The fire of life is a consuming agent meant to cleanse and strengthen. It sure does not feel like it when you are in it.
Oh, trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce, Or a trouble is what you make it. And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts, But only how did you take it. Edmund Vance Cooke
A good friend and mentor reminded me this morning that when God is prepping us for good things, the enemy launches defensive attack to stop us. Jesus knew this in the garden and prayed for us. In my struggle to stay on top of issues instead of buried by them, I needed that loving reminder. Maybe it can encourage you also.
When Jesus prayed for us in His last recorded prayer before his execution on the cross, He prayed ‘a full measure of joy’ along with a commission to live in this world “as it is not as we would have it” (Serenity Prayer – Niehbur).
He let us know that the systems of the world will hate us. How true is that today? Education, government, politics, arts, even benevolence would like to crush the heart of a believer in Christ. Even knowing that it is only the presence of that heart of genuine compassion birthed in Christ that is the eternal engine of dignity and hope in the very world that rejects Him.
It is the heart of real Christianity that sees there is neither male nor female nor black nor white nor EU nor USA in God’s family. There are just people for whom He died and lives and unites. It is the real heart of Christians that treats all with dignity even in disagreement. And it is that heart that is hated because it convicts and convinces of mistaken living and imperfect obdience.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
John 17:13-19 NIV
When you read this prayer, pray it over yourself and your leaders. Pray in agreement with Jesus.
Father, I agree with Christ as He stands in front of You on my behalf right now. Fill us with the full measure of His joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. The joy that shines bright in the middle of a lost and distorted generation filled with violence and greed and self fulfillment.
Your word is a lamp to us, a light to our path in the dark. We are hated for living Your word and heart. Days can be cold. Never let our hearts get cold to reach out with hope and life in Jesus. No matter the rejection, the lack of gratefulness or persecution, never let us be bitter or cold.
We are not of the world any more than Jesus is of the world. My prayer is not that you take us out of the world but that you protect us from the evil one. Sanctify us by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent Jesus into the world, you have sent us into the world. We accept and acknowledge our selection and calling as hard as it may be. For us Jesus sanctified Himself, that we too may be truly sanctified, equipped, and set out for this special task each and every day.
Stand strong, a generation separated from God needs you. You are loved and appreciated in the highest court of heaven by the King of the Universe.
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.[b]
27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
This is our age of adventure. God is full of miracles and right answers for right living for those that align their lives, thoughts, actions, and attitudes with His truth.
Up to now, you may not have seen all you want to see in life. You might have some physical and emotional pains. Scars of the heart and mind could be plaguing you. Why settle? Why not have a better life forward?
In 1976, some 40 years past, Francis Schaeffer published a video series entitled Why Shall We Then Live? It is based on his book by the same title. Without taking too much time, there are two premises. One is that the growth of man’s concentration of himself as the center of the universe is leading us into dangerous and hellishly painful living. Second is that God gave us a moral base as a solution that will keep that from happening as we invoke it. Schaeffer’s prophetic conclusion is that unchecked man’s concentration on man will end up in an authoritarian government overseeing and oppressing our lives with decisions from an elite few. This is the story of history and the certain end result of a view of life of societal definition verses moral absolutes based on God’s revealed Bible. Certainly the United States has suffered greatly under this oppression from administrative and judicial branches for some years now. The EU poses this oppressive approach as does the United Nations. An elitist group defines what society needs and imposes on it. Without a Biblical absolute with which to challenge, the oppression goes unchecked. Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, the abuses of major religions that turned to religion instead of Bible all have proven this true.
You may feel you are in such a situation. You may feel that a government entity or a family tribunal or a set of circumstances have put you in an oppressive situation from which there is no escape.
The joy of the Believer is that God provides miracle escape in our personal lives, when we apply right approach. It may not be as quick as we would like, but it is a certain promise.
Take time to go back and read the excerpts from Psalm 37. These are promises. There are conditions. Never should we believe we can just “run to Jesus” and answers will fall from heaven. That is ludicrous and not the promise of the Bible. That is bad manipulation and bad belief. It is not true. He wants the Lordship of your life. He wants to be master.
When I understand:
1.Of myself, I cannot get it done.
2.God, the Creator, a personal God, made a way in Christ to be forgiven, accepted, and empowered.
3.I can rest in His death and resurrection. He has built a limitless bank of grace and peace.
4.The King of the Universe loves me and that makes me valuable. You cannot take it away. He has poured His Holy Spirit into my life.
5.He gives me a true “church” family that loves me, accepts me and takes me in.
Anger has no hold.
Addictions drop away.
Depression is defeated.
Provision is at my door.
Strength engulfs me for difficulty.
This simple statement has guided me recently in helping others gain faith in Christ and Christ alone. It is simple. It doesn’t encompass everything, but it encompasses all I need to begin a limitless life of freedom in Him.
Living that statement takes daily application. Daily application opens my life to daily miracles. Many times the influence of God in my life is a compound effect. Day after day, I build relationship and connection and cooperation with Him. Each step builds my faith and my strength. Each connection plants seeds that blossom in my future.
What is a way to connect every day?
Take this format for a season. I’ll share more as you grow, but begin here and more will be added. Don’t make this a magic formula. Make this a daily discipline to open your heart, your life, your family, your work, and your friendships to continual influence of an ever loving God.
When you rise and before you go to bed. Do these four things.
- Adore Him – tell God how much you love Him. Center your universe on Him. Ask Him to teach you to love like He loves. Recognize Him for the fact that He is your Father, the Creator of the Universe, all powerful and all loving.
- Confess Your Faults – be brutally honest. Talk to him privately about what you have done wrong, when you have lost control, what you did not do that needed done. Confess, receive forgiveness, ask to be built stronger. Listen to the stirrings of your heart. Hear His quiet voice bringing correction. Do what He tells you. Be obedient.
- Thank Him – think of all that has transpired and thank Him for the good and the bad. That is right. Don’t thank Him that bad has happened. Thank Him that He gave you freedom to live in both circumstances. Thank Him that He will turn the bad events into growth and good in your life. Thank Him He is the author of all that is good and the Defender against all that is evil to deliver us from it.
- Supplication – Ask for what your family needs, your friends, your world and you personally. Tell Him what you want. Talk it out with Him. Don’t gripe. Don’t complain. Stand as a strong and confident child of Heaven after you have acknowledged His greatness and goodness and your mistaken living and imperfect obedience and be assured He is listening.
Watch what begins to happen. Keep a journal. When you put Him first, you will begin to see miracle birth.
For a Better Life
In His Service and Yours,
The last three years have been marked with many miracle touches of God. Thousands.
The last twenty years with many thousands more.
A man challenged me one day, “I’ve not seen any miracles.”
I answered, “Where have you been? Have you been regular in attendance? Have you given yourself to the work of the ministry? Have you buried yourself in the closet of prayer and fasting?”
He hung his head and walked away.
He missed the miracle healing of the leg of a dear sister, who went from surgery on Friday to back to work on Monday with no residual. The doctor told her it would take months.
He missed the miracle healing the legs of the woman, who came crippled and in great pain and left with no pain and all swelling gone by the next morning.
He missed the miracle healing of the woman, who slipped in one time and the snap of her spine back into place shocked the entire audience as she crumpled healed under the power of God.
He missed the miracle financial gift that pays for me to stay in ministry besides a small group of people, who have little to give.
He missed the thousands overcome by the presence of God on a regular basis in the streets and farms and churches of Mexico every year.
He missed the opening of cooperative relationships with an ever increasing number of government agencies coming to us for help.
He missed the personal salvation of one after another in the quiet of the cafe and across the glass at the jail.
He missed the meth addict, who has abandoned drugs and the alcoholic sober for years and both of these helping others.
He missed the baby with the hole in her stomach restored to total health as if nothing ever happened.
He missed. He was busy looking somewhere else when Jesus touched a soul. Don’t follow his path.
2017 is an Age of Adventure.
In just a few days, I will begin releasing short lessons on miracles as a way of daily life. At Hope Connection in Gainesville, we will include in every service with an offer of miracles. Miracles are not seen with some heebie jeebie super spiritual seance approach to prayer. Miracles are seen when God decides and in accordance with His word.
Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
A man after seeing the miracle intervention of God in a service asked me to come into the next service and just start praying for people. I scolded him. “We will preach the word. Faith will rise. Miracles will come. We will not pray until we have preached the word.” That evening hundreds filled the outdoor area in which we had services. The presence of God was strong and many saw answers. Last weekend, a woman came to me after a meeting in a dirt courtyard. Chickens ran underfoot. The music team was loud and relentless in a way that distracted faith. in all the chaos, God touched her. She left free. All her burdens were gone and she found me to make sure I knew.
“El peso es levantado” “The heaviness is lifted”, she declared.
in 2017, I declare the Age of Adventure for Cooke County, Texas. Miracle presence of God will seem commonplace.
How can that be, Pastor? How can you be so bold?
Can I hold back any longer? For three years, I have worked with the Holy Spirit to seed the ground, preach the word of faith, and pray for all. Now He says, “Go. Release. Do it in Me.” Enough with doubt. Enough with unbelief. Enough with religion.
Easy. Every time we ask in faith, He responds. I am quite comfortable casting off doubt and unbelief on behalf of the people and entering in to a constant opening to the presence and miracle power of Christ. I am uncomfortable with allowing the common disbelief of man in the God of Power and Love. I am uncomfortable allowing religious flesh to strangle the presence of the Holy Spirit. I am uncomfortable allowing self serving super spiritual Christians to destroy faith with hypocrisy. I am comfortable bringing light into darkness and joy into despair and hope into depression. I am comfortable with the I Am.
How do I know this is for me?
1 Thessalonians 1:4 For we know, brothers and sisters[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
This is what we will see with increasing common occurrence. And this book will be out guide.
If you want to prepare yourself for this Age of Adventure, take time to listen to each of these 41 lessons on 1 John explaining the love of Christ. Perfect love casts out fear. Fear fights faith. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAni6D2Vjoqhh0Xk1vDxVjNYLeXlXoq5I
Join me in the Age of Adventure. Make the drive. 6:30pm Sundays along with interactive online studies at 9am Sunday and 6:30pm Wednesday. The Mosaic at the Stanford House Sept 24, Oct 29, Nov 19, Dec 17 at 10:30am Sundays. The Morning Moment on facebook daily. Life Skills and Parenting workshops ongoing by registration.
This morning I read through Nehemiah, Psalm 5 and Proverbs 5 before entering the study. The impression that God protects His people in mercy and justice was overwhelming. To follow a mistaken course of living like the fool in proverbs 5 living in lust and adultery ends up in loss of years and loss of reputation. To marry into unbelieving relationships like the men of Jerusalem does the same with children that do not know their heritage.
Simultaneously, those that have followed a mistaken course of living are still overseen by God’s mercy and given opportunity to repent and start fresh. Everything is forward.
Yesterday in the meetings at HCIPHC, the minister looked into my eyes and said, “Go forward.” I knew exactly what he meant. On May 22nd, I recorded a video “Get Up and Go Forward”. I had been in fasting for some time and the Holy Spirit was screaming these words and continues to pummel them into my soul.
Get up and Go Forward. Don’t dwell on the mistakes of the past or the life lived yesterday. Whether it was great, good, or groaning, find the future.
John’s letter to those who had lived the gospel with him over the decades of his life opens concepts of honest love. Our world is dying for lack of honest Christian love. We choose cheapened lust and desire. This series of videos opens eyes into the heart of love. Walk with me through every verse of this amazing letter of love and counsel