Mother’s are the Greatest!

IMG_3737I have a hard time finding the appropriate words to describe how grateful I am of my mother and the mother of my children. These two women have done more for me in my life than anyone else other than my Savior who is the one who has graciously given them to me in the first place. As I reminisce of their impact over the years I truly understand that I will most definitely fall short of properly honoring them. In A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, Marion C. Garretty is quoted saying,“A Mother’s love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible”.

In Prov 31:29-30 we read a King’s mother sharing her wisdom to the King and brings honor to the women who has shaped him as well as us. We read, “There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all!” Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn’t last, but a woman who fears and reverences God shall be greatly praised.(NLT)

I want to say I acknowledge that my wife and mother of our children, as well as, my mother are great gifts from God and I can only hope to live a life that brings them the honor that they deserve. I remember some of the attributes that I saw in my wife when we first met and began a friendship, it was a deep love that seemed to ooze from her for God and His word. We began our relationship by going on outreaches together where we


I Stand in Awe as I think How Much of a Blessing Mothers Are to Us!  


would have to spend time fasting and praying with the team. It was during these times of seeing her great reverence for the Lord that I saw her beauty inside and out. And let me say she was a knock out beauty on the outside, but the inside beauty was the substance that raised our children to live Godly lives and help countless other people that were in need along the journey. I remember many nights of her going and holding the hand of different ones that were dying or sitting and interceding with so many others whom were tormented and abused in their darkest hours before their healing came.

I so agree with what President Abraham Lincoln believed and said about his mother, “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” I remember often my own mother’s prayers would awaken me in the mornings or they would get my


I am so Glad God gave me a Mother that Reflected Him!


attention as she took her common prayer walks through our ranch property. I chuckle often when I am reminded about the times that her bold prayers for people in restaurants or around town would embarrass me and make me feel uncomfortable. Yet, now I think back on how those prayers must have been so impacting, not only to me but also to many others.

In 1 Sam 25:1-42 we see the unfolding story of Nabal and his wife Abigail, and how her righteous character stood in the gap before David to spare her husband and workers od death, because of Nabal’s foolishness. She risked her own life to protect others.

A mother is one that stands in the gap with intercession and moves with wisdom as she holds together the family in midst of turmoil and shakiness. One person said it best when they said, “No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you – life”. We know that no mother is perfect but one thing for sure is her actions and sacrifice deserves to be praised and honored. So join me as we do it this week!

 

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Window Rattling Prayers will Change Cities!

images-71In the book of Acts we see believer’s praying so intensely that they shook the very building they were in. Peter and John had been arrested for teaching and preaching the Gospel (Acts 4:31). We read in the chapter before this where a lame man was healed at the gate Beautiful resulting in five thousand people believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:4). Then after being released, Peter and John reported to their friends what was told to them and they began to tenaciously pray. so hard that the walls began to trembled. It was probably similar to when a storm moves in with cracking thunder that rattle your windows and shake the house.

The story continues in Acts 4:31-32, when they had prayed together not only was the place shaken, but they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the Word with boldness. Prayers that shake foundations and rattle windows come when we understand God’s love toward us and have a personal relationship with Him. It’s because of those kind of prayers that they saw the evidence of His power in their midst and brought change in their cities.

Gordon Lindsay was the founder of Christ for the Nations Institute and also the key organizer of the Voice of Healing Fellowship along with being an author of the magazine by the same name. Many mornings as his wife was getting the kids off to


We must be people who bring down the rain of Heaven with our prayers.


school Gordon was just going to bed after being up all night praying and fasting. His accomplishments such as the many books and bible school he founded are a direct result of his life of prayer.

There are many different elements to praying, “window rattling” and “building-shaking” prayers but let me highlight a few. The first element is to be surrendered to God’s will when we pray. We read in John 5:14-15 that we will have confidence when we pray in His will. Why? Because He will hear us and if God hears us then we know He will answer us. Knowing God’s will is knowing the very heartbeat of our heavenly Father.

Second, we must be serious in prayer. In James 5:16-18 it says that Elijah was earnest in prayer. He was a serious prayer warrior and because of it the clouds were shaken to rain. We must be people who bring down the rain of Heaven with our prayers.


When we bring our prayers in line with God’s thoughts and desires, then and only then will we see radical results in our surroundings.  


Third, we must be relentless in prayer. We can’t have a wimpy, quitter’s attitude. In Colossians 4:2 we read, “Don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God’s answers, and remember to be thankful when they come,” (TLB). Let us be relentless when we pray!

Fourth, we must have a humble spirit as we pray. A person who is puffed up with an ego or pride will hinder their prayers. Self-exaltation will cloud our perspective and will position our will before His will.

Fifth, we must not pray with idle words. Religious jargon and empty words are useless and insulting to God’s love. In Matthew 6:7-8 we read Jesus’ words, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do…”.

The bottom line is this, when we pray with a pure heart and press in with a tenacious spirit we will connect with God’s heart. Effective prayers come from individuals who live a life of communing with Him. When we bring our prayers in line with God’s thoughts and desires, then and only then will we see radical results in our surroundings. The course of cities and nations will be supernaturally changed before our eyes and God’s purposes will become reality. God is looking for those who will surrender their agendas for His.

Living a Life in light of the Resurrected Christ

images-70Isn’t it amazing how the weeks following the Easter holiday just slides back into routine? We find our children crashing from their sugar buzz from all the chocolate eggs and the new clothes aren’t new anymore. The family festivities all pass into sweet memories as well as the inspiring messages and church celebrations. The reality of the whole purpose also seems to fade so quickly into the next appointment on our agenda. I can’t help but think that this isn’t all Easter should be. A matter of fact, I believe the scriptural theme backs up a total different outcome. Easter wasn’t ever intended to be over and done with, but to increase more and more.

Several days of celebrating Jesus being falsely accused, scourged, crucified, buried and then risen from the dead for us, doesn’t fulfill the scripture purpose. Don’t get me wrong it’s good to celebrate and have a day of focus; but the whole reason for Christ dying and rising again is to give you and I a life more abundantly (Jn 10:10) as He intended not just an annual event. All of us were caught in inherited sin from Adam in the Garden of Eden, and plunged into a spiraling devolution. Paul describes all humanity


Christ’s death and resurrection is to give you and I a life more abundantly as He intended not just an annual event.


in Rom 3:10 as, “there is none righteous” and in Eph 2:17 “you who are far off”.   Bottom line is that we received a sin problem that separated us from our Heavenly Father, which we inherited through Adam. (Rom. 5:12) But through the incredible gracious and merciful free gift of God through Jesus sacrifice we are declared righteous and reconciled back to God. (Eph. 2:13, 1 Cor. 6:11)       Yes, we definitely have a great reason to be thankful and to celebrate our deliverance from enslavement of sin. But scripture teaches that being justified isn’t the end but a beginning of a glorious journey. Paul describes it as a great transfer. (Rom. 5:19) In what most acknowledge as Paul’s finest and most thorough work on doctrine, we find where he says in his letter to the Roman’s, in chapter 5:18 “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, … even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life”.

The purpose of Easter celebration, which is about our justification through Christ’s death and resurrection, is much more than a holy week or day. God’s intent was a change in the way we live, “a justification of life”. We are purchased from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light, from death unto new life. Paul says in 2 Cor 5:17 “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away…” and in Rom 6:4 he says “…even so we also should walk in newness of life”. The cross is the beginning of


I choose to live a life of victory not just be a Easter believer


every Christian’s walk of faith. God doesn’t want us to stay at the tomb of Jesus who died for us. Jesus wants us to identify with His resurrection and live a life unto righteousness. We shouldn’t go back to the humdrum of mediocrity after Easter, but we need to move forward in victory of life. (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18) If we have been purchased by Christ’s own blood shouldn’t we live a life that reflex’s His great mercy and power. Yet, that can only be achieved when are eyes are opened to the living Christ. The two disciples were sad and perplexed in their journey to Emmaus until their eyes were opened to the risen Savior that walked with them. (Jn 21:13-35) It’s time to walk each day in the power of the risen Lord! (Titus 2:13-14)

 

What do you see … In Easter?

cross_4_edit_2There’s just something about this time of the year. The trees are beginning to bud and the flowers are pushing through the soil. Weekends are filled with neighbors busily working in their yards getting ready for the celebration of Easter Sunday. Stores are filled with mothers shopping for their children’s Easter outfits and many children are excitedly decorating baskets and coloring eggs for the annual Easter egg hunt.

I know you can relate with me that it’s almost impossible to walk in the super market without seeing the many Easter candies, decorations and not buying a cart full. Yet the many different ways people see this holiday is as numerous as the many different kinds of candy for the day itself. Some see it as a day for family fun and others see it as games in the sun, while still others a time for spiritual communion. No matter what age people might be many will look at Easter differently.

In John 20:1-8, we see three different views of the empty tomb from three individuals who had been followers of Jesus. Mary Magdalene who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities (Lk 8:2), faithful John the beloved (Jn 21:20) and Peter who


The tomb is Empty because He is not there for He is risen


had days earlier denied Jesus three times (Jn. 18:17-27). Jesus had been falsely convicted and scourged to inches of His life and then violently crucified before all Jerusalem. Then as if to cover and seal this horrendous demonic act He is buried in a tomb to be forgotten, or is He?

In verse one we read where Mary rises before dawn to go to the tomb where she finds the stone rolled away making the tomb open and alarming. She looks and immediately runs back and with the announcement that Jesus had been taken from the tomb arouse the disciples. Franticly, Peter and John run to the place where Jesus had been laid and John being first looks in the vacant tomb with out entering. When Peter arrives he goes on in and sees the empty space with the intriguing evidence of the folded headscarf. They all three looked at the situation and drew their conclusions resulting in their different responses.

If we inspect a little deeper the words that are used in Johns account we see that there our three different words used to describe how these three looked at the empty tomb. Mary, who came first with spices as well as John in the beginning looked with a


I owed a debt I could not pay and Jesus paid a debt He did not owe.


casual glance, which brought Mary to tears and grief (Jn.20:11-15). Peter as he arrived passed up John and went into the tomb and looked as a critical spectator, which resulted in him going back to his old lifestyle. Finally John who started out looking casually now goes into the tomb after Peter and inspects the evidence and remembering Jesus words perceives with understanding, which leads him to believe.

Now this leads me to the day we live in where there seems to be so many people with so many different perspectives about the Easter story, which will result in many different outcomes in their lives. Those that see it as just chocolate bunnies, chicks and eggs seem to live with no eternal perspective and without hope. Then there’s those that have a slight grasp of its religious meaning, yet because of their lack of understanding live with a critical and cynical view point. But, there’s one more group that have ventured to go in deeper with faith filled vision choosing to believe the message that Jesus is risen as the angel declared! (Lk.24:6) What do you see? I choose to believe He is risen indeed, how about you?

I am going to do it even if I have Screaming Eagles in my Stomach!

Thankfulness - sunsetFew Christians have seriously pressed into the realm of prayer and fasting. The church has nonchalantly looked the other way and has stopped talking about this biblical principle. Denying ourselves isn’t convenient or enjoyable to our flesh. I know when I fast it seems as if there are screaming eagles in my stomach!

God is awakening courageous believers to the understanding of the empowerment of a fasted lifestyle. Unfortunately, that will never happen until we crucify our flesh and combine fasting with our prayers. They go hand-in-hand. Hunger is one of the body’s strongest cravings. When the believer seeks God and His


I am going to Fast even if it gives me Screaming Eagles in my Stomach! –


kingdom by going without food it demonstrates self-humbling and a sacrifice of personal pleasure. (Ps.35:13)  It is a dynamic principle that every believer needs to practice throughout his or her lives. It can’t be just a quick fix button that we use when we are in a jam or a medal we wear to proclaim our self-righteousness.

In Isaiah 58:6 we read, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke”? The scriptures openly tell us that God has chosen the fast as a way to loose bondages and release those who are oppressed. We see today many renowned ministers and ministries promoting fasting and prayer such as, Jentzen Franklin, Mike Bickle as well as, the late Dr. Bill Bright and his ministry, Campus Crusade for Christ International, have stirred churches, pastors and their congregations around the world to pray and fast for godly change. These men also live a fasted lifestyle and have seen the power and impact of it. Dr. Bright said, “Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines. Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life.” Joel 2:12 says, “’Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’” Fasting is in the same category as wholeheartedly turning toward Him. Derek Prince said, “Fasting breaks down the barriers in man’s


Fasting can’t be just a quick fix button or a medal we wear to proclaim our self- righteousness.


carnal nature that stand in the way of the Holy Spirit’s omnipotence. With these barriers removed, the Holy Spirit can work unhindered in His fullness through our
prayers”.

Fasting gets the believer serious about God’s will. In the book of Acts, we see the early church practiced and was vigilant in fasting. Acts 13:2-3, “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” Matthew Henry says about this passage, “We see here a divine warrant and commission to Barnabas and Saul to go and preach the gospel among the Gentiles, and their ordination to that service by the imposition of hands, with fasting and prayer.” The early church understood the seriousness of fulfilling God’s will and His calling; therefore, they denied themselves and fasted.

There is a moving of God’s Spirit upon the community of believers all across the world to live a life of prayer and fasting. Humbling ourselves before the Lord will bring a desire to hear His heartbeat and know His will. Isn’t it time for every believer to return to Biblical truth and practice this lifestyle? Getting serious in prayer and fasting will bring the powerful results that we so desperately need in our culture. Are you ready to get back to the Biblical principles of fasting?

   Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. What do you think of when you hear the word fasting? Maybe going in for a medical procedure, or a hunger strike? In your own words define what you and your friends think about fasting

 

  1. What do you think the biblical principle of fasting’s part is in the church today. Is it a thing of the past ? Does it bend God’s arm to answer us?
  1. Other than the scriptures mentioned above do you know of any other Biblical stories of fasting? Explain the Story?

 Quotes to Tweet:    

  • I am going to Fast even if it gives me Screaming Eagles in my Stomach! – billvirgin.com
  • Fasting can’t be just a quick fix button or a medal we wear to proclaim our self-   righteousness. – billvirgin.com
  • Getting serious in prayer and fasting will bring the powerful results that we so desperately need in our culture.   – billvirgin.com

#FastingGivesMeScreamingEaglesInMyStomach     #JoinTheFastingMovement

 

Does A Spoonful of Sugar really help the Message go Down?

images-56I refuse to think that I was the only kid that would fake being sick for the sole purpose of getting a spoon full of sugar. It wasn’t until sometime later when I saw the popular Disney movie called “Mary Poppins” that I realized that my mother along with many probably adapted the same method of dowsing a little medicine with sugar just like the song in the movie. It was such a catchy jingle that most of us can sing it to this day, “A spoon full of sugar helps make the medicine go down”. My


Repackaging the Gospel so that it will not be offensive is a dangerous and slippery slope of deception


question is does the little bit of sweet really help or hurt in the long run? Have we sweetened the medicine so much that now society doesn’t want the medicine anymore just the sweets? What seemed like a good idea might have had some serious consequences.

I believe in a similar way we have done the same thing in the church today with the message of the cross. Repackaging the Gospel so that it will not be offensive is a dangerous and slippery slope of deception. When we take the power of God out of the message of the cross, it becomes empty and hollow. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18) I believe


The message that Sin destroys but the Savior restores when there is Serious repentance must be preached!


we have put so much sugar on the message of Christ that we have lost the power of the cross in the church today! Some of our worship services have become nothing more than a Disney production! It might look as if they are useful and productive, but are powerless and un-effective. Salt that has lost it’s usefulness is how Jesus described it. (Matt 5:13) He says we are the salt, but when the salt looses its flavor it’s useless and should be tossed out. The flavor is the message of the cross, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ! The message that Sin destroys but the Savior restores when there is Serious repentance must be preached!

Many have veered from scripture and jump on the bandwagon of “feel good tickle my ear messages”. It might line up people at the door of the church but does it really bring a lasting change in peoples lives? I believe it’s time for the church to wake up and line up with the Word of God. We are called to be reflections and ambassadors of Christ.

In His letters to the seven churches Jesus tells the church of Laodicea in Rev 3:16-17 “…because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth”. Jesus goes on to say that this church was basically coasting along with a mentality of satisfaction and contentment. They arrogantly thought they had everything they needed yet Jesus says in verse 17 that they “…are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. What they thought and what was reality was very opposite to the truth. Because of this self-sufficient attitude Jesus declares He will spew them out of His mouth, representing His disapproval as one does with bad flavored food. Have we produced congregations with that same type of attitude and ineffectiveness?

We need to have such a passion and love for God’s word that we will cry out saying, “give it to us straight with no additives”. Our message doesn’t need to be covered in sugar or ear tickling, but full of truth. In John 8:32 it says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

 

 

 

The Identity Theft that Changed the World

images-55One of the most pointed and enlightening statements of Jesus in scripture is found in John 10:10, where he said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. In this small short statement Jesus gives us the agenda of the enemy and God the Son’s plan for our lives. The enemy wants to steal from us and ruin our lives, but Jesus says He Himself has come to give us life to the fullest. Yet, we must realize this abundant life Jesus is talking about is to be lived out in a real world filled with pain, rejection and failure. Jesus isn’t talking about


Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of life’s problems.


a perfect heaven but a “heaven on earth” reality in the midst of the storms of life. Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of these problems. Scripture warns us that we live within a warfare that can destroy our faith, devastate our self-worth and send us into depression. That’s been the plan of the enemy from our beginning.

I remember the feeling that came over me when I found our shed had been broken into and the power equipment had been stolen out of it. It was feelings of violation and confusion, let alone the anger that rose up, because someone had the nerve to trespass against me. In this world there are those that look and connive to steal from others!

One thing is for sure; to those that have never had identity theft happen to them it might seem a very small and distant thing. Yet the reality is that the rise of identity theft is running rampant through our society. Whether it is a headline news story or a person that we know, we have all been made aware of this evil scheme to steal from the innocent.

In Gen 3:5-7 we see the biblical story of Adam and Eve’s epic sin in the garden. We have heard the story many times over of the original sin that sent man headlong


Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God.


into a spiritual spiral through life. The enemy stole their identity through his deception. But, unless we examine the nature of their life before the fall we can’t comprehend the magnitude of the result of the enemy’s plot, which caused them to lose their significance.

Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God. They were living in intimate fellowship with God where they were secure and free. Created to reign over all the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Their purpose was to reflect God’s glory and demonstrate His holiness through humankind. (Ps. 99:3-5) To meet their spiritual needs God walked and talked with them personally. Through intellect, free will, and emotions, God showcased His glorious character through mankind.

Through the deception and plot of the enemy, Adam and Eve sinned and had their identity stolen from them. Through this sin all of mankind has lost his secure status with God and began to tumble down a miserable slope of distorted and warped feelings of inadequacy, rejection and shame. This tragic event has robbed man of his original identity and plunged him into a struggling journey of searching for significance.

Yet, that’s not the end! God has sent His son, Jesus to redeem us and restore us back to that original position with Him. We are His sons and daughters made in His image! Jesus has restored our true identity on the cross. (Jn1:12, Rom 5:8, Gal 4:6, Eph2:6) Will you receive the truth or are you still listening to the lie of the serpent?

 

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. Have you or anyone you know ever been stolen from or had their identity stolen? How did it make you or them feel? Explain?

 

  1. When you read the story of creation and Adam and Eve’s life in the garden how do you picture it? When it says that God walked and talked with them, how does that make you feel knowing that is exactly how God planned for you and Him?

 

  1. Do you realize the privilege we have in Jesus? When Paul calls us children of God in Rom 8:16   and heirs of the God in , what does that mean to you?

 

 

Quotes to Tweet: 

Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of life’s problems. – billvirgin.com

Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God.    – billvirgin.com

Through the deception and plot of the enemy, Adam and Eve sinned and had their identity stolen from them – billvirgin.com

 

#RejoiceWhenTheHeatIsBeingTurnedUpInYourLife