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

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We Can Do It If We Will

haystack  “In 1806 a group of students at Williams College in Massachusetts sought refuge from a sudden rainstorm in a haystack.  As the rain beat down, they turned their retreat into a prayer meeting.  They asked God to use their lives.  As they prayed, their faith rose to believe God could use them significantly to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission.  When the rain subsided, they left with the rallying cry, “We can do it if we will!” This unobtrusive meeting went down in history as the Haystack Prayer Meeting.  Today this spontaneous prayer time is seen as the beginning of the mission movement in America.  As a result, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was birthed.”[i]

Through a simple small non-organized prayer meeting the world would never be the same.  God used a group of young people that had a relationship with Him to shake the world through missions. Not because of who they were or even that they deserved anything.  It was all because they chose to allow God’s heart to be vocalized through prayer. That small group came in agreement with God’s will and because of it changed the world!

If the believers of God would only understand there is an incredible power when we come in agreement with heaven through our prayers. We could virtually change our surroundings and our world. The question is, will we no matter what the circumstances are find a place and time and begin to pray prayers that will make a difference?  Let us also make our rallying cry as did that small group many years ago

“We Can do it if we will!”

 

[i] David Shibley, A Force In The Earth, Florida: Creation House, 1989 P. 85

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!

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!

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)