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September 30, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 21.5

“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

In this case, right didn’t mean correct as if the disciples had been doing something wrong. Right indicated most probably the opposite side of the boat from where Jesus was standing on the shore. But, we cannot ignore that the information Jesus gave the disciples for their success was once again “right,” “correct,” “on target” and “perfect.” The disciples just hadn’t been looking in the right place. Of course, we don’t hear their reply this time. Undoubtedly they were muttering under their breath about already fishing on both sides of the boat and perhaps a few sides that didn’t even exist. How men struggle with “good advice” that comes from someone else especially when they think they have done everything they can possibly think of and a few no one knew anything about. It is especially difficult when the advice is coming from someone who isn’t a part of the process, a sidewalk supervisor, who may or may not (and the assumption is always that they don’t) know what they are talking about.

As God’s mighty men we still fall into that trap when it comes to good advice about life, husbanding, parenting, working and yes, even spirituality such as how to pray, how to witness, how to serve and how to love one another. But, it is always a bit easier to take the medicine of good advice even when we do not think it is when it is coming from someone who is our friend and has established a working relationship with us. In this instance, Jesus could have said simply “Hey you guys, what’s the problem- no fish?” Or maybe “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know how to fish?” I have no doubt that even in our Christian mind we can think of and remember some other introductory statements that were lead-ins to “good and helpful advice.” This is not what Jesus did and we should do what Jesus did. He called to them as one of them when we spoke to His “friends.” We do not hear where Jesus actually went fishing but we will later learn that a breakfast of bread and fish was waiting for His friends. It wasn’t about His ability to fish, however, that gave Him the privilege of sharing expert advice. It was His ability to see what they could not see. Isn’t that a quality of friendship. Our friends are known as those who see things we cannot see ourselves, no matter how obvious, and have the permission to speak the truth in love whether we want them to or not and whether we want to listen to it or not.
Jesus had the eye of the Master. His vision for their lives was perfect. He could see their struggle and their grief as well as their potential and their need. As their friend, He helped them to revisit a time of success, allow them to experience it once again and then invite safely back into the circle of faith, hope and love.

What kind of relationship do we establish with those God is directing us to in bearing witness about Jesus as the Friend of all?

(Continued tomorrow)

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 rising rate of suicide among soldiers; especially with 4 reported this week at Ft. Hood,
Texas
* For those threatened by news of terrorism planned in Europe
* For those facing heavy rainfall along the east coast for the next couple of days
* For the trapped miners in Peru and the families and workers impacted by this challenge
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; wisdom on the West Bank as the Israeli building moratorium comes to an end
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and Russia
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For safe journey of the LVHS NJROTC

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

* Safe departures and returns
* For the financial support God is preparing to assist this family in need

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, revisit and renew Your relationship with us and help us to see the hope we need to successfully do Your Will on earth as it is being done in Heaven. AMEN.

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September 29, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 21.5

“He called out to the disciples, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
‘No’ they answered.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Even in the early morning haze of an already warming day which rose on the water, the weary disciples heard the voice calling from the seashore. Bleary eyes of those who tried to stay awake through an unproductive night and those who failed could not see who was talking to them but they all could hear it. Even when the vision was unclear they trusted their ears involuntarily in answering the call “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” Their reply was as much to the salutation as it was to the question. They were fishermen by default still and not quite fishers of men. When another fishermen asks about a catch they will reply even if it becomes the basis of some fish story about the one who got away. The disciples knew about that feeling in this early morning, too. They had lost Judas who was one of their own and the questions of betrayal still lingered. But, they were still dealing with the big One who seemingly slipped out of their grasp as they, like Magdalene, could not hold Him for He had not yet ascended. However, He was not lost. He did not get away. Satan could not hold Him. Sin, the weapon of Satan against God through God’s people, could not hold Him. Death, the consequence of sin, could not hold Him. The grave could not hold Him. But, those who believe in Him and set about doing the Master’s Work because they understand its benefit and promise will always be-hold Him. Before they even knew it was Jesus they trusted the call to friendship. In the time of greatest grief and futile recovery they needed a good friend.

Jesus, their friend in life and in faith, began to reintroduce them back to both. They admitted they had not caught any fish. The consequence was empty bellies to match the empty lives. Breakfast would have to be scrounged for much like the day on the mount before the feeding of the five thousand. Without Jesus where would this meal come from to sooth the aching muscles, weary minds and troubled hearts? But, beneath their defeat as fishermen, and who among us have not experienced that, was the gentle knocking at the door of reason. They would not recognize this call immediately but the invitation of the Savior who stands at the door of the heart, mind and soul was offered. They had not been following their call either- the call to be fishers of men. This was the call they were trained for. This was the call of the master’s business. This was the call that would fulfill their lives to overflowing. They had not forsaken the call but it had been moved to the back burner to simmer a while until their business of grieving was complete. Jesus knew the best medicine was seeking first the Kingdom of God promising everything else they would need would be provided. This would include the provision of reconciliation and restoration which was about to be provided.

Question: When Jesus calls out to you as a friend, how do you answer? What about those who are calling out for help? Do you answer them as a friend or dutiful servant hoping that going through the motions will suffice to create joy and peace?

(Continued tomorrow)

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 threatened by news of terrorism planned in Europe
* Healing and justice in the sexual accusations against a Georgia pastor
* For the trapped miners in Peru and the families and workers impacted by this challenge
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; wisdom on the West Bank as the Israeli building moratorium comes to an end
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and Russia
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For all marriages to bring glory to God

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

* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”
* For the financial support God is preparing to assist this family in need

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, we know You have made it possible for us to be restored to our place as sons in the household of God. We have been like prodigal sons and You are the ever-vigilant and faithful father. You have done so by calling us to be friends with Jesus and through Jesus to one another. Consecrate the celebration of that friendship which is the foundation in faith for all our relationships. AMEN.

September 28, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 21.5

“He called out to the disciples, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
‘No’ they answered.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Was Jesus belaboring the obvious with His question to the disciples that morning? When they went out to fish it was the preceding evening (the start of a Jewish day). Fishing was more productive through the nighttime hours as lamps on the ends of the boats attracted the insects and the insects were the bait for the fish. They were drawn to the light out of the darkness. Even the lives of the fishermen were illumined by its glow. Yet, in the morning the lights of the boats were put out and the glow of the rising sun would take its place. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus’ opportunities for the disciples to grapple with a large catch was never at night? Perhaps it was because they were drawn to a greater light than the rising sun. They were drawn to the Son of God.

Jesus was a Master fisherman. He knew exactly where the fish were. He understood the structure and the needs of the fish He sought. As a matter of fact, Jesus was more than a Master fisherman, He was the Ultimate Fishing Guide. He could lead others to a great harvest and teach them how to bring it in. His early promise to the neo-disciples was exactly that He would lead them to a great harvest and teach them how to bring them in. This is the work that had been done. The fields were ripe with harvest and the waters rife with abundance. Jesus had completed His task on earth releasing the barrier to new life. The seed had been sown but the Father had watered and nurtured the seed of life and it was ready to burst from its shell and become plentiful. The seed was made to be fruitful and multiply. Sin’s purpose was to stifle the seed and the seed bearer inhibiting the hope for any life in the future worth having. With the resurrection of Jesus that shell and barrier had been broken. The chains of bondage were released and anyone who believed that Jesus was the Christ was not only set free but blessed with the ability to be fruitful and multiply.

Those disciples who had taken their place in the boats that night were living by a dying ember of the past. Their grief was swallowing them up in a shell of remorse, defeat and sadness. They were laboring under a false assumption that they could go back to the “good old days.” While they knew better, sin in its death throes was attempting to wrap them in the shroud of the tomb to take the place of the Lord of Life who had escaped its clutches. If it couldn’t capture the Savior it would defeat Him by capturing the saved and lure them into the darkness and emptiness to be sealed forever in a living death. Jesus, the risen Son, offered words of a different conclusion. He spoke the truth to them that was more metaphorical than literal but nonetheless bound in truth and practicality. “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” He knew they hadn’t any fish in their nets from an empty night of fishing nor had they brought in anyone to the net of God because they were still laboring in the empty night of their true vocation- bringing in men to God.

Who are you serving? The reflection of the son of man, your father, or the reflection of the Son of God and Your Father in Heaven?

(Continued tomorrow)

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 threatened by rising waters and failing levees in the upper Midwest
* For the trapped miners in Peru and the families and workers impacted by this challenge
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; wisdom on the West Bank as the Israeli building moratorium comes to an end
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and Russia
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For all marriages to bring glory to God

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

* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”
* For the financial support God is preparing to assist this family in need

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, as they mighty men climb out of their beds and depart from their slumber watch as they rejoice in the rising sun and the Risen Son and bring glory to Your Name. You have provided a day of opportunity to lead other men in to the catch of God and teach them how to do the same in the name of Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for the fullness of life shared with one and all. AMEN.

September 27, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 21.5

“He called out to the disciples, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
‘No’ they answered.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

“Friends,” Jesus taught, “know the Master’s business.” What was the business of the Master that these friends should know and put into practice? When they were called to be His disciples there was the promise made “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” I wonder how that sounded to those professional fishermen whose families had made their living from the sea. They immediately responded, dropping their nets and following Him. Of course, the metaphor might have actually been lost on them but there was a certain appeal about what Jesus said that lured them into learning more about the truth He was proclaiming. On each encounter with fishing and these disciples we find they were not an overwhelming success until Jesus steps into the picture. Maybe they tired enough of poor fishing that doing something else, anything else, might have an appeal. Connecting their call and purpose with a vocational theme they knew something about certainly didn’t hurt. He wasn’t calling them into the business of fishing to work under Him. He was calling them to the ministry of fishing they would share with Him. His ultimate goal was to move them beyond the point of believing He was the Christ and into a fulfilling personal relationship with the Lord of Life. Servants who only did the work would never understand the joy and benefit of such a relationship. Friends would and while they would do the same work it would be done differently and seen differently. Servants fished. Friends loved to fish.

It would make sense then that the first encounter recorded where Jesus used the very word of identification to affirm His desire for His disciples would be while they were fishing. He had already appeared to them in the upper room at least twice. But, even with those appearances the disciples remained troubled. The minds, hearts and spirits were in idle. The engine was running but the vehicle was going nowhere. In fact, it seemed to be going in reverse as these disciples half-heartedly defaulted to their life before Jesus. It was what servants do and Jesus knew this would never be enough for His friends. They had tasted living water, seen miracles and most of all they had seen Jesus in life, death and resurrection. Nothing else in the world could fill the emptiness they now felt as Jesus was taking His place in Heaven no longer walking with them as He had on earth. They were glad to be called His friends but now they had lost that friend to a higher calling. He was going away and had promised to return but not one of them knew when that would be. They longed for the glad reunion which those few earthly appearances could never satisfy. In the terms of some grief counselors there was unfinished business which had to be taken care of between friends before they could move forward. Jesus, the friend of all, knew this and now took the time to console, empower and love His friends in a manner that would last a lifetime.

Question: When you witness to someone about the love of Christ, do you invite them to become servants of Christ or His friends?

(Continued tomorrow)

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 threatened by rising waters and failing levees in the upper Midwest
* For the trapped miners in Peru and the families and workers impacted by this challenge
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; wisdom on the West Bank as the Israeli building moratorium comes to an end
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and Russia
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For all marriages to bring glory to God

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

* Happy Birthday, Mack
* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”
* For the financial support God is preparing to assist this family in need

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, You have befriended us when we were spiritual barren and empty. You have fed us the bread of life and given us the taste of new wine. As we break bread today with others let us remember that night when Jesus promised to call us friends, too, so that we may complete Your Joy in us in His name. AMEN.

September 26, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 21.5

“He called out to the disciples, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
‘No’ they answered.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I think it is easier to do what a friend asks you than when a boss tells you even if it is the same requests. Of course, there exists that fine line as a leader as to when you are a friend and when you are the boss. Some are not able to maintain that line and they fall on one side or the other as leaders. Yet, as God’s mighty men this is exactly what we are being taught how to do. On the night when Jesus was betrayed He shared with His disciples “I no longer call you servants because servants have no concept of the master’s business. Instead, I call you friends because everything I have learned from the Father I have made known to you.” (John 15.15) It was one thing to share this teaching with His disciples. I am sure it helped to draw them even closer to Himself on such an important day and night. It was important to show them how far they had come in their working relationship and in their lives. It was vital for them to recognize who they had become. They were attending their graduation and hearing their commencement address. But, as with most high school graduates, they had no idea what it would really mean until “it” happened.

“It” was the moment when all they had learned and been trained for would actually be put to the test. For Jesus and His disciples, “it” happened in less than twenty-four hours with His arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial. What was their worship like on Friday night when they were supposed to gathering for worship on the Sabbath which began at the setting of the sun? Were they praising God and celebrating life’s new beginnings? Were they lamenting their own short-sightedness and sinfulness asking God for forgiveness? Were they stories of reflections of those good times and bad in their lives before and during their time with Jesus? Were there tears and laughter in their moments of reflection? The beginnings of the gospel memoirs had their roots in that time of worship which hinged upon the reality of the difference between servants and friends. We can see how they perceived themselves in the days and weeks that followed. Servants would simply go back to work and deal with their grief on the assembly line of routine.
Friends struggle and return to their default point in life- their comfort zone. For some, work may be that place, but generally there is some activity that became a safe place in which to retreat. For a handful of disciples that safe place was in a boat on the water with fishing nets in hand. They were fishing but not really with the intention of catching fish. They were friends drawn together to try and overcome their grief. It was with that in mind that John remembers the story by the sea when Jesus put His teaching into action as He called across the water, “Hey! Friends!”

Question for reflection: How do you define your closest relationships with God and others? Are you servants or friends?

(continued tomorrow)

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

* For those who will lead God’s people in worship, service and praise this weekend
* For the trapped miners in Peru and the families and workers impacted by this challenge
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and Russia
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For those who work with the mentally infirmed and elderly that love shall overwhelm them all
* For all marriages to bring glory to God

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

* For cooler mornings and the hint of Autumn
* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”
* For the financial support God is preparing to assist this family in need

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, how we love that You have called us friends. Bless these brothers (and sisters) as they enter into their time of worship. Call them out of the grief of promises unfulfilled, intentions unattained and opportunities missed that could have better served You and those You desire to love through them. Call across the empty and troubled waters “Hey! Friends.” and bring newness of life into their lives. AMEN.

September 24, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Psalm 27. 9

“Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my
Helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

He sat outside the principal’s office again. Feeling tears about to burst from behind his eyes he bit his lower lip hoping the pain would change their mind. The longer he sat there the bigger the waiting room appeared. He hoped it would be long enough for him to just disappear. He focused on what he knew he was supposed to do yet no matter how hard he tried it seemed to go in the other direction. He did try. It was just so hard to do things right every time. He felt the cold shiver of isolation and the quiet, haunting voice saying “You are a failure. You are all alone.” When the principal’s door opened the boy darted for the door to the hallway, tears free flowing. Then there was his name slicing through the silence. The room shrank and the door seemed frozen shut. He knew he shouldn’t leave. He leaned against the door. His name spoke again in singularity that melted him into compliance. As he turned the principal was kneeling in front of him. “Let’s try this again shall we. I will help you.”

Isn’t that what we want to hear from God. Not an excusing from our sinfulness which has called us again and again into the lonely world crowded with lonely people all believing they are on their own. Not an excusing from His presence as if we were unworthy of His love, forgiveness and patient grace. We want to hear God’s calling to teamwork and shared success. We want to hear the pneumatic power of His love that will continue to teach us, direct us and walk with us until we get it right far more times that we get it wrong. We want to hear from a God who hasn’t dwelt on blame and shame. We want to hear from a God who understands and is ready to go with us all the way down the road of life and beyond.

So, did David. He knew God had been a ready help many times in his life. Whether he was facing the teasing of his brothers or the growling of lions and bears, God was there. Whether he was facing the giants of Philistia or the hounds of Saul seeking to dispatch him as a threat to their well-being, God was there. Whether he was successfully leading a broken nation into solidarity or falling from favor lusting over Bathsheba and murdering her husband to take her for his own, God was there. Whether in health of body, mind and spirit knowing God still loved him or on his deathbed feeling the spirit of life slip from his body and mind with each passing breath, God was there. Whether in success or in failure, God was there. David called out in good times and in bad because he knew that if God was there for better or worse it would never be better and it would always get worse. If it was so for this mighty man of God who is not so different from most of God’s mighty men today don’t you think it would be just as true for you today?

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

* For those who will lead God’s people in worship, service and praise this weekend
* For the trapped miners in Peru
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and Romania
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For those who work with the mentally infirmed and elderly that love shall overwhelm them all
* For colleagues in physical distress
* For Norman and his sister Kathleen facing surgery next week and his grandson who is
undergoing diagnostic testing

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

* Thank God it is Friday…this is the day which the Lord has made!
* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”
* The opportunity to share God’s Word with others and be better prepared for service in all
arenas of life

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, Your presence speaks truth in our lives about our lives. We know our sins and failures even if we are reluctant to confess them. We know You already know before we consider them and dare to speak them. Hear our prayers, O God, do not reject us or forsake. Continue to be our helper and our Savior. Walk with us and work with us so that we can become the mighty men You have desired for us to become in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

September 23, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

2 Chronicles 5. 13b-14

“Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud and the priests could not perform their
service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Isaiah may have been reading this chronicled event as he mourned the loss of King Uzziah and foresaw the trouble of Israel which would follow. It is always a problem when the man of God becomes a better door than a window for those whom he serves. Charismatic leaders walk the fine line of people seeing the person instead of the program, the flesh instead of the spirit. We have definitely walked in the presence of greatness because we have been surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses.” Yet, in the end these witnesses were mortal imbued with and servant to the Spirit of God. When the faith and hope of the people depended more on the person than the Spirit it was wrong. True spiritual leaders are windows for the soul through which the eyes of man can see the vision of righteousness God intends for them.

Solomon was privileged to discover this truth just as Isaiah did several centuries later. When the temple of God was built and the ark of the covenant brought in to the Holy of Holies there was a sign of God’s presence in that place which the physical representation could not contain. Yes, the scriptural reference declared a dark cloud filled the temple. The temple was so overwhelmed with the smoke of God’s presence that the priests had to leave. They could do no work. It was now the work of God on earth as it was in Heaven. It should have been a great day and a continual witness to the reality of God and His desire for His people Israel. It seemed to have been a similar experience for Isaiah as he entered to do his service and found the temple filled with the train of God. But, this time there was no smoke screen. Isaiah beheld the presence of God and saw himself for who he was. His sinfulness would not be a barrier to promoting and fulfilling the vision of the Lord given to him for the welfare of that nation of Israel.

God’s mighty men should pray for an equal awareness of God filling their temple. Smoke can be used to drive out the elements and creatures that are not healthy to the process of living without worry. How you ever had to fog your house to get rid of pests? But smoke was a sign of the old covenant when God revealed himself in pillars of fire and rumblings of volcanic proportions. In the new covenant it was the presence of God in mission and purpose which made the space ready for service. We need, as Isaiah did, the burning fire of purification in order to be cleansed. But, we also need the anointing of sacred service to minister to the people with faith, hope and love that comes most perfectly in the confession of Jesus as the Christ. Let God fill your space, purge it clean and consecrate it with the mission, vision, purpose of righteousness best modeled by Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

* For peace and safety in our schools
* For the trapped miners in Peru
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and the Department of Reunion
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For those who work with the mentally infirmed and elderly that love shall overwhelm them all
* For Mr. Custer suffering from severe congestive heart failure

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

* God’s provision of extra light for the harvest with a Harvest Moon inspires the recognition of
God’s extra light for the harvest of souls with a Savior who is Christ the Lord and His body,
the Church
* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, fill these mighty men with Your presence and Your purpose. Purge them and make them ready receptacles filled with faith, hope and love to be poured out on Your children, anointing them for eternal life in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

September 22, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Matthew 6.14

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

It would be appropriate to bring the point of the Lord’s prayer back home after hearing the context in which it was introduced; at least from Matthew’s perspective. When a list of warnings about the “spiritual” expressions of those who were at that moment hypocritical leaders in effect introduced the lesson on what godly prayer looks like a forgiving spirit must follow. Notice I said “at the moment.” I have to believe that there were those among the Pharisees, Sadducees and even the pagan leaders who heard the Sermon on the Mount, believed in its call to truth and committed themselves to be Christ followers and mighty men of God. Jesus would surely have offered God’s forgiveness for their misappropriated power and position when they had “lorded it over” the general population. In the long run, it is God’s forgiveness that matters. However, if their leadership was to have true impact and power then it would depend also on the state of their relationship with those whom they would serve. Equally, the state of the peoples’ relationship with God, especially as it was directed to their earthly leaders, was a critical component for their own future. If we followed the vignette described yesterday which was built upon uneasy feelings of one group to another forgiveness was needed immediately. In the Lord’s teaching on prayer the playing field had been leveled. God was their father and they were His children.

That truth remains a constant throughout time. So, too, does the constant of forgiveness remain a constant as long as we live on earth. In Hell, forgiveness is not heeded nor is it important (see Lazarus and the rich man). In Heaven, forgiveness is not needed because it was practiced as important on earth (see Jesus on the cross). So, as God’s mighty men, we must check our attitudes at the door of our hearts and mind. When ill will, poorly chosen words and a lack of response to the needs of others slip through the door into the world then there is more of hell than heaven on earth. But, when they are checked and forgiveness is sought and given there is more heaven than hell in earth. Isn’t that a premise established in the Lord’s Prayer when we pray “Your will be done on [in] earth as it is in heaven.” The question for Jesus to the people continued to along the lines of “what is in your heart.” If it is heaven then love and forgive. If it is hell then seek to be loved and forgiven, loving and forgiving.

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

* For peace and safety in our schools
* For the trapped miners in Peru
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and the Qatar
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For Mr. Custer suffering from severe congestive heart failure

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

* The first day of Autumn is here!
* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, without Your love and forgiveness our lives would be empty and consuming like a black hole in Your awesome outer space. But, remove from us this black hole which sucks the life out of those around us. Transform us into spiritual quasars that emit the glorious light of Your presence in love and forgiveness. In Your Word is the light of life that the darkness cannot consume. May that Word and life continue to dwell in these mighty men who offer themselves to You in prayer and in service in the name of Jesus the Christ. AMEN.

September 21, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Matthew 6.9

“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

So, if the prayer of John the Baptizer was an impetus for the Lord’s teaching on prayer to His disciples who was it in Matthew’s recollection of the same teaching? Set in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray who sat in the midst of those who were the religious leaders of the day and their wandering flocks. Matthew does not take on the task of naming names or calling out particular groups and neither does Jesus. Yet, it is by the actions of the “righteous” that they are known as hypocrites. Who are the hypocrites? Jesus begins to describe them as He teaches. Without a doubt the people who have gathered on the hillside above the Sea of Galilee must have smiled and nodded their heads in recognition. Some eyes may have begun to wander over the seated crowd looking for recognition. I can imagine that more than one son, and possibly a daughter, spoke uncomfortably loud to a parent saying “I know who He is talking about.” Accompanying laughter at the truth and the parents’ embarrassment surely followed. “Do not announce your tithe for the needy with trumpets as the hypocrites do. And when you pray, do not so to be seen by others and adorned with words of praise for expressions of piety. And for Heaven’s sake, do not go on babbling in prayer heaping word upon word [as if you were building a tower into the heavens to touch the ear of God].” How many shoes must have shrunk that day as He taught in open recognition of how desperate religious life had gotten. How empty and meaningless it had become as the gap widened between religious leaders claiming nearness with God but who were far away and the people who were seemingly far away from God but seeking nearness. The nearness of God was just a prayer away but it had to be the right prayer at the right time in the right place with the right intention to the right audience. All of that rightness in prayer came in the Master’s teaching on prayer which became known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It stood opposed to the prayer of the Pharisees, Sadducees and the prophets of foreign religions practice in the northern territories of Israel around Nazareth, Caesarea and Capernaum beyond Samaria.

The truth is equally poignant for God’s mighty men who must also practice the expressions of their search for closeness with God. It is through the pattern, purpose and peace of the Lord’s Prayer and the teachings of Christ which framed it that they will find nearness with the Lord and Savior of the lives. Faith is no laughing matter. Neither should it be a matter of hypocrisy. The truth which is proclaimed ought to be the truth which is lived in humility before men and in honor 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 calmer spirits to prevail in ministering to those who have troubled spirits in grief and
grieving spirits in trouble
* For those in far eastern Canada who will receive the sustained force of Hurricane Igor
* For those fighting fires in California, Colorado and now Utah
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan; today nine more Americans lost their lives in a helicopter crash
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and the Portugal
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* For the rebuke of the demon named “ODD”
* For Mr. Custer suffering from severe congestive heart failure

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

* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”
* The answered prayer of struggling mothers and the healing of their hearts

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, in a time of quiet these mighty men come to You. Draw near to them and speak to them the words of truth, peace and might so their ministry to Your children might prosper with faith, hope and love. AMEN.

September 20, 2010

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Luke 11.4

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of his disciples said to
Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

The early church fathers have called what follows this scriptural reference in Luke (see Matthew 6.9 although it is a different context) “The Lord’s Prayer.” God’s mighty men should not be confused in the heading any more than they should misunderstand the content which follows. This sacred prayer was meant for those who declared themselves to be followers of Christ. It is not the prayer which Jesus himself prayed mostly based on the knowledge that Jesus did not sin and therefore had no need to ask for forgiveness. However, I have no doubt that Jesus would have offered in prayer the other concerns which are mentioned. So, why has it been called “The Lord’s Prayer” if He did not pray it himself? The context of Luke’s remembrance center on the disciples request “Lord teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” Written record does not report John the Baptizer’s prayers. His proclamation, however, gives us a sense of the foundation and purpose of any prayer that might have been heard. John’s ministry was for a calling into accountability and into hope for salvation all those who were experiencing the frustration of disenfranchisement present in their lives. He was heard crying in the wilderness “Repent because the Kingdom of God is near. Make straight the path [of righteousness] for the Lord.” His teaching on prayer would have focused on the need for and the seeking of forgiveness. The language of repentance would have dominated his prayer. His purpose was not to teach the “way, truth and life” of the new world. That teaching would be left to the One who was coming to present it in a real and tangible way whose sandal John said “I am not worthy to untie.” So, the prayer God’s mighty men offer is the prayer which our Lord taught. It is His teaching. It is His understanding. It is His definition of the life of faith and right relationship between God the Father and His children on earth. Therefore, it is the “Lord’s Prayer” because its focus is on the Christ-like life which He gives to all those who will believe and humble themselves before God in prayer like this:

“Father, hallowed by Your name, Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.”

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 beginning of a new work week that we might perform God’s work in it
* For the recovery of Bermuda after Igor came to visit
* For those fighting fires in California, Colorado and now Utah
* For all the young men and women considering the Armed Forces as their next vocational
decision that God’s armor will be the first they put on and the Bible as the first weapon in their
arsenal
* For the resolution of unrest in the Middle East with Israel, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan
* For the resolution of the continuing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border
* 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 our colleagues who are struggling mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
* For Mission Waco and the Portugal
* For Eric and his family: ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, who
proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who exclaim to all “Your
God reigns!”’
* Healing of allergy complications for God’s people including those in this household

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

* Embracing of “love and war” as opposed to “lust and violence”
* The answered prayer of struggling mothers

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Lord, thank You for answering us mightily when we asked “teach us to pray.” May these words be far more than utterances of our mouths and thoughts in our minds. May these words be life-filling actions of righteousness rising up from grateful hearts to the God who has made hope fulfilled and life renewed. AMEN.

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