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How God Sees People

Given July 26, 2014 LohanMugshot

I was walking through my house one morning a few years ago thinking about how Osama Bin Laden couldn’t be found our military couldn’t do anything with him.  I prayed, “God you know exactly where he is, why don’t YOU just take him out?” Immediately, in my spirit, I heard, “I love him and want him to repent and be saved.” This floored me but made me realize how God sees people differently than I do. This started me putting together thoughts about how we see people versus how God sees them. Think about it; how do you see old people, young people, poor/rich people, gay people, handicapped people? How do you see people of another race, city people,  country people, people in jail, lost people, church people, politicians, movie stars, athletes? Do you really see these people or are you just looking on the outside? “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

In the story of David and Goliath, how did David’s brother see him when he came to bring their lunch on the battlefield? “But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” (1 Samuel 17:28).  How did King Saul see him? “You can’t go out against this Philistine and fight him. You’re only a boy.” (v. 33). How did Goliath see him?he looked down on David with disgust. He said, “Do you think I am a dog that you come at me with a stick? (v. 42, 43).  How did God see him?David ran quickly to meet him. He took a stone from his bag, put it into his sling, and slung it. The stone hit the Philistine and went deep into his forehead, and Goliath fell facedown on the ground.” (v. 48-49). God sees people differently than we do.

Think about it…when you see people this week like the ones mentioned in the first paragraph, look a little closer with your Spirit and think how God might see them. And, ask yourself, “How does God see me?”

The Chair

Given July 19, 2014 TheChair

Picture this: You have committed a terrible crime, punishable by death, and are in a prison awaiting your certain fate, the electric chair. As you sit on the bed in your bare cell, you think of the crime you committed and how sorry you are for your actions. You wish you could go back and change your life and have a chance to do things over. Certainly you would do things differently and take a different direction in your life. You remember some things you were taught in Sunday school and whisper, “God, I’m sorry”. But now you sit here in this cell realizing you have no other chances, fearing what death will bring.

Suddenly, the single light bulb hanging from the ceiling in your cell and the lights in the hallway go dim for a few seconds. You recognize this event as the result of the switch being thrown on the electric chair. Someone has just been executed! You feel sorry for the person and their family but know that you are next.

You hear footsteps coming down the hall and think, “Here we go, my time is up”. The warden puts his key in your cell lock, opens the door and says, “Come on, let’s go get your things, you’re being released, you’re free to go.” “What?” “Free to go?” “What happened?” The warden says, “Someone took your place, paid for your crime, and we just executed him.” “So now you’re free to go.” In wonderment, you think, “Can this be true?”

In shock, you are led outside the gates of the prison to a waiting limousine. You’re taken to a mansion and told this is where you live now. The driver says, “The owner of this place heard you whisper that you were sorry and sent His son to take your place today; to die for you.” That prayer in my cell! “You now have another chance to make something good of your life.”  ” But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

The limo is waiting – don’t choose the chair!

More Faith?

Given June 18, 2014FaithWorkout

I had a message from a man recently who talked about his desire to stop believing for things that were too big for his faith. He wanted to concentrate on smaller things that his faith was suited for. I wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23). So how should we use our faith? How much do we have? How much do we need?

As Christians, we all have a “measure of faith”. (Romans 12:3). When we are born, we also have a set of muscles. Those muscles don’t stay the size and strength they were when we were babies; they grow and increase in strength as we use them. Some people go the extra mile and overwork their muscles to build them up to extraordinary proportions and are able to accomplish great things. So it is with our faith. To build up our faith, we have to use it; exercise it, so it will grow from baby portions to great faith. Jude 1:20 mentions, “building yourselves up in your most holy faith”. So maybe we have to believe for smaller things first to build our faith.

Then we hear Jesus tell his followers, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:6). That seems like small faith used to do a great thing. Let’s remember, “All things are possible to him who believes.” Believing is the key. And “saying” is very important too. How did God create the earth? “God said…”. Look back at Luke 17:6, “you can say” to the tree. Mark 11:23 says, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” Believing and saying is faith-building exercise. Now, you have to believe and say what God has already said. We can’t use our faith to do something that is against God’s will. And how do you know what God has said? READ YOUR BIBLE AND PRAY! Then believe and speak it and keep on speaking it until it comes to pass. Good workout!

Fathers Day 2014

Given June 3, 2014 FathersDay

Here are five tips to help you be the best dad you can.

1. Guide your children toward a relationship with their Heavenly Father. Show them the love of the God you serve by being a godly man yourself. Let them see you praying, reading His Word and living the faith you claim. Walk the talk.
2. Show genuine respect and love for the mother of your children. Nothing will make your kids feel more secure in your love and acceptance than seeing you cherish their mom. Boys, especially, need to see how a godly man loves a woman.
3. Remember that love is the motivation for discipline. Dads discipline because they love. The two are inseparable. Seek to guide, mold and correct – all with a gentle spirit of fairness and acceptance.
4. Spend time with your kids. In your children’s eyes, time spent with them is the measure of your love. Show them they’re high on our list by giving them your time. There’s no substitute.
5. Demonstrate your affection. Hug, kiss and offer a kind word. Every day. Tell your children you love them – and then show you mean it with your actions.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

  Borrowed from Focus on the Family.

Questioning God?

Given May 10, 2014

Things happen in our lives that we can’t explain.  The death of a child, an accident that causes us to miss a flight, we didn’t get that job that was “perfect” for us; you can add your own examples.  At times like these, we may ask God, “Why?”.  Sometimes He may respond or we may see the answer, however, we may not know until we get to Heaven why certain things happened.  I got an answer recently that reminded me that God knows what He’s doing and I should just let Him run things.

I attend the monthly Men’s Breakfast at my church, Zion Family Ministries, and a breakfast at a friends church also.  Both are early on Saturday mornings.  This particular week had been a very busy week with the usual early risings and late night activities so I had decided I was going to just sleep in on this Saturday morning and miss the breakfast.  I was going out of town the next day for a week-long conference and mini vacation so I needed the rest.  So, that was my plan.  However, when my eyes opened and I glanced at the clock at 7:35 AM, (the prayer breakfast begins at 8:00), I had the strongest urging to, “Get up, get ready, and go to the breakfast.”  So I did.  I rushed around, shaved, brushed my teeth, got dressed and headed out the door thinking something good was going to happen at the breakfast that God didn’t want me to miss.

As I drove to the church and rounded the last curve, I was astonished to see no cars in the church parking lot!  I was a little late and there should have been several cars there.  I thought, “They must have canceled the breakfast for some reason and I didn’t get the word.”  I drove through the parking lot and headed back home very puzzled so I asked God, “Lord, you knew this thing was canceled, why did you get me up to drive out here for nothing?”  Silence…  I thought, “Oh well.”

As I mentioned, I was going out of town the next day for a conference and I needed to get some things done before leaving.  I was not going to have time to mow my grass so was going to ask my neighbor Danny, who has a grass-mowing business, if he could do it for me during the week.  It was supposed to rain that morning and I had a lot of things to do to get ready to leave.  But when I pulled up in my driveway, I thought, “Well, I’ll go ahead and try to mow and get that chore done.”  So i did.

I mowed my yard, front and back, and my son’s yard adjoining mine quickly and finished in about fifty-five minutes.  I cleaned all the grass off the mowing deck and backed my zero-turn Troybilt into the garage feeling a sense of accomplishment that I had gotten this task done.  Then, as I walked up the driveway toward the front of my house, big drops of rain began to fall.  I looked at the large wet spots on the dry asphalt and thought, “Wow, what timing!”  Then, in my Spirit, I heard this, “If I hadn’t gotten you up to go to the prayer breakfast, that I knew was cancelled, you would have slept in and missed this chance to mow your grass.”  “That’s the answer to your question.”  All I could say was, “Wow, God!”  “Thank you!”

This was a gentle reminder that my God, your God, knows what He’s doing and we should just trust Him and not ask too many questions.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8).  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).  God has a plan for our lives.  Let Him work His plan without question and thank Him constantly for what He’s doing.  Please comment below if you have a story of a time when God revealed an answer to you.

God, Where Are You?

Given May 2010 GodWithYou

Have there ever been times in your life where you wondered where God was? You were in the middle of trouble and it seemed God was nowhere around. But you know this: “He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you“.(Hebrews 13:5, NASB). So, at these times, where is God?

Behind you – “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV)

In front of you – “Teach me your way, Yahweh. Lead me in a straight path, because of my enemies”. Psalm 27:11 (World English Bible).
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” (Psalm 23:2 KJV).

Beside you – “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” (Psalm 23:4, New Living Translation).

Carrying you – “He will put his angels in charge of you to protect you in all your ways. They will carry you in their hands so that you never hit your foot against a rock.” (Psalm 91: 11-12, GOD’S WORD® Translation).

Since God never leaves us, if He is not nearby at any time, it’s not Him who moved, it was us. We have gone on ahead without Him, lagged behind checking out something that looked good, or left the path entirely to follow a bright light or some enticing thing. But be assured, God is always right there waiting for us to come back like the loving Father that He is. Where are you in relation to God the Father today? Remember, “..with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).

Has this revelation helped you?  Please leave a comment.  Be blessed!

The Secret Place

Given May 2014 The Secret Door

We’ve all heard of a “black tie” affair; an event by invitation only where men are required to wear black ties.  A very fancy occasion indeed.  In Psalm 91, we read of the “secret place of the Most High” and in Proverbs 18:10 we read, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.”  Here’s the vision I got of this recently:

This Secret Place has a front door where those who desire the protection of the Most High can go in.  But the devil and his thugs have found the path to that door and are stationed there trying to dissuade, deceive, and deter those invited from entering.  And some do turn away and proceed on the wrong path which leads to destruction.  However, there is a secret door into this Secret Place and only God’s people know about it.  They avoid the front entrance and go around to the private door and are welcomed in to, “abide under the shadow of the Almighty”.  And this is not a “black tie” affair; it is a “white robe” occasion.  Are you dressed properly?

Easter – The Great Exchange

This is a post from a few years ago that I thought was appropriate for Easter.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10. This verse used to bother me. I know we’re supposed to be holy and righteous but this verse says none of us are. What’s the deal?

God showed me, through a minister, what it means.

Picture God and Jesus in Heaven looking down on earth. God says, “Look at those people we created. The devil’s really messed them up. Here we are, totally righteous, no evil in us and there they are, totally evil, no righteousness in them. We need to do something.” God thinks a minute…..then says, “We need to go down there and make things right.” And Jesus says, “Father, I’ll go.”

So Jesus goes to earth and stands majestic and tall before man, you and me. He has on His beautiful, shining, white robe of righteousness and there we are, bent over with filthy rags of sin on us. Jesus says, “Here Son, I want to make an exchange with you. Take my robe and give me your rags.” (This happened on the cross.)

He willingly takes off his white robe and hands it to us and puts on our filthy rags. When He does, He becomes bent over and burdened down under the weight of OUR sin. But, when we put on His robe of righteousness, we raise up strong and tall! The point is…we are not righteous in and of ourselves, no not one of us. But we have been MADE righteous by the exchange of robes! “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

That’s the answer! We’re not righteous in ourselves, Jesus made us righteous! Thank God for that exchange. Don’t stay bent over under the weight of sin. Take the robe, He’s holding it out to you.  Jesus did this when He rose from the grave victorious over sin and death.  But it’s our choice to accept the exchange.

 

 

Principals of Prayer – Part 2

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 PRAYER-SERIES

“How Not To Pray”

1. Don’t pray to be seen or heard – Remember, you’re speaking with God not so others will see or hear you. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5
2. Don’t speak “vain repetitions” – Use words you normally use when talking. Changing your tone of voice or using phrases repeated over and over is not prayer. Jesus said this is, “much speaking”, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:7. Be sincere.
3. Don’t get into pride with your praying – If you think YOU’RE a good pray-er, or YOU have privileged access to the throne room, or YOUR prayers are something special, then the focus is on you and not on God. “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”. Proverbs 16:18. You have a part but God does the work and gets the glory.
4. Don’t pray to statues, pictures, images, or people – This is idolatry. God told Moses that, while on the mountain, he only heard His voice, “but saw no similitude”, Deuteronomy 4:12, 15. Moses only heard God but didn’t see what God looked like. Pray to God only.
5. Don’t use God’s name carelessly – The third commandment. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7. Using God’s name in vain is not just saying the word “damn” with the name “God”. Any use of God’s name when you’re not talking to Him or about Him is using it in vain. Phrases like, “Oh my God!”, “Jesus Christ!” (as an exclamation), “Good God, did you see that!” or “God a-mighty” are all careless, vain, uses of the name of God and are prohibited.

Principles of Prayer – Part 1

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18.PRAYER-SERIES

Prayer is a foundation of the Christian faith. According to The Barna Research Group, 98% of born-again Christians pray in a given week and would agree prayer is important. One survey of evangelical leaders worldwide listed “Prayer: The need for more ongoing, passionate prayer in both personal and church life”, as the No. 1 issue facing the church today. The Bible contains 377 references to praise and 375 references to prayer. Prayer is important.

But, what is prayer? What is prayer not? How do we pray? Who do we pray to? Are there different kinds of prayer? Who can pray? Can we expect answers? These and many other questions concerning prayer will be answered in the coming weeks in this feature.

What is prayer? Prayer is communion with God, not just talking to God but with God. Prayer is talking and listening. If you’re talking with someone who is a lot smarter than you, wouldn’t you listen a lot more than you talk? Talk with God like you would a trusted friend; someone who truly cares for you because God does, (1 Peter 5:7). Be quiet and listen to what He has to say. He probably won’t speak in an audible voice but will speak into your spirit. Listen!
Who do we pray to? We should pray to God the Father. God said in Deuteronomy 5:7, “You shall have no other gods before me”. Jesus said, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (John 16:23). And who can argue with Jesus’ own example of prayer, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9).