There’s Life in the Vine!

Image    There is a definite difference between the life that is separated unto prayer and the life that has separated from prayer. One has the power of God flowing through it and the other is powerless. We must understand that Jesus is the vine and we are only the branches. (Jn. 15:5). As long as we stay connected to the life-source then we will walk in His power.

Paul encouraged the Christians in Ephesus with these words: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” (Eph. 6:10). We walk in His power as long as we are in fellowship and communion with Him. I remember my former pastor, telling the church that some things must be caught not just taught. I believe Joshua caught something as he followed Moses.

Joshua saw the results of Moses’ communion with God. He Talked to God and then walked in His power every day.  Joshua caught the spirit of prayer and abiding in God’s presence. I love Exodus 33:11 where it says, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face-to-face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” Picture this scene: Moses returned to camp and to his responsibilities but Joshua stayed in the Lord’s presence. Evidently Joshua caught something; he understood that a life of intimate prayer and communion will result in a walk of power.

We cannot survive without being grafted into the vine. Joshua was committed in making sure that he was grafted into the vine. It was a daily choice he made. Just as it must be a daily choice in our life to make sure we are connected into the life source of the vine.  As we come into the place of prayer and communion with God, we are strengthening our connection in the vine!

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The Harvest is Ready…So Just Do It!

          

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 The flashing police lights and news cameras drew our attention across the street. The assembling crowd was all gazing to the other side of the yellow police tape.  People stood in awe as they covered and took away a body, apparently a victim of a mugging.  We were shocked and dumbfounded at what we were just exposed to. 

            My three younger girls, my wife and I were coming to speak at a church in Houston, Texas.  We had never been to this church before.  So after arriving in town, we began to look for its location.  To our amazement and literal shock we had come upon this crime scene, which ended up being right across the street from where we were scheduled to speak.  At that moment, words could not express the feelings that rushed through my very being.  All I could think about through the night was eternity!  The thought of how totally lost people are without Christ and how close eternity really is to each one of us. 

            This experience has stuck with me through the years.  It has given me an eternity awareness that just cannot be shaken.  The fact is there are people dying and going to hell every day around us.  We sit in our stained glass churches every Sunday, hearing the Word of God.  Yet, we leave and never change our society with the message of Christ.  Like we read in Matt. 9:37, “…The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”  The harvest of souls is ready to be harvested.  They are ripe and in their prime to be picked.  Yet, it says that the laborers are what is holding up or hindering this great harvest, for they are few in number!

  • How many people do you know that need to hear the Gospel?  
  •  Today, Will you choose to be a part of God’s great plan of salvation?   
  •  Will you not only PRAY for the laborers to be released into the harvest field, but be one of the laborers? 

 It’s time to stop talking about reaching people for Christ and just do it.  We go to conferences about soul winning.  We listen to great messages about reaching the lost for Jesus.  We pray about our friends and family coming to know the Lord. But…. We don’t act on it.   

     It’s time to shake off the dust of complacency and be about the God’s business!      

 

Make a change…Just Do It!

Radically Convinced brings radical Actions!

Image When Revival comes upon any people and place, people will do whatever it takes to get their friends to Jesus.  The harvest will truly come in, whether you are ready or not! And it will probably look differently than you had pictured it in your mind.  Let’s look at the story in Mark 2: 1-13.

One extremely afflicted individual, an overly crowded meeting and four radical friends. It doesn’t sound like a recipe for a move of God, but in the gospel of Mark we read that God moved mightily in a situation just like that. Why, because Jesus was in the midst of it!

The news rushed through the streets of Capernaum that Jesus was back in town.  Before long there were so many people coming to see Him, that there wasn’t even room about the door where He was teaching. Though the room was full to overflowing, it didn’t stop four individuals who were carrying their friend, a paralytic, to the meeting. They were so determined to get their friend to Jesus that they went to the roof and lowered him down in front of Jesus.  Now, think about it?  The house is full to the brim, Jesus is speaking words of life and then out of the blue, four individuals whether they ripped a hole in the roof or just came to an opening in the ceiling began lowering their apparent friend down to Jesus.

Talk about being downright disruptive and rude!  Either they had never been to a church service or they were totally ignorant of the protocol of such a meeting.

In churchanity of our day, in the same situation we would have had the head usher and security on top of the commotion immediately. The atmosphere of the room would most likely had been filled with a rumble coming from the sounds of the saint’s praying and rebuking the enemy, as the security dragged the men off to jail. With the only testimony being how we put to silence the enemy and regained the focus of the meeting back to waiting for God’s miracles to be manifested in our midst.

It’s extreme and out of balance to think that every commotion is of the enemy.  But one thing for sure is when we stop giving room for the supernatural activity of God in our services it will lead us down a road into legalism and lifeless religion.  So often in our feeble attempts to please the Lord we catastrophically blunder and reflect a wrong picture of His heart to others.

Now back to the story. I believe that they were so convinced that their friend’s answer was in Jesus, that they came to desperate measures?  It definitely paid off, because at the words of Jesus, this paralytic’s life was change forever.  He arose and walked out the doors that he couldn’t get in.  Also, the people were so amazed at what they saw, that the multitude followed Jesus to the sea and He taught them.  Not only was this paralytic made whole, but a whole multitude followed after Christ.  It started with four courageous friends who had a radical unction!  Or maybe a better way of saying it is they understood who Jesus was. They were convinced Jesus was the answer and because of that confidence their friend was made whole!  Being radically convinced brings radical actions.  Revelation of who Jesus is and what is on His heart will fuel the passion for revival.

Revival changes the most reserved person into a radical servant of God. It will motivate friends to do whatever it takes to get their friends to Jesus.

  •  Are you convinced Jesus is the answer?
  •  Which one of your family or friends need you to get radical and do whatever it takes to get them to Christ?
  •  Today, It’s time to get desperate and radical about bringing the hurting to Christ?

Because we are His children through the blood of Jesus, we can come boldly before His throne and ask for our inheritance, which are the souls of men. It’s time for Radical results from being radically convinced of who Jesus is.

It’s Time to get Radically Convinced!      

Salt is to Be Poured Out

salt shakers                      Years ago revival flooded through the countryside of New England, where the total population was just around 300,000 at that time.  Through the preaching of such renowned men as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield from England and others, thousands were transformed by the power of God.  During the two years between 1740 and 1742, there were estimations of 25,000 to 50,000 people in the New England states who came into the kingdom of God.  This radically changed the whole atmosphere of the society.  The moral fiber of society was changed for the better.  Benjamin Franklin said, “…it seemed as if all the world was growing religious; one could not walk through a town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families in every street.”[i]   He said this of the results of one of Whitefield’s meetings. That poses an interesting question that we should ask. If someone walked down the streets of your neighborhood would they be as impacted as Benjamin Franklin?

            In our day can we say that there is a noticeable difference when it comes to the church and the world? If we turn to and look at the scriptures we can quickly see that there is supposed to be a radical difference. The church by biblical definition is supposed to have a direct impact on its surroundings.

            The Body of Christ or the church must become effective salt.  Then and only then will we begin to change communities and surroundings for the better.  Either we will be effective or we will be defective.  How often do we feel the Church is being trampled under society’s feet? Maybe it’s because we have lost our edge or our effectiveness.  If we are doing what we’re supposed to be doing, we will affect our surroundings.  To understand this better, let us look at the uses of salt.  To begin with, we know salt flavors things and makes things have a better taste.  Secondly, salt is a preservative.  It keeps things from rotting and going bad.  Thirdly, salt melts the hardness of the cold ice.  Fourth, it has been used to keep weeds from growing in certain areas.  When we are revived by His spirit, the Church will be seasoning to society, a preservative in society, melting the hardness and coldness of society and keeping unwanted weeds from growing in its midst. 

  •  Today will you be salt that is effective or salt that needs to be thrown out?
  •  God has placed us in various places to effect it for His kingdom and purposes.
  •  The job you’re at, whether a school, a bank or a construction site, it is all for a reason.

             When Jesus spoke to His followers in Matt. 5:13 we see where it says, “You are the salt of the earth…”. Jesus was saying that they as followers of His must penetrate and impact their society. He wasn’t saying hide and be ineffective. No, not at all! That’s a defective believer! Therefore as followers of Jesus we need to use our talents, hobbies and everything else we possess to further God’s plan for His kingdom. This is to impact our surrounding with the beauty of His holiness. Each on of us has a certain hobby or something that they love to do…right?  And you gravitate to others with the same like mindedness as yourself. In the same manner many that don’t know the Lord but have the same passions are drawn to you. So, use that as a open door to impact their lives with the Gospel.  Therefore USE IT!

 Today choose to be SALT!


[i] Winkie Pratney, Revival, Pa. Whitaker House, p.112

A Heart Towards God

Image 2 Chron 7:14    “…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  NKJV

             Nearly 50 years earlier, a similar movement of prayer took place, bringing our country to its knees.  It all started in 1857, in New York’s Manhattan area, with an individual named Jeremiah Lanphier, who had a burden from the Lord to start a noon prayer meeting.  He had advertised and promoted it, but when the day arrived, only six people attended.  He was faithful to continue pressing forward each week, and that soon brought a steady increase in attendance.  Before long, prayer meetings began to spring up in almost all of the public buildings downtown.  The well-known newspaper editor Horace Greeley sent one of his reporters in horse and buggy to count how many people were in attendance at the noon prayer meeting.  Time was against him, limiting him to making it to 12 meetings in the one,  hour prayer time, yet he counted 6,100 persons praying.  The publicity thrust a landslide of prayer, beginning a movement  that spread throughout New England.  Reports indicate that in one year more than a million people were converted.[i]

The revival had no boundaries at that point, going out in every direction.  Some say that people were converted at the rate of 10,000 per week in New York City.  Quickly moving in every direction, the Revival continued to have a great effect upon whatever stood in its path. Lives were affected and changed for the glory of God.  Shortly after the revival had begun, the country found itself in the middle of the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil.  Think of all the young men who lost their lives in this war.  Yet due to the moving of God, many of their souls were saved! God’s grace and mercy truly does endure forever!

  •  A city, a region and ultimately a nation was impacted for the Kingdom of God.
  •  Today will you be that one person who will stand in Prayer?
  •  It might be your discipline for prayer that stirs your family, community or city to turn towards God.

Choose to find a time and place to spend some of your day with the Lord.  It doesn’t have to be some great amount of time, just give the Lord what you can.   Many times we set ourselves up for failure because we put to great of commitment on ourselves.  Start small and grow each day.

  It starts with You!


[i]   Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation , The Rebirth Of America, 1986, p. 63

Where Are The Other Nine

          Image  I heard a story about a little boy who was handed an orange by a man trying to be kind. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it.”

            As rude as this boy in the story seems to be, what’s more shocking is that this attitude is prevalent throughout our society. Everywhere we turn we can see it filtering through this great nation of ours. We have raised a generation of self-absorbed people that are blinded to everything other than their desires and needs. We have forgotten the simple act of gratitude.

The scripture says in 1 Tim. 3:1-2 that in the last days men will be lovers of themselves and unthankful along with other selfish attributes.

I am reminded of the story of the ten lepers that stood afar off as Jesus entered a certain village. They lifted their voices so that Jesus could hear them and cried out saying “have mercy on us!” Jesus responded by telling them to go and show themselves to the priest, who had the final decision in pronouncing them clean or defiled.

As they went in obedience it says the very thing that had kept them estranged from society, a disease of cruelty and defilement incredibly dries up and they are healed. Now if this was the end of the story it would be a great lesson on obedience and God’s mercy, but it goes deeper. The story continues with the scene of only one of the ten returning to give thanks for the miracle from God. The author points out that this healed man was not a Jew but a Samaritan. He wasn’t educated in the traditions and things of God. Yet he knew enough to be eternally grateful for the life changing miracle he was given. Many times those who profess to be Christians are out-done by unbelievers.

It’s time we develop a habit of gratitude towards God ourselves. We can do that by being thankful in three simple areas.  1.)  Being Thankful for Everything He has done in our lives. 2.) Being Thankful for Everything He is Doing in our lives.  3.)  Being Thankful for Everything He is going to Do in our lives.

Being grateful in these areas will help develop a heart of gratitude in us. Once we learn to be grateful to God that same gratitude will flow out to others.

It truly is time to stop the madness of self-centeredness and develop a lifestyle of thankfulness, not just thanksgiving but Thanksliving!

     “in everything give thanks; for  this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”   1Thes 5:18 (NKJ)

Can You Hear the Sounds of the Abundance of Rain?

rain in the hand We all have at some time in our lives experienced a rain cloud moving in and the temperature drops and the smell of rain fills the air. It signals to us to shut our windows on the cars and gives us time to prepare for the coming rain. Then a drop here and one there confirms refreshing rain that is so badly needed.  I love those times.

 The process all starts with not just a desire, but first it begins with the Sun evaporation of the moisture from the ground in the distance. Then the clouds carry that moisture along the way until the hand of God releases it on the earth. The change in temperature and the hints of rain seem to always get our attention!

I am reminded of what I heard the Holy Spirit say to me in the midst of worship service.  Out of nowhere the sweet whisper of God filled my mind with the words, “Can you hear the sounds of abundance of Rain?”

Imagine with me the coming spiritual rain from heaven. It first starts with the brightness of God shining on His people and in return we begin to cry out for more of Him. Those prayers come before the Lord just as the rain is evaporated.  (In Revelation it says the bowls of incense are the prayers of the saints). Then we begin to see the hints of our prayers being answered, the smell, the change in the spiritual atmosphere and then comes the cool drops from heaven. Before long the down pour of rain saturates the dry ground. Then before our eyes, sprouting all around us in our families, communities and most of all our society, it is apparent to all that we have the refreshing of God in our midst.

I believe we are seeing and smelling the beginning drops of spiritual rain in our midst. It’s time to prepare for the down pour from heaven.

How do we Prepare you may ask. Well, let me share a few things with you and then I am sure God will fill in the blanks where we might miss something.

First, we need to get our laundry and the kids toys picked up and out of the way.  Often the laundry of our life is out where everyone is focused on it rather than on what is important. The childish games and toys that we play in our churches and our private lives are scattered everywhere hindering others from walking in God’s righteousness.

Secondly, we need to make sure our rain barrels are positioned right to catch as much rain as possible. Being in the correct place is essential for being filled up and available to be used to pour out on others.

Thirdly, we need to open up the windows and doors so we can benefit from the freshness and cool breeze.  If we are spiritually closed and shut up, we will get moldy and stuffy. Having a heart and mindset that is open to Gods Will, will result in refreshing’s from the Lord.

It’s time to prepare for I hear the sounds of the abundance of rain!