The Challenge of Change

“Fill your sphere, brother, and be content with it. If God shall move you to another, be glad to be moved; if he move you to a smaller, be as willing to go to a less prominent place as to one that is more so. Have no will about it.” (Spurgeon)

“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭131:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What amazing changes press against our businesses! The interruption of a pandemic is something no normal business conceives. Plans are made for interruptions by fire, storm, or even a loss of market position. Yet, who would plan for a total disruption of the economic engine?

As part of my responsibilities for many years, I was involved in disaster planning. At one point, I even spoke at conferences concerning such. In the middle of the night, I’ve climbed a ladder with an open container of diesel to keep a shop running because of an ice storm. In another situation, we ran operations out of a warehouse while waiting for reconstruction due to a bombing. One hospital electrical fire put us out of commission for hours as we shifted and shuffled operations. A retail operation entered bankruptcy and all systems had to be reengineered. But never have I had to respond to an entire economy in disarray.

These moments turn me deep into territory unknown and my dependence on God’s word and Spirit are tested. What about you?

A few years ago, all of my solid foundations quaked. A successful career overturned in a flash. The Lord had prepared me and a new career birthed. The journey has been amazing and fraught with invention and innovation. Some bread crumbs have helped me maintain and move forward.

David was surely in such a moment when he wrote this Psalm. He left us a path. He must have been in one of those moments that defy logic. For years, he lived in seclusion. His faithfulness was rewarded with persecution. He served the king and the king chased him out and wanted to kill him. Another time, his son attacked. Yet, another time he and his men returned to their home city to find all their families and possessions taken by an opponent. David was acquainted with great success interrupted with great loss.

1. Stay humble. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. When we find ourselves outside of all we have planned and believed, it is easy to get prideful and say, “Well I am better than this.” That is a dangerous position. Take the day as it is. Take the assignment of the Father to function in disaster as honorably as to function in great prosperity. Be contented in change.

2. Stay focused. Don’t get balled up in the problems. Be able to be content with a lesser income and profit position during rebuilding. Get focused on the most important items in life, which are not financial. Build family and friendships. Build relationships. Build a new world birthed of the change. Be contented in change.

3. Get quiet and calm. Concern, worry, and anxiety lead us into wrong choices and wrong voices. Many come up with instant answers and quick solutions that have not been tested under such circumstances. Dependence on old ways that worked in a different economy can get you into a position of no retreat. Get quiet. Get calm. Talk to the Lord a lot. Listen. Take secure steps and don’t rush. Be contented in change.

4. Get disciplined in faith. Faith is meant for challenging days of change. Really turn to the Lord and take the time to shore up core discipleship. Prayer, praise, serving, thanksgiving, witnessing, study, meditation, and fellowship keep us going through every situation. The Lord outlined these for disciples, followers. In the tough spot do a spot check. Where are you in each area? Strengthen the weak spots. Good counsel is to play to your strengths, cover your weaknesses, and develop your disciplines. Disciplines of faith hold you in place and move you forward when all else is crashing. Be contented in change.

Your world might be upside down and standing on the secure is needed. My home has been turned into a training center for both my wife and me. Workshops for struggling families and tumultuous teens sometimes are ongoing one upstairs and one down. She has mastered new skills and this week taught 8 workshops for teens online with tools she had never seen up until two weeks ago. I coach her in these modes and modify adult workshops to be online interactive with live sessions. Nothing is normal. Not one hour of one day is the same. Except.

Except my early morning disciplines are the same and more. I spend more time on the disciplines of prayer and study and meditation and serving and thanksgiving and witnessing and fellowship and praise. Depend on what works in any waters.

The challenge of change is to not go back to the way you were. If we go back to where we were we come back to where we are. I say that phrase over and over to struggling men and women. Everyone is struggling right now. The ground is level. Go forward in faith.

By faith, we prevail. The Lord is not surprised. This is not the end of progress. Through these pains we become stronger men and women. We learn lessons that prosper us and our children and our children’s children. A few notes scribble in a Psalm by David, who surely walked through greater challenges, serve us well. You can do this. The Lord is on your side.

The Think Doctor, Phil

Ascend

The word of the Lord for today is ASCEND

Pride Ascends

“For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.”

Isaiah 14:13 NLT

https://www.bible.com/116/isa.14.13.nlt

Don’t let your accomplishments be the ascent that leads to descent. Lucifer learned hard.  The angels that became demons learned hard.  Those that follow the same path learn hard. Money, power, and fame are fashions for a season that lead to a descent.

Prayer Ascends

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”

2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT

https://www.bible.com/116/2co.1.20.nlt

When Jesus was headed to Jerusalem for His finale at the cross, the Samaritans spurned Him.  This area had been reached through the woman at the well and Jesus honored the Samaritans for eternity with His parable of the Good Samaritan.  Yet, they spurned Him at a critical point.  He purposely wanted to bless them and they rejected Him.  Join with Jesus.  Don’t get caught up in your own agendas.  Find the place to say, “Amen, I agree, so be it”.  There is power in His promises when we agree and connect and disregard our own agenda.

Power Ascends

“He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.”

Acts of the Apostles 1:7-9 NLT

https://www.bible.com/116/act.1.7-9.nlt

At the point of ascending into heaven, Jesus promised power.  In the good news of Matthew, He tells us He has all authority and we are to go with it and get the kingdom expanded.  Luke quotes Jesus on the power of the Holy Spirit.  Mark quotes Jesus on the explosion of miracles.  John quotes Jesus on the acceptance of love and forgiveness and unity.  All of these are on the road to His ascension. He delegates and empowers so that we will lift Him up for all to see.

This week has been good as the Holy Spirit prepares us for the next steps in His agenda.  It is not about our agenda or our ascend.  It is about His ascend.  He wants to lift Jesus higher than any time in our history.  Every step of the Holy Spirit from the ascension of Jesus into heaven to this moment is a crescendo building.  He has been ascending in history to yet another high point in the kingdom.

Ascend with Him in prayer and action.

We are family

You are loved

Jesus is Our Strong Tower

Spring is on the way

This morning as I look out the kitchen window cooking bacon and eggs and tortillas, my mind goes back to 1994.  Snow is falling here in Oklahoma City in April. That is rare and comforting.  And it takes me back three decades and even four.729894Z

It was May and my family camped in the mountains of Hesperus, Colorado.  That morning, I rose around 5am. One of the families had set up a cook tent and had fresh tortillas, beans, and pork chops. The smell stimulated. My wife and kids were solid asleep as I joined the others in some early morning laughs.  I had not laughed in a while.  Snow still slept in the shadows high in the mountains where we camped and snow still slept in the shadows of disappointments in my life.  Rain took the weekend by surprise and we were constricted to the tents.  It felt good to get outside.

Spring was on the way, but not quite here.  That weekend I was leading a family camp for a congregation located in the four corners area in Farmington, New Mexico.  Friends pastored there.  These friends stood with us. We shared life as we trained together at the Christian Outreach School of Ministries in 1980-1982. We shared life again.  We graduated together and here we were together again.  Many seasons had come and gone.  Spring was on the way, but winter grabbed.

From 1982 to 1990, ministry and family and job intertwined.  There were many miracles.  A church had grown out of small groups.  A church had crashed and gone. Four children grew our family.  Companies folded and disappointed in the days of the oil busts.  In 1994, it was Winter, but Spring was on the way.

For a few years, I retreated from ministry outreach in the community.  It was strange to respond to great success with great disappointment.  But that is where I was.  The mix of family and work and ministry just pushed me beyond my strength.  Ground recovers in Winter.  My soul recovered in Winter.

After great harvest comes time for fallow land. Our hearts need rest.  Spring comes.

Cooking bacon and eggs and tortillas in my kitchen another Spring comes.  This COVID comes on top of many crashes.  Children are grown and have children of their own.  My wife and I work with struggling families teaching life and relationship skills.  The business career days are over. The community campaign days are back.  We are fully engaged some 4 decades later in similar pursuits to when we started.  My knees are weak. My heart is strong.  Companies have come and gone.  Many seasons of ministry have come and gone.  We have had a great life and more is coming. Springs and Summers and Falls and Winters come and go.  Spring is on the way.  Winter still has a grasp from the last crashes of the prior years. Spring is on the way.

Spring is on the way. Over all the ups and downs, the triumphs and tragedies, I’ve learned. Spring is always on the way.  Great harvests require the soul to lie fallow for a season.  Winter is my friend. Spring is on the way.  I’m only 64.  There is snow on my roof and Spring is on the way.  There is a lot of new life ahead of me.

Phil Larson serves as the SW Director of Benefits and Conferences for GrandKidsMatter.org and GrandParentBenefits.org.  He and his wife, Dian, have four children of their own and many that call them mom and dad from the community. Three of those children are married giving them a mix of six grandchildren of multi-racial background by both birth and adoption.  You can contact him at 405.494.0637 or phil@grandparentbenefits.org

“Stand!”

The word of the Lord for today is : “STAND!”

Romans 15:13  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Last evening our North Texas Director and I met on Zoom with a group working through probation.  During the course work, we ask each to identify goals in four areas of biological, psychological, relational, and spiritual.  Pressures of pandemic cause us to question our goals. But the core of goals resists pressure to persist.  Maybe it takes a new form, but a true goal persists through pressure.

Yesterday morning I met with a group on fathering and grand-parenting.  Resources are greatly restricted for us and limit our impact.  But limitations do not stop deep goals birthed of prayerful vision.

As I went through these conversations and thought about not being able to be in person with my grandchildren and children over Easter something of my deep vision and goals rose from within.  It seems as if all the shaking is taking me to what is unshakable. I have a deep and embedded destiny that says, “Fix fractured families”.  No pressure is able to shake it.  I have a solid call to prayer and prophetic and preaching.  No pressure is able to shake it.  What is unshakable in you?  Maybe you have not faced the unshakable in a while because the push and pressures of everyday have shadowed your soul.  What is unshakable in you?

When the God of Restoration and Healing spoke to Abraham, the father of faith, something powerful was written for us to remember.

Deuteronomy 18:17  “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. 18 “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19 I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.”

There was a deep promise and vision for Abraham and the Lord told him to STAND and see it through.  He speaks the same to us.

When a crisis attacks sensibilities be sensible.  “Stand!”

This worldwide pandemic sears into the soul.  Sight, Sound, Smell ,Taste and Touch break boundaries into the soul.  Heart and mind lose connection with hope and faith.  It happens.  How do you respond? “Stand!”

The God of Restoration and Healing Speaks. “Stand!”

Do you stare at the wall and cry? Do you moan and relax into defeatism?  Do you rant and rave with paranoia?  How do you respond? “Stand!”

Dr. Daniel Amen, one of my favorite health and healing specialists, talked live last evening about using the same sensory elements to combat the fatigue of isolation as have been assaulted. Boost your brain.  Battle the depressive effects of isolation. “Stand!”

The situation shows ugly realities of people without food.  Friends in other nations send me pictures of hundreds at their doors every day begging.  In their nation Christians are not allowed access to government supplies.  It is a nation of Islam and the pain is huge.  The sight brings fright. “Stand!”

The situation speaks endlessly from the mouths of doctors and business professionals and government leaders talking of death and pandemic.  Fear endlessly streams from their words with no credible end in sight.  “Stand!”

The situation smells of restriction and blockage.  Day after day, the same smells block us into a captured state. We miss the mixed perfumes of variety and crowd. “Stand!”

The tension trys to take our touch.  Handshakes and hugs are limited to a few.  High-signs and elbow bumps replace the common holding of friends. “Stand!”

The tension trys to test our taste.  Favorite restaurants are shuttered.  The bustle of a busy night is gone.  Take out just isn’t the same. “Stand!”

The God of Restoration and Healing Speaks. “Stand!”

This morning as I rise, the God of Restoration and Healing Speaks.  He points to powers beyond taste and touch and sight and sound and smell.  He points to hope and healing and faith and love and joy and peace.  He calls us to fight with weapons of our warfare far beyond the five senses. “Stand!”

Sing His praise and change the sounds of silence into joy. “Stand!”

Read His words and stories of rescued saints and allow the inner vision of supply according to His riches in glory to fill your inner mind with hope. “Stand!”

Smell the incense of prayer outside your home in a wood or a park and all His healing to enter deep and stir faith in goodness. “Stand!”

Touch your hands in a clap of praise and a clasp of gratefulness and let His Spirit pull love from deep inside. “Stand!”

Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Savor every simple bite of food and give thanks with a thankful heart as joy and peace flood. “Stand!”

Take those same assaulted senses and turn them to good.  Turn them to see and touch the Savior of Our Soul.  Listen for His inner voice.  Let the two edged sword of praise power your insight.  Let the shield of faith clash against the dark arrows of loss.  Let the fastened helmet of salvation bounce off hard thoughts.  Let the belt of truth tighten and sustain you in a hope of tomorrow that always comes.  Let the boots of the good news get you into ready position of peace that cannot be shaken.  Let the breastplate of right standing in Him assure you that your purpose and place is secure against noise of the days.  Let the sword of the Spirit inspire prayers according to His words that light the path of restoration and healing. “Stand!”

The God of Restoration and Healing Speaks. “Stand!”

“Stand!” in the unshakable goodness of a God, who has not forgotten what He has determined to do.

Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

 

CRASH

MORNING MOMENT: CRASH
The word from the Lord is CRASH
1 Chronicles 15:28 So all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres.
crashingpraiseLike so many words in English, CRASH, has multiple meanings. To CRASH can mean to bust your car into a pole or waves on the shore or spend the night on a friend’s couch or lose value in your investments or lose all your strength of body or mind or emotion. Usually, it marks an event or series of events that cause others to look toward the CRASH.
A CRASHing praise should make others look. CRASH a loud sound of praise. CRASH something good so loudly that others will hear and notice. CRASH the cymbals so everyone will notice.
In a marching band, it is the CRASHing cymbals that can bring your attention. In an orchestra, it is the CRASHing cymbals that accent high moments in a performance. And in our lives, it is the CRASHing attention we give to the goodness of God that allows others to see His good.
This day CRASH a sound of praise to overwhelm the CRASH of disaster. Take a moment to think of something so good that others will turn their heads and say, “Wow, that is great!”
Can I get a CRASHing witness?
 
We are family
You are loved
Jesus is Our Strong Tower
Pastor Phil

Connect

Morning Moment: Connect
The word of the Lord for today is CONNECT
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.James 4:8 NLT

A bit of jocularity in this verse for today. When I read the part ‘wash your hands’ I laugh. Does God really want me to wash my hands so He doesn’t get my sickness? No, He wants me to be prepared to receive His holiness and healing. He wants nothing between me and Him, not even a speck of dirt.

The thrust of God’s heart is to connect with us. He wants us to be so connected to Him that nothing stands between us to separate.

Good policy directs us to separate from the disease of the world. Healthcare workers put on extensive coverings and become invisible as people to the ones they serve. The Lord asks us to do the opposite in relation to Him. He asks us to take it all away and come to Him with an open heart and no barriers. He wants to infect us.

Give the best hour of the day to the Lord. That is the one after I workout, shower and get dressed. I am sharp and ready. Most of us drag before God unshaven, tossed hair, and half asleep. We would never show up for a meeting at work or with a client that way and expect to walk away successful. Why do we treat God that way?

Give God the best and most prepared moment of today. See what happens.

Connect. Put off your fear and worry. Wash your hands of self serving and financial pursuit. Toss away controlling thoughts, angers, and addictions. Stand with no barrier between Him and you. Take one moment to lay it all to the side and see if connecting with Him is not better than the baggage. Give Him a moment.  Connect.

We are family

You are loved

Jesus is Our Strong Tower

Stalwart

Morning Moment: Stalwart
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing
A Might Fortress is Our God, Martin Luther

Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. Psalms 112:6 NLT

Take this word for the day, STALWART. It means loyal and strong. What better word for our God! A mighty fortress. Luther’s original words were ‘Ein Feste Burg’ or ‘A Solid Castle’. How are your doing on being a solid castle?

Yesterday’s conversations all had a touch of panic. A friend’s mother died. A couple is preparing for retirement and heart disease looms. A pastor in the Middle East has hundreds refused food by authorities because they are Christian in a Muslim country. A family struggles with going to work in healthcare and the dangers of bringing disease home. A group on probation faces unemployment, kids at home, and heightened anxiety. Another has lost his family to the pains of impact of his past abusive and alcoholic behaviour and looks to find his way in the world. How’s it going with you? Feeling stalwart?

By day’s end, I was tired not feeling loyal and strong at all. But then, my Father lives in me. He is a solid castle, a tower into which I can run, a bulwark never failing. And because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Do this to build your stalwart stand. Look to the future. This is Easter week like no other. This week, the death tolls are forecast to climb every day and peak on the 15th, a few days after the celebration of the resurrection. Easter comes from an original word that means dawn or sunrise. We need that sunrise.

I’ve always loved the Spanish word for smile, sonrisa, and played with it as the Son Rises in my heart and shows through my face. That isn’t a true origin of the word but it is a solid observation. When the Son, Jesus, rises in my heart, then I am stalwart, strong and loyal, and I smile in the face of adversity.

Psychologists speak loudly that we need to plan solid events in our week during the shelter in place period. Otherwise, we become morose and anxious. It is human nature to turn to destructive lifestyle behaviors when thrown out of balance and restricted from freedom. Anger and alcohol and abuse proliferate under pressure. We need to be strong and loyal. Stalwart.

Our stalwart attitude comes from standing in His solid castle. Malachi tells us, the Sun of Righteousness rises with healing in its wings when we revere the name of the Lord of Hosts. We are able to cast off the dust of the day and the destruction of the disease and leap forward with strength.

Stalwart does not mean perfect. It means consistent and continual. Pressed but not crushed. Slowed but not stopped. Tripped but not down. Step into the stalwart source. Remember the Son rose never to set again. Remember we have a sun that will rise on the other side of these days. Easter is on the calendar. No matter the darkness of our moment, the Son is risen indeed.

We are family.

You are loved

Jesus is Our Strong Tower

Pastor Phil 405.494.0637 phil@solumcommunity.net

Exploits

Morning Moment: Exploits
The word of the Lord for today: EXPLOITS

“Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
‭‭Daniel‬ ‭11:32‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

In the economy of the kingdom, we are called to great exploits. Not just exploits, but great exploits. It is the people who know their God that are so called and equipped. Do you know Him? Are you ready for great exploits.

Great exploits happen in times of great challenge.
Job’s recovery came after Job’s disaster.
David’s victory came in the face of giants.
Paul’s kingdom expansion came through prisons and beatings.
The prophet’s words came against stiff opposition.
Jesus’ resurrection came after a gruesome torture and death.
Are you looking for a great exploit? Look for a great challenge.

Today, we have a great challenge. It is time for great exploits.

It is time to know our God. Do you know Him?

Do you know Him as Shepherd? King? Righteousness? Peace? Supply? Provider? Creator? Banner? Shield? Exceeding Great Reward? Always There?
Do you know Him as Lord of Hosts, the Armies Encamped for War?
Do you know Him as Savior? Friend? Confidant? Comforter? Holy Spirit?
Do you know Him?

When you know Him, great exploits are expected of you.

Do you welcome great exploits?

Welcome Him.
Welcome Great Exploits.
Welcome healing.
Welcome deliverance.
Welcome supply above and beyond.

Great Exploits Are On The Horizon.

We are Family
You are Loved
Jesus is Our Strong Tower

Pastor Phil Larson

Certainty

Morning Moment: Certainty
The word of the Lord for the Day is CERTAINTY
““But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” Malachi‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If anything marks our days it is uncertainty. Will there be enough masks? How long will the Seclusion of 2020 last? Can our nation comeback? Will the global economy work again? Has prosperity left us forever? Can my family and I survive the virus? All of these questions and more leave us with uncertainty. Uncertainty leaves us with depression, anger, anxiety, and fear. Fear Is a liar.

Certainty is a commodity of the kingdom. In uncertain times, the voice of the Lord reigns over the crashing waves of crisis. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change. There is no shadow of turning in Him.

For years, I saw nothing but growth and power in Christ, in financial footing, in career, in ministry, in family, and in friendships. Certainly, the Lord was on my side. From 1980 to 1989 was a powerful time for my family and for me and for the kingdom. Then it crashed. I crashed. My energy sucked dry. My vision became nothing. Retreating into a sense of powerlessness and loss, I went through the motions daily. The only certain part of my life was defeatism.

During a family camp one of the premier prophetesses of the day called me out of the congregation. She travelled the world in ministry. Her example was a light for me. She did not call me out to pray over me. She called me out to ask me to stand beside her and join her to pray over others. It had been two years since I had ministered. The defeatism was evident in my stance. For some time we ministered together as a tag team. The Lord was stirring me back to stand. The certain part was that He did not give up on me, when I gave up on me.

That day, I took time to listen to Him. In my mind’s eye, I saw a glass casket shining with a brilliant light from the inside. I asked the Lord what it meant. He explained that my vision, my destiny, and my calling were in the casket as if I were dead. But it was all still alive. Of course, I wanted to know how to get out of the casket and back to life. He then began talking to me about my attitude. Defeat in the face of uncertainty is an attitude of death. The potential and power are unable to be effective.

We walked through the lessons of Malachi. For the rest of the week, I dug deep into this book the Bible. A prospering nation became weak, powerless, full of family betrayal, beleaguered by corrupt leaders, and faithless in the Lord. All of that could be solved in just a few responses to the certainty of the Lord. Stand in commitment to family, speak well of the goodness of God, be faithful in serving and giving, and follow the voice of the Lord in daily living. That was it. That was enough to unleash a certain power of the Holy Spirit for knowledge, prosperity, leadership, healing, and family stability. A nation could go from defeatism to destiny with a shift of heart. Take it to heart to give glory to the Lord of Hosts, the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Angel Armies.

On the spot, I resolved to allow the Holy Spirit to correct my heart. Within weeks, I was back in ministry and within a short time I was leading a major reconstruction of a large congregation in fresh vision and anointing. Within days, I took a new career step that would change my destiny for the rest of my business career. In the middle of chaos and crashing, the certainty of the Lord’s faithfulness pushed aside all the uncertainty of the world and took over my life. The top of the casket was pushed aside and the light of the joy of the Lord and the anointing of the Holy Spirit for family, friendships, finances, and freedom captured me.

It took time. But it was quick. It took prayer. But it was joy. It took effort. But it was powered by His support. What it took was taking to heart to give glory to His name. Quit whining. Quit complaining. Quit looking to what I had lost and what had not worked. Look to the good in life and find His mark of grace in every circumstance. Be grateful. Be thankful. Be about His business instead of my business. Live in CERTAINTY of His goodness and grace.

This present darkness easily causes us to see the bad and embrace a sense of uncertainly and powerlessness. Yet, His goodness is a certainty. His deliverance is a certainty. His supply is a certainty. The Lord is on our side.

Begin speak with a heart that recognizes the hand of the Lord for good in each moment.

In a moment of uncertainty, be faithful to give and to serve. Don’t pull back. Push forward.

In a moment of uncertainty, speak well of the Lord. Point out his goodness to others.

In a moment of uncertainty, listen to right leadership. Quit griping and get to work carrying out solutions.

In a moment of uncertainty, invest in your family. Take your eyes off of alternatives and be fully engaged.

Certainty will embrace you. Vision will be restored. You will leap out of the stall like a well fed calf. You will trample the enemy of depression, anxiety, listless living, and defeatism. Disease will run from you. Disaster will find it is not welcome at your doorstep.

Live in certainty. Speak of the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord for all to hear and see. Watch what happens.

We are family.
You are loved.
Jesus is Our Strong Tower.

Pastor Phil Larson

Return

Morning Moment: Return
The word for today is RETURN.

“You welcomed him back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold on his head.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭21:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Seclusion 2020 is in full mode in many places. Workplaces are shuttered. At 7-11, people silently stood six feet apart even as they moved through the store. At the park, people wave with a quietness and a respect and a look that says, “I want to say more. I want to come closer. But, I am doing my part to help stop this evil.” And I call you to Return.

It has been my discipline since 1997 to pray seriously every day. Sometimes that is 30 minutes and sometimes 3 hours. It has been my discipline since 1976 to read my Bible and meditate on the words every day. Starting in 1997, I began praying with the book of Ephesians daily. That lasted three years. Three years. One hour a day. I kept handwritten notes that I still have. My life changed. At the time, I was full time in ministry as the Director of Operations of a large multi-cultural church. At the time, I was suffering the greatest challenge of my life with my hormonal system completely out of wack causing emotional roller coaster. At the time, I made many mistakes and did many things right. Every day was chaos and adventure. Return.

The result of the discipline was success. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. Those three years led me into a life change. The ministry went from one church ministering across the city to many churches and ministering across the United States. The ministry went from being my full time to being my parttime. The impact is still changing families. Return.

In this chaos of the Seclusion 2020, I took time to examine. In the 1970’s my personal relationship with Jesus taught me basic Christian disciplines of study, prayer, reading, devotion, giving, serving, fellowship, witnessing, and worship. In the 1980’s the Holy Spirit became a great friend and spoke many specific foundational visions into my life. In the 1990’s, the Lord stretched me to see the fullness of the gospel and His intensity for all peoples. In the 2000’s, the Father walked me into places in the community that had been segregated and expanded the reach of family fixing. In the 2010’s, missions to Mexico and to state legislators consumed my life and the Lord stretched me into the struggling and broken on a full time basis. In the 2020’s, we shall see. What a start to this decade! Return.

Like many of you, I ask the question, “What will we look like when we come through this, Lord? What’s next?”

So yesterday I made decisions on what I will not be doing and listening for His voice for the next stage of the journey. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Fills my heart with longing. I love Him more and more. And today He says, “Return.”

Return to His beautiful disciplines of study, prayer, reading the Bible, devotional time, memorization, meditation, serving, giving, singing praises to His name, witnessing, fellowship, and worship. Return to Him.

Desire becomes determination becomes discipline becomes delight becomes desire becomes destiny. Our desire to growth leads us in Christ to a changed desire that matches His destiny for us. Return

Return to giving Him the first hour of the day. Return to what you know works.

In the Seclusion of 2020, domestic violence and child abuse are rising. Loss of connection to support groups will see a rise in slippage backwards into alcoholism and other drugs. Suicide most likely will rise. Social anxiety will heighten. Except for the ones who return. Return to Him and daily disciplines that help you hear His voice.

When this is over, He has a plan to restore prosperity and success. It will happen in the quiet hours we spend returning to Him.

So, I started by dusting off my prayer notes from Ephesians. I created a prayer outline for intercession during that time and keep printed copies so I can take more notes. Yesterday, I returned to allowing Him to change my direction and shutdown the voices of so many that want me to do something for them versus what the Lord wants done. In the 2020’s, the Father says, “Return”.

Return to the basics. Let Him take you on an incredible journey that shadows all your prior life. This is the hour of destiny, when He prunes what is not needed, quiets your mind and heart to listen, and puts a crown on your head for the future. Return.

Oh, the picture. I took it 10 years ago when I was in another period of change. The Lord blessed my family with a lake lot and I built a stone patio for prayer under the trees. On that patio, I spent many hours returning and I do not regret any decisions. I left the corporate hustle and dedicated my remaining years to face to face intervention in the family struggle. I became a full time missionary to fractured families. It happened on that patio in return.

We are Family.
You are Loved.
Jesus is Our Strong Tower.

Pastor Phil Larson