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May 31, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

Amos 5. 18-20

 

“Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord.  Why do you long for the day of the Lord?  That

   day will be darkness, not light.  It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear,   

   as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. 

   Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light- pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

There are those in the world who are longing for the Day of the Lord when Jesus will come as the Judge of all men and the Deliverer of the righteous.  Those who do may be seeking more a vindication and justification for being persecuted as a believer than the opportunity to proclaim the glorious day of the Lord which will follow.  Those who seek vindication are standing in judgment of others and they will themselves be judged as Christ foretold.  Amos heard the word of the Lord and passed it on to the people of Israel.  They were looking for vindication as well against their enemies.  They falsely believed they were afflicted because of the evils of others.  They failed to take into account their own sinfulness which has been prospered through the previous decades and centuries.  God had restored them through David and Solomon.  Yet, they did not remain faithful to God.  They defaulted to their sinful nature as their forefathers before them.  They did not take God’s Word to heart.  It was too easy for them to forget the benefits of faithfulness.  They did not lived in fear of the Lord.  They believed themselves justified because they were the “chosen” and entitled then to amnesty from the judgment against the unrighteous.

 

Jesus declared to the self-proclaimed righteous of the First Century that sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes, had a better chance of gaining the kingdom than those who refused to see the stain of their sin-ridden lives.  When His final judgment would come those who failed to see the glory of Jesus in this world would surely miss seeing the glory of God in the world to come.  Their vision would be blurred by their foolish beliefs and selfish choices.  They would be running from the Lion of Judah mistaking Him as the enemy only to be devoured by the bear of their transgressions.  They would run for safety into of a house and search in the dark for the light of hope only to be bitten by the serpent of their sinfulness.  It would not be a good day!

 

As mighty men of God, we are called to empower others to see the light of the new day of Christ.  We are charged to proclaim the truth of the gospel so that those who have eyes to see will see the glory of God in this world as it is in the next.  We are commissioned to make disciples of all those who need the healing of the Great Physician so they can follow Christ out of the valley of the shadow of death to the promised eternal home of faith, hope and love.  We know of the Day of the Lord and fear it for the sake of those who have not yet embraced the truth that Jesus is the Christ.  We would not wish any to suffer if they will turn from the dark and stand in the light.  Neither do we judge others for we all have sinned and have stood on the precipice of despair.  We long for the peace that Jesus knew on the cross when He faced the justice of God’s will for our sake.  But, we do not call upon the Day of the Lord fool-heartedly.  We must be honest in our teaching of that Day.  It will come and none will avoid it for better for worse.

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran and North

    Korea with the latest reports of covert uranium deals and nuclear plant restarts

*  For protection of God’s servants and messengers in the mission fields of the world and the

    blessing of the light of prayer which we can share with them

*  For the Mighty Monday Morning Men! 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Remembering with the eyes of grace

*  Trust of a friend

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

Strengthen these Lord whom You are sending into all the world to proclaim the light of truth in the midst of the darkness of despair.  Bless them with success so that none of those You have given them, just as You gave Jesus His charges, will be lost.  May mercy and love be their keys to success.  May You continue to be their shepherd and guard. 

 

 AMEN.

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

Psalm 141. 8-10

 

“But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in You I take refuge- do not give me over to

  death.  Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evil doers.  Let the

  wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

Growing up, one of my favorite cartoons was “Roadrunner.”  I still feel sorry for Wiley Coyote who was the only victim of his attempts to capture the Roadrunner.  No matter what devise the coyote came up with using the resources of the Acme Company, the Roadrunner was always one “beep-beep” ahead.  David, God’s mighty man of Israel, would have been able to relate to the Roadrunner in his prayer offered above.  David was successful in evading the snares of his would-be captors throughout his life and service to God.  He escaped the traps of men who intentionally sought to destroy him and bring him out of power whether they were foreign enemies, countrymen or even his own family.  In each of these cases from the Philistines to Saul to his sons, he had help.  David was not alone as he moved day by day in serving God.  He always had someone with him to encourage, support, even inform him of the plans of his enemies.  It speaks to us of the need for faithful companions, other mighty men of God, who will walk with us to keep us mutually safe.

 

But, there was a time when David found himself alone on a rooftop of his palace.  From there he could see over his kingdom which God had provided for him.  Not far from his residence was the house of Uriah and his wife Bathsheba.  On one day, perhaps on others, David spied her taking a bath and lusted for her in his heart.  He opened the door to the conception of plans to become an enemy himself and fell into his own trap.  (It didn’t do Uriah any favors either!)  David had no one to dissuade him among his mighty men.  We do not hear of his petition to God for strength to put down the sinful human tendency to cast a wondering eye filled with lust and covet.  David was not alone.  God was there.  But, David isolated himself in his heart, mind and spirit and was

open season to the soul hunter of destruction, Satan.  I can almost hear David writing this psalm to God for all his people after he was confronted and convicted by Nathan who turned David’s eyes back to the truth.  Because of this mighty man, David saw his actions for what they were and the consequences that would follow as those created by his inaction. 

 

Hindsight is always 20/20.  It reminds us on the two ways of remembering our past as we seek out the future.  One path is travelled by a person with the eyes of fear, regret and pain. That person looks upon his past mistakes and sees only the fear, regret and pain caused on others and

himself.  He does not see the lessons he might have had the opportunity to benefit from along the way from the past to the present.  He, therefore, cannot see his way beyond the past to the future.

His transmission is stuck in neutral which then means he is dominated by the negative.  The other path is travelled by a person with the eyes of grace.  That person looks upon his past mistakes, we do not forget them no matter what, and sees the unfortunate causes and effects.  But, his vision is not stuck in the past.  He remembers the lessons offered, taught and learned which rose up along the way to the present day.  He is not dominated by his past but reminded of it by the “Nathan experience.”  He is able to look beyond his past to the future which comes because Jesus died for our sins.  Christ is not laying a trap for us to ensnare us.  He is guiding us beyond the nets of the evildoers who want us to wallow in our failures.  He never leaves us alone.  He inhabits our heart, mind and spirit without fail when the mighty man confesses his weakness and opens himself to Christ’ strength.  The day will come when the past will be truly forgotten for the mighty man, the Christ-follower because the future will become the neverending today.  Until then, we must walk together with eyes of grace praying to God to give us refuge and safe passage.

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For those leading God’s people in worship and service this weekend

*  For wisdom for our political representatives as home and abroad

*  For Joan Kirkman, Greg Brent’s mother, diagnosed with brain cancer

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran and North

    Korea with the latest reports of covert uranium deals and nuclear plant restarts

*  For protection of God’s servants and messengers in the mission fields of the world and the

    blessing of the light of prayer which we can share with them

*  For healing of knees

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Safe travels and new adventures

*  Donating gift of life

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

Lord, we thank you for not giving up on us.  You have placed Your Word before us and within us so that we might follow its truth and be safeguarded against the enemy.  Yet, we know we are not perfect in our faith-walks.  There are times when we continue to stumble and look away.  Do not forsake us.  Send to us our “Nathan” and let us be a “Nathan” to another.  Let us walk together in faith, hope and love as we overcome the best-laid plans of the enemy and enjoy the best-made plan of the savior in whose name we pray, Jesus our Lord. 

 

 AMEN.

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May 30, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

Mark 9. 47-48

 

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God

  with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and

  the fire is not quenched.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

How many times have you heard people comment that living on earth is hell?  I know I have listened to many people bandy the word “hell” around in fits of anger and frustration.  I probably have sadly done it myself.  But, I am glad for reminders in HIS Word to draw my attention back to the reality of hell. 

 

If earth is hell and we contextualize the comment based on the teachings of Jesus reflected here today from the gospel of Mark, then God’s mighty men certainly would have a better understanding of what the person is trying to describe is happening in their life.  Wherever hell is I would not want to be there nor would I really want anyone, even my worst enemy, to be there.

Can you imagine the rotting infestation of worms feasting on the flesh of the eternally dead?  We must remember that humans are spiritual and physical beings.  It is the way God has made us.  We know this to be true from Genesis’s chapter two description of “breathing the breath of life into the man’s nostrils becoming a living being.”  I like to think of it as SCPR (sacred cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.)  There is a part of all of us that will continue to live after the body is dead.  I have a feeling that just as we receive a spiritual body for heaven which is gloriously reborn, there is perhaps a spiritual body which is hopelessly forlorn.  Instead of a body for eternal life there will be a body for eternal death.  That body is continually being devoured by grave worms but never completed devoured.  That body is continually tormented by the fever of death, the fire of judgment, that never has relief.   Are there people you know who feel like their life is currently this kind of existence?  Are they a part of a living, judged and condemned by God dead community consumed by rottenness and fever? 

 

I dare say they are wrong on this point.  Life on earth can be hard.  It can be harsh and painful.  It can feel like a never-ending torment.  It can feel as if God has abandoned His people into a pit of despair and desolation.  But, that judgment has not yet been passed.  God has shown His intention to save and reclaim His people through Jesus Christ, His Son of righteousness.  God has made it possible for us to glimpse into the awesomeness of Heaven which awaits and as well as the awfulness of Hell which awaits, too.  He wants His children to do more than survive.  He wants them to thrive in faith, hope, love with peace, joy and happiness.  He wants them to have fruitful and productive lives filled with meaning and purpose that is good as God created it and blessed it to be.  But, it is still a choice.  Jesus reminded His followers that the Kingdom of God was already in their midst.  I have no doubt there were those in that day who made the same declaration I am alluding to, “Life here is hell; we are living in hell on earth!”  I have no reason to believe that they were not actually feeling that way and it may have well seemed to be that for them.  But, it was not the truth then and it is not the truth now.  The end of this life has not yet come to fruition.  It is up to God’s mighty men to declare the truth and put down the lie.  The Kingdom of God is in the midst of us where we love, serve and praise God by loving, serving and praising God’s people.  We must demythologize the lie of Satan whose desire is to steal this hope from God’s children.  He is the father of lies while God is the Father of Life.  If these people think Heaven is a lie but proclaim the reality of hell on Earth then their logic defeats them already.  Give them the truth.  Give them hope.  Give them victory over eternal death by introducing them to eternal life.  Live!

 

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For those leading God’s people in worship and service this weekend

*  For wisdom for our political representatives as home and abroad

*  For Joan Kirkman, Greg Brent’s mother, diagnosed with brain cancer

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran and North

    Korea with the latest reports of covert uranium deals and nuclear plant restarts

*  For protection of God’s servants and messengers in the mission fields of the world and the

    blessing of the light of prayer which we can share with them

*  For safe travels and transitions

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  No injuries in the basketball game, just reminders of maturity

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

We thank You for life and the lessons it teaches us about eternal realities.  May we be transformed into vessels of hope and oracles of truth by the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit.  Empower of words with love so that the lie may die and the truth may live in us and through us to all of Your Children.  There is a heaven and You want to share it with us all.  Praise be to You, o Lord, who has shown us the way, the truth and the life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

 

 AMEN.

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May 29, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

Jeremiah 16. 11-12

 

“… then say to them, It is because your fathers forsook me and followed other gods and served and worshipped them and did not keep my law.  But you yourselves have behaved more wickedly than your fathers…choosing to follow the stubbornness of your own evil heart.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

We have no one to blame but ourselves when bad things happen.  It is a choice of consequences and/or perspective.  Too many people around the world from pauper to prince, mongrel to mogul and tot to totter love to play the blame game.  You know the object of this game.  It is to see who can come up with the best excuse for why we ourselves have not been successful in reaching the goals we set for ourselves.  In the days of Israel, the saying had been misused which declared “The sins of the fathers will extend to the tenth generation.”  It was a reality of a culture and climate where sin exists in the world.  You cannot throw a stone into water and create a limited ripple.  The ripple will move away from the impact until it reaches a barrier.  Even then, depending on how close the barrier is to the impact, it will spill over it and continued anew.  But, the fault is not the ripple nor the original impact.  Our boats of life are rocked and sometimes tipped over.  Yet, if we are rocking the boat ourselves instead of being good captains of our craft, then we are to blame as well.

 

Whether we are captains of industry or kings of our own castle, the responsibility for right action is ours alone.  We choose what we will think and do.  We choose who we shall become.  We may not have control over things such as our birth, our parents or where we grew up to begin with.  We may not have control over the foundational concepts we were taught in those early years which are critical to forming who we can be as we continue to mature.  But, we are not limited by our past nor should it be a crutch for our failure.  Instead, we are given a new hope, a new understanding and a new resource through Jesus Christ our Lord to counterbalance what sin and sinful living has done in and through our lives.  When we choose Christ we choose an accountability of faith.  We have no one to blame but ourselves after hearing the Word of God in Jesus’ teachings.  When the boat of the disciples was rocked, they were rocked.  It was natural and normal.  But, Jesus calmed the waters and settled the boat of their life.  He can do so for us as well.  We are new creatures, reborn through our spiritual father who is the author of all righteousness.

 

That means, as mighty men of God, we must pass on these lessons of grace and this culture of faith to our succeeding generations.  They are not limited to our blood relationship as fathers but extended by our blood relationship with the Lamb of God.  He has taken away the consequence of sin in its ultimate state.  We can choose how we shall live in day to day in spite of our past as humans and in light of our past and future today with Christ.

 

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For those leading God’s people in worship and service this weekend

*  For wisdom for our political representatives as home and abroad

*  For Joan Kirkman, Greg Brent’s mother, diagnosed with brain cancer

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran and North

    Korea with the latest reports of covert uranium deals and nuclear plant restarts

*  For protection of God’s servants and messengers in the mission fields of the world and the

    blessing of the light of prayer which we can share with them

*  For those still struggling and continuing to die due to the swine flu, may they not be forgotten

*  No injuries in a basketball game!

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Supportive word from an old friend

*  An upcoming dialogue about baptism

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

Lord, these mighty men accept the responsibility of living in a climate of grace and a culture of faith.  These shall honor You today for the change You have made in their lives through Jesus because You are their spiritual father and they are born anew in an environment of hope and love.  Pour out Your blessings on them today so they can ride the waves of the sins of the past and chart a new course of life where are can know You.  May their decision today to follow Christ be a blessing to others and a glory to You in Jesus’ name. 

 

 AMEN.

May 28, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

Isaiah 61.10

 

     “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,

      My soul shall be joyful in my God;
      For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
      He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
      As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
      And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

 

2 Corinthians 3. 18

 

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

Yesterday, we were “walking in confidence, waiting in expectation, worshipping in spirit and in truth, wielding the Word willing to be honed and waxing to the honest.”

 

Today, we must be wardrobed in prayer.  I still enjoy hearing an oft quoted phrase, “Seven days without prayer makes one weak.”  I am sure plenty of church signboards have carried this message to speak of the efficacy of prayer with such a clever turn of a phrase.  However, the fact is one day, one hour, one minute without prayer makes the mighty man of God weak.  Prayer to God’s mighty men is like unshorn locks on Samson’s head.  Prayer is the source and vehicle of their strength.  It is a key to empowerment as a Christ-follower living in the midst of the black hole of worldliness.  We know the black hole phenomenon.  A black hole in space is where a star has imploded, collapsing on itself, and draws all energy to itself.  It cannot produce energy on its own any longer as its nuclear power plant has been destroyed.  Now it feeds on the life of others to survive in its dark existence without giving anything back in return.  It sounds like an apt description of Lucifer whom Isaiah identifies as the “star of the morning.”  Once a bearer of light in the heavens, he was cast down and out of heaven for his rebellion against God.  He and his followers became as dark stars whose “soul” purpose is to consume others. 

 

This is what can happen when we ignore the presence and practice of prayer in our lives. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit in us to ignite in the reactor of faith as we insert the rods of the discipline of prayer into it, we allow the power to become dormant, forgotten and useless.  We crave sustenance in life and seek it from outside sources.  The one who lives without prayer, or inadequate or misguided prayer, cannot find the spark of life which illumines the meaning and purpose of each of God’s people.  That person becomes weaker and weaker by the minute as each day of frustration passes.  Even when they attempt to pray it is more for themselves than for others.  Prayer is a voice of love and love is a gift that is offered to others, including God, through service in faith with hope because of that love.  God’s mighty men are called to be light-bearers.  They are called to be witnesses of the light of life which is Jesus Christ.  He is the light which the angels reflect and carry through the heavens.  They are not the light themselves as if they could generate it on their own.  Nor are God’s mighty men.  We are like the moon that the darkness cannot consume.  Only in the height of the day does the Sun blot out the moon because its brilliance is so great.  It is there we can see the two becoming as one.  Pray, mighty men of God.  Wardrobe yourself in the righteousness of prayer, walk in the light of confidence, wait in the light of expectation, worship in the light of spirit and truth, wield the light of the Word, will yourself to be honed in the light of love and wax in the light of honesty.

.

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For Joan Kirkman, Greg Brent’s mother, diagnosed with brain cancer

*  For a family who has lost husband and father to recently diagnosed cancer at the age of 40 and

    the church family who will be supporting them in services today

*  For students facing finals and the final days of school and their teachers who will guide them

    through

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran and North

    Korea with the latest reports of covert uranium deals and nuclear plant restarts

*  For protection of God’s servants and messengers in the mission fields of the world and the

    blessing of the light of prayer which we can share with them

*  For those still struggling and continuing to die due to the swine flu, may they not be forgotten

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Reminders and re-teachings to strengthen learning

*  Patience and determination

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

May the light of all truth, wisdom and knowledge be with you.

May the light of righteousness abiding in faith, hope and love guide your paths.

May the light of God’s glory guard your every step.

May your day be bathed in prayer, scented with prayer, clothed in prayer and

        prosperous through prayer. 

 

 AMEN.

May 27, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

Ezekiel 37. 3

 

He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?  I said, ‘O sovereign Lord, You alone know the answer to that.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

Yesterday, we were “walking in confidence, waiting in expectation, worshipping in spirit and in truth, wielding the Word willing to be honed.”

 

Today, we must wax to the honest.  If we were watching “Family Feud” would we be clapping for Ezekiel and affirming “Good answer.  Good answer.”  If we were on Ezekiel’s team we would while still trying to figure out what else the survey would reveal.  On the one hand we want to be positive and affirming and on the other hand we raise an eyebrow about confessing a relative “no comment.”  How often have we deferred a question given to us by a God-seeker because we didn’t have an answer and didn’t want to appear knowledgeless?  Was Ezekiel deferring?  Surely he was a mighty man of God.  He was one of the major prophets after all.  Perhaps we have forgotten that prophets were not always forth-tellers but truth-sayers.  It would be easy enough to prophesy about the future by simply looking at the current stream of events and concluding a result based on past experiences.  But, what if the experiences of the past were prophecies themselves and not actual events of the past?

 

Ezekiel knew of the deliverance stories of Israel’s past and how God had worked mightily to effect their liberation.  But, each of the stories were about real people and real events no matter how extraordinary they may have been.  Ezekiel was confronted with a much different situation as the prophet of a people in exile who had grown accustomed to their surroundings.  God’s people were not in prison but a reservation.  They were not without food, water and shelter.  It may not have been “home, sweet home” but it was slowly becoming their home away from home and they liked it.  They started to give up visions of the past and taking on pictures of a new day.  It was a day without God.  Had their hope dried up in this faraway land?

 

So, God presented a worried Ezekiel with a vision of dry bones, the ancient remains of a great people.  Ezekiel was not an archeologist nor was he a miracle worker.  He was a man called by God to keep His people safe and focused in their exile until it was time to return home.  Quite honestly, Ezekiel didn’t know what to do.  But, it was okay because God knew exactly what to do and gave him instructions.  God was in control.  So, what was Ezekiel to do?  He did what God instructed.  It would be no surprise then that his best answer to God’s question “Can these bones live?” was “Only You know, Lord.”  It was true.  Ezekiel wasn’t trying to be smart nor was he trying to opt out with a “no answer.”  His answer was the best answer; it was the right answer.  If God has been providing all the time then he was not going to stop Him.  He was on a roll.  Go, God!  Go!

 

So why shouldn’t it be the same for God’s mighty men today?  We do not know everything for every situation.  We do know the One who does.  Why not confess “Surely God knows.  Let’s ask God.”  God will deliver the answer for our honesty.  He doesn’t expect us to know everything and be able to do everything.  He does expect us to trust Him with all things.

Honestly.

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For Joan Kirkman, Greg Brent’s mother, diagnosed with brain cancer

*  For a family who has lost husband and father to recently diagnosed cancer at the age of 40 and

    the church family who will be supporting them

*  For students facing finals and the final days of school and their teachers who will guide them

    through

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran and North

    Korea with the latest reports of covert uranium deals and nuclear plant restarts

*  For those who will be asked to speak by God in California who will say “God does love the

    sinner but He hates the sin.   His love does not validate the sin but redeems the sinner.”

*  For protection of God’s servants and messengers in the mission fields of the world

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Abiding grace and a resolve to quietude

*  An opportunity to prepare others for a time of receiving God’s Word

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

Give us Your Word today, dear God, so that we may speak truthfully to the situations Your people find themselves in today.  May that Word bring life to those lives dried out by the relentless heat of a scorching world.  Too many of Your people have been left out hung to dry.  Redeem them.  Refresh them.  Renew them.  Restore them.  Use these mighty men as Your tools and implements of faith, hope and love bearing the truth of Your Word.  We gladly proclaim together in prayerful voice “You know, Lord.”  Speak! Speak to us and through us today in Jesus’ name.   AMEN.

May 26, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

Luke 18. 13, 14

 

But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’  I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

Yesterday, we were “walking in confidence, waiting in expectation, worshipping in spirit and in truth and wielding the Word.”

 

Today, we must be willing to be honed.  I am a sinner.  I am not one of those who walks on water, performs miracles, changes the course of history for good or always does what is right.  I fail and many times fail miserably.  I hear the words of the Apostle Paul who confesses, ‘For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing.’ and they ring too true for at times.  Are their times in your life where you feel like you are standing in Bill Murray’s place in the movie “Groundhog Day”?  I still battle with places in my life where I feel like someone has set it on loop and I keep repeating the same mistake over and over again.  That someone is me.  And it is not because I am not trying to do good.  In some places of my life, I am successful.  Yet, in other areas I fail greatly to the dismay and pain of others I am called to love.

 

While I do not think I am alone in this area, I cannot and will not speak for anyone else.  I must stand on my own two feet, fall to my own two knees, lift up my own two hands and pray with my own lips to God.  I am not trying to be a super Christ-follower, nor do I desire to be a chief sinner.  What I want is to do good at all times and be good in all things which are given to me to do.  The tax collector did not ask for great wisdom and great opportunities to do great things.  He asked only for mercy which he knew only God could give.  He put himself into a position for God to whittle away and reduce him to what was good in his life.  In order for a blade to be sharpened and useful again it has to be reduced.  It loses some of its metal in the process and becomes less of what it used to be in order to regain its “mettle” so that it can be of purpose again.  I cannot be more than I am unless I am willing to be honed, offered to God for mercy and ready to be cut down and refined.

 

But, I am not a sinner only.  I am a child of God who is saved by grace, blessed with mercy and painfully aware of my shortcomings.  I will not hide them in the shadows of my strength but allow the light of truth to reveal them so they can be reduced and eliminated in my life.  It isn’t always an easy process but one this Christ-follower must allow in order to be better fit for the service I have been made for in the Kingdom of God on earth and in Heaven, if He will still have me.  Perhaps my failure and struggle to get back on track when I fail can help someone else who struggles this way, too.  We can never walk alone.  Together we can succeed for God’s glory.

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For students facing finals and the final days of school and their teachers who will guide them

    through

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran and North

    Korea

*  For those who have been wounded by sinners, especially imperfect Christ-followers who

    continue to fall short of God’s goals for their lives, that they may be strengthened and renewed

*  For protection of God’s servants and messengers

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Continued insight through failure to the places that still need healing

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

Here I am, Lord, just as I am but not always as I want to be.  Protect me from evil and others from the harm my fallenness creates.  Let love replace havoc and peace overcome chaos.  May Your will be done and may I allow it mightily to do in me what is needed so that I can be of purpose again in Your Kingdom.   AMEN.

 

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May 25, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

2 Timothy 2. 14,15

 

“Keep reminding them of these things.  Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

Yesterday, we were “walking in confidence, waiting in expectation, worshipping in spirit and in truth.”

 

Today, we are wielding the Word.  Even Jesus asked the disciples if any had a sword.  He was, in fact speaking of a literal sword and the gospel writer understood it as a prelude and fulfillment of “…and He was numbered among the transgressors.”  But, in post-resurrection understanding how fitting would it have been if one of the disciples confessed, “We have You that is all we need.  You are our ready double-edged sword of truth!”  Wow, what an epiphany that would have been. 

 

I took fencing in college.  I still have two foils in storage.  I also have a large broadsword from a Renaissance Faire.  They have no current use for me except to display them.  Of course, the same might be said for many Christ-followers as well who have “swords of truth” on display but claim they have no current use for them.  With each new translation into modern terms there is the hope that more might read it (or buy it in hopes that it would be read.)  But, unless the word comes alive in the person and through the person it serves no good purpose.  The Bible was never meant to be a display piece.  It was always meant to be put into action.  It is a sword of great proportion that can easily fend off the parries of the enemy.  The enemy thrusts himself into our lives seeking cut God’s people down and leave them wounded and dying.  His attack is never meant to deliver a final blow, only a fatal one.  Christ-followers should never be found empty-handed.  I knew of friends in school who carried a Bible with them all the time.  But, I would comment to them that their fingerprints would never be found on them because they carried them under their arms all the time.  Were they at the ready?

 

Of course, God’s mighty men do not always have a Bible in their hands with everything they do and everywhere they go.  But, they can have the Word in their hearts and mind.  It is by the Spirit of God that Christ-followers find the Word alive and ready to be put into use.  It is on display in their lives and through them to all the world.  Jesus wielded that word when the Devil tempted Him in the wilderness.  Full of the Holy Spirit inspiring the teaching of the Word, Jesus dueled against the words of Satan and won a mighty victory.  For God’s mighty men that victory is ours as well when we “walk in confidence, wait in expectation, worship in spirit and in truth and wield effectively the Word.”

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For those who are celebrating today the valiant warriors and heroes of this country that they 

    may bring honor to their lives and names

*  For those who have served this country and God in the name of freedom, liberty and justice

    for all

*  For those who will be travelling during this holiday weekend that they arrive and return safely

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran and North

    Korea

*  For those who are blessed today with an extra day off

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Funny movie and family time

*  Dreams and visions

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

Lord, thank You for cutting straight to the heart, mind and soul of these mighty men and pouring into them Your mighty Word.  Teach them daily how to use it to defend and protect the innocent and the guilty so they might have life in It.  Teach them also how to step forward proactively with the Word and not merely be reactors to the given situation.  May they not become offensive in the Word-wielding nor defensive when the world calls them by name.  It is by the name of the Sword of the Word, we are called and commissioned.  May their defense be sure and their objective clear as they march forward into all the world to make disciples.   AMEN.

May 24, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

James 1. 26, 27

 

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a civil tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

Yesterday, we were “walking in confidence and waiting in expectation.”

 

Today, we are worshipping in spirit and in truth.  I suppose God could have directed me to that passage in the gospel of John that speaks of the context for “worshipping in spirit and in truth.”  That context, if you are not immediately remembering it, was a conversation held between Jesus and a Samaritan woman who came to draw water from the well outside of a nearby town.  Her purpose in drawing water was not to get some for herself but to provide a service to others for her livelihood.  She was one in need of true religion because she was spiritually “orphaned and widowed and being polluted by the world.”

 

But, Jesus was not that religion.  He was not the end goal of a practiced system of beliefs and observances.  He was, however, a practitioner of God’s true religion whose “soul” purpose was to provide faith, hope and love to others.  God’s mighty men are practitioners of God’s true religion as well.  We are, as Christ followers, bound into a way of life that is formed and shaped by the Supreme Practitioner of “spirit and truth.”  Jesus never wanted others to serve Him and lose sight of God the Father.  For Jesus there never was and never is and will never be a substitute for God nor for the true religion which God has given us to practice in our daily lives.  Too often, people, even “religious” people, have lost sight of what religion means.  It is not an end unto itself but a practice of guidelines and principles which has three essential parts pointing to the end and means of all righteousness.

 

The first is to serve God by ministering to others with godly love for the spiritual and physical well-being of each person.  The second is to praise God in the company of those who desire to believe in God alone and bring praise to God in the midst of a wondering and wandering world so they may have the opportunity to join in the praise of God.  The third is to build up the community of faith which is the living example of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God who has blazed the trail of faith, hope and love in order that His people can return to God through the forgiveness of sin and the blessing of the Holy Spirit unto eternal life.  There are times when the world gets caught up in the need for a certain path and pattern of life as a required discipline in order to control themselves and others.  When the discipline becomes more important than the God-required outcome it shows an element of being polluted by the world.  Jesus showed that He was less worried about the conventions of the religions of His day than He was committed to worshipping God, His Father, in spirit and in truth.  He wasn’t promoting a religion.  He was religious and religiously displayed His faith in, hope for and love of God.

 

What is the truth?  “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  And consequently, love your neighbor as you yourself are loved.”  How do we know the truth?  We know the truth by seeking the One who lived out that truth perfectly.  That person is none other than Jesus Christ.

 

What is the spirit?  It is the inward workings of the presence of God in our lives which not only informs us of the meaning of truth but empowers us to express it in meaningful ways for the glory of God.  It is the connectedness to God which comes from prayer, meditation, study and a desire to experience the indwelling of God in our lives.  It then moves out from us into the world by the words we share and the works we do as expressions of being loved by God and accepted by Him into His community of faith.  It is the why we do what we do.  How do we know the spirit?  We know it, too, by seeking the One who lived in that spirit perfectly, Jesus Christ.

 

So what does worship have to do with religion?  Those who are Christ followers practice a true religion of faith, hope and love.  They worship in spirit and in truth.  They wait for and on Christ as servants of God’s people with the expectation of His presence here and now and yet to come. They walk in confidence which comes from knowing more fully Christ who knows them completely as friends more than servants regardless of what the world may say.  Religion isn’t the objective to be served but the service as the objective to loving God and others with all our heart, soul and strength!  All Christ followers have a religion and are called to be religious.  But, not all religious people and religions have Christ.  Without Him, there is no hope for life, there is no true religion and there is no way to be one with God.

 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For those who will be leading God’s people in praise and worship and service this weekend

*  For those who have served this country and God in the name of freedom, liberty and justice

    for all

*  For those who will be travelling during this holiday weekend that they arrive and return safely

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran

*  For families in conflict and communities in disarray

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  The challenge of God’s Word to believe more confidently and witness more expectantly

*  For another rainy Saturday

*  For the wonder of God’s creation we are able to see because of those who commit themselves

    to the care and preservation of exotic animals

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

We come to You today to worship in Spirit and in Truth.  We are like the woman at the well drawing water to help others when it is we ourselves who are hungering and thirsting for truth, too.  Lord, bless these mighty men to whom You have given the bread of life and the taste of the wine of that new covenant.  May they continue to hunger for a greater expression of Your Spirit in Love.  May they continue to thirst for a more powerful witness of Your Truth in the Word.  May the tables of the lives be filled with goodness and mercy to feed and preserve an at-risk people.  Let their celebration be abundant and fruitful in Jesus’ name.   AMEN.

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May 23, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: 

 

Psalm 5. 3 

 

“In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

 


REFLECTING IN HIS WORD

 

Yesterday, we were “walking in confidence.”

 

Today, we are waiting in expectation.  What are we expecting?  I remember the story of a little boy who was founding sitting outside a pet store when the owner arrived.  The owner asked the lad, “What are you waiting for?”  The boy replied, “I prayed to God for a puppy and now I am just waiting for you to open the store so I can get him.”  That’s faith!

 

How many of us find our strength renewed each day because we offer ourselves to God in prayer before we even open our eyes.  We place before God our hopes and expectations, our plans and concerns, and most of all our family, friends and coworkers.  We are like children sitting in front of their birthday cake with eyes closed making a wish, opening our eyes  and blowing out the candles, then anxiously wait in expectation for the gifts we are about to receive.  Are we waiting in that kind of expectation?  There are things we still must do.  Each step we take is with an eye focused on God’s answer when it comes.  We know it will come because we are not waiting on people to answer and solve our problems or supply our needs; we wait on the Lord.

 

I think that if we are “waiting in expectation,” actively engaged in faithful living of our normal routine, then we can “walk in confidence” throughout the day.  If we start our day with this in mind, then we will find God walking and waiting for us.  Whenever and wherever we meet, it will be a good day. 

 

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

 

*  For those who will be leading God’s people in praise and worship and service this weekend

*  For those who have served this country and God in the name of freedom, liberty and justice

    for all

*  For those who will be travelling during this holiday weekend that they arrive and return safely

*  For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who put

    more faith in weapons than in the power of God to overcome, especially in Iran

*  For all the work we do today that it may enrich God’s people and bring glory to God’s Name

*  For the wait to be full of expectation and the walk to be full of confidence

 


PRAYER CELEBRATIONS  (where we see Him at work in the world):

 

*  Completions of tasks and the assignment of more to do

*  For Mack passing all TAKS (SS is commended)

 

 
ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

 

O Lord, many have walked before us in confidence so that we may wait freely in expectation of the fulfillment of Your will for our lives.  We are thankful for all the sacrifices that have been made in order to preserve freedom, liberty and justice for all.  Especially we are thankful for the sacrifice of Christ Jesus who gave His life in the greatest victory of all so that we might wait and walk in overcoming the world with Him.  We praise You in the morning all throughout all the hours of the day in His Name.   AMEN.

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