Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Valley Series (B)--Shepherd Boy

The Upper Room in the Dining Room

I had a wonderful experience an hour ago.  While waiting for a friend of mine to get out of therapy in a local nursing facility I had the proviledge of witnessing a sort of revival.

My intentions were to visit a fellow church member, but she was in physical therapy, so i went to the other side of the building and visited the father of a co-worker.  Having met him in the hall on his way to the dining area, we walked and talked about christmas and family and things to come.  
Once we got there the radio was playing music from the 40's, 50's and 60's era.  Every once-in-a-while a christmas song chimed in putting us in a good, but subdued mood.


After about 15 minutes of being there, the song Silent Night started to play.  Without making a sound i just formed the words with my lips and sang along.  Then, a lady across at the next table started lip synching the song, and then another, then another.  As I panned around the room everyone and I mean everyone was mouthing the words to Silent Night.  It was a moment to behold.  In that room of about 20-30 residents the name of Christ was on each set of lips and in their hearts.  My eyes teared and a smile was on my face.  
Acts chapter 2 tells of the Day of Pentecost when those gathered, in one accord praying and seeking God's direction, in the upper room were filled with the Holy Spirit.  This may not be the upper room but I would not doubt that the Spirit of God filled each person and caused them to sing in one accord the words of Silent Night.  God be praised.
The song ended and no one moved.  It was a moment of silent introspection and continuance of a very powerful time.  I prayed thanking God for this priviledge.  
Several seconds later movement came from my left, a chair scraping the floor.  The workers were getting the residents ready for lunch.  The moment has passed but will not be forgotten.
Definitely a sign of things to come. 
Will it be the body of Christ? 

God bless.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Famous Quotes

The essential fact of Christianity is that God thought all of humanity worth
the sacrifice of His Son.

William Barclay

Valley Series (C)--Far From Me

Several instances come to mind when I know that i have been outside of the will of God.
However, being out of the will of God and having the absence of God in my life are two different things.  
This can only be known by the person in which whom God is absent and the Father Himself.  
Others around us may sense it by outward actions but cannot say conclusively.
God does know the heart.

I can recall it as if it was yesterday.  I was on the couch in my living room and heavy hearted but thankful for all that had transpired the weeks before.  Having been backslidden from my faith and upbringing I tried to say the Lord's prayer.  Simple enough.  NO!!!  I tried and tried to say that prayer I had memorized as a child growing up, yet, i could not.  Finally after about 15 tries I hear a voice say to me "Now do you see how far away you are from Me?"  
I wept.

King Saul, in his quest to satisfy his own paranoia and pride, has set it in his heart to kill David.  
Now confronted by David and his men in the Wilderness of Engedi, Saul realizes how his actions reflect the absence of God in his life. 1st Samuel 18:12  Now Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, but had departed from Saul.
The dye had been cast and Saul admits his actions are not of God's design.  Chapter 24:20 "And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand."
Pride and jealousy will always steer a heart from the One True God if is is allowed to fester and grow.  Saul among his many misdeads had ample opportunity to repent and be a instrument of great works for God.  But, time and time again Saul chose to follow his own path.  
Every believer in Christ has been down the road of their own choosing at some point in their walk.  The ever-present God offers us forgiveness and redemption at every turn.  His love in never ending.  His patience also, but He will let us suffer the consequences of our decisions.  King Saul has reached the zenith of his rebellion to God and now knows another king shall sit on the throne he was chosen to sit on.  God has rejected Saul as king of Israel just as Saul rejected God as King of his life.

In closing let me quote Isaiah 59:1,2 "The LORD'S hand is not to short that it cannot save nor His ear to heavy that He cannot hear you.  But your (our) sins have seperated us from God and He will not listen to our voice, nor listen to our prayers and He turns His face away from us."

Why risk such a move?  God knows and God loves us.  Should we not offer the same to Him?

God bless.

O For a Closer Walk with God

O for a closer walk with God 
a calm and heavenly frame
a light to shine upon the road
that leads me to the Lamb

Return O holy Dove, 
Sweet messenger of rest
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
and drove You from my breast

The dearest idol I have known
whatever that idol be
help me to tear it from Thy throne
and worship only Thee

So shall my walk be close with God
calm and serene my frame
So purer light shall mark the road
that leads me to the Lamb.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Valley Series (A)--The First of My Kings

Christmas has become, over the years,  a difficult time of year for me.  
So as the year 2015 draws near its end, the feelings are stronger this year.
This past week my church had Christmas eve and Christmas day services.  On christmas day 
a few minutes before the service I sat in one of the pews and listened to two of our youth play songs of the season on their guitars for the people as they came into the sanctuary.  
They played Emmanuel and O' Come all Ye Faithful.  As i sat there and let the music filter through my body I began to think of Saul, the first king of Israel.  The account in the book of 1st Samuel 16 says "a spirit of distress troubled him and caused great unrest within him."
In order to combat this spirit, King Saul asked his court to "find someone who can play well and bring comfort to my soul."
That someone, we all know, was the shepherd boy David.  David's playing and worshipping of the Lord as he played brought a peaceful spirit from God once again to King Saul. And it says Saul became refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit departed from him.
How did Saul respond to David's playing?  I can imagine the king once again worshipping The King
as he did many times before in his life.  Saul cried out to his LORD for restoration and peace and God honored his request.  Saul, at this time stopped looking outward at the people and lands and enemies of God.  His perspective was "God has placed me here for a reason and I must look to Him for His plan and purpose beyond myself."  
Today in the midst of my brothers and sisters in the Lord I too am refreshed and made well as the Spirit of the LORD brings comfort and joy to me.  Instead of looking at the mad rush of people in the stores to buy presents and things that have no meaning, i am led to look inward at the reason for the season...Jesus Christ.  His gift is the only one that matters.  My joy had been lost, my peace had been lost because my attention had been diverted from the Cross.  Saul's attention had been diverted and God was soon replaced by the pride of Saul.  All that I have lost is nothing compared to what I am currently losing by letting the spirit of distress rule over me.  My hope is in the Cross and anything else is hopeless.  
As they come to the end of O Come All Ye Faithful, I go to the Lord in the quietness of my heart and seek to once again let Him be on the throne of my heart.

God bless.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Touch--Intermission A

Grief covers me like a dense fog as I read the word of God and think of all who may perish through unbelief and the rejection of the free gift of salvation offered to all.

When sharing the message of salvation I try to tell them about God's love for them and His desire to have an eternal fellowship with them in heaven.  Yet, because of sin we are separated from God.  That is why we need Jesus, to bridge that gap between the Creator and the created.  

Jude verses 22-23 tells me " some will be saved by compassion ( love and mercy) and some will literally need to be pulled from the very flames of hell, because of fear."

My first thoughts of hell came after the death of my mother and just wondering where could she be.  Not bodily but spiritually.  God spoke and I knew.  
Many choose hell simply because of ignorance.  They have no idea what awaits them once they take that final breath apart from the saving grace of the cross of calvary.  In the mind of many hell will be a place where they can party with their friends.  Hell is a place of suffering and torment for all of eternity.  
The last written installment of the "Touch" series will look at the subject of hell.  

God bless.

Friday, December 4, 2015

God knows

Good morning everyone.

This morning i awakened with Psalm 37 on my mind.  With all that has transpired the last couple of weeks around the globe, mankind seems to have taken several steps backward.  Sin seems to be reaching lower depths as the days go by.  Recalling the words of my pastor to "look up instead of out", praise comes from my lips.  God is in control.  
As I glance at the verses I read words like trust (3), delight (4), commit (5), rest (7) and as David did, I too find comfort in the LORD my God.  
Being a child of God naturally I want everyone to know God as I do and find forgiveness and restoration through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  But, not all will accept the free gift of salvation.
So I endure as best I can.  Verse 18 The LORD knows the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever.
All who have passed through and are still on this earth now will inherite forever.  The choice being either heaven or hell?  God knows whom will decide for or against Him.  Free will has been imparted to all of us.  It is ours to decide.

This psalm closes with these words in verse 40, "and the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him."
Where do you place your trust?  Is it in yourself?  Family?  Friends?  Or other people?
Who can deliver you from this present evil world?  Who can reserve a place for you in the world to come?  God can.

God bless

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Today has been a wonderful day.  As I was awakened by my alarm at 5 o'clock, I was warmed not by my covers nor the heat, but by the presence of God Himself.
Before going to bed last night i purposed in my heart to get up and not listen to the news on the radio as I normally do, but instead spend that hour in prayer.

Isaiah 26:9a With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;

And I did.  It was time well spent, namely for two reasons.

First, obviously being in the presence of the Almighty God.  My desire is to continually dwell in His presence not just through existence but by seeking His face daily.  Purposely wanting to have a time of intimacy with Him.
Second, the peace that fills me as I bask in His glory.  My problem when praying is that I am praying.  
God rarely gets a word in edgewise.  Sometimes I ramble on and on and on.  

This time was different.  Moments of silence filled most of our time together.  As previously stated I was warmed and filled with peace.  I could not say anything but "thank you" to such an awesome priviledge.  My thoughts did not stray, nor did any enter in.
Hebrews 4:16 states (paraphrased) because of the blood of Jesus, through prayer we can come boldly to the throne of grace, for help in a time of need."
However, the need I had this time as I came before Him, was, simply Him.

God bless