Did He mean what He said? Can I ask anything in His name and He will do it?
““Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14 NKJV
Prayer is an awesome journey. Today, I am sitting on my deck at the lake with a slight breeze and great temperature and a gentle sunshine. It is wonderful. But it is not normal. Usually there can be insects and wind and heat or cold and maybe rain. But today is one of those perfect days that I will enjoy fully outside. The Spring green is beautiful and will crescendo in a week or two. The pear tree is leafy, and the peach is just budding leaves. The native grass is starting.
Other days are not so fun. For the last five years, I have struggled with osteoarthritis. For two years, I could only walk with a stick and the pain at times was unbearable, taking me to tears. Even last year, I bought new walking sticks to be able to walk in the neighborhood and that for only a mile or two. Yet, two days ago, I jogged, yes jogged, 3.5 miles in a walk/run manner with no pain. Amazing. Not healed fully, but so far from where it was, I am amazed. No surgery, just daily determination and workout after workout and prayer. Pain and gain.
What about miracles? Last year during the pandemic enclosure, I wrote a book, Stumbling Into Miracles, https://www.amazon.com/Stumbling-Into-Miracles-Philip-Larson/dp/B08FP54W2P . Check it out. There are hundreds of personal stories of miracle interventions in health, finances, friendships, ministry, work, and more.. I wish miracles were as predictable as the TV and VLOG and social media preachers make it out to be.
A friend just called and reported that a critical surgery went “text book” and he is recovering well. That is a good thing. Powerful. God’s hand at work. Right as I type this, I stopped and took the call and can praise a great God at work. It would be wonderful if the situation was just up and healed by the hand of the Holy Spirit and I am grateful His healing included a physician and early detection before it became life threatening.
Yet, another slid back into addiction and finds herself in prison for a few years and other struggles to be healthy one day in a row with multiple medications and other struggles with massive anxiety. And all are worthy of Christ and His love and our prayers and friendship and patience in faith.
And then, we see many instant miracles in ministry under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Every one of these is predictable, though you might disagree. I can point to an intervention through the Holy Spirit in the ones receiving answers and a resistance born of doubt and depression in those that don’t. I can track the recovery of my legs along a physical therapy path and nutrition with no miracles discernible at this time and am grateful for the sense to do the right thing, though I wish I had done it earlier.
There are factors to God’s intervention worth your study. You need to understand and operate under the direction of the Holy Spirit whether He leads to a doctor, a physical regimen, a changed nutrition, an obedient abstinence, or a direct miracle. You need to allow the time He allots whether instant or decades. You need to stay faithful and connected and speak well of Him along the journey. You need to forgive yourself and others and live in an attitude of gratitude and mercy for all. You need to study to show yourself approved.
I pray you get involved here at SOLUM. That word is Latin for soil or foundation. It is the foundations of faith that give us constant miracle interventions of the hand of God. He watches over and shows Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect towards Him.
We are family You are loved I love you because the Great Love, Jesus, loves me.
Combined below are multiple prophetic words concerning this present revival going back to 2018. At the end is an hour long message of testimony and instruction of the Bible to see personal and community revival continuously from today and the rest of your life. Are you hungry? Read, listen, apply – see miracles in your heart and others.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
Romans 12:9 NLTto
Revival is not a church service. Get it? Please get it. It is not a facebook meme or a single spot event.
Revival is an individual heart change and commitment to Christ that results in behaviour conformed to Christ’s heart. Revival is about individuals who then commit not only to Christ but His family. When revival touches a heart, it moves into spiritual formation through becoming a disciple and follower of Christ.
My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. Ps 119:25 NKJV
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way. Ps 119:37 NKJV
Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth. Ps 119:88 NKJV
Some refer to a large and visible move of God as revival. Most such moves begin in obscurity. It is hard for humility to prevail in our snap world. It is more likely for the Holy Spirit to build and develop a strong move in the alleys of a Pakistani city or a village of obscure Zimbabwe than a church building. For the last several days, the Holy Spirit selected an obscure campus in Kentucky to show Himself strong. From there, people have accepted the challenge to seek His presence and He is faithfully appearing strong in a variety of campuses in a variety of ways.
This present revival has been going on for over a year. A visible point popped up at Asbury recently. That’s great. Folks get excited about the snaps. It is in motion across many places but not any one is a birth point. It has be a joy of mine to be a part in Pakistan and Mexico. Hundreds have come to Christ in hard circumstance and radically changed lives. Faithful servants continue to press into hard fought beauty of God. I’ve walked alongside others in pray seeing supernatural expansion in India, Africa, Indonesia and more. There is certainly a worldwide struggle for revival to birth. Like an 8 month old baby in the womb, it wants to get out. At Asbury the head has crowned, but the baby has been in gestation for some time.
Get excited about a move of God in your heart, in an obscure place, across the world all at once. We don’t need another Azuza or Witchita or Kentucky or Wales or New England or New York or inception point. We need a worldwide breakout in a thousand locations at once. That is God’s heart. He will meet us in any way He can get our attention. He wants to invade millions of hearts in quiet prayer closets. He wants to erupt all at once everywhere.
Don’t schedule a trip to “the revival”. Lock in your prayer closet. Get involved in a home group. Bury your heart in His love and enjoy your personal revival alongside the saints with whom you fellowship.
The Holy Spirit is everywhere all at once in power. His word, His way, and His lovingkindness will revive.
Father, revive me according to your way, your word, your lovingkindness. Let deep expression of Your love in, through, and all around me in beautiful fellowship produce a revival.
Real Revival Comes in Many Forms
Step Into The Waters
More universities experience a tangible touch of the Holy Spirit. One common denominator is students hungry for God. Real hunger of this type is something the conviction of the Holy Spirit brings. We don’t make this happen he brings it to us. He awakens in us a hunger and fills it with faith and grace and mercy and love. The results will be the measure of how we respond. The results are not in the chapel room the results are in the dorm. The results will be how these students live their lives forward. The results will be how the world is changed.
Christians interested in revival should be looking at all aspects of the touch of the Holy Spirit. He does not limit himself to one style. How he will take this revival into the Mega churches will be different. How he takes his touch into the streets across the world is most different. We reported on some pieces of that yesterday. How he will impact our media and entertainment and political world is another thrust. How he will touch the business community is something different. All of these together become His revival.
The “he gets us” movement is a much a part of the revival as what is happening on the University campus. The Holy Spirit is convicting the world in significant undeniable ways. He is convicting this generation of leaders. He is convicting in the churches and things will be different.
All of us should be looking for personal touch. The steadfast love of the Lord never changes, his mercys never come to an end, he is new every morning, and his faithfulness is secure. Now is a great time for every Christian to seek the face of God’s love. It is a time to let judgment fall to the side. It is a time to open our hearts to ways he wants to show us that we have never seen. God showed his ways to Moses and his acts to the children of Israel. Don’t just learn his acts learn his ways. Deepen your personal connection with the Holy Spirit.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
Ps. 103:1-5, 7-8, 10, 13, 17 ESV
The Simple Message of Being Loved
Here’s a thought.. listen to the simple message of being loved and loving others. Respond. Let the Lord touch you.
Interestingly, this is the daily prayer that consumes me during the last three weeks of my recovery. In the night hours when I cannot sleep, I have prayed consistently that the love of Christ consume me. It has been an interesting time.
The Jesus Gets Me campaign has similar voice to acknowledge the love of God.
What is the Lord doing in and through you?
Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
Ps 119:88 NKJV
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.
Ps 119:37 NKJV
My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
Ps 119:25 NKJV
RenewalIn My Heart
Considering the expressions of the Holy Spirit on college campuses, I find myself less interested in what is happening “over there” and more interested in what is happening in my personal life and renewal. I’ve been chair and bed bound in recovery from a surgery for 4 weeks now and have a lot of time to just pray, listen, seek.
Morning Moment group post devotions daily for the worldwide church, I put the word “revive” in a search against the group posts and found a nugget from 2021 about ‘this present revival’.
Like many, I came to Christ in the last sweeping revival of the Charismatic renewal in the 70’s. I came into the kingdom speaking in tongues through a small group on a college campus. Miracles are a regular experience. The tangible presence of God is normal and maybe too common. In ministry I’ve watched many times the power of God sweep and touch every person in churches, living rooms, corporate meeting rooms, alleyways, and tents. Bur most of all I cry for personal reset.
I look for His renewal. I look to escape the fog and connect at a greater level than before. I don’t want to go back to any point. I look forward.
This present revival – RESET (Dec 2021)
In the early days of personal computers, the software provided a blue screen of death when the system crashed. It might give you a hint as to what was wrong or just frustrate the bejeebers out of of you. Either way, it told you that the system needed reset. Today, most computers just lock up and quit responding. You have to figure out on your own that it is hosed up. In the early days, it was simple. The systems were simpler. There was less happening. Today, there is so much going on in the background, it just locks up. Maybe your life is just locked up. The screen moves a little more slowly. The brightness is not there. A little rotating thingee tells you something is not right. Relationships are hung up. Financial future looks dim. You just never feel clean and ready for the next thing. You need a reset.
“My earthly life clings to the dust; Revive and refresh me according to Your word.”
Psalms 119:25 AMP
“I am greatly afflicted; Renew and revive me [giving me life], O Lord, according to Your word.”
Psalms 119:107 AMP
“Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me and give me life according to [the promise of] Your word.”
Psalms 119:154 AMP
“Great are Your tender mercies and steadfast love, O Lord; Revive me and give me life according to Your ordinances.”
Psalms 119:156 AMP
“Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me and give me life, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.”
Psalms 119:159 AMP
One theme of Psalm 119 is revival, refreshed life, increased understanding, blossoming power, improved love, comfort and consolation and new energy and anointing.
The writer does a great job providing word pictures. My life clings to the dust. I don’t seem to be going anywhere. The world is more real than God’s love and the hope of a better life forward. I am greatly afflicted. Depression has set in. My mind wanders and can’t make decisions. Anxiety holds me back and pushes aggression towards those I love and those I hate.
I need a reset.
“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him.”
Ephesians 5:18 AMP
“And the disciples were continually filled [throughout their hearts and souls] with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 13:52 AMP
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.”
Romans 15:13 AMP
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
2 Corinthians 13:14 AMP
One theme of the New Testament is a continual experience and infilling of the Holy Spirit. These two go together. The revival according to His word, His ordinances, and His lovingkindness is what the Holy Spirit does. He reaches into the heart of the Father and pours in and through us His Holy Spirit.
Like the writer in Psalm 119, we find connection points. We are hell bound to follow the path of media induced insanity wanting perfect physical beauty, governmental financial security, politics my way or the highway. We are drunk with the world and need the infilling of the Holy Spirit to break us free. We need His fellowship, His guidance, His refreshing. No one thing stands out but we are in a spin.
I need a reset.
In this present revival, the Lord point us to basics. The Bible, salvation through the sacrifice of Christ not our works, right living to bring about a right world of His kingdom in our personal and public lives, the continual infilling of His Holy Spirit that empowers and illuminates our path.
Father, I need a reset. I’ve bought into so many lies that I wonder about the truth. The press of media from all sides presents the world in constant battle. Yes, it is in constant battle. But You are in constant fellowship. Let me choose a reset. Let me get back to the basic message of salvation in Christ and the power to live a good life in the anointing of Your Holy Spirit. Let Your words of truth be a lamp in the darkness. Help me to push through the smoke and coffee klatch and fancy fine singing and charismatic crafted messaging. Reset me to see Your love, Your compassion, Your kindness ,Your freedom, Your hope, Your restoration, Your forgiveness. Push me past the emotional manipulation into a face to face encounter with Christ. I need a rest. The church needs a reset. We all need a reset.
Tuesday revival notes.. consistent effort. Nov 2021
Forward focus… I just finished settling in a new office and training center. It looks cool. I needed a studio to do tapings and live groups and meet with folks and pray.
What is your vison?
As I sat down I opened a file from early ministry. A typed note and some pictures. The original vision and scriptures that have guided me since 1976. In all my boxes it is the only file that is here. So, the Lord must want my attention to it.
No matter where I minister this week, Gaineville Tx, Yukon Ok, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, India Matamoros Mx, Pakistan and more the focus is the same. “Bringing Spiritual Food for Strength”.
This week I am in all these places face to face in person, by phone, zoom, and skype. Teaching pastors, evangelizing, casting out demons, praying for the sick, working with folks on probation. “Bringing Spiritual Food for Strength”. Making disciples.
1983 the vision statement – groups in prison and at work
1984 flag float witnessing in Yukon with a house church
1985 warrior float Yukon house church
1986/87 old restaurant on 66 in El Reno – community group
This present revival belongs to the young and the old. Those that have kept the faith, prepare to see more than all you have seen. Those that are just starting, get busy, the adventure is great.
This present revival is marked by consistent effort.
Morning Moment: Staying Revived Feb 2020
The last few months have been intense. Death has taken too many friends. Disaster has attached too many friends. Disease plagues our globe. Yet, the word of the Lord is hidden in my heart that I might not sin with doubt.
Psalm 19 popped up in my Bible reader this morning. Do you start every day in the Bible? Your should. No matter if I am up early or late, I put on coffee and sit down with my Bible and the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Yesterday, the guiding thought of the day was to economize my efforts. Work only on what I feel the Holy Spirit will cause to grow strong. That is not how He always guides me, but it is His instruction to me this day. There is much in the Bible. I work on one idea at a time. The day before He spoke to be strong and courageous and reminded me that He personally was going in front of me to make my path successful. One thought, one day at a time.
Take the first line of this second half of Psalm 19. I have memorized and rememorized this section many times over the years. There is a lyric to it that is an amazing comfort. You can find it here. https://youtu.be/F-ykfw3-i7s
“The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. “ The soul is our mind, will, and emotions. Want energy and vibrancy in your thoughts and attitudes and beliefs? Then meditate on God’s instructions daily. Now there are many portions of the Bible, but the instructions to me are areas like Psalms and Proverbs and the sermon on the mount and teachings of Jesus. Get some instruction daily and put it into action. You will think more clearly, act more distinctly, and see a better life unfold daily.
Sing with it. Tamp it into your souls. For years the last verse was printed and hanging at my desk so I would see it every day, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” If those who call on Christ prayed that every day our political landscape would clean up in 90 days, our families would settle into strength, and our friendships would be more full. It instructs me to guard my thoughts and take out junk, accusations, worry, blame shifting, awefullizing, whining, complaining, fear mongering, and get full of love, joy, peace, patience, hope, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and self control. It instructs me to come alongside whatever is pure and just and true and holy, it there be any praise, any excellency to think on these things. Instructs me to cast out fear for the Lord of all is with me. It instructs me to remember that everyone deserves the next chance to change not just a second chance.
Someone said, “Revival is coming.” Let me correct that, “Revival is here.” The word of the Lord is revival when applied. Revival is not a pink sign in the front yard of a church or an event to which we go and gawk or a facebook emotional moment. Revival is allowing the instructions of God to guide your next step one moment and one day at a time. And that option is available now and always, it does not come and go. He comes to stay. Keep your conversation with Him vibrant and obedient and thoughtful. Be revived.
This present revival. MOMENTUM January 2022
What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of human nature.
Galatians 5:16 GNT
Human nature is selfish, fearful, greedy, and pursues personal want and gains… The Holy Spirit is full of faith, hope, and love.
The contrast is as true in ministry as in business and family and friendships. Mostly we do what we do because we want to do it. Our human nature tells us what to pursue and off we go. And then we blame the result on God.
Consider this morning the momentum of God vs the momentum of human effort. Stop what you are doing. Just stop it. Then get in the momentum stream of the Holy Spirit.
In my darkest moments, when I want to quit the pursuit if God and return to my own energy and desires, I tell myself, “Someone prayed, and God sent me as a piece of the answer. Be faithful in this little and leave the big results to the Lord. I will do what I can and trust His bigger plan. Stay in the stream of His momentum.”
Where is the Lord carrying momentum in the streams of your life? Get in that flow. Get in His momentum.
Where is simple human energy carrying me forward? Is this a desire of the Lord for me? I am human so human is ok. But is this a part of human He wants for me? Commit the simple human flow into His hands along with the anointed God flow. Get in His momentum.
What is the momentum He is supporting?
You won’t get that answer in a book or a sermon. You will need to talk to Him every morning, noon, and night. Get in His momentum.
If you are at a country dance where the Texas two-step fit the music, it is not a suitable time to do ballet. Your momentum is off and uncoordinated with the band. What music is the Holy Spirit playing around you? Get in His momentum.
Don’t fight it. The timing may be different than your customary human nature wants. The flow may seem stilted for a season as we adapt. Get in His momentum. He will carry us through when it is Him and not our human self-center. And He will carry us through even when we struggle as long as we stay connected, step on toes, trip up the dance floor, and give Him the lead as we learn. His momentum keeps us.
Father, I just want to dance Your dance and let momentum of the Holy Spirit carry me. Don’t let me step on too many toes as I learn. Keep me close. Thanks, Lord.
This present revival.. SUSTAIN Jan 2022
“But it is you, a man my equal and my counsel, My companion and my familiar friend; We who had sweet fellowship together, Who walked to the house of God in company. As for me, I shall call upon God, And the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice. He has redeemed my life in peace from the battle that was against me, For there were many against me.”
Psalms 55:13-14, 16-18 AMP
Life gives us many opportunities to be refreshed and restrained. Sometimes they come together. A restraint imposed by one we love and serve can be an act of compassion and training or it can be malicious. In each situation, we are wise to call out to the Lord to distinguish. The Lord will refresh us in either should we trust and rely on Him. He will use hardship to bring us to peace. He sustains those that turn to Him.
This year, I enter the 40th year of commissioned ministry. There are restraints of compassion, ageing, and attack. Yet, no restraint can hold me back. They cannot hold back from the walk the Lord has designed. The influence and impact of my life is a culmination and grows greater with every step. Though the steps are slower they are not too slow. Though the steps are heavier, they are not too heavy. Though the steps are more painful, they are not too painful. He sustains those that turn to Him.
The steps are slower as they must consider the influence more. The steps are heavier because they have greater impact. The steps are more painful because they carry the burdens of more people. The steps are sustained because they rely more on Him. He sustains those that turn to Him.
When the Lord selected this psalm for us this morning, I wondered what He wanted to say. Each morning, my first habit is to open, listen to Him, and reflect to you. It is a prophetic prayer habit that is a portion of my call and commission. Many think of prayer as intercession for removal of situations. I consider prayer as a launch pad of immersion in His will. Where does He want us to go? What is He doing today so they we can walk alongside? How can I become stronger in Him? He sustains those that turn to Him.
Consider the surroundings of these promises. The psalmist has been attacked and restrained by someone he loves and has served. It is a malicious restraint and attack. He turns to the judge of the universe for relief. He goes to the Father for release. He opens the path of his life to the hands of the Lord for direction. And the Lord is on his side. The Lord is in motion. The Lord is the defender. He, the Lord, sustains those that turn to Him.
Consider the surroundings of your walk. This is the 46th year of my committed walk with the Lord and the 40th year of commissioned ministry. Whether you walk with Him for a month or 5 decades, He refreshes your soul. Whether you carry the burdens of mistaken living and imperfect obedience or just the weight of daily duties or the cross and cause of Christ or the attack of a friend, He refreshes your soul. And He will refresh you, release you, and renew you over and over and over that you may dance in the light of His love forever.
Let’s pray: Father, refresh our soul. Sparkle in our eyes. Cause the strength of our life to become greater with every step. Enable us to carry more weight with less effort. Send us into the world and keep us from becoming of this world. Separate us from those people and situations that are too heavy and are of a malicious intent. Deliver us from evil. Lead us not into temptation. Give us this day our daily bread. And, we will dance with refreshed hope, increased faith, and greater love. You, oh Lord, sustain those that turn to You.
Morning Moment : Revive Me Nov 2018
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things And revive me in Your way.
Psalms 119:37 NKJV
Revival does not happen in churches. Revival happens in hearts.
Consider the walk and way of Jesus. His miracles happened in the streets. Articles talk about revival as if it were something for a church meeting.
In this picture all eyes are turned to the one booth, where a child is playing. For a moment, Jesus has the attention of all. We invited hundreds to come meet Him that day. We were in the marketplace. He had people’s attention. No heads were bowed. No eyes were closed. Everyone was looking.
Pentecost happened in an outdoor courtyard. Should we look for revival at the farmer’s market?
The five thousand were fed on a hillside. Should we look for revival in a pumpkin patch?
The Gadarene demonizes were revived by gravestones. Should we seek revival in the cemetery?
The woman was met and revived by a water well. Should we look for revival in the coffee shop?
The man was healed as his friends let him down through the roof. Should we look for revival on our front porch?
Should we look in our hearts? We should pay attention to the one person in front of us and worry less about the many we do not know?
Be revived. He is near to all who call out.
Revival Tips Oct 2019
The first four actions birthed in prayer
1. People stir up the fire and action of the Holy Spirit in personal life and witness
2. Leaders release and enable the people and step to positions of empowerment not control.
3. All open to the voice of God announcing the fresh move. God is God.
4. Islands come together across lines to work jointly while honoring the distinctiveness of each.
Shortly after this message, we gathered in community prayer for 3 hours. A few months later COVID closed so much and antagonistic separation came across the nation. We went underground working with folks on probation and parole. Now the Holy Spirit is saying, “The windows of heaven are open. Engage”
“Among Benjamin’s elite troops, 700 were left-handed, and each of them could sling a rock and hit a target within a hairsbreadth without missing.”
Judges 20:16 NLT
Consider a fighting force with 700 hyper accurate, trained, focused soldiers on target. Now, consider that they are only 10% of the soldiers as left handed are only 10% of the population. A fighting force of 7000 spot on soldiers good at what they do because they are targeted and trained. What can you do if you are on target?
““For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.”
Isaiah 50:7 NKJV
The aspect of being set on a task, a skill, a direction and not being easily swayed is called targeted. Jesus was like that. He set His face like a flint toward Jerusalem and the cross of sacrifice that we all might be accepted. Paul was like that. He set his target on the Gentiles whether it meant prison or persecution. Moses was like that. He set his target on the land on the other side of the Jordan and pursued through pain and problems for 40 years to see it done. David was like that. Determined to build a temple, he insured the finances and plans were ready for his son, Solomon, to carry through. Get a target.
“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do. ” —Norman Vincent Peale
A goal is a target. A worthy goal is worth honing a skill, stepping away from distractions, sacrificing to become excellent not just good, and developing the value out of the pursuit. Good is the worst enemy of great. Yet, it does not take great to be great. A good goal with a good pursuit with a good energy with a good skill produces a great result. Every piece does not need to be great, but the focus and the targeted character through persistence produces great. The word is target.
Countless calls for prayer and counsel come to me for jobs. When I ask what type of job, the answer is usually in terms of money, prestige, or anything that pays well. That is a useless pursuit and a useless prayer. Why spend a major portion of life with no goal in mind?
My career has taken many twists, but the goal has always been the same. My career target is to support my family and have enough to be generous to help others. My target has been to do that in a way that develops others and gives value back to a company for which I work. And throughout my career in management, I have done that.
My life target is to worship the Lord with all my heart and all my soul and all my might and be a faithful disciple. And throughout my life in Christ, I have done that. Every time I am discontent, I find someone has added to my goals and disguised the target for their own benefit so that I sway off target.
In my latter years, my sight on the target sharpens and others want to use my skill but not assist the call and character of the Lord in my life. It is not that they are wrong or selfish as much as they do not wish to support the target the Lord has given me.
Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong. Abraham Lincoln
When Lincoln spoke those words, I believe he looked to his target and found others had distracted him to a different path. It is time to get back to the path the Lord sent you to walk. Walk with good partners. But, If they veer to the right or the left too long and keep you off the Lord’s path, you must get back on target. They might have good intentions and a good path, but is it your path in the Lord and the Lord’s intentions?
Lifelong Dads. Forever families. Kids Need ‘em. Delivering Solid Life Foundations. Developing Healthy and Safe Relationships. Distinguishing Generations of Greatness.
There it is in a short, sweet nutshell. If it builds that, then that is what I do. If one more family moves in that direction, my target will be achieved. I hear my Father say, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into your Master’s joy.” Every day that I work on the target that affirmation of my Father is mine. If I am doing something that isn’t working to achieve that target, then I need to part with it as soon as I see that it goes wrong. Good counsel, Abe.
What is your target? Can you state it in simple format?
These last weeks have been wonderful. For months, I have labored to cut away distractions to get down to the essentials my Father wants for me. I’ve allowed too many good-hearted voices to distract. Constant pain and problems lessen my grasp on the target. My throws seem a little off. My strength is tested. That is the time to begin cutting away and honing skill to get to the target. With the slowing of the economy there has been a slowing of voices distracting. Target.
The target seems more in view than at any time. My obstinate pursuit takes me into hours of prayer a day. I’ve thrown out four large trash bags from my office this week and carted out boxes of books no longer needed. The target is tightly in view. I called my marketing group and told them to cancel distractions. I called support groups that have similar targets and made new agreements that fit. All of this happens as the world spins off target, the economy crashes, disease explodes, and people weep. Target.
Target is a verb. It means get focused and pointed toward the goal.
Target is a noun. It means the item to which you are pointed.
Are you targeted? That is where God wants you. Some are targeted early in life like Solomon. He was targeted to wisdom as a young man. Some take decades like Moses, who only understood the target being the nation free beyond the Jordan after 80 years of processing. Some get the fine points of the target like Elijah, spending a life as a prophet, to become targeted to train other prophets not just be one in his last years. Elijah was mostly a loner until the Lord targeted him in his last years. Paul was a murderer until the Lord targeted him at the peak of his life to be a disciple maker. Are you really targeted? Maybe you are just now getting to be targeted. Maybe all the years you have had bring you to a sharpened focus. Target.
Jesus’ core ministry on earth was less than four years. In those years, He built a team, died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit. Thirty years were taken to get ready for the Target. He is still working on the Target, the Church, 2000 years later. Targeted. Immovable. Unshakeable. Targeted.
The Lord wants us targeted.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
James 1:5-8 NKJV
There is no value in having a good target. There is value in having a God target. My mind goes to a friend, who has built a solid business producing significant profit. The profit is buried back in the business to build capital. He smiles and claims no profit and gives no honor through tithe or offering to the Lord. Why? Well there is no profit. Bigger and bigger barns are built that one day will have achieved nothing of value. The Lord will call for his life and the barns will be given to others. It is a good thing. It is not a God thing.
Another friend takes of his meager earnings and gives back to God. He will never amass millions of dollars, but he stacks memorials in heaven that will stand for eternity in changed lives. One lives the letter of the law and profits himself. The other lives the life and spirit of the law and profits all. Get a good target that is also a God target.
In the end there are no moving vans in the grave yard. But there is great treasure laid up in heaven. Targeted.
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.
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.
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 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 signsthat 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.
Matthew 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.