Thursday, October 20, 2016

Doing Church

   This post is about an article I just read that a friend put on Facebook. Before you read any more of what I have written, you might want to read this article.

   I wish each of you that just read that article and I were all in a room together so I could hear your responses, and chat about them. The author begs the question, "If a worship service includes no prayer and no Bible reading, can we even recognize it as Christian worship?” 

   It is Christian’s worshipping, but ‘what is the focus of their worship?’ is the real question here. Emotional comfort, being “seeker friendly” so as not to make a visitor or newbie uncomfortable, keeping the “service” within a certain time frame, downplaying accountability, and being entertained and not edified, encouraged and oh never... exhorted are the elements of the average church Sunday morning gathering.  God’s Word, which He exalts above His own name, true praise and worship~ the kind that isn’t just a rock concert goose-bump moment, but the kind that comes from within and generates true change and more intimacy with God, and prayer (quiet earnest talking with God where you give Him time to talk with you), are not the focus anymore. So, worship-... well by definition that means, “adoration”, “to move toward and kiss”, an “act of homage or reverence”, “to make obeisance (expressing deep respect by a courtesy as before a superior~ a bow, curtsy or other similar gesture)” least worshipping God, is not even close here. That “service", gathering, is more about going to church than being the Church. This is not the Church God left us a blueprint for through the writing’s of the New Testament, this a social club with a better agenda than secular gatherings.

   We are to worship in spirit and truth. I will offer a waiver here for my next sentence in regard to some pretty amazing charismatic church services I have been to. Sadly however, it is not often you see Holy Spirit movement in most churches, and a few verses of God’s Word laced into a sermon almost NEVER rightly divides the Word of Truth. If you are comfortable with this, I would want to ask you how much time you spend in the Word and with the Lord in private. I have heard it said that church is for the fellowshipping of believers. That is true, but not the total picture. We are the Church and that means more involvement than some guitar chords, driving drums and lyrics put to music?? that can not be sung by the masses, 3 points in a talk, a speedy prayer when we gather together, and then the quick exit out after superficial socializing so we can get to lunch. 

   True worship, the spirit and truth kind, is very powerful. This kind of corporate worship will feed your spirit, your soul and give you victory therein for your flesh.  Anything that powerful the enemy is going to do whatever he can to destroy it, and he often settles for diminishing just enough to steal and destroy a Christian’s joy true worship brings, and therefore his power.

   Matthew 15: 9 and Jesus’ statement about “vain worship” has gone through my mind while writing this, but while it to a degree fits here I think that is more about men’s doctrine. This issue  probably comes a bit closer to the word “lukewarm". 

   This Tim Challies, while I have not looked at anything else on his blog making it unwise for me to make a blanket statement about him, or his blog, I will say this article is spot on.  I have SO much more on my mind here, but I need to scoot. Tim Challies' article caused me to revisit what I already knew, but to give me a good little boost in the application of  how important it really is to share God's Word, and invest my life in people for the the glory of God. I hope his article caused you to think about, or maybe even rethink "church".  After-all, 

"...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
Philippians 4:8

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

God's Word is good, let it be just that!

   Often I see things on facebook, and other places, that sounds very "spiritual", and some of them have some merit. This one I am sharing with you has a completely true statement it in- that being that Jesus came and gave us many, well~ all good things. The most powerful deception comes with a partial truth, and therein is one of my biggest alarm buttons, particularly in the matters of God and His Word. These partial truths that are gussied up with some curtly put paradox, or heart rendering waxing of eloquence are thoughts dropped in the mind of the reader that can, and do, diminish their overall understanding of who God is, what His Word really says, and therefore cripple and diminish the power of that Word in their life. That bothers me, a lot. As children of God we are to be victorious, more than conquerors, blessed, to have peace and joy, and to be prosperous in every area of our lives. That gets compromised when our understanding of God and His Word are compromised in us. I will most likely post on the keeping of the commandment of love before Christmas. I mean after all, it was love that sent Jesus to earth.

   In the meantime, here is a little something that I just spotted on facebook, and felt a post for Honeycomb come on.

   In the overall, eternal picture, it is ALL about what Jesus in His grace, mercy, compassion and love did. Period. But, this statement of Mr. Lucado’s gives far to much room for encouraging a lack of responsibility on us, and is untrue. You don’t have to call it a “list” but Jesus was very clear on these, and other, commandments for us:

So He answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27a

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34      

“...and the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”  Luke 6:27-28

We are to love God, our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, our neighbors and our enemies. Jesus goes on to tell us to serve, do good, pray for others, care for them, bless them, share the gospel and go make disciples.....  None of these “works” determine our salvation, or God’s love for us. But let’s not put it out there that Jesus came with nothing for us to do.  Negating these things is disobedience and though you can go to Heaven, this disobedience will keep you from going anywhere else God, through the work of Jesus, wants to take you. 

   I post here on this because there is so much of this “easy grace” out there, and it is dumbing down the body of Christ. Why do the words "seeker friendly" come to mind? We ARE to do the things Christ did, the very things He did for us, in essence to love people. Those verses above, and many like them,  were not suggestions, they were commands. I understand that the “letter of the law” kills, and I am the first one up to come against legalism. These commands Jesus gave were not “rules", and a “religion” can not legitimately be made out of them.  They are about our relationship with Him, and the entire purpose of these, and other commands are so that we can glorify God, shine our light before all men so they can see God, and to be blessed and prosper in every area of our life. The finished work of the cross of Jesus gives the promise and the power to walk so, but we must walk in His Word. Period.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” 
John 14:15

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” 
John 14:23

   This would probably be a good time to say that joy and peace govern my life because I embrace and walk, to best of my ability with God’s grace and help, in His Word. I don’t have to do it, but I would never NOT do it. I love the life I have with Jesus.

“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” 
John 13:17

Monday, July 4, 2016

   The United States of America has the best of foundations.  Our forefather’s founded this nation on godly and biblical principles, and they are woven throughout The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and can be seen throughout the essays written in The Federalist Papers. We were founded and based on freedom, liberty and the desire to freely serve God. 

    Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

   In the darkest hour of King David’s life he focuses on the Messiah, Jesus Christ, that he knew would come some day and declares in Psalm 22:4 “Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them.”  David goes on in throughout the book of Psalms to declare how God through His mercy, righteousness and love saves and delivers His people.

The recordings throughout Psalms and the entire Word of God also show how rebellion destroyed people and nations.

There is no real need to say “God Bless America”; He has done already done that. What we need to do is be thankful for all He has done, will do, then  “Bless God” with our reverence and love for Him. He will take of everything else once we do. 

"...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-15  Personally, and I believe most people want to see that for this great nation!

Let’s never forget those that have served and sacrificed for our liberty and freedom. Let’s honor and serve the God that has done everything to give us liberty, freedom and LIFE through the Lord Jesus Christ!

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord...” 
Psalm 33:12

Have an amazing 4th of July!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saint Patrick, humble Scotsman that took God to Ireland.

    It is Saint Patrick’s day! This holiday for many is a great excuse to pinch and kiss people, wear green and drink green beer, drink Guinness Stout, Jameson Whiskey, Baileys Irish Cream, eat corned beef with cabbage and potatoes, soda bread, believe in leprechaun’s and pots of gold, act Irish for the day and party. Be that as it may, March 17 is all about a humble Scottish man that loved God. 

    In the village of Kilpatrick, in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, Saint Patrick was born British to affluent parents.  The precise year of his death is unknown but most of those knowledgable agree it was between 460 A.D. and 493 A.D. Some credible religious accounts written indicate he lived from roughly 340A.D. to 440 A.D. Oddly enough, we do know he died on March 17. At the age of 16 he was captured in Wales by Irish raiders, then taken to Ireland to be a slave in the capacity of a herdsman. It is reported Saint Patrick has a dream while in captivity giving him a clear vision of God’s call on his life to take God and His love to the Irish. Hum... why am I thinking of Joseph serving the Egyptians? He escaped Ireland and rejoined his family, entered the Roman Catholic church, and became an ordained bishop. Returning then to Ireland he became the first missionary to that country, the very country that kidnapped and enslaved him. There he preached the gospel of Jesus, baptized Kings and Chiefs of government~ and in fact brought entire clan’s to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  The good work he did spread across Ireland. How do you spell revival? That so excites me. 

    There are legends about Saint Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes and using the Shamrock to illustrate the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. There is scripture that tells us since every thing we lost in the Garden of Eden was bought back for us by Jesus, including dominion over the earth, ridding of snakes would have been a possibility. Jesus used vinedressers, farmers, sowing seeds into different types of ground, sheep, goats, weeds, fig trees, and pieces of nature the people could understand to illustrate godly principles. Therefore, I do not think using a Shamrock to illustrate our Triune God is a stretch. And, the Shamrock is now the official flower of Ireland. At any rate, I think it is most notable that Saint Patrick obeyed God and went back to Ireland to share the love of God with those that captured and imprisoned him for six years.

    For Catholics in Ireland this a Holy Day of Obligation where they will attend Mass. For some it is a celebration of their Irish heritage. Some just like it because the river gets turned green and so does the beer they will so happily enjoy. For me, it is remembering and celebrating one man’s love for God that moved him to a place of inspiring forgiveness, and the life he spent devoted to sharing God with the world. Okay, and corned beef, cabbage and potatoes are my little fodder contribution to the day. Oh, except to say that THIS Saint Patricks Day, I am in Cork and Killarney, Ireland! I am at parades ministering to children. I have been here for a few days, and will be here in Ireland for another several days as a short~term missionary, sharing Jesus! Life is GOOD! God is GOOD.......

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Shona Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sandi Patty's Farewell Tour

Sandi Patty - Forever Grateful - The Farewell Tour
Please click on photo for Sandi Patty's Forever Grateful Tour dates.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thankful for God always leading me in triumph!

   In a world that embraces “grey”, compromises to be politically correct, and slides down the slope of rationalization to validate their hearts not yielded to God; I find it wonderfully satisfying, and exciting, to walk intimately with God, who is unchanging and absolute. Because He is faithful to His Word, and IS love, God tells us over and over in His Word He will never leave us, He will never forsake us, He never changes, His agape love never fails, He will never break His covenant with us, we will never thirst again but have everlasting life if we drink of the water He gives, and we will never taste death (spiritual) if we receive what He says. I am thankful for all of those promises. The absolute I want to highlight today that I am particularly thankful for is one of the “always” statements about God. As Christians, God always leads us into triumph.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 
2 Corinthians 2:14

   This verse is couched in a passage that tells us a Christian can manifest the sweetness of Jesus wherever they go. To the unsaved this will trigger their heart with the conviction  needed to encourage them to receive Jesus, for the Christian that fragrance of Jesus is affirming of the everlasting life they have. Wherever God leads us, He does so leading us in triumph. That sweet fragrance of Jesus we emit, is the same sweetness we have available to always triumph, regardless.

Thank you Father for always leading me in triumph!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Day of Victory!

     Today is Sunday, and it is the very first Easter!  It is the day after Sabbath.  That means the women that loved Jesus, could take the spices and perfumed oil and put them on His body.  Early in the morning, while it was still dark, three of the women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the disciple James, and Salome, went to the tomb. They talked among themselves about how they were going to get that huge, heavy stone rolled away from Jesus’ tomb so they could anoint His body.  Can you guess what they saw?  They saw the Roman guards.  Then, they saw a bright and beautiful angel, whose face was brilliant like lightening and whose clothes were as white as snow, coming down from, Heaven. As the angel was coming down, the ground began shake and the huge, heavy rock rolled away from the tomb.  The tomb opened up and the angel landed right on the large stone.  He sat on top it.  The guards shook with fear, and then they fainted!  The angel looked at the women and said, “Don’t be afraid!  I know you are looking for Jesus, Who was crucified.  He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead just as He said would happen.  Come, see where His body was laid.  And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead and He is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see Him there.  Remember what I have told you.”  Wow!  Can you imagine how surprised the women were? 

     They were so delighted to hear that Jesus was alive.  They left right away and went to the disciples.  Peter and John went with them back to the tomb.  They did not believe what the women were saying.  When they got to the tomb, Peter went in first and John followed.  When they went in, they saw the linen wrappings lying there.  The cloth that had covered Jesus head was folded up.  They understood right then that Jesus was ALIVE!!  They understood that He really was Jesus, the Messiah.  They believed.  They were still a little afraid of the religious leaders and Roman soldiers, so they went home.  Mary Magdalene and the other women stayed.

     Mary Magdalene stood outside of the tomb crying.  She was so upset that Jesus was not there.  She loved Him so much.  She went into the tomb to be close to where Jesus had been.  Now, guess what she saw!  Two angels!  One was sitting at the head, and the other at the foot where Jesus’ body had been lying.  “Dear woman, why are you crying?”, the angels asked her.  She told the angels it was because someone had taken her Lord away, and she did not know where they had put Him.  
     Mary Magdalene turned to leave.  She saw someone standing there but she was so upset about not knowing where Jesus was, that she did not recognize Him.  The man asked her, “Dear woman, why are you crying?  Who are you looking for?”  She thought it might be the gardener.  Remember, this tomb is in a beautiful garden.  She said to the man, “Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will go and get Him.”  

     Then the most WONDERFUL, AMAZING, AWESOME, BEAUTIFUL thing happened.  The man simply said, “Mary!”  Mary Magdalene’s heart began to beat quickly, it even jumped around inside her chest.  She could hardly catch her breath and nearly fainted herself.  She was so happy and began to run over to the Man.  When the Man said her name, there was such a sweetness about the way it sounded.  There was such love in His voice.  She recognized this voice.  IT WAS JESUS!  When He said her name, it healed her broken heart. 

     Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus after he rose from the dead.     The disciples were still hiding in a room because they were afraid of the religious leaders and Roman soldiers. Mary went to tell the disciples that she had seen Jesus.  Later that evening,  Jesus saw the disciples.  He knew they were shook up by all of this, and He knew they were afraid.  He said to them, “Peace be with you.”  One of the disciples, Thomas, doubted that this was really Jesus risen from the dead.  He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands.  Put your hand into the wound in my side.  Don’t be faithless any longer.  Believe!”  Thomas said with so much love, “My Lord and my God!”  He believed.  Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

     Jesus was talking about us.  All of us!  If we will just believe in Jesus and follow Him, we will have the power to live winning lives.  We can have victory in everything.  Jesus overcame the biggest enemy, death.  And, He leaves us this power to live lives of victory.  We just have to choose, Jesus.
     Christmas, our biggest gift is that Jesus left Heaven to live here with us.  Easter, our biggest gift is that He died and overcame everything evil for us so we can live lives full of blessing, power and victory here, and forever with Him, in Heaven.  Thank You, Jesus!

   Today is a day about victory and love.  

   All praise and glory and honor to You, Jesus. Thank you for your grace and mercy and love. Thank You that I can live a victorious life here on this side of Glory, and then an eternal life with you when I get to Glory. I do not have words that can express how much I love and adore You. But I give you my life, every area of it. I will serve you all of my days and be with you in Heaven all of eternity! Happy dancing here!!!! Happy Easter, Jesus! Happy Easter, God! And while we are at it, thank You Holy Spirit for coming at Pentecost and staying with us here until we do go to our home in Heaven. Thank you for teaching, directing, guiding and staying with me to help me truly walk in love and make my Heavenly Father known. Happy Easter Holy Ghost!