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September 29, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Hebrews 6. 13,14

“When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by,
He swore by Himself, saying ‘I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

It doesn’t get any better than this that we get to speak directly to and receive directly from the Number One in the Universe- Almighty God. Among all the gods, leaders and people no one is as capable of maintaining a promise as is the Lord God. The downfall of all religions comes with the need to strike a deal or make compulsory the fact of conditional relationships between man and god. Polytheism is merely a reflection of a failing human perspective that no one or nothing can be trusted, not even man himself. But, God alone remains consistent in His desire to see His creation succeed and rise above their circumstances which they may or may not have caused. In all of the events recorded in the Bible, man is the contributor to his own downfall and God reveals the path to escape the misery of bad choices. No one can do what God has done and is yet to do to bring complete redemption to His creation.

So what does this mean for God’s mighty men? The pressure to succeed is actually taken off each man of God. Each mighty man is already successful when he makes his confession of faith and profession that Jesus Christ is Lord. There are no bargains to make with God or with God for man. God’s promise is a blessing to those who bless Him and His creation. It isn’t conditions that God is proposing but a fact that God is promising. There is no middle man bartering blessings between man and God. Even Jesus Christ Himself had no desire to be a go-between in the relationship of God and man. Jesus Christ came to seal the promise as an everlasting covenant of truth. He sealed it with His own blood. He Himself had no one higher to stand in for Him because He was One with God. Since there was no One Greater the promise must be true. All that is left for God’s mighty men is to live in the promise since they do not have to live for the promise.

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 Men’s Bible Study
* For those in Southeast Asia impacted by torrential typhoon rains with over 240 dead
* For Ryan and his family as he begins the experimental chemotherapy treatment for brain
cancer (this family may well have to sell their home to pay for this treatment because it is
not covered by insurance)
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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; especially the rising tension with the revelation of a second Iranian nuclear facility
* 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 revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco, the house He desires to become
our home and the strengthening of Mack as he prepares to enter a new schooling experience
* For sustained strength in late hours, many miles and much concern for my family while I am
travelling daily to and from work until God reveals the rest of His plan for us
* For Richard and his family as he nears a line of demarcation for his professional future

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Thank You, Father, not only for the promise of life eternal and abundant but for personalizing that promise for each of these Your mighty men. Delight in their performance as promise keepers and promise sharers in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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September 28, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Acts 16. 13

“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of
prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Are you ready to share the gospel? Paul found himself prepared to revel in the revelation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. At Philippi, he and those who accompanied him went down to the river for a time of prayer and solitude. When they arrived, they found women who had come to the river to wash their clothes. Since it was the Sabbath, it would be safe to believe these women were not Jewish for it was forbidden to do such labor on the day of the Lord. At the very least they were not so Jewish that ignoring the parameters of the law bothered them. Perhaps Paul was curious as to why they were at the river alone. We do not know the tenor of the introduction but there is no doubt as to the concert that followed as Paul began to direct them in the ways of Christ and the mercy of God. Even there at the riverside, Paul was ready to preach Christ and Christ alone. He knew a captive audience when he saw one. It could be that the ladies there were fearful of being approached by a band of men whom they did not know. Such a fear would even become a prelude to the proclamation of peace which Christ alone could give. Regardless of the circumstance or the conversation, it became an evangelistic moment which Herb Miller, noted evangelism mentor, would have described as “fishing on the asphalt.”

“Fishing on the asphalt” was his way of inspiring Christ followers to take advantage of the moment given to them to apply the love of God through Jesus Christ so that others might have a “hook” to hang their hopes on. While the women of Philippi were washing clothes, Paul extended the metaphorical call of Jesus to become “fishers of men” to include even women. How much fishing have we done as God’s mighty men? Do we see the ponds, streams, rivers and lakes of life which we come upon as full of the possibility of a catch for Christ? Jesus told His disciples that He could see the fields of life ready for harvesting, there were souls ready to be won and brought into the Kingdom of God. The only thing needed was a bevy of harvesters to go out and bring them in. It would be no different to Paul to see this river brimming with people who needed to know the joy of Christ and the promise of eternal life. Not only did he see the opportunity, he concluded that he was the right spiritual sportsman to cast out into the deep of life and reel in the catch of faith. The result of Paul’s efforts was a convert names Lydia who was no small catch. She was a very capable servant for Christ and a supporter of the ministry. Through her God was able to reach her entire family and doubtless many others. Are you ready to witness for Jesus in any venue?

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 Mighty Men Monday Morning Bible Study
* For the rain and the sunshine, green grass and a more content environment
* For Ryan and his family as he begins the experimental chemotherapy treatment for brain
cancer (this family may well have to sell their home to pay for this treatment because it is
not covered by insurance)
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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; especially the rising tension with the revelation of a second Iranian nuclear facility
* 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 revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved
* For sustained strength in late hours, many miles and much concern for my family while I am
travelling daily to and from work until God reveals the rest of His plan for us
* For Richard and his family as he nears a line of demarcation for his professional future

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Prepare us to do Your Work and to share Your Word wherever these mighty men find themselves. Let them be filled with a holy confidence to cast Your gospel onto the waters of life and bring in a mighty catch of faith for Jesus Christ our Lord in whose name we live and serve. AMEN.

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September 27, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Ephesians 4. 29

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building
up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

One of my mother’s favorite responses was “Ephesians 4!” Ephesians 4 is a textbook guideline on how to act in three specific situations: in a learning situation, in a worship situation and in a neighbor situation. The foundation of Ephesians 4, she would remind us, was “be careful what you say at all times.” It is good advice which is not always heeded. Our loose lips that sink ships and Freudian slips of the tongue that cut deeper than a double-edged sword are dangerous weapons in an arsenal of carelessness. Our words are powerful because they are not just letters put together to communicate meaning, they are filled with meaning and a spirit of power. Just as God created by the power of His Word and saves us by that same Word, so His mighty men are imbued with Word power. People are listening! The question is what are they listening to and for? If they are listening to God’s mighty men it is either for clues for success or evidence of hypocrisy. If they are listening to others who are not God’s mighty men it is for support in weakness or a storehouse of injury.

What should they hear when they are listening? Carefully chosen words that teach others what is right, good and the truth should be first on the “listening” chart. Then words that edify and glorify the work of the Lord in the midst of His creation should be second. Finally, words that encourage and redirect to righteousness the thoughts and actions of all of God’s people should be third. As God’s mighty men, we should not let our mouths get the better of us- they should be the better of us. They cannot be the best of us because that should be our hearts. But, the mouth shall reveal the content of our hearts. Perhaps “Ephesians 4” is a great reminder to “listen before we speak; speak because others are listening for God.” It starts, of course, by listening first to the Word of God speaking to us.

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 the rain and the sunshine, green grass and a more content environment
* For Ryan and his family as he begins the experimental chemotherapy treatment for brain
cancer (this family may well have to sell their home to pay for this treatment because it is
not covered by insurance)
* For the sharing of a blessing with my family for today’s enjoyment
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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 revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved
* For sustained strength in late hours, many miles and much concern for my family while I am
travelling daily to and from work until God reveals the rest of His plan for us
* For Richard and his family as he nears a line of demarcation for his professional future

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity
* For even more rain, lakes that will fill and farmlands that we be revived and cooler weather
* For Mack’s 15th birthday
* For my mother’s 26th anniversary of enjoying the fullness of heaven

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, we thank You for Your Word, the ears to hear it, the mind to listen and understand, the heart to store it, the spirit to empower it and the mouths to proclaim it. May Your Word be alive in us in a mighty way today. AMEN.

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September 26, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Jeremiah 30. 23,24

“See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of
the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until He fully accomplishes the
purposes of His heart. In days to come you will understand this.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I love to sing “Our God is an awesome God.” Our God is truly an awesome God. The very nature of the design of creation in all its intricacies and possibilities leads one beyond the very consideration of such an excellent accident or coincidence. I know how long it takes me to sit down and try to create something that is going to dazzle others. I watch as teachers and students struggle to come up with the best possible project. I also know the joy when there is an idea that floods my mind and my imagination and virtually takes over and designs itself without me understanding “where did that come from.” Except, I know where it comes from. It comes from an awesome God whose purpose is to not only start a plan but see it to its completion. Our God is a purposeful God. The desire of His heart is to fully accomplish the purpose that He has.

Some people may not understand how a purposefully loving God could allow what seems to be incongruities of thoughts, actions and consequences that bring pain and suffering to His creation. Some see that hurt in creation as an indicator of an absent God or no God at all. Yet, it is that very hurt which reminds us there is a God whose full purpose has not been fully realized. The hurt in creation can happen because it is a “coming of age.” We learn by our mistakes, or at least we should. We learn by having to make decisions between options. A purposefully loving God believes that His creation will achieve all it was meant to be by opening up what seems to be incongruities so that His people may chose the course of their perfecting: accomplishing their purpose in love.

Choice and freewill are a part of a purposefully loving God vocabulary. I remember a story of a man who complained to his doctor of a sharp pain in his eye which occurred only in the morning. As the doctor listened to the man explain what happens every day he finally commented, “I would recommend you take the spoon out of your coffee after stirring and before drinking.” The patient experienced pain but had no idea why. I wonder what the world would be like if God didn’t love us enough to explain why we would hurt when we did certain things. He could have well protected us from all harm but then our growth and maturity would have been diminished. Instead God set His purpose of a self-actualizing creation in motion by opening our eyes to the more of God and the more of us. It isn’t always a pretty picture but when it comes into focus it becomes an awesome picture. Just like our parents told us when they were trying to open our eyes to consequences for right and wrong behaviors, so Jeremiah told the people of Israel, “In the days to come you will understand this.” Until God’s mighty men understand it, we will continue to marvel at God’s creativity, mercy and grace. We will give thanks that we haven’t totally blown our chances to become all the He has purposed us to be in faith, hope and love.

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 the rain and the sunshine, green grass and a more content environment
* For Ryan and his family as he begins the experimental chemotherapy treatment for brain
cancer (this family may well have to sell their home to pay for this treatment because it is
not covered by insurance)
* For those suffering loss of life and property with the severe flooding in the eastern half of
this country; especially in Georgia
* For the sharing of a blessing with my family for today’s enjoyment
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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 revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved
* For sustained strength in late hours, many miles and much concern for my family while I am
travelling daily to and from work until God reveals the rest of His plan for us
* For Richard and his family as he nears a line of demarcation for his professional future

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity
* For even more rain, lakes that will fill and farmlands that we be revived and cooler weather
* For my first paycheck in ten weeks and the knowledge that God will provide a blessing of
stewardship in meeting needs which have been put off during this time in order to meet other
needs.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

We thank you for Your purposeful love and tender mercy. May these mighty men continue to endeavor to live into the purpose which You have fashioned for their lives in good times and in bad. There is a purpose for everything under heaven and a season for everything. AMEN.

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September 23, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Isaiah 24. 1-3

“See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; He will ruin its face and scatter
its inhabitants. It will be the same for priest as for people…for debtor as for creditor. The earth
will be completely laid waste and totally plundered.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

When the Day of Judgment comes, and not even Jesus our Lord knows that day nor hour, the God of consequences will spare no punches. No title or position will be a guarantee of exclusion from the wrath of God on that day. Isaiah pronounces quite a dichotomy of people upon whom the decision of God will rest. It would seem that on the one hand those who have some advantage in this world would be spared because everything appears to have gone their way. It will not be so for them. However, it would seem that there is little mercy for those who have suffered indignity and despair in life so that they may have earned some pass from the Spirit of Death who will roam the earth. Such thinking merely exposes the folly of worldliness. Those who are sinners will suffer the penalty of their unrepentant sin and lack of humility before God. Those who live by the world will die with the world.

Not so, thank God, for the believer in Christ Jesus our Lord. A faithful commitment may not change their title or position in this world but it reserves for them the key to the city- the City of God. Whatever position of power, influence or service a Christ-follower may hold in this world is merely that- a place in this world. It is an opportunity to share the grace and the message of hope with co-workers, colleagues, friend and enemy alike. Regardless of such position, there is no guarantee of prosperity or liberation simply because a person has made their confession of faith that Jesus is indeed the Christ of God. But, there is a certain guarantee that living humbly before God serving Christ through their position will open wide the gates of Heaven on that day when the trumpet blast will call all citizens of New Jerusalem home. It has nothing to do with any name but “Christ” nor any title but “believer.” Such is the hope for every mighty man of God. Live honorably in your called profession and station in life. Serve humbly in your daily walk before 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 Ryan and his family as he begins the experimental chemotherapy treatment for brain
cancer (this family may well have to sell their home to pay for this treatment because it is
not covered by insurance)
* For those suffering loss of life and property with the severe flooding in the eastern half of
this country; especially in Georgia
* For the teacher in Tyler, Texas, who was stabbed to death in his classroom
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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 revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved
* For sustained strength in late hours, many miles and much concern for my family while I am
travelling daily to and from work until God reveals the rest of His plan for us

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity
* For even more rain, lakes that will fill and farmlands that we be revived and cooler weather
* Clear report for my father from his cardiologist allowing him to begin to donate blood again
working on gallon number 89

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we long to hear Your call in our lives. Let us not be confused by the want to recognize the trumpet blast of triumph at the return of the King and miss the call to serve one another in faith, hope and love. Bless these mighty men as they honor the place which they hold in this world with the privilege of service- rendering their lives to meet the needs of those who desire to know the One true God and to proclaim the One true Savior, His Son. AMEN.

September 22, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

1 Samuel 14. 6

“Jonathan said to his young armorbearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

And, of course, it happened just as Jonathan believed on God that it would. Jonathan and his armor bearer knew there was no other way for them to go but straightforward into the presence of the Philistines. There was no other way to go as they were essentially trapped between two walls and a hard place. Yet, what better way to go than to go with God. Jonathan was straightforward about their situation, his trust in God and his approach to putting his faith in action. He did not make any deals with God such as “If you deliver us from our enemies we will go to tabernacle every Friday night” or “If we make it out of this alive, we will give you everything we have.” Instead, he was committed to dealing with his enemy face to face- either they will come to us or we will go to them; in either situation he believed God would act in their behalf and no matter how many might have stood against them it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t and Jonathan and his armor bearer killed twenty Philistines in an area less than half an acre.

Funny how many people think that faith commitments are actually no more than just making a deal with God or like placing a bet on a roulette wheel. God doesn’t make deals nor does God want His mighty men, or people, to make deals. Instead, God deals with consequences. God’s ultimate consequence is life, especially the life of those who believe in Him. We must remember that His Word proclaims that God doesn’t will the death of anyone. If it were all up to God, He would choose life for everyone. But, God being God, He gave that choice over to us for better or worse, for richer or poorer until life separated into two realities- eternal life and eternal death. We are the ones who must choose our ultimate consequence. Just as Jonathan did not make or break a deal with God but laid claim to the consequences of believing in God so each of God’s mighty men must do the same. The consequence for Jonathan’s trust in God was life and victory over an enemy who sought the consequence of death. What is it that we choose? Do we really trust in God with all things so that we might live or are we hedging our bets that there is still room to bargain with God concerning the wages of sin which is death, that is, the giving up of life.

What is it that we shall decide to do with our lives? Shall we deal falsely with ourselves and God and give up our hold on life for an inglorious death? Shall we trust God completely with our lives and let the blessings fall where they may along the paths of our lives bound for that promised goal of eternity?

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 Ryan and his family as he begins the experimental chemotherapy treatment for brain
cancer (this family may well have to sell their home to pay for this treatment because it is
not covered by insurance)
* For those suffering loss of life and property with the severe flooding in the eastern half of
this country
* For the Wednesday Lunch Bunch Bible Study
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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 revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved
* For sustained strength in late hours, many miles and much concern for my family while I am
travelling daily to and from work until God reveals the rest of His plan for us

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity
* For more rain, lakes that will fill and farmlands that we be revived

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

It remains difficult for us at time to do, O Lord, that is to trust in You wholly, holy and completely. Yet, hear the words of these mighty men of Yours as they listen to Your Spirit speaking within them to follow You all the days of their lives. Pour out their blessings along the pathways they walk like seed scattered by the sower and let the fruit of Your labor provide the righteous consequence of faith, hope and love in and through their lives as it was and is in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. AMEN.

September 21, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Hebrews 4.12

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

One edge would be bad enough. I have experienced cuts made by a single edged blade. I shudder when I consider the damage a double-edged blade would render. Penetrating deep, slicing quickly without hindrance the point of the blade would be deftly placed into the most vulnerable and vital part of the body. It would strike straight to the point and not move one way or the other as it would with a single-edged blade. Of course, that was the exact use of Ehud’s double-edged blade which he fashioned to kill the evil king and enemy of Israel Eglon as mentioned in the Book of Judges. Ehud told Eglon he had a message from God. The blade was only a cubit long, eighteen inches. It was long enough to be strong and short enough to be concealed. It’s purpose was deadly and so too is the metaphorical use of the same term “a double-edged sword.” In Paul’s writing addressed in the Letter to the Hebrews, the term was once again associated with a message from God. As he declared this message was living and active, he drew to mind for many the vivid picture of this precision weapon so deadly that it brought fear to everyone. Surely nothing could be as deadly as a double-edged sword that would separate even bone from bone like a surgeon sometimes leaving the victim still very much alive though death was inevitable? Paul drew that fear to mind when he announced that God’s word was more penetrating and exacting than even that double-edged sword whose cut was like a scalpel. Just as the blade could separate joints by slicing through tendons, ligaments and cartilage like a hot knife through butter, so God’s Word cut to the heart of a person and expose them for who they really are.

Jesus taught we would be judged by our intentions and thoughts which were as lethal as actions in the sight of the Lord. But, how could you see something so internalized without opening up a person exposing who and what they really were? Obviously, such a surgical strike would not actually expose thoughts and ideas. But, the thought that God’s Word would reveal those seemingly hidden secrets had to make people think twice. What wouldn’t we want the world to see and know about us? God’s Word would provide the deepest cut. It will not be a cut above or below. It would be straight to the point and nothing we can do will protect us from this “message from God.” Hopefully, we would allow God’s Word to be put in the hands of the Great Physician who would use it to remove the offending part as if it were a sin tumor. But, if we would not allow such spiritual surgery to save our lives then the same blade would cut us off from the blessing of God. God’s Word is intended to work both ways: it can protect and fend off; it can do battle or furrow a field; it can make life or take life; it can strike fear in the heart of the enemy or liberate the captive from his enemy. But, the tool is given to God’s mighty men. Paul’s warning is also about how careful we must be with it in our hands. We may think we are doing well by cutting someone off but it could well cut us off as well depending on our true intentions. So, make sure your heart and spirit and mind are in the right place and handle God’s Word with care.

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 Ryan and his family as he begins the experimental chemotherapy treatment for brain
cancer (this family may well have to sell their home to pay for this treatment because it is
not covered by insurance)
* For the Wednesday Lunch Bunch Bible Study
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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 revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity
* For more rain
* For a successful day leading my staff in professional development

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

We are mindful, Father, of the power of Your Word. We shall handle it with care according to your instructions in order that Your Will not ours be done in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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September 20, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Psalm 119. 105

“Your Word is a lamp for me feet and a light for my path.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Regardless of whether we are looking for short-term goals or long-range plans, our best success comes from seeking the answers in God’s Word. There is nowhere else we should actually except to God who has revealed the truth for our lives time and time again in His Word. It really doesn’t matter that the words God’s mighty men revere as scripture were written roughly two thousand years ago and more. The truth of the God’s revelation is relevant and timeless. We can do no better for ourselves than to seek out the answers to our questions and quandaries in the Bible. When David needed guidance and support he found his comfort and leadership by turning to God. Do we?

There are times when we believe we know what we need for our lives and try to proof text our want in scripture. We cannot successfully tell God what He should do for our lives. We would do well to lay our desires at the feet of God and declare our trust in His divine will. Our priorities should be His priorities. Our direction should be His direction. That is why David wrote that God’s Word was a lamp for his feet. We can look so far down the road of our lives, when we cannot even see around the corner, that we are left vulnerable to the stumbling blocks and potholes that are right in front of us. By the same token, we can be so focused on what is right in front of us that we lose sight of the bigger picture which God reveals as a vision of hope for our lives. But, if we remain firmly rooted in the Word of God then His ways become our ways in the present day and approaching future. If we remain committed to the value of God’s instruction then His thoughts become our thoughts in every situation we are confronted with. The Word of God has existed through every troubling and trying situation we can face and its lessons are proven successes. That means if we follow God’s Word then we are able to handle every trial and tribulation and temptation that rises up in front of us. It will keep us balanced so that we can live in the moment with confidence and have no fear for the days to come.

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 Men’s Bible Study
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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 revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved
* For a son’s healing

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity
* For the transition into Autumn

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

May Your Word be more than good news on the pages of history. May it become a living truth that defines who were are all at times in all places. AMEN.

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HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Psalm 63. 1

“O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You,
in a dry and weary land where these is no water.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Why go to church?

We have all heard that question numerous times in our ears, in our heads, in our hearts and in our spirits. We have sought the best possible response to “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian” when we know they aren’t talking about a salvation issue but a priority issue. We have seen where the institution of church with all its programs and ministries are imperfect in meeting the needs of people. We have seen the successes as well where relationships with God and His children are sought out and embraced to bring ministry to the body, mind and soul. But, why go to church?

I would like to think that church is just as we sang as children “more than a building with a steeple; it’s open doors and lots of people.” Church isn’t a building, it is a community. Perhaps a church building can be likened to God’s earthly hub of a spiritual wheel because there is a need for focus. I believe this is where I hear David’s psalm to God speaking. In a time and place where there was no tabernacle or sanctuary to retreat to for a visible reminder of God’s presence he remembered that God is actually the center of our lives. In the apocalyptic writings there are beautiful descriptions of the new Jerusalem where the throne of God sits and from it flows rivers of living water to revive a dry and weary land. God is that outpouring of life flowing by His Holy Spirit across the parched acreage of our lives. But, wherever the water flows there is a living community of faith, hope and love. It isn’t so much we go to church but that we become the church.

Paul taught that the church is the body of Christ and He, Christ, is its Head. Where the members of the body gathered became a symbol of the presence of God. It should be like mini-gardens of true life through which the righteous waters of God flows. Eventually, all these gardens will come together and the land will be restored and the people will be revived. One day, there will be only one garden, one body, one people, just as there is One Lord, One Hope, One God. So, it is true that we do not have to go to church to be a Christian. We do, however, go to church just as much as we are the church, because we are Christians who are still learning how to be better spiritual gardeners of life transforming the still dry and weary lands of others’ lives into lush and vital Edens of peace, love and joy.

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; and for the
places where God’s people will worship in spirit and in truth
* For television ministries that allow those who are unable for whatever reason to be brought in
to sharing the Word of God
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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 Mallory to find the job God is ready to reveal to her and a successful second interview
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved
* For Ryan, a friend of Mallory, who was diagnosed with three brain tumors that he will receive
healing, and for his family who is having to sell their house to cover the costs of the treatment
as their insurance has denied their request for the experimental treatment that is his last human
option: all things in God’s hands!

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity
* For Mallory’s new job
* For a safe homecoming and drive home
* For the transition into Autumn

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Flow through these mighty men, O Lord, like a mighty rolling river of life filled with all that is needed to keep the church from being just a place to becoming a community of faith; from an oasis in the desert to a land of plenty stretching as far as Your eye can see. AMEN.

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September 18, 2009

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Mark 11. 17

“And as He taught them [those He drove out], he said, ‘Is it not written: My house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Integrated and relational are two keys looked for in modern classrooms to determine if good teaching is taking place. Looking back on the that day in the temple which followed Jesus’ triumphant entry at the beginning of the week of Passover, I wonder if we see this as a teaching moment. Some men may read or hear this story of clearing out the temple with great joy. They would have stood alongside Judas who wanted Jesus to demonstrate some intestinal fortitude in assuming the role of Messiah Warrior-King. Cheers of “Vengeance is mine” might have rippled through the colonnades. Other men would have pressed themselves into the shadows with wide-eyed amazement at the intense outburst of a somber teacher whose steps were imprints of compassion and peace. The chaos would have been in stark contrast to the peace they had experienced before in their journeys through Galilee. It would have also confirmed the fear they felt when He announced “The Son of Man must die.” Murmurs of “This is the moment” would have trembled off their pale lips.

Mark reports this incident to people who had experienced the destruction of the temple in 68 A.D. The sadness and sorrow they knew was now amplified in this teaching moment. The destruction of the temple was caused by those who abused its purpose and station. On that morning forty years earlier, it was Jesus who stepped into the chaos to restore order just as His Father had stepped into creation and sent the darkness scooting to the far corners of the universe and made a world and a wonder. The priority of righteousness was lifted up. God commanded by His Holy Spirit and it was done. We might not have even thought of the power it took to dispense light into the darkness and the battle that was waged. We might have considered only the momentary event “God spoke; it happened; end of story.” Yet, Mark’s listeners knew of the violence which had happened in the temple. They did not necessarily see Jesus in His day but they saw Rome in its day as they marched through the temple with disregard and scattered the people and elements into chaotic disarray. But, what Rome sought to do did not reflect what Jesus was intending. Jesus wanted restoration. Rome wanted elimination. Jesus wanted elimination of unrighteous purposes. Rome wanted restoration of their order. Jesus spoke in anticipation. Rome spoke in finalization.

Regardless of purpose and intention, Mark sought to teach his listeners that it is a sad day when we have to learn lessons the hard way. He saw the physical disruption of the temple proceedings by Jesus as a teaching moment and strategy. He certainly got the attention of His listeners and once He had it He delivered that fatal “moral of the story”: But you have made it a den of robbers. How would God’s mighty men assess this lesson and teaching effectiveness. Was it integrated mixing strategies and learning styles to meet the needs of all students? Was it relational and current to their life situation? Did it engage the learners? Was it effective? Sometimes we do not know if the lessons we teach are effective until later when our students are faced with a similar crisis and need. For Mark, the lesson was apparently not learned by the leaders and the people because the temple was destroyed. Yet, he had a hope in his Jesus who said “The temple will come down with no stone left upon another, but I will build it back up.”
Was it the end of the lesson or the beginning? What is it teaching us today about our lives and how we use the house of God which is our own body, a temple to house God’s spirit? Does it need cleaning, destroying or restoring?

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 safety and peace at Homecoming
* For the “Going Deeper” small group studies
* For the missionaries serving God’s people in Jesus’ name around the world beginning at home
* 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 Mallory to find the job God is ready to reveal to her and a successful second interview
* For the revealing of the job God has for Lisa in Waco and the house He desires to become
our home after the need for the right school for Mack is resolved
* For Ryan, a friend of Mallory, who was diagnosed with three brain tumors that he will receive
healing, and for his family who is having to sell their house to cover the costs of the treatment
as their insurance has denied their request for the experimental treatment that is his last human
option: all things in God’s hands!

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

* For the answered prayer we will receive as we trust in God to provide for our family
as we wait to transition to that place of confidence with a job for Lisa, a house to make a
home, the right school for Mack and God’s promised prosperity
* For inclusion and teamwork to serve God’s children better

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Create within us a clean heart, O Lord. Renew in us a right spirit. AMEN.

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