Faithful Follower or Fair-Weathered Fan?

Featured

a1 fan

Like a spiritual father that he was, Paul exhorts his spiritual children in Corinth to not be swishy washy in their walk. We read his words in 1 Cor 15:58 where he says, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”. As he closed this first letter he seemed to be giving them a last nugget of encouragement to keep them from vacillating in their commitment to following Christ.

Some years back when our hometown team was on the verge of going to the World Series, which they did eventually clinched. People came out of the woodwork and jumped on the bandwagon of being a fan. Everyone was buying t-shirts, banners and talking the talk at the water fountain and coffee counter. Everyone seemed to be diehard committed fans all of a sudden. They call these type fans, fare-weathered fans, because they are only committed to the team when it is easy and convenient.

I think many believers fall in this same type category of commitment in their walk with the Lord. You might call them fare weathered Christians. They are committed to Christ and His teachings as long as there aren’t any storms of life or a losing season in their daily disciplines. On the other side of the coin when they are in the midst of over flowing blessings it is easy to jump on the bandwagon of commitment. Yet, Paul knew that the believer was called to stand firm in their faith no matter what comes their way. Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. Therefore, Paul also exhorts the believers in 1 Cor 9:24-26 to be like


   Only being committed when it is easy and convenient is being a fare-weathered fan for Christ


the runner in a race that runs to win the race not just to be strolling down the track of life and also to those believers in Ephesus He says, “having done all to stand therefore stand”. (Eph. 6:12) Commitment without endurance is just a desire that never manifests into reality. The followers of Christ must live a lifestyle committed to being obedience to Christ rather than just being hinged with some sort of sacrifice. What I am trying to say is there must be more than just sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22-23) Commitment is a must for every believer!

In Ps. 132 we read the psalmists conversation with the Lord, where he prayed that God would remember David’s commitment to Him. From the sheep fields to the Kingship it seems that this determined commitment that was birthed in him, grew more and more over time. The Spirit describes his determination and intensity in Acts 13:22, saying, “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will”. The Psalmist briefly reminds God of David’s commitment in Ps 132:2-5 which says, “How he … vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, Or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes … Until I find a place for the Lord”. David never strayed from this passionate commitment to God, in fact if anything, it increased. Scripture reveals how David wasn’t perfect, but his heart was moved for God and the more he leaned into intimacy with Jesus, I believe God kept pouring His heart into him. In a sense, you could say God was stoking the fire of heaven in David’s heart over the years.

After your gone, how will people remember your commitment to God? What will be written on your headstone? Have you given Him opportunity to increase your burning passion to the point that your commitment is at the same intensity as David?

 

 

 

 

 

The Cost of Impatience

1a1aa - impatienceThere’s nothing like entering the stage of life where God blesses you with children. It is an incredible season, yet the transition between only having to worry about yourself to the wake up call of now having a baby that doesn’t understand patience and timing can be eye opening to say the least. I remember in that season how the nights that I was beyond tired was when our sweet cuddly bundle of love turned into a screaming creature from the dark side. That sweet little crying baby never understood anyone else’s needs, only that they wanted their bottle now and that you’re not moving fast enough!

Sadly, many believers are responding in the same way when it comes to receiving the promises of God. When things aren’t coming together in their timetable they begin to be agitated and respond with unwarranted reactions that can, if not stopped, abort the promises of God. It says in Prov. 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. When we are faced with delays we can quickly turn to hopelessness and begin to lose heart, even becoming sluggish in achieving God’s promises.

We see this happening on one of Moses many trips up the mountain. We read in Ex 32:1, “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, … we do not know what has become of him”.  Now, remember these are the people that God delivered from the Egyptians. God ended hundreds of years of slavery through a great show of His power. (Gen.15:13-14) He went before them as a “Pillar of Fire and a Cloud by day! (Ex 13:21-22)  He opened the Red Sea for a way of escape and then closed it upon the vicious army coming to annihilate them! (Ex 14:21-23, 27-28) Then shortly before this passage the children of Israel had seen God descend upon Mount Sinai in a dark cloud with rumblings and lightening’s, speaking audibly the Ten Commandments before all the children of Israel. (Ex 20:18-19, 22)

They truly had multiple encounters with their all-powerful God that had chosen them to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation before Him, (Ex. 19:6) yet they still slid to a place of impatience when Moses delayed coming down the mountain. You would think after a number of times witnessing God calling him up to commune with Him and to receive instruction on their behalf, that they would be patient and content. Yet it was not so!

The human spirit has a tendency to want things now not later, even if that means trying to help God fulfill His plan with our own strength. Just as Abram and Sari, when they became impatient and produced an Ishmael themselves. (Gen. 16:1-2) Esau was so hungry and impatient after hunting all day that he sold His birthright for soup. (Gen. 25:29-35, Heb. 12:16)

Israel’s impatience motivated them to pursue Aaron to create a god of gold that they might serve and worship it. (Ex. 32:1-2) The gold that they used is what they received from the Egyptians when they left bondage. Isn’t it like many of God’s people in our society? We get tired of contending for His promises, so we create a golden calf that fits our convenience out of the blessings we received from God in the first place.

Let me encourage you as Paul said, not to be weary along the journey, for we will see God’s promises fulfilled if we don’t quit! (Gal. 6:9) Our impatience will only end up costing us the blessings we received from God.

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  • Have you ever been so impatient for whatever reason and did something foolish?
  • Have you ever known anyone to try and help God fulfill what He has promised you? Explain?

 Quotes to Tweet:

  • The human spirit has a tendency to want things now not later, even if that means trying to help God fulfill His plan with our own strength. billvirgin.com 
  • When we are faced with delays we can quickly turn to hopelessness and begin to lose heart, even becoming sluggish in achieving God’s promises. – billvirgin.com

#TheresACostToOurImpatience           #DontDiscardWhatGodAccepts    

 

 

Sing like Pottery that’s taken out of the Fire

a1 pottery in kilnThe anticipation of getting to see our finished clay pottery was overwhelming. It was almost like being a young child before we were able to open Christmas presents. We had gone to the Potter’s House and learned about the process from start to finish. Then as if with God’s divine grace the potter let each of us young students make our own piece of pottery. But due to the curing and drying time that it entailed before the firing we left them at the potter’s shop. Now a month later and once they were done being fired in the kiln, they were delivered to our art classroom. The buzz of the news went through the school like a wild fire in the dry prairie.

In 2 Tim 2:20-22 Paul writes young Timothy and uses the allegory of a house and furniture to our spiritual man saying, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work”. Paul in his exhorting Timothy brings out the truth that there are things in our lives that will bring honor to God and His purposes and then there are also things that bring dishonor.

If we will embrace the cleansing and working of God, the Master potter, in our lives we will be purged from anything dishonoring and become vessels of honor. Paul let’s us know that we have a responsibility ourselves as we submit to the potters forming and shaping in our lives. When we yield to His workings then we become useful to the Master and are equipped for His work. To the Ephesians Paul shares this same thought in Eph 2:10, where we read, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Also to the Roman believers Paul says, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor”? (Rom 9:20-21)

As I am often taken back to the memory of that tour of the potter’s shop, where I remember the potter saying how the drying time of the clay pottery was so crucial and important. He said it might seem boring, as it should take between 1 to 2 weeks of just sitting and drying, but that you don’t want to hurry the process. When it is prematurely quickened most often it will bring cracks and damage to the clay pot, ending in returning to the soaking and reforming which adds much more time to the process. But when its done right the dry clay pottery goes into the kiln. The kiln is a oven that will perfectly fire the pottery from 1800 up to 2200 degrees. Then to bring beauty and brilliance it is glazed and fired again. When the piece of pottery comes out of the fiery kiln you can tap it with a utensil and it will bring forth a beautiful sound.

In our lives we can see God’s commitment to developing us into vessels of Honor in the same process as the natural potter does to His pottery. We will have times of sitting and drying and seasons of extreme heat being turned up in our lives. Peter says in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice…”. When we embrace the fires in our life, keeping our eyes on Jesus we will be as the pot that sings. Glorifying the Lord!

His Eyes are on us because He Passionately Loves Us!

images-76

I am reminded how growing up, my brothers and I were a little bit rowdy, well maybe not just a little. So often we would hear my mother say, “I have my eye on you”. This was not necessarily a negative statement dependent upon our actions. If our actions were disruptive it would bring correction and if they were good then it always brought reward and affirmation. My mother’s words were rooted in feelings of endearment. Her eyes were on us because she knew us and loved us.

In a time of corporate prayer and seeking the Lord, I was reminded of what God spoke to King Solomon at the end of a Solemn Assembly. God’s people had gathered together for the dedication of the new temple and now God speaks to the King saying in 2 Chron 7:15-16, “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually”.

When God’s people come together in a unified heart, focusing and positioning themselves on God and His will, not only will He come in healing, physically and spiritually. But we see that Gods eyes and ears will be on them. For where His heart is, His eyes and ears are also. God loves His children!

Where the scripture says He will keep His eyes on us, I believe it’s a direct result of His passionate love for us. In Deut 32:10, it refers to His children as the apple of Gods eye and earlier it says that His people are His portion. In other words you get the idea that God is crazy in love with His people. In Romans 8:34-39, Paul tells us that not only is Jesus interceding for us but that there is nothing that can separate us from His love for us. That’s a huge statement! He lets us know that we have security through the love of God. It is imperative that we understand that nothing can separate you and I from His love. Whether, natural or spiritual, there is not one thing big or small that can divide us from His incredible love.

He will take notice of their action and mark the place as holy, a place that is sanctified and separated unto Him. There is protection and blessing when He watches over us. He listens for our cry with a greater level of attentiveness, because we have touched His heart. Just as a mother can now purchase technical products, such as audio and visual monitors that help them keep their ear and eye on their babies. All because of there love and desires to be a good parent. How much more does God hear and watch over us.

Some individuals have a warped concept of God and His love for them. Whether it’s because of a bad example of a father figure or a lack of understanding, they see God as a cosmic kill joy keeping an eye on them to catch them in a mistake. This cannot be any further from the truth. In 2 Chron 16:9, we read that God is looking for an opportunity to move powerfully in behalf of His people. It says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

As we seek Him and move towards Him in prayer, we need to be confident in the fact that His eyes are on us. Understanding that He sees and moves towards us with the desire to show His love on our behalf.

Let us not wait till it’s too late to do something

IMG_1150The Scripture says whoever will come after Christ, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Christ. (Mk. 8:34) It doesn’t come easy or cheap, but the effects are life changing. Leonard Ravenhill declares, “Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, GIVE ME REVIVAL in my soul and in my church and in my nation—or GIVE ME DEATH!”

Have you gotten to the place that ordinary routine is nauseating? I believe just religiously going to church, receiving nothing more than entertainment causes decay and a slow spiritual decline. If we are not going to obtain the best God has for us, then we might as well just go home to heaven. The choice is easy—either it is life or death! We must press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God!(Phil 3:14)

In the story of Esther, we see the divine orchestration of God. The Jews were in a desperate situation, with death lurking at the door of their comfort zone. It looked hopeless for they needed a miracle to get themselves out of this tight spot. They didn’t go looking for the hottest and most fiery Jewish evangelist to bring in a change. No! They got on their faces and began to fast and pray. They began to beseech God with fasting and prayer for his intervention and deliverance. In the end the stamp of approval on what she had done was God’s great deliverance for the Jewish people.

Anywhere you look in our society, you can see the destroyer at the door. The thief comes not but to steal, kill, and destroy. (Jn 10:10) Whatever we have, whether it is our life, our family, or our nation, it is his aim to destroy it. America, the great unsinkable land of opportunity, is on a course headed for destruction. The signs are in the sky. The evidence is clear. It is now the time to lay hold of the reason for which Christ has laid hold of us! Let us seek the Lord while he may still be found. I cringe at the thought of ever having the Lord speak about me as he did about Jerusalem. In Luke 19:44 Jesus says, “Because you did not know the time of your visitation,” there would be no peace, and Jerusalem would have destruction. Now is the season of our visitation. It says in Joel 2:28, “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.”

The church must awake out of its slumber and receive God’s visitation on his people. Then the church will reap in righteousness and see revival. Let us not wait till it’s too late to do something. The night is far spent; the hour is at hand. Using the words of the Psalmist, let us cry out to the Lord, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You.” The church must humble itself and repent from its arrogance and haughty attitudes. Peter speaks to the men of Israel in Acts 3:19. He tells them to, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Only through our brokenness and turning away from sin will we truly see the refreshing of the Lord. The time is now for us to sow in prayer and fasting. Instead of decreasing our prayer time, we need to increase in prayer power. We must search the very intent of our heart and get , getting rid of every hindrance that would stand in the way of revival. Then ask the Lord right now to begin to stoke the fires and passion for revival in your hearts.

Roll Up Your Sleeves and get it Done!

A1 roll up sleevesWords can’t explain the deluge of emotions that comes over you when you see your daughter walk across the stage of graduation! It’s as if an internal video automatically starts rolling in your mind. The day they were born, the first steps they took and so on. I wish I could say it gets easier, but the emotions just continue as time quickly goes down the road of life.

But, there’s nothing more awesome then to see your children who have your “DNA” begin the journey of life. Now that we’ve wiped the tears of emotions away let’s remember the reality of the process! Dirty diapers, screaming through the nights, acts of devilish fits, deceptive disobedience and last minute school projects after a long hard day at work. Wow! There is definitely work involved in the process


Don’t just sit on your blessed assurance but continue the journey of faith  


of life. They will always be our children and have our “DNA” but without rolling up their sleeves and doing some work they will never develop into a successful reflection of their parents. They must learn how to be a functioning member of our household. Their “DNA” never changes but they are fashioned into a true reflection of who we are as they yield to our guidance.

Paul addresses in his letter to the Romans some of these issues of growing as a believer. (Rom. 7:21-25) They hadn’t been raised up under Jewish traditions yet they came to the new birth through Christ Jesus. He exhorts these gentiles, in Rom 12:1-2 that the process of life in the Kingdom of God goes on even after the new birth. We now have a new DNA and have become children of light instead of darkness. (Eph. 5:8) It’s like Jesus said to Nicodemus we have been “born again”(Jn. 3:3), and now have started a glorious journey as a believer in Jesus! We are now citizens of the household of God (Eph 2:19) through the finished work of Christ on the cross. (Col. 2:11-15) But that’s not all there’s more!

Paul Exhorts the believers in Rome not to just sit on their blessed assurance but to continue the journey of faith. He says in Rom 12:1-2, “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”. It is Continue reading

The First Step can be the Hardest

images-62I would imagine we all have experienced times where we are gripped with fear of the unknown. Like my sister and brother who when they were younger took skydiving lessons. Yes, they jumped out of perfectly good airplanes at 13,000 ft above the earth. They said the hardest part of their adventure was the first step out of the plane into the unknown atmosphere. Wow! I don’t want to even imagine how I might feel. I would probably scream like a baby.

Let me say no matter how old or rickety the plane might be, it’s made to fly and becomes a comfort zone for those in it. But, when we are faced with defying the established laws of the universe, as those who are expected to jump out of a plane are, you will more than likely get hit in the face with fear, doubt and anxiety. Why, because we weren’t made to fly.

With that in mind let’s look at Matt 14:23-33, where Jesus sends the disciples by boat to the other side before Him. Being in a boat on the water was a comfortable and familiar way of life and for some like Peter and Andrew it was where they had


It’s only when you get out of your boat do you see the miracles of God. 


made their living. Yet, things were radically going to change in their surrounding and life. A boisterous storm moves in changing the atmosphere and out of the dark Jesus comes walking on the water overturning their comfort and ultimately challenging their faith. Thinking Jesus could be a ghost fear began to grip and overtake them. With calming words of “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Jesus speaks to them. But Peter wanting more evidence, like a child saying to his peers “prove it”. He blurts out, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” The vary fact that Peter would even consider asking this was mind-boggling. What he asked shows that he believed that Jesus had the power to override any earthly limitations or laws. I believe a mixture of assurance and dread came over him when Jesus answered with the word, “Come”.

It was probably like the feeling my brother and sister felt when it was time to jump out of the plane. That first step of transitioning from security and familiarity over to the unknown is one many will never overcome. But if never taken there is the absent of experiencing the wonders and adventure of over-riding the established


God doesn’t want us to stay where were at but to crossover to the other side


limitations. When Peter acted on the word of Jesus, which revealed his understanding of who he understood Jesus as, he walked on water. Peter began to move in another dimension, one that none has ever walked in to the same extent. He not only gets the award for being the only one to walk on water but more importantly he confirmed to himself the belief that Jesus was able to empower him Continue reading

Yes, I am my Fathers son

images-37  I love when different ones identifying me as my father’s son. It immediately gives me an identity in our family as well as, there comes a comfort and sense of privilege when I represent by family name. That was a big part of the birthright we see in scripture. The first-born son would receive the authority and privilege of leading the family once the father would pass it down. It was a position of honor, prestige and authority but also carried the burden and weight of responsibility. Any place for arrogance and pride in this position would quickly be swallowed up by the demands that were on the person who would carry the fathers’ name.

Unfortunately, we have an epidemic of children being raised up without or not knowing their father living in our society, which breeds’ emptiness and a orphaned mentality. Once we have lost that identity it quickly flows into forgoing the


We will never know who we are until we have understanding of who Jesus is. (tweet)


blessings of the father’s name also. Esau is a sad but real biblical example of so many others that have given up their identity and birthright with lead to the deteriorating of the blessing. (Gen.   )

I believe that is why Jesus when coming into the region of Caesarea Philippi huddled up His disciples and asked them some pointed questions. He started off with wanting to know what they had heard about who He was around the water fountains and the coffee shops of their day. In Matt 16:14, we read that they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets”. So there was a lot of religious talk going on in the area, but as we know ourselves, that can lead to confusion if it is not ground on the truth. So Jesus probes a little deeper and asks, “who do you say that I am?” This was a “pop quiz” just like your teacher would give you growing up after a long weekend. She wanted to make sure you were learning correctly so everything else she taught would fall in place that next week. Right? So in the same token Jesus was now pressing the envelope to see what the disciples were learning or maybe catching. Did they really understand the depth and truth of who He was? Was it sinking in or was this just a casual social club that would have no lasting impression for them? Jesus wants us to know Him.

The bottom line is we will never know who we are until we have understanding of who He is. We will go through life knowing the surface talk of religion without ever being penetrated by the power of knowing who He is and what


We will only begin to walk in the benefits and authority of son-ship with Christ when we really catch the revelation of who Jesus is ourselves.


He has done for us. Making the statement of thanks to the “man upstairs” after a sports game or the action of pointing up once a touch down has been made is not enough to settle the dilemma of birthright in our lives.

Peter blurts out a download from heaven that he probably hadn’t really digested himself in response to Jesus’ question. He says, in verse 16 “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus immediately let’s them know that this answer was straight from the heart of God the Father. It was a divine revelation that Jesus would establish His church in the earth. And that would be the prevailing truth that would sustain His people from the onslaughts of the enemy.  When you and I come to that understanding ourselves we will truly begin to walk in the benefits and authority of son-ship with Christ.

It’s Natural for Things to Change

images-32Doesn’t it seem like your children grow up over night? One minute you’re changing their diapers and the next you’re cheering them on at their little league games. Before you even get the rhythm of the weekly games, they seem to be walking across the stage for their graduation.

It’s natural for things to change. The only thing that will not change is God Himself. In Mal 3:6 God says, “For I am the Lord, I do not change”. God is perfect and therefore is the same yesterday today and forever. (Heb. 13:8) But as far as His creation we are made to change as well as everything around us. Our looks change. Our jobs may change and definitely technology changes. Change is usually uncomfortable and can be down right hard at times. Especially, if we have been resisting it for a while.

It’s the same spiritually. Unless we are continuing to grow in the things of God we are not spiritually healthy. A believer that doesn’t put any effort into growing and wants to coast along will become a casualty sooner or later. To many believers don’t want change in their lives. They are content in taking the road of least resistance in their journey of life. But God demands change!

The story of Jacob in Gen. 25-32 reveals that he had some character flaws in his life as well as, some God given gifts that he had not surrendered to God’s will. Remember, He was a twin to Esau and from birth we see his tenacious spirit and strong will. Jacob’s name reveals his bent towards deception and conniving. He took advantage of his brother in weakness and gained the family birthright and later in an act of deliberate deception tricked his father in pronouncing the blessing on him instead of Esau.

We see no indication that there was ever any conviction or repentance in his younger years for his carnal actions yet God still pursued him. Throughout his life we see the reaping of the ungodly seeds he had planted over journey of many years. We see deception, mistrust and trickery in his marriage, his relationships and his business. (Gen 28-50)

But God had a plan for Jacob, just like He has a plan for our lives. But with that being said, we must allow God to change us. In 2 Tim 2:20, Paul tells Timothy that there are good things and corrupt things in our lives that need to be dealt with. He goes on to say if we take care of the carnal things we will be vessels of honor and useful for the Master. Jesus Himself tells His disciples that we must deny ourselves and follow Him. If we lose our lives for His sake we will gain our lives. (Mk 8:34-35)

With the pressure of the glooming circumstance, Jacob finally came to the place he was willing to deal with these tendencies in his life. We see in Gen 32 that once Jacob crossed over the shallow of the river Jabbok, he is finally willing to face “the music” of his life and be poured out before the audience of one. God wrestles with Jacob who has always wrestled with doing what was right his whole life. Jacob chooses to finally be tenacious for Gods will and therefore will not let go until God changes him. It is through God’s mercy we see Jacob is finally changed because the will of God prevails in his life.

Isn’t it time for you to face those areas in your life that you haven’t surrendered to God? He wants to bless you but you must first be willing to be changed.

It’s Time to Grow Up!

1A- adult on baby bottleThere’s nothing like codling your new born when they first come home from the hospital and they still smell so new. Starting the journey of parenthood can be an exhilarating time in ones life. My wife would wrap our children when they were in that infant stage and bring them to me, so I could feed them and love on them. Wow! There’s nothing like it!

But if you fast-forward the journey, it definitely will get different. They have nothing on their mind other than playing with their friends and living life to it’s fullest. Feeding time can look like a litter of young pups knocking over anything and everything that stands in the way of their bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning. Sadly, the codling goes away and the feeding memories are filed away in the archives of the past.

Even in the bird kingdom in the coming of Spring you can find mother’s bringing worms and insects back to the nest, where the newly hatched babies eagerly await dinner with their mouth open. King Solomon in his wisdom sums it up


It is unnatural and incapable for anyone believer to grow spiritually if they stay spoon-fed     (tweet)


in Eccl 3:2 where he says there’s, “A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;” He pens what many of us parents have already experienced or what some are learning as they are currently in the trenches with raising their children. There are season! What might be cute and making of great memories with your newborn would totally be absurd to do with an older child. Keep cuddling by all means, but let them feed themselves when they’re older.

As Paul writes his letter to the believers in Colosse saying in Col 2:6-7, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Paul in his spiritual fathering exhorts those who had made a decision to receive Jesus as their Lord: to not stop with just a decision but to begin the journey of following their new master. What he says here he also says with more detail to the


If you are Not growing in the Lord… what’s your excuse?    (tweet)


Hebrews that weren’t progressing in their spiritual walk. He says in Heb. 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you 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”.

 

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Fight Vultures!

imagesNot only is the story of Abram fighting vultures away from his sacrifices captivating in Gen 15, but also has helped me in my walk with the Lord over the years. It demonstrates that we have a responsibility to keep our commitments to God as living sacrifices. This story in brief shows God revealing His promise to Abram through a covenant that both agree upon. Also in Deut. 7:9 Moses shares about God’s covenant, “Therefore know that … God (is) faithful … who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments”.

Growing up we have all had childish promises and agreement as friends. Whether it’s a promise to be best friends forever or a promise to keep a secret we have experienced them. But, it’s not until we get older in our life’s journey that we really


Man has proven his inability to keep any agreement without God’s grace and empowerment.   (text)


understand how common covenants and promises between individuals have been throughout history. They were used for territories, peace treaties and passage rights through other lands. Today, we use them in our everyday lives, such as marriage, loans, jobs and etc. Even though most looked much different, all were based on the philosophy of a serious promise. They came with the agreement that if one side or both ever break the agreement it could bring severe consequences.

            In the scripture we see how God’s love for His people is portrayed through His unfolding of His purposes through the making of covenants to individuals through out the ages. Looking at the 9 covenants in scripture give us understanding that God who is the originator of His promises reveal that He is a covenant-making God. He has the right to set up the conditions in which man can enter into or maintain the covenant. He is also a covenant- keeping God. Once He makes covenant with us He will not Continue reading

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!