First Bible

firstbibletitledIn this apartment complex, there is little of faith.  Most of the kids tell us their fathers are in prison.  Many of the others live in a single parent home.  Few have a full house with mom and dad.

Here sits L.  As she received her first bible, she sat down immediately and began to read.  The impact brought me to tears.  Living in a community where churches mark every corner, she had never read the stories of the Lord for herself.  Her excitement was immediate and active.

The stocking is full of wonderful fruits and nuts and a candy cane.  Yet, they mean nothing compared to her joy in receiving the words of God.

L is touching the words of the Lord not just on the page, but in the flesh with those that come to her and teach weekly.  She reads the bible on their face and in their hands and expressed from their hearts.

Thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful opportunity to share You with others.  I weep at the priviledge to serve.

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Meet Jesus : Unrelenting

Matthew 8:18: Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 19: And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20: And Jesus saith unto him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

21: And another of his disciples said unto him, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” 22: But Jesus said unto him, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.”

Excuse Me: Our human tendency is for excuses.  The opportunities of the moment are quickly passed by for the excuses of a lifetime.  One wanted comforts and a secure destination.  Another wanted to seal the family fortune and let the past generation find finality.  Jesus wanted them that day.  Jesus wants those who will go where there is no promise of a comfortable destination.  Jesus wants those who will go and let the prior generation either come along or resolve life on their own.  Jesus is unrelentingly in motion toward heaven.

 Garbage Man: At breakfast one morning a friend looked into the eyes of another friend.  Piercingly, he declared, “You are the garbage man!”  They had been discussing activities in the community.  The one was talking about going into hard places and developing and disciplining people in this gospel lifestyle.  His friend saw a thread.  The thread was finding struggling situations and bringing those to fruitful fields with tenacity and insight and time and effort.   The thread was taking what others reject and bringing it to full fruit.

 No Throw Aways: Taking what others would throw away and applying strong action is something many avoid.  Jesus embraced it.  It is His  daily bread and unrelenting task.  It meant not having a home at times as most would not follow Him into the hard spots or welcome Him when he came out smelling like a portion of mankind with which they were unfamiliar.  What is not ours and is not familiar looks and smells like garbage.  I remember working in nurseries as a young parent.  Changing my child’s diaper was easy.  Changing the diaper of a friend’s child was horrid.  The smell was unfamiliar.  At times, I would lean over a trash can in case I could not handle it and my stomach might revolt. 

Minister to Minister: This month, be a special blessing to some minister.  For the most part they are “garbage men”.  They take our hurts and pains and help us through to new light and life.  They could use a lift this clergy appreciation month.

 ACT!  Release an excuse that has been keeping you from full commitment to Jesus call on your life.  Think about how you would live if you had no financial attachments or no expectations of tomorrow’s fortune.

 PRAY!  Father, I am so weak.  My strength is small in the challenge of adversity.  Jesus came with no guantees of comfort or family or home.  He thought it not something to be grasped to be resident with You as King of the Universe in heaven.  He left throne and comfort to live among men.  Help me have  His way in me.

 

Meet Jesus : Unswayable

Matthew 8:16: When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

 Unstoppable: The unstoppable, unswayable nature of Jesus challenges my thoughts.  His persistence in the face of challenge is incredible.  Think about this situation.  He had just had a hard day, found Peter’s mother-in-law sick, settled down for a meal and relaxing with friends, and then the someone raps on the door.  “Jesus, come out quickly there is a mob of sick, demonized, bleeding, open-wounded, moaning people out here who want to see you.” 

 How would you respond?

 He healed all that were sick.  He cast out the spirits with His word. 

 ACT!  The next calendar challenge that comes to you, stop and take care of the interruption for the other person immediately.  See what happens.

 PRAY! Father, I want to be able to have the presence of mind of Jesus.  How incredible that He could stop at anytime and concentrate totally on the one pressing need in front of Him.  Teach me, Father.  Teach me to be ever able and ever present for people in need.

 

Meet Jesus : Family Love

Matthew 8:14: And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15: And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

Family: For all of us there are those special people we call family.  They may or may not be blood family.  They are special.  They are family.  For Jesus, Peter and anyone special to Peter became family.  This was Peter’s mother-in-law that moved the compassionate hand of God.  There is no hesitation in these verses.  It appears that Jesus went right to Peter’s mother-in-law.  Immediately, He healed family.

Family Followup: A new person came across the pastor’s path that week.  She was new to town and visiting church with her boyfriend.  On a follow up phone call, he found she had been sick for two days.  While getting acquainted a little more, he gently led into prayer.  The presence of God was sweet.  She needed that family touch.

 ACT!  Got family?  Maybe someone in your extended family or friend’s family is ailing in heart or mind or body.  Reach out a hand of friendship to them in prayer.  Let them know.

 PRAY!  Father of health and life.  I bring my family of friends before Your throne.  Take them into Your protection and love.  Take them into Your healing presence.  Bring them great joy today in You in Jesus.

 

Time to Lead

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You are born to lead.  It is in your genetic makeup.  Study over 54 world leaders from workplace, community, government, church, education, and home that changed their world.

Time To Lead

Cultural Imperatives 
Our nation of the United States is under testing. Other nations have similar challenges. There is nothing new about the tests before us. Trials come in waves over the centuries. Equality is always questioned by some group and requires a constant adjustment as a nation of ever new citizens grows. Racial barriers rise in differing manners, but they will never totally subside. Poverty will always be with us and require constant adjustment to address. Distribution of wealth through taxation and business legal edicts will never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Governance issues of when and how much to restrict use of common resources and contain greed through legislative restraint remain.
How we act today as states and nations leaves the next generation a different set of symptoms of problems than ours, but the same issues at the core. Leadership cannot rest once an issue is significantly addressed. Leadership is required for continuance of peace and community stability and economic prosperity.

 

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A Lenten Log

Reclaiming Easter Facebook 403x403In 1999, I took a 50 day journey of prayer and fast.  This Lent, I remember those moments that recreated my soul.  Here are some notes from before blogging became blogging.

Go ahead and print this out and use for the next seven days.  I’ll post another next Wednesday.

Day One

As we begin our prayer journey for the saints, remember those who have gone before us. Men as Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, A.W. Tozer, C.T. Studd, Reese Howells, Jeremiah Lanphier, Jonathon Edwards, and others have at times seemed mystical in their quest for deeper understanding of God and at times seem mystifying. Gods way can seem mystical. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His ways are higher than our ways. Hopefully, as we go into the insights of scripture in relation to praying for the saints, we will journey old roads for some and new trails for others. At a minimum, they will be exciting roads for us. Roads of change and passionate zeal for the heart of God.

There is much in the Word concerning prayer for the saints. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob blessed the ones to follow. Moses prophesied results. The prophets always prayed for Godliness.

Saints need prayer. Each day is a new opportunity for growth or regression. God goes for growth. Prayer paves the path.

FOCUS: Prayer is a silent encouragement, a sure exhortation, a provoking to greater works through unseen and unheard motions in the realm of the heavens worked out on earth.

Psalm One and Proverbs One.

 

Day Two

God is my witness.

Over and over we need a witness that is reliable. God is my reliable witness. Think. Life assaults with dilemmas. People accuse of impropriety. God is a positive witness. He sees the good and reports it to others. Remember that God is my witness and the witness for all the saints.

Father, testify on my behalf. Declare in Your courts the good things. Speak favor for the saints in the marketplace. Boast for the saints as any Father for a child.

Praying for the saints should be with knowledge and discernment. Philippians chapter 1 includes prayer from Paul that includes both.

The objectives of prayer are growth, protection, restoration, expansion in all areas.

Necessity dictates too much in our lives. Life should follow God’s footsteps as our pathway (Psalm 85). Too much is determined by our lack of resistance. Resistance from the world system will always come. Our charter is persistence against resistance. Continued gentle and every so often violent persistence breaks the wall.

At Jerico, Joshua and God’s people broke through resistance. Beginning with a gentle determination they built their courage. Endurance was strengthened by daily obedience. Then came the violent break through. Paul constantly spoke on endurance. This key factor can be the major determiner of any battle. Who will endure? Who will fight on? Pray for endurance for the saints.

FOCUS: Change. Be violent to change to new ways. Don’t return to the old. Psalm 85.

Psalm Two and Proverbs Two.

 

Day Three

Creative juices flow best unhindered. The creativity of the soul is unbounded in Jesus. No matter what the conditions of life, he supplies fresh, living waters to refresh and fulfill us.

The supply is inexhaustible.

The supply is ample.

The supply is rich.

The supply is overwhelming.

He is the fountain of living waters, the well spring of eternal life.

Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of hosts. His Spirit is a Holy Spirit. A life giving oil of supply that never runs dry is He. Our lamp is never dimmed because His anointing oil is ever strong and flowing. Drink of His oil. It is a river of oil. In this oil we grow fat and flourish strong.

FOCUS: Drink with peace. The river brings peace. Cease from fretting.

Psalm Three and Proverbs Three

 

Day Four

Weariness drains creativity and resolve. We must find rest in Jesus. No matter the reason for our restlessness, rest is in Him. “Come unto Me all you who are weak and heavy burdened and you will find rest for your souls.”

FOCUS: Rest in Him. He is the shadow of a great rock in a dry and weary land.

Psalm Four and Proverbs Four

 

Day Five

 

Rest is a state of being, repose of the spirit of man. In Hebrews the writer explains that faith enters into rest or does not enter to God’s presence. Rest ceases from works. Rest is more than peace. Rest is repose of the soul. Labor cease. Striving disappears. Rest takes confident possession of the territory promised and does not relinquish its position. “Come unto Me all you weary and heavy laden and I will giver you rest for your souls.”

FOCUS: Rest. Relax from labors and allow God His pleasure to fulfill our destiny.

Psalm Five and Proverbs Five

 

Day Six

I give you beauty for ashes.

I give you joy for mourning.

I give you light for darkness and brightness in the gloom.

I will give you grace for the hard days and strength for the task, endurance for the duration that always you will last and last and last and last.

Routine. It is routine that will produce these.

FOCUS: Step into greatness.

Psalm Six and Proverbs Six

 

Day Seven

 

God has great plans for us. They include those around us. They include the protection we need to accomplish them.

In life, we have dwellings. Our mind, our heart, our home, our marriage, our family, our workgroups, and our playgroups are all dwelling places where we spend time and thought. Our tomorrows are cultivated in these places. The environment we provide for growth is important. The cultivation of right relationship is crucial and impacts a long time our development.

FOCUS: Develop relationships. Blow off the dust of the years. Take action.

Psalm Seven and Proverbs Seven