Pt. 2 – In This Season …Look For the Divine Appointments!

1a divine appI love when God gives you that kiss from heaven, the orchestration of divine appointments, letting you know that He has complete control of every part of your journey. And If we’re not careful we can nonchalantly shrug off these God moments with thinking they are just natural circumstances. Losing the incredible joy of knowing the creator of the universe loves you enough to wrap around your situation the warmth and comfort of the evidence of His love and value for you.

Now back to doctor Luke’s story in Luke 2:25-35 where he says there was a righteous man named Simeon who had yielded himself to the Holy Spirit which had led him to come to the temple. In verse 26 we read, “it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”. It was a divine set up! There in the temple comes Mary, Joseph and Jesus the Christ wrapped in probably her most beautiful covering. The moment that Simeon and the world had been waiting


Just when we feel things are over, God steps in with His touch and says “They are just Beginning”!


for is now upon them, with no dress rehearsal the camera of history is running. With no doubt to the readers we are convinced of the Holy Spirit’s working in that one place with and for so many people. But truthfully for the characters of this pivotal moment in time they could have brushed it off as just another day of longing in their lives. Yet, this day not only was fulfilling a promise to Simeon who was waiting in faith, but continued to confirm to Mary the words of God, that Gabriel had said nine months earlier, and also affirming to Joseph that his faith filled obedience was important and ordained by God.

It had now been 40 days since the birth of Jesus, the shepherds were now back tending the sheep in the fields and the excitement of the heavenly announcement had become news of yesterday. The hustle and bustle of this extraordinary season was transitioning into a way of life as this new family had already taken baby Jesus to be circumcised on the eighth day and now Mary and Joseph enter the temple on her completion of days of purification for the birth of a male child. (Lev 12:1-8) It is interesting to me that in the same length of time as the Holy Spirit had taken Jesus into


Our Life Struggles fade in light of His affirming Divine Kiss from Heaven


the wilderness for forty days before He was thrust into His earthly ministry of power, leading to His bodily sacrifice on the cross. We now see these 30 years earlier that the child Jesus has also been in waiting the same length of time for His dedication into the world as the glorious Savior with a sacrifice for Him in the Temple ceremony. (Lk. 2:24)

And “folks, that’s not all”! At that very moment, the scripture also points out, a widow named Anna who had been travailing for most of her adult life, possibly up to 84 years, in prayer and fasting, (Lk 2:36-38) Interceding in the temple for the spiritual birthing of the gift of God to the world. Who by the Hand of the Father’s fate was just brought in for His dedication for the world! (Jn. 3:16)

They all seemed to be assembled and brought together through divine means. God doesn’t just throw things together like we do in making “Everything but the kitchen sink” soup. Each of these characters had a unique story of personal hardship and struggle in their walk of faith. But God uses them as part of His gloriously orchestrated triumphant entry. It was in this moment that the world, as well as each of these characters experienced God’s divine kiss and assurance of His redeeming plan.

In This Season …Look For the Divine Appointments!

1a1 divine apptAfter the prescribed days had passed for the ceremonial purification for childbirth.(Lev 12:1-8) Mary and Joseph now venture with their new born baby, Jesus to the temple. (Luke 2:22-24) It was a day of celebration and anticipation as they come to dedicate this holy child to God. This was a day that can only be described as a “Divine appointment” involving multiple individuals that could only be orchestrated by a loving Heavenly Father. All of which, had their own circumstances filled with hurts and struggles, yet there was an expectancy grounded in God’s faithfulness.

One begins to understand God’s enormous love and commitment, as you become aware and experienced His divine appointments in your life. They confirm His faithfulness and involvement in your journey with Him. It’s much like the father giving his daughter a kiss at the altar as he gives her to the new spouse. It isn’t a “kiss off” but a kiss of endearment and approval, as well as, an assurance that “I am still with you” along your way. That’s how I look at God’s divine appointments; they are His kiss from heaven assuring you of His approval and endearment as you walk with Him. Have you ever been a part of God’s orchestration of His plan? Let me share one of mine.


It isn’t a “kiss off” but a kiss of endearment and approval, as well as, an assurance that “I am still with you” along your way.


Not in a million years did I ever think I would have someone come wondering into my high country camp. I had taken time to pull back from the white noise of society and position myself to be able to focus on what God was saying to me for my life. Over the past forty or so years I have been coming to this region off and on as a place to reset and refocus. You could say it’s a time that keeps me yielded and dependent on God.

There I was huddling around my campfire high in the Rocky Mountains. The early snowstorm had kept me socked-in for a couple of days, dumping a thick blanket of snow in the region. It made the solitude of the backcountry even more remote. I hadn’t seen anyone else or any sign of a human being for a good solid week. Of course the snow always reveals who is lurking closer than you think, such as bears, cougar and wolves who had seemed to be a little more curious of this intruder then I wanted.             The blazing fire was now winding down to a few flames and the crackling of red coals in the darkness. It was now ten-thirty and time to crawl into my mummy bag under the tree. When out of the darkness, five feet behind me comes a voice, “how are you doing”? Wow! All I can say is I went from being calm, relaxed and talking to God, to jumping out of my skin, screaming at who ever was there. The seconds went by as if they were minutes, as I tried to rationalize what I just heard and now see, a young man standing in the middle of my camp, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere. Not thinking I would ever see anyone or hear anyone at all. A matter of fact in the last forty years I had never seen anyone up there, other than a handful across on a ridge or on another mountain with binoculars. Now in the midst of my camp stands a young man that has evidently been divinely directed whether he knew it or not.

You see I have learned to ask God daily to allow me to be apart of His agenda, using me in divinely orchestrated situations. This young man wasn’t just physically lost, but had lost his faith in God, and had also lost his earthly father to illness some time back. Miraculously, God had orchestrated this divine appointment at my camp. You see, I had also lost my father and had gone through times of questioning my faith. It was God’s set-up that brought much fruit that night. (John 15:1-17)      To be continued…     

Faithful Follower or Fair-Weathered Fan?

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

Just a mound of clay in the Potters Hands!

adult arts and crafts clay dirty

Remember how the school field trips would inspirer you when you were young and inquisitive? There’s one that seems to stand out in my mind. It was when we were taken down along the Snake River to a potter’s house. We were given an extensive tour and explanation of the whole process of digging your own clay from the banks of the river to making of a beautiful finished vase. I can still remember how intriguing it was then and how helpful it has been to me through my life.

This illustration of the potter and clay along with the whole process is played out in many different passages in scripture and has helped me to be acquainted to Gods working in our lives. The scripture says, “We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand”. In the same manner that God fashioned Adam out of the ground He also molds us into His image for our lives. (Gen 2:7, Isa 64:8) On my shelf I have a pitcher that I made from the inspiration of that fieldtrip which is a constant reminder of His molding and shaping of our lives.

We read in Jer. 18:1-9 that even Jeremiah was instructed to go to the potters shed so God could give him understanding on His workings and His will. In verse 3-4, it says, “I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make”. Then he says to the children of Israel through this prophet, “…can I not do with you as this potter”? The master potter personally shapes and creates us as a vessel of honor for His service. Just as the man who showed us young students how he takes a raw lump of clay and begins to work it into his desired and planned shape, so the creator does the same with us.

The raw clay that came from the banks of the river was put into a barrel to soak in water. Then once it softens and becomes pliable it was worked over a screen to eliminate any rocks or hardened materials that would cause a flaw in the finished product. Isaiah describes it as the potter treading the clay. (Isa 45:25) It’s the same in our own lives that we must have times of soaking and being worked to get any deposits in our lives out as not to later bring devastation in us. When Jeremiah went down to watch the potter he describes it in such a way, “there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again.” (Jer 18:4) You see once the hunk of clay is put on the potter’s wheel, he then begins to spin the wheel and balances the mound of clay adding more water at times making it easier to shape. But if there is any small dry areas or pebbles it will put a defect in the shape as it is being worked. Therefore, the potter then remakes it. As Job declares in Job 10:8-9, “You made me like a handcrafted piece of pottery”. It’s a process with the end masterpiece in mind. (Eph 2:10)

The great potter is at work in us and is trustworthy as He shapes and molds us as He sees fit! Why would we ever question the Potter how he has molded the clay. (Rom 9:20-21) We can be at Peace knowing He has our best interests in mind!

Don’t stop climbing, God has good things in store for you!

cropped-sawtooth-mountians11.jpgI began experiencing a whole new adventure growing up once we had moved to a ranch nestled in the midst of some of the most gorgeous mountainous landscape in central Idaho. Though in the beginning, this previous flatlander, was intimidating and claustrophobic, it soon became one of the greatest seasons of my younger life. It was through this experience that I learned many truths from nature and the mountains around. The first was that climbing a mountain is much like going through life, tough at times.

I think most of us can say there have been some mountain peaks and some valleys along our life’s journey. It is like the natural process when you climb to the summit of a literal mountain, you go through some valleys and ravines to get to the more elevated peaks. There seems to always be another valley before another peak, as we move higher and achieve greater heights. Existing in the lower bottoms of life or even camping in the higher plateaus might be more convenient and a whole lot easier, but there is no greater adventure or achievement then getting to the top. If you stay comfortable and not climb you will never get to see the incredible view or breath the fresh air that you do from the summit.

I believe that many, even though they haven’t reached their destiny have made some significant progress as they have pursued God’s will for their lives. We must realize that our walk of faith is a process and doesn’t come over night. Going forward in faith will never be defined as “smooth and easy” but it does hold a promise of achieving Godly rewards. (1 Cor 9:25-26)

Speaking to Christians in Corinth Paul relates our walk of faith as running a race to win not to just nonchalantly participating in it. (vs 24) Also, Paul at the end of his life describes his own journey in 2 Tim 4:7-8 saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness”. Paul shares some of his testimony and journey in 2 Cor 11:23-28, where he lists what he had gone through. His words and life experiences confirm the fact that our journey of faith is anything but apathetical or uneventful, having what we would describe as ups and downs along the way.

If we are not focused during these times in the valleys they can seem like “failures or setbacks”, but if we keep our eyes on Jesus as our Good Shepherd and are surrendered to His will, then we can stand in confidence as overcomers. Paul declares this in Phil 4:13 where he says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

Even when we have gone through extreme and unpleasant situations along life’s climb we can come out better and stronger in our faith on the other side. These low points allow us to see and experience His faithfulness as He takes us by the hand and leads us, as a loving shepherd, through the shadows of death into green lush pastures. (Ps 23)

In Heb10:35-36 Paul encourages the believers to not cast their confidence in Christ away, but to endure in their faith and finish the will of God. Not being hindered by anything that would enslave us and stop us from completing our journey or “running the race” of faith. (1 Cor 9:25) We do this by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. (Heb 12:2) So don’t Stop Climbing Now! God has good things in store for you!

Keeping the fire of God burning in your life

hqdefaultIn the midst of the early wintery conditions I found that my fire was essential during my time high on the mountaintop. It was at the foot of the summit overlooking a crisp mountain lake on one side and a steep intimidating ravine on the other, where I chose to set up camp. I had taken time out of my schedule to clear the clutter of the daily routine in my mind and refresh my passion for the Lord. Over the years I have found it necessary at different times to disconnect from the white noise of our society so to reset and re-ignite the fire of God in my daily walk with Him.

We read Gods instructions for the priests that He gave through Moses in Lev 6. It says in verse 12-13, “And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, … it shall never go out.”

In like manner as it was the priest’s responsibility to keep the fire burning it is our responsibility to keep a spiritual fire burning on the altar of our hearts, since our lives are to be “living sacrifices” as Paul declared. It was God who started the physical fire on


God Starts the Fire but we must maintain the Fire


the altar as we read in 2 Chr 7:1, the “…fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices…”. Therefore, it is the same spiritually; God starts the fire, but it is you and I who must keep it burning.

This simple but over looked responsibility became very real as I began my adventure on the mountaintop. That fact is when the fire goes out after the Sun goes down, it quickly becomes cold, dark and so quiet it becomes deafening. It is the same for the believer when our spiritual fire goes out we become spiritually cold, our lives become darkened by our surroundings and the things of God become silent to us.

The pile of wood that I thought would last all-night rapidly diminished in the grips of the consuming fire. I can’t help but think King Solomon himself must of experienced this same phenomenon when he wrote in Prov. 30:16 “… the fire never says, “Enough!”.

The intensity of work that it took to keep a fire burning in my camp was totally amazing. I have always loved sitting and enjoying the soothing crackling and popping of a campfire, but when it is a necessity you find that it goes from enjoyable to just plain work. A fire demands your time, strength and attention to keep it going. Getting plenty of firewood to last through the night must become a priority. You see once the fire goes out it is much harder to remake a completely new fire than nurturing one already burning or at least having embers that you can blow on to rekindle the flame.

In the same manner, as believers we must make fueling the fire of passion for the Lord, a priority! Though it can be exhausting and even inconvenient at times, it is our responsibility. It will take “roll up the sleeves” kind of work to tend the fire of your souls. Prayers, communion, worship and Bible study are all part of keeping the fire burning on the altar of our heart. For God calls each of us to be His ministers a flame of fire. (Ps 104:4) We must do our part! Remember, it is God who started the fire within us but we must keep the fire burning!

 

The Convenience of Instant everything has Brought a slow death to Tenacious Prayer

a1 InstantA society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything, brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit. Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving, unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way. The scriptures teach us in Colossians 4:2, “to continue earnestly in prayer,” and in Romans 12:12, it says “continuing steadfastly in prayer.” We are exhorted to be persistent in our prayer life. Jesus shares a parable in Luke 18:1-8, driving home the point of persistent prayer. It says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily…” When I was young, I was told that if I asked or prayed for something more than once I would be


Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving, unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way


praying in unbelief. That’s totally contrary to scripture! The continual knocking or coming to the judge brought the widow’s answer. The Bible does say in James 1:6-8, that we must have faith when we pray, but being continuously in prayer doesn’t mean you have unbelief. On the contrary, I think it indicates that you do have faith in God. Your action of continual asking shows you believe He will answer. I like what Marilyn Hickey says, “Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.” If you think about the farmer’s process, he plants his seed then waters it day after day until he sees a sprout breaking through the soil. The farmer is like the diligent believer who plants his seed and then through continual prayers of faith waters it until the answer breaks through and comes to pass. Keeping with this analogy, if praying continually is wrong then the farmer watering his seed daily would also be wrong. Let’s look at I Kings 18:41-45. We see Elijah telling Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of an abundance of rain.” Then Elijah went to the top of Mt. Carmel to pray. That’s when this story gets very interesting. After Elijah prayed, he sent


“Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.”


his servant to look for rain clouds. Six times his servant checked and didn’t see anything, Elijah continued in prayer. The scriptures say, “Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!’ The downpour from that small cloud broke three and a half years of drought. This all happened because Elijah wouldn’t quit praying—he had faith to be steadfast in prayer. Living a life of prayer will always be a life of adventure and power. Ephesians 6:18 tells us, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication … with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” In other words be tenacious and persistent in prayer. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the answer to your prayers immediately. Keep knocking on Heaven’s door.

His Eyes are on us because He Passionately Loves Us!

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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.

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!

 

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)

 

The Ultimate Parade of Victory!

images-47As far as you could see there was a sea of blue clothed fans packed in the streets. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and resounding shouts of victory as the crowds pressed in to see the oncoming parade. It was the fall of 2015 and the Kansas City Royals had just clinched the World Series pennant. The city couldn’t have been more committed in the celebration parade; schools were closed as well as some businesses and many took the day off to make a family day of it. The parade was filled with local marching bands, ticker tape and most important, the bigger than life team players.

After being involved in this city-shaking event it makes Paul’s words to the Colossians come alive more vividly. He says in Col. 2:14-15 concerning Jesus work on the cross, “…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the


At the End of the Age we will be shocked at the devils weakly appearance!


cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it”. The word “triumphing” Paul uses here and also in 2 Cor. 2:14 is a figure of speech drawn from the ceremony that greeted a Roman general who had won a decisive victory over a enemy. This “Via Triumphalis” parade usually featured a display much like our “parade of champions” in our sports enthused societies.

The parade would wind through the most occupied places of the city. At the front would be musicians, dancers and maidens carrying perfumes and incense, throwing flower petals along the way, much like the flower girl at a wedding. The air and atmosphere would be filled with the smell and sounds of victory! Then in a chariot pulled by white horses, came with the conquering general wearing a crown on his head given by Caesar, and in his right hand a palm leaf symbolizing victory. Behind him came his son’s and officers sharing in the victory.

Yet there was one more group following and it was those captured. They were being displayed before the citizens of the city, stripped of weapons, armor, clothing, bound in chains and tied to the conquerors chariots. These defeated foes would be revealed as humiliated and powerless opponents in front of the cheering crowds.

The apostle Paul used this triumphal procession as an analogy of Christ’s victory at the cross. He was painting a picture for us so we could see that the enemy


 If the devil was defeated at the cross and we are victorious through Jesus why don’t we live like It!  


was totally defeated through Jesus’ work. Therefore, as a Christian we need to see the enemy of our souls as just that, a defeated foe! To often we still imagine the devil as a big bad threat in our lives instead of the humiliated spectacle beheld on the parade route!

Peter describes in his letter the devil as someone that roams around acting like a roaring lion. (1 Pet. 5:8) And if we look further at some other passages in scripture we can even paint a broader picture of satan being nothing more than a toothless fake lion on a leash with a bashed in head eating dirt! (Gen 3:14-15, Ps 3:7, Job 1:12) He is nothing that we should be intimidated by as sons and daughters of God. (Gal. 3:26) In Isa 14:12-17 it tells us concerning the devil at the “End of the Age” that we will “gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms”. We will be shocked at his weakly appearance! So let’s not wait until then to get a right perspective. He is defeated and we are victorious through Jesus our Lord! So live like It!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. Have you been one of those that have imagined wrongly the devil as a big bad scary enemy?   Why do you think you have believed that?
  2.  If the enemy of our souls is already defeated why do you think many people are in bondage by him?
  3. What must a person do to be included in the triumphant parade behind Jesus? In other words how do we become a son and daughter of God?

 

Quotes to Tweet:

At the End of the Age we will be shocked at the devils weakly appearance! www.billvirgin.com

If the devil was defeated at the cross and we are victorious through Jesus why don’t we live like It!    www.billvirgin.com

 

#TheDevilIsNothingButADeafeatedFoe        #WhyShouldIBeAfriadOfTheDevil

 

 

Let The Pit Produce Your Purpose

images-46It’s amazing how fast things can change around us. Many of us have had some event or situation in our life where something had happened which altered our surroundings and radically changed us from that moment forward. Those earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude.

In Genesis we read a story of a young man who’s life went from being spoiled and loved by his parents to separation and devastation throughout much of his life. We read in Gen 37:18-20 where young Joseph was going to check on his older brothers who were taking care of the family’s sheep. “Now when they saw him afar off, …they conspired against him …said to one another, “…Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit”. These were his family, stepbrothers who should have protected him, but chose to bring hurt to him by throwing him in a pit. They stopped short of killing him physically by selling him into slavery aborting any life desires he might have had. Let alone they lied to their parents that wild animals had viciously killed Joseph. Needless to say, this was a life-altering situation brought on by selfishness and jealousy among family members.

It’s hard to believe that those that should bring safety and encouragement through life’s struggles can sometimes bring the most damage and devastation. Whether it is co-workers, teachers or even those you’re related to they can at times bring the worst destruction in our lives. Life can be fragile and altered many times


Earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude.


where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. We can feel like the popular commercial that states, “I have fallen and I can’t get up”. This advertisement goes on to advertise an emergency button that you can have so during these serious situations you can call for help. You and I can also have in place a much more effective response for our cry for help. That is firstly, our personal relationship in Christ, secondly a strong support by family and friends of faith, as well as thirdly, our own fortitude that comes from confidence in God’s purposes for us.

It is so important that in these times we have our foundation already established in Christ so that our eyes are kept on the one where our help comes from. (Ps 121:2-3) Jesus said in Matt 7:24-25 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” We will have storms in our


Life can be fragile and altered many times where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. Who will you call?


lives for sure, but they don’t have to wipe us out completely. We can take our deepest pit and allow God to turn it into our strongest purpose to help others. Joseph went from the pit to Potifers house and even through a dark prison season. He could have and possibly did entertain the thoughts that God didn’t care or was punishing him, but ultimately we read that Joseph kept his eyes on the Lord. He knew God was a God that would bring justice in this situation. The end of this incredible story is that God used this incredible tragedy to bring triumph to His people through Joseph. God brought young Joseph from a pit to a palace with a purpose to help others!   I encourage you even though you have fallen into a pit to not stay there but look ahead for your palace!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

Have you ever had a situation in your life that has altered your future course? Or maybe you have a close friend that has gone through some tragedy that changed their life. Explain?

As you read the story of Joseph being thrown into a pit by his brothers and then being sold into slavery, what comes to your mind? What do you think brought on such hatred for their younger brother?

Describe what kind of support or helpful measures you have in your life to keep get you out of a pit if you ever fall into one? What do they look like in detail? How would you encourage others to be equipped to overcome adversity in their lives?

Quotes to Tweet:

  • Earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude. – billvirgin.com

 

  • Life can be fragile and altered many times where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. Who will you call? – billvirgin.com

#IHaveFallenAndCantGetUp         #DontStayInThePitLookToThePalace          #LetThePitProduceYourPurpose