Archive for October, 2007

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“Spiritual Hitchhikers”

October 29, 2007

Galatians 6:1-2 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” 

Colossians 3:12-15  “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

Saturday evening, in a phone conversation with another blogger (I don’t remember all of the details but this is the basic situation) I learned of an incredible deliverance that the Lord worked on a local saint who had been battling bitterness and other things for a long time.  Not wanting to appear out of sorts before the other saints in her fellowship, she neglected to seek help for this and it continued to fester out of sight.  The telling of this mighty deliverance was incredible and it got me to thinking of how important it is for us to be sincere with each other.  To lift each other up in prayer at every rememberance and not be caught up in showmanship.  We all wrestle with a carnal law that abides in our members and an enemy who will take advantage of any opportunity presented to him to set up shop and wreck havoc in our lives. 

This morning, Pastor Troyer delivered a message on forgiveness; an absolute as our forgiveness is directly tied to how we forgive others.  Near the end, he told an account of Corey Ten Boom who, along with her sister, was held in a Nazi concentration camp during the second world war.  (Her sister didn’t survive this ordeal)  Years later, Corey came face to face with one of the cruelest guards of that camp who had inflicted both her and her sister mercilessly.  The man asked for forgiveness and at first Corey could “feel the cold” gripping her heart.  But when she “almost mechanically” took his hand, suddenly the power of the living God broke through and she completely forgave this former guard of everything.  By the grace of God, she “let it all go.”  She later stated words to the effect of  “This man asked to be set free and I was the one who needed to be set free.”  I’m doing this story an injustice as Pastor Troyer was much more detailed in telling the account.  Nonetheless, it’s a mesage that I’ll never forget.

In the blogroll, there’s a writing by Corey Ten Boom which is very interesting and tells a few details of their ordeal in the concentration camp.  (Although the above acount isn’t covered in this particular writing) 

The power of forgiveness.  To just let it go when we’ve been wronged; knowing that we are sinners saved by grace.  Remembering that we were headed for an eternity without God, until one day, when Jesus knocked on the door of our heart and said “follow me.”  Between the phone conversation Saturday evening and the message this morning, I came to realize just how easily things can get lodged in our heart.  A tiny seed of bitterness, a little shread of envy, a tiny dash of pride.  So tiny that they slip beneath our spiritual radar and take up residence in our heart.  There, undetected, they grow and, in the course of time, begin to bear fruit.  Fruit that we may be tempted to hide as to retain a religious facade.   

Hebrews 12:14-15  “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:  Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”

Anyone who has been involved with a holiness church (been there) will recognize the first verse.  Yet the second speaks to the very heart of the matter.  A root is something that grows out of sight.  Like dandelions which have a deep root; penetrating over three feet into the ground.  Conventional methods of removal fail as that root just sprouts a new plant.  (Actually dandelions dont bother me, but my wife doesn’t like them at all.)  It’s fascinating that the term “root”is used here.  Hiding undetected, wrecking havoc in the life of the person harboring it and influencing those with whom the person is in contact.  This verse from Proverbs has been quoted ever so many times, but here it is again:

Proverbs 4:23  “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” 

Matthew 18:35  “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

Serious business and something that each one of us must be on the lookout for.  I’m reminded of an incident that took place in Virginia back in 1987 or 1988.  In a deceptive maneuver, two guys whom I sincerely thought needed assistance, used a situation to get a notable amount of currency from me.  (They saw me coming) This really bothered me; not so much the monitary aspect, but rather the “taking advantage of one who’se trying to offer help.”  I knew that I had to let it go, but it was really hard.  For a couple of years afterwards, each time it came to mind, it bothered me.  Yet it was a lesson learned, that we cannot allow attitudes to linger as they can have lasting ramifications.  In hindsight, it seems quite silly to have allowed something so trivial to “get to me,” but at the time it tested the limits of my spirituality.

This reminds me of a point that Pastor troyer mentioned as well.  Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll forget that something took place, but rather how we react to it.  Concerning the above situation; I still remember how it played out, however, it has no bearing on me. Rather, it’s my sincere prayer that those individuals have met Jesus.  In fact, it would be so cool; I mean “SO COOL” to see them in glory; new creatures in Christ Jesus.  I pray that such will be the case.  Seeing the eternal picture makes “letting go” a whole lot easier.

Forgiveness is basic fundamental truth. Jesus went to the cross to pay for our sins; so that we can be forgiven.  We likewise must forgive others.  Yet we never know when we may be suddenly faced with a situation in which we’ll be the recipient of a grievous injustice and be called upon to “let it go.”  To do as Jesus said and “turn the other cheek.”  This is one thing that has been attracting Muslims to Jesus.  Islam teaches repaying an injustice twofold while Jesus tells us, “if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”  This means that if it’s snowing outside, we’re going to be cold, but this is far better than harboring unwanted hitchhikers like anger and vengeance.  Not to mention the witness for Jesus that will ensue as we don’t retaliate like most would. 

Well. it’s time to go.  I’m doing this Sunday evening as to get some things done tomorrow, such as feeding the goats on time.  (lol)  I’ll close with a passage from the sermon on the mount which will be addressed later, but it bears repeating here as well.  Until next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

Matthew 5:44-45  “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you;  That ye may be the children of your father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”  WOW and AMEN!

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The Heart of God (episode II)

October 25, 2007

Lamenations 3:22  “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” 

James 2:13  “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shown no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”

The unfathomable mercies of the God who inhabits all of eternity.  A pure and holy God who cannot allow sin in his presence, but who has done all that he possibly could in order to redeem us from the power of sin and death through Jesus Christ.  One aspect that we find in this mercy that it’s tied directly to our being merciful to others.  Just as our own forgiveness is tied directly to our forgiving of others.  We may think “but look what they did to me.  How can I possibly let it go?”  Such may well be very difficult in many instances, but it’s an absolute must.  Remember the amish school where an intruder killed several students?  (Autumn of 2006)  Those in the media were baffled at how the parents and community could just “forgive” the guy who had done such a thing.  (None of us deserve eternal life)

Matthew 5:6  “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

In the summer of 1986, while my ship was deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, we made a stop in Trieste Italy where I visited a medeival castle.  This castle featured a fully stocked torture chamber with forms of torment that I had never imagined.  My naive midwestern mind was astonished and I could only wonder “how could a person or persons put another through such an ordeal?”  The history books are filled with accounts of unimaginable torture, and yet, to see and touch the actual instruments was surreal.  I had to wonder who had lived there and how many souls had passed through there.  One thing is for certain; nothing, past or present, gets past Gods radar and only the precious blood of Jesus can wash away sin. 

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear reports of another diabolical crime being committed against the unsuspecting.  (II Timothy chapter three is in full swing as we approach the conclusion of this age)  Those who abandon the laws of common decency in pursuit of pleasure or monitary gain.  Today we see a darkness, permeating the land that is promoted by the entertainment media which employs all three of the lusts (flesh, eyes, and pride of life.) in order to turn a porfit. This is why I was so intrigued by Cora Daniels’ latest book; because she so eloquently described this baser mentality that is permeating our culture.  Even if one didn’t see the signs of the end times all around, one only has to observe this mentality and know that such is not sustainable.

Every day we see the mercy of God.  Many will ask “how can God allow so much misery and suffering to take place?”  It is precisely because of his mercy.  If we all were to get what we deserve, none of us would be here.  “There is none righteous.”  Just as the Lord is merciful, we are to be merciful to others; longsuffering, even when were done a disservice.  To be Christlike in all that we say and do.  One of the most fascinating passages of scripture is this:

Matthew 26:53  “Thinkest thou not that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” 

As the song goes, “He could have called twelve legions of angels.”  He would have been justified in doing so, but we would be lost and without hope.  Praise God for his mercy that exceeds our greatest understanding.  May we all have an increasingly greater understanding, of the great salvation that we have through Jesus Christ.  As Paul observed:

Philippians 3:10-11  “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

Matthew 5:8  “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

One mistake that many, including myself in the days of my youth, is that christianity is a bunch of regulations or a “good deeds outweighing your bad deeds” mentality.  The concept of getting to heaven because of physical accomplishments is commonplace.  This is such a tragic delusion as folks may put incredible effort into climbing through a window instead of entering by the door which is Jesus Christ.  Most have heard about the extensive charitable works that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet finance.  The natural mind will say “that must account for something.”  Yet unless a person is “born of the Spirit” they cannot see the kingdom of God.  A pure heart towards the God who inhabits all of creation.  We’re called to good works, but they are the result of our love for the Lord Jesus; not because we’re trying to get to heaven. 

James 2:15-17  “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;  notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit?  Even so faith, if it has not works, ios dead, being alone.”

I was reminded, while typing that out, about how Noah spent over a hundred years building an ark on dry land where rain had never fallen.  If he had done nothing except say to his family “be ye dry and sustained” none of us would be here today. 

Matthew 5:9  “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

One notable observation of todays society is the level of anger.  Therapists profit greatly from counseling patients on anger management while entertainers such as Jerry Springer showcase the turmoil of others for ratings.  Not to mention all of the mood-enhancing pharmaceutical remedies on the market today as corporations look at the crisis with dollar signs in their eyes.  I remember years ago, a situation that is comical in a way, but in reality is very sad.  When I was doing HVAC work, I was installing a furnace and AC unit in this house where the couple who lived there spent their entire day watching Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake, and almost every form of like-formatted show in existance.  This combined with the extensive amounts of alcohol stored around the house made it all too obvious that this was a disaster in the making.  Early in the afternoon, I came through the kitchen to find that the two were fighting with the wife threatening to leave.  (wow!  Imagine that!)

The world is filled with anger, hatred, vengeance, and “despair.”  As ambassadors of Christ, we owe it to those around us to walk in the Spirit and not react to circumstances.  To be a city set on a hill so that the light of the gospel which they so desperately need will not be overshadowed by the flesh.  Concerning the family mentioned above, I was backslidden when this incident took place.  Had I been close to the Lord and walking in obediance, I can only imagine what might have transpired.  

Well, nine verses down and 102 verses to go.  This is really fun as the sermon on the mount is a favorite passage of scripture.  So many topics encased therein; all of them displaying the immeasurable love of God and his great salvation through Jesus Christ.  Please keep Morgan in prayer.  She has a new boyfriend who “has a job” and seems responsible.  His name is Dustin and he digs graves for a living.  This is good, providing he doesn’t get buried in his work.  (I hope that he sticks around because he’s a one-liner magnet)   Also, Odale at “Word For It” brought to light this website.  www.inplainsite.org  It seems to be very sound and a good place to check around.  Until next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Christ. 

Romans 12:18-21  “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.  Be not overcome with evil, but ovrcome evil with good.” 

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My Everlasting

October 22, 2007

Ephesians 3:20-21  “Now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above al that we ask or think, according to his power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.”

Of all the wonderous attributes of God, I think that the hardest one to grasp beyond an acedemic level is that of “from everlasting and to everlasting.”  We can somewhat understand “to everlasting” and it’s the blessed hope that abides in every saint of God.  So shall we ever be with the Lord Jesus.”  We comfort each other with these words and exhort each other to run with patience the race that is set before us.  Yet the concept of “from everlasting” is beyond mind-numbing.”  We simply have nothing in the realm of the physical to compare it to.  Everything must have a beginning; or so it would seem.  Many in the profession of astro-physics spend years trying to figure out “Where it all came from.  Is there one universe, are there many universes, why is the expansion of the cosmos speeding up (hint: read Revelation 20:11) and what took place before the universally accepted “big bang theory?”

The more that one ponders such things, the more we realize that, when all is said and done, we dont have a clue as to how it all comes together.  Yet many of these folks who go through the most headache-inducing mathematical formulas imaginable will refuse to accept the possibility of a spiritual realm.  It doesn’t make sense to the natural man.  (Neither does the big bang.  If there was a big bang, all of the matter in the universe would be scattered uniformally; like an expanding shell.  We would be able to figure out “exactly” where this explosion occurred.  But this is another topic)  The idea that there is an all-knowing entity who inhabits all of eternity is so far beyond our comprehension that many will declare “well that’s just not possible.” 

James 1:17  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Both passages, mentioned thus far, speak of an everlasting state of being.  From the moment that we come into existance, the fabric of the everlasting is forever altered.  There will never be another moment in which we cease to exist.  I apolagize for this sounding so “duh” but we tend to be so caught up with the present world that we lose site of this reality.  If we can just get this eternal perspective into our heart of hearts, and understand the unfathomable love that the Lord has for us, we will be more than conquerors here.  Two primary things happen when we take on an eternal perspective:

( 1 )  The world loses it’s appeal.  The treasures, the monitary accumulations, all the contraptions of which the world says “you gotta have this” lose their authority.  This is what troubles me so much about the prosperity gospel.  It appeals to the flesh, thereby causing undiscerning saints to put down stakes in the land of wood, hay, and stubble.  (Philippians 3:7-8)  The more that we grasp the everlasting, the more that the mansion on the hill, the ocean-front property in Arizona (I know that Arizona doesn’t have an ocean-front….yet)  the costly-but-impractical sports car, and the private jet lose their appeal.  This is not an attack on wealth itself, just an observation as to the temporal nature of such things.  And the danger that they pose.

I remember, several years ago, there was a program entitled “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”  It contained stories about those who are….well….rich and famous.  To know who the rich and famous truly are, one only has to go visit those who minister at the inner-city homeless shelter, or teach sunday school to kids who, during the week, are bombarded by everything that the forces of darkness can throw at them.  Or the lady who works in a nursing home, carrying with her the final opportunity for many residents to hear of eternal life through Jesus Christ.  It’s those who “love not their lives in this world” that they may be effective warriors for the kingdom.  Each taking up a position that only they can fill.  (Revelation 14:13)

Matthew 19:21  “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

This was the answer that Jesus gave to the rich man who loved his stuff.  The very God of all that is was telling this man, “leave the stubble behind and follow me” but the man just couldn’t see beyond the here and now.  (A “here and now” that has been gone for two thousand years) 

( 2 )  This has already been touched on, however, it bears repeating.  Being eternally minded will cause us to be about our Fathers business.  Each day, we’ll seek out opportunities to further the kingdom of God; be it a great work or a seemingly insignificant gesture of kindness to a stranger.  Our thoughts, our actions, our prayers, will be geared toward those things which have everlasting significance. 

Several weeks ago, pastor Troyer mentioned something concerning priorities.  It went along the lines of “when something seems so important, ask yourself, Will this be important one hundred years from now?  If the answer is no, than it’s not that critical now.”  In other words, the sports car will hold no bearing in a hundred years.  Even if it’s preserved, another will have it in their posession.  But if we tell a stranger about Jesus, and those seeds eventually cause that person to accept him as Savior and Lord, that will be important, not only a hundred years from now but throughout the eons to come.   This next passage has been mentioned often and it actually belongs on the “one-verse-wonders” page, but here it is again:

Daniel 12:2-3  “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”

WOW!  Suddenly the dramas of this life seem ever so insignificant.  The gnat-straining, the social status, the gauges that we use to measure each other lose their authority.  “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”  What an awesome salvation through Jesus Christ. 

Well,  I have to go….yes….feed the goats.  I write this as one who battles this every day; as do we all.  It’s easy to get sidetracked by the events taking place on the earth because they’re in our face every moment.  All the more important to keep our eyes on Jesus and not be overcharged with such things.  I’ll close with a well-known passage and wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

II Corinthians 4:18  “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

I’m sorry; it’s impossible to stop there without going on to chapter five.

II Corinthians 5:1-4  “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:  If so that being clothed we shall not be found naked.  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not that we should be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”    

Greetings again.  Once again, a site with notable information must be made known.  This one is www.secretbelievers.org and is a ministry of Open Doors.  It concerns primarily the affairs of saints in Muslium countries and has a running account of current news events concerning this. 

Greetings yet again!  (I can’t stop!)  Tonight on Coast to Coast AM (1:00am to 5:00am eastern time) a guy named Reverend Bob Larson will be interviewed.  The topic is occultism and demonic activity in the US today.  His site is www.boblarson.org and while I link to it, please be advised that I’m not at all familiar with this ministry.  Discernment is always a must in all things.  The interview will most likely begin at 2:00am, the standard procedure for Coast to Coast. 

 

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A Need for Prayer

October 19, 2007

The details are here.  www.brotherjohnny.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/prayer-request-2/   Brother Johnnys daughter is battling a staph infection and prayer is needed.   

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Words From the Wise

October 19, 2007

Proverbs 15:1  “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Colossians 4:5-6  “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

There’s something special about one who is blessed with wisdom and yet maintains a humble demeanor.  They don’t become full of themselves or try to impress others; they simply disperse that which they have been blessed with.  In reading “Secret believers” I’m finding that Brother Andrew is just such a person.  Walking in the Spirit and always speaking the right words, with humility, to the right person at the right time.  Such timing is beyond our physical ability.   Yet as we spend time with the Lord in prayer and hide his word in our heart, we will become effective instruments of truth.  Regardless of our education, our life experiences or any such influences, as we draw closer to, and become, more like Jesus, we will be better prepared to give answer to any who should ask of the hope that is in us. 

Acts 4:13  “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

Their words and manner in which they presented them didn’t fit the billing of “fishermen” and it became obvious to all in attendance that these men had a lot of quality time with the Lord.  During a recent conversation with Phil McAlmond, he was telling how his family can always tell when he hasn’t had an efficient amount of prayer time.  His kids may say things like “Dad, I think that you need to have some time with the Lord.”  While such an observation sounds somewhat comical, it’s one that we can all relate to.  The truth is that we all need that time with the Lord if we’re to present the words of life as we ought to.  Jesus truly is the vine and we truly are the branches.  If we’re not connected, we’ll cease to bear fruit and eventually dry out. 

Time in prayer and time meditating on the scriptures; neither can ever be “overdone.”  In these times, we tend to spend our days running ever faster; trying to squeeze more activities into less time.  Tragically, prayer time and bible study tend to become early casualties as daily obligations become overwhelming.  I’ve been guilty of this during the past couple of days.  While I can utilize driving time and time at work, there’s nothing like a morning walk down to the pond or spending priceless moments under the stars at night.  Those times when all of the worlds distractions are far off in the distance and we can come into that special place.  We all need to find such moments; not only for our own reviving but for those around us who need what we have.   

Luke 21:15  “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your advarsaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.”

Ephesians 5:17  “Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but knowing what the will of the Lord is.”

To come before the Lord Jesus, who is from everlasting and to everlasting.  To enter into his presence with a grateful heart and seek understanding.  His wisdom is inexhaustable and his words are the words of life.  Healing the brokenhearted, delivering the captives, and granting sight to the blind.   As one delves into the scriptures, the wisdom contained therein is so immense that we cannot even begin to wrap our mind around it.  Gods ways are light years above ways and yet, throughout scripture, we’re admonished to come to him and learn of him.  To become increasingly more like Jesus and less like us. 

This post has taken an unplanned departure from the original intent.  The opriginal desire was to focus on our dealings with others.  In responding wisely to situations and offer words which gather unto Jesus instead of scatter.  Yet it’s not really off course at all as such wisdom can only come from the Lord.  The world is filled with bad advice.  Bad council which tears down, destroys and eventually kills.  Some examples would be “blame it on your parents, just get a divorce, have another beer, take some of these, everybody does this, it’s only wrong if you get caught, what’s love got to do with it, it was just a little white lie, and he who dies with the most toys wins.” 

Bad advice is on every street corner, incorporated into almost every television program, embraced by celebrities and promoted by corporations.  I’m reminded of Cora Daniels telling of how huge corporations promote the “hip hop” image, with it’s glorifying of prostitution, drug use, murder, and what have you all for profit.  (Her latest book is entitled “Ghettonation” and is published by Doubleday)  There’s an unrelenting onslaught against this present generation.  A war against the very image of God that began in the garden and is being ratcheted up in these final moments of the age.  (This post is really off track now.  Oh well…Run with it)

Matthew 5:14-16  “ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

To be a city set on a hill.  This is a great responsibility and not even the most comprehensive ten-step program can adequately prepare us.  We must be renewed continually by spending time with the Lord and hiding his word within.  Being instant in season, out of season as divine appointments have a history of showing up when we least expect them.  Every day, souls are slipping into eternity and every day we can make a difference somewhere.  (In this post, I’m pointing a finger at myself as I struggle to utilize time wisely.  A point that is highlighted by the fact that this is the forth post this week.)  Well, I need to be going for now.  This post still isn’t where I was thinking and perhaps a part two is needed.  In any case, I’ll close for now.  I wish to all a most blessed day in Jesus.

Psalm 37:30-31  “The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.  The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” 

Proverbs 8:12  “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” 

PS: Upon posting this, I plan to begin a new page entitled Bloggers Museum.  It will contain links to very notable posts so that the link doesn’t become buried in the archives.  The first one will be from “The Age to Come” and because this post is so important, I’m going to link to it here as well.

 www.theagetocome.wordpress.com/2007/10/16/will-we-stand/ 

May we all draw close to the Lord Jesus and trust him in all things.  He truly is able to save us to the utmost. 

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The Heart of God (episode I)

October 17, 2007

Matthew 24:14  “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

For some time now, I’ve been minded to begin this series of posts, however, two accounts in Brother Andrews latest book “Secret Believers” accelerated this idea.  In both accounts (I’ve still only read about 25%) muslims in the middle east read about Jesus.  One man, upon receiving a copy of the gospels, became fascinated as he read of his miracles, his loving nature, and how he placed the well-being of others above that of himself.  One day “something happened.” An understanding as it were and in the mosque, right after prayer and before the message was given, he asked the imam “why don’t we ever talk about the greatest prophet ever Isa? (Jesus)  When I look at him, I see God!”  WOW!  Quite a revelation and quite a venue to profess faith in Jesus; a profession that now has his family seeking to end his life.  (Islam is not a peaceful religion as the politically correct folks proclaim; it is one of Satans most masterful deceptions)

The other account involves a muslim who reads the sermon on the mount and, once again, becomes fascinated with Jesus.  His nature is so different than the teachings of Mohammad and he was drawn to faith in Christ.  The gospel of Jesus Christ; the simple unadulterated truth of a Savior come from glory to save a wretch like me.  This truth brought these two men to Jesus.  No theology, no ten-step program, no bells and whistles.  Because of the second testimony mentioned here, I’m desiring to go through Matthew chapters 5-7.  It will take several posts and they won’t be done back to back as to leave room for other ponderings.  Yet this portion of scripture is incredibly powerful and always a joy to read. 

A person with absolutely no awareness of the gospel could pick up a new testament, begin reading, and learn a lot from the very first chapters of Matthew.   In chapter one, they would see an outline of his lineage and in verses 17-18 discover that God has a specific timetable.  Everything goes according to supernatural design; not haphazardly.  (No big bang) Then that person would discover that the birth of Jesus was, in itself, a supernatural event.  He was born of a virgin; something that, in the natural, just doesn’t happen.  In verse 22, they would find out that this event was fortold and thereby validating the scriptures. 

In chapter two, they would learn of the events surrounding his birth and the efforts of the wicked one to end his life right from the beginning.  One common misconception, portrayed by movies and tradition, is that the wise men, the shepherds, and the star, all converged at the same time over the manger.  The shepherds were told by angels and went to the manger.  There was no star over the manger.  The star guided the wise men from the east who arrived sometime later at a house.  (Nonetheless, I liked the movie “Nativity”) 

In chapter three, we meet John the baptist, the messenger who is also told of in scripture, and we see Jesus coming to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness.  In chapter four, we learn that Jesus is tempted in all points and yet without sin.  At his weakest moment, after fasting for forty days, the devil tempts him by appealing to his hunger.  Jesus defeats him with the scriptures at each temptation.  Later on , we see where he calls his disciples who “straightway leave their means of physical sustainance” and follow him.  Finally in verse 23, he’s preaching and healing all manner of illnesses.  So one can learn a great deal about who Jesus is even before reaching the sermon on the mount. 

Matthew 5:1-5  “And seeing the multitude, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came to him:  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

This was quite a statement and quite a revelation of just how upside down this world is.  We tend to honor physical strength and adore those who have confidence in themselves.  Yet Jesus stated that the poor in spirit and the meek are the ones who are truly blessed.  Throughout the gospels, and throughout scripture, this truth is revealed time after time. 

Psalm 130:5-6  “I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I trust.  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning. 

Matthew 5:6  “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

To “hunger and thirst” after righteousness.  When we hunger for something we pursue it with a fervor.  I remember my navy days when fasting became a practice.  The first several hours were great, however, increasingly, thoughts of food would enter my mind as time went on.  Even stuff that I didn’t like would sound tasty.  (Like the “boiled peanuts” that Brother Al would eat every now and then.)  It would begin to dominate my thoughts.  It’s like a movie in the which a guy and his loyal dog stranded on an island with no food.  After several days, the guy looks to his dog and in his mind, he’s not seeing a dog, but a giant t-bone steak.   Hunger will make us “crave” that which we’re lacking and if we “hunger” after the ways of the Lord we’ll be diligent in this pursuit.  We’ll also be filled!

I John 5:3  “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

Far from grievous, they are the ways of life.  Real life in Christ, coupled with joy and peace like nothing in this world can even come close to. 

Well, I’ll close for the time being.  The word of God is beyond incredible and we should never take it lightly.  In the west we tend to have a bible in every room along with stacks of teaching series, and, of course, the old reliable “Strongs Exhaustive Concordance.”  Because of this plenteous access, we don’t treasure it the way that we should.  The day may well come when “what we have hidden in our heart is all that we have.”  

Well, I’ll be going for now.  Again, these posts wont be back-to-back, although a few may come out that way, as to leave room for other things, like the post that I was going to do this morning which now sits in the drafts needing some links revised.  Here’s a link that one might find interesting.  www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin407.htm  It’s a message concerning apostasy and I found it informative.  Until the next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

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Pray All Day

October 15, 2007

I Timothy 2:8  “I will that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

James 5:16  “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

I carry, at all times in my left back pocket, a little black book.  Not the kind of book that a single guy has when he’s “playing the field” so to speak.  This is a pocket sized composition notebook, made in China and distributed by Wal Mart.  The first several pages contain assorted bible verses, miscellaneous notes, ideas for blogs, and what have you.  Following the latest recording, it has several blank pages until the middle where it naturally opens.  This is where the prayer list begins. 

Because it’s getting worn out, this weekend, I began transferring everything into a new composition notebook, made in China and distributed by Wal Mart.  It began to really hit me as to just how much need there is.  This ever-lengthening list contains names of people from every venue that one can imagine.  Saved people, not-yet-saved people, family members, friends, navy brethren, bloggers, (lots of bloggers) people that I see every day, people whom I’ve never met but I know that they exist, pastors, evangelists, missionaries, American Axle employees, saints from the local fellowship, and a guy whose in the Michigan Militia. 

Each name representing a soul who is in touch with hundreds of other souls.  Each one created in the image of God.  Each one, targeted by the devil and his minions who seek to kill and destroy.  All of them, both saved and not-yet-saved, in need of fervent prayer.  The needs are as varied as the personalities, and yet for every need Jesus Christ is the answer.  When I ponder the fact that my ever-lengthening prayer list doesn’t even make up a single drop in the ocean of need, it becomes obvious that we should spend every possible moment in prayer.  Every available moment fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus who is “always” as close as the mention of his name.

Philippians 4:6  “Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer, and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Yesterday morning, Pastor Troyer gave a much-needed message on prayer.  He explained how it’s needed for the saints to be empowered, unified, and accountable to each other.  How it brings us closer to the Lord, closer to each other, and accomplishes the furtherance of the kingdom.  I have to admit that I don’t always utilize time with the utmost efficiency regarding this.  The mind likes to take “vacations” at the most inopportune moments it seems.  Yet we must take it seriously and cast down imaginations which exalt themselves.  This is compounded by the continual bombardment of the world which has every hurtful lust coupled with cutting-edge technology to work with.   

The vast array of needs represented in my little black book (that sounds so weird) show just how important it is to not squander time frivilously.  This will sound like the words of one who needs therapy, however, I praise God for a “monotonous second shift job.”  The repetitive nature of work at AAM makes for some awesome prayer time.  Likewise, I’m home during the day while the kids are at school and my wife at the daycare which makes for even more awesome prayer time.  While I would prefer to be on first shift due to the lack of family time that I have now, the current situation has definate advantages. 

Luke 6:12  “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”

Jesus Christ, by whom the worlds were created, spent all night prayer with the Father.  This shows just how important it is.  I think that too often, we don’t really grasp the importance of prayer because we may not see the results right away.  We may spend great amounts of time praying for someone and when we don’t see any movement, we tend to let the need slowly slip from memory.  Or a situation that we’re praying about may seem to deteriorate even further.   It’s another reason to be spiritually minded and understand that spiritual warfare is at play and strongholds are coming down.  These things take place largely outside of our observation. 

As recently as this past summer, there was someone that, every time I lifted them up in prayer, things got worse.  (Every Time!)  Because of much fervent prayer to the Lord Jesus by a number of people, (including many in the blogger realm) that stronghold is now brought down.  The enemy still tries to make havoc of the situation, however a remarkable victory has transpired; a victory that keeps fascinating me and causing me to rejoice.  “Jesus is the answer and we never know when victory is just around the corner. 

Luke 18:1-8  (The parable of the unjust judge)

To pray without ceasing.  to grasp the spiritual and not be swayed by what we see or hear.  To be persistant; just as the widow lady in the parable mentioned above.  To have such a love for Jesus that we follow hard after quality time with him.  Not only to bring petitions, but to just be in his presence.  We need to be in close to the Lord.  Likewise those who are camping in the valley of decision need us to be close to the Lord.  That we may present the gospel of Jesus Christ as we ought. 

Well, It’s been a long time since I did a blog all-nighter.  It’s after 4:00am and I must wrap this up.  There’s so much that could be said concerning this that it would take several posts to address it.   So I’ll close for now.  I’ll try to get around to commenting more this week; both here and elsewhere.  Until the next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

Jude  20-21  “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” 

This post ties in with one done last month which can be found at the following link: 

www.timbob.wordpress.com/2007/09/19/closer-than-a-brother-2/  

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Tuesday, Oct 16,2007  Greetings again.  I saw the following post earlier and it cracked me up.   www.wordforit.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/funnybut-true/  This site is now on the blogroll.