectually they would be on the same level as God. Wow! We can be like God!
"When God comes down here to the garden, as he does each day when temperature goes down in the afternoons, then we can have some real conversation with Him. We want have to simply listen and ask questions anymore, we can dialogue with Him as equals."
Very heady thought.

I am not in any way inferring that today we seek to be on equal footing with God by searching out for hidden info. What I am suggesting is that we have bought into the lie that God has kept info from us and that by buying someones book we can gain access to that information. My Bible reads in Psalm 119:130 that "the unfolding of Your word (or the entrance of Your Word into my life) gives light. It gives understanding to the simple."
Here in is the communication we should be desiring from God. That His word, His book, His Bible, be unfolded to us thereby, through the work of the Holy Spirit, bring light to the dark places of my understanding.

I have, in the past, had numerous people come to me desiring that I pray for them that they might understand the deeper things of God. I tell them that I think they will be surprised to find that the deeper things of God aren't really that deep. Because like it says in the Ps. 119 passage, "It (the Bible) gives understanding to the simple."
And just for the record......
I am the chief simpleton of all who are simple.
Seek out the Word of God and become a student, a follower, a disciple of Jesus.
Read His book...
Put it into practice in your life....
You might be surprised.
God on you.........
mb

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rainless....What's Up With This?


What is that shinning orb up in the sky?
It's so bright and hurts my eyes....
Oh yeah..
It's the sun.
Good to see it again and not have it hiding behind grey skies.
Breakfast with a friend this morning.
A friend who is in recovery.
I hate that term "in recovery"...
Why do I feel the need to identify him this way?
Why not refer to his journey (and mine as well) as "in life"
Isn't that what it truly is about?
Finding life.
We have spent vast sums of money and time not to mention energy
to find life.
All the time life is the very thing God grants us through the blood of Christ.
That blood that was shed over 2000 years ago on a hill outside of
Jerusalem.
Must be some kind of blood.
It was.
It was pure.
It was spotless.
It contained "zero" sin.
It paid a price that no one else could.
It paid once and for all
the debt that sin demands.
Death.
Jesus took my place.
Jesus died for me.
Then turned around and offered me freedom from the penalty of sin.
He died so I could live.
No I live so I can die.
Each day...my will...my want and desire is surrendered.
Why?
Because left unchecked, it ( my old sin nature) will seek to have its way.
SO I surrender the will or self to embrace and receive
what Jesus wants for me.
Sounds hard but it isn't.
It is a matter of listening as I move about my day.
Whenever decisions have to be made
I always ask, "What now?"
He answers.
Not always with an audible voice.
Sometimes a knowing inside.
Sometimes a leading inside.
I always follow the peace.
Which ever decision has peace on it...
that is from God.
The devil cannot counterfeit peace.
Remember that?
God is not the author of confusion.
Find God.
He's not lost.
He's waiting on you.
Call out to Him to save you.
He will.
God on you..........
mb

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We Need To Be Reminded


Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Perfect submission, perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love....
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Saviour all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Saviour all the day long
Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Saviour am happy and blest
Watching and waiting looking above
filled with His mercy, lost in His love
I struggled for years with the assurance that Jesus was, in fact, mine and I was his.
I was filled with doubt and fear and asked nightly as I lay awake in my bed, "Am I saved?" Every time I sat at church under powerful teaching, I would come under such great conviction that at the first mention of an invitation, I would be out of the pew and down to the front on my knees asking God to save me.
I do not know the moment or the time but years had passed and during one particular service I was filled with assurance. I didn't ask for it. I didn't seek it. I didn't even know it was going to come to me, but what a present it was. The simple knowing that comes to fill you and confirms that you are truly saved and belong to God.
The song, Blessed Assurance, is particularly close to my heart. Because I do have a story to sing about and tell with others. Like the blind man in John Chapter 9, I don't know that I could explain what happened. All I know is that once I was lost, now I am found.
Thank you Jesus.....
God on you..........
mb

Monday, September 21, 2009

Questions


Big week ahead.
Teaching all day here at Rapha.
Teaching tonight to a group from North Glencoe Baptist.
They are one of my most favorite groups to be with.
They usually invite me every 2 to 3 months to come and
teach on two consecutive Monday evenings.
Why do I enjoy being with them?
They worship!
They worship totally and completely!
Whether they have music to accompany them or not...
They worship!
I usually sit back with my eyes shut and just listen to them sing.
Vocally, probably not your church choir...
But from the heart, no one touches them.
Their worship always sets the tone of the evening
Asking God to come and be with them.
To manifest himself there in that room.
So I go expecting God to show up and touch, heal, restore and
draw us into his presence.
Lot of questions out there in this old world today.
Lot of voices that claim to have the answers to those questions.
Government says one thing.
Newscast say another.
Neighbor's all have their view.
I even have my own.
All pale in comparison to what God has to say.
Maybe I should take my questions to him.
Sometimes when we ask questions, we don't get the response we want.
In Act 1:6-7 we read:
So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time
going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He said to them, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father
has set by his own authority."
It is natural for us to have questions.
It is natural for us to want answers.
When the two collide within our relationship with God,
We must rest IN FAITH that God is in control
and we are following him daily.
There are certain events and situations that are going to happen
to our country.
God spoke it through the Scripture.
All you have to do is read II Timothy 3:1-5
I know, I know...it says "in the last days."
And you're thinking that this was written thousands of years ago.
You would be right.
But if it was written thousands of years ago, would it not stand to reason
that we are "laster" than we have ever been?
Take a look around at humanity and their behavior and personality.
Self-centered, egotistical, and without shame.
I think the question that should be asked is......
"How much longer will you delay God?"
God on you.......
mb

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It Has Been A Good Week

Let's see....hmmmm.
Weather forecast for today? RAIN!
Followed by periods of........Rain....
Turning into RAIN by early morning,
and then tapering off in the afternoon with Rain.
Needless to say that this has been an unusual summer would be putting it mildly.
We seemed to have skipped the dog days and went straight to Autumn. No complaints from me. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

I am in my office here at Rapha.
The message is done for tonight's service.
The worship music has been selected and readied for the worship team.
The chapel has been set and readied for tonight.
I will finish this afternoon in prayer.
So many different needs all around us.
Sick family members who are in the hospital.
Jobs that have been lost due to the recession. Fear on these who are struggling to find work.
Legal issues waiting for some here in the program, like a wolf waiting for an innocent victim to walk by to devour.
Some who are homeless and haven't any family.
Some who are awaiting operations. They've already had so many that they have lost count.
Some who are just fearful of the future.
No matter what the situation, we need you God.
We simply need you, your presence and purity no matter what the outcome of our situation.
You become the greatest need in my life.
You become air that I need to breathe in order to survive.
Without you I am desperate.
Without you I am hopeless.
Without you I am lost.
It's great when God "fixes" everything.
Cleans up our mess.
Straightens up after us.
Pays for the damages.
That is where it's at, or is it?
God is not the "Butler" of the universe.
Dressed up in tie and tails ready at our disposal to come to our every beckon and whim.
I forget this from time to time.
When I do, it really reveals how shallow I am.
I do want to grow up before I grow older.

Hebrews 10:38 is a hard verse...
"The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in cave and holes in the ground."
The world was not worthy of them..........
These men and women had forsaken everything to follow Jesus. It is in that moment of rejecting the world and embracing Jesus, we find our true self worth. Not because of what we have done. Not because of who we are. But because of "whose" we are.
Oh that I learn this lesson.

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

Friday, September 18, 2009

See


Fix our eyes......
To focus.....
To locate and give attention too through vision.
As images are conveyed to the brain,
information is processed concerning what the subject was
In this case, the subject is the 2nd part of the Godhead.
Jesus...the Son of God.
The author and perfecter of our faith.
By seeing Him
We see ourselves
Everything we are not
He is
There is this "weighing" that goes on
as we stack up our character and deeds
against this Jesus we see.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ....R323"
Surely that doesn't imply that we are sinners?
Yes, it does.
Our very best efforts leave us short and expended.
Our very best thinking leaves us with no answers
to questions that plague us like flies.
"If I have sinned.........."
"That makes me a ............"
Yes.
A sinner.
This label defines my very nature.
It casts me into a category that is reserved
for all mankind.
No way out.
Save one.
The shed blood of Jesus that paid the ransom sin had on me.
Jesus paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow.
Bless your name, Jesus....
I am free
God on you, today....
mb
have a great weekend, I'll be back on Monday posting again on the Greene Street Letters.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heart Divine

Not Like My Heart.......
All crusty and hard......................
Not like my heart at all

His heart has been attacked..................
He has been called selfish.....
He has been called liar...............
He has even had his existence doubted by others.................
Yet He is still the same today, yesterday, tomorrow...
There is no turning of shadow or shifting of light in Him.

Who?
God......


I want to believe......In an age of cynisim and skeptics, I do not want to be chief among them.
I want to believe a truth that is greater than this world.......
I want to believe a truth that is larger than any government.................
A truth more powerful than any president or king......
I want to believe....

That someone with a divine heart could love someone like me ...............
someone like me whose heart is corrupt and broken................Whose heart is about as Un-divine as any other..
Could I be loved?
Could I be restored to something greater than where I am now?

It would take a divine heart............One with so much love that the infusion of
His life into mine would bring drastic change.
That He could salvage what was of worth in me and save it.......
Salvation! That is the word. Salvation!

"For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." J316

"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." R10910

Do you feel your heart being strangely drawn as you read these words?
Maybe beating a little faster....
You don't understand why it is acting this way....but you know it is happening....

That is God's spirit talking with your spirit.....
Confess that you are in need of being saved....and only Jesus can do it....
It doesn't have to be flowery or proper or even in good English....why it doesn't even have to be in English if that isn't your language.....
Believe in your heart......believe.....

God on you.............
IF you prayed and asked God to save you.........
Send me an E-mail and let me know -- rapha7@bellsouth.net
I promise I won't send a goon squad to your house to sell you anything. Vicki and I just want to pray for you..............


Michael / Vicki Bynum



Take Me Lord!


Take Me Lord!
All not the part.....
Spirit, soul, body
intellect, will and heart.
Scrub me out completely
wash away the sin
Fill me with Your Spirit
and help me stand again.
Stand with purpose this time
not as in times past
when flesh fueled the engine
and nothing seemed to last.
When all was fed the darkness
filled with grief and fear....
never mind in my prayers...
I never felt you near.

But you were there...
You always were...
Standing and listening to each word.
You listened ever when there weren't any words...
Just groaning and pain so deep I didn't know what to say.
You listened.
You protected me.
It didn't seem like it,
but my perception of truth and reality
was skewered.
It has been a really good day. As a matter of fact, it has been a really good week. God has been dealing with me about my fleshly appetite and the necessity to bring it under control. I do not propose to speak for anyone else except myself, but my eating was out of control. I used food to deal with stress. Not good. Not healthy. God in his infinite love, has given me (for now) grace to seek out help and do the right thing with my appetite. Food was no different than drugs or alcohol in that it was almost addictive (over eating). How could I stand to teach about the reality of God and what He desires for others if my own life was being held hostage by an unhealthy appetite.
Be willing to open up and let God show you areas in your own life that you are holding on to. Areas that you know you need to let go of. He will give you grace when you surrender that area.
Pray for me as I will pray for you............
God on you.......
mb

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Forget Miricales Preach Holiness" by Leonard Ravenhill

With all our glitz and smoke and "Stuff" today that the church utilizes, we look at video's such as this and label it out of touch or out of date. For me it burns with the message of just how shallow my own faith is. How I have settled for less than what God desires of me. To couch and clothe in religious jargon that which is not truly from God. Quick to utter prophetic words that stem more from my flesh than from the Spriit of God that lives within me.
I need a fresh touch from God.
I need to be revived.
I need to be awakened.
I need to learn how to love.
I need to cast off all the trinkets and baubles of this world to embrace the purifying fire of God.
Oh that He would burn me deep and long that I might truly know just how wretched a man I am. More than knowing, my I resolve to cast off through confession and repentence, that which has battled for my attention and affection I owe only To God.
Let Revival Come to this Camp!

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

It's Not Too Late


It's not too late....
Darkness hasn't engulfed us completely yet....
Nor do I think it will....
No matter how dark it may get....
The light and knowledge of God will be there to drive it back....
But I can't take this for granted....
I can't rest and not follow God....
I do not have that luxury....
For the most part, I don't believe if you truly are saved,
that you can sit back and do nothing...
That you simply quit listening for God...
You quit talking to God....
You quit studying His word....
You quit sharing your story about what He has done through you...
For someone to take up these behaviors, to me,
would signify someone who has given up on God.
Someone who was so selfish in their nature that they simply
used God (or so they thought) to get out of hell.
"I only want the minimum standard of God I need."
That means that we have set ourselves up as the "decider" of what is
and isn't acceptable in our lives.
I don't see much submission there.
I don't see much surrender there.
I don't see much God there.
The only reason I write such things as this,
is because God has me looking at myself continuously.
Looking to make sure that I am not hiding sin or
simply deceiving myself.
We are capable of that you know....
Deceiving ourselves.
That is why I take the words of King David seriously...
"Search me and see if there be any wicked way in me."
That is hard core.
To simply stand before God and ask Him, no! Give Him permission
to search your heart.
Search out the stuff that is buried deep inside.
Stuff that has been hidden by all the emotional and spiritual
junk we have piled on top.
Show me who I truly am that I may change.
Do you ever pray that God would convict you of things you might do that are
wrong?
Why do we stop praying for such after we are saved?
Is it that we truly believe we have arrived?
From what I read in the Word,
We don't ever arrive until we stand before the Lord!
Help me to see today, Father.
Help me to receive correction from You.
Help me to not run away from who you are changing me into.
Amen!

God on you......
mb

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Just Don't Know

This is not going to be an anti-intellectual rant.
I am not going to rail against debate or thoughtful insight into the Word of God.
It will not be a declaration against college or seminary or Bible institutions.
IT will be a posting for the simple statement that we do not nor can we know everything about Scripture. There I said it.
I love studying the Word of God as much as the next fellow. In some ways, probably more. I spend a great deal of time studying, reading, cross-referencing different topics and subjects. But in the end, it all comes down to "who" I know.

Kind of like the man who was blind that Jesus healed (John 9:1-11)
This man has an encounter with Jesus.
Jesus spits on some dirt to make mud.
Rubs on the eyes of the blind man.
Tells him to go and wash it off at the pool of Siloam.
The man does....
Voila'....eyesight.
Well, this upsets the theologians and scholars of the day. We would call them the Pharisees (part of the religious ruling council of the Jews).
They didn't really care about the man. They were upset that Jesus had violated the Sabbath. Never mind that a man could see and thereby become a productive citizen, he was healed on a day when nothing was suppose to take place. A day of rest from work.
The day was greater than the man.
Preserving the day was of more importance than a man being restored.
These Pharisee's lit into this now restored former blind man like scum on a pond.
"Who is this man who healed you? Where is He? How did he do this?"
Isn't that just like people who doubt God's power? Looking for an explanation on "how" it was done rather than celebrating the fact that someone who was blind is now capable of seeing.
After much badgering, the formerly blind man makes an incredible statement of faith.

John 9:25 - He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"
He said, "You can argue all you want to about who and how but the bottom line is that this man took the time to heal me. I was blind but now I see. I don't understand it. I don't have a reason for it. I just know what the truth is.

That is where I want to live.
I may not be able to give word to the why. But the simple fact is "I was blind but now I see."
Wow! Thank you Lord....That no matter what our lot is in life today, you are God and you are at work in the midst of every trial, tribulation and persecution. I may not understand the whys and the wherefores, but I only have to understand the outcome. That something greater than myself intervened in my life and I am in a state that I was not in prior to the intervention.
I was blind but now I see.

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

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wonderful....


Today is a present. It is unlike most Saturday's here at Rapha in that the men will be gone to visit another church tonight. Since they will not be here, I don't have a service to plan for so I get to read, study, relax and enjoy this day without the thought of leading tonight.
Every man here has a different story that has ended with the same result. A life of choice that went wrong and has brought on destruction by a cumulative collection of bad choices. Funny how things pile up behind you that affect your today. We don't really consider how much damage our past truly does to us when we neglect to do the right thing.
I have had on more than one occasion, men come to me and talk about how the police just have it out for them. That no matter where they go or who they are hanging out with, the police seem to always be around. Could it be that their past track record has created the need to keep them under surveillance? I would say yes. I usually tell them that it is a funny thing about life. I am 57 years old and have never had to worry about being tailed or followed by the police. I have never had to worry about traffic check points and "I need to see your license." Could it be that when we refuse to deal with our past and the deeds we have done, it follows us and only brings more trouble to us? I think so.
Romans 1:18 reads:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.:
Did you catch that?
God's wrath.......
God's anger..........
is being revealed (once hidden but now manifested before us in ways that we can see and understand) from heaven...
What is the target of God's anger?
All godlessness and wickedness......
Where does it come from?
Mankind.
Why does it come to them?
Because they suppress the truth. Another translation says they "hold down" the truth...
Another says they "Push away" the truth.
How do they do this?
By their wickedness.
The evil man does is from a heart that is bent on sin.
When the truth comes, it isn't accepted. It is rejected.
Such belief only uncovers the wrath and anger God has for such decisions.
This usually is seen through the broken relationships.
Jail and prison time.
Everything that could go wrong, usually does.
But God in his infinite mercy says that it doesn't have to be this way.
He has made the ultimate offer or restoration to humanity who not only rejects Him but hates Him.
He paid the price for our salvation.

Receive it today!
God on you.........
mb

Friday, September 11, 2009

Comforting Thoughts On A Friday


Weather man missed it again.
I'm use to it by now.
I hold everything he says very loosely.
Computer models and projections only confirm
the awesomeness of God and the futility of man.
My office, warmly lit by lamp gives me a window from which to
watch my corner of the world go by.
The Chapel with red metal roof.
Concrete Jesus stands guard outside the front door.
Pebbles line the walkway leading to this building.
What will it be this week?
A hospital for those who are spiritually as well as physically wounded?
A school where hungry hearts learn?
A military briefing room where men receive instruction concerning their enemy?
A living room where family gathers to sing/ worship / share/ serve?
That Chapel with the red metal roof becomes whatever God deems is necessary.
I only open the door and ask Him to show me what to do.
It's His building, just as this is His camp.
He invited me to come and play.
I accepted and each day I get to come back, I say, "Thank you, Lord."
Grateful for the opportunity to participate.
"Your Kingdom come....Your will be done...On earth as it is in heaven"
What powerful words!
They take on even more meaning when the one who is praying them
understands that God wants to accomplish this kingdom coming work
through them.
Father...........
Today for everyone out there who is bound by alcohol and drugs...
hear their cries and answer their prayers.
In your mercy, remember them and lead them to a place where they can
be helped as only You can help them.
Do not let the enemy pillage them or destroy them.
Break the bondage of the thoughts that come with the darkness.
The self-loathing, self-depreciating thoughts that draw mankind so far away
from the image you created us in.
Raise up an army of dead men and women who have been resurrected from the
grave of addiction.
Stand them on their feet and breathe into the them the divine
breath of new life.
In Jesus name
Amen!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just Today

Seems as though the days come like assorted chocolates.
Some are tasty and wonderful to enjoy....
Others leave an after taste that is not pleasant. You make a mental note to not eat that kind anymore.
Life is like that isn't it?
Enjoy the days when everything seems to go right and you truly do believe that God is in the heavens and all the earth should rejoice. Drink up the good days. Soak up every memory of what that day was like. You see, by doing this you are storing up the makings of gratitude.
We seldom have gratitude when everything is going right.
We tend to take good days for granted sometimes as if they were a divine right for those who belong to God.
What I have found is that we store the gratitude and then pull it out for use when we have a day where the wheels come off. When the sunshine disappears and the clouds come rolling in. When our spiritual umbrella springs a leak and we are soaked by the downpour of problems and emotions that come with them.
Remember! Think back and be grateful for what God has done for you in the past. Yes, right now is a pretty bad time but I find hope in the gratitude that I can place myself in.

Lack of gratitude propels us into one of mankind's most popular activities. Having a pity party for yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself. This is a hard place to be in because we want to garner the sympathy of others or at least invite some people to join us in our misery. You know what "THEY" say..."Misery loves company."

Psalm 89:1-2 reads:
I will sing of the Lord's great love forever. With my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands forever.
Lift your vision higher. Look beyond the situations and circumstances that surround you today. I'm not saying ignore them. I 'm saying don't allow them to dictate your emotion or response. Look beyond to God who is your savior.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.....

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

To My WIfe..

Thinking of you...
Thanking God for you.....
Loving you..........
Glad we didn't give up and quit back in the dark days.
Now that we've put 37 years together by God's grace, what'd you say we do another 37...
Let's take another run at it.....

I love you, Vicki...
michael

The Devil

The devil....
Some people want to define him as nothing more than an allegory.
Some want to say he exist only as a metaphorical example of evil.
That when we refer to the being, the devil, we simply mean the evil that exist in the world today.
The devil is a created being made by God, who allowed his own pride to remove him from a position he held in heaven.

Some ask, "Why does the devil seek to destroy mankind?" That is an easy one.
First off, it's his nature.
John 10:10 says that "the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy."
But why? Why creation in particular?
Because the devil knows that he cannot destroy or defeat God.
He knows that he is a defeated foe, but he feels that he can somehow get back at God by destroying as much of creation as he can. This includes mankind.

We don't see much of the devil in the Old Testament. We do see glimpses of him in Genesis and in Isaiah and Ezekiel but not like we do in the New Testament. Why?
The answer is found in I John 3:8 - The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. When Jesus came on the scene at the beginning of the New Testament, his very presence brought the devil out into the open and exposed him. Who could uncover someone except he who had more authority and power to do so?

One thing we need to realize as believers.
Know and understand who you are in Christ, and begin to feast and eat on God's word. Get it in your mine and heart. Memorize verses not for memory sake but for the life they can bring you. Fighting your enemy, the devil, isn't about power. It's about truth.
In Matthew 4 when Jesus is in the wilderness and the devil comes to tempt him, the first thing the devil does is to question Jesus' position and authority. "IF you are the Son of God!" He rails against Jesus' authority and wants Jesus to move from a place of obedience to the father, to a place of taking matters into his own hands by changing stones to bread. The devil's approach is always to get you to disregard your position in Christ and to try and take matters into your own hands. Don't fall for this trap!
Jesus came at the devil quoting Scripture. The, living, active, powerful, sharp Word of God. We would do well to do likewise when we feel attacks and temptations coming at us from the enemy.

Know whose you are.....
God on you............
mb

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Apologies

Our phone line and Internet was down so I haven't been able to post here on Greene Street Letters.
It is labor day.
I'm at work.
What's wrong with this picture?
Most people get the day off on labor day.
I work.
Actually I don't mind. I would be here at Rapha anyway. I just can't seem to stay away.

Visitation this past weekend was a soggy one as it rained all day Saturday.
Couldn't find a place to stay dry so I just gave up and stayed in the rain.
Our service that night was really good.
We are turning more and more toward a night of praise and worship and testimony.
I see the men developing a hunger to worship and share. This is an encouragement to me.

Taught from John 10:1
Jesus says, 'Truly, truly (that is the Biblical equivalent of "pay attention...I'm going to say something really important".) the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber."
Those are pretty harsh words, especially in our world today.
We would (and sometime other do) label Jesus as not being very tolerant of other's views.
Jesus isn't politically correct.
He doesn't have to be P.C.------He's right.
He calls it when he says that you don't come into the family of God any other way except by him. He is the entry point as He was the one who paid the ultimate price for the sheep. He gave his life. He shed his blood to pay the price for sin. It was his blood that opened the door and allowed God to offer relationship to a fallen humanity. If anyone gets to determine the way or rules or what ever you want to call it......it is Jesus.

Here humanity is on planet earth all running around trying to be little "gods"....we make up the rules and define what is right and what is wrong. No problem with that if you are willing to stand by your decisions all the way to the end. At some point in time we will all stand before Jesus in judgment. Some for their very lives and those who are believers for the works they have done in Jesus name. Either way we will be tested and what we claimed to believe will be shown for what it is.

Just as in Matthew 16 where Jesus asked his disciples, " Who do you say I am?" that question is being sounded from eternity every day I arise. Who is Jesus to me? The answer I give is not measured in words or phrases but in my life lived. Every event, every decision, every direction I take is either testimony to or conviction against who Jesus truly is to me. Not in my brain, but in my heart. The place where motives and intents dwell that affect my decisions.

Who is Jesus to you today?
God on you.......
mb

Friday, September 4, 2009

Challenged

Last nights 9 p.m. Bible study was very intense.
During my study time in preparation for it, I was going over several different verses and none seem to catch my attention. Usually when this sort of thing happens, I stop what I'm doing and sit back asking God, "What is it you really want to do tonight?" A thought came to my mind of something I wrote down back in May of 2001. I have a spiral notebook that contains different thoughts and revelations that I perceive to be from God that I have written down over the years.

In this particular entry I was struggling with what to do with the men from Rapha. What did God expect of me? In all of the writing of that entry, one sentence seemed to stand up on the page...."The men are not being challenged." This took me to Hebrews 5:12....."For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.'

That was it. As pastor/teacher I was to challenge them to not be satisfied with where they currently were....physically, mentally, and spiritually. Too many people have this belief that the Christian life or the life of following Jesus is made up of a few things.
1.) Join a church
2.) tithe
3.) Be conscripted within the church for a job or duty
4.) read the Bible
5.) Pray

All of these behaviors do become a part of our life, but there is so much more that we have traded away.
Matthew 6:10 has probably been quoted by more Christians than any other verse in Scripture.
"Your kingdom come........Your will be done.......here on earth as it is in heaven."
If you prayed that part of the Lord's Prayer, then what you have done is to ask God to bring here into our time and space the divine will that is currently being played out in heaven. How is that will manifested? Through the lives of every believer. We place such great emphasis on our church services and rightfully so, but bottom line is that the average person probably only spends 2 / 3 hours a week at the church site. That leaves a lot of time for interaction in the work place, the market, the school and other homes. Here is where the challenge comes in. Celebrate the work of your church but realize that you have a privilege to carry the message of Christ to others who have not heard or do not understand. Not a message cloaked in "religiosity" and a language that cannot be understood. No! The message of the cross is simple. I have a nature that seeks to do wrong and seeks to have its own way. A sin nature. The things I do that I know to be wrong, I commit against an eternal God. The punishment that is stored for me for me seeking independence from God is an eternal punishment. God knowing that I was incapable of saving myself from this just deserved punishment, paid the price and satisfied his own anger for sin thereby opening a door that I can come and be restored before Him. His love is so much more than I can wrap my brain around and when I come into relationship with Him, He invades my life and shows me how to life rightly.

IF you have never shared your story with anyone else, pray that God would give you boldness and a hunger to.
God on you.........
mb

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cotton Is Ripe and The Corn Is Growing High

I don't know how many of you who read this blog know anything about farming, but as the summer months slide into Autumn, my thoughts go back to my growing up years.
We spent a great deal of time and energy planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing and waiting.
Waiting till it was time to harvest the fruit of our efforts.

I remember asking Mr. Arvie Battles if I could help pick his cotton. He sized me up and said, "O.k. boy but it's hard work." He wasn't joking either. Starting on one row, dragging that big sack as you moved from cotton plant to cotton plant picking out the boles of cotton. Stickers on the plant cutting into your fingers and tops of your hands, all bent over so that you had to stop ever so often and straighten up for fear that you might permanently resemble Quasimodo, the bell ringer. But at the end of the day when you drug that big sack up to be weighed, Mr. Battles would count out your money and you went away with a feeling of satisfaction. You had earned it.

In Matthew 10:36-38 Jesus speaks of another kind of harvest.
He felt great pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn't know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, "The harvest is so great but the workers are so few. SO pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest. Ask him to send out more workers for his fields."

The thing that struck me about this passage is the fact that Jesus said that the fields are ready to be harvested. The disciples did not do the work of planting the seed, or the Word of God. They did not water (that is the Holy Spirit who waters or interacts with the seed-Word planted in the hearts of those who hear that causes it to bring forth life) the fields. Jesus said that they were responsible for harvesting what God has prepared. They were to go forth into these crowds of people and make sure that they understood what God was doing around them and in them. In other words, Jesus was saying, "Hey guys....all you have to do is cooperate with God."

I believe that the world-fields are ready today. They are ripe for harvest and the only thing needed is workers to go out. Key words ----GO OUT! You won't find the harvest inside the 4 walls of the institutional church. Oh, every now and then a ripe plant may find it's way inside the church and be harvested, but the real deal is outside in the fields. God has called us to go.
If we don't then the harvest is lost until next year. The produce will rot on the plant and fall to the ground if we don't go out and harvest it and prepare it....in other words make disciples. How many more harvest seasons are we going to waste? How many times do the plants have to drop the fruit and die and wait till next year to be harvested?

Ask God to show you the fields.
You may be surprised.
It may be as close as next door or as far away as India.
NO matter where, go and be obedient to the call God has extended to every believer.

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why?

Why?
Words that come from the lips of children. "Why?"
They ask for answers that try our patience especially when we don't have answers.
I have a question.
Why is it that we have this disconnect between what we read in Scripture and what we see in our daily lives?
We read verses that tell of wondrous things that God has done.
We read how He intervened in the affairs of men and nations.
We read how He raised up nations and governments while at the same time brought others to destruction.
Why don't we see that today........in our time?
Maybe it is because we don't truly believe.
We are overwhelmed by information that comes at us at the speed of light. Never has a generation had access to information as we do. You couple that with a nation that has turned its focus inward (to seek only the betterment of self) and you have the makings of a people who cannot see God (what He is doing to carry out His plans for His Kingdom). I'm not here to say that all are blind, but time after time in Scripture when times were hard, God keeps referring to His remnant. Those few who have not accepted the lifestyle and ways of the world, but rather have chosen to live for and follow the directives of God.
Maybe we don't see God because we don't really look for Him anymore.

Job 33:13-14 reads:
For God does speak---now one way, now another---
though man may not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds.

The scripture goes on to relate that God speaks to turn men from their sin and evil ways so that they may be saved.
Maybe we just don't believe that God truly speaks to us as individuals. We go to church to hear someone else tell us what God is saying. We go to conferences to hear someone else tell us what God is saying. We buy the latest, greatest books and Cd's or download into our I-pods and MP3 players what others are saying so we can understand what God is communicating. Why don't we think God would speak to us? Are we afraid to hear for ourselves? Is it too scary, the very thought that God would have something to say to me? Are we fearful that He might ask us to do something that we really don't want to do? I'm not sure what the reason is, but we have this disconnect between what we read of God in Scripture and what we expect and see in our daily lives.

The one thing I hold true too is that God does speak.
He has done so in my life and has directed me with His plans.
I don't always get it right.
But I had rather err on the side of trying to hear God than ignoring Him all together.
How do we remedy this malaise that seems to have infected the church?
Ask God to speak to you directly.
Ask Him to open up the Scripture and give you wisdom and sight so that you might understand.
He has already given you the most important tool to hearing Him speak...........He has put within you His Holy Spirit.
When we begin to "listen" to Him, the Bible comes alive and suddenly you will find yourself with an appetite that seems to be insatiable. The more you study........the more you read......the more you will hear and then see God around you.

Don't ever doubt that God doe not speak anymore.
Don't ever doubt that God no longer interjects Himself into our time and space.
He is at work this morning in your town.......in your home........in your live to bring you under the covering of His kingdom.
Open your heart and listen.
Know that He is God.

God on you.................today!
mb

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's Not About Where You Are

Psalm 137: 1-2 / 4
By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down, yea we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it.
How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign Land?


Here we have the lament of a people taken into captivity to live as slaves. Taken away from everything they know, everything that brought them comfort and forced to live in a land that was foreign to them.
They have "hung up their harps." They have ceased to worship God. Now let it be known that the reason this people were taken away ifsbecause of their sin against God. They forgot their "first love" and turned to the gods of the nations around them. They became ungrateful for what God had done for them. They cast off the instruction of God to pursue the lust of their own imagination. Here, at the river Chebar, in a foreign land they have given up.
Yet there is such a contrast that we read in Scripture between what is going on in Psalm 137 and what is going on with a single man who is among those who are lamenting their lot in life.

A man.....a priest who never got to serve in that office was among the captives there by the Chebar river. We read his words in Ezekiel 1:1 - "I was among the captives by the river Chebar that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God."
He was not mourning or weeping. Ezekiel was not fixed or focused on his past. He was focused on a "now" moment. God revealed Himself to Ezekiel in ways that no other prophet had seen. What an amazing contrast between these two. One group of captives who mourned over what they had lost and where they currently were, and a man (in the middle of the captives) who saw the heavens opened.

Where are you today? Are you trapped by where your past deeds have brought you to? Are you sitting and mourning over what might have been? Is darkness and depression causing you to give up? Like the captives do you proclaim your inability to worship God? Or are you going to detach yourself from your past and allow God to open the heavens for you? No one is saying that you'll be able to forget the past or the things that you have done, but what I am saying is that God, through your confession and repentance, will frame your memories in such a way that they do not bring guilt and shame to you. I know! He has done this for me.

You can choose to sit and mourn in your current state, or you can call out to God and see your salvation. I choose this day to accept the goodness of God and move on in my life. I choose to serve Him in whatever capacity He might have for me today. As I heard one man say, "It doesn't matter if your taking a nap, cleaning the toilet or raising the dead, with God it all pays the same."
Don't allow your current place in life to drag you down and destroy you. Cry out to God and He will answer you!

Psalm 138:7
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me. You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.
That is a promise...

God on you.....
mb

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...