Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Week That Was.....Was what? I Don't Know.

Sunday Morning....
Slept late this up at 5 a.m. (that's late for me).

Sunday is a day to rest for the Bynum household. A day to recharge, renew and revisit some things that happened the week before.

Monday last
New guys coming into the program at Rapha. You never know what's going to happen. Over the years, and through my being a Vineyard pastor, I am aware that there are ebbs and flows to the work and presence of God. I have been drawn to revisit some "old" teachings from my Vineyard past. It is as if God is calling me to remember my roots and where I have come from. Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday last
Bible study was particularly powerful. Taught on the Kingdom of God. The intervention of God, through Jesus, into our time and space. The declaration of war on the kingdom of Satan and how God used a combination of Word and Power to demonstrate His kingdom. I John 3:8 tells us that Jesus came to "Destroy the works of the devil." What are the works? Any deed, behavior or attitude that emanates from our sin nature. Example: Addiction. I'm sorry! I'm just crazy enough to believe that God is still in the destroying business and since he has a mad on against sin (not the sinner, unless the sinner refuses to change) He is all about rescuing those trapped by addiction.

Wednesday last
God shows up! During my morning teaching we had a moment where God became very real to one of the men. The guy was struggling because of legal stuff that had suddenly appeared on the scene. He knew he was going to have to deal with it and it even may mean a return to jail. The teaching for the day included learning to hear God. So as I was teaching, I wrote this man's name down on a sheet of paper, along with "The color green". I did this so that no one could actually see what I was writing. I kept teaching and moved my way over to this man. I told him to close his eyes and bow his head. I asked him, "You don't really believe God will talk to you, do you?" He fumbled for an answer. I knew that he was newly saved and truly did desire to move on in this relationship with God, but this legal beast that had reared its ugly head was beating him down. I then told him that God was going to reveal a color in mind, and to tell me what color he saw....he slowly said the word..."Green". I then went back to the front and showed him the paper with his name and the word "Green" on it. It changed everything for him. God had spoken to him. I told him that green was the color for new life. That he needed to be aware of what God was doing in moving him into a new life.
That afternoon, the man came to my office all excited. He had been on the phone with the people he needed talk to about his charges, and everything had been taken care of. How cool was that? This guy has run into the real-deal God and has seen the power of prayer. It all began with a simple color of green. Thank you Lord!

Thursday last
Spent the afternoon preparing the music for Saturday nights service. "What would you like to hear, Lord?" Always the most important thing in worship. The music isn't about what I want to hear, or what the group may want to hear, but what does God want. My years at the Vineyard gave me a wonderful insight into the heart of worship and how it stirs God. The Bible tells us that God inhabits the worship of His people. Isn't that a great picture? God coming down to be in the middle of His people when the collectively gather and worship him. Some translations say that God puts on the praises of His people like a coat. I like that. Seems as if Saturday night will be a night of proclamation to the greatness of God.

Friday last
I was suppose to be off this day but it didn't work out. I think maybe it was a God-thing. I wound up teaching the morning class, and really wasn't prepared for it, but God had different plans. As I was praying about what to do, I felt that I was to simply share my story. So for the first hour, I tracked my journey with God, the ups and the downs, the good and the bad. Even though it is my story, it almost sounds like some science fiction novel of how God has been faithful through out the years. The 2nd hour of teaching, I played a CD of John Wimbers story......."I'm a fool for Christ, who's fool are you?" It funny, even though John has been dead for 15 years......even though I never met the man personally....every time I hear his voice, I am filled with gratitude for what God brought through him. It was a good day, capped off by a trip to Samford University to hear my grandson, Tyler, sing with the Alabama State Children's Choir. He was one of two picked from his school to participate in this. Was I a proud Popa or what?

Last Night: Saturday
I always struggle on Saturday's. Been that way since I became a pastor. I am ready for the service, but a voice keeps whispering...."You didn't do enough. You didn't study enough, you didn't pray enough. You call yourself a pastor." Hey, I know the voice isn't from God, and I think God allows it to whisper to keep me aware of my need for Him. All the worship team was there....Debbie, Wayne, Barry, Deb and my wife, Vicki. Vicki doesn't play an instrument and she doesn't stand up front with the team. But believe me, she is an integral part of our worship. IF ever there was a model to use as "how to worship", my wife is it. She gets completely lost in worship. As she puts it...."When I start to worship, everyone and everything in the room disappears and it is just God and me." She sings....she uses everything in her as she stands before God. She will get down on her knees. She will sing prophetically. She will laugh out loud. She is a worshiper!

Now here we are, Sunday.
I will go to Grace Covenant Church this morning and speak. Always a pleasure to take this trip. It has been a good week. This afternoon, I'll come home to a pot of homemade vegetable soup and cornbread that my wife prepared. We will settle in for football and naps. It has been a good week and tomorrow, we'll saddle up and do it all over again.
Thank you, Lord!

God on you...

Friday, September 28, 2012

GOD.....'Nuff Said

Who is this guy?
Depends on who he's with.
He is father, husband, grandfather, son, friend, pastor, counselor and a hack guitarist.
He is also a former sinner of great magnitude.
About the only thing he was good at was messing up. As his father use to tell him, " could mess up a steel ball bearing with a rubber hammer." He wanted to do good. He wanted to accomplish something in his something with his life. But it just never seem to happen. But isn't life like that? Things don't just happen. There is always a hand behind the scene, moving the players and arranging the stage for the next scene. Now don't think I have fallen over into a pre-election belief that we don't have a choice in our life. I believe we do. But I also believe that the hand of God puts us in situations that help us to move toward choosing Him. Can't prove it. Just believe it. There have been too many strange "goings on" in my life to think it all falls on karma or the planets lining up, or the luck of the draw or roll of the dice.

Oh, by the way...the person above? It is me. Michael Bynum.
I never seemed to live up to people's expectations during my growing up years. My Mother had one set of expectations. My Dad? I'm not sure, but I believe that he only had one expectation as far as I go. That he never had to bail me out of jail or see my name on the front page of the paper followed by the words "Serial Killer". Just kidding. My Dad wanted me to go to work at Republic Steel. Job security (of course the plant closed and no longer exists) and stability in employment that was all a man could ask for. I can't complain, it served my Dad well as he took care of his family.

Expectations? God had his own for my life. My grandfather had been a Baptist Pastor, so my Mother was a strong believer in Christ. I was taken to church. I was sent to church, I was sometimes dragged to church. I went, not always willingly, but I went. At the age of 13 during a summer revival, God spoke to me and I knew that He was calling me to be a Pastor. I remember vividly having this running battle in my heart and mind. The words would not go away "You are a pastor......You are a pastor." I thought them to be strange. It wasn't "You're going to be a pastor," but rather "You are a pastor." Of course each time these words invaded my heart and my brain, I put up a defense. "Not me! You've got the wrong boy. I can't even diagram a sentence correctly. I am not a mechanic. I am only 13." My defense failed against the onslaught of the thoughts in my heart and mind. My mouth said, "No, I'm not!" But my heart kept saying, "Yes, you are."

The story would have a happy ending if I could say that I surrendered right there in that revival and went on to have many wonderful years being a pastor. But I didn't surrender. I ran. I ran through my teenage years, only to be chased by God. Funny part was that I didn't run from church. In fact I got more involved, I guess in an effort to appease God. "Hey God! Look it! I know I'm not a pastor, but look at all the cool stuff I CAN do!". I was such a goober. Little did I know that everything I was doing was only preparing me to step into the role as pastor.

Teenage years gave way to the "20's" and marriage. Here is where the story goes all "Twilight Zone." Being newlyweds, my wife and I (who was also raised in church) decided that since we were bona fide married people, we would take a break from church. That break lasted seven years and pretty near killed us. I think the moral of the story is, "you don't take a break away from God and remain in the same place. You slide down morally and spiritually. In other words, we were uncovered as sinners in a way that did not reflect our upbringing. It was a bad time in our lives and in our marriage. But God was patient.

In 1979, Vicki and I gave up the running. Like Lassie coming home, we came back to God. Now there's a happy ending. Not yet. You know, when you run around and away from God, you tend to make some really dumb decisions. Well, I had planted a huge crop of dumb. In 1979, we started to have to reap the harvest of all the "dumb" I had planted.
Our finances were totally out of whack. (What would it look like if they had been "In whack"?). Our marriage still needed working on. We were parents and we didn't know how to raise kids. So we enrolled in GOD SCHOOL. We took everything to him. Our bills, our marriage, our children, our jobs...everything. We told God, "Hey! We need some help and you are the only one we know who can help us. Now God, we're not asking you to magically clean up the mess, but to teach us how to live. How to make good decisions." You know what? He took us up on it, and here the beautiful part. It only took 14 years!

So here I sit. In my home. At my computer, typing out this story. All around me is physical, tangible evidence of the goodness of this God who called me back in 1964. Please don't miss what I'm sharing with you. This story isn't about me or God's call on my life. It's about God. It's about the faithfulness of God to keep his word and see it through even when we aren't faithful. It's about a God who has a plan to redeem and restore this old world and those who live upon it. It's about God.
Once Larry Norman so aptly put it...."Why don't you check into Jesus...He's got the answers."

God on you....

John Wimber Teaches On The Kingdom

I have been revisiting my roots concerning the Kingdom of God. I believe that we are saved to be more than a "taker". I John 4:7 says that we are born of God. In other words, we have some of His spiritual DNA. If that is true, then we are to be givers. Giving away what God has freely given to us. We are salt ( flavor a tasteless and bland world) and we are light (invading the darkness to illuminate it so that the lies of the devil can be uncovered.

In other words, after I'm saved, I have been called to "do the stuff" of the kingdom.
"Doing the Stuff" is a term for doing the works of Jesus. He commanded us to participate in the taking of His message to those who don't know Him, and the free gift of salvation He has to offer. in other words, we tell people the good news that they don't have to live in sin/addiction any longer. God is present to free them and empower them to live a new way. We do this by sharing our story of our own salvation (Acts 1:8 - "You will be My Witnesses"). Learning to hear God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, we then get to demonstrate the validity of our message by "doing the stuff".

We get to pray for people.
We get to pray and see people healed.
We get to pray and see demonic spirits broken off and cast out from people.
We get to pray and see the dead raised. No, you didn't misread that...we are commanded to pray for the dead to be brought back to life. ( I knew that one would get your attention).

We have also been called to visit those in jail....
To feed the hungry and poor....

How do I know we have been called to do this? Because I bet you have prayed the LORD's Prayer on more than one occasion. Do you remember the part that goes, "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?" Well, you have just placed yourself before Almighty God and asked Him to bring forth His plans through you. How else did you think the Kingdom would come? How else did you think His will would be done? Dude! It's all about falling in love with this Jesus!

Love Jesus....
Love those people who love Jesus....
Love those people who don't love Jesus....
And love yourself....

Then give yourself away. Look for opportunities to pray for people. Ask God to put one person in your path to pray for today. Then watch and see what happens.
Jesus is looking for some radical people who are just crazy enough to believe Him and "Do the Stuff!"

God on you....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Audio Message: Seth Barber

Seth Barber's Message from September 8 on making amends. I give it 5 thumbs up, 2 pinky toes and 16 ear lobes. Enjoy!


The Walls Are Going Up

............You know full well the tragedy of our city. It lies in ruins and its gates are burned . Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and rid ourselves of this disgrace." 
                                                                                                          Nehemiah 2:17

Walls were the pride of a city back in the time of Nehemiah. They reflected the prosperity and protection of that city to all who traveled or lived there. There was safety behind the walls and you didn't have to live in fear of your enemies. At this point in the book of Nehemiah, the walls of Jerusalem have been destroyed. Great breaches have been carved out in the walls, which allowed their enemies access to the wealth of Jerusalem. The gates of the city had been burned and torn down so that there was no stopping whoever wanted to enter. It was a dark and dismal time. But God spoke to man, Nehemiah, and gave him the command to go back and rebuild the walls and gates. Nehemiah was a slave.

I like this particular book, and it relates well to recovery and the Twelve steps. God spoke to Nehemiah in the middle of his being a slave. Away from family and friends, Nehemiah was given a mandate to do the seemingly impossible.....rebuild the walls.
The mandate to pursue rebuilding our lives from the destruction of drugs and alcohol always begins right in the middle of all the turmoil and spiritual darkness. We have a million reasons why we can't do this....but God has one as to why we can. He has called us.

Like Jerusalem, the walls of protection around our lives have been torn down. WE have opened ourselves up to the enemy...a.k.a the Devil...and he takes full advantage of it. Coming and going as he pleases, he loots and ransacks our life and leaves us broken, bleeding and helpless. What do we do? We seek only to get high to stop the pain. The pain may stop, but the madness continues. God has provided a Power (Jesus) and a plan (Scripture and Twelve Steps) to help us recover.

For Nehemiah, it wasn't an easy task. It seemed that everyone was against him. He had a group of people that sought to stop him at every turn. It got so bad that Nehemiah had to work with tools in one hand and a sword in the other to ward off the attacks. There were accusations against Nehemiah and the work he was doing. There

Recovery is no easy task either. Notice I said it wasn't easy...I never said it was impossible. It requires that you surround yourself with other people who are rebuilding walls and gates.
It requries commitment. I've heard it said that there only two times when you should go to a meeting (A.A. or C.R.) 1.) When you want to...and (2) when you don't want to.

When we set out to take this new journey of recovery, we will face the pain and suffering of our past. We will need the "joy of the Lord" to give us strength. This joy comes from recognizing, even celebrating God's ability to bring us out of bondage and care for us as we pass through the sadness toward a new way of life. (Life Recovery 595)

let's rebuild....
let's rebuild today.....

God on you....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Habakkuk 2:18
"What have you gained by worshiping all your man-made idols? How foolish to trust in something made by your own hands!What fools you are to believe such lies!

It is amazing the things that we hold and cling to, that we believe will get us through the hard times. The things we rely on to do for us that which is reserved for God alone. Now in the scripture above, Habakkuk is speaking of man-made idols. Carved stone and wood that has been shaped and fashioned to resemble a deity or spirit. Usually covered with gold, silver or precious stones in order to make it pleasing to the eye, these idols were very common in Habakkuk's day. Well, being common doesn't mean that they were acceptable, in fact such things brought God's wrath down on the land. Habakkuk was prophesying to the people that God was coming to overthrow their idols and sinful ways. In other words, God was bringing judgment against the nation. God will only stand for so much before he acts. Yet with his hatred for such behavior and belief, God sent his messengers, the prophets, to warn the people and to get them to repent before it was to late.

The appearance of idols in a society or nation, is an outward evidence of an inward moral decay. A rejection of God's word and of God himself, in order to embrace the spiritual darkness that sin brings to the heart. You may be thinking that I've lost my collective marbles. Why would I be writing such a thing as this and what does it have to do with who we are and where we are as a society. As a nation, we are surrounded by our idols. They may not look like what Habakkuk wrote about, but we still worship them. They may not be graven images, or carved statues set up in places of honor, but we still worship them.We bow down to them. We offer sacrifices to them, and we definitely turn to them when times are hard and we have no answer to our problems. We give our idols a place of honor that should be reserved for the God of heaven and earth alone.....what place? Our hearts. What idols? Our addiction.

Of course, the god we worship is the great god "ME". We have set ourselves up as ruler and god of our own life. "Me" knows what is best for me. "Me" is not restrained or held down by the morals we were raise with. All "Me" is concerned with is "Me." Worshiping at the fee of "Me" distorts our way of thinking and we become deceived as we offer "Me" more and more in a vain attempt to satisfy the appetite of "Me". If you find this hard to swallow, then ask yourself, "What is the common character defect among people who are addicted? The answer would be selfishness.  The great god of "Me"!

There is hope though. There is an answer to this "Me" worship. The answer is not found in a program or steps. The answer is found in an individual, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to us for one reason save us from sin and ourselves. To destroy the altar and idol of "Me" because he totally knows the pain and misery that we bring to ourselves by looking to "Me" when we should be crying out to him. "Me" doesn't have my best interest at heart. It only seeks to satisfy its appetite at the expense of my very life. It will use me till I drop dead. We got news this week of another former client who was found dead. He had been told the truth about his addiction and about this Jesus. He chose to remain in the lifestyle and worship "Me". It cost him his life.

Habakkuk called the people of his day "Fools" for believing such a lie. How foolish are you today? Are you going to skim over this posting (that is if you have read it this far) and cast it aside as some sort of religious mumbo-jumbo, or are you going to open your heart up to the truth that this Jesus may just be who he claims to be, and is capable of doing what he claims he can do? Don't let "Me" drive you to an eternity of separation from God and from a life, here and now, that is totally worth living. "Me" wants only what you can do for it. God wants to bless you today, tomorrow and forever.
Think on this...........

God on you....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Learning From Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1:2
"How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen!"

Sounds like a whiner doesn't it? A complainer. A malcontent. But such is not the case with the prophet Habakkuk. Habakkuk, whose name means "the embracer", is unique among the prophets we read about in Scripture. He is unique because he dared to ask God the hard questions. And God answers him! You see, what is unique about this, is that Habakkuk never imagined that God would not answer him. Maybe this is the secret to a good prayer life. We should pray and then expect God to answer. More than just getting an answer, Habakkuk was willing to accept God's answer even if he did not want it or like it. That is FAITH---trusting God's answers, rather than our questions.

My biggest struggle (o.k. it's confession time here) is my frustration when God doesn't answer my prayer in the way I thought he would.  See the good part is that God is not frustrated with my frustration. He patiently deal with me, teaching me and growing me. In his answer to Habakkuk's prayer, God tells him in Chapter 2 - But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Those are hard words for someone in recovery to hear. We've lived our lives under the banner of instant gratification. We embraced long term suffering for instant pleasure, so to be brought into a new way of living that demands patience..........that is going to take some getting use to. We will soon see that God is an "on time" God. He is never late, even when we feel like He is. He is never slack in keeping His promises to us. You can take that fact/truth to the bank.

It is often during these times of waiting on God that our faith wavers and we find ourselves tempted to take back our life and try and run it one more time.
We must realize that in these times of not understanding what God is doing, we must simply throw ourselves on Him and trust that He knows best. In Chapter 3 we are taken into the inner courts and allowed to hear one of Habakkuk's prayers. "I have heard all about you, Lord, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as you did in years gone by. Show us your power to save us. And in your anger, remember your mercy.

Habakkuk realizes that God is bringing judgment against his nation because of their sin.......because of his sin. He throws himself on God and asks God to remember his mercy toward those he has called. Habakkuk doesn't try to bargain with God. He doesn't try to get God to compromise. He simply realizes that God is a God of justice, but also one who has great mercy. We should never forget this. As a child of one who has been born again, my God takes no pleasure in the sufferings of His children. He is a Father who loves us so much that discipline is a part of His love. There is a great difference between being punished and being disciplined. When i make stupid decisions and get myself in jams and trouble, I know that God will restore me through His discipline. But I do not turn away from Him because of it, I run to Him, knowing that His love is still there for me. His promise of restoration is still there for me. His direction and guidance is still there for me. He is still there for me. Now that is a God you can depend on.

When things around you don't make sense. When it seems that God has forgotten you and left you take care of the mess by yourself........know that this isn't true. The book of Habakkuk opens with the words..."how long shall I cry, and you will not hear." But the book closes with "The LORD GOD is my strength. He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills." Habakkuk was convinced that God had His plan, and he trusted in God's nature in the middle of great suffering and evil. Habakkuk trusted in God's character and this satisfied his soul. By this, I mean that Habakkuk had faith in God's answers rather than his own questions, even when those answers were painful. I like the declaration that Habakkuk says at the end of the book. I found a posting on the Internet that has taken the words of Habakkuk and updated them to reflect our time......

Though I don’t know what’s ahead or where to turn next,
though there seems to be no job prospects
and the no’s look overwhelming,
though the bills start piling up
and I don’t know how to pay them;
‘yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
will be joyful in God my Savior’

God on you..... mb

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's In A Name?

Philippians 2:9-11
Because of  this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and o earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Growing up, a kid usually had a nickname. You were either among the elite and had a cool name, or you were part of the nameless rabble that was labeled with a useless moniker. I fell into the second category...nameless rabble.  "Tubby"...."Fatty"......and other such symbols of affection from my peers, endeared me to them, and them to me. Truth be known, a nickname was a way of knowing that you were accepted. You were part of the group now!

I wanted something more...a cooler nickname. I was surrounded by "Swifty" and "Brutus". There was "Heat" and "Flash" those were cool names. There was "Rabbit" and "Bee-dee" (to be truthful, I never knew what Bee-dee stood for, I just knew it was cool). The name itself was given due to some physical trait, or something that you had done that caused those around you to pause and go.."hmmmmm..." Names stuck through the growing up years, but as we aged, those nicknames seem to fall away and we took our place in adulthood.

Names are important in Scripture. They reflect the character and nature of an individual. Abram's name was changed to Abraham. Sarai to Sarah. Jacob to Israel and even in the New Testament we see Simon being changed to Peter. But when it comes to the name that stands above all others............that title belongs to the one and only Jesus.

For a child (Jesus) is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest upon his shoulders. And he will be called.....Wonderful......Counselor.....Mighty God.....Everlasting Father....Prince of Peace.....
Those are worthy names that reflect the nature and character of Jesus. Those names instill faith in me that Jesus is capable of carrying out what is needed in my life to ensure that with my focus on Him, I will not return to an old lifestyle of bondage and slavery to sin.

What kind of names did the world give to you as you struggled with your addiction?
and many others that drove us deeper down into guilt, depression and shame.
With the name of Jesus rolling off our lips as we cried out to him......He brought to bear the nature of every name given to him, to rescue us and set us on a firm foundation.
Now here's the deal...........this Jesus is either who he says he is.........
or he's a liar and we should totally disregard him.
I happen to fall on the side of believing him....He is Lord.

Jesus is also referred to as "The Lion of the tribe of Judah".....and "The Lamb of God." Seems like those two names are in contention doesn't it? Lion? Lamb? Which is he? Well, it depends on your relationship with him. As a child of God, one who is saved, he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The one who died in my place, a perfect sacrifice for my sin. The Bible says that he was lead to the slaughter (the cross) like a lamb to the shearers. He never said a word or gave a defense, but went willingly and gave his life.  As the "Lion of the tribe of Judah"....that is the side and character of Jesus that will come to settle the "Sin" accounts of those who have rejected him and turned their backs on salvation. I think, between the two, I'll choose the "Lamb."

I like what it says in Revelation 2:17 -.......And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved, a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.
How cool is that? Jesus has a name reserved for me. A name that will be presented if I press on and don't quit. Wonder what my name will be? It really doesn't matter, because it is Jesus' gift to me (and to all who have been saved). A new name to reflect my new nature.
What a gift?

God on you....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tell Me Where It Hurts

Mark 2:17
When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor---sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough."

Without the daily medicine given to me by Dr. Jesus, I would be a perverted mess.
Some days I love the medicine...then some days it seems as though the sickness in me whispers to me and says..."Not today---don't take it today----you can do without it." I know better.

It's a sin-sickness that will affect my heart and my mind and lead me into choices that are not spiritually healthy. In fact the problems that most people face daily, are a result of not having this sin-sickness dealt with.

I find it strange that in the verse from Mark chapter 2, Jesus says, "I have come to call sinners." He didn't say, "I've come to heal sinners....." The healing comes when surrender takes place and you answer the call to follow Jesus.

Healing begins, and continues, as you daily move away from listening to that old voice that kept you in spiritual darkness, and listen to God's Spirit inside leading you in a new way of living.
I'm always amazed at the stories I hear when I visit a Celebrate Recovery. Stories from people who say, "I never thought life could be like this. I never thought I could break free from my addiction." Jesus will put some medicine on you that soap can't take off.

Good service last night.
We kind of did things backwards in the order of the service.
Began with teaching and worshipped at the end.
Spoke on Step # 2 ---

It occurred to me as I studying, that step # 2 is where we came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity. Well, I hear so many people who look at this step and then say, "I don't know if this Power will work for me." As you listen to them, you hear a lot of doubt and fear about going back to their old lifestyle. It occurred to me that they didn't really have a problem believing there was a power who could destroy their life. A power that could lead them to do things, say things and live in a way they never imagined they would. That power being the devil. I guess part of the power is a kind of blindness that comes with the addiction.
Part of the strength of this power is its ability to blind the mind and heart to the truth.

But hear me......
There is....current, not past.
A Power that is greater than the deceitful power of our enemy, who can restore...bring about the needed change to move me forward in my sobriety, to sanity. Sanity, the ability to make sound decisions.

I've heard it say that the insanity that is a hallmark of all addiction, does not occur during times of using. The insane thinking takes place during the times of sobriety...when your only thought is getting high one more time, even though you know fully well of the destruction it will cause. That is insane thinking. That is what I need to be restored from.

Of course when we speak of a Higher Power, we are referring to Jesus Christ. So if I am coming to believe in a Power that can restore me to sanity, then I want to know that this power is capable of doing such a task. I want to know that this power has ability and awareness that are far beyond my own. How do I move to understand that Jesus is capable? Trust. Trust in Him and His ability. He will not fail you or leave you. He will not let you down or disappoint you. He is the POWER above all power. No matter what the lower level power guys may try to sell you, Jesus is beyond their capabilities. He moves in truth and truth is the ultimate power.

Why not look to him today and let him throw the switch in your life so his power can restore you?
God on you....

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Opportunities To Grow

Psalm 134
Come, and bless God! All you servants of God! You priests of God who worship in the sanctuary at night. Lift your praising hands to the Holy Place and bless God. In turn, may God of Zion bless you---God, who made heaven and earth.

That's right....
It's Saturday.....
And at sun down, it will be night.
We will be gathering, once again, to collectively praise God and get into his word. Our gathering will be live.

We are blessed to be connected to so many good Celebrate Recovery groups in this area.
Seth Barber and the good people of North Glencoe Baptist hold a CR meeting every Sunday night. I gar-on-tee that you won't go wrong by being a part of this meeting. No bones, tell you the truth and show you the way meeting on recovery with God at the center of everything.Good way to close out your weekend on a Sunday night is by visiting with CR North Glencoe.

I had the privilege of speaking at CR Gadsden Christian Fellowship last Thursday night. It was my first time there and I was blown away by those folks. How shall I put this.....HIGH ENERGY. Lot's of love. People who were genuinely excited to be there. I will be going back.

Downtown Gadsden, you have CR at the Gathering. An up and coming church, the Gathering is located in what was formerly known as Open Arms International Church building. Good group of folks who just want to love on you and drop a few Jesus seeds into your life.

If your looking for a church home to connect to, you might want to consider Grace Covenant Church out in Hokes Bluff. Hokes Bluff? I is a ways out there....but hey! In your old lifestyle, you didn't think about distance when you went to get your drug of choice. Why you'd move heaven and hell and parts of Attalla to get what you needed. What makes Grace Covenant worth the drive? The people....the people...the people. It is a wonderful fellowship that is brand new (well, they've been meeting for a while...but relatively new). Rannie Childress is kind of an overseer of the group and men from the Fellowship House and Rapha make up some of the congregation. Focus of the church is teaching the Word of God and learning what it means to be a part of a church family. They meet Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. I promise you....if you've never visited with them..the moment you walk in, it will feel like home.

There is a whole, new world out there where you can become a part of something greater than yourself...a community of like minded people who are hungry for God. I like how Isaiah 58 reads in the Message Bible - 
God speaking -- "I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places---firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community of people livable again."

In other words, being a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and joining in with a group of fellow believers is all part of the process of walking out our new found recovery. This joining in helps to define who we are and what our mission is here on good ol' planet Earth. We have purpose...not porpoise (sorry Flipper!). You were born and created to be a part of God's family....I tell you right now, with every thing that is in me, you will not regret moving on with the people who make up that family.

Put down your prejudices and wrong ideas about Church. There is a whole new breed of church out there just waiting for you to become a part. Why not check it out this weekend?

God on you.....

Friday, September 21, 2012

You Can Do It The Hard Way...Or The Easy Way

Matthew 11:28-30
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me----watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Jesus totally understood the human condition....the human heart....the sin nature. Our old nature tells us to "try one more time." No matter how much we have struggled, giving up is not part of our psyche, is it? How many rehabs did we go to, with the best intentions of quitting, only to disregard what we were hearing? The old lie of "I can do this!" When the track record we have produced is one of destruction, grief, and a boat load of misery. It's time we started doing business with the world a new way.

Some of you may be surprised that the verse above makes the statement about being burned out on religion. Religion never helped anyone. It only created a different kind of bondage and slavery. Here is how I see it.

Religion is ME trying to reach God. I take on an outward appearance of looking like I am holy. I take on attitudes and behaviors without really having a heart change or allowing God's Holy Spirit to empower me to live. My life becomes a series of rituals that have no influence on my heart.
Jesus addressed such a state of religious activity in Matthew 15 -
"These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn't in it. They act like they're worshiping me, but they don't mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy!"

I've known people like this. They come into rehab and they are modeled clients. They come to every Bible study. They come to our Saturday night meeting and they are the first to stand for worship...hand's raised, faced turned upward and singing at the top of their lungs. But when you follow them around during the week, you'll hear them telling their war stories from the "good old days". They'll be bragging about how many women they've slept with. And their conversation will be peppered with curse words and filthy talk. Now, you tell they really know and have a relationship with Jesus? I think not.

Instead of working Step # 1 - 2 and 3, they have taken the heart of salvation and turned it into a personal covering that they are hiding behind. Such a thing produces no real, lasting peace or sobriety. In fact, they have proven to others that real life does not exist outside of Christ.

Real life is found in the words of Matthew 5:3 -  You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of "You" there is more of God and his rule.
It really is about letting go. Turning to a Power greater than yourself who is capable of putting you and your life back together. That Power is Jesus.

This new life isn't all sunshine and lollipops. There are hard times ahead. Truth be known, some of them will be so hard that you'll want to quit and turn back to your old ways. Someone will say something that is down right damaging to your soul and you'll be so mad you'll want to strike out. But you won't because this Jesus will guide you through it.

There will be days that you are so frustrated by what is happening that you'll just want to chunk everything and go smoke a blunt the size of Rhode Island. But you won't because Jesus will be there empowering you to hold on and weather the storm.

There will be times when you have busted your hump to do the right thing with others as you try to mend relationships, and nothing is working out. You'll be so angry that thoughts of getting drunk or high will flood over you. But Jesus will be there to temper the storm and bring peace to you.

Loneliness will scream at you sometimes to the point that you just want to find the nearest person and have yourselves a one night stand. Jesus will quite the emotions and remind you that you are not alone.

In other words, Jesus has my best interest at heart. What a Savior!
God on you....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hello! I Am (Fill In The Blank)

Ever forget who you really are?
Ever want to forget who you think you are?
Seems as though it is all part of what I would call "the human condition."

I use to envy people who seemed to know who they were. What I though "Knowing who you are" meant that you were doing what you were suppose to do. It all goes back to that dreaded false belief...."I am defined by what I have done and what others think about me. This kind of thinking sets us up for a lot of disappointment and heartache. Anytime I look for other human beings to validate me and define me, it's not going to end well.

If I let myself fall under that false belief of being dissatisfied with who I am, then I let my mind travel to places it really doesn't need to go. Such thoughts really keep me from hearing God and actually being the person that God desires me to be. No wonder Jesus told us we were to love God with all our heart, mind, body, spirit and soul. That is the starting place. Once that becomes our cornerstone in our relationship, we then love our neighbors, but that love for neighbor comes only in proportion in the love we have for ourselves. I don't believe Jesus is talking about a goofy, self-centered love, but rather an acceptance of we are in Christ.

Such an acceptance puts us at ease and peace with God and with our own view of self-importance. I no longer have to work at my identity. I no longer have to look to others to find acceptance. I only have to receive from God, who God says I am. Because of my salvation and acknowledgement that Jesus is Lord and Savior of my life, I am now defined by such terms as friend, son, child of God, servant.

From such a understanding, I can truly pray to God and ask that His Kingdom come....His Kingdom will be on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Letting His kingdom rule and reign come through me as I move daily through this world, keeps me focused on Him. I don't spend my time wondering what my purpose is here on planet Earth.
I Corinthians 8:6 - But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we exist for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ ,through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.

Addiction has a way of stealing a persons identity. Oh, it not that you suddenly develop a kind of amnesia. It's that the addiction muddles and befuddles the mind to such a degree, that the over whelming emotions of guilt and shame totally drown any recognition of the image God created you with. It gets lost in every every every aspect of the addiction. We become more lost than an immigrant in a foreign country.
As the bad choices begin to pile up, we find that the courts begin to give us an identity. As the destruction grows, we find that law enforcement adds their names to who are. Near the end, family and friends abandon us because they don't recognize us either. We are no longer the sons, brothers, husbands and fathers we use to be. I'm not excluding women from this process. The one thing I have come to know to be the truth about addiction, it is an equal opportunity destroyer.
But God never wavers in his plans for us, no matter what addiction has brought about in our lives. Psalm 139:16 reads: "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day passed.

Sounds as though God understands me better than anyone.
If that be the case...........

Then I think I'll listen to God to tell me who I am.
How about you?

God on you.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Born Free Video Series - Episode 1

I realize that what I am posting this morning is probably not what you expected. It is the first of 12 video's from QUICK STUDY Program produced by Bible Discovery TV.

I know that most of you drop by here for something quick to read..something that will give you a little something to start your day, and I know that most of you may not have the time to watch this video, but I feel like there is someone out there who needs to see it. So, for the next 12 Wednesday's, I'm going to post a different episode from this series.

My aim for this blog is for it to be a place where you can be encouraged and uplifted to carry on, even when everything inside you screams to go back to your old lifestyle. I am very appreciative to every one who stops by here to see what's going on. Please tell your friends and family about the Greene Street Letters.

God on you...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rainy Random Rumblings From A Tired Mind

Rainy Tuesday Morning.
Slipped on my old walking shoes, grabbed up an umbrella and walked out into the rain to get the morning paper for my wife. The only sounds in the house are from the coffee pot as it chugs and sputters to bring forth that morning delight.
I love the mornings.

On the couch, sitting next to each other. Praying and sharing random thoughts about the day that was, looking forward to the day ahead. Such are the mornings at the Bynum household.

I spoke at the North Glencoe Singles meeting last night. I've been going there for 8+ years. They are a pretty incredible group of people. They have a heart for worship and for others. It is a warm, friendly meeting that just draws you in. God had me teach on "Growing up in a dark time."
I Thessalonians 5:9-11 (Message Bible)
God didn't set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we're awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we're alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Growing up in this relationship with Jesus, involves becoming connected to a community of like-minded believers. God never created us to be "loners." Isolation is a tool of the devil, because if he can cut you away from the company of others, he can warp your thinking and your heart. He can create scenario;'s in your mind that will justify your using and your isolation.
"They don't understand me.....they don't love me."
"I'm not hurting anyone."
"I like being by myself."
All of these are arrows that the devil fires directly into an addictive heart and an addictive brain. They are poison.
They are death.

As the moral compass of this nation continues to lie broken and in disrepair, now more than ever we need to be surrounded by like minded people. People who are in love with Jesus. In love with His word. And empowered by His presence to face life and move forward. There is strength in numbers. There is safety in surrounding ourselves with a community that understand what we've gone through and what we are going through. That is why I hold a meeting at Rapha on Saturday nights. It is a place where you can come and be connected. I make no pretense or apology to our meetings. It is Christ-centered and we proclaim the name and person of Jesus. He is the HIGHER POWER that is written about in Step #2. He alone has defeated the power of addiction that is a fruit from the root of sin in our lives. He shattered the penalty of this fruit. A penalty that comes because we have partaken of it....eaten it....and disobeyed God. He loves us so much that he, Jesus, stepped in front of us and took the punishment meant for us. He took the full weight of God's wrath and hatred for sin so that we wouldn't have to.

He took the nails....
He took the cross....
He took the humiliation and the curses....
He took our place so that we could experience the tremendous love that God has for us.
That is why those 12 Steps work....
Let me say it again....That is why those 12 Steps work..........Jesus.

I John 2:28 - And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we'll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.

As Larry Norman said, "Why don't you check into Jesus.......He's got the answers!"

God on you...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Step # 2 And A Cross Walk

You turn off of highway 77 and start down that road. If you've never been here before, you'd think that you were going to edge of the earth. As you come around the bend in the road.....there it is, the cross. Illuminated and at the edge of the pond, it's reflection stretches out across the water.

Time and time again I hear the men speak of what a comfort it is to see that cross after being gone for the weekend on pass. It is a welcoming symbol that lets you know that you are entering a safe place...a place where you can rest. It is a "welcome home".

I've kind of been stuck in STEP # 2 and, in fact, was going to teach on it this past Saturday night before I had the flare up of physical ailments. Even though I wasn't able to teach, I'm holding on the message and hope to give it next Saturday (Sept. 22).

You may be asking, "What is Step #2?" It states that we've "Come to believe in a Power greater than ourselves who could restore us to sanity."
Of course to make such a statement, there has to be some truth that you run into.
1.) to be restored to sanity, you must admit that you've been living with insane thinking. The funny part about addiction is that your insane thinking usually comes when your sober, not when you're using. The insanity is that given the awareness of the destruction that using is bringing to your life, you still do it. If that isn't insane thinking, I don't know what is.

2.) The evidence or proof in my life that I need to be restored should cause me to look beyond my own abilities for help. As I tell the guys in the program...."Your best thinking has got you sitting in yellow chairs at white folding tables."

The idea of "Coming to believe" is more than a mental ascent. It is a conviction by God's Holy Spirit of my selfishness and the fact that if I am not changed, I will die in this state and face an eternal separation from God. I cannot save myself from such a fate, I am in need of a Power greater than myself to accomplish such a feat. That Power has a name and that name is Jesus Christ! Hate Him, love Him, believe in Him or don't believe in Him, no matter....truth is truth. Jesus is the Power and the only Power that is capable of setting me free from sin/addiction.

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me."
Isn't that a wild statement? Are you looking for a way out of not just addiction but sin? Jesus says that He is the way. He didn't say that He was 'A" way or one of many ways....
That gotta love Him. He says unequivocally "I----AM-----THE----Way!

If you're looking for Power that you lack to walk out recovery....Look to Jesus.

I rest in this understanding that no matter what comes my way today...
no matter what situation I may face....
no matter what circumstance I may find myself in....
Jesus will be there. Not as some unconcerned bystander, but as Lord and Savior over my life.

Jesus, being the way, will lead me into all truth and from there, I will find real life.
May you find Him today...

God on you....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It May Be An Easy Sunday Morning, But We Need God!

Thoughts that are rumbling around in my brain this morning. Just wanted to share them with you.

II Chronicles 20:9
Should evil come upon us, the sword or judgment, or pestilence, or famine we will stand before this house and before Thee (for Thy name is in this house) and cry to Thee in our distress, and Thou wilt hear and deliver us.

Such was the times of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.
Three armies were on the march toward Judah. Their mission? To wipe out the population and take down Jehoshaphat.
When told of this news, Scripture says that Jehoshaphat was "afraid". To which I would reply.."Duh!"

But upon recognition of the fear, the Bible says that he turned his attention to seek the LORD, and that he proclaimed a fast throughout the all Judah.

What a concept.
A time of trouble for a people and a government, and the leaders decide that there needs to be a national time of seeking God and of fasting. What would happen if Congress or our President declared a day of fasting and prayer to seek God's face concerning a coming invasion? In this day and time, God would not be welcomed into any of our governmental affairs.

But this doesn't mean we, as the people of God, should not do likewise just because our leaders have rejected God. Now I'm not talking about renting some great hall and publicizing an event. I'm talking about the people of God doing what should come natural. Boldly taking our petitions and prayers into the throne room of heaven and laying them at the feet of Christ.

Do we even care about our nation? or has our prayer life turned into personal shopping lists for God to fill? I think there is a remnant who does care, who does pray and who turns their prayers toward heaven on behalf of this nation. God created and ordained the existence of the United States of America. While the majority of people who claim to be Americans do not endorse or want God at the center of our life or our government, I do not read anywhere in Scripture that prayers are only answered by God when the majority is involved.

Nehemiah--- one man, a captive in a foreign land, cries out to God because the national walls around Jerusalem have been burned and broken down. God answers and sends Nehemiah back to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.

Ezra -- One man, a captive in a foreign land, cries out to God because of the destruction of Temple. God answers and sends Ezra back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.

Samuel -- One man, becomes the Liaison between the people and God. Samuel, at the behest of God, finds and identifies the next king of Israel...not once, but twice.Eventually anointing David who goes on to set the standard for rulers in Israel.

Three men who sought God on behalf of their nation.
Do we truly believe that God has abandoned America?
Do we truly believe that the events of this world are outside the scope and rule of God's plans?

I make no pretense about our nation.
We are a sinful, sick people who have abandoned God to pursue emptiness. We have become that which we have pursued...empty.
If ever there was a time that we needed God to intervene in our affairs, it is now.

I want to close with the verse from II Chronicles that is a prayer that King Jehoshaphat prayed...
"O Our God! Will Thou not judge them? (The invading armies) For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do but our eyes are on Thee."

Might need to consider such prayers as we look at the coming days.

God on you.....


Saturday, September 15, 2012

What's The State Of Your Heart

Exodus 7:13 - Yet Pharaoh's heart was hardened.....

Exodus 7:22 - Pharaoh's heart was hardened.....

Exodus 8:15 - He (Pharaoh) hardened his heart.....

Exodus 8:18 -  But Pharaoh's heart was hardened...

Exodus 8:32 - But Pharaoh hardened his heart...

Exodus 9:7 -  The heart of Pharaoh was hardened....

Exodus 9:12 - The LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart.....

In a time and age when we have created a God who is all loving and all forgiving, it is hard for us to believe that He would harden someones heart.
Somehow we use the nature of God, His love and mercy, like some kind of cosmic "Get-out-of-jail-free-" Card.

We keep the thought of this loving God in the back of our minds as we merrily sin our way through life, thinking that if times get bad enough we could turn to Him and he would bail our bacon out of the fire. After all, He is a loving, caring God. My buddy...Jesus! Never forget that He is God. That means he is all holy...all loving...all merciful...yet...
He is righteous and Holy, and has a hatred for all sin and the destruction it brings about.

Doing some research, I found out that the phrase used (Pharaoh's heart was hardened) means that God uncovered what was there in his heart. God gave Pharaoh ample time to repent and relent to allow the Hebrew slaves to leave Egypt. Pharaoh chose not to obey the real-deal, living God of heaven and earth. Time and time again, God placed before him an opportunity. Time after time, Pharaoh exercised his own will, until God brought about the death of all the first born of Egypt. How did this happen? Because after repeated opportunities to obey God, God reached down and hardened the heart and mind of this Egyptian king.

We need to be aware of the state of our hearts.
We need to understand that our choices affect our hearts.
That is why we need to always be open to the leading of God's Holy Spirit and now allow our flesh (sin nature) to be the "pharaoh" over our life.
Just as Exodus tells us the story about a battle between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Egypt, so is battles faced by mankind daily.
The battle is between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of "Self".
Every time we allow "Self" to become the dominant voice we listen to, our hearts grow a little harder and harder to the voice and will of God.

At some point, we no longer hear the convicting Voice of God trying to draw us to repentance and freedom from sin. We slide over into the darkness of "Self" and live our lives totally outside the will of God.

I see people living this way daily.
They are good people.
But they have said "No" to God for so long that they are headed down this path to destruction.
Their continual "No" causes them to grow colder and harder with each passing decision.
Don't allow this happen to you.
If you have lived for self, and you have nothing to show for it.
When I say "nothing to show for it," I'm not talking about material possessions or social status. I'm talking about having a heart that is at peace and rest. Being content and filled with purpose that glorifies God. If those things are absent from your life....then listen to God's wooing and call to turn from our old ways and your old heart.

This is the day of salvation....
Call out to God and He will answer....
Don't be a "Pharoah"...

God on you....

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Am A Long, Long Way From My Home

Sitting here, I am tired.
Tired in my mind....
Tired in my flesh....

Tired of politics. Tired of hatred. Tried of division. Tired of addiction.
Just tired.
Bone tired.
When I am confronted with such as this tiredness, I am strangely drawn to see home.
Home as in heaven.

I realize that this earth is not my home. I'm merely passing through to a better place and a better life.
I find my mind searching for verses in the Bible...
"I have gone to prepare a place for you."
"Comfort one another with these words."
It would be real easy to simply give up and say, "Take me Lord!"
But He isn't finished with me.
I don't get to make that call. He does.
My life is His, not the other way around.
Therefore, I don't get to call the shots...
Make the decisions....
When it's my time to leave this old world....God will make that call.

As the song in the video above says...."I am a long, long way from my home. I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth. I am a long, long way from my home."
Such thoughts keep me from falling in love with the things of this world.
Baubels and Beads no longer intrigue me, catch my attention and demand my allegiance.
I think maybe this might be a by product of growing older.

Bottom line.
God isn't finished, so I will carry on.

I will worship...
I will share....
I will give away...
I will guard my heart....
I will proclaim the greatness of this God who saved me.

I will love my God....Those around me, as I love myself.
I think this is all part of the journey.
May you find Him today.....

God on you....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Daniel Made Up His MInd

Daniel 1:8-9
But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials.

The battle we fight daily in our minds, is probably the hardest of all.
Decisions that must be made.
Decisions that affect every area of our lives.
This is especially true if you are walking a path that lies between addiction and recovery.
You may be drawn to recovery. Maybe you've even checked yourself into a rehab and are finding a new way to live.
As you travel through the Twelve Steps, the one thing you'll notice is something that is very important.
You can do them with a change of mind.....
You can walk out those steps with a change of heart.
One, the change of mind, is you merely trying to exercise your own will and strength.
The other, change of heart, is you surrendering your complete being...body-soul-spirit- to the living God for Him to work in and through.

You may be thinking to yourself, "But the Scripture from Daniel says that "Daniel made up his mind."
If you read the book of Daniel, you'll see that he was completely given over to God.
From that place of being surrendered, making up your mind is not an act of self will or doing something in your own strength or ability. It is recognizing your limitations and weakness and turning to a Power greater than yourself who could restore you to sanity.

Many people enter the first step of the Twelve Steps and readily admit that they are powerless over their alcohol or drugs. They will openly admit that their lives have become unmanagable. But once that admission has taken place, they begin to work the steps through sheer self-will. I've said it once and I'll say it again (if need be)......."You cannot be the problem and the solution." If I am the problem, then the answer or solution must lie outside of myself.

Daniel found himself in a place that was beyond his control.
He found himself in a place that he never would have voluntarily went to.
He found himself occupying a position and job that he never would have picked for himself.

Yet from this place, Daniel, under the direction of God, made up his mind that he would not defile himself.
Once the decison was made, God granted Daniel favor with those around him. The word favor, actually means "GRACE". God gave Daniel grace to walk out the decision he had made.
God is still in the "GRACE" giving business and will freely give to those whose hearts are devoted to Him.

II Chronicles 16:9 reads For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His......
What a wonderful promise! God keeps me in his vision and under his protection no matter where I go. He does so when I have given my heart to Him. When I have, in answer to Him calling me unto salvation, said, "I'm yours, Lord. Come and fill me up." The verse says that He will not just support us.....but strongly support us. That means that when we become a saved or born again, God brings muscle and might into the picture to aid us in our decisions.

It is the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit that provides the power I need to be free from my addiction.
That is why Matthew 6:33 tells us.....
Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness.
Seek first the rule and reign of God in my my mind...and in my life.
And all these things will be added to you.
What things....
My needs.
What is my greatest need now that I'm a believer....
To be empowered to walk out these steps.

May you find God today and may He become more real to you than ever before.
I can't tell you how grateful I am to everyone who stops by the Greene Street Letters to read the daily posting.

My prayer is that there may be one thing you read that will help you today.
Something that God will use to give you hope.

God on you....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Feet Are On The Rock And My Name Is On The Roll

Psalm 150:6
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the Lord!

Taking a trip down memory lane. Records were something you played on a turntable (preferably a belt-driven one). There was no such a thing as Contemporary Christian Music. The genre of music was still so new that it didn't have a name.
Vineyard worship music was just beginning to come into its own.
Maranatha music....
Word Records.....
Solid Rock Records...and many more to numerous to mention.
It was a sound and a music that was reflective of the time and the people who were discovering Jesus. It was a movement. It was happening outside of the mainline church and it was gaining momentum.

The music was fresh...No one had told the musicians that they couldn't write such songs. People were being saved and moving from bar bands to playing for Jesus. They wrote songs the only way they knew how, using the only music they knew how to play.
The lyrics were straight and to the point. No ear candy in this music.
Heaven forbid....they're using drums and EEE-lectric Get-tars.

The music raised up a new generation of evangelists, only we didn't know that what they were called. We just thought they were in love with Jesus and wanted to share their stories. People like Winkie Pratney, Chuck Smith, Keith and Melony Green, Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Randy Matthews, Bethlehem, Mark Heard,and Daniel Amos were speaking the gospel truth to those who had never heard it before. It was a great time to be alive.
Hands held high..index finger pointing the way...declared that there was "ONE WAY!" Jesus. A generation that had been lured into a lifestyle of rebellion and dropping out from the status quo, was now empowered by the Holy Spirit and rebelled against the kingdom of darkness and the devil.

So now....61 years of age...many miles and years since those heady days back in the 70's, I cannot let go of the music. It still stirs me and drives me. It still speaks to me with a voice that I should never be satisfied but always chasing God. I know that the music I love isn't for everyone....but I am so appreciative of those singer/songwriters who took up their instruments for Jesus.

The picture above is of an album cover for a man named Ed Ratzloff.
As the story goes, Ed was in contract negotiations with Warner Bro. to sign a record deal. Shortly before the meeting for the contract, Ed had been saved through the efforts of some fellow musicians who were part of the Jesus People movement. Sitting there in the offices of Warner Bro., Ed felt God say, "No...don't sign this." Ed got up and walked out. He then began to write songs from this new life he was experiencing and the result is this album you see above....It Took A Long Time To Get To You. Years have passed since this album was released. Last I heard about Ed, he was still on the road for Jesus, playing where ever he could. I don't know if Ed ever got rich according to the world standards, and there are some who call him foolish for walking out of that record deal. I think maybe Ed has some riches that aren't found in this world. You see, he's not dealing with the system....he dealing with the King.

God On You.....


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