Monday, February 28, 2011

2/28/11 - Happy Birthday

Today is my Mother's birthday.
She would have been 94.
She has been with Jesus and the Saints for the past 30 years, rejoicing and worshipping.
On this side of eternity time chases everyone.
It lays hold of us and ages us.
Our bodies change.
Our steps get a little slower.
Our memories seem to not work as well as they use to.
Time causes us to become cynical and maybe a bit jaded.
But where my Mother is, time has no effect.
Time does not exist.
Time is but a forgotten concept.

That which I claim to believe......
Jesus...
God the Father and the Holy Ghost.....
My Mother knows to be the truth.
She has seen them.
She has stood in the presence of Almighty God.
The people I have read about in Scripture, my Mother has heard first hand accounts of their stories.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek......
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple..

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle, in the secret place of His tent He will hide me. He will life me up on a rock. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me.
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy.  I will sing, yes I will sing praises to the Lord.................Psalm 27:4-6


Today, I want to keep my heart and vision here on earth.
To do whatever the Lord wants me to.
To go where ever he leads.
To say whatever it is I am suppose to say......
but.....
I want to keep one eye on the heavens watching for His return.
I don't care about when....I'm not into pre-trib rapture or mid-trib. I just know that at some point Jesus is coming for his church.
Notice I said "HIS" church. It isn't our church or the building down the street.
Jesus' church consists of those people who have really surrendered themselves to him and are living daily according to Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
His church is not made up of those who "play" at being a Christian.
He isn't coming back for those who are so steeped in the habit and belief's of this world that they consider Jesus to be nothing more than a get-out-of-hell-card to be used when things really go south.

Does your heart beat for Jesus?
Do you truly, truly love Him?
Oh that we all would throw down the filthiness of this world and embrace the holiness of God.
That we would be so consumed with the Spirit of God that we would infect every one around us with the truth.
Do I sound a bit zealous or even fanatical? Good! As King David told his wife when she complained about him, the king, dancing and making a fool of himself as the Ark of God was brought back to Jerusalem..."You think that was something.....let me show you exactly how undignified I can be."

Be filled today....of God's Spirit.
God on you.....
mb

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Relapse" by Father Joseph C. Martin



Father Martin is a voice of reason and peace to those who are living this new life of recovery and sobriety. Thank you Father Martin for all the years of service you gave.

God on you....
mb

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? - Ravenhill



John 17:3---- And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

Every question that I possess as to life, the meaning of it and the purpose is found in Jesus.
Simple.
Profound.
True.
Call me simple. I am. I have no need to find the unexplained secrets of this world. I have only a need to know the one who died on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem.
People claim that I am a simpleton and not very educated. That is true.
But I know "Whom" I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to him against the day of His return. I know that.
I wish I were more polished.
I wish I could speak correctly and with great persuasion.
I am who God created and I am at peace with that.
Do I seek to please men?
Or do I seek to please God?
I choose the latter.

God on you.....
mb

And The Winner Is----

Saturday....
Saturday at Rapha....
Looks like it is going to be a beautiful day, weather wise and that means a lot of outdoor activity.
Guy's at the camp will be outside taking in the rays.
If you were to be here this afternoon, it wouldn't look much different from any park in any city in the U.S.
Laughter...
Running...
Fishing....
People talking and sharing thoughts.
Swings rocking to and fro in a gentle motion as others look on all the activity.
Yet each man here has a story.
That story usually involves a lot of pain and destruction and guilt.
Not to mention tons of shame and depression.

One thing that is usually in short supply when a man first gets here to Rapha is hope.
Oh the family has hope. Hope that this time is different than the other times he went to rehab.
Hope is a precious commodity when a person first arrives.
As his time progresses here, he begins to see that he doesn't have a drug and/or alcohol problem. He has a living problem. He has a broken relationship with Jesus Christ. This broken relationship is caused by the sin nature that exists in every human being. A nature that was born in a garden centuries before when a couple made a decision that would affect every human being born.

This "living" problem causes us to make some really bad choices.
These choices we make are part of the rebellious nature that comes with sin. "Don't tell me what to do! It's my life and I'll live it the way I want to." The want too usually includes rejection of God and anything to do with God. The more we exercise this sin nature, the more it screams out to us to "give it what it wants".
What does it want?
Maybe drugs...
Maybe alcohol...
Sex? Yes.
Money and greed, power and position? Sure.
To create a false image of ourselves so others will think that we are more than we truly are? You bet. In other words, we become the center of our own little universe and we can't understand why others can't see this.
Our needs supersede anyone else's.
It is a vicious downward spiral that ends in destruction.
But God........(aren't those the most incredible words you've ever heard?)
But God.....so loved this world and everyone who lives here, that he gave his one and only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Gave him to be a sacrifice. Gave him to pay a price for sin that I could never pay, so that I might have life. Real life. Eternal life.

There is the defeat of addiciton.
The needle was destroyed by the cross.
The power of the pipe was decimated at the cross.
The lie of the pill was uncovered and washed away at the cross.
The lies, the pain and the hopelessness was revealed and defeated at the cross.
And there in the aftermath, God places his Holy Spirit within the hearts of those who surrender and give themselves, spirit-body-soul- to Him. To be made a part of His family.
This is Hope.
That there is a better way.
That there is a POWER greater than myself that can restore me to sanity.
At cross we come to believe that God is, in fact, who he claims to be and can do what he claims he can do.
This is called being born again.
Being saved.
Being filled with his Holy Spirit.
It is from this place that life begins to sprout and a person begins a new way of living.
Today can be that day for you.....
I pray that you are filled with the hope of God today.
That no matter what you are facing...
No matter what the voices that scream in your mind are saying, you will hear the voice of God and the life he is wanting to give you.

God bless you on this day....
mb

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stop Now, What's That Sound? Everyone Look What's Going Down

Jesus talking with the Pharisees and Sadducees.
You know these men who followed Jesus around wanted to trip him up so they could charge him with an offense and discredit the ministry.
They ask Jesus to show them a sign "from heaven".
Jesus asks them in Matthew 16:3 -
"Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?"

Jesus was basically saying, "Hey guys....look around and put it together with what you have been reading in Scripture." Jesus' very presence was the fulfillment of Scripture itself which was found throughout all the Old Testament. Yet they did not see it. There in black and white and there, standing in front of them, in the flesh and they did not see it or connect it.

I don't want to miss what God is doing.
In me....
In the things that God has called me to.....
and here in this age.
Is there a danger in all of this? Yes. We become "sign" hunters and we quit doing the things that Jesus called us to do. You know....those mundane things like feeding the poor, visiting the sick and afflicted, going to the jails and prisons. I kind of have the notion that I am to keep one eye watching for Jesus' return and the other eye on my daily life to make sure that I don't miss what God is doing. That I don't miss an opportunity to tell my story to someone. Someone out there today needs to hear your story. You may be thinking, "But Mike....we are to share the gospel..you know Bible verses....church stuff." Really? Did Jesus really say that? What I read is that in Acts 1:8, Jesus says, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." We shall be "HIS" witnesses! Great..what does that mean? It means that, just like a witness in a court room, we tell only what we personally know. We don't get to embellish or even talk about what has happened to someone else. Get it? I tell my story of what God had done through me and to me. Sure I speak of Scripture to reveal the truth of God, and the focus of my words is not me.....but Jesus. It's just Jesus. It's just Jesus. That is my cry. I don't know much but I do know that everything pales when my focus is just Jesus.

If I can wrap my head around and give my heart to this idea that life is found in "Just Jesus", I might really find some peace. I don't need a Jesus PLUS relationship. Jesus plus something else...profits nothing. It's just Jesus! Me falling in love with Him through personal interaction. Me having a hunger that is satisfied in the reading and studying of the Word. My life is filled with Jesus. You know what? If your life is filled with Jesus, you don't have room for anything else.

You know how I recognized that something had truly happened to me with Jesus? I mean when the mental concept of Jesus became a heart knowledge and thought? I had been saved and was trying to navigate having  a daily walk with Jesus, I found myself in a local bookstore looking for something to read. There on the shelf was a new book by one of my most favorite authors. I reached for it and began to open it when the strangest thought came to my mind. "Put it back." Trying to discount the thought, I opened the book and began to read the inside cover. "Put it back." Somehow, I thought this might be God. I wasn't sure but I really  wanted to read this new book. "Put it back." Now I knew that I was being communicated with by God. I immediately went into a list of reasons why I needed to read the book. (isn't that what we do when we really don't want to obey? We try to reason with instead of simply obeying). "Put it back." The thought played over and over and faster and faster until I place the book back on the shelf.

I turned into a little whiny brat at the point.
"It's not fair."
"What harm can there be in me reading this book?"
The more reasons I came up with as to why I should just pick up that book and read it anyway, God came back with the best one....."Because I said so."  You see, the sign of the times for that day was God telling me to trust him, especially when I don't understand the "why" of it. The greatest discernment you can possess is a willing heart to hear God above the roar and din of your own fleshly appetite. Discerning the will of God especially in what we perceive to be the little things.
Thank you for letting me share this morning.

I want to let you know that I may have to start posting here on the Greene Street Letters a little later in the day. Please keep coming back and reading and, if you will, share your comments. Tell others about the Greene Street Letters.

God on you...
mb

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maranatha, Lord Jesus!


Jesus gives me hope.
The world (Society/people/governments/way of doing business ) seeks to take it away.
Jesus gives me a today hope and a tomorrow hope.
Tomorrow's hope is found in his return for me.
I view it as if I die before His return.....I win. I go to be with Him.
If I live long enough to see His return for His church......I win....I go to be with Him.
Jesus' Hope helps me to see above the depression and death and falseness that this world declares to be real life.
Jesus' Hope helps me to hear the one true voice that can help me navigate daily this life.

I know that I know that I know.....Deep inside knowing......as Scripture reads...the truth in the innermost parts...that this Jesus is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. I think maybe that is faith on my part.  Why now? Why this focusing on hope and faith and Jesus?
Have you looked around?
Have you checked out what's going on world wide?
It's a mess. Oh, it's always been a mess, but now...today...it seems that the mess is getting out of control. Sin is ramping up and what you and I perceive to be common sense is in short supply when it comes to the governments of this planet.
In the midst of all the chaos.....
In the midst of what some perceive to be the absence of Jesus.....
He is still in control.
To me, it's kind of like having a fish on a line and allowing him to run with it for a short distance before you reel him back in. God is allowing these things to happen. Why? I know this might not make sense to some...but it's all part of His plan.

Matthew 21:25-28
And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among the nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves. Men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

It doesn't matter what country you may live in.....
It doesn't matter what form of government you may live under.....

It doesn't matter what the men who lead your government may say......
There is a voice that is higher than all voices....One who speaks truth.....
There is a King who is king over all who claim to be king.
There is a Lord who is lord over all who claim to be lord.
His name is Jesus.
and his heart if for me and for you to become a part of his family.
To become sons and daughters of the Most high God.

If you read on in Matthew 21 you'll read this:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
Be on guard that your hearts may not be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap, for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.


I want these words today to be words of encouragement.
I want these words today to draw you to search out this Jesus for yourself.

I want you to know that you are loved and cared for by one who is able to save you ...spirit, body and soul...
Who is it?
Jesus.....

Know today that I love you (even though we have never met)
Know today that I am praying for you.
Pray for me if you will.
Hopefully at some point, we will meet in heaven and can share our stories with each other.

God on you....
mb

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Boy Did He Blow It!


What an incredible book! The stories...the people...the events. All there for us to read. And you know what the funny part is? God did not leave out all the juicy stuff.  Now before you think I'm turning the Bible into an ancient version of the National Enquirer, I'm not. You know if I had written a book about myself, I would not put all my dirty laundry out there for everyone to see and read about. I would have built myself up and made myself look like the real hero that I'm not. But here in this book, God shows us the frailty of humans. That at the best we can do, the best we can think....at the top of our A-game, we are sinners in need of a Savior.

I taught last night at the Bible study from II Samuel 11.The chapter begins like this:
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army...............But David remained in Jerusalem.
Sounds innocent doesn't it? Maybe David was sick. Maybe he was tired. Maybe he was bored. The problem is that David wasn't where he was suppose to be. You know what? That gets us in more trouble than anything else............not being where we are suppose to be. Oh, it doesn't have to be a physical location.. Our thoughts can be where they aren't suppose to be, entertaining ideas and temptations. Our hearts can be where they are not suppose to be, having affections for things and others that wish to take the place of our devotion to God alone.

Thing is, with King David, his not being where he was suppose to be created a series of events that spiraled out of control and would affect his life and his family for the rest of his days. Let's take a look.
1.) David didn't go out with his army.
2.) David was bored so he took a late evening walk on the roof of his palace.
3.) Had David been where he was suppose to be, he would not have seen Bathsheba taking her evening bath.
4.) David has her brought to the palace. Here we see the culmination of David's giving into to the thoughts and temptations that he allowed to form in his mind and heart. He has now brought sin into his very place of dwelling.
5.) David has sex with her.
6.) She becomes pregnant.
7.) David conspires to manipulate Bathsheba's husband (who is in the army) with a pass to go home and be with his wife. David figures that once home, Uriah (the husband) will have relations with his wife and David will be off the hook. "It isn't my baby.....He was just home on leave so it has to be his".
8.) David runs into a man of principals. Uriah refuses to go home. Plan A fails.
9.) David turns to plan B.
10.) Have Uriah killed in battle.
11.) Mission accomplished. Uriah killed.

Do you see how an entire series of events were set in motion just because David wasn't where he was suppose to be? Man! I've got to guard myself and not allow myself to be lax for one moment. Not allow my thoughts to dwell where they shouldn't. Not allow my heart to loose focus on God.
Think on these things....and oh yeah....
Be where you're suppose to.

God on you.....
mb

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Head 'em up....Move 'em out!

For now the journey had ceased.
Grief was the order of the day.
Questions abound and filled every ones mind.
"What now?"
"Is this the end?"
People looked to each other for the answers, but none were found.
Whispered voices floated through the camp carrying messages of fear and doubt.
"Joshua? You've got to be kidding me. I know he was Moses' right hand man but I don't think Joshua has the mettle to take us into the promised land."
Such was the mindset of Israel when their leader Moses had died.
Moses had been the face of the Exodus ever since leaving Egypt.
People looked to Moses.
Hate him or love him, Moses was God-picked to be the voice of a nation.
Now he was gone.

We read in Joshua chapter one:
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses aide, "Moses my servant is dead. Not then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to the them---to the Israelites."

I love God's forwardness in the matter of Moses.
"He is dead." End of discussion. Time to move on.
God knew that the death of Moses would affect everyone in the Exodus, especially Joshua. Here with the death of Moses, Israel had no human leader. No intercessor for the people who stood between them and God who had delivered them with his mighty hand.

To be fair, looking at it from this day and age, God's pronouncement  of "Moses my servant is dead", seems rather blunt and uncaring. Not so. God had great love for Moses, and he knew that the hardest part of the exodus was now just beginning. Getting to this land of promise was only half the battle. Entering and disposing of the peoples who lived there was the larger piece of the puzzle.

Sometimes we let the events of our day stop our journey in recovery.
It may be the death of a family member or the loss of a job.
The reality of what has happened always brings emotions up. Grief, sadness, pain, anger, depression...they surface when traumatic events come to our lives. But God understands the toxic nature of these emotions and he knows that we do need a proper amount of time to process what we are going through. The danger comes when we simply stop and plan to go no farther. It is then that we hear the words, "Get up and move on! Don't camp here." The devil would love nothing better than to cause us to stop our recovery. To quit going to meetings because we are emotionally not doing well. To quit working the steps because we don't have the emotional energy to carry on. The devil definitely wants to stop you from your exodus into a "promised" life. Don't let him.

When things and events seem to overwhelm you.....that is when you press in to God. That is when you admit the powerlessness you feel. Times like this is when you rely on the Power greater than yourselves, the Lord Jesus Christ, to restore you to sanity. We do not have the luxury of simply stopping, never to start again.
Yes! It is hard when you are overwhelmed.
Yes! It is hard when situation after situation seems to rear its ugly head and suck the life from you.
We need to fall upon the words that God told Paul during one of Paul's struggles.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Today, let God's grace be the sufficiency you need to move farther on into this promised Life.
God on you......
mb

Monday, February 21, 2011

2/21/2011 Monday

I have a ragin' case of the Rapha crud.
Seems to make its way around each year, jumping from man to man.
It is my turn.
Up since 3:15 a.m. /  Wasn't going to post today but felt like this was no time to quit.

Seth Barber will be the speaker this coming Saturday night ( 2/ 26) and, as always, Seth will bring the word.
The funny thing about being in recovery is that you cut to the chase in everything you teach.
There isn't time to coddle and mojo anyone. People are living and dying in addiction so we simply want to get the message out that you don't have to live in addiction.
Our message isn't a message  of fear, but rather of hope.
We try not to sugar coat it or pass it off as a gospel of fluff.
Yes, Jesus will save you.
Yes, Jesus is the 'higher Power" that can restore us to sanity, but there are disciplines I have to place in my life as I walk out my daily routine.
The realization that there are people, places and things I no longer have the liberty to be around, for in doing so, I compromise my sobriety.

Luke 12:15 - Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed. A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
Greed comes from within. An insatiable appetite that screams to be fed. Greed can ask for drugs or alcohol, sex or money, and if we don't guard ourselves and follow after God's leading, we will listen to that voice and follow a path of destruction.
Why would Jesus tell us to "Watch out" and "Be on your guard" if the possibility wasn't there of falling into the "greed" pit? In addiction, all relapse begins with a thought. You actually relapse long before you physically use. There are all these mental games we play by entertaining thoughts of using. The thought within, when allowed to grow becomes the deed of sin that we act out. That is why it is important to respect the steps and have a sponsor. To have someone you can call and talk to that will help you get through the moment of wanting to use. One person looking out for another.  Each of us being accountable daily. That is what recovery is all about. Recognizing that sobriety is so much more than the absence of drugs and alcohol, but is the entrance into a new way of living. This new way will flow over and affect everything you've every known. Friends, family, work, relationships, finances, how you view yourself.  But it isn't an exercise in mental aerobics! It is a get-up-start-admitting-start-working-and-don't-quit program.

Romans 12:21 - Do not be overcome by evil, but over come evil with good.

If you have fallen today. If you have left and returned to your old lifestyle, then now....right now as you read this, is the perfect time to get up and confess, repent and start walking again. Don't wallow in the guilt and shame and condemnation. Accept the forgiveness of God and move on.

God on you today.....
mb

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Easter song



The year....1980.
I was managing a restaurant in Gadsden.It was the Saturday before Easter. Got home around 11 p.m and was sitting in the living room with Vicki. We were sharing small talk as the stereo played in the back ground. Both of us had just recently rededicated our lives to Christ. We'd been away on a 7 year journey of darkness and had almost destroyed our marriage.

It was to be our first Easter together as "new" believers. The Radio was set to WDJC and it was a most unusual program. The announcer was not playing any music, but was simply sharing his story of coming to the Lord. Drugs....multiple sex partners....a lifestyle out of control. There was a passion in his voice concerning this new life he had found in Jesus. As he continued, Vicki and I stopped talking a began to listen. It went on for 20 minutes---no commercials----no music----just this voice in the night sharing his salvation experience. As the time moved to Midnight, the voice quietly faded and said these words...."
"It's now Easter morning.......Jesus has risen!" With that we heard the now familiar strains of Keith Green's Easter Song. The room seemed to be filled with God's presence as we both sat there with tears running down our cheeks. Grateful and thankful for the incredible gift God had brought to our family. Salvation!
It was an Easter that I'll never forget.
Thank you, whoever you were on the air that night at WDJC.
Thank you, Keith for that incredible song.
Thank you , Jesus for the life you've given and sustained all these years in Vicki and me.
God on you.....

mb

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Day.....God is here

It is 5:19 A.M. as I write this.
I've been up for about 20 minutes.
Coffee is perking.
Day is beginning.

In Genesis 1:1 we read In the beginning God.....
He was there to set everything in motion.
He was there to create and bring order to a chaotic situation.
He was there to "speak" into existence everything that we now see, touch, taste, hear and smell.
The funny part was that this morning as I got up from bed....
God was there.
In the beginning of my day, God was there ready to do the same thing he did in Genesis 1:1
To bring order to my life and day when chaos comes to visit.
To speak and with the command of his voice set the forces of hell to flight.

God is a beginning God.
If you have had any connection with A.A. or a recovery group then you have heard the phrase "One day at a time".  Meaning that our focus and direction is found in the 24 hour period given to us by God. The 24 hours is a gift in order for a person to maintain their sobriety.
Well, God fills up that 24 hour period.
He is there as the clock rolls past midnight and a new day is ushered in.
He is there to empower you to live this next 24 hours for his glory.
He is there to fill you with His Holy Spirit who will direct you and speak truth to you.
God is a beginning God.

I like what it says in Genesis when God finishes a work.
He looks at it. Not the way you and I would but with an eye that sees every angle, every way possible it could be used and says "God saw that it was good."
Reckon how many times God says that daily as He watches over us?
We pull our thoughts back from using and focus on Him......."and God saw that it was good."
We share our story with another who is trapped in addiction....."and God saw that it was good."
We call out to Him in our darkest hour when we seem to be out of hope..."and God saw that it was good."
We surrender our life and will over to the care of God........"and God saw that it was very good."

Know that God is an ever-present God.
God on you....
mb

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Believe

I believe that Jesus is Lord.
I believe that God exists as three in one....Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
I believe that Jesus died and was resurrected and ascended back to the Father and sits at the right hand of God evermore to intercede for the saints.
Who are the saints?
We are the saints. Those who have been saved and acknowledged that Jesus is Lord of their lives.
Acknowledged first with their hearts and then with their mouths.
I believe that salvation is an inward work that produces outward behaviors.
I believe that when God says, "Whosoever" in John 3:16, He really meant it.

I believe that this earth is not my home.
I believe that Jesus has prepared a place for me in heaven.
I believe in heaven.
I believe in hell.
I believe in the virgin birth.
I believe that at some point in the future, Jesus will return to take us with him.
Once we arrive, there will be the Marriage Supper of  the Lamb.
I believe that the only real "hope" on this planet is given to us by God.
I believe that such hope is directed and defined in an individual, that being Jesus.

I believe that every problem mankind faces here on this planet is because of one thing and one thing alone....sin.
I believe that Jesus' death and resurrection broke the power of sin over mankind.
I believe, as the old hymn so plainly states, we've a duty to tell all the nations.
I believe that the ear of the Lord has not grown dull, nor his arm shortened so that he cannot save.
I believe that the blood of Jesus is as powerful today as it was on that hillside outside of Jerusalem.
I believe that prayer works.

In other words.....................
I BELIEVE!

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Truth Of Who I am

THE DECLARATION

Because of Christ's redemption
I am a new creation of infinite worth

I am deeply loved
I am fully pleasing
I am completely forgiven
I am totally accepted by God
I am absolutely complete in Christ

When my performance reflects this new identity in Christ,
that reflection is dynamically unique
There has never been another person like me in the history of mankind
Nor will there ever be

God has made me an original
one of a kind
Special person
And so are you....

That is who I am today.
IT is not based on how I feel
Or
What I think
It is based on the truth of Scripture.

God on you....
mb

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bryan Duncan - Anonymous Confessions of a Lunatic Friend - We All Need



OH that we could grasp the simple fact of the love God has for His children.
Look past the "80's" album cover and let Bryan Duncan's voice flow over you.
We all need a Savior and that Savior is Jesus!
More now than ever before, I need you Lord.
SO much darkness...
So little time...
So many people who don't know you....
How can I rest....
How can I stop....
Grant me grace and strength to at least finish my race and with my dying breath may I proclaim the greatness of you, Lord!

Praise God! What a Savior Jesus is.

God on you....
mb

Live Or Exist?

Romans 14:8
While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord, so in life and in death, we belong to the Lord.

We know it with our head that our lives are not our own once we are saved.
But knowing it with your head and understanding it in your heart is two different things.
Did I please the Lord yesterday? Did my life reflect all that is good and holy, or did I allow my flesh to seep through and taint what others saw in me?

I think for some, they don't really believe or understand that when we surrender ourselves to God, we become His possession. By that, I mean that I am no longer separated from Him by my sin, but now have been brought under the covering of His authority. I belong to God. A price was paid to ransom me from the penalty of sin. This is the turning point for anyone who is addicted. Realizing that there has too be a power greater than ourselves that can take us out of the insanity that addiction brings and restore us to a place of wellness and  wholeness. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can do this!

Chapter 13 - Verse 14 reads: But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don't think of ways to indulge your evil desires."
One of the first things I heard on a consistent basis when I came to Rapha was , "When you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, then you're ready for change." I have found this to be the truth. A body  has to reach the point of surrender. Some have to go all the way down and crash and burn before they can be restored. To me, that is the power of our sin nature at work. A nature that would reject the real life from God in order to pursue the path of destruction. Praise God! It doesn't have to be this way.

I leave this verse with you today. Why? Because I needed to read it for myself and take it into my spirit.
Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God on you....
mb

Monday, February 14, 2011

He Is STILL Risen!

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen! ..Luke 24:5-6

The very backbone....
The heart of....

The foundation of Christianity is the proclamation that Jesus no longer is in the tomb.
He is risen.
I still find myself full of wonder and awe at those words..."He is risen!"
I love it that the statement is present tense. He is...and not He has.
May be simple semantics, but the present tense tells me that the power and the event is still relevant today.
His resurrection may have a definite time and period that it took place in, but the power of such and event is still for today.
His resurrection still holds the door open for those who are lost to "come unto God!"

He is Risen!
It's more than overcoming death.
Jesus took the very weapon that Satan wields daily ever since the fall of man and woman in the garden, and defeated him with it.
Jesus took death unto himself to pay the price that sin demands of everyone who draws breath.
The price? The second death that Scripture speaks of.
Oh we all are headed toward death. I mean the minute you come out of your mother's womb and the doctor slaps your behind, the clock starts ticking. But the second death is eternal separation from God. A casting out of God's presence because of our rebellious, sinful nature.

Jesus took unto himself through his surrender of his own life, the victory to break the power of sin.
He shattered the grave which mocked mankind.
He took possession of death, hell and the grave. Praise God! What a Savior.
Then He made a universal appeal that has spread through the ages....
"Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

He defeated addiction.
He broke the chains of sinful bondage that holds every addict in its sway.
He silences the voice that screams 24/7 in the ears of those who are addicts. That voice that beats you into submission with such words as..."you are hopeless..you'll never change....you can't be free!"
The shed blood of Jesus and the resurrection from the tomb are watershed moments in the history of this world. God himself stepped out of eternity to come to earth and put on the form of a man to pay a price that was unable to be paid by humanity. Paying this price, He then offers a new life and a relationship with Himself for those who would confess, repent and believe.

Like I said....
What a Savior.

God on you...
mb

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"We Shall Behold Him" By Sandi Patty (FULL)



I haven't heard this song in years. I don't know why it suddenly came to mind to find it on YouTube. Well, yes I do know why it came to my mind. God placed that thought inside of me. So here I am sitting in my office at Rapha and I'm about to start the video. The song begins and I immediately began to weep. I have gone beyond crying straight to all-undone-weeping. God's Spirit falls in my office and I am totally taken apart by this song. I get so caught up in the day to day grind of life that I sometimes allow myself to loose sight of the glorious promise God has given to me. That indeed one day I shall behold Him face to face.

As the song progressed, I could feel God lifting from me all the things I had taken unto myself that had become a burden and stumbling block. Here in my office, it was just God, me and this song being played.
To think that one day I shall shed this mortal coil we call the body and I shall be changed and have a glorified body. That I will be able to worship in Jesus' presence and proclaim his worth and majesty as my Lord and Savior. I get so side-tracked on stuff here on planet earth, I forget that it is not my home. My Savior has gone away and has prepared a place for me. One day I'll either go to that place or He will return to take me there, it doesn't matter which.

On that day, everything I believed and thought to be true, I will know as fact.
I will see the scars in his hands and side.
I will hear and see and smell heaven.
That which I cannot wrap my brain around here today, will become reality.
Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

I hope you find the blessed hope for yourself today.....
God on you.....
mb

Friday, February 11, 2011

Step # 3

We make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God through Jesus Christ.

Hence also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.........Hebrews 7:25

Step # 3 brings us to the place where we either jump into recovery or stand on the banks watching others have their lives changed. It is a hard place to be in. You're being asked to give up everything you know and understand about how to deal with life. Granted you haven't been very successful or had many "good " days, but none the less, you are going to have to make a decision.

DO you see the beauty and simplicity of this step as it is linked to the other in the Twelve Steps? We have lived in self-deception. We have attempted to control our moods and emotions with the end result being that we have become more depressed and guilt ridden. We have attempted to control everything, and in the process our lives have become more and more chaotic and painful, or as Step # 1 so eloquently puts it....unmanageable.

At Step # 3 we are faced with a choice:  I cannot control and manage my life alone so -
1.) I will become the slave of my selfishness, habit and addictions or
2.) I will allow God to be my master.

Step # 3 works in two distinct ways.
1.) It is a once-in-a-lifetime decision
2.) It is a moment-by-moment decision.
You turn your live over to God once....
You turn your will over to God every day.

A woman in a local A.A. group explained this concept this way.
She said, "I was married on a specific day and time, but each day I have to live out that decisions. I decide to act married."  Placing your trust and life in Christ alone for your salvation is a one-time event through which you are saved from your sins (my rebellion against God) and brought into an eternal relationship with God.
Living in submission to Him is a daily, and sometimes hourly, choice.

I guess the chief thought behind Step # 3 is I make a decision.

God on you......
mb

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Message Downloaded

Mark Alexander shares his story of addiction and God's faithfulness in the message from 2 /5/11
Now available in the podcast section of this blog.
Enjoy.

MB

Titus

I have been camped in Titus 2:11-13

Verse 11
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
Grace....
One of the most misunderstood nature of God. Grace is not God's "unmerited" favor. It isn't God giving us something we don't deserve. It isn't even a prayer we say at meal time.

Grace is the empowering presence of God in me that enables me to be who I was created to be and do what God created me to do.
Grace is a force.
Grace is a power.
Grace is God!
Noticed that the grace has appeared to all men.
Just like in Joel where he says, "I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh." That doesn't mean that all flesh will receive it. It means that it is offered.

Verse 12
It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
Grace teaches us.....
So if Grace is teaching, what's my part?
To listen and learn and do.
Grace is the teacher and empower-er (how do you like that word?) that helps me to navigate through this present age with all its enticements and temptations.
You don't hear much about self-control any more do you? What you do hear is "live life to the fullest" which is kind of secret catch phrase that means "feed your sinful nature". Sounds contrary to what God is saying in Titus.
Notice also that these godly lives are to be lived out here and now. The mindset that follows some folks around is "live for today and go to heaven tomorrow." Wouldn't it be a hoot if God gave us this life to learn how to live so when it was over, we'd have an inkling of how to live in heaven?

Verse 13
While we wait for the blessed hope---the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
To some, it will not be a glorious appearing, but rather a confirmation and condemnation of a life spent in sin. A life that rejected the goodness and salvation that God offered.
What a terrible thought. To suddenly see Jesus. The real Jesus, coming back and you know in your heart of hearts you have rejected him. So you cry out to be saved. You cry out for Jesus to have mercy, but it's too late. 
I praise God this morning for the blessed hope of his return. I am comforted by it. There is nothing here in this world that has my affection or love.


I guess how you read and view this posting this morning is kind of found in where your relationship with Christ is.
I pray that they are words of hope and encouragement.
Words that strengthen you and give you resolve to live today for Jesus.

Until tomorrow....
God on you.....
mb

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dream


Had a dream on Tuesday (night) that has kind of stuck with me.
In the dream I am living at the house where I grew up in Gallant. I was the age I am now, but I was getting ready to go to school. I was hurrying around getting my books together, telling Mom bye and trying to make it out the door, but something seem to come up over and over again that caused me to pause. I remember a little boy (probably 10 or 11) dressed and ready, headed out the door. He turned to me and said, "You better hurry or you'll miss the bus.

In the dream, this little boy was my brother, but in real life no such person exists. All I know was that I could see him through the front screen door, crossing the porch, going down the steps and out to the mailbox where the buss would pick us up. Seems like the faster I tried to catch up, the behind-er I got so that by the time I made it to the front porch, my little "brother" was getting on the school bus. The driver closed the door and as I made my way down the steps, took off in a cloud of exhaust smoke. I really wasn't concerned at that point as I knew the bus had to go to the grammar school first and then would come back by our house on the way to the high school. I would simply wait for him to return. I got distracted and before I knew it, the bus zoomed by and because I wasn't out at the highway, didn't stop.  End of dream.


Why share this dream? Because I felt that God was speaking to me through this dream.
The little "brother" that was in the dream, was actually several young men in my life who have been changed by God and are now working in recovery. Some have started recovery meetings, and others simply work one on one with addicts. The bus was God's ministry call for the Kingdom work to be done here on earth. I was so caught up in the little things that really didn't matter that my little "brother" didn't miss what God was doing, but rather was in the place he was suppose to be so he could catch the bus, and become a part of God's work.

God was telling me, "Don't get caught up in things that don't really matter and take your attention away from the things that really do, or else you'll miss it." Funny part was that in the dream I wasn't concerned about missing the bus the first time because I knew it would be around again. But when I missed it the second time, I was extremely frustrated and mad at myself.

All through out Scripture, Jesus commands us to "Watch" and "Wait". He tell us to "Look up" and "Be ready". You see, I think these references concern his second coming, but they also are a lifestyle we are to adopt as long as we live here on good ol' planet Earth. We are to be ever vigilant concerning listening for His Holy Spirit to speak to us. To instruct us in what our part is in the Kingdom of God. I just don't want to miss what God is doing. To me, missing what God is doing is a greater concern that messing up what God is doing. I don't want to be that person who misses the bus when all others are getting on board. I want to be where God is and doing what He desires me to do. The fact that the vehicle in my dream was a school bus tells me that.........guess what? I'm still in God's school. I'm still learning. I'm still growing. That excites me.
I am grateful that my heavenly Father loves me so much that he sent that dream. Now, I pray for His Holy Spirit to work in me so that the dream doesn't fade away as just one more thing God spoke to me that I dropped.

God on you.
mb

Is He?

Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (or lack anything).

Taught from this verse last night at the Bible Study.
I don't know how many times I have read it, studied it and yet God keeps unraveling new insight.
When Jesus came from heaven and invaded our time and space, he taught a very simple message.
"THE KINGDOM OF GOD!" He said that it was here, it was near but it was not yet.
In other words, when Jesus appeared in the form of man, the rule and reign of God was coming into conflict with the powers of darkness and the forces of Satan. There was warfare and there was demonstrations of power as God's Word declared that healing was available and demonic spirits could be broken off of people and removed.

It was the beginning of the end, so to speak.
Ever since that time, the rule and reign of God has been very evident in this world through the lives of people who are saved.  Do we not pray in the Lord's Prayer, "Your Kingdom come, Your Kingdom will be done here on earth as it is being done in heaven?" Yes. We are asking God to bring His rule and reign where we are. I desire for God to be more in my life than a thought or a concept. I desire for Jesus to be LORD and Savior over me. I desire to submit myself to His rule and reign, that my own will and desires be cast aside.

We see this in Matthew 6:33 -  Seek ye first the KINGDOM OF GOD and His righteousness and all these things will be added. Real life begins with a new focus or perspective. God's rule in my life becomes the foremost thing. I don't concern myself with my own personal wants or needs because when my heart lines up with the heart of Father God, then like the verse says....."all these things will be added." Wow!
Maybe that is why David could write, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." In other words, the Lord becomes the one I look to, not me and because of this attitude and position I have chosen to take, my needs are met in Him.  That is way cool.

Chew on this today and see what God would show you.
Have you made Him your Lord and Savior?
Today is a good day.
Believe on Him.
Trust Him.
Follow Him.

God on you.....
mb

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Goodness

I will be posting later this week our Saturday Night meeting. I invited Mark Alexander to speak and share what God was doing in his life. Mark has battled addiction for a number of years and his story really isn't much different than others who have the same struggle. But for Mark, he seemed to "do well " for periods of time. I would see him at church, at Bible Studies, at Celebrate recovery and each time he would tell me that he was doing great. Truth was, Mark has told me that he wasn't so great and that in fact, he was struggling.

Being like a ping pong ball, Mark would bounce back and forth from periods of using to periods of sobriety. It wasn't until he was in one of his dark times that Mark finally got honest not only with God but with himself.
It was at this point that God came.
Mark shared how he wasn't out of the woods yet, but he had found peace and the ability to hear God and follow Him.  It was neat to hear the passion on Mark's voice as he shared and he wanted so bad for those present to lay hold of what was on his heart and, in their own personal journey, began to move from addiction to life.

Luke 4:18
"the Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to released the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

We don't get much good news any more. The news is full of fear and doubt and mistrust toward of government. It is laced with speech that seeks to condemn and beat down. The news we receive is full of false hope. It makes promises that will never be kept. It lifts evil men and presents them as pillars of hope and integrity. It dismisses the power of man's fallen nature. "Oh if we could just invent this gadget then life here in the 21st century will so much better. My friend we don't need another phone that has 493 different functions. We don't need electronic books and Ipads. We need a Savior. I see the affects of fallen man each day. I get phone calls from Mothers whose hearts are broken because their son or daughter has given in to the hellish pull of drugs and alcohol. I hear from Fathers whose daughters are caught in a lifestyle where they give themselves sexually to any man who has the money to help support their addiction. When you offer the solution, they reject it. Jesus? Really? You mean Jesus we heard about in church? YES! JESUS!

"for to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Is. 9

Jesus is the answer. He's been here all along and in our blindness, we could not see the truth. But the truth never wavered and He never rejected us. The call to surrender a life that is filled with so much pain and darkness still stands to day.
You do not have to continue in the life you have today.
You do not have to bend your knee or your will at the altar of addiction.
Step#1 - you admit your powerless and that your life has become unmanageable.
Step#2 - Come to believe in a power greater than yourself that could restore you to sanity.
Romans 10:9-10
That if you confess with your mouth,"Jesus is LORD," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
Step#3 -  Make a decision to turn your will and life over to the care of God as you understand Him.

This is the beginning of life.
Really......
It is.......

God on you.......
mb

Monday, February 7, 2011

Good days.......God days......

Isaiah 5:18-19
Destruction is certain for those who drag their sins behind them, tied with cords of falsehood. They ever mock the Holy One of Israel and say, "Hurry up and do something! Quick, show us what you can do. We want to see what you have planned."

Part of the reality of addiction is the rejection of truth. The inability to confess or see the state of life that addiction (sin) has wrought upon an individual. The person trapped in addiction will always minimize their current problems. "I'm not using that much." "It's not really a problem, just some weed." "If people would just get off my back, I'd be o.k."  Every time they are confronted with truth, they try to put a spin on it. Turn for their favor and place them in a better light in front of others.

Addiction coupled with rejection of God makes for a pretty dangerous combination. When someone comes into the program here at Rapha, I will not argue with them about their beliefs or concepts of God. But they pretty much want me to "understand" where they are coming from, so they try and justify what they believe. I don't know if I've heard every excuse there is to reject God, but I'm pretty sure I've heard most of them.

"My Dad was a preacher and he just rammed God down my throat, so don't talk to me about this loving God."
"I've done dope with church people.....deacons and elders and ever a pastor. I'm as good as those folks".
"I believe that there are many paths to God. I don't believe he would limit himself to just one."
Like I said, I've heard it all.

Every time I have one of these conversations it ultimately comes down to "If God is real then he needs to show me a miracle, now!" It's the old show-me-and-I-will-believe routine. The fact is God is in the show me business, but you have to be able to see first. The miracle comes when a life is surrendered and the Holy Spirit is allowed to come and inhabit the person who has given up. The miracle is a life changed. One that was hell-bent on destruction has been destroyed and new life has resurrected. In other words, this person is born again. I never tire of seeing those kind of miracles.[

I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I know two things.
1.) rejection of God ends in destruction
     A.) First here in this life and then in eternity.

2.) Acceptance of God (born again) brings a new life to this side of eternity and a better life after death.

You may be saying, "prove it!"
Well, I am the beneficiary of the life "here and now" part. I'm waiting on the eternity thing to happen, and it will. But the here and now part is pretty cool. Oh, there's bumps and valleys, dark days and rain, but they don't affect me the way they use to before I came to know God. I don't have as much trouble navigating all the hard stuff life throws my way.  Now if that isn't change, I don't know what is.

God on you....
mb


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Daniel Amos- Vox Humana "Sanctuary"



Never really was into "mainstream" CCMusic. I guess I have Don Rakestraw, Nori Kelly and the entire Christian Brother Family to thank for this. Oh yeah....and Billy Anderson, he was instrumental in getting me to "hear" what I'd never heard before.

This is not an indictment against any form of CCMusic, but merely my preference. Hey folks...you like what you like when it comes to music. I cut my new-born-babe-Christian-teeth on John Michael and Terry Talbot / Randy Stonehill / Larry Norman / Mark Heard / Daniel Amos / Phil Keaggy / Sweet Comfort Band / Honeytree / Barry McGuire / Keith Greene / Dogwood and others too numerous to mention but none the less, helped form in me and fed me music that went beyond the ears.

As Popeye always stated so eloquently...."I yam what I yam", except in this case, God killed my old nature and resurrected me to new life. Ain't that Cool?
Good stuff.
Enjoy DA....
God on you....
mb

God Is Moving!


God is moving in many different meetings and in many different teaching. There is a stirring that is happening as the Spirit of God is touching lives. This stirring is not a self-edification of the individual, it is a validation that we all have a part in the Kingdom of God. A stirring to look beyond ourselves and our ability. A stirring to see with a vision that is not always used. That vision being "faith."

II Corinthians 5:7 reads:  That is why we live by believing (Faith) and not be seeing (Sight)
Do you see this?
We live......
Exist.....
Move around daily to the marketplace, the workplace, school and yes...........even church.
We are directed by faith.
Faith connects us to God.
Faith is the glue that keeps the believer from spinning off into a world of sin.
Faith is what lets me see my life with all my circumstances and situations and instead of miring myself down in what I think I need to do, Faith allows me to look higher and seek wisdom from above.
James 1:5 - If you need wisdom....if you want to know what God wants you to do...ask him and he will gladly tell you.

Yet faith is something we keep in our back pocket, a kind of "religious" get-out-of-jail-free card. We don't want to waste our faith. Keep it for the big stuff, so to speak. Yet faith that kept hidden under a basket is faith that withers and dies. Faith is meant to be pulled out and used. To be exercised. We, at Rapha, have a saying..."You have to put legs to your faith or it is of no use." Putting "legs" to faith, means that it is a part of our everyday living and decision making process. I decline my own council to seek God and his wisdom.

In Luke 17:6, Jesus refers to "little faith". That even with the smallest amount of faith, great things could happen. We may actually be exercising faith without even realizing it. It takes faith to believe that a "Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. It takes faith to work through the steps of a recovery program. Faith is my heart, my soul and my will directed toward Jesus Christ in the assurance that He knows and sees and will direct me in  my daily walk. His direction is better than mine. Throw in the simple fact that He loves me and boy...what a powerful connection. I've seen the best this world system has to offer....no thanks. I'll take God every day, every time.

God on you....
mb

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!



Music has always stirred me deep inside.
I am neither an accomplished musician or one who is knowledgeable concerning the intricacies of music.
But I know what I like.
As you watch this particular video, don't get caught up in what is going on in the food court. Listen with your heart to what is being sung and the fact that it is being presented to a group of unsuspecting people.
It is a public proclamation to the awesomeness...
to the incredible holiness......
to the unsurpassed greatness of God!
We are so mired down by the things of this earth that we loose sight of the Kingdom of God.
Because we don't see doesn't mean it doesn't exist in ever increasing power and presence here on earth. The Kingdom of our Lord and of Our God will last beyond anything our enemy, the devil, is building, or rather should I say "tearing down".

There are very few songs that stir me like the Hallelujah Chorus and I praise God this morning that at some point in time I am going to stand before the one I sing about. I will give him the glory He deserves......
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

God on you....
mb

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tidal Wave Of Life!

Sometimes you're rocking along and things are going pretty good.
The sun seems to feel a little warmer.
Food tastes a little better.
Laughter comes a little easier.
Life is good.
But then, the storm hits.
It comes in many different forms but its ultimate goal seems to be to derail you in your relationship with God.
That the very forces around you have all conspired to come against you.
Your emotions are on edge.
Fear seems to be your best friend.
You keep praying and asking yourself, "Where are you God?"
He is there. For sure!
Reading in Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
A reference to remind Israel of the red sea crossing where God divided the waters and provided a way out of a hopeless situation. What seemed like utter defeat and destruction turned into salvation by the hand of God.  Don't be trapped into surrender by all the nay-sayers that speak against you and your relationship with God. Don't fall prey to the voice that whispers in your mind..."God doesn't care about you!" God does love you and he will provide a way out. It may seem like an impossible task, but we serve a God who loves to undo the impossible. Remember......sometimes the way out is to go through the middle of whatever we are facing. IF that be the case, God has prepared it and is there to walk with us and guide us.

And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
In other words, Jesus is that stability in our life when we seemed overwhelmed. When we feel as though we are loosing touch with Him and with the things of this world are defeating us at every turn. Jesus is the rock we stand on when all else is crumbling. The rivers (or circumstances) will not overwhelm us or sweep over us. It is in these times that the Word, prayer and worship become the weapons we use to stand. As we read, our faith is strengthened. As we pray, our trust is renewed. As we worship, gratitude rises up in our spirit and we, as I like to say, develop a spiritual backbone.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze.
The fire represents God's refinement of us. The change in character that comes from the situations we follow Him through. We become like the bush in Exodus where Moses met God. The fire of God will touch us but we will not be consumed. God's touch and fire is a cleansing and burning away of the attitudes and motives that I have adopted from the world. He loves me so much and burns with this love that He applies it to my inner being, burning away sin, and attitudes and behaviors and all manner of such that is opposed to God.
I'm telling you...what a Savior we have. My desire is that anything that would seek to turn me from God would be destroyed. I mean ideas or thoughts that come to me would be shattered and left in the dust. Love and lusts for things of this world that would seek to rise up in my heart and replace the love I have for God would be ripped from my being and cast into outer darkness. It is such things as this to be the reason I have to climb up on the altar daily and become that living sacrifice Paul writes about in Romans 12:1.


I pray that you have a really good weekend and that you meet with God.
As always, Vicki and I pray for everyone who stops by Greene Street that you might God might drop something into your life that will strengthen you.

God on you....
mb

Thursday, February 3, 2011

NOTE:
I am given to changing the template of this blog every two to three months. Don't be alarmed or upset. It is just something I do. It is the same content and will continue to be. Thanks to everyone who stops by to look.
Thanks to everyone who stops by and reads a posting.\
Thanks to everyone who stops by and listens to a message from our Saturday night meeting...
I am grateful....

God on you....
mb

Who Are You Going To Trust?

These are some kind of days we are going through, aren't they?
Weather like we've never seen.
Snow and wind. Blizzard Conditions.
Unrest in the middle east.
Again.
Economic uncertainty.
Men running around trying to calm nations with their words, asking the people to believe in them and their ability to fix the problems that surround us.
The very word "family" being re-defined because the majority says that it isn't inclusive.
And on
And on
And on

Yet, this morning God is still God and he is in control.
Control?
He isn't doing a very good job of it.
Well, yes He is.
There is a verse in the book of Nahum  that reads as follows:
The Lord is good. A refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.

I always tell people that it is easy to see the things God does for us.
It isn't always so easy to see the things He keeps from happening to us.
First off, we have an enemy- a.k.a. the devil.
He has one purpose and that is to destroy you physically and spiritually.
We all know that we are going to die. I mean the minute you come out of your mother's womb and the doctor slaps your little behind, the clock starts ticking. We are headed toward death.
But the Bible speaks of a 2nd death.
The death where we are eternally (think "Forever" and then add a couple of gazillion years) separated from God.
So what kind of things does God keep from happening.
Ummmmmmm car wrecks that were intended to kill you. Dealing with people in recovery, usually they have a story about using and driving. They end up in a wreck, should have been killed but weren't. "Boy, I was lucky!" No you weren't. God saved your bacon (life).

To me, the most incredible thing God has done is that waking up this morning, I am filled with the thoughts and the hope that if something happens to me today. Should I die. I will be with Jesus. I will have shaken off the mortal coil we call our body, and I will have been ushered into the presence of Jesus. Well, if that is such a wonderful thing, why don't we all just commit suicide and go on home? Why don't we just shake off the dust of this old world and skedaddle on up to heaven? Because there are others who need to know of the saving power of Jesus. There are others out there still trapped in addiction that need to know and feel the love of the Lord. If we are not here to be connected and used by God in aiding their salvation, how will they know or hear?

That is why I write on this blog every day.
Not to point to me and say, "Hey everybody! Ain't I great! Look at me!
NO!
It is because I want as many people to know and meet this God who has turned my life upside down for the better.
I want everyone to know that they don't have to keep on living in spiritual darkness under the bondage of sin.
I want everyone to come and see and taste that the Lord is good.
May He come to you today.
May His love cover you.
May you be awakened to the truth.

God on you....
mb

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WOW!

To my new sister-in-Christ in Ozark, Alabama.
Your story thrills me to no end. I am grateful to God that you heard, you listened and you answered.
Now you are a part of the greatest family in the world.
Former addicts and alcoholics....
Men and women who were "dead" but Christ has resurrected through his salvation and redemption.

Know you are prayed over from those of us here in Attalla / Gadsden.
Know that you are loved.
Know that you have a Father in heaven who has not only given you new life, but will guide you through it each day.

God on you today.....
Michael & Vicki Bynum

The Truth

"For God So Loved......."
What an incredible statement.
Four simple words, yet they hold within the idea of a divine, supernatural God who is above all others who claim to be god, who loves me. I know that the sentence is in past tense and don't for one moment think that God's love played out years ago. It hasn't. God's love is a new and fresh as the morning air and is permeating every inch of this planet.

It doesn't matter what you have done in the past. Today.....God loves you.
It doesn't matter what you may do today...........God loves you.
With valentines day coming up, men will give their sweeties boxes of chocolates and beautiful cards to express their love.
God gave the world an old rugged cross of wood.
And on the cross, He asked His son, Jesus, to become the literal payment for our sins.....past, present and future. Jesus complied with the wishes of His Father.The love of God for us compelled him to use this plan to redeem those who would be saved into a life and relationship with Him that will last forever.

God loves you today, just the way you are.
But God loves you today so much that He doesn't want you to remain in the lifestyle you currently are in.
He wants to transform you and give you, as Jesus put it, "Life abundant!"
II Corinthians 5:17 reads: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!  Did you catch that? The "old" life is gone and is replaced with a new one. Now this new life doesn't mean all your circumstances and situations have changed, but your ability to deal with them and move through and beyond has changed. God will direct you and guide you. He is there for every step of the way.

Most of us don't like who we see when we look in the mirror. We're too fat. We're bald headed (me). We are not very attractive and that becomes a tool the devil uses against us. But when God looks at us.....he looks beyond the outside straight to the very center of our being and he sees the most glorious thing in the world. We are his creation. To use a phrase you've probably seen or heard before...."God don't make no junk!" I have heard several (including myself) make the statement that we are not worthy to accept what Christ did for us on the cross. Well, you know what? You are! Jesus didn't find you unworthy. He saw value in you that you do not see in yourself, and for that reason, he chose to die so that you and I might have life.

Let God speak to you this morning.
let him whisper in your spirit of how much he loves you.
Feel him wrap his arms around you and pull you close.
Know that you are precious in his sight.
Receive the love and salvation God has to give freely.....

God on you today!
mb

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy....the 2nd telling. The word means a 2nd amplification of the law. It is a covenant teaching to those who now make up the "wilderness" group heading to this promised land they have heard about for years. The original generation who came out of Egypt has died---Moses is expounding and telling this 2nd generation what is expected of them. The books main thought is there is only one God and he is the real deal.

we need to learn the importance of remembering in order to gain perspective on where we are today.
We need someone to tell us again the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We need to focus our spirit and our heart on what has gone before us that makes it possible for us to live in today.
We need to understand what God expects of us when we too enter into a "wilderness march" we call life.
Far too many today simply wing it.
Living and following God on a whim or thought.
He has given us a book that is as binding and powerful as the covenant that was given to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai. No, I'm not turning into a legalist or the church police, I just believe that when a person is saved, their life, their focus, their hearts shift toward the desires of God.

Looking back can cause us to look up in appreciation for what God has done. God keeps his word through the ages and expects his people to keep theirs. In other words, God, through his word, is trying to show us the way to live and interact with others here in our daily lives. I know that as some may read this, it appears to be a very confined and contracted way of living. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is a glorious and boundless way and time when we fall into the hands of the living God.

Just as Moses restates the covenant with this new generation, each generation has to hear God's saving act's for their own. The story never changes, and for that I am grateful. That God would look down into my generation and offer salvation and redemption to those who do not know him. To those who are self-deluded by sin and addiction. That is power of the gospel. What you and I perceive to be mere words and flowery thoughts has the ability to shatter every mental and emotional thought and idea erected with the sole intention of keeping God out. The gospel can breath life back into dry, dead hearts that beat with rejection to the God and the truth. Oh that we might see! God give us sight today. Oh that we might praise Him! God give us the fruit of praise and let it roll off our tongues and thunder through eternity that you are worthy to be praised and worshipped.
Find Him today.....

God on you....
mb

Tuesday Bible Study

Psalm 119:130 The entrance (or unfolding) of Your words gives light. it gives understanding to the simple. Pulled up at the camp last ...