Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sing..Sing...Sing With All You've Got!

Psalm 100:1
"......Come before Him with joyful singing...."

From Pastor Rod Hembree of the Quick Study Bible Program:
Why is there so much music in the Bible? Why is nearly one-third of the Bible music? Why does God command His people to praise Him in His sanctuary? There is something about the songs of the redeemed. Those who can sing what the angels cannot. Those who were born to die, who appear at the judgment of sin, yet seek the Savior to redeem their lives, have a unique song in all of history and heaven and earth. We have felt the rise to purity from the impure. We have experienced the elevation to eternal purpose from meaningless. For this, we sing! And when we do, all heaven breaks loose!

When I read what Rod Hembree had said, I knew it in my spirit yet to see it in print just floored me. It made me painfully aware of the times I have stood in worship services singing How Great Thou Art, Yet my mind was a thousand miles away. I do not every want to do that again. I do not want to simply mouth words and hope I hit right notes during praise and worship. At the same time, I do not want to act out of emotion or my flesh either. Posturing myself so that others might think me some kind of super-spiritual saint. I think the best place to be is one of humility. Worshiping God in the knowledge and understanding of where you could be if not for His salvation, and where you don't want to be because of the guidance of His Holy Spirit.I think John Wimber used to refer to this place as the "Radical Middle". 

I do not know what 2012 holds in store. In the past, I have written flowery words with touches of what I thought to be prophetic insight. I won't go there this year. I am grateful to have seen 2011 all the way through. I am grateful for everything that has transpired in my life over this past Church at Rapha.....God has been good. How can I not worship Him because of His faithfulness, even when I wasn't. As the clock approaches midnight tonight and the calendar turns over to 1/1/12....stop for a moment and give thanks to God! Worship Him...You know He's worth it....right?

God on you....

Friday, December 30, 2011

God's Hand

Sometimes you know things in your mind and even in your spirit, but it takes an event to make them become real. We quote scripture and do so with great faith but faith is truly tested when you find yourself in a place where all you have is your faith. So it was Monday.

I had been admitted to the hospital and was in my room. I had my Bible and was trying to read but found my mind wandering to dark places it should not have gone. "What if this is my last day? What if I never see my family again?" Questions kept running through my mind, so I began to pray. I acknowledged that God was in control. I was His child. Whatever He had for me was o.k., but I wanted to ask of Him. So I placed my petition before Him as to what I truly wanted to see come from this heart attack. The very minute I finished my prayer, I was flooded with peace. I mean it was as real and tangible as anything I have ever experienced. There wasn't any fear. There wasn't any doubt. There was a "solid" knowing in my Spirit that God was God and He was worthy to be trusted, even with my life. From that moment on, everything that took place was incredible. In fact the entire episode, not that I look back, was covered by God's hand.

When the pain initially set in on Monday, my wife called our doctor........He was already at the hospital. The heart doctor our doctor refers patients to was on his way to the hospital to do rounds. God had set this up! You'll never convince me otherwise. Both doctors there ready to see was a God-thing.

I am grateful as I wrote yesterday for the prayers that were offered up on my behalf. I need prayer now to maintain the lifestyle that I am going to have to move toward. I've never been good at dieting or exercise, but now that is no longer an option. I have a wife that I want to grow older with. I have son's and daughters-in-law I love dearly, and I have grand children I want to see grow up and honor the Lord with their lives. In order to do that, I have got to change my diet. Bottom line in all of this, God is good.

Verse for the day:
John 14:1
"Let no your heart be troubled; believe in God, believer also in Me."

God on you....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sorry About That!

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in several days.
Monday I had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. I had a heart cath done (one artery 99.9% blocked) a stint put in and all is well. The prognosis is good for my recovery so I am grateful and give praise to God for His hand of healing. I will share some of the things that God gave me during my time in the hospital, but for now I am going to rest.
Thanks to everyone for the prayers.....
God is still in control...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Church At Philadelphia / What I Can Learn From Them

Revelation 3:10 - 11
Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Verse 8 - For you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name.

What is the message for us today found in the life of this church located in Philadelphia?
1.) The church which recognized its natural weakness, was supplied with supernatural ability through the power of God's Holy Spirit. It is amazing how we find the Twelve Steps hidden through out Scripture. The principals for living a godly life are all the same no matter whether you struggle with addiction or not. Remember the addiction is merely a sign or symptom of a greater problem. A sin problem. You don't have a drug or alcohol problem, you have a living problem. A broken relationship with Christ is at the center of the struggle. But here we see where God recognizes this church in Philadelphia because they have little strength. In other words, they know that as a congregation, they are powerless.

2.) The church has kept God's word. In other words, the Bible was more than just a book, it became the very voice of God in their midst. They recognized the value in simply doing what God instructed them to do. How simple yet how profound is it to simply do what we read in Scripture.

3.) The kept or did not deny the name of God. Names were important back in Biblical times because a name revealed the character of the person. Keeping God's name would imply a belief in the ability of God. How incredible is this! To trust and rely wholly on God's ability to take care and direct those whose hearts are committed to Him and His kingdom.  Matthew 6:33 -- Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. Holding fast or placing all your trust on the name of God implies a reliance upon God's strength while rejecting your own ability or strength. This is the heart of recovery. "I've tried it my way and my very best thinking has got me in rehab." It's time to put down our way and embrace God's way.

I guess the lesson for today (for me and hopefully you) is that God empowers those who persevere in the face of adversity. Realize that adversity is a given when you are putting your trust in God to deliver you out of your addiction. Not giving up ....Not giving in....Holding fast to God in the belief that He is truly who He claims to be and will do what He claims He will do is the heart of real life. Having this ongoing spiritual awakening is way to life.
God bless each of you today....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

From our family to you and yours....
Here's wishing you a most blessed Merry Christmas....
Michael...Vicki...Chad...Robin...Tyler...Ashley...Josh and Heather...& last, but certainly not least...Betty!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a sons, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us: and the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

As the hours count down to Christmas, I want to thank all of you who stop by here to read the postings. I pray that you find something that might encourage you or give you strength. Above all, I pray that you find Jesus (not that He is missing) and the change that He can bring to life.

Tonight, I will take a walk. It is a tradition that started many years ago when my sons were little boys. After every one was in bed and the presents were under the tree, I would take a short walk in the neighborhood. Sometimes the weather would only allow me to walk to the end of my driveway but I took the walk just the same. Christmas Eve is the quietest night of the year. Standing there in the street, lit by the trees and lights from the various homes up and down the neighborhood, there is silence. No traffic.........No one stirring.....No noise.........just silence. It is as though God the Father has demanded reverence and quiet on this the prelude to the birth of the Christ child. Even the demons are silenced and for this brief moment, Satan himself cowers because he is reminded of the significance of this night. It is my most favorite time.

I am flooded with memories of Christmas past.
Growing up in Gallant, Alabama, the church was central to the community so Christmas events were important. We always had music and suppers and a reading of the Christmas story, bringing together all of the church family. There in that small country church, I was nurtured and fed the Word of God. I am grateful to men such as Reverend Lewis Wood, Reverend D.E. Hendrix and Reverend Don Gentry for the leadership they provided in our church.

I remember one particular Christmas when my brother received a genuine RCA Stereo Hi-fi record player. That was big stuff for back in the '50's. My dad took the speaker and put it in the window, putting Bobby Darrin's Mack the Knife on the turntable and cranking that bad boy up on about 10. 3 a.m. and all you can hear up and down the valley is  "Oh that shark bite..has such teeth dear..and he keeps them outta sight!" There was my day standing in the front yard, directing an unseen orchestra as the music blared out into the Stratosphere. Lights began to come on all over the community. I guess folks didn't know whether Jesus was coming back or we had been invaded by the Russians. I miss my dad. I think of him a lot during the year, but most of all during Christmas time.

My mom loved Christmas.
To her, Christmas was a happening. Something to be organized and kept on schedule so everyone could enjoy it whether they wanted to or not. Presents would be passed out and we would sit there as one person opened up their loot. This went around the room until Mom was the last one. Needless to say it took a great deal of time to accomplish this feat. In fact one of my most memorable spanking came one Christmas after I had finished opening my presents, I took a piece of paper and pen and began writing on it. Mom stopped the festivities and ask me why I wasn't enjoying others opening their presents since everyone had paid attention while I opened mine. I wryly told my Mother that since it took so long to finish off this ritual, I was starting on my Christmas list for next year so I'd get it in on time.  "WHACK!!!!!" I don't know why I did such things. I knew what the outcome would be. It was like watching a train wreck and not being able to do anything about it. I don't want to give you the wrong impression. I have written this in a sense of fun. I love my Mom and she did love Christmas. If ever there was a giving person, it was my Mom.

So it's after 10 a.m.
I will take my Mother-in-law to Candle light service tonight at Christ Central United Methodist Church. I will see old friends and there will be many greetings of "Merry Christmas!" We will come home and have supper and probably settle in to watch "It's A Wonderful Life." I am a very full and satisfied man today. God has been more than gracious to me and I humbly acknowledge Him as my provision.
I wish to you a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23, 2011

Sitting here in my office at Rapha, I look out into the compound yard and see men preparing to leave for Christmas pass. Clothes piled high (yes, they even take home their dirty clothes for mom to wash), suitcases stacked and ready to be loaded. Parents, wives and others are here to pick up a loved one to take them home for the holidays. There has been and continues to be prayer covering every one this holiday season. Prayer that they will have a Christmas unlike any they've had in a long time. Prayer that every one returns safely. It is Christmas here at Rapha.

This is my 14th Christmas here at Rapha, and I can truly say that I never tire of all the activity that goes on here. Each year has been different with surprises and wonderful glimpses of God at work in the lives of those who come through here. Now until Christmas afternoon, my phone will ring with calls from those who are out there. Some will be doing well and call just to catch me up on what's going on. Some will not be doing so well and they will call to throw out a lifeline in order to just make it through the holiday's. But we will survive and live to be clean and sober another day.

I love all the trappings of Christmas....
But it is the human connection between people that I hold most dear.
First and foremost, the connection of my family. I am blessed beyond measure when it comes to my family. I am grateful to God for who my sons are and for my daughters and my grand children.
I am blessed to be married to the most wonderful woman in the world. God truly has made us one in His sight.

Those I work with at Rapha. The best! Each day is a new adventure and I praise God that it isn't a job, but a calling.  Strengthen us for 2012 and give us wisdom to take care of those You have placed under our care.

I am humbled by the cross and the Christ who hung there for my sin and for the sin of the world.
As much as I love Christmas and the only leads to the cross. Praise God it didn't stop there but continues on to a tomb where a stone has been rolled away.

So thank you, Lord for allowing me one more year.
One more Christmas....
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
Michael & Vicki

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

There Must Be More!!!!

I Corinthians 12:31
..........And I show you a still more excellent way.

Sometimes I like to ruminate on things of the past. It's not that I live there or even lay claim to it being better than my today. But the past does hold a nostalgic feel to it, doesn't it? Old television shows are great, not because they are well done or the actors were better. They are great because there are memories attached to them. I can watch an episode of Combat and have mental pictures of being over at Don Standfields watching it with him. I can see all the guys I grew up with, decked out in various pieces of Army gear, ready to take on the dreaded enemy. Me with my web belt and canteen. Michael Plemons actually wearing a fatigue shirt. Others with helmets or packs and entrenching tools. All these memories still fresh in mind as the day we played army. It is fun to take this backwards side trips with our memory from time to time. It isn't healthy when I let my mind live there and my longing for the past overtakes my need to find the future.

Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in the past the we loose sight of the future. I like the verse in I Corinthians where Paul is talking about spiritual gifts, saying that we should "earnestly desire the greater gifts," but that he would show a still more excellent way. Those are fancy words for "There is more!" Somehow I have always carried this thought around with me as a believer. There is more than what I know or understand. It wasn't about information or knowledge or anything to do with my mind or brain. It had to do with the Holy Spirit working inside of me so that the things of the Kingdom become clearer to me. That I see the hand of God at work and know that I am growing spiritually. I am not satisfied with today. I want to chase God and see where He leads. I want to follow when He says,"Move!" and I want to sit still when He says, "Rest." I sincerely believe that blessings and clarification concerning God's Kingdom work here, is contingent on me being obedient. 

What I speak of isn't a matter of works. It is a matter of heart. It is a matter of love for the Father. It is a matter of forsaking all for the Kingdom. Doesn't fly to well in the face of today's church. Seems as though some folks only want to go to church on Sunday and sit and sing so they can get up to leave and come back next Sunday to sit and sing some more. Along the way they throw some money in the offering plate and feel like they have done their "Christian Duty" for God and country. I cannot believe that this type behavior is all there is to the Kingdom of God here on earth. I believe when we stand and pray earnestly from the heart and ask God for "Kingdom will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven," God will take us up on that. I do not have the luxury or desire to nail down my beliefs and relationship with God over something in the past. I have seen people stand to give a testimony to God and it was couched in some event that took place back in 1953. 1953? Has God not done anything for you since 1953? John Wesley said that if what ever you share about the workings of God in your life is over a week old, you've got yourself a serious problem. John Wesley's view was toward a God that was at work all the time in the lives of His children. This ongoing work should be the fuel and fire that awakens us from religious slumber and sets us on the path of following Him to the more excellent way.  As we count down the days left here in 2011, let us be about the business of  "laying aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."

Let's embrace the entrance of 2012 as the year in which we live with all sincerity a life that is pleasing to God.
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
Michael & Vicki Steps.....

Step # 6 --
We commit ourselves to God and desire that He remove patterns of sin from our lives.

Step # 7 --
We humbly ask God to renew our minds so that our sinful patterns can be transformed into patterns of righteousness.
In the twelve steps, steps six and seven carry on the "inside work"  that has brought us from Step # 1. We begin a life long cooperation with the Holy Spirit of God, as He works to transform us. In Step 6 we read the phrase patterns of sin. As we continue to do things (behaviors) over and over, they become habits. An example would be the habit becoming a ditch. The more we act with the same behavior, the deeper the ditch is dug. Each time the rain comes, it follows the path of the ditch. The rain would be situations and circumstances that we face each day. Not knowing what to do or how to handle what we are facing, we resort to the old ditches we have dug, in other words, we continue in the old patterns of sinful behavior. God's desire if to fill up the old ditches and dig new ones that are a result of this new relationship I have with Him.

Step # 7 says we humbly ask God to renew our minds.....(Isn't this the place where all battles are played out? Our mind?).  Romans 12:2 reads that we are no longer to be conformed this world (don't act or behave in the same manner as those who do not know Jesus) but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Let God show us the better way on how to deal with life.
I like how the Message Bible puts it: Don't be so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I guess you could say the key to today's posting is A solid, biblical belief system is the key to my healthy behavior.

As we near Christmas, I do want you to know how much I appreciate everyone who stops by Greene Street Letters. I pray that we all grow in Christ and that this upcoming year will be one of greater intimacy with Him and with us all growing in faith as we look forward to the return of Christ.
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
Michael & Vicki

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It stands there beckoning you like some silent sentry. You don't know what lies beyond, because the door stands in the way. You look for other points of entry. Ones that seem to be easier and softer in which to move from this place to the next. There are none, at least that would seem to offer the same as the door in front of you.

This isn't the first time you passed this way. Many times the events of your life have lead you to this door, and with every returned visit you still refuse to enter through the door. That would be too obvious and even a bit hypocritical on your part. You know others who have passed through this door and they seem to have obtained what you have been searching for, but still that nagging fear of the door won't go away. At least on this side of the door, you know the rules and you know how to play the game. Never mind that you have lost everything. Never mind that you are only fooling yourself. No matter what you think............the door still stands there calling to you.

A battle rages inside you.
One voice declares that victory and every thing good and proper is waiting on the other side of the door.
Another voice derides the first calming it to be a fairytale that will never measure up to your needs. This subtle, whispered voice tries to calm your fears with promises and lies that, even as you listen, stir your soul to give in. But still the door stands there.

Finally without thought or reason, you reach for the doorknob. Turning it slowly, heart bounding with fear, you open the door. Little by little pulling it back until it stands wide open. Now for the hard part. With the "old" voice ringing in your ears, you slowly take the first step through the door. As you do, you are filled with a sense of freedom and peace unlike anything you have ever felt. A voice all too familiar greets your heart with these words......."Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Welcome to recovery.
To those of you who stop by the Greene Street Letters, I want you to know that there is healing and freedom from addiction to be found in the person of Jesus Christ. I would not write this if it were not true. I don't claim to have any magic or even many answers, but I do know this one thing. You may think you have an addiction problem. Truth have a living problem. You have a broken relationship with Jesus. Why not let this be the best Christmas you ever celebrated by giving him your life today. By allowing this Jesus to "Birth you again" unto new life. More than religious mumbo-jumbo or empty pipe dreams, this new life with Jesus is just that. New life.
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's....
Michael & Vicki

Christmas Revelation

I have spent a fair amount of time reading in Revelation. I love this book especially during the Christmas season. Why? Because we spend a lot of time playing and trying to make the season look like all that is good and holy and proper. In the, hopeful, not to distant future, God will actually set up His kingdom and it will be built and established on all that is holy, good and proper. I try and visualize what events will look like that I read about in Revelation.

Revelation 19
V.5 - And a voice came from the throne, saying, "Give praise to our God, all you His bond servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great."
Instructions that we will hear. We won't have to guess whether we are hearing God........whether we are hearing it me or is it God?   We will hear a voice calling us to the greatest worship event ever. All other such events on this side of eternity will pale in comparison to the goings-on in heaven.  In the verse we are called bond servants. We have been set free but choose to follow God all the way through this life, crossing over to eternity and beyond (if such a place as "beyond eternity" exists).

V.6 - And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude and as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty peals of thunder saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns."
A multitude.
How many make up a multitude? 5,000........5 million? More than can be counted? It doesn't matter, except to say that the sound they made was as the sound of many waters. Since the Holy Spirit is sometimes symbolized as water.........could it be that the voices were under the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit? Maybe. He goes on to say that the voices also sounded like peals of thunder.....That is a sound found in the heavens. The sound that fills heaven has power behind it. Not the power of a choir and their voices, but the sound of hearts that have been saved, all proclaiming the greatness of God. Stand is going to blow our socks off. I can hardly wait.

Taking part in such an outpouring of praise and worship will be unlike anything we ever experienced here on earth. I have been a part of some pretty powerful worship, but think about standing in the presence of Jesus.............praise rising up within me............the sound that it will make as it leaves my lips...a complete giving of myself in worship unto the LORD......I can hardly wait.

Let your heart be filled with the knowledge of Christ this holiday season.
Remember your first love, Jesus, and return to Him with a renewed sense of dedication and devotion.
Merry Christmas to you and your family from the Bynum's.....
Michael & Vicki

Monday, December 19, 2011

Countdown Has Begun

What a wonderful weekend.
Saturday nights service was the Candle light meeting as part of our Christmas celebration.
Voices singing and giving glory to God.
Men responding to Jesus' call to salvation.
Two more added to the long line of saints that stretches back into the past.
The room bathed in soft glow of candles as we sang You have redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness.
More than words, but a heart felt cry of gratitude for what Jesus has done for us.
Much hugging and back slapping all covered with joyous greetings of "Merry Christmas."
Such was our Saturday.

II Peter 1:4
For by these, He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
We have been granted by God what Peter refers to as "His precious and magnificent promises."
Words spoken by God...
Given to mankind....
Words that carry weight and effect when introduced into our lives.
Words that break the power of sin...
The influence of sin...
The penalty of sin....
Words that carry power and power that can deliver the vilest person whose heart is stone cold dead.
Promises that break all hardness and penetrate all darkness to illuminate and give hope.
We need these words now more than ever.
While the world seeks to put on a "happy face" and tie all happiness to the ownership of things, humanity rushes headlong using their fleshly passions like a throttle. Speeding to destruction all the while thinking, "If I can just buy one more present....If I can just have this for myself, life would be so much better." The only thing I desire to lay hold of is the cross of Christ. The completed work of Jesus that has set me free, filled me with God's Holy Spirit and has given me purpose in this life.

I place my hope, my trust, my very life in the hands of Jesus.
I place my hope, my trust, my very life on the promises of God.
I place my hope, my trust, my very life that He will guide me and see me all the way through this life, taking me to next part on the other side of eternity.
Fairy tale?

Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
Michael & Vicki

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Good Night Was Had By All

Last night we celebrated the Campbell Christmas, my wife's side of the family. Truth be known, they are more like family sometimes than my own. She is from a large family, 5 brothers and sisters, and me, being from a small family, one brother, it was a bit overwhelming at first. The Bynum family Christmas was orderly and peaceful and very quiet as we unwrapped our gifts one at a time so mother could see what we had received. On the other hand, my wife's family is like something from a Keystone Cops movie. Organized chaos. Everyone talking at once. Someone on their hands and knees picking up presents, calling the name out and then chunking said present with Joe Montana precision across the room to a Campbell receiver who snatched it out of the air like Jerry Rice on the run.
You take 5 brothers and sisters, along with their respective wifes or husbands... and add kids to the mix. Then on top of that genealogical hierarchy put some grand kids and then great grand kids and you got yourselves a hoo-ha! Such is the Campbell Christmas.

We gathered at the Sardis Community Center for the sware'. Why Sardis? It's is kind of a halfway point for everyone to travel to. Ton's of food and laughter. Little kids running every where screaming and playing "'re it!" It was a time to catch up on the individual clan's year. Vicki's brother, Mike, was recovering from back surgery and doing well. He and Dianne, his wife, had made enough ham and turkey sandwiches to take care of the entire Russian Army during the winter of 09. There was Deb, my sister-in-law, and her vegetable soup. She told me that she had made it a little hotter than she intended. Jalapenos will do it every time. For me, the soup was heaven with cornbread. I do love me some good soup. Thanks Deb!

Larry, another brother and husband of hot soup making Deb, shared stories of a reunion he had recently attended. Larry is a retired Colonel from the Marine Corp and the men he served with during Viet Nam held a reunion in Washington D.C. Larry wasn't sure whether or not he wanted to attend, but finally opted to go. He is extremely glad he did and the stories he shared were humdingers.  U-rah!

Presents for the little kids and dirty Santa for the adults brought squeals and screams. Errrr..from the tykes not the grown ups. I had my eye on a popcorn serving set but alas, it was not to be. Dianne, the sandwich making machine, wound up with the prize popcorn set. Me? I got a copy of Oswald Chambers My Utmost For His Highest. Not bad at all.

I sat with my grand niece, Fiona, during the meal and we caught up on what music we were currently listening too. What songs we had heard that really made an impression. Fiona is a very good musician, playing several different instruments but leaning toward Violin as her favorite. Last month, she attended a church conference at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and was asked to play and sing. Fiona shared a video of her song, Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing. I knew she could play the violin but I had no idea of the power of her voice. She was incredible! Her voice has a (I know this may sound strange to some) Celtic quality to it. I think I may have been sitting with someone who will be taken to places through her music that she may not even dream is possible. God's richest blessing on my grand niece.

As the days count down to Christmas, I want to share a verse that means a lot to me.
I John 1:5 - And this is the message we have from Him and announce to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.  I like that. "In Him there is no darkness." If I remain in Christ and Christ remain in me....then I will walk in light. In other words, I will be made aware of anything the enemy is tyring to do to me or through me. I will be aware of any attitudes and wrong motives that come up in my decisions. If you look around during this time of year, it's all about the lights. We have festival of lights and Christmas light shows and trees with colored lights every where you look. They represent the power and presence of Christ. The lights remind us of how little power darkness actually has when light is introduced. Light pushes the darkness away and brings comfort. Such is Christ. Darkness flees at not only his presence but at the very mention of His name. Jesus, name above all names.
During this holiday season, I pray that the light and presence of Jesus would cover each of you and your families.
Thank you again for stopping by Greene Street Letters.
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's.

Friday, December 16, 2011


We called him "Pops"...He worked in the kitchen and always had a smile on his face. He saw the world through a distinct and unique view that didn't always match up with reality.
He would sit on the bench outside the TV room, soaking up "ray's" as he referred to it.
His face revealed the miles he had traveled in this life.
It had been a hard road if you listened to his stories.
Dreams were lost... Family was just a word that some people used to connect people to their past.
He was a pleasant man.
He left Rapha some weeks ago to return to his old life. It costs him.
Police found him dead this past Tuesday. He'd been shot.

Funny or strange as this may sound, this is the very reason we celebrate Christmas.
Death and sin.
If not for those two, then Jesus would never have had to come to this earth and be born.
If death and sin had never invaded the garden, then wise men and Shepherds would never have been a part of this Christmas pageant.
As beautiful as we have tried to make Christmas, we need to remember that the baby that was born in Bethlehem's stable, came to this earth to die for the sin of the world.
Jesus was on a mission at the request of His Father and He saw it through to completion and beyond. It should be a time of rejoicing! Christ, the Messiah.......the ultimate Deliverer...has been born. A Savior for all has stepped into our time and space to break the power and the penalty of sin.
But we must never forget that during this season, people are dying all around us.
"Lord...don't let me become so numb and self centered in my own life that I never see those around me who don't know you. Those to who Christmas is just another day. A day to spend money on presents. Let me proclaim Your story........Your good news........Your gospel to all. A story that still resonates with power in the proclamation that "Unto you this day a Savior has been born who is Christ the LORD!

God on you......

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Find The Value In The Things God Has Entrusted Us With

The amazing story of God, in the form of man, stepping into our time and space.
Living, growing and taking his place in the society of His day.
Beginning to minister and proclaim with a voice that was as old as time itself that "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand......repent and turn from your sins."

Christmas is more than warm fuzzy feelings and soft colored lights.
It is a time of reassurance that God has not forgotten or lost His grip on this planet or the people who occupy it.
It is a time for faith.
It is a time for us to recommit ourselves.
It is a time to realize that.......Yes! We have joy. Yes! We have hope! But we also have a duty to God to be good stewards fo the things He places at our disposal. It is a time to stop playing marbles with diamonds.

God on you.....


One light.....
One candle.....
One flame......
That is all it takes to drive back the darkness.
One heart......
One love........
One Savior.......
That is all it took to drive back the darkness.
The gates of hell............those massive, rusted, bars that have stood ever since the fall, will not prevail.
They cannot prevail. Jesus has defeated the Kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of Satan.
By becoming a sacrifice, Jesus loved his way to victory. He is the light of the world. Not one of many lights............not a light............not some light, but rather THE LIGHT. He is the ultimate source of illumination and salvation for those trapped in spiritual darkness.

Shepherds saw the glory-light of God as it came down all around them. They were terrified until the angel said, "Fear not!"
Moses saw the glory-light of God in a bush that was not consumed. He was terrified and took off his shoes at the instruction that came from the bush.
The magi saw the message-light in the heavens and followed it until it came to rest over a house where they found the baby. There they worshipped under the heavenly light of a star that led them from the East, and nothing would ever be the same.
Evil would continue to invade and capture the souls and will of humanity.....
A Savior had been born.
God in flesh walking among his creation.
Walking every day with purpose that would culminate on a cross.
Joy to all mankind.
Salvation in tidal waves of mercy poured out for all to receive.
Some did...
Some did not....
Still the plan moved on down through the ages...
Without faltering or failing....the plan moved on.
Here today, December 14, 2011, the plan is as powerful as ever.
The call to salvation has not lessened.
This is the heart and nature of Jesus the Christ.
Praise God for this and more!

Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
Michae & Vicki

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Baby Is Born

Hebrews 1:3
And He (Jesus) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He (Jesus) had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Sometimes I think the reason that Christmas is so universally accepted is that we celebrate the birth of a baby. Truth be known, babies aren't to threatening to anyone. They are cute and cuddly and warm and make really funny noises. We oooooh and aaaaaahhhhh at them. We talk baby talk to them. I don't think many people today are uneasy about Jesus as a baby. Just don't let him grow up to be man. Don't let him grow up to be a man who takes on an earthly kingdom by bringing in a heavenly kingdom. The man, Jesus, stands in stark contrast to the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in manger in the town of Bethlehem.

Rod Hembree, pastor of Good Friends Church, made this observation concerning Jesus. "Two thousand years after His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ is still the main issue. He is the ultimate swear word by the culture and entertainment community. He is central argument among all religious theologians. He is the premier problem for the agents of evil. He is the classic confusion of the philosophers. He is the number one terror of the nations that terrorize His church. He is the chief pick against political correctness. He is the rub against relativism. Jesus Christ is the dissenting discomfort of the New Age movement. He is the barbed wire barrier for the man of lawlessness and the stumbling stone of man's foundational governments. That is because in all of this, and more, Jesus Christ is LORD!"

The depth of understanding of who Jesus is will never end. In John 17:3, we read that this is the very reason we have been given eternal life...."That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."  So daily, through the Word of God, through my interaction of prayer and listening for God, I grow in respect to relationship. I grow in my ability to hear God and discern His good will for me. I grow in my trust that God is truly who He claims to be and will do exactly what He claims He will do.
This time of year, I find myself extremely grateful for life itself. I look to my past and see the destruction and darkness I wallowed in for years....I look to my future and see the face of Jesus, because nothing else matters out there. I look to today and find gratefulness and gratitude for having been given this gift of 24 hours. I pray that I spent it wisely and for the Kingdom of God.

Find Christ this holiday season.
Merry Christmas! From the Bynum's....
Vicki and Michael.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is Your Cross Big Enough?

Philemon : 12 - 14
And I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, who I wished to keep with me, that in your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel. But without your consent I did not want to do anything, that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will.

Paul is appealing to the master of a runaway slave who was converted by Paul in prison. Paul is asking that Philemon, the man to whom the letter is written, forgive the slave. Paul has brought the gospel to both men...Philemon (the master) and Onesimus, the slave, yet Paul is appealing for forgiveness saying that it is not based on compulsion but by choice. I think this is a sticking point with a lot of people. I don't think the church has done a very good job of teaching on forgiveness.  Somehow most of the people I run into all have the same notion that forgiveness comes from feelings.Forgiveness comes from choosing to forgive.

Church is always great and feels wonderful when we are surrounded by people we love. But what happens when our churches are invaded by those who have hurt or harmed us? What happens when we see those people seeking God? Does our flesh flare up and we become silently angry, hiding by a face of religion? Or do we help them? I read this statement from Quick Study Bible lesson for today: Is the Cross big enough for those who have deeply wounded me, or is it just big enough for me?  In other words, am I enjoying the benefits of this relationship with Jesus and only wanting specific others to have the same privilege? I dare say many would answer that question out loud, but in case you did, and in case you felt some conviction....then, like me, we both need to get a bigger cross. Or better yet, we need "self" to shrink and disappear so that only Jesus is left. More of you, Lord, and less of me. True forgiveness is never a felling or a mood; it is a choice that must be made over and over.

Mull this over and let God speak to your heart.
Today is the perfect day to forgive.
God on you.....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday Night Get-Down

We had our Christmas Tree Decorating party last night. One of my most favorite gatherings during the Christmas season. My wife made Snicker Doodles and her recipe for KILLER HOT CHOCOLATE.
It is always so funny to watch the men when they first come into the chapel and see the Christmas tree. It isn't decorated so they kind of stand off not knowing what to do.

We had a table set up with all the goodies on it.
Brenda Lee was playing through the sound system Jingle Bells Rock, so as cookies are being eaten and hot chocolate is going down smooth, one by one the men come forward picking up strands of lights and ornaments. Pretty soon the room is abuzz with the sound of laughter and singing. I might add that our singing will never win us a recording contract. What we lacked in talent was made up in gusto and passion.

It has been years for some of these men since they actually decorated a Christmas tree. It has been years since Christmas had meant anything. For most, Christmas was just another day. Another day to work at their addiction trying to figure out where they were going to get enough money to buy what they needed to get high on.  But last night, for that brief moment in time, those dark memories disappeared and there was laughter. I had several come up to me after we finished and said, "I didn't know I could have a good time without getting drunk!"

Once the tree was lit (to the sounds of oooohs and ahhhhhs) we sang Silent Night. There in the glow of the lights from the tree, the Spirit of God came into that room. Faces once hard and dark kind of melted into tenderness as we simply sang and stood in the presence of God.

Thank you Father, for your wonderful love for us.
May we truly understand the celebration of Christmas.
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas is.......

Christmas is.....
Looking into the faces of the people I see at Wal-mart and at the mall.
Some faces are hard and cold. I don't see any joy or peace. I pray for those faces that they might run into this Jesus who has changed my life. I wish not to give false hope in telling anyone about my Jesus. He isn't a handy-dandy fix man who can undo all the damage I've done in my life. He is a Savior that can transform and produce a new way of seeing life.......a new way of doing business with the world.

Some faces radiate with the glow of God's Spirit. They may be about the business of buying presents for family and friends, but you see Jesus in them. Soft smiles and eyes that are filled with love. Even the very timbre of their voice can soften the hardest of hearts they meet.

Christmas is......
Breakfast with my good friends, Jim Bentley. Waffle house with coffee and conversation. Catching up on the week. Looking back at our past, wondering how we got to where we are. Appreciative of God's hand upon our lives and for the memories we share. Some good...some not so good......but none the less a part of our friendship. I have known Jim since the fall of 1968. We have a lot of shared history. He is my best-est friend.

Christmas is.....
Revisiting Luke Chapter 2.
Trying to place myself in Joseph's shoes. What would I have done? Would I have been a man of integrity like Joseph? Or would I have fallen prey to the easy way out? I get angry when movies and television shows try and "Hollywood-ize" the Christmas story. This was a serious thing to be a young girl having a baby outside of marriage. It wasn't a story of warm cozy feelings and soft lights that seem to permeate and cast just the right shadows over the stable. It was a time of a king who was drunk with power and would do anything to hold on to it. Even ordering the killing of small children. In the midst of all the political intrigue and the religious fervor.......there stood Joseph whose primary concern was for his wife and for the baby that was to be born.

Christmas is....
My family.
Josh and Heather will be coming in from Athens, Georgia on Christmas day. Chad, Robin and the grand kids, Tyler and Ashley, will be coming from Southside Christmas afternoon. My wife, Vicki, will spend the morning in our kitchen working the cooking magic she does so well and spread out a meal that would rival the finest chef's found anywhere in the world. We will gather around that table and share more than a meal. We will share our love and laughter. We will share memories. We will be together. To me that is the greatest present a person can

I saved this one for last.
Christmas is.....
The story of the birth of Jesus.
It is the defining moment in the history of the world, when God stepped out of heaven and took on the form and flesh of mankind. He invaded our time and space with a purpose. To take the next step in his plan to right the terrible wrong that took place in the garden when mankind fell from grace into a world of sin. To me Christmas is victory! Christmas is a joyous shout of triumph, and with each Christmas, we draw nearer and nearer to the ultimate finality....Christ return. Would ever a song be so true as to be present at that return and sing.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come.
Let earth receive her King!!!!

Merry Christmas from the Bynum's
Thank you for stopping by Greene Street

Michael & Vicki

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis The Season To Gripe and Grumble

Nehemiah 9: 15 - 22
You gave them bread from heaven when they were hungry and water from the rock when they were thirsty. You commanded them to go and take possession of the land you had sworn to give them. But our ancestors were a proud and stubborn lot, and they refused to obey your commands. They refused to listen and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But you are a a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and full of unfailing love and mercy. You did not abandon them, even though they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, "This is your god who brought you of of Egypt!" They sinned and committed terrible blasphemies. But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night. You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them bread from heaven or water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness. They laced nothing in all that time. Their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell!

God is faithful always....
Even when we are not.
It seems that the world (in particular..the US of A) has lost the ability to be thankful. I turn on the TV and I see people protesting against what they don't have. They scream and yell and shake their fist (mainly for the cameras) and rail against the perceived notion of unfairness in this country. I'm not hear to debate one way or the other. I am just confounded by the ungratefulness that people show. It's like nothing is ever good enough. That people don't have enough, so they complain and grip and grumble.
In the verses above from the book of Nehemiah, we read of God's faithfulness balanced against the unfaithfulness of the Israelites. God took care of them for 40 years, yet all they did was complain about they way God was taking care of them. "I hate this's manna in the morning, manna in the evening, manna at supper time." Yet this manna, which was bread from heaven, didn't cost them anything other than a little bit of labor to go and harvest what they needed just for that day. \

I do not ever want to forget the things God has done for me and my family. Maybe that is why Christmas is so important to me. It is a time to actually take stock of the year and how God has sustained us since last Christmas. To celebrate the triumphs of family and grieve over defeats or failures. It doesn't matter which it is, we are family so we share together.
Today I am grateful for Rapha.
I am grateful to Steve and Marilyn for answering God's call and letting him work through them to establish this place.
I am grateful to Bill who gave of himself to serve God here at Rapha.
I am grateful to Gene and Mike for taking up the mantle and bringing fresh vision to Rapha.
I am grateful for Barry for bringing to the table a new way of continuing the mission here at Rapha.
I am thankful for Brenden and Jeff as God has added to the Rapha family two men who serve in ways that amaze me.
I am thankful for Wayne and Debbie for following me all these years and for the heart of worship they bring to Rapha every Saturday night.
I am thankful for Rainnie (Spell?) and the quirky view of life that God has placed in him. For placing him as our leader and giving him vision for the future.
I am thankful for my wife and Deb for being called here to Rapha to serve.
It is truly a wonderful thing for me to be co-laborers with my wife in what God is doing here at Rapha.
I am thankful for each man who comes through the program.
I am thankful for you, O'Lord, for giving me a home in which to serve you.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Love And Forgiveness

Matthew 6:12
And forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.

I Corinthians 13:4
.....Love keeps no record of when it has been wronged.

For some reason during my Bible time yesterday these two verses met head on in a collision. We are told in Matthew to forgive and receive forgiveness. Receiving for our sins and giving for those who have sinned against us. This forgiveness includes the act of forgiving ourselves for all the destruction and pain we have caused because of our addiction.

I have some who say they can never forgive themselves and what they have done to the families. But at the same time, they make reference to being a loving person. They refer to the love of God that dwells within, but according to I keeps no record of wrongs. Do you see the problem here?
We don't and can't forgive...........either ourselves or others, yet we lay claim to the idea that we can love as Jesus loves. If the Holy Spirit of God is in us, then all claims to unforgiveness has to be turned loose of. Unforgiveness and the presence of God will not dwell together. The greatest act and present ever given to fallen man was wrapped up in the death and resurrection of Jesus. IF anyone had a reason to not forgive, I think it would be Jesus. All the humiliation and pain and suffering he endured finding its completion on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem. There, on that cross, Jesus said the most incredible words ever recorded............"Father! Forgive them............they don't know what they are doing." Love and forgiveness coming together to create the ultimate divine ripple that has passed down through the ages, not loosing power........not loosing purpose. The love and forgiveness that is poured out on every generation. Some accept this incredible gift. Some reject it. But it is there! The invitation has not slackened or become irrelevant. That is why we can scream with incredible joy...."UNTO US IS BORN A SAVIOR, CHRIST THE LORD!

Merry Christmas!
Michael and Vicki Bynum

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 24, 1981

It was Christmas eve, 1981 and we lived on 4th street in Gadsden.
It was after 11 p.m. and both my sons were asleep down the hall with the proverbial dreams of "Sugar plum fairies dancing in their heads." My wife, Vicki, had retired some time back and was fast asleep also. I had finished putting out the presents, locked the doors and was headed to bed myself.

As I entered our living room, I stopped for one last look at the tree. Bynum tradition stated that the Christmas tree would remain lit on Christmas Eve. The lights, the ornaments, the tinsel all draped over our tree. There was one memory that flooded me at that moment. This was the first Christmas since my mother's death in May of that year. My mom loved Christmas because it was truly a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but also to celebrate one of God's gifts to She loved her family and Christmas was the perfect time to let this show. Mom always went overboard for Christmas with gifts and food and making sure that everyone had a great time. We always kidded here about this because she would huff and puff about how much work it took. Everyone knew that this was a labor of love for her. It was a time when she truly let the love in her heart for her family pour out through the things she did for us. She never expected anything in return.

As the thoughts of Christmas' past flooded my mind, tears welled up and I began to weep. It was an all too real pain of grief and the thought of Mom not being with us. I sat down in the floor and let the tears come even harder. In the middle of this pain, a quiet voice came to me. "Don't cry! She is with me." I knew that God had spoken. Peace. Peace came over me and my thoughts changed to the incredible thought that as much as my Mom loved Christmas, she was going to celebrate it with One who Christmas is all about. Jesus. She would be celebrating her first Christmas in heaven. I took up some paper and a pen and began to write down some words which later would become a song...............You've Gone Home For Christmas.

It's the time of the year
When the world spins in cheer
thoughts turn to family and friends
Of snow covered nights
and bright colored lights
and the things that world adores
but you....
you've gone home for Christmas
to celebrate Emmanuel's new birth
You've gone home for Christmas
left His peace with your family here on earth.

Look beyond the presents
Look beyond the bustle of shopping and buying
Look to the manger and the precious gift it held that night long ago in Bethlehem.
For today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord!

Merry Christmas From the Bynum's
God on you....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Opps...They Got It Wrong!

Did you ever notice that people sometimes attribute things to Scripture that really aren't found in the Bible?
My favorite is "God helps those who help themselves." A nice platitude but nowhere to be found in the Bible.
Another one that I find interesting, especially this time of year, is "Peace on earth, good will to men." Peace on this planet has long been a dream that has dwelt in the heart of mankind. Some hold tight this thought of all men and women living together in peace, but sinful hearts will never allow this dream to come true.

The phrase "Peace on earth, good will to men" isn't found in Scripture.
If you read what it actually says (Luke 2:14) you'll find that it reads "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. In other words, those whose hearts are given to God, whose lives become reflections of Christ at work in them, are called to receive the peace of God here in the middle of this fallen world. Such a strange interaction that the peace of God would dwell among the chaos and darkness of the Kingdom of Satan.

If you look back to Exodus, you'll see that God did the same thing to the Israelites who dwelt in the land of Goshen. Here we had an entire people in slavery surrounded by the decadence and paganism of Egypt, yet God placed his hand of covering over them and kept them safe. It doesn't matter where you are this morning.
You may be living in a dysfunctional family that would fill the record books with their antics, God will cover you in the middle of the chaos and pain and give to you peace. Not necessarily peace that would change your situation, but peace that would take you through anything you might find yourself facing. Peace that would keep you heart, spirit and body and impart to you strength to face whatever comes your way. That is the Peace my God is able to pour out on those whose hearts are committed to Him.

So while the world tries to offer a pseudo-peace during this Christmas season, let the real-deal God give you the real thing. Don't accept imitations or knock-offs when it comes to peace. Let it permeate every area of your life today. Walk in it! Live in it! And let God receive the glory due Him.
Merry Christmas from the Bynum's!

God on you.....
Michael & Vicki

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Behind The Words..

Luke 2:1
Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

This verse has begun more Christmas stories, plays and pageants that I care to think about.
It is the focal point that leads us to the night of the Christ Child's birth.
But have you ever really stopped and thought about what was really going on?
The Old Testament is filled with prophetic verses that reveal the coming Messiah.
The book of Micah speaks of the town (Bethlehem) and the exact location within the town (Ephratha) where Jesus was to be born.  Isaiah 9 tells of the names that Messiah would be known for (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace).  Yet for all of these prophecies to be fulfilled, all the people involved had to be in a specific place....a specific town....a specific location. Bethlehem.

Here is where things get a bit sticky.
We know (or at least we give a head nod) that God indeed moves people to fulfill his plans (Somehow we think that kind of behavior from God ended many centuries foolish are we?). Thousands of miles away from Bethlehem, in Rome, we see Caesar pittering around the palace with nothing to do. Suddenly (and without warning) a thought forms in his mind. A thought that did not come from his own intellect, but one placed there by God Himself. "WE NEED A CENSUS..........WE NEED ONE NOW........EVERY PERSON OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE MUST RETURN TO THE CITY OF THE ANCESTOR'S.

This single thought put into motion everything needed for the Scriptures to be fulfilled. What do you think is happening today in our world that God is moving and directing? Governments? I believe so. Leaders? You know it. Societies? Yep! God has not changed the way he carries out his eternal plan for this planet and His creation. So, with that in mind, it doesn't matter how spiritually dark it may get, God is still in control and I should be about the business of trusting Him that He knows best. I should trust him with my life, my family, and my future. This simple act, in Luke 2, of calling for a census, set in motion the most incredible event in the history of our world. An event that would eventually lead to a hill outside of Jerusalem where this Jesus, would give his life in exchange for freedom from sin for anyone who would repent and receive. And to think that a pagan ruler, who considered himself to be God, would be used by the real-deal God to carry out the plans of the Kingdom of Heaven.That God is something else.

God on you....

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Innkeeper By John Piper

In this life, the Kingdom of God moves and affects us in various ways. Life almost seems  like a paradox.
When thinking of Jesus, you cannot take one aspect of his time here on earth without unraveling and finding something else.

You cannot have the manger in Bethlehem without a cross outside of Jerusalem.
You cannot have Christmas without Good Friday.
You cannot celebrate the birth of Jesus without remembering that He came to die.
You cannot have the resurrection of Jesus without first going into the tomb.

If you look at these events with human eyes and understanding, you might be dismayed or discouraged.
Life only to die....
Death only to be resurrected....
Why couldn't we just skip the hard part, after all He is God.
Because the Kingdom of God is about taking the very things, the hard things....those dark things that were brought to this world through sin and destroying them.
God lays hold to the things of the devil and by His authority and power, puts an end to them.
That is why we see the Kingdom here but the Kingdom not complete in it's fullness.
God is at work and His plans move ever forward until we will see a complete restoration of His creation.
Maranatha! Lord Jesus....

God on you....

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I Chronicles 5:20
....They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayers because they trusted in Him.

Spiritual conflict.....

This is the truth for the life of all who are followers of Jesus.
You have an enemy (the devil.....Yes! Virginia, there is a devil) who seeks to destroy you.
To stop you from believing.
To discourage you and create such doubt and fear within that you simply give up.
Two things I truly like about the verse above.

1.) They cried out to God......
       a.) It wasn't a mental exercise. It wasn't something they simply thought about, it was a reality. It was a voice that wells up from within and explodes into the heavens. Very simple....prayers go up...answers come down. You know....what goes up must come down.
       b.) The said "Crying out" took place during the battle. IT is at the point of realization that you, in your own strength, cunning intellect, and ability cannot win, that you cry out to God. Truth be known, the crying out part should take place before the battle actually begins, but sometimes we find ourselves caught up in a spiritual conflict before we even realize that is what is taking place. No matter.....Cry out to God!!!

2.) The Trust factor:
      a.) God answered their prayers because they trusted Him. The literally believed that God was who He claimed to be and would do what He claimed He would do. Trust........cling to..........rely on........believe in......they trusted God and He answered their prayers.
Do my prayers echo my trust in God?
Or are they simply desperate cries to get His attention and hope that He intervenes in my "battle?" I want to trust him more with each passing day and the only way this is going to happen is to trust him with my life. My heart knows that He is trustworthy, but my head tells me different..."What if God doesn't come through this time? What if he leaves you high and dry?"
That is why Proverbs 3:5-6 is so important to me:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your path straight.
This is life changing truth. It takes our focus off of our own ability and intellect and places it solely on Jesus. All part of learning to follow Him and not our own way, desires and talents.

Think on these things....
God on you.....


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Leave The Stinking Fish Behind

Luke 5:11
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

Story of Peter and an encounter he had with Jesus.
Peter had worked all night and had nothing to show for it, and now Jesus had parked himself in Peter's boat. Peter was on the way home to eat breakfast and go to bed (I kind of infer this in my reading of the Scripture) so the idea of becoming the S.S. Minnow for a three hour tour did not set well with Peter. He pushes out and listens as Jesus teaches the people on the shore. We are not told what the subject was, but I guess that it might have been about the Kingdom of God and the need to repent of sins.

We not told of Peter's response to all of this. Perhaps he was listening intently, or maybe he fell asleep waiting for Jesus to finish. No matter what, at the end of the teaching, Jesus told Peter to take his boat out to the deep water and let down the nets for a catch. Peter retells the story of having worked all night and not catching anything. He then agrees that he will do as Jesus said.

Upon being obedient, Peter's nets become so full of fish that they have to call for others to bring their boats to help with the catch. In other words, Jesus worked a miracle here in front of Peter. In fact as the catch is being taken care of,  Peter responds in Luke 5:8 saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" Peter was suddenly aware of his spiritual state and knew that he was a sinner. Jesus in turn makes the offer for Peter, James and John to follow Him. But the following meant a departing from one life to that of another.

Verse 11 reads: "They left everything and followed Him."
What falls under everything? Everything.
A very simple call from Christ to every believer.
"Follow Me!"
A choice to do so means a leaving of everything we have known or loved.
Here in Rehab, some want the life of sobriety and relationship with Jesus.....
They just don't want to give up old friends (and I use that term---friend----loosely) or old places.
They want the best of both worlds.
Can't happen.
The old lifestyle and this new life of following Jesus can never co-habitate in the same body.
Like Peter, we have, in our old life, labored all night and have nothing to show for it. In other words, we were like the hamster in a wheel....running, running but never getting anywhere. But with a simple call of "Follow me", Jesus took us to places we never dreamed we would go. He lead us to a new life that we never fully believed we could ever have. We simply let down our nets into the promises of His word and drew up the blessings of God.

Jesus called them (the disciples) away from the only thing they had ever
But if a call is made to leave one thing, then we are taken to another already prepared by Christ for us.
We are not called to sit down and wait for the second coming.
We are called to be salt and light in a world that has no flavor and lives in darkness.

Gotta have me some Jesus.....
Thank you Lord for saving me.
I was a mess.
God on each of you stopping by today....


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's The Word

Mark 12:24
Jesus replied, "Your problem is that you don't know the Scriptures, and you don't know the power of God."

Jesus does not mince words.
Jesus is not concerned about offending others, because in the offending, He is uncovering the truth of the heart. Here in Mark we have Jesus talking with the Sadducee's. They were part of the ruling council of the Temple. If you were to compare them to anyone today it would be the liberal side of Congress. They liked to ask Jesus questions,using such occasions to try and trip Him up. They wanted to uncover Jesus as a false prophet in order to protect their way of life and income that came to them.

Jesus goes right to the heart of every problem that comes up with religious debate. The problem is that you can read the Scriptures and still not know the Scriptures. Some today have a very shallow knowledge and understanding of the Bible. I'm not talking about an intellectual knowledge but rather a heart understanding. I cannot dissect Hebrew and Greek. I cannot uncover the deep mysteries of God that are in His word. But I can take the simple truth of the Word and let it percolate in my spirit and follow the mandate of the Kingdom.

I find it surprising that knowing the Word if followed by knowing the Power of God. We tend to get this backwards in some churches today. They discard study of the word in order to run and "Feel" the power of God. I think there is a reason that one follows the other. The Word gives us the foundation and stability to receive the Power. Without the foundation, we are like little children playing with dynamite.

In an age or time where "Experiencing" God has taken precedent over "Knowing" God...I find great comfort in immersing myself in the Word. I find solace and comfort in the words as the Spirit of God makes them come alive to me. I find light and direction as the Spirit of God directs me in what to do and how I am to act so as not to bring shame to His name.

I do love me some Bible!
I pray that you too will develop a hunger for the Word of God.
God on you today!


Monday, November 28, 2011

After weeks of not being able to load up the messages from Saturday Night, we are back.
I have loaded one this morning from Oct. 29......HESITATION!
I will be adding the other messages this week. Enjoy and be sure to pass on to friends and family that they are more than welcomed here at the GREENE STREET LETTERS.
Isaiah 9:6 - 7
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest upon His shoulders. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace. On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forever more.

Vicki and I went to Rainbow Presbyterian last night to see our grand daughter in their Christmas Play, The Hanging Of The Green.
I've been to a lot of churches in my time. Some good and some bad. Some friendly and some, well...not so much. But last night was the first time I've ever entered a church and felt a strong sense of family. Not that I was a part but that the members, whether vocally or not, considered their church to be a family. There were a number or young parents with their children there. It was a night of celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, and the music offered was as diverse as I have ever seen. Organ music......choirs......praise band....Acapella singing by the congregation. It was a wonderful time to start the holiday's. We saw old friends and spent time catching up on life and what God was doing in our families. I watched my grand daughter play an angel with the heavenly host that proclaimed to the shepherds that the Messiah was born. 

I watched my son with his son, sitting in front of us. Arm around him, holding him close....Tyler leaning into his dad. Never was there ever a safer place than in the arms of our fathers. My mind drifted back to a time when Chad would crawl up into my lap and I would hold him. Funny how time has a way of slipping through our fingers. Maybe that is why memories are so important....they allow us to hold on to snippets of times past.

As we enter this Christmas season, let us hold fast to the promises of God.
They are not dependent on society or governments or public opinion.
The promises of God stand unshaken and unalterable by anyone or anything.
They stand as testimony to the goodness and justice of God to a fallen creation.
During this time we celebrate the birth of a baby.....
But this baby would grow to embrace the title of Christ.
This baby was born to die.
This baby would be the sacrifice for the sin of the world.
This baby is Jesus!
My savior and my lord.

Merry Christmas from the Bynum's!
God on you......


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Update

I was off on Thursday as well as Friday which was a treat. It has been many years since I had the Friday after Thanksgiving off.
Vicki and I went to Celebrate Recovery in Centre, Alabama last night. I have probably spoken there more times than any other place, and it is one of my most favorite places to speak. The people always come hungry and ready for God which translates into a really good ministry time at the end.

I continue to be filled with a spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude for God and who He is in my life. As I tell folks, "I'm a mess.........but I'm God's mess!"

Psalm 145:3 reads:
One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.
Being as how I am on the backside of 30.......
Well, any way you get the picture.
I hope that if you take anything away from stopping here at the GREENE STREET LETTERS, it will be a reassurance that God is the real deal God, and that you won't listen to the propaganda machine the devil has cranked up to discredit God.  Pursue love, truth and peace in your life as you follow God.
If I were to list all the things that God has done through me, in me and to me, it would take more hours than I have available. Suffice it to say that from my generation, I want to praise the works of God to you.

My generation, those who grew up in the 50's and 60's, did more damage as to destroying the concept of family and what real love is, than any other generation previously. WE declared that we were the generation of "Free Love" and "Make Love not War!" What a bunch of bunk. Don't get me wrong, love is at the heart of the Kingdom of God, but what passed as love in the 60's was a base, physical emotion and other Love did not figure into the equation when it came to relationships, because ours was to be the generation that cast aside the restraints of the establishment to live in freedom to do what ever we wanted to do. How's that working? NOT TO GOOD. Divorce became together outside of marriage was on the rise........having children outside of marriage was now very acceptable. In other words, the devil was doing all he could to discredit and destroy the concept of marriage and family. Did a pretty good job too.

But you know what?
Even with all this mess about family and children and marriage............
God will prevail.
God's plan and will will rise to the top even though right now it looks as if God is no where to be found.
Trust me...I will proclaim the goodness of God from my generation to the next.
I will be a voice of reason, as God speaks through me, to those around me.
I will love with a heart of love as my Father in heaven loves.
It isn't over yet....

God on you.....

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Coming Season

Putting Thanksgiving aside, now we enter into the Christmas season.
I have always been fascinated by Luke's Account of all the divine activity that takes place before the birth of Jesus.
You have to remember that between the Old Testament and the New Testament, there was a period of 400 years of silence. By that, I mean that God was not talking (See Amos 8:11). He says that there will be a famine of the Word....silence. Now in Luke, we see the orderly account of all this angelic activity bringing pronouncements and revelations of God's plan for the Messiah to appear.

Luke 1:11 reads:  Zechariah was in the sanctuary when an angel of the Lord appeared, standing to the right of the incense altar.
The incense altar was symbolic for the prayers that are lifted to heaven. Revelation tells of these prayers being collected in a bowl. The fact that the angel is standing on the right side of the altar is reference to "Authority" given to the angel. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father where all authority has been given to him. This angel was sent under the request and through the authority of God to proclaim that that which the Jews have been looking for (Messiah) was about to take place. God was bringing forth first the voice mentioned in Malachi Chapter 3, namely John the baptizer. John would be the forerunner of Christ proclaiming "Prepare Ye the way of the Lord!"

God always communicates his plans with His children. We must never forget that! God is a communicating God, and the Bible is the first voice God uses. I don't discount other ways, but they all fall secondary to the Scriptures. As we move deeper into this Christmas Season, look beyond the manger in Bethlehem...Look beyond the Christ Child.....look deep into the heart of the Word and see a God who loved creation so much that His plan included the death of His Son, Jesus, to pay for my sins.
I cannot wrap my head around such love....
But I am thankful for God.

God on you.....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day Of Thanks

Psalm 100:4-5
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name, for the LORD Is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations.

On this day, we stop and turn our attention, as a country, to God for all the blessings He has given to us.
With each passing year, each holiday that rolls around, I find myself being less thankful for things and more thankful for family and friends.

As much as I hate raking leaves and dealing with all the "fall" stuff that comes with having multiple trees, I found myself in the backyard yesterday full of hope and peace and contentment. (Even though I was raking leaves). I was grateful for the simple fact of being alive. For still being in love with my wife.....more than that, I am more in love with her today than ever before. I looked around our yard and I could see little boys playing baseball, basketball and every other sport that involved a ball. I could see where the old garage use to be and how they turned it into the "Wildcats Club House." The neighborhood kids would come over and spend the night in that old garage, but what times they had.

I saw the flower bed where Chance, our dog, use to dig up whatever was planted. Mom would come out her back door all flustered and yelling at Chance about how she was going to give her to another family. Of course Mom never would have done that, but it was all part of the game that the two of them played.

Gazing at the grill on the patio, I could almost smell the countless hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks and chicken that had given their all. Usually such food meant family time. All of us gathered around the table, holding hands and giving thanks to God for each other and His provision for our family.

There are two old wooden lawn chairs sitting on the patio. Here Vicki and I would sit at the end of the work day and talk of what ever happened to be on our minds. Decisions that we needed to make concerning our jobs, or troubles that the family was having. There has been a lot of prayers offered up from those two chairs. Some of the best times were just the two of us sitting in silence, holding each others hand while we watched the night sky.

This morning as I am posting this entry, my wife is in the kitchen putting Tom Turkey in the oven. The counter is full of pies and cake. In the bedroom down the hall, my son and his wife are sleeping. There is a sense of peace that permeates our home. The feeling and thought that my family is once again together brings great comfort to me. We will share a meal today, and more than food will be the conversation, the laughter and the memories that God has allowed us to create. From that storehouse of great riches, we will pull those memories out to once again share them among ourselves. God has brought two other lives into the mix of our family.......Tyler, my grand son, and Ashley, my grand daughter. As we share our memories, they will be pulled into the story of our family. They will look on with wide eyed amazement as I tell about their Dad when he was little boy. They will hear, once again, the stories about the events that have defined us as a family. For this, I am grateful today.

With all the love I possess, I wish for you and your family the happiest of Thanksgiving.
God on you today....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It is a war----

Psalm 144:1
Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle---
My loving kindness and my fortress. My high tower and my deliverer. My shield and the ONE in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.

On this day before Thanksgiving, I want to remember that life is hard---is it not?
Life comes at us in many different ways and directions and sometimes blindsides us.
We caught off guard or maybe we are thinking we can stop and catch our breath.
BLAM! A situation arises that sends us reeling.
Sometimes I forget that living a spiritual life (relationship with the real/deal God) in a fallen world is kind of like oil and water. It just doesn't mix and it never will mix.
I forget that there really is a declared enemy out there who stands against everything God stands for. This enemies job is to stop me, discourage me, interrupt me and, dare I say it? Even Kill Me!.

I love the verses in Psalm 144 because it puts the focus on God training me for such combat and battles that I will face daily. Mixed in with all this language of war and combat and battles, we also find words like Loving kindness. Strange isn't it? That Loving kindness be mentioned in the same breath with battle and war. You see, sometimes I discount the power of Love. Especially the love God has called me to. The love of the Father poured out on me and the love of Jesus that should be flowing from me.
Jesus didn't defeat the devil through power (although power was involved). He defeated the devil by taking the devil's own weapons (death and the grave) and rising above their capability to destroy. As wonderful as Jesus' death and resurrection is, you know what is even greater? The fact that it was from a heart of love and obedience to His Father that caused or moved Jesus to approach the cross.

Hebrews 12:2 reads: looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Did you catch that? The joy set before Him (Jesus) aided him in enduring the cross. That must be some kind of joy. It is the same Joy that Jesus wants to impart to us so that we can face each trial and situation for His glory, not our own.

Bible says to "ask, seek and knock and it shall be given, found and opened unto you. Let the Joy of the Lord become a part of you.
Happy Thanksgiving!

God on you....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts

The days are becoming full and I find myself  to simply be the man God has called me to be.
I want to share with you from Romans 15:13:
Now the God of the hope fill you with every joy and hope in the sphere of believing, resulting in your super abounding in the sphere of the  hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Wuest Translation)

There are boundaries to this life we now live in. If, through my own free will choice, decide to remain within those boundaries, I will experience the blessings of God. Now this does not mean that I am surrounded by some divine rabbits foot that gives me good luck. You know...I win the lottery....A long lost relative that has died left me a trazillion dollars in inheritance....that's does not compute to the blessings of God. The real blessings of God are always working and coming from a place of the spiritual that infects and affects our natural being and world. In other words, God works in me an affects the world around me.

I choose to give my will to God today.
I have chosen to give him my life years ago.
These two choices enable me to life for him today.
These two choices enable me to move through this world today under the guidance and divine mandate of God.
Divine mandate? Sounds high and mighty, maybe even a bit snooty. Not so.
The mandate is simply to love.
Love God.
Love those who love God.
Love those who don't love God.
Search these things out for yourself today......
From my house to you....
Have a happy Thanksgiving.....

God on you....

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is the week of Thanksgiving here in our country.
Originally a time of giving thanks for the survival and first harvest of those who first came to this country, it has now become a day for family and friends.
We give thanks.
We take time out, set aside a day where we give thanks to God for his many blessings.
For some, it will be the first time this year that they have spoken to God.
I guess I have to ask myself....
"Would God condone such a lifestyle?"
One that was lived outside the boundaries of God's love and grace?

For me personally....
When I start looking at family, I see the hand of God over us all.
I see specific events and times when God brought blessings and intervention
to my wife and sons to protect them.
I see times of great disappointment used by God to strengthen us and
mold us into the children He so desires us to be.

I see decisions that I have made all along the way that have impacted those
God placed under my care.
Decisions that were good....
and not so good.
None the less, God used them to grow me and hopefully, make me a little wiser.

Pity we should set aside only one day a year for thanksgiving.
Seems to me that it should be every day...

God on you...


Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing. Not it shall spring forth. Shall you not know it?  I will even make a road (path) in the wil...