Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Bible Study



What a glorious day it is. Vicki and I have been out back with our coffee. The birds are jabbering to beat the clock. Sun is coming up and the yard looks like it is covered in diamonds as the dew reflects the light.
Lets take a look at some verses this morning.

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Paul, the Pharisee of Pharisee's, makes a really bold statement. The gospel (the good news) that Jesus was who he claimed to be, reveals a power that accomplishes something that religion never could. The gospel or the entire account of Scripture, tells the facts of Jesus' death and resurrection. In those facts lies the power. Sin has been defeated and the 2nd death has been eliminated. Mankind no longer carries a death sentence over their head. Who could break the power and penalty of sin and death except someone who possessed greater power and authority.

This should make every believer the most incredibly happy, joyous, kick-out-the-jams, person who ever walked this earth. We do not live under a curse any longer. Jesus took the curse upon himself so that we can live free and in relationship with our heavenly Father. Man! If that don't set you on fire.....then your wood is wet.

Did you catch what Paul wrote?
That this news...this good news...this gospel is the Power of God for salvation. Power....a force, a strength that is exercised on our behalf to remove us from the kingdom of darkness and transport us into the Kingdom of God and light. Who may receive this power? Paul writes "everyone". Who falls under everyone? EVERYONE!!!! Ah...but there is a catch. (I knew it..the fine print always gets us). It has nothing to do with fine print. It is spelled out plainly in this verse. "To everyone who believes."

Romans 10:9-11
V9.- That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

V10. - For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

V11. - For the Scripture says, (Is.28:16) "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."

This "believing" that we are to have is more than a mental exercise of "yes, I believe."
It is that deep knowing inside.
The knowing that is faith driven beyond what you see.
I can remember sitting in church as a young boy and the invitation would be given...the music would be playing and my heart would be beating out of my chest. There weren't any words spoken, but I knew that God was calling me. I knew it and I believed it in spite of what my mind was telling me. This is the place we need to live in. The place where the voice of God is louder than our thoughts and our vision. That we act on what our heart is telling us (Prov. 3:5-6).

I like the last part of Verse 11....."Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."
Life here is filled with disappointment. But you know what? Imagine our first glimpse of heaven and Jesus. All disappointment will fall away. Every hurt, every wrong, every terrible thing we have ever gone through or experienced in our life here on earth, will disappear as we stand before the One we have trusted in.
Awesome!

Have a great weekend.
God on you....
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Friday, April 29, 2011



Has it truly been 32 years for me?
32 years since I first heard the opening words and chords to Phill Keaggy's TIME?
It only seems like yesterday when I first heard UFO by Larry Norman. Oh how my heart beat faster as I listened to song after song.
Keith Green changed the way I viewed the world and my place in it as a believer.
Holding one finger up in the air and declaring "One Way!" Only one way to God and that was through Jesus.
Now here, 32 years afterwards, I still burn for the Kingdom.
Oh I put on weight and the hair has gone South never to return, but the heart still beats for Jesus.
That is why I love this song....We were all so young.
Christian Brothers Association: We didn't  know we couldn't do the things we did...we just believed that God truly wanted a falls festival and a record store, not to mention a coffee house.
Kind of makes me sad for the kids today.
What do they have to hang onto.
Is there a voice, a song, a group that rises above the roar and din of dissension to proclaim the truth of God?
I am so grateful for the time that God has given me and the people that he has brought in and out of my life.
We were so young....

God on you....
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Trusting On

Trusting on....
No matter what our situation..
No matter what we face in our lives...
Vicki and I are trusting on.....
Trusting on that God is who He says He is.
Trusting on that God will do what He says He will do.
Trusting on that no matter what happens...
No matter if I understand the "why" or not...I will trust in Him.

Psalm 142:5
I cried out to thee, O Lord
When things get so hard that the pressure is beyond bearing. When our minds are so full and dark that we can't even think straight..........that is the time to cry out to God. Truth be known, we should cry out to God at the first sign that we are entering into a time of darkness. Everyone deals with life situations differently and we respond on different levels, but no matter what, we should shed ourselves of the thought that we can handle everything and turn to God.

I said, "Thou are my refuge."
Vicki and I have lived by this for 38+ years.
We have placed our lives and everything God has given to us, back squarely in His care.
We acknowledge that anything we might own or have is because God has allowed us to possess it. Even our house and the property it sits on belongs to Him. He is just letting us use it while we draw breath.

My portion in the land of the living.
This has been a huge concept for us ever since I entered full time ministry back in 1998.
During our prayer time God spoke and told us that we could either have (1) His richest blessings or (2) Himself as our portion. I felt somewhat like this was a trick question, but it wasn't. We chose door #2 and have never regretted it. We don't rely on anyone or anything except for God. He has proven always faithful for as long as we have been married, but exceptionally above and beyond faithful over these past 13 years.
Kind of like the tribe of Levi during the Exodus. God told them that when they entered into the promised land, they would not receive a portion of the land. Instead, they would receive God as their portion. Through this, all their needs were met as they served Him at the Tabernacle.

Food for thought this morning.
Let God be your portion for today.....
God on you....
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Devastation

Yesterday will go down as a time we will soon not forget.
Vicki and I sat and watched television as the storms raced through the state bringing death and destruction.
Entire communities wiped out.
Houses gone.
Fatalities.
In a matter of minutes, lives changed forever.

There are a million questions being asked.
"Why?"
"Where was God in all of this?"
I don't know that I would be able to answer their questions.
I know that we serve a loving, perfect God in an imperfect world.
I know that God was not caught off guard from anything that happened and, in fact, may have kept the storms from doing even greater destruction and taking more lives.

In a situation that does not make sense to the human mind, I guess the one thing that keeps coming to my own mind is the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples in Matthew 16---"Who do you say I am?"
It is easy to answer that question when life is good.
When your home is still standing and you have money in the bank.
When your family is intact and you are all together.
But the truth of who Jesus is to you truly comes out in the midst of lost and destruction.

The Apostle Paul had asked God for help in a troubling situation that was following him every where he went. In II Corinthians 12:9, Paul received the answer to his prayer.  "My grace is sufficient for you. For power is perfected in weakness."  Never is grace more needed than when we are overwhelmed and thrown into the depths of despair.

Today with all the destruction and damage done in our state, no matter what our lot in life, we all should cry to God for His grace.
Why?
Because His grace is sufficient for the day.
Please pray for those who have suffered from this storm.
Please give to the Red Cross or Salvation Army to help with the clean up.

God on you....
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Now Where Are My Car Keys?

As I've grown older, the very thing I use to snicker at about my parents has now found a home in me.
"Honey! Where did I put my car keys?" Small bouts with memory loss. "Did I remember to lock the door?"
"Did I unplug the coffee pot?" Little things that seem to cloud and clutter my mind get lost in my brain.

Aren't you glad that God doesn't forget.
"Did I save him last week? I'm not sure?"
You better believe it that I'm glad God doesn't forget.
But if you read Genesis 8, you'd think that God has a memory problem.

Genesis 8:1 - But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark......
It reads like God had become busy with something and suddenly remembered, "Oh yeah, I got that Noah family out there by themselves in that ark." Well, thank goodness that isn't what really happened. God turned his attention to them. God never lost track of them, after all God is the ultimate GPS isn't He? I think we need to remember that today, God has not lost track of you, even though it feels like it at times.

God's thoughts about you are never far away.
Psalm 139:17-18 -  How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
I don't think David wrote this just be flowery and sweet. David was overwhelmed by the simple fact that God is continually thinking of him. Imagine this, God has the ability to think on each human who draws breath on the face of the earth this morning. Not only think on them, but to continually be in a state of thought about them all day. Your heavenly Father, this morning, is thinking of you. Not just thinking, but carrying out His will in your life even now as you sit and read this. He is not far removed from you, distant and uncaring. He is consumed with you. His heart beats with love for you. His thoughts are about you.

I think I'll sit and think on this.....
God on you....
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Will You Obey?

Abraham had watched Isaac grow. He had spent hours with him, strolling outside the camp. Showing him the stars and reminding him of how God had promised Abraham this son. "You are a promise from God, Isaac!" The little boy would look up into his father's eyes and see the love that he felt for his son.

Abraham knew how special Isaac was. Even in this, Isaac was still a boy and from time to time, Abraham had to discipline him. He never enjoyed this, but knew it to be necessary to form and shape the character of Isaac. Life was good as they traveled from place to place. A mother, Sarah, who doted on the boy, she too reflected the love of God as she knew that in Isaac was a living, breathing, physical proof of the promise of God. So that made what God asked of Abraham to shake the very foundation of his belief.

Genesis 22:2 -
"Take your son......your only son....yes, Isaac, whom you love so much.....and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to you."

Can you imagine the feelings and thoughts that Abraham was experiencing after hearing God speak?
"But this is the son you promised me."

"Surely God did not really mean this."
"How can I do such a thing? Why would God require this of me?"
I guess the greatest testimony to faith is in the simple act of obedience in spite of what you may be thinking or feeling.
Faith does not require reason, but simply go and do.
That is exactly what Abraham did. And as we read about his journey to Mt. Moriah, we see an incredible statement of Abraham's faith. He knew Isaac was a promised son, but he also knew that God was sovereign.
If God had promised that blessing would come to all the earth through the line of Isaac, then it would happen.
It didn't matter if Abraham offered Isaac as a burnt sacrifice, God would work through this somehow.

Notice what verse 5 says:
"Stay here with the donkey," Abraham told the young men."The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then We will come right back."
Abraham didn't know how, but he trusted that God would either not let this take place, or, if it did, would resurrect Isaac because of His promise to Abraham.

I want to live like this.
To be able to trust God even when everything in me says not to.
To walk in obedience no matter what my mind may be telling me.
As II Corinthians 5:17 reads...."We walk by FAITH and not by sight."

God on you....
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Every Breath I Take

Psalm 150:6
"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD, Praise the LORD!

What a wonderful Easter.
The words of Psalm 150:6 is exactly what we did yesterday. We threw aside our inhibitions and hindrances and simply and wonderfully "praised the LORD!"
Did you notice what the verse really said?
Who is it that is to praise God? Everyone and everything.
Not just those who are saved.

I truly believe that even the lost, at some point, have a lucid moment where they truly realize that there is a God.
A God greater than themselves who gives life to His creation.
A God who truly does love them, even though the devil works his hardest to perpetrate a lie that God is angry and mad and wants to sling lightning bolts down on the heads of those who are lost.
Now I am not a universalist who believes that everyone goes to heaven regardless of whatever choice they make. I simply believe in the words of Romans 2:4.
"Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?"

Did you catch that? God's kindness leads to repentance. Not his anger to drive you there out of fear. Not his wrath to drive you with a heavy hand. It is God's kindness and His love at work in this world that leads people, through the conviction of sin, to the saving hand of God. That alone should be reason for everything that has breath to praise the LORD.

"Praise Him for His mighty deeds." -- What has God done for you? What has God performed in you? These things are the basis of our praise. The change God has brought forth in our lives that has taken us out of darkness and into a living place of illumination where we can walk and talk with God. I think that would fall under the list of  "mighty deeds". 

This is the reason God commands us to remember Him and what He has done. It keeps the truth of who God is fresh in our minds and spirits. It is very important to take time to reflect on God's hand in our life.
Maybe He saved you from a car wreck.
Maybe He was a present help and strength when you were going through a dark and difficult time.

Maybe He was the only friend you had for a while.
Whatever it is that God did for you, you need to reflect, remember and then praise Him.
Picture this (actually what I am suggesting is to do this) you are driving in your car to work this morning.
While doing so.......scream at the top of your lungs..."THANK YOU LORD FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME!!!!"
I know, I know...
You'll feel foolish and embarrassed. "What will the other cars around me think?" Well, to be honest, they will think you are listening to a classic rock station and you are simply singing along with Creedence Clearwater Revival "Down On The Corner".

Try this.
You might be surprised!
After all.....
He is Risen!

God on you....
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

No Bones



"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!"

Tomorrow we celebrate the victory over death.
Physical death and spiritual death.
I am a child of God and that 2nd death shall not touch me.

I have posted a song over in the pod section of this blog and I would that you take time to visit and listen to it.
I wrote it back in 1997 and it came during the week before Easter.
The idea is that the empty tomb stands in stark contrast to every other belief on this planet.
You can debate theology and argue semantics all you want,
but the empty tomb is the defining point in Christianity.
Jesus rose from the dead.

From this fact came the song "No Bones".

He is risen!!!!
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday


"And when they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left."
Luke 23:33

Never have fully understood why the Friday before Easter was called "Good Friday".
I know it is good in the sense that Sunday was coming.
The story didn't end with Jesus being taken down from the cross and laid in the tomb.
It may be Friday...
Jesus may be on the cross.....
But Sunday is coming.

As dark as Good Friday is since it points to the trial, beating and Crucifixion of Jesus....
Easter is a time of life and light.
A time of renewal and rededicating of ourselves to Christ.
We have come through the winter and have allowed the things of last year to die.
Attitudes...
Behaviors....
Mindsets.....
Sin.....
Now it is time to bring forth life.
New life in Christ.
A time to take stock of where we are in Christ.

Am I the person I should be?
Or have I fallen prey to complacency and apathy?
It is easy to slip into a life of "simply going through the motions."
Now is the time to wake up from such a place.
Now...today...is the time to return to a renewed commitment to Christ.
It may be Good Friday in your life....
But Sunday is coming....
Whatever is dead and in the tomb, so to speak...
Will be resurrected in this new commitment to the Kingdom of God.

Maybe it will be an increased hunger to study the Word of God.
It might be a stirring to take part in a mission trip.
It might be something as simple as preparing a meal to take to someone.
Telling your story of God's goodness to you.
God loving through you....

Don't live in a "Good Friday" mindset.
As dark as that day was when Jesus hung on the cross for the sin of the world....
Sunday was coming....

God on you...
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Week Of Gratefulness

Romans 4:25
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

As you think on this week of Jesus' passion. His trial, scourging and beatings.....His trip through the streets of Jerusalem, cross upon His back. Calvary and the nails driven into His flesh. Hanging there between heaven and hell, neither wanting anything to do with Him. Pain and dehydration. Suffocation and loss of blood. Yet even as we think on these things, we need for God to give us vision to see beyond this event. We need to fully experience and come to an understanding that a greater work took place on that hill. Oh yes, I understand that Jesus died for my sins. He didn't just die for my sins..He took my sin on himself. Every vile thing I have done. Every terrible thought that came to my mind. Every judgemental thought that floated through my brain. Now magnify our sins and add them to every sin that had been done and will be done. Jesus himself took this unto his own body, and God, being just, punished Jesus for everyone of them. God poured out his full wrath and fury that sin demanded payment for and every bit of it was poured out upon his only Son. But that was only half the story.

Now that sin has been paid for, what's next?
The Romans 4 verse says,"Jesus was raised to life for our justification."
In others words, the ledger has been balanced.
We are no longer a liability, we are now an asset.
The debt has been paid and now God no longer holds us responsible. We have been justified. It is Just-as-if-I'd never sinned. When God looks at me, he no longer sees a sinner doomed to and eternal destiny of separation from his presence. He sees the precious blood of his Son, Jesus, covering me. This gives me to right and privilege of having relationship with God.

It is the blood of Jesus that allows the words of Hebrews 4:16 to be more than words, but reality.
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
As sons and daughters of the most High, we now have the right and honor to come to our heavenly Father with confidence. We are not 2nd class citizens of the Kingdom of God. We are his children and we can come and receive whatever it is we need to go through our time of need. How cool is that?
So this week, I am grateful.
I am rejoicing.
I am fully aware of my position of Christ.
I am at peace.

God on you.....
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Summer of Love

Has the world ever known real love?
Do we even know how to love?
As Larry Norman so aptly put it in one of his songs..."Beatles said,'all you need is love', then they broke up."
We read in I Timothy 1:5 - But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Wow! Our goal.
What we are aiming for.
The thing that we lack at this moment.
Is to love from a pure heart.
Love those that we really don't want to love.
Love those that we thought we could never really love.
Easy to say, "I love you."
Hard to demonstrate, yet the Apostle Paul says that this is heart of the matter.

Pure heart -  Matthew 5:8 -  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
To allow the Holy Spirit to full access of our hearts. To allow Him to purge, and sift and remove and then replace with the character of God...that is my desire.
I don't want any part of the "old" me to have any place in my heart.
I want to see God.
I want to see Him in the Scripture.
I want to see Him in my every day walking around life.
Pure love from a pure heart, I think would cause me to live my life differently.

This being Easter week, the focus will be on the death and resurrection of Jesus.
God demonstrated His love in that He loved us while we were still sinners.
He loved us even though we cursed His name
He loved us even though we rejected Him.
He loved us when we chased after other things rather than heeding his call not to.
That is why I'm grateful to be saved this morning. Knowing full well that he didn't have to love me.
He could have just chalked my life up to another lost cause, but he didn't.
He saw a value in me that I could not see or understand.
In seeing this value, his heart beat with love for me.
In this love, he climbed upon a cross and took my place.
He took my place and received the full fury and punishment from his own Father for my sin.
Punishment meant for me, He received.
How can I not love when such love has been demonstrated to me.

God on you....
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Watch Your Back!

Reading this morning in My Utmost For His Highest and the verse for the day comes from I Kings 2:28...
Now the news came to Joab, for Joab had followed Adonijah, although he had not followed Absalom. And Joab fled to the tent of the Lord and took hold of the horns of the altar.

Strange verse indeed. Joab was on King Solomon's radar because he was a traitor. After being loyal to the king, Joab had turned and joined in an attempt to overthrow the King and put a new one in place. Joab had been faithful to the King, but turned and followed another. Now uncovered, Joab had run to the tent of the Lord where the Ark of the Covenant was placed and had attached himself to the altar of incense. This altar was symbolic of the prayers of the saints ascending to heaven before God. Imagine that---Joab had run to the place of prayer and had laid hold of the altar. He wasn't about to come out and face his enemy. Do you think maybe Joab threw up a few prayers while he was wrapped all around the altar? I think so. I think his prayers sounded something like this.  "Oh God.....Oh God....Oh God....Oh God!"

Eventually Solomon had Joab killed.
Not much love in the Old Testament...just a lot of justice and law.
Thank you Lord for your Grace.
So what does this have to do with me...here today...in my time and life?
Oswald Chambers writes, "After facing a crisis in our lives, we are apt to say, ' It is not in the least likely that having been through the supreme crisis, I shall now turn to the things of this world.'"
Truth is we are to keep guard over our thoughts and our heart at all times. Through all situations and circumstances we face.  He goes on to say that "The Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on the their weak ones. To be kept by the power of God---that is the only safety.'

In other words we need to be aware that our greatest time of vulnerability is after we come through a crisis. For in these times, we tend to let our guard down. We do not have the luxury of letting down, especially in this day and time. I won't go into the details, but I had a dream last night that I know was a "God" dream. It involved spiritual warfare and attacks by the enemy. I think maybe we are entering into a season where we may see an upturn in the attacks we may be facing by the enemy. Now is the day to use our armour. Now is the day to resist the devil so that he will flee. Now is the time to stand and having done all else, stand. Stand in the power of the Lord. Stand in the strength of God.

In the I Kings passage, Joab traded his loyalty to one king, for loyalty to the false king. It cost him his life.
I do not want to be found as having traded my loyalty to God for the things of this world. To be brought back under the bondage and rule of Satan.
Today, I will deny myself......my will and my desires, and I will take up my cross and follow hard after Jesus.
For only in the following will I find true life.
I will not be distracted by the baubles and beads, the shiny things of this world, but will wholly focus my heart and mind on the cross of Christ, that I may be found faithful.

God on you....
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Palm Sunday + 1

Monday --- Day after Palm Sunday. I'm sure that at some churches people stood and waved palm fronds during the worship service and cried out "Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to the Lord!"
The first Palm Sunday was a bit unusual in that it reveals the best and the unstated worse in mankind.

When Jesus entered into Jerusalem, the people came out and celebrated. Each one with an idea of what this even meant to them. Some had visions of a new dynasty of King David with Jesus ruling from a throne there in the city of Jerusalem. The dreaded Roman presence in the city would be cast out and driven from their country. There would be peace and prosperity just like when King David ruled. Jesus would usher in a new time and era of peace. Some weren't sure about this Jesus. They had heard stories and had followed him around listening to His teachings and watching His healing. Even with all this demonstration, they found it hard to believe that such man could command that a kingdom be established under His rule. Rome wore a hard boot and they like to keep it on the throat of every country they occupied. This coming king, this Jesus, might do more harm than good.

Out of the homes and shops they came to celebrate. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, coats and cloaks were laid in the patch and palm branches were waved as part of the celebration. Funny part was that in less than a week these people who were crying, "Hosanna, Hosanna!" would be the same ones crying, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"  The real heart of mankind would be uncovered as the perfect sacrifice for the world's sin allowed himself to be lead to the slaughter. Isn't that way of Jesus? He merely has to be in our presence and we uncover ourselves because of the magnitude of purity and righteousness He possesses? I think maybe it is.

So as we move through this Passion Week of Jesus' last days before his death and resurrection, I am reminded that there will be another Palm Sunday in the future.
Revelation7:9-10
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands, and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to out God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

This celebration will be for all the right reasons. The main one being that Jesus is worthy of any and every praise and worship we give Him.
Maybe Palm Sunday down here on earth is for practice for when we stand before the real deal.
Jesus the Christ.
Jesus the LORD.

God on you....
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Bible Study



Thought it might  not be a bad idea to take a look at a verse that has been rolling around in my head all morning. I kept going back to it and asking God, "Why this verse?" After much prayer, thought I might just post something. We'll see----maybe someone out there besides me need to "chew" on this verse

Let's take a look at I Peter 2:1
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander....."
That is a pretty heady list of "stinky" stuff that can really mess us up if we allow it a place in our hearts. I think maybe God is telling me to do an inventory of my character and make sure I don't have any of these attitudes and belief's lurking in me. Get em' out /  Get em' now!
Now before we can delve into this verse, we really need to back up and read the last verse of Chapter one. It has to do with the eternal existence and power of the Word of God. Let's read the verse.
But the Word of the LORD abides forever. And this is the word which was preached to you.

In other words, when we sit under the teaching/preaching of the God's word, we need to understand that it is an eternal truth that is not swayed or corrupted by the things of this world. It is pure and it is the power of God that will affect hearts that receive it. So the last words of Chapter one and the first word of Chapter two is a connection......Therefore....realizing the truth of what we have heard, that it is an eternal truth given to us by God, we should be about the business of ridding ourselves (through the help and power of the Holy Spirit) of our character defects that lead us to sin. Character defects that we sometimes excuse by saying, "Well, that's just me and that's just the way I am." Sorry Charlie! That won't wash with God.

Notice the list we are called to "put aside."
1.) Malice - A nature of badness / one who makes trouble / naughtiness
2.) Guile - A decoy or one who provides a false being or personality/ giving the impression to others that we are living way that we truly are not.
3.) Hypocrisy - Being deceitful in the way we present ourselves to others
4.) Envy - Ill will toward others / jealousy
5.) Slander - Backbiting /  using our words to curse and injure others

Pretty good list don't you think? Of course we read the list and think to ourselves, "Well, I really don't have any of those operating in my life......do I?" I think the main word found in the verse is repeated three times......All malice and All guile and last, but  not least All slander. What falls under all? Every bit, every portion, every smidgen of malice, guile and slander. We are to put it aside.  If I am laying these things aside, there must be a reason. My own thinking and heart tells me that if God is asking me put something aside, it is in order I can receive something else of value from him.  Here in this thought is the very heart of II Corinthians 5:17 ---the old things pass away...the new things have come.

Thank you Lord that you have not left us to work through these character defects in our own strength, but have filled us with your Holy Spirit. I pray that we all submit and follow the simple lead you are calling us to. That we may truly grow up and become the people you desire us to be.
May your name always be on our lips....
May our hearts reflect the worship and praise due your name.

God on you.....
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You Better Believe It!



I think one of the most bizarre traits we humans possess is the ability to think that simply because we have a belief or an idea that we hold true.........it must be true.
Take Jesus for instance.
Many believe.
Many don't.
Jesus does not need my belief or unbelief to exist.
I'm not here to argue one way or the other.
I believe.
I believe that Jesus is THE LORD of my life.
Why?
Because I gave up my will to accept His will and it has proven over 40+ years to have been the right decision.
Now there is a truth that is approaching with every passing day.
Jesus is coming back.
Doesn't matter whether you believe or not. He is coming.
His return will prove that everything that was debated and argued over was, in fact, true.
Will I be alive to see His return?
I don't know.
I may be........
Hope I am.
But it is a reality. It's going to happen.
Some who read this may say, "Well, that's your reality, not mine."
IF you live long enough, it will be your reality.
Simple as that.
Jesus is coming.
Maranatha! Lord Jesus.

God on you....
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Laid Back Kind of Day

7:12 a.m. /  Still at home.
Vicki has left for work and I am in my pseudo-office pecking out this post.
I love the  mornings.
We have our quiet time each day over our first cup of coffee and I find great comfort in sitting on the couch with my wife as we pray and read our Bibles.

I found a website yesterday from someone I knew long ago.
I haven't seen him in 40 years. Wasn't even sure he was still living, but there he was.
He considers himself to be a "blues" musician. I would not dispute that view because his music reflects the pain of a hard life.
There is sorrow in his voice when he sings.
His choice of notes and arrangements reveal a heart that has seen and felt a lifetime of pain and sorrow.
Isn't it funny how blues music seems to strike a universal chord in most people?
Maybe it's the truthfulness of the music. That life isn't about neatly wrapped up solutions all looking like a Christmas present. Maybe it's the bold faced honesty that people will hurt you and leave you.
That we have this misguided perception that we can find happiness in another messed up human.
We can't.
We find everything in Jesus.
You might not want to hear it or believe it, but it's truth.

You see, I don't have a problem with blues music. I guess my greatest concern is that the music is always open ended. No healing. No resolve. Just a lonesome voice bemoaning the plight of life.
King David wrote some pretty good blues tunes.
You know what the difference between what King David wrote and the blues musicians of this day is?
King David always included the solution to his blues. GOD!
Life doesn't have to be lived out unresolved.
Life doesn't have to be found in the pain of hurt.
Life comes when all the pain.....
All the hurt.....
All the unresolved issues are turned toward and over to God.
He brings healing and strength to shatter the gloom and depression that covers a heart.
God, the great healer.

Turn your heart and voice toward God today.
Yeah....

God on you...
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Come and Get It Kiddies!!!!

Seth Barber's message from last
Saturday night
 ( 4/ 9 )
Is now available for you to listen to.
Seth speaks on "Can Anything Good Come From There?"

Don't forget that Nori and Barbie Kelley (WIND) will be in concert at Rapha
Saturday Night -- April 23rd.
Good times kick off at 6:00 p.m.

Keep it real!
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Gimme...Gimme....Gimme!

Luke 12:15
And He said to them,"Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."

Covetousness - The strong desire to acquire more and more possessions, power, experiences.
I want more.
How much is enough?
How much money is enough.
How many homes and cars are enough?
II Timothy 3 lays down the attitude and heart focus of humanity in the last days.
This word "covetousness" will be the primary drive that defines mankind.
I think I don't really have to prove this point, as all you have to do is look around, read the headlines in our daily paper and watch the newscast on television.

The need for greed is running rampant and seems to be the character du'jour for people.
You know the funny part about this mindset is that you don't actually have to be rich or even own a bunch of stuff to fall prey to this desire. Just like the Scripture reads that the "love of money is the root of all evil," no where does it say you have to have money. You can love money and be as poor as Job's turkey. It is that inner drive, the central focus of heart removed from Christ that seeks to feed a passion that is born in hell.
A selfish, self-centered, me-me-me, mentality.
If you look at heart that is filled with covetousness has no room for God.
Just as there was no room at the inn on the night of Jesus' birth, in the heart of a man who is consumed with the unholy want for material possessions, there is no room for a Savior.
Does that mean that someone who is consumed with covetousness is beyond salvation?
Not at all.
All it takes is the Holy Spirit breaking through the darkness and hardness of soul and mind to illuminate and bring conviction to the individual.

The Apostle Paul writes of learning the secret of being content.
You know, I think maybe we need a heavenly dose of contentment in our time and day.
Contentment is being at peace no matter what your current state of living.
Paul said that he had learned this secret of contentment and that he could be at peace whether he was hungry or full........in prison or a free man......whether he had a lot or nothing at all. I not really sure, but I believe that to operate and live from a position such as Paul wrote about would be one of the greatest gifts God could give us.  To be at peace inside ourselves and not tossed about by the lust and desire that seeks to have its own way would be a marked change in our growth as believers.

I do not want to be in bondage to the things of  this world.
I do not want to be a slave to the mindset of this world.
I want to be content and at peace as I follow Jesus daily.
In other words....
I want to be free from myself.

God on you...
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Really?

It's actually Tuesday evening around 8:46 p.m.
I'm in my office at Rapha awaiting our 9 p.m. Bible Study.
It's a voluntary Bible Study and 9 p.m. may seem like a late time to do such an event, but trust me, the men enjoy (as I do) the interaction and shared time together as we study through the Bible.
Tonight: Genesis 5 / 6.

Found myself today in II Corinthians 5:10 ----- " For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
Funny that as I read this verse, I was suddenly struck by the fact that there are a number of topics you don't here taught on.
Even the simple fact that I used the word "taught" and not "preach" may hold a key to this question.
For a lot of people the word "preach" has such an antiquated meaning. It's not something we want to say in our modern assembly's. We have teachers, not preachers.
Preaching gives up the image of some red-faced, screaming, sweaty man who is trying to scare the hell out of everyone. I'm not so sure that we don't need the hell scared out us today.

I don't remember the last time I went to a church and heard someone speak on the judgment seat of Christ.
Does it scare us?
Does the thought of an actual judgement seat of Christ threaten us here on this side of eternity? Some time back, I posted on this blog about how it seems that a number of people actually love life here on earth more than the thought of going to heaven and spending eternity with Jesus.
That bothers me.
I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I really don't think Jesus died for our comfort here on this side of eternity.
In the book of John, Jesus actually said, "I must go and prepare a place for you. And I go to prepare a place, surely I will come back and take you unto myself." I think perhaps should Jesus show back up, some who claim to be a part of His bride, may extend a hand toward Him and say, "Not yet...I'm not ready to go.You know, Jesus, I really have it pretty good down here on earth so could we delay this whole heaven thing?"
I pray that I never find myself so comfortable here on earth that I reject Christ and heaven.

I don't hear much about heaven these days from the pulpit. Has it fallen out of favor among evangelicals? Along with the displacement of heaven, we find the absence of hell also. Let me try and understand this. We don't teach on heaven and we're not talking about hell. What is it we do now? As John Wimber use to say every Monday morning at the staff meeting at Anaheim Vineyard..."What is our business and how are we doing?" In other words, are we carrying out the mandate of the Kingdom of God? Are we teaching the Word of God? Are we growing as a people...growing in character?

I do know that there is a remnant that still holds firm to the Word of God.
They teach it.
They live it.
They recognize that this is not their home.
They get up daily to carry out the mandate from God to "go into all the world," all the while spiritually groaning for the coming completeness of the Kingdom of God. We read about what it will look when the Kingdom is complete in Revelation. We read where God will wipe away every tear....there will be no more death...in other words...it will be good!
I pray that I remain faithful to what God has called me to do.
I pray that you remain faithful to what God has called you to do.
I don't know...the more I look around at society and our world, it really doesn't look much like heaven on earth to me.
Maranatha! Lord Jesus.

God on you....
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Want A Miracle?

Luke 1:37
For nothing will be impossible with God

We received the word yesterday.
We rejoiced yesterday.

God had once again done the impossible.
In other words, God had done what was very natural to Him, but to us who live here on earth, it was beyond our will and effort.

A good friend of ours, Phyllis, is awaiting the birth of a grand son.
Her daughter-in-law and her husband were caught up in all the emotions about having an addition to their family. During a visit to the doctor she was given some news that shattered the joy of this coming birth.
The baby was missing a vein that is attached to the heart, and one of the valves in the heart had a hole in it.
The doctors weren't sure if the baby would survive till birth.
Even if the baby did survive and was born, there were many complications that would be against him.

There was talk of doing heart surgery the moment the baby was born.
There was talk of doing heart surgery while the baby was still in the womb.
But while all this talk was going on, there were the prayers of people being lifted to heaven for this small baby and his family.
God heard them.
God acted on them.
Yesterday, the mother went for another appointment.
The doctors checked.
What?
The doctors checked again.
"It can't be!"
The baby now has a vein connected to the heart.
"Are you sure?"
Score one for God!
Where there wasn't a vein....
Now there is.

For nothing is impossible with God.
I don't know what the future holds for Jaden (Baby's name), but I know this.
God reached down inside that tiny body and formed a vein and then connected it to that little heart.
Who knows what God has in store for Jaden?
I would ask that you keep praying for Jaden and the entire family, that God would bring to full health and delivery this tiny miracle.

God on you...
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Monday, April 11, 2011

And God Said....

Genesis 1:3
The God said, "let there be light" and there was light.

I can't tell you how many times I have read this passage. Probably a gazillion.
But I always come away with the same thought.
"Why didn't God say...."Light exist" or "I command light to shine"...?
To me it sounds like God gave light the right to exist.
He gave light permission to come forth.

I think maybe that truly is the way we are to perceive this verse.
God has the ultimate authority over every thing.
God gives permission.
Drawing my next breath is because God gave me permission to live.
Typing at this keyboard happens because God gave me the thought and the ability to type.
As I move through my day, God gives me permission to interact and hopefully influence or lead someone to turn their will and live over to His care.

He also gave me the ability to make choices.
I don't always make the best ones. I guess you may be asking, "Does God give me permission to sin?" The answer would be yes. Chuck Swindoll explained it like this, "Everything that happens to me does not come from the hand of God........but everything that happens to me passes through the hand of God."
This means that God gives Satan permission to test and tempt us. All you have to do is look to Scripture to see this. Luke 22:31 - "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has asked permission to sift you like wheat."
Why would Satan be given permission to uncover Peter's heart? Because Jesus wanted Peter to understand what was still in his heart. He wanted Peter to understand that darkness lay within and in that darkness was the ability to deny Jesus. It wasn't until Peter was shown this that true healing and empowerment could come.

Read the Luke 22 passages about the night before Jesus' death and then flip over to Acts and read Chapter 2 and 3. Look at what a difference there is in the Peter found in Luke 22 and the man who stands to deliver the first message after Pentecost. God gives his permission.

Maybe Romans 8:28 will read a little bit different now that we see God really is in control.
"For all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose."
God's permission holds everything in place.
The planets....
Life here on earth....
The heavenly Kingdom come down because of His will....
God's permission is the ultimate of power and authority.
I celebrate this today!

God on you....
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Get On The Bible Bus...


I consider myself to be a simple man.
My study of the Word of God is simple and I hold no insights other than what God has shown me through the Holy Spirit.
Some people now days don't hold with studying the Word of God.
They read it sporadically.
One verse here, one verse there.
A chapter here, a chapter there.
Skipping from book to book without ever seeing how the Word of God is one continuous thread with a message of salvation from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation.
I write this to let you know that Through The Bible Radio Program, with Dr. J. Vernon McGee, is
starting back in Genesis week after next.
Dr. McGee goes through the entire Bible, teaching it line by line, verse by verse over a period of five years.
They have just recently finished up a five year study and are beginning to start over again.

If you would like to join in and begin a study with Through the Bible, then you may do so by
following this link below.
Click on the link/  then click on "all ministries"...
look for THROUGH THE BIBLE and click on it.
You will be directed to a place where you can download and listen to the current teaching.


While I don't agree with everything Dr. McGee teaches, he is thought provoking and causes me to seriously take a look at what I do believe, and the reason for my belief.
Some of you will be put off by Dr. McGee's accent (North Texas Twang), but rest assured if you listen long enough, that voice will become a comfort. A close friend.

Many have turned away from the study of the Word of God to chase experiences.
While I am truly blessed to be in services where the presence of God is so thick you could cut it with a knife, such times will never take the place of intimate times with God's Holy Word.
Old fashioned?
Probably.
But I make no excuses for my love of God's Word.
I pray that you would fall in love with it and that it becomes sole and center of your life as God speaks to you through His Word.

God on you....
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

What is Really Going On?



There seems to be more spiritual darkness around me every day. If I look at it with my natural eyes, I will grow discouraged and depressed. I will entertain thoughts of quitting. Thoughts of giving up. Thoughts that take me from God. Praise God though that I see the world through eyes of faith. Eyes that see the glory of God, not the work of Satan. I see the coming light that pushes back darkness, not the over whelming flood of sin and destruction. I see life and resurrection, not death and grief. I see the Hope of glory and not the vacuum of sin. Why?

Because I have discovered that God is above and in control of every situation that takes place here on planet earth. I don't have an answer as to why "good" people die and "bad" people live. I don't know why Babies are born sick and never live beyond their 1st birthday and stone cold junkies live to be 50 or 60. I don't know why entire countries are devastated by tsunami's and earthquakes. I look to God.  Sure I wrestle with these things, but ultimately it comes back to "Do you trust God?" I do. You may be asking, "Why?" The only reason I can give is the same reason that Peter gave Jesus when Jesus asked, "Are you leaving me also?" Peter replied, "Where would we go? We have left everything to follow you. You alone possess the words of life." In other words, I have experienced a way of life in following Jesus that I did not have before I was saved. I may not be able to give you a theological answer to it, but I know that I know this life is truth. That is why I choose to follow this Jesus even when the world is railing against anything "God" and "religion."

Now for some who read this, when I write the word "God", you have a very definite opinion concerning who you think He is or isn't. Your opinion has been developed over the years based on your own personal experiences coupled with what you have read or heard others say. No matter what, we all come to this day with an idea of who God is. For me, what I have found over the years is that God is bigger than my thoughts, and His ways are not in the same ball park as my ways. His ways are higher.

This being the case, as I look around at our country........
As I hear the voices of discontent....
Voices of anger....
Voices of disillusionment.....
All speaking at once.
Voices looking to the government for help.
Voices looking to businesses for help.
Voices looking every where but the one place they should be looking....to God.
You can disagree with me, that's fine. I have no qualms with anyone who chooses to disagree.
You may even ask, "Why do I believe in this God like I do?"

I would tell you that God has proven faithful after I gave up and surrendered my will and my life (STEP #3).  He (Jesus Christ) became my higher power. I turned my power over to Him, in exchange for a new life and another chance of having a future while I'm still alive. More than that, I have been sealed (my mind given the assurance) that God is who He claims to be, and will do what He claims to do. From this, I know that heaven is my true home. One day I will go there. That you can take to the bank. Not from anything I have done, but from the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

So for today..."Be Ye Glad!"

God on you...
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Before You Were Born...


Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you...
Before you were born I set you apart....

You can read these verses from the book of Jeremiah and it conjures up all kinds of thoughts and images.
We believe that God is truly God but......
Does He really know us before we are born? Why that gets into predestination.
There are plenty of other people that can debate and theologize this concept of God's nature other than me.

What I can do is truly rest in the knowledge that God knows me better than I know myself.
God knows me in deeper ways than I  know myself.
Knowing this about God only deepens my love for Him.
Why?
Because He knows even the "stinky" stuff that I am capable of.
He knows the darkness that I embraced and chose to follow before I was saved.
He knows every deep, dark secret I have ever held on to, and, in spite of this, He still loved me.
Loved me enough to offer eternal life through salvation.
He loved me enough to place His Holy Spirit in me to be a spiritual compass pointing me to God's truth.

This I can take to the bank.
God is not caught off guard by anything that happens this day.
Why?
Because, after all............He is God!

God on you
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Restore Us To Sanity

Step # 2
We came to believe that God, through Jesus Christ, can restore us to sanity.

There are two things that become apparent as we move deeper into our recovery.
The first involves God and our perception of Him.
Our experiences both before we became addicted and since we have been using have separated us from God. Because of this, when we began our recovery program we felt nothing but anger, abandonment and criticism from the god in our heads. The God we thought we knew about was, in reality, a mixture of information and opinions we had collected from others and formed ourselves.

The second obstacle to Step # 2 is the matter of sanity. Nobody wants to be considered insane.
It is true that extended use of drugs and/or alcohol can lead to personality changes and mental illness, sanity referred to in Step # 2 comes from Webster's New World Dictionary: "Soundness of judgment."
Using our drug of choice, in spite of the damage it is doing in our lives, is not using sound judgment. The insanity of addiction is that we continue to use in spite of the consequences of our action.

In John 17:3 we read: And this is eternal life--to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. Here is the focal point of the restoration from insanity. It is moving into a relationship with your Higher Power (Jesus Christ). From this place of relationship, you begin anew to learn how to live and have proper healthy relationships with other.

God created us with and awareness of Him and with an inborn desire to have loving relationships.  Somewhere along the way, we allowed these inborn desires to become tainted and instead of growing in them, we supplanted them with our own fleshly desires. Hence our addiction and subsequent destruction that came into our lives.

Key Thought for today: Addictive logic is insane thinking.
Verse for today: Proverbs 14:1 -  The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Today's blog was inspired by teachings from the workbook Conquering Chemical Dependency.

God be with you....
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Message Posted

Message From Saturday ( 4/2) now posted for download or listening to.
Taken from Jude 20-21, we take a look at the type of foundation we are building on in pursuit of this life beyond drugs and/ or alcohol.

Feel free to download and pass on to others if you so desire.
God on you...
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WIND coming to Rapha / April 23rd--- 6 p.m.



Nori, Barbie, Lizzie and Cynthia are back in the states after living in Japan for an extended period of time.
They will be coming to Rapha on April 23rd (Saturday) sharing their music and stories.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. /
Don't miss it!

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God is------

God is great....
God is good....
God is love.....
God is whatever I am not. He fills the emptiness within me. Where I am weak, He is strong. Where I am in fear, He is peace. God is!
He told Moses His name was I AM.
Not I WAS, looking to the past.
Not I SHALL BE, looking to the future.
But I AM...
Right here.
Right now.
At this moment, God is.

His name is an open ended name.
Whatever it is we need God to be, can be inserted into His name--I AM.
What is I need today?
Strength.
God says, "I AM strength."
I need healing today.
God says, "I AM healing."
When I think of God in this manner, I am overcome by His heart for His creation.
I can only imagine a heart that full of love and mercy and what it must be like for Him to watch His creation turn its back on  Him. Blaspheme His name. Reject His love. Rail against His directions. Yet in all of this, He continues to love.

At some point in the future, the "I AM" God will insert his own words....."I AM finished."
He will turn to His son, Jesus, and proclaim, "Go and get Your Bride!"
Jesus will bring unto Himself, all believers assembled as His Bride.
"I AM pleased!" will be the declaration at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
I try an imagine what life will look like after we are translated to be with Jesus.
I'm not so sure that any level of my own imagination or thought could do justice to what Jesus has prepared for us.

God be with you.....
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Signs..Signs....Every Where Are Signs....

Mark 16:20
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen
We seem to be a sign seeking generation.
Signs in the sky.
Signs in nature.
Signs in music.
Signs in the dreams of men and women.
Signs coming forth at every turn and prophetic words being spoken at an unprecedented rate.

But here in Mark 16 we read where the Lord confirmed or backed up the truth of the preaching of His word with signs.
What signs?
Well, what would be the most incredible sign we could ever hope to see or be a witness to?
Would it not be a life that has been touched and changed by the power of the Holy Spirit of God Almighty?
I think maybe it would.
A life that displayed every wrong thing concerning sin and the kingdom of darkness (a.k.a Satan's domain) now full of life and light and walking in the newness of being born again. Who could dispute such a sign? No one. Oh, they might argue and rail with such words as, "this person is only faking it. They haven't really changed." But the testimony of one who has been saved is beyond reproach. Proven by the work of the Holy Spirit.

The real truth of whether a person has changed or not is found in the heart. I have had many who came forward to be saved and to them such a decision was no more than a mental exercise. There wasn't any remorse for their sin. No change in the direction there life was headed in. No evidence of brokeness or a contrite heart. After an extended time, there was o evidence of a turning around of will and life under the direction of the Holy Spirit, that brings a new nature and character. II Corinthians 5:17 reads; Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things become new.

Did you catch that? Any man be in Christ....looking to Christ for life, he (the one who has been saved) is a new creature. A new creature with a new nature. A new creature with a new life. My old way of life is dead, and it has been replaced with one that Jesus wants to teach me how to live.

The one thing that has amazed all the years I have been a Christian is how I keep learning more and more about myself as I learn more and more about Jesus. As I seek Jesus daily, I am put in situations and circumstances that reveal more of my character. It is an ongoing process. I was saved yesterday----I am being saved today----I will be saved tomorrow. The initial commitment was made when I surrendered my life to Christ and made Him Lord over me. Now, I get to learn how to live this new life daily. It's a kind of  "on -the-job-training" if you will. Maybe that is why the Apostle Paul said we were to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

I am not the same man (in my nature and world view) that I was 20 years ago. It has nothing to do with society or my environment, but has everything to do with God at work in me.
Let God have his way in you today, that we may all grow into the unity of faith.
Love deeply today....
Speak truthfully today...
Pray powerfully today....
Walk faithfully today.....

God be with you....
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Excuse Me Officer...It Seemed Like the Right Thing To Do

I Chronicles 13:4
And all the congregation said that they would do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

This passage concerns the moving of the Ark of the Covenant (that gold box from Raiders of the Lost Ark) to Jerusalem. The people said...."Hmmmm! It seems okey dokey to me. Lets do it." The moving wasn't the bad part. It was the way the people decided to transport the Ark. Their way cost a man his life. Well, that doesn't sound fair. Truth be known, God doesn't deal in fairness, especially when it is the mind of sinful man that is deciding what is fair and what isn't.

I only want "fair" when it benefits me.
I only want "fair" when I don't get my way.
I only want "fair" when it is something I really want.
Well, I have learned that God has a definite plan and way to approach Him.
Just like the people in the I Chronicles passage, they decided on how they would approach God and it cost them.
They took it upon themselves to act in a manner that was contrary to the way God had given in Scripture.
On the surface, it looked like a good deed. "Let's bring the Ark back to Jerusalem!" But it was the way they brought the Ark back. It wasn't the way God had laid out for the Ark to be transported. Their selfishness and lack of respect for God cost a man his life. As the Ark was placed on a cart and was being take back to the city, one of the oxen stumbled and the Ark shifted. A man named Uzza reached out to steady the Ark and when he touched it, he died.

How much of what I do are things that seem "right" in my own eyes but are an offense to God. I can even do religious deeds that have no use or be blessed by God. Why? Because I did not consult God on whether or not He wanted me to do it. I heard Dudley Hall say, "How would you like to spend your whole life baking apple pies for God, only to discover that God doesn't like apple pie." It would be a wasted effort.
I don't want to waste myself on things that aren't pleasing to God. I don't want to fall prey to only doing what "seems right in my own eyes." I want to be obedient and listen for God's instruction and they carry it out.

Sure do hope I learn and grow up before I grow older.
Never forget---God is love. Not that God loves, or God created love....God is, by His very nature, love. And for this reason, His heart is for us. He desires to communicate His will to us. Not only that, beyond the communication, He desires to empower us to carry out that will. So don't waste yourself on your own soulish nature. Spend your energy listening for God. Then follow!

God on you....
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The More Things Change...The More They Stay The Same

Proverbs 23:29-35
Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don't let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent. It stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, "They hit me, but I didn't feel it. I didn't even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can have another drink?"

We are indeed "walking" dead men and women outside of a life with Christ.
When we live according to the sinful nature, we gravitate toward the things that feed that sin appetite.
We think that real life is found in carrying out our desires and wishes under the cover of darkness.
I am in need of being saved and restored by a Power greater than myself: That would be Jesus.
I am in need of coming to the place of being totally in touch with my own lack of power: Wheather that power be found in my own self will or my own physical strength, I lack the capability to put my life back in order.

I see so many who disdain the instruction and healing that is found in the Twelve Steps.
They (as the big books states) look for an easier softer way. As if their own perception will pick up on something.......some way..........some new thought that no one else has ever considered that will eliminate the need to follow a few simple instructions in order to live life under the direction of "SELF". This path has, and always will, lead to failure and relapse. That may sound harsh and unloving, but I am merely stating what I know to be true. Just as I told you to not touch the eye of an electric stove when it was on because it would burn you. The addictive mind says, "It won't burn me because I have no intention of touching for that long." Touch it and the outcome is what I predicted. You get burned.

I guess I am amazed at the power of the human mind and will especially when it is under the influence of sin. It will seek out any way what so ever to remain in control. It will even get super religious in order to survive. But only through submission to God and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior will break the power of in. Only the blood of Jesus will break the penalty of sin. And only an ongoing relationship with Jesus will destroy the future of sin in your life.

I don't have the all the answers.
I'm not sure I even have some answers.
But I do know this.
Jesus is the way ......the truth.....and the life. Not some life. Not a life. Not one of many different types of life. Jesus is THE life.
Chew on this.....

God on you...
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Please Pray

My brother-in-law, Don Campbell, has lost vision in one of his eyes. He is going to the doctor this morning to have this checked out. It may require surgery and we need pray that God would provide a means for this surgery.

Don pastors a church in Gurley, Alabama and travels around the country preaching and sharing at county fairs and flea markets. God has used Don and his family in a mighty way.

Thanks...
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Recap From the Weekend

Visitation Saturday at Rapha was one of the better one. Weather was perfect. It was the first time this year that the families could be outside enjoying the surroundings. People were fishing and playing horseshoes. Some just sat in the shade of the trees sharing conversation and hopes and dreams of a better life.
Kids chased after the ducks and geese and our 9 new additions to our ducks were the hit of the day. Nine little ducks all following hard after their momma.

Saturday night was...................well.........it was good.
I never know what to expect going on. Sometimes I feel like the music I've chosen for the worship time isn't right, but God uses it anyway. Maybe I have a doubt about a particular song, but God comes and the room is alive with worship. That's the way it was last night. It was easy to worship, easy to play, and there was a freedom in the room.

We started off with a version of Some Kind Of Wonderful. A bright tune that speaks of our change of heart from loving the the things of this world to a new life loving Jesus. Wayne Wimpee sang and cut loose with his harmonica which really talks to the spirits of the men who are there on Saturday night.

Next was a Vineyard song, I Believe. A declaration of our beliefs and the foundation for our new life....Jesus Christ. We moved into I'm A Believer, The old Monkee's song. "Then I saw His face...now I'm a believer.....
This really brought the guys up and into it. We closed out the worship set with No Other. There is no other love like you O'Lord. You are the reason for life and you offer it freely to all who would receive. There was a time at the end where Debbie began to sing in the Spirit. Whenever she does this, it always ushers in the presence of the Lord to an even greater degree. I am always amazed at how God comes to fill up the music.

The message was from Jude:20 -  But you, dear friends, build yourselves up (lay your foundation) in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Starting with the basic premise of recovery. You are rebuilding your life. In order to do that, you have to remove all the rubble from your past. From there you lay a foundation, being Jesus Christ. Everything begins there...our belief, our faith, our hope in that Jesus is who He claims to be and will do in us what He claims He will do.

Barry Hooks came up after I finished teaching and brought everything full circle by reading from the Big Book of AA (We claim that the Bible is the "BIGGER" book). During the ministry time that followed, several men acknoledged their need to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. There was much prayer and many tears, but these were tears of joy and not guilt ladened. Tears of being set free.

Once again, as I closed the door to the chapel after everyone had left, I took one last look into the room and asked myself the same question I have asked after every meeting...."How are you gonna top this, Lord?" You know what?
He will.

God on you...
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I'll try to get the message up in the I-pod section of this blog as soon as possible.
I am going to try to post some of the music also, but I will not let it remain indefinitely. We will sway it out.
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Video

If you have been around the Greene Street Letters for any time, you'll discover that every Saturday is video day. I try to find songs and teachings that have spoken to me and refreshed me. This weeks video is an offering from Chuck Girard, former lead singer of LOVE SONG. Love Song was one of the premiere groups that came out of the Jesus People movement back in the 60's. LAY YOUR BURDENS DOWN. What is it that is found in the hearts of men and women that refuse to release burdens and lay them down? Pride? Not wanting to admit we are all in need of help? What ever it is , it is the very thing that cripple and hinders us from moving on in Christ. Matthew 11:28 Jesus commands (let me rephrase that....Jesus encourages) us to "Come to Him...all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Rest..... The state of living without struggle. Without effort. Without strain. To be at peace. To be still. To be safe. Why would we reject such an invitation? Today, Saturday April 2nd.....................whatever time it is you read this posting......lay your burdens down and experience the grace of God. God on you..... mb

Friday, April 1, 2011

1000th Posting

"Give us this day our daily lifestyle...forgive those who seek to take it from us for Yours is the Kingdom and Power and Glory to keep us in the lifestyle we are accustom to."

We would never pray such a prayer out loud.
We would never be as blunt and open as the words I have written here, but let me confess to you that this was a prayer I prayed for 2 years. Oh I didn't use those words, I couched them in religious terms and made them sound really well. But when I was left to my own thoughts and my own heart, God uncovered me for what I was. A selfish man. I had attained a certain level and lifestyle and had convinced myself that it was God who was blessing me. Little did I know or understand that God really didn't  have an interest in my lifestyle. He was more concerned with my maturity and character development. I ear that we cast God in places that He has no interest in going.


I hear many stories today from many different people about fear of the future. Fear of economic collapse. Fear that a level of lifestyle will be affected by the events we see playing out around us today. This fear causes people to cower and withdraw from God. Oh they don't withdraw their presence, they continue to go to church and worship. But they withdraw their tithes and offerings from God. They sing about the greatness of God and yet doubt that He truly will give them their "Daily Bread." This is not time to be tight- fisted with God. Now is the time to lean into Him and acknowledge Him as the supplier of our needs. Either the words of Scripture are true, or they are not.

I understand the fear.
I understand the selfishness that people go through.
But I also have been brought to the place of learning to trust God in everything.
Houses are just houses....
Cars are just cars.....
Things are just things...
But the love and presence of God is eternal and I wish not for Him to turn from me because of my doubt and fear and love of the world. I want to learn to love God more than anything else. This is where real life begins.

Life with God is not free from pain.
Pain is a part of life and God wants to help us.
He will either:
1.) Heal you from it.
2.) Take you out of it.
3.) Allow you to walk through it so you can learn.
No one really wants to learn life lessons by going through pain, but this is the place we can see God unlike any other. I don't run looking for pain, but I don't want to run away either. I want to hold God's hand tighter and simply follow Him.

In October of 2003, God spoke to me about a time of shaking that was coming in which everything that we possessed that wasn't from His hand would be destroyed. All that would be left would be the eternal things. I'm not so sure that lifestyle may, in fact, be one of the things God is shaking. People are trying to maintain a lifestyle that is self-centered and not from God. We want God to bless us in such a way that we can maintain this lifestyle but I don't really believe that this is part of God's plan.

Call me a doom and gloom nay Sayer.
That's o.k.
I think many have lost their love for heaven and have fallen in love with life here on planet earth.
The sweet by and by has become home here an now.
My home is not this planet and I don't not look for fulfillment here, but hold unswervingly to the hope of glory that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. One day, whether because Jesus comes to get me or I pass over by death, I will stand changed. I long for that day. I yearn for that day. This world has nothing to offer me. As a friend of my mine said so eloquently in a song he wrote....."So I'm saying, "Good by world."

God on you.....
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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 ...