I am Not Going To Bow No Matter What!

images-19The trumpeters and the music began to sound causing the people to immediately scurry to the place before the idol and bow in a fearful submission. These Chaldeans and many foreigners that had been taken in war-conquests fell to their faces out of fear of the king’s command. (Dan 3:4-6) The consequences for those who remained standing would be thrown into the fiery furnace.

The scene was much like the game we grew up playing, “Musical Chairs” that when the music stopped everyone franticly grabs a chair and sits down knowing that there aren’t enough chairs for everyone. The penalty for being left standing was you were cast out of the game. In the same manner, in this historical story in Dan 3, which takes place during the seventy years of God’s people being in captivity, when the music started the people had to stop and drop, giving homage to the king’s idol.

We’re introduced to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These three young Hebrew boys were growing up in a society polar opposite of their families and culture. It was a strategy of the conquering army to take the best specimen from a


The God of Fire met these mighty and obedient Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire! (tweet)


culture and transform them into the beliefs and customs of the new kingdom. But these three young Hebrew boys where so impacted by their belief in their God and the daily rehearsing of the stories that it firmly grounded them to live a devoted life even in the midst of the one they were now being forced to live.

Therefore it was no surprise when they would not bow to the Kings idol. For they knew their God had said, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Ex 20:3) So in spite of the consequences these young boys made a manly decision to not go along with the knee bending music! Their loyalty was to their God even if it cost them their life. Wow! That’s not easy to do.

The king was so outraged to the point of having the furnace turned up seven times, that it even killed the furnace keepers and the guards that threw the Hebrew boys in the furnace.

The weightiness of their decision, to obey God rather than what everyone else was doing, should shake each of us personally as we live our daily lives. With death sneering at them, they boldly and confidently replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, in Dan 3:16-18 saying, “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning


Because three dared to be devoted to God, not bowing to the pressures of the day. God moved on their behalf    (tweet)


fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods…”. And that’s exactly what happened!

The God of Fire met these mighty and obedient Hebrew boys in the midst of the fire! Even with the added heat these three were alive and well in the midst of the Continue reading

Walking On The Water Isn’t For The Faint Of Heart

images-15I know that there are many individuals who like me grew up in Sunday school hearing and envisioning Peter the disciple who walked on the water and then the following week at the city pool we would try and mimic the Bible lesson as we took a step on the water. No matter how many times we sunk, we would keep trying again and again with no avail. There’s definitely something to be said about the raw undefiled faith of children.

Peter and the other disciples in Matt 14:24-33 were in the small boat going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They had just experienced Jesus feeding the multitude, but like so many of us, the disciples still didn’t have a grasp on who Jesus really was. They were still on their journey of getting to know who Jesus was. The scripture says that in the wee hours of the morning that Jesus comes to them walking


There are no shortages of excuses that can talk you and I as adults out of what God wants for us      (tweet)


on the stormy water. I just want to say that it doesn’t take very much to frightened people from 3 to 6am in the morning. Let alone a person who they don’t recognize walking on the sea. Yet, even after Jesus calms their fears by letting them know it was He, Peter still questions Him in verse 28 with a proposition of “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water”. So Jesus does and Peter climbs out of a perfectly safe boat onto the turbulent water.

There are no shortages of excuses that can talk you and I as adults out of what God wants for us. To often we have allowed things that we are familiar and comfortable with to become a type of security blanket in our lives, keeping us from ever experiencing the reality of who God is and what His plan for us is. It’s like the baby, who grows and matures and one day comes to the point of having to let go of their baby blanket that gives them a calming security. There’s really no protection ability or safety value in the tattered frail blanket, but it’s something that a child has


Only one disciple up until now has that testimony walking on water! (tweet)


for much of their young life giving them a disillusion of security. In the same manner many adults have settled into a place of comfort and dependability to a point of repeating the same cycle of the security blanket?

Most of the disciples like Peter had grown up spending much of their time on boats and relying on them to keep them safe. Now, Jesus challenges Peter to get out and walk to Him in the midst of a storm. So putting excuses aside and looking to Jesus through a deeper belief of who He is, got out of his comfort and walked on the water. He experienced God in a way that none have ever been able to experience before. Only one disciple up until now has that testimony! The others stayed in the confinements of what was safe and normal to them.

Therefore, there comes a time for each of us also to quit making excuses and get out of our boat and walk on the water. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are and who cares what others are saying, it’s time to focus on what Jesus is saying. You see it’s not a matter of how bad the circumstances are but what were focused on! Our eyes must be fixed on Jesus!   Paul says in Heb. 12:2, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”.

 

Mothers are God’s Kiss on Every Home!

IMG_3544In a day where there was no canned “Spaghetti O’s” to be easily opened for dinner or a ready roasted chicken at the local grocery store. Or even any of the conveniences mothers have today, such as disposable diapers, automatic washing machines, packaged baby food and just add water-canned milk. Susanna Wesley raised her children in a pleasing manner before God.

In Prov. 31 we read King Solomon’s insight about a mother that is pleasing to God, he writes in verse 27, “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. The successful mother in God’s eyes is one that watches closely over her household. The phrase used here in this passage is to peer into the distance and keep a watchful eye out for her children. A mother is anything but a second-class citizen. A mother is one that is constantly working and tending the needs of her children preparing them to survive the future.

Susanna and Samuel Wesley had 19 children. Nine of which died while in their infant stage of life. Four of the children that died were twins. And tragically, one of her other children was accidentally smothered by a maid. To say the least


If Jesus honored and cared for His mother I think we should also!   (tweet)


Susanna’s experience as a young mother was far from being a life of ease. Many that has never been in the shoes of motherhood picture it as a life with your feet propped up with a bowl of your favorite delicacies in front of the TV watching “Soaps” and talk shows. But as we see in the life of Susanna Wesley that this “male-absorbed” disillusionment is most certainly farther from the truth of the reality. Can I hear an Amen from the mothers of the world? Susanna Wesley seized her opportunity of nurturing up her children in the ways of God with a tenacious spirit like none other. She actually impacted the world by training up her children to change the world. John and Charles Wesley grew up to be mighty ministers of the Gospel and founders of the Methodist church. She could have said the devastation of loosing children and being overwhelmed by the ones she had left, is too much and curled up in a fetal position for her remaining days, but she didn’t at all. She embraced the challenge


Mothers are Gods Kiss to every Home!   (tweet)


with a God ordained calling. Susanna would give each of her children quality time with her individually. She also was very adamant that her children were receiving correct teaching from the scripture weekly even with her husband being gone often ministering. These simplistic but deep teachings became books later. One of the most important habits she had was always making sure she had her time with the Lord. She knew where her source was.

            Being a mother is down right hard Work. I am not sure if it is totally true or not, but through the grapevine of media it has been said and repeated that by the time a child reaches 18, a mother has had to handle some extra 18,000 hours of child-generated work. In my guess-estimation I would say that mothers have done a lot more work than even that statement says. Becoming a mother is definitely not for wimps! Mother’s are God’s gift to the home!  Abraham Lincoln said, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” I am so grateful for my mother who is now enjoying her reward in heaven.  I remember her prayer walks as if it was yesterday. I took all of her hard work for


If Mothers Ever Go on Strike we are in Trouble   (tweet)


granite and her Godly example as normal. But now as I reminisce i wish i would have spent more time of thanking her and honoring her for all she did for me. My mother like most deserve to be honored. Jesus had an earthly mother and honored her. In John 19:26-27 we read where He made sure she was taken care of before he died.

We ourselves need to take heed to Jesus’ example and the exhortation in scripture to honor our mothers! (Eph. 6:2) Our mothers are God’s kiss to each home. Mothers shape each of us to conquer and impact the future.

Fire isn’t All-Bad; it’s how you look at it.

20150615_131836I love to walk along the famous “magnificent mile” along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The people are always rushing about in business as well as the many visitors that come to shop and tour the great city. One of the most intriguing sights amongst the beautiful architecture is the nearly150 year old historic water tower on the northern end. Presently it is surrounded with a beautiful park and carriages as well as the hustle and bustle of people. But history has engraved this building as a memorial of one of the greatest tragedies in the nineteenth century. After the Chicago fire burnt for nearly three days and the smoke cleared the devastation that remained was unconceivable. It was estimated that one third of the great city’s valuation was destroyed, miles of buildings, roads and infrastructure was gone. Hundred’s of thousands of people were displace and many became homeless losing everything. Yet, what seemed to be irreplaceable destruction from fire became the catalyst for the re-building of an even greater and economically important international city.

I would say fire is probably one of man-kinds greatest discoveries. It warms, it melts, it brings light, and it produces energy and clears away the old. When we respect and acknowledge fire for what it is and can do, we are better and blessed. Would Chicago or the world be as blessed or as impacted if there wouldn’t have been


Let the God of Fire warm your heart, purify your lifestyle and empower your life’s journey. He definitely loves you and wants to make you better!   (tweet)


any fire? I am definitely not minimizing the great loss by any means, but bringing out the end result of the actual fire. Loss can bring scars but it can also make this better in many cases. Fire isn’t all bad its all how you look at it.

Scripture is full of descriptive language revealing God as fire and His acts with fire. In Heb 12:28-29 we read, “by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”(NKJ) The author quotes from Deut. 4:24 where it also says that He is “a jealous God” The word consuming means to devour, and to burn up. And the description of a jealous God isn’t revealing an insecure psychopath but a Holy loving God that will not allow His people to be anything but whole hearted and committed as He is towards them. He is tenaciously protective towards anything that tries to take our attention and passion away from Him.

Jesus says in Luke 12:49, “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!(NKJ) Jesus came to shake things up… to make us uncomfortable…to bring conviction toward sin. He came to reveal and deal with our sin. He came to make straight our wayward path. He wants things to be better for His people. You can’t be comfortable and passive when the fire of God comes. Yet it will set us on a course of blessing or if we are not willing to follow Him then we might get burned.

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. (Matt 10:34) To often we think Jesus came and is coming again not to disturb anything but to make everything beautiful. No, that isn’t totally correct. He is truly the Prince of Peace” but is coming to set things right and will come against everything that distracts and puts His people in bondage. Let the God of Fire warm your heart, purify your lifestyle and empower your life’s journey. He definitely loves you and wants to make you better!

 

 

I Have Fallen and Can’t Get Up

images-11Have you ever gone through a tough situation and cried for help and no one responded? It can be very discouraging. How about when you cry out to God and it seems He is not hearing you. You might feel a sense of despair and all alone.

David recorded many of his emotional valleys in his Psalms to the Lord. In Ps 39:12 he says, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, And give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears”. I believe many people can relate to his cries for help. David like many others have come to a place that they are desperate for God to hear their cry for help. It reminds me of an incident I heard where I grew up.

A adventurous hiker was hiking up a rugged Idaho creek some years back. He was going down the path all by himself enjoying his journey when the rock he stepped on shifted and sent him tumbling down the steep rocky ravine. As his body slammed up against a tree and settled in an outcrop over-looking the creek, He knew


God hears the cry of His children and as a earthly parent responds how much more will your heavenly Father answer!         (tweet)


that his leg was badly broken. Unable to walk and being much to far to even crawl he lay hopeless in the back-country of the Rocky Mountains with the curtain of the day closing.

Barely surviving the frigid cold night he began to yell for help until he hardly had any voice. His journey had come to an abrupt stand still and his future was becoming more hopeless as the day went on.

Then, across the creek and up the ridge came the noise of a chain saw cutting wood for the soon coming winter. The man collecting the fire wood was getting frustrated at his kids who were constantly interrupting him as he cut the fallen tree, shutting off his saw he began to scold them. As his children defended their case they said, “we thought we heard someone yelling for help”. He listened and heard nothing so he continued with the chain saw.

The hurt and almost lifeless hiker knew this was his only hope and began to scream even more. The wood-cutter’s kids knowing they heard a cry for help risked getting in trouble and interrupted their dad agian. Seeing the urgency in their eyes he stopped and walked to the edge of the ravine. He listened and moments before he gave up he heard the faint cry for help.

Though this story ended with a good ending it is unfortunate that in our society there are multitudes of individuals that are crying out for help. Many have gone down a path in their life thinking they are fine and then abruptly interrupted by tragedy. These circumstances will bring the most independent person to cry out for help in desperation. But will there be a answer?

We read in Ex 3:7-8, where God speaks to Moses saying, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people … and have heard their cry … I know their sorrows.” God had heard the cry of His people and understood their sorrows, for they were in bondage to the Egyptians as slaves. God sees the oppression of those that are in desperate situations. In this passage God says, “So I have come down to deliver them”. God hears the cry of His children and as a earthly parent responds how much more will your heavenly Father answer! (Lk 11:11-13) If you’re in that place now, hang on for He hears and will deliver.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

images-7The multitudes of Israelites made their way through the wildness as they headed to worship their God. These former slaves who had never walked with their heads up, now for the first time walk as free, healthy and blessed people. In a matter of hours their world had been totally turned right side up as the God of their fathers delivered them through signs and wonders at the hands of Moses. Words can’t express the feelings of gratitude that these mothers, fathers and children were experiencing as they made their way through the wilderness to give glory and worship to their God.

But then, we see God instructs Moses in Ex.14:1-2, to turn the Israelites and have them “camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea”. In effect the children of Israel were asked to backtrack and go back in the same direction that


Being in a tight spot without Christ leads to failure, but if we have Christ, there will be deliverance and victory   (tweet)


they had just traveled. Their path would take them in a direction placing them with the Red Sea on one side, and the wilderness and mountains on the other sides. In other words they were going to be in a predicament. This new encampment would put them in a less than vulnerable place before the enemy who was now pursuing them. The children of God were now between a rock and a hard place. What was God up to anyway?

Before these once shackled ex-slaves could even begin to enjoy their freedom, the dust from Pharaohs six hundred chariots and horsemen gave signal of their change of mind and fast arrival to kill and destroy them.(Vs.7-9) In Ex.14:10 it says that God’s children became greatly afraid when they saw the coming Egyptian army.

Maybe the complaints and murmuring of the Israelites were true, that there wasn’t enough graves in Egypt, so Moses brought them to the wilderness to die (Vs.11-15) or was God up to something? It says in Ex 14:4 that God said, “I will gain honor over Pharaoh … that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” We see that


At the Red Sea God would use the vessel of deliverance for his children to also destroy the Egyptian army.    (tweet)


God planned to show that He was God almighty not only to His covenant people but to their enemies also. God had set up this whole scenario for His purposes!

Moses encouraged the people in vs. 13-14 saying, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord”. He goes on to say that after God fights for them that they will never see this enemy again.

Even with the hopeless circumstances to the natural eye, God’s word was to “go forward”! But how could they? The impassable Red Sea was there, and this was way before the story of Peter walking on the water. God had it all planned out and would use the vessel of deliverance for his children to also destroy the Egyptian Continue reading

Stuck with a Roommate instead of a Marriage?

College was a great time of learning life and broadening my world. But wow, roommates could really push me to the limit in the stress department. Learning to deal with each other’s quirks and habits, the good and the bad, was a whole different education. I know many can relate to having roommates, whether you went to college or just had another situation. Bottom line is though they have their place, once you move forward and find God’s soul mate for your life; you definitely aren’t looking for a roommate scenario. Unfortunately, many marriages are nothing more than a roommate arrangement.

In an age where marriage is being attacked and redefined it is essential that we understand how God defines marriage. In Gen 2:20-25 we have a look at the first marriage. It all takes place in a beautiful garden at the very beginning of mankind


Many marriages are nothing more than a roommate arrangement.   (tweet)


where Adam was diligent in his job, which was naming to the animals. The account reveals there was not a companion comparable for Adam amongst all the beast of the earth. I think that point alone should align many people to the fact that your pet isn’t ever suppose to take the place of who God has for you emotionally or otherwise! Therefore, God creates a woman from Adams side as he slept. In other words God custom made a wife for Adam out of his rib that would be designed to stand by his side.

In verse 24 we read the Holy Spirit’s definition of marriage from the start. He says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” God’s principle of the first was to complete a man with


When we become married the “I” becomes a “We”, and two lives become one.   (tweet)


a wife. They were to become one not two individuals co-habituating together. God knows each of our strengths and weaknesses, giving us a soul mate that will not be a clone, but one that will help us in the areas that we need help in and vice versa. Just like the famous line from the movie “Jerry McGuire” where the husband of a failing marriage comes to his senses and says, “you complete me” to his estranged wife. That statement whether you liked the movie or not is what a marriage is all about, two completely different individuals coming together to make a complete and compatible marriage so they can fulfill the purposes of God (Matt 19:6). When we become soul mates the “I” becomes a “We”, two lives become one.

The world’s view of marriage verses God’s view can be very opposite when it comes down to it. The world offers pre or post nuptial agreements as well as, when things Continue reading