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1276

February 28, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Romans 3.20

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin, [our sin].”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

If the Ten Commandments were the descriptors of what a godly and righteous life looks like whose greatest purpose was to show the end of the law, or the ends, and not the beginning of the law, then what do we have to fear? We should strive to live in having a life that fully and completely manifests that revelation of God to Moses. The problem isn’t the “Law,” but the means by which they thought, and we think, it could be manifested. Regardless of any thought or experiment, the only way that life can become a reality is to take on the life of Christ who be the “law” was found guilty of blasphemy of God for declaring He was the Son of God and treason against Rome for the same reason. Though He was without sin, the “law definers” of the day accused Him of sin, mortal sin, and sought His death. Death is, after all, the consequence of sin. Death, however, never was meant to be the consequence of the Law nor for those who transgressed the Law. God knew we could not manifest righteousness by the Law. Even the practice of sacrifice, as part of the Law to manifest forgiveness, could not produce righteousness. Righteousness comes only as the result of God’s gifting of His Spirit in power and His Truth in His Word- that is, in Jesus Christ and believing on Him only.

Mighty men of God, it is the in Him “ONLY” that we must center our words, thoughts and actions. Jesus told His disciples that only He was the Way, the Truth and the Life as the means to attain closeness with God and the fullness of Heaven, the presence of God. By living according to the modeling of the Word of God could we begin to grasp the gift of righteousness as our own. Some sought to say they were righteous by keeping the Law- they abstained from life or found apparent “loopholes” in the Law to absolve them from assumed wrongdoing. But, it is impossible to truly abide by the words of the Law without the Spirit of the Law- which is love, God’s love, living fully and freely in you. Jesus’ words before and after death spoke of the same- love one another, love God, love others. It is a difficult thing to transition from Law to Love. The Law seems so black and white but it is fraught with shadows and gray areas. Love seems so subjective and complex asking much, requiring much and seeking much but it is so simple because it is only love. There can be no law to limit absolute love nor can it be mandated. You must believe in the power and intent of love and then love. You must love in the priority order of God (supreme), self (humility) and others (compassion). It must be practiced at all times because it requires objectivity, humility and compassion. Jesus never said it was easy but it is not impossible. It requires much but its rewards are beyond measure. In the Law, we know our sins and sinful desires. In Love, we know our forgiveness and our purpose in the Kingdom. When I stop to consider it all, I wonder why we would choose anything else if the law is death and love is life. Do you?

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 protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 Sweden
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for Mallory (job), Drew (college mid-terms and upcoming medical tests) and his mother (heart condition); for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* 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, thank You for loving us and showing us what love is truly about. Keep loving these mighty men, Father, and bless them with the righteousness of Heaven. Amen.

1275

February 27, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Romans 3.19

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I responded recently to a question concerning leadership and what were duties were not to be delegated. I found the responses interesting and sometimes troubling. Interesting because there seemed to be a common theme and troubling because some clutched to micromanagement so tightly it nearly strangled them as leaders. My purpose in HIS WORD for us today is not to debate the question but to bring to you one of those common themes I believe God has been working on in all of our lives since we confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As Paul writes to those who claim themselves to be Roman Christians or Christians in Rome of at least within the Roman Empire, he used this same word which I found in the common theme category- accountability. As leaders in our homes, in our own lives, in business, in the community, in the body of Christ we are held accountable to God. I struggle mightily when I see others attempt to deny any accountability to God in their lives. At the far end of that spectrum are the atheists and agnostics who want to deny the reality of God or at the very least want to deny engagement with God. I believe their decision is spurred by a fear of being under authority and accountable to that authority. Their fear may be based in a very real experience with a person or persons who exercised their authority (in light of Psalm 23 and a common theme in the Old Testament reading we could read “shepherds”) in a negative way that brought only hurt and pain to those over whom their ruled and reigned. We have a fairly lengthy list of those types of negative leaders: tyrants, abusers, bullies, dictators, etc. Some of those individuals have names that are known to history as being infamous. Some of them have names that are more familiar and personal to us. There exists for many of those struggling individuals an unexplainable dichotomy between a God who cares deeply and those who say they believe in God and are acting on His Will but who bring hurt and pain. I have heard too many stories of children who struggled believing in God because they could not trust the identity of God as Father when their father was abusive and neglectful. Why would I want a father God like that? What a tragedy it is that their only experience with a father is one who abuses them in some fashion or simply neglects and denies knowing who they are. Those people will be held accountable before God because they abide by the law. There is no grace and mercy in their heart, mind or soul. Bitterness, hatred, unresolved anger and sinfulness fuels the engine of their acts of unbelief which lay the foundation for their childrens’ disbelief. Jesus warned those who would cause one of His little ones to stumble and fall. That warning dare not fall on deaf ears. Pray that all ears are opened wide to receive this Word and the Spirit that can change them through conviction of their sinfulness and their salvation!

But, this is the purpose of the Law and why Jesus did not nullify it but confirmed it, read fulfilled it. Jesus confirmed the Law and magnified its content and its extent. The Law describes a life of righteousness that is not normal to our human experience which is tainted by sin’s presence in our world. Its purpose is not to condemn us but to inform us of who we are not and what we cannot become as long as we choose to live lives of legalism. It is almost confusing to call God’s descriptors as the Law because it is godly rules where the “law” we see are the rules of sinful man. If you read the Ten Commandments as commandments with the commandments of creation by which God brought forth order to life in the midst of chaos then maybe you can see there is a difference. God in the Ten Commandments was creating a new life for the Hebrews who had only known life through Egyptian eyes and their view of “God” in Pharoah. Cecil B. Demille described this reality by giving Pharoah (played by Yul Bryner) the words “So let it be written so let it be done!” By that edict at Egyptians and Egyptian subjects were held accountable to the law of Pharoah. As mighty men of God, the law shows us that we are not God but called, even commanded to live godly lives. It shows us that we are indeed all sinners, those who have fallen short of the glorious benchmark which is God’s righteousness. But, it does so only to encourage us to invite God into our lives so that we might know His love and righteousness and begin to live godly lives that serve, honor and magnify His Name and His love to all people. As Paul would write, “If I have anything to boast about let it be Christ.” Praise God, I can claim no victory of my own except that victory which Christ has won in my life.

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

* For those fasting through today that they will know the provision and providence of God in and for their lives and bring in the joy to celebration worship tonight at Antioch Community Church, Waco, beginning at 6:30: ALL ARE WELCOME TO COME AND WORSHIP WITH US
* For protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 Swaziland
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* 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 remain humbled by the knowledge that except by grace we would fail in knowing the fullness of life. Thank You for revealing that fullness through Your Word, Your Son Jesus who is our Christ. Amen.

1274

February 26, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 23.6

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I pray you have been blessed and benefitted by this walk through the 23rd Psalm with me. I recognize that I have not gone alone; my Savior and Shepherd has gone with me. By His Holy Spirit He has spoken to me of reflections of the truth as clear as those I saw when I peered into a pool of still waters. By His Holy Spirit He has shown me the green pastures of His inspiration that refresh my soul. He has given me the confidence to continue to trust that He will show me even more whether I am in high sierras, coastal lowlands or dark valleys so that I can journey faithfully to the mighty sheepfold which is the House of the Lord our Heavenly Father. He has fed me with His Word, even the very life of His own Son as we break the bread of hope and drink from the everflowing cup of goodness and mercy. And now, I pray that as we have journeyed together being led by the Good Shepherd in this time of prayer and study we will see the calling in all our lives as mighty men of God that we are all sheep and shepherds. I pray also that you have seen the reality of this WORD for Today made sure by the Living Lord who is the Good Shepherd. You have heard His voice as He called your name and know it to be true. Heed His call in your life and submit yourself to the indwelling of His hope for you to be with Him on earth as you will be in Heaven. This is not a word for yesterday only nor for tomorrow alone but for the todays which are given to us as good gifts to live into and through. Share today what the Lord is doing. Celebrate what He has already done. Proclaim what He is about and yet to do. Trust in Him with your whole heart and lean not upon your own understanding!

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 fasting for the next two days that they will know the provision and providence of God in and for their lives
* For those across the Midwest and Upper Midwest being impacted by Winter Storm Rocky
* For protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 Suriname
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* 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, how good it is to know You in spirit and in truth and receive the revelation of Your Word in our lives. Thank you for encouraging us, urging us, inviting us, supplying us and going with us in this blessed journey of faith called life. We do celebrate that we shall dwell with You forever because You have promised to be with us always in Jesus’ name. Bless Your sheep and Your shepherds and provide for them today what is needed so they can accomplish what they want which is to love You with all that they are. Amen.

1273

February 25, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 23.6

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

In following up from yesterday’s reflection on the bridegroom and carpenter promise of dwelling in the House of the Lord forever we cannot forget the shepherd’s promise. I made the allusion to Jesus’ words of comfort to the disciples on the night of His betrayal as the focal point of embracing the full meaning of these promises. But, David would not have known about those words. He did know about the need for righteousness to be the authenticator of one’s life. No one could dwell in the house of the Lord unless they were a righteous man of God. Nothing that was unrighteous would be accepted in the House of the Lord. The purity laws and rites practiced by the Levites were meant for the purpose of being found acceptable in God’s presence in the Holy of Holies where they would bring the sacrifice before God to atone for the sins of the people. When Isaiah experienced the presence of God in the temple he felt no fear of the moment because he was prepared. What he wasn ‘t prepared for was the elevation of his commissioning to speak prophetic words to the people from God. (Woe, I am a man of unclean lips dwelling in the midst of people with unclean lips. See Isaiah 6) If you were not prepared the glory of the Lord was thought to consume you.

So what does this have to do with the shepherd’s promise? God provides the necessary sacrifice for righteousness, you provide the faith in God (made easier because faith is a gift from God you offer back to God because you have faith.) When Abraham and Isaac went up the mountain to exercise faith- Isaac in his father Abraham and Abraham in his father, God, God provided the sacrifice. It was the shepherd’s promise that God would make it possible to remain safe in the presence of God. It would take the sacrifice of unblemished sheep and lambs to satisfy the call to be cleansed from sin as a person and as a community. The sheep raised in Bethlehem were raised with the express purpose of being the “official” sacrificial lambs for God. But, all this changed when the Lamb of God who comes into the world to take away our sins appeared at the Jordan to be baptized and recognized by John the Baptizer. It changed when Jesus cleared the temple of the buyers and sellers of substitutionary righteousness. It changed when He was brought before Chief High Priest and accused of blasphemy and sentenced to die. It changed when those who believed in Jesus as the Christ stepped from the shadows of doubt and proclaimed Him as Lord of all. It changed when the temple curtain was torn in two removing all barriers between God’s presence and man’s unworthiness. It changed when Jesus promised His disciples they would be gathered together to dwell with Him forever in His Father’s house. It changed when He appeared to them after His crucifixion demonstrating the overwhelming love of God.

And what does this all mean in relationship to David’s beloved psalm? Because the lambs of God no longer need to be sacrificed when they come into the temple. They can abide there without fear of death and dying. They do not have to worry about being perfect to be acceptable. They just need to accept God’s forgiveness and seek Him out where He can be found. What relief it was to David to know that God forgave him and loved him even though he was a sinner! What relief to know that he was not forbidden from worshipping in the House of the Lord because of his sins. God would provide and had provided the means for his inclusion upon David’s confession of sin and profession of faith. The same is true for each mighty man of God and those in the making! God has provided the means for you to dwell in His House forever to live without fear. Behold the Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world. He is perfect because God’s love has made it so. He loves you just as much- so much that He sent His Son into the world not to condemn it but that through Him it might be saved.

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 fasting for the next three days that they will know the provision and providence of God in and for their lives
* For protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 Sudan
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* 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, without You we would be as nothing of value and worth. But, because of Your great love we can know our true self and our true place in Your presence forever. Thank you, God, for the wideness of Your mercy and the depth of Your love. Amen.

1272

February 24, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 23.6

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Jesus comforted His disciples with the words of a carpenter’s promise: “In My Father’s house will be many suites and I will be going there to prepare one for each of you.” Okay, He didn’t say it exactly that way but I updated the translation of His promise in terms better suited to us because we do not live in the same world that Jesus’ disciples did. In the day of high rise apartments and penthouses, we better capture the vision Jesus was leaving with His disciples. His purpose in death, beyond death, was the same as His purpose in their lives while He was with them. He wanted them to dwell in God’s presence as a part of their daily lives so they would experience the spiritual goodness and mercy as well as the confidence of God’s prosperity and power forever. His means of personally communicating that desire was to share with them the bridegroom’s promise.

Wait, didn’t I say the carpenter’s promise? Well, yes, I did. There is actually a threefold promise given by Christ to His disciples for their comfort. Who better to fulfill the bridegroom’s promise than a carpenter? In the days of Jesus, the promise of the bridegroom-to-be was to go away for a time and build the house (sometimes it was just the extension like an apartment to his father’s house) for he and his bride to live in. When it was completed, he would return to claim his bride and they would go away to live as two who would become as one. Jesus was sharing the promise of return and prosperity with his disciples akin to the covenant promise of a bridegroom. If I go away it is a sign that I am coming back so that we can live together forever. Wow! How God must truly love us. He wants us not to be neighbors and live next door, His Son the carpenter is on special assignment to build apartments and palacial rooms attached to His own Heavenly Home so that we can be one big happy family. Now the depth of His words sink into my heart, mind and soul. His teachings about life and love, mercy and goodness, peace and forgiveness are descriptions of what it means to live in the House of the Lord. No wonder they sound strangely like the Ten Commandments but only better because the Ten Commandments described what it would mean to live with God forever instead of living with Pharoah. Don’t you see? Living with God is totally different than living with “man.” David understood this very well because His life, except for those sinful bumps in the road, was filled with the desire to live in God’s House. He wanted a place for the Ark of the Covenant to dwell in permanence. He had a plan in mind for it and his son, Solomon- the son of forgiveness, built it. It was grand and beautiful and a glory to God but it was not eternal because it was built by human hands. David knew that and so did Solomon. But, their hope was to capture a glimpse of heaven’s house where God lives forever so that the sheep of their pasture might long for the house God was having built in Heaven where we all might dwell together. God was not only the Father of faith, He was and is the Husband of Heaven. He not only wants to bless our lives on earth, He wants those lives to dwell in the fullness of blessing forever with Him in Heaven.

Mighty men of God, Jesus made a promise to His disciples and it is the same promise He makes with us. He has described how we should live in this world building up the House of God, His body, to reflect the actual House of God for us all in Heaven. He has shown us what it is like to live with the Kingdom of God in the midst of us so that we will recognize our presence in the midst of God. He has promised to be the faithful bridegroom so that we might fulfill our duties, obligations and responsibilities as bridegrooms of spirit, truth and life in this world. We are called to be heaven-like homebuilders in all of our relationships mirroring the very reality David experienced by being a shepherd of sheep as well as a shepherded sheep. It is a tremendous challenge to bear in our heart, mind and soul. It is also the springboard to the triune promise I mentioned which Jesus made to His disciples and therefore to us- the carpenter’s promise, the bridegroom’s promise and finally the shepherd’s promise…but I will dwell on that promise in tomorrow’s reflection on HIS WORD for today.

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

* For those who will be leading God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend and those who will join with them in spirit and in truth
* For protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* 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 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 Sri Lanka
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* 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, how sweet it is to know You want us to dwell in Your House forever. We are humbled by the simple truth that Jesus surrendered His life to make that promise a reality. May we in deepest gratitude live lives worthy of that promise and that reality in Jesus’ name. Amen.

1271

February 22, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 23.6

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Are you imagining that under your leadership as a mighty man of God mercy and goodness will follow you all the days of your life? Isn’t “follow you” such an interesting term? We all love the story “Footprints.” Some of you may even have the lithograph with actual starfish affixed to it hanging in your home or office. The story has impact as it looks back to see the places where goodness and mercy had carried us through. But, even more so I believe that as we embrace the presence of God in our lives as both sheep and shepherd we will find that our own footprints have left the impressions of mercy and grace. As we marshal our way through life we walk “Mercy, Goodness, Mercy, Goodness, Mercy, Goodness, right, left, right, Goodness, Mercy, left.” It is because of God’s great love for us that the anointing for ministry and life drips off of us and anoint the ground with drops of mercy and goodness. We look behind us and see where our transgressions and divergences from the paths of righteousness have been smoothed away with the gentle sweep of mercy and goodness. In fact, the constant check in the rearview mirror of our lives reveals a straight path where we would have sworn there was so many curves and dips we wouldn’t be able to see very far at all. The road ahead seems to be a challenge that in review seems to have straightened out. We have accomplished much and come far with the love of God as our Shepherd.

But, there is more than just forgiveness in God’s mercy and goodness. There is also empowerment for those who listen to God’s direction and follow it, who seek His forgiveness and receive it. Forgiveness is a blessing just like love which only grows the more it is shared. Just as we are forgiven, we are expected to forgive. The story of the master forgiving one of his workers a great debt only for the worker to not forgive a smaller debt of a co-worker is the perfect example. We cannot forget when Jesus taught His disciples to pray He included “Forgive us as we forgive those who are indebted to us, sinned against us and trespassed against us.” Goodness and mercy are the empowerments and evidences of God’s great love for all His children. The mighty men of God who walk by faith will continually demonstrate their desire to give and receive God’s blessings of mercy and goodness. In fact, shouldn’t that be how we are remembered by those who will gather upon our transition from life on earth to life in Heaven? It will be good to hear God declare in response to the people saying “He was a man of goodness and grace” with “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” That is something to live for that no amount of money could ever provide. Be rich- in goodness and grace.

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 this weekend and those who will join with them in spirit and in truth
* For safeguarding of those throughout the Midwest and Northeast in the face of a storm bringing significant snowfall
* For protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* 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 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 Spain
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* 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 these blessings we have received and now can share we give You thanks. Amen.

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February 21, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 23.6

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

As responsible parents, one of the truths we taught our children is “there is safety in numbers.” The good shepherd knows this truth as well which is why he cannot allow any sheep or lamb to become isolated and left to wander away from the flock. Alone they are an easy prey for any predator. It is the nature of the predator to begin to pull the weak, or those in their weak moments, away from the safety of the group. Even shepherds know this for themselves as they network in times of emergency to assist one another (see the Parable of the Lost Sheep.) But, the infected shepherd is a predator. His desire is to keep the sheep for himself and his own benefit. We have seen too many leaders who have taken the position of leadership in order to make the most of themselves at their expense. There is no sense of teaming and when a rival threat arises, that shepherd uses isolation to cull the positive from the negative convincing the negative they are the positive. Satan is the primary example of such an infected shepherd. His desire was to separate Adam from God. Adam was a painful reminder of who God was and who He, Satan, was not. But, Adam was not so easily gotten. So, Satan used Eve to bring the deception to bear. In fact, it worked up to a point. Adam and Eve may have been duped but our God is not.

David had been subject to a similar deception. He allowed his own pride and lust to open the door of temptation and he succumbed to it. Death was the consequence. No, David did not die but those he claimed to love did- Uriah, a faithful commander, and his son who was born out of an unlawful relationship. A part of David died as well. Yet, God, through Nathan, brought David back into the fold. Nathan proclaimed the mercy and goodness of God. Nathan knew these were critical character markers in David as well. As Nathan referred back to David’s shepherding days, David grasped the truth as well and repented. Now David understood the truth of his psalm which he sang often to God. David would never be alone- goodness and mercy would follow him all the days of his life. Whether as a sheep of God’s flock or a shepherd of God’s flock- David would never be alone.

Jesus made a similar statement to His disciples following His crucifixion and resurrection just before He ascended back to the Father’s right hand. He told them “Lo, I am with you always!” I have no doubt that just as He reconciled Peter through love as a shepherd could, He now had this psalm in mind as He prepared His disciples to become apostles of HIS WORD for every day. Jesus the Christ is the goodness and mercy of God in flesh and in spirit. We are never alone as His sheep and His shepherds. But, equally, we cannot let our flock be alone either. We are to demonstrate and proclaim the goodness and mercy of God at all times. Is it not significant to you to connect this verse with a prior verse we have already studied? It says, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I am aware of your presence because your rod (mercy) and staff (goodness) are with me.” In the words of the old hymn, “No, never alone. No, never alone.”

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 safeguarding of those throughout the Midwest and Northeast in the face of a storm bringing significant snowfall
* For protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* 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 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 South Africa
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* 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, thank You for never forsaking us and leaving us alone to fall prey to our own demise. May our eyes of the flesh and spirit always remain focused on the shepherd’s rod and staff, Your goodness and mercy, so that life may be in us and through us to all generations in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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February 20, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 23.5b

“You have anointed my head with oil; my cup runs full.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Have you marvelled at those times when you weren’t paying complete attention while filling a glass and quickly stop finding the glass accidentally filled to the very top without spillage? Isn’t it amazing? Is the brain actually paying attention to what is happening even when we consciously are not? Or was it just a quirk, an accident or a coincidence? Of course, it matters to us because we do not want to spill water, tea or soda. We certainly do not want to waste anything or make a mess. We try to be cautious to not make an error in judgment. So, is God making a mistake filling our cup to overflowing? Shouldn’t He be more careful not to waste His outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the blessings of His Kingdom shared with His mighty men?

The phrases in verse 5 speak more to the truth about God’s desire and love for us than pesticide control and never leaving us hungry or thirsty. David was not just a shepherd boy. His boyhood days ended when God moved in him to defeat Goliath of Philistia. I am guessing that when this boy shepherd faced down his first lion or bear or wolf he was no longer a boy. Responsibility has a way of making those changes and sadly for some way before their time of becoming a man when the heart, mind and soul are blended as one. But, David’s cup was overflowing. A flowing cup was a sign of blessing which a host lavishes upon a welcome guest, especially an honorable one. A flowing cup is like unlimited drinks and a free salad bar with as many return trips as you want. Okay, well, it is a little more than that but I want you to grasp the picture of this cup of blessing and the manifestation of God’s love as being awesomely and spiritually extreme. It means that it never ends! No matter what, when or where- the blessing of God abides in spirit and in truth. Way to go, God! Wherever I am- YOU are. Whatever is needed- YOU have provided. In fact, scripture declares “God will never ask of you more than you are able to bear.” Sometimes we may wonder given our circumstances in the world today. But, put alongside that truth that God will provide for us our daily bread in the amount we will need for that day and that His promise is never ceasing and isn’t it easy to see how God can do all things in us through Christ who strengthens us.

And that is where I want us to be found today. I want us to abide for a moment in the green pastures of truth and the still flowing waters of the Spirit. Jesus asked His Father to relieve Him of the cup which no man should have to drink. His humanity pushed on His divinity. The weight of all death and dying was pressing in on Him as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before His betrayal, trial and crucifixion. Yet, in the end His divinity was overflowing in the blessing of God to endure in His flesh what no man should ever be asked to do and more. He not only took the cup of blessing and promise, the cup of destiny and salvation, the cup of fulfillment and authority- I believe He asked for God to let this cup run full and never be empty. When He drank of that cup, He set in motion the breaking of the faucet of Heaven so that God’s mercy and grace would be poured out on the world until it was overflowing with goodness and love. In the days of Noah, God flooded the earth with judgment. In the days of Jesus, God floods the earth with blessing and love.

As you bathe yourself in HIS WORD for today, as you hold up your cup and receive the outpouring if His mercy and grace do so knowing that your cup is running full of God and will never be empty. You cannot drink it all in and you cannot pour it all out. It is an everlasting stream of living water, living blessing and the Living 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 safeguarding of those throughout the Midwest in the face of a storm bringing significant snowfall
* For protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully * 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 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 Somalia
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* 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 for those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness that they may see the fullness which is just waiting for them to partake. Everlasting Father, how awesome it is to sit at Your Table on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

February 19, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 23.5b

“You have anointed my head with oil; my cup runs full.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

The shepherd knew the value of anointing the head of his flock with oil. If he did not, especially in certain times of the year, they would be infected by stinging insects, swarming gnats in their eyes and mites in their ears. Remembering, too, that sheep were wary of moving water, especially deep water, they knew that the still and shallow water was more than likely filled with mosquitoes which carried diseases. In the presence of their enemies, the shepherd anointed them with oil to protect them so that they could have their fill of water till their cup overflowed. Of course, the shepherd had to watch over them because too much of a good thing was not in the sheep’s vocabulary. They never know when to stop. As long as the food and water was present, they would eat and drink- even if it killed them.

David must have reflected back to the first day when Samuel anointed him to be King of Israel. How unlikely was it that this shepherd boy would be known as the mighty man of God. He grew up a lot in the eyes of all Israel as he stood his ground before Goliath of Philistia. It honored God mightily. Yet, he was the least of his brothers (a common theme for biblical leadership.) But, he was chosen and set apart by God. He was an answer to the needs of Israel and to Samuel’s lament concerning Saul. It would be a complicated story and lay the foundation for David being surrounded by his enemies- including King Saul. But, he was anointed to be King at God’s command. His head was anointed with oil which meant he had been set aside for a special purpose. It meant he was holy and acceptable before the Lord. He became a fragrant offering worthy of the King of Kings. The cup of blessing was filled to overflowing with responsibility and opportunity to serve God in a mighty way. What was his requirement for service: to love God, to walk humbly before Him, to do justice and honor the place of mercy in His own life.

You, mighty men of God, have been anointed as well. When you confessed Jesus Christ as Lord as Savior, He who is One with God as His only begotten son, you were baptized into blessed union with Him. That baptism began your journey of anointing. You would be further anointed with the Holy Spirit to designate the power, dominion and authority you have in this world. The blessing of forgiveness and inclusion, spirit and authority has filled your cup to overflowing with responsibility and opportunity to make God known before all the world. All of this has been done because God has chosen You to receive the favor of His blessing. Believe yourselves to be worthy because you have been made worthy in Jesus Christ!

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 protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully * 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 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 the Solomon Islands
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother and a very blessed Happy Birthday, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving

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

* A positive training event for our staff and an opportunity to infuse the truth from God’s Word into what we do as teachers
* 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, pour out Your anointing Spirit on these mighty men of Yours. Strengthen them for their service today to Your people. Guide them in paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake and may all they seek to accomplish for You today be fulfilled to overflowing. Amen.

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February 18, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 23.5a

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

As with the entire psalm we see and hear the artistic creation of an image that would be common to many people throughout the nation of Israel but most especially those who lived in or near Bethlehem- the home of David and his family. Bethlehem was a community known for its sheep. Whether this was true before David became king or after is not known. But, as scripture draws clear attention to Jesus being the Lamb of God and descended from the house and line of David, we know of the emphasis placed upon those flocks of Bethlehem used for sale as sacrificial lambs in the temple in Jerusalem. If the lambs could have borne a brand or label they would probably say “Made in Bethlehem.” Consider then the rivalry of other sheep owners beyond Bethlehem who wanted a piece of the business. Temple sacrifice was big business and it wasn’t always spiritual business. Don’t forget how Jesus drove out the money changers as thieves in the temple scattering all the livestock which was being bought and sold in the sacrifice trade. He did this much to the dismay of the temple rulers who saw this tirade as further proof that Jesus was their enemy, an enemy of the nation and of God. Really? Jesus was an enemy of God? Of course, Jesus was labeled a blasphemer and can there be any greater enemy of God than that? What? Satan is the greater enemy of God. Yes, but Satan’s greatest problem was blasphemy. He denied his very place and purpose within the Kingdom of God. He hated the fact that he was not God. He did not like the fact that he had been created by God. He didn’t even like the love of God which dealt with him compassionately even after he led a rebellion of a myriad of angels against Him. Compassion? Yes, it was the act of a compassionate God which saved his life for a time. God could have, and many would say should have, simply destroyed Satan upon discovering the rebellion and putting it to rest. He could have judged Satan with a death sentence instead of a life sentence. Yet, God’s justice is perfect and to His enemies He gave a living death sentence or perhaps it was a deadly living sentence with a temporary parole. He will be granted one last opportunity to truly be free from Hell and to walk freely on the earth among the peoples of the world. But, in Revelation the heart, mind and purpose of Satan is already revealed- he will not confess his sin, seek forgiveness and receive mercy in order to lead his dark-hearted army in the worship and service of Almighty God. For that final failure, he will be sentenced to death in the Lake of Everlasting Fire to be consumed for all eternity, remaining but a shadow of death in the memory of God.

What does David know of all of this? How vast was his theological education? I don’t know and don’t care to presume. Yet, David knew that he was surrounded at all times by enemies- enemies of him personally, enemies of him politically, enemies of the state and enemies of God who used their wiles to tempt man into falling out of love with God. David had been hunted down by the best of them including King Saul who had been the anointed of God. Yet, in the midst of it all, David knew the provision of God. Everywhere he went some kindness and charity was shown to him and those who followed him. He had found peace and prosperity as more than a word of promise; it became a reality of truth. Even when he succumbed to temptation on that rooftop, God extended mercy and justice to him as he confessed his faithlessness as a good shepherd.

Is it no less true for you mighty men of God? The enemies of God are your enemies as well. For your faithfulness you are a wanted and hunted man. Your life is not sought to be a sacrifice for good but to be eliminated “for good.” Those who would seek to dissuade you from following the Good Shepherd infiltrate your world, your home, your mind, your heart and even your spirit through constant bombardment of messages akin to the one he whispered to Adam and Eve in the Garden, “Surely you will not die for just eating an apple.” But, die they would and live they do because of the mercy and justice of God. He provided a life for them instead of death however. It wasn’t an easy life but then neither was Calvary for Jesus. Yet, in the presence of our enemies, God has provided daily bread in sufficiency and blessed us with so much more. If you wonder why God hasn’t blessed you with more sometimes consider also what your life might be if He was not present and protecting you from the enemy. Could your life be worse? What could be worse? Oh that a man would gain the entire world but for the sake of it lose his hold on eternity! Yes, in the presence of our enemies, God provides for our lives in faith, hope and most of all 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 protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully * 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 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, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea 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 Slovenia
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother and a very blessed Happy Birthday, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving

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

* The opportunity to serve others and surviving the attack of the enemy who wants it to cease
* 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 things seen and unseen we give thanks. For the hedge of protection around our lives and for the bountiful pastures of favor upon which we graze, these sheep of Your pasture are truly grateful. We pray for our enemies and yours that somehow through Jesus the pages of history can be changed and they can again be brought back into Your fold. But, even if they will not, we shall remember them in loving prayer and do good to those who hate us, revile us and even persecute us because it is the right and just thing to do as You have done for us! Thank You for finding us and bringing us home again. Amen.

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