Where are we going today, Lord

Crowded people on a bus

Life is a challenge.  I think everyone would agree.  The times we live in are ever-changing.  There are things happening in the world that sometimes shock and amaze me.  I read the news via electronic means (no more newspapers) and find something new or outrageous every time I log in.  I don’t necessarily think that is weird.  It’s just the time of the season. The one thing that fascinates me the most is how we get from point A to point B.

Movement and travel from place to place has gotten pretty easy nowadays.  And it seems everyone is in a hurry.  Got to go, now!  I don’t have time to talk to you.  I got to go!  I’ll meet with you later and we can talk.  Ask my assistant to make an appointment for you.  I’m sorry, but that time won’t work.  Can you make it tomorrow?  I’ll have more time.  I have a meeting to attend and I can’t reschedule.  Life goes on and on and on and on.  Where is there time to stop and take a breath?  Should there be times of rest?  Maybe there isn’t time to rest.  Is that normal?  Is that the standard?  I hope not.

I find choosing not to sleep at night.  Why?  It’s not because I have insomnia or a sleep disorder.  I do wear a C-PAP mask.  It’s very attractive.  Just ask my wife.  Seriously, my time to take a breath at the end of the day is when everyone else is sleeping.  Now you might say that this sounds ridiculous.  If it’s the only time I have to desensitize myself from the world, why not just put on the mask, settle down, close my eyes, and go to  sleep.  It’s because this is my time to spend talking to  God.  Don’t read into this.  I talk to God all day.  He is on my mind all day.  I talk to Him while I’m walking, driving, sitting at a table.  I talk to Him while watching television.  We just talk.  I even at one point had an old chair on my front porch and that’s where I would go to chat with God.  The chair finally broke and had to be sent to  the trash, but I think you get my point.

So why do I say that at the end of the day I spend time with God and not sleep.  Because as a prayer intercessor, I feel His presence over me.  In the darkness of the room, I see His light.  I feel His touch.  I hear His voice.  That’s my life as an intercessor.  It may not be something that you would do, but this is my life.  I do this every night.  Without fail, I lay in bed and begin to get with God.  It’s funny.  Just ask some of my friends who get a text message from me after midnight asking them if they are ok.  That’s because I felt the Lord tell me to pray for them.  It’s  amazing how God works and my friends tell me that they were really struggling with something and wanted someone to just listen to them.  That time is the most precious to me.

Recently, I have been feeling God leading me into a deeper understanding of intercession and the deep levels of praying and travailing before God.  I even sense a feeling that God is leading me into a greater understanding of His Throne Room where I can boldly come to Him in my times of need. (Hebrews 14:6)

So you may ask, “What is intercession?”  Well, briefly it’s a relational time spent in prayer with God seeking His response to prayer for another person.  Yes, it’s relational.  Prayer is worship and is completely relational.  Jesus demonstrated this clearly in John Chapter 17.  This is where Jesus prays at Gethsemane.  Jesus prays for Himself, but also prays for His disciples and for all believers.  He intercedes.  He fully knew what was ahead of Him.  He knew of the torment and torture He would face.  He knew that the Cross awaited Him.  He knew, yet He set aside His needs to intercede for others.  That my friend, is intercession at its deepest level.

So that’s what I’m hearing from the Lord.  God gave me a dream the other night of me on a bus.  The bus would stop and go and stop and go.  Over and over again.  The bus was filled with people of the world from all different backgrounds.  They were waiting to get off the bus at their stop.  Finally, God told me to get off the bus.  Look for the sign with your name on it.  When you find the sign, you’ll find me.  So I got off the bus and the Lord said to me, “Follow me.”

Friends, my life calling is to pray.  Do I get tired of carrying loads and circumstances of others so that I can effectually pray?  Sure I do.  But God says this.  “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  (James  5:16)  I’ve decided to take the narrow road into deeper levels of prayer with God.  I don’t know what I will encounter.  I don’t know what the enemy will do to try to  stop me.  I only know I must go.  I must go into the deep, deep, realm of prayer.  Isaiah said this,  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)  I am crying out to God the same answer.  Send me.  

If you have a calling for the ministry of prayer, I beseech you friend to go deeper.  Go to where it’s only you and God.  Hear His voice and move in obedience.  I love and appreciate all of  you who have taken the time to read this.  God bless you!

Don’t believe me. Believe God.

But God…

Prayer touches God’s heart.  I’ve heard this from many and believe it with all my heart.  But sometimes we’re human.  Sometimes the circumstances of the world distract us and even paralyze us because of the severity of the issue.  There are circumstances that literally cause us to not move, to not think, to keep us speechless.  Sickness, death, addiction, children running away, divorce, so many other things happen.  Some might say, “That’s life.”  It’s true.  But when it happens to  you, unexpectedly, you’re left wondering.  I’ve found myself with my mouth open; even gasping for a breath.  I’ve fallen back into a chair as if I passed  out.  I’ve wept uncontrollably because of what I just heard or experienced.

I have survived all of what I have faced but I have been wounded.  Wounded deeply is some cases.  Why do I share all  of this?  Because we have a choice.  We can make the best of the situation in our own strength.  I’ll tell you, that won’t work.  We are imperfect individuals.  We don’t have the stamina or even wisdom to fix things ourselves.  We might think that we do, but without external strength, we won’t stand.  We will fail and that will lead to a death spiral.  Some of you know what I am talking about.  Some may think that I don’t have a clue.  If you believe you can take care of yourself without any help, I applaud you.  I’ve seen just the opposite.  I am proof of that.  My change came at  the point of  a gun where I had to choose death or eternal help.

I am not embarrassed at all to tell you that my strength comes in the form of Jesus Christ and His grace.  The day that I was to take my life, I was prayed for.  I was eternally changed.  The gun didn’t have any power.  My Savior, Jesus Christ, had the power over my desire to leave this world.  That was almost 20 years ago.  I experienced a “But God…” moment.

But God

God stepped into my circumstance that day and had other plans.  “But God” wasn’t ready to take me away from this world.  No matter what I thought or wanted to do, God said no.  These past 20 years or so, God stepped in more that just a few times.  The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  God’s Word also says in Isaiah 14:24, “The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.”

In the bible the words, “But God” show up 66 times.  That comes to me as a surprise.  God determined that more needed to happen, something had to change, or that He needed to change the direction of the individual or nation so that His purposes could be fulfilled.  In all of creation currently, of all the people occupying this world, God got a hold of me and in His still small voice said no.  I have another plan.  If I were to  write in God’s Word, I would say, “And he determined in his heart that he would leave this world, but God…”

My story is my story.  It’s no one else’s.  I’m not standing on a soapbox here.  But everyone has their own story.  I made a choice to hear the still small voice of God. There is only one place in Scripture where God is said to speak in a “still small voice,” and it was to Elijah after his dramatic victory over the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 18:20-40; 19:12). The point of God speaking in the still small voice was to show Elijah that the work of God need not always be accompanied by dramatic revelation or manifestations. Divine silence does not necessarily mean divine inactivity. Zechariah 4:6 tells us that God’s work is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” meaning that overt displays of power are not necessary for God to work.

Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.  It’s not by our efforts but rather a move of God’s Holy Spirit.  Frederick Baker II said this in his sermon on “But God”, “In ancient Israel, God told the people to set aside six cities of refuge to whom a person could run for safety in a crisis. This psalm (Psalm 46) pictures God as a “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” During any crisis, God is our refuge. Even when it seems as though the world is coming apart like mountains crumbling (Ps. 46:3), God’s people need not be afraid. Like the protective walls of a city, God is our refuge, surrounding and protecting us. David faced many crisis, and he knew to run to God for safety. To “be still” and know that He is God (Ps 46:10) means to rest in Him, even as the crisis swirls around us. Knowing who God is helps us to remember that He is ultimately in control.”

Friend, crisis and unfortunate circumstances are a part of this world.  But we need  not allow it to  control us.  Well, you might say that it’s easy for you to say.  Well, writing a blog is a little impersonal, but I will tell you this.  Faith in Jesus Christ and power of His resurrection helps us to stop and listen to what God is saying.  All of us have “But God” moments in our lives.  Yes, all of us.  God cares for you because His desire is to spend eternity with you.  He controls things because He desires to complete His purpose in you. Maybe you’ll never recognize your moments, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen.

Take a look at what Matthew 19:26 says.  “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  With God all things, yes all things are possible.  You can count on Him.  God is your refuge. God is our strength and God is our very present help in times of trouble.  I want to hear God’s voice.  I want more “But God” moments where He encourages me that His purpose is better than mine.  I continue to have times of pride where I think I know more than God.  I confess over and over and repent.  But I’m human and get trapped in a snare of the world to move ahead of God.  “But God” is with me. He stops and opens the snare, takes me by the hand and sets me again on the steps He has ordered.

Matthew 19 26

I said previously that God has stepped into my situation many times.  To that I say thank You Lord.  God’s work in my life has forever changed  me.  God can move in your life too.  And it’s free to  those who simply believe.  Yup, that true.  I had to confess that I wasn’t able to live any longer on my own and that I needed a Savior to take over.  I confessed that Jesus was my Lord and believed that He rose from the grave to overcome sin and  death once and for all.  Yes, for  all.  I’m no one special.  I’m now a child of God who will spend eternity with Him in heaven.  But more importantly, I’ve submitted my life into His hands.  I’m living for Him, giving  Him all of the glory.

Jesus is Lord

Why is this blog in a post called, “Teach Us To Pray?”  Well, that’s where it begins.  It begins with prayer.  Prayer changes things.  Prayer touches God’s heart.  If you want to submit your life to Jesus because you just can’t go on living your life with you in charge, it’s time to pray.  If you feel that this just isn’t for you.  That with time, all things work out.  Well, time continues, yes.  But time is NOT on your side.  You don’t know what today has for you or if you will even continue another day.  The time for your life and salvation is now.  Don’t do this because of me.  Make the choice for you.  Open your heart to what God is saying to you right now.  The choice is yours.

Dear Lord, I find myself in many situations that seem to rip away at my ability to continue on.  I try to make the right choices but sometimes find myself on the outside of good decision-making.  Sometimes it has led me to very difficult circumstances.  It is then that I feel like a failure.  Lord, I don’t want this for my life any longer.  Lord, I am a sinner and confess that I need you as my Lord and Savior.  Come into my life now Lord.  I repent of my sins which you paid for at the Cross of Calvary.  I believe that you rose from the dead so that I may live.  I submit my life to you.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

If you prayed this prayer, contact a local church to let you know what’s next.  I’m sure that the Pastor will rejoice with you on your new beginning and new life in Christ.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

 

Divine Interruption

divine-interuption

Does anyone have a childhood memory of the summer vacation trips you took? I know I do.  I remember as a child thinking ahead of the day that we would leave.  I remember pondering what we would do; each time getting more and more excited.  I would count down the days.  But there were times when something would happen and times where plans had to change.  Mom and Dad had so much on their minds, trying to get things taken care of.  I know I didn’t think of what they went through so that my brother and I would not be too disappointed.  Sometimes things happen because that’s life.  Sometimes it just can’t be helped.  The world is an ever changing thing.  Even in the 60s and early 70s when family vacations really meant a lot to me, things of this world caused things to happen.  My dad had a certain amount of vacation time to take and if plans changed, he had to try to get his vacation dates changed.  Mom was a stay at home mom, but when dad was stressed, she was stressed.  All my brother and I knew was we weren’t going when we thought we were.  It was a sad time for us and I am sure mom and dad felt bad that we were disappointed.

Sometimes the hardest thing once my brother and I got over the announcement, was just trying to understand why. We saw how hard it was for mom and dad to tell us.  They knew that we were excited.  Yet, because of circumstances beyond their control, the plans had to change.  The best thing that my brother and I could do was to simply accept it.  But in our private conversations between brothers, we were very sad and somewhat angry.

The Bible speaks about someone who had their life turned upside down due to an announcement. Something she didn’t know would happen.  The world was about to change for all eternity and she had to try to understand.  Luke 1:30-33 (NIV) shares the announcement: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  Can you imagine what Mary felt?  Certainly it was much more than a change of vacation plans.

The Angel Gabriel wanted her not to be afraid. The announcement was good news, yet an incredibly HUGE event.  Mary was not only giving birth to a son, but she was giving birth to the Son of God.

When I was told of our change of plans I had to come to a point of acceptance. Mary also had to come to a place of acceptance, but I am sure there were times when her mind was filled with the “what if’s”.  And she must have thought about the effect on Joseph.  You see Mary was a virgin.  The culture that they lived in would allow Joseph to divorce or cancel his plans to marry her because she would be carrying a child in her yet not married.

So much was going on, yet Mary said this as written in Luke 1:38 (NIV): “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” When it counted, she responded in faith to trust the Lord.

Think about this for a minute. What would you do?  If you were either Mary or Joseph.  Mary was a teenage girl who now found herself pregnant with a son though she was a virgin.  Joseph found himself in a position to now understand how this happened. That’s no small dilemma for Joseph, especially since he is obviously not the father of the child.

Sometimes interruptions in our lives come from our relationship with God. I call them divine interruptions.  They take us by surprise, yet God has a plan for us and interruptions are a part of that plan. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths.” Can we do that?  Or should I ask, “Do we do that?”  I know that I struggle with interruptions.  In my perfect world, I like having things go as I plan.  I think to some degree we all do.  I think that there’s a lesson to be learned from the story of Mary and Joseph.

Friend, interruptions are a part of our lives. They happen every day.  Divine interruptions are for our good and God’s glory.  When these Godly interruptions occur, pray.  Seek God in prayer.  Speak to Him and take time to listen.  Next, put the interruption into proper perspective asking yourself things like, “How bad is it really?” and “What difference will it make in eternity?”  Then think about God’s providence and who really is in control.  God is still in control.  And finally, give thanks to God for He truly cares for you.  Jeremiah 29:11 says this, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   God had plans for Mary and Joseph and their hope was in Him.  God has plans for you, too. God bless you.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

Calvary: A hill worth dying on

Calvary

When I think of the incredible sacrifice that Jesus paid at Calvary, I’m thankful and humbled that He died for me; for my sins.  I know this post is after Easter when we celebrated Jesus’ triumph over sin and death by His resurrection.  I believed and received that same resurrection power in my life when I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  But I go back to the point of “He did it for me”.  It was God’s eternal grace and mercy that received me into His family.  My sins are forgiven.  Praise the Lord.

So why am I blogging today?  It may seem that I understand.  Well, my life experienced a month that shook me.  An entire month when it seemed I had to figure this all out again.  It was a month of medical setbacks and medical miracles.

I spent many hours wondering and praying about the why’s of what I was facing.  I spent a lot of time thinking about the physical stresses on my body and what I would need to do going forward to ensure a life out of the hospital.  I spent time thinking in the physical realm.  I didn’t spend enough time thinking in the spiritual realm.

Jesus went to the cross of Calvary because He knew it was a hill worth dying on.  He knew the mission He was given to save eternity from eternal death.  He knew that there was no other way.  Jesus prays in John, Chapter 17 concerning this.  Jesus prays for all believers.

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)

You see it was not only Jesus obedience to His Father, but it was His desire to go to Calvary.  The hill was worth it.  He said it.  “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me”.  While I was stuck in my physical thoughts, Jesus desired that I understand His eternal perspective.  He cause me to survive the physical, so that He could show me  His eternal plan that included further work and service to Him and to finally rest in His eternal and glorious presence.

No matter what I faced, victory was mine through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary.  Without the Cross there wasn’t victory.  His resurrection power was given to me only after Jesus completed the work of the Cross.  It was a hill worth dying on.

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing.  You may be facing an illness, or you may be dealing with a destructive addiction.  You may need your marriage to be restored or you may need a child to come home.  Whatever you need understand Jesus is ready to bring you victory.  He is ready to see you through whatever you are facing.  It starts with two basic things.  It starts with believing and receiving.

Romans 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  It is that simple.  Why? Because God’s Word promises this, For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ” (Romans 10:10)  Let God’s promises take you away from seeing things from a physical perspective and into living with a spiritual perspective.  I am surviving by the grace of God and the resurrection power that lives inside of me.  So can you.

Don’t believe me. Believe God

 

 

 

 

The Blessings of the Lord are so, so sweet.

Blessing of the Lord

We miss experiencing the blessings of the Lord because we are caught up in just trying to keep our heads above water.  I’m just being real with you.  There are times when we take living for granted.  We believe that each day is simply given to us because we deserve it.  That is so wrong.  I’m not trying to criticize anyone.  But the world grabs us and takes us captive.  Our lives are so incredibly busy that we begin to believe that being busy translates to being successful; to having our act together.

But this is the real truth.  You can decide to believe it or not.  It’s God that gives us each breath we take.  He causes the sun to rise each morning.  He causes the sun to set at night.  The leaves of the trees are birthed because He said so.  It’s the spring showers that He gives us that provides life to what was asleep in the winter.  And often times we don’t take the necessary time to look up and look around.  Often times we just don’t appreciate creation as He created it.

The Bible says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”  Translated it means, “Oh, taste and see, “Consume and Recognize” that the Lord is good.  Blessed, “being divinely favored” is the man who trusts “has confident expectation” in Him!”  It’s when we begin to trust in our Creator, God Himself, that our eyes begin to open, our ears begin to hear, and our hearts begin to receive all that God desires to give us.

God desires to bless us as we believe.  It’s pretty simple.  Yet the world is very complicated. The world is filled with rules and expectations and we are not able to meet them.  It’s impossible for us to please the world.  But with God it’s simple. Believe and receive!  Hebrews 11:6 says.But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  The verse simply says that it’s impossible to please Him without faith in Him. Our faith is founded on our belief that God is.  We must first believe that God exists. Believing not in a story, but believe that God is alive.  It is then that He rewards or blesses those who diligently “constant in effort” seek Him.

Friend, All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:3)  Our blessings surround us.  Can we see them?  Can we open all of our senses to see that the blessings of the Lord are so, so sweet.  I challenge you to believe and receive.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

 

 

 

It’s not your time

warehouse

He lay on the cold, concrete floor on what was simply a small mat.  He was brutally and savagely beaten.  He bled and his body ached and he knew his time alive would be short.  Others there simply walked by as if they could not even see him.  He remembers the pain and the blood that was running from him.  He looked at the light and closed his eyes. He knew it was the end.

He remembers hearing their voices and feeling their touches.  They were patting him on the back and embracing his neck.  He heard them say, “He’s here!  Welcome!”  Their voices he remembered and recognized.  They sounded so happy.  He turned around to see who they were.  He saw no one.

A great light and cloud shown around him yet in the cloud there was no form.  Within the cloud there appeared a great hand, reaching towards him.  He tried to grasp the hand but could not.  It was then he heard the voice.  The voice of the One who was in the cloud.  He said, “It is not yet your time.”  The statement shocked him.  The others he heard were now gone.  There were no longer any touches, embraces, or the welcoming sounds of their voices.

He turned and found himself again in the cold warehouse, on the cold floor, lying on the small mat.  There was no one around.  This time he could move.  There was no pain and no  blood.  He was alive.  He stood up and walked away.

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42 NKJV)

Don’t believe me. Believe  God!

 

 

Sometimes Lord I’m afraid

Psalm 34_4

Sometimes Lord, when the wind blows and the skies crash, I’m afraid.  Sometimes Lord when the world squeezes me to the point of bursting, I’m afraid.  Sometimes when I allow my doubts to rise up in my mind, I’m afraid.  I’m just being honest and open Lord.  My heart hurts and I’m shaking Lord and I wonder if you see what I’m going through.

Have you ever said any of these words?  Have you cried out to God to give you help or to calm your fears?  Have you ever wondered if God even cares?  I can tell you this.  I’ve said these words.  I’ve cried out to God for help to the point of tears.  I’ve wondered where God was.  But I will also tell you this.  God never left me.  God was always close.  God heard my cries.  God moved into my situation.  And God will do the same for you.

It seems we place God into the form of a mortal man.  We cry out in prayer to a God we believe exists, but we lower our expectations as if God was a man. As if God was limited or was unable to understand.  And this leads us to believe nothing is possible.  But I tell you that nothing is IMPOSSIBLE for God.  God is not a man.  God is a supreme being.  He is the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega.  He created all things that were created.  And He loved you before you were ever born so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to die for you. (John 3:16)  Yes, for you!  So that you could spend eternity with Him.

So what is the answer?  Belief is the answer.  Believe that God is who He is; the Great I Am.  So do not be afraid, the Lord is with you.  Every instant of time.  In every situation.  Believe what His Word says, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

Don’t believe me. Believe God!