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!

 

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Mothers are God’s Kiss on Every Home!

IMG_3544In a day where there was no canned “Spaghetti O’s” to be easily opened for dinner or a ready roasted chicken at the local grocery store. Or even any of the conveniences mothers have today, such as disposable diapers, automatic washing machines, packaged baby food and just add water-canned milk. Susanna Wesley raised her children in a pleasing manner before God.

In Prov. 31 we read King Solomon’s insight about a mother that is pleasing to God, he writes in verse 27, “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. The successful mother in God’s eyes is one that watches closely over her household. The phrase used here in this passage is to peer into the distance and keep a watchful eye out for her children. A mother is anything but a second-class citizen. A mother is one that is constantly working and tending the needs of her children preparing them to survive the future.

Susanna and Samuel Wesley had 19 children. Nine of which died while in their infant stage of life. Four of the children that died were twins. And tragically, one of her other children was accidentally smothered by a maid. To say the least


If Jesus honored and cared for His mother I think we should also!   (tweet)


Susanna’s experience as a young mother was far from being a life of ease. Many that has never been in the shoes of motherhood picture it as a life with your feet propped up with a bowl of your favorite delicacies in front of the TV watching “Soaps” and talk shows. But as we see in the life of Susanna Wesley that this “male-absorbed” disillusionment is most certainly farther from the truth of the reality. Can I hear an Amen from the mothers of the world? Susanna Wesley seized her opportunity of nurturing up her children in the ways of God with a tenacious spirit like none other. She actually impacted the world by training up her children to change the world. John and Charles Wesley grew up to be mighty ministers of the Gospel and founders of the Methodist church. She could have said the devastation of loosing children and being overwhelmed by the ones she had left, is too much and curled up in a fetal position for her remaining days, but she didn’t at all. She embraced the challenge


Mothers are Gods Kiss to every Home!   (tweet)


with a God ordained calling. Susanna would give each of her children quality time with her individually. She also was very adamant that her children were receiving correct teaching from the scripture weekly even with her husband being gone often ministering. These simplistic but deep teachings became books later. One of the most important habits she had was always making sure she had her time with the Lord. She knew where her source was.

            Being a mother is down right hard Work. I am not sure if it is totally true or not, but through the grapevine of media it has been said and repeated that by the time a child reaches 18, a mother has had to handle some extra 18,000 hours of child-generated work. In my guess-estimation I would say that mothers have done a lot more work than even that statement says. Becoming a mother is definitely not for wimps! Mother’s are God’s gift to the home!  Abraham Lincoln said, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” I am so grateful for my mother who is now enjoying her reward in heaven.  I remember her prayer walks as if it was yesterday. I took all of her hard work for


If Mothers Ever Go on Strike we are in Trouble   (tweet)


granite and her Godly example as normal. But now as I reminisce i wish i would have spent more time of thanking her and honoring her for all she did for me. My mother like most deserve to be honored. Jesus had an earthly mother and honored her. In John 19:26-27 we read where He made sure she was taken care of before he died.

We ourselves need to take heed to Jesus’ example and the exhortation in scripture to honor our mothers! (Eph. 6:2) Our mothers are God’s kiss to each home. Mothers shape each of us to conquer and impact the future.

Parenting isn’t for Wimps!

Wedding Of Renata Kochta And Thomas FrankI know many of you can relate to how I felt when I received my father’s bolt-action single shot 22 cal. rifle. It was the one that my dad grew up with as a boy and used it to hunt small game in the woods of Missouri. It was old and tarnished but now it was mine to have and pass down to my kids. In a sense it wasn’t really mine but was put in to my trust to keep care of and make sure it is given to the next caretaker. Maybe in your case it wasn’t a rifle but maybe a dresser, picture or even a valuable piece of jewelry. But this property or inheritance has been entrusted to you to cherish and love as you steward over it until it’s time to pass it on to the next in line.

The psalmist writes in Ps. 127:3, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” The word “gift” can be translated property or inheritance that the Lord has given to us. As much as we would like to think having children is totally up to


With out the help of God and a good church, parenting would be a total disaster! (tweet)


us and no one else, the bible says children are a gift from God. In the book of James we are exhorted, don’t be misled…whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God. (James 1:16-17 NLT) So bottom line is that God has given us children to steward over. Wow! What an awesome and humbling responsibility. We will one day all stand before God and give an account of how we steward this gift as well as others that He has given us.

Now lets be honest, even though I went to all the prenatal classes and doctor appointments with my wife. Even painted the new baby’s room and put together all the furniture. I really had no idea what being a parent was all about until that first night we were able to bring her home. After my shocking experience in changing this


Let us be good stewards of His gifts, as we raise our children with His love and statues.   (tweet)


cute newborn’s diaper alone with a sleepless night of trying to rock and settle her through the night, revealed to me that I was sinking fast in the realm of parenting. The crash course of parenting 101 in the next couple weeks began to point me in the right direction for the next thirty-some years of parenting.

The truth of the whole subject of parenting in my life, now that it is coming to a close after these many years is, well, I think I am finally figuring it out. With out the help of God and a good church that He puts in your life to help, it would be a total Continue reading

Was that a Speed Bump or Thanksgiving?

Exploring Santa Barbara's Santa Rita HillsIt was obvious that the young mother was being stretched beyond her limit. The crowded grocery store aisles, her long list of needed items and her child testing her the whole way, looked to be a melt down in the making. Then as if sent from heaven an elderly produce man knelt down and smiled as he gave the young child a beautiful orange. 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”! I know that wasn’t exactly what the mother was looking for but it does reveal an attitude that many in our society hold whether young or old. We are becoming an ungrateful people. We don’t stop to be thankful but want more.

Paul admonishes the believers in 1Thes 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” That really can’t be anymore clearer! God’s will for you and I as followers of Jesus is to be people of gratitude. I am not a Greek


I choose to not allow Thanksgiving to become nothing more than a speed bump between Halloween and Christmas!       (tweet)


scholar but that word “everything” pretty much means what it says, in all things. I don’t see much wiggle room there at all. So through the tough situations in your life, as well as, the good times we are encouraged to be thankful. Wow! Now that’s hard to swallow.

One man has said that our country’s national holiday has become nothing more than a speed bump between Halloween and Christmas. No sooner do the stores get done selling candy, costumes and carved pumpkins that they immediately start promoting the Christmas season. Many can’t even get through a family dinner before they are rushing out to get in line for “Black Friday”, a term that has become known


Stop the madness! Where there was once prayer, gratitude and family bonding, has now been taken over by shoving, selfishness and getting ahead of others.    (tweet)


for the big sales on Friday after Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, the beast of marketing and business has now crossed the line of a sacred day of thankfulness and family to start the sales when it’s time to eat. Where there was once prayer, gratitude Continue reading

Not Just Thanksgiving but a Life of Thanksliving

I heard a sThankfulness - sunsettory 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.

We have made our own worlds that revolve around us! We have set ourselves as kings of our own kingdoms! It’s nothing more than a “Me, Myself and I” society that we are slipping into. 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. Through our actions we have nurtured and raised a generation of unthankful people.

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 the lepers went in obedience to His words, the very disease that had kept them estranged from society incredibly dries up and instantly 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 even 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.

Where were the other nine? They all had been unfairly handicapped by this demoralizing disease. They had all been separated from society and their families and dreams. Yet, when they were radically healed and set free by a merciful loving God that heard and responded to their cries. The majority of them didn’t even have the time to come and say, “Thank You”.

It’s time we ourselves develop a habit of gratitude towards God and be obedient to the scripture, “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Thes 5:18 NKJ).  We can become a person of gratitude by being thankful in three simple areas.  First, by being thankful for everything He has done in our lives. Secondly, being thankful for everything He is doing in our lives and thirdly, walking in faith by being thankful for everything He is going to do in our lives.

When we become grateful in these areas it will develop a heart of gratitude in us. Once we learn to be thankful to God we will see that same attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude flow out to and through others.

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

I Caught Something!

Image   The April sun broke through our kitchen window. I had sleep in my eyes. My siblings and I sluggishly forced ourselves to eat our morning oatmeal. There was nothing uncommon about this morning in 1967. It began like any other typical day. Until, the telephone pierced the silence and brought all of us to attention. My mother answered in her normal cheery voice, but immediately her tone changed. Her cheerfulness went to a devastating, “Oh my God” and from that moment my life changed forever.

Our daily priorities were obliterated by the news that my dad had just suffered a heart attack (that would later become fatal). As my mother hung up she insistently cried, “Everyone go and pray in the front room for your dad.” The sluggish sleepiness that just moments earlier was so prevalent vanished as we all began to cry out to the Lord. In the midst of disaster, we prayed!

Praying became a natural response in times of crises and need in our household, because it was instilled in us as a daily way of life. I can remember how my mother loved to take walks on our ranch in the beautiful Rocky Mountains to pray. On several occasions we would run up the trail to catch her only to find her deep in prayer. It was memories like this that had a profound impact on my life.

I believe some things must be caught not just taught. Joshua had evidently caught something as he followed Moses. The young 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 with God will result in a walk of power.

A lifestyle of prayer was birthed in my own life through being raised in the shadow of many great men and women of prayer. Even once I had left for college and then continuing down the road to marriage and raising a family; it seemed that God would always place me in the midst of men and women of prayer. Through colleges and seminaries rooted in prayer such as Christ for the Nations Institute and others. Speakers that taught and motivated us to minister out of the place of prayer such as Dick Eastman, Mike Bickle, Bill Bright, as well as, great Pastors such as Dr. Larry Lea, who were used to call a generation to pray. God was definitely orchestrating in me a lifestyle of prayer.

Over the years I have reflected on many of those days and memories and have been encouraged that I had caught an attitude of prayer to sustain me in and through my life. It has kept me through many trying times and has become a lifelong message of mine as well as a book I have published, “Igniting the Power of Prayer”.  It is my desire to see God’s people live a life empowered through a life of prayer

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!