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July 31, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Mark 10. 29-30

Jesus said “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age [that is homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields- and with them, persecutions] and in the age to come, eternal life.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Jesus certainly does not guarantee everyone prosperity. His word of encouragement was to His disciples and those who would decide to take up their cross and follow Him. The lynchpin in the description is leaving what one has now, putting it all aside, in order to be a disciple and share the gospel into the world. Is that what God’s mighty men are doing? Too often, we look at those who have riches, great wealth, multitudinous possessions and think they have it made in the shade! That was the way the disciples looked at the rich young ruler who came to visit with Jesus and discuss eternal life. Two men walked in opposite directions that day. One who was rich in the ways and means of the world left overly challenged and disappointed. The disciples watched and wondered if eternal life was too great a price for a very rich, and seemingly “righteous,” man then what chance would they have of getting eternal life when they had nothing for themselves. Money, the love of money, has an interesting way to distort our view of ourselves. What is it that we have, why do we have it and what will we do with it? Is it about us as individuals in the world or is it about being faithful as the body of Christ in the world?

Peter declares an epiphany, “We have left everything to follow you!” Thank goodness for this mighty man who shows us flashes of might. He suddenly realizes that the disciples have done what the rich young ruler could not do. They may not have possessed as much as he but they certainly had given up more than he did when they left everything they had to follow Jesus and be His disciples. Jesus acknowledged Peter’s realization and gave him, and them, encouragement. When they gave up the family business, their homes, their families, their finite sense of security to take on the kingdom of God, they did not lose anything. It was set aside as a trust which was earning interest, the return of which would be great. Could it be that in the hands of those who are able to make earthly riches, the desire to do so for the sake of the gospel as Christ-followers, will then experience even more than they could by just being worldly? But, it would not be for their sake that the investment was returned a hundred fold. Rather, it would be for the sake of the gospel which they had decided to lay aside all they had in order to pick it up.

But, there is one thing further that we must not miss in Jesus’ teaching about the “interest” accrued on our investment in Him and the work of the gospel. While Christ-followers will find their spiritual prosperity abounding at far greater levels than the world alone could provide, it did generate an interest of a different sort. Regardless, there is a price to pay for such wealth. The rich young ruler walked away and left it behind. Did he see the cost of what was ahead? Did the disciples? Perhaps they did. Perhaps they didn’t, at least not yet. But, Jesus did. He knew that the world was interested, or confused, by this spiritual economics taught by Jesus. What they couldn’t understand they decided to destroy. Kill the messenger and the message of a plan to be eternal rich would die as well and thus their system preserved. Persecution! Jesus said with this prosperity comes persecution. You will ultimately have to lay even your life down for the spiritual fullness the gospel promises. The rich young ruler walked away full but empty. Jesus walked on ready to be emptied that He and we might be full. Which course shall we take?

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 lead God’s people in worship, service and praise this weekend
* For God’s Word for a brother experiencing a call to Senegal
* For our armed forces fighting to defend the interest of democracy for all around the world
* For wisdom about health care and a call to leaders to consult and/or seek a home visit
from the Great Physician
* For Eric, Ken, Kevin, Brad, Tom, Robert and Greg
* For “encouragements” to others in building up the body, the people, of Christ
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful and
loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of godly
obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith network to assist
God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my family
while I am continuing to look for employment and preparing myself for my next vocational
assignment to which God is calling me
* For healing of family members which is coming soon
* For the coming of wisdom and a “can do” spirit when dealing with conflict of expectations

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may Your Word through the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit help us wrestle with the truth that challenges us today in this teaching. Just as Jacob wrestled with Your Mighty Man at the River Jabbok and prevailed by faith and commitment to gain his blessing, so may these men rise up to take hold of their blessing and the interest it will bring for the sake of the gospel and for the glory of Your Name. AMEN.

July 30, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Psalm 150. 6

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

It is said that “music calms the savage beast.” I think so, too, does the voice of an angel. On our recent trip to Kentucky to visit with family it was decided that we would take our dog, Molly, with us. The furthest she had ridden in a car to our knowledge was the two hour trip from the rescue shelter to our home. But, she loves riding in the car. So, we took her on a longer trip, four to five hours, to visit my parents in northeast Texas. She did fairly well and was a great hit with the family. Then came eleven hundred miles. She was good but she whined and whimpered a lot. She did until Lisa started reading a book aloud to me; apparently to us. I love to listen to Lisa read and so, too, as we soon learned, did Molly. She settled right down with her head on the armrest between us and listened. Two beasts with one book!

But, today’s WORD is not about calming a savage beast (although our Lord often used HIS Word to calm storms, demons and rowdy crowds). Instead, we are challenged as God’s mighty men to be inspired to praise the Lord if we still can after a vigorous, spiritual, worship-filled workout. If I were to restate verse 6, I would offer the following interpretation based on the context of this psalm as it was directing God’s people to worship:

“Let everything that still has breath after that awesome display of praising God, praise the Lord. Come on! Do it! Sure you can! Get your head up! Put your hands behind your head! Breathe deep! Now, PRAISE THE LORD!”

If we can stand and cheer for hours at a Spurs basketball game, a Longhorn football game, our daughter’s soccer game, our son’s baseball game or the kid next door’s swim meet, we can surely belt out one more “Praise the Lord!” And why wouldn’t you? How inspiring it must have been to see the worship leader stand before the nation of Israel and direct all creation to summarily praise God. He points to the people. He points to the angels. He motivates them with facts concerning God’s greatness which has blessed them. He points to the praise band. He leads the symphony. He brings in the liturgical dancers. He motions for the clapping of hands, stomping of feet like clashing cymbals that fill everyone’s ears with the sound of full, complete, unadulterated praise of the One True and Holy God. It builds. It surges. It moves. It lifts. It stirs. It rises. It rises higher. It rises higher still until it feels like there is no more energy left to give. In that moment when it seems as if it has to be over and the emotional fervor and glad tidings and righteous, thanksgiving-filled worship must come to an end. There is a silence so filled with anticipation and light-headedness that even the silence is deafening. The mighty man of God gathers himself up and declares without fail:

“Let everything that still has breath after that awesome display of praising God, praise the Lord. Come on! Do it! Sure you can! Get your head up! Put your hands behind your head! Breathe deep! Now, PRAISE THE LORD!”

I can’t hear you!

“Let everything that still has breath after that awesome display of praising God, praise the Lord. Come on! Do it! Sure you can! Get your head up! Put your hands behind your head! Breathe deep! Now, PRAISE THE LORD!”

You can do better. I know you are the mighty men of God. Go ahead and sit at your computer and dare yourself to remain silent before the God who loves you and calls you His own with acts of mercy, blessings of grace, gifts of love and a name that is above all names. Do you feel it? Can you hear me?

“Let everything that still has breath after that awesome display of praising God, praise the Lord. Come on! Do it! Sure you can! Get your head up! Put your hands behind your head! Breathe deep! Now, PRAISE THE LORD!”

All right! Way to go! Praise the Lord!

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 God’s Word for a brother experiencing a call to Senegal
* For wisdom about health care and a call to leaders to consult and/or seek a home visit
from the Great Physician
* For Eric, Ken, Kevin, Brad, Tom, Robert and Greg
* For “encouragements” to others in building up the body, the people, of Christ
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful and
loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of godly
obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith network to assist
God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my family
while I am continuing to look for employment and preparing myself for my next vocational
assignment to which God is calling me
* For the word to be encouraging and the call to be of service
* For healing of family members which is coming soon
* For clarity in a mystery soon to be revealed (was it in a text?)

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may these words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts, the joy of our salvation and the fullness of a thankful spirit of these mighty men of Yours be acceptable in Your hearing. AMEN.

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July 29, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Hebrews 3. 13

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be
hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Yesterday: The place where sin seemed to have had power to transform light into dark, order
into chaos, hope into despair, gladness into madness, faith into fear, love into lust,
good into sorrow, peace into unrest, rumors of war into war, truth into lies and
people believed it enough to make it happen so that God’s mercy and grace were
vitally necessary to make it through the day. Sadly, many didn’t and death was
rampant, dying was painful, relationships were destroyed, lives fell into
meaninglessness save for the life of One, Jesus the Christ who took all that
Yesterday had to give and laid it to rest to show it for what it was and is and will
forever be: empty!

Today: The place where hope springs eternal, the sun continues to shine out of darkness,
courage has an opportunity to make forward steps, love believes in giving love,
sorrow is a seed, wars are seen as folly, words of encouragement are more than
spiritual tokens and pithy sayings, truth abounds under pressure, joy comes like the
sun, peace is a reality and not a dream, mercy is shared and not hidden away,
neighbors become friends and friends become family, death is given over to life,
truth is the gospel, character replaces egoism, there is faith working without
having to be proved and forgiveness is shared continually because the Holy Spirit of
God is our comfort, our guide, our mentor and coach, our friend, our daily reminder
of all that Jesus Christ lived for, died for and was resurrected for: fulfillment!

Tomorrow: The eternal day when Today ends where there is no death, no dying, no sorrow, no
crying, no hungering, no thirsting, no confusion, no darkness, no separation between
man and God, no struggle, no hate, no worry, no alarm clocks, no fears, no graves,
no wars, no rumors of wars, no bitterness, no need for encouragement no sin
because God’s promise to fill the emptiness which sin carved as our tomb with the
bright hope for tomorrow that never ends becomes more than a distant promise, it
will be the constant reality for those who do Today what is right and good and just
and Christlike: joyfully!

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 Wednesday Lunch Bunch Bible Study and Hebrews 3
* For “encouragements” to others in building up the body, the people, of Christ
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful and
loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of godly
obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith network to assist
God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my family
while I am continuing to look for employment while preparing myself for my next vocational
assignment to which God is calling me
* For the word to be encouraging and the call to be of service
* For healing of family members which is coming soon
* For clarity in a mystery soon to be revealed

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

As these mighty men of Yours celebrate the TODAY You have blessed them with, may their words and works be the encouragement needed to put Yesterday to rest robbed of its power to kill, Today in its place with its power to build up and Tomorrow before the world so it will know of its existence in goodness and mercy and love. AMEN.

July 28, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Romans 10. 1, 3

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their
own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

God’s mighty men must be encouragers of one another. It takes great work, time and effort to do so but the alternative for our brothers is not acceptable. As Paul was writing his letter to the Christ-followers of the Roman Empire during his third visit to Corinth, he especially wanted them to know what drove his ministry. Some believe, and it is part of the truth, that he was personally seeking to fulfill the Great Commission which Jesus had given to His disciples in their transition from interns to leaders. He declared that it was the purpose of those eleven men to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. They were to reproduce themselves as Christ-followers through preaching and teaching, mentoring and coaching, under the influence of the Holy Spirit which they would receive in Jerusalem on Pentecost. But, their purpose was not simply for others to become disciples only. Jesus was urging the circle of true believers, those who allowed the gospel to inform, transform and perform the amazing grace which each one of them was given, to grow in number. The number was a ripple effect of the “Rock of their Salvation” being dropped into the waters of life moving ever outward. Each ripple was a circle of disciples who were maturing from interns to leaders.

However, I believe that Paul was motivated by a desire to do more than just make disciples of all nations reaching out. There was a people for whom his heart was truly given that needed to be discipled as well. They were a self-confessed “stubborn and stiff-necked people” bent on doing things their own way come “hell and high water.” Well, lo and behold, hell came in the form of temptation to deny God’s power beginning in the Garden and spreading out from their as a blight of weeds among the harvest. High water was no surprise to Noah who rode for months with his family and a multitude of living things in an ark. They had even seen the fires of conquerors devastate the farms and cities of the Promised Land. Everything that could go wrong, did. But, it would be to those woeful and sinful people whom God loved that the “Rock of Faith” would be first delivered. Paul knew them like the back of his hand. He knew that it would take a powerful witness of many people, “outsiders who were not Jewish,” to turn the tide of doubt into a mighty wave of faithfulness. Perhaps Paul watched as he dipped his finger into a bowl of water how the ripples reached to the edge of the bowl and returned to the center. It resonated a voice of hope within his heart. His desire was that his own people accept Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah of God, and return to righteousness and faith as God himself desired for them. So, he shared his desire for the Israelites and rallied the growing, maturing body of Christ to join with him in this mission. Reach to the ends of the earth for Christ so that the ends of the earth might reach the Israelites for the glory of God. Who else better to deliver this word to than the Roman Empire whose power and influence, for better and for worse, extended to the four corners of the then-known world. If Rome wanted to “conquer the world” then let them do so by being “conquered by Christ” and to God be the glory and honor forever as His people are restored, returned and rejoicing.

If that was Paul’s desire has it died with him? If it was a mission has it failed with his death? Or is it what God is asking of the Church so that “Israel,” old and new, would once again be united?.

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 young man safely taken into custody yesterday after threatening suicide
near Mo-Pac in south Austin; may he might find his peace
* For the Wednesday Lunch Bunch Bible Study and Hebrews 3
* For more information such as page 451 of the President’s proposed health care plan to be
made known to the public so that we all may know what will be required of us
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful and
loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of godly
obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith network to assist
God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my family
while I am continuing to look for employment while preparing myself for my next vocational
assignment to which God is calling me
* For a prosperous week seeking God’s direction
* For healing of family members

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Let the desire of Your Heart, the purpose of Your Spirit be full, moving to completion in these mighty men. AMEN.

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July 27, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Romans 9. 16-17

“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharoah, ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

God can move mountains. The recent earthquake off the coast of New Zealand was not just earth shaking, it was earth moving. Scientists studying the results of the powerful tremblor discovered that the west coast of New Zealand had moved three centimeters toward its sister island Australia while the east coast had moved only one centimeter. Sounds like good news for the New Zealand Tourism Commission doesn’t it- there is more New Zealand to enjoy and its closer than ever. As I was reading through the article itself, I am reminded that God has moved heaven and earth to get us closer to Him and make His Kingdom on earth bigger. He has spared no effort in revealing His love and His will to those whom He loves.

When it came to His people in Egyptian captivity, He used a displaced child who would be a mighty leader to carry His word to the mighty Pharoah who once was like a father to him. Moses, a deposed mighty man exiled to the wilderness found the fulfillment of his life in a burning bush on a mountain top. It shook his world forever changing the landscape of his history and brought hope to those who wanted freedom for themselves from the shadow of Egypt. But, Moses was not the only mighty man called to reveal God’s power and might. Pharoah, too, was under the orders and command of God. Pharoah was a mover and shaker of a mighty empire. The earth trembled at his word or so he thought. He believed he was an immovable object and the center of the universe. But as it happens many times with mighty men God’s will is revealed as superior and His power undeniable. What seems great among men is shown for its weakness and what is seen as weakness is empowered for greatness.

Two men, Moses and Pharoah, raised in the same house with the same father, given the same benefits of power and position, both destined to reveal the might and power of God find themselves as odds with each other. Their conflict? One chose to serve God while the other chose to serve himself. It would be Moses who would be the mightiest man. While Pharoah would have great cities and monuments of stone to show for his efforts and life, Moses would die on a mountain outside the Promised Land. While Pharoah’s life would be one remembered by a blaze of glory and flooded by defeat, Moses’ life would be remembered as a mighty man who gave all he had to serve God. Both men were called to greatness, only one man succeeded.

So, it is for God’s mighty men of today. God has called each one of them to be a revealer of God’s greatness and the power of God’s name. It is God’s desire to move them closer to Him and to make them more than they could ever do on their own. Many men might achieve a stature of greatness and power on earth but when the earth trembles, shakes and moves what will become of it? Some men may work their entire lives and feel as if they have little to show for it and when the earth trembles, shakes and moves what will become of them? The answer is not man’s description but God’s decision. For those who chose to serve God their reward will be great. For those who chose to serve themselves, they will become a treasure unknown at the bottom of the sea.

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 Monday Morning Mighty Men Bible Study and Hosea 3
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful and
loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for those who
put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies instead of godly
obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace of
mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity with the
promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith network to assist
God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my family
while I am preparing myself for my next vocational assignment
* For a prosperous week seeking God’s direction

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

God move these mighty men today and rock their world. Bring them closer to You and expand their territory for Your Glory. Through them, Your Will shall be known and done. We thank you in advance for the mighty work You will do in them today. AMEN.

July 25, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Mark 10. 1

“Jesus then left that place [The Mount of Transfiguration] and went into the region of
Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to Him and as was His
custom, He taught them.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Customs are actually disciplines of our character which have been built up over time as acceptable. Sadly, some customs no longer serve their original purpose as times and needs change. Today, we are reminded of one custom among many which should never change for God‘s mighty men. They are called to be teachers of God‘s Word. Teaching is a significant part of being a leader. There are many who may continue to believe they are not leaders or teachers. The fact remains that as Christ-followers we are imbued with the responsibility and opportunity to lead. The very identification of God‘s mighty men as “disciples“ of Christ indicate their place in the kingdom as student-learners. But, as a teacher myself, I know the best way to discover if a student has learned a concept or mastered a skill is to have them teach it to someone else. If they cannot they the first order of business is to re-teach them which is the responsibility of the teacher more than a failure of the student. But, if the student can become the teacher of another student then they must be empowered to learn more and teach more.

I believe this is what Jesus knew about His leadership as well. Whenever people gathered, Jesus did what became a no-brainer for Him- He taught. Perhaps there were people there who came only to hear His teaching or receive a healing but that was never going to be enough for Jesus. He wanted them to put His teachings into practice as they left the classroom and returned to their homes. The disciples would have certainly loved to stay students in order to keep Jesus with them as His teacher. But, Jesus knew that they had to graduate sometime and that keeping them in the classroom made them ineffective in life. We can see that in the preceding chapter where the disciples could not cast out a demon and restore a son to his father. If the purpose of each mighty man of God is to simply sit at Jesus‘ feet, then they do not understand themselves or the Master very well. The purpose of each mighty man of God, a disciple of Christ, is to become an apostle, a teacher of faith, hope and love. It does not mean that as a teacher they have no need of further learning! Quite the contrary, we all must be life-long learners growing stronger in knowledge and the wisdom to use it effectively.

It should become the custom of every mighty man of God to teach wherever God‘s people have gathered. They are to teach by example in word and deed and empower others with His Holy Spirit to make life-long learners of others so that they may be like Christ with them- great teachers!

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 lead God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For a safe journey home without unrest; if there is unrest, let wisdom guard and guide
us on our way
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for
those who put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies
instead of godly obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace
of mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity
with the promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith
network to assist God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs
* For protection from the attacks of the enemy who seeks to place around God’s people
the deception of failure

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my
family while I am preparing myself for my next vocational assignment and as we
prepare to return home to Texas where we have shared our confidence and our joy with
those who are called to wait upon the Lord
* For His provision already made and the joy He has shared
* For the job that God will make available for my daughter
* For healed tongues

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

For the blessings we are about to receive this day, we are truly thankful. We commit them to Your service as tools of instruction for the benefit of Your people who are desiring to learn more about You. AMEN.

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July 24, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Hebrews 2. 12

“I will declare Your Name to My brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing
Your praises.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Lest we forget who we are in Christ, Paul reminds the Jewish Christ-followers in the realm in the midst of non-Christ-followers and even those who oppose Christ-followers in the early church “we are brothers of Christ.” This is a powerful statement for modern Christ-followers to understand, embrace, promote and practice. The apostle repeats King David‘s praise hymn of Psalm 22. That mighty man of God who shepherded His people in faith, hope and love valued the kinship he had with those in the nation of Israel who stood before God. He called them his brothers. He invoked that relationship as one which made them equally bound to God with a spiritual obedience to the law and will of their creator, sustainer, and savior. They were to be a united and unifying people of God in the world. Their place was not to be an exclusive population in the context of the Kingdom of God. They most certainly had a particularity of purpose in the design of God. Not everyone would be chosen to be “God‘s leaders of faith“ but everyone was to benefit from having faith in God alone. The world was to follow the example of righteous living in relationship to God which the people and nation of Israel was supposed to present to them. Come to think of it, the world probably has and we are not much better for it!

Don‘t get me wrong. I am not being a “hater.” It seems convincing enough that the world has in large part followed the lead of much of Israel‘s history when it comes to be a holy and righteous priesthood of believers. Even the Church of today has its own storied history of obedience-disobedience. It isn‘t enough to try and excuse ourselves by saying “we are only human.” The Lord and Savior of God‘s mighty men was “only human,” too. The Christ of God came to earth as Jesus of Nazareth in order to provide a testimony of what faith-filled people can actually do on earth when they “walk with the Lord.” Jesus the Christ even went so far as to continue to fulfill scripture‘s call after death when He told Mary to alert His “brothers“ of the news of His resurrection. Now, followers of Christ were not merely “brothers of the king of Israel“ but “brothers of the King of Kings!” Does this not mean that God‘s mighty men are actually as Christ declared to the spiritual and political leadership of Israel “sons of God“? God‘s mighty men are not merely “brothers in Christ“ who share a kindred relationship of faith in Christ. No, indeed, Christ-followers are brothers of Christ, with Christ and for Christ for the glory and joy of God!

Have we forgotten who we are as Christ-followers? What does our witness before the world testify to concerning our spiritual familial relationship with one another. I believe that God‘s mighty men need to come together and review, re-establish and rehearse what it means to be sons of God and brothers of Christ Jesus. Recent events circling the misunderstanding in Cambridge, and it continuing fallout, bear witness to a lack of awareness of this ultimate truth. It is time to cease being a dysfunctional family of God and return instead to becoming a royal priesthood of believers. Are we God‘s mighty men or are we less than who God created us? Stop and consider what is less than man on earth? Is that who you see when you look in the mirror of faith at yourself or through the window of love at others? I hope not. God forgives still if it is and reconcile us again to the truth of our salvation!

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 lead God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For people to act as people and not “races” of people; in the grand scheme of life we are
all in but one “race” and that is the race for the kingdom of God
* For peace to not be the exception to the rule but the rule for which there is no exception
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful
and loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For those still suffering from the possibility of losing their homes due to the recession
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for
those who put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies
instead of godly obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace
of mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity
with the promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith
network to assist God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs
* For protection from the attacks of the enemy who seeks to place around God’s people
the deception of failure

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my
family while I am preparing myself for my next vocational assignment and as we
prepare to return home to Texas where we have shared our confidence and our joy with
those who are called to wait upon the Lord
* For His provision already made and the joy He has shared
* For the job that God will make available for my daughter
* For the defeat of doubt and for the reign of peace to nurture wisdom

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

It is You alone, Father, that we should see when look at ourselves and one another. Let the spirit of truth become present in our culture of righteousness and in our climate of love. AMEN.

July 23, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 16. 31-33

“You believe at last!” Jesus said, “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be
scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for
My Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Even when we are at our strongest, we are far from invincible. Achilles‘ had his heel and was vulnerable to attack. For the disciples it was about time to gain some level of confidence in what they understood about Jesus as the Christ. They had shown flashes of brilliance and such expertise in ministry that no one could refuse their power. But, they were still so new to this faith that even their success became too much to handle. Such discussions as the one mentioned yesterday about “who is the greatest“ or “who can sit at your right hand or left hand“ become indicators of a lack of understanding that could be their downfall. Especially when it came to losing someone they loved, they would be tempted to say they understood everything the Master said just to stay close to Him. They wanted what we each want, “To be loved by God alone.”

But, this day, actually the night of Passover, was different. Jesus was no longer teaching the disciples but sharing with them His own life. He was now the symbol and metaphor that would bind their ministry to success. Jesus was no longer talking about himself. He was talking to them and they were listening. He could see it in their eyes. They could hear it in His voice. Yet, their declaration of understanding and believing that He was the Christ would not be enough to put them over the hump. They each would have to face their own test and trial. Their faith would have to be put to the test. It was one thing to say they believed while Jesus was with them. It would be another to say it when Jesus was no longer visible to them.

So, it is for every mighty man of God. When we are in the company of other believers, we believe and believe powerfully. But, when that support system is not present to lay hands on us and pray for us or easily available to fill our ears and minds with God’s encouragement or to reassure our hearts that we are still loved, then we find what our resolve truly is. It is at that moment that all the coaching and mentoring and teaching filled with all its metaphors and lessons and illustrations will seem like butter melting under the heat of trial and tribulation. We may well work feverishly to keep it together claiming we know who it is that has buttered our bread. But, until we fall into His presence with confident thanksgiving seeing the victory that exists just beyond our sight and grasp, we will not know the peace that comes from the victor Himself who has overcome the world. Trust and obey, there is no other way.

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 peace to not be the exception to the rule but the rule for which there is no exception
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful
and loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For those still suffering from the possibility of losing their homes due to the recession
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for
those who put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies
instead of godly obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace
of mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity
with the promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith
network to assist God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs
* For protection from the attacks of the enemy who seeks to place around God’s people
the deception of failure

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my
family while I am preparing myself for my next vocational assignment and as we visit
family in Kentucky to share our confidence and our joy with them for those who wait
upon the Lord
* For His provision already made and the joy He has shared
* For the job that God will make available for my daughter
* For the defeat of doubt

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, thank you for knowing how hard it can be for each of these mighty men when their trials and temptations come to invite us to be defeated. Give to each of these men the real strength that comes in simply believing in You with obedient trust. You are the only way. You have come from God our Father and have returned to Him in faith. Thank You for showing these the way, the truth and the life. AMEN.

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July 22, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Hebrews 2. 7-8

“You made man a little lower than the angels [see Psalm 8.5…”heavenly beings“];
You crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

As God’s mighty men we have a unique place and opportunity in the Kingdom of Heaven to affect the condition of humanity for eternity. James and John, the sons of Boageneres and the disciples of Jesus, were caught arguing about what their place should be. So vehement was their discussion that it spilled over to the mother chiming in to Jesus asking for Him to resolve the dispute and allow her sons to sit by His side in Heaven. Of course, this wasn’t a discussion or request taken lightly by the other disciples and a whole lesson about assigned seating ensued. I am not asking God’s mighty men to pick up that discussion in their devotion time with Almighty God today as it is shared with each Christ-follower who is a part of this deepening circle of leaders on the grow. Instead, I would invite us all to embrace that place which has been restored to God’s mighty men through the saving grace and spiritual empowerment which Christ has created by His death and resurrection.

1) Our place is on earth. While our ultimate destination is the everlasting Kingdom of God in which we are invited into His never-ending presence, God’s mighty men were created for the purpose of being godly leaders on planet earth. We can certainly debate the potential of life elsewhere in the whole-wide universe but it cannot deflect us from the ultimate priority of gaining a more solid understanding that we are created to be masters of one planet at a time while God remains “Master of the Universe.” Our purpose was related to us through the Genesis story when God gave dominion and authority to Adam to rule over the earth as a “husbandman” and to allow it to become exemplary in its reproduction of its purpose as it was created by God.

2) Our place is in the midst of God’s people. We are not called to be separate from God’s people. We can certainly debate whether Adam and Eve were the only created beings on earth (Where did those people from over the hill whom Cain feared and from whom he found a wife come from? [see Genesis 4]) but it is foolish to believe that God ordained a separatist mentality. God’s people are not supposed to allow the spiritual influences and related life practices of other cultures to dilute their own God-given principles. Israel, and the Church, is supposed to be a witness to the abiding presence of God in Word and deed before all the world. Just as our purpose is to maintain God’s “good” creation and see that it becomes plentiful, abundant and reproductive as it was created by God so to do, so are God’s men supposed to maintain the image of God in which they were created so that others might now only see Him but honor and revere Him as if He was their own image as well.

3) Our place is above sin. Much debate can be had as to the interpretation of Psalm 8.5 and how it is quoted in HIS WORD for today as it relates to the hierarchy of man and angels. One thing is clear, however, that when the Enemy made his presence known to Adam and Eve in the garden and caused them to see a separate life from the one God created for them there was a consequence. Not only did Adam and Eve have to leave the Garden of Eden but the serpent was then always underfoot and eventually would be crushed. Satan was cast down to earth, God’s footstool, to be under His feet (a servant to the purpose of God). The psalmist repeated the reality that all things on earth were to be under the foot of God’s mighty men who had power over sin if they would use it and priority over even angels if they would live into it. While our place today is in a world that is convoluted by sin, we are not called to live in sin but rise above it by living in righteousness as we were first created, as Christ made possible for us again to enter in through His death and resurrection and as we are commanded by Christ to perform in signs, wonders, acts of faith and in preaching the truth of the Gospel.

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 lead, guide and direct our thoughts and actions this week
* For a true comprehensive health care package which comes from the Great Physician
and True Leader of all God’s People; it is time for God’s people to truly be led by
faith and not by sight
* For peace to not be the exception to the rule but the rule to which there is no exception
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful
and loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For those still suffering from the possibility of losing their homes due to the recession
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for
those who put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies
instead of godly obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace
of mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity
with the promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith
network to assist God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs
* For protection from the attacks of the enemy who seeks to place around God’s people
the deception of failure
* For the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on the Wednesday Lunch Bunch as they seek
His wisdom through study

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my
family while I am preparing myself for my next vocational assignment and as we visit
family in Kentucky to share our confidence and our joy with them for those who wait
upon the Lord
* For His provision already made and the joy He has shared
* For the job that God will make available for my daughter
* For the presence of joy in my family to be released as rain pouring from the bounty of
God’s heaven on earth

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

God who has put us in our place, may these mighty men of Yours so fulfill their purpose in which You created them, their spiritual ministry out of which You called them and their destiny for which You have redeemed them that others are inspired to join with them in making true love apparent and plentiful until peace reigns eternal and joy is complete as they have already experienced through Jesus Christ their Lord. AMEN.

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July 21, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

2 Kings 23. 26

“Nevertheless, the Lord did not repent from the heat of His fierce anger which burned
against Judah because of all the Manasseh had done to provoke Him to anger.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I had to laugh recently as we were driving through Nashville, Tennessee, on our way to Louisville, Kentucky, to visit family. No, I wasn’t laughing at Nashville or Tennessee or people who lived there. But, and long drives have a way of doing this to me and perhaps you, too, so you will understand, I noticed the name of a particular trucking company and set out to create a commercial for it. The name of the company was E. F. Trucking and yes you guessed it, “When E.F Trucking delivers everyone listens.” (For those who are wondering it is a spin-off of E.F. Hutton investment brokerage which promoted “When E. F. Hutton speaks everyone listens” as people leaned in to hear what was being said regardless of the time and place.) Well, it is funnier after ten hours on the road.

What isn’t funny is how connected that idea might be to HIS WORD for today. King Josiah, who became king at the age of eight, led a spiritual reform among the God’s people in Judah. It started with a commitment to literally clean “house” by having the priests and their workers straighten up the temple. He began to set things straight which had fallen into misuse. An ancient writing from which we get the Book of Deuteronomy as well as the other four books of the Pentateuch was discovered in some dusty corner. Josiah took it as a sign to empower the reform which he did. He revived the old laws and set in place the celebrations as they were first given. He went throughout the territory and destroyed the old temples as well as their administrators who had perverted the practices of worship by instituting a following of idol worship as had become commonplace. It was afforded to him that there was no king before or after him who had turned to the Lord as he did (verse.25) That is pretty stiff competition.

Yet, for all he did to honor God and to set the people back on a path of righteousness as determined by the Book of the Law, it still was not enough to dissuade God from rending justice for the sins of Manasseh who truly defiled Judah and Jerusalem before God. Lesson learned: some things just aren’t enough but we must do them anyway. Are you listening now? Consider this: no matter how righteous and holy Jesus was, He was still the Christ of God and had to die to effect our salvation. It was because of His righteousness and desire to honor God with His holiness that made Him the perfect sacrifice. So, it is with the lives of God’s mighty men. They may wonder if staying the course of righteousness is of value when it seems their lives and the world they live in is being constantly devalued. Some may even pray for the end of the world in order to stop the madness and justify their position as God’s mighty men in a lawless world. Yet, they must persist, prevail and rise up to the high expectation which God has for them or they will become as dross in the melting fire of God’s wrath and judgment. So, that leads me to share with you that the end of the world as we know it now is inevitable. Those who are bent to listening to the wiles of the enemy have led the world past that point of no return. But, that does not become an excuse for God’s mighty men to become lawless or mimic lawlessness and hopelessness. Instead, it is just the opposite. God’s mighty men must continue to do good, proclaim justice and live righteously so that their name will be heard in the roll call of faith, hope and love when it is called up yonder. Because when God speaks, I will listen! Will you join me in listening, too?

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 lead, guide and direct our thoughts and actions this week
* For the nurture of spiritual and moral leadership in our country supported by faithful
and loving followers devoted to the Biblical imperative of “love one another”
* For those still suffering from the possibility of losing their homes due to the recession
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and for
those who put more faith in weapons than in the power of God to enforce ideologies
instead of godly obedience
* For the support and encouragement of those who are seeking employment and the peace
of mind that comes from trusting the process of God’s creation of a new opportunity
with the promise of vocational resurrection in its season; for the building up of a faith
network to assist God’s mighty men find sustainable and God-honoring jobs
* For protection from the attacks of the enemy who seeks to place around God’s people
the deception of failure
* For the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit on the Wednesday Lunch Bunch as they seek
His wisdom through study

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God for His provision of my
family while I am preparing myself for my next vocational assignment and as we visit
family in Kentucky to share our confidence and our joy with them for those who wait
upon the Lord
* For His provision already made and the joy He has shared
* For the job that God will make available for my daughter
* For the presence of shalom for my family

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Not only for ears to hear, O Lord, but for heart and soul and mind and strength to be obedient as reformers in faith. Bless the path of these mighty men with Your Power. Illumine their task with Your Glory. Honor their commitment with Your Dominion. Their obedience shall be a mighty witness today that You will see and bless with gladness and joy. Thanks be to God who has come in the Name of our Lord. AMEN.

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