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Archive for September, 2008

He said, “Whether few or many is none of your business. Put your mind on your life with God. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires your total attention. A lot of you are going to assume that you’ll sit down to God’s salvation banquet just because you’ve been hanging around the neighborhood all your lives. Well, one day you’re going to be banging on the door, wanting to get in, but you’ll find the door locked and the Master saying, ‘Sorry, you’re not on my guest list.’  Luke 13 “The Message”

Every now and then the scriptures catch my attention. I am reading about Jesus teaching some of the people about the Kingdom. He uses an illustration about a pine tree and yeast. Someone asks him “will everyone be saved?” and then comes the passage above.

Obviously there are those who will be invited to the “salvation banquet”. Gathered with them are those who are just hanging around and watching from a distance. They feel that being near it is the same as being in the group. Each Sunday you can watch people watch from a distance. They are interested in what is going on and intrigued by the change in some of the people’s lives. They want the benefit without the process of changing. They are not interested in a relationship that is “vigorous and requires your total attention”. Their interest is only peaked by those things that help them find out how little they can do and still be part of the group.

Being a Christian is not for the weak at heart nor for those who want to play at it. It requires my total attention. Wow. That set me back today because I am given in my own flesh to taking a vacation from the discipline. I give my attention to things that are less than best and when I do I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit, my Guide who comes along side me to guide me back, leads me back to the place I should be. Praise Him for his goodness.

We have enough stuff today to help us long for heaven. My son reminded me that we struggle with a presidential choice, our economy is in the dumps, and things around us are screaming for our Redeemer to come and take us home. Wow. If he was to come today…for some, the hardest words to hear would be “sorry, you are not on my guest list.”

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Don’t stop…

9“Here’s what I’m saying:

Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.

10-13“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.
Luke 11 The Message

It is early on Sunday Morning. It is the Lord’s Day. I have the windows in my office open and I can hear the early birds singing. It is as quiet as it will be all day long.

Before me is my prayer book and devotional journal. I think of the people on this list. They are many. I get consumed in thinking of all that people go through in a days time. I see faces and hurt for them. Men and women who are losing their jobs. There are several on my list who take care of elderly parents. I think of some who will be facing surgery this week and major tests. Some have been told they have cancer. I think of one whose sister died. Old and young alike, we all face needs.

The “God of the Angel Armies” is with us. He instructs us to ask and keep on asking – Seek and keep on seeking, and knock and keep on knocking. We are to never quit. We constantly keep it before the Lord of the Universe and he hears. He is at work.

He wants us to be direct in our prayers. He is still Lord but we are invited by God to be a participant in this work on this earth through prayer. God designed prayer. It is his plan that prayer causes things to happen that would not happen if we hadn’t prayed. Most of the items on my prayer list don’t need a simple answer…they need a miracle. Prayer is the engine that runs the whole process.

Don’t stop!

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9-11“And why?” (This is a Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, remember.) “Because while you’ve run around, caught up with taking care of your own houses, my Home is in ruins. That’s why. Because of your stinginess. And so I’ve given you a dry summer and a skimpy crop. I’ve matched your tight-fisted stinginess by decreeing a season of drought, drying up fields and hills, withering gardens and orchards, stunting vegetables and fruit. Nothing—not man or woman, not animal or crop—is going to thrive.”  Haggai 1

Could it be God’s way of getting our attention? Could God be trying to get our nation’s attention? Can it possibly that God can use things like “Ike”, gas prices and short falls, war, elections, financial crises, family crises to get our attention as people and as a country? Could it be that God is doing his best to show us our stingy ways and how we have neglected Him? Could it be the financial drought that gets our attention?

I know that this verse rattled my cage in that God would allow such a thing so it would seize the attention of the nation of Israel. It is amazing. What is required to get some people to wake up and pay attention to God?

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God’s Spirit is on me;
he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to
the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
Luke 4:18-20

In a few hours I will be standing in my usual spot at church preaching. We will be focusing on the Lord this morning and my heart will be offered another opportunity to share my love for the Savior. He loves to have his children around him. We gather.

I am reminded that there are those who still need to hear about the one that Preached the Good News to us, the one who can still pardon, still give sight to the blind, and still set free those who are burdened and battered.

I have always been amazed at the numbers of people who simply make their way to church. Circumstances change and those who could not care less about the Good News now longs to find an answer. I am still amazed that there are those who are prisoners to guilt and shame. The grip of addiction and sin still weighs down on them with great pressure and they long to be free. There are those who are blind. Their spiritual eyes still need to be opened. There is no blindness so dark as eyes which physically work but spiritually cannot see a thing. There are those who are burdened. There are those who are battered. In addition, we all come to stand in presence of Jesus the Nazarene

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Sacred Space for God

1-4 “When you divide up the inheritance of the land, you must set aside part of the land as sacred space for God:

Practically I am like the rest of you. If I do not set aside a place and a time for the “sacred” in my life, I find that the “secular” overwhelms me. I was interested this morning reading God’s minute detail in preparing Him a space to be worshiped. His provision was specific and necessary for the health and success of the people of God. Wow!

I wish with all my heart that I was good at setting aside the “sacred”. I do well for a week or two and then the battle rages again. I am late for the office and other perceived items on my to do list, but I find it necessary this morning to sit before the Lord and wait on him. I am grateful that he meets me here.

I wanted you to hear the testimony of Lily Isaac the matriarch of the “Isaacs” family singers. Her testimony of how God invaded her life is powerful. May it minister to you as you listen.

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I am not alone!

11-15I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned. Nothing could stand before or against the Presence, nothing in Heaven, nothing on earth. And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there—before the Throne! And books were opened. Then another book was opened: the Book of Life. The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived. Sea released its dead, Death and Hell turned in their dead. Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived. Then Death and Hell were hurled into Lake Fire. This is the second death—Lake Fire. Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.

Revelation 20:11-15
The Message

In this passage this “standing before the throne of God” stopped me in my tracks. Allowing my heart to remember again that there will be folk standing before the amazing presence of The Holy One with no Advocate breaks my heart. They stand there alone. The evidence is in. The Book is opened. No family for support. Now lawyer for defending their position. Alone! Before the God of the Universe! They face the judgment from the Judge of the universe who will now cast them into the Lake of Fire.

I am a carrier of the Good News. I have responsibility today to share that good news in the normal traffic patterns of my life. One hearing that news may respond to God and become a child of God, thus changing their standing before the Great White Throne – Alone!

This morning I celebrate my ADVOCATE – who has “bled” my case and “plead” my case! Due to that precious provision of our powerful Advocate, I will never have to stand there alone. I will stand before God at the Judgment Seat, and I will have to give and account – but never alone. To the great I AM I declare my praise this morning.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can big me there depart
No tongue can bid me there depart
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me
Behold Him there the risen Lamb
My perfect spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The Kind of glory and of grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God!
With Christ my Savior and my God!

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He Reigns!

Hallelujah!
The Master reigns,
our God, the Sovereign-Strong!
Let us celebrate, let us rejoice,
let us give him the glory!

Revelation 19 The Message

Let us celebrate and give HIM glory. Today is HIS day. Today I am reminded WHO is in charge. I am invited to come to HIS throne. I come for cleansing. I come for healing. I come depending only on HIM.

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