Seasons of Change Psalm 30 #4

Change is best handled with singing.  Singing is best handled with praise.

This series is more musings than exposition.  I hope you walk along with it and think about changes in your life.  Mine is under massive movement right now.  All good.  All God.  But massive.  And massive change induces massive stress.

Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord,
    all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
    and give him thanks!

It is easy to dwell on the hard and the negative and the distractions.  I’ve drafted an announcement five different ways concerning expanded directions in my life.  They are not new directions, but expansion and revelation of what has been going on under the view of people.  People see what they want to see.  They focus on what is in life for them.  That causes us to miss important streams of change as they happen and they seem sudden, when they are not sudden at all, but progressive.  That announcement on first three drafts took too much time on the problems needing addressing instead of the solutions on the table.  So I took all the problem words out and just went for the solution.  People will create problems where they don’t exist, no need to give them more than they can handle.

The shift in focus in my contemplation and prayer opened insight on how to address certain goals.  I had come to point of giving up on them.  That is not what God is doing and that is not what I am doing.  The negativity and weight of the issues had bore me down.  Looking up and throwing out the destructive and doubt allowed me to see clear paths.

There is a practice of positive psychology that assists.  Biblical directives tell us what to do, but sometimes they don’t give the simple practical tool.  As humans, we are called upon to use our mental and emotional and social senses to come up with practical application to Biblical imperatives.  The practice of What Went Well Why is one of the most powerful applications of being sober minded and thankful and submitting yourself to God’s action in your life.  So I do it frequently.  It just means considering three things every day that went well (What Went Well) and identifying the Why?  Why did it go well?

What went well in your life today?  

Contemplating change impacts brings up both negative and positive and neutral outcomes.  Really they are all neutral.  It is all about how you view them and how you process them.  Right now, I am undergoing massive change of my own choosing and then from the responses of others to my choices and to God’s wonderful intervention and then the old enemy of my soul’s distractions.  All of this interacts and impacts.  I can choose to dwell on the stuff that goes away from the goal and is disturbing or I can dwell on what went well and why.

What went well is different than gratitude.  I am looking for what moved in the right direction.

  1. Friends are calling and wanting immediate time with me.  They know I am not going to be coming to this town weekly anymore.  So they are panicking and looking for prayer and breakthrough. We take time on the phone. There is no way I can handle this many deferred emergencies.  This could be seen as negative like, “Good grief, I’ve been available for six years and they chose now to work on changes?  Wuzzup with that?”  This could be seen as positive, “Well, I am impressed that they broke through fear barriers and took the first step to a more positive life.  Wish it was earlier so I would have more time to work with them, but hey progress is progress.”  What went well?  People are taking steps  Why?  They are afraid they are going to lose access to someone they trust.
  2. Social media and phone calls are lit up with spreading the news I am leaving.  Negative interpretation: “Gossip is a pain.  The story will be mishandled and turn into negatives.”  Positive interpretation: “Saves me stamps. Glad people like what we have been doing enough to make it time for conversation. ” What went well:  The sequence of events made sure the right people were informed in right order before the gossip blew out.  Good information is given and we have a solid plan to continue serving though in a different way.  Why?  Many months of prayer and attempts at building a solid local team before the sequence of events forced the timing of leaving.

These are just a few examples of working on identifying what went well in a major life change.  This next one is important.  Really important.  Too often, when working with Christians, we over-spiritual the why.  We say things like, “Well, God made it go well.”  That may be true and you need to find the ones that it is true and be accurate with your praise.  Don’t be flippant.  Drill it down.  How did God make it go well.  Here is one

3. A meeting with fellow ministers was emotional and supportive.  We are making plans for a Thanksgiving celebration, which will be my last weekly trip to Gainesville.  Why?  We have been in prayer and Godly fellowship with each other.  He has knit our hearts with concern and support for each other and the congregations we support in the area.  God has certainly done good things among us.  The county prayer event was powerful and we stayed in prayer for six hours as a group that day.  God enabled us to maintain fellowship.

Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord,
    all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
    and give him thanks!

Now, number 3 is an item of praise.  Identifying the goodness of God in our lives today.  All three of the items identified something that went well and why and number 3 identified God’s hand.

Get to singing.  I don’t know any songs that go with number 3.  Maybe Good, Good, Father is appropriate.  Maybe 10,0000 reasons.  But the next time I hear a good praise song identifying God’s goodness, I will be thinking about number 3 and thanking Him.

 

 

 

 

The Age of Adventure

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:For we know, brothers and sisters[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, 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.

Phil@hclive.org

gracechangeseverything

 

 

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.

 

Passion for Health

What is missing for you?  Great people find balanced living “all in” with results of  health in body, mind, will, emotions, finances, spirit, and eternal futures.

Join in for our conversation….

Be a doer of the word and not a hearer only…share with me what action you are going to take.  Me, I’ve decided to increase my personal time in prayer and devotion.  I’ve been too busy for others and need that focus time with my Father.

Meet Jesus: Lead Away …GSJ4

Matthew 6: 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

 Lead Away: Temptation is everywhere.  Our eyes jump to it.  Billboards call our attention to it.  Media permeates our senses with it.  No wonder, Jesus encourages us to pray for being led away from it and the evil one that builds it.  It is enough to be tempted of our own flesh.  When the evil one gets alongside our impure desires and leads us into temptation, we can easily fall.  Jesus never fell.  He stayed tall.  Surely, looking to His Father to lead Him in safe places away from tempting situations was a key.  We need to do the same.  There is enough power and glory in His kingdom to attract us.  We don’t need to spend time in tempting situations.

Jake’s Hard Day: This had been a hard day for Jake.  While he waited for God to move, it seemed nothing would ever happen.  His job just kept getting worse and worse.  His home life kept going downhill.  What about the job Sally mentioned?  Maybe that was a place where there was less drag to the dark side.  Every Friday, Jake’s co-workers tried to get him to stop at the bar on the way home.  He loved a good beer.  Sometimes he could not resist.  He became weak.  Those were the worst nights at home.  He always drank too much and would come home light headed and heavy hearted.  His wife was losing her patience.  Jake cried to God to get him away from the influence of these friends.  It just seemed too strong for him

This devotion is #4 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT!  List your weakest points.   Where do you fail most times when tempted?    Can you change your path so you don’t enter into temptation?

PRAY! Father of Love and Mercy, where is my salvation?  Can You free me from myself?  So often, I fall into the same traps over and over and over.  I know the right thing to do.  Yet, I don’t get it done.  You know me.  You know my weak spots.  Help me, Father to avoid the temptation of life.  Deliver me from the influence of the evil one.  Build your kingdom and power and glory in me that I might live in righteousness.  Make my paths straight to walk in Your ways all the days of my life.

Daily Crosses Lift Easier With Faith

underhiswingsI press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23

The Cross of Your LIfe:
The going home celebration of a friend of a few decades reminded me of the fragilility of life on this side of heaven. It is full of laughs and tears and comings and goings. None of us are guaranteed the next hour of breathing. None of us are guaranteed the next hour of financial prosperity. None of us are guaranteed the next hour of health. My friend lived with joy and endurance and love and all who knew her are stronger for it.
By faith, we embrace life with all of the uncertainty and instability.
By faith, we believe in a God that promises to never leave us or forsake us.
By faith, we hope in the glory of which we cannot see, but which changes us moment by moment.
By faith, we look to life and life more abundantly.
By faith, we are certain that He will see us through to completion.
By faith, we grasp the confidence that He is greater than any issue of the world.
By faith, we tackle issue after issue after issue.
But, there are no guarantees.
The cross of your life may include some time struggling through illness or disaster.
The cross of your life may include some days of uncertain financial footing.
The cross of your life may include some betrayals and unstable friends and family.
The cross of your life may include temptations to which you fall.
But, there are sure promises and continual blessings.
By promise, we understand that He owns this world and can move resource to our need at just the right momemt.
By promise, we hold to the faith of the Son of God, who loves us and gave Himself for us.
By promise, we have wisdom in Christ.
By promise, we are complete in Him.
By promise, we know those that follow Him will lack for no good thing.
By promise, we depend on His constant intercession.
By promise, we are filled with inestimable treasure of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.
By faith in the promises of a Living God we live with and through our crosses stronger for each moment and more like Him. And that is life. Live it. My friend did and all of us who knew her are stronger for it.

Prayer: Father, when I started this morning life looked glum.  I have to be honest with You.

In Your promises, I find life is a joy.

In Your love, I find life is happiness.

In Your support, I find life is enchanting.

Take me though this day with all the crosses to bear and let life be more abundant.

Meet Jesus: Clear Thoughts Matthew 5:27

meetjesustakebackMatthew 5: 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 One of the greatest thought battles of the male is with lust.  Jesus is fully aware of that thought battle.  He is conscious of the struggle men face.  He doesn’t excuse it away.  Connecting with Jesus is connecting with a commitment to clear, controlled thought-life.

With what appears to be such a strict edict, is there hope for men and women?  Yes, the thought is not just directed to men, it is directed to all.  Is there hope?

Like any struggle, Jesus is giving us tips to stopping damage before it goes to full fruit.  The key is to stop thoughts before they develop into action.  He isn’t telling us that a quick temptation is like full blown sexual contact.  He is telling us, “Don’t go there.  Get control of your thoughts before they develop further than a fleeting idea.”

ACT!  Thoughts wandering?  Try speaking blessing over a person instead of contemplating their sexual attraction.  Change the focus of your mind.  Give your mind something else to think about.  See the person as a person not an objective.

 PRAY!  Father, our hearts can be so distracted.  So many times we find ourselves struggling to stay faithful and content with the lives in which we are blessed.  You call us to not covet other’s goods and spouses and conditions.  Keep envy far from us.  Keep jealousy away from our door.  Keep coveting out of our mind.  Clear our hearts, God.  We need Your help.  You give us clear and clean thoughts to guide us.  Help us to focus on the good and gentle and kind in life and be content with our condition.