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Archive for September, 2009

9 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.

When I gave my life to Christ, I began a journey with him that allows me to get up next to his heart.  He places His Spirit in my life.  We get to journey together.  Therefore it should not surprise me when I get to looking a lot like my Father and acting like him as well.  It really is an overflow of the relationship…to judge fairly, show mercy and be kind to one another.  It isn’t a list of things to do…but when you do them it shouldn’t surprise you that they are on a list in scripture somewhere.

He really does expect to change how I live life – How I love the Lord, Others, and myself.

Oh to see him alive in my relationships today!

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41″Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

The Lyrics to an old hymn struck me as I read this passage

  1. Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
    Oh, what words I hear Him say!
    Happy place! so near, so precious!
    May it find me there each day;
    Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
    I would look upon the past;
    For His love has been so gracious,
    It has won my heart at last.
  2. Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
    Where can mortal be more blest?
    There I lay my sins and sorrows,
    And, when weary, find sweet rest;
    Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
    There I love to weep and pray;
    While I from His fullness gather
    Grace and comfort every day.
  3. Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
    As *I sit low at Thy feet; [*I’m waiting]
    Oh, look down in love upon me,
    Let me see Thy face so sweet;
    Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
    Keep me holy as He is;
    May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
    Who is all my righteousness.

Oh, to be only anxious about a single thing today.  Walking in the church house should provide me a proper place of relief for the only focus of my own life this morning.  He should be my only focus.  I know me and on Sunday’s it seems that I have a lot of tables to set and things to take care of.  He is in the house.  He is present.  I pray that I do not miss the joy of being with HIM!

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It’s all about HIM!

10 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

He gave them power to heal, cast out demons, and all sort of supernatural endowments that would allow them to be used of God in the ministry of people.  They went out and were used of God in a mighty way.  Once they returned, how brilliant was it to take them privately to a place where they could get away from the crowd and get the whole event in proper perspective.  They got away.  It was a deserted place…a place just opposite from where they had spent their life for the past little while.

It doesn’t take long to begin to believe in your own stuff.  Owning what only God can give and do is tacky to say the least but I find if I am not careful it is easy to believe that “I” did that or it was something that I planned or it was generated by my own wisdom.  How sad.  Only God can do this kind of thing.  They would have not had the gifts nor the power to get the work done had he not given it to them.  So before it got to be a problem he carried them off to a private place and got it all in perspective.

I am depending on God to do a great work tomorrow at church as we journey with the Father through this whole concept of prayer.  Our instructions will be to pray for everyone…people we like and people we may not find it so easy to like…pray for our friends and our enemies.  I ask God to help us as we gather together so that he does a great work in our midst.  There are so many hurting people in our church.  There are people who need to take what they are facing and take it to the Lord.  We are taught to pray.  We are taught to pray for everyone.

I am reminded again – I am so thankful to be a part of what HE is up to in this world.  It takes my breath away to think that he has that kind of confidence in me.  How he loves me.   It’s not about me or us but about HIM!  Oh, how I want to see HIM move among us!

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12 One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. 13 At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:

What would it have been like to have been one of the disciples gathered around when Jesus said to them that he would be back in the morning.  He needed to pray and he would disappear by going up into the mountains to pray.  Then at times he would pray all night.  I would love to be privy to one of those conversations…if there was conversation to them at all.  Was it communion in silence?  What did he say?  What did he hear?  What were the contents of the communion between the Father and the Son?  A dozen was what was needed.  There were more than a dozen in line for potential selection.  Can you imagine the conversation that God and Jesus had about each person?  Could you possibly hear Jesus and God talk about what they saw in each person?  I would love to have been there to hear it.

He checked it all out with God before he moved forward…that is for sure.  He came back and had a list of 12 on his heart.  He and the Father had talked it all out.  Or at least Jesus got quiet enough until he was  confident that the selections were consistent with the heart and big plan of God.  I know we as a church will spend some time in the near future selecting the men that will be our new deacons.  To prayerfully talk to God about the potential selections is a process one cannot “hurry”.  I am glad that we take the time to interview each candidate, review their commitment to the faith, observe their commitment to the local body of Christ, discover their ability to lead at home and in the church.  I am reminded this morning that it is powerfully important to insure that these names are gathered before the Father and a concerted effort be made to insure that the ones presented are the ones that are in the middle of God’s will and those who will work out his purpose as deacons in our church.

Whether it is choosing deacons or meeting with a member today, my heart should bathe each thing in prayer before I take the time to deal with each issue.  I have to fight the tendency to jump into it talking it over with the “Three” who know best.  Praise be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Thank you Jesus, for sending the Holy Spirit to live in us and to be our school teacher and one who goes along side us to guide us.  Help me, today, to choose to bathe what I do in prayer.

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Rev. 19 – “We Win!

Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

This job of mine is never boring.  You deal with real interesting things every day.  There are a lot of things you can say about what I do, but you can rest assured that it is never boring.  I got a phone call the other day from my Associate Pastor at the church telling me that he had been asked to do the funeral service for a young woman who had been murdered.  It was sad.  He had been so faithful to pray for and minister to the family and to the young lady.  It seems that she was in the wrong place at the right time and was murdered along with another young man and left in a ditch to die.  I remember several years ago another dad who was smitten as he learned of his son’s death in a similar manner – young people being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I think of another woman and her husband who spends a good time every two years doing what they can to keep the man who murdered and raped her daughter in jail.  Those are just three that have affected our own church family.

Behind the scenes the enemy of God and his hordes of hellish armies fight against the Hosts of Heaven.  Today I was reminded again that the battle one of these days will be forever over.  Hell will fill the Lake of Fire and we will finally be free from the influence of evil.

Until then, I will continue to pray and trust God through it all.  It is a new day.  One that has a great deal of potential.

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Watchman!

7So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

Ezekiel was asked by God to be the watchman over the house of Israel.  Judgment was coming and his job was to see it coming and warn the people.  At least they will not be surprised when it comes.  Can one man make that kind of difference for an entire nation?  Can one Ezekiel-like individual make that kind of impact on the lives of so many people in the church?  Can a family benefit with the “watchman” standing watch over their home?  Is there some kind of public trust put on my own life to be a man of prayer?  Could my wife, children, church, community and nation be depending on me to “watch” for the enemy?  Could it be possible that I am in a war that finds need for me to stand watch?  Is the picture bigger than I want to admit?  Is it my responsibility to be keenly aware when the enemy is moving and to be watching for where he is attacking next?  Is it my job to give warning to the body at large when I see it happening?  Is there some kind of personal trust that God has on my life to equip me to watch and see and do the people of God over whom I pastor have the solid expectation that I am watching over their souls faithfully?  There is unbelievable consequences in how I complete the tasks of my office!

Next week I am going to preach on the watchman and some one willing to step up and stand in the gap.  I am going to share how gaps in the wall let the good out and the bad in.  I am reminded again this morning of that great work of prayer.  Praying and preaching the Word of God – two powerful tasks that are mine today.  And it does make a difference even in the light of such indifference on the part of the people.  Mine is the task of preaching and praying – not making the people change.  I am reminded that Ezekiel warned them and the people chose not to listen to the warning.

One person can make a difference.  There is a war.  When I gave my life to Christ I was commissioned to be a watchman and given the awesome responsibility to pray.  That is the battle field.

I am reminded!  Thanks!

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shadrach_meshach_abednegoDaniel was a “one of a kind” guy!  God allows him to see things that are hidden to some.  We simply have the record of what he had the chance to see!

25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Three Hebrew young men who made up their minds to be Godly in a world where godliness was not at a premium and  find themselves in a “hot spot” walking around the fire with Jesus.  It’s what you can’t see that is really vital here.  There are times when I think that the battle in life is not between Washington DC and Iraq or N. Korea or China.  NOT!  There is a battle going on behind the curtain in the spiritual world, and our earthly struggles simply mirror the real battle going on.  Listen to what Abraham Kuyper states:    if once the curtain were pulled back, and the spiritual world behind it came to view, it would expose to our spiritual vision a struggle so intense, so convulsive, sweeping everything within its range, that the fiercest battle ever fought on earth would seem, by comparison, a mere game. Not here, but up there – that is where the real conflict is waged. Our earthly struggle drones in its backlash.

I see the battles day in and day out.  I see couples that struggle with their marriages and I can see the enemy trying his best to slam God’s best.  I see the spiritual forces of darkness swarming over Washington DC and see our country struggling reflecting the impact of that struggle.  A war is raging.  I see young people who are consistently following the empty  promises of this sex crazed media hyped world we live in and the battle rages.  The enemy is trying to get us to bow to the gods of this world.  The list could go on!

What is needed today in my own life is a renewed commitment to simply stand up in solid commitment to walk out my faith in my daily life.  It is a life of serious attention…one where faith and spiritual things cause me to care about what is going on in places where the eye cannot see but the spirit can.  A. W. Tozer has a comment that stopped me in my tracks…

The Bible was written in tear and to tears it will yield its best treasures. God has noting to say to the frivolous man. It was to Moses, a trembling man that God spoke on the mount, and that same man later saved the nation when he threw himself before God with the offer to have himself blotted out of God’s book for Israel’s sake. Daniel’s long season of fasting and prayer brought Gabriel from heaven to tell him the secret of the centuries. When the beloved John wept much because no one could be found worthy to open the seven-sealed book, one of the elders comforted him with the joyful news that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed. A. W. Tozer “God Tells the Man Who Cares”  an Essay!

Daniel tells the story of three young men who were giants in their walking with God.  They made up their minds that they would live according to a standard of God.  They were not frivolous about it – it was serious business to these men.  Their seriousness from earthly terms was leading them to the end of their lives.  Instead they were able to see the curtains of the other world pulled back and they got a chance to do what few have been able to do and that is walk around the fire with the Son of God.  It is a historical event and it did happen in time.  But I am reminded this morning that the battle is not out here where I live but a spiritual battle that is trying to thward the work of God in history.  I am compelled by being a child of God to wake up to that reality.  When I signed up for the draft in God’s military he openned up the curtain and gave me a chance to see where the battle is located.  I am called to the battle, given the clothing to wear (Eph. 6) and am allowed to join in the battle through prayer.  It is God’s power at work and I am encouraged to be like Daniel and those three Hebrew boys – to live a righteous life.  It is interesting to me the direct connection between righteous living and a powerful prayer life.   Last of all I am reminded that I am never alone.  The Son of God walks around in the fire and the Angels of God are around me.  I have never been more comforted by the forces of Glory.

It ain’t for the sissy!  It ain’t for those who want to profess the name but not possess the name and the determination to walk our relationship with Christ out in our daily life. It might cost you a trip into a major fire!   I am glad because of the blood of Christ and his resurrection that I am able to know with confidence that I, too, can walk through my fires with the Son of God!  But hey, there is some great company in there!

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