Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wait For Him!

Acts 1:8
But you shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you....

Step#3
Made a decision to turn my will and life over the to care of God as I understood Him.

The Great Trade Off...
The Divine Exchange....

The Point of Connection.....
When will (my choices driven by my own internal desires) and life (that which enables me to move and interact in the natural world) is released by my own choice....

Now isn't that strange....When I choose to give up my right to choose, I win....
I no longer put myself in the place where I use "addictive logic" to get through my day, instead I began to learn how to follow a pathway to peace.

When I walk out Step #3, I am, as the big book says, rocketed into a new dimension of living. The Holy Spirit, given to me by God the Father, is a promise that was made to Jesus upon his resurrection and return to heaven. God the Father promised to send us a helper, a comforter....His Holy Spirit. He, the Holy Spirit, is the POWER that the steps refer to. Not a doorknob...not your coffee cup...not some unknown, unseen, unheard of source of Power...but the third part of the Triune God.....God the Holy Spirit.

Waiting on God for the anointing of His Spirit is the great condition of spiritual blessing and fullness of power. The ones that Jesus Christ employs as His witnesses will qualify for it by a better spirit than their own—the Holy Spirit, His representative.

Read the Gospels.....Matthew, Mark, Luke and John...
Look up every reference to the disciple named Peter.
How would you sum up his life as written in these four books?
Looser!

He was always saying the wrong thing.
He was always doing the wrong thing.
Even on the night Jesus was arrested, in an attempt to save Him, Peter draws a sword to defend Jesus. Does he kill someone? Does he drive the attackers away? No...the best he can do is lop off a man's ear. Even then, Jesus takes the time to put the ear back and heal the man.

Go to the book of Acts and read Chapters 2 and 3.

The Holy Spirit is poured out on the band of believers, Peter included.
The once bumbling, stumbling, awkward disciple, now full of the Holy Spirit, stands to deliver the first sermon preached.
3000 were added to the number of the church that day...
Was it Peter and his dazzling oratory?
Or was it Peter, full of the power and presence of God's Holy Spirit?
I think the later.


IF I am to move from my old life of spiritual darkness and sin/addiction, I am in need of being filled with such Power as God possesses through the giving of His Holy Spirit.
Simple as that.


God on you...
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Urgency Of The Hour

II Timothy 3:1
.....But know this, that in the last days......

There is such a distorted view of the phrase "Last days" among people today.
It stirs fear within the hearts of some...the very idea that the clock is ticking on humanity. The thought that there is a set amount of time that has been provided by God. "Surely God would not actually do something drastic would he...after all, He is a God of love. Fear grips the human heart (Or we work really hard to ignore it) that something lies beyond what we can see or understand.
We try very hard to wrap our minds around such thoughts, but in truth, we want to slowly slide them to the back burner for fear that there may be truth found in such words. If I don't think about them, it won't be true.


Such words as "last days" conjure up images of a Jesus coming back to exact judgement on the world. To get even with those who didn't line up and toe the line as to what He expected. Some see Jesus as one who inflicts great pain and derives some sort of pleasure from doing so.  Such views as this keep people from seeing the real-deal Jesus. Such views as this come from a heart steeped in spiritual darkness.

When I read the words "Last days", I am filled with hope and, at the same time, great sadness. It doesn't take a rocket scientist (I apologize to all those who are employed by the space complex...no pun intended) to see that our nation, our world has changed drastically over the past 20 years. Changed not for the better, but changed to a darker place. A darker view. Such is the way it is when God is removed from the collective conscious of a country. "Oh!", you may exclaim, "We haven't removed God, we're just a more tolerant people." No we're not. We have removed all restraints as to accept whatever comes from the heart of man. Seems as though if we are a tolerant nation, we sure do have a lot of intolerance for God and those who truly are following Him. We reject such people as this, as being racist, hurtful, bigoted and about a dozen other names. 

In such a case, I guess that (in the eyes of society) I am a racist, hurtful, bigoted man. My views and belief's don't match up with the majority. I am a minority. It is what it is.Jesus said that the world would hate me (a follower of Him) because it hated Him. I will not compromise the Word of God. I will not join in this parade of insanity simply to be a part. I know that life is going to get harder as the years go by because of my belief's. I know that I will continue to be relegated to the fringe as a kook....crazy man....religious right-wing zealot. There will be labels attached to me. That's o.k. I will continue to love. I will continue to pray. I will continue to speak the Word of God for as long as I draw breath. How could I do anything less. To me the gospel of Christ is very easy....love God...love those who love Him........love those who don't love Him (Thanks to Chris Katoe for that definition). 

I will be the first to acknowledge that the church has probably done more to harm the name and cause of Christ over the past few years than to help it. I've always said that people know more about what the church is against than what it truly stands for. Don't think I am lumping all churches together in this moral failure, I'm not. There are churches in the country and around this world that daily carry out the mandate of God to "GO!" They go into the marketplace, the school, the work place and they love on folks, praying for their souls. There is a sharing of the truth daily by those who carry the  name and Spirit of God in their lives. But such Churches whose focus and purpose is found in Christ are few. The church (collectively those who have truly given themselves to Christ) should be about the business of 1.) Worshipping Jesus in every way and every day, and 2.) telling those around us the good news...the Gospel that is the POWER of Go to salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

I fear that in dealing with people who are trying to break free of addiction, some can't see the greater good,  in that this new life is more than simply the absence of drugs and alcohol. I understand how our drug of choice occupies the no.#1 spot in our consciousness. We are under the gun, so to speak, to break free. That is our primary concern and focus as we are trying to move into a new way of living. But this new way of living should lead us to a higher, greater truth that empowers us. That a POWER greater than me.....A POWER greater than my own will or ability can reach inside me and remove those defects of character which empower and sustain my addiction.
The need for the POWER of God has never been greater in our society. The reality of who Jesus is and what He has come to do needs to be on the lips of everyone who claims His name. There are those "poor unfortunates", as the big book of A.A. states, who desperately need to snatched from the fires of hell and addiction. This is the call we all carry to share our story of what God has done for us. I will never stop telling that story. I will never sit casually by while someone slides down that slope to eternal damnation.Now more than ever, we need to be light in a world gone dark.

Thank you for letting me share this morning....
God on you...

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

1 - 28 - 1999

I Corinthians 2:1-2
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

I am actually typing this on Monday night (1/28) so it can be posted on Tuesday morning (1/29).
It is an anniversary of sorts for me. If you think about it, it really isn't about me...it's about God.
Him at work...me cooperating with Him. Him exercising power.....me an empty conduit for that power to move and touch. any who, I digress...it is an anniversary.


I came to Rapha in August of 1998. I was simply someone who filled in where I was needed. Some days it was to oversee a class....other times it was to show a video to the group. In December of that year, Steve Yarbrough approached me about taking over a time slot to teach. I immediately said yes and told Steve that I would teach a "God-101" class, kind of an intro to God. My first group started in January of 1999. The dynamic of teaching such a group was a whole other ball game than what I had grown accustom to. Those first classes were not very good and thank God that He didn't give up on me. I am grateful as well to those who had to sit in those first excruciating teachings.

Through the class time and the questions that seem to come my way, I learned to "hear" God on the fly (that is how I refer to it). In other words, the Holy Spirit truly became my guide taking me to Scriptures to help answer questions that were asked. He helped me to learn how to directthe flow of the teaching so that it was exactly what God wanted to teach rather than some meandering trip into topics that had no value to the group.

On January 28, 1999, I finished up the days teaching and began to talk about God's desire to have relationship with us. I spoke of His love and mercy that was present for all who gave up life and will over to His care. As I began to pray, a young man off to my side began to cry. Bending over and placing his hands over his face, you could tell that God was all over this man. As quickly as the crying had started, he began to rock back and forth and the crying grew harder.  There was a struggle going on for this young man's very soul. There was evidence that there were demonic spirits involved trying to keep him from entering into this offer for salvation. Much prayer and interaction with the young man only brought out more of the demonization. But, God was not to be denied. The young man renounced all the darkness and sin he had embraced. He renounced the presence of the demonic influences in his life. With each declaration of wanting to break free from the darkness, the presence of God grew stronger. Finally the young man screamed at the top of his voice, "I want to be saved...I want God!!!" It all broke with that declaration. Salvation came to this young man. He looked different. He talked different. He was different. He was now a new believer....a child of God.

This was the first man who was saved in my class at Rapha. Each one since then, who comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is a celebration to God's faithfulness. I never will tire of seeing lives changed and the name of Christ celebrated. Lives changed...that's what it's all about.

I haven't heard from this young man in years....
But on this day, I always think back to the first work God did in that cafeteria there on the compound at Rapha, and I have to declare..."God is good!"

God on you...
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Monday, January 28, 2013

His Will....My Will?

Jeremiah 17:10
I, the LORD, search the heart. I test the mind. Even so to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

It is important to always remember just who is your fiercest foe in this new life of relationship with Jesus. You may be thinking to yourself, "I know who my No.#1 enemy is....the devil." well, he is close to the top of the "enemy" list, but he isn't No.#1. That honor would be reserved for you own selfish desires. we read about the power of sin in our lives in Romans 7:15 --For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that is what I do.

That is why, in the Twelve Steps, the first three steps lead me into this new relationship (I guess you could call it "being saved) through my surrender of will and life over to the care of Jesus. I must practice this discipline of getting "ME" out of the way....a.k.a. "my stinking desires." When I allow my desires to be submitted to the devil, he uses them against me. One way of looking at this, is that he becomes the puppet master over my life. Truth be known, whatever controls your desires controls you. That is why I must strive to learn how to resist the devil and not give into my desires that will lead me in a slow turn back to old ways and habits.
Here are some things we can look to in this new life.

1.) I must know and understand what is right:
The way I find out what is right, is through receiving direction from the study of God's word. Yep. You guessed it. The Bible. We gain understanding by not just the study of Scripture, but through the application of what we read, in our everyday life. It is by the Holy Spirit who is alive and well in every believer, that we move in the Power given to us by Him.

2.) I must desire what is right:
The devil loses tremendous influence when I cultivate a desire for what is right. Letting this be the preeminent focus of my heart and will in my day-to-day living. Here's a little tid-bit for you----Wrong desire is not a sin---Acting on wrong desire is sin. When I start desiring what is right, I will gain an advantage over the enemy.

3.) I must do what is right:
It is one thing to what what is right. It is an all together other thing to cultivate a desire to do the right thing. Funny part in all of this, I can still do the right thing even when my personal desire is in opposition to doing it.

That is why, with Jesus as my Lord and Savior....
With Jesus as the guide of my will and life.....

I must surround myself with others who are living in relationship with Jesus.
I must go to meetings....
I must get a sponsor.....
I must give myself to these steps.


God on you......
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Milk, Eggs and Bread, Oh My!

"Freezing Rain!!!"
"What?"

"You didn't hear? James Span said we were going to have "Freezing Rain" this morning?"
These words floated over our state yesterday and, I'm sure this morning. Driving home last night, I heard on the radio school after school announced that they would be starting classes later than normal. Why? Freezing Rain of course.
Stopped by Poppa John's to pick up a pizza, only to see Walmart alive and well with the proverbial "milk, bread, and egg" buyers. Stocking up for the great storm of 2013. (you know that ever since the blizzard of '93 we swore to ourselves we'd never be caught off guard again.)

It's like everyone goes into "Weather" mode at the first mention of any kind of threatening weather event. Preparation and preparedness are the catch words.
All of this hub-bub lead me to remember a passage from scripture.

From Matthew 16:1-3
Then the Pharisees and Sadducee's came and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'it will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times."

I see this clearly in our society today. The importance of being prepared for Jesus' return has fallen out of favor and been relegated to the bin of useless information. It is considered to be among the fairy-tales and allegories of life. I don't know that many actually believe that He is coming back. With that thought so prevalent in our society, no one is preparing for His return. We lounge on our spiritual beds of ease and live for the day, feeding our appetites on whatever they desire. We have become foolish children. We have placed our bets and our lives on the foolish notion of a God who is all loving and all encompassing of this world...by that, I mean that there are some who truly believe that everyone gets to go to heaven..no matter what. I wish I could find that in my Bible.......but it just isn't in there. IF that be the case, then why did Jesus have to die and spill his blood? Why not just issue everyone a golden ticket and then take them up at His return?

We all love the John 3:16 passage: For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have ever lasting life. Catch word in that verse......BELIEVES. To say that you believe means more than a mental ascent to the thought. It means more than a verbal confession of a truth. To believe means that you cling to....lay hold of.....trust in....be connected to....this truth. In other words, your very life reflects the evidence of what you believe in. I see many who can make the statement, "Yes! I believe in Jesus." Yet their very life is far removed from the holiness and love of God. They use the name of God as a curse word and their hearts are filled with lust for the things of this world.

I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I do think that the hour grows late for this nation and the people who populate it. Someone asked John Wimber if he thought that we were living in the last days. John's reply was, "Well I'm not sure but I do know this.......we are "laster" than we've ever been." That was a kind way of saying..."I don't know when Jesus is going to return, but I know we're closer today than we were yesterday."
Whatever you do.....
Make sure you are ready to meet Him.

As Rita Springer sings....."It's Going To Be Worth It!"
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

God on you...
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Be Ye Glad




I Chronicles 16:31
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."

My heart is filled with joy and gladness when I think on my Jesus.
When I think on the cross and the amount of suffering and pain He went through.....

Knowing that it was for me (and you) that he endured, I am overwhelmed with gladness.
When I think on the fact that I can get up this morning and have the ability and health to move around. To study His word. To pray and  have a quiet time with Him.....I am filled with joy and gladness.

When I think on how far He has brought me, the troubles and trials that Vicki and I have faced, and through it all, one redeeming thought stands....God is at work in this world, and in this life.....I am filled with joy and gladness.

When my name is called across a room or as I'm walking down the street and I turn to see someone who came through the program, and they are doing well. I am filled with joy and gladness.

When life turns and hard and tries to beat me down, I turn my thoughts to the promises of God.....to heaven and how it will be in the presence of Jesus...then I am filled with joy and gladness. The emotional clouds part and the light of God floods my soul.

What an incredible gift God has given us in the form of joy and gladness. Oh the world has tired to copy it, but what they offer is a hollow shell compared to the real thing given from God's hand.

Don't let this life and this world rob you of finding God's joy and gladness this morning. Ask Him to fill you up, overflowing and running over. Then go out and face the day. Who knows....you might splash on someone else who needs a little joy and gladness.

God on you....
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An Honest Look At Who I am

Gunshots on campus....3 dead.

Lone gunman goes to elementary school....over twenty shot and killed, mostly children.

Mother convicted of killing her 9 year old daughter.

And the list goes on and on and on.
The uncovering of our world so that the darkness seeps out into the light has been going on since Eve handed Adam the fruit to eat. But now it seems to be happening in epic proportions. Everyone has the answer to the problem, but no one seems to understand that the answers that are put on the table are but straw. They have no substance. They do not address the real issues.
What is the real issue? The human heart.
The center of will and intellect and intent or motive.
It is damaged. Everyone person who walks this earth was born with a will to do the wrong thing. Some would call it the "Depravity of man".
The longer I stay in the addiction field (bet you didn't know we had a field, did you?) the more I see the truth behind that statement. We can color it ever how we want to. We can put a spin on it to make it mean what we want to. But the truth is, the prophet Jeremiah hit the nail on the head when he wrote, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?"


We all think of ourselves as being basically good people. "I am a good person. I have a good heart" is the battle cry of humanity, but the evidence demands a different verdict. I have said on numerous occasions that I know that within me, dwells the very thing that would rise up like Peter and deny Jesus if I let it have its way. Every time I have made that statement, someone would come to me and correct me with..."But you are a child of God...you've been saved...you shouldn't say things like that." While I appreciate the kind words, they ring hollow and empty. The very idea that I possess the capability of acting such a way is what keeps me near the cross. It is the realization of my own humanity that causes me to chase this Jesus with a desperation that is always there within me.

Some of you may think, "Why thank you, Michael, for such a positive, uplifting posting here on the blog this morning." To me what could be more inspiring or encouraging than to see yourself as you really are. Strip away all the hype and falseness that we create in order that others would see us in a positive manner, and we are left standing naked before our God and Savior. From this place, I can receive true healing. From this place of living with nothing to hide, I can be empowered to move on in this life. The realization of the depravity of mankind fuels me to share my story with others. To tell them of the hope that only Christ can put within that dark heart. Hope that crushes and rises above every shred of evil that would seek to destroy you. Hope that is alive and rockets you into a relationship what will last throughout all eternity. The depravity of the human heart cannot stand in the face of the cross of Christ. It shrivels and lies dead on the ground when the blood of Jesus is applied to it. "O, Precious is that flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus."

It is not very popular in this day and age to speak of such things as sin, hell and the depravity of man. Some think me ancient and antiquated. Out of date and out of touch. I am o.k. with such labels. But the truth of God is never outdated. It stands as a standard and reminder that no matter how high the achievements of humanity may take us, we all are in need of the Savior. If ever we needed Jesus in the history of this earth, it is now.
Thank you for letting me speak these things.
I hope that stir you to look within yourself and allow God to set right any wrong you may find.
Know that I love you, as does Jesus, and that we all stand on level ground at the cross of Christ. It is there we all can receive healing.


John 12:31 -  And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

God on you...
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

His Banner Is Love

Song of Solomon 2:4
He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.

I don't know where you are this morning, emotionally or spiritually.
You may be on top of the world...
Everything going your way.
Sun shining down.....song in your heart....smile on your face....
Or..
You may be spiritually and emotionally at the bottom of a deep dark well, with thoughts of not being able to ever get out.

Sin/addiction will do that to you.
The first thing that addiction does is rob you of your self worth.
It whispers to you how insignificant you are and that you are incapable of loving and being loved.
I hate addiction.

It plays a message over and over in your mind, beating you down further and further until you simply give up and accept the message as being the truth. The funny part in all of this, is that you turn to the very thing that is bringing the accusations against you.....you turn to the addiction to find comfort and relief from the pain. Each time you look to addiction to save you....it only drives you deeper into the pain. Like I said....
I hate addiction.


There is an answer.
The answer has a name.
Jesus.

Yep! You read me right.
Jesus.

He is love personified and carried to the highest level.
He is not the "Church" God...but He is Lord over His Church.
He is not the "religious" God....but rather He is God to be found through relationship.
He lifts up those who are brokenhearted.
He heals those who have been wounded and left for dead by the world.

He is love.
Did you catch that? Let it sink in.

Jesus is love.
I didn't say that Jesus loves...
Or He feels love...
Or He oozes love...
He is love. Jesus created the word to define the emotion and choice of what it means to love.

The word came from his very nature and mind, given to us so that we might understand that His Kingdom is a kingdom built and founded on the call to love.
We're not talking about love as the world sees it.
We are talking about a higher, more pure form of love.
Unconditional love...love without strings...
Love without hoops to jump through.


The verse from Song of Solomon reflects the heart of Jesus.
"HE brought me to his banqueting house...."
There is an invitation given to come and dine and feast with Jesus.
But more than the invitation, is the fact that Jesus came to us and carried us to the feast. He provided that which we could not do for ourselves.
Now the idea of a banqueting house is one that is built for relationship....with a meal as the center piece. Conversation around the table...laughter and good times. This is the heart of heaven....a place of intimate conversation and worship with Almighty God himself.


The identifying mark or flag that defines the banqueting house of God?
You guessed it...
LOVE!

He flies the flag proudly over His kingdom.
He proclaims to all....
Love the Lord God with all you strength, all your heart, all your mind.

Love your neighbor.....
And lastly....
You can only love your neighbor if you love yourself. Which takes us back to the top of this posting where I said that addiction's primary concern is to convince you that you are unlovable. That you have no value or worth to anyone.
Don't you fall for that lie.
Take the invitation to join Jesus at His banqueting house.

Come and stand under His banner....
The banner of love.


God on you....
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Seth Barber Message From January 5

New Audio Message

Seth Barber's Message From January 5
"Killing the giant's in your life"

Click on "New Audio Message" and you will be taken to the podcast section of our blog.
Enjoy...
Feel free to download /  Feel free to share it with others....
Whatever you do....
Feel free!!!!


God on you...
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A Story

Matthew 11:28
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."

She stepped out of the crowd and made her way toward me.
Her steps....the way she walked.....
Her face....head down and seemingly under the weight of the world..

All revealed that she was desperate.
She was hesitant and almost seemed to stop for a brief moment as if the thought to turn and walk away passed through her mind. But she came forward.

She tried to smile but it didn't look genuine....it was forced and even though the smile came out, the eyes spoke of pain and hopelessness.
She extended her hand and I did likewise.
Mumbled words about how much she enjoyed the message.
It has been years since she was in church and she had come this particular day at the request of a friend.

I thanked her.
Long pause of silence. She wanted to say more.
Then began her story..

Abusive relationships.
Years of addiction.

A man had come back into her life from a previous relationship and it wasn't good.
Verbally abusive, she had been beaten down with words. Can you believe that? Words have the ability to drain the very life out of us when they are used as weapons. Here before me stood living, breathing proof.

Her need to be loved kept her searching for the right man, but it never seemed to work out.
One after another had passed through her life, each one using her till there was nothing else left she could give. At this point in her life, the men she had chosen to be with had discarded her like yesterday's newspaper.
Now here she was...
in a church, asking for prayer.
She closed her eyes and bowed her head.
I began to pray for God to come upon her.
She began to cry.
She began to confess and repent, asking God to forgive her.
The crying grew more intense and her words came quickly....
"Oh God! Please save me. I'm so tired. I'm so tired. I'm so tired. I give up."
Then release.
It was like every dark thing that had attached itself to the very soul of this woman, fled away until all that was left was the peace and presence of God.
Her eyes reflected gratitude for what had just happened.
She knew that God had honored her prayer. She was saved. She now had relationship with Jesus. Her situations had not changed, but now she had hope.
The tears kept flowing but they were not tears of sadness or gloom....
They were tinged with Joy and with purpose.
The weight that had previously bent her over in despair and hopelessness was now lifted.
Jesus was here.

Please remember this young lady when you pray.
Ask God to cover her and keep her from the return of the enemy.
Ask God to direct her path and focus her mind so that she will not embrace her old lifestyle.

Is God good, or what?

God on you....
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Truth As Told By One Larry Norman



Taking a look at Jeremiah Chapter 2---
It reads...."What injustice have your fathers found in Me that they have gone far from Me?"
That would be God making that statement.
What excuses were made to walk away from God....
We can blame the church....Yeah..all them snotty, stuck up, hypocritical (Not to mention a bagrillion other names we can add to the list) church people...
Remember, when you say "church people"...you have to kind of sneer and talk down to who ever it is your talking to...

"Those CHURRRRRR-Ch People!"
"Them Christians.....arrrgh!"

The one thing I find most interesting, is that I don't really remember that many folks actually blaming God. They blame everything around them....and of course, in our dark minds, we tie them all to God....It's His fault.After all, He is in charge, isn't He? Least ways, that what we've been told.

But if you read on in Jeremiah Chapter 2, it says....
"They (your fathers) have followed idols (Or emptiness) and have become idolaters (Or empty themselves).  Do you not know that we turn into whatever it is we chase with our hearts....
Our heart (as deceitful as it is according to Jeremiah) draw our thoughts and when pondered long enough, our thoughts turn into actions. Hence the walking away from God....

That is so not a good place to be in.

"WHY DON'T YOU CHECK INTO JESUS" is an old Jesus people standard written by Larry Norman. 

Seems as though people ( the establishment and those "church" folks) were always upset by the music. Larry actually used the words "whiskey", "Cigarette" and "VD" in the song. Heaven forbid we tell the truth. The message pretty much was out there..Kind of in your face.

You've got to remember who Larry was singing to.
Addicts, junkies, drunks...and everyone who didn't know his Jesus.
Larry made no claims to what the future might hold, but he knew that with Christ, it had to be better than anything else.
And it was....


"You've tried everything else and it isn't working."
Why not check into Jesus....
Why?
Because He's got the answers to the questions you've been asking.

Simple, huh?

Enjoy the video...
God on you...
just an old hippie on the way to heaven...
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Heal Me....Or Kill Me...Do Something!

Step # 1
We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol/drugs----
That our lives had become unmanageable.

Job 6:2
If my sadness could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would he heavier than all the sands of the sea.

What thoughts rage in our minds and hearts as we approach this first step.
"I want to quit...."

"I can't quit....."
The very idea of not being able to quit is fueled by the toxic emotions of guilt and shame.
Guilt----for what I've done.
Shame----for who I have become.
These two combine to form a barrier that stands in the way of our recovery.
This barrier keeps the pain in.....
And hasn't it been pain that we've been running from?
Sure it has.
Our friend....our lover....the drugs and alcohol, promise us that they will remove the pain so that we don't feel it anymore.
These are the times when we are so confused and overwhelmed by the pain in our life that we wish we could die.
No matter what we do, we are powerless to change things.
Powerless to make them better.

The weight of the pain and the accompanying sadness seem to push down on us until it seems as though the very life we possess is being squeezed from our bodies.
We can't see why our hearts don't break and allow to death to free us.

Job felt that way...
Nothing left to live for....
The inability to change things in his own life...

"If my sadness could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would be heavier than all the sands of the sea....Oh that I might have my request, that God would grant me hope. I wish He would crush me. I wish He would reach out His hand and kill me...
I do not have the strength to endure. I do not have see anything in sight that encourages me to carry on.Do I have strength as hard as stone? Is my body made of bronze? No, I am utterly helpless without any chance of success (Job 6:2-3, 8-9, 11-13)


Job had no idea that the end of his life would a gazillion times better than when he made these statements. A divine restoration would come to Job. I know that today may seem like another in an endless time of darkness and hopelessness...but know that with the simple admission we find in Step #1, you are taking the first steps to moving out of the darkness into a new way of living.

"Rarely have we seen anyone fail who has thoroughly followed our path...."
What is a path? Nothing more than a worn out trail produced by others who have walked in the same direction. A path is easy to follow. A path is clearly seen. Such is this road to recovery. Millions have walked it before you. It is clearly marked and ready for you to take your place among those who are living clean and sober. Notice I said "living".....not existing. Sobriety and this relationship with Jesus is about living....real life.
Think on these things.....


God on you....
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spiritual Scrubbin' Bubbles....

Isaiah 1:18
"Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD.
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they are like crimson, they, shall be as wool.

The invitation, by God, to come and learn the truth about ourselves.
We all, everyone of us, suffer from the same malady.

Sin.
We have a nature, a bent, a propensity to do the wrong thing, make the wrong choice, and go against the grain (so to speak).
The bent in our nature is what the apostle Paul refers to as "The old man" or "the flesh".
We didn't ask for this way of seeing life or what's more, living it.
It's all part of the package that we inherited when the woman and the man got a hankerin' for some forbidden fruit.
Oh, the fruit didn't cause the downfall of the human race.
It was the decision to eat the fruit.

Just like for us today, the act of sin actually begins with the thought of sin.
I have the thought....
I entertain it...
I let it roll around in my brain, even though my heart is shooting up red flares, and bells and whistles are going off all around me to be careful and not fall prey to sin. 

I succumb to the thought and give in to act out the sin.

Another sneaky part to this whole "sin" thing, is that we are born with a rebellious streak inside.
It comes out in the from of our rejection of God.
We can come up with a gazillion reasons why we don't want God interferring (isn't that the way we always see God? He is interferring in our affairs) in our lives.
Don't tell me what to do...
Those Ten Commandments are so outdated.

I will determine what I want to believe or reject.
With such boastful statements, we sail the ship of our lives straight on to the rocks and shoals.
We can say it...
We just can't live it....

This is why we need a POWER  greater than ourselves.
A POWER that is not found in the collective intellect or will of the human race.
A divine
POWER  that possesses the authority and ability to break the influence and power of sin.

That divine POWER would be Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 9:22 tells us that ...Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (cleansing).
In other words, the death of Jesus on the cross, his blood being spilt, is the door that opens to my healing from sin/addiction. His blood became an eternal payment for an eternal problem.
Jesus' blood, free from the presence of sin, became the capital and currency of heaven that gave me the opportunity to be free from the penalty of death that came with my sin nature.

Don't you find it strange that in the passage from Isaiah, sin is described as being "like scarlet" and "red like crimson". That sin and blood seem to have the same appearance. Hard to tell one from the other...yet it was blood that God used to bring forgiveness for sin in our lives.
We see that when we surrender ourselves to Jesus....
When we admit our we are powerless....

Something happens inside of us.
The sin nature that has plagued mankind since the garden of Eden, is changed.
The stain and color of sin is attacked and turned white....the whitest of white....like wool.
That is real Power! The ability to go to the spiritual molecular level and change the heart and mind of a person so that they can live life, deal with life, and face life in a new way that, prior to this process of salvation, was beyond their capability.
Now I tell you, if that doesn't set you on fire...
Then your wood is wet.


Think on these things today...
God on you....
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It Doesn't Look Like Mercy

The old spell check was acting up this morning and would not function properly. Any words that are not correctly spelled should be looked over and not assigned with the opinion that the writer is, in any such manner, a goober of royal proportions. Thank you for your patience.

Genesis 45:7-8
"And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity (remnant) for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God....."

You know, when we talk about the mystery of God....the greatness of God...the plans of God...
it is hard to wrap our finite minds around such.
I have been planted in Genesis for the last few days and found myself going back over the story of Joseph, his brothers and the entire dysfunctional clan (talk about a reality show in the making...).

If you read the story, you would be hard pressed to say..."Isn't God wonderful." But when you read the story, if you open your heart and see with your spirit-eyes, you can proclaim, "Isn't God wonderful!"
Let's see how it goes:
1.) Young brother has dreams given to him by God that speak of the future. The boy doesn't know that. He is just taken with the dreams because in them, he is elevated to a place of honor above his siblings.
In fact, the dream shows all his family bowing down before him. If you don't think that would wrankle an older brother...you haven't been in a family.

2.) The younger brother, Joseph, keeps pushing the "dream" thing. Top it off with the fact that his own father openly acknowledges Joseph as his favorite son doesn't help matter much. He adorns the kid in a coat that looks like a rainbow...kind of hard to miss that one coming isn't it. Now the kid sticks out like a sore thumb...as if to say, "Here I come...ol' colorful me....look at me..."

3.) The brothers conspire to kill the little snot (that is big brother talk). Kill him, take the coat and return it to dad..."Sorry pops...the boy was eaten by wild varmit's."

4.) God intervenes. Instead of killing him, one of the brothers pushes for another solution. There just happens to be a traveling caravan come by so they get the bright idea to sell the kid, get rid of him and make some money in the mean time. Nothing like a little profit to brighten the day and cleanse the conscious..."Well..we didn't kill  him, did we? We're not that bad."

5.) Joseph goes down to Egypt and becomes a slave.

As terrible as all that sounds...it overflows with the mercy of God.
God kept Joseph from being killed.
God kept his brothers from staining their hands and conscious with the blood of his brother.
God was putting into place a plan that would result in the saving of the entire family's life because of a coming famine that they did not know would take place.
Yet it was God at work in the lives of everyone involved that would save not only a family, but a nation.
Saved through a Hebrew slave upon whom the Spirit of Almighty God rested.
What we think is mercy, doesn't always line up with the reality of God's mercy.
I'm sure that during his time in Egypt, Joseph may have never thought that God was being merciful by bringing him to that country, but He was.

On into the story, we see a reunion between Joseph and his brothers. The famine is at its height in the land and Joseph's family have come down to Egypt to buy food. Joseph finally reveals himself as their brother. As he does so, he explodes with emotion...weeping. Why? Come on Joseph...buck up! These guys tried to do you in...now's your chance to get even.

Truth is...what the brothers meant for evil...
God took and meant for good and salvation.
God took the sin of the brothers and turned it into a blessing, ultimately saving their very lives.
That is why when I find myself in hard, dark times and I can't see the reason or I don't understand why such things are happening....I press harder into God. I lean on Him that He knows best and sees all. That even in the darkest of times, God's mercy is present covering me and keeping me for the plans He has prepared for me. Real deliverance comes when we realize that everything that happens to us has sifted through the sovereign hands of God.
Now that is a real comfort.....

God on you...
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Step # 1

Psalm 116: 3-4
The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of sheol (the grave) laid hold of me.
I found trouble and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the LORD.

"O LORD! I implore You, deliver my soul!"

The point of desperation is a much needed place to be when dealing with addiction.
Addiction is like a living organism in some regards. It will fight to stay alive. It will promise you the moon while leaving you dry and dead, craving the very thing that is killing you.
Addiction is cunning, baffling, powerful..........
And patient.
It will wait for you.

It will let you make promises to yourself that you are going to stop....Only to suck you back into the darkness, all the while taunting you like a bully taking your milk money.
"Who do you think you are?" It will whisper to you. "You know you can't stop...what's more, you know you don't want to stop."

Such is addiction. It will beat you down....
You hear yourself saying, "No more...I will quit," all the while reaching for that next needle, that next pill, that next hit and that next high.

But there is one...
One who has a name that reveals the power and authority that addiction fears.
That name?
Jesus!

The Christ...the anointed...the Messiah.....the deliverer.
As you read this, you may have gone all religious on me. It isn't about church, or choirs, or hymnals, or men in suits standing behind pulpits talking and screaming at you. Stay with me. I'm talking life. I'm talking real life. I'm talking of a life that has a future where addiction isn't a part of it. I'm talking about the infusion of real power and real life into your current situation that will change everything. I know it sounds like pie-in-the-sky theology, but the truth is.....this Jesus is real.......and He is the Power needed to break the addiction that you have become a slave to.

Step # 1 - (You know and I know that every journey to reach a destination begins with the first step.)
We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and drugs.....
This admission comes from the heart. It isn't me simply mouthing the words and verbally saying that I am powerless. It is me standing face to face with my life, looking at the destruction and realizing that I am incapable of stopping it. I am powerless.

That my life has become unmanageable......
In other words, I have lost the ability to make sound decisions. I have lost the ability to be responsible. I have lost the ability to live socially. While the insanity spirals deeper and downward, I keep trying to rationalize that I'm not different from other people. I don't really have a problem. I can manage this. Truth is....our lives have become unmanageable.

This coming year, we will teaching the steps in our Saturday night meeting here at Rapha.
With Christ as the central focus to the program, we will share one step per month in an effort to help point the way to real freedom and life.
I don't know that we will share anything that hasn't already been shared somewhere by someone.
But it is a journey that we have been called to take again.
Back in 2010, we taught the steps for an entire year. It was an incredible journey as we all grew and realized the power and mercy that God possesses for those who are wanting to be free of addiction.

I will be posting the messages here on this blog, so be sure to watch for them so you can down load and listen.

Seth Barber spoke this past Saturday night (1/5/13) from I Samuel 17, using David as a reference point and a starting place from which to face our "Giants".
I will be getting this message up as soon as possible.

God on you....
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Friday, January 11, 2013

New Audio Message

Down loaded the Audio Message from 12/29/12 meeting.
"Preparing To Enter The New Year".
Kind of an over view of where we are headed in 2013 through out Saturday night gathering.
To listen, click on the heading to this posting NEW AUDIO MESSAGE...
and it will direct you to the podcast section where you'll find the message.
Thanks...

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Little Prayers

Luke 11:1
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, Teach us to pray......"

This is a hard posting to write this morning....
Why?
Because pray is a part of my relationship that I have always felt I was sorely lacking in.

I pray...
In fact if I stop to think about it...
I pray a lot.
But when I read of others and their being given to prayer, I am embarrassed.

Leonard Ravenhill, noted English Revivalist, once commented that "When we stand before Jesus the one thing that we will be embarrassed by is the "Smallness of our prayers".  In other words, we never launched out into those prayers that changed the world. We prayed safe prayers...prayers that may have been full of selfish needs and wants.
I have had the book for some time...."E.M. Bounds On Prayer". But yesterday as I was in my office transferring some cassette tapes (remember those?) to digital, I pulled the book out and began to read. As John Wesley would have said, "My heart was strangely warmed." In other words, the Holy Spirit was very present as I poured over these words. The opening lines of the book jumped off the page at me...."The prayers of God's saints are the capital stock in heaven by which Christ carries on His great work upon the earth. The earth is changed, revolutionized; angels move on more powerful, more rapid wings; and God's policy is shaped when the prayers of His people are more  numerous and more efficient."

Does this mean that God is waiting upon us to pray so that He can act. Yes, and no. What I have found is that my prayers are actually me "breathing" back to God that which He truly desires to accomplish. He is giving me the incredible opportunity to be a part of this divine plan.......this divine work here on fallen, sinful earth. For this reason, I want to learn how to pray, and I told God that yesterday. "Teach me to pray."

Bounds goes on to write: Prayer is no fitful, short-lived thing. It is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence. It is a voice that goes into God's ear, and it lives as long as God's ear is open to holy pleas, as long as God's heart is alive to holy things." I have got to lay hold of prayer. I have, in the past, given up to quickly. I have thrown up short bursts of emotion laced with words that I think God wants to hear. No more. Prayer has got to be the language of heaven that begins with a heart that is stirred in belief that God is who He claims to be and that He answers the cries of His children.

Everything is possible to those who truly know how to pray, and the one truth that still burns in a world gone dark is that God's ear is not so dull that He cannot hear....and His arm so short that He cannot save. I fear that my own prayers were nothing more than those like the Pharisee's. A cold and lifeless praying that was nothing more than a parody of the real thing. God forgive me. There is a part of me that finds the things of this world more exciting than spending time in prayer. This cannot be any longer. Please read my words with clear vision. I am not pontificating or posturing to lay claim that I am going to be some kind of incredible prayer warrior. I am laying claim to the fact that I have not taken the discipline of prayer as serious as God would have me. How many lives have passed by me and moved deeper into spiritual darkness because I did not wrestle for their very soul in prayer. This cannot be. I am grateful for God's hand to lay hold of me this morning and give me another opportunity to participate in His Kingdom work. Another opportunity to learn and grow. I do not want to squander this.

God on you....
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mirror Mirror On The Wall


Genesis 37:4
But his brothers hated Joseph because of their father's partiality. They couldn't say a kind word to him.

This particular passage in Genesis gives us a vivid glimpse into the home of dysfunctional family. 
There are many wives.....
There is rivalry between the siblings...
This is a place where the covenant of God cannot be understood or rightly taught.
In our homes, when we shut ourselves in, the truth of what we really believe as to who God is and His claims really comes out.
We need look only to Jacob and his family in Genesis 37 to see a mess.
Family in upheaval...
Brothers that despised the youngest, to the point that they were ready to kill him. A father who played favorites among his sons. 
Yet, this very family was to carry the promise of God passed down from Abraham and Isaac.


You see, the truth is that the home is the seedbed of all attitudes toward the biblical God. In other words, the god of our homes is too often not the God of the Bible. Once home behind the closed doors, the real "us" comes out. Not the one we want to project in church or at choir practice. Not the "us" that we want others to see. But it is here....here, in our homes, where we can begin in a relationship with Jesus that will lead us into a life of obedience and joy

We begin by receiving Jesus not only as Savior, but Lord over our very existence. Then we take our rightful roles within the family. 
As men, we take responsibility for our families. Responsibilities that we have discarded for the simple act of being selfish. Instead of expecting others to do for us....to take care of us....we need to become servants to our family.

We need to see the real person in the mirror.
When I look into the mirror, I see what others see.

In my case, an older man......beard that reflects the years I have lived. Wrinkles and crags in my face that show the wear and tear of my life.
But what I need to do is to ask God to let me see that man in the mirror as He sees him. For God does not view us in the same manner that we see ourselves.
II Samuel 16:7 - But the LORD said to Samuel,"Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

What I have discovered (through seeing myself) is that when we aren't giving ourselves to following Jesus, we create for ourselves two belief systems. One that we talk about in public....
And one that we live in private.
One that appears to be righteous and religious and right...we say all the right things....
And one that reveals the true nature of our hearts by our actions and behaviors.

God desires for us to have only one belief system by which we live in this old world.
That belief system would reflect his nature and his desire as we reject the world's directions on how to live, in order to embrace His.


Father...
This day may we allow your Holy Spirit who live in us to direct our minds, our hearts.....our entire life so that we may be pleasing to you.
Give us wisdom and protection from the things of this world that would seek to devour us and destroy us.
In the name of Your Son, Jesus....
Amen

God on you...
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

John 11




I live somewhere in the middle....
My entire life seems to seek out that middle place....not to swing to far, one side or the other....emotionally or spiritually.
John Wimber use to say that we, as followers of Christ, should seek the "Radical Middle"...that such a place from which to follow Christ was the only place to be.

I hear some lay claim to times of great bliss and joy....such things, they say should be a part of our relationship with Jesus....
Others look to the sufferings of Christ and think that is the way that should be followed.
Joy....
seriousness.....
laughter....
tears.....
To be truthful, I still think that middle place is the place to abide.
The middle place or middle ground is where I acknowledge my "humanness". My innate ability to mess up. Or as my dad use to say..."Boy, you could mess up a steel ball bearing with a rubber hammer." Realizing I'm human is not a cop out or an excuse to sin. It is simply me saying...."Hey God! I'm not you....Help!" From this understanding, I can face the day...
From this understanding, I cad take what the day hands me.....
I don't know if you noticed or not, but life is messy and not very fair.
But since I live here in "this life", I have found the need to remained focused on Christ.
WWJD?
Naw...
WWJWMTD!  What Would Jesus Want Me To Do? Even asking this, I do not launch into speculative thinking or conjecture. I wait until He tells me. Believe me, if you are trying to follow Him, He will reveal Himself to you.

That is why I love this song from Randall Goodgame...John 11.
He sings of those days when you want to quit...
When you let your flesh get the best of you and you just don't care...
Then, like John 11 (The story of Lazarus) Jesus speaks into our lives and we are raised up....
If you want to stay in the tomb...feel free.
Me?
I'm gonna shed my grave clothes and go after Jesus.
Gotta love it!

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

God On You....
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Some Riches You Can't Put In Your Wallet

3 John 1:2-4
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.

The words I find in 3 John, give language to the thoughts that I carry around each day. I wish for everyone who reads this blog.....everyone who is seeking God....everyone who has turned their back on addiction in order to be saved by the One True Higher Power....that they prosper. That this prosperity extends beyond a bank account or an accumulation of material possessions and goes right to the heart our new, changed life.

There is one that does not wish to see you prosper in health and spirit, for he knows that such growth only empowers you to stay beyond his reach. Oh, he'll come round and try to knock you off you game, but that is all the more reason that we should press into this new life.

I live for the stories that you share with me about your triumph's and failures...for I know that real growth comes when we stumble and fall. We may fall, but we don't stay there. We don't wallow in guilt and shame and allow ourselves to be held in place. We confess, repent, get up and walk on. Sounds too simple doesn't it? The truth usually is pretty simple. We have a tendency to complicate the obvious and trivialize the momentous. It's all about a spiritual progress. Learning from our mistakes and making sure that we don't repeat the same mistake twice.

The sharing of stories is scriptural.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us that "Iron sharpens iron",  When a story is shared, it creates a bond between two people.When that story is directed and covered with God's Holy Spirit, it creates life between the two. It causes faith to increase It produces hope that stands against the darkness this old world holds. It causes us to keep on keepin' on and not give up. That is why I so enjoy phone calls and letters....facebook messages and visits from men who have gone through the program and have been changed by the Power and Presence of God.


One last thing....
Don't discount your own story.
Some people feel as though their story isn't dramatic enough. Don't believe this!
If you have been saved and are living in Christ, then your story is totally one of victory.
You were formally dead.....
Dead in sin.
Yet the voice of Almighty God spoke into the deadness and commanded you back to live...
A new, spiritual life of freedom from the bondage of sin/addiction.
In fact....your story and your life may be the only Bible some people ever read or see.
Don't discount what God can do through you.
Think on this today....

God on you....
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Moving Forward

No pictures for the blog posting today....
Blogger.com seems to be a bit sticky and wouldn't load right.
Sorry bout that...
I know that some of you live for the pictures here daily at the Greene Street Letters.

Now that was some kind of hyperbole, wasn't it?
There is a lot more to life than this blog.
I am grateful for the opportunity to write here.
I am equally grateful that some find it worth reading.

This is, to me, the mystery of God.
How He uses people who aren't really qualified to work in His Kingdom.

That is one reason the world looks at us so strange, and with a bit of hatred in their eyes...
To the world, you should have credentials or diplomas or at least the endorsement by someone who does.
The world tends to fall back on the argument that those who lack education are backwards and not worth reading or listening to.
Throw in the fact that I was born and live in the Southern United States of America and my credibility goes down quickly...
Well, butter my behind and call me "Biscuit".


What gives me the opportunity to write on this blog?
God has called me to do so.
There are days I wake up with nothing to write...
nothing to share....
And I make my way to the living room, coffee in hand, Bible under my arm when suddenly a thought or a verse will come to my mind. I'm still not sure whether the thought has originated in my own mind, or if God has spoken to me. But I decide to chase it and see where it takes me.

What  I have found is that someone, somewhere needed to read that particular posting for that day.
It is this knowledge that God indeed speaks through the postings of this blog that keeps me getting up every morning and writing.
That someone I may never meet....
Someone I will may never hear from...

found something on this blog that made a difference on a particular day in their life. That they may, in fact, have run into the real-deal God and He changed their life.

I also know that I am the least important part of this equation....
I think that falls into the category of knowing my place in this relationship with Jesus...

I figure if He can use Balaam's Donkey to speak....
Then I am expendable. Have no problem with that.
So what does 2013 hold?
Well, for one thing, the focus of our meetings on Saturday night at Rapha will be focused on "THE GOD OF THE TWELVE STEPS." A wise man once told me, "You can't follow the 12 steps and not bump your head on the cross." I concur.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up on the steps.....
we forget the Power who can make the steps work.That power being Jesus.
So I'm excited about where God is taking us this coming year.

This Saturday night, Seth Barber will be speaking....
Debbie Handy will be leading worship...

So be in prayer that God will once again come into our meeting.
That we will gather to meet with Him.

See you then!
God on you...

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Friday, January 4, 2013

If I Stand



Psalm 5:3-4
Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God.
For to you I will pray. My voice, You shall hear in the morning, O'Lord.
In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.


The federal government does is not my source of strength and provision.
The president may rule, but there is a rule that far exceeds his authority.
The military of this nation may have power beyond my comprehension, but there is one who has all POWER! His name is Jesus...

As the song says...."the stuff of earth competes for the allegiance I owe only to the giver of all good things."
SO if I stand let me stand on the promise that You will see me through.
And if I fall, let it be on the grace that first brought me to You.
Ask God to grant you greater vision for your heart this morning.
See beyond what your eyes reveal....
See with your heart.

God on you...
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Thursday, January 3, 2013

You've Got To Get IN!

Genesis 6:22
Thus Noah did according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Genesis 7:5
And Noah did according to all the LORD commanded him.

He built it....
He supplied and stocked it....
He preached about it to his neighbors....
It was there when the rain started to fall....
But at some point, Noah had to get in the ark.
It wasn't enough just to point to it and proclaim how great God was...
Noah had to get into the ark.

I am always amazed at the fact that Noah was the last righteous man on earth.
The entire population had given into sin and had spiraled downward to such a degree that God
was ready to start over....
You see, I truly believe that humanity was given every opportunity to repent and change the way they lived....
They chose not to.

Because of this choice, there were consequences involved.
But Noah and family got into the ark.
Inside was life...
Outside was death...
Outside it didn't matter how much wealth you possessed...
Outside it didn't matter what your social status was...

You died...
It's the same today.
A rejection of Jesus and his offer of salvation pretty much sums up your fate.
Can't blame Him...
We have a choice to make, even in this day and time.


We can choose to receive Jesus as Lord over our life....
We can choose to receive Jesus as the one who can save us...
And through our choice, we are placed in him...He is our ark.

The two verses listed above, to me are the very heart of why Noah was chosen...
He did everything God commanded him to do.
He followed the steps of building the ark...
He followed God's directives on stocking the ark...
He listened for God's voice and when it was time, Noah heard God and took his family and went into the ark.


Now is the day to "hear God".....
He still speaks and he still longs to have an ongoing relationship with us.
Noah walked within the boundaries of God's grace and mercy. He did not allow himself to be tainted by the world or society that he lived in.
Sin flourished in this ancient world....Man was depraved to the point that his heart and mind continually were on evil. This was the rule of the day except for one man...Noah.
This man focused himself on hearing and following God.

When I am in Christ....following him, my faith in who Jesus is allows me to see the coming "flood" of sin that wants to destroy me. Being in Christ allows me to follow God's directives that ensure my salvation. (I'm not talking about working for my salvation...I'm referring to simply doing the things that are part of the discipline of walking with Jesus).

So...I look around at my life and see the destruction already done...and the coming destruction headed my way if I don't change.
Since I am the problem, I cannot be the solution.
The solution for my state of life has to exist outside the realm of my own intellect and ability.

There must be a Higher Power that can deliver me from the flood of sin/addiction.
That Higher Power would be my ark of safety....Jesus.
I give myself...or place myself in Him, will and live, turning them over to His care.
The rest is simply me waiting...listening and doing what I am told to do...
Are you "IN" the ark?
Or are you on the outside?
Hmmm....looks like rain to me....


God on you....

mb

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Music....31 Flavors Just Like The Ice Cream Place!



Oh the incredible creation of music....
Of the creation of voice and the marriage of the two....
To take the very breath given by God and use it to proclaim his greatness and majesty.....

Why?
Because He is worthy to receive it....

Why?
Because I have been saved by His redeeming love and hand from an eternal destiny of hell and separation from Him.

Let everything that has breath....Praise the Lord!
Praise Ye The Lord!

God on you....
mb

I'm Walking....Yes, Indeed


Genesis 5:24
And Enoch walked with God.......

What does it mean to "Walk with God?"
You hear that term, "Walk", all the time if you go to church or you do a lot of reading of the modern pastors/teachers.
To me, the term "Walk" means that as we move through our day, we live our lives....make our choices.....based on what Scripture tells us. It's not simply keeping the rules, or the do's and don'ts of the Bible...it is a change of heart through this new relationship I have with Christ (some call it being born again).
God clearly defines the boundaries of this relationship. When I remain within those boundaries....I am given the grace and blessings of God to move through this life without fear of turning to my old ways again. In fact, the longer I walk in this new life, the farther and farther my old life moves away from my thoughts, and my heart.

To those who are caught between addiction and this new life of recovery, the old lifestyle screams at them, telling then that recovery is a life of bondage. Bondage to do things that will limit and restrict the choices of the old life. Truth be known, the two lives are not compatible and will never coexist with one another. One has to die so the other can live. But addiction lies to the human mind telling it that the Twelve Steps are nothing more than a prison.
1.) You'll never have fun again...
2.) You'll be miserable forever.....
3.) You'll give up your right to run your life.....
How insane is that line of thinking, yet many have listened to it and walked away into the darkness only to be destroyed by their addiction.

Here are some things that I have learned over the years in my own relationship with Christ.
1.) Walking with God is a blessing. It isn't binding or restrictive in any way. In fact, it opens me up to see and live in ways I never thought were possible. God's boundaries for us actually promote life....not death.

2.) Walking with God means that we have "abundant" life here and now....and eternal life upon our death. In other words...it is a "win-win" way of living.

It is very common for someone struggling with their addiction to rebel against any and all help that would point them in a new way to live. To rebel against God's word and His offer of real life is something that each person must face. Walking with God means that we are rescued from the power of sin that keeps us in our old lifestyle.

My prayer today:
Lord, we repent of rejecting the boundaries of Your Word in our lives and relationships. Help us to be obedient and walk with You, and not against You.
In Jesus Name....
Amen....


God on you...
mb

Tuesday Bible Study

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