Monday, September 5, 2016
"Lord, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.
These verses from Psalm 107 have been the cornerstone of why I go and teach at various places. If you read Psalm 107, it reads like it was written to those who are in addiction.
The hearing of God's word is a source of healing to those who have cried out for help.
The journey to a new life begins with the infiltration of God's word into a heart that has been kept captive by sin. The word brings freedom and release. It uncovers the deepest and darkest part of man's heart and then offers salvation and reconciliation with God.
This weekend was one in which I got to see God at work on various levels. From time to time I will find myself being asked to speak multiple times at different venues. Saturday night found me at home (VRC). The message was very simple. It was a part of a verse that had lodged in my brain and heart, and would not go away. Ephesians 6:13 - When the day of evil comes. I'm never really sure how any message will be received when I teach it. In fact, my only real concern is that I am being obedient to what God wants to do in the meeting. As a pastor/teacher, you always hope that there will be a response to the message, but you realize that you leave that part up to God. He draws those forward that are open to receive.One of the ones who did come forward to receive was a five year old girl. She brought her stuffed animal with her, and wanted it to receive prayer also. The little girl wanted to be filled with God's Holy Spirit. How cool was that? We prayed for her....we prayed for her stuffed animal (don't get all theological on me here....she asked and I was more than obliged to do so). Her action of getting up and coming to the front opened a window of tenderness in that room.
Sunday morning found me at New Outlook Christian Fellowship. Rannie Childress, pastor, wanted me to fill in while he and his wife, Shirley, took a much needed break. Here again, happy to do so. Felt like God wanted me to teach from II Chronicles 20:3, the story of king Jehoshaphat. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
Taught on the power of praise and obedience. Giving praise to God is more than simply singing the words of a song. It the junction where a heart that loves and trusts God allows the words of the song to be lifted into His presence. It is belief and faith in Him is brought out to face any problem or situation that may be headed our way, with the intention of destroying us. Destroying us either spiritually or physically. The power point found in this teaching is found in verse 17. You see, Jehoshaphat is facing the reality that there are three armies headed his way who intend to destroy him, his people, and his kingdom. The verse reads...."You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you". God told Jehoshaphat to not run away from this problem, but to go and out and face it. But to realize that it is God who will bring the victory.
Then last night, I spoke at Catalyst Recovery. The message went to the heart of sin/addiction.
John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said to him, "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
I shared how only God could give us the fresh start that we needed to escape the pain and destruction of addiction. That the birth a baby was the result of intimacy between a husband and wife. To be born again was the result of an intimate act between God's Holy Spirit and the human heart. We are a new creations spiritually, even though we aren't chronologically. It was a good evening as people came forward from prayer.
So for me, as I look back over this past weekend, the payoff is being able to teach God's word, and then see the Holy Spirit draw people as a result of what they have heard. Also, know that I am fully aware that I am the least in this whole movement of Spirit and heart. I am just the conduit through which the message flowed.
Have a great labor day....
And don't do too much work, o.k.?
God on you...
Matthew 2:1-2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerus...