Given September 26, 2014
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
My recent visit to Holston Valley Medical Center for same day surgery to remove a melanoma from my upper arm presented me with several Spiritual encouragements that I want to share.
First of all, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayer that came from friends and family. Prayer makes a difference! The first thing I saw as I entered the registration area was a plaque on the wall that said, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8. This is a good way to begin, I thought.
As I was being wheeled down the hall to have radioactive fluid injected to trace possible cancer cells, I thought of that scripture on the wall back at registration and could visualize Jesus himself leading us down the hall. What a comfort! In the nuclear room where I would be for an hour for “pictures” to be made of my torso, I had a good conversation with the doctor. I mentioned the scripture on the wall and he said he was a believer then related a story. He had seen some miracles in his work but saw a bumper sticker on a car coming to work one morning which read, “Expect Miracles”. He realized he didn’t expect them but began that day. Since then, he had seen lung cancer completely disappear from a patient. Very encouraging!
All through the scanning, procedures, and pre-op activities, I prayed a lot and repeated several scriptures and praise songs I had memorized and sung. Other scriptures came to my mind as well that pertained to what was happening with me. I realized all the Bible reading, sermon listening and prayer I had done over the past several years was a part of me internally. I didn’t need the written word there, they were in my heart. It is so important to read God’s word every day so it will be in your heart and mind so you can tell the devil when he comes threatening you, “IT IS WRITTEN!” If you’re not reading your Bible every day, I encourage you to participate in the 345 Bible Reading Plan at https://www.bible.com. You need to start today. Get the app and use your device to read.
Years before, in another surgery after I had been given the shot to relax me, I prayed, “God, I need you to take over now, I’m going to lose control.” Immediately, God said, “Bill, I want to be in control all the time.” He’s right. This time, I had given Him full control long before I went under. That’s a relief.
Leave a comment if this has encouraged you. Be blessed!
Given September 20, 2014
Be a Doer
Be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. (James 1:22)
There is a word here for someone today:
You won’t get the job unless you apply.
You won’t find out if you’re any good until you try out for the team.
You won’t know if your idea is worthy until you tell the boss.
You can’t be published unless you submit a manuscript.
You won’t see a harvest unless you plant the seed.
You won’t get where you want to go until you take the first step.
You won’t get to know that person until you introduce yourself.
You won’t get what you need unless you ask for it.
You can’t pass the test unless you study.
You won’t defeat your fear until you face it.
You can’t get past your mistakes until you confess them.
You can’t mend a relationship without forgiveness.
You can’t move forward while you’re looking back.
You can’t find something unless you look for it.
You can’t become a great player without enduring the pain of practice.
You won’t know what’s behind the door until you open it.
You can’t catch the fish until you cast the bait.
You can’t learn to play the instrument until you pick it up.
You can’t get in shape until you get off the couch.
You won’t know what God has in store for you until you volunteer to serve Him.
You can’t praise God while focusing on your problems.
You can’t go to Heaven without saying YES to Jesus.
You can’t really have anything until you FIRST seek God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)
Please leave a comment if any of these statements encouraged you. Be blessed!
Given July 26, 2014
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?”
Given July 19, 2014
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!
Given June 18, 2014
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!
Given June 3, 2014
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.
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.
Given May 2010
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!
Given May 2014
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?