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Archive for September, 2010

17Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.

Luke 11:17 – I am always blown away at Jesus.  He amazes me.  He knew their thoughts.  There are constant reminders that even though he was completely man he was still completely God.  He knew their thoughts.  He has been discussing prayer.  He includes the whole concept of asking, seeking and knocking and then receiving from him the gift of the Holy Spirit who will reveal the will of God and empower the activity required from all that.

He notices the Enemy evidence himself by causing a man to be mute.  Christ casts out the demon and the man begins to talk.  It would be hard to miss the miracle.  Christ is there.  The man who can’t speak and it is widely know he can’t speak.  Christ brings forth the healing by casting the demon out and the man speaks.  Can’t speak – now can speak…so what does the enemy do…causes confusion of course…he tries to explain away what they just saw.  Since the devil prides himself in the acts of stealing, killing and destroying, he works now in the religious folk who now try to figure out the miracle (and since they are religious experts and widely respected among the people as such and would have to respond to what they just saw) that what Christ just did was a  miracle accomplished by the power of the devil.

The Bible here says that Jesus knew their thoughts and told them a divided kingdom will fall…it can’t be by the power of the enemy…even the devil knows that.  Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is that we would be one.  He came to bring the people together.  The religious folk were doing all they could to keep them apart – there are the super religious Jewish folk – and there is everyone else.  Jesus shows up and makes it possible for people to be one.  He takes a man whose life is tormented and brings physical wholeness to him and now makes it where he can be whole with those around him.  He is always removing barriers…the enemy builds them.

Jesus says that if he brings about the miracles by the finger of God then the kingdom is already here.  In Christ we are made whole with Him, whole with ourselves, and at peace and unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  There is no man made remedy nor a religious answer to unifying people.  It is only available when He shows up.  In Christ we have hope.   We are made whole IN CHRIST.

I am thinking this morning about a young lady struggling with what is trying to divide her mentally.  I am thinking of a woman struggling with cancer.  I think of a family dealing with the death of a young man.  I think of several families who are struggling to put things back together and are trying in the flesh and by their own strength.  I am reminded that our only Hope is in Christ…He is our HOPE!

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You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

Haggai 1:6 caught my attention.  I have planted much.  I have eaten.  I drink what a good old Southern Baptist wouldn’t mind getting caught drinking.  I have plenty to wear.  I work hard and earn wages.  However, movement doesn’t always equal progress.  Harvests, having enough, being full and warm, and applying my income to the right places are important to God.  All of this discussion about being careful in the way I think about my ways are couched in the context of the need to rebuild the temple.  Before there is any gathering of funds, before there is any discussion of plans and materials…God first seems to deal with the condition of the heart as displayed in my life.  Harvesting much, being satisfied, being filled full and warm and not allowing what I have in my life to be uselessly wasted are proper focuses for me today.

Taking careful thought to my ways… Implicit in that is a lack of careful thought and consideration.  Is my focus in the wrong place?  Am I concerned about a great deal of effort and so little harvest in my life?  Do I have enough?  Am I properly using what God has given me for His glory and praise?  Does my money bag have gaping holes that I push time, treasure and effort into places where it simply falls through the holes and makes no impact at all?

Crooks, give careful thought to something.  I will have to admit that I am connected to the professional side of my calling and the normal accepted ways things are done at home that I sometimes would do well to spend some creative time thinking about how I stand in my relationship to God.  Sometimes it is easier to act than to stop and think before I act…

Search me, O God!

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Alright, I give in to the pile of you who already know.  The Lord’s blessing by bringing Camryn Renee Crooks into the world is unbelievable.  She is precious.  8lbs 12 oz and she is 21 1/2 inches long.  Jenn Crooks, my daughter in law, is doing well even though she struggled for nearly two hours of pushing until they finally agreed that a c-section would be done for the health of mom and the baby.  We prayed together and off they went.  Two hours later we were greeted with the news of her health and the baby’s report…both were doing good.  Jenn has some infection so she and the baby are being treated for precautionary measures.  We are glad they are doing well.  I am thankful to God for the joy of being able to hold her and to see the other two women in my life doing well.  Nancy and I have been busy assisting them and enjoying the new addition to our family.

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45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

A father in law is useless in a delivery room.  Women, mother, husband and medical assistants…yea, they do belong there.  However, father in laws need to keep a mile away.  So when they enter to do some kind of check up, I went outside the room in the hall and found my spot to lean on.  It is amazing who you meet in the Family Birthing Center.  It is not long before a conversation takes place and the wounds of the heart become evident.  That line in vs. 45 is so true…out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.  One can learn a great deal about others if they listen.  You can only give away what’s in ya’.  Open your mouth and what’s in ya starts to flow.  Be observant and you can tell a lot simply by listening.

My heart’s desire today is to live aware enough that when given a chance to speak or to keep from speaking that I will give evidence that the Spirit of the Lord lives there.  I might take an inventory of my own life to see how my heart looks as I listen to what I say today.

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Deserted or Full?

1 [a] How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.

The first line – “…how deserted lies the city, once so full of people!” – caught my attention this morning.  To stop a minute and in my own mind to see anything that was to be so full of life and purpose, designed to bring glory to God and see it so empty and see it so empty causes me to stop and reflect.  I hear the first part of John 10:10 – the thief comes but for to steal, kill, and destroy… He enjoys making living places desolate.  He delights in stealing the joy of God’s people.  He takes great pleasure in seeing those whose lives have been created for God’s glory loose their luster and spend time wandering far away from home.  It is so easy to get there…as a matter of fact…if I simply do nothing…just wander through life with now specific purpose and not allowing the life of God to flow through me, I, too, will be desolate when my life should be evidenced by so much life.

I long to allow God’s life to flow through me today.  Holy Spirit, lead me by the quiet streams and let me fill up with the cool water of God’s love today and let your life and light shine through me.  The word “deserted” is not on my wish list for today.  The word “full” is on it.

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Justin’s Good Hair

Justin McAlpin, Minister to Youth at Ebenezer Baptist Church spoke last night at Baptist Collegiate Minstries at Francis Marion University… He made the Father proud last evening!

7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Matthew 7

  • Jesus wants you to be a part of his life – one has to seek it – I guess the words “desire it” stuck in my own heart
  • All relationships require effort and faith on your part
  • If you are going to seek the relationship then there is a corresponding response demanded on your part if Jesus answers the questions you ask of Him
  • He answers your questions simply because He loves you
  • Ask – and when you do be ready for the answer and ready to respond to what He tells you.

14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.  1 John 5

  • “…according to HIS will…” – according to what HE desires – It ain’t about YOU.  It’s all about HIM.
  • WE want that “do it for ME” mentality – great line
  • How can I be a part of it so it glorifies HIM – quickly get over yourself
  • “…he hears us…”  – because He cares about us
  • Stop being lazy – ask – it is all about HIM and HIS will

Malachi 3  6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’  8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

  • Jim’s note:  I found Justin’s treatment of this pretty fair… In speaking to the group about the gifts that they have been given – financial gifts, spiritual gifts and talents…
  • Vital that we learn to give back to God
  • Doing our giving to exceed expectations
  • Give all we have to the Glory of God
  • Easy to talk about Me and Mine and forget it is all about HIM
  • Bring Jesus …all you got…bring it on!

Thank you Justin!

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It’s all Grace!

20He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

This morning these words grasped my attention.  I am reminded again that I am journeying with the Lord Jesus today.  As if to get’s John’s attention and to remind a group of churches who are hurting and facing immense persecution, Jesus says to them and to me, that I should live in the light of his soon return.

For me the wait is in the room I will call “Grace”.  It is the Lord Jesus’ gift to me…and to all of God’s people.  I wait in a  room where there is no fear.  I am enjoying total acceptance as a child of God.  He allows me to serve him today confidently keeping one eye on the task at hand and one eye looking for MY Savior.

Maybe I will be fortunate enough to invite others to come along with me today.

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