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November 30, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

Titus 3.11-14

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eage to do what is good.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

If grace that brings salvation has been presented to all men then the truth is that all have the blessed opportunity to be saved. What does it take on the part of men to turn opportunity into actualized reality? One must confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, through whom He alone can enter into the glory of Heaven which is God’s to share. We do not have to work to be saved because the work for salvation has been accomplished in the surrendering of life which Jesus made on the cross in obedience to the love of God for man which was in Him. But, we must do the work of salvation which is to make sure everyone knows they have this opportunity to put the promise of salvation into action in their own lives and to mentor them in the process of transformation from old man into spirit man. Salvation, Paul teaches, is not a hope but a reality. What we hope for is that day when Jesus as Messiah will make His glorious return to earth to claim those who are His- those who have surrendered themselves in life in obedience to God’s love which is in them. It is up to us to share the good news of Jesus Christ which is for all men.

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

* For those who will lead God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Malaysia
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks and eye problems; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG

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

* Day by day ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; no ground war attack on Gaza by Israel at this time
* Four weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we pray that Your Spirit will be so at work in us that we will accomplish the work of salvation which is to awaken the truth of eternal life not as a possibility but as a sure reality in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

November 29, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

Psalm 102.11-12

“My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, sit enthroned forever; Your renown endures through all generations.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

What is the advantage of being one in Christ? At the very core of our understanding of grace is that God endures forever. Anything that is not of God will not; at least not as we would like for it to be. Even Satan and his followers will live forever in the Lake of Fire in utter torment being consumed without being consumed. In fact, that lies at the heart of the sin-filled lie about God- you will die but not really die. Without God, we will die in sin and never die. O, mighty men of God, how peaceful it is to know that we have died to sin so that we can live in Christ. It is with the promise of our new nature that we will endure all challenges and not be consumed by them. Heaven is our fulfilled promise and living is the blessing. Even amidst the challenges of life, living is a blessing because we will not be overcome until we are living in the death that will not die. Mighty men of God rejoice that we live in the life that will not die! We share in the life that not only lives but endures with a level of blessing that the psalmist calls renown. Renown means a state of being widely acclaimed and highly honored. Our name will be found among the blessed because we dared to surrender our lives to God through Jesus Christ. While the days of the wicked will exist like a fleeting shadow cast by the setting sun the days of the righteous will exist like the fruitful trees warmed by the risen Son forever. While the life of the wicked will wither away like grass at the end of the season, the life of the righteous will flourish like the grass as the beginning of its season that will know no end.

So, mighty men of God, when you encounter those who believe they are defeated and fading into black introduce them to the Light of the World which the darkness cannot fully comprehend, overwhelm, overcome and shall never defeat. Introduce them to the season of new life which is found in the presence and nearness of God who calls us blessed as we are blessing Him by believing in His Son. Share the good news of great joy and watch the dead rise again, the shadows depart, the grass be revived and life flourish again in faith, hope and love.

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

* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Malawi
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks and eye problems; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG

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

* Day by day ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; no ground war attack on Gaza by Israel at this time
* Four weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we claim the promise of life which is given to us in Jesus Christ and share it gladly today with those who are seeking life. It is our pleasure to honor You with the service of our lives day after day. We praise You, Father, with joy and anticipation of this new day of the Bright and Morning Star. AMEN.

November 28, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

Romans 16.3-5,16

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I want to greet you today in the Lord. Here is comes “HxoxoS”. You are familiar, at least I hope you are, with the XOXO which means “hugs and kisses.” If I greet you in the Lord then it is by the Holy Spirit (HS) of God. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is not the holy kiss Paul was directing to the church as a practice of greeting one another in the Lord. I believe that such a greeting as Paul shares with so many at the end of the letter to the Christ-followers in Rome (or from Rome) is not merely being familiar but sharing the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Are we not made one in the Spirit when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and are born again? It is not with a worldly kiss and a hug that Christians should greet other with. It is with a holy kiss which expresses the holy intention of rejoicing in be reunited with kindred spirits. I have no idea what a holy kiss looks like but I have a pretty good idea it will resemble more the “french” greeting and less of the “french” kiss. The only tongues that should be exhibited in greeting one another is the Holy Spirit whether in dancing fire or in prophetic utterances. It speaks of an intention to bless and uphold one another in spirit and in truth. It is of a spiritual intimacy that blesses and builds up the body of Christ than one of intimacy that stirs the flesh of man (although fleshly intimacy would do well to be measured by the rubric of honoring God and blessing one another.) When we greet our brothers in Christ today will we just be saying “hello” and exchanging courtesies or will we be adding blessing to their lives in faith, hope and love. Greet one another and be blessed!

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 Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Madagascar
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks and eye problems; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG

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

* Day by day ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; no ground war attack on Gaza by Israel at this time
* Four weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, just as a mother leans in to bless her children with a gentle kiss bless us today. Let us know of Your nearness and Your good pleasure to greet us today. May we pass on that greeting by blessing others with gifts of faith, hope and love in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

Acts 23.16

“But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

You may have read this Word of God today and thought to yourself “what spiritual value does this verse have?” Is it not true that all scripture is inspired of God and worthy for instruction and improvement? No matter how obscure the verse may be or how little value it may seem to have, there is a reason why God inspired Luke to include this information for our reading and edification. I am not sure how many times I have read through the book of Acts but until this moment I had not seen this verse which adds to my affinity for Paul. What is so significant to me about this verse? I am reminded that Paul did not exist in isolation. His position as a Pharisee in the temple court before his conversion to being a Christ follower was a legacy given to him by his father. He studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel who was one of the most famous teachers of the law in all of Israel. But, so little is ever said of his family it is easy to forget he had one. In the midst of one of the most stringent struggles against Jewish authority, Luke reminds us that Paul was not in isolation. His nephew, the son of his sister, was in Jerusalem and close enough to the Saduccees and Pharisees that he could easily hear of the plot to murder Paul. His warning helped to spare Paul and get him sent on his way to Rome where God had already told him he would preach the Word. It makes me wonder what the Sanhedrin, Pharisees or the Jewish hitmen thought about Paul’s nephew. Were they aware of who he was? Did they think that he shared their belief that Paul was a threat or did they simply ignore him as a insignificant person? It would seem to me that Paul’s nephew may well have been a Pharisee, too, follow in the family legacy. We do not know if he was a believer or not but it is enough that he loved and believed in Paul. He loved him enough to risk his own life to protect his Uncle Paul. It seems to me that Luke makes sure to include this tidbit of information not just to further the story of Paul’s ordeals for the sake of the gospel. It is to remind us that there is a human element to the life of Paul as well. He is not a cold-hearted murderer turned stoic preacher. He was a man with a heart, mind, soul and spirit like each one of God’s mighty men. He had a family. He did not live in isolation but the enemy of Paul, the enemy of us all, would prefer for us to believe we do live in isolation and nobody really cares. How wrong the enemy is. Jesus calls us beloved. He died to save us from the plot against our blessing and future. He lived putting His life on the line for His brothers. We are family! We should stick together and do what we can to protect and provide for each other regardless of the situation and regardless of the risk.

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 Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Macedonia
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks and eye problems; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG

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

* Day by day ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; no ground war attack on Gaza by Israel at this time
* Four weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, as we call You “our Father,” we must never forget it means we are your sons. We are one in the family of faith with more members of this family than we can number. When we least expect it one of them will rise up and defend us even at the risk of their life- God bless them. But, when we least expect it, we will hear of a plot to hurt another of our family and we pray for Your strengthening to rise up and . AMEN.

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November 26, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

1 Samuel 15.24,26

“Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people, so I gave in to them.’ But Samuel said to him, ‘I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel.'”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

As a leader, the mighty men of God must be in accord and obedience to the commands of God. It is not a call to strict legalism or perfection but a call to humility before God. Saul was made king over Israel because the people cried out for a king like other nations. In fact, they got exactly what they asked for as Saul was no different from other kings. To be truthful he was worse than other kings because other kings did not call upon the name of the Lord so they could not forsake it. But, Saul had been a mighty man of God. God loved him in spite of his imperfections. But, the pressure of leadership was too great. He wanted to please men more than he wanted to please God. He surrendered to the ways of men which was corrupting sin. He began to move further away from God’s ways though he still had an awareness of God’s presence in his life and his world. But, it was not enough to be aware of God. Knowing there is a God does not mean the same as being obedient to God. Saul did not fear God enough. Instead he feared men and public opinion. It would ultimately lead to his demise as king and his death as a man. It was more than he could bear.

As mighty men of God we must maintain our obedience to God’s ways and word. We must be aware of men and their needs. But, their needs cannot be met perfectly by our efforts for them unless our effects are directed toward fulfilling God’s direction in our own lives. God can meet their needs perfectly if they would only allow Him. Will we allow Him to meet our needs perfectly? Will we be willing to surrender the desire to please others and ourselves and be a pleasure to God? If there is to be any surrender it is to be a surrendering to God who in Jesus Christ modeled life and peace perfectly. He will establish our leadership and our success as we establish ourselves into the mighty presence 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 Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Luxembourg
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG

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

* Day by day ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; no ground war attack on Gaza by Israel at this time
* Four weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we surrender all into Your hands and Your perfect will. We want to be established in Your midst so that Your kingdom shall rule in us as it did in Jesus Your mighty man among us. AMEN.

November 25, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

Isaiah 43.22,24b

“Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yorselves for Me, O Israel. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Why do we go to worship? Why do we go to God in prayer? Is it a matter of convenient habit? When we go is it with a token offering where in money, time or words? Do we go with a sense of entitlement believing we have done “our part” and now it is time for God to do His? Has God not already done the greatest part when He sent His Son into this world and did not spare Him from death so that the price for our sin be paid in full? Was it not the greatest blessing to receive life in its fullness as restored members of God’s family to dwell in the measure of peace, love, joy, self-control, patience, kindness, goodness and faithful and their benefits? What else is God supposed to do? Is God to wash our clothes, cook our food, do our work for us as if He is our indentured servant hired to wait on us hand and foot? As mighty men of God, are we not His hand and feet? Are we not His mouth and eyes and ears? Are not the incarnation of His truth filled with wisdom and power by His Holy Spirit because our bodies are the temples of residence when we confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior buried to sin and raised in the newness of life? Shall we disappoint God with our mistaken identity as followers of Christ through the covenant of grace as ancient Israel did as followers of Yahweh by the covenant of the law? Is grace not far superior to the law? Is our responsibility and opportunity then not far greater than our brothers who have yet to call on Jesus as their Messiah?

Why do we keep going to God with our sins and offenses? Do we not believe that Jesus truly died for our sins and put their effect to death in the fiery pit to dwell alongside our enemy, Satan, for eternity? Do we not believe that we have been remade in His likeness when we were born again and blessed with power, dominion and authority? Do we not believe that we are more than conquerors in this world because we have been liberated from the clutches, vices and deceits of sinful living and sinful men? Or are we pitiful, woeful and sorrowful examples of partial believers who only surrendered their heart or mind or soul or strength and not the whole for holiness which He offers to all who would believe and confess Him as Lord and Savior of all?

Rise up, o mighty men of God, and be done with lesser things. Seek first and always the Kingdom of God which is within your grasp on this earth as it is in His Heaven knowing that all which is needed in our lives will be provided as daily bread without fail (including the double portion promised for our obedience to worship Him alone on the Sabbath!) It is time for the mighty men of God to weary themselves for His Sake and His Name asking for His Will to be done in this earth and on this earth beginning in us, through us and with us in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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 all those who will lead God’s people this weekend in worship, praise and service
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For comfort in a time of grief and celebration for the family of James Hickman; the death of a loved one is never easy but more difficult in the holiday season for some
* Healing of our nation’s leadership, indeed the entire nation and world of sexual sin
* For the cessation of violence in Egypt and sound reason be instilled in the Egyptian president
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Lithuania
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG

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

* Day by day ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; no ground war attack on Gaza by Israel at this time
* Four weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Rise up, o mighty men of God, and be done with lesser things. Seek first and always the Kingdom of God which is within your grasp on this earth as it is in His Heaven knowing that all which is needed in our lives will be provided as daily bread without fail (including the double portion promised for our obedience to worship Him alone on the Sabbath!) It is time for the mighty men of God to weary themselves for His Sake and His Name asking for His Will to be done in this earth and on this earth beginning in us, through us and with us in Jesus’ name. AMEN. Father, make it so. AMEN.

November 23, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

Matthew 9.15

“Jesus answered, How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Jesus was, of course, speaking of Himself when He replied to the Scribes’ question concerning fasting or the lack of it on the part of the disciples. Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church, the New Israel, is Jesus’ “intended.” According to tradition, Jesus would leave His bride-to-be in the care of her family (in this case, the disciples and new believers) while he went back to His father’s house and build them a home to live in (see John 14, in my Father’s house are many mansions). When Jesus would return to claim His bride, the Church, we know He will bring their new home with Him and call it New Jerusalem. So, are we as mighty men supposed to be fasting until His return? What a tremendous challenge to consider in an age of consumerism. How shall we be good stewards of God’s creation and align our actions with the mode of fasting? Is it not to dispense with worldiness and embrace spiritual values? Is it not to be good shepherds to the sheep left in our care to feed and nurture them into maturity? Is it not to provide for the widows and orphans? Is it not to embrace the prosperity of the Kingdom of which we are co-heirs and to use these God-provided resources to further serve those who are in need? Is it not to preach the gospel and increase the numbers of those who will confess Jesus as Lord and disciple them into their maturity as well? Is it not to protect, provide for and promote the welfare and sanctity of the Bride of Christ (the Church as the body of Christ) until Jesus returns?

As we now move out of a season of thanksgiving (though we should always give thanks with ceasing in whatever condition we find ourselves) and into the season of Advent I believe it behooves God’s mighty men to embrace, promote and prosper the true effect of Christmas. It is to be a season of fasting and prayer, faith and faithfulness as well as joy and blessing. It is in our hands and hearts to do so. As for me and my family, we shall be in discussion as to how best observe this season and honor Christ in so doing. I pray you and your family will join us in making this Christmas the best yet.

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 all those who will lead God’s people this weekend in worship, praise and service
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For comfort in a time of grief and celebration for the family of James Hickman; the death of a loved one is never easy but more difficult in the holiday season for some
* Healing of our nation’s leadership, indeed the entire nation and world of sexual sin
* For the cessation of violence in Syria, Libya, Egypt and the harmony of true peace resound
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Liechtenstein
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; healing for Andrew and his mother, Linda

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

* Day by day ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; no ground war attack on Gaza by Israel at this time
* Three weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, for the blessings we have received we are truly thankful. For those we are about to receive we are truly humble and excited about how to best use them to honor You and the celebration of Christ’ birth and our rebirth. AMEN.

November 22, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

Proverbs 1.7

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; a fool despises wisdom and instruction.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

My prayer for all of God’s people, and a double-portion for all of God’s mighty men, is that a season of thanksgiving be more than just one day a year. If we look at the world with thankful hearts and minds, then it will be difficult to be angry with it as if it is our enemy. A true spirit of thanksgiving is an indicator that we truly “fear” God in the sense of piety and honor. It is a clear indicator that we have understood the value of the knowledge of God and God’s knowledge. The one who possesses this knowledge has a clear picture of the relationship they have with God as Father, Provider, Protector and Savior. In right relationship with God, God’s mighty men desire to share what they have with others out of a thankful heart. It draws to mind the feeding of the five thousand where the miracle of faith was the offering of a few fish and loaves of bread out of a thankful heart by a young man. Perhaps it happened that he was moved by the thanklessness of the disciples. In his experience of just getting to be in the presence of Jesus, he was willing to share. He might have begged others to follow suit. Before long, the simple provisions of all the people turned into a feast beyond expectation. The same miracle can happen today as well. The world is filled with hungry people, in the flesh and spirit. Jesus sends us out in the full knowledge that God not only can provide but has provided already. We all have been blessed with gifts, talents, abilities and resources. We can choose to despise the instruction of wisdom in that story and be selfish fools in the midst of a dying people. Or, we can choose to be wise, pious and humble servants sharing what we have in the name of Jesus and experience a feast and harvest beyond our imagination. How thankful are to be saved? How thankful are we to have a loving God as our Father? Let us share the “fear of the Lord” and expand our knowledge of Him who loves us.

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

* For a thankful spirit to fall upon the world!
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For comfort in a time of grief and celebration for the family of James Hickman; the death of a loved one is never easy but more difficult in the holiday season for some
* Healing of our nation’s leadership, indeed the entire nation and world of sexual sin
* For the cessation of violence in Syria, Libya, Egypt and the harmony of true peace resound
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Libya
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; healing for Andrew and his mother, Linda

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

* A beautiful fall stroll through the Cameron Park Zoo with my beautiful bride
* Day by day ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; no ground war attack on Gaza by Israel at this time
* Three weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we are truly thankful for all You have provided. May we be thankful enough to share the very best of what we have so that none are left behind. AMEN.

November 21, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

1 John 4.18

“There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

The fear of man without God is described by the Hebrew word “pachad,” meaning terrifying and terrible dread. Without a proper relationship with God man is left to tremble in fear before every entity and living presence on earth, above the earth and below it. Most conflicts exist because of man’s inability to believe in God enough to resolve their issues with one another and to put aside human fears. Satan counts on man not having a proper relationship with God. It began in the Garden of Eden as he enticed Eve to not be afraid of God by saying “just because you don’t eat from the tree of life doesn’t mean you won’t live forever; so satisfy your desire to know more about yourself and the world which God is afraid for you to see.” I find similar attitudes shared by most teenagers, especially males (and some men who suffer from the Peter Pan syndrome), who believe they are invincible and nothing can harm them. With that thinking they become susceptible to drugs, alcohol, sexual abusing (giving and receiving), disobedience of authority, anarchy, alienation and death. In other words, the consequences of sin (though they may be saved) will wreak havoc on their physical, mental and emotional selves. Constantly looking over their shoulder because while they say “I am not afraid,” they are know that they never know because no one has their back. Even God is still seen as judge and executioner whose will is that they have no pleasure and enjoyment in life because each day must be lived within the boundaries of what someone else has said is “decent, good and right.” That kind of fear of the Lord is even preached with the intent of “scare the people out of hell or the hell out of people.” In the end, those who see God and all others as a harsh judge do not make wise decisions (see the Parable of the Talents for the evidence of this truth.)

But, what is the opposite of the “fear of the Lord” which is seen from a human perspective? If you can, imagine the “fear” that belongs to the Lord not the fear which His awesome power, might and final authority brings over the lives of those who are out of relationship with Him. Does God have “fear”? I am not saying God is or can be afraid as man is afraid. The biggest reason is that God is in proper and perfect relationship with Himself. God is love, perfect love. As the psalmist David declared “God’s law is perfect and righteous altogether” (see Psalm 19.) I am not speaking of the legalistic law which man developed in his own mind and heart from the fear (pachad) he has of God and others. The Pharisees were afraid of being so out of control that they sought to can control by increasing the boundaries of the law which God had given. They distorted the law and made it something it was not meant to be. To them, even the Decalogue was a tool of correction and implement of judgment to rule over people as well as to define them as so different from God that they could only seek to please Him with sacrifices and pretend righteousness. They did not see the life of righteousness as a pleasure but a reminder that we could only appease an angry and mighty God and then beg for mercy. Of course, they also believed that if you could be totally legal then you would be perfectly righteous. Really?

Instead, mighty men of God, the Law which He gave to Moses on the Mountain of Sinai to be put before the refugees who had been liberated from their Egyptian taskmasters so they could return home was a gift from God. It was a gift of “the fear of the Lord.” God’s gift of fear was described in Hebrew as “yirah,” meaning piety and reverance. Another way of describing it is the state of loving devotion. The people who commit themselves to the God who loves them enough to set them free whether they were innocent or guilty, whether they deserved it or not, is a demonstration of gratitude, humility and true love. The people who submit themselves in love to one another are blessed by God for their willingness to model God’s love for them. God’s fear is uplifting and healing. Instead of being “afraid” of God’s awesome power as to what He could do if He was angry enough to stop being God and fall down to the level of Satan (notice I did not say man), we would see God’s power as being sufficient to overcome all obstacles, barriers, disabilities and disaffections. Nothing is too great for God to handle because love is sufficient to not only provide knowledge of the ages and the wisdom to put the knowledge into righteous works; it is sufficient to empower those works with His own Holy Spirit. Why does He do this? Because He loves us. God’s “fear” is love. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was not found among the Ten Commandments nor the Pharisaical interpretation and application of those Ten “base” Commandments into over 1300 laws. Instead, the greatest commandment pre-existed the Decalogue which was seen as the begin of the Age of Legalism. It appears when legalism was already seen as failing to produce the life of love and peace which God believed in for us. It says “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. You should love your neighbor as you yourself are loved by God.”

Mighty men of God…be afraid- not as man is afraid of life without God. Be afraid, very afraid of missing one day where you are not able to show your love for God and God’s love for others by your piety, humility and thanksgiving.

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 Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For comfort in a time of grief and celebration for the family of James Hickman who was called to stand before God this day in Paradise
* Healing of our nation’s leadership, indeed the entire nation and world of sexual sin
* For the cessation of violence in Syria, Libya, Egypt and the harmony of true peace resound
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Liberia
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; healing for Andrew and his mother, Linda

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

* James has been invited to enjoy healing in Heaven
* No ground war attack on Gaza by Israel
* Three weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, not by fear but by love draw us close to Thee. We do not fall on our knees because we are afraid of death but because we are honored by the gift of life which You have given us in Jesus Christ. Accept our thanksgiving, Lord, we are fearless and faith-filled. AMEN.

November 20, 2012

HIS WORD FOR TODAY:

Leave no soul unturned in 2012!

1 John 4.18

“There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

How many times have you considered the phrase “fear of the Lord”? With the celebration of Christ’s birth getting closer (a fact we knew when Christmas decorations went on sale in Wal-Mart on Labor Day weekend), it is hard to ignore the angelic command “Do not be afraid.” Even Jesus calmed His disciples during the Last Supper saying, “Do not be afraid (tremble with dread); trust in God, trust also in Me.” As we watch the events in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas in Gaza there is a sense of forboding and dread wondering “Is this the end?” Some will point to the Mayan prediction of the end of the world on December 21 when the northern hemisphere will experience the longest night of the year. News of loved ones afflicted with cancer or some other life-debilitating disease invites us to fall into a sense of dread and fear. Satan, the enemy of man and God, dwells in darkness and issues gifts of fear to the people of the world (and at one time to the angels in Heaven) like it was a precious commodity. Did you know that God has fear, too?

In the Bible there are two words used to describe the event of “fear.” In Isaiah 2.10 and following, the prophet declared, “Go into the rocks, hide in the ground, escape from the dread of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty.” Can you imagine the splendor of the Lord, His Glory, is both bane and blessing to the people of the earth? The Glory of God is so powerfully pure that no evil can exist in its presence. That is why Satan and those angels who chose to follow him in rebellion against God were cast down to earth. But, when Jesus came into the world, he chose the form of ordinary men which is why evil could still exist in the world but in His presence they had no authority to create dread. (Except on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus was revealed in His full glory and the result was Peter, James and John falling down face into the ground which further illustrates the point.) The point would be that the Word of God is filled with the Glory of God. Its brilliance is not blinding the eye but brings sight to the blind. The demons fear the Word of the Lord. God’s mighty men have nothing to dread as long as they remain in the Word and the Word remains in them. The best description of that Word, or the Glory of God within that Word, is love. The enemy of God and man just cannot stand the word and the reality of love. Love is the most powerful force on the face of the earth, above it or below it! In love, God created the heavens and the earth and all subsequent life. If God is for us then who can be against us? If God is with us then who can stand against us? The demons at Gadarene begged Jesus to cast them into the pigs so they could choose death for themselves. Why? When the glory of God was revealed in the love Jesus had for the demoniac, He exposed the demons. They had no power when they were rendered bodiless. In controlling man who has freewill they are able to choose their actions and control the environment in which the man lives. But, pigs do not have such a gift. They only know life and death. The demons begged for one last choice to exercise their freewill which was to die as drowning pigs- they were dreadful even unto to death.

But, mighty men of God have nothing to dread! God is with us! Immanuel is the name of the glory of God that dwelt on earth with man. In Him we experienced the love of God and invited Him into our lives- our heart, mind, soul and spirit. Sin has no power over us. We still have sin, it is true. It does keep us, or attempt to, in the throes of death such as the boy with the evil spirit which caused him to throw himself into the fire. The disciples could not cast the demon out because they were afraid. They had a difficult time loving the boy who was frothing at the mouth and setting himself on fire. We might have second thoughts ourselves in that situation. But, Jesus had no problem. His loves perfectly and expects us to commit ourselves to doing the same. He admonished the disciples saying “you have no faith.” But, the manifestation of faith is love. If we love faithfully, then we fulfill the command to love God, others and self. Paul declares, “If you have no love then your actions make a lot of noise but accomplish nothing.” That is the hope of the enemy of God and man. Satan is perfectly happy when we just make a lot of noise with idle threats but have no intention of cutting loose faith and letting it just happen. Satan does not want us to unleash the love of God because He knows it will finally do him in. It was actually the love of God that has spared Satan and his followers this long. God could have eliminated him and them upon the first rebellion. It shows the greatness of His love for us who are far less worse than Satan. We are blessed by God’s love which provides our daily bread and guarantees His abiding presence.

Mighty men of God, do not abide in the fear of God. Do not dread Him but invite Him in and be bold enough like Zaccheus and open the door of your heart and your house to the Savior who stands and knocks to be let in forever.

(Tomorrow, I will address the other side of the coin of fear.)

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 Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* Healing of our nation’s leadership, indeed the entire nation and world of sexual sin
* For the cessation of violence in Syria, Libya, Egypt and the harmony of true peace resound
* For the revealing of all terrorists cells around the world so they may be eliminated by focused prayer and intercession
* For the future of this nation whose leadership has taken a giant step away its future as a positive and Christian nation
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* 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 making drugs to 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 Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Lesotho
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from vertigo attacks; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; healing for Andrew and his mother, Linda

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

* No ground war attack on Gaza by Israel
* Three weeks of free breathing and I thank the Lord for a praying wife
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, not by fear but by love draw us close to Thee. We do not fall on our knees because we are afraid of death but because we are honored by the gift of life which You have given us in Jesus Christ. Accept our thanksgiving, Lord, we are fearless and faith-filled. AMEN.

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