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December 31, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

1 Timothy 6: 6,7

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Mighty men of God, as we draw nearer to another year of our Lord created and bestowed upon us, let us consider what attitude we will clothe ourselves as we celebrate it. We should clothe ourselves with humility, godliness, peace, gratitude and contentment. Above all things our attitude should be of contentment. We need to be glad for what we have and use it to the best of our ability with the leading of the Holy Spirit to serve others. That does not mean that we should settle for what we have and desire nothing more. It does mean that we should not make having more the focus of our lives but pursue the fullness which God has designed and desired for our lives. Entering the new year, we have all that we have have. We leave this year the same way. What is in our possession belongs to God who shares these blessings with us because of His great love. We should be content with all that God gives and trust in Him for the rest!

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 a safe transition from 2011 to 2012 and a Blessed New
Year
* For safe journeys for all those travelling for the holidays
* For those proposing new education opportunities to build up strong minds and
strong lives where the status quo system has failed so many
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading
before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the
celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs
to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of the world

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

* For healing of body, mind and spirit in all my family
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, thank You for the blessings of this past year which we commit to serving You and Your people in the year to come. AMEN.

December 30, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

John 14. 11,12

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I AM going to the Father.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Our best is not behind us except by choice. If we think we have done all we can do, need to do, want to do and/or are called to do, then sell all that you have and give the proceeds to your family because you are as good as dead. Harsh? No harsher than cheating yourself out of preparing for the time of your life. You are being prepared in every instance for a greater work which is yet to come. You may think your job is over and now it is time to just maintain but that is the backward thinking that takes successful ventures into the abyss of failure. Embrace the idea that your best work is still in front of you, learn from every positive and less than positive experience, prepare yourself in earnest for the possibilities that are stretched out before you (even those around the corner or beyond the horizon of your viewpoint) and more forward with confidence. Choose the best that is yet to come.

God has a plan for your life; not just a part of your life. He is moving in and through you to make ready for the greater thing you will do than He (Christ himself) has done. Impossible? Remember, nothing is impossible with God and with those who place their faith, hope, trust and love in Him. Get ready for the fullness of the time of your 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 safe journeys for all those travelling for the holidays
* For those proposing new education opportunities to build up strong minds and
strong lives where the status quo system has failed so many
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of the world

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

* For healing of body, mind and spirit in all my family
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, thank You for believing in these mighty men and calling them to greatness with great purpose and great results. Thank You for their decision to follow You in love and obedience so that You will be done and Your children benefit now and forever. AMEN.

December 29, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Luke 13.9

“Sir, the man replied, leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year,
fine! If not, then cut it down.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

We know of the story of the fig tree which Jesus cursed on His way to Jerusalem because it only gave the appearance of fruitfulness. It was a lesson that God’s mighty men will be judged by the fruits of God’s spirit which bear blessings and benefits to God’s people. If they only give the appearance of being fruitful such as adorning themselves with finery and fragrance but are not of benefit to others, then they will be cut down. Perhaps the scenario offered in His Word for today was a precursor to that event. Perhaps a year had passed since Jesus and the disciples had heard of such a possibility of a fruitless fig tree being extended mercy for another year. Perhaps the steward of the orchard tried to coax fruitfulness from the tree but it did not happen despite his best efforts so he adorned it with the colors of blossoms in hopes that the master would stay a way off and not closely inspect or even forget his declaration. Perhaps it didn’t happen that way at all but the lesson remains the same. We have a time to repent and do good for God and God’s people. In the long run it will benefit ourselves to be humbled before God and infused with His fruit-giving Spirit. But, if we refuse to repent and continue to put off the pursuit of righteousness for the sake of worldiness then rest assured the master will return and keep his word. The tree of our life can be uprooted, cut down and used for firewood. How long is that year in your life, mighty men of 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 safe journeys for all those travelling for the holidays
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of the world

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

* For healing of body, mind and spirit in all my family
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we repent before You of the sins of the day past and the day that is at hand. We seek to be infused with Your fruit-giving Spirit so that we shall be fruit-bearing people. Pour out and into us Your Spirit, Lord, we ask in the name of Your Son and our Savior who is Jesus the Christ. AMEN.

December 28, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Romans 8.18

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be
revealed in us.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

ABC’s Wide World of Sports always began with a number of video clips and audio leads which culminated with “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” The picture of the ski jumper tumbling remains fixed in my mind. But, I have since learned that falling down, even being injured in the pursuit of doing one’s best and coming up short is not defeat or failure. It is not a penalty for lacking complete righteousness or a way of God disciplining you for struggling with some sin aspect in your life. God is not in the punishment business and certainly does not delight in the woundedness of His people. As I reread the Twitter comments of Bill Maher during his Christmas Eve tirade, called humor by some, against Tim Tebow because of poor performance on the field of play as a quarterback, I was reminded that his performance as a Christian remained excellent on the field of vision. Perhaps this is what seperates a mighty man of God from other men. The measure of one’s faith character will always come under fire by those who cannot themselves walk into the fiery furnace of a false world view and remain unconsumed. Tim Tebow may not be the best NFL quarterback at this time but his team still follows him. They still have more Ws than Ls under his leadership. It is now time to see if the character, not actor, which Tim Tebow models on and off the field will be adopted by his teammates as they continue to press for playoff contention. I am not saying that they will all become Christians and missionaries in the field of athletic endeavors (and they may all well be Christian, I haven’t checked) but I am saying that remaining positive and calm in the face of criticism (dare I say- cynicism) would definitely set them apart from the image many have for professional sports.

On the other hand, the cry for affirmation and attention of the world which is modeled by entertainment specialists such as Mr. Maher should not go unheeded. Why do we, especially as Christians, think there needs to be censorship of his lack of moral character. His show on HBO isn’t any more offensive than most other shows and movies on that channel. The call for a boycott of HBO just because of Mr. Maher’s poor attempt at humor which defiles God’s presence and only emboldens his claim to be an atheist seems a matter of hypocrisy at this point. If you don’t mind watching the rest of HBO (or most pay for view movie channels) then why should you mind his comments disparaging the Trinity as well as Tim Tebow? Don’t those cries seem contradictory themselves? Instead, we should assume a posture of humility and bend a knee, bow our head and utter prayers of forgiveness as did the greatest Victor this world will ever see when He got nailed in seeming defeat. I can only imagine what Mr. Maher may have twittered that day and I don’t think God would have laughed then either. Of course, Jesus wasn’t defeated but death was. Satan wasn’t victorious but believers were. So, Tim Tebow didn’t lose but a lesson on being a better quarterback was learned. Mr. Maher isn’t a winner but righteousness will always be victorious.

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 safe journeys for all those travelling for the holidays
* For the healing and cleansing of the entertainment industry to reflect life as it should and can be;
especially Bill Maher who uses his “humor” as a forum for disrespect of God and humanity
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of the world

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

* For healing of body, mind and spirit in all my family
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Bless these mighty men today with the opportunity to demonstrate their winning character and to lead others in righteousness. AMEN.

December 27, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Jeremiah 31.3

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Most of us remember the line from the movie “Roger Rabbit” where Jessica says “I am not bad, I am just drawn this way.” Of course, the humor in it is that she is a cartoon character. We are, however, as mighty men of God, not cartoon characters. We have been drawn in the likeness of almighty God by His Son. We are drawn in the image He sees in Himself and in His Father. What a high compliment to us that we bear not only His name of forgiveness, the authority of grace but also the image of His Spirit and loving-kindness. With so much going for us who could ever be against us? Oh, yes, the Enemy, Satan and his followers, are against us. But, not really. They are really more against our Heavenly Father. It must drive them mad to see His face, His works, His attitude and His Spirit at every turn. We do not have to take the attacks personally. We can take them spiritually as a compliment that we look so much like our Father. I pray it is a likeness of loving-kindness.

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 safe journeys for all those travelling for the holidays
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of the world

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

* For healing of body, mind and spirit
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, thank You for reestablishing the image of Your Son in our midst through the holiday season. In the darkness of commercialism, doubt, depression and poverty we tend to lose sight of who we are and thus who You are. But, the glorious light reflects all that You desire us to be and we are grateful to be called Sons of the Most High God. AMEN.

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December 22, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Luke 2.11

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. They opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Who were these magi who journeyed from the east following a star to a promised land to see the King of Kings? Nothing is really known except for the stories created about them except for the treasures they brought to honor the king they sought. We may not know much about the wise men but their individual gifts reveal much to us about what the spirit of Christmas (celebration of the Christ) is all about. One of the wisemen, be it a ruler or prophet or healer, brought with him the gift of frankincense. Frankincense was an oil extracted from a tree growing wild across north Africa through Arabia and along the coast toward India. The ancient city of Uber in the Arabian peninsula near modern-day Yemen was a major trade center of frankincense. All roads lead through Uber when it came to this valuable medicine. It was an ointment used to anoint newborn babies to protect their skin. It was an oil massaged into the skin which warded off mosquitos which carried deadly diseases. It had long been known in the religious practices even of Israel in the days of the old covenant temple. Now it was a provision available to the baby Jesus and His family so that they would be protected in a journey of life no one but God could imagine. For these wise men from the east went first to Jerusalem believing that the King of Kings would be born according to ancient writings of Hebrew influence in Jerusalem. They found instead only King Herod who only inquired of the birth of this “king.” After the wise men left for Bethlehem, Herod would order the death of all male children two years of age and younger to eliminate any threat to the throne. For this reason, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Egypt and sojourn their for a time until it was safe to return home. Doubtless they lived near the Nile delta where mosquitoes were numerous. Having left his livelihood behind in Nazareth, Joseph would not have had the finances to take care of all their needs but God did with the inclusion of the gift of frankincense to protect them from harm and relieve one of their grave concerns. Consider further that in the days when Jesus was born, the city and influence of Uber was dying out. This wise man sought to bring to the King of Kings a gift of value for the hope of a kingdom that would have no end.

As mighty men of God, we ought to be moved to provide for the protection of God’s newborn children from the infestation of illnesses and diseases which rise up out of homelessness and poverty. It is unthinkable that in a day and age when we have so much children in Africa are dying at the rate of nearly one per minute because of starvation, malaria and other illnesses which prey on malnourished children. We may not be able to provide frankincense to anoint them for God and protect them against the infestation of diseases but there are other measures at our disposal. When it comes to celebrating Christ in his birth, life, death and resurrection is there no other way than to take our resources of plenty and provide for those in great need?

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 safe journeys for all those travelling for the holidays
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of Egypt

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

* For healing of body, mind and spirit
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, from our plenty bless the gifts we shall provide for those children who are in need. The One who is our Savior gave up all He had and could claim in order that we might have protection from the infestation of sin in our lives. We are truly grateful for the gift presented by the King of Kings to us. AMEN.

December 21, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Luke 1.13

“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, your prayer has been heard, Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.’”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I doubt that Zechariah’s prayer for a son was a recent event unless it was a lament. Zechariah was known as blameless, upright and a follower of God’s commandments; the greatest of them was to love God. It must have been a hardship for both Zechariah and Elizabeth to be childless. In their day, more so than today, parents who did not have children were seen as less than worthy. There was no doubt that they felt a sense of emptiness as if God was displeased somehow with who and what they were. But, it was the furthest thing from the truth. God rewarded their faithful endurance and trust with the announcement of the birth of a son in their old age. It wasn’t without precedent as they knew of Abraham and Sarah whom God blessed in their older age with a son. But, it was a surprise. It was also a testament to all of God’s mighty men to never give up hope. In each season of Christmas, God’s mighty men grasp the hope of salvation and rejoice in God’s good pleasure to allow a Son to be born to each of us. Zechariah’s son was to be named “John,” meaning “the blessing, or amnesty, of God.” It is wonderful to know that God was declaring freedom to the captives of sin regardless of how guilty they were. We should never assume that any of us is without sin. We are all guilty under the law before God but we are all declared innocent by grace through Jesus Christ. This is the message of John when he grew up to fulfill his purpose as God had planned. God planned for us to be saved. He set in motion through mighty men like Zechariah and John the plan of salvation which came through Jesus the Christ. We can never give up hope either as God continues to reveal the rest of His plan to save the world. Continue to pray and trust in God and His way will be made known to you as your precious gift of Christmas.

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 safe journeys for all those travelling for the holidays
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of Egypt

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

* For healing of body, mind and spirit
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, unto us is born a Son who is Christ the Lord. We acknowledge it with humility because without Him we would never have our hopes and dreams fulfilled. We acknowledge it with joy because our hopes are already being realized. Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful gift. AMEN.

December 20, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Luke 2.8

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I wonder if we really pay close attention to the shepherds in the birth of Christ story. What a beautiful and poignant story rises up out of the intersection of God and man in the fields near Bethlehem. These mighty men were the caretakers of the lambs of God. Lambs from these flocks would end up in the temple courts of Jerusalem to be bought and sold as sacrifices. I do not have a difficult time imagining that the birth of Jesus happened at Passover. It gives a full circle sense of belonging as Jesus enters into the world as the lamb of God and departs it as the paschal lamb sacrificed for the sins of many. Nine months before His birth, Mary and Joseph would have been celebrating the time of penitence. Eight days after His birth, Mary heard the words “and a sword shall pierce your soul, too.” The lamb that was slain had a death that everyone would experience. It started with the shepherds in the fields in those early hours before the sun rose and the sound of the horn rang in a new dawn. Those early hours when it seems the darkest time is just before rising of the sun; it is also the coldest. The fire of the night was not glowing coals. The darkness closed in around them. The full moon was not setting on the far horizon. Chills ran through their bodies as the world prepared for its transition. Noises in the darkness were clearer. Nerves were on edge as they listened for any disturbance that would signal a threat to themselves and their flocks. They needed to pay attention to the sheep. Didn’t you read, “they lived in the fields.” They were not just one with the sheep as shepherds but it was their very life that was at stake. It was easy to be afraid. No matter how experienced they were at enduring the night it never seemed to change. The darkness brought something unexpected. Evil lurks in the darkness from the thief who would take a sheep be it man or beast or a murderer who would steal their soul whether it was man or spirit. On this particular night the darkness seemed darker and more sinister. It was as if evil spirits were on edge dancing along the perimeter of the fainting fire’s glow. In fact, they were. Satan was aware of the course of events and that his rule was about to be defeated. But, God had a plan to save the faithful and sent His Son into the world with angelic announcement the glory of which could never be matched. Zooming across the sky like a blazing meteor, the angel of the Lord stopped over the heads of the shepherds. The concussion of his arrival knocked the shepherds and the sheep flat to the ground in fear. They cowered believing that life as they knew it was over. In fact, it was. The spirits of darkness departed in the overwhelming glory of God and retreated back into the recesses of the pit out of which they had dare to climb. These mighty men trembled and rightfully so in the presence of the Almighty. But, the fear of the Lord which they exhibited was rewarded with a blessing, “Fear not, I bring good news to you that is for all people. Today a Savior is born who is the Messiah promised from old. You will find Him as a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger.” At that moment, the heavens erupted with stars falling from heaven to near earth. Their countenance filled the sky as each angel revealed itself to the shepherds. Their gaze was fixed. They could not turn their eyes because of the beautiful sight. Then their ears heard what their hearts knew, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace on everyone upon whom His favor rests.” As soon as they appeared, they were gone. They had been caught up into a single star far above their heads. Their song echoed among the hills and returned to the shepherds as full as it had been when the angels sang it. The shepherds looked around them fearing that the sheep would have been scattered by the sudden impact. Instead, all the sheep were kneeling, glowing faces pointed toward Bethlehem. They looked beyond them to see other flocks in the distance the same as theirs. They did not know if those shepherds heard the same or not but the sheep knew something had happened. It had happened to them. These mighty men rose up to their feet and without question walked toward Bethlehem. The sheep moved as well following the voice of their shepherd and then moved beyond them as if they knew the way. The sheep took the lead and came to a small cave that served as a stable for the inn on the edge of town. They noticed the glow emanating from the cave that felt just like the one they saw with the angels’ appearance. As they drew nearer, all eyes were fixed upon a wriggling baby boy wrapped in cloths laying in a manger. He was perfect in their eyes. Even the sheep seemed to know and fell again to their knees as did the shepherds. It was then that all eyes were fixed on them. There were the animals in the stable, other people who were allowed room in the stalls as there was none in the inn, Mary and Joseph and the baby. Even the baby’s eyes were wide open and fixed upon them. They saw Him smile and his little hands reached up from inside the swaddling cloths and reached out to them. His mother looked and knew that God was doing, not had done, a great thing. She asked one of the shepherds to step forward and held the baby out to him. He fell to his knees deferring the moment and began to tell the story of what had just happened in the fields. The other shepherds nodded their heads in agreeable disbelief knowing it was all true. Mary held out the baby again and said softly, “Behold, the lamb of God.” Tears streaming down the shepherd’s face anointed the tiny face of the baby boy cradled in his arms. The baby wriggled in his arms and giggled with a peace-filled sound as each drop touched His face. Handing the baby back to His mother the shepherd bowed humbly and gave thanks for the opportunity to see God’s work firsthand saying, “Behold the Messiah, the Christ of God.” The breath of everyone was taken with the words. Animals bowed. Everyone in and near the stable clutched each other frozen in time and space. The shepherds rose up to their feet as one and returned to the fields singing the angels’ song, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” The sheep bleated “Amen.”

Mighty men of God, you are the shepherds of God’s flocks. Right where you live in the fields of life, you serve a great purpose of bringing good news of a great joy. Know that God has revealed to you His purpose, His desire and His love which is for all people. Do not keep it to yourselves but share it humbly and gladly.

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 safe journeys for all those travelling for the holidays
* For those living in the Phillipines who have been impacted greatly by the tropical storm that
has left at least 500 dead and thousands displaced
* For wise opportunities to make peace in North Korea with the transition of leadership upon the
death of their leader Kim Song II to his son
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of Ecuador

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

* For healing of body, mind and spirit
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, bless these shepherds and the flocks they watch over night and day. We thank You for revealing to them and to us Your perfect will, desire and love in Jesus the Christ. AMEN.

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December 19, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Luke 2.6,7

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

While he is not named and the full circumstances of the dialogue between Joseph and himself are not revealed, we do know that there was a mighty man of God who was the innkeeper. More than likely the city of Bethlehem, normally only about a thousand people in population, had swelled due to the census to more than the town could hold. Even if the families of the descendents had opened their homes to visiting families there would not have been enough room to house them all. It was not an unusual situation for Bethlehem or any other town within a day’s walk of Jerusalem to experience such an inconvenience at least once a year at Passover. If the census occurred at Passover then the numbers would have been exceedingly great and the resources of all communities would have been doubly taxed. Yet, the innkeeper showed compassion on this couple from Nazareth. They would have had a kindred bond as descendents of the house of David but so would have many others in Bethlehem at that time. Perhaps Joseph offered his own services as a carpenter and the brotherhood of entrepreneurs would have opened a few doors. But, I believe that God had spoken to the heart of the innkeeper to provide some place of shelter that would have been appropriate to the task of salvation which was the purpose of this birth. The inn would have been on the outskirts of Bethlehem near the rolling hills where sheep dotted the landscape. It was necessary for the inn to have a stable for visitors to keep their horses or donkeys or perhaps even a camel from passing caravans in safe care. The natural caves in the hills would have offered a stable presence. Perhaps it was compassion for the pregnant mother who was about to give birth that caused the innkeeper to make a place for them in his stable. It wasn’t much but there was no room in the inn with rooms overcrowded already with entire families in each one. The stable may not have been much better as others may have been offered space alongside their animals but it was safe, dry and protected. It would be the birthplace of a king.

So, take the time, mighty men of God, to reflect on the character of the innkeeper and his part in the gospel story of your salvation. He lived on the margin of Bethlehem. He took in visitors and offered them kindness as he was able to do. He had compassion on the needy and was strategic in aligning his resources with the need. He made it possible for the shepherd king to be available to those who would need Him most- the poor, the homeless and the outcast. In the season of Christmas, the true gift ought to be recognized as one which is given to those who are poor in spirit (and in life), who have no hope of an eternal home and who are seen as unacceptable in the eyes of man. Have you ever felt that way in your life? Have you prayed that God would have room enough for you? In your richness of spirit as residents in God’s Kingdom of peace and life who are called sons of the Most High God are you not similar now to the innkeeper? Will you be open to the leading of God’s Spirit to let the King of Kings be born in your household so that others can come to see, know and believe that Jesus Christ is 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 those living in the Phillipines who have been impacted greatly by the tropical storm that
has left at least 500 dead and thousands displaced
* For wise opportunities to make peace in North Korea with the transition of leadership upon the
death of their leader Kim Song Il to his son
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of Dominican Republic

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

* For completing 70 gallons of blood donation to assist in saving lives
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, just as we are find purpose for us, O Lord. Even when our resources are meager and our hope is waning, there is still the knowledge that all things are possible with those who trust solely in You. Let these mighty men use this knowledge and become wise in serving Your people by making room for them in their hearts so they will know and believe that Jesus is Lord. AMEN.

December 18, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2011

HIS WORD FOR TODAY: Love

Romans 5.5

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Each Advents season begins with a reflection into the prophecies of God’s love become incarnate in our world. We do so with that great sense of hope fulfilled with the birth of Christ, His life from birth to resurrection, and His life in the Spirit which endures with us even now. But, with each passing Advent season we take up a renewed hope trusting that God will do us in the future just as He has in the past. We stand upon the promises of Christ our King, God’s greatest gift of perfect love and know that one day we will celebrate the grandest of all Christ-masses with the Lord of the Celebration of life over death once and for all. We cannot simply allow our Christmas season be a backward glance for which we are rewarded for behavior made good by grace. We receive gifts not because we deserved or desired them but because we are trying to duplicate the inexpressible gift of love which God has reached down from Heaven to give us. The truest definition of love that I know is when we offer to those who have no means to provide for themselves the sense of meaning, purpose and place meaning, purpose and place. How can the mighty men of God do this?

Meaning: Tell others how much they mean to you. Remember when a word, deed, kind opportunity was given that touched you when you had lost all hope. Do not mistake this with telling them how important you are and how grateful they should be to know you.

Purpose: Share in acts of kindness and of spiritual growth. Becoming one with another in doing good for those within the sphere of influence God has placed you is the means of building hope. It is for this reason that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He promises us to be with us at all times and that we are never alone. Love does not isolate; it incorporates, collaborates and dedicates lives into a common unity. Do not confuse this with gifts of charity. We certainly should supply the needs of others from what we have. But, these gifts lack the necessary touch that says hope is not a token effort. Even the simplest of handing a gift to a child says “you are loved and it begins with me.”

Place: Make your life a home. The physical body is a tabernacle dwelling place for the Holy Spirit of God. Opening your life to others is like opening the door to your house and letting others come in to rest, refresh and reap the benefits of being a part of the family of God. Do not confuse this with the house which bears a particular address. We are talking about letting people into your heart where compassion, sympathy, empathy and agape abide with the prosperity of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Meaning: For unto you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord. We are sheep with a shepherd.

Purpose: Behold, magi came from afar following a star and offered to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We make others feel like God’s blessed child prepared for their reign on earth of faith, hope and love.

Place: And you will call His name Emmanuel which means “God is with us.”

Share the message of love, God’s love, this Christmas and watch hope grow into the fullness of joy.

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

* For those who will be leading God’s people in worship, praise and service as we continue this
Advent season with love
* For colleagues facing difficult family events at the holidays
* For guidance in Iraq as the last of the American troops have left the country
* For families in the Philippines recovering from the storm onslaught leaving over 500 dead
* For Israel to have wisdom in deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention
against Iran amid the news of new sanctions against Iran
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ
will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow drugs to make cost anything it will
cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they
intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For all our military personnel of the past and present for the service they render and the
sacrifices they have made and are making for the sake of our country and for the benefit of
others around the world
* For Mission Waco and the people of Dominica

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

* The last of American troops have withdrawn from Iraq
* For guidance in a transportation issue
* For the breakthrough of a person hiding behind the stronghold of food addiction
* For His Word on what and where our ministry is to be: a given word at worship was “restore”

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, You have made us feel important, loved, honored and prepared. You have taken our needs into mind and meet them with the resource of Your heart. Thank You for the gift of Jesus who is our Christ and the fullness of life He brings. As it is for us, may it be through us to others in His Name. AMEN.

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