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2401

August 18, 2017

Let us be the BEST we have ever been as 2017 mighty men!

HIS WORD for TODAY

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.'”  (Philippians 1. 21)

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

I remember a camp experience where we created a story, every camp should have one, that you could tell around a campfire that we give everyone the willies.  It worked, too.  But the circumstances used to create the story were so real that we had to untell it.  The story spread like wildfire across the camp from Friday night to Saturday morning.  Even the parents and sponsors coming to pick up their kids were drawn into it.  Some were not amused.  But in our closing circle I used the whole event as a teaching tool.  I posed a question to everyone- “What if the gospel could spread as quickly as the spooky store created on the night before?”

Let’s be honest with ourselves.  How many times have we told a family story or a scary story or just made up a story at the spur of the moment?  Now how many times have we told the gospel story?  Do the numbers compare?  What about the impact?  Which was greater?  As Paul wrote to the mighty men of Philippi he declared to live is Christ and to die is gain.  What do we gain from the stories we told?  Paul said to die was to gain- gain eternal life and the privilege of hearing God declare “Well done my faithful son and devoted servant.”  In truth that is what Paul meant by living is Christ.  Living is being the faithful son and devoted servant because that is who Jesus was on earth and the call He issues to all of us who are walking with Him by faith.

Is our life “story” convincing and convicting to eternal life?  Or is it just a scary story meant to only bring chills up and down the spine?  Our lives and our life story are meant to mean something that inspires others to change the way they live and for whom they live.  And the foundation of that story is the gospel shared with us by someone else who truly believed it.  They believed it so much that it became their story, too.

* Let’s review the story of our lives and strengthen it with the witness of our faith in Christ and God’s love for us through Christ.

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

* For those leading God’s people in worship, praise and service today
* For the victims and the families of the victims of this latest rash of killings across the world that they may have peace and comfort in their time of grief
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill, NECC (and their service to the education community of 31 campuses)  and the people of New Zealand
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom- especially for Tom Jensen; for needs of my family mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually; wisdom to know the truth and relate it adequately; for guidance in a difficult financial situation and wise counsel in seeking the proper doctor to diagnose my condition

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

* We have a loving God who speaks to us in all seasons of life reminding us we should do the same to Him
* God continues to provide prosperity at 5226 as I trust Him in so doing and give thanks praying for sufficient and proficient employees and the wisdom to meld a team spirit by staying humble before God and co-workers
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions to learn to walk more humbly and in peace; has given us relief in my health
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, may Your love be visible through us as we share our story of faith and salvation given to us in the name of Jesus by whom we pray, live and worship here on earth as it is in Heaven. AMEN.

2156

March 23, 2016

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 9.38-41

“‘Teacher,’ said John, ‘we saw someone driving out demons in Your Name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us.’
‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘For no one who does a miracle in My Name can in the next moment say anything bad about Me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in My Name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Okay, maybe the disciples are connected now to an equality among themselves because of the prior teaching concerning “accepting a child in my name.” But, what about those who haven’t spent time with Jesus and the disciples for the past three years and claim authority over demons in His Name? They haven’t earned their wings, so to say. We have heard such conversations throughout the centuries since Jesus’ commissioning of the disciples at His Ascension as to “Do you belong to the ‘right’ Church?” Lines are drawn still according to theology, Christology, religiousity, End Time philosophy, etc., and all the way to “the color of carpets in the sanctuary or dishes in the fellowship hall. More harm has been done to the promotion of the gospel along these ideologies than daring to preach Christ crucified and resurrected in conflict with other world religions. Look at three points which are given here and see them as safeguards to our own responses:

1) We took authority to silence someone doing things in Your Name. Wait! Didn’t Jesus just tell them “whoever accepts one in My Name accepts Me and thus accepts My Father.” At the very least, Jesus should have been consulted first. Wow, the disciples step out of bounds again. But, haven’t we done so as well by adopting “act first, ask forgiveness later”? Jesus said prayer is the key to our spiritual success in the ministry of the gospel. It would seem that prayer should have been the first course of action instead of responding to ego-bruising which says “you have to be one of us.” Isn’t the point “we have to be one of Jesus”?

2) Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Jesus directs the disciples to evaluate the result before the process and the identity. In truth, the process and the identity came before the result and the result came in response to the process and identity which was “In My Name.” We pray “In Jesus’ name” because we have been taught “whatever you ask of Me in My name shall be granted.” Of course, it is more than name-dropping that makes us successful in our ministry. It is the alignment with the name you are dropping that makes the difference. The disciples focused on the name “disciple” when they said “one of us.” The man focused on declaring hope for the hopeless in the name of Jesus. Who are we aligned with? The disciples of Christ or Christ Himself? So, if anyone is with us and for us then they are certainly not against us.

3) We will need all the coalitions, compatriots and colleagues as we can get. Our ministry is about the collective of the body of Christ with Christ as the Head. Peter wasn’t the head. Paul wasn’t the head. We already know not any of the other disciples or apostles were the head regardless of the argument about who is the greatest. Our success comes in the unity of the Spirit. There have been times when we wanted to disqualify others from ministry in the body or force the qualifications to be a part. Truth is that we are all disqualified by sin and qualified by the forgiveness of our sin. The benchmark for both is Jesus Christ. And when we think we are standing alone it will be one who is aligned with Christ in His gospel who will stand with us. We may not know anything more about them and they about us than Jesus is Lord. Keep first things first!

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

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

* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others instead of man’s agenda leading to the Abomination of Desolation
* 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 Monaco
* 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; freedom for a family member struggling with a current job; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition

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

* A work expectation has been lifted for a time; I am believing for a new work assignment for my wife and I that will serve God’s people well; what others mean for harm God is turning to good
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, we come as one people in faith before You knowing that what makes us a follower is believing, regardless how we came to the knowledge and wisdom, in the name of Jesus by whom we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

1983

August 14, 2015

HIS WORD for TODAY!

Psalm 119.33-37

“Teach me, Lord, the way of Your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep Your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things;preserve my life according to Your word.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Teach. Give. Direct. Turn. Preserve.

Five stages of our spiritual journey are given here. Mastering each one begins not with any other effort on our part except to ask God to move us through them. David, the King of Israel and the author of many of the psalms, was a good man. If he were not so then God would have chosen another to be king over Israel to lead two kingdoms (north and south) to become as one again. But, what God found in David that was most important was a willing and trusting spirit. David knew that he couldn’t live his life to the fullest unless God was his first priority. When David put himself above all else, however, he experienced what every man will come to know- disaster. But, if disaster has any value it is first to be “a teacher of the truth of God’s will for our lives.” Next, it will be “a giver of understanding to see God at work in the midst of disaster.”

Even this morning as we were leaving the hotel to go back to our nearly empty house, I witnessed the blessing of God. The night before “our” parking space had been taken when we left to go back to the house to take care of our pets before retiring at the hotel. We were achy and sore from two laborious days loading the semi-trailer in searing Texas heat. Even the addition of a few extra steps seemed like a punishment. Yet, this morning as we collected ourselves to go to the house, we were greeted by the hotel sprinkler system at work. Where our car would have been parked was soaked with spraying water. I would have been doused and the driver seat would have been soaked as well. Thank you, God, for showing me to trust the process even when I forget there is a process in motion.

God has a process in motion for the salvation of our lives. It is at work within us even before we were aware of it. Sin is the ultimate disaster of human life. Its consequence is death. Not just physical death as we experience in this world and the process of dying, nor emotional or psychological death which comes in the transition of life in various stages. No, the consequence of sin is eternal death which is beyond the reach of God to any creature. Why is it beyond the reach of God? Because those in eternal death are not reaching out for God. They may ask in the “heat” of the moment for God. They may even bicker with God about fault and blame. But, ultimately, the reaching out for God that is needed to be beyond the reach of eternal death is true repentance.

In the story of the rich young ruler, Jesus taught such a sad situation. When asked “What else must I do to inherit eternal life,” Jesus answered “Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor. Then you can come and follow me.” The rich young ruler was very rich. His life was deeply seeded in his wealth and all the opportunities it provided to him. The story ends with “He was sorrowful and turned to walk away.” Repentance is “turning to walk to God.” To think of the number of people who will refuse to accept the understanding of this truth is biblically staggering as I read it in the Book of Revelation. Fully four-fifths of the human population that ever was will reject Jesus as the Christ even in the midst of signs and wonders. We face the shadows of this disaster daily. In the prayer Jesus taught His disciples it says “give us this day our daily bread.” He wasn’t talking about food to eat, necessarily, but more about the Word of God which is the understanding of truth. Death, in all its forms, is at work in and around our lives daily. We need the gift of understanding to be able to hold fast to the gospel of truth which is life for us all.

Only in this truth that Jesus is offering to us salvation and doing so with legal restrictions will we have eternal life. But, just because Jesus is offering it doesn’t mean we have it. We must also grasp the truth He is giving and allow it to become a major part of who we are as mighty men. As our understanding of the gospel grows into a Christ-like lifestyle then our cup of life’s blessing begins to overflow and we can offer the abundance to others. Our task is to offer. We cannot make anyone accept it. It is like scattering seed as Jesus taught in the parable of the Sower. It will fall on all types of soil and bear whatever fruit the soil will allow. We share the gospel to the whole world. It may or may not take but that is not our concern. Ours is to receive and share. And in the midst of life’s disasters, we certainly can experience the opportunity to do both. Doing so for the glory of God is not only our purpose but our God-given responsibility.

“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 in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For a safe and uneventful journey to Louisville with trailer, dogs, cats and ourselves
* For family and friends battling cancer at all stages of life
* 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 the end of Boko Haram and for the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, as they have joined forces in bringing death and terror to the innocent
* 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 and the people of Syria
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends; especially the breaking of addiction chains binding them; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own- we need God’s intervention and His wisdom as we seek to please and honor Him in the next step of our journey of faith for jobs in order to accomplish His purposes for us in the nations and reliable transportation

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

* Our preparation for moving continues and we are getting ready for loading the needed trailer that will take our remaining possessions to our new home where God will reveal our purpose and service
* The forecast of rain in Louisville has been moved one day after our unloading instead of the day of our unloading!
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, give us today our daily bread of Your Word of understanding. We will receive the blessing gratefully, sow it willingly and share its fruit with others gladly in the hope that they will receive it as we did and live. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.

1951

July 3, 2015

HIS WORD for TODAY!

Luke 16.16-17

“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

As I read this passage of scripture and prayed for understanding, the revelation in it just made me say “Wow!” I am humbled by the revealed truth in this for me. It addresses situations in my own life and as well as in this country at this time and probably in the world for many. For this reason, I am compelled to share it with you, mighty men.

After finishing rereading the story of “The Rich Man and Lazarus” and hearing Abraham again tell the Rich Man in his holding station before being sent to final judgment at the end of this age and then to a fiery living death, “If they do not listen to the Law and the Prophets, they will not listen to one who has risen from the dead,” I had no problem with the Law and the Prophets being proclaimed until John and then the Good News. It makes sense. It wasn’t that the Law and the Prophets were not taught after John the Baptizer’s ministry. It was that they were taught with the fulfillment by the gospel of Jesus Christ who declared the “Kingdom of God is at hand.” Some have heard the gospel first and believed it based on the sheer gladness of mercy extended to them. Then they saw Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecies and are amazed at how so many missed the truth. Others were raised in the teachings found in the Old Testament and then heard the gospel. Their hope was being made complete as they recognized Jesus as the Messiah whose coming was foretold. Regardless of the beginning point, the conclusion is the same: Jesus is the Messiah! This is truly good news.

As I said, I had no problem with that part of the teaching. It was the phrase which followed that truth which struck me: “…and many [everyone] were forcing their way into it.” The clarifying statement amounted to “as if they could change the teaching of the Law and Prophets to suit themselves.” Wow! There, I said it again. How dare we think we can alter the Word of the Lord to accommodate our frailty. We see it in the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court as to the new definition of marriage being the lawful union of two people regardless of gender. It is now law and it is what it is. But, it is all that it is, too. The Supreme Court did not make a faith statement but a civil one. They did not alter the biblical teaching and put that definition on the Church. It sadly made the mistake of validating a wrong practice and gave credence to “freedom means do what you want to do.” Well, you can do what you want to do if you are willing to accept the consequences. The consequences of this decision, and many others, will be seen in the coming generations of children who will be in conflict with their own sexuality and identity. Unless, the Church accepts its voice as holding to the teaching of truth revealed and fulfilled wholly in Jesus Christ.

Let me go further to explain more of what I mean. Many, “same-sex marriagers” will now believe they can force Christ-followers to accommodate them by being married in the Church. Sorry, the law doesn’t mean that. It granted civil rights to civilians but it did not bind the Church to put the practice in place as if they were a civil authority. Yes, pastors are granted the right to conduct weddings by the government but they are not the only ones. That ruling validated the marriage by pastors as legal for the purpose of the rights and privileges of the married couple in the eyes of the government. This is what the “same-sex marriagers” were talking about for themselves. They were not asking for spiritual legitimacy but legal rights within the eyes of the government and thus the world. By the same token, the Supreme Court will not need to protect the rights of pastors to refuse to marry gay and lesbian couples because in the eyes of God that definition of marriage is not scriptural regardless of how they identify themselves as “man and wife.” The Supreme Court can speak for man but it cannot speak for God.

So, Luke includes this thought in his own teaching of the Gospel. We cannot change the Word of God to suit our own understanding of who we want Jesus to be. Jesus will be who Jesus is: the Son of the Living God; born of a virgin into the House of David in the city of David; who preached the truth of righteousness accompanied by healing, casting out demons and raising the dead; who was arrested, falsely accused, crucified and buried only to be raised from the dead by God His Father whom He glorified in life and in death so that we who believe in this truth shall live eternally in the blessing of God whom we bless. The Law and Prophets do not see it in any other way, nor should we. The truth is the truth and forcing one’s own opinion into it will have disastrous consequences on the generations of believers to come. We cannot mix and match the teaching to suit our purposes. We must humble ourselves before the teachings and the Lord it presents and let His truth save us from ourselves. We cannot ask the Truth to validate our wrong, no matter how well-intentioned, thinking about God’s purpose, plan and execution of the Truth.

“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 healing of the United States of American in heart, mind and spirit- toleration does not mean righteous validation but compassion on the broken and outcast so they can seek God and dwell in sin no more; especially as we come to the eve of this nation’s Independence Day celebration
* Continuing to pray for Pakistan and the region suffering under a tremendous heat wave leaving over twelve hundred dead and millions more compromised; Lord break the heat and bring comfort to Your people, Pakistan!
* 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 will lead God’s people into healing truth and reconciling communities of grace
* For the end of Boko Haram and for the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, as they have joined forces in bringing death and terror to the innocent
* 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 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 on behalf of God’s people and plant the seed of faith, hope and love for a harvest of new life
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana and the people of Puerto Rico
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends; especially the breaking of addiction chains binding them; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own- we need God’s intervention and His wisdom as we seek to please and honor Him in the next step of our journey of faith for jobs, housing and transportation in order to accomplish His purposes for us in the nations

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

* Two bad life decisions were averted with God’s divine intervention
* We are being prepared for God’s provision as we seek His purpose for our lives with jobs, housing and transportation in a new venue and are under attack so we know we must be moving closer in our trust in God
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!
* God’s Word declares press into my rest and live as you have never lived before; we press into His finished work for our healing- may it be manifested Lord!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, may Your Truth so challenge us to see ourselves in its light that we allow its light to shine in us and make us who we need to be. Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.

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1723

September 4, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Psalm 44.4-8

“You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. “Selah”.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

And what shall we boast but God’s deliverance of His people from the captivity of sinful death. As Paul was speaking to the mighty men of Corinth, he shared the good news of this salvation. It was not based on any works that man could or might do to effect salvation lest they should boast of their own prowess and thus declare “Why is God needed?” No, the gospel is preached to share with all the people the simple truth that without God there is no hope for salvation. Those who would boast merely prove their fallenness and are condemned to dwell on earth for the duration of Satan’s reign. What is there to boast about on that? Momentary gratification? A flash in the sky of history? A token of remembrance? There is no eternal value discovered in a life lived in such a manner save by the grace of God. So, if we boast, it is of the favor of God who has chosen to work in us and through us to effect the gospel of salvation in the lives of those around us.

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

* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working but the disease is spreading to other countries
* For peace between nations and the end of the abuse and killing of adults and children between Israel and Palestine/Hamas
* 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
* 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 and the people of Rwanda
* For anointing over all these prayer concerns: 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 JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; mending of Dallas’ body and restoration for Katelyn; Mack to blessed in the direction 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; blessing on Mallory and Andrew and Peyton

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
* 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 You be pleased as we go forth in Your name to proclaim the good and acceptable day of the Lord, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1588

March 30, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

1 Peter 5.9

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

How many times have you heard the justification jargon “No pain- no gain.” Did it start with Peter and his encouraging words to the mighty men of the early Church? Was He simply reflecting on the way of the cross which he himself would bear in Rome? It is the seemingly the result of sin coming into the world. That choice has been made for us. And while you may not like the idea of “the many suffering for the mistakes of one,” I would remind you of the One who suffered for the mistakes and errors of the many, of us all! His name is Jesus of Nazareth. He indeed was the Christ, the Suffering Servant of Jeremiah and deutero-Isaiah. Peter was sharing the reality of our lives on earth as men- for all have fallen short of the glory of God; and as Christ followers- for you will be persecuted because of My Name. Peter tells the mighty men of the suffering which we all endure because we live in a sinful world and because we dare to believe and live out the way, truth and life of righteousness in that same world. It was not the will of God that there be suffering for either reality. It is His will that we receive our just reward for our faithfulness to not live in one world, the world of sin, and to live in the other, the Kingdom of Righteousness.

Peter preaches that after a while when the course of your ministry is complete, He will restore His mighty men. I can’t even imagine the joy the disciples, martyrs and saints have felt when they are received by Jesus in His Kingdom. What they believed to be true and set down as the course of their lives then confirmed by the glory of God in Heaven…WOW! But, restore means more than just life after death and our heavenly reward. For a time until Jesus returns to reclaim the Holy Garden of the Earth and to uproot the weeds of sin and their sower the Devil, restore also means inheritance. Many Jews believed that their “eternal” life was in the future generations of their family, their descendants. When God shared the covenant of promise with Abraham, He spoke of the covenant of generations, his descendants, reveling in the promise of God. We, too, are restored by the gospel of Jesus Christ. For those who have suffered, we suffer with them in heart, mind, soul, spirit and perhaps in body as well. But, we are also restored to life beyond the moment of grief and death of those who have suffered. We are given the promise of joy, peace and much more. How we need that good word while we live in this world. It does sustain us because without the message of resurrection and restoration we would be crushed under the shadow of death as a landslide of hopelessness tumbles down upon us.

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

* For those leading God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For the recovery of those lost in the Washington landslide and healing for all the survivors
* For the discovery of the Malaysian airliner and the resolution of the mystery of its disappearance; God knows where it is and protect those who are searching for it and now give comfort as news that it most likely crashed into the ocean is released
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!; and that our President withdraw the current healthcare plan in favor of one that God will provide as what is best for all His people.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, 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” and the people of Chad
* For deliverance from cancer and Parkinson’s in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn, Debbie and Linda; for Mack to blessed in the direction he has chosen for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to make his life a glory to God; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; successful brain surgery for Jim Welch scheduled for next week

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

* Lisa had a safe flight to Kentucky and was greeted with good news of a great joy
* God is in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our world
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, give us Your eyes so that we can see that we are being restored daily. We will not focus of the shadows of death but the glories of life which we have been given when we first believed. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

1401

August 6, 2013

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

HIS WORD for today:

Luke 23.44-46

“It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ When he had said this, He breathed His last.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I grew up singing a particular hymn in church entitled, “This Is My Story.” In it was the the line “oh, what a foretaste of glory divine.” The passion story of Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection is our story. It belongs to God’s mighty men and those who will surrender themselves to the Lord of this story and invite Him to be their Lord and Savior. It can be everyone’s story which is the glory of it. There is no one who is exempt from making this story their own. Jesus died so that we all might have life and have it abundantly. Yes, even Caiaphas, the Council of Elders and the rest who participated in the struggle for truth could have made the gospel of Jesus Christ their own story. It was first given to the Jews because God had made His covenant with them before they were born as a nation and a people. God believes in His own people even when they kick against the goads and refuse to humble themselves before the Lord their God. This is how much God loves us all that while we are yet sinners He has made a way for us to become saints by sending Him who knew no sin to become sin for us that He alone would bear the brunt of the wage of our sin. That means Jesus made our story His story, too. He felt our pain, anguish and struggle. He bore it on the cross as the weight of the worldliness pressed down on Him with every effort to push against it so that He might rise up and catch a breath. He went to exhaust every effort, to push the envelope of life into the letter of death until it was totally consumed.

In those hours before He ascended the Hill of Golgotha bearing the yoke upon His shoulders He declared that He was the righteousness of God. It was our yoke that He took with Him. Our names were on the cross. Our rebellion against God’s promise of love and covenant of faith was known to God yet He loved us still. And as He left the Temple Hill passing through the courts of people, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, man and woman, Jesus knew that His next day would be in Paradise. But, what of the next day for His accusers? Would it become business as usual with the buying and selling in the temple He dared to clear and declare it to once again be a House of Prayer? Would it be with the fear of Rome still breathing through the corridors instead of the breath of God filling every room? Would it be with the empty promises and conventional wisdoms which had replaced the Word of God in the hearts, mind and spirit of the people? Was it not as God revealed to Amos who heard, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your religious feasts into mourning and your singing into weeping.” (Amos 8.2,9,10) Just as God has given the nation of Israel a foretaste of their glory divine, so now He was revealing the fruit of His labor of love. And in the actions of Caiaphas, this foretaste had a foreshadowing where God would reveal His displeasure by renting the Temple curtain and exposing the Holy of Holies to the world. In so doing, He put an end to the covenant of Law and declared it fulfilled in His sorrow. But, in its place He ushered in the new age of the covenant of Love and declared a new beginning, a new creation and a foretaste of glory divine. In Jesus, the Old and the New intersected and the New won! Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

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

* For provision and protection from another burst of Summer heat putting many in compromised living and working conditions
* For protection of all citizens against terrorism including those of the United States as embassies around the world remain closed and on alert
* For our nation’s spiritual leaders to rise up in one voice and declare the acceptable day of the Lord producing much fruit and transforming forgiveness in the face of our Lord’s return
* For the leadership of our nation to submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and quit dealing as with the mind of sinful men
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Guyana
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For safe journey on my professional development conference and safe keeping for my family while I am gone; for deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for healing and strengthening in Tom’s back, Holly’s teeth and heart

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

* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered)
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the
future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, thank You for making our story Yours and including us in Your story of salvation. As we take ownership of this gospel and its good news, may our passion for life reach new heights and may these mighty men shepherd Your people to the green pastures and still waters of our home, sweet home with You forever. Amen.

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1320

April 22, 2013

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

Mark 1.38-39

“Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else- to the nearby villages- so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ So they travelled throughout Galilee with Jesus as He preached in their synagogues and drove out demons.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

If you really wonder what your purpose is as a mighty man of God it is to be like Jesus. He is in you and you are called to be in Him. You have accepted His invitation not only to receive the forgiveness of sin and the blessing of eternal life but to be aligned with Jesus Christ today as He was two thousand years ago. His thoughts are to be your thoughts. His ways are to be your ways. His work is to be your work. Regardless of your vocation, you are to preach the good news. Remember, the disciples had a variety of vocations as well but their primary purpose was to preach Christ! With the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts and the works of our hands we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead on the third day and restored to His Heavenly perfection so that we might know the gospel is true. It is true then that we are to go into all the world and preach the good news, making disciples in and of all nations and so have dominion, power and authority to bind and to loose, setting the captive of body, mind and spirit free to fulfill their purpose as well. This is why Jesus came and this is what our purpose is as mighty men of God committed to following Jesus all the days of our lives.

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

* For the community of West, Texas, following the fertilizer plant explosion who now begin the healing process of restoration
* For health, healing, peace, comfort, reconciliation and justice following the bombings in Boston Monday
* For quick assessment of damages and losses and restoration following powerful earthquakes on the Iran and Pakistan border and also in Sichuan, China
* For peace in Southeast Asia between the Koreas, the region and the world- may cooler heads prevail and those in God make the impact needed to be peacemakers
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Australia
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge; God’s word about pursuing a new job opportunity
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for my stepmother and strength for my dad; healing for Lisa body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; Linda (serious heart condition); for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance; for reconciliation with family for Spencer and an open heart to Jesus; for healing and strengthening in Tom’s back, Holly’s teeth and heart

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

* Laid hands on Jason in prayer and I have a new friend
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the
future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts and the works of our hands be fruitful in the lives of those whom we are given to serve in spirit and in truth by Jesus’ name. Amen.

1314

April 15, 2013

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

2 Timothy 1.13-14

“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you- guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.'”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

This is April 15 and in America this is the assumed deadline for paying your federal taxes. Many will reach into their savings to help pay what is owed to the federal government. For many people this will be a truly “taxing” day. So, it is interesting that HIS WORD for today should speak of the deposit that was entrusted to us. That deposit was the gospel of grace – good news that is irrefutable truth. It was the hope and confidence which God wanted to restore within His people so they could walk by faith and not by sight. God believes in us, in spite of our sinful past and ongoing failures, and has put this gospel which can restore sight to the blind, cause the lame to walk and the blind to see, mend relationships and bring life out of death into our hearts and mind by His Spirit. But, as is the nature of a deposit, the One depositing will expect a return on His investment which means, as is the nature of banking, that we must make some deposits into the lives of others as well. The return on these transactions will be souls won to Christ Jesus!

But, heed the warning which Paul gives because he say it time and time again. We must guard the integrity of this gospel. We cannot let other doctrines find their way into the life-saving truth which God has put in us through Jesus Christ. We are defenders of the gospel of grace. We are the defenders of those who make their profession of faith in Jesus Christ. We are the defenders of those who are called to step forward in proclaiming the gospel and make sure that its voice will never be silenced.

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

* For peace in Southeast Asia between the Koreas, the region and the world- may cooler heads prevail and those in God make the impact needed to be peacemakers
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Angola
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for my stepmother and strength for my dad; healing for Lisa body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; Linda (serious heart condition); for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance; for reconciliation with family for Spencer and an open heart to Jesus; for healing and strengthening in Tom’s back

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

* Mack is safe following his first accident
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the
future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may Your guiding Spirit strengthen Your mighty men today as they go into the world to share this good news of Jesus Christ. Anoint them with the voice that needs to be heard so that many will respond and join us in faith in the body of Christ. Amen.

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January 21, 2013

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

Ephesians 1.13-14

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession- the the praise of His glory.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

OUR “PRODIGAL” INHERITANCE”:

I begin by identifying our inheritance, which is the gospel of our salvation through Jesus Christ alone, as our prodigal inheritance only because of two faith facts. The first faith fact is “all men, mighty or not, have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.” When Jesus addressed the crowd of men consisting mostly of “righteous” and upstanding men from the ranks of the Pharisees, Saduccees and business community, He included us because we know God and yet do we know God? He said, “Let those without sin (meaning, those who have not sinned, considered sin in their heart or mind, or spoken against sin even when claiming your own presumed innocence and lack of wrong-doing of any kind) be the first to condemn this woman to brokenness, disfigurement and possible outright death by throwing the stones you now hold behind your back with readiness to prove yourselves holy.” Have you ever just thought about doing something wrong, say something off-color with a debatable meaning and purpose or even spoken against yourself in a demeaning way? Have you said harsh words, passed on inuendos or intimated harm to another person because they inconvenienced you? Yes, you may not have violated six-tenths of the Ten Commandments just like the rich your lawyer/ruler who sought Jesus’ opinion on how to gain eternal life as if it were a contest whose only qualification was that, and is that, “you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and coincidentally, love your neighbor as you have been loved by God.” So, the major effect of sin seems to me to be that we are convinced that God does not love us therefore we do not need to love each other. Or maybe we can “justify” ourselves by saying “We love others but conditionally, so there must be conditions to how God loves us.” Isn’t that what sin leads men to believe, that God is like us? God is not made in our image. We are made in His image which means we are designed to be like God inwardly and outwardly as His mighty men on earth. He even clarified the situation by sending His Only Begotten Son to dwell on earth for a time to set the example by walking the full measure of love which included sacrificing Himself so that we might all have life and have it abundantly. If God sent His Son into the world then it must have been an indisputable reality that we are sinners in spite of our best efforts to the contrary.

The second faith fact is “we shall all see God.” Jesus taught His disciples “to see Him was to see God” in response to them saying “Show us the Father and that will be enough.” It should be enough for all of God’s mighty men to see Jesus and know they are seeing the Father in action with spirit and truth. But, there are many who say they do not see God and that may well be for the fact that the Jesus in us is not as visible as it ought to be. But, I am speaking beyond our witness and testimony or the lack of it as the defining reality of our prodigal nature. Regardless of whether we believe in God or not, whether we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or not, the day will come when we will return to the Father, stand before the Judgment Seat of God and gaze upon the face of the Lamb who was slain that we might have life. We will return to the gateway that leads to the mansion of God and find our life’s journey has come to the inescapable destination of God’s final decision. We cannot get beyond it without God’s permission which the Son will grant or deny. We cannot avoid it because it is inevitable- no one escapes death, not even Jesus! We cannot deny its existence because ultimate truth is unchangable. But, a part of that unchangable truth is the love of God for those who choose to love Him and love like Him. They must recognize they are not perfect, but working toward perfection. They must confess they are sinners, and may yet sin despite the desire to avoid it. They must profess Jesus Christ as Lord of All and Servant of All and they are His disciples who seek to walk in His way. And His way leads back to God!

Therefore, mighty men of God, we are all prodigals and upon our confession and profession of faith, we have received our prodigal’s inheritance. In spite of what we may or may not do with the investment of the Holy Spirit which God has made in us- for His glory or our squandering, if we come back to Him humbly and fearfully and truthfully, we shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven which is the consequence of the gospel of our salvation, the truth of our deliverance.

Now, let’s talk about our inheritance which God has shared with us through Jesus Christ our Lord…but that will be another day.

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

* For those who accept the call of God to speak against injustice, hatred, bigotray and immorality with strength of spirit, calmness of mind and fullness of heart such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., God continue to enrich his spirit which is with God and his memory which is with us
* For protection of women and children of all ages from violence
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully to declare a Year of Jubilee by President Obama
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading before military intervention into the Gaza Strip with wary eyes still against Iran and Syria; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Reunion
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight and enable familial reconciliation
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from flu; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for all the concerns lifted up in LG

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

* For healing Matthew’s eye and blessings for Katie’s birthday today
and my good friend Tom’s birthday yesterday
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the
future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we thank You for the truth which has set us free to be free indeed. May these mighty men of Yours grasp the truth and apply it to the fullness of their lives so that others may see You by seeing the Son in us and us as Sons of the Most High and Mighty God! Amen.

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