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1820

December 31, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.25-27

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Anger does not necessarily mean the full manifestation of our disappointments, hurts and feelings of bitterness where others have transgressed against us into a vehement expression. There are times, aren’t there, when our anger is borne in a deafening silence toward another that brings distance and separation between people. They hear loud and clear that we are angry but our outward appearance may not say so. We have a right to feel angry because we are a people who live by high expectations. These expectations may be right or wrong, moral or selfish. But, we do have them and the anticipation that others will meet them. When they do not, it is so much easier to blame them than it is to address our own failure to communicate effectively with God first and realign our priorities to meet the measure of Christ in whose image we were made and have been made new. We also need to address our lack of communication with others collaborating on how we will relate to each other with dignity, respect, faith, hope and love. Many times, most times, our anger is more a sound-off of what we didn’t get than what we didn’t do.

Paul writes to the mighty men of Ephesus about not letting such anger (spoken or unspoken) turn into sin which divides people and destroys relationships with man and hindering our relationship with God. He says “do not let the sun go down on your anger.” It makes sense, doesn’t it, to follow that advice? If the sun goes down on that anger you have lost all chance, perhaps, of reconciling with the people and then live with the regret of wrongdoing which is now clearly your own. I say this only because we are commanded to be loving and forgiving. How loving and forgiving is it when we stew into our sleep, or lose sleep over it and create a greater complaint, about an unresolved issue. At the very least we should be in prayer with God seeking wisdom and guidance to do what we should be and be doing in that situation with that person. Living without that peace gives the devil the opportunity to fester the hurt into bitterness, bitterness into hatred and hatred into separation. Remember, mighty men, if nothing can separate us from the love of God who has the divine right to be angry with His children who sin against Him and fail to embrace their full identity, and all its blessing, in Christ but does not let the sun set without offering peace and reconciliation to us; then shouldn’t we be doing the same as beneficiaries of such grace?

Yes, “the sun setting” is not a limited illustration of the end of the day. “The sun setting” is indicative of death- physical and spiritual. When the Son of God finally set death was with Him. He was laid to rest at the end of the day (the Jewish understanding of day which was 6:00 p.m.) When He died, sin’s grasp which is real death, was broken. In His moment of death came life. One day ended that had a definite end of hope if left to the ways of the world and another day began given to the ways of the Kingdom of God. Do not abide by the ways of the world, mighty men, as now we close a day, a year and another chapter in our lives. Abide by the ways of the Kingdom and let death be changed into life, anger turned into peace, hopelessness into joy, emptiness into abundance and the old into new! Declare the new day for it is the day of the Lord where the “Son never sets.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For all people of the world as the psychological change of one year into another is celebrated; may God’s will truly be done as we celebrate “out with the old and in with the new”; may that newness be of heart, mind, body, soul and spirit that we be a whole people for the sake of the world and the glory of God
* For those families who have lost loved ones in the tragic disappearance and crash at sea with all lives lost of the AirAsia jetliner in the Java Sea.
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of Canada
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including myself; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God has found a way for our vehicles to be renewed; we pray for their long life of service to our commitments and needs
* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we pray for the renewal of our hearts, mind, body, soul and spirit. Give to us the wisdom and insight which will strengthen our resolve to be all that You have intended for us to be and now are able in Jesus Christ our Lord. We put to rest the old with all its lessons, successes and failures. We commit the old to You that it may be done and invite the new from You to be done in us. We declare “Let the Truth be seen in 2015!” in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1819

December 30, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.25-27

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Bear due notice, mighty men, that speaking the truth in love is not always good medicine to some. Well, it is good medicine but in the mouths of some it has the taste of bitterness. That bitterness can lead to times of separation and anger; it may even temporarily or permanently dissolve a relationship. But, we cannot allow the maintaining of maintaining relationships which are causing us to walk in a state of compromise with the righteousness of God. Jesus walked and associated with sinners and stood on solid ground challenging the conventional wisdom of the Scribes and Pharisees. He knew His presence in their lives and homes would not change who He was. He was consistent in His word and deed. There was no compromise in His vocabulary.

We must walk in our world as Christ walked across the face of Israel. He stooped down only to lift up the spirits and lives of others. He did not go down to their level trying to be like them in order to gain favor or attention. He got down to where they were in life and lifted them up so that God could give them the attention they needed and desired and His favor of blessing. Even in their defeated state of sin and brokenness Jesus knew they were still part of the one body of God’s people. He wanted the body healed. He wanted His family of brothers and sisters healed. He still does! By the power of the Holy Spirit He still speaks the truth in love into our hearts and minds (and our bodies as it is needed) and through us into the lives of others. His desire is still the reconciliation of as many of God’s children as is possible. He is empowering the mighty men of God to be a part of that work and let the spiritual peer presence of faith, hope and love do their work.

But, be reminded, as where I started, there will be some who may be offended and turn away in anger. They may lash back at you but you must remain in peace and do not let the sun go down on your anger. Surrender your feelings and theirs to God in fervent prayer. Give forgiveness with peace in mind but not with the spirit of cajoling or compromise. Break the bread of life with them and give them the shalom of God’s mercy and truth. You will have planted the seed of grace, your calm responses and the bidding of prayer for them at all times. You can do no better than that- let the Spirit of God work in and through you!

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For those families who have lost loved ones in the tragic disappearance and crash at sea with all lives lost of the AirAsia jetliner in the Java Sea.
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of Cameroon
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including myself; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may Your truth be known in and through us. Forgive us when our humanity got in the way of our divinity as it does from time to time. Work by Your Spirit to perfect us in love with the Word of truth spoken through Your Word and revelation so that we may be better and the family of God be strengthen. We pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1818

December 29, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.25-27

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Ephesians 4 was one of my mother’s, God rest her in the arms of our Mighty God who loved her enough to call her His own and loves her still by calling her home many years ago, favorite chapter. When she didn’t know what else to say to us, especially when we weren’t doing what she thought we should, she would call out “Ephesians 4.” It is a power-packed chapter and a sometimes not so subtle reminder to what the “good life” truly is. As we wind this year to a close my reflection is on the banner which has been raised to help give focus to my search for meaning and purpose in His Word. I am praying for wisdom as to what God wants to share with me in the coming year as its banner. Each year is a banner year before it starts. It is a continued opportunity to be ministered to as His Word confronts and teaches me. It is also then an opportunity as to what He wants me to share with His mighty men who might happen to be led to engage in learning from my study and reflection on His Word for our lives.

When all this started almost nine years ago, I was in a place of confusion and struggle. That confusion is tempered now as I have remained steadfast to learning and applying His truths. I don’t always like it because it strikes deeply into who I struggle with being and becoming. But, I so enjoy how letting Him lead can bring a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to my situation and then find by “coincidence” that He is leading others simultaneously but in different venues and places around the world with the same message. He has a plan and desire for our lives and it is to be more than victims and conquerors. He believes in us and wants us to be loved authentically and joined together in doing what is right and good for others. He wants us to be free to be the whole person we are created to be. That is a lot of ‘be”s but God, who is the great and mighty “I AM” is simply asking us to be a form of His Holy verb. We are to be actively seeking out the lost and defenseless and bring them into a place of safety and prosperity. We are to be advocates for the homeless, the wounded, the weary, the deficient, the ones captured in the throes of all kinds of sin and all the rest. We are to be their voice because we are His voice speaking with spirit and truth. As my mother would say, “Ephesians 4.” And today He says to us “Put off appearances which you clothed yourself with hoping that others would accept you and love and speak the truth in love to others about what is right and good because everyone is in the same condition. Only together, truly together in heart and mind and body and spirit, can we accomplish what is needed and put evil at bay. Be resolved to never be angry nor act out of frustration. State your case plainly and seek what is right and good and needed for others as it will be for yourself. You will be given what you desire and deserve because the one and the One who can give it is there for you.

Mighty men, He is there for others through you and because of you. Be resolved as we enter into a new banner year to bear the witness by example of Ephesians 4 and be of one heart, mind, body and spirit to help others know the truth that God loves us all and only wants what is best for us. If they cannot get to it themselves, then we will do all we can to get them to it with us.

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For those families who have lost loved ones in the tragic disappearance, and possible crash at sea with all lives lost, of the AirAsia jetliner in the Java Sea.
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of Cambodia
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including me; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, be a part of our resolution to know what is right and to do it and to unite with those who are of like mind so that Your power and truth cannot be denied by anyone as we live, love, serve and pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1817

December 28, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.2-24

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

As the year winds down to a close this holiday season, we do take time to look over where we have been and where we are now. As mighty men of God, we know that in righteousness and holiness our future looks bright. The only guarantee we have for this world is that we will be blessed to do our work and accomplish much for the kingdom. We know that some will prosper greatly, some will sacrifice much and the unrighteous will be the same. But, God’s judgment, as can His mercy, will pour out on the just and the unjust. However, in the end there is only one conclusion for each. Those who refused to live by the renewal of their minds, the transformation of their attitudes toward self and others and God, will perish into an eternal death from which there is no escape. If that is someone reading this post know it is the prayer of mighty men everywhere that you will put aside the addictions of foolish ways and confess to Almighty God your downfalls. Not only to confess what is your sinful attitude and actions but then to profess that without God’s love and mercy known best in Jesus Christ who died and was raised by God to be your Lord and Savior all is lost. The mighty, as he sins without this confession and profession, will not see power beyond this world except that of judgment and condemnation from the only Judge that matters- the Lamb of God. He will wield His power of discernment and separate the sheep from the goats. No disguise or verbal adulations will fool Him. He will see between the lines and beyond the facade and know the truth about you as He does about all men. Take heart- we have all sinned and fallen short. We all make decisions that put more of our needs ahead of others. We all have indulged in sating our fleshly passions and then felt the emptiness it leaves in us inciting us to pursue more of what cannot satisfy the true hungering of our heart, mind and soul. It is for this that Jesus died on the cross as the sacrifice that cancels all our debts to God and covers our sins with the blood of that same Lamb who then can stand in judgment over us because He has walked with us and knows our trials and our weaknesses. Confess and profess! Make Jesus Lord of your live and receive the healing of righteousness and the bond of mercy and grace.

Regardless of how this year has gone, if the fullness of His love has not been recognized by you and seen in you then make the most of these days to reflect upon what was and then be a reflection of what can be! Plan your life with the end in mind. Not the end of the year but the end of all years when you will live in an eternal day of peace and joy or suffer the anguish of eternal darkness.

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For all those leading God’s people in praise, worship and service this week as we celebrate the coming into the world of Christ Jesus
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of Burundi
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including me; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we have sinned and our lives remained confronted by the valueless things of this world that falsely satisfy. Pour out Your grace and anoint all of these with mercy; call them Your own and reveal by the power of the Holy Spirit the truth of Christ who saves. Let us all experience the “new again and forever” in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1816

December 26, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.17-19

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Interesting to consider that we start of the holiday season in America with Black Friday, that has infected the entire week of Thanksgiving with its commercial drive, and we end it with January white sales, where returns and excess inventory are the call of the day. I would dare say America is very black and white on the issue of a holiday season. The only gray area in the scope of America, I would suggest, is the reason for the season which is a calling back to the spiritual roots and groundedness of every mighty man’s faith- Jesus Christ. I do not say the Church is silent on this matter because it isn’t. We have our special services and liturgical expressions which give color and flavor to the proceedings. Nativities and signage do speak of the birth of the babe in Bethlehem. Of course, nativities are fading to grey in the mix of all the charactures of Christmas from Polar Express (this train ain’t bound for glory) to Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles (they cannot save our souls) to Holly and Some Mistletoe (which is not a Christmas music group.)

As Paul wrote to the mighty men of Ephesus, “do not be like those who have lost their sensitivity (reason and thinking) and surrendered themselves to their sensuality (lust and emotion without balance) so they can indulge in their passions and greed.” Wow, was Paul writing to Ephesus or to America? Of course, God’s word is timeless and speaks to all people in all places in all times. Consider well the message God is speaking to each of us. These are indeed dark times when the future of a nation is seen merely as the result of ideological agendas and accomodation of all lifestyles and practices for the sake of “getting along.” “Getting along” is a choice of no boundaries which leads to chaos. Standing up for what is morally and spiritually correct in the eyes of God make create a stir of discomfort for speaker and audience but its shock wave resounds in Heaven as “joy to the world.” This was the message of Jesus Christ at His birth. He came when the day was darkest and brought the light of hope and reason back into the world. The world was unfamiliar to the truth because it had hardened its heart against God and understandably so because the “Church,” the Temple and its synagogues, were dealing more with accomodating Rome and other influences including its own pharisaism than with remaining humble and faithful to the Spirit of God’s decrees through His Word and His prophets.

Mighty men, do not succumb to the darkness nor to the false light. You cannot harden your heart toward them because in them are people who are indeed being infected by darkness who will look for the easy light to guide them out. They need the true light of faith, hope and love to gain wisdom. In this wisdom comes confession and repentance. With confession and repentance in love comes salvation. With salvation fostered by faith comes new life. With new life emboldened by hope comes eternal light and that light is Jesus. Let’s keep the reason for the season alive and well throughout the year. Even Scrooge had a revelation and it changed his life and others for the better. How much more for those who will be visited by the Holy Ghost who breathes into our past, present and future. Our future looks bright when we walk with the Lord.

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For all those leading God’s people in praise, worship and service this week as we celebrate the coming into the world of Christ Jesus and the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas on Christmas Day leading to Epiphany
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of Burkina Faso
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including me; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may the light of faith, hope and love burn brightly through us into the darkness and confusion of the world, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1815

December 25, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

CHRISTMAS, 2014:The close of Advent and the beginning of the 12 Days of Christmas

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.17-19

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

It was in God’s revelation through Isaiah that we heard, “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light.” The Apostle John continued that prophetic theme as he wrote, “He is the light of the world that the darkness cannot comprehend.” We are speaking, of course, of Jesus Christ- God’s Son and our Savior. It is the “light of the world” John and Isaiah declared but we must not confuse it with the world’s light. The world’s light does indeed illumine the darkness and consumes life. We can all list the types of light that come to mind as we contemplate the places of iniquity which exist that lead to bondage of slavery of the heart, mind, body and spirit of man. Why would we give them any more acknowledgement than that today? Giving attention to that light turns eyes away from Jesus and His power to save and liberate the captive and the lost. That is Satan’s desire which cannot be allowed. The world’s light is a dark light not because of its luminance but because of its purpose.

Jesus is the “light of God for the world.” He illumines the wounds and brokenness of humanity so that the glory of God might bring healing. He brings wisdom where folly runs rampant. So many times the world dwells in ignorance of right and wrong. It has accepted what is wrong as being right because no one has confronted it. Righteousness had become the lesser light and sinfulness the greater light. All of this is the lie of the Enemy of God and man. In fact, unrighteousness is so much the lesser of all lights that John the Baptizer was known as the lesser so that Jesus would become the greater. John the Baptizer brought the prophetic truth of God to light preparing the way for God and man to meet and be reconciled in Jesus Christ. But, when Jesus came in the fullness of time to be baptized by John he stepped back and pointed to the “Word become flesh to dwell among men- Immanuel” and not the Word ascribed to parchment speaking of a future hope from the past perspective. Jesus is now! His light is the greatest light.

It is with our Christmas celebrations, and should they not last throughout the year, that the mighty men of God proclaim this great light and all its benefits. In this Light life exists where there was death, hope where there was despair, truth where there were lies, peace where there was chaos, joy where there was sorrow, love where there was hate and God when there seemed to be no God. But, God seemed to many then and now to not exist because the darkness of the heart and mind which was sown by the Enemy convinced humanity to put God on their terms. This is exactly what the Enemy wants them to believe because it is what He believes. He presents himself as the servant of the people satisfying their hungers and lusts based on passions and emotions. He does not promote the wisdom that discerns between good and evil lest his power dissapate and he fall captive to all our wills for his departure from our existence. He is nothing without God and he is less than nothing without man.

But, Christmas celebrates the coming of the Light for the world in Jesus Christ. He proclaims to be servant of God and man but not to satisfy our whims. He comes to serve in order that our will to be close to God and all His blessings and benefits can be fulfilled. He fulfilled that destiny for us by going to the cross. It started in the manger cradle which demonstrated His willingness to be humbled from the throne of God to a stable with men and animals. He is the evidence of God’s love and desire to gift us beyond the Enemy’s ability to distort and destroy. He is the evidence of a strength to overcome the adversities which are sadly present in this world because of choices that preceded us. He is the testimony that we do not need to exist with a victim mentality. We are more than conquerors through Christ who strengthens us. He calls us to come to Him as little children filled with the wonder and fascination of an uncharted mind ready to discover and explore the Kingdom of God come to earth revealing in its part the glory of Heaven. It is in this light of awareness that God’s mighty men awoke this morning and gave thanks to Almighty God because the darkness has once again been overcome with the greatest Light the world has ever and will ever know. That light dwells among men and now in men who choose to believe that the babe of Bethlehem is the Jesus of Jerusalem and the Christ of the Kingdom of God.

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For all those leading God’s people in praise, worship and service this week as we celebrate the conclusion of Advent representing God’s coming into the world through Christ Jesus and the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas on Christmas Day leading to Epiphany
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of Bulgaria
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including me; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may the light of truth be born in us anew today and borne by us into all the world so it can see the truth of God, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1814

December 24, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

CHRISTMAS EVE, 2014: The close of Advent and the beginning of the 12 Days of Christmas

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.15-16

“Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Will we let Christmas be Christmas? The world has been so busy to make Christmas more than it was meant to be. Ultimately, the world has made Christmas something it was never meant to be. Christmas is not a fiscal bonanza. Christmas is not an entitlement extravaganza. Christmas is not a battleground of traditions challenged by clashing families and cultures. But, that is exactly what it has become. Where are the silent and holy nights? Where is joy to the world? Where angels we have heard on high? Where is the little town of Bethlehem? Where are the Christmas bells ringing?

How did this happen? I guess I want to offer a simple answer. Simple because I, like so many others, want answers to be simple and the problems resolved. But, the problems of the world as not so easily answered. It takes great effort to resolve most of the problems we face in the world. The simple answer is to believe in the only Way, Truth and Life that confronts successfully the issues of the world. That answer is Jesus. God knew that was the answer to the universal problem of freewill (a gift from God) and fatal sin (a consequence of freewill). That is why He sent His Son into the World in such an extraordinary fashion. God chose for His Son to become a begotten Son of God so that He would also be the mighty Son of Man. God chose this course because it was the simplest answer to an eternal problem. God accepted responsibility for His creation because He loved it and all the people that had resulted from it. It makes me want to know what we were supposed to look like as Adam and Eve because they were created in His image. Now, because of Jesus Christ coming into the world we get to be recreated in His image.

But, simple answers generally require hard work and hard work is always done better collaboratively. Now, you may see what was revealed to me as I looked into Paul’s writing to the mighty men of Ephesus. He said “joined together, each part doing its work.” The answer of this world’s problem has been left to the mighty men of God. The answer is Jesus Christ. But, He has been given to us in part because we each are a part of the answer. One family tradition, not practiced often enough in my family which I now see is a sadness, was having a Christmas puzzle we all worked on to complete. I think my grandmother knew this adventure was a spiritual truth but I do not think she actually knew why. The puzzle was just a vehicle that kept the family productive and together. We all had to put pieces together in the puzzle. We didn’t usually sit around working the puzzle but did it as we passed by. Some were better at it than others and some just happened to have the right vision at the right moment to see what others couldn’t see to find and fit a certain piece into the puzzle. But, when the puzzle was complete the whole family celebrated. It wasn’t about the puzzle, as I look back on it, but the working together- each doing their own part.

Christmas should never be relegated to just a celebration of the past nor as just a prelude of the Easter to come. Christmas is supposed to be alive in the moment, drawing all people together for the singular purpose of letting the Christchild live again in all of us. He came into the world so that we might live and have life in all its kingdom fullness. Look at the puzzle of the Christmas story and see how all the pieces had come together to create a masterpiece: God’s love, angels, teenage innocence, single dad, Roman occupation, failed religious system, sick people, lost people, sheep and shepherds, broken families, hopes and dreams, livestock, mangers and busy inns with compassionate innkeepers, maggoi and despot rulers, a holy star in the east and a baby. All of these had to work together, sometimes unbeknownst to themselves was their part, to bring the story together and alive.

I think it is time we bring the Christmas puzzle back off the pages of the Book and onto the table of life. It is a feast of opportunity that can resolve the hunger and thirst for righteousness which still pulls on every person- saint and sinners alike. It is the call for reconciliation which is simply a way of getting us all together again to do what we have been called to do from before we were born and beyond this moment in time called Christmas.

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For all those leading God’s people in praise, worship and service this week as we celebrate the conclusion of Advent representing God’s coming into the world through Christ Jesus on Christmas Eve and the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas on Christmas Day leading to Epiphany
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of Brunei
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including me; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may the world through the works of Your mighty men be brought together in peace, love, joy, faith and hope, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1813

December 23, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.15-16

“Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

It is no wonder that we have been a lost people. We have lived like a chicken with its head cut off. Sorry for the graphic image but I have this picture brought to mind this morning as I read we will grow to become the body of Him who is the head, that is-Jesus. But, if we were a body of believers or existers who lived without our true head then doesn’t it stand to reason that we would be lost? What knowledge or wisdom would lead us? Wouldn’t we be reduced to our worldly instinct; or as some would describe it- our animal instinct? Wait, what is the instinct of a “live” chicken who has just lost its head?

My father’s mother had a chicken yard on her property when she lived at Lake Dallas just north of Lewisville. She mostly used the chickens for their eggs so their lives were secure. She had a hen house and a pen. We would help gather eggs and feed the chickens whenever we would visit. On occasion, she would go out to the chicken yard and catch a chicken, or the contrary rooster at one time, and pull its head off. The chicken would flop around and at times seem to be running wildly without purpose. It was dead, of course, but it gave the image of being alive- irratically. She would pick the body up and prepare it for stewing or roasting and that was our dinner. Of course, the chicken lived to die for all practical purposes.

But, that is not our purpose. As God’s mighty men, we will surely die but we are created to live and be productive. At that level we are no different from chickens. But, as followers of Christ who are created and committed to love one another, we surrender our lives to the reality of death. It is a part of our discipleship over which we have a choice. We cannot choose to escape our physical death but we can surrender our lives to God and choose to escape our spiritual death. We cannot do this unless we have the head, mind, of Christ as our lead. How important it is for us to live into the mind of Christ as His body of believers and community of faith. Without Him we are truly lost and as good as dead living only for a purpose to satisfy the hunger of this world. Give to others their true life and reality by getting them connected to the head of all life- Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t it be great if they knew that Christmas was all about gaining our sense and sensibility and coming to true life as they were meant to be?

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For all those leading God’s people in praise, worship and service this week as we celebrate the conclusion of Advent representing God’s coming into the world through Christ Jesus on Christmas Eve and the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas on Christmas Day leading to Epiphany
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of British Virgin Islands
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including me; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, how we want to be truly connected the the Head of our lives and the ground of our being. Thank You for revealing the truth about our lives and our future in Jesus Christ. Bless the sharing of our good news to others, In His name. AMEN.

1812

December 22, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.15-16

“Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

It is with a grieving father’s heart that I reflect and cry out for His Word for today. This season is difficult enough without the threat of loss and separation from family. In Christ, we are called into the unity of peace through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In the Venn diagram of righteousness, it is the Triune God who triumphs in what is the same about all of His children. When we, as mighty men of God, confess with our heart and profess with our lips that Jesus Christ is Lord we proclaim the presence of the Holy Spirit in our heart, mind and soul. We are called with a purpose of being one body of one faith by one birth for one Lord. Our desire is to strengthen the body in all of its parts and suffer no loss.

But, loss happens. Disaffection is a reality because we fear the truth more than the lie. We may even say we turn our hurts and wounds over to God but we do not reconcile ourselves to one another except to decide “I will not talk to them any more.” That is no solution. That is the counsel of the wicked unless all other options have been exhausted. Remember Christ challenged Peter with perfect forgiveness which cannot be exhausted until a true Sabbatical of Jubilee had been completed. Fifty years of forgiving efforts requires much and avails much. Satan loves to shroud hope with his lies that there is no need for others and no need to trust anyone, especially those who have hurt you. But, mighty men, we have hurt God with our own sin. Not those we committed in our lack of instruction but those which we commit knowing we have the mind of Christ in this broken body. That is why we cannot go through this world alone. We need the presence of God by His Holy Spirit in us. We also need the family of God around us to support and encourage us in tangible ways. They are a part of the light of this season. As John wrote, “Into the world came a great light which the darkness could not consume.” That means there have been lights in this world that were consumed by the darkness. We know them and grieve the dimming of that hope. We cannot allow it to overtake us. Be strong in the Lord, pray without ceasing, do your part in love to build up one another for the glory of God.

The truth is that we will all stand before God- billions and billions of people and we will see each other. We will be challenged by the truth of reconciliation and our willingness to enter Heaven with those who have been forgiven by God while we harbored ill-will on earth. Do you think you can enter Heaven while there is still darkness on your soul? That is up to God, obviously. But, I cannot bear the thought of carrying unforgiveness and unreconcilation in my life into my future. Isn’t it better to love, forgive and rejoice with the whole people of God than to harbor bitterness, unforgiveness and unrest? Mighty men, do not let this season expire without giving all effort to love one another and be reconciling as God in Christ has reconciled us.

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For all those leading God’s people in praise, worship and service this week as we celebrate the conclusion of Advent representing God’s on Christmas Eve and the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas on Christmas Day leading to Epiphany
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of British Indian Ocean
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including me; healing and reconciliation between my daughters- Anna and Sarah; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may the Light of Life penetrate the darkness of all hearts and bring to life the hope that is so greatly needed and desired, In His name. AMEN.

1811

December 21, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT: LOVE

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 4.3-6

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Holiday seasons are difficult to manage even for the mightiest of men. There are so many worldly obligations and transitions and emotions prevalent in our life experience and they seem to culminate during this time of year. When Charlemagne was confronted in his reign with the despondency of an empire and a battle against pagan practices which seem to give the people hope but direct them away from the royal authority, he declared December 25 as the day of celebration of the birth of the Messiah. He knew he derived his authority from God and his purpose from Jesus Christ. Okay, so it served his purpose of regaining control over an empire and promote Christianity as a means of solidifying his rule, but even that is an indicator of the stress this time of year brings into our lives. During the darkest time of the year (mind you this only is true for the northern hemisphere) we seem to lose vision of hope which in turn challenges our faith. So what are we left with but “love.” Yes, “love” is the answer to our situation.

“Love” is the light of life and of all men. Regardless of how we express our need, appropriately or inappropriately, it is a cry to be truly loved and made a priority in someone’s life. God, in Jesus Christ, declared that we are His prioirty in His existence and that He loves us supremely. He gives us the gift of harmony through grace and community through mercy. He brings all things needed in our lives together under the umbrella of His love. Paul declares to the mighty men of Ephesus that our peace comes in the embracing of the “oneness” we have been given in life through Jesus Christ. We have the spirit and bond of peace through Him who is our Lord and Savior. He demonstrates the unity of our lives which comes through One Lord, One Father, one hope and one faith and one birth. Yes, it is through His birth that we are able to see the meaning and purpose of our lives restored and revisioned. We pass through the waters of this world just as in our physical birth. We are in expectancy as parents and grandparents for the arrival of the child that is a product of unity and hope. But, most of all that child is a product of love (sadly, a poor quality of love for too many) and needs love in order to survive its days until it is reborn in spirit and in truth when they are able to confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. When they pass through those waters they rise up in the Kingdom of God as one in Christ.

Yes, mighty men, we must celebrate love today by making the lives and needs of others more important that our own. This is the defination and manifestation of love- God’s love. Christmas comes now to us in our minds as wise and knowledgable men not bound by the time of the year but by its function and purpose in the world. It is a gift of a harmonious and glorious life filled with grace and covered by mercy, actualized by faith, guided by hope and made real by love. Share the good news of Jesus Christ who has come into the world and is known whenever and wherever we celebrate His birth and ours into the world and the Kingdom of God for the sake of God’s love being perfected in our loving one another as He has loved us.

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For all those leading God’s people in praise, worship and service this weekend as we celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent representing God’s love
* For a safe and prosperous holiday season
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola and Dengue fever as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the outbreaks continue
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children in Pakistan
* For the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, that they will cease their actions to disrupt peace in Iraq and Syria, put aside their warring nature and put on the spirit of the One True God or suffer consequences far more severe than war against the nations of peace and democracy; and a warning to the rest of the world to be on alert if ISIS reaches Baghdad, ancient Babylon; and globally
* 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, North Korea and the Ukraine 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,” Marlin High School and the people of Brazil
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies and men on my campus and wisdom of my faculty and staff including me; deliverance from cancer and tremors in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit and freedom from a bondage of sadness and disappointment; healing for Betty, JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to be blessed with a clear direction of what God has chosen for his life and an awakening of his friends to God so their lives are a glory to God and the wisdom to do what is right and be obedient and submissive is their true and singular passion; all the concerns lifted up in LG; deliverance from financial burden and for guidance in current vocational endeavors; proper treatment for Doug Logsdon; financial liberation for Michael Welch and his family

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

* God is giving hope to the trusting and the opportunity to serve Him in a new community and keeping the culture as calm as needed to the level of challenge I am able to handle with His help
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may love be our aim today and always In His name. AMEN.

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