Posts Tagged ‘God

06
Aug
13

Reaching out with the love of Christ to a dying and lying world

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people in various stages of cancer diagnosis, treatment or follow-up. It is incredible how many people are directly or indirectly impacted by this horrible disease. Added together, the amount of time, effort and money spent to monitor and treat various cancers is staggering.

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people facing battles that are testing and trying their faith. So many people are afflicted with pressure in their lives due to financial and other issues. So many people are firmly entangled in the various elements of oppression and depression. Situations that arise and will not quit leave a person tired, worn out and vulnerable.

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people firmly in the grasp of oppressive powers intent on making and keeping them slaves. Those who have sold their bodies or minds to others for the sake of financial security are in reality slaves to whom they sold out to. Once caught, very few people ever escape from the imprisonment of their choices and corresponding obligations.

Never in the history of this world have things appeared so good on the outside but so rotten on the inside. At first glance, the world seems to be buzzing along doing better than ever. At first glance, people seem to be content, happy, satisfied and well taken care of. But are they really what they project?

Under the surface of the pretty facade so many put up are unhappy, dissatisfied and restless people worried about what tomorrow will bring and what they did yesterday. Locked in the prisons of their own minds, they become experts at looking good to hide the inner turmoil, unrest, guilt and fears that eat them from the inside out just as cancer does in the human body.

Subdivisions and communities are full of people who outwardly appear to have it together and happily are living the American (or any other country’s) dream. Behind the walls of their mini mansions and within the confines of their own minds, these people are tormented day and night by unanswered questions, regrets about the past, guilt for things done or said and fears about what tomorrow may bring.

Lying underneath the smooth exterior people project are truly troubled individuals. Hidden out of view of prying eyes are questions, temptations, battles and doubts that drive people mad. How many millions of people resort to drugs or alcohol to subdue the demons afflicting them? How many people run to every distraction this world offers in hope of finding an ounce of peace and comfort?

Without Jesus Christ there is no peace. Without God there are no answers. Without the Word of God there is no hope. Without the fellowship of believers there is no way to withstand the onslaught of all that seeks to derail and destroy the faith by which we live.

There is a whole world out there diseased and dying; waiting for someone to care enough to help them out of the nightmare they call life. Let us pray to be Ambassadors for Christ willing and able to reach out with His love to those hurting and teetering on the edge of spiritual oblivion.

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12
Jul
13

My life’s story written in one day on August 24, 1969

I look at August 24, 1969 as the date my life started for that is when I had my first encounter with the God of all creation. What I experienced that day in New Mexico was intensely personal in nature and in some ways similar to what Saul (Paul) experienced on the road to Damascus. There is absolutely no guarantee God will provide an “experience” for a person when they come to know Him, but if He does; the person better realize how phenomenal it was and stand fast upon what took place throughout their lifetime.

It took God the better part of 24 hours to turn a disgruntled, depressed, afraid and angry kid into the most joyful, exuberant and loving young man anyone had ever seen. The change God wrought in my life was undeniable and indisputable. Everyone who knew me stood in awe at what happened to me which opened great doors for me to share the love, grace, mercy, joy and peace of God.

I did not go to a stream that Sunday morning in 1969 asking for anything. I only went because of an undeniable calling I felt to go. It was as if some gigantic hand was gently prodding me to where God wanted me to go. Far removed from the camp, in an isolated spot beside a gently moving stream, God set out to convince me that He was for real and that He loved me. Through His patience, mercy and love He waited me out and then personally helped me become what He wanted me to become.

I spent an entire afternoon sitting by that stream releasing 16 years of anger, fear and disillusionment before God. I spent an entire afternoon being convicted of my many sins and repenting of them. I spent an entire afternoon pouring out all the junk in my life that separated me from God. I spent an entire afternoon being cleansed of everything that defiled me.

I spent an entire evening and much of the night in a sleeping bag on a porch listening to it rain while writing down every possible thing I was thankful for in my life. God spent an entire evening and much of the night filling me with His goodness, grace and love. What was empty became full. What was defiled became pure.

I spent an entire morning wandering among sunflowers glistening in the sun providing beauty I had never experienced in my life. God spent an entire morning blessing me with peace which surpassed all understanding and joy unspeakable. When He was done, God in just 24 hours, had succeeded in totally transforming me into a new man, full of His spirit, love and light.

When I came down from the mountainside with sunflowers in my hair and enough for each person to have a bunch, everyone there stood was amazed and in wonder. More than one person equated what they saw in me with Moses coming down from the mount with his face aglow.

I spent an entire train ride from New Mexico to Kansas reading and teaching the group about the love of God from 1 John. I had never read 1 John in my life before then. I spent the entire trip laughing, crying and praying with the same people I had despised and wanted nothing to do with just 2 days earlier.

By the time we got back to Wichita and I stepped off that train, I will never in a million years forget the expression on my mom and dad’s faces when they saw me. They knew the instant they saw me that their prayers had been answered and that I was delivered from the demons which had afflicted me for years and nearly destroyed me.

If I lived another thousand years, nothing could ever surpass the joy, peace, thanksgiving and love I felt and manifested in August through December of 1969. The only thing that can be better is the joy of seeing my Lord face to face, which day I long for with every fiber of my heart and soul.

God’s blessings 2 you and thank you for allowing me to share my life’s story.

21
Jun
13

The Lord knows the way out of any wilderness

A dead end does not have to be THE END. All a dead end means is that there is a better way to your destination. A dead end forces us to seek out the best or right way. Unfortunately, most people look at a dead end as the end of their dream, their hope or their life.

Many years ago I delivered pizzas for awhile to help make ends meet. Time and again I would follow the directions given to me only to find myself lost or at a dead end. Of course now days with GPS this may not happen, but 25 years ago it happened all the time. Was it the end of the world? Of course not, it was only frustrating.

My dad, as was the case with most men of his generation, absolutely would NEVER stop and ask for directions. It was deemed “unmanly” to admit one was lost. I remember many times we would end up utterly lost in very bad parts of towns fearing for our very lives because my dad would not even stop to find out where we were, let alone how to find where we looking for.

Anyone who thinks that just because we are saved we will never run into dead ends or end up lost is sadly mistaken. Because we are humans, we will inadvertently find ourselves wandering around in the pasture when we should be in the city and vice a versa. Getting lost is not a sin but staying lost is.

Pride prevents us from admitting we have lost our way and fear makes us believe a dead end is the end of the world as we know it. Humility allows us to find our way out of the wilderness and faith leads us past the dead ends to the way that is never ending.

Forks in the road many times cause us to end up on the wrong road. When the road splits and there are no signs to say which road leads to our destination, we have to make a choice. Sometimes we make the right one and all works out well. But, sometimes we make the wrong choice and end up exactly where we didn’t want to be.

Forks in the road provide us with opportunities to trust God for guidance. When we do not know what to do or which way to go, we are forced rise up and believe that God knows everything and trust that He will lead us safely home.

Whether dead ends, forks in the road or bad directions; ultimately our ability to move on and reach our destination lies in our ability to practice what Proverbs 3:5 and 6 tell us to do:

“ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

03
Jun
13

God was, is and always will be faithful

As any of you who read my blogs on a regular basis know, I am a great believer in the grace, mercy and love of God because these attributes of God are mentioned time and again in the New Testament. None of us would be alive if it were not for God’s grace. None of us would have an eternity to look forward to with God if not for God’s mercy. None of us would even be here except for the love of God.

Having said these things, there is another aspect of God that is just as important to understand as His grace, mercy and love. As great as these things are, and they are GREAT, they would be meaningless except for the faithfulness of God. The term “God is faithful” (or some variation of it) is used many times in the Bible, especially in the Psalms and Paul’s epistles.

Here is a partial list of the references in Psalms if you want to spend a few minutes looking them up and getting a general idea of the context regarding God’s faithfulness;

Psalms 33:4, 36:5, 86:15, 89:1, 89:8, 91:3-6, 92:1-3, 108:4, 115:1, and 143:1

Certainly it is significant that David would write about the faithfulness of God so many times. David knew God better than anyone and no matter what situation David found himself in, he took comfort in knowing that “God is faithful”. Without a deeply held belief in the faithfulness of God, it is impossible to consistently believe in the promises of God in our lives.

To believe in the integrity of the Word of God, that His Word is true and can be trusted, we must know and believe that God is faithful and that He will not renege on His Word or forget to perform it. Creation has survived the test of time because God is faithful. God’s Word has survived the test of time because God is faithful to do what He has promised.

In the New Testament, the phrase “God is faithful” can be found in:

Romans 3:3-4, 1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, Hebrews 10:23 and 1John 1:9

Perhaps the most humbling chapter in the New Testament relating to being a leader in the Church is 2 Timothy 2. Within this chapter there are three verses that sum up the full scope of why it is so important to understand that God is faithful. Please look closely at 2 Timothy 2:11-13 from the Amplified Bible (copyright 1954, 58, 62, 64, 65 and 87; by Lockman Foundation)

“The saying is sure and worthy of confidence: If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him.

12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny and disown and reject Him, He will also deny and disown and reject us.

13 If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.”

Sometimes allowing the Word of God to speak for itself is best and these verses bear that statement out. Regardless of whether we remain faithful to God or not, God remains true because He cannot deny Himself. I leave you with a quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

“Through the ages, our God has had billions of people to deal with. Yet there does not stand under heaven’s cover, or above the stars, or in hell itself a single soul who can say that God is not absolutely faithful. No item in the list of our divine promises is unfulfilled. God remembers every promise that He ever made, and He honors each in the experience of those who believe in Him. They who trust in the Lord will find Him faithful, not only in great things, but also in little things. His faintest word will stand firm and steadfast. His least truth will never grow dim. The glory of God’s faithfulness is that no sin of ours has ever made Him unfaithful. Unbelief is a damning thing, yet even when we do not believe, God is faithful.”

24
Apr
13

My personal testimony to the overwhelming mercy of God

When I became involved with the ministry that dominated my life for 15 years, I was an energetic teenager who loved God and just wanted to help people. When I left that ministry, I was a broken down and bitter man who was barely holding on to my relationship with God. It says a lot that the result of 15 years in a ministry was the personal devastation of all that was good in my life.

I have spent many years of my life living with a pain I could barely endure because of what I allowed myself to become and do in the name of God. I spent years of my life cowering in fear of terminal retribution by God for things I had done, said and allowed while serving as His minister. I spent years of my life wondering and questioning whether I had lost all my eternal rewards and perhaps even my eternal life because of what I had done or allowed to be done.

God knows that I repented of my sins many years ago. God knows how deeply sorry I am for letting Him down and allowing corrupt people to lead me astray and I in turn lead others astray. God knows the pain that even now dwells in my soul as I remember what a monster I became and how deeply I hurt others. God knows what I did and yet He has allowed me to live a quiet life with a beautiful and loving wife, writing blogs and at times being involved with helping others. How could God do such a thing?

God has forgiven me because He loves me and He is a God of mercy. Without God’s mercy I would have died in 1985 on a cliff in Colorado, in 1987 in a tornado in Kansas, in 1991 in a tornado in Missouri or on and operating table in 1998 in Kansas. God had numerous opportunities to “kill me off”, but He didn’t. Why didn’t He?

The only explanation is MERCY. God had mercy on me and by His grace He gave me one more chance to prove my heart is pure and the bad things I did many years ago were because of wrong teaching, immaturity and manipulation. With all of my heart I have sought to be what God wants me to be (and no more), do what He wants me to do (and no more) and live the way He wants me to live. In so doing all of these things He has blessed me with a quiet and peaceful life lived in Godliness and honesty.

Because of how God has dealt with me, reproved me, corrected me and instructed me in His righteous ways; I have absolutely no doubt as to how great is His love, grace and MERCY. The very life I live is because of His love and forgiveness in my life. Let me say again, if God wanted to punish me I would have perished long ago or be locked up in prison somewhere. Since I am very much alive and free to live my simple life as a testament to His grace, love and mercy; I know (better than most people on earth) that God is LOVE, His MERCY has spared my life and His GRACE has allowed me to live.

23
Apr
13

Are we really willing to “surrender all” to our Lord?

If you added together all of your assets and subtracted all of your liabilities, you could determine your net worth. Your net worth represents the sum and total of all you own in this world. If you have a lot, you are considered wealthy. If you have very little, you are considered poor. If you have nothing, you are considered destitute.

If you added together all of your friends and subtracted all of your enemies, you could determine your popularity. Your popularity represents the sum and total of how many people think you are “cool” and like you. If you have scores of friends, you are considered popular. If you have a fair number of friends you are considered “normal”. If you have few or no friends, you are considered a social outcast.

If you added together how important your decisions are, you could determine how much power you have. Your power is directly reflected in how many people are directly impacted by what you say and do. Simply put, the more powerful you are, the more lives depend on the words you speak, the things you do and the decisions you make.

According to the world’s standards, unless you are wealthy, popular and powerful you are a failure. According to the world’s standards, unless you have everything money can buy, are a beloved celebrity and a person of powerful influence you are a failure. According to the world’s standards, unless you devote all your time and energy to earning money, developing huge “friends lists” and becoming a powerful figure in the world you are a failure.

That which defines greatness in the world’s eyes is NOT what defines greatness in God’s eyes. God does not care how wealthy you are, how many friends you have or how much power you command. In fact, God demands that a person be willing to surrender all of these things if they truly want to commit themselves to Him. No man can serve two masters, thus each one of us must decide whether we will serve God or mammon.

Money, popularity and power usually distract and make it impossible to serve and love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Money, popularity and power may enable a person to become a celebrity in the world’s eyes, but usually drive a person away from God. Who needs God if you have money, friends and power?

The only way to determine how committed you are to God is to determine how much you are willing to surrender to serve Him. Anything you are unwilling to surrender represents something in your life more important than God. Unless we are willing to empty our bank accounts, become unpopular and become a servant instead of a master, we cannot say we are fully committed to Jesus.

Tell me how important money, friends and power are to you and I will tell you how committed to the Lord Jesus you are. Would you be willing to live in a cardboard box, with no friends or influence if God asked you to do it? Would you be willing to sell everything and live as a vagabond if God demanded it? Would you be willing to be a destitute social outcast if God so willed?

PLEASE, take a few minutes and ponder “I Surrender All” by Clay Crosse. Please take a few minutes and honestly determine where you are at and what God wants you to do with and in your life.

21
Apr
13

Before the throne of God

What do you see when you gaze at the sky on a clear night? Are the stars laid out as a canopy simply white specks or do they give witness to the vastness of our God and the majesty of all He has created? With God there is no beginning and no end, and that is what I see when I look upward. The vastness of God’s creation surpasses our feeble mind’s ability to comprehend.

The skeptics decry God’s creation and seek to diminish its greatness. Somehow to them, the universe just sort of happened without the help of a creator. The natural man cannot grasp or understand the things of God, including the most foundational aspect of them all which is that God created the heavens and the earth.

That this awesome God would see fit to call us by name and reach into our hearts and touch us with His mighty yet tender hand boggles the mind and melts the heart. That this High and Holy God would plant within us His Spirit and allow us to worship Him in spirit and in truth should bring us to our knees in humble adoration. That this mighty and strong God would allow us to stand before Him clothed in righteousness should blow us away.

Almighty God through the finished redemptive work of His Son Jesus Christ has made it available for us to not just worship Him from afar, but know, love and worship Him intimately from within. His Holy Spirit within us gives us the freedom and ability to stand before His throne and dwell in His most holy habitation.

There are many incredible things we should be thankful for every day of our lives, but at the top of the list should be the right we have as sons of God to stand before Him with no guilt or condemnation because of the righteousness we have through and in Christ in us. We do not need to cower in fear as we pray to our God, for we have been cleansed and washed of all sin through the blood of Jesus. We do not need to feel unworthy or insecure when we approach Almighty God for He is our Father and we are His children.

I feel sorry for those who do not know God and thus reject Him as being some fictional character or crutch for weak and helpless people. I feel sorry for those who feel it wrong to have a personal relationship with God and thus relegate Him to the status of being a “thing” that is not to be touched, felt or known. I feel sorry for those who believe God hates them and live their lives in fear of being smitten by God for their sins.

When we are saved, God cleansed us from all unrighteousness and gave us freedom of access into His presence. When God called us by name, He expressed His desire for intimate fellowship that involves the depths of worship but also the incredible honor of being held tightly by our Father during times of distress or confusion.
God does not hate us nor is He waiting for the right time to smite us for our sins. God does not have a box of lightning bolts at His side, ready to hurl them at us when we mess things up. God loves us and longs for us to open our hearts to Him and trusting Him as our loving Father which He is.

I sincerely pray that each and every one of us never forget the awesome privilege we have to know, love and share our lives with the creator of the heavens and earth. I pray that we never forget the awesome privilege we have to approach His throne with boldness in time of need and stand in the grace which we have in Christ Jesus.

I leave you with my second favorite song of all time. I believe this song beautifully and accurately shares the truth regarding what God has done for us and the freedom of access we have through Christ to His throne. For your blessing, I give you “Before Your Throne” by Dallas Holm.