Friday, March 31, 2017

Truth



If you've done any reading at all in the Bible, or if you've attended church for any amount of time, then I'm sure you've heard the verse from John Chapter 8.
Verse 32 tells us the words of Jesus. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

The implication of the verse is that we have been trapped by a lie. That deception has clouded our minds and has affected every area of our life. Now when Jesus says that we will KNOW the truth, he isn't speaking of a thought or mental concept. He's talking about we will run head on into the truth. It will be a "truth" encounter of some sort. But if you want to take this one step further, then you have to back up to Verse 31. Let's take a look at that one.

V.31- Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings." What? There is a standard of obedience required of us in our daily lives. Where do I find this standard. Seems to me Jesus said that if would come from His teachings. That means I have to read, digest, take in the scriptures. But that sounds like rules and regulations. It would be if I were trying to run the show in my own strength, ability and talent. But God has given to us a POWER that enables us to reach and attain His standard. This Power has a name...the Holy Spirit.

The Bible tells us specific direction on how to live life.
The Holy Spirit tells us when and where to apply these directions.

I taught a Bible study last night where one of the men could not hear the truth.
I really believe, because of his words and actions, that he was blinded to the truth. I engaged him in conversation.....I confronted him about his blindness....but according to him there wasn't anything wrong with him. It was me that had the problem. How can I say that he would not hear the truth? Because of the evidence in his life. He claimed to be a "Christian". We was adamant about his stance and beliefs.  But the track record he has created through the use of drugs and alcohol said other wise. He remained stubborn. He was right in his mind and everyone else was just picking on him. 


Now let's fast forward to after the meeting.
I closed our Bible study with prayer, and told the guys that usually we'd offer an opportunity for them to be saved. I told them that I wasn't going to do that. What I was going to do was be outside and if anyone felt the Holy Spirit leading them, for them to come and talk to me. I knew that someone was going to take me up on that. Sure enough, about 10 minutes after the meeting, a man walks up to Jeremiah Smith and me. He speaks slowly, almost with a trembling voice...."I need to be saved."  This man had heard the truth of God...he'd allowed the  Holy Spirit to speak to his heart and reveal the truth of his own life. Now he was ready to embrace this truth.

He prayed to God.
Confession...
Repentance....
Forgiveness....

Filled with the Holy Spirit....
And all the while this was going on...as this man prayed....tears. He probably hasn't cried in years, but standing in the yard, outside that old shed, this man met Jesus. This man met the truth. This man was set free.
Now that was payday for me.

So if you would, remember John this morning, because the John that got up this morning was not the same John that was moving around yesterday.
He is a new creation.


God on you...
mbb

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Do You Want To Reason It Out.....Or Do You Want To Simply Follow?

(This is a reprint of the posting I did on April 8, 2015----Hope you find some truth to it)

You know, you really can overthink things. You can roll them over, look at them from every angle, thinking that you're missing something. That somehow you possess the ability to reason that which really is beyond our comprehension. 

Why do I need to work some steps that were created by a couple of drunks? Such is the way the human mind works. If we don't see the value of something, we have a tendency to discount it. "That whole rehab scene doesn't work for me".  Well, truth is, that the whole rehab scene is NOT there to work for you. You are there to follow some simple steps.
You can attempt to dissect them in hopes that you will find something that others may not have seen. We like the idea of discovering "Secrets" and "Keys to", not to mention "Hidden truth". As the big book of A.A. tells us...those with an addictive nature have a tendency to look for the easier softer way. I hate to disappoint you, but sometimes the main thing is the main thing.
In other words, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.....
chances are...
It's a duck!


One thing that we tend to forget is that in order to find and follow a new way of living requires us to be separated from our old ways, have the slate wiped clean, and learn new ways.

I particularly like the what Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:17- Therefore, if any person is ingrafted in Christ, he is a new creation (a new creature altogether)the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away, behold the fresh and new has come. As we have entered into this new covenant living arrangement with Jesus, we are like new born's fresh from the womb, in terms of how we view life and make our decisions. 

The old moral compass (which didn't work to well) has been discarded and replaced with God's Holy Spirit. To put it as simply as I can.....we are learning how to live life in a completely new way. Relying on God to guide us in our decision making. Relying on God when we don't know what to do next. We also must find a community of like minded people who are looking for the same thing we are. We understand our struggles and can be an encouragement for us to keep moving forward.

It's o.k. to have questions that come up in this new life. Just remember that the root word in "question" is "quest"...it's all about the journey, and learning how to apply what God is showing us to our everyday walking around, eating, sleeping, going to work life.
Such is why I need to be connected to a group of like minded folks. Jesus has called us to follow Him daily, not to expend ourselves looking for the short cut to everything. Such will surely keep us trapped in this old way of living. The self-inflicted pain will continue, the guilt and shame will only serve to keep us from moving forward, and those old voice will continue to accuse us of being no good. There's no room in this new life for this kind of abuse or thinking. So no matter what I'm facing today....no matter how hard life is....no matter how uncertain my future is....I will not go back to that old way of living.
You can bank on that, today! Just for today! One day at a time.


God on you...
mb

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Blind From The Past...Seeing In The Future


John 9:25
He then answered....."Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I WAS blind, NOW I see.

To me this sentence sums up every ounce of theology about Jesus Christ.
It takes a physical condition, blindness, and changes it for the individual to function in society.
It breaks every law or theory that could ever come from the mind of man.
It reveals the power and authority that Jesus commanded over nature and humanity.
It cannot even be explained in terms that science could understand.
But the whole event of this man, blind since birth, now seeing places all of us at a point where we have to make a decision.
Either Jesus is who He claimed to be....
Or He was a liar, lunatic.
Either Jesus could pull off what He has promised in the Word of God...
Or He is a fraud.

The simplicity of the man's statement is what grabs me.
Being interrogated by the religious police of his day, they have grilled him and his parents over what had happened.
I guess the man had had enough, trying to explain that which cannot be explained.
Finally in frustration he had reached the breaking point....
"Yo!....Come on! How can I tell you the how of what happened. All I know (here comes the great truth)...I was blind but now I see.

Did you catch the impact of what the man said?
Jesus took all of his past.....a world of blindness....
And changed his future, now the man can see.
Jesus is still in the same business today....

He takes our past....
All our destruction...
All our sin....
All our mess....
And brings healing to us, changing our future.
I don't know about you, but that is a deal to me.

When I am existing, even though some call it living, outside the will and a relationship with Jesus, I am spiritually blind. I can make good decisions because I am under the influence of my own sinful nature, plus the culture and societal pull to be conformed to their lifestyle. Such decision making is a train fixing to go off the rails. I am spiritually blind. I accept things such as relationship break-ups, jail, courts, stealing and having things stolen from me, as being normal and just the way things are.
Spiritual blindness....

But when Jesus steps in and through salvation offers you back your sight. Everything changes. Or at least the ability to change is given to you. You can now see and discern what is evil and what is good.
He has given you a spiritual sight that will aid you in your daily walk. Cool beans!
So which life do you want?
The before-blindness?
Or the after-seeing?
It rests in the choice you can make.
Me?
I think I would fall on the Jesus side.

God on you...
mbb

Tuesday, March 28, 2017



What is the number one thing I hear from those who are working a program of recovery?
"Life is hard!"
What is the number one thing  I hear from those whose struggles aren't found in addiction?
"Life is hard!"
What is the common thread between these two?
"Life is hard!"
You know what? I have found that to be true in my own life.
"Life is hard!"

I like how James 1:2-4 reads in the Message Bible.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Did you catch the way the verses were phrased?
"Under pressure, our faith-life (or what we truly believe) is forced into the open for everyone to see."
Pressure brings out the real "me".
Pressure shows me my real heart. Do I trust God, or has it all been a show and sham.
Pressure is where I find out the truth about myself. I either have changed or I am merely playing the religious game. Also, according to James, we should not run away from those situations and circumstances where we are under pressure but allow God to work through us. When we do, we find that we are being grown and matured to look more like our elder brother, Jesus.

Romans 5:3-5 reads:
There's more to come. We continue to shout out praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy, such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary, we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.

It would be different if God merely took us through hard times, or allowed difficult situations to come to us and we remained the same, as far as our character mattered. But through the hard times, God works in us to change our nature and character. To mature us and grow us so that we learn to rely on God and not be tossed about like paper in the wind. 

It is in these hard times that we get a view of God that we don't get any other place.
We see him moving and leading us to become the people of his heart.
The people who will occupy his Kingdom rule here on earth, sharing their story of how this God was the real-deal God who delivered them out of the darkness of addiction and sin.

Far too many people who lay claim to the name of Jesus only live their relationship with him through their mouth. By that, I mean that they only talk about it. They are first to speak up against something or someone, yet let the hard times come and you don't see much of "God" flowing from their lives. The real colors of a follower of Jesus come spilling out when life happens.

Israel, the nation, saw God work in ways and miracles that no other nation had seen before. Yet these God-workings took place in the wilderness places where no one would dare have gone. You know what that tells me? That God does his best work in the middle of our problems and strife. He rises up to reveal himself in ways that we would not see in any other situation. When life is good, we don't really look for God do we? We tend to enjoy the moment and soak up the "sunshine" so to speak. But let the problems start rolling in and our attention quickly turns to God. I don't want to be a fair-weather follower. I want to be the same whether my life is going through a season of not having any problems, or I am drowning in a tidal wave of trouble. I am going to follow Jesus and let him lead me all the way.

Let God work in you today.
Let him grow you and show you how to live no matter what your situation may be.

God on you....
mb

Monday, March 27, 2017

My Son....


Ahhh....the Bynum men.
Motley looking crew, don't you think? Especially that one on the far right.
My sons.....Josh (in the middle) and Chad (far left).
My pride and joy.
Today is Chad's birthday....

Time has a way of slipping up on you. Well, maybe not slipping up as much as it distracts you and keeps your focus elsewhere. During these "elsewhere" moments...life moves on.
I remember this day back in 1974. Vicki and I drove over to the Baptist Hospital for labor to be induced on her. Seems as though Chad didn't want to enter this ol' world naturally. He needed a little "shove" if you will. Strange thing to be a married couple....and you've gone through the nine months of pregnancy...and now you're going to meet the life that has been living inside your wife's body. As we drove over to the hospital, all I could think of was that by this afternoon, I will be a father.

Back in those days.....
(Ehhhh...I've turned into the geezer-monster, referring to time as "in those days).....
Anyway, you did not know what sex the baby was until birth. Vicki and I didn't care if we had a son or a daughter. We were just excited about the fact we were going to be a family. Of course looking back, she and I both were terrified about the whole deal. "What if we're not good parents? What if we mess this whole thing up?" Truth be known, we were babes ourselves.

I sat in the waiting room during the delivery....once again one of those "back in the day" things. Dad's were not welcomed in the delivery room. Finally the doctor came out and told me, "You've got a healthy baby boy.....baby and mother are doing fine."
A son....
I have a son....
The nurse stepped from the delivery room to show me my son....
She was about 20 feet away, and I was not allowed to hold him at that time.
I've got a son....
It just kept washing over me.

They finally took Vicki to a room on the maternity ward, and I got to see her. She was beautiful....tired but beautiful. She wanted me to go back into to town and pick up a few things for her, so I did. When I returned to the hospital, the ward was closed for the night.....I would not be able to see her or my son until tomorrow. Bummer.....

I drove home that night, back to Blountsville with an overwhelming since of responsibility. Not in a bad way, but it was a bit scary. "God, you've given us this little life....You've actually entrusted to us this child. A life that is like a blank slate, and we've got to fill in the blank spaces with the way we raise him." That was 43 years ago, and it seems as though it was only last week.

Yesterday, as we gathered to celebrate Chad's birthday, I took stock of the man who sat next to me.
No longer a little boy...he has a family of his own. Children that he and his wife, Robin, are raising.
He has forged a place of his own....making a name for himself that will become the standard that his children will reach to achieve. Chad never has been a quitter. He is a fighter when it comes to life. He set goals, and then moved through every obstacle to see them completed. I see the same kind of character in his children.

He has a love for God, and for His church....At the same time, he realizes that it is his and Robin's duty to raise their children in the ways of God, not to leave it up to the church. Chad believes, like I do, that the church's responsibility is to reinforce what is being taught at home.

To say that I'm proud of Chad is an understatement.
I'm not even sure if there is another word that supersedes proud.
So here on the birthday of my oldest son, Chad....
let it be known that as your parents, we ask God's blessings down on you and your family.
I love you, Chad.

God on you...
mbb

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Truth About Pastor's



What is Going on with those who are supposedly called to ministry? Are pastor's held to a higher standard that is unreasonable? Are they suppose to be spiritual supermen who can leap any problem with a single bound......dissect Greek And Hebrew with no thought at all? Of course the answer is "No". But the truth is, being a pastor is a lonely, and sometimes frustrating  place to be in. The rate of burnout and dropout is staggering when it comes to those who are called to the ministry.There is one question that really needs to be asked by everyone who stands in a pulpit, or leads a church....."Were you really called to be a minister or did you decide that this was what you wanted to do?"

John Wimber had the best understanding of anyone I know on how to discern if someone was called to pastor or not. He would tell them..."Go and do it. If it works, then you'll know you were called..if it doesn't work, go do something else." I know that sounds naive but I tell you that it is the truth of God. By John Wimber saying that "IF IT WORKS," he is in no way saying that if you are successful in building a large church, have huge congregations and raise lots of money then that must be God. No, what John was saying is, "Is there evidence that the Kingdom of God is at work in what you are doing then it must be from God." The measure of whether something is from God is not found in nickles and noses. IT is found in the hearts of the people who become a shared worker  in  God's kingdom. A desire....an unction.....a tug of heart and spirit by God to shepherd others. .

Here is the truth I received when I was considering answering God's call on my life. I was told by a very wise person that "If you can pastor one....you can pastor ten. If you can pastor ten, you can pastor a hundred".  So I set about to see if I could pastor one. I got the opportunity to see if I could take care of one person. Believe it or not, that did lead to ten.....Bottom line is that I discovered that God had called me, and was in the process of equipping me to be a shepherd.

SO here is some truth from another blog I was reading concerning the state of Pastors in this country.
•Surveys consistently place the number of ministers leaving ministry every month in America between 1500 and 1800. That's over 20,000 per year or one about every 2-3 hours. And while a good many of this number are senior pastors, I would estimate that at least half or more are actually associate pastors of every persuasion, from worship to students, from pastoral care to missions, and everything in between. These are the folks I want to talk about. Why so much frustration, so much discontent? Why are they so unhappy and who or what is to blame?

•100% of pastors surveyed said they had a close associate or seminary buddy who had left the ministry because of burnout, conflict in their church, or from a moral failure.

•1500-1800 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.

•50% of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.

•80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.

•50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

•80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.

•70% of pastors constantly fight depression.

•Almost 40% polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.

•90% said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be before they entered the ministry.

•80% of adult children of pastors surveyed have had to seek professional help for depression.

•70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.

•95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.

•80% of pastors surveyed spend less than fifteen minutes a day in prayer.

•70% said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

Now is the time for the people to pray for their pastors. They are in need of spiritual prayer covering as much as anyone else. A wise man told me when I first began to pastor, "Take time to fill your own plate and eat from it. If you aren't healthy, then how can you help anyone?"
How true...

God on you....
mb

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Little "WORD" To Start Your Weekend

It's the weekend!!!
Even as I type this, the percolator in the kitchen is huffing and puffing to bring forth that brown nectar we call coffee.. The birds are jabbering to beat the clock. A little chill in the air as if winter is reminding us that it still has a hold on the weather for now.
Lets take a look at some verses this morning.

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Paul, the Pharisee of Pharisee's, makes a really bold statement. The gospel (the good news) that Jesus was who he claimed to be, reveals a power that accomplishes something that religion never could. The gospel or the entire account of Scripture, tells the facts of Jesus' death and resurrection. In those facts lies the power. Sin has been defeated and the 2nd death has been eliminated. Mankind no longer carries a death sentence over their head. Who could break the power and penalty of sin and death except someone who possessed greater power and authority.

This should make every believer the most incredibly happy, joyous, kick-out-the-jams, person who ever walked this earth. We do not live under a curse any longer. Jesus took the curse upon himself so that we can live free and in relationship with our heavenly Father. Man! If that don't set you on fire.....then your wood is wet.

Did you catch what Paul wrote?
That this news...this good news...this gospel is the
Power of God for salvation. Power....a force, a strength that is exercised on our behalf to remove us from the kingdom of darkness and transport us into the Kingdom of God and light. Who may receive this power? Paul writes "everyone". Who falls under everyone? EVERYONE!!!! Ah...but there is a catch. (I knew it..the fine print always gets us). It has nothing to do with fine print. It is spelled out plainly in this verse. "To everyone who believes."

Romans 10:9-11
V9.- That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

V10. - For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

V11. - For the Scripture says, (Is.28:16) "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."

This "believing" that we are to have is more than a mental exercise of "yes, I believe."
It is that deep knowing inside.
The knowing that is faith driven beyond what you see.
I can remember sitting in church as a young boy and the invitation would be given...the music would be playing and my heart would be beating out of my chest. There weren't any words spoken, but I knew that God was calling me. I knew it and I believed it in spite of what my mind was telling me. This is the place we need to live in. The place where the voice of God is louder than our thoughts and our vision. That we act on what our heart is telling us (Prov. 3:5-6).

I like the last part of Verse 11....."Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."
Life here is filled with disappointment. But you know what? Imagine our first glimpse of heaven and Jesus. All disappointment will fall away. Every hurt, every wrong, every terrible thing we have ever gone through or experienced in our life here on earth, will disappear as we stand before the One we have trusted in.
Awesome!

Have a great weekend.
God on you....
mbb

Friday, March 24, 2017

It Was A Good Night



Acts 2:17
Peter's words convicted them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, "Brothers...what should we do?"

I Corinthians 1:18
I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.

The thought that someone can stand up and speak the word of God and it change an individual is beyond my comprehension. In fact sometimes I think we simply take such for granted. Or maybe we don't even think about it.

That the word of God can lead a person out of the most vilest of lifestyles into the dawn of a new way of living IS power. One man telling another what he has found and that it could change life as we know it forever IS power.

I sat last night (again) in a shed building with a group of men...probably 20 total. Some within the group have given themselves to Christ and to the program of recovery. Some not so much. This whole Jesus thing is new to them. Some who were present are so steeped in religion that they cannot hear the truth. They perceive themselves as already walking in the truth. Isn't it funny how religion can blind you to the truth of your own life? They know all the right words to say...they know Scripture backwards and forwards....book-chapter-verse, but they have no evidence of Christ in their life at all. Any way, we were a diverse group last night. To me religion is much more dangerous than sin. At least with sin you know you're messed up. Religion only dulls your senses and lulls you into a false sense of security.

Food a'plenty....Spaghetti...salad....garlic bread....tea...plates heaped and bending under the weight of the meal. Not many words spoken once the plates are filled and the eating begins...
Most of these men had already put in a hard day's work..so the appetite was there for the physical food....would there be an appetite for God's food? The answer was "yes".
Man named Charles brought the word....
Former dope slinger and all the trappings that go with the lifestyle, He shared how God took him out of that old life and deposited him into this new life he's been living for the past 20+ years. He didn't try to impress everyone with how bad he'd been....He was much more interested in telling how good God is.

I sat there listening, taking in every word of this man's teaching.
All of it truth...
Simple, bottom shelf where everyone can get to it, truth.
Truth of the cross....
Yet as this exchange of words took place, I knew the Holy Spirit was at work....
Tonight someone was going to meet this Jesus they only thought they knew about.
Sure enough it happened....
After the final prayer and we stepped into the night, there were pockets of men all around the yard.
Laughter....and tales of what the day had held...when suddenly someone walked up to me and asked the million dollar question. "What do I have to do to be saved?" If anyone needed proof of the reality of the Holy Spirit and the work He does, here it was.

A man who began his day with no thought at all about Jesus, was standing before me with the million dollar question that would be the entry point into a completely new way of living.
So there in the darkness of that yard, he came to a new relationship with the One who loves him beyond his own comprehension. The infinite met the finite and life changed right there on the spot.
That is what recovery is all about...
It's more than the absence of drugs or alcohol....
It's more than a list as long as your arm of the destruction someone has brought on themselves...
IT is about the introduction of the work of the cross of Christ, and the beginning of a new relationship. One that will stretch from last night on into eternity.
Nothing will ever be the same...

Please pray for this young man.
His name is Joshua.

God on you...
mbb

Thursday, March 23, 2017

He Was Born....He was Born Again....And He Was Born Again-Again


Colossians 3:1-2
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Rough looking bunch in this picture, aren't they?
Let's focus on the one in the middle....Barry Hooks.
Why?
Because the verse above from Colossians is what Barry is all about.

You see, today is Barry's sobriety birthday.
11 years......

Eleven years clean and sober.
What's more important is that his sobriety is found in Christ. Oh, Barry goes to meetings....He is a student of the Big Book Of A.A...

He has a sponsor. You see, Barry does all the things that the discipline of A.A. lays out as the path to recovery. Barry makes no bones about his Higher Power. Such is found in Jesus. Such is Jesus.

When we started the church@ Rapha, Barry was our first elder chosen to become part of the leadership. Over these past 11 years, I have watched Barry pursue this Jesus we claim to have relationship with. Easy to say you have relationship...
A whole other ballgame in actively pursuing Him.

Barry had the head knowledge of religion...He was born again...but alcohol took him down a dark path that almost destroyed him. When Barry came to Rapha, he discovered the real-deal Jesus. This encounter with Christ, along with all of Barry's religious insight, led him to be born again-again. I know that term is up for theological debate, but hold it loosely, o.k. ..I'm just trying to make a point.

So here on this day.....March 23rd...
Let it be known that Mr. Barry Hooks is my friend and brother in Christ. He is a part of the worship team for Vineyard ReCovery. Above all of this...
Barry is a son and child of the Most High God.
Who could ask for anything more...

Happy Birthday, Barry....
I love you, man!


God on you...

mbb

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Where Are The Tears?




Crying Again
by: Mark Heard

The headlines in the dailies are the horses in a race.
They lead you to believe that life and death are common place
Some believe it
and I'm crying again

I heard some good intentions, not all were second hand
But bravado and pretension will not feed a hungry man
It's been said before
and I'm crying again

Very quietly the world loses blood over night
without a fight
In the morning, the sickness will hide from the light
out of sight

Running from a world that they will never understand
The masses ride their passions with the throttle in their hands
Nobody knows
what is waiting 'round the bend.

Very quietly the world loses blood overnight
without a fight
In the morning, the sickness will hide from the light
out of sight

Now and then the criminal in my skin lets out a sigh
He'd like to think he's innocent but he cannot tell a lie
the truth is like a knife
and I'm crying again.
and I'm crying again.
and I'm crying again.

Luke 19:41 -  When He (Jesus) approached, He saw the city and wept over it.

He knew what was going to happen to Jerusalem.
He knew the pain and hurt and sorrow that would be common place like cheap wares in the market.
He wept.

Do we see that kind of burden today?
Do we see people weeping over the state of cities and towns?
Do we care enough to pray and share or are we merely playing and dancing proclaiming the goodness of God? What? We are not to proclaim His goodness? Yes! We are. But I don't believe we do such from a "Look at me if you want to see how good God is!" mentality.
I do not want to be a crier of depressing news or words....
But I do want the truth of God inside of me.
I want the truth of God no matter what.

I didn't ask for this and I do not come to you to proclaim myself to be a spiritual giant in any way.
But I have a burden.
A burden for those in addiction.
It was as if God opened my eyes and I truly saw that without Him....
Without the finished work of Jesus...
Without salvation and indwelling of God's Holy Spirit...
there was no hope....
There was no future.
What more......
I am powerless.
I can't make God do anything.
I can only pray and ask...
"God will you come and open the hearts of those who have been birthed in spiritual darkness?"
"Will you bring salvation to our town."
The more I thought on the men, I began to see their wives....
I began to see children....
I saw girlfriends....
Mothers and Fathers.....
Brother and Sisters....
I saw a host of people who were in darkness also.
I prayed, "Oh God! Let there be light to these who don't know you."
Open their hearts to understand the gospel.

I have an urgency inside.
Like time is running out.
Maybe it's my time that is running out, I don't know.
But I do know this....
"How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? "
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

I can't speak for anyone else, only myself.
But I think that days of joy are going to be replaced by another kind of joy.
A joy that isn't selfish and self centered.
Thoughts of self will be replaced by tears and concern for others.

As Jesus told his disciples, "Look! The fields are white for harvest."
I pray that the workers are not few.
I pray that just as the rain fell earlier this week....
The burden of the Lord would flood our churches
our home meetings..
When that burden is realized, I pray that a cry ascends to heaven before the throne of God
that would stir Him to loose a flood of salvation
as the Word of God is spoken into the darkest of dark places.
Bring the light Lord!
Bring the light!

God on you....
mb







Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I AM

John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (Overpower) it.


How big is your God today?
Do you truly understand who it is you pray to?
Have you considered who it really is that has reached out to you with a love that is beyond comprehension on this side of heaven?
A being who character and nature is purer than pure. Who cannot look upon sin. Who cannot coexist with sin...has reached out to a species, of His own creation I might add, with a way....a plan....that opens the door for us to reach back to receive Him.

Crystal meth cannot stop His love....
Heroin cannot stop His mercy.....
Alcohol cannot stop His compassion...
No drug every prescribed can keep this God away from reaching out to you.

He is the Lord above everyone who would lay claim to the title of lord.
He is the King above every ruler, authority under heaven who would lay claim to the title of king.
The world is full of opposites.
Day and night...
Hot and cold....
Up and down...
Over and under...
Future and past....
Good and evil....
Sin and redemption....
But God stands alone with no equal...
They are none that are equal to God...His power...His presence...His purity...His plans.
No, my friend, not one....
The devil is not the opposite of God...
To say that the devil is the opposite of God is to say that the devil is equally as powerful as God.
That isn't true....

Understand who it is that has reached out to you...
Understand that you were created in His image...
You don't create God in your image...
Open you heart up today and tell Him..."I want to meet with you!"
God on you..


mbb



Monday, March 20, 2017

Chords And The Lord

( The following is a reprint of August 13,2015 Greene Street Letters)


Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

God's word is a point of focus and attention made available to me if I will use it.
It will be the fuel for the voice of God that will speak to me and show me the way to go in my daily life. It will help me to make decisions that are not destructive to my personal recovery.


I love an E chord.
Been playing guitar for more years than I care to remember and during all this time, E is my favorite chord. Funny thing about playing an E chord is that you have so many different choices as to which chord you play next. You might slide up to an A or maybe B. There's the chance that you might get bold and go from E to G then to A. How about F#m or F#?

Life is like that when we are trying to operate with God in our life. When we are trying to be the captain of our own ship without realizing that they only thing we've ever been good at is running aground and destroying the ship. For a lot of people life is so scary...the future so uncertain that they refuse to change chords. They live their entire life stuck on an E chord. Strumming over and over and over. Doing the same thing over and over and over expecting it to be different each time.

God didn't create us to be a "one note" creation.
He created us with songs that haven't been played yet. He created us to embrace Him and allow His music to come from within so we could reflect His image. He created us to reach out and try another chord. Move from that "E" place and see the beauty of trying to follow Him in the next move.


Funny part in this journey of life and music is the simple fact of the more we try to move off our "E" chord to others, the better we get at changing chords. Our moves become smoother and the chords resonate a little clearer as we play Them. As we allow God to guide us, we become more sure of our decisions and choices, and we see that God is worthy to be trusted. 

If you look at the neck of a guitar, you'll see strings and frets. But what you don't see is the possibility of unlimited music. Every song that has ever been written can be played on the neck of that guitar. When we look at our life, we see the "strings and frets"...the pitfalls and the snares out there waiting to trap us and kill us. What we fail to see is the unlimited potential of life, when we turn will and life over to God's care.

As much as I love an "E" chord....
I'm very curious about where it can take me...
The next chord progression...
The next song that is birthed in my own journey.

Don't stay stuck in life...
Reach out for the next chord.


God on you...

mb

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Words That Heal




"The absence of profanity will offend no one."
Bill W. ~ Founder of A.A.

Ephesisans 4:29 ((Recovery Bible)
Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that you words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

The words we select and use say a lot about our character. The opinion of others is formed by the language we use to convey ideas when we communicate.
As the world around us continues to spiral downward into a moral black hole, we need to realize that God has granted to those who believe an incredible gift. That words we speak when directed by the Holy Spirit can bring healing.
Maybe I should be more careful about not only what I say, but how I say it.

Seems like everyone these days is talking but no one is really saying anything (not to mention that not that many are actually listening).
Social media has become un-social. It has turned into a launch pad for hate. To be a nation of people who claim to be tolerant and accepting....we sure are filled with a lot of anger and hate. Our words reveal our hearts.
Personal opinion rules the airways and hearts of the people. People are speaking out from their fear....from anger....from all manner of negative empowerment. 
Yet, those who follow Jesus have been granted words of truth that can set people free from the bondage of their sin. When you speak, are your words "Grace-filled" words? Or do they show another side of you that does not glorify the Father? In the verse above from Ephesians 4, the KJV says that we are not to allow any (and what falls under any?)   unwholesome word come out of our mouths. Now catch this next part...."But only such a word as is good for edification (to build up) according to the need of the moment, so that it will Give Grace to those who hear. As a follower of Jesus, He has equipped me to be a conduit through which His grace can flow to someone who is listening to what I say. Now that is heavy.
So.....today
Choose your words carefully.
Speak them in love.
Let God do his work .
Sound's like a plan

God on you...
mb

Kingdom Work Doesn't Always Look Like What We Think It Does

Parking lot was crowded yesterday. It was near noon and people were taking care of their business, hurrying in and out of the building. I...