I Remember When You were …

images-33We still chuckle about the times our family would go to reunions and be confronted by that one great aunt that would grab us by the cheek and say, “I remember when you…”. We would cringe in anticipation of what would come out of her mouth next. Usually it was memories that were not so flattering to us and more often they were ammunition for the cousins and siblings to use against us. I think everyone has that one relative in their life that keeps them humble of where they have came from to where they are now.

Throughout scripture we also have stories of different individuals that have started out one way and then ended up another. I am quickly drawn to 2 Sam 23:8-22, where we receive the list of David’s mighty warriors. These guys make   of the 007 secret agent look light a boy scout. It’s not a description of just one guy but a list of many of the top warriors that fought for David before and after he was King. There was Shammah, who stood his ground against the fierce enemy to save a small field filled with his harvest. Then there was Adino, who killed 800 of enemy warriors in one battle. Wow, he didn’t have a high power machine gun or even some grenades, this was hand-to-hand combat. Again, continue down the list and come to


Our modern day “Rambo” and “Rocky” have nothing on God’s “action heroes” (tweet)


Benaiah, who it says did many mighty acts, but one of the several that is mentioned is that he jumped in a pit with only a staff in his hand to fight with a renowned enemy warrior killing him with his own spear. These men are just a few of a list of nothing short of “action heroes” of their day. Our modern day “Rambo” and “Rocky” have nothing on them!

The question that comes up many times is “what elite “War Academy” did they graduate from?” It had to be an expensive and well-known training program, don’t you think? But more than likely these great men were apart of the school of Adullam. Which was nothing more than a hole in the ground where David had went to escape from Saul. Reading this account back in 1 Sam 22:1-2 it informs us that when his family and many others heard he was there they came to him. It defines these individuals as “everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him”. These were a bunch of mentally anguished, perplexed, spiritually bitter, in debt people! So in other words David was now the leader of four hundred very imperfect misfits. He should be really excited, right! But reading also in 1 Chr. 12:22 it says concerning this same group, “…it was a great army, like the army of God”. I often sarcastically wonder if they are speaking of the same people, because they look like anything but a great army.

God seems to specialize in taking people from their humble beginnings and transforming them into people that do incredible feats for the kingdom of God. Just like these mighty men that most likely started with humble beginnings, you and I can be brought from the valleys of despair into a victorious warrior that fulfill God’s plan. If God waited until any of us was ready to be a leader or only used people that were qualified, He would still be waiting. I encourage you to understand that God will transform each of us along the journey from being disabled people to mighty warriors for His use if continue we yield to Him along our journey of Life.

 

 

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Having an Attitude of a Warrior

187139402Do you remember the heroic acts of the passengers on the United Airlines flight 93 on September 11, 2001? It was a normal day until the ordinary gave way to the catastrophic. The enemy had no other plans than to kill, steal and destroy their lives and many others. When these heroes realized what was going on they decided not to allow the enemy to inflict unjust destruction upon them. They rose up against the terrorists— they fought back. They counter-attacked the enemy sacrificing their own lives but literally saving hundreds in Washington, D.C. These heroes were not going to sit by and take whatever their enemy dished out.


As a good soldier of Christ, we must have the attitude or heart of a warrior   (tweet)


As Christians, we need to continue to build upon the foundation laid by Jesus on the cross. We must put on and use the armor God has provided for us. We must not allow the enemy to get our eyes off the souls who are facing sure destruction without our intervention. As a good soldier of Christ, we must have the attitude or heart of a warrior. The apostle Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” (II Tim. 4:7). In summing up his life, he affirms that we must fight spiritual battles. It’s a “good fight” because it is the will of God that we combat the forces of His enemy. In Him, we are more than conquers (Rom. 8:37)! Over two hundred years ago Edmond Burke said, “All it takes for evil to triumph in the world is for good men to do nothing.” You can apply that saying to your entire spiritual life as you pursue God’s plan.


We must remember our fight is not with flesh and blood and that our weapons are mighty in God    (tweet)


The Christian is as bold as a lion and must stand for righteousness. God Himself is described as a warrior in Isaiah 42:13. Psalms 144:1 states, “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” God is not only a warrior Himself, but He trains us to have that same attitude and heart so that we can execute righteousness in the land. The prophet Joel declared, “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up,” (Joel 3:9). How many times are we confronted by the enemy and we do nothing but quake in our boots? It’s time for us to wake up the warring spirit within us and get ready for the battle at hand. David, though young and inexperienced in battle, stepped up to fight Goliath. Many might ask why he would take a stand against a mocking giant. Well as he himself said, “Is there not a cause,” (I Sam. 17:29)?

David had a warrior’s heart. He refused to allow an overgrown, ungodly Philistine to mock his God or defy His armies. His previous fight with the bear and the lion prepared him for this epic battle. God prepares and equips us to become spiritual warriors for His kingdom as we walk with Him along the journey. Having a heart and attitude of a warrior is a part of our spiritual D.N.A.

We must remember our fight is not with flesh and blood and that our weapons are mighty in God as Paul says in 2 Cor. 10:3, 4. Therefore, our attitude must consist because of spiritual content such as prayer, scripture understanding and obedience to God’s statues.

I Won’t be just Another Frog in a Pot

I still get a chill up my spine when I think about getting a shot with a needle. Remember as we grew up in school there would be those days every so often that we would get shots to immune us from different sickness? If I understand it right, when we received the shot we receive a small amount of the germ we didn’t want so that our bodies would make a defense against it, becoming immuned from the actual sickness.

Unfortunately, many believers have received just enough of the gospel to immune them from the reality of the truth. Growing up they casually attend church, hearing bits and pieces of messages but never becoming a real follower of Jesus. Then on top of our own shallow belief system we allow the media to dump their so-called opinions on to our already murky doctrine as if it is truth. There in has cultivated a society of people that say they believe in God, yet who have just enough of the message to make a mess. It has distorted the Gospel and immuned many individuals from living a victorious and godly life, which can only be obtained through understanding and believing of who Jesus is and has done.


Some people only hear enough of Religion to be Immune from the Gospel! tweet


Much of our society has fallen prey to the “Frog in the Pot” principle. In which says, if you throw a frog in a pot of boiling hot water to cook it will jump out because of the reaction of its muscles. But if you put the frog in a pot of water and slowly turn up the heat the frog will slowly cook without jumping out. Now whether that is the case or not, it most definitely makes a great illustration for the Christian. If we go through our lives with a nonchalant mentality letting the darkness of the age and half truths slowly creep in without resisting and “jumping out” so to speak, we will slowly be changed and “cooked” without realizing it.

In Peter’s second epistle he warns the believers about the onslaught of false teachings amongst the church. He describes in 2 Pet. 3:16-18, those who are doing the teaching as those who are “untaught and unstable people” twisting the scriptures to to fit their lives instead of the person being conformed to the scriptures. These distortions and twisting of God’s word will damage and sway those who are not grounded and diligent in the things of God. Therefore Peter strongly says, “beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked”. He explains not only to be on the defense from wrong teaching, but also to be on the offence growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.


The Believer must stand for Truth or he’ll become a “Frog in a Pot”, being gradually deceived!   tweet


Paul also speaks on this same topic to the believers in Ephesus in Eph. 1:15-20, where he prays that their mind’s eye would be open to understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for them. The bottom line is if we are not familiar with the reality of Christ and His work (the Gospel), then we are more acceptable to being swayed or deceived from the truth. Just like the frog in the pot, we will slowly be changed or destroyed by the gradual rising of deception.

It’s time that the Church teaches the whole Word of God and not just a lopsided message that will only immune many from the Gospel.

Don’t Mess with the Family!

Beaver CleaversRemember, when June, Ward, Wally, and Beaver Cleaver represented the American family, in the show Leave It to Beaver? One of the worst things that happened in their family if I remember right was when Beaver broke a vase on the mantle. They always pictured a strong stable family even in the midst of weekly dilemmas. Unfortunately, today is a whole different story. It seems as if there is an attack on the traditional family.

Not too many families even sit down together and eat dinner anymore. More tragic is the fact that the definition is being changed by our society. Same-sex couples took their vows for the first time May 17, 2004, in the state of Massachusetts and now, after deliberation for over a month, on Friday, June 26th the Supreme Court handed down their ruling that same sex marriage is legal. No longer is the American family considered a sacred assembly.

Today, on top of redefining marriage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are over 1.6 million births to unmarried mothers, which is a staggering 40.8% of all births in the USA. The Divorce Source, Inc. indicates divorce rates have escalated in recent years with numbers hitting 877,000! The voice of some activist says that the family must be done away with because it’s enslavement to women.


God knew a society needed guidelines and boundaries of righteousness to keep it strong and prospering, so He instituted the Family   (Tweet)


Social professionals agree that the disintegration of the family structure is the cause of an intense major problem in America. The percentage of mothers not at home but serving in the work place is on the rise, producing a generation of “latch key kids” named for their ability to let themselves in their own houses after school because mothers weren’t home. The family is being attacked, and we’re doing nothing!

When the God-defined family deteriorates, there’s also a decline in morals. God knew a society needed guidelines and boundaries of righteousness to keep it strong and prospering. Family is a means that God has established to help keep a righteous structure in our society, keeping out any immoral rust that brings confusion and deception.

Sexual Immorality is a problem that has touched our land from the White House to our own homes. There was a time when politicians were pressured to back out of politics due to sexual immoralities. Present-day polls say, “If it doesn’t affect their jobs we don’t care what they do at home. That’s their business!” Whole cities have holidays where there is nothing but drunkenness and immorality! Our young people say, “Everyone’s doing it!” Some say, “If you don’t experiment, how will you know if it’s right?” With all the different influences, it is no wonder our families are going headlong downward.

The Internet is full of pornography and is an easy access for anyone wanting or just stumbling on to it! Adult bookstores outnumbered McDonald’s in the US by a margin of at least three to one. Annual revenues of the pornography industry in the U.S. are $13.3 billion. This is more than the revenues of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball combined says the Stop Porn Culture.

Anytime a nation or society gives way to what the Bible defines as immoral lifestyles, it soon opens the doors to all kinds of unnatural and warped acts of sexual sin resulting in it’s downfall. The Church must respond to the urgency of the hour with a loving but firm voice of righteousness, “Don’t Mess with the Family”!

Blessed is the Nation that Comes Together in Prayer

praying in a huddleAs the clock struck twelve, the crowds had only one thing on their mind—getting to the place of prayer. The whole city was shut down, businesses closed their doors, schools dismissed class early, and even the legislature had called it a day. The year was 1905, and from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., the eyes of the city were looking to God for his guidance. The mayor of Denver had declared a day of prayer, resulting in more than twelve thousand in attendance in downtown prayer meetings.

During this same time, over two hundred businesses closed for three hours of prayer in Portland, Oregon. In Burlington, Iowa, many stores and factories closed to allow their employees to go to prayer meetings. There seemed to be a yearning and anticipation for a fresh move of God sweeping through people of every social and ethnic level. Churches were bulging full of people praying and seeking God. The news of the great Welsh revival spread through the land like wild fire, causing a hunger to be aroused in America. The result of this great move of prayer was powerful. Many denominations recorded a significant increase in their membership. Things were beginning to be stirred and get in place for the soon coming Azusa Street Revival in 1906.

Nearly fifty years earlier, a similar movement of prayer took place, bringing our country to its knees. It all started in 1857, in Manhattan, New York, area, with an individual named Jeremiah Lanphier, who had a burden from the Lord to start a noon prayer meeting. He advertised and promoted it, which soon brought a steady increase in attendance. Before long, prayer meetings began to spring up in almost every public building downtown. The local newspaper’s publicity thrust a landslide of prayer, beginning a movement that spread throughout New England

The revival that followed had no boundaries going out in every direction changing lives. Shortly after the revival had begun, the country found itself in the middle of the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil. Yet, due to the moving of God, many of the men who lost their lives had been prepared for eternity through God’s grace and mercy.

The effects of this revival touched even the White House. President Lincoln, being concerned about America and how it had become too successful and self-sufficient, full of pride, gave his Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer. On April 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said, “It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” The results of this great revival not only carried on, but also lasted for many years. It had begun in a passion for prayer and was sustained with faithfulness of prayer!


When God’s people come together in persistent powerful prayer, God breaks in with radical results!       Tweet


Mathew Henry once said, “When God intends a great mercy for his people, he first sets them a praying.” We must find the place of prayer! Revival has never come through great preaching or successful programs. We must set ourselves to prayer, seeking to be changed by the power of God. Only when we have touched the hem of his garments will we see a visitation of God!

I Can’t Pray Because My Knees Hurt

AR0162-002In the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains the old deserted logging roads made great walking trails above our ranch. Growing up I remember how my mother loved to take her walks in the brisk mountain air. There were times that my siblings and I would be having fun and run up the trail to catch my mother only to find her deep in prayer. After several times of interrupting her we soon realized that this was her private time of praying. She loved to walk and talk with the Lord.

The Bible reveals many different postures of prayer; some people prayed sitting, some standing, some kneeling as well as lying prostrate before the Lord. Paul encouraged Timothy to pray with hands lifted up (1 Tim. 2:8). Others stand or sit in circles holding hands. Still some people think if you’re not kneeling then you’re not really praying. I don’t believe there is any one posture that we must use to pray, on the contrary, there are many ways. Whatever position seems to help you keep focused in your prayer life is the right way. My mother’s posture of prayer was her walks.


If we sow in prayer then we will reap in the fruit of answered prayer.   (Tweet)


After my friend gave his life to the Lord in high school, he became aware that one of the basic principles of growing in Christ was learning to pray. With the best of intentions, he got up before school and tried to pray, but would fall back asleep consistently. One day he had a genius idea. He would stand on the open toilet and pray, knowing that would give him the incentive to keep awake and pray. Well, we might not have to go to that extreme, but whatever gets us to the place of prayer and keeps our eyes on the Lord, that’s the posture we need to take.

Prayer is like evaporated water that comes from the ocean. As we continue to pray it builds up in the clouds then the clouds move with the wind of God’s will and pour down their abundance of rain. Some say the bowls of intercession that we read about in Revelation 5:8 become full and overflow upon the earth. In other words, prayer produces fruit!. If we sow in prayer then we will reap in the fruit of answered prayer. But we must find a posture of prayer that enables us to fill the bowls in heaven with our intercession.

In response to the disciples question “teach us to pray”, Jesus says, “When you pray, say:” (Luke 11:2).  Jesus’ statement is not telling them a time or position of prayer, but rather indicates that prayer is an ordinary and normal function of a believer’s life. Jesus could have told them His favorite posture of prayer but He specifically didn’t, knowing it would cause His followers to make a religious ritual out of one set posture. Rather, He just conveys that we need to pray. Jesus’ only mention of a posture of prayer was moments earlier when He was referring to the way the Pharisees were standing on the street corner to be seen by man. Indicating that our heart must be right not our posture.

My sister loves to pray as she runs the trail along the rim of the Snake River canyon. But the point is not where or how we should pray, kneeling, sitting or lying down, but that our posture is conducive for us to pray.

Any Time is the Perfect Time

clock time The times of prayer can be as different as the places of prayer. Looking back to my childhood I can remember my parents, being involved in many different prayer meetings. Therefore, they would bring different ones of us children with them to the various meetings. In fact, I feel I had the privilege of cutting my teeth in prayer meetings. As I look back over the many years there is one definite fact that I’ve come to realize about prayer. That is, there is no one set time to pray, on the contrary the scriptures reference many different times of prayer.
In Psalm 55:16-17 we read David’s words, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” The religious culture of that day held prayer three times a day. We see this also in Daniel 6:10, “…he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”


The perfect time for prayer is any time that allows you to connect

to the God that loves you. (click to tweet)   


For many years, I have been involved in morning prayer meetings. I started this routine when I was just out of bible school and attending a church in Rockwall, Texas. God used my pastor to stir thousands to pray in the mornings for one hour. The scripture Mark 1:35 was the inspiration, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out …and there He prayed.” This teaching swept through America and abroad. motivating multitudes to get up early and find their place of intercession each morning..
Some churches hold all night prayer meetings. Luke 6:12 tells us that Jesus prayed all night, “… He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” When I was a youth pastor my pastor would call the whole church, to an all-night prayer meetings. Different departments were assigned to lead different hours through the night. As well, I remember a time in Haiti some years back where I had the privilege to attend a prayer meeting. Thirty of us, with the stars as our backdrop, prayed from night until early morning on the housetop.
In 1857 New York City was ablaze with the fire of prayer. God had placed a burden to pray at noon for revival and spiritual renewal on Jeremiah C. Lamphier. This movement of noon prayer spread like wild fire across the city and then the country. At one time the famed newspaper editor Horace Greeley sent a reporter by horse and buggy to count the attendance at the different noon prayer meetings and was only able to get to twelve locations, but counted 6,100 who had come to pray.
We see in the last 10 years across the globe the explosion of 24 hour continuous prayer and praise meetings. Inspired by David’s tabernacle (1 Chr. 23:5; 25:7), where 288 singers and 4,000 musicians that were dedicated full-time to minister to the Lord and serve others. In Luke 18:7 Jesus says that God will bring justice to those that “cry out day and night to Him.
Believers are crying out to God in prayer every hour of the day and night. Whether it is morning, noon or evening, once a week or special times, there is a stirring in the belly of the church to cry out to Heaven in prayer. The perfect time for prayer is any time that allows you to connect to the God that loves you