Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Audio Message 7/28/12 - The Church@Rapha

WAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

It's in the air...you can feel it.
It's everywhere, do you feel it?
Is it a subtle thought that follows us around all day, looking to unlock the hidden anger that dwells within?
Does it come forth at the least little thing that happens? That women in the express check out that has 21 items in her cart, knowing full well that you're only suppose to have 20. That tattooed, pierced punk who cut you off in traffic this morning and gave you the one finger salute. Sometimes i feel like Popeye. "That's all I can stands...I can't stands no more!" But that is the problem isn't it? This attitude and anger that wants to come out.


I keep going back to a truth that I read in Scripture.
God gives us a clear picture of the nature of humanity that will be revealed in what He refers to as "THE LAST DAYS."

Are we living in the last days? Good question. In fact people have been asking that question since Jesus departed good ol' planet Earth. "Are we living in the last days?"
Well, as John Wimber use to put it..."I don't know if we're living in the last days or not. But I know we're "last-er" than we've ever been." That was a sly way of saying,"Yes! My friend. We are truly living in the last days."

II Timothy 3 reads that In the last days, there will be difficult times. If you do a word study, you'll find that the word difficult is actually translated as being stressful. In other words, the events and situations and circumstances that arise as we draw closer to the time of Jesus' return will be of such magnitude, that our real hearts, or nature, will be revealed. Now, if you keep reading in II Timothy 3, you'll see a list character defects that are openly rampant in our society today. Usually when I touch on such things as character defects, someone will reply..."But Michael....people have always possessed such defects, have they not?" They have..... but never in my lifetime have I seen such an open display of them. Never in my lifetime have I seen such heartily approval of such defects as being of value to a person.  In other words, God's plan has included all along an uncovering of the hearts of humanity to reveal our need for Jesus more than ever.

Those of us who are followers of Jesus should not be surprised by the attacks against our beliefs. Jesus told us that we would be hated because He was hated. Such things get me riled up sometimes.....the intolerance...the vicious words against Jesus....but this "riling" up is my flesh. I keep hearing the words...."Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you........Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." I still have a lot of growing up to do.

The list of character defects in II Timothy 3:2 begins with People will love only themselves and their money. Love of self cannot co-habitate with the love for God. The two cannot live together in harmony, for love of self demands to have its way. The love for God demands that self be sacrificed. That is the hard part of working the Third Step of the Twelve Steps. Turning our will....the very heart of who we are...the part that demands allegiance to whatever desire and lusts come forth. No room for two kings to rule....the heart is ruled by "Self" until it is turned over to the care of God.
Take time to go down the list of character defects in II Timothy 3, and get real honest with yourself. Ask yourself, "Do I see any of them in me?" If the answer is yes, then take the time to repent and turn away from such attitudes and behaviors. Ask God to take this defect from you and then allow His Holy Spirit to transform you.
It's all a part of the journey....change!
It's all a part of growing up.....change!
It is about being born again.....change!
Hey.....let the change happen now, today...this minute.
I promise you won't regret it.


God on you....
mb

Monday, July 30, 2012

Slow Down thar' Podner!


Isaiah 41:10
(God Speaking)....
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you."
"Do not be dismayed, for I am your God."
"I will strengthen you."
"I will help you."
"I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."


Pretty strong words if they can't be backed up.
Bold statements unless the one giving them isn't up to the task.
No matter what might seek to unnerve you and cause you to panic, God says that we are to not be afraid. Why? Because He is with us. Just the sheer presence of God is the place where I find peace. Now considering that according to Acts 2, if I have been saved (born again or whatever the term du'jour is) then the presence of God is not only all around me, but His Holy Spirit lives in me. I am not to be afraid.

He tells me to not be discouraged. Discouragement usually comes to us when things don't go our way or turn out the way we want them to. Another vehicle for discouragement is when I become impatient. It's not that God isn't working in my life...........
It's that He isn't working as fast as I would like Him to.

His schedule and my schedule do not coincide.
I'm into microwaving.....
And God's into marinading. Slow cooking!
What reason does God give me to not be discouraged? He says that "He is my God!" Sometimes I think the name "God" has lost something in the minds of people. That simple three letter word...G-O-D, reveals the character and nature of the one who created everything I can see, touch, taste, smell or hear. Now this same being, God, wants to be my God. In other words, at the heart of the matter is relationship. It isnt' about religion...it's all about relationship.

He says that He will strengthen me.
Why would He say that unless I am weak.

The heart of the Twelve Steps is Power/Strength to do something that you cannot do for yourself. God says I will give you the strength necessary to move above and beyond sin/addiction. To walk in places I never could in my own ability and strength. He gives me the Peter-walking-on-the-sea kind of strength. Reason and rationalization stakes claims that it's impossible, but God who empowers makes it possible. That's my God!

"I Will Help You!" Once again God's heart is the restoration and complete salvation of those who turn to Him and accept His free gift of eternal life.
This statement, I will help you, is very broad and not well defined, but it does contain something that I love about God. The statement could be seen as being open-ended. By that, I mean that you could insert what ever you needed help with at the end of the statement. If you need to break free of your addiction today....then God says, "I Will Help You Break Free Of Your Addiction Today."

Last, but certainly not least, is the phrase, "I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."
God will help me stand.....God will help me to overcome....God will help me to outlast whatever comes against me. I will stand and, according to Ephesians 6:13...."Having done all, stand!" Sometimes the greatest victory comes from simply not giving up, but leaning on and being supported by the uplifting hand of God.

I guess if I had to sum up today's posting, it would be found in Step #11
We sought through prayer and meditation
to improve our conscious contact with God,
praying only for knowledge of his will for us
and the power to carry it out.

Amen...and amen!

God on you...
mb

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Food For Thought



Lot's of comments about yesterday's posting. Or, as some put it, lack of posting.
I had a reason for the way yesterday's posting went down.
It had been on my heart for sometime, and I had even "seen" it while praying a few day ago. Of course the voices in my mind began to whisper to me."That's crazy....what purpose would it serve?" Let me try to share with you what the posting was all about.

It seems to me that sexual sin of ever shape, form or fashion...is off limits when it comes to God. Oh, we're all up in Jesus, and going to Bible studies is where it's at. But don't let God get down in my business when it comes to sex. That's a hands off topic...taboo....no body's business but mine. The world has planted a flag when it comes to sex and no one or no thing has the right to say what is right or what is wrong.

If I had gone on this blog and begin to write about my views of sexual sin and what the Bible says is acceptable and what isn't...I would have been justified in doing so. Where my belief's lie, the Bible is the final authority, so it truly wouldn't be me espousing my thoughts or my views, it would be a written account of what God says is right and what is wrong.I felt that the simple truth that God says Sexual sin is wrong was what I was suppose to present. God's view, not mine.

Also....I don't have a pick and choose mentality when it comes to sexual sin. Sin is sin....one isn't worse than the other. Yet the church seems to want to rant against one while excusing many others. I mean, let's get real honest here, can we? The greatest sin that permeates the church is pornography. I have heard it referred to as the "secret" sin of the church. Yet you don't hear much said or preached about it. Men, and women, who will be in church today are bound up in this secret sin, yet they will stand and sing "Victory in Jesus". Kind of ironic isn't it? God says, "Stop it!"

By simply stating God's view yesterday..."Stop it" I hoped that everyone who read it would give thought to what was written. There was some great truth there in those two words..."Stop it". God does hate sexual sin. God hates all sin. But standing right next to the hatred He has for sin, is His heart of compassion and love. His desire is that those who are trapped or bound up in sexual sin (not to mention being bound up by sin period) would turn to Him and receive the healing, forgiveness and restoration that only can give.

Our nation has become a people who follow the Judges 21:25 concept. In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
well, guess what? We of the United States of America, do not have a King. We kicked our King out of the schools back in the early
'60's when we said you could no longer talk to Him (Prayer). We kicked our king to the curb back in the 70's when we said that it was o.k. to shed the blood of the innocent (Abortion). Every day the name of God is pushed farther and farther out of the collective conscience of our nation. We have become so tolerant that if you dare speak out against this view, you are labeled a fanatic, a zealot, a nutjob. You see the one thing we forget is that it doesn't matter what seems right to me or you.....God is the final authority. He has declared right and wrong.....Holy or profane...
I don't get to make that call.
You don't get to make that call.
This rests in the hands of God.

The photo at the top of this posting is a rendering of Jesus clearing the Temple of the all the money changers and sellers of doves and lambs. This was His Father's House....A place of prayer and sacrifice. The world had pushed it's way into the Temple and was plying it's wares there among the Holy things of God. This was more than Jesus could bear. He set about to make a whip of chords and then, like a mad man, ran everyone out. I do not think this is a "Jesus" we often like to thing about. IF Jesus showed up at church this morning would he join in with the worship, or would his anger be kindled by the excusing of sin sitting and worshipping among that which was Holy? Would He drive out those who had secretly brought their sin into His presence and refused to repent and change? Would He grow angry over the mixing of the Holy and the profane? Maybe I have taken this thought too far.
Scripture says that it's the kindness of God that leads to repentance. But it truly is the anger of God that is aroused when blatant sin is held onto and pride rises up within a person and proclaims.."I will not surrender this sin!"
God help us all.
May we ask for sin to be revealed in our own lives.
May we fall to our knees, confessing and repenting of sin.
May we accept the healing rain of Jesus' forgiveness to cleanse us from all iniquity.

God on you....
mb

Friday, July 27, 2012

Latest UpDate....Keep Praying.

Just got word from the family that there have been some complications post surgery for Ella Grace. They are going to have to redo surgery next week in order to take care of the condition she suffers from. I don't know all the details but it involves a little more extensive surgery.
Please do not stop praying for Ella Grace and her family.....

Thanks....
Michael Bynum

Jump And Shout...Let It All Out!

Just got word from the family....Ella Grace came through the heart surgery with flying colors.
God is good....
Thanks to everyone for praying.....

God on you.....
mb

Audio Message From Saturday NIght




Latest message from Saturday Night: "IT IS FINISHED!"

The "Visitor"


Couldn't sleep....Tossed and turned....Thoughts chased my dreams away and kept me from the sleep I needed. Arising from my bed, I slipped on my house shoes and quietly closed the bedroom door so as not to wake my wife. I lumbered down the hall to the living room. In my head, I could here my wife's voice...."Pick up your feet...your shuffling like an old man." It always made me laugh when she said such things. But tonight, I was feeling every one of my years.
Moonlight through the curtains invited me to step outside and join the night. I quietly unlocked the front door and stepped out into the darkness. Greene Street. I do love this community.

Twenty-nine years we have lived on Greene Street. My wife and I raised our sons here, as did my neighbors with their children. Time has a way of moving on and now Greene Street has become the street of grand parents and great grand parents. In other words, those of us who call Greene Street home have grown older and hopefully somewhat wiser. Didn't feel very wise tonight. Felt everyone of my sixty-one years. You know sometimes you tell yourself that age doesn't matter. As we like to say,"its is just a number, but tonight that "number"  covered me like an old overcoat. Too big, too worn out...and extra heavy.I was feeling the weight of 61 years to the max.

"How did I get to this place?" I asked myself. The world has changed and moved on, I have simply gotten older. I find that my thoughts have been passed on by younger more nimble minds. "Humph! Youth truly is wasted on the young." Even as those words came out in hushed tones, I knew all too well that I was feeling my age and I didn't like it one bit.
It was what it was and nothing was going to change it.

As I stood there mumbling in the dark, I heard the sound of footsteps on the street. "Who would be out this time of night....walking?" Slowly, deliberately, the steps came up from the direction of Case Avenue. As I felt a slight breeze stir, along with the steps I heard the sound of someone softly whistling. "What was that song?" I had heard it before. Very familiar.....what was that song?  Then I suddenly realized who was headed my way. The song? This Is My Father's World. A smile broke over my face and I felt a very familiar presence as the "visitor" stopped at the end of my drive way.

My first encounter with the "visitor" happened back in 1995. Thinkng back over the times I had met the "visitor" it seemed as though he only showed up when I was at my worst. I now know that to not be true, but it seemed like it at the time. Back in 95, I was contemplating ending it all....had it all planned out. The "visitor" came out of nowhere to sit on the bench next to me. Never saying a word, he sat there quiet, focused on feeding the ducks. Engaging me in what seemed like small talk, the "visitor" lovingly lead me to put away the foolishness of taking my own life. He gave me hope and the assurance that life was truly worth living. Now here he was walking up my street.

The whistling stopped as did the "visitor"...right in front of my house. He slowly turned and our eyes met. "How have you been?" He asked. I knew it was no use to lie to him, he already knew the answer. "You know, don't you?" I replied. "Sure I do...just wanted you to say it so you could hear it for yourself." I chuckled and moved my slppered foot back and forth over the Monkey grass at the edge of the driveway. "Good to see you," I replied. Wondered what happened since I last saw you."
"Lot's to take care of. People to see. Prayers to answer. You do know that I stop by your house from time to time to check up on you, don't you?" I wasn't sure but I had guessed as much. "I wanted to believe that you still kept tabs, but time has a way of changing the way a person thinks and feels." Looking at me with eyes that seem to peel away every hidden thing in my soul, he asked, "So are you struggling with getting older? Or are you just feeling sorry for yourself?" Suddenly I felt like a little boy who'd gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar."I guess I was feeling sorry for myself."


"Feel like you have no purpose or use do you?"
Embarrassed, I replied, "Yep! That's me."

"Feel like life is going by at a million miles a hour, and you're on a bicycle trying to keep up?" Once again...busted...I mumbled, "Yep! That's me."
"You're missing the point. The point is, my Father isn't finished with you. Didn't he make that clear last year when you had your heart attack? Remember how scared you were, lying there in that hospital bed? What did my Father do? He gave you a promise that came to you in Psalm 91.....remember what it said?" Of course I did, how could I forget.

My family had been with me and I had asked them to go home to rest, assuring them I would be alright. I lay there in that room with my thoughts and prayers, with the events of the day rolling around in my brain, wondering if this was going to be my last day or not. Taking my Bible out I looked for some comfort in the Scripture. Suddenly my eyes fell to Verse 16 of Psalm 91.....With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation. I knew that this was God speaking to me, telling me that He had me and my time wasn't up....yet. I remember the flood of peace that came over my thoughts, my mind and my body. The worry and fear that was trying to take me vanished like mist in a morning sun.
I was going to be o.k.

The "visitor" walked up my drive way and stood next me, placing his arm around my shoulder. "Your time isn't up and you still have much to do for the Kingdom." As he spoke those words, my mind was suddenly flooded with the faces of people that still needed to hear the good news that there was hope for those in sin/addiction. It was as if I could hear every voice of every person in our town, crying out to God for help. Voices of desperation filled my mind and heart. "Oh God, if you are really there...." "Jesus! Help me!"......" "I can't go on....I'm going to end it all..." Vocie after voice rose up inside my thoughts. 
It was more than I could bear....I almost crumbled to my knees, but stronger hands than mine lifted me up. "How do you do it? I asked. "How do you deal with all the pain and hurt..the depression and the darkness that seems to be mounting at every turn?" The "visitor" leaned into me and whispered...."One life at a time!" It suddenly dawned on me that those of us who claimed to be believers or followers of the "visitor"....are truly his arms, legs and voices that reach out to those in need. Smiling, the "visitor" looked deep into my eyes and said, "There is no age limit in my Father's kingdom. You are needed and commissioned to tell others about the love and salvation available to all those who are crying out. My Father will give you the strength and the wisdom needed to carry out such a task."

As I stood there, I was made painfully aware that I had allowed my focus to be drawn to things that didn't really matter. I had allowed myself to become the center of my own little world.So what if I'm not "with it" or "hip" or whatever term young people use today. I have a story to share.
It's more than words.....
It is a Power that can actually change a person's life. A Power that has a name...Jesus Christ.
And me......

The man who is sixty-one years old....
Grand Father.....
Husband......
Has been entrusted with the keys to the Kingdom of God.

"Who knows. Maybe I can put down my story on the Internet. Maybe in a blog. What would I call it? Would anyone read it?" Too many questions were coming too fast now. The "visitor" broke into laughter...."Easy does it. It will come. Be patient"
"So you think I could write something that might make a difference, do you? How 'bout I call it The Greene Street Letters?" The "visitor" had slowly made his way out to the street, when he turned around.
Tilting his head at a slight angle, he smiled....."I like that....The Greene Street Letters."

As I stood there renewed and once again filled with hope....the steps of the "visitor" grew faint as he moved out into the darkness. But I could hear the words lifting on a night breeze as he sang....."This is my Fathers world...and to my listening ears....all nature sings and around me rings...the music of the spheres."

It is HIS world.
I am a part of it, and I have a story to tell.....

God on you....
mb
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Back in 1994 when The Greene Street Letters was first being formulated and sent out, I began to write about THE "Visitor". I haven't visited this particular place in a while and felt lead to update the story. I hope that you enjoyed it.
Michael Bynum

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Do You Have Happy Feet?


Life is a journey...
Wow! Profound isn't it.
Life is a journey...
How many times has that phrase been used?
How many times have we heard that colorful metaphor?
Life is a journey.

Yet, it truly is.
It is an assimilation of days, of events and people that we meet, each one shaping us and forming us along the way.
Life is a journey.
Sometimes the journey is like visiting an amusement park. Everything seems surreal and there is laughter and joy.

Sometimes the journey is like taking a wrong turn and finding yourself in unfamiliar territory. Not sure of where you are going or how to find your way back to the path. People aren't friendly and they look at you with eyes that seem to say, "beware! You are not welcomed here."

There is something else to life that each of us must come to grips with.
Life is short.
I'm not old...at lest not in my mind.
I'm not young.....sometimes my mind tries to fool me on this one.

I'm 60 and 3/4's.
I've started to have thoughts of retirement. Do you know how strange that is?
Retirement was always for old people. Retirement was what my Mom and Dad did. But those thoughts have now become a part of my daily routine. Will I act on those thoughts? Probably not. No where in Scripture do I read where God says, "O.k. boys and girls....thou shalt retire." I think maybe I'll keep at what He has called me to do. But, none the less, life is short.


I was reading in Ecclesiastes this morning and was taken by what I read.

Ecclesiastes 12:1-2
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come.
And the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them".

While the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are not darkened. And the clouds do not return after the rain.

I think maybe the greatest thing I could ever accomplish during my limited engagement here on planet Earth, is to fall in love with Jesus and tell those around me about this relationship. Oh we can boil theology down all we want to. Dissect the Greek and the Hebrew..... Look at what tense words were written in....bandy about what we believe truth really is. But in the end, it is still boils down to God calling me to be a person who loves.
A person who loves Him.
A person who loves those who love Him.
And a person who loves those who don't love Him.

All along the way, I share my story about what God has done to me.
How he has changed me and shown me what my true purpose is.
The last part of Ecclesiastes 12 reads:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments.
For this is man's all.
For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.


Jesus said that the whole of the law rested on two things.
Love Him...with everything in us...
Love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Why do I make this so hard?
I guess because even after 60 and 3/4 years....

I'm still learning how to love.
Maybe I'll get it right one day before I depart.


God on you....
mb

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Selfish.....Not Shell Fish....

"How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, ' I WILL ascend into heaven. I WILL exalt my throne above the stars of God. I WILL sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north. I WILL ascend above the heights of the cloud. I WILL be like the Most High.' "  Isaiah 14:12-14

Well, I will say that we are a selfish bunch, and that we come by it naturally. Or should I say "unnaturally." Here in the verses of Isaiah, we see the very heart of the Devil. We see his agenda that was born in his heart that caused him to be cast out of heaven by God. He allowed a selfish nature to rise above the call God had created for him, and rather than submit, the Devil acted on the thoughts and feelings that rose up. It was what you and I would call "SELFISHNESS." I like to think of it as the Devil had an "I" problem. He couldn't see anything but himself.  This is the very heart of addiction.....a life steeped in selfishness.

From time to time, in class I will ask, "Why did you keep using even though you knew the outcome was going to be bad?" I will get different answers such as......."I couldn't stop"......or "I was too far gone in my addiction".............I've even got "I was more afraid of detoxing that the consequences of my using." But the one that, to me, reveals the very darkness of what I'm writing about this morning, is when someone will say....."I like the way it made me feel." Sounds like a simple answer but the truth it uncovers is at the very heart of our sin nature.

Think about that statement.
"I like the way it makes me feel."
Never mind that I have destroyed my family through my using.....
"I like the way it makes me feel."
Never mind that my family has spent a fortune on bailing me out of jail and paying legal fees....
"I like the way it makes me feel."
Never mind that my entire family has put their lives on hold to deal with me and addiction......
"I like the way it makes me feel."

This is the very heart of selfishness.
A heart that exists in this condition is far removed from God.
In fact, such a heart has become god. It demands certain things and the body responds. We become "god" in our own existence. 

In the Isaiah passage, the Devil allows his own selfish nature to take over and driven by it seeks to overthrow God and His rule. Sitting on this side of the story we can see the folly and stupidity in such thinking, yet this kind of reasoning was what was brought to the woman and man in the garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:3
For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God......
No longer will I have to look outside myself for answers or direction. I am now like God! If I am like God....I have no need for God. I have become self-centered. As I operate from this position, all my thoughts.........all my desires........all my wants and needs are focused on self. I become selfish. Prime real estate for an addiction to be birthed.
What happens when you run into something that you can't handle? Your selfishness drives you to escape by any means.........in other words.....we begin to use again.

What happens when you are stumped by situations that you find yourself facing? Your selfishness drives you to escape by any means.........we turn to using.
We behave this way so frequently that we have created a pattern of behavior that becomes the channel through which we operate every time something hard or bad comes along.

Selfishness!

God's infinite love draws me away from looking at myself. If I remained focused on myself, I will not find any answers or solutions..........I am the problem. When my attention is focused on God, He begins to work on me, changing me and my selfishness. He turns me outward in order that I may help others.

By helping others........
By taking the message of redemption and restoration to others.....
I am actually saving myself along the way. I become the beneficiary of God's goodness when I stop focusing on myself and look to Him.


Fall in love with Jesus today.
Sounds strange...but it is so simple.
God on you....
mb

 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Call To Prayer

"When we stand before God, the one thing that will jump out at us and embarrass us will be the knowledge of how small our prayers were."  Leonard Ravenhill

Matthew 6:8
.....Because your Father (God) knows exactly what you need even before you ask him.

I am a babe when it comes to prayer.
Oh, I have prayed many a prayer. I have spent hours in prayer, but I feel so inadequate when it comes down to it. Maybe that is the heart of true prayer. A feeling of inadequacy to the point that we turn loose of will and ability and look to our heavenly Father to answer our cry for help.

I have read books on prayer.
I have listened to tapes and Cd's that contained teachings on prayer.
I have been in the presence of some truly great men of God who shared with me their thoughts and understanding on prayer. But the greatest school I've ever attended was when my heart was burdened and I took that burden to God in prayer.
Like I said, "I'm a babe when it comes to understanding what prayer is and how it works." Maybe being a babe isn't a bad thing. Maybe prayer isn't suppose to be understood. Maybe prayer is only supposed to be carried out, to participate in and to see an answer to what you have prayed for.

Prayer, real prayer, seems to have taken a back seat in our society today.
We have become so self-sufficient that we have need of nothing. When we live under that attitude, we loose the perspective about what prayer is truly about. Prayer isn't always going to God, pouring out your heart because you need something. Prayer is the direct line to an open heaven where I can, as it is written in the book of Hebrews, boldly come before the throne of Grace to receive His Mercy. I can bring my petitions and requests to God if I need to, but more than that, I can have direct communication with Him. My access to God is not bound by intellect or socio-economic back ground. My access to God is possible through and by the shed blood of Jesus, who is my Lord and Savior.


Yesterday was a day of prayer.
Last night was a night of prayer.
So many people hurting and afraid.
God laid it on my heart to begin to pray.
I would that you join your prayers with mine.

Please pray for a little girl named Ella Grace.
She is 7 years old and is facing heart surgery this Friday in Birmingham.
Her parents are Heath and Shannon and she has a little brother, Elijah.
For a 7 year old, the prospect of having surgery has to be frightening.
But for the parents of a 7 year old facing heart surgery, it is terrifying.

Pray for God's healing to take place in the life and heart of this little girl.
Pray for the doctor's and staff of the hospital that, under the hand of almighty God, all knowledge and training would be brought to bear to fix this little girls heart.

Even with all doctors and nurses, medicine and hospitals can do, it is still God who heals.

Ella Grace's family are believers and, as such, prayer has already started going up on her behalf, but please add yours if you will.
Let us all be still and see the salvation God will bring on behalf of this little one.

When it comes....when the healing falls upon Ella Grace, then let us be vocal and give thanks to God for his love and mercy...for his grace and healing presence.
I am so grateful that the God I believe in and live for is more than just words in a book. I am thankful that He is still in the business of interjecting himself into our affairs and lives to bring about His kingdom will here on earth.


God on you....
mb


Monday, July 23, 2012

I Walk The Line





Monday gets such a bum rap.....
"It's Monday.......Bummer."
Not so....It just happens to be the second day of the week.
Check your calendar and you'll see that Sunday is the actually the first day.
Think of it.
You get a day off to start the new week...to help you slide back into the routine.
You get the last day of the week off....Saturday.
And the first day of the week off....Monday...

I'm grateful that the Saturday's and Monday's keep rolling by me, that I'm still drawing breath and moving around. Or, as a friend of mine use to say..."I'm glad that I'm still Vertical and Ventilating."
God is good.

To me (now I get to pontificate a bit) life is a matter of balance.
John Wimber, my spiritual mentor, use to say that the best place to stand is in the "radical middle". This was the place of balance where God could use you.
You were not to far to either side. You weren't a spiritual pharisee demanding that everyone toe the line and be all religious, and you weren't loosey goosey in your beliefs so that anything goes.
I think that is why I love the Twelve Steps. They are a place of balance where you can find life.
They bring order to a chaotic life.
They being correction to a life prone to wander and get in trouble.

They bring stability to a life that was once out of control.
Of course, it is the Power behind the steps.....that Power being Jesus Christ.
It's all about balance....


I read a great verse about balance this morning during my quiet time.
Proverbs 30:7-9
"O God, I beg two favors from you before I die. First, help me to never tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ' Who is the Lord?' And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name."

Isn't that cool?
The prayer basically is saying....I want to trust you, Lord. I recognize that left to my own ways, I could get in trouble very easily. I simply want my needs taken care of. If you gave me to much, I know myself very well, and the possibility exists that I would deny you. I also am fully aware that within myself exists this old nature that if poverty came to me, I would fall back into some old ways and start stealing. Help me to find that place of balance where I can simply be satisfied and content.

Notice that it said, "Satisfy my needs."
It doesn't say satisfy my desires.
As I live this life or relationship with Jesus, His desires become my desires. I learn that it's the eternal things of God that brings true satisfaction to my soul. I still have daily needs that have to be met and it is those that I look to God to provide for.
Find the balance in life today.
Find Jesus...(not that He's missing...finding Him is a matter of focusing your thoughts and heart on Him today).
And hey..........
Make it a good Monday!

God on you....
mb

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pea Pod Theology


II Corinthians 4:2
We reject all shameful and underhanded methods (those things which we tend to hide in our hearts). We do not try to trick anyone and we do not distort the Word of God.


Open me up, Lord!
Let me pray the world's most dangerous prayer!
"Father....right now, here, today........do not let me get away with anything. Uncover me at every turn."
Like that pea pod in the picture above, I desire to be open. As long as the pod is closed, you never truly know what you have (as far as the quality of pea). Crack that bad boy open and then you can see what is inside. I think I'd rather live in openness than to have God "Crack" me open.

Why is it we desire to keep things hidden from others?
In one sense, we even believe that we are keeping our attitudes and behaviors hidden from God's sight. Is that dumb or what? God sees beyond any ability I think I might have to hide things from Him. This behavior comes as a result of the old "sin" nature seeking to have it's way. Isn't it weird the way we try and compartmentalize our lives. "I'll have this little box here for God and church, for looking religious and for phrases and words I can use so that others will see me as being very spiritual." "These other boxes are for my addiction....my pornography....my swearing.....my lusting....etc.....etc....
We try and maintain all the boxes, yet all the while we live a life of deception. Ourselves being the one most deceived.


One of the saying associated with recovery is "We're only as sick as our secrets." In other words, recovery is built upon the fact of being truthful. Of living a life of openness and transparency. I have nothing to hide, so ask me any question you want to, I'll answer it truthfully.
I don't know about you, but it takes a great deal of energy to maintain a life of lies. You're always propping up something with a lie. Then you have to tell another lie to sustain the first one. You tell so many lies, trying to keep things hidden, that you forget where the truth begins and the lies end. So much simpler to live in the light of truth.


II John 1:4 reads: How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them "living in the truth" just as we have been commanded by the Father. living in the truth! What happens if you flip that phrase around and read the opposite?  If to live is found in truth, then those who do not allow the truth of God to manifested in their own lives are dying outside of the truth. Not physical death, but spiritual death. The kind of death that carries with it an eternal judgement that will remove you from the presence and promise of God and place you in a place of great torment and agony. I'm not the smartest guy in the room, but I think I want no part of that.

Living in the truth begins with an acknowledgement that we are powerless and our lives reflect this.
Recognizing that I am powerless and the evidence stacking up in front of me, is that my life has become unmanageable. My decisions are not very good and they are covered and fueled by lies and deception. I cannot change the course my life has taken.
Realizing that I am powerless and that my only hope is to find a POWER greater than myself, I begin to search for such POWER. My friend, let me save you some effort...........look to Jesus Christ. He is the HIGHER POWER. He alone possesses the ability to life you up above your old life and give you purpose and POWER to live a new life.
If such things were not so, I would never write about them.
If such things were not so, I would not be living the life I currently live.

Am I trouble free?
Not be a long shot.
But I have a Savior who will see me through whatever comes my way.

Why not consider a change in the way you've always done business with the world?
Why not look into Jesus........
He's got the answers...................


God on you.....
mb

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Row, Row, Row Your Own Boat


Self Sufficient.....
Need for no one or no thing.....
"I can do this myself."
The boat is sinking, but I am still the captain.
Just try harder.
I'll do the same thing but hope for a different outcome.

Such are the thoughts that plague the mind of someone in addiction.
Such are the deceptive thoughts that hold this individual in bondage and fear.
Fear becomes a motivating factor in the life of someone who is addicted.
Fear of being discovered, although everyone around them knows all too well about the addiction.

Fear of loosing control (Like they have control of anything in their life).
My favorite saying by Delbert Boone, a recovering addict now turned counselor) is, "I'll go in rehab once I get my business taken care of. Truth is, you haven't had any business since 1941."

From time to time, I teach a lesson from the Book of Jonah that speaks about the inadequate self sufficiency we all seem to possess. The idea of "trying" harder when in fact Jesus is calling us to surrender.

Jonah 1:4- But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
Sometimes those events in our lives.......those terrible situations and circumstances that we seem unable to escape from, may actually be God's hand moving and working to draw us unto himself. It was by accident that you got arrested and put in jail, it may have been God saving you from sure death. It wasn't bad luck that your old drug buddies rolled on you....it may have been God drawing you into a place where you would listen to Him. I don't know why, we as part of the Western world, have such a hard time believing that God does operate this way. Truth be known, He is God, isn't He? He did create everything didn't He? Such a Person and Power would have little trouble manipulating the natural world in order to bring about His plans and purposes. I'm just grateful that He is a loving and benevolent God....and not some angry, old coot sitting up in Heaven with a grudge against us.

Jonah 1:5 -Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load.
We find ourselves in dire straits and we automatically turn to the one thing we think will save us.
Our own god!

It may the god of Meth...
Or maybe yours is the the god named Jack Daniels.

Perhaps you god is called Crack or Weed.
Truth be known, the one god that seems to be universally served is the god of "ME".
We have set ourselves up to be the god we worship.
But at this point "ME" ain't working out and we are growing desperate as our world crumbles around us.

The men in the story of Jonah began to throw overboard the cargo they were carrying. Isn't that what addiction does to a person? Once they start growing desperate, rather than call out to the one true God, a person will began to rid themselves of their own personal cargo.

We use people so much and so often till they turn on us....
"I don't need them....even though my boat/ life is sinking and I'm going to drown....I'll just throw my parents and friends over board."

Possessions and material things? Throw them overboard.
I can't tell you the number of stories I've heard from people telling me about guitars, cars, jewelry and even houses that they got rid of in order to feed their addiction. Or as we are stating here in this posting, "In order to lighten the boat so they won't drown."

The picture I chose for today's posting is that of a light house.
The sea is stormy and the waves are crashing on the shore, but there in the midst of all the turmoil and devastation stands the light house. Doing what it was created to do. Shine into the darkness and give ships a bearing and warning about the impending shore line. Jesus is that light house for me. In my stormiest times and when my boat was sinking, there He was. Simply shinning His presence for me to see. Sending out the message that He was the way, the truth and life. If I desired to be saved then I was to make my way to Him. All it took was a simple cry for help. "Jesus, save me!" Sounds too simple doesn't it? I think the world wants to complicate this whole salvation thing too keep us in the darkness.

Don't expend yourselves any longer by trying to save yourself.
Turn to Jesus.
You might be surprised what happens.
God on you.....
mb

Friday, July 20, 2012

Shawn Fannin Testimony At Saturday Night Meeting

The Place Where New Birth Happens


The Church @ Rapha.
My Church....

I've been at Rapha for 14+ years now.
I've been holding meetings in this chapel since 2006.
We moved to a Saturday Night Meeting in 2008.

It is a most unusual church.
Not by design but by necessity.
Unlike most churches, membership in the Church @ Rapha is only 7 weeks to 6 months long. Why those numbers? Because that is the length of stay for most clients who come here. They fall between 7 weeks (phase 1 of program) and 6 months (the complete program)

This church is more like a place where new birth happens.
When you can learn to walk, talk and digest solid food. It is the place where babies turn into godly men.


I try to keep reminding myself that my call is to introduce, equip and sent out those who come through Rapha.
I hold dearly to the words of Ephesians 4.

Therefore I , a prisoner for serving the LORD beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace.

Being a member of the "Body of Christ" is not an invitation to individuality. You are now grafted into something greater than yourself. In fact, you whole focus is now about others and not your own needs. You heart is turned to Christ to serve, to grow and mature. Two words that can never go together are "Selfish Christian." A heart given to Jesus becomes a heart that has fallen in love with Him. This love is translated and manifested into seeing the needs of others. Everything from a cup of cold water given in His name, to sharing the good news that they don't have to live in spiritual darkness and a life of misery anymore.


Over the past 14 years, there have been a total of 13 Recovery meetings started in this state by men who came through the Rapha program. Recovery programs that are Christ-centered and actively leading others to Jesus.
Two of our former clients now serve full time in other treatment centers as either pastors or spiritual counselors.



Two other clients have now opened transitional housing for men who have no where to go. These two individuals also work diligently through Celebrate Recovery taking care of the needs of hundreds of people who are trying to break free of addiction.

Countless others have gone back to their home towns and have become active members in their home church. Going on mission trips and using their skills and talents in far away places such as Africa and Honduras.
I guess the real testament to what God does at Rapha came from a client who came back to visit. He had had a life changing encounter with God while he was at Rapha and was extremely grateful for it.  He had enrolled in a Christian college in Ohio and was home on break when he came by to see me. As we sat in my office talking, he made the statement,"You know, since leaving here and enrolling in college, I have heard some powerful speakers. I have seen and sat under the teaching of those who some would say are the "A" team of evangelicals. Perry Stone, Rod Parsley, Ron Phillips, Joyce Meyer..." He went down a list of people that I knew very well. Then he stopped. Tears came to his eyes and he said, "But the greatest truth I have every heard came in that little cinder block chapel.It was there that I finally met the real Jesus."

God, may I never falter or forget the power of the message of the cross.

God on you....
mb





Thursday, July 19, 2012

Am I Good At Choosing?


Joshua 24:15
But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer to gods of 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.

Choices...
Life is all about choices.
Think how it would be if we never had to choose anything or make any decisions that involved choices.
To be able to choose is an incredible, scary thing. Why? Because we know ourselves all too well. We know that we possess the ability to choose wrongly.


For someone whose live has been defined by bad choices, the weight and destruction of those choices haunts them all day, every day. They move through life under a weight of toxic guilt and shame, never able to break free. It seems as though they are a self-fulfilling prophecy as one bad choice follows another which only seems to compound the misery and darkness they face. Make enough bad choices and at some point in time, a person will cease to care anymore. They will loose all hope. They sadly accept a false belief...."I am what I am, I cannot change...I am hopeless."

Here, in this place of great spiritual darkness, where everything seems lost and we are destined to make wrong choices for the rest of our lives, is where the POWER of God is brought to bear. I wish I could explain it better, or draw you a diagram of how it works, but I can't. What I can say is that an intervention takes places as the Spirit of God comes to the person who has decided they cannot change. It may be sparked by the words of someone else talking to this hopeless individual. It may be ignited by an arm around the shoulders and an encouraging word..."Don't give up." It is usually something very simple and seemingly insignificant that opens the door to fresh hope and a new life. A thought begins to form in the heart, not the mind.

The thought says...."You can change."

This stirs the heart to bring forth a desire.
A desire to stop.

The mind battles this desire with all manner of counter thoughts.
"You've tried this before....AND FAILED!"
"Don't kid yourself, you can't quit."
On and on the thoughts race like waves piling up on the shore, but still the desire is there.
The desire to quit.

From this incredibly small desire, God..........the real, deal God of Heaven and Earth, begins to draw this person toward a choice. A choice with no answers to the millions of questions that are created, but none the less...a choice.

As the desire grows, the resolve to see the choice through becomes more evident and more real.
At some point, this choice that was born in the heart, comes forth and is found in action.
The body follows the heart and carries through with the choice.
A meeting is attended.
Friends are met and new ones are made.
The battle rages on and the desire to be clean and sober over rides the desire to use.
More meetings are attended.
Church and Celebrate Recovery now become a staple in the daily life of this person who has made a choice.
Each meeting...
Each Big Book study...
Each time this person gives of themself to help another....
The choice to do the right things becomes more sure, more sound, more stable and less likely to crumble.


Step # 1
I recognize I am powerless against my addiction.

Step # 2
Come to believe that a POWER greater than me, my talents, my intellect, every thing I possess, could and will restore me to sanity. Sanity being the ability to make sound decisions.

Step # 3
We made a decision (a choice) to turn our will and our life over the care of God as we understood Him.

Oh, if they had only not eaten that fruit back in the Garden of Eden....
Wouldn't life be so much better?
Trouble is, if it had been me there in that garden...
I'd probably done the same thing.

God on you...

mb

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Really~~~~ It's Not a Big Thing



Psalm 119:3
They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths.

Such an innocent little word.........compromise.It sounds so .........diplomatic.....
It rolls off the tongue with a promise to be our friend and help us.
Compromise!
I give up something and, in return, I receive something.
The dictionary defines "Compromise" as a settlement reached by each side giving up something in order to reach a peaceful solution.

Compromise is also a deadly game we play with ourselves.
It takes place within our hearts and is voiced in our minds.
We don't really stop to think about what truly is going on.......it all seems so innocent.
The two parties usually involved is our conscience and our old nature (sin nature/ flesh).
We hold a great debate about something that we usually know up front we have no need in participating in.
The debate rages back and forth.
Pros and cons...
Right and wrong....
When in fact we should be fleeing from such things. Just the fact we are having this debate/conversation within ourselves should set off red alerts that we are headed into territory that will not be good for us.To put it bluntly, we are trying to rationalize to ourselves a wrong behavior that we want to participate in.
Such is the deceit found in compromise when it comes to our recovery and our relationship with Christ.

Compromise is death to someone in addiction.
Compromise will kill a recovery in a heart beat.
Cravings hit hard and heavy....
They seem insurmountable....
Instead of picking up a phone and calling someone, the addict reasons that they don't want to bother anyone.
That is a compromise.
They believe that they can hold on, knowing all the while that they are slipping closer and closer to a relapse.
That is a compromise.
They know the 12 Steps...
They have read the Big Book...
They attend meetings....
But they have compromised their recovery by giving in an doing nothing.
No prayer...
No crying out to Jesus for help.
Compromise has stopped them dead in their tracks.

Psalm 119:133 reads
Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by any evil.
Daily I have to watch myself.
I have to scrutinize every decision that I make. I hold them up and look at them through the light of my recovery. Why? Because I am not willing to compromise what God has given to me.
Each day, as we start class at Rapha, I tell the men, "It is now 9:00 a.m. You have been up for two and a half hours and you are still sober and clean. You got up this morning ahead of the curve with the incredible gift of sobriety. All you have to do now is maintain what has been given to you. Maintain it until 11:00 tonight when you go to bed. Don't compromise this incredible gift that you thought you'd never receive."
Don't give place to compromise in your life when it comes to sin.
Don't give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27).
Ask God for strength and grace today to stand your ground and not surrender.
I think the Bible refers to this as Overcoming.
Then be that over comer today!

Ephesians 6:10-11
A final word: Be strong with the LORD's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies and tricks of the Devil.
What is one of the Devil's ploy's or tricks?
Compromise....

Don't give in today, but stand firm.
Stand firm in the Lord's Strength and Power.


God on you.....
mb

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Breathing Right....Praising Him



Good morning!
What a great night of sleep. Sometimes those little gifts that come to us are not appreciated until we don't have them. Sleep has been at a premium over the past week, so when I have a good night of uninterrupted sleep, I am deeply grateful.

I have been parked in Psalm 150 over the past few days.
Thinking on it...
Pondering it...
Trying to see it with a fresh vision. Unsaddle it from the way I've always read it.

Voila'......
Verse 6 --- Let everything that has breath...........sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD!

The thing that caught my attention was the phrase "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD."  Every living thing that exist here on this planet should live their lives (which was given to them by God) as an example of the goodness of God. Our lives should be a living, breathing, walking around, eating, sleeping, going to work, example of the goodness that God has poured out on this planet.
Then....here's the kicker....it doesn't say, "Let everything that has been saved praise the LORD!" It qualifies the statement by saying "everything that has breath".  Lost...saved...those on the fence who haven't made a decision one way or the other...it they are breathing...praise should be coming from them.


Where did the "breath" come from?"
GOD!

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed a man's body from the dust of the ground and "Breathed" into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person.
The very breath that you have today comes from that original blast of life God gave to Adam.
IT has been passed down generation to generation and sustains our very life today.
We don't think about such things. Maybe if we did consider that the only reason we are walking around alive today is because God has given to us this 24 hour period, we might wake up to the fact that we should "Praise Him".

The devil wants to keep your mind from thinking on such things. He does not want you pondering the deep things of God, for when you do, your heart is removed from his control and comes under the unction and wooing of God's Holy Spirit.
The devil wants you to keep your thoughts to the mundane, the unimportant, and the temporary things of this world.
That is why our minds are blinded when our thoughts are outside of God (II Corinthians 4:4). That is why we can't spiritually see or discern the dangers that we are falling into with each step we take away from God.
As the scripture says..."Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."


If you read Psalm 150, you'll see a list of instruments that are used in the Temple worship...
You have the following:
1.) Blowing of trumpets
2.) Lyres
3.) Harps
4.) Tambourines
5.) Dancing
Dancing? Oh no! Not dancing. Yes! Dancing.
The body becomes an instrument of worship unto God.
The movement and extension of arms and legs...the expression on the face...all done for the glory of God.
Reckon how many of our church services would come to a screeching halt this Sunday if you got up and started to dance during the worship?
I guess you could scream, "HEY! Haven't any of you guys read Psalm 150" as they carried you out the door.
6.) Stringed instruments
7.) Flutes
8.) Cymbals
9.) Loud clanging cymbals
That is quiet a list of instruments. Do you know what I gather from this list? Worship was off the hook back when Psalm 150 was written. It may have even looked like a free-for-all was going on. All the instruments playing and people dancing and there in the middle of it all, God with a tremendous smile on His face...."I love it when my children worship!"

Do you have breath this morning?
Why not turn your depression into appreciation and give God praise this day?
You might be surprised what happens.


God on you...
mb

Monday, July 16, 2012

High Road? Low Road? Are You Even On The Road?


Seems as though the last few Greene Street Letters have been about "direction".
Taking the right road....
Taking the right path...
Making the right decisions.....

All have a determining factor on the state of life that we experience.
Kind of simple if you truly stop to ponder it.
Good choices bring good consequences.

Bad choices bring bad consequences.
Sounds easy...
Hard to do.
Especially when you throw in our old nature...our sin nature. Some call it the "flesh".
No matter what moniker you put on it, just know that it is something that is born in each of us and influences our decisions.
We see this in Romans 7, where the apostle Paul writes about the struggle that he has faced.
"For what I will to do, that I do not practice. But what I hate, that I do."

The only thing that can stop this insanity of doing the wrong thing is a Power greater than ourselves.....Jesus Christ.
I know that some of you may grow tired of me always bringing up Jesus, but you know what? I haven't found anyone or anything else that has impacted my own life greater than what Jesus has.
He alone is the Power and presence to restore me to sanity.
He alone is the Power and presence that can give to me a life that I am incapable of producing myself.
No wonder that Jesus issued what I believe to be the greatest invitation to mankind that has ever been given in Matthew 11:28.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Jesus wasn't talking about a job or a task when he uses the words "Labor" and "heavy laden". He is referring to the weight of life itself upon the weakened shoulders of those who stand outside of relationship with Him. Those who have expended themselves through their own efforts and have nothing to show for it. When I say "have nothing to show for it," I'm not referring to monetary or social status. I'm referring to the intangibles of life.
Such things as real peace. A peace that dwells inside an individual that is not shaken by the events or circumstances around them. In fact, everything can be crumbling around them and they find that they can remain focused and centered, not swept up on an emotional roller coaster. That is peace!

Another of the intangibles we are given in this relationship with Jesus is direction and purpose. In other words, we no longer follow the directions of the devil, or the prince and power of this age. We do not listen to his voice or urging in our decision making. Why? Because of what it says in Proverbs 14:12 - "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." I think the one thing that gets me when I read this, is how easily we are deceived into believing a lie. Did you catch that? There is a way....a direction...a purpose..that seems right to a man. A way of doing things....a set of instructions to follow that we think will benefit us, but the end of it is death. I don't think this scripture is referring to physical death...after all, we are all headed there, aren't we? Of course we are. I think, in this instance, the death it is referring to is what scripture defines as "The 2nd death." The eternal separation from the presence of God. It is also referred to as "The outer darkness".

This is why, for me, it is important that I look to God...to His word and to the leading of His Holy Spirit for direction in all my decisions. He has not failed me! This is also another reason I need to surround myself with others who are following Jesus. I can share and gain feedback from what they have experienced in their own lives that will help me to understand.

Bottom line...
There are no Lone Rangers in the Kingdom of God.
We are connected into a wonderful community called The Body Of Christ.
Find your place today.

God on you....
mb

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Way Out


Moses parting the Red Sea~
Boy, as a child I remember going to the Pitman theater to see THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
It was a great movie, but I sat through the whole thing for the one moment when Moses was used by God to part the Red Sea. Pharaoh and all his army were hot on the heels of the Hebrews who now were camped against the Red Sea. Pharaoh was going to make them pay for what had transpired in Egypt. Fueled by anger, hatred and a double dose of pay-back, the entire army went after the Hebrews helter skelter. They were so blinded by their anger they could not see the hand of God. I guess there is a whole other posting just in that little bit of the story. I'll keep that in mind.

In the Scripture, what Moses tells the people just before the sea parts is a truth that we all need to lay hold of.  One that reveals the power and authority that God alone possesses.
Exodus 14:13 - As Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians who you see today, you shall see again no more forever."

What does this have to do with life today? Simple. These words from Exodus define for us the way we should live our lives everyday. First off, remember that you do have an enemy that stays on your heels and seeks to destroy you. Seeks to pull you back into that old lifestyle of misery, pain and utter hopelessness. I like the first words of Exodus 14:13----- Do Not Be Afraid. Don't let your emotions get the best of you. When we allow our emotions to have free reign in our lives, we make bad decisions. We blow things out of proportion to the way they really are. I especially like these words considering where the Hebrews were. To be honest with you, there wasn't any way out of this situation that they could see. Catch words here are that they could see. God doesn't see like we do. He sees things and ways that lie beyond our little bit wisdom. That is why I need not be afraid. God can and should be trusted. Either God is God or he isn't. If He doesn't possess the capability of carrying out His promises, then everything we've been told or read is a lie. I'm sorry! I'm just crazy enough to believe God is who He claims to be, and will do what He has promised to do.

Next part of the Exodus verse, Moses tells the people to Stand Still. Stand still physically....Stand still emotionally....and stand still spiritually. All through Scripture I have read where God told people to do this..this standing still. Don't be in a hurry. Activity without direction profits nothing or no one.  The lifestyle of addiction is one of constant movement. A wearing out of ones self for no purpose but destruction. Here, in Exodus, the Hebrews found themselves in the most dire of situations and the what do they hear....
1.) Don't be afraid
2.) Stand still.
Do you think some of them may have thought..."Hoo boy! Old Moses has got us a good plan here."

Then came the kicker.....
See the Salvation.
Did you ever think to yourself that maybe the reason you haven't see the hand of God work is because (here it comes) you can't see?
Let's retrace our steps here for one moment.
We are afraid....insert what ever situation or circumstance you want to that we are facing. Bottom line the fear meter is registering "danger".
We aren't standing still. We are like that hamster in the wheel....running and running and running....and getting no where. We're making good time...we're just not getting anywhere.
Standing still in our thoughts....
Standing still in our hearts....
Standing still in our actions, puts us in a place where we will see God's hand move. We will see the answers to our prayers. We will see God's salvation for us.

Now we have the Big One~
For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
In other words, when we let God work in our lives......His word is a complete work. His work is a work of Power that has no equal to stand against Him. 
After saying this, God, using Moses, parts the sea in front of the Hebrews and tells then that this is the way out if they want to live.
Daily at Rapha, God parts the minds and hearts of men who have been slaves to Addiction. They come seeking relief and what they find is a Red Sea Experience. There is only one way out....Addiction is hot on their heels seeking to destroy them. There is only one way out....
Don't be afraid....
Stand still.
See the Salvation of the Lord...
You'll not see your enemy again forever.
The way out?
Jesus.
The Cross of Christ became the parted way for us to enter into life, real life and relationship with God the Father.
Don't be kept by freedom and life because of fear.
Let Christ into your heart and life today....
Follow Him.

God on you.......
mb

Little Life? Or Big LIFE?

Great story in the news today about scientist (gotta love these guys and gals) are doing a study to determine what death really is and ...