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August 31, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Psalm 143. 8

“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me
the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

How did you wake up this morning? Were you dreading another day at work or wrestling with children to get to school? Are there relationship issues that still remain in limbo and the prospects of the day are the enemy’s way of reminding you of failure even while God is working healing? Or did you breathe in the opportunity that God has trusted you with another day to discover His majesty, glory and purpose for your life? Did you jump into songs of praise as you anointed the morning routines with His favor? Did you turn to His Word and find hope and wisdom to meet the known and unknown challenges which are ahead of you? Did you take the time to celebrate the presence of God in the lives of others?

How you “wake” up, how you get through those morning habits of preparation, sets the pace and course for your day. The psalmist recognized this truth as he sang before the Lord. Imagine the shepherd who was laying beside the cooling embers of the fire he trusted in through the night to keep him warm. His sheep looked to him for their protection and provision. Even while he slept he trusted God for the very same. He awoke with the anticipation of God’s mercy and blessing from the work ahead, the food for his table and for the knowledge that God was still there in the morning as He was in the evening before.

The same is true for the life of the mighty man of God. It is important to establish the positive routine of going to God first in the morning which hopeful and faithful anticipation of all that God has already done and is about to do. If you go to the worldly routines of your life first then the burdens may overwhelm, the fears of the past may rise up in a haunting and taunting voice of defeat and you may miss all that God is ready to share. You may eventually get around to God but so much more work will have to be done to fully and completely appreciate the blessing which He has set before you.

So, how did you wake up this morning? What will you do tomorrow when God gives you the blessing of another new day?

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

* For those along the east coast of the United States who are facing the effects of Hurricane Earl
leading up to Labor Day weekend
* For the miners trapped in a Chilean mine with the prospect of four months before they are
rescued
* For Pakistan in the aftermath of the floods as the water recedes and new evidences of death
and disease are revealed
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan; for wisdom to reign in NYC over the continued debate of building a
Muslim mosque near Ground Zero
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and the Nigeria
* For popular world movers and shakers who continue to preach there is more than one way to
find happiness in this world and secure their path to eternal life

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

* TGITuesday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* The small wonders of nature like hummingbirds which can be a reminder that God pays
attention to small details, too

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, for that which these are about to receive, including me, there is thanksgiving and deep gladness rising from our spirit to greet Your Spirit. May the blessings which You are prepared to share be readily accepted and used for the advancement of Your Kingdom. AMEN.

August 30, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Psalm 82. 3

“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Chris Tomlin’s musical testimony declares the truth found throughout scripture “God is the defender of the weak.” As I stood in worship on Sunday as sang that truth the Spirit spoke in a personal word saying “God is the defender of the WEEK.” It struck me how even God’s mighty men have the tendency to forget their own weaknesses and allow themselves to become vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. How these mighty men take up the cause of the widows, orphans, the fatherless of body, mind and/or spirit. How these mighty men can preach, teach, mentor and meditate upon the Word guiding others into discovering the reality of the gospel in their own lives. How these mighty men set the prisoner free, restore sight to those blinded by the world and make it possible for those wounded and debilitated by sin to receive their healing. But, these mighty men are not supermen. It is by faith alone through the grace of God that they are able to succeed even when they fall short. Their success is in the Lord their God who makes the weak strong, who makes their weakness an avenue of ministry.

I watch as the vendors and media of the world inject into the minds of prospective buyers the buy-in to becoming more than who they are. They capitalize on the lie of “inescapable” weakness. They promote that looks and possessions are everything. They move themselves into the realm of “defending” the weak so they can, if they buy their product, become strong and powerful in the world. But, these products do not defend the weak. Instead, these products merely cover up the weakness and allow its roots reach further and deeper bringing destruction and death into their lives. Sin is like a septic band-aid. Instead of providing a sterile environment so that healing can progress safely, it infuses the disease of sin into the woundedness of God’s people and makes their condition worse than at the beginning. We must throw off these false defenders and call upon the “Defender of the Week.” God alone should be our greatest and singular choice for life, salvation and hope.

Who have you put your trust in? Lean not on the understandings of your heart but trust wholly in the Lord, in the name of Jesus and in the promise of abundant and eternal life which they offer freely having paid the price already in 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 discover they are not covered with a shroud of fear when they walk with
The Lord
* For the miners trapped in a Chilean mine with the prospect of four months before they are
rescued
* For Pakistan in the aftermath of the floods as the water recedes and new evidences of death
and disease are revealed
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan; for wisdom to reign in NYC over the continued debate of building a
Muslim mosque near Ground Zero
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and the Nigeria
* For popular world movers and shakers who continue to preach there is more than one way to
find happiness in this world and secure their path to eternal life

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

* TGIMonday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it: Yes, God
created Monday’s also!
* We celebrate Eric Balch’s visit to the game on Friday night and his continued healing
by grace from the Great Physician

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, cover these mighty men and those they will minister to today with Your healing mercy. Infuse into their lives the blessing of Your Holy Spirit so they will be strong enough to complete the task You have fashioned and called them to do. As they offer Your defense in love to others let them experience the true joy of obedience and grace. AMEN.

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August 28, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Romans 5. 10

“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son,
how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

The word “sin” translates into “missing the mark.” It turns the view of the person of God from the objective of their life to being the object of their life. In fact, sin becomes more than the transgression of God’s law which reveals His desire for our lives, it settles into the heart of the person and destroys the passion of the person for God. Sin’s desire is to capture the whole person from their thoughts to the actions. I believe this is what Paul was describing in HIS WORD for today (God’s word not Paul’s) when he said we (the people of God defined by sin) have been reconciled through the death of Jesus, God’s Son. That first reconciliation was the payment to God for the price of our sin. Jesus allowed His own blood to not be spared by taking on the path of the cross which included death so that our sins could be forgiven. It became a personal matter for God and for Jesus Christ. So it should be with our salvation.

When Jesus died on the cross with His blood spilling out onto the ground upon which we walk there was blessing there that many have not fully recognized. At that moment, God looked upon us and saw us as people who were returned and restored to who they were meant to be. When He called out on the cross, “It is finished, it is done.” He was speaking of the work of salvation which had to include His belief in God’s promise to save everyone from eternal death. In that moment there were no barriers between God and God’s people even those who still did not understand what was happening. But, that was not the end of our reconciliation, being restored back to God as God’s faithful people. Those who confess that Jesus is the Christ and their personal Lord and Savior are saved from death and given the key to the door of life which is Christ. His life is the roadmap of fulfillment. By seeking to do what Christ did for others we demonstrate our recognition that we have been saved by grace through God’s mercy. By extending grace to others we demonstrate God’s mercy through Christ-like actions. By being merciful our Christ-like actions are filled with grace.

We need to be subjective about our faith. We need to know it in our hearts as well as in our minds. By faith in Christ we are pointed in the correct direction, our lives are put back on track and we can enjoy our reconciliation, the glad union of God the Father and His children.

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 miners trapped in a Chilean mine with the prospect of four months before they are
rescued
* For Pakistan as cholera is now breaking out following the rains and floods killing over 1500
and displacing hundreds of thousands more who are sleeping in mud under 118 degree temps
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan; for wisdom to reign in NYC over the continued debate of building a
Muslim mosque near Ground Zero
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and the Nicaragua
* For blessings on those whose struggles financially are enabling poor life decisions

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

* TGISaturday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* Introspection while difficult is healing

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, thank you for seeking us out where we may be found. Hear us say with hands outstretched, “Here am I, Lord, find me and do with me what is right and good for all your people” In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

August 27, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 8. 10,11

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she said. Jesus declared, ‘Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave
your life of sin.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Part 4 “Thee Conclusion”:

If this powerful vignette was not included in the early manuscripts of the Gospel of Jesus according to John, there had to be a reason why it would show up later in the collective memory of the early Church. Perhaps as John was now watching the twilight of his own life and the growing persecution of the First Century church in Asia Minor which surpassed the persecution of Christians in Rome during Nero’s rule there was a call to awareness for reconciliation. Who was to be brought together? One option may well have been the hope for Jews and Christians to be as one people in what John saw as the final days. The close of the century brings a sense of foreboding closure to a lot of hearts and minds. Consider the Y2K messages in our own day as we witnessed the close of a decade, century and millennium. The hope of John was a burden placed on his heart by His Lord and Savior who called the disciples to preach reconciliation. How he, too, wanted God’s people to be as one holy and righteous nation. The Church had been persecuted by Romans and by Jews and Jewish sympathizers. The Book of Revelation reveals such hardships which the Church, the Bride of Christ, was facing in those “last days.” Did this power-punch of a teaching settle into the back of John’s mind waiting for that eschatological moment? Who is truly to say? So what then can be said?

The conclusion is certainly an admonition for all Christ followers and the Church to leave the life of sin and “Go.” Go where? Go into all the world fulfilling the great commission left by Christ to His disciples. They were promised persecution, hardships and death because they accepted the name of Jesus as their own. He prophesied it and modeled it before their very eyes. It wasn’t going to be an easy road to travel. Yet, it was a road that could and would be travelled by those who put their faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ. Regardless of what the world may say about the Church and her many members, the final word exists in Christ. The world may bring focus to our sin and sinfulness. It may want to highlight our failures to remain righteous, holy and blameless because we are still fragile and broken people. It may want to dispel the hopes of the world for that singular answer which would make sense once and for all concerning the world and our place in it. But, when placed against the majesty and love of the Savior of the world, those who claim they are the way, the truth and the life will pale in comparison and drop like rocks back to earth. It is a charge and a challenge to God’s mighty men to endure the trials and tribulations of sin and sinner and maintain the course of faith, hope and love. When you face hardships because you fell once again from the intention of holiness, rise up and look around you to see only Christ who stands before you saying “There is none to condemn you here. Rise up, go and leave your life of sin.” How awesome are those words of comfort, peace and love! They are “Thee” conclusion of our lives of sin and “Thee” reconciliation we can celebrate with Christ and all those who believe in Him who did not perish but has everlasting Life.

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 miners trapped in a Chilean mine with the prospect of four months before they are
rescued
* For Pakistan as cholera is now breaking out following the rains and floods killing over 1500
and displacing hundreds of thousands more who are sleeping in mud under 118 degree temps
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan; for wisdom to reign in NYC over the continued debate of building a
Muslim mosque near Ground Zero
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and the New Zealand
* For blessings on those whose struggles financially are enabling poor life decisions

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

* TGIFriday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* Release of the American held in Korea
* For pay increases and the opportunity great and small to serve God more with thanksgiving

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, we know that there are many hard words that can and will be spoken against your people. Perfection may escape each one in their pursuit to never make a mistake. But, make no mistake that they are seeking the exit from the highway of sin to travel on the thoroughfare of faith. May your mighty men be as markers and signposts along their journey to encourage one another to keep the faith, share the faith and celebrate faith in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

August 26, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 8.6

“They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him. But Jesus
bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Part 3:

What was Jesus writing in the dirt as His accusers and those of the woman caught in adultery crowded closer together collapsing the circle around them? The heart of the writing was actually a spoken challenge, “If any one of you is without sin, let that one be the first to throw a stone at her.” Some object lesson perhaps? We know how much attention adults pay to moments on the steps for children. Was Jesus drawing a picture for them? Whatever it was came home with full force after His accountability sentence because when He began to write again the men turned and walked away silently.

Could it have been scriptures in the dirt? There on the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem during the Feast of Booths it would only seem fitting that God’s Word be celebrated and remembered. After all, the circle of men included members of the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees, teachers and keepers of the law. The circle also included elders and temple administrators who were in town for the religious season and their time of service. These were not men who lacked for anything but who had everything to lose in this world if they could not stop the truth of God’s Son. Why would they want to stop Jesus? He was bad for business. John already had introduced the Jesus with the whip stirring it up in the temple courts declaring “This is a house of prayer not a marketplace.” He was hitting them in the pocketbooks. He was already hitting them in their egos. They were no longer the ultimate authority. He did not charge for forgiveness of sins or for healing the sick. He brought in a crowd but it wasn’t for the purpose of self-importance. He preached and practiced love, even of His enemies. He was under the control of something or someone they couldn’t wrap their heads around because their hearts were hardened. The entire scenario reflected their own history from the days of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. They hadn’t learned much from their past and were nearing the repeat of it (and in 68 A.D. it happened as Rome repeated what Babylon had done centuries before.)

What scriptures could He have been writing to draw their attention to the heart of this lesson He was teaching them? Could it have been the commandment forbidding the practice of adultery? Could it have been the prophecy of Jeremiah as God spoke of Israel believing in God half-heartedly and under the false pretenses of “looking holy” to God and saving face with the enemy whom they engaged in political, economic and spiritual prostitution? Could it have been the prophecies of Ezekiel as God reminded the leaders of Jerusalem, Judah and Israel of how they were more adept at “going to bed” with foreign kings, movers and shakers, than they were of keeping holy and pure for the King of Kings who would liberate them from the captors snare?
At what point did Jesus stop preaching and teaching and start meddling in their affairs? It probably was at that same moment mentioned before as He delivered the fateful words “Let those without sin cast the first stone.” Oh, now the glass houses were shattering one by one as the windows of their souls slammed shut for fear that others might look them in the eyes and know how they had been guilty of creating a world in which others suffered so they could live comfortably. They were the very ones the welfare of Israel had been given to and their failed woefully in their stewardship. Now the stones of their lives fell to the ground just as their hopes were falling apart.

Who was left? Only two people were left in the emptiness. The air had gone out of their balloon and a breath of fresh air would replace the staleness of their faithlessness. Jesus who was and is and will always be the Living Word and the woman who desperately needed to hear the Word. He was the stone which the builders rejected. She would become one of the stones set against it in building up the kingdom of God on earth. The reality of a lack of forgiveness was strewn on the ground. The reality of forgiveness took its place. And so it should be for all of God’s mighty men. The only stones they should carry are ones which are used to build up the body of Christ and not tear down the people of God. Speak with love and forgiveness, not blame and despair.

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 miners trapped in a Chilean mine with the prospect of four months before they are
rescued
* For Pakistan as cholera is now breaking out following the rains and floods killing over 1500
and displacing hundreds of thousands more who are sleeping in mud under 118 degree temps
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing and grief-bearing as he has been released from the hospital and they have had the time
to celebrate Mason’s life in Heaven as it could never be on earth but was close because of his
family’s love
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan; for wisdom to reign in NYC over the continued debate of building a
Muslim mosque near Ground Zero
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and the New Caledonia

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

* TGIThursday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* Mother-in-laws are wonderful people…happy birthday!
* Cooler weather and a bit of rain

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, the Word is peace. The Word is love. The Word is salvation. Thank God, the Word is ours. Let those who have ears to hear, hear Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

August 25, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 8.6

“They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him. But Jesus
bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

What was Jesus writing in the dirt as His accusers and those of the woman caught in adultery crowded closer together collapsing the circle around them? The heart of the writing was actually a spoken challenge, “If any one of you is without sin, let that one be the first to throw a stone at her.” Some object lesson perhaps? We know how much attention adults pay to moments on the steps for children. Was Jesus drawing a picture for them? Whatever it was came home with full force after His accountability sentence because when He began to write again the men turned and walked away silently.

Could it have been names in the dirt? Hosea had been given names for the three children born into his marriage with Gomer. He had been commanded to take an adulteress wife because the land was guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord. The names of the three children would be prophetic revelations concerning the fate of Israel (the ten tribes of the north.) Jezreel, the oldest was a reminder of how remaining unfaithful to God’s call even when you had done most things correctly would have an impact on the generations to follow. Lo-Ruhamah, their daughter, was the name which declared the loss of favor in the sight of the Lord. So, great was the disappointment that their receiving any forgiveness was called into serious question. Yet, God promised that Judah would be redeemed by God and not by the armies of men. Finally, the youngest son named Lo-Ammi brought home the message “you are not my people, and I am not your God.” It was not so much a statement of God’s position as it was God’s recognition of what position the people had put Him into. Their failure to be God’s people was an admission that they no longer saw God as their God. Their desire to follow other gods and false practices of worship would be the downfall of Israel.

Of course, simply writing these names in the dirt might have had little effect on those who gathered in that accusatory circle. They may have well anticipated how this teacher was going to make an object lesson of the woman. They might have considered her a Gomer and Jesus was going to make a rabbinic parallel in order to answer their question. What a surprise it must have been when scribing the last letter He rose to speak, stooped down again near the woman and began writing again. What was it this time? Could it have been their own names now that were being written? Had their names lost their meaning as their lives had lost their purpose tainted by hate, greed, fear and sin? Was it the names of all those guilty of being from an adulterous generation themselves forgetting to heed their own teachings? Whatever it was, the point was made as each one dropped their stone confessing their own conviction of sinfulness and imperfection.

As God’s mighty men, we have no room for casting stones. For those who believe they do it will be as if they were in a rubber room where those very stones would return upon them. I would hope those men that day were turning away from their sin and returning to God. I cannot surmise on that hope but I can believe in the hope which Christ gives to each of us today. It is the same hope which He gave to the woman huddled by His side in fear and shame. That hope is “without accusers to condemn then Christ will not condemn; sin no more.” Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. He calls each mighty man to be an agent of forgiveness leading others into their awareness of redemption. Go and do likewise.

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 miners trapped in a Chilean mine with the prospect of four months before they are
rescued
* For Pakistan as cholera is now breaking out following the rains and floods killing over 1500
and displacing hundreds of thousands more who are sleeping in mud under 118 degree temps
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing and grief-bearing as he has been released from the hospital and they have had the time
to celebrate Mason’s life on earth as it is in Heaven
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan; for wisdom to reign in NYC over the continued debate of building a
Muslim mosque near Ground Zero
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and the Netherlands Antilles

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

* TGIWednesday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* Poignant self-reflection (we sometimes hate but need it)

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, continue to speak to each of us in Your Word until we, too, hear clearly what You are saying. Let those with ears to hear, hear and obey responding positively to Your mercy and grace for all of our lives. AMEN.

August 24, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 8.6

“They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him. But Jesus
bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Those familiar with the story of the battle for Texas independence which was fought in San Antonio in and around the Alamo remember Colonel Travis drawing a line in the dirt with his saber. The line represented a moment of decision for the men who were under siege by General Santa Anna and a force exceeding 5000 men. Only 189 strong, the Alamo defenders and the Republic supporters had only three options: surrender and be executed, huddle and be murdered or continue to resist in the hopes of providing Sam Houston the opportunity to gather his army together in such force to defeat Santa Anna. All but one soldier, a soldier of fortune, named Louis Rose, stepped across the line with Colonel Travis. Even Jim Bowie who was cot-ridden ordered men to carry him across. We know the consequence of that decision as every last man sacrificed his life for the cause of freedom. But, the battle cry “Remember the Alamo” rang out across the coastal plains of the new republic and in the bayous north of Galveston, General Sam Houston found victory.

On that day in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus put His “sword” to the dirt and created a moment of decision. In the center of the battle was Jesus the teacher on trial with a woman caught in adultery huddled near his side. They were surrounded by forces that seemingly outnumbered them if it had been anyone but Jesus who could have called down ten thousand angels to take their stand. But, this was not the time and place for such a display. These men who confronted Jesus with the real-life question of a woman of ill-repute were not strong. Together they represented more of a pack than mighty men of God. Jesus could hear the fear in their voices. He could see the fear in their eyes. But, far more than that He could see the sin in their hearts. Armed only with the word of God, He began to draw a line in the dirt which begged the questions “Whose side on you on? Yours, theirs or God’s?” If what He wrote in the dirt was of material value I have no doubt it would have been preserved for history to see. Whatever it was no man in the circle would repeat it because they did not stay long enough for someone else to begin to point a finger at him. The woman would not have known because her head was buried in the dirt with fear and shame akin to an ostrich who lies down in hopes of disappearing in the dirt and avoiding a predator. If the disciples were nearby the dirt was smoothed out as if nothing had happened. In part, that singular illustration is what the lesson was all about. The sins of the woman were erased by the love and mercy of God. Through Jesus, the blessing of forgiveness was invoked. It would have been the same for any of the men who dared to remain claiming to take side with Jesus. Instead, Jesus and the woman were surrounded by the stones that once were carried for execution of the law. Instead, they would become an altar of love and grace.

Mighty men of God, take heed. We are equally armed with the Word of God to defend the widow, the prostitute, the sinner against those who would use them to support their own position and actions which are not truly of God. But, the “line in the dirt” at the battle of Jerusalem remains ever before you to decide whose side are you on- “Yours, Theirs or God’s.”

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 miners trapped in a Chilean mine with the prospect of four months before they are
rescued
* For Pakistan as cholera is now breaking out following the rains and floods killing over 1500
and displacing hundreds of thousands more
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing and grief-bearing as he has been released from the hospital and they have had the time
to celebrate Mason’s life on earth as it is in Heaven
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan; for wisdom to reign in NYC over the continued debate of building a
Muslim mosque near Ground Zero
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and Nepal (the world’s only Hindu kingdom) and the site of a recent
airliner crash killing 14
* For the successful start of many public, prep and college school years

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

* TGITuesday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* Another good day of school beginnings
* Birthday blessings whenever they are extended

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, if it were not for the presence of grace, the blessing of forgiveness and the power of love, we would all be like the woman reduced to a life of sin seeking survival. But, You have made it possible to be more than survivors. You are making each of these a mighty man of God, Your servant in the fight for freedom of body, mind, heart and soul. Bless the battle they wage today together in Your Word, Jesus the Christ. AMEN.

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August 23, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 8.7

“When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is
without sin, let that one be the first to throw a stone at her.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Most of God’s mighty men recognize this passage of scripture from HIS Word to be the key and critical teaching point from the story of the woman caught in adultery. Many commentaries have been offered in seeking to explain the background information out of which an appropriate understanding could be developed. Many early manuscripts of the gospel of John do not include this snapshot of accountability for mercy and grace. Regardless, it stands as a witness to the need for forgiveness- to give and to receive. So many things place God’s people on the perimeter of joy. They certainly can see it but circumstances and situations in life have made it seem impossible to embrace. As someone once said, “Life can certainly get in the way.” What circumstances in our own lives, and in the lives of those we love and have come into contact with, have placed us in the shadows which ring the bonfire of grace? As the tongues of fire like those which danced on the heads of the disciples in the upper room on the day of Pentecost dance before our eyes the burden of our own disappointments, failures and sin burn within us. We hear the stories of adventure, excitement and peace from those who sit and stand around this spirit-fire. We feel the truth burning within us and hear echoes of the law crying out “Unworthy.” No matter how much we would love to enter the sacred circle, we are relegated to the shadows like wild animals worthy only of capture, display and horror stories. This may well have been the experience of the woman caught in adultery.

But, this lesson had two audiences. One certainly was the woman herself. What circumstances led her into becoming the object of their scorn and an unwilling participant in an opportunity to trap Jesus the teacher in a false teaching? She is accused of adultery. Was she a victim of society where the law allowed her husband to dismss her from marriage with a certificate of divorce so he could marry another? Was her husband such a poor husband that she had found solace in another and violating her covenant vows was the consequence of divorce? Was she unmarriageable for some reason and had to turn to prostitution to support herself and became associated with a married man who himself was cheating on his own wife and therefore an easy target of scorn? We truly do not know what the circumstances of her life were. But, the clue may well have been in the writing which Jesus did in the sand. With whatever symbols or words He used to draw attention to the situation, He laid the groundwork and framework for each man in that circle to suddenly become the wild animals in the shadows while the woman was transformed into a person of peace and hope by the spirit of forgiveness, mercy and grace.

We will look at this lesson more in the days to come exploring the accountability question of “What might have Jesus written in the sand?”

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 miners trapped in a Chilean mine with the prospect of four months before they are
rescued
* For Pakistan as cholera is now breaking out following the rains and floods killing over 1500
and displacing hundreds of thousands more
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing and grief-bearing; for all the communities assisting them financially and spiritually
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan; for wisdom to reign in NYC over the continued debate of building a
Muslim mosque near Ground Zero
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and Nepal
* For the successful start of many public, prep and college school years

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

* TGIMonday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* That 78 people were led to Christ during a crusade at Bro Alan’s church

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, write upon our hearts, minds and spirits the indelible word of grace and mercy and forgiveness. Remind us that we do not stand alone for each of us has sinned and fallen short of Your glory and grace. Thankfully through Jesus Christ our Lord we each have been saved and offered restoration as well. Let the fire of Your faith, hope and love burn in us. Let each of these mighty men become a burning bush lighting the path which leads others to freedom and liberty out of the bondage of sin. AMEN.

August 20, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

1 Chronicles 29. 14

“But who am I [David], and who are my people [Israel], that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your Hand.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I love to play Monopoly regardless of the version of Monopoly game (although I am old school and love the original.) I have even collected representation of HO model trains which are represented on the Monopoly board. It took me a little research to figure out what Short Line RR was but eventually I have that one, too. One day, I may even try to build a Monopoly layout in which to run them. I have great plans for what I intend to do. However, God has greater plans which is why I am mentioning this hobby love of mine. When the game of Monopoly is over all the money goes back in the box. Everyone’s wealth or poverty disappears. I even used money from other games so that the bank would be even larger and the wheeling and dealing more extravagant but the result would be the same. Even now with HIS Word in mind, I realize that I could model tithing in the game by giving ten percent of my gains to Free Parking which might look more like a Blessing Box for those who land on it. Yet, in the end, it all goes to default. The money goes back. The real estate property and pieces go back. The players go back. The cards go back. The die go back. Finally, the board goes back, the lid goes on and the game goes back on the shelf.

Of course, our faith is no game and the resources in our lives are real. But, as David called Israel to financial accountability for the construction of the temple, we are also reminded that everything we have comes from God. There isn’t anything that we have created on our own without the original investment made by God in creation. God is the source and resource of all we have and have done for better or worse. That means that each person and their temporary possessions belongs to God. It becomes an awesome consideration when we take a serious look at life from this perspective. How did we use this divine resource? How did we improve the property and position we have been given the opportunity to share? How did we live? If it were a Monopoly game reflective of our attitude toward God and one another, how well did we represent ourselves before God and one another. Do we live life as if it were a Monopoly game? Are we cognizant of the fact that when we have run the course of the game as we run the course of life that everything goes back to God and we have nothing but what we laid up in heaven through our faithfulness to God while on earth.

God’s mighty men do not have a monopoly on the truth but they are on the right track when they recognize their place before God and the blessings they have received in life to use for the glory of God. They cannot afford to play games with what God has provided. They dare not become so consumed with the dynamic of “what I have done” that they forget the real truth of what they are supposed to do and why. Each of God’s mighty men may have goals in their lives which look personal and self-serving. There isn’t anything wrong with having fun, collecting things, enjoying life to its fullest. But, there is that time when even those things must be put to the side and the reality of the life of faith be taken up so that God’s will for good can be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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 Pakistan as cholera is now breaking out following the rains and floods killing over 1500
and displacing hundreds of thousands more
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing and grief-bearing; for all the communities assisting them financially and spiritually
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the protection of American forces throughout the Middle East but especially
in Iraq and Afghanistan
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and Myanmar
* For the mission revival at Brother Alan’s church

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

* TGIFriday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* The trust of colleagues

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, for all that we have received and are about to receive, we give You thanks. For all that we have and all that we truly are began with You. We pray that we will use it all wisely so it can return to You in abundance and in love. AMEN.

August 19, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Job 1. 12

“The Lord said to Satan; ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man
himself do not lay a finger.’ Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

In the midst of all we may think we know about ourselves as people, we must remember that Satan has never been given permission or authority over who we are. Comic Flip Wilson’s character Geraldine was famous for saying “The Devil made me do it.” Is it the truth or is it just a failure to accept responsibility for our own actions? The story of Job, one of God’s mightiest men, lost everything he had but himself. Satan had been given authority over the things he had but not who he was. Who he was remained a matter of personal decisions. Job in his faith did not surrender himself into becoming an object, a thing, in life. Job knew he was a person, a real and living person, created in the image that God wanted projected into the world. He certainly had the opportunity to turn everything he was into an object. He never did. He held on to the person of God that he believed himself to be. Equally, he never turned God into an object either. God was something vital in his life. God was not a thing in his life. If at any point Job objectified God then Satan would have had control over that as well.

Now, we know that Satan will never had control of God. But, could it be possible that Satan could have control of the God in us? The obvious answer is “no.” As long as God is God in our lives and never a ‘god’ in our lives, Satan has no control. So we must remember to pay attention to not defining our relationship and our life with God by things. Didn’t God command that we not worship idols and create graven images? These are things which have no power except what we think they have. But, God is not found in things. God is found in the living relationships of faith, hope and love. Jesus taught “Where two or more are gathered in My name there you will find Me.” If Christ is in us and with us then we are something to be reckoned with! But, if He is not then we are in chaos and disarray much like the cosmos before God got involved and brought life and life out of the confusion. God’s mighty men must beware. They must not allow their lives to be defined by what they have and what they do but by who they are. If they are one with God then what they have and what they do no longer defines them but is defined by them. Their possessions become blessings useful to resource the ministry of life. Their works become blessings as outpourings of ministering to life.

Satan may still have the authority to taunt us by rearranging the “whats” in our life but as long as we stay focused on the “whos” in life and the “whose we are,” then we will enjoy the blessings of faith just as Job did.

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 Pakistan as cholera is now breaking out following the rains and floods killing over 1500
and displacing hundreds of thousands more
* For Eric Balch and family who continue in their journey of physical, emotion and spiritual
healing and grief-bearing; for all the communities assisting them financially and spiritually
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; and the lost American soldier, the hikers still in Irani captivity
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border as the murders
escalates in number and intensity of horror
* 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 Mission Waco and Mozambique

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

* TGIThursday- this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it
* The last U.S. Combat brigade has left Iraq and crossed into Kuwait

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, whose we are, we celebrate being the subject of Your love and mercy and merely an object of your affection. Work Your wisdom in these mighty men so that they will remember to do for others as You have done for them. Let their hearts be pure and their intentions be true and their joy be complete. AMEN.

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