Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Seth Barber speaks on Step #11.
Now available in the podcast section of this blog.
Step # 12
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Is the message. The message of what God has brought forth out of the destruction of our self-will and self-rule. God cleans up our mess. God empowers us to move forward and in the process of this forward movement, we tell our story. Don't ever discount the story God has created in you as you have worked these steps and fell into relationship with Him. Don't ever discount the impact what has happened to you on the lives of others who are struggling with addiction.
What I have found is that people are hungry to know that what we have found in God is real. That it isn't about church or religious activities or dry, dead Bible studies, but a relationship with the real-deal God that is ever changing. People are hungry for something real. We have that "something" to offer them.
And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere."
That is what I try to do daily.
Share with others the hope that I have found in God.
That is the purpose of this blog.
It isn't about great theology...there are others better than me at teaching that.
It isn't about great doctrine....there are others more knowledgeable than me.
It is about a simple truth.
I was blind, but now I see.
I was lost, but now I am found.
It is the grace of God that has saved me.
It is the faith that burns in my heart that led me to Jesus, through a call by His Holy Spirit.
Because of these things....
I have to tell my story.
I pray that you come to know Jesus.
God on you.....
Monday, November 29, 2010
One person sharing and giving to another what God has freely given to them.
It isn't something mystical....
It is God at work.
Why is it when we humans can't define what it is God is doing, we call it mystical or supernatural?
That is God's nature, to give away to those who are seeking him.
To impart to you....
What God has given to me.
IT is about us and God.
Something I read this morning in my Recovery Bible.
You are not beyond God's forgiveness and salvation.
There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper.
There is no darkness so strong that God cannot overcome.
There is no life so far gone that God cannot redeem.
Reclaiming broken lives and hearts to heal and restore.
Receive this word today and let it resonate in your heart.
I needed to be reminded of this truth.
But God will bring truth that will lift us out of these places of death and bring life to us.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I know it is the Vogue, especially in this day and time, to post in blogs and quote famous people.
To give the impression that every posting is done in sincerity. Today's posting is not one of those times.
Whenever I hear Amazing Grace, I am reminded of a Phil Donahue show I saw back in the late 80's. He had some celebrity singer who had been saved on his show and they were sharing their story of what had transpired in their life. Coming back from a break, the audience was being led by the this individual singing Amazing Grace. Mr. Donahue said to the guest, "You don't really believe that do you? I mean I know the song says "saved a wretch like me", but I'm no wretch. I'm a pretty nice guy. I pay my taxes, I don't beat my wife, I take care of my kids. I don't think I need saving."
Well, from the bottom of my heart, I declare to you today that I embrace the words of the Apostle Paul found in Romans 7: 24-25 -- What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I was in need of being saved by God's Amazing Grace.
I make no excuses for my need.
Nor do I wish to appear puffed up and full of self.
I was in need of being saved by God's Amazing Grace.
As the Big Book of A.A. states....."God did for me, what I could not do for myself."
I was blind...
Now I see....
I was lost....
Now I am found.....
Praise God...for His love and gift of eternal life.
God on you..............
Friday, November 26, 2010
For those who read the Bible, these words from the book of Luke usher in the birth of the Christ child.
Spelling out events and decisions that would shape and form the necessary order for God to enter into this world in the form of man.
When we read Scripture, sometimes we don't really grasp the simple thought that God uses natural order of events to bring about his plans for the Kingdom. But if you read in Luke, you'll see how hundreds and hundreds of miles away from Bethlehem, God stirred the heart and mind of Caesar Augustus to begin a census to see how many people fell under Roman rule. It was this plan that opened the door and (if you don't mind me saying) forced Joseph and Mary to return to Bethlehem in order to be registered for the Census.
I am a firm believer that God has not stopped in using events to continue his plan. If the truth be known, we are living in a time of REVELATION. Not just understanding, but of the last book of the Bible. The events that are happening around us are all part of the plan. I also believe that we, as followers of Jesus, are to participate in this plan. Our orders stem from Matthew 28:20 where Jesus tells the disciples to "go forth". Go forth where? Into all the world, teaching and baptizing and making new disciples. I think this is our marching orders until, as individuals, we either die or Jesus returns for us. Last night, as the Thanksgiving day unwound, my family and I were sitting in the living room and some how talk began to focus on retirement. While I'm still a few years away from retirement, the talk about it has begun. My youngest son asked me what I intended to do if I retired. "Do you have a hobby? Would you take another job?" I kind of smiled and said that I would probably continue to do what I am currently doing. Going to Rapha each day and teach the word of God. Share and minister to the men who come through the program. I told Josh, "the only thing is that I might take a few more days off here and there so your Mom and I can come to see you."
Even in my own life, I can look back and now see that the hand of God has been leading me for years.
I think back to a cold, rainy November night in 1968. Jim Bentley and I sat at a table in Attalla, Alabama with a young man from South Africa. We listened as the young man taught from the Bible in a way I'd never heard before. He showed me parts of Scripture that I'd never heard taught in my church. Part of me was drawn to what he was saying and a part of me was terrified that I was being deceived. I now know that it was the Holy Spirit that was drawing me to this Scripture. It was that night, in that restaurant that changed me forever. I didn't know or understand at the time but God used that young man from South Africa to start me on a journey that has lead me to where I am today.
Be grateful for the journey.
Make the most of it as you study God's word and then live it.
Look for someone else to tell your story to.
Live today to the fullest.
God on you.....
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Although many in my country will not turn their hearts or eyes to God on this day, this day carries a reminder that it is indeed God who raises kingdoms and brings them down. It is God who raises leaders and brings them down. It is God who blesses beyond measure.
Psalm 100:4 reads: "Enter his gates with thanksgiving. Go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless name.
That is what I intend to do today.
As my family gathers around the table at dinner time, we will stop and give thanks to God for the bounty he has given to us. A bounty that is not measured by physical, material things. But a bounty that is found in our hearts and in our daily lives of having relationship with him.
So today I am thankful for:
1.) My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
2.) My family
3.) My health
5.) Friends.....I mean real friends.
6.) God's Word.
7.) Vicki's cooking
8.) The call of God on my life
9.) Gadsden Vineyard Church for allowing me to learn how to pastor. You guys put up with a lot and you never complained.
In the song, America The Beautiful, we hear the words "God shed His grace on thee." God has truly blessed our country and on this day, even though our country has turned its back on God, those who are believers and followers of Jesus should take time to thank God for that grace.....that empowering presence in our lives that enables us to be who God created us to be and to do what God has called us to do."
I guess I could go on and on but I will stop.
Where ever you are, no matter what country, stop today and give thanks to God.
God on you.........
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmers and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and ti will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. This miracle will bring great honor to the Lord's name. It will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.
In a day and age where people shun the word of God in order to have an experience, I think we miss a vital part of growing in God. Please don't get me wrong as I write this. I love it when the Spirit of God shows up in a meeting or a gathering and suddenly the air becomes electric with anticipation of what God is going to do. I have been a part of meetings that produced amazing manifestations of God's Holy Spirit. But none of these experiences top having the Word of God unfolded to my spirit. To suddenly see something that I had never noticed. Or to have a truth come alive in me and you know that God has spoken. To see the attitudes and behaviors of our time written about thousands of years ago as a prophetic word spoken by God. To see and understand the written word of God is worth everything to me.
Some today equate the Word of God as not being able to be understood by man. They twist words and clothe it in mysteries and make proclamations that mankind is unable to clearly understand what God meant. Since the Word of God is not understandable, they turn to experiences and sensations in order to understand God. They seek to understand God through their senses rather than through faith.
Romans 10:17 reads: Faith comes from hearing and hearing the Word of God.
May not be as flashy as falling down under the Spirit but it produces a lasting hunger for His Word.
Being a product of a renewal movement back in the 90's, I will never forget what John Wimber told us as kind of a warning. "It doesn't matter what the manifestation is on the individual, unless that individual comes away with a deeper love for Jesus and the Word of God, it is in vain." My heart breaks for those who have simply fallen in love with the manifestation. They could have so much more than a feeling which will disappear. Fall in love with the giver of gifts, not just the gift.
Think on these things.
Ask God to create in you a hunger for His Word.
God on you....
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Well, not really....
We were able to get the message from Saturday night downloaded into the podcast section of the blog.
So listen in and enjoy.
Step 11 - Knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out!"
Scripture is taken from Deuteronomy 8.
God on you....
II Samuel 22 --
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior.
My God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.
My high tower, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.
I will call on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, for he saves me from my enemies.
The waves of death surround me.
The floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me and death itself stared me in the face.
But in my distress I cried out to the LORD.
Yes, I called to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary. My cry reached his ears.
The the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the heavens shook.
They quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils.
Fierce flames leaped from his mouth
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He opened the heavens and came down.
What an incredible picture of God's answer to David's cry.
Why do we not believe that God will act on our behalf when we acknowledge and embrace our weakness and cry out like David?
The God who came to David is the same God who sits in power and majesty today.
The same God who desires to have an ongoing, personal, up close-let's-talk-relationship with you and me.
Right now, right here, today!
I'm not smart enough to explain how this relationship works.
I don't have language for every thing that happens to me and my family that I know has come from the hand of God.
I JUST BELIEVE!
I'm just crazy enough to believe that God is who he says he is and that he will do what he says he will do.
That is the truth I have operated by and from since 1993 and it has served me well.
It has brought direction to my life when I had none.
It has given me daily encouragement to not quit or give up even though my mind is screaming for me to give up.
Today is the day to reach out to God.
He is longing and waiting to be with you and talk to you.
How cool is that?
God on you....
Monday, November 22, 2010
The verse in question may have become such a part of knowledge (head/intellect) that we have lost sight of the simple, life-giving truth it imparted to us when we first read it.
I pray that this morning, God would grant to you "new eyes" and "fresh vision" to see His words again for the first time. That as you read them, you would let them soak deep inside your spirit.
Colossians 2:6-7 reads: And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he had done.
Notice that it reads that we are to draw nourishment from Jesus. Nourishment? Yes, the evidence in our life that the truth of God has the power and ability to change us. We draw nourishment every time we say "no" to our sinful nature. Every time we put aside our own decisions and wants and desires to embrace what God wants for us, we are fed. Every time we open the Bible, asking God to draw up the Holy Spirit in us so that we might understand what we are going to read, we grow in Him.
I guess the greatest weapon the enemy ( the devil) can use against a believer is to draw him into a place of apathy and complacency. From this place, we easily slip into acting religious instead of having a relationship. We go through the motions. We sing the songs and put our five dollars in the offering plate, but we do not "hear" the message that is delivered by the pastor. Or if we do hear it, we believe it is for every one else but us. When was the last time you heard the word of God preached and it struck you hard? It stirred up the brokenness that drew you to Jesus. I'm not talking about getting saved again, I'm talking about the realization that He truly is God and you are nothing without him. That He alone holds your very life and gives to you every day to live. When was the last time you were stirred for the people around you who do not know this Jesus you claim to live for? That their salvation was the pre-eminate thought in your heart, and that you prayers was for God to give you strength to share with them.
The word of God should impact us when we read it.
The word of God should stir within us a longing for the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven.
Think on these things.....
I write this blog today because God has shaken me about my own spiritual state.
God on you.....
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Another one of the Waffle House summit meetings. Here we have Bobby Sparks, a fellow follower of Jesus, who burns.....(did you catch that?) Burns with a heart for the word of God and the presence of Jesus. Check out Bobby's blog over ....http://www.bobbysparks.blogspot.com/
God on you....
This is one of our famous Waffle House discussion series.
Jim Bentley and me, Michael Bynum, discuss my take on what the Vineyard church really means to me.
It was at the Gadsden Vineyard that I was ordained, trained and given permission to "get some puppies". In other words, God used this vehicle to define who I am today.
I am forever grateful for Gadsden Vineyard.
God on you....
The Lord cares deeply when his loved one die.
I got word of her death early Friday morning.
I had known her since first grade. We sat beside each other in Mrs. Moore's class. She lived down the road from me and we rode the bus together until we graduated high school.
Bonnie Chandler Jordan now knows and understands the truth that I claim to believe. What I place my hope in, she now is standing in the presence of.
I went to the funeral home to pay my respects yesterday. It wasn't a sad place, oh there were some tears, but mostly muffled voices and every now and then you could hear some laughter as people were sharing memories. When a believer dies, the funeral home is filled with sweet release. Bonnie had been sick for some time and she and the family had made peace about her condition. When the end came there was, what I refer to as "sweet release." I experienced it with my mother and my father.
Bonnie was smart. As we progressed through school, her aptitude went in one direction, mine in another. Once we entered middle school, we were in different sections and we only saw each other on the bus.
Bonnie and I attended Gallant First Baptist. This was my first church home and I dearly loved the people and the pastor. She and I attended Sunday school together, and her brother, Kenneth, and sister-in-law, Linda, were our training union teachers. Bonnie had taken piano lessons and soon became the church pianist, playing for every occasion and service.
She graduated college with a degree and nursing and spent her life giving and helping others. Even though we had not seen each other for many years, I think I will miss her. Isn't that the way it is? You discover friendship only after a person dies?
I know that I know that her Mother and Father are happy to see Bonnie. For that I am grateful.
I am also eternally grateful that in the scope of history, that God sought to include in His word the very fact that "The Lord deeply cares when his loved ones dies....."
God on you.....
Friday, November 19, 2010
More than just a part of a program for people who are addicted, these twelve steps of AA represent a way of life that defines our movements and daily activities, all under the guidance and direction of God's Holy Spirit.
Psalm 27 speaks of this new life.
V1.- The Lord is my light and my salvation---whom shall I fear.
My perception is illuminated by God, not my own thinking.
My best thinking got me in the shape I am.
The realization that God IS my salvation and in Him, I find everything needed to move beyond my addiction.
V.2 - When evil people come to destroy me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will
stumble and fall. --
Yes, we do have enemies out there. People who were our old friends, who
shared that old lifestyle with us, will not be excited about our new found recovery and way of life
The Spirit of God in us will convict them of their own behavior and rejection of God. Some will
accept His salvation, others will reject God.
V3.-- Though a might army surrounds me, my heart will know no fear. even if they attack me
I remain confident. --
My faith, my trust, my hope rests solely on Jesus Christ. As the song
says, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the
sweetest frain but wholly lean on Jesus name. On the Christ the solid rock I stand, all other
ground is sinking sand...all other ground is sinking sand."
V.4 -- The one thing I ask of the Lord...the thing I seek most is to live in the house of the
Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in His Temple. --
As a New Testament believer, we no longer have to seek God at a Temple.
We are the Temple. He takes up residence in each believer in the form of His Holy Spirit.
I like that phrase, "Delighting in the Lord's perfections"......Falling in love with the very nature of
God and how He works to bring about His plans even right here in a fallen world.
V.5 --For He will conceal me there when troubles come. He will hide me in the sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock. --
Notice what is written....
God will conceal me WHEN trouble comes. Not if, not in the event, but when.
That tells me trouble is a part of life here on this side of eternity. But God will place me on a high rock.
That rocks name is JESUS the CHRIST. What a wonderful promise. I need to get this down
in my heart and hold firm to its promise. God does not lie...what He has spoken, he will do.
I'm going to leave off here. Finish reading Psalms 27 and ask God to reveal what He intends you to know and understand for today. Until tomorrow....
God on you........
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Teaching on Step # 11 - Sought to improve our conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation asking only to know His will and the power to carry it out.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
By the time you have gone through the steps and arrive at Step # 11, you are moving daily in a new way of living. Step # 11 is the "maintain" step that keeps you moving forward in faith.
Thanksgiving which is quickly followed by Christmas and then New Years.
The television is already filled with commercials for Christmas.
Images of perfect families gathered around the perfect tree, everyone smiling and laughing.
Snow outside, dog by the fireplace. Men dressed in khaki pants and flannel shirts....
The women dressed in festive sweaters.
The children all neat in the attire.
This is the worlds view of how holidays are to be celebrated.
Of course in this perfect picture is the cry to "BUY OUR PRODUCT!"
You gotta love Madison Avenue and the ad's they produce.
IF we look to Scripture to get a grasp of the holiday's, we find a very different story.
We enter this time and there has been great silence. God has not spoken for 400 years. From the time Malachi was written until we read Matthew, God has been silent as he spoke he would do in Amos 8:11.
Once we enter Matthew, there is suddenly all this "divine" activity. Angels appearing bringing messages from God. World events being moved by the hand of God to bring about the fulfillment of prophecy. God was moving and nothing was going to stop Him.
An old woman who was beyond child bearing and a young virgin who had never been with a man became the focal points for God's invasion. One would give birth to a herald...a voice crying in the wilderness, the other would give birth to God's Son, Jesus. These two women would become the central focus of life during the time of Jesus. As quickly as the two women came on the scene, they would exit and their sons would take up the prophetic mantle.
Why am I writing this? Because God has not disappeared from our stage. His plans are still being carried out today in our time and space. When we read Scripture we tend to view it with the idea that it is ancient history. While the events took place thousands of years ago, the ramifications of those events have rippled down through time and are affecting us today. Let me put it this way, we are currently living and participating in God's plan that we see and read about in the book of Revelation. It is unfolding around us daily and we are part of this entire plan God has brought about. A plan that involves our salvation and redemption A plan that wants to include us in helping with His Kingdom. We are to tell our story about what Jesus has done for us. He has saved me! He has changed me! He has given me a life! That is the message of the holidays. Jesus has done for me what I could not do for myself.
Having had a spiritual awakening, I seek to take the message to others.
May God be with you!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond and come to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.
I find myself in a very hard place this morning.
A hard place physically and emotionally.
It would be very easy to give up and quit today, but that is not an option. I think God lead me to this verse to encourage me and hopefully through my encouragement, you will be encouraged to not give up.
These emotions are not wrong or sinful. They are not a lack of faith or trust. They are simply human emotions that will come to us as long as we walk around in this mortal flesh. The answer we all need to tell ourselves is that when we feel this emotions and thoughts coming up in our mind, we don't entertain them.
As the verse in Hosea read: "Oh that we might know the Lord!. Not a head knowledge of his ways, but really know Him through interaction and walking with Him daily.
The next part is the part I have got to engage today...."Let us press on to know Him." Press on...not allow anything or anyone to come between God and me. I will not allow circumstances to stop me from moving on with my walk with God. Press on....lean into.....strain to move forward. It all shows Resistance to what we are doing. We do not give up.
Maybe that is the word for the day. "DON'T GIVE UP!"
No matter what.
Do not quit.
Do not stop.
Do not turn back.
That will be my mind set and my posture today. I will press on in spite of any emotion.
I will lean into no matter what the day may look like.
For you are worthy Lord. Worthy to be pursued and laid hold of.
Thank you for this day with all its troubles and problems.
I know that your name will be exalted and raised up as a standard to live for.
Think on these things....
God on you....
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
I don't get to see a lot of brokenness these days.
I don't see many who are truly broken before God, knowing they are in need of His salvation.
Reckon why that is?
Is our time and season any different from years past.
Are we worse off as a species than say the middle ages?
I know that man's character and what makes up his humanity has not changed.
We still struggle with greed and hatred.
Cheating and lying.
Adultery and drunkenness.
And many other facets that are caused by our fallen nature (sin nature).
But are we living in a different time, ordained by God that allows the "real" us to come out?
I know that in II Timothy 3, Paul makes reference to the "Last days".
Are we in the last days?
I would probably say that is a big yes, but before you start packing for heaven, know that we don't know how long the "last days" will ..............last.
Paul makes reference in II Timothy 3 that in the last days there will be difficult times. The word difficult is translated from "Stressful". Stress implies that our character, our true nature will rise to the top because of the events of day. The real-deal nature of man will come forth and reveal itself to either be in cahoots with the devil and his kingdom of darkness.........or..........will be saved by the blood of Jesus and be a son/daughter of the Most High God. In other words, we will see an uncovering.
People will be uncovered and seen for who they really are.
Vicki and I were watching TITANIC the other night. O.k.....I confess...I watched it. But not for Leonardo Dicaprio...I just wanted to see the ship sink (kind of sick ain't it). Anywho....with all the hubbub surrounding the sinking of the ship, we saw the character of men and women come forth. When given the right moment and the right situation, we cast aside all our false fronts and facades. In the movie, the crew was trying to load the lifeboats with women and children first. There were some men who tried to hide and sneak aboard the lifeboats. Some even tried to cover themselves and pass themselves off as women. Like I said, given the right situation, our true nature comes forth.
In the II Timothy 3 passage, Paul lists the attributes or character that mankind will exhibit.
Lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful and proud and ungrateful. Unloving, unforgiving, considering nothing sacred. Excuse me, but if you watch the news or read the newspaper, you'll see this is more the norm today than the exception. God is pulling back the covers on humanity and flooding our planet with His Holy Spirit....the Holy Spirit convicts the world of its sin. We all stand uncovered before God, and for this very reason, I look to Jesus Christ as the only means of true life.
He is the one.
What about you? Pray today and ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you. Confess your sins (wrongdoings) and ask Jesus to clean you up spiritually and emotionally and mentally, making you a new creation.
Let Him flood you with forgiveness and place His Holy Spirit deep inside you to be a kind of compass that will direct you in the days ahead.
If you prayed and asked Jesus to save you, then find someone and share what has happened to you.
Now this is awesome!
God on you..........
Monday, November 15, 2010
Some times the voice of God....comes in ways that, if we're not careful, we will miss.
Saturday night at our meeting, during the worship time, I asked if you could sum up God in one word what would you say. To proclaim, in one word, what God meant to you.
Several began to call out....
It went on and on until a little girl, probably around 5 years old, raised her hand.
She said....."God? Well, he's God!"
IT was one of those moments where, as an adult, you are kind of lost for words.
She proclaimed a simple but yet very profound truth.
God is God...
Why should there be any argument from anyone about who God is?
Why should there even be debate and discussion?
God is God.
She knew it in her heart and she saw no need to grapple with this truth. It is what it is. God is God.
You can try and explain away everything that happens to you with the greatest of theological knowledge but in the end.......God is God.
God doesn't exist to be proven true...
God is truth whether I want to believe it or not. We can debate these thing until time, as we know it, ends. It will not lessen or increase the matter that God is God.
I have learned to hold what truth I have very loosely. By that, I mean that I am opened to hear God and be lead in any direction no matter what my belief is. Some people are offended by this, but what I have learned over the years is that the more I know about God, the less I know about God because He is constantly revealing himself to me. This revealing challenges the way I think and the way I study His word.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I play loosey-goosey with God or his Word. If anything, what I believe is being honed down and focused in ways I never could have dreamed of. Even with this, there is so much more I have learn and experience when it comes to God.
Psalm 119:130 reads:
The unfolding of Your word brings light. It gives understanding to the simple.
Some people would be offended by the idea that God's word gives understanding to the simple.
They would not consider themselves to be simple. Me? I'm very simple and don't mind saying so.
I don't mind being lead by a little child.
Maybe we should listen to our children more.
We might be surprised as to how much God is actually speaking.
You want truth.
Here it is!
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.
God on you......
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I know what I know based on my readings, my studies in Scripture...
Based on my own personal experiences ....
What is the truth I know....
Well, the most important truth today is found in I John 2:1-2
All of these are good definitions.
May I not do anything that would discredit the power and purity of God that is evident in the lives of believers.
You are my Lord...
You are my Savior....
You are Jesus the Christ.
This is the history of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God's will and enjoyed a close relationship with Him.
The more I read this verse, the more amazed I am.
The more I read this verse, the more ashamed I am.
The more I read this verse, the more I ask "How?"
How did Noah live a life that was blameless in the midst of humanity that was marred and perverse?
Of course the easy answer is found in the verse itself.
"He consistently followed God's will...."
"He consistently enjoyed a close relationship with God."
In other words, Noah was not distracted (I am guessing at this) by the lifestyle of those around him.
I am probably safe to say that Mr. Noah and his family did not get many invitations to parties or get togethers.
"You aren't going to invite that Noah are you? He's such a wet blanket, never wants to have any fun."
Noah, as best I can read, did not cut himself off from the world either.
It was Noah's faith that caused Him to act on God's word.
He obeyed God who warned him about something that had never happened before.
It was Noah's faith, when it manifested in the building of the ark, that condemned the rest of the world.
Without the benefit of a Bible...
Without Christian TV or radio....
Without even a church or meeting....
Noah turned his back on the world to follow God.
Would we have fared better had we been Noah?
Would we have listened to God's directions and without fail carried them out?
Genesis 6:22 and Genesis 7:5-- Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
Noah did not take short cuts.
Noah did not try to improve on what God showed him.
Noah simply walked it out.
Oh that I would live like this, instead of trying to interject my own thoughts and plans into God's plans.
He really doesn't need my help.
I think I'll study some more on Noah and try to live my life doing exactly what God shows me to do.
What's the worst that could happen...
I wind up building a boat......
God on you.....
Friday, November 12, 2010
Psalm 139:23-24 highlight the week I've been having here at Rapha. David, the King of Israel...hand picked by God.....ruler of a kingdom, here in these verses reveals a humility that comes from a real relationship with God.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."
That is a pretty bold statement. I don't think he made it as a challenge to God, but rather as a plea to help him stay pure in his daily walk. David is pretty much saying, "Hey God! Don't let me get away with anything." From such a view and place as this, David is not using his position as King to garner any favors with God. In fact, David is saying that he is just like everyone else. His political and social standings have nothing to do with any sense of entitlement from God. Truth be known, I think a lot of people in this country should realize and enormous truth concerning Jesus......We all stand on equal ground, level ground, at the foot of the cross. Pride creates dishonesty when we focus on ourselves because we don't want to hear the truth. Hearing that something is not right within us means that we are in need of change. Hearing that something is not right within our personality or character causes the pride to turn into rebellion. The old "I'm-captain-of-my-ship" mentality and have need of nothing and no one. It is these attitudes that keep people from receiving from God the healing they so desperately need.
Notice that David asks for God to "test" him and that through this series of testing, God will uncover any thoughts that run contrary to His wishes for David. Point out...uncover.....reveal.....anything (and what fall under anything? Everything!) in David that offends God. God reveals.............we repent.......God uncovers............we confess. It is an ongoing process that brings healing and restoration as we allow God's Holy Spirit to work in us.
God on you today.....
Thursday, November 11, 2010
How easy to slide from the heart of a servant to a heart of selfish, sinful flesh. From doing out of a heart of love into doing from merely a sense of duty.
Tonight, I am dry. I do not mix my words or seek sympathy. I know that God alone possesses the ability to take my old heart and change it.
You who declared the heavens and earth to exist...You who holds every thing in place by the power of Your word....I come to you.
I am in need of you washing my heart with oil and wine. Your Spirit of Love and the wine of Your blood restore me tonight. I confess the hardness. I confess the Pharisee view that my eyes have seen with. Forgive me Lord.
I bless you that my prayer has not been in vain, but even as I am typing this, I know Your Holy Spirit is at work in me. I thank you for Your hand upon my life, and the lives of my family. You, O Lord, are our portion and provision. Thank You that you have not given up on me!
In Jesus name...amen.
God on you...
Royce Head shares a message on being filled with God's Holy Spirit.
Spent time in Psalms 1 this morning.
This is one of my most favorite chapters in Scripture.
To start with, it begins with a blessing for NOT doing something.
We always tend to think of blessings coming to us for something we said, or did. Not this one (Ps.1) the blessing comes for Not doing.
Most versions of this Scripture begins with the words..."Blessed is".
The word used for blessed actually means "Oh what joy"....or "How happy is".
There is an emotional wellness that comes to us when we live the way God shows us to.
If you flip that around (the thought of emotional wellness) then would it not make sense that emotional sickness would be a part of our life if we live outside of God's will? Instead of joy and happiness, would we not experience depression and sadness? Instead of peace and contentment, would we not experience turmoil and discontentment? I think so.
In the later part of the chapter, we read these words:
For the LORD watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction."
Did you catch that?
Those who the Lord declare to be godly are being watched over. Even though we know the destination of the godly (heaven) it does not mention it. It seems as though the journey through life to heaven is the most important part as we learn in this relationship between God and us.
But the wicked..........
Their destination is sealed, unless they receive God's offer of salvation.
The wicked or those who reject God, all head in the same direction.
That is why it is so vital that we talk with our friends and relatives that might not have relationship with God.
Pray for those you know who are what I refer to as "PRE-Christian".
Ask God to give you boldness to share with them.
God on you........
Thanks for stopping by Greene Street Letters!
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Then the LORD told Abram, "leave your country, your relatives, and your father's house, and go to the land that I will show you."
Imagine that you are rocking along in your own world, your own life, complete with plans and ideas about the future when all of a sudden God speaks to you.
"Attention! Attention! God here. I am asking you to abandon your plans and begin to operate from mine."
God's plans included leaving all you have known....the people, family, friends, your home, your business...everything, to go to a place that is not known to you. By "known" I mean you don't know which way you will be traveling in. God told Abram go to the land I will (future tense) show you. I'm not sure, but I believe this is called faith on Abram's part.
Filled with unknown which usually translates to fear and uncertainty, Abram begins the trek. Off course if you continue on in Genesis you'll see that there were good times and bad times. Prosperous times and lean times. Times of peace and times of war. Through it all, Abram continued on in following God's directives.
What if God still operates the same way today?
What if the essence of being a Christian, a follower of Jesus, is to leave a "life" that is comfortable to us to embark on a new way of living. One that is full of good times and bad. Prosperous times and times of leanness. Times of peace and times of way. What if God uses this journey to grow us and stretch us so that we learn to rely on Him instead of our own efforts and strength. I see a lot of people who become follower's of Jesus only to put their tents down (so to speak) and never move in this new relationship. By that, I mean that they refuse to change their lifestyles. What was important before they met Jesus is still the most important thing in their life after they met Jesus.
Hear me...I'm not saying that God wants us to become paupers for the Kingdom. But He does want us to learn to live within the "economy" of the kingdom. An economy based on obedience to Him. Salvation is a free gift to man kind....the blessing that come from God's hand are based on obedience. God does not bless those who disobey. The economy of God is not tied to a government run by men and women. The economy of God supersedes the ruling of man and brings provision and direction to those whose hearts are totally committed to him (II Chron. 16:9).
The words spoken by President John Kennedy during his inauguration may have been more prophetic than people imagines. "Ask not what your country can do for you........ask what can you do for your country."
Ask not what the Kingdom of God can do for you.......ask what can you do for the Kingdom of God."
Think on this....
God on you......
Monday, November 8, 2010
The Bible opens with these words...."In the beginning, God
When time began...
When the first second of the first minute of the first hour of the first day ticked....God was there.
And it was from this beginning that everything we know, understand, see, touch, taste, hear, and smell had its birth. God was there to speak it into existence. What power! That the very words that came forth had the ability to create molecular levels of power which, when bonded together, created the things we now take for granted.
God was there....
God is always there.
Not only at the beginning, but in the middle as well as at the end.
He cannot be outlasted by anyone or anything.
Even during Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, Scripture reads that the devil left him for a more opportune time. In other words, Jesus simply outlasted the devil. To me, that is a great comfort to know that my Savior does not grow weary or faint but "lives to make intercession for the saints.'
I take great comfort that no matter what is going on around me, Jesus is there.
No matter what the pain and hurt my physical or mental state may be in, Jesus is there, and he isn't a passive bystander watching. He is constant contact with God the Father interceding on our behalf.
No matter what my "beginning" is in my life..........there was God.
No matter what your situation is today.....In the beginning of it, God was there and continues to be close.
Scripture reads where Jesus says, "I'll never forsake you or desert you." That means his presence is with us 24/7...365.
It is the devil that wants you to feel abandoned and alone.
It is he who desires to get you to take your focus off of God and turn it inward to your problems.
If he can do that, then he can keep you in darkness and not seeking God for direction and strength.
Trust God today like you never have before.
Think on these things.....
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Work detail to get the camp all spruced up.
Guys going on pass.
Football on TV this afternoon.
Family will converge here at 12:30 to spend some time with sons/ husbands/brothers/grandsons/etc....
Hopefully some healing of relationships this afternoon.
Tonight at the BACKDOOR (our Saturday Service) Royce Head will be speaking.
I love Royce and his plain, no nonsense way of looking at Scripture.
Royce and I tend to view Scripture in the same way and fashion. We are just crazy enough to believe that it's true and what it says, it means.
Verse of the Day:
I John 2:15-16
Do not love the world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from the world.
Love for the things of this world does nothing but bring destruction and death to us. Love for the things of the world comes from our sinful nature which whispers to us with seductive words trying to lure us into its trap.
The world (as mentioned in this verse) is morally evil system that is under the influence of Satan and is opposed to God and the Christ's kingdom here on earth.
If you find this hard to believe then consider the following.
We know what will end the spread of aids.
We know what will end teenage pregnancies.
We know what will stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
We know what will stop the unraveling and decay of the moral fabric of our nation and society.....
Abstinence! It is the best form of prevention.
But because of love for the things of this world and disdain for the things of God, we reject this notion in favor of doing what we want to do.
Moral restriction is not devised for the convenience of the people.
Moral restriction is important because it defines the boundaries of acceptable social behavior.
Genuine follower's of Christ demonstrate their love for God by their obedience to God's commands.
Think on this today!
God on you......
Friday, November 5, 2010
I Thessalonians 4:16-18 - For the LORD himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, those who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. Then we will be with the LORD forever. So encourage each other with these words.
Maranatha Lord Jesus!
God on you...
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Enter His gates with thanksgiving. Go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name.
The devil (yes, Virginia there is a devil) is a mean motor-scooter and wants to mess with our heads a.k.a minds.
He wants us to stay focused on what we don't have in this life....
How terrible things are for us and around us.....
What a bunch of loser's he tries to make us out to be.
In other words, he doesn't want us to think on the things of God.
The Psalm passage says we are to enter into the rule of God, the presence of God with thanksgiving.
So what do I have to be thankful for today....
1.) A great family.....the Bynum's aren't perfect, but dog gone it, we are a fun bunch. My wife, Vicki...if ever there was physical, tangible evidence of a godly woman, it is Vicki. Everything you read in Proverbs 31 is true. My sons, Chad and Josh....godly men with a heart for the Kingdom. Daughters-in-law, Heather and Robin......the same a Vicki, women of integrity and love of God. Two grand children, Tyler and Ashley....the love of my life.
2.) My health. I have been blessed beyond measure with good health (so to speak). Oh there are days when I crawl out of bed and my bones and joints sound like a bowl of Rice Krispies ,but that is all part of growing older. There is only one alternative if you don't want to grow old.........that is die young.
3.) Friends. I have been blessed to have some really great people in my life. They make me a better man. Their lives are an encouragement to not give up or go back to old ways.
4.) My relationship with God. Saved in 1961. Up and down over the next few years. Really on fire 1968 through 1972. Walked in darkness from 1972 till 1979. 1980-1991 began a journey of chasing God. 1991-1993 preparation for what is happening today in my life. 1993-2006 training/ ordination/ full time ministry. 2006-2010 Staff pastor at Rapha Treatment Center. Through it all....through my foul ups and my "getting it right" God has been the one constant. I am thankful and grateful for His presence and His grace in my life.
5.) Steve and Marilynn Yarbrough- Obedience to God created a place where I could minister to those in addiction. Sacrifice and service underline these two wonderful people.
I could go on and on listing things I am grateful for.
Good sounding guitars and people who know how to play....
Nori, Barbie, Cynthia and Lizzie Kelley.
My pick up truck.....
Early morning rain....
A good meal at the Waffle House.
The sound of Owls at night.
And most of all....
At the top of the list....
Beyond the top of the list....
Today I am grateful....
God on you....
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The people who were standing nearby said, "see how much he loved him!" But some said, "This man healed a blind man. Couldn't he have kept Lazarus from dying?"
Jesus was standing at the tomb of Lazarus, a man who Jesus loved deeply. Jesus had eaten supper with Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Now death, the great invader, had come to take Lazarus. But this death was to be a example and point to the glory of God.
Scripture said there were people standing "nearby".
They were in close proximity to Jesus but were not next to Him.
Yet these two groups had made judgment based on what they say, concerning who Jesus truly was.
One was moved by His heart........"See how much Jesus loves Lazarus".
The other group moved by the fact that Jesus didn't go beyond and do more than what they were seeing.
Two groups who each had defined who Jesus was. Yet each of these groups stood off a distance and made their decisions based on what they saw.
People still tend to act this way even today. People have opinions about who Jesus is and what he is doing.
One claims........oh Jesus is a God of love. His love supersedes everything else. Jesus wouldn't send you to hell. There is some truth to these statements. Jesus is love. Jesus gave his life for humanity. But there is a judgment side that must be handed out also. Read Revelation 19 and you won't see much of the loving Jesus in that chapter. You see a military Jesus, getting ready to come back in judgment.
There is another group who is always criticizing the plans and works of God. Where was God in that tsunami that killed all those people? Where was God on 9/11? Where was God when that football player from Mississippi State died of Cancer? Where was God....Where was God...Where was God? These words come from hearts that truly do not know God. I make no claims to some kind of elite Christian. But what I know above all else is that no matter what happens in my life, good or bad, God is still God and He is still worthy to be worshipped. Sometimes in midst of pain and grief........when sorrow and darkness grip your very soul and you think, "I can't go on." It is there you find the sufficiency of Christ. That one bit of illumination that the Holy Spirit uses to break through and show you what real truth is.
So don't be one of those who stand at a distance and make assumptions about Jesus.
Enter into relationship with Him....
Be Born Again.....
Be all of the above and then live everyday up close and personal with Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit in you.
I'm telling you this morning that even in the middle of all the mess of my own life........God is in control and He is worthy to be praised.
God on you.....
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Imagine that! God gives a specific location where He will be and that He will communicate from that place. Instruction....
All given from this location. You might be busy during the day, but at some point drop what you were doing and walk over to the Tabernacle. Everyone did not have access to this Ark, only the High Priest. But even as one of the many Israelites, you could at least be near when the High Priest went into the holy of holies. You could watch as the priest's took the tabernacle down and moved the ark. As cool as this was, what God has done for us through the work of Jesus Christ is more amazing. I understand the fascination that the Ark holds for people. But what God has brought forth for humanity is beyond comprehension. No longer do we have to go to a tabernacle and offer sacrifices. No longer do we have to have someone else hear God for us. No longer do we have to rely on a system of ritual and tradition. We have a high priest who entered the holy of holies once and for all time, pouring his blood out to pay the ultimate price for the salvation of humanity.
If you notice the picture of the ark, you'll notice the two angels (Cherubim) on the cover or lid. Seems as thought the idea of Cherubim has been a staple in God's kingdom.
Genesis 3:24 - After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Cherubim are a class of angels that guard access to God's presence (Ezek. 28:14). God, in the Exodus 25 passage, states that He would dwell between the Cherubim. Now let's flash forward to a tomb on the outskirts of Jerusalem. A place of the dead. A place that holds nothing but memories of loved ones that have gone on. But here in this place we will find something very interesting. In this tomb the body of Jesus had been laid. Early on the first day of the week, women have gone to finish the burial preparation of Jesus. When they arrive they are greeted by a sight that has a familiar ring to it. John 20:12....."She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the others at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying." Sound familiar? Two angles? Ark of the Covenant?
God gave the Law to Moses and at the Ark, it was placed inside. Here the reality of man's ability and future was sealed. The Law gave definition to sin and sin brought forth death and destruction to humanity. But in the tomb, the Law was satisfied through death and resurrection of Jesus. Mankind would no longer die in their sins, because salvation had come. Now, here in this tomb, stood two angels to proclaim to the world that "He has risen!" What began as a gold box built by the hands of sinful man, ended with the power of the Holy Spirit invading death and taking back the glorified, risen Son of God. And it is because of this that I have access into the holy of holies. It is because of this I can come boldly to the God's throne of Grace. It is because of Jesus, that the Law no longer holds sway over me. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!..If that doesn't set you on fire, then your wood is wet.
God on you.....
Monday, November 1, 2010
After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty thing he had done for Israel.
An entire generation grew up, married, had children and became mother's and father's......and in all of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, they did not acknowledge the presence of the hand of God. A God who had defined their history as a people, was now not even a memory.
If you read on in this particular passage is reads They abandoned the LORD the God of their ancestors who had brought them out of Egypt. They chased after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. Now while we do not currently have stone-carved, graven images in our country, we do have other gods who are very subtle in nature. gods such as "comfort" and "lifestyle"......."image" and "ego". They have supplanted the true God of heaven and have become the deity that knees are bowed to.
Truth be known, we are raising a generation that worships "Self". We have discarded the notion that we were created in the image of God and have, in turn, created God in our image.
Seems as though we have lost our moral and spiritual compass. IF ever there was a time in our nation when we need a revival, not a renewal, it is now. That we be shaken to the very core of our being and brought forth out of the miry depths of self, to be made whole through the presence and fire of the Holy Spirit.
Listen to what God told Moses He was going to do for Israel, who was trapped in the bondage of Egypt.
1.) I will free your slavery in Egypt.
2.) I will redeem you with mighty power and great acts of judgment.
3.) I will make you my own special people.
4.) I will be your God.
5.) I will bring you into the land I have promised you.
"I am the LORD!"
What are you trapped by today?
Whatever it is, God wants to free you so you can become a part of His family and Kingdom.
Today is the day of your salvation.
May you find what God has for you today.
God on you......
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...