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November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015

Our hope is an act of confession of our knowledge that on our own efforts we will still fail, close but not close enough. God’s hope is a promise that those who trust in Him shall not fail because the victory of life over death has already been won. Put your hope in God who transforms hope into truth and reality.

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2063

HIS WORD for TODAY: The First Week of Advent 2015- HOPE!

Job 14.7-9

“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

What a comfort that we are told prophetically, beforehand, what God’s intention is for our lives. This is what gives us hope. Yes, we may not remember it at the moment of trial or tribulation and tremble in fear and trepidation. But, when the deep recesses of our biblical grounding and the accountability testimony of those who love us begin to echo then praise comes pouring out from our heart, mind and soul. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

We know the tragic story of the earthly affliction suffered by Job with the loss of family and property, even friends such as they were. We know it happened because the “inequality control inspector,” Satan, refused to believe that Job’s faith in God was authentic and legitimate. God allowed the test of faith to come to Job just as He did for Abraham. God knew ahead of time the state of their heart, mind and soul. He would not have allowed such tragedy to befall those who were not fully capable to withstand Satan’s fearsome onslaught of death. And, as we know by Job’s witness, he believed that even if all seemed lost the deep-rootedness of his faith in God would spring up to new life. His hope was well-founded in the blessings he had already received.

Mighty men, our hope is well-founded and firmly pre-established before it was given to us as a gift from God in Jesus the Christ. When all seems at its worst the rain of God’s love will inspire the authentic life that dwells within us upon our confession and profession of faith to spring forth. We will grow as never before. Just as a mended bone is stronger than the original so our new life in Christ is better than before. Along the way our hope is merely the affirmation of our faith in God and His faith in us. We will live, even if we die in this world, in eternity because we have taken up our cross and died to this world. Receive this caveat, mighty men, that if we did not have Christ as our personal Lord and Savior there would be no hope in us though we would be surrounded by the blessed hope that is in abundance around us. On the day of Judgment the axe would be laid to us bringing us down and no life would be found in us.

Put your hope in Him whose hope is ready to enter into you.

“Let HIS TRUTH be seen (and heard) in the mighty men of 2015.”

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

* For a blessed first week of Advent 2015
* For protection from a pre-winter stormy blast leaving 10 dead and many without utilities
* For those who lost lives in the Colorado shooting
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* 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 Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of China/Taiwan
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities

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

* God blessed us with hope in a new world and the promise to care for the old
* God has a plan for our service that will meet and exceed our expectations; He will guide us in the direction we need to go to serve Him and His people best
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, thank You for hope fulfilled daily in our lives and through us to others as we share the truth of the gospel in the name of Jesus. AMEN.

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Hmmm…

November 29, 2015

November 29, 2015

Our only hope for authentic living comes not in being planted into a season of giving which the hope of receiving as if planting seeds with a hope of harvest. Instead, we must be grafted into the life of Christ who is the Tree of Life eternal and abundant and draw from Him life and hope fulfilled. It is then that we can truly provide hope for others as hope has been provided for us.

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2062

Advent 1

HIS WORD for TODAY: The First Sunday of Advent 2015- HOPE!

Job 14.7-9

“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

The enemy wishes for men of the world to buy the lie for Christmas and for eternity. His only hope is to take away your hope. He does this by putting things in our lives to deny the hope which we have. What is it, mighty men, that you hope for? Is it for things of this world which cannot satisfy: money, possessions, pleasures, prowess and boasting? These things are like flowers (read the preceding verses of Job 14 for this reference) which bloom today and are gone tomorrow. Regardless, their root is shallow and cannot weather life in this world. Remember how Jesus taught with the Parable of the Sower. Success in the field is so dependent on the soil of opportunity. Some opportunity is a hardened path and all efforts will feel stepped on and trampled by others who care little for you or your dreams. Some opportunity is rocky and even the best efforts will yield more futility than fulfillment. Some opportunity is fertile ground where the smallest of efforts (the faith as small as a mustard seed) can provide greater opportunities and encourage the investment of time, effort and heart. The enemy shows us only the hardened path and rocky soil while promising greener grass on the other side of the fence. Sin is the fence. Its gate swings only one way, like Hotel California- you can always get in but you can never get out. Soon the blossom of your life fades, withers and dies without hope for tomorrow. What looked promising becomes empty and devastating. The human heart, soul, mind and spirit are bereft of opportunity surrendering to defeat.

But, mighty men, we are not flower seeds to be scattered across the earth like ashes from a funeral pyre. Indeed, we are mighty oaks, cedars of Lebanon, majestic sycamore fig trees, great redwoods whose roots reach far down into the heart of the earth. They gather life from the Creator in the depth of mercy, grace and love and then soar high above the earth. Even if life takes a few hacks and whacks or even a chainsaw to bring us down to earth we shall sprout new life and new growth because we are not of this world and its shallow thinking. We are deep calling unto deep where the Spirit of God that dwells within echoes into the Spirit of God that dwells forever. This is our hope, trees of God’s forest. We are one of many who have chosen to be grafted into the tree of Life which is Jesus Christ. Our branches are His branches. His heartwood is our life blood. His life blood is our salvation. We will endure forever by the rivers of God’s Kingdom flowing from His throne. We will have fruitfulness and be able to provide for generations in this world as if we were in Heaven itself where all things will be made new and provided forever.

In this season of Advent HOPE, we decorate our homes with a tree. We bedeck it with symbols of family- earthly and heavenly. Its adornment reflects the very hope for life that is fulfilled because it reminds us of another tree stripped down and bare. The enemy caused that tree to be planted in the ground without roots so that is death would cast fear into the hearts, mind and spirit of man. But, it was not the seed of man, here today and gone tomorrow like a grain of wheat cast upon the hardened and rocky road of life, that was planted into the ground that day on Calvary. It was the seed of a mighty oak, the Christ of God, whose roots ran deep into His Father’s Word, Promise and Hope. And from this little acorn cast down into the pit of despair deep into the earth from which it was not born has come the mighty oak of the body of Christ, the Church- the gathering of mighty men of God. And in this season we see an every green tree to symbolize enduring and eternal life where hope is fulfilled.

Take heed, mighty men of God, and remember that in this season we celebrate with a tree that is already dead. It may look green and give false hope but it cannot bear fruit itself. Do not adorn your lives with the false hope of a worldly celebration either. Keep in mind the things which are from above and endure. It is the reason for the season that gives life. This is why we must be grafted into Him. If we are merely planted we, too, shall perish as all other men without God. But, cast your hope on Him and He will take you in and you will be one with Him and nothing will be able to separate you from the Love and Life of our Mighty God.

“Let HIS TRUTH be seen (and heard) in the mighty men of 2015.”

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

* For those who will lead God’s people this weekend in worship, praise and service as we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, 2015
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* 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 Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of China/People’s Republic
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities

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

* God blessed us with hope in a new world and the promise to care for the old
* God has a plan for our service that will meet and exceed our expectations; He will guide us in the direction we need to go to serve Him and His people best
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, we cast our hope on You again as we enter into this season of thanksgiving and praise. Open wide Your arms of love and receive as into Your own. Plant us as acorns of hope into the ground of others lives’ so we can provide for them as You provide for us in the name of Jesus. AMEN.

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Hmmm…

November 27, 2015

November 27, 2015

God knows your life holds promise. It is His promise your life holds. It is the promise to be loved, provisioned, protected and potent spiritual to make this world a better place and its people a better people. Don’t chase the promise- live it!

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2061

HIS WORD for TODAY!

Psalm 95.1-7

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

The psalmist David was a musician and his inclination to honoring God with song is biblically unparalleled. Often he reminds the people under his care to be renewed and sing a new song. The old songs reflected upon the past. It was a past they only knew from songs of old; none were living in the days of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. They lamented about the “good old days.” But, David knew that God was not a backward thinking God. Instead, David understood God to be a very present help and a forward thinking God whose eye was on taking people where they were and moving them to where they would be flourish. I get a new sense of “promised” land when I think of this.

We, as mighty men of God, show promise:

1) We have been faithful in a little; but God knows we can do more. Jesus declared “Far greater things than you have seen will you be able to do.” Jesus wasn’t talking just about exceeding His efforts to honor God when He set this standard of thinking. He was talking about their own productivity and what they had been doing and could do if they believed in themselves. Add then what He believed in them and the world would definitely change for the glory of God.

2) God knows who and what we are upon conception. Doesn’t the word of God declare “I knew you before you were in the womb.” He not only sees our potential personally but our influence spiritually and socially to make disciples in all nations and of all people. God can see what we cannot. He reveals what He sees in us through the challenging and testing of our thinking, actions and commitments. These challenges are meant to build us up by leaning into Him. We cannot see God either. Yet by faith we believe and claim God working in us and through us to effect good. We must walk by faith and not by sight.

3) We love God and know He is the reason for our existence, that without Him all we have is this world and through Him we can live into His promise for our lives to be fruitful, influential and pleasing.

“Let HIS TRUTH be seen (and heard) in the mighty men of 2015.”

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

* For those who will lead God’s people this weekend in worship, praise and service
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* 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 Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of China/Macau
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities

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

* God blessed us with our first holiday family gathering in our new home and with Lisa’s pilgrim grand-daughters
* God has a plan for our service that will meet and exceed our expectations; He will guide us in the direction we need to go to serve Him and His people best
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, we trust in Your promise and revel in the belief You have in us. May we share that promising life with others so they can see You in them, too, in the name of Jesus. AMEN.

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Hmmm…

November 26, 2015

November 26, 2015

Our thanksgiving begins when we are truly giving thanks starting first with thanking God for loving us enough to call us His very own regardless of what we say, think or do at times. Be sure to give thanks to God for those in your life who are there to give you the opportunity to love God best and first and always.

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2060

HIS WORD for TODAY!

Psalm 95.1-7

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it,
and His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

The only way to enjoy a season of thanksgiving is to actually give thanks. If we are waiting to be thanked we may be waiting a long, long time. But, when we start sharing gratitude and looking for reasons to be thankful in every situation, especially the difficult and unpleasant ones, then the floodgates of joy, peace, love and happiness open and we are gladly and gratefully overwhelmed.

Our God is the Great God and He loves us and is thankful that He decided to call us into being. The more we realize this truth the greater our own lives become.

“Let HIS TRUTH be seen (and heard) in the mighty men of 2015.”

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

* For the true spirit of Thanksgiving to take over the world not just with a turkey in every oven but God in every heart
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* 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 Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of China/Hong Kong
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities

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

* God is the author of our thanks giving; we will have our first holiday family gathering in our new home
* God has a plan for our service that will meet and exceed our expectations; He will guide us in the direction we need to go to serve Him and His people best
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, thank You for loving us so much that You actually have loved us forever in the name of Jesus. AMEN.

Hmmm…

November 24, 2015

November 24, 2015

As hard as it may be to believe about ourselves, God loves us- perfectly, creatively, intuitively, responsibly and holistically. Without forgiveness this would be impossible and so to seal His love for us He sent Jesus to atone for our sins, mistakes, misjudgments, poor decisions and selfishness. It is better to be loved by God and surrender ourselves to His desire to love us than to just try and make it on our own in this world.

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2059

HIS WORD for TODAY!

1 John 4.10

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Are you as startled into reality as I am as we reread this simple but poignant verse? True love is “God loved us; and loves us still!” True love isn’t about loving God. Whoa, does that mean we aren’t supposed to love God, one another or ourselves? Does it mean that all that matters is God loving us? So, does that mean we can do whatever we want and God will still love us? I suppose those kinds of questions are the indicators of what the Elder John may have been alluding to in his truth proclamation about the quality of our love.

Our love for Him is different that His love for us. God’s love is far superior to ours because:

1) God is perfect. Jesus showed the evidence of God’s love in the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus granted permission to the accusers to stone the woman as was the pharisaical interpretation of the Law. I can’t imagine the snap look of the woman at Jesus at whose feet she cowered in shame and fear. Wasn’t Jesus supposed to protect and defend women, children and sinners? But, listen to His words captured in two simple sentences. “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.” Of course, they needed prompting so He gave them a few notes written in the dust of the earth. To do this He had to kneel down beside the woman. He was now on her level. I daresay, if one of those men had lifted a stone against the woman Jesus would have taken the hit for her. He would have covered her with His body as a hen gathers her brood under her wings. But, He knew the truth. No one there, save Him, was perfect. In the eyes of the people, the accusers were known not to be perfect. But, they had never experienced perfection before. It was just something that was alluded to and talked about which led to the second statement. When each one of the accusers and their colleagues walked away stoneless, Jesus said “Since there are no accusers then I cannot accuse you either.” Forgiveness according to the Law. She was acquitted. According to the Law there had to be two witnesses in order to bring a charge. Jesus not only knew the truth about the men but about the woman as well. He didn’t say she was innocent. He said “Go and sin no more.” It was a forgiveness statement. He gave her a new lease on life with a self-sustaining reality of a “do over.” This is the perfect love of God. In knowing the truth, God looks beyond the immediate reality of our lives and measures us by the eternal capacity of our lives. He does not see our death but our life.

2) I shared yesterday that God has made all the first steps in our direction to love us into newness of life and the reconciliation of our heart, mind and soul with Him. His love is different from ours because God is the creator. Scripture declares that all things were made through Jesus Christ. We know that through Him all things can be made new. Jeremiah’s vision of the potter’s house speaks to us here. Imagine, if you will, that God was the potter sitting at the wheel. It wasn’t His pottery shop. He was using it as Jesus used common events as the backdrop for His parables. The human potter creates pots and when they are flawed he throws them to the side. Sounds very human, doesn’t it. How much stuff do we have laying in the corners of our lives? How many people are buried under that stuff? But, God shows Jeremiah that He is still at work. Before He finalizes the product it is reworked if a flaw in the clay shows up. His hands bear the grit, water and clay residue of an active potter. He is involved and engaged in making a good work. God is the creator and sustainer of our lives. He created us and not the other way around. He made us in His image and His image is perfect. Yes, sin throws a few bumps, blemishes and creases into our lives. But, our creator is still shaping us in the hollow of His hand with delicate fingers touching the wounds and making them well. Our attempts to create God in our image will always fail. Ever wonder why the commandment existed about not making images? Why spend our time on the futile and the useless when we have the real deal. So, it stand to reason that true love is not our loving God but God loving us. His love creates and recreates in His image. Our vision is not as far-sighted and so we will always measure up a little short.

None of this means we shouldn’t love. It does mean that we need to press into God’s loving us. In doing that, love abides and abounds in us so that the truth can be seen, heard and experienced by others. They will then want to press into God as well; especially when the futility and frustration of life seems overwhelming.

“Let HIS TRUTH be seen (and heard) in the mighty men of 2015.”

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

* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* 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 Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of Chile
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities

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

* God is the author of our thanks giving
* God has a plan for our service that will meet and exceed our expectations; He will guide us in the direction we need to go to serve Him and His people best
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, without Your love life would not be worth living and eternal life would never be a possibility. Show us how to love others better in the name of Jesus. AMEN.

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