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1485

November 27, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Mark 6.47-50a

“Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and He was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them. When they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out. They all saw Him and were terrified.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

How could the disciples believe that Jesus walking on the water was just a figment of their imagination or just a spirit and not a man? To think of all the events and teachings they had witnessed in the presence of Jesus and in His stead as they were sent out to preach the good news and find demons obey their command to depart from their presence boggles my mind. If I had seen all of that would I doubt who Jesus was? Would I be confused that the Jesus who walked, talked, ate, touched the sick, slept, laughed, danced and confronted the leaders of Israel with words of wisdom was just an apparition? Matthew throws in the story of Peter asking Jesus, “If it is You I see then let me come to You on the water.” Was it to answer the question that is being asked here? Maybe Jesus was walking past the boat they were in as an encouragement to all of them to take up their cross and follow Him on the water since the “boat thing” wasn’t working. His purpose may well have been not to ignore their plight and leave them stranded to fight against the elements. He certainly wasn’t showing out as that would be against His very nature as God and friend. His purpose was to strengthen them, save them and call them into the fullness of who they were meant to be when God formed them in the womb. They may not have conceived of all that they could do. They certainly had no idea of all that Jesus could do because they continued to be surprised by His words and actions. They were still troubled when He appeared to them after His resurrection. Matthew reports that even as He was lifted up to Heaven some of the disciples still doubted. What does it take to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, a personal Lord and Savior?.

That is the question every man, and woman, must ask in their own lives. Is this why Peter remembered this story at this time with the other stories that are clustered with it? He was not accepted, or only in a limited fashion, in His own hometown of Nazareth. John the Baptist was beheaded and now the question would surely be asked “Now who do we turn to?” by those who were followers of John. Would they recognize Jesus as the Lamb of God whom John declared at His baptism in the Jordan? Is it, as biblical scholars, assert, that the theme is those who are close to Him understand Him the least while those not of the twelve believed in Him without reservation? Could Peter have made sure he was not remembered as one of those who didn’t understand as they struggled on the lake in storm-tossed waves by not sharing his own failure on the water? He surely did not leave out his denials on the night of Jesus’ arrest and conviction in the Garden and in the Temple court. But, mighty men, are you any different than Peter? Do you leave out your own failures when recounting the story of Jesus and how it makes a difference in your life? Do you struggle with having a whole and complete faith wanting to believe that Jesus is the Lord of all instead of just Lord of all you dare to give Him? Are you still struggling on the waters of life and find yourself amazed when Jesus comes at your cry to calm the seas of distress and the waves of wondering and wandering? Will you only believe as long as their is bread on the table and Jesus in the boat? Will you not believe in Him when He is not so readily visible to your eye?

Oh, mighty men, we have so much to be thankful for and yet we act too often as if we are destitute of body, mind and spirit. Take full stock of the gospel of truth and the storehouse of blessings which is given to you. Rejoice and be glad in it! If He can take a stroll on the water and calm your ship can He not take a few fish and loaves of bread and make a feast? If He can take on the whip, the thorns, the nails, the cross and the grave can He not also spare you from eternal death? What does it take to believe and no longer be amazed at what Jesus can do for 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 warmth and safety to all those impacted by the winter storm that is moving across the country and all the travelers and families impacted by it for this holiday season
* For those planning for state testing season; may it not detract from their “Thanksgiving”
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!; and that our President withdraw the current healthcare plan in favor of one that God will provide as what is best for all His people.
* 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
* 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 Russia
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God is in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, in this season of thanksgiving we do need a call to introspection and wonderment. May our eyes be more open to all that You are to this world and all that we are to You. AMEN.

1484

November 26, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Mark 6.47-50a

“Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and He was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them. When they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out. They all saw Him and were terrified.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

When Jesus stepped into the boat, the winds died down immediately. The disciples were amazed. Why shouldn’t they be amazed. Mark records Peter’s insight on this point saying, “Their hearts were hardened and so they couldn’t understand about the loaves [and fish].” As I mentioned before, Mark does not include Peter walking on the wind-tossed waves and what a miracle that would be. It was enough, I suppose, for the disciples to question Jesus walking on the water without including Peter in the mix as well. But, was it the fact of Jesus walking on the water that caused them to be amazed? Perhaps. But, that is not how the event was remembered. They were amazed that when He stepped into the boat, the winds died down immediately. The cause for their terror was abated just as the wind. What connection is there between the abatement of the wind and the multiplication of the loaves [and the fishes]?

I would think it was painfully obvious and wouldn’t want to belabor the point, but as mighty men we are not better than our disciple counterparts in life. We have all exhibited our own hard-heartedness and hard-headedness from time to time thus blocking our clear view of the truth; especially when it comes to the matters of faith. I do not think I can fully embrace what has been whispered into my curious ear of my mind until I put ownership to one small phrase Mark included in the description of the events that happened in the early dawn. That phrase suggested that Jesus was going to walk [on the water] past them. He wasn’t going to stop and render aid? He saw them on the lake struggling against a strong wind that had come against them. In fact, they had been struggling against that wind for most of the night and had rowed only about four miles. Well, “only” would be a misnomer. It took a great amount of effort to row into a strong headwind. They had a direction to travel because Jesus told them where to go. They were determined to complete the task. But, it took a great deal of effort to do so and they were not even halfway finished. I can imagine there were some interesting conversations among them as they took turns pulling on the oars; especially from the non-fishermen. It could be they were greatly relieved as much as they may have been greatly terrified to see an ethereal being approaching on the water. It would have looked like it was coming directly for them. Their hearts and mind may have slipped into one accord- “we are dead, or nearly dead.” They were not considering their salvation. They did not entertain that the Lord who could heal the multitudes as well as feed them with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish could also walk on the water to give them aid and comfort. They may have cried out before this “Lord, help us.” But, when Jesus shows up, they do not rejoiced and give thanks. Instead, they cried out in sheer terror. Was it terror that it was a ghost and the stories fishermen told of mysterious things that happen on the water were coming true? Or, was it terror that the spectre was not walking to them or for them but walking past them. There was no hope left for them. They would have even accepted the assistance of a ghost. It didn’t matter that it was a good or evil ghost. They just needed help. They probably cried out, “God, I promise You anything if you will just get us out of this life-threatening situation.” Have you been there before?

It is there that I find the connection between the abated winds and the multiplication of loaves and fish just hours earlier. It is a matter of perspective. What we cannot do, Jesus can. The disciples were as overwhelmed by the command to feed the multitude as they were rowing against a mighty wind. But, Jesus was not. Jesus was, is and will always be in control. From their perspective, Jesus, or whatever it was they thought they saw, was just walking on by and leaving them to their own device and demise. What fishermen would put out into the possibility of blowing winds and stormy waters? No one in their right mind; unless, they were commanded by Jesus to do so. With Christ, all things are possible. But, because Jesus was not in the boat with them they lost their perspective on who He was and who they were. They were not fishermen but fishers of men. They were not catching fish to support their family. They were bringing in the lost to be a part of the holy family. Jesus was not there to bail them out again and again. He was a witness and testimony to the power of prayer and faith and how it can change lives and still storms. Oh, they were powerful when Jesus sent them out earlier to preach and cast out demons. But, now that they were in uncharted waters, the tempest of doubt that still raged within was manifested in real life.

Why do we go without Jesus? Why do we venture into all the arenas of our lives without recognizing that Jesus not only has promised to be with us but has fulfilled that promise to be with us always. If we go into the world with a lost perspective, we will be lost and lose sight even of Jesus when He appears. If we go boldly into the world with a spiritual perspective based in the confidence of His presence- the winds of ill doctrine and falsehoods will be stilled and we will find ourselves more than halfway home.

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 warmth and safety to all those impacted by the winter storm that is moving across the country and all the travelers and families impacted by it for this holiday season
* For those planning for state testing season; may it not detract from their “Thanksgiving”
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Romania
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God is in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, may the eyes of our soul be open wide so that we see the true perspective of not only who You are but who we are because of You participating in our lives. Do not bail us out. Fill us to overflowing until we are completely immersed in spirit and in truth. AMEN.

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1483

November 25, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Mark 6.50a-52

“Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

My prayer is that you, mighty men, do benefit from my journaling with the Holy Spirit that He beckons me to share with you for your benefit, as it is for mine, and for the glory of God. I have to admit, I love these insights and possibilities revealed in the reading, study and reflection on His Word for Today! It is the same Word yesterday, today and forever. But, it seems forever new. Take this consideration, for example. The Gospel of Mark is actually a collection of the teachings of Peter. They were recorded during Peter’s ministry, including time spent in prison, by Mark so that there would be some written record of the oral tradition. Peter was bold, sometimes becoming a bit careless, but full of love for the Master and the Master’s work. His boldness can be seen in his request of Jesus, “If it is You, bid me come to You on the water.” WAIT! That part of the story which we are all familiar with doesn’t exist in the Gospel of Mark. It doesn’t exist in the Gospel of John either. Only the Gospel of Matthew records that interesting vignette. Does that mean it did not happen the way Matthew’s gospel portrayed it? Does it reflect a certain deflection of attention off of Peter and keeps the focus on Jesus? As I suggested when learning from Matthew’s account, the point of these collections of stories has a lot to do with what people saw and believed and saw and didn’t believe. Those who saw Jesus and believed found blessing of body, mind and soul. Those who didn’t found, as Mark states it, “a hardness of their heart.”

We have heard that phrase in a story from the Old Testament. It spoke of the condition of Pharaoh’s heart when Moses returned from the wilderness to lead God’s people to the promised land. Because his heart was hardened against God he could witness the awesome and terrifying acts of God but he refused to allow their testimony to sway his decision to mete out justice to the Hebrew captives. His heart was hardened so that the full measure of God’s power over life and death could be shown. It wasn’t Pharaoh’s intention for this to happen but it was God’s. It was more for the benefit of God’s children held in captivity for four hundred years than it was for Egypt’s populace to know that Pharaoh wasn’t really God. He wasn’t something to be feared. God was the ruler of all and their benefactor. Those who had eyes to see this truth saw the hope of their salvation realized. But, what hardened the disciples’ heart so they could not see the meaning behind the feeding of the five thousand men in addition to their families who accompanied them? What had hardened their hearts in that event so that their eyes were closed even to seeing Jesus when He was walking on the water to render aid as they floundered in a stormy sea? Easily, and for today, the truth is that they saw only with their emotions, feelings and assumptions. They did not see with eyes of faith, hope and love. The truth is there for us as well. What do we see when we look at Jesus? Do we see only a man who lives in the world just as we, too, live in the world? He certainly did not live like us but He lived with us (and He lives with us still in spirit and in truth.) Do we see someone else? A figment of our imagination, someone too good to be true but someone who is quite welcome in our midst because He brings good things to us? What about the other times? Do we easily lose sight of Him or allow the vision of our own lives to cloud the vision of life He has for us?

The heart, not the muscle, is the seat of spiritual reason and righteous existence. It is the soul of man that is at the heart of the matter. What is in our hearts? What dominates our thinking? Do we default to our passions, our emotions, our feelings, our urges? Or do we default to righteousness, faith, hope, love and grace? If we only saw bread and fish and twelve baskets of leftovers, we missed the boat. If we saw love and compassion for a world that was hungering and thirsting for righteousness, then we see Jesus!

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 warmth and safety to all those impacted by the winter storm that is moving across the country
* For those planning for state testing season; may it not detract from their “Thanksgiving”
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Reunion
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God is in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, may the eyes of our soul be open wide so that we see the fullness of what you are doing and not only the small part of it which satisfies the little hunger. AMEN.

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1482

November 22, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Mark 6.41-42a

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, Jesus gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

They all ate and were satisfied. Satisfied didn’t mean just enough. Satisfied means plenty. Our God is a mighty God and His provision is plentiful. When He spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden, He said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.” He wasn’t just speaking of populating the earth with their offspring as the first couple of faith, hope and love. He was speaking of being plentiful in their lives. Plentiful to the level of abundance. When that meal was finished and the disciples began to straighten up after the crowd was gone, they found twelve basketfuls of leftovers of bread and fish. I am thinking that the people who had gathered in numbers exceeding 10,000 (there were five thousand men alone) may have been so grateful that they dared not keep any of the communion meal for themselves. But, I know how we are about leftovers of good food. We just have to be able to take some home as well. This had to be like the manna from heaven. On the one hand there was plenty for everyone. On the other hand it could be gone by the morning so “waste not, want not.” Regardless, the disciples had a basket of leftover bread and fish for each of them. In other words, there was more than plenty. Jesus’ blessing was fruitful and multiplying. Praise God!

But, there is more. They all ate “and we satisfied.” In another commentary by Jesus of John the Baptist, He asked, “What did you come to see? A reed blowing in the wind? (A pied piper) A man in fine clothes? (Riches in the day were thought to be an indication of great blessing but John was rich in the spirit and dressed in rough attire) A prophet? Yes, and more than a prophet because John spoke of one who was yet to come! (John was seen as the coming of Elijah, the precursor of the Christ.) It was then that all the people, including tax collectors, believed because they had been baptized for the forgiveness of their sins and the preparation to receive the Christ of God who was to come. Well, all the people except for the Pharisees and the experts of the Law who had not been baptized in this manner and for this purpose. Not everyone was satisfied. But, it would seem those people were not on the seaside hill of Genneserat. It is doubtful that those gathered had been baptized by John in such exceedingly large numbers. Yet, they came to witness the glory of God putting aside their earthly needs and desired to find healing in their spirit. They were not disappointed. They received that and more. They were satisfied and they ate. They had their cake and ate it, too. Now that would be a mighty fine day!

What do we seek, mighty men, when we go to wait upon the Lord and inquire of Him for our needs? Are we ready for that healing of plenty that knows no end? Are we ready to be changed into that someone new whose spirit is ever flowing? Are we those who have accepted the baptism of John for the remission of our sins and the preparation to receive the Christ of God? Are we those who wish to dine upon the bread and wine, body and blood, of righteousness? Are we those who are ready for plenty, bountiful and satisfaction? We should be!

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 leading God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For those planning for state testing season; may it not detract from their “Thanksgiving”
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Qatar
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* For the blessing of celebrating the marriage of Kelly Brown and Tony Chenault this weekend
* God is in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, for the bounty we have already received, we are thankful. For that which we are about to receive, we wait in eager anticipation for the more of You to share with those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. AMEN.

1481

November 21, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Mark 6.41-42a

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, Jesus gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Thanksgiving, as a holiday, is just one week away. But, if thanksgiving, the character, is not a daily reality!
then why should we even consider the holiday? As we reflect upon the past which Thanksgiving celebrates, we do so as its future. The pilgrims and their native American friends were not thinking about a holiday when they sat down together and ate. They were celebrating their future, however. It was a future blessed by God’s providence. It was not an easy celebration. Lives had been lost in their transition from life in England to their new life in this promised land. But, they now had a new beginning and their fellowship following the harvest was its evidence. I have no doubt their thanksgiving was the product of their character and faith and not the commemoration of a holiday to be celebrated once a year.

As mighty men of God, I pray our thanksgiving is a daily reality. I cannot help but be reminded of this as I read what Jesus did with fives loaves of bread and a few fish. Yes, He used them to teach the disciples a lesson on having faith. Yes, He used them to feed a congregation of over 10,000 people who had gathered to hear the Word of the Lord and to benefit from His presence through healing and spiritual provision. What He also did, that is most important to me, is to demonstrate for us the power of giving thanks. That power feeds a multitude not for a day but for a lifetime. Yes, it is like the Native American proverb “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” What Jesus did was to feed people for a lifetime but showing them faith in action. He took the bread, blessed it and broke it and gave it to them to eat. Following He took the fish and did the same. Does this pattern sound strangely familiar to you, mighty men? Was it not on the night when He would be betrayed by Judas Iscariot, the night when He had gathered with His disciples on the Passover holiday, that He took bread and cup and fed His disciples in a season of thanksgiving? Jesus wasn’t anticipating the institution of the Lord’s Supper as a vital element of Church practice for ceremony to be celebrated one day a week or quarter or year. He said, “Whenever you do this, do so and remember me.” Shouldn’t we remember Him daily, hourly, minute by minute? Should we not be remembering Him with thanksgiving in our hearts for the forgiveness of our sins not for a day but for a lifetime? Should we also not be celebrating that thanksgiving with others by breaking the bread of life and pouring out the taste of new wine? If we spent time doing this more often, then our default thinking would be that of gratitude and humility. We would not no time for doubt and self-centeredness. We would be leading the people of God into His fullest presence instead of demonstrating our own prominence. We must decrease so that He can increase. That can happen only when we are truly thankful! Thanksgiving feeds us for a lifetime. I pray it will be more than just a day when our bellies are full, our eyes are heavy and our attention is distracted by athletic events.

Oh, and if you are wondering about how the fish fits into the communion motif consider that the symbol for Christ followers in Rome and today was the sign of the fish. It represented Christ who is shared by fishers of men to feed a world that is hungering and thirsting for righteousness. So, it was communion, another Lord’s Supper, that was celebrated on that hillside overlooking Galilee with Jerusalem looming far beyond the horizon. It would also be remembered, too, perhaps, by Peter and the disciples following Jesus’ resurrection when He met them in the dawn hours by the lake where they had fished all night to no avail. They knew how to fish but it didn’t help to feed them for a lifetime. Maybe it was because they had forgotten they were first, fishers of men and then, fishers of fish. He took bread and fish that morning and fed them again. What a glorious day!

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 planning for state testing season; may it not detract from their “Thanksgiving”
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Puerto Rico
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God remains in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, as we break the bread of Your Word and are anointed by the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit this morning, we give a mighty thanks. AMEN.

1480

November 20, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Mark 6.37

“But Jesus answered them saying, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They replied, ‘It would take eight months wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Do not be confused, mighty men, about the financial condition of the disciples as they were gospel nomads alongside of Jesus. Remember the disciples were not poor and ignorant. They were spiritually hungry and thirsting for righteousness. But, they were successful in what they had been doing for a living. Judas was upset with Mary for “wasting” an expensive ointment which could have been sold in the marketplace for a high price which could be put in the moneybox he carried. I dare say that box was already full of money, financial contributions given to Jesus and the disciples to support them in their work. Here they confess that it would take eight months wages to buy enough bread to feed the gathered crowd. Their question reflected a question on Jesus’ true purpose. Did He expect them to spend their “hard earned” money to feed the five thousand families who had come to experience Jesus? Their question demonstrated their short-sightedness. Jesus simply bade them to feed the people He wanted them to accept responsibility and show what they had learned from Him about faith. They determined their ability based on financial worth. Jesus was determined by faith in God. He took what they had, five fish and two loaves of bread, and fed the multitude. We do not hear their commentary on either His request for what they had to eat nor upon what He did with it to feed the hungry. All we know is there were twelve basketfuls of leftovers- one for each of them, leaving nothing for Jesus.

Mighty men of God, God can do all things through you and with you by His faith. He is rich beyond our imagination. Yet, what He determines is of greater value and worth is life itself. He was willing to sacrifice His greatest treasure on us. He sent His Son, the Christ, to be Jesus of Nazareth, born of a virgin teenager who learned the carpenter’s trade from His adoptive father. He received from them the training of being a faithful son and a practicing Jew devoted to doing what is right and good in God’s eyes. He was given their own greatest treasure- their faith and trust in God which in love was manifested many times over. They were not paupers. They were blessed with riches beyond measure. It was not always determined by how much money they possessed or spent. They were rich and capable because they decided to believe in God for their own lives. God did not disappoint them. He will not disappoint us either!

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 best healthcare plan in the world- God’s mercy and grace; let us be thankful
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Portugal
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God remains in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, may the blessings of life which You have planned for us be revealed for Your glory that we might share them in gratitude and hope. AMEN.

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1479

November 19, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Matthew 14.31

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I recently read an article concerning the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. The conclusion was, “Would America be alright never having this question answered?” In light of the myriad suppositions and alleged groups or individuals would could have done it, no one knows for sure that has told or is telling. In the end, is it vital to our survival as Americans to know “whodunit”? I suppose the answer is “no,” but I would be interested in the revelation.

So, in all the studies and discussions you have heard, mighty men, and participated in, concerning this episode on the lake between Jesus and His disciples, has anyone spent time considering the question that has been unanswered for nearly two thousand years? Would we not find ourselves infinitely more improved by and included in this gospel of hope if Jesus’ question to Peter had been answered? Of course, Peter is speechless. He put himself “out there” with Jesus. He put his faith and reputation on the line as a leader of men and a follower of Christ. How many times have we found ourselves in a difficult situation and prayed to God saying “If You will, then I will.” And then God answers your plea, or protest, and firms up the water of life so you can walk to safety or lowers a knotted rope so you can climb out of the hole you dug. Then what? Have you kept your side of the “If You will, then I will”? Sounds of silence.

It is okay, we all have found ourselves on the “being lifted out of deep trouble” side of the Master. His question rings in our own conscience each time we fail to be strong enough to avoid temptation or reach out our own gospel hand to lift another from their troubled situation in which they intentionally or unintentionally found themselves. “Why did you doubt?” Not only did Jesus ask Peter this question but He addressed him with another name- “You of little faith.” In a little while, Peter would redeem himself by confessing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus would call him “Rock” and declare that He would build His church uses this rock of faith as the foundation. But, on the wild waters of Galilee, this “rock” was a sinking stone instead of a skipping stone dancing across the top of the waves. Later, this stone would crumble and be turned to dust only to have the dust reformed and reshaped by the lake in the Master’s Hands and restored to ministry. But, in all of that, we never do learn the answer to the question “Why did you doubt?” Is there any good answer, mighty men? We each have our excuses and reasons but do we have that definitive answer when the same question is proposed to us?

It’s okay if you don’t have the answer right now. Jesus loves us anyway and He still reaches out with a nail-scarred hand to draw us out of the waters of despair and failure. His faith is sufficient to lift us up. His hope is sufficient to give us new life. His love is sufficient to give us eternity with Him. Spoken or unspoken, Jesus knew the answer anyway and it didn’t stop Him from taking care of Peter. He takes care of us as well. And while Peter never did answer that question we each know what it was even if we do not agree with each other. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Jesus saves!

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 best healthcare plan in the world- God’s mercy and grace; let us be thankful
* For the Philippine Islands and Southeast Asia in their recover following direct hits from two major storms killing over 3500 and displacing hundreds of thousands more
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Poland
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God remains in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, thank You for lifting us up, calling us out and sending us forth into the world share the good news “Jesus saves.” AMEN.

1478

November 17, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Matthew 14.32

“And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”!”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

And who exactly did those who were in the boat think Jesus was before He snatched Peter out of the crashing waves and carried him to safety in the longboat? Wasn’t this the same Jesus they had just observed healing the throngs of sick and feeding five thousand men along with their families from a few loaves and fish? Wasn’t this the same Jesus that John the Baptizer proclaimed as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world? And that is reflected upon only in the fourteenth chapter of Matthew which is halfway through his gospel story concerning the Christ. It doesn’t count all the rest they had already experienced in His presence. So why now do they hail Him as the Son of God? Is it because He demonstrated power over the elements of the world and not just the evidences of sickness and disease, food and drink? Had He not cast out demons as well and declared the coming of the Kingdom of His Father? Had He not taught them how to pray? Seriously, what does it take, mighty men, for us to be convinced and remain convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? What we need to be healed of is short-term memory loss! The presence of Jesus is promised to us in our every moment until the close of the age of the Church. In our waking and in our sleeping, in our leisure and in our industry, in our coming and in our going, in wandering and in our wondering, Jesus is there. Not only is Jesus there in spirit and in truth, He has given us His Holy Spirit to be a reminder and a mentor so that we will not forget. Have we so compartmentalized our faith and our Savior, that “God in a box” mentality, that we fall into league with our ancient Jewish ancestors who remembered only when the Ark of the Covenant went before them? What happens when the box disappears? Does God disappear as well? Have we not heard? Have we not studied His Word? Do we still not understand that not only is Jesus the Son of God, but in our commitment to follow Him we are sons of the Most High God as well? If we are His sons alongside of His only begotten Son, Jesus, then we do we still desire to live a life of forgetfulness and poverty of body, mind and spirit? Are we so infatuated with the big production picture of miracles that we are not driven by the still small voice that whispers truth into our hearts and mind? Are we so flat-headed and slump-shouldered by our confusion in the world that our witness of faith, hope and love is muddled into the background of our lives? Oh, that illustration is not known by you? Yes, when you are asked “Are you one of those Christ followers?” in a time when you least expect it you just shrug your shoulders. When they walk away without assistance and bemoan their situation that is beyond their control but not God’s, you slap yourself on the forehead saying to yourself, “Arrrrrr, I should have…..prayed, said ‘yes,’ or invited them to church.” Instead of laying hands on yourself lamenting “get a grip,” you should have been laying hands on them with the presence of Jesus and His Holy Spirit in you and manifesting the peace and joy the disciples experienced in their own lives when Jesus saved Peter and calmed the sea! Come on, mighty men, we can do better than that. We can do better than those disciples! Look, they ended up doing great things in the name of the Christ, the Son of God, they slowly understood and then not fully until after the fact. We are far after the fact, so we must be able to do far greater! What is it we are waiting for? Another miracle? Another sign? Another Christ and His coming? If we are waiting until then well then I can only share with you the Wolf Brand chili admonition, “Well, that’s too long!”

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

* For those who will lead God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For the Philippine Islands and Southeast Asia in their recover following direct hits from two major storms killing over 3500 and displacing hundreds of thousands more
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Philippines
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God remains in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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 know You are alive in us and in our world. Grant us further strength and courage to manifest Your presence as did Your Son, our Brother in faith, during His life on earth and with us now and forevermore. AMEN.

1477

November 15, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Matthew 14.29b-30

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Only when Peter began to sink did he cry out “Lord, save me.” Did he believe that Jesus would not save him even though He stood right in front of him in the wild waves? It is indicative of our own lives, mighty men. Only when we are drowning in our own lack of belief and flounder in the consequences of taking our eyes off the prize do we cry out “Jesus, save me.” What if we continue to focus on the truth that Jesus has already saved us and is walking with us daily. If we maintain our life dialogue with the Master of our lives, then we may flounder less and walk mightily more. The problem with Peter is that Jesus, in his eyes, lost that dramatic appeal in light of the world’s conditions around him. The world will never be greater than its creator and Savior. The problems of the world are never beyond Jesus’ ability to overcome. He not only calms the seas and stills the winds, He can inspire us to do what we did not believe we could do before. But, we must refrain from turning to Him only when the world becomes greater than our ability to handle. I guess the problem might be is that we believe that “we” can handle the world. We fail to remember that the admonition in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve to subdue the world was a workable proposition when they walked by faith in the Garden. But, of course, the serpent invited them to walk on the waters of self-centeredness. He had no intention of saving them. They could not see his agenda because they were still not fully cognizant of their own. But, when they stepped out of the security of God’s Word into those troubled waters there was nothing there to save them. The serpent was gone having slithered away with a smile of victory on its face. He could slither but he could not hide any more than Adam and Eve could hide. They were found out in their shame and guilt. Yet, God did not destroy them nor condemn them. He loved them. What if they had turned to God first and asked what He thought about the serpent and his words? Would it have made a difference? We will never know. What we do know is that seeking God out in our own “garden” times will make a difference in our own lives!

Be glad to know that Jesus is there ready to lend a hand when we are floundering or even considering the opportunity to walk on water (echo in the background the serpent’s words “You will surely not die.”) Seeking Him out for that life dialogue can and will make a difference in your life. Don’t wait to talk to Jesus until after the fact. Talk to Him first and affirm the fact of His love, mercy and grace which is all we truly need to satisfy 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 in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For the Philippine Islands and Southeast Asia in their recover following direct hits from two major storms killing over 3500 and displacing hundreds of thousands more
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Peru
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God remains in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, restore us to right thinking and right actions. Our spiritual eyes see You. Our heart imagines You near to us. Our spirit leaps for joy knowing You are with us. Our soul is relieved. Thank You for always being available to us and for making it possible for us to draw close to You. AMEN.

1476

November 14, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Matthew 14.35-36

“And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to Him and begged Him to let the sick just touch the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Of course, mighty men see Jesus by faith and not by sight. The disciples were often confronted with the veracity of their faith being urged that even faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountains, heal the sick and restore the hopeless. But, does that mean we do not have faith if we didn’t move a mountain today or if our prayers for the healing of a loved one isn’t the instantaneous miracle we desire? The answer is “of course not.” In fact, quite the opposite. It takes great faith to approach God and plead your case as an intercessor. We dare not presume the will of God in any circumstance but we can propose our concern based on the reality of God’s love and care for His children. Perhaps we can debate with God as did Moses who interceded on behalf of God’s wandering children whose complaints turned into disobedience. Perhaps, we cannot and dare not. But, it takes faith to believe that as God has interceded in the past to deliver His children from evil, He can do it again. So, it seems that even our thinking is an act of faith.

I recently viewed pictures of earth from Saturn taken during a solar eclipse of Saturn. Even magnified the earth is but a small white speck on the dark canvas of the universe. It would not be visible to the naked eye even if you were standing on the Cassini spacecraft. The very fact that the spacecraft exists is a miracle to many and now an accepted reality by the rest. Its existence began with the thought of travelling a great distance in a short time. Faith takes believing and believing takes faith. When the men of Gennesaret recognized Jesus they believed He could heal their sick. Their thoughts turned into actions that transported many across the miles from where they lived to where Jesus was. Their faith transported the sick and infirmed across the chasm of hopelessness to the very place where their live and freedom could be restored. Peter knew that if the specter in front of him was indeed Jesus, he could walk on water. His belief in the Word of Jesus transported him from the relative safety of the boat to the turbulent water where his safety depended on his faith in Jesus over his faith in himself. It wasn’t that Peter didn’t have faith but that it was not in balance with his belief. His belief was not in balance with his knowledge (man cannot walk on water on their own volition). Peter declares, “If you are the Christ.” Therein lies the problem. Faith would say, “I believe you are the Christ, call me to yourself and I will walk on water to get to you.” Faith doesn’t ask for proof and evidence. Faith delivers truth and wisdom, power and healing, glory and honor. If God’s mighty men are to deliver, then they must keep their lives balanced by faith and not by sight.

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 Philippine Islands and Southeast Asia in their recover following direct hits from two major storms killing over 10,000 and displacing millions
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* 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
* 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 Paraguay
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer

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

* God remains in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our 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, transform Your mighty men today so they will see because they have faith and by their faith will see the fullness of Your Word and Will today through their works and words on behalf of others. AMEN.

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