Friday, December 29, 2017

Father Martin




Psalm 34:1-5
I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly seek His praises.

I will boast only in the Lord.
Let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness, let us exalt His name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with Joy.
No shadow of shame will darken their faces.


The path to sobriety...
The path to something greater than sobriety....
We seek, at first, only sobriety because of the destruction we have brought on ourselves.
But once the journey has begun, we discover that there is life that goes beyond the absence of drugs and alcohol.
We find that we are empowered by God to rebuild our lives.
That we truly do have a future and a hope found in Christ.
That we no longer have to dwell in shame and guilt, but can move beyond those deadly twins of addiction.


We stand in the light of a new day....
Embracing the call to repent, confess and receive, we find that we are filled with the very Power we have been searching for all along...
The Power and the Presence of God's Holy Spirit.

What is our part in all of this new life?
To simply cooperate and follow Jesus.


I chose a Father Martin video this morning because of his honesty and ability to put in simple terms what recovery is all about.
I first learned of Father Martin during my time at Rapha. We had several video's we used in the classroom, and each time I watched one, I came away with the understanding that Father Martin was a very humble man. He could have used his sobriety and position to elevate himself, but chose not to. He became a voice in recovery that shared the Steps and his own personal journey whenever asked to do so.


So take a moment and listen to what Father Martin has to share.
May you find peace today...
May you find Jesus today...

God on you...

mbb

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Do Over's




January 1st approaches us.
A time to reset our calendars and make resolutions for the coming year.
We humans are a kind unto ourselves as we like to have "do-overs".
The mess we have created during 2017 will simply be "done over" as 2018 comes over the horizon.
We make promises to change. The key to it all is to learn from our mistakes....learn through the revelation that the Holy Spirit gives us, and don't repeat the mistake.
We tend work on the outside of ourselves rather than the inside.
We are a people of works, when all the while God is calling for us to be a people of grace.
A people who actually believes and lives life as though God was who He said He was and that He will do what He said He would do.

Don't misunderstand what I'm writing.
I am not anti-improving the outside.
I am kind of bumfuzzeled when our focus is solely on improving the body and not the Spirit.
Genesis 1:1 ----In the beginning God..........
The Bible opens there, day one, hour one, minute one, second one with God waiting.
Why would 2018 be any different?
Or for that matter, why would this morning be any different.
I slept through the night....God didn't.
He was overseeing every movement of this world.
His plans were being carried out in China as well as Great Britain.
Nothing that transpired on this world while I slept, caught God off guard or by surprise.
Yet in the middle of this massive undertaking of keeping everything in order, God still had time, not to mention ability and the "want to" to watch over me while I slept.
What He did for me, He will do for you. God is not respecter of persons.
But......
"Ah..I knew there would be a but in all of this," you might be thinking to yourself.
But, God's heart is for those who are committed to him.
His eyes roam the earth searching for such commitment that He may strengthen them for the coming day.

Will 2018 be year of commitment to God?
Or will it be just another year of broken resolutions to loose weight or stop smoking?
Why not make the resolution of resolutions and answer God's call to "follow Him" with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength.
Let Salvation ring in the new year and 2018 be the year of beginnings.
May we all grow in Him this coming year and may we learn to love others with the heart of our Heavenly Father.

God on you.....
mb

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The RED-letters


Quote From John Wimber
"The Bread Is In The Red..."

The words of Christ in Scripture are often highlighted by being written in the color red.
As the quote above states, Wimber said that you could study just the red-words for years if you wanted a true picture of who Jesus was and how He lived His life here on earth.
In some ways, I believe that the red-words are a gift to us. TO show us how to approach daily life. How to interact with others as we are instructed by Kingdom dynamics.

To me each of those red words I read are part of the salvation that Christ brought to a darkened, sin-sick world. Red..the color of blood....His blood...was the price He paid for the words to be written. Maybe I should find a greater value to the "red-words". Let's take a look at the very first set of red-words.

Matthew 3:15
But Jesus answered and said to him (John the baptizer), "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he (John) allowed Him.

Huh? What's going on.
(1.) Jesus has not come forth to begin his ministry, or service, to mankind.
(2.) His initial act is to be baptized by John the baptizer, as to identify himself with humanity. John was the voice we read about in the book of Malachi that was sent to herald the arrival of Messiah, Jesus.
(3.) John is taken back by Jesus' request to be baptized. John feels as though he should be the one being baptized, that he is not even worthy enough to untie the shoes on Jesus' feet. Kind of reminiscent of Peter's reply after hauling in a large catch of fish that Jesus had told him he would receive if he went to the deep water and let down his nets. Putting two and two together, Peter fell at Jesus' feet and declared,"Leave me! For I am a sinful man." 

So here in this conversation between John and Jesus, we see a dynamic that is still at work today. Jesus' desire to interact and work with humanity. First declared in the book of Genesis, God's intention has always been to work with humanity in bringing about the world as planned by God. Adam and Eve were created and then given the mandate to take dominion over this earth. That mandate did not change with entrance of sin by these two fruit eating knuckle heads. All through out the Old Testament, God gives His Holy Spirit to specific people to bring about His plans. Then in the New Testament, God expands this "giving of the Holy Spirit" to everyone who believes as seen in the book of Acts.

So the first words we read....the "red-words"....is an invitation by Christ to mankind to cooperate with His plans. To allow ourselves to be filled with God's Holy Spirit and simply follow Him daily. Maybe I need to consider such a call and move on my part more often than I do. Maybe that is what 2018 is going to be all about. Listening more than I ever have for God's voice...and then simply do what I hear Him say. Maybe 2018 is going to be a year of prayer....listening...and responding. We'll see, won't we?

God on you...
mbb

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Eyes of Faith



Sometimes seeing means not using your natural eyes,
but rather the "eyes" of your spirit.
Seeing means letting God reveal things to you.
Things, that in your mind, will seem faint and distant almost
like a whisper.
But to your spirit, you will have a knowing that God is in fact
communicating with you.
Seeing with "eyes" of your spirit means that what is
discerned does not always match up with the logic of your mind.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart"
"Lean not on your own understanding"
This doesn't mean we check our brains and intellect at the door
when we start this new life with Christ.
It means that we establish ourselves in his word (Bible)
and communicate with him through prayer.
It also means that we spend time listening as we pray.
Ps. 103 is a good chapter that speaks of this new life we have given ourselves to.

V.1 - Praise the LORD, I tell myself, with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
I think the KJV reads, "Praise the Lord, O my soul".
I like this.
David is speaking to his inner parts not allowing them (the desires and wants and lusts) to dictate how his body responds.

V.2 - Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me.
When we remember what God has done in the past, it strengthens us for the hard times and situations we are currently facing.
Remembering brings hope.

V.3 - He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
What part falls under "ALL"?
Everything.
All my sins.....My what a glorious thought that when I confess and repent and turn from my sins, God forgives everyone of them.
Check out the rest of Psalm 103 for yourself.
Read it slowly and put yourself in the verses.
Everywhere you see the word me, I or mine...insert your own name and see the precious promises that God has spoken.
2018 is fast approaching.
Prepare yourself to enter this next year with a mandate to follow God as you never have before.
God on you.....
mbb

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Thoughts


Psalm 100:4
.....Be Thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Did something unusual this Christmas season...
I usually take a Christmas eve walk and find myself marveling at the quietness on this most Holy evening....

I said many times that is seems as though God has stood up and commanded the world to be still in honor of the birth of His Son. But yesterday morning as I walked out to get the paper, the quietness was already there. No wind blowing....not breeze 1....no traffic sounds.....no neighbor's heat pumps or furnaces making any noise....no dogs barking or squirrels running back and forth. No sound what so ever. I stood there in the middle of our street just taking it all in....

As our day progressed, I looked back over our weekend of celebration.
Friday night we celebrated Vicki's birthday in fine fashion. Being born on December 22nd, Vicki always seem to get the proverbial short straw when it came to birthday's. As relatives would send her gifts, they came with a caveat..."This can be your birthday AND Christmas gift." So since we were married back in 1972, it has been my mission and my heart's desire to make sure that her birthday was a stand alone event. 


The entire Clan Bynum went to Kobi Steakhouse at the mall and hooted and yelled as our chef worked his magic on the grill....We laughed and shared each other's company so as to make more memories we could pull out in the future when life gets hard. Isn't that what family is all about? The memories. I think maybe yes.

Yesterday afternoon, we took to the highway and drove to Northside to be with Mom. She was in rare fashion and seemed to enjoy the entire family coming to see her. I took my guitar and we sang Christmas carols. Well, it was something like singing as we may have mangled a few of the traditional song. We did manage to pull off the entire 12 days of Christmas, and between the partridges..and the leaping Lords which was a feat in and of itself. My son Chad read the Christmas story, and we took communion to close out our visit. Very grateful for Mom and the influence she has had (and continues to have) on our family.

The tradition of Christmas Eve movies continued, as we took in a matinee of Star Wars.... Afterwards, home for some of Vicki's home made pizza, another slice of our family tradition. Eventually making our way to the living room we watched portions of IT's A WONDERFUL LIFE. I have a lot in common with George Bailey....except I didn't have to have angelic intervention to discover how rich I really am. 

I pulled out a DVD or Christmas past, as we took in the Bynum Christmas from 1986 and 1988. Who were those folks? They were so young. My daughter in law, Heather, particularly loved seeing her husband when he was 9 years old. I threatened Josh with the idea of me posting this video on Youtube. I believe I could have gotten a new car out of him If I simply destroyed the entire DVD. Just kidding, he loved seeing a portion of his childhood played out on the TV.

As I settled in for the night, before drifting off, I couldn't help but be overcome with emotion at the thought of how faithful God has been to us. I don't mean in a material fashion or by unloading tons of stuff at our doorstep. I mean the thought that when it's my time to leave this old world, there will have been memories made....love that will continue to be shared among my children.....a desire to simply follow God each day....and a lot of laughter to draw from.

Move over George Bailey...
You've got company....

Merry Christmas From The "B's" In Attalla...
God on you..

mbb

Friday, December 22, 2017

John Piper's THE INNKEEPER




Tradition....
An anchor to the past that helps us stay on course in this thing we call life.
Tradition....
A place of familiarity as the world changes around us at a frightening pace.
Tradition....
A two edged sword that can either bring back good memories....
Or can freeze you in time so that you will not move beyond the tradition...
"We've never done it this way!"
Tradition.....
Man's exultation of self will and accomplishment through a repeated recount of the victory...
Or God's humbling remembrance of what blessings He has given to us...in spite of us.

Here at the Greene Street Letters, I have a Christmas tradition that started 10 years ago.
I found a video reading by John Piper of a poem entitled "THE INNKEEPER."
A telling of a story where Jesus returns to the place of His birth, searching out the man who had shown kindness to His parents, Mary and Joseph, by allowing them to stay in his stable.
I was so moved by this poem that I have shared each year in this season...
May you take the time to listen to the reading, and may you be filled with all wonder and awe at the reality of who this Jesus truly is...
And what He has done for you and me.....

Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla...
God on you...
mbb

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Joseph


A Posting From December 2009

Matthew 1:10
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man and not wanting to
make her a public example, was minded to
put here away secretly...

In all the rush and haste of the Christmas season, one name and one name alone stands over in the corner aside from everything else. A forgotten man.....A man of great character.....as the verse tells us....a just man.
Joseph.....
Earthly father of Jesus.


We focus on Mary and the wonderful gift that she gave God. A body in which to come and be born into this old world. Here He would live among his creation. Taking on the form of one of us, His  body would become the payment for the sin of the world.
Mary gave her reputation, her future, her very self to God in order for the Holy Spirit to conceive a baby within her womb.
But always near by was Joseph.

Joseph wanted to put her away upon learning of the pregnancy. Put her away is a polite term for ending the marriage arrangement. He would do so according to the law because.....that was just who Joseph was. A man of integrity and of his word. It wasn't his shame that concerned Joseph, it was Mary's heart and  the cruel, hurtful things she would here among the people she came in contact with every day.

God considered such a move on Joseph's part and sent an angel to warn him in a dream that everything that was happening was because God had deemed it to.
Don't you think that Joseph may have wished that the real events he found himself caught up in was a dream?
Joseph took Mary with him to Bethlehem.

Searching for a place for them to stay, finding none, he settled for a stall. Not really the kind of place you'd want for your wife who was expecting. But then again, beauty and splendor are sometimes seen in the unseen.
Joseph delivered the baby into Mary's arms.
He took care of the needs of his wife and his adopted son.
I think, as Jesus grew, he developed a love for Joseph. Here was a man who was unselfish and went about the business of husband and father with much love and integrity.
Joseph....he is a forgotten man.

But doesn't the Bible say something about the last shall be first?
Joseph took the lower place in this great plan that was played out in the midst of harshest times.
Joseph sought no honor for himself.
We don't read much of Joseph after Jesus' twelfth birthday.
As unannounced as his entry into Scripture, so was his departure.
He took on the task given to him and he saw it to completion.
I think we need more men like Joseph.

Merry Christmas
mbb

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Gift That Keeps On Giving


Taking a look at John 4:10 today....
Jesus and His disciples have taken a road trip, and they find themselves in Samaria.  Not exactly the place someone who is Jewish would want to find themselves. If you looked at their elementary report card when they were in school...you'd seen that they flunked "Does not play well with others."

Anywho...
It's been a long, hot, dusty trip, and I'm sure the boy's are thinking to themselves, "We didn't sign up for this. We're suppose to be healing people to the sound of thunderous applause." But here they were...Samaria...the garden spot of the middle east. Jesus sends the boys into town for some vittles. After all, a man's gotta eat. It being noon time, Jesus sits himself down at the town well (usually the social center for the women to catch up on the latest gossip while they draw water for their families).

Here at high noon, a woman approaches the well. "Hmmmm," Jesus thinks to himself. She is alone.....no other women around.....the time for drawing water is early morning.....and early evening....not in the middle of the day. Something this woman has done has kind of put her on the outs with the other ladies. In other words...this woman may the topic of conversation by the other females when they draw water.

Jesus strikes up a conversation.
Simple question....
"May I have some water please."

The woman responds and automatically couches her words with a racist attitude....
"Your kidding? Right? Hey bud, I don't know if you've noticed it or not, but your a Jew and I am a Samaritan! We ain't gonna be holding hands, singing "We are the World", now are we? And where do you get off by asking me for a drink of water?"


Jesus' reply is where I want to park the bus today.....
"If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water."
Jesus tells the lady (By the way, this applies to you and me also) "God has a gift for you, and you don't even realize it." A gift! Something you don't deserve. Something that God did not have to give you, yet He did anyway. A gift that cannot be bought in any store (Shades of Popiel's Pocket Fisherman). One size fit's all, and there isn't any special handling fee. There ain't no operator's standing by...God personally will deliver His gift if you ask for it.

What gift?
Salvation...

A complete, total, healing of the human condition...
Receiving such will open a door (not a literal door...I'm waxing metaphorically here) that will allow you to have an ongoing, growing relationship with God. How cool is that? Way cool, that's how cool. This time of year, I'm reminded of God's gift to mankind. Remember that old saying, "Good things come in small packages?" Well, God sent the fullness of himself to earth in the form of a baby boy. An infant that would grow and go to a cross (not to mention a cruel death). He poured out His life and His blood as a ransom payment for everyone. No one excluded from this act. But like Jesus told the woman at the well....this is a gift from God. Now if someone offers you a gift, you can either receive it......or you can be a horse's patooty and reject His gift. God made the offer...it's there for the taking. Can't complain after this old life is over and you find out the ultimate truth. Can't yell, "That's not fair!!!" Of course it is. As a good friend of mine use to say..."You just can't fix stupid."


So ask yourself during this Christmas season......
"What have I done with the gift that God has given to me?"
"Have I truly applied myself and cooperated with God as His Holy Spirit has worked to change my nature and my character?"

"Do I love others more than I use to?"
"Do I love His word, and being able to have conversation with Him?"
Just some things to ponder today.
Thanks for stopping by the Greene Street Letters today.

Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla.
God on you....
mbb

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Finding My Purpose


Ephesians 1:5
Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will......

Every person born is done so with a purpose.
Maybe it's locked away inside our DNA.....
Maybe it's something that comes to us, from God, at certain points in our lives. Or maybe it is a circumstance that draws it out.....
Whatever it might be, I am a firm believer that we are born to do more than take up space, eat the food and breathe the air.
Do let me clarify one thing....
Whatever it is as to our purpose....

It will be found in God....
It will be directed to us by God....
And it will be for His good pleasure as we connect with God.


Moses had purpose....
God appointed him to be the deliverer of a people who were trapped in bondage with no hope of a future.


Noah had a purpose....
He spoke God's warning to a people in spiritual darkness, all the while building an ark.

Simple message....get in the ark and be safe...
Stay outside and perish...


David had purpose.....
Shepherd boy...anointed king...
Saves a nation by slaying Goliath the giant.
Endures hardship and threats on his life until he can take the throne of his nation.


Esther had purpose....

Her beauty put her into a position in the King's court that allowed her to thwart a plan to kill all the Jews.

I could go on and on with the purposes of those we read about in Scripture.
But not everyone is called to such major endeavors as these I have mentioned. Some are called to a much more simple purpose. 
A call to love and speak truth to others on behalf of God's Kingdom.

How about a man named Simeon....
We read about him in Luke 2:25-32
He lived in Jerusalem.
He was a just and devout man, whose mission from God was to wait and see the Consolation (deliverer / the Messiah) of Israel.

He was walked and lived under the covering of God's Holy Spirit.
God had revealed to Simeon that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
He was at the temple when Mary and Joseph came to Temple with Jesus.
Simeon took the child into his arms and spoke out a proclamation that was from God. A proclamation that was for all time and all people.

That was the purpose of Simeon.
We might not consider such as dramatic as what Moses did, or what David accomplished.
But Simeon allowed himself to an vessel...to be poured out as God desired.


What if your purpose, as directed to you by God, was to raise your children to be followers of Jesus?
What if your purpose was to simply love those you come in contact with and pray...I mean really pray...for them. Not a hurried, thrown to the sky prayer, but one that fills your heart and mind and you don't seem to be able to shake it off. 

What if your purpose was to speak truth to someone who has ran away from hearing it.. You could do so with love and not condemnation, to draw them into a real relationship with Jesus. Ephesians 4:29 tells us that our words should be life that they may give grace to those who hear. What? That's right! When we speak from the heart and allow the Holy Spirit to work......our words have the ability to bring grace to the one we are speaking to.


I do know this.
You were created for higher purpose than addiction.
You were born to be filled with God's Holy Spirit and to simply be available when and where He needs you to be.

Sometimes it will be like a light coming on inside you. You'll find yourself in a situation that you really have given no thought to, and you'll suddenly have a knowing that you need to pray. It may be that you are to pray healing on someone. You suddenly have a knowing that God is at work and you are part of the equation. 

You see, when we pray the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6), there is a statement we all have said at one time or another....
Your Kingdom come...
Your will be done...
On earth...
As it is in heaven
Do you realize that when you pray this, you are asking God to use you to be the conduit through with His Kingdom will is carried out? Is that awesome or what? Me! With all my mess ups and wrong turns....with all my running away and insecurities....me! God would use me to enact His will through so that what is taking place here on planet earth is a revealing of heaven to those who can't see. Now that is cool.
Think on these things today!

God on you...
mb

Monday, December 18, 2017

Best-est Gift Ever!



Luke 2:10-11
....."I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to ALL people"....
....."For there is born to you this day in the city of David a SAVIOR"....

I had to make a run to the local Wally-Mart on Saturday, and as I exited my car and headed toward the entrance, I heard some very loud voices....
Two women were arguing....
One woman was in her late 20's...
The other much older...
The way the conversation was going, I deduced that they were mother and daughter..

As they made their way to the entrance, three youngsters in tow, the exchange between the two grew more heated.

Whatever had happened between the two, each one blamed the other.
Finally the argument was punctuated with one last jab....
"I hate you," was fired back and forth between the two.
Then came the icing on the cake....

The younger one (with kids still following close) finished her rant by saying, "I hate Christmas! It's a stupid holiday and I don't  know why we even have to fool with it!"

My heart went out to her..
My heart broke for those young kids that had to hear this...
I though to myself, "She doesn't understand why we celebrate Christmas".

Like I've always thought, there are two types of Christmas that are celebrated each year.
One is the true recognition of the ultimate good news coming down to a dark world that was lost in sin. The ultimate Good News that was found in the person of a baby born to a young Jewish couple. The birth of the Christ Child.

The other Christmas that is celebrated is one that was created by the devil himself, feeding on the selfish desires and dark hearts of those who do not know this Jesus.
He doesn't mind that we think about Jesus' birth...
He doesn't mind that we put up our trees and decorate them...
He doesn't even mind if we sing a carol or two....
He just doesn't want us to embrace and live the life that Christ introduced when He walked this earth....


The devil is all about shepherds and sheep....
Stables and babies.....

Stars and wise men.....
As long as he can keep Jesus in that manger as a new born babe....then we can celebrate all we want.
It's when the babe grows to manhood and is put on a cross....
It's when blood is poured out as a sin offering for all mankind...
That is what the devil does not want us to understand with our hearts.
That a Savior was born....

One who would break the power of sin....
One who would destroy the presence of sin...
And One who would tear down the penalty of sin...
Jesus the Christ!


When a person comes to the truth of their own spiritual state outside of Christ, then the real Christmas begins to take form in their hearts....
When they realize the truth of their own need for the Savior...
When sin is confessed....
Repentance made...
Forgiveness received....

An invasion of God's Holy Spirit comes to this life and Christmas becomes more real that ever before....

My prayer on this Monday morning is that these two women would have an encounter with the real reason for Christmas....
That they received the best-est gift a body could ever have....
Salvation and relationship with the One True Living God.

Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla...
God on you...
mbb

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Candle Light Tonight


I John 1:5
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare it to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Tonight at VRC, we will be holding our Candle light service. A celebration of God invading our time and space to bring the illuminating word that a Savior has been born. This will be our 21st Candle light service, and each one has been different. Each one has focused on a different aspect of Christmas and the birth of the Christ child.

This is my wife's most favorite service of all time, and I must confess that she is the reason that we do this service. Years ago when I was ordained, she asked if we could hold a candle light service. All her growing up years, the church she attended had such a service during the Christmas season. Of course my answer was "Yes!"..so the service was born...

Tonight will be a time of music and scriptures....
A time of reflection on what has transpired this year, as well as a looking forward to where we are headed in the coming year.
It will be a time of great intimacy and fellowship.

A time to reflect on the simple proclamation that "He has redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness."

Tonight's service starts at 7 p.m....
VRC Is located on Broad Street, downtown Gadsden, between 4th and 5th streets.

If you're free, come out and join us...

God on you....
mbb

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Was Only The Beginning



(Posting from December 6, 2012)

No matter what you may think during this time of year....
Christmas has a purpose....
It is a sign post...a day of remembrance....
A day to remember the birth of Jesus.....
"For unto you this day is born in the city of David a Savior, Christ the Lord."
But this day is only a directional arrow that points to something greater....
The cross.

A birth that would point to something greater.

Jesus was born to die.
That little baby, there in that stable in Bethlehem, was brought into this world to die.
But he was to die for a greater purpose. 
He became the lamb that was offered up for me....and for you. If you want to get down to the heart of the matter.....Sin is the reason we celebrate Christmas. If not for the sins of the world, my sin and your sin, Jesus would never have been born.
His blood was spilt on that rocky hill outside of Jerusalem to pay the price that the sin of the world demanded.
Every drop of that precious blood that flowed and fell to the ground was the key that opened to the door for you and me to have right relationship with God. We were reconciled on that day and salvation was brought to the forefront of humanity. No longer would the blood of sheep and goats and bulls and pigeons be needed. No longer would yearly trips to the Temple be needed to receive atonement for sin.
That baby boy, born in Bethlehem, was to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sin.

Hebrews 9:22 reads: 
And according to the law, one may also say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

The mention of a bloody Jesus....
Of crosses.....
Sacrifices......
Sin.....
is not very Vogue in some churches today....
This time of year, we may see Christmas pageant's and plays...
There will be live nativity scenes with men and animals....a woman and a baby....

There will be serenity and peace around such...
We will gaze upon them while singing "Away in a manger".....having warm and wonderful thoughts about that night long ago in Bethlehem....
But we must never forget that Jesus came to die.

It was for me....
It was for you that he mounted that cross and gave himself up to nail, hammer, whip and fist....

But the ultimate pain and agony came when the sin of the world was laid upon his shoulders.
There on that cross, Jesus' heavenly Father looked away from that scene.....

Hung between heaven and earth, Jesus was forsaken because of the sin that he bore.
God the Father poured out every bit of wrath to assuage the anger and hatred for sin....He poured it out on His only Son....That baby born in a stable, laid in a manger.....

But the story doesn't end there.
It only transition's....
Resurrection! Breaking the power of death, hell and the grave, Jesus stepped out of that tomb and ascended back to heaven.....
To sit at the right hand of His Father, as Lord and Savior.
Whenever I think of the baby Jesus, I can't help but get excited about who this child would become.
The very conqueror of Satan himself.

The power of sin IS broken.
Jesus is the POWER that we look for in this dark life of sin/addiction.

Praise God! This can be the first real Christmas for you if you don't know this Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Talk to Him....Just talk...
Confess (tell Him about) your sin.....

Do you feel that brokenness inside...that emptiness....?
Jesus is wanting to fill you up with His Spirit...

Ask Him to forgive you of your sin......
And believe that you are....Scripture says that "IF we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior...(Turn will and life over to Him)
If you do this.....
You have just received the greatest Christmas gift ever!
New life.....

Find you a Bible (One that you can understand) and begin reading in the gospel of John.
and get ready for a real Christmas!!!

God on you....
mb

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Please Pray For Him


Dec. 14th.....
Early morning at the Bynum house.
Christmas tree is lit....
House is quiet. Not time for Vicki to get up yet.
Today at the mall and Wal-mart people will be rushing here and there to buy presents for others......
But my friend....
He has left and gone back into the darkness.....
He has forsaken everything he has learned to take one more drink....

Kids excited as they wait their turn to sit on Santa's lap and share their Christmas wants...
My friend only wants the pain to stop...
One more drink should do the trick, only it doesn't....
More he drinks, the farther away he slides from truth...

He might not say the words, but he knows all too well that this is going to kill him...
Years of darkness takes a toll on a man's body...
Takes a toll on his spirit and soul also....
Truth doesn't sing to ring as clear as he takes another drink....
But the one thing truth does is it makes everything hurt with a greater intensity...
He takes another drink.....

Walking down Broad street, Christmas music fills the air....
"Silver Bells".....
"O Come All Ye Faithful".....
"Joy To The World".......
Joy?  Not much joy when you tally up your "Life's" score and you always come out with a negative number.....Not much to add, but a whole lot to subtract.....
Wife...
Children....
Grandchildren....
Freedom...
Friends...
Health....
Jobs...
Finances...
All fall in the negative column as the list of things lost grows larger.....
He takes another drink....

No wonder the holiday's are such a dark time....
The light and tinsel of the commercial side of Christmas only magnifies the destruction of a life lived in addiction....
The brighter the lights...
The deeper the pain....
Eyes and minds blurred by alcohol only see the pain and misery they have brought about....
why not have one more drink?

But sitting here this morning, I take hope for this one who has gone back out....
You see, I believe not just in prayer....
But the one who hears my prayers....
So I do pray....
I ask for the angels of heaven to go and surround my friend....
Stand guard over this soul....
Keep the enemy at bay....
I pray that God's Holy Spirit would bring conviction on my friend....
Not condemnation, but divine conviction that leads to repentance....
Conviction and God's forgiveness which are the calling cards that move God to take him out of the darkness of his addiction, and transfer him into the wonderful light of God's presence....
I pray with the understanding that nothing is impossible with God.....

I pray my heart's cry to Jesus, my Savior...
Amen....

I do have someone I care about who has gone back "out there".
The Big Book of A.A. would refer to my friend as being one of those "poor unfortunates" who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.....
Funny part in all of this, is that my friend knows A.A. backwards and forwards...
He can quote scripture and verse of A.A. concerning any topic related to recovery....
He just can't quit drinking....
For as long as I've known him, his years of drinking has been punctuated with short periods of sobriety.....

Please pray with me that he would not drink himself to death....
That God's healing hand would touch my friend and awaken the truth within him.
God's blessings on you and your family this Christmas season....

P.s.
This posting was never meant to be a downer during this Christmas season...
It is the simple truth that my friend is going through today....
It is a reminder that not everyone is having a "Holly, Jolly Christmas".
If anything we should count our blessings and seek to give to others what God has so freely given to us...

God on you...
mbb

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I Saw Three Gift's Last Night



Ephesians 4:7-8
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says, "When He (Jesus) ascended on high He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men."

One of the greatest pleasures I have is to watch the Holy Spirit form and shape and individual who has renounced the old life of addiction, and embrace this new journey with Jesus. It isn't something that happens in an instant. It takes time as the person's heart is transformed and filled with His presence.

Last night, after the Bible study at Rapha, I stood talking with three of the men who had attended. I began to notice that as we talked, each one of these men had a specific topic they wanted to discuss. As I stood there listening, I saw three men who were in the process of being transformed into this new life I've written about. The center of our conversation was Christ, but each one had a specific view of their own personal journey.

The first man asked some very deep theological questions....Not to gain information, but to understand better. I tried as best I could to answer his questions, but it became apparent that this man was headed to being an apologetic, or one who defends the faith and belief of who Christ is. His questions were thoughtful and he was very humble as he asked each one. He was not trying to elevate himself, or trying to show me how spiritual he was. He had a passion to see and understand the Scripture.

The second man told me part of his story. To be honest, his story wasn't much different than countless others I have listened to. Raised in church, turned away when he was a teenager. Made bad choices and began this slippery slope we call addiction. This last rodeo he was on wound him back in jail again. Only this time, something was different. He wanted a Bible to read......no, it was more like He needed a Bible to read........Naw, that doesn't do it justice......He HAD to have a Bible to read. Finally someone brought him one. He began to devour it. He began to pray, not to be released from jail, but to know God and His word. He told me that it was like a fire had been lit inside of his heart. So this man has been given a passion for Jesus and the Word.

The third man is always early for our Bible study. Whenever I arrive at the Chapel, he is either seated at the piano or holding a guitar. Head bent down, he plays melodies and hums softly while the music flows out from him. Usually at Rapha whenever someone gains access to musical instruments, the first thing they want to do is to play a secular selection of every rock song they know. "Highway To Hell"...."Stairway To Heaven...."Free Bird"....and the list goes on and on and on, with music that defined them when they were out there running the streets. But not this man. As I sat there before time for the Bible Study to take place, that chapel was strangely warmed by this music that he was playing. I knew that I knew (well, at least let me say that God spoke concerning this man) that this man had a worshiper's heart. He spoke of all these melodies he hears in his mind, and how they all seem to be trying to come out at one time.

As our conversation wound down, I asked the three men if I could pray for them. They all said, "Yes." I asked God to bless them and increase these gifts that had been given to each of them. I asked that God would grant them to vision and strength to allow the Holy Spirit to unwrap these gifts and let them be given to the world. Each man received what I prayed.

As we turn to leave the chapel, I could not help but think that "yes, it is Christmas time, but God has given three gifts to three men who never in their wildest dreams saw themselves as they are today. If that be truly so, then imagine where they will be next Christmas.
That God is something else, isn't He?

Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla.
God on you....
mbb

Fired Up

Luke 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. I don't think I've heard very many m...