Monday, June 23, 2014

(Part Two) Come Away

Luke 14:33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."

What does it cost to be a follower of Jesus Christ?  Quite a bit actually.  The apostles and early church without thought or consideration to this question simply gave up everything and followed.
The church today however, has to be reasoned with.  

We will all be judged by the Word of God literally.  
Jesus, the Word, will judge us at the Bema seat.
The Word of God will be the standard in which we are judged.

As I sat and listened to the music and felt the very presence of Almighty God peace began to battle the turmoil inside of me.  Spirit versus flesh.  I could no longer sit on the fence and love two masters.  
Lot was easy to remember as I thought on this.  
The angels urged Lot to "come away from the city, as God is preparing to destroy it."
Lot lingered; he trifled.  Great care was being taken to save he and his family, yet heeding the warning was not top priority.  God's great mercy was now being shown to me.  Would I linger in my decision and risk being caught in the coming destruction?  
The penetration was deep as the words of His Spirit begn to prick my heart.  Prayer became my song to Him.  The Spirit continued to flow within the room.  Was it like this in the Upper Room?  Yes, I do believe it was.  Utterances became mumbled as I tuned to the voice of the LORD.  "Yeah or nay?"

Lot and his family continued on to the city of refuge.  He entered the city just as the sun was rising on the earth. Judgment was nigh upon the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.
His wife looked back, against the warning of the angels, and was turned into a pillar of salt.
I have chosen to enter into my place of refuge...Jesus Christ.  No longer will this world hold sway over me.  Looking back cannot change the past, but it greatly alters my future.  

(Part Four) Potter's Wheel

"But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and we all are the work of Your hand."  Isaiah 64:8


Surrender comes easily for some in the faith.  Me?  I struggled greatly.  
Not with everything though i may add.  My life had been consumed by television and games and books.  All of my time went into those pursuits with television leading the way with 75% while NOT playing games.  Add on the games and it goes up to 85% and books filling in the rest.
The problem was I spent little-to-no time reading the bible.  Any churching I got was from Sunday mornings of course and bible studies.  That's it.  No personal time in reading or praying or studying what I heard on sunday's and wednesday nites.  My time was my time.  

As I saw how my life was not really in line with what I was confessing to be I knew a change was in order.  I packed up my video game system, games and all and traded them in at the store i worked at and gave the card, with $345 trade-in credit on it, to the kid in line behind me.  Both the mother of the young kid and the store employee looked at me with mouths agape.  Many people find this hard to believe that I would get rid of a PS2 and 20+ games just for God.  Yet, i did.  

I am made in His image and I was not portraying a very good one.  I needed to be remade.  
So back to the Potter's wheel I went.  As distractions come into our lives and we begin to feel the pains of life, it is in those times that God is reshaping us.  Looking back now I realize I never could have made it through being homeless two without God.  I never could have gotten over the loss of my parents without God, neither could I have made it through losing a wife and two kids without God.  During those times I actually blamed God for the shamefull happenings in my life.  I admit I was wrong for doing so.
Having not known the truth of the bible I could not see that I was the cause for my own sufferings. 
Bad decision making.  Selfishness.  A hardened heart.  
In order for me to become the man God designed me to be I had to go back to Him and let Him fix me.  I needed to get into bible and know Him as well as He knew me.  Corrections hurt and the LORD does not gloss over our sins, He goes deep down to the source and cuts away the root problem.  Having never looked at it from God's point of view, He was just removing the thorns and thistles and reseeling the cracks that covered my body.  I once saw a video of a gentleman making a vase in his pottery shop.  I was amazed at how he started with just a dry lump of clay and began to shape and mode it into something magnificent.  The process was not 1,2,3.  There were many steps involved and after time when it looked like the vase was finished, he inspected it closely and touched it and ran his hand over it and found some imperfections that I could not see.  What did he do?  He remade it.
God has done that with us, His creations.  In the beginning before sin mankind was made perfectly in the image of God.  However, when sin became part of our DNA the created vessel became marred.  God decided not to destroy us, as most vessels are during the process in pottery.  Yet, He chose to remake us by providing Jesus (the Word) to redeem us from destruction.  Next, we were given the Word (the bible) to purfiy us in all areas of our lives.  Some years ago I heard this saying and it has stayed with me eversince.  The Word of God will teach you, touch you and transform you.   

All of this is done from the Potters Wheel.  God never lets us go.  We are engraved in the palm of His hand therefore we are never out of reach of His tender touch.  
All day everyday we are being fashioned into His likeness.  

God bless you.

(Part Three) Times of Refreshing

Acts 3:19 "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of The Lord."  


This is exactly what I needed as we entered the second day of our Celebrate Jesus conference, to be refreshed.  The Holy Spirit was working on me and i desperately wanted to respond to where He was leading me.  

Sin has a way of causing a person to become spiritually dried up and cracked, much like our skin if we do not keep it clean and moisturized.  
Peter in the second and third chapter of the book of Acts gave two sermons and the people either responded in the positive (receiving) or the negative (rejecting).  Our guest speaker spoke with an authority and a finality that left nothing resembling a gray area. 

God leaves no gray area when it comes to sin...get rid of it.  These acts of rebellion will hinder us in our relationship with the LORD.  I was in a place now where I was sooooo tired of being tired.  For long stretches of time i would seek God and inquire "what is going on with me?"  
Many more questions followed, but still no answers to those questions.  
Our speaker continued on and on.  I felt my spiritman rising up within me and proclaiming "This is it. Now is the time to inquire of The Lord and He will answer you."  Precious few other times in my christianity have I wanted to stand in the presence of God and hear His voice like I did that morning.  I will let you in on a little secret.  Never.  Never.  Never have I felt so drawn to God as I felt that morning.  Never.  My being drawn by the Spirit to making Jesus Lord and Saviour of my life was nothing like this.  

Hold on.  Although my need was great to accept the free gift of salvation, my need was greater to not fall back into that lifestyle of sin.  Hebrews 6:4-7  will bare that out.  I had finally been broken and was ready to give my life to Him without reservation.  I confessed my sins before God and man.  There was no pretense, no forethought, no holding back.  My spiritual heaviness and physical weariness was lifted.  Praise the Most High God.  I was clean again.  Not perfect, but clean.  My spirit has been refreshed by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.  

Read how Naaman (2nd Kings 5) responded when he came up from the Jordan river after dipping himself seven times and being cleansed and freed from leprosy a deadly disease.  Naaman immediately acknowledged there was only One True God in Israel and began to praise Him.  
Naaman was restored and made clean.  And now, so had I.  
Never before had the presence of The Lord felt and tasted sweeter.  

(Only one more to go).  See you at the Potter's Wheel.

(Part One) Let It Go

Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."


Letting it go is the hardest part.  (For me at least). 

My deliverance began on Friday night with these three words "let it go".  

1.  There was no denying the Voice speaking the words: God
2.  There was no denying the ears meant to here the words: mine
3.  There was denying the intent behind their meaning: do it now

Confession offers the confessor a chance to move forward in their life.  It wipes the slate clean and we start anew.  I no longer need to carry the weight of my past transgressions. 
However, as I have come to learn confessing is not the same as repenting.  
Confession says I am sorry, but i will likely do this again.
Repenting means I am truly sorry and turn away from doing that which keeps me bound.  

I was constantly going back and forth with God about my life (past and present) and my sins.  And as a result I was stuck going nowhere in my spiritual life.   On the outside all appeared on the up and up, but as we all know...God looks at the heart.

My heart was dirty and filthy.  Here are some of the blood born pathogens that was clogging my heart.
Are you ready for this?  I was not.

Stealing, lying, lust, fornication, envy, hatred, idolatry, vanity, unfaithfulness, unbelief, denial, rebellion, anger and doubt.
This is the short list.  I could name more AND you can come up with some of your own for me and you would be correct.  End result, I needed help.  I needed deliverance.  The stain of sins was overtaking me physically and spiritually.  

" and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death."  James 1:15b

As the Spirit spoke, He was prompting me, convicting me, warning me to get right with God or face the sting of death apart from God.

Every word was true.  Now was the time for me to commit my life to God and walk as He would have me to.  I did not have to search too deep in my heart to know where my sin was.  As the night wore on, tears fell and I could no longer hold them back.  
Yes or no?  How would I respond to His words.




Lead-in

This past weekend was A M A Z I N G!!!!

I had an (once again) A M A Z I N G time with my brothers and sisters in the LORD.
God is very good.  
It is my hearts desire that you would come to know Him as I have.  

This post is a lead-in to some of the things I received as I was in the presence of my God.
Enjoy and inquire.

Lead, Kindly Light

Lead, kindly light my eyes to You
the dark of this world only You can lead through
Lead, kindly light to the soul that is lost
able to redeem, like You, at all cost

Lead, kindly light by Your precious blood
that flows from the Cross, God's great love
Lead, kindly light me to my knees
to find forgiveness and escape the flood
O Kindly Light Your blood does cleanse
purge me clean from deep within

Lead, kindly light my life forever
It is in You that I delight
The bread to sustain is manna from heaven.
The water for my thirst is Your Holy Spirit.

Lead, kindly light for Your will is mine
Humbly I bow in Your holy presence
never again to search for earthly treasure.
You are my reward, an everlasting joy.
You are all I want to live for.

Lead, kindly light
Great and gracious King

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Twenty cents off the dollar

(This is from last night.)

Something good happened to me tonight that...kind of put a bow on my day.  Lately I have been having a difficult time finding good in anyone.  Maybe it is the onset of paranoia, or simply acquired wisdom for the times we are living in?  

I went to the Dollar tree tonight to get something to drink and who can beat the price of a three liter soda that costs only a dollar?  Well, Walmart might price match :)

So, I gets my soda and I'm about 4 in line to check when I spy a frozen pie placed on top of a shelf near the register.  Now comes the dilemma.  Adventures in Odyssey will be on in a few minutes and the store is rather busy.  Do I return the pie to its rightful place, in the freezer, at the back of the store and lose my place in line?  Oooooor.  Do I let it melt away in the heat of the day?  I weighed the pro's and con's.  Adventures in Odyssey versus doing the right thing?  I looked around, sighed for effect and took the pie home to the freezer.  

Home sweet home the pie is reunited with its loved ones and I turn around to see the checkout.  Two people.  Just as the space around James Stewart's character in Vertigo, shifted and elongated as he clung for dear life on the rooftop, so did my eyes as I realized my chances for a quick escape hing on me getting to the checkout lane before the rest of the store.  Speed is of the essence and I make it as the lady in front of me was flitting her change away.  TOO SWEET!!!!

Now I am in the home stretch.  Soda on the counter, I have the exact amount and I don't need a bag.  Proper planning folks, proper planning.  Carol the cashier grabs the soda, scans it (I nimbly put my right hand forward with the payment feeling quite sure of myself) while making small talk.
"I assume your day is almost at an end?"  I ask.
"Actually no. I am here until 9 o'clock." Carol replies.
"Oh." Was my response.  
Before she finished my order she excuses herself and goes off down one of the isles.  Tick tock, tick tock.  Carol returns with a coupon for twenty cents off my purchase.  WOW! 
I thanked her, several times actually and wished I could have done something for her. And she humbly states "I do this for others as well.  Going to get things."  
Once more I thank her and say " if you are ever in Boscovs I will return the favor."
"I don't have the time, I work two jobs." Carol adds.
Here at this moment the Spirit leads me and I say " I will pray for you to have more time."
As she is placing my item in the bag she stops and says " thank you I would like you to pray for me."
And I did, as I was leaving the checkout and as I opened the door on the way out and as I was making my way home to Adventures in Odyssey, I prayed for Carol.

In my selfishness I just wanted to get in and out.  However, God had other plans and in the process a life was touched and a maybe it will spark something within her to seek God?  I know it will.  Hmm!  Re-reading my opening statement I should seek God a little more myself.  

Stay tuned for a follow-up post. 
Goodnight

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Distant Thunder

1900  An ash grey cloud rolls across the sky.

1915  Some people within the store comment about the color of the sky.

1930  A soft light flashes across the sky.  Rain appears imminent.

2000  More congregants marvel at the color of the sky.  To the west it is bright.
          To the east, totally dark.  Separated by a mere couple of feet.  



On the 40 minute bus ride home the flashes of light become more pronounced in its brightness.  
No longer do I think it is rain.  
It will rain at some point tonight, but that is not where my hope lies.
                                                       -------------------------------------------

As we draw closer to the end of the ride, the flashes increase in frequency and intensity.  Sort of like the birth pains of a woman in labor.  
I recall the looks on the faces of the people who wondered at the sky.  Some were fearful, not able to make sense of this odd sight.
A co-worker is amazed at the color contrast and forgot to take pictures with his phone.  (He not happy about that.)
Me?  Well, I just want to get done and go home.....my outward front.  On the inside I trembled a little.

                                                        -------------------------------------------

Drops of rain slowly make their way to the earth.  I bid adieu to the driver and start my three minute strut to the homestead.  

More flashes of light, a grumbling in my stomach, and an expectancy within the very fibers of my soul.  
I look up, smile and whisper my thanks to God.  

On the horizon out in the distance a storm is brewing.  A storm that will alter the course of human existence and all that we have come to know.  Can we survive?  Only those who endure will survive.  
Someday and someday soon the sky will light up with a flash and all who are His will hear the trumpet, oh yes, the very trumpet of Jesus and we will leave this place. 

After such a time a distant thunder will roll upon this land and never before imagined evil will cover it in darkness.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Amazed

  
I found this on Facebook from someone that I follow, I believe.  Or was it twitter?  Or tumblr? Or Google+?  
It was a social media site.  This picture speaks more than a thousand words.



                       


It was Google+.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Unprecedented

For the second time in less than a week I finished a double quarter pounder with cheese.

This is truly a historic moment in my life.  Dare I go for, (drum roll please)..............a three peat?
Could it be done?
Will my stomach explode?
When will I come to my senses? 

Stay tuned.  
Same Mac time.
Same Mac channel.

(close with suspenseful type music)






                                     
                                               (Of course I did not eat the French fries.)



Famous Quotes

"You cannot see faith, but you can see the footprints of the faithful.  We must leave behind 'faithful footprints' for others to follow."

Dr. Dennis Anderson 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Acrostic

F -- failure to 
E -- enter into the 
A -- Almighty's
R -- rest

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

49

Good morning.  I am standing on the promises of God


" But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me.  Selah"


A Psalm of the sons of Korah