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1420

August 30, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

James 3.13

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

They say the difference between wisdom and knowledge can be defined by what you know. Those who claim to have knowledge believe they know a great many things; sometimes things they don’t even know. Those who claim to be wise, a gift and reality for which Solomon prayed so that he might lead God’s people with equity, know they do not know everything; sometimes things they do know which are lost in the greater mystery of the unknown. Other people say that the difference between wisdom and knowledge is a matter of function. Knowledge is what you know, the facts and realities. Wisdom is knowing what to do with those facts and realities for the greater good of others and to the glory of God. From either viewpoint, wisdom seems to be something every mighty man should pray to receive as a part of his blessing for life.

1) Wisdom roots the mighty man of God in humility. Those who are truly wise believe that God is omniscient, all-knowing. No matter how much knowledge we may possess we do not know everything. We do not have every answer. We do not have every solution. We do not have anything more than what is made available to another other mighty man of God. In essence, we are not God nor do we claim equality with God. Wisdom is born in God’s mighty men when they confess their sinfulness before God and profess their forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ before all men. Alone by our own efforts we cannot escape the grasp of sin which seeks to entrap us into a life of seeming success and ultimate defeat. But, in wisdom which comes from knowing the One True God, we are set free to pursue knowledge which can serve the will and purpose of God on earth among our fellow men.

2) Wisdom aligns the mighty man of God with God’s purpose and will for his life. There can be no false humility among the mighty men of God. When Paul spoke against pride he was addressing the arrogant pride of mortal men who stand opposed to the truth of God or who decide to believe only parts of it which serve their purpose as they see it. But, Paul would remind the mighty men of God that they must be confident of who they are in Jesus Christ and not be detered from doing what is right and good. There should be no “shrinking violets” in the body of Christ. We are not given a spirit of fear and timidity. Instead, we are given the Holy Spirit of God which will teach us all that is needed and remind us of what we had been taught in its entirety so that we will benefit from it. We are blessed with a power, a dominion and an authority. It does not mean we are equal to God; even Jesus said that equality with God was not something to be grasped. Yet, as He maintained His right relationship with the Father, He being the Son of that Father, He was elevated above the dire predicament of man who was being swallowed by sin. He did not count Himself as “better than us.” Indeed, He came to be one of us and one with us so that we would be one with Him and one in the body of Christ. Recognizing our true place in the kingdom allows the mighty man of God to see all that he is to become and can do as the Spirit of God directs.

3) Wisdom is an opportunity to allow others to know God. When the mighty man of God is truly wise others will see God in him before they see him in the world. Wisdom is the honest expression of enjoying our place in the presence of God. Wisdom is increased when we seek God’s truth and the application of that truth in order to make the lives of others better. Take the desire to make the most of those opportunities away and wisdom escapes us, sin regains its grasp on our lives and we must return again to the foot of the cross and hear the dialogue of forgiveness again to restore the balance in our lives.

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 this weekend in worship, praise and service
* For the protection and success of all the firefighters combating the Yosemite fire
* 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 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Democratic Republic of Korea
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* Request for wisdom in the face of a difficult living arrangement request; for deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack and Jordan to receive direction for each of their lives and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life;

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

* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we pray to be wise men and leaders as You would have us to be in order that all people can know Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and confess Him as their Lord and Savior. AMEN.

1419

August 29, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

Psalm 119.17-18

“Do good to your servant, and I will live. I will obey Your Word [because it is good for me.] Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law [which is faith, hope and love].”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

The quality of life for a mighty man of God cannot be measured by the same terms as a worldly man. Men of the world see money, power, prestige and possessions as the determining factors. All of these can and do pass away. They are like water running from a tap into our hands. We can hold it for a little while but eventually the water will be gone. But, God remains the constant factor of life’s measure of success for His mighty men. No, we cannot measure up to God. He is too great, too immense and too perfect for us to even consider foolishly that we can be His equal. Instead, God has made it possible for us to be called sons of the Most High. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are able to share in the purpose of His Kingdom and be a mighty contributor. In Him the promise of provision for our daily needs and our eternal outcome is already fulfilled. This is why David sings “Do good to your servant and I will live.” What is that “good” David knew in his heart, soul and mind? What is that “good” that gave him the strength and courage to persist daily in pursuing God’s righteousness even when he failed miserably at times in his life? That “good” is the providential love of God which can forgive us all and empowers the blessing of forgiveness for those who seek it, accept it and then live by the newness of life it brings to the true believer. David knew that if God was the provider of his life then life was truly worth living for and dying for. If God was the provider of his life then each day was a blessing and the consequence was an abundance of blessings for generations to come. But, the story of David is decorated with moments when he took his eyes from the prize. The consequence was death, sorrow, remorse and an opportunity to learn from his mistakes and begin again. The pattern is clear and the opportunity is available. As God’s mighty men we must be equally confident about our own lives. We must seek and accommodate the blessings and gifts which God provides on a daily basis to meet our needs, the needs of those within our sphere of influence and the wisdom to know the difference and accept the call to action. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding. Trust in God, He will provide just as He promised.

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

* For the protection and success of all the firefighters combating the Yosemite fire
* 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 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Kiribati
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* Request for wisdom in the face of a difficult living arrangement request; for deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* Fourth day of a great school year staying humble before God
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, for the blessings of this day which are already deposited into the account of our life to be used for the benefit of others, we give You thanks. AMEN.

1418

August 28, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

Psalm 119.17-18

“Do good to your servant, and I will live. I will obey Your Word [because it is good for me.] Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law [which is faith, hope and love].”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

As mighty men of God, we must have confidence in His presence, in His Word and in His promise. The life of faith is predicated on trust. Not that we strike a deal with God that He provides for us and we trust Him in response; although that seems to be the thought for many including Christians. We must trust God even when there is a lack of known response. Our life with God is predicated on only one condition- His love for us demonstrated through Jesus’ obedience to the plan of salvation for our sake. Whether we believed in Him or not, whether we trust in Him or not, whether we love others as He has loved us or not- Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Paul declared “While we were sinners, God demonstrated His love for us.” God trusts Himself and His plan for our salvation. God is unconditionally God, there is no other and can be no other. So what “trust” am I speaking of when I am talking about faith?

Our faith is predicated on trust. That trust of which I speak is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which God deposits into our heart, mind, soul and spirit. His investment in us with the precious and powerful gift is an investment for the future that is paying dividends for us on a daily basis. That is why we are called to walk by faith and not by sight. Think of your savings and retirement funds. You cannot literally see the interest accrue. You could sit there all day observing a stack of money and not see it draw interest. But, at the end of the day the banker will add more into your account. This is what God does. He is investing in you His faith, hope and love. It is unconditional. If we sin and still strive to love God, are repentant, humble ourselves before God and press on, God increases our account on account of His love. Jesus warns of setting up our treasures in earthen ventures because they can be easily taken from us. Instead, we are to make our investment in the Kingdom of God which is a storehouse and workhouse that cannot be defeated by the enemy.

David understood this when he wroted the lyrics of his praise and worship song “The Lord is My Shepherd.” But, we see it also in one of his greatest hits “Blessed are Those” of which we read a part today. David confesses, I will live because God does good for me. I will see wonderful things in His law because God dares to open my eyes to things my earthly eyes never saw before until I started looking for God. What are we looking for as mighty men of God. Are we looking for worthy ventures to invest in on our own initiative? Or are we investing in the Kingdom of God giving a return on the investment God has made in 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 the protection and success of all the firefighters combating the Yosemite fire
* 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 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Kenya
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* Third day of a great school year staying humble before God
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, how good it is to wake up each morning knowing that You have already invested in me and deposited all I will need for the day into my account on account of Your love for me. May I use these gifts, treasures and opportunities to promote You and Your Kingdom on earth in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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1417

August 27, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

John 12.47-50

“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Many times I have heard the laments of those who have shared their testimony and felt the frustration of seeing no response or receiving a negative response. It happens. The same is experienced when you share the gift of love or pay a compliment and it is not returned nor appreciated. I am sure it has happened to you as it has to me. But, the wisest counsel is “don’t take it personally.” Yes, it is a personal issue to you because you made an investment of sharing yourself, risking who you are and the emotional collateral to step up and out. But, their rejection or lack of affection isn’t really about you. It is about themselves.

Sadly, there are many people in the world who cannot receive the gift of good news or good favor or good opinion because they do not love themselves as they could nor believe in themselves as they should. Because they have not experienced and embraced the love of God in Jesus Christ declaring Him Lord and Savior of their lives, they will have a difficult time accepting it from you. But, God is working through you to make Himself more evident in a human way, the godly human way. This is why He sent His Son, Jesus, into the world. The world was having as difficult a time understanding, believing and accepting God as it is today. But, the fields are still white for harvest and the Church is being sent out to bring in the harvest for the glory of God. Some people just do not think themselves worthy or capable of being brought in.

In the early days of Israel being a nation, the people cried out for a king so they would look like other nations. Samuel lamented before God and God replied, “Samuel, don’t take it personally. They are not rejecting you. It is Me they are having issues with.” And it is true. Why would Israel want to look like other nations who did not have the favor and presence of God working in their favor? Why would Israel and the United States want the same for themselves? I have no idea but it seems there is still that stream of consciousness flowing through our leadership. The same was evident when King Jesus walked the face of Israel from north to south, east to west. They wanted Jesus to be just like they had imagined and on par with leaders of other nations. They did not realize it wasn’t being the same as other nations that gave them the bargaining advantage. What works is being aligned with God just as Christ demonstrated for them in His day. So, as He is speaking to the leadership of Israel and those who followed them, He declared His purpose. His purpose was to spread the Word of God as a farmer sowing seed. If people refused to harvest for what they did not sow and consume that for which they did not have to labor, then it was up to Him to respond in any other way than to do what God called Him to do- sow seed!

As mighty men of God today, we are commissioned to sow the seeds of faith, hope and lovingkindess across the earth through which we walk. It is accounted to us how many responded but how faithful we are to the call and work of God in us. If there is response, it will be multiplied for the glory of God. If there is no response, God will take the matters into His hand by sending others to enjoy the broken ground we left behind that may be more ready for the plow and the seed. Or, God will decide that more needs to happen to the field than is humanly possible. In the end, it is up to God because it is about God. It isn’t about us or them. It is always and must always be about God. To God be the glory. If we do what we are supposed to do, then God will do what God is going to do for us and to them.

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

* For the protection and success of all the firefighters combating the Yosemite fire
* 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 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Kazakhstan
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* Second day of a great school year staying humble before God
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. AMEN.

1416

August 26, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

John 12.47-50

“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

God is the only One, okay the Trinity by definition, who can truly say “Because I said so” and mean it. God’s Word is the first and the last. In His Word we have life, its definition, its meaning and its purpose. In His Word we can have confidence and hope. In His Word we can have forgiveness of sins and the restoration of joy. In His Word we can live without fear because the end of our lives, which is not determined by anything of this world, is secured. Our place in Heaven is being fashioned one day at a time and being built for the day of our arrival. We are at home in God. His Word will speak welcome to us that cannot be denied. Trust in His Word and live!

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

* For the protection and success of all the firefighters combating the Yosemite fire
* 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 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Jordan
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* First day of a great school year staying humble before God
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, declare Your Word over us today and we will see our opportunity to serve You and rejoice in the day which You have made with us in mind. AMEN.

1415

August 25, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

John 12.47-50

“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Yesterday was one of those epiphany days that I really appreciate. One, I like it when I get to add depth to my understanding of God’s Word. Two, I am humbled by the reminders that things do happen for a reason. We may choose the path we travel which leads to consequences good and bad; but, God never chooses to forsake us or leave us clueless. How He can tie things together so we make the connection between spiritual truth and our human understanding is inspiring and most welcome.

So, what was the event that lead to the epiphany? Probably not anything unlike anything you have faced in your life when trying to offer “pearls” of wisdom to someone else. One of the first criticisms can be “but you don’t know what I am going through; so what do you know anyway.” Actually, they make a good point. While we want to have that empathetic connections and share “I have walked in shoes like yours,” most of our connections are sympathetic meaning we share a feeling of concern and can “only imagine what it would be like to walk in your shoes.” I remember reading an article written by Walt Whitman concerning a visit by President Lincoln to the Veteran’s Hospital in Washington where he made a comment concerning the epiphany he had as the reality of the line of poetry by an unknown author came to mind. While Lincoln could not share an empathetic moment with those wounded and weary soldiers, he certainly could sympathize with them concerning the loss of life and its debilitation because of his own loss of a child. As mighty men of God, we do share many similar feelings and experiences which draw us near to others in their times of need as well as their joy. But, we struggle mightily with what to say or do when those emotions are so deep and those events are so tragic they elude us.

It is at that point we are very aware of the need to fall into the wisdom and compassion of God. But, that phrase “what can you offer when you have never had to face a situation like the one I am in” followed me throughout the morning. My mind reached out to Jesus in prayer asking for the right words to say. It was a good prayer and a good question. It was better because I was sincerely struggling for an answer and had the mind to listen so I knew what to do next. Of course, Jesus had an answer for me. It is embedded in that context of scripture describing Jesus dialogue with the Pharisees following His “triumphant” entry into Jerusalem before His final Passover celebration with His disciples. Verse 49 resonated in my mind and spirit “I do not speak on my own but say only what the Father has given me to say.” Even Jesus did not experience every human condition during His lifetime on earth. He certainly bore the weight of all our sins and the troubling consequences which followed, especially His death on the cross and the terrible events leading up to it. Could there be people who would disqualify Jesus from their struggle for an answer because He didn’t live in their experience? Of course, Jesus never said He did. Even when all the sins of the world- past, present and future were heaped on Him the volume overwhelmed His humanity to the point of believing His Father in Heaven had forsaken Him. That is something we can relate to in our own lives, I am sure. But, Jesus in His honesty directs us to the One who has experienced life with us from its inception to its conception to its perception to its deconstruction to its reconstruction to its desolation and to its resurrection. Jesus can speak the words we need to hear not because He has “been there, done that” but because He is God’s Son and trusts Him implicitly and explicitly with the truth we need to hear to make it through those times that try means souls which far exceed anything Thomas Paine would have imagined.

I was thrilled to know that God was listening and had the Word to offer to my situation. That Word was, and is, Jesus my Christ. He is your Christ, too. He is Thee Word that your heart, mind, soul and spirit long for to gather the strength of body, clarity of mind, surety of spirit and peace of our soul that can flow like a river through us and carry us into the calm waters of God’s sea of life and love. Trust in Him and find the thrill of His Word spoken just for your life situation. Have ears to hear and eyes to see, as Isaiah declared, and the truth of God will set you free.

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 this weekend in worship, praise and service
* 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 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Japan
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* The dress was found and life gets better… I said just trust and believe
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, for those moments of inspiration that catch us off guard but remind us in mighty ways You are listening and want to help, we give You thanks. Speak to us as we lean more into You for the Word of our lives and let us hear in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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1414

August 23, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

Romans 12.1

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

As Paul was writing this letter of affirmation and instruction to those who were citizens of Rome and of the Kingdom of God, he knew of the challenges which faced them culturally. Being mighty men of God meant that lives and lifestyles were changing to meet the expectations of the Kingdom. The early church was faced with any number of cultural challenges across the spectrum of faith systems from Judaizers to Zoroastrians to all parts in between. One particularly challenging life choice was bound in the belief that the mind and the body were two separate entities. Those who held to that belief, and shades of it, determined that in the mind as the seat of the soul they could be “pure” but that the body could be defiled and have no impact on their view of salvation and future life. So, debauchery and fornication and gluttonies of all kinds could be participated in, to them, and yet they would proclaim that they were a virtuous person. The expressions of these lifestyles is not the purpose of this study but its fallacy is.

As mighty men of God, we proclaim a unity of body, mind and spirit in the name of Jesus. Jesus taught that even considering a sinful action in our thoughts without acting upon them physically was still a sin and abomination. Jesus drew the wide circle and all men fall into it when He taught “All have sinned and fallen short” of the expectation of righteousness. Our thoughts influence our affections and our actions, how we treat our own lives and the lives of others. There is no disconnect between one and the other. Many would love to believe there is because it resolves the conflict of doing what is right and being right and still be “acceptable” in the world. Paul writes that we are to be pleasing to God. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the grave for our justification giving us hope in this world for the next, He became Lord of all. He was a man and a man of God. He did not see any difference between the two. They can be blended one into the same. They are not meant to stand diametrically opposed to each other. Nor can we think that our thoughts and actions have no bearing on each other. Is the conflict difficult to resolve? Of course it is and especially so with Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives and Savior of our bodies, mind and spirit. Shall we struggle in this world? Yes, we can, but by the power of the Holy Spirit we are given the power of body, mind and spirit to be victorious because we are not just a whole person. In Christ we are one with Him, the Father and all our brothers. We share a kindred mind, heart and spirit. If we struggle together then the burden is easier to bear and to overcome. Bearing that struggle to God is a part of our worship. It is a battle of the spirit which is won in Jesus Christ and is defined by our desire to share the same spirit with Christ who has sent the Holy Spirit to us as our comfort, guide and teacher. Do not be deceived by those who believe you can be partially righteous and be wholly His. The joy you seek in your life comes from seeking after the wholeness which comes from seeking Christ and making Him Lord of your life.

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

* For those who will lead God’s people this weekend in worship, praise and service
* 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Jamaica
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* Happy Birthday blessing for my father and my step-daughter, Mallory- may the peace of God reign in your lives
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, continue to pour out Your Spirit upon these mighty men and those who are desiring to become mighty men in Jesus’ name. By Your Spirit, Your mercy and grace, we celebrate our healing and our wholeness. We offer ourselves to you that our words, our thoughts, our actions, our whole lives shall be pleasing and acceptable to You and of great opportunity in this world to serve others in faith, hope and love. AMEN.

1413

August 22, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

Romans 12.1

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Remember the question that used to be very popular and can still be heard today “If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It actually is a good challege to our modern mindset of living as a follower of Christ in the modern world. But, in the end, the conviction it is speaking of exists only in the court of human law. The truth is that we are measured by human law but an obedience to the law of love in Jesus Christ. Our conviction is not a legal matter but a spiritual one. Jesus was accused in the court of unpopular opinion and human legalities. He was found guilty of sedition, blasphemy, and crucified. Of course, God’s mighty men understand that His death was, in reality, the required sacrifice for our sins in order to restore us to the place of righteouness before God. His sacrifice was death which brought life. His reward was life which gives life. As He is now that is what is we, as God’s mighty men, as supposed to be. We are to be living witnesses to the risen Lord, restoring and giving life where there seemed to be none. We are to breathe into the lives of others the Word of God which is love giving them revival of heart, mind, body and soul. The joy is that we do not have to die in order to accomplish this feat. Sadly, there will be those whose witness will appear contrary to popular opinion and conventional wisdom and they will be martyred for the sake of the gospel. This was the fate of many of the disciples and mighty men throughout the generations which followed. It still happens today. Praise God for their witness and the strength of their lives to accept such a consequence for such a conviction to serve God only.

But, the Apostle Paul declares that we mighty men of God, brothers in Christ, we are to present our lives to God and the world as living sacrifices to be holy and pleasing to God. Ours is a spiritual act of worship because our sacrifice is not meant to appease the ways of the world but to give up worldly things in order that we can receive more of the Kingdom of God into our lives. This is a tremendous challenge. It borders on the question given to the young man whom Jesus said, “There is one more thing you must do to hold on to eternal life…go, sell all that you have, then come and follow me.” Unfortunately, the last we see of him is his backside as he turned to walk away because he had great riches. Jesus wasn’t asking him to die for the sake of the gospel but to live believing in God for all things. He wants God’s mighty men to be willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel but it is the measure of love to be willing to do so. More than that, however, He wants us to be living for the gospel and remove all impediments in our lives that would become stumbling blocks to the full expression of faith in and through our lives. What is keeping you from enjoying the full extent of your spiritual worship in the world of man? When you find that answer then give it up to God and live more fully and completely than you ever have before.

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 teachers and administrators as they begin a new school year with registration
* 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Italy
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we want to count on You more today and any day we have lived. We want our faith to be more complete and our worship more spiritual. But, we cannot do this on our own. Without You in our lives there is no hope that we can accomplish Your good work in this world as it is already being done in heaven. Give us what we need today to bring hope to life and our lives to a higher level of living for You in our daily walk. AMEN.

1412

August 20, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

Luke 19.41-44

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.'”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I know we may still have that Indian summer with very warm temperatures and yet it is Fall. It is Texas and anything is liable to happen. But, the signs of the changing of the seasons are apparent if for no other reason than it is football season and school is starting up. Some things like that are easy to spot. We understand the timing of them. But, do we know other times of our lives as well? Are they as apparent to us?

As Jesus lamented over Jerusalem as He entered it for the final Passover season to be shared with His disciples and other followers, He commented “Disaster will befall this city because its people did not recognize the time of God’s coming to them!” He was emphatic about this point. It wasn’t just about the fulfillment of scripture when He rode into Jerusalem seated on an ass, the foal of a donkey, but that should have been a dead giveaway. But, the short-sightedness of even the disciples was evident as they cheered His entrance and hid from His exit. What did it mean to “recognize the time of God’s coming?”

The birth of Jesus was preceeded by the angelic revelation of “Immanuel, God with us.” The angels filled the heavens above and the earth beneath them with the cascading anthems of “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all men.” Certain shepherds heard the announcement and committed to finding this babe of Bethlehem who would bring a change into their world unlike any other. Wisemen came from distant lands after seeing His star in the heavens and followed it to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem to herald the time of His coming. Even Herod feared the appearance of the star knowing in his superstitious heart that something was happening but he couldn’t put his finger on it. The consultation with his counsel, along with the arrival of the magi, confirmed that the true King of Israel was to be born or had been born already. When Jesus celebrated His thirtieth birthday, the traditional year for becoming a rabbi, He went to John to be baptized in the Jordan River to fulfill the time of righteousness. When He taught in Nazareth and read the passage of Jubilee from the prophecy of Isaiah, He declared that the acceptable year of the Lord was now happening in Him. He urged His disciples to press onward to Jerusalem because His time had come. He warned Mary Magdalene to not hold on to Him following His resurrection because His time had not come. Mary lamented in the Upper Room with His disciples in those following days remembering the word of prophecy given when she and Joseph took Jesus to the temple on the eighth day to be consecrated saying “And a sword shall pierce your heart also.”

It may be as simple to understand Jesus’ words over Jerusalem in the presence of His disciples and the Jewish leadership who watched Him as He gazed upon the city by hearing again the preaching of John the Baptizer in the wilderness, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” There may be many meanings Jesus intended when He said this. You may hear a different meaning as the Holy Spirit speaks to you as you pray and study over it. I can hear the call of receiving our forgiveness with a contrite heart and the beginning of a new way of living with and understanding God. The time of God’s coming is the declaration of a season of new life, harvesting from the old what is fruit and casting into the fire what is unnecessary, saving the seed and preparing the ground of our being for new planting. The time of God’s coming is a time of change and challenge, a defining of the new status quo and a call to righteousness. Sadly, many in the days of Jesus and those following did not recognize what time it was in their lives and they missed the opportunity of a lifetime- an eternal lifetime. Mighty men of God must not miss this sign of the times, the changing of our life’s seasoning and the culmination of our life’s reasoning. Along with that, we must not forsake our call to be heralds of the good news of a great joy which is Christ the Lord who is Lord of all time and gives us this time to be the time of our lives. We must proclaim its truth, teach its meaning, support its challenge to change and change to meet its challenge in our daily lives. For if we do not recognize the time of God’s coming, God will come anyway and judgment not justification will be upon us and all those who have not understood the time which is at hand.

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 teachers and administrators as they begin a new school year with registration
* 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Israel
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we recognize we are living in the time of the Church, the time to call the world into the accountability and the opportunity to dwell in Your Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. The fields are white with harvest, bless these mighty men as they go out to bring in the fruit for which we did not have to labor but now must work to preserve it with spirit and truth. AMEN.

1411

August 19, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

Luke 19.41-44

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.'”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Have you ever felt as if your life was falling apart? I know I have been overwhelmed by taking on too many tasks, accepting too many responsibilities and processing too many expectations of others as valid and necessary. It doesn’t mean that individually any of those events or persons were unnecessary. In fact, everything was important but it took far more strength, knowledge, wisdom and will power than I possessed. I didn’t have enough glue to keep all the pieces parts together. So, the result was that feeling of “nothing matters including me.” Have you been there?

Have you ever been “comforted” by others during those times with “well, it could be worse.” You know what? They are right, and so was I when I have said it. It could be worse. Save for the grace of God there would be no hope in those times when the roof is coming down around us. But, I am not so sure how comforting that knowledge of “it could be worse” really is. In the moment it doesn’t seem like anything could be worse. As I reread the passage of scripture which lead my last reflection concerning Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem for His last passover week, I was struck by how He crafted His words. He spoke to those listening about not knowing what would truly make for peace. He placed it in context of “things could be worse.” But, in the midst of His teaching about those times which were coming He linked their identity as a people to the fall of Jerusalem which would happen almost forty years later at the hand of the Romans. It was more than Jerusalem His words identified, I believe. When He spoke of “one stone not left standing on another,” I have no doubt He was speaking of the Temple because it was the defining structure in all of Jerusalem which identified them as being God’s chosen people.

Haven’t we heard those words somewhere else from the mouth of Jesus? When Jesus was walking with His disciples to the temple He prophesied that He could rebuild the true temple in three days. The Jewish leadership scoffed because it took their ancestors years and years to build the temple. Jesus, to them, was crazy and dillusional. Of course, God’s mighty men understand the saying as related to the resurrection. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When buildings fall down around us, when we are with God, the temple remains. The temple was not and never will be the structure that defines anyone as the true children of God unless it is the temple of Jesus Christ, the body of believers infused with His Spirit and connected by the covenant of grace through faith, hope and love. It is that temple, that commitment, that reality, that Savior which makes for true peace. When Jesus ministered to the woman at the well He proclaimed, “The day will come when we do not worship on this mountain or that; instead we will worship in spirit and in truth.” I pray we are closer to that day as we walk more closely with Jesus Christ who surrendered Himself to God’s will and let God raise up the true Temple on the third day. What man cannot do, God surely can and has and will continue to do.

It could be worse and may still be worse in the days to come as we hear of wars and rumors of wars and all the events easily identified with the final fall of man’s earth. But, it will be better as we walk with the Lord who has the final Word over all life and speaks mercy over all. Let those with ears to hear hear!

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 teachers and administrators as they begin a new school year with registration
* 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- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* 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 Ireland
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life

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

* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily
* My dad and I combined blood donations totalling 200 gallons

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may Your Word be spoken over us, to us and through us today as You build us up into the full measure and stature of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. AMEN.

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