Brother George. How are you?

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These are words that I cherish.  As often as I see Gary, he utters these sweet words to me.  Love is stirred in my heart and I remember how many hours he spent with me along with his wife Diann when I became a believer.  Gary led a Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study every Sunday morning before our church service.  As a new believer I was like a sponge.  I wanted to hear everything.  My dear friend Mark from my workplace spoke to me one critical day about Jesus and you can say the rest is history.  I was now being discipled.  Gary has become a dear friend. Then things changed on July 4, 2019.  Gary was clinging on to his life.  Gary has a massive heart attack and his brain was not receiving any oxygen.  His son Jason said, (paraphrase) “He has suffered through two cardiac arrests, a lengthy lack of oxygen to his brain, seizures, broken ribs, a punctured lung, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, kidney failure, multiple medically induced comas, a tracheotomy, among other things”  Prayers began for Gary. A lot of prayers.

Over the next several days and weeks, many people joined the family in prayer for Gary’s health and healing, for strength for Diann and their sons Scott and Jason.  We prayed for their entire family for God to pour out His supernatural presence by His Holy Spirit.  Gary was hooked up to hospital devices that would lengthen his life, but the prayer for Gary was complete restoration.  Oh, I wanted to hear those words from Gary again, “Brother George. How are you?”  I couldn’t imagine not being able to see Gary and Diann in church each Sunday, encouraging others to simple believe God’s authority over all things including healing.  I’ve prayed along with them for many other people.  Believing God for the promises in His Word.  Faith rose up to a level I’ve not witnessed before.  God manifested His Holy presence and said, “It is finished”

Jason followed with this in one of his updates on his dad.  “BUT today he gets to go home. His prognosis was so grim and chances of recovery so small, BUT today he gets to go home. When he began to come out of sedation, he wanted two things: water, and to go home. The guy who’s known in medical circles as “miracle man” will get his wish today. He gets tired quickly but can do many things on his own and will continue to build strength from home. He will return to his beloved chair where this all began, only this time with quite the story to tell instead of read.”  A miracle testimony.  Gary is  the “Miracle Man”. But God…

 

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We must remember God’s promise, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV}  

Through it all, God’s been good.  Through the hundreds and hundreds of hours Gary’s family spent with him in the hospital, their strength was upheld by God’s strong right hand. The family began to speak the many promises of God.  And God delivered Gary.  God is faithful.  God said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

I rejoice that Gary is alive and ready to tell the world of God’s miracle healing.  Gary’s the “Miracle Man”.  God is the giver of life and he gave Gary a second life.  I’m reminded of Lazarus.

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”  When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”  The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44 ESV)

I’m looking forward to seeing Gary and Diann tonight with my wife, Nancy.  Oh what joy I will have when I hear those words again. “Brother George. How are you?”

Don’t believe me. Believe God.

 

Through it all…

god's been good

I know that I know that God loves me. He rescued me from the depths of my sorrow, fear, feeling abandoned. I’ve had seasons of great challenge. I’ve had times of pain both mentally and physically. But through it all, God’s been Good. I’ve placed my trust in the Lord and have given up the things of the world. I once thought that these worldly things were necessary for me to be happy. They are not. God has saved me, He has raised me, He filled me with the Holy Ghost. He healed me, to the uttermost. He picked me up and turned me around. He placed my feet on solid ground. For all of this, I thank Him and give Him Praise. Again, through it all, God’s been Good in my life.

You might ask why I am so confident of this.  How do I truly know?  Well, each story or in this case, every testimony is different.  When I received the touch of God, I was at my rock bottom.  Really!  I’m not giving you the standard testimony of someone who now goes to church and is all happy.  That kind of person, I am not.  I am a realist.  I was raised to study and investigate and always question what lies before me.  I lived my whole life that this was the only way.  To cover all the bases; to get all the answers to all the questions.

So how long do you think I studied the question, “Does God love me?”  Well, I don’t have knowledge of how long, but I will tell you it took 45 years for me to think about that infamous question.  My life was at a point where I needed to make a choice.  Sometimes that’s where you need to be so that the only thing left is “Choose Jesus or Die.”   “Oh, come on, George.  Really?  Sounds to me that you are saying all the right things. Is this real?”  Before I asked myself the question “Does God love me?” I was ignorant. I was wandering around lacking any knowledge of God’s love.  Jesus was calling me to come home to Him.  All the while, I closed my ears and eyes of that.  I know now the truth.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)  Yes, He was chasing after me from the beginning of time, though I didn’t know it.

My testimony began with a man sharing his love for me by telling me that there was a man who loved me and wanted a relationship with me.  His Name is Jesus Christ.  For me it was like bait in the water of a great pond filled with fish.  Except it’s not about hooking fish.  It’s all about His mercy and grace that pulled me out with one great pull.  Great is the Lord. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:1-3 ESV) 

You may have heard the following praise, even if you don’t think of yourself as spiritual or religious.  It has been said, “God is Good all the time. And all the time God is Good.”   This has nothing to do with being spiritual or anything to do with religion.  It has everything to do  with relationship.  The Bible says this.  And it is a promise.  “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”” (1 Corinthians 2:9) “Does God love me?  Most wholeheartedly Yes.”  I now serve One Master.  It’s in Christ Alone that I give my life.  Has it been easy?  No. Have I been blessed?  If you’re looking for me to quantify this question, I can’t.  God’s blessings are immeasurable.  Overflowing.  More than I can even imaging.  His grace is sufficient for me.   Through it all, God’s been Good!

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing.  I  don’t know of the circumstances by which you live your life.  I don’t know if you feel that if God knew me, He couldn’t love me.  But I know this that God loves you with an everlasting love that can never change or be diminished.  If you knew Him like I know Him you would know that He is Alive and death has died.  Jesus paid the price for sin and death by His suffering, crucifixion and resurrection.  I’m just asking you to come to  the everlasting love of Jesus and have a talk with Him.  My joy is unspeakable because I know that someone will read this and join in everlasting life, the Family of God.  It’s not how much you have done.  It’s simply about belief.  There is nothing you can do to earn eternal life.  God paid the price for you.  It’s His grace that will be applied to you once you accept Him.

Jesus, You paid the price for all of us to receive Your grace and partake in everlasting life with You in Heaven.  You’ve not applied a lot of rules or duties to receive the greatest gift.  We only need to believe.  Then we will see Jesus in all of Your glory.  Thank You that You have been with me since the beginning of the age and through it all You have been good.  Help me to understand more and more about You.  Bless our relationship Lord.  Forgive me sin and come into my life.  Thank You Lord.  I will serve You until I die.  I’m on the battlefield for the Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 Don’t believe me. Believe God!

Seize the Moment

“The National Football League” – “The NFL”. Of all the professional sports played, my favorite is professional football.  Well, I also love Curling, but that’s another story.  I have been a fan of pro football for as far back as I can remember.  I played intramural football in grade school and around the local neighborhoods.  I was very small while attending school so I did not participate in football in either Jr. High School or Sr. High School.  But that did not deter me.  Sunday afternoons were spent watching the NFL on television.

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I guess you can say that I became a student of the game.  I was interested in intricacies of the game.  I wanted to learn both offensive and defensive strategies.  I understand the situations and play calling.  I was into everything.  I read a lot and studied my favorite teams.  I watch the NFL Draft every year.  I look at trades between the teams.  I am a FAN.

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One thing I have learned is that the entire game of football can be expressed in taking advantage of every moment you get to move forward.  The whole objective of the game is to score points.  In order to do that you have to seize every moment that would produce points.  I’ve come to understand that as a team practices for the upcoming game, they go over everything that they need to have an advantage over their opponent.  They even go over what is called “the fundamentals”.  Those include blocking, tackling, running, catching passes, returning kicks, etc.  They also study play books and look at film.  You might say that this is enough, but many times it is not.  It all lies in the minds of the players.  Are they aware of what is happening on the field?  Do the really know what their opponent will do in every situation.  Good teams, playoff teams know their opponent that well.  Seizing every opportunity is key to success.  Their ears and eyes must be attentive to what is going on.

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Jesus Christ gave us very important instructions to seize opportunities that He lays before us.  Jesus said, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17 ESV)  This was Jesus mission.  He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 ESV) Jesus was obedient to the end to reach those who were destined to die in their sins.  He looked and moved with one thought in mind.  This gospel that He was teaching must be shared to the entire world.  His plan would give everyone who believed the best opportunity to win.  The Bible says, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15 ESV)   For this is known, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16 ESV) Here in lies the absolute truth.  If we set our ears and eyes on Jesus Christ, we will always win.  Defeat is not a part of those who believe.

We must seize every opportunity to share the gospel with a dying and lost world.  It is our command.  It is spoken in the Word of God and is the absolute and unchangeable truth.  The question is are we focused on ourselves or are we ready to take hold of the utmost prize.  No football game victory.  No Super Bowl win can compare to what is in store for those who believe.  The Apostle Paul said this, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 ESV)  The game plan you need to have is Jesus.  He is all you need.  Victory in Jesus, on-time every time.  You just need to believe.  It’s that simple.

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Friend, you may not have thought about the intricacies of the sport of football.  And that’s OK.  Really there are a lot more things to focus your mind on.  But let me tell you this.  There is nothing more important than a relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior.  I made the choice to follow Jesus and his plan for my life in 1999.  Since then my life, my focus, my priorities have changed.  Has it been easy?  No.  Every day I have to pray for Jesus to give me the necessary steps to take to glorify Him with my life.  If you have never made the step to believe and trust in Jesus, you can do that if you want.  You can simply talk to Jesus and He will listen.  You can then be on the everlasting winning team.  Pray this little prayer.  It’s not the prayer that matters.  It’s your heart and acceptance of Jesus that saves you.

Lord, I know that I am a sinner.  I know that I have made mistakes in my life.  I’m told that if I confess these sins to You and repent from them that I can be saved.  Lord, forgive me of my sins.  Every one of them and I believe that you came to earth, was crucified, and died.  And you rose from the grave to defeat sin and death.  I believe this.  I confess this.  I receive Your saving grace.  I am now saved.  Thank You Lord.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

Glory to God!!!  Another child of God welcomed into the Family of God.  If you prayed and believed, it’s important for you to be fed daily with the love of Christ and the promises of His Word.  Find a local church to attend.  Talk to the Pastor and tell him that you are saved and want to know more.  I am sure he will be excited to walk with you on your journey to eternal life.  God bless you friend.  I will be praying for 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

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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!