Thursday, March 31, 2011

NEW MESSAGE

Downloaded message from past Saturday night ( 3/26)
"I see the Lord". 
Enjoy....
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I Would Not Want To Offend Anyone

We seem to be such a more tolerant and considerate nation.
I would not want to offend anyone by talking about JESUS.
You know that name (JESUS) is pretty offensive to some. And I would not want to offend anyone by using His name (JESUS). I think maybe even the simple fact that I capitalized His name (JESUS) might even offend them.

It's funny that the word GOD doesn't offend. I think maybe because we can take God and make Him whatever we want. God fits into so many other religions. But that man (JESUS) just messes it all up.In fact the Word (JESUS) is referred to as JESUS.
He (JESUS) is so narrow minded and not tolerant of others. Why He (JESUS) even claims to be the only way (JESUS) to come to the Father (GOD). Who is He (JESUS) to think that He (JESUS) is the only way?

Surely there is more than one way (JESUS) to the God (JESUS) than by Him (JESUS).
Some would seek to remove His name (JESUS) from every facet of our daily lives. Think on it? A name (JESUS) that is so offensive, that people want to remove every mention of His (JESUS) name (JESUS).
Why they even use His (JESUS) as a curse word. I don't ever remember anyone using Buddha's name as a curse word....just His (JESUS)

In fact, Philippians 2:9 reads: Therefore God also has highly exalted Him (JESUS) and given Him (JESUS) the name (JESUS) which is above every name (JESUS). That at the name (JESUS) of JESUS every knee should bow. of those in heaven (JESUS), and those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that JESUS CHRIST is Lord (JESUS) to the glory of the God the Father.

Thank you for reading the Greene Street Letters today.
I hope that I didn't offend (JESUS) anyone.

God on you....
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Raining....It's Pouring.....

God is good.
Isn't He?
I have returned to something I use to do in the past at Rapha.
Soaking prayer.
Some of you may have heard of this term before.
People are prayed over by a group or individual and are required only to sit and receive.
God has let me take this idea of "soaking prayer" to another level.

In my afternoon class, I ask the men to go and retrieve their pillows and blankets and meet back in the chapel.
I usually tell them we are going to take a nap "In Jesus Name."
Once everyone is situated in the floor, I explain that what we are going to do is like what you do with a steak when you marinade it. I ask them, "What happens to the steak when it is marinaded?" They usually come back with, "It takes on the flavor of the marinade" or "It makes the steak tender." Well, the soaking prayer accomplishes the same thing.
If the Spirit of God is the marinade, then they are flavored or changed by being in His presence.
If the Spirit of God is the marinade, then they are made tender. Hearts that were hard are tenderized and opened to the reality of the gospel.

I have worship music playing and usually within a few minutes of beginning, the men drift off into sleep.
I spend the next hour moving about the room praying for each man. Sometimes God gives me verses to read over them. I liken it to planting seeds that will produce a harvest at a later time.
This all may sound strange to some of you but the truth is over the past 2 weeks we have been doing the soaking prayer, the attitude and behavior of the men has changed.

Where there was division, there is the beginning of a sense of unity.
Where there was dryness and apathy, some have begun to study and read their Bible.
There is more of an awareness of God and His presence on the camp.
I am a believer in the power and presence of God which everyone needs to experience. Having an experience in the presence of God only strengthens and increases the faith in a man.
That is what I am seeing presently at Rapha.

Pray for us at Rapha that we remain steadfast and true to the call that God has given us.
You might consider participating in some "soaking prayer" during a prayer group.
You might get some of your friends together and try this.

God on you....
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wake up

John 11:11
This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep."

Lazarus is asleep?
Lazarus is dead.

Isn't it funny how Jesus viewed death?
We look at death with a finality.
Death......
The person who has died is no longer with us.
We continue to live and breath, but the deceased doesn't.
We go on with life....
They don't.
We grow older...we pay bills.....we cut the grass.....we make visits to the doctors trying to delay the inevitable.
The one who has died has no concern of such matters. They have indeed passed over to a better life. What we claim to believe, they now know as truth.

Jesus looked at death and referred to it as sleep.
Jesus knew that death was merely a transition from life on this side of eternity to life "IN" eternity.
I use to fear death.
No so much any more.
Oh, I confess that there are ways that I would not want to die.
I think everyone would simply like to go to sleep and not wake up. That would be the easy way.
Now days, I am filled with the hope of glory.
The assurance that Jesus has in fact gone to prepare a place for me. Maybe age has a way of strengthening your faith. You've seen more than someone younger. You've had more experiences and possess way more memories. Hopefully we have matured as we have grown older. All of these life experiences causes us to live by faith more than sight. At least I believe that is the way it should work.

The cool part of the Lazarus story is that Jesus has the power over death.
Think about it.....
With his voice, he commanded Lazarus' spirit to return to his body.
Jesus spoke to a dead man and commanded him to live.
I don't think I will ever be able to wrap my head around this.
Jesus spoke and the scientific laws of this world had to obey him, even if what He said was contrary to what the law said.
If the scientific law obeyed..........
Would it not reason that the spiritual law would obey also?
I think it would.
The Law of Moses, which is not capable of bending the rules, was overcome when Jesus cried out from the cross...."IT IS FINISHED!"
What was finished?
Payment for sin.
Sin no longer held sway over mankind.
Jesus paid, once and for all time, the price........the ransom.........for my soul so that I would not be held accountable for my sin.
That humbles me more than anything I could ever think of.

Jesus did for me what I could not do for myself. He saved me.
Thank you Jesus....
Thank you Jesus....
Thank you Jesus....

God on you....
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Who Are You Looking To?

Isaiah 6:1
In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the LORD sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted with the train of His robe filling the temple.

This was part of my message Saturday night.
The need for us to "SEE" God.
Not just with our physical eyes, but with our spiritual eyes.
To see and perceive and experience Him.
Lifting our vision.
Worship isn't real worship until I "see" the Lord.
Relationship isn't real until I "see" the Lord.
Without seeing God, what we think is relationship is really religion.

I didn't catch something till late in the day Saturday as I was rereading the verse in Isaiah.
A thought floated through my mind.
"When was it that Isaiah saw God?"
I came back with "when he looked."
"No! Think again."
Then I saw it.
He did not see the LORD until after Uzziah the king had died.
One ruler had to die in order for the One and only ruler could be seen.
God was showing me something in the spiritual that was there on the page in black and white in front of me.

If I want to see God, then whatever I have made to be my king.................
Whatever I have bowed my knee to..........
Whatever has authority over me must die first.
For only in dying can we find life.
For most, the ruler of life is "self".
We have to die to self.
We have to deny self. Take up our cross and follow Jesus.
I can't do anything until the king, the ruler of my life has been killed.
Then I can see my cross.
I can lay hold of it and see Jesus and know where to go as I follow Him.

Simple.
Yet one step we all must take.
Think on these things.

God on you....
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Celebrate Recovery - Centre, Alabama



Judges 5:3
"Hear, O kings......O rulers! I---to the LORD, I will sing. I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel!"

To be free and unfettered and loosed into Jesus Himself.
Him in me and I in Him.
That is true recovery.
That is true freedom.
Freedom to fight against the darkness through our praise and prayer.
Our weapons may be mighty......
But our commander, Jesus Christ, is beyond any power that roams this planet or fills the sky above.

That is why I tell my story of what Jesus has done to me....
Not because I have to...
Because I want to.
We are told in Psalm 100 to Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise."
Yes, it is cloudy outside and the weatherman is calling for rain today.
But what does that have to do with what Jesus has done for me? My joy, my praise is not dictated to or controlled by what is happening around me. I will praise Him before the rocks cry out. I will not be silent.


I spoke last night at Celebrate Recovery Centre, Alabama. I watched a people find freedom in Christ.
They came together to collectively offer to God the praise and love and adoration that is due him.
Person after person stood to speak.....
"Hello! I'm ----------- and I have been delivered from Sexual molestation and drug addiction."
"Hello! I'm -----------and I have been delivered from pornography and alcoholism."
"Hello! I'm -----------and I have been delivered from low self esteem and smoking."
Person after person declaring the power of God to deliver, to restore and to heal.

God is still in the saving business.
I rest in that today.
God on you......
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Over And Over And Over And Over And Over....

2nd Chronicles 36:15-16
And the LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place.
But they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.

Those are kind of freaky words........"Until there was no remedy."
People had gone so far in their rejection of God that there was nothing there to save them.
I think sometimes people use Jesus as a kind of "get-out-of-hell" card, only to be used when things get rough or they get uncovered in some deed or behavior. Once the glaring light of exposure covers them, they want to whip out their card and be free from any penalty or judgement.
How many times does God give us?
I don't think it says.
I know we are to forgive those around us 70times x 7. That's a bunch. Actually what Jesus was implying by this is that we are to forgive over and over.
But in the case of the verses in II Chronicles, it's talking about rejecting God himself.
The oldest sin in the world.....
Genesis Chapter Three sin......
"Here eat this fruit and your eyes will be opened and you will be like God!"
If I'm like God........
I don't need God...hence sin becomes our master.
We are, at least in our own minds, above anything to do with God. Living in such a manner, we reject God's offer of salvation over and over.
Funny thing I discovered in my own heart......
The more I rejected God......
The colder and harder my heart became toward Him.
I am so grateful that I felt that conviction of the Holy Spirit and turned from my old life of sin to embrace Jesus' offer of life with Him.

I fear that many in this country have rejected God to the point that our nation is without remedy.
Does that mean that I give up and simply do nothing.
No!
IN fact God has begun to stir me to pray even more.
1.) Pray for the professing church because judgement begins at the house of God.
2.) Pray for the situations that our country is facing asking for God's mercy to be poured out and souls awakened from their spiritual death unto new life.
3.) Pray for God to raise up an army of intercessors....."God is looking for a few godly people."

I believe with all my heart that God is granting great favor to those who are trapped in addiction.
How can I say this?
Because back in 1998 when I first started working with addiction and recovery....there weren't many of us doing this. But it was like an explosion went off when suddenly you had Celebrate Recovery and other such groups popping up at churches all over the city.
God was calling the addict and alcoholic out of  the darkness of sin and death into the light of new life.
The remedy was here....
The remedy was now....
The remedy? The shed blood of Jesus.
Applied once to a broken and contrite heart, removes all stain of sin and darkness.
It doesn't get any better than this.
I want to tell others about this Jesus so that it can never be said, "There was no remedy."

God on you....
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

NEW MESSAGE!

We've been experiencing "technical difficulty" in getting our messages back up on the blog.
Hopefully everything is now better and more better than the better it was.....

This weeks message:  You are who you run with

Hope you enjoy it.
God on you....

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wow....Why Didn't I Think Of This?



Romans 6:16
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness.

I have really been hit hard with how selfish I am. Even as a believer, I somehow have this incredibly twisted notion that God was suppose to focus himself on me. Now there is some truth in this statement. When I am saved, I begin a relationship with God that involves communication between us. He speaks to me through Spirit and Word and I return the conversation through prayer and my actions. But even in all of this, somehow deep deep down inside....I mean way down inside, I had the mistaken notion that God existed to make my life one of comfort. That blessings should follow me around like rain clouds as God poured out on me the "goodies" of the day.

I mean, I was whacked by the Holy Spirit with a heavenly "Wake Up!"
Once saved, my focus should turn outward to God. Not to God for what He can do for me, but for what I can do for him. As a pastor, many feel that I have a greater responsibility than they do. After all, I am a pastor. Teaching, preaching, witnessing, counseling, praying, doing the stuff of Jesus. That all falls under the "pastor" category. Well, truth is....if you are a believer, then you are brought under the same list. We have all been called to "make disciples".  Not to catch people and collect 'em into a church where we tell them all to sit down, fill out the tithe card, sing the songs, maybe join the choir. These are not bad and in fact are all part of the church culture. But what about our personal life? What are we to do with that?

We have given our lives to God.
We have accepted Jesus and the work He did on the cross and the tomb.
Because of this He now owns our very life.
It is His to do with as He pleases. With that in mind, then I bring to bear everything in me to allow myself to used by Jesus for his purposes and the Kingdom rule.
So, my call is to make myself available to Jesus every minute of every day.
"That sounds like hard work, " you may be saying.
It is.
But then again so is sin and hell.
Leonard Ravenhill said that God cares not one wit about our comfort. He cares about our heart and the call that He has given to each believer to take care of their little part of His Kingdom.

Do you not realize that for years, you have prayed the most powerful prayer ever written in Scripture. I dare say that there are many who have never spoken these words.
Matthew 6:10
Thy Kingdom come ....They will be done....on earth as it is in heaven."

These words are coming from our mouth directed to God.
"Hey God....Let your rule and reign come down here to earth......And let your will be done here in Attalla, Alabama as it is being carried out in heaven."  Cool! How does God get His will done here on good ol' planet Earth? By working through us. By calling us and equipping us to carry it out. We are the hands, feet, arms, fingers, eyes, ears, heart and voice that carry the work and will of God Almighty. As it says in I Corinthians 1:27 - "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong."

Did you catch that?
I am the foolish thing God has chosen. And you know what? I am perfectly aware of how foolish I am. I do not possess any credential at all that would vindicated and qualify my ability to pastor here at Rapha.
Oh I have a certificate that shows my ordination, but that is all. What that really says is, "Michael Bynum has a call to minister and preach the Gospel of Christ." It was God that laid hold of me and said, "I need you to go to Rapha and I want you to restore broken vessels so they can hold and contain the living water that I am going to offer."

I have to remain focused on God.
Especially now that the days around us are growing darker spiritually.
I don't stand in fear because of this, but I turn my focus even more to God.
The more I focus on Him, the more everything else seems to grow faint and disappear around me.

It's time we quit navel-gazing...
It's time we focus on Jesus......

God on you.....
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Borrowed from Discipleman's blog. Hey...if we can't laugh at ourselves (whether you are Calvinist or Arminian) then we need to loosen up.

You Might Just Be A Calvinist If....

If you have a Martin Luther Jell-O mold… you just might be a Calvinist.

If your DVR has over 25 episodes of Wretched With Todd Friel recorded on it… you just might be a Calvinist.

If your child’s first word was “Westminster”… you just might be a Calvinist.

If your 4 year old can explain what the word propitiation means... you might just be a Calvinist.

If you send your mother tulips on Mother’s Day… you might be a Calvinist.

If you still remember the 8 speakers in order from the recent T4G conference… you might be a Calvinist.

If you purposefully read a book to be convicted… you might just be a Calvinist.

If a free Bible or book has ever arrived in the mail to you from John McArthur… you might be a Calvinist.

If you have ever purchased 100 or more copies of the same John Piper book to hand out to random people you meet …you just might be a Calvinist.

If you ever have found yourself thinking "My pastor's sermon was particularly Spurgeonesque this morning"… you just might be a Calvinist.

If you purchased an MP3 player with the sole purpose of downloading sermons… you might be a Calvinist.

If you were shocked to just discover that some people download MP3 files that are not sermons… you might be a Calvinist.

If you have adjusted the default passage setting at www.biblegateway.org from “NIV” to “ESV” … you might be a Calvinist.

If your preacher says to turn to Obadiah and you do not use the index… you might be a Calvinist.

If you think a 50-minute sermon is too short… you might be a Calvinist.

If you’ve ever heard a wave of groans sweep through Sunday School when you refer to Romans 9… you might be a Calvinist.

If you find yourself talking to the Lord Jesus more than to your family… you might be a Calvinist.

If you find yourself wanting to read your Bible instead of watching television… you might be a Calvinist.

If quotes from Pink, Spurgeon, Luther, Piper, and McArthur pop into your head at random times during the day …you might be a Calvinist.

If quotes from Pink, Spurgeon, Luther, Piper, and McArthur make up 90% of your Facebook statuses…you might be a Calvinist.

If you are confused when someone uses the term “my Bible” as if they only have one…you might be a Calvinist.

If your Bibles must be replaced in less than a year due to pages separating from the spine…you might be a Calvinist.

If you smile, nod and hold your tongue with your teeth after a lively church service when someone says, “God showed up today"… you might be a Calvinist.

If you’ve ever shouted “YES!” when the pastor says to turn to 1st Thessalonians…you might be a Calvinist.

If you see 6:37 on a digital clock and think of the Lord Jesus’ words in John… you might be a Calvinist.

If you’ve muted a Thanksgiving football game because it’s interfering with your family discussion of Ephesians 1… you might be a Calvinist.

If you have bookmarked three or more preachers’ scripture index webpages… you might be a Calvinist.

If you’ve ever been banned from a Sunday School class for quoting scripture… you might be a Calvinist.

If you have ever purposefully sung a different word in a hymn to conform to scripture… you might be a Calvinist.

If your kids own more Bibles than televisions… you might be a Calvinist.

If your children never ask you “Where are we going?” on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night… you might be a Calvinist.

If you’ve ever read parts of “The Bondage of the Will” to children under ten and prayed that it would change their lives… you might be a Calvinist.

If your children argue and you require them to listen to a Piper Sermon as punishment… you might be a Calvinist.

If you visit spurgeon.org, desiringgod.org, and gty.org, more than once a day, yep... you guessed it... YOU, my dear friend, might just be a Calvinist!!

Intercession - Eric Ludy



I have a friend who is an intercessor.
I have had times of intercession. I have had seasons where God has burdened me with His burden and called me to pray.
My friend lives there.
Day in and day out...interceding for the things that God has placed on their heart and spirit.
I have seen my friend broken and weeping....
I have seen them carrying a burden so great that I would have crumbled, but they carried on not in their own strength but in the strength of the Lord. I have never heard my friend complain or murmur about being called to intercede. I have seen a gentle strength and quietness come over my friend as they entered into a time of prayer and intercession.

I have seen my friend touch the hem of God's garment on more than one occasion with tears and great weeping and prayers that were returned back to God.
When the bowl was filled with the tears and prayers, God stood and acted on those prayers that were poured out.
It's not a popular gift or call that most seek after.
But I know the joy that my friend has carried deep in the heart as they watch God move time and time again.

I want to be an intercessor.
I want to be broken with the things that break God's heart.
May sound foolish....
But I do not want to stand before God and hear Him say, "Why did you not pray?"
God forgive me......

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The Risen Christ



I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me............Galatians 2:20

Christ lives in me....what an incredible thought. More than a feeling....More than an intellectual concept.
Truth!
Christ lives in me....
IF this be true, then allow Christ to have His will in your life.
Don't battle Him...submit and truly fall in love with Him today.

God on you......
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Watching God Move----

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying"I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness."

I was privy to see this love last night at Celebrate Recovery North Glencoe.
I saw people stream to the front to embrace God as ministry broke out through out the room.
Tears.....
People on their knees, faces down and hands raised in surrender to God.
These were not church people. By that, I mean ones who regularly attend a worship service.
These were people who were new to the moving and heart of God.
Yet, He came (God) and touched them with His Holy Spirit and they were made aware of their need for God.

In response they left their seats to come forward and pray and receive prayer.
That, my friend, is what I normally refer to as "pay day".
You see, I know that I am the foolish part of every thing that took place last night.
I did speak and bring the message, but it was God who orchestrated every thing.
It was God who prepared hearts to receive what He spoke through me.
It was God who stirred the hearts to even show up last night to receive from Him.
And it was the "perfect storm" so to speak.
A need meeting the giver of all things.
The result was lives were changed.

I cannot explain how this thing called "preaching" works.
truth is most people will not remember what I said last night.
But they will not forget that Almighty God came and touched them.
They will not forget that God Himself came down into that room and awakened them from a spiritual slumber unto new life, eternal life with Him.

I wrote all of the above to say this....
It was a good night last night.....
Thank you God for letting me be a part.....

God on you today!
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Kelley's And Japan's Earthquake...



Nori, Barbie, Cynthia and Lizze Kelley are friends that we have known for years. For the past two years they have lived, loved and served the people of Japan by sharing their lives with them. Here in this video they speak about their experiences that happened as a result of the recent earthquake that devastated much of Japan.

The Kelley's are safely back in the states and, in fact, will be coming to Rapha on April 23rd (A Saturday) for a time of worship and fellowship. The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. that night.

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A Fresh Voice Worth Listening To....


http://www.ellerslie.com/   ----Link to Eric Ludy's Church

I found Eric Ludy by accident (Not that he was lost). I had never heard of this young man and when I came upon his web page, I went straight to his sermons. There in the listing was a sermon entitled "Betrayed by a kiss".  Following it and downloading the mp3 clip, I was amazed at the passion and truth that flowed from this young man.

There are many preachers........
There are many pastors........
There are many teachers.........
But there are very few defenders of the faith.
Eric Ludy is not some "frothing at the mouth" smasher and basher of all who disagree.
But Eric Ludy is a passionate, loving, defender of the word of God who takes it personal those who would change the truth to fit the culture of the day.

I don't know if Eric Ludy would be for every one.
Some may be turned off by his message....
But I do know this....
God speaks through the messages.

God on you.....
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Not Open To Compromise.....



In a time and day when the opinion of people matter more than the truth of God, how are we to live?
Where are we to turn when opinions drown us out? Never has there been more "opinions" about something as what we find in discussions about God----Jesus----Sin-----and the depravity of mankind.
The one thing I have found is that when truth is spoken from the Word of God it does one of two things to whomever hears it. It either draws the heart of the listener to know more............or it uncovers the heart of the listener, revealing sin which causes them to either rise up in argument or run away to keep from being under conviction of the Holy Spirit.

The truth of God is not open to compromise.
It is not even open to personal interpretation.
What it is (the truth of God) open to, is for the Holy Spirit to teach you what God desires you to know.
Here we separate the reality of God from the opinion and words of men (mankind).
God did not send His son to die for those who embrace the right opinion.
Jesus died for those who believed.
Kind of simple.
Either you do (believe)
or
You don't.

This act of God to redeem mankind from the death penalty of sin (2nd death/ separation from God) is not open to be discussed. God doesn't care if you are offended by the "leaving out" of certain other groups or religions. You see, God didn't leave anyone out from coming to Him. There just isn't any other way to receive salvation and eternal life. You can have all the opinions you want, but the word of God trumps anything man has to say that isn't first given by the Holy Spirit at work.

Here at Rapha, we sometimes have men who come through in the program and want to debate the success or failure of this program. That is not open for debate. The success rate of Rapha is 100 %. You cannot argue with this. How can I say that our success rate is 100 % because Rarely (never) have we seen anyone fail who did not follow these simple steps. You may not like that statistic. You may think we are padding our success rate with "word play," but the truth is the truth. Those who have embraced the work of Jesus in their life, and used these 12 steps as a guide, go on to live productive and healthy lives.

You may think me uncaring about those poor souls who, for whatever reason, are not able to live this new found life. Not true. I do care. I weep for those who leave here and you know that you know because this person has not opened themselves up and received, that in all probability they will return to their old lifestyle. We never stop praying for them, asking God to be merciful and open their hearts up to the truth.

What I have found is that AA doesn't work.....for those who don't work it. You see, here at Rapha, we offer two types of recovery.

1.) Recovery - Our aim and goal is to help the individual return to a life of sober and clean living. Usually people who embrace this type of recovery aren't interested in God and do not want anything to do with Church or the Bible. "Just help me to get clean and sober."

2.) Recovery Plus -  This is recovery with a recognition that Jesus Christ is the higher Power that we have been searching for.  The root of my addiction is not the alcohol or drugs, it is a broken relationship with God. I have been trying to fill up my life with all the temporal things of this world. Trying to satisfy and insatiable itch that will not go away. An itch that can only be satisfied by Jesus.  We recognize that the 12 steps are guidelines, boundaries that aid an individual on their journey to this new life.

Addiction? Root problem is Sin.
Psalm 107:4-7
The wandered in the wilderness in a desert region.
The did not find a way to an inhabited city.
They were hungry and thirsty.
Their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble.
He delivered them out of their distresses.
He led them also by a straight way, to go to  an inhabited city.

V. 10 - 11
There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Prisoners in misery and chains because they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.

The life that God offers to us through Jesus Christ is one of stability.
You cannot escape the work of the cross until you embrace it for yourself and then be resurrected to new life in Christ.
Funny how the cross looks different when you are standing in the tomb.
You bear the scars.
You remember the pain...
But this new life puts everything into perspective.
As the Apostle Paul states...."Forgetting the past, I press on....I strain forward."
So is the life of a new believer who has been delivered from a life of addiction.

God on you.......
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Run For Your Life



Sin does not take a holiday....
The Kingdom of darkness and its ruler, Satan, never rests....
The aim of such evil is to destroy all that is of God and....
destroy all of those who belong to God.

Somehow we think if we "out God" the devil we will win.....
Forgetting or ignoring the devil does not bode well for those who consider life with Christ to be the ultimate party.
To think that we can simply be "out anointed" to not feel the attacks of the enemy is foolish.
IT is a war.
I see it every day.
I hear the stories.
I see the evidence of destruction on a scale that is will not register in some peoples lives.
Some say that I have grown dark.....
And hard.....
And Cold.....
No..
I am in the battle.
I live to engage.
I rejoice for every soul saved.
For every heart that is illuminated by the saving light of the Holy Spirit.

The true church.....
The real church.....
The people of God who were not a people and now are...
It is time for them not to rise up but to fall down....
Fall down upon our knees and pray.
The church needs to cry out for revival......
not renewal......
It begins with the church...
The church repentant...
The church broken....
The church filled with purpose.....
Come Lord Jesus and stir the embers before they go out.....
Shake us out of our self-centeredness and into the light of your Gospel....
May Your cry to "GO!" once again be felt among your people..
To go and tell the story of salvation to those who are lost and hopeless.

Thank you for Your death on the cross for my sins....
Blessed be Your Holy Name!

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Vineyard Music - If You Say Go



This song has a special place in my life. It was in the middle of leading it one night at church that I was shaken to the very center of my being that God was telling me this. This wasn't a suggestion....it wasn't a hint or even a good idea. It was the voice of Almighty God telling me to "GO!" How can I not go? How can I not obey? I have, since then, felt that everyone who calls themselves believers should have a bag packed and ready for the time when God says "Go!"

Many live their lives in the pursuit of comfort.
They spend money, time and effort creating a place of comfort from which they can live out their Christianity. I some how don't think Jesus is really interested in my comfort. He is more into my obedience.

God on you.....
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Friday, March 18, 2011

I Live To Please Him



II Corinthians 5:9
Therefore, also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

I have been using Oswald Chambers My Utmost For His Highest as part of my morning devotion.
The thing that has struck me about the readings are how everything points back to Jesus.
It isn't about any work we do or thing we say, our entire life should always be found in Christ.
Truth be known, I am the least part of this equation. Jesus has offered me the gift of life with Him and because of this, He becomes the focal point of this relationship. Not what He can do for me....Not what He can do to me.....Not what He can do through me....but He alone become my focus as I live to please Him.

In today's reading, Chambers uses the verse from II Corinthians 5 as one more in the line of "pointing" to Jesus.
Chambers writes about our lives being only to please God (our aim or ambition) --"It means holding one's self to the high ideal year in and year out, not being ambitious to win souls or to establlish churches or to have revivals, but being ambitious only to be "accepted of Him."  He goes on to write "The Apostle Paul is like a musician who does not need the approval of the audience if he can catch the look of approval from his Master."

This really hit home with me.
I sometimes find myself mistakenly focusing on my work at Rapha.
Focusing on the next message I have to preach.
The next set of worship music we are to play.
In my mind, I find myself thinking "How will the people react? Will they resond in a postive way?"
In fact my focus should be on "is this pleasing to God?"
I guess I'll always be learning more and more each day of what a "Scoodle-dud" I am and how much I need Jesus now than ever before.

Colossians 1:10
So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

I Thessalonians 4:1
Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (Just as you actually do walk) that you might excel still more.

The center of what we teach at Rapha is found in this idea of pleasing God and not men.
We have something called The Four False Beliefs, and number two on this lists reads.."I must have the approval of others to feel good about myself. This false belief keeps us looking for our identity and self worth in others. When we don't get it, we fall into guilt and shame and low self esteem. As a believer, I find that identity in the one who made me, Jesus Christ. I look to Him an His approval, which He freely gives to His children to define me and set the parameters of my life.
There is freedom in living only to please God.
As I seek Him first, He returns to me the grace and mercy.....the love and compassion needed to live in this world.

Focus on Jesus today....
God on you.....
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Here's Mud In Your Eyes!


John 9:1
And as He (Jesus) passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.

Jesus was always following the Spirit. Listening for His Father's direction and instruction.
This may not be a bad way for me to live my daily life. I seem to waste too much time not listening for God.
Jesus is suddenly aware that His disciples were asking questions.
"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?"
Isn't that the way we view most things?
We look to the negative rather than the positive.
The disciples made a rationalization about this man....who sinned?
Jesus makes a wonderful statement that does not fit in with the way some people view life and theology of the this age.
Jesus gave no answer as to what was the reason the man was born blind, but gave a greater reason that would bring glory to God.
This man would be healed by God and it would lead those around this man to be confronted with the truth. Either Jesus was who He claimed to be or..................He wasn't.
It wasn't the fact of his blindness as much as it was here God had an opportunity to reveal himself.

I need to remember this.
Every bad thing that happens to me really isn't about me as much as God wants to reveal Himself through healing or salvation or a demonstration of power.
So......
What does Jesus do?
He spits on the ground and makes clay or mud from the mixture. (Good thing this guy can't see what is going on or else he might have bolted.)
Jesus applied the clay/mud to the man's eyes and then gives him some instructions that seem rather harsh.
"Go---wash yourself in the pool of Siloam". 
"Excuse me...I'm blind. I am not very well equipped to make my way around town to this pool."
You know what....
If you're desperate enough, you'll do whatever it takes to be healed.
Sound rather "AA Big Bookish" Doesn't it.
IF you are willing to go to any lengths.......Here are some simple steps.
This blind man was desperate enough to make the trek to the pool.

Don't you think he looked foolish (here again, the blind man can't see himself)?
What do you think people passing him by thought about his appearance?
"Excuse me...can you help me here...I need to find the pool of Siloam."
(giggling to himself, a man gives him directions."
"Hey buddy, you've got a little something on your face."
"Really? Is in mud?"
"Why yes it is."
"Thanks...I'll be on my way."

We read later in the chapter....the blind man left to go to the pool......he washed himself....and came back seeing. He was blind and now he can see.
How did this happen?
He simply did what Jesus told him to do.
DO you think that maybe.....
just maybe.....
Our lives would turn around in a miraculous fashion if we simply did what Jesus instructed us to do?
I think so.

A life changed by the power of God...
A life taken out of the bondage of addiction and sin....
Always points to and brings glory to God....
You know....
I'm just crazy enough to believe this stuff......

God on you....
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

John Wimber - Doing the Ministry of Jesus



My spiritual father.
I can't tell you the number of hours, weeks and months I have spent studying and listening to John teach.I am who I am today because of the seminary I went to....It was a closet that contained hundreds, yea thousands (Sounded religious didn't it?) of tapes of John Teaching. It layed the ground work for the model I use in minstry. It kindled a fire within me and burned me with a love and thirst for the Word of God.

I am grateful for Jim Bentley and Gadsden Vineyard for letting me "play" and learn how to do the stuff.
I guess I'll never be as amazed as when someone you have been working with and teaching, suddenly has the lights come on they realize that they can participate in the ministry of Jesus.

It really isn't about the guy up front during church.
The one who stands behind the pulpit. It isn't about him because the only thing this guy is to do is to "Equip the saints to do the work of the ministry." In other words, teach those who God has placed under their care to pray for the sick............Feed the poor.............clothe the naked..............visit those in jail and prison.............cast off demonic spirits......................oh yeah............raise the dead.
Right now you're thinking that I have let the cheese slide off my cracker.
No I haven't.
I just believe that these are the very things (according to Scripture) Jesus commanded us (not just me, but you also) to do. DO the stuff...the stuff that Jesus did.

Think on these things...
God on you.....
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"Door A? Door B? Or Would You Like To Trade For What Jay Has In The Box?

Joshua 24:15
"But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD."

Step #3
Made a decision to turn our WILL and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

It is the hardest place to find yourself in.
Choosing.
"What do I do? Which do I choose?"
Really the question is quiet simple.
The reason for the struggle is that you truly have not given up. You still want to be in control. You still want to at least give the perception that you are captain of your own ship. Never mind that your ship is named the TITANIC and is taking on water at an alarming rate. I see this truth over and over not only with people who are trying to break free of addiction but in others as well.

I totally understand this mindset, yet, at the same time, I understand the need to surrender and serve God.
You see this whole exercise in deciding or not deciding is not what this is all about. It really isn't even about me. It's about God and His love for me and wanting the best of His Kingdom for my life. I am the least possible part of this whole equation. It is about God! It is about a choice that was given to me, simply because of His love for me. Me, being the sinner, looks for the easier, softer way in order to do what God wants to do. Remember in the big book of A.A. it states that "Jesus does for me what I could not do for myself." Simple. Either give up and embrace this new life....or stand there acting like you truly don't know what to do (when in fact you do, you just don't want to make that call).

Each cycle here at Rapha, someone will come to me wanting to talk about their plans.
How they are struggling trying to decide whether to stay for the entire 6 month program or leave after 7 weeks. "I just don't know what to do!" (that is code for I really know what I need to do....I just don't want to.") The greatest piece of wisdom ever given to me was a man who told me that when I am faced with two choices in a decision I have to make, always look for the peace of God . Which choice do if see the peace of God on. Which ever one it is, that is where I need to choose because the devil cannot counterfeit peace. This has served me well for some time.

God is good....
Everyday...
All day long...
Every time...
God on you....
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Voice In The Wilderness


Isaiah 55:11
So shall My word be that goes froth from My mouth.
It shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please.
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Vicki and I drove downtown Attalla yesterday to do some shopping. As we approached the underpass that leads to Meighan Blvd, there he was.  Off the road set up near the sidewalk, stood a man with a portable sound system. White pressed shirt and black pants, tie and shoes that were shined, Bible in one hand, the other raised to the heavens. I stopped .

His message was to everyone that passed by. Repent, turn from your sins, follow Jesus. Several cars that drove by honked and yelled at him. I would like to say that they spoke words of encouragement but that would not be true. There was ridicule and mockery. Laughter and fingers pointing. Yet he kept on preaching.
He never let up and he never wavered in his message.

What manner of man would subject himself to such?
Some would say this was the behavior of an unbalanced man.
A Holy roller or a religious fanatic.
Could it be the heart of a simple man who was following the dictates of His Lord?
You see, this mans very presence uncovers our heart.
Some feel uncomfortable in this man's presence and his message, so they try to hide their discomfort in mockery or derision.
This uncomfortableness comes from the Spirit of God .

Maybe God put this man on this particular corner to make us uncomfortable and to awaken us to the need for our Salvation. Maybe this man is the New Testament counterpart to the prophets that were sent to Israel to warn them about God's coming judgement.

I know this.
You could not pass by this man and not have an opinion one way or the other.
You either were drawn to him or driven away by him.
As we drove up, Vicki and I began to pray.
"Thank you Lord for such a man as this. Strengthen him and continue to put fire in his message. Let him stand in places that you have called him to just as we must occupy the part of the Kingdom you have given to us."
What a God we serve.

God on you...
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Twelve Steps-the principles



For those who have stopped here...
Maybe you are out of hope....
Today there is hope.
Not hope in 12 steps, but the one who can empower you to walk out the 12 steps....
The Power?
Jesus Christ.
A specific Power for a specific problem....
We have a broken relationship with Him and He simply wants to restore us.
Today is the day of Hope...
Today is the day of Restoration...
Today is your day to come home.
That tug in your heart is God's Holy Spirit talking to you....
Asking you to turn loose and surrender....
To confess your need for Him....
To turn your mind, your will, your heart to the only source of real life.....Jesus Christ.
May this be your new "birthday" as you become "born again".

God be on you today....
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Call To Prayer

Now is the time to Pray!
For the people of Japan and everyone whose life has been touched by the Tsunami. That God's grace would be manifest to them. That the goodness of God would come forth through the lives of the people who go to help with the clean up. May the eyes of a nation be opened to the love of God.

Pray for Nori, Barbie, Lizzie and Cynthia Kelly as they prepare to leave Japan and return home to the states.
God is leading them into new areas of ministry. Pray for their safety and protection as they make this trip.

Pray for our leaders that selfish agendas would be put down and the kingdom mandate of God would rise.
Those who believe and follow Jesus need not fear what is happening in the world.
Just labor pains that show us we are one day closer to His return.
Maranatha Lord Jesus.

Pray a special blessing down on Covenant Christian Church as they host the Rapha guys tonight.
Never have I ever seen such a love and heart for people in addiction as I see at this fellowship.
They truly live to love and serve Jesus.
Pray for God's protection to rest on my oldest son as he leaves Monday for a 9 day trip to London, Rome, Paris. Also for his family while he is away.

Please place comments here or at my e-mail   rapha7@bellsouth.net if you would like to make a prayer request that we can join you in prayer.

Have a great Saturday....
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Friday, March 11, 2011

God through Moses Parts the Sea - Behold, the power of God



Seven Little Words......
Yet within these seven words, our world can come unraveled.
Our problems be laid low.
That which we claimed we would never get over or around, will suddenly be destroyed and a clear path set in front of us...
What are these words?
They are found in Luke 1:37:
"For nothing will be impossible with God."

What falls under "nothing"?
Everything.
Anything that may come my way today God will do one of three things.
1.) Destroy it
2.) Deliver me
3.) Take me through it.
No matter which one He chooses, it is for my betterment and my good will.
How do I believe this?
It comes from trusting God.
No matter how big the problem is...I trust God that He knows what is best for me.
No matter how deep the pit I find myself in, I trust God that He is deeper still.

Trust Him today...
God on you....
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

What A Day...

Rain, Rain, Rain.
Roads were flooded going out to Rapha yesterday, and I fully expected them to be the same today but when I made my way there....water was gone.
The Pond is full....
The Creek behind the dorm is seriously rising but no water in the compound.
The Chapel is high and dry which is a miracle in and of itself.
So, God is good...
Of course God would be good if the whole place was underwater.
God is good  no matter what.

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?
The longer I live, the more truth I see in this verse.
I am grateful for God saving me, but more than that, I am grateful that God placed His Holy Spirit in me to guide me and uncover me so that I do not deceive myself.
I work with men everyday who are blind.
Blind to their own deceitfulness.
Not realizing that they are moving farther and farther away from the truth each day they reject God and His offer of "REAL" life.
That is the thing that frightens me most these days.
Man's ability to deny the truth and embrace a lie.
I tell the men all the time, "IF you don't realize that you have a problem, then nothing I say will be of importance to you."

The heart is made sicker through the choices to continue in addiction.
The mind is placed in more bondage with each use, each drink, each thought that drives the user farther and farther into the darkness.
It takes the power and love of a Supernatural God to smash and move through such darkness.
I will never doubt God's power or ability, nor will I doubt the power of sin in a person's life.
I'm not saying that sin and the devil is more capable than God. No! I am simply saying that a choice has to be made by the person. That is why I spend time in prayer everyday for these men who come through our program. Praying also for those who as still "out there" using and running that God would remind them of the things they were taught while here at Rapha. Remind them of the truth that has been planted inside of them. Praying that the enemy would not come and steal it away.
It is a battle for the souls of those in addiction.
I will not give up the fight or turn back.

God is a good God!
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Addiction....slow death

I guess the one thing I have come to realize over these past 13 years of being at Rapha is that addiction is an
Equal opportunity Destroyer.
It really doesn't matter what your social status is......
Or what race you are.....
Or the level of education you have....
None of those things matter.
What matters is that addiction occurs because of a broken relationship.
You don't have a drug or alcohol problem....
You've got a living problem....

Sad part is that the addiction problem is getting worse.
Reckon that has anything to do with society rejecting God?
Pushing him out of school and home....
Voting him out of the government.....
Making sure that all our entertainment is "God-free" so that we can enjoy ourselves and feed our flesh a continual diet of trash?
Our nation has a living problem.
It has a broken relationship with God.
That concerns me.
It is part of the reason I write this blog everyday.
I know that I'm not an educated theologian, but I do have the Spirit of God teaching me and instructing me in His Word.
That is why most of what I write on here is very simple.
I believe our problems are simple and the solution is found in the Word of God.
What's the cause? Sin
What's the solution? Jesus.
Repent!
Confess!
Surrender!
Accept!
There you go..........Bob's Your Uncle!

There is a passage in Deuteronomy that is very peculiar.
Let me be the first to say that I do not believe it refers to drugs of any kind or sort, but I find it very comforting that it fits within the culture of our society today.

Deut. 32:22
For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.
Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters with bitterness.
Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras.


Two rocks...
One you smoke to escape reality...
One you run to, to escape the judgement of the Lord.
Which rock are you embracing today....

Great is thy faithfulness....

God on you...
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Early Tuesday

I don't know what is happening but it seems that I keep getting up earlier and earlier.
Pretty soon I'll be getting up before I actually go to bed.
Not complaining.
I like getting up extra early.
Getting the coffe ready....
House is quiet X 10.
Feeling refreshed and read to go.

Taught at North Glencoe Singles meeting last night.
What an incredible group of people.
They truly do love each other and people at large.
How would I define them?
Prayer warriors who intecede for others.
Worshippers who do so in Spirit and in Truth.
God was gracious to come and move about the room with healing and encouragement.
Great grace and mercy were there last night for everyone.

John 15:8
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Am I fruit tree for God?
What is "fruit"?
I use to think it was me winning souls for the Kingdom, but found out that the "soul winning" part comes because of the fruit God produces in me.
Fruit is the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in me.
The change in character.
The transistion from a life of self-centeredness to a life of transparency of motive and an outlook to serve others.
When my thoughts and heart on others more than myself, that is change.
Galatians 5:22
But the fruit (not fruit's) of the Spirit (a by product of God at work in us) is....
Love - in this first fruit is the heart of change. An outward turning from myself to others. Love cannot be kept but must be demonstrated. Hence the need to serve.

Joy - Here is love expressed. Vocally and through behavior. Joy is a by product of the love that God gives us. Oh yeah, one last thing. Love is a choice not an emotion.

Peace - This is love at rest. Love that is confident and needs not to always be proving itself.

Patience - Love that waits. I am so thankful that God is patient with me.

Kindness - Love that is expressed to others in acts and deeds.

Goodness - Love that seeks out the best to give away.

Faithfulness - Love that is never late and expresses the Father's heart in every situation it meets.

Gentleness - Love that is tender and looks to the other person's needs. A soft voice, a touch, a prayer all done with a heart of love.

Self-control - Love that is restrained and directed by God's Holy Spirit. Loosed when God says be free and held close when God whispers "Be still and Know I am God!"

........And the greatest of these three......faith.....hope ....and love.......is Love!

God on you today....
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Monday, March 7, 2011

My Red-necked-ness



I grew up in the country.
I mean the country....we lived so far out we had to get a mailman just to mail the mail to us. I was so country that I could cluck a mother hen while she was sitting on her nest, and all the while take every egg she was nesting. That's country.

One of the things that I have grown fond of (Yet I could not see it at the time) is the music that I was surrounded by.
My Mom and Dad were great believers of "all day singing with dinner on the ground."
For those of you who may not have been subjected to such, it involved numerous gospel groups all singing their favorite hymns. The meeting was usually broken up long enough to spread a meal on tables outside. SO during the break, people would visit and share some laughter and prayer amongst themselves.

As a child, this was definitely not my cup of tea.
What's more, my childish rights were violated (at least I felt that way) because Mom and Dad drug yours truly to at least one of these hoo-ha's once a month.

Now that I'm older, I am grateful for such adventures as the "All Day Singing."
I truly appreciate those times and I do know how much pleasure it brought to my Mom and Dad. Truth be know, I am not "Bent" or "Mentally unstable" because I was taken to the singing.
I do love the hymns though.
They resonate deep inside me with an assurance and hope that some of the newer songs do not possess.

I thought I would post this particular song because it is one of my favorites.
It was also one of my Dad's favorites also.
Enjoy...
and don't forget to say "Yahooooo!" at some point during the song.

God on you....
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Then They Will Know....

Ezekiel 38:23
And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know I am the Lord.

As a believer, my heart yearns to know God on an increasing level each day.
I study His Word.
I pray.
I listen.
I worship.
I share my story of what He has done for me.
I fellowship with other believers.
Yet in this verse, God clearly states that he will be known in the sight of many nations.
That everyone, both saved and unsaved will not only know it was God who had brought signs and wonders, but there will be an understanding of his authority and power. That He truly is THE LORD!

For those who are saved (have relationship with God) it will be a glorious understanding. One that will cause our hearts to beat faster with love for God and His kingdom.
For those who are not saved (those who have either rejected or not decided on salvation) it will be a terrifying day of understanding. There will be no where to run to or hide. The truth will be inescapable that this God whom they have rejected is real and his Word is true.

I think that what our world is currently going through ( Unrest in middle East/ Oil prices / Weather / Governments trying to take the place of God) is God shaking the very things we have always placed our hope and trust in.
Our own personal comfort and well being has been exalted over God.
I heard it said one time, "God isn't really interested in my comfort, as far as the material things of this world). Somehow I believe that may be true.
Does that mean God wants me to get rid of everything I own?
I'll leave that one to you and God, but it does fall within the character of God.
God is more concerned about having a holy people, a royal priesthood, a people who was not and now are.

Peter speaks in Acts 10:34: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism. But accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right."
There truly is a winnowing going on currently in the world.
Those who will stand on His right (the sheep welcomed into the Kingdom of heaven)
and those who will stand on His left (the goats - "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41).

I pray that the voice and touch of God come to you today and bring healing and refreshment to your spirit and soul.
I pray that you hear that voice and your heart is stirred to new life.

God on you.....
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

New message in the podcast section of the blog.

Seth Barber speaks on one of the most unusual Love Stories of all time.
God tells his prophet, Hosea, to marry a prostitute.
Seth speaks on how God loves us more than we can think or imagine, to redeem us from a life of addiction and sin....


God on you.....
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Jehovah Jireh



This morning as we awoke from our sleep, the day was already filled with the promises of God.
It doesn't matter if I don't believe this......
It doesn't matter if I can't see them.....
It doesn't matter what my circumstances are....
God's promises fill this day....
this 24 hours.....

For that reason....
I fall on the side of chasing this Jesus today....
My Lord and Savior.....
My redeemer and friend......
I will follow hard after Him today.....
For He is the greatest promise ever given to mankind....
Jesus, the destroyer of sin....
The conqueror of death, hell and the grave....
Jesus the Christ stands unequaled here on earth and in heaven above....
No principality can stand against him....
The plans of the enemy or blown away like dust in His presence.....

Whatever lie is being whispered in your ear today.....
Let Jesus remove it.....
Let Him replace the lie of the devil with the voice and assurance of God's Holy Spirit.....
For it is in this life that you will find strength to walk out today......

God on you....
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Friday, March 4, 2011

It is Well with my Soul



I live today....
I live today because Jesus lives in me.
I live for him and not for the desires and dictates that my soulish nature seeks to exercise in my life.
That old nature....
That old man....
was nailed to the cross and I can with confidence say that I bear it no more.
The struggles I face today are the deeds and attacks of the enemy because of my commitment to Jesus.
I am not a strong man.
I am weak and it is here, in this weakness, I am made strong by the Holy Spirit of God who dwells in me. Everything I am not....Everything I cannot do........is perfected and strengthened by Jesus.
I know whose I am.
I know who I am.
I know who I shall become on that day when I stand face to face with my Savior.
SO no matter what my lot in life today.....
I can truly say, "It is well with my soul."

God on you....
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New message in the podcast section of the blog.
Seth Barber speaks on one of the most unusual Love Stories of all time.
God tells his prophet, Hosea, to marry a prostitute.

Seth speaks on how God loves us more than we can think or imagine, to redeem us from a life of addiction and sin....

God on you.....
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Life Appears.....



Proverbs 15:24
The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.

The way of life...what an interesting term.
A direction that life must truly take in order for it to be the life God gives.
Life is more than breathing and be conscious of our natural world around us. For if that is life, then we are no better than the animals here on earth.
Life winds upward...it spirals to the dictates of God. We follow a voice that cannot be deafened or dimmed by the din and roar of this world.
I am reminded each spring with the new growth and activity that surrounds me, that life is cyclical. In order for new life to come, there has to be a death...a season of death. Death to the things that hinder me in my walk with God. Hebrews 12 calls it the "weight" that keeps us from moving in the pace God desires us to. It hinders us and slows us down. It draws our attention away from God and focuses it on ourselves. We loose sight of what God expects of us daily because we are focused on this thing...this weight, be it attitude or behavior, that seeks to have our full attention. The Hebrews 12 passage call us to lay aside, cast off, remove these very things, for they serve no purpose but to slow us and keep us from what God has for us today.

I have not always been a big fan of springtime. I'm not sure why but fall has been my season of preference. But as of late, my love for springtime has grown. I think my wife's enthusiasm for spring has something to do with it. We worked in the yard on Wednesday, raking and hauling leaves. Mowing some of the yard and in general just trying to get if livable again. Once finished we sat on the back patio with some iced tea surveying what we had accomplished. The wind was lightly blowing just enough to make it a comfortable time. I sat there looking at our trees as if I was seeing them for the first time. The Oak tree nearest our house has grown a lot. I didn't notice it till I saw the limb that, last year, had only covered our patio but now stretched out almost to the roof of the house. Isn't growth with God like that?
We feel like we're not growing in many facets of our relationship until God has us to stop and sit with him for a moment. There in the sitting, we are suddenly aware of "limbs" of our life which have stretched into areas we had not noticed them before. God moving and changing attitudes and the way we see things show us the growth that we may not have noticed.

Spring time is also a time of color.
When the grays and browns of winter die and give birth to color of unmentionable beauty.
If we allow the things in us to die, God will resurrect them in His good time and they will burst from our lives in a pallet of divine color.
I'm ready for spring in more ways than I could ever imagine or hope to think about.
Bring it on God!!!

God on you....
mb

Thursday, March 3, 2011

STEP # 12
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



Studying in John 21 this morning.
The encounter between Jesus and Peter there on a beach, days after Jesus' resurrection.

Jesus asks Peter three times, "Do you love me?"
Peter responds with "You know I do, Lord."
Jesus then gives Peter a command....."Tend my Lambs."
Lambs....
The babes..the ones that are new to relationship with the higher Power we call Jesus.
Take care of them and lead them. Tell them about this new life you have found and are now living.
As Jesus said......"Tend to them."

This is the heart of Step #12---Having had a spiritual awakening.....
Now our hearts and minds and spirits are alive and awake. Ready to take in whatever God would send our way...today.
More than just taking it in, we want to give away what has been poured out on us.
We want to comfort those who are afflicted with the comfort that has been given to us.

A friend of mine told me about his first AA meeting.
He went drunk.
He was desperate and did not know what to do.
He was at the end of his rope and knew that he needed help to stop drinking.
As my friend told his story to me, he smiled. "You know, I can't tell you what was said at that first meeting I attended. I don't remember who spoke or who chaired the meeting. All I remember was someone met me at the door and got me a cup of coffee and some cookies and invited me to come and sit with them.
They showed me love before they told me anything about how to quit drinking."
Carrying the message of AA is more than just telling your story. IT is living your story in front of someone who is still trapped in the bondage of alcoholism or drug addiction. It is physically giving them an example that it can be done. A person need not be weighed down by all the toxic emotions that addiction places on them.

Jesus basically told Peter....."Hey Pete...if you love me, then show it by taking care and teaching others."
We seek to take the message to others.......

God on you....
mb

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Light Within Me Shines

John 1:4-5
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (Overpower it).

Taught from John 1 last night at the 9 p.m. Bible study.
This first chapter of John always blows my doors off every time I read it. I mean, come on! Take a look at how John opened the chapter.  He makes these incredible statements of truth using the simplest of words. In fact he uses very few words that have more than one syllable, and in these statements, we are taught the relationship between the Father and the Son.
"In the beginning was the Word....
And the Word was with God...
And the Word was God."

The relationship between Father and Son, yet all bound up in One! Throw in the Holy Spirit and you got a winning combination.
Notice the verse 4 statement: In Him (Jesus) was life.  Not the breathing-heart-beating-walking-around-life, but divine, eternal-standing-outside-of-time-kind-of-life. In this one verse we see the best and worst linked together because of the love God has for His creation. We see Jesus full of life and in the next verse, John writes, "And the life was the light of men." The Pure, Holy, Filled with Majesty Son of God giving life to a creation (humanity) who rejected Him and crucified Him. Like I said the Best (Jesus) and the worst (humanity) all in the same verse. Yet we are eternally connected because of the fall of man in the garden. Connected? How? God's plan to redeem humanity and restore them to the place they occupied before the fall. A right relationship with God............a life of communion--Him and us, through the life given to us by Jesus. Verse 12 reads: But as many as received Him, to them, He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.

It is hard for me sometimes to come to terms with this life / light that has been given to me by Jesus.
What do I know because of this life that is living inside me ( don't think I've lost my English marbles..Paul stated that the life He lives, he now lives for Christ for it is God who will and works inside to perfect and mature and grow him.

Matthew 5:14, Jesus says that "We are the light of the world."
He goes on to say in Verse 16 -- "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." 
Did you catch that?
John says Jesus is life.
The life that Jesus has is light to men.
When we receive His life/ light we become the light of the world. Not a light, but the light. We become a part of something bigger than ourselves........the church........the body of Christ. We become "A" light to point to those who don't know Jesus in the right direction.
Wow!
Suddenly I feel like the Energizer Bunny.........Whamwhamwhamwhamwham!
Go be light today.

God on you....
mb

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Whom I Have Believed


In search of sobriety.
A life free from not just drugs and alcohol, but the destruction brought on by them.
Sobriety isn't found in Jesus. Sobriety is a by product of life with Jesus.
Just as joy, happiness, grace, mercy and love are part of what you recieve when you find your life in Christ.
Sobriety is such a little part of life in Christ. True, it is major to someone who is struggling with addiction, but there is so much  more than just the absence of alcohol or drugs.

I love the passage in Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
It's an invitation, pure and simple. Leave what you currently know about life and come to me. Leave you old way of living (which isn't working too well) and come to me. It involves a decision on your part to step out in obedience which will build faith. Who would issue such an invitation except one who has the authority and power to see it to completion and make it happen.
Two parts:  1.) Come (that's my duty) and 2.) You will be given rest (that's Jesus' part).
Rest. Physical rest? That's part of it, but truth be known you don't need Jesus to get physical rest. The rest Jesus speaks of is spiritual. No more struggling against your old will and way of life. A rest from the destruction of old ways.

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls."
What is a yoke? It is the shoulder harness that was put on oxen and domesticated animals to guide them. So if Jesus has a yoke it is there for a reason. To teach us. More than that, the yoke of Jesus is for guidance. To keep us from going in the wrong direction and to stay the course under his hand. Notice again, if I do what Jesus is asking me to do, there is a benefit......rest for my soul. No more inward struggle concerning the world and it's pull to sin. I don't think Jesus mean that we are free forever from that battle, just that when the devil brings temptation and deception to our door, we don't have to answer it and open ourselves us for attacks. When I say "no more inward struggle," I mean we don't have to engage. Sure temptation will come, but I don't have to entertain it and dwell on it. I rest in the knowledge and assurance that Jesus IS the better way.

"For My yoke is easy and My load is light."
Don't be confused by what it means to have a burden for Jesus. A burden is God-given and is for our direction to pursue a course God desires us to move in. A burden spurs us to prayer and to service.
Even under the weight of a God-given burden, there is a peace and strength that comes to us.

So, Jesus is the LORD of my life
and one of the gifts that comes from that relationship is "sobriety".
Ain't it great?
I think so.

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 ...