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2404

August 27, 2017

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

HIS WORD for TODAY

” As He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.  And a great storm developed on the sea so that the waves began to swamp the boat. But He was asleep.  So they came and woke Him up saying, “Lord, save us! We are about to die!” But He said to them, “Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was dead calm.  And the men were amazed and said, “What sort of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey Him!”  (Matthew 8. 23-27)

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Mighty men, why should we be surprised what God can do?  Whether we are apprehensive, anxious, fearful or at peace it seems our minds have the most difficult time fathoming the measure of God’s power, mercy and grace.  As often as we may repeat the promise of John 3.16 “For God so loved the world that He gave to us His only begotten Son in order that eternal life might be realized by all those who would believe in Him.”  God “so” loved the world.  You know what “so” means in this context.  As children, we often responded to such questions as “how much do you love me” with stretched out arms and a strenuous “sooooooo much.”  Jesus loved us “so” much, even though we were not yet born, that He stretched out His arms on the cross and declared with His willing sacrifice “so much.”  What power of will and strength of faith it must have taken for God and Jesus to demonstrate such desire as to save each one of us from the legacy and finality of death without mercy and grace!  If God in Christ and through Christ can do such a thing then why do we wonder and marvel at what else they can do because of their faith, hope and love for us and in us and through us and our faith in them.  Remember, mighty men, it takes only the faith as small as a mustard seed on our part to affect the blessing of such mercy and grace into our lives.

Equally so, it only takes that same kind and level of faith to impact the world in which we live.  It should be no more surprising to us, mighty men, that this is the truth than for us to believe in the God who has saved us.  This is the God who created the universe, the world and the life upon this earth out of chaos and nothingness.  If He can order the chaos into the awesomeness we experience today then He can certainly continue to act for His glory and on our behalf for the sake of our life on earth and for eternal peace in Heaven yet to come.  

And what of response to the movement and work of God toward us.  If we believe that Jesus was indeed the Christ and is Christ for us today then why do we marvel or question what else can be done?  It is not enough, mighty men, to be satisfied with our salvation.  Our salvation means nothing if we are not putting such faith as it takes to believe in Jesus the Christ into action!  Yes, as the Apostle Paul declared, “faith without works is dead.”  He did not teach that we needed works to be saved.  Rather, that because we are made new and actually improved then we, being akin to Christ who is the head of the Body- the Church and each of us members of that same body can do great things.  Jesus promised this to His disciples as He bestowed the blessing of the Holy Spirit upon them.  As they went out to preach the gospel and performed miracles bearing the Spirit as a cloak it should be no less moving when that same Spirit then became a part of the fabric of their lives at Pentecost.  It was no longer upon them.  It dwelt in them and they became as one just as Jesus was one with the Spirit as the Christ.

What does this say?  I believe it behooves us to center our attention upon whom we have become- ones in Christ.  We ought not center our attention upon ourselves in isolation in the world.  We are not alone.  Christ has made it possible for us to dwell as Immanuel- God with us.  With the power of God in us, around us and working through us we, too, can do great things.  It should not cause us to wonder or dwell forever in marvel.  It is meant to become our default reality as mighty men of God.  Practice the peace.  Practice the power.  Put into action the faith that has been given us so that God can be known personally to all those who are in our spheres of influence.

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 those who have been, are and will be impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey as rain and flooding persist for days to come
* 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 Norway
* 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
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER:  Father, You have already poured out Your Spirit upon and into our lives.  We pause now in reflection to allow that Spirit to become as active in us  in the name of Jesus by whom we pray, live and worship here on earth as it is in Heaven as it was in Jesus who is our Christ. AMEN.

2358

December 15, 2016

Celebrating an Advent of JOY on earth and goodwill to all people!

HIS WORD for TODAY:

James 2.14-17

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

We are told to work out our faith, to work out our salvation. It is not speaking about having to do works in order to have faith or have salvation. No, it is speaking directly to putting our faith and our salvation to work. Because we accept Jesus as the Christ and proclaim Him to be Lord and Savior, we have been made new creatures. The old nature was bound to works. That work was completed with Jesus at the cross. Salvation is now ours as is the blessing, the gift, of faith. But, if we are not putting our faith into action that faith is merely a word. It is no different from telling someone “I love you” and then fail to act loving toward them. Our faith and our salvation are not words. They are living moments, events and opportunities to do good, bring comfort to others and to glorify God. This is what Christ did in His life and through His death. He put faith and salvation to work and for it He received the gift and blessing of eternal life. That is our joy as well. As we put faith and salvation to work we are celebrating the gift and blessing of eternal life which is ours.

Mighty men, as we consider what to give others for Christmas is it not the demonstration of our faith and salvation through love? How shall we bring joy to bear in the world if we do anything less than this?

“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 protection and provision for those impacted by pre-winter’s stormy blast and frigid temperatures
* For peace to be known in all of our relationships as God’s people to those who are in the world- “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.”
* For God’s Word of deliverance to ring as clear as a bell so that sin-hardened hearts, minds and ears can hear and respond with gladness for the joy of their salvation
* 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, NECC and the people of Israel
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for a new job placement that aligns with God’s purpose intended for me not to be in struggle; for needs of my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are committed to their new realities; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; for guidance in a difficult financial situation; physical and mental healing of my stepmother and my dad; relief from pain for my wife and myself (as I wait for the neurologist’s decision) and for the strengthening of our relationship with one another and God

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

* Linda’s report from her biopsy showed negative- good news!
* The Lord sustains me as I have seen the neurologist and more tests are prescribed and a referral to a different team- this is all in God’s Hands!
* 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 me for our next ministry with current conditions to learn to walk more humbly and in peace
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, as You are at work in us so we commit ourselves to being at work for the kingdom at hand sharing the good news of great joy in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, by whose name we pray, live and worship. AMEN.

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1897

April 26, 2015

HIS WORD for Today:

Psalm 95.7b-11

“Today, if only you would hear his voice, “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

The awful truth, mighty men of God, is that many people in our spheres of influence will not listen when they hear the Word of God spoken in words or in actions. They have ears to hear but will not hear. They have eyes to see and will not see. They have minds to think but will not dare believe. They have spirits yearning for wholeness but will settle for far less and in some instances be turned in the opposite direction and become so negative that the light of truth will fade into the depth of despair. Oh that all the people of the world past, present and future would accept the gift of grace that has been given to them in Jesus Christ who died on the cross to put to death the penalty of all sin. How I pray they would accept the Chiefest of High Priests who revealed in the renting of the Veil of the Holy of Holies that there was nothing there but empty hope as empty as the tomb in which He would be sought for three days after He was buried. Jesus was and is and will forever be the true Ark of the Covenant in whom there is no guile. The Law and the Prophets, the Gospel and the Revelation are fulfilled in Him. They have been made complete by the work which He has done at the Cross. Yes, the work of our salvation and our hope is finished in Christ Jesus. He is now building up for us our rightful place in Heaven so that when He returns there will be a place for all those who hear His Word and listen to it with joyful obedience. There will be a place for those who will see God in the midst of their lives and declare “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” There will be a place for those who are challenged by the truths of God’s creativity on a daily basis and seek out the deeper truth which exists in it and put to work for the welfare of others the truth which has been revealed. There will be a place for those who feel the burning in the heart and soul of an overwhelming love they cannot contain and become a ever flowing fountain of faith, hope and love of living water that cannot run dry and will supply the hunger and thirst for righteousness of those who will confess “I need God.”

But, because many will not believe and receive the truth that is only in Jesus Christ does not mean that we will not continue to bear witness to the truth that we know in our ears, eyes, minds, hearts, souls. Remember the Word of Isaiah which the mighty man Paul shared with those in Corinth:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived” —
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.”

We must commit ourselves to the works of God completed in us and for us. Ours is not to decide who shall live nor who shall die. Ours is to serve the Lord our God with gladness, perseverance, seizing all hope and releasing all holds so that His Spirit which is alive in us and for us can move across the face of the deep and provide far better than we to meet the needs of those who will open themselves to God. Many may choose to be lost but not because we did not seek even the one who was lost but could be found.

“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 healing for the loved ones whose family and friends died in the massive earthquake and tremors which followed in Nepal; for the restoring of those who are lost and will be found by the grace of God; for the rebuilding of infrastructure and communities and a return to peace
* For peace and resolution in Baltimore
* For peace and protection as ISIS forces threaten to overrun Ramadi, Iraq, and draw nearer to Baghdad; and for the families of the Coptic Christians executed by ISIS in Libya
* 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 and now in Kenya
* 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 Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and North Korea and that 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 on behalf of God’s people and plant the seed of faith, hope and love for a harvest of new life
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land,” Marlin High School and the people of Kuwait
* 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

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

* 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

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, move mightily in us so that through our testimony today in word and in deed others may know of the hope that is for them in the name of the One for whom we live, serve and pray- Jesus our Lord. AMEN.

1773

November 5, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

Matthew 5.43-45a

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

As we read this passage of scripture the conditional nature of its warning cannot be ignored. In order to be true children of our Heavenly Father we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Yes, Jesus declared that many will approach Him at the Throne of Grace saying “Lord, Lord.” But, here is one of those times when it is equally important for “what you know” as it is for “who you know.” Jesus said He would reply to some “Away with you, for I never knew you.” Yes, many will declare the words of invitation but have not invited Jesus into their heart, mind and soul. They have not put into action the ministry of grace toward others. It is not enough for us to confess that Jesus is Lord and enter into baptism to demonstrate to others our confession. You see, without our profession of faith that Jesus is the Christ and the works of the Spirit through us to others then our words are just words. James wrote “Faith without works is dead.” We must, as mighty men of God, have both faith and the works of faith to truly be called children of the Most High God.

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

* For the blessing of God be upon our governmental leaders who have been elected into their respective offices
* For shalom to reign on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and all hostilities cease
* For the safety of all our school children in the midst of the rising violence showing up on campuses around the world
* For miraculous healing and eradication of Ebola as the crisis spreads; medical treatments are working
* 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; 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 the US Virgin Islands
*For anointing over all these prayer concerns: for maturity of the young ladies 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; 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; proper diagnosis and 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 open our heart, our mind, our spirit to You now asking that You please come in and show us the way, the truth and the life which can only be known by Jesus in us. Come, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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1582

March 23, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

1 Peter 2.18-21

“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

I have no doubt there are many lessons the Holy Spirit can teach us out of this word alone. Today, I want to share one that helps to answer my question about “what is God’s will for my life.” His answer is “You should follow Christ’s steps.” When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John, God declared “This is My Son, listen to Him.” What is listening if it is not following directions? Jesus three years of ministry was a living classroom and spiritual laboratory meant to teach His followers, especially His disciples (by the way ‘disciple’ means ‘student’) how to meet God’s will in their own lives. The disciples had been chosen by God, spoken into by God’s Holy Spirit to awaken their desire for the answer to ‘our’ question, and then exposed to the Master Teacher so their curiousity could be sated. And, it was important that Jesus get them to literally engage in the learning process by sharing His daily walk. What do we see upon a cursory examination of Jesus’ walk. Well, we know He didn’t always walk. He rode in fishing boats and even on a donkey. We don’t know the itenerary of every day from the gospels, so He may have ridden in a wagon or cart or on a horse, too. Though, I would doubt He rode a horse for fear that some would see the Militant Messiah many hoped for. So, what do we see in His walk, meaning work or purpose of His life? He preached the gospel wherever He went and cared for all those who had needs, great and small. He prayed when He was tired, frustrated and needing assurance. He spoke honestly to everyone. He declined praise but loved to see God at work through His life. He had a sense of urgency and responded appropriately. I cannot say He responded immediately because He intentionally delayed going to Lazarus when he fell sick and died. But, we have plenty of lessons and examples of how we should walk in a similar fashion. It wasn’t limited to being a preacher, a pastor, a teacher, a prophet, a healer or a Messiah. Instead, He presented all the skills and resources which each of these professions needed and showed how they could be done. He even turned away the title of “Good.” So, it wasn’t even about being perfect or well-educated that would lead to being successful in His work. But, it was about staying in tune with the Holy Spirit; that same Spirit which He gave to us so that in all of our professions we can do His will and His work to an even greater extreme than He was able to in His time on earth.

So, what is God’s will for our lives? It seems to share the word and do the work of Jesus where we are, as who we are, wherever we are, whenever we are not sleeping and all for the glory of God.

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 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.
* 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 Cambodia
* 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 is back on the table with successful heart surgery

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

* Katelyn and newborn son are well; God’s will to be revealed
* God is in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our world
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts and the works of our lives be acceptable to You and of good profit to all those whom we serve in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

1580

March 20, 2014

YOUR Will be done in the year to come- 2014

HIS WORD for Today:

1 Peter 2.18-21

“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

I have read and prayed over this Word many times and the Spirit leads me to focus on the two “extremes.” We should be extreme in our faith. Jesus told John the Elder in Revelation that the mighty men in Laodicea that He wished they would be hot or cold instead of lukewarm in their works. As mighty men today, the will of God would then seem to say to us the same. We are to be men of conviction that is vital, visible and viable. If we were this then it would be easy for the world to understand who we are and what we believe. But, if we couch our lives in the muddled gray of inconsistency, incongruity and virtual invisibility then we don’t look any different than a great majority of people in the world. We are supposed to be different from the world. But, in our difference from the world as followers of Christ we are still to be in the world as a living testimony and place of worship. It would seem to me, as I consider another Revelation image of the sheep and the goats which are divided by Christ the Shepherd one from another, that those who are extreme for God will be among the sheep and those who are extreme against God will be among the goats. Sheep will be gathered into the green pastures of Heaven to drink from the still waters and know the fullest blessing of living with the shepherd all the days of their eternal lives. Goats will be condemned to the fiery pit of hell immersed in the Lake of Anguishing Fire separated forever from the mercy of God. But, what about those who are just just? I dare say the word of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount may give us the key to their fate, “Many will say Lord, Lord, we did many things in your name but I will say to them ‘I know you not.'” Those in the middle, who are just just, would seem to be gathered with the goats.

Why would this be true? Peter draws the distinction between those who are conscious of God and those who are doing good for God. He says it is one thing to be conscious of God and suffer, even if it is a wrong and undeserved suffering. I wonder if people really know if someone is “conscious” of God. Not many of us are mind readers. Even “good intentions” are the pavers on the road to Hell so the “I think they might be a Christian because I have never seen them do anything wrong” isn’t of help here. God is visible in His works for and through His people, those who are called by His name and live according to His purpose. Those who suffer because they are doing the good works of God in bringing visible and tangible evidence of faith in God can move mountains be they of sin, poverty, disease, disability, disenfranchisement, ignorance, abuse, neglect, bondage and sadly much more; they will be recognized. Their suffering may be in the shared brokenness of those they serve. Their suffering may be as a penalty inflicted by those who do not want God to be visibile and tangible. Their suffering may be because they put the lives of others before their own even in their own resources for life. But in all of this the world will see Christ who did the same even to the extreme of taking on the burden of the cross to the point of death and beyond so that once and for all the threat of the grave as the consequence of our sin would be eliminated.

Remember, mighty men, our end is not the grave. Rather, our end is the grace of Almighty God whose delight is the reconciliation of those who will call upon His Name and commit their lives to His Way. Not to just be conscious and aware of “there is a God.” Instead, they are working daily with the power and presence of God who is in the midst of them. Living and dying for others with little regard for self is extreme. Mighty men are to be Xtreme (X is the symbol for Christ.)

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

* For safety and wisdom to those who are returning from or beginning Spring Break this week
* For the discovery of the Malaysian airliner and the resolution of the mystery of its disappearance; God knows where it is and is leading others to finding it.
* 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 Burkina Faso
* 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; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter and complete healing for her unborn child; for deliverance from someone who wants to rule over me and is setting me up in their mind that I am someone they must rule over instead of collaborate with; successful brain surgery for Jim Welch is back on the table with successful heart surgery

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

* God is in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our world
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, bless the work these do for the glory of Your Name and for the welfare of those they will serve. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

1457

October 21, 2013

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

HIS WORD for Today:

Isaiah 43.22, 25

“Yet, you have not called on Me, Jacob. You have not wearied Me for yourselves, Israel. I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I wonder if God does not speak to His children with exasperation. After God has demonstrated His power to save and His heart to save, why don’t we just exhaust all our efforts to pursue Him until we are exhausted from the chase. Maybe thinking of it in that way brings to your mind as it did to mine that we are so tired of our earthly efforts there seems to be little left for our spiritual efforts. Therein lies the problem, mighty men. When we pursue and put all, or the majority of, our efforts into earthly things that cannot satisfy how can we feel happy and energized? But, when we do what is the will and work of God which rises out of a desire to love others and see their lives improved, God does not fail to provide for us the joy of our salvation. That joy has to be great! It feels good to pursue the things of God and to share His Word with others. We may be exhausted but it is an honest exhaustion that rises out of completing a sense of purpose and value. When it comes to earthly things, we have to add value to it to make it worth our while. We trouble ourselves with a euphoria of imagination thinking we will make a difference when we haven’t moved a grain of sand much less a mountain. But, our Lord declared that with faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains, make a difference and find satisfaction in our lives we didn’t think possible.

Come on, mighty men, we have experienced this spiritual reality in part. We were amazed just as were the seventy two whom Jesus sent out with the blessing of His Spirit to preach the good news and to heal the broken and wounded. They did what they were asked to do because they didn’t know any different and they had a desire to do whatever Jesus would ask of them. Because they went out believing they were power and effective, mighty men. They returned expending much energy but came back with even more energy. They generated energy by sharing in the work of God. But, if they had seen it as their own efforts instead of the Spirit working in and through them, they would not have experienced the same results. Perhaps God will continue to wait and work in our world until we finally come to Him exhausting all our efforts to make our lives worth something only to find the ultimate truth that God alone is what makes our lives valuable. You know how it feels when you try to teach your children something that will make their lives better but they just don’t get it because they are bent on doing things their own way. You finally speak in exasperation, “Because I said so!” God may have spoken that way from time to time with Israel and with us, but the day is coming when He will not do so. Instead, He will separate the sheep from the goats, those who strive after the Good Shepherd and those who strive after the Enemy, and say calmly and with sorrow- “I know you not, depart from my sight and be seen nevermore.” Remember, “what does it profit a man if he gains the entire world but forfeits his soul.” Jesus knew. We know. What will we do about it?

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 our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* For divine sealing of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Mozambique
* 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 Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter

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

* God remains in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our world
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, for extending grace to us and working Your wonders, great and small, around us and in us, we are thankful. May our thanksgiving turn into efforts today to share the good news of a great joy that Jesus is Lord. AMEN.

1351

May 29, 2013

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

Luke 10.41

“The Lord answered, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

We have heard this story rehearsed and repeated many times over about Mary and Martha. Martha was the “doer” in the family, the hostess with the mostess. She was the practical sister who believed that everything had to be just right in her home in order to entertain guests and welcome company. Luke gives us no introduction to the sisters and their home and why Jesus chose to visit there except for Martha’s invitation. We do not know what standing she had in the community. It may have well been because of her brother Lazarus whose own life after death experience was chronicled in the gospel according to John. But, that event must have occurred later because Luke invites us into the story as if Mary and Martha are relatively unknown. We can tell that for Martha this is a very big deal. All her hostess “i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.” Her entire focus was on making things right to be worthy of the honorable company now in her home who had accepted her invitation.

On the other hand, her sister Mary had no such concerns. It doesn’t mean that Mary was less motivated to keep a clean house or make it presentable to guests. It doesn’t mean she did not think it was important to have food and drink and niceties in the house to make others feel welcome. But, it did mean that Mary saw Jesus in a far different way than Martha. She was not consumed with a “works” righteousness attitude or a “Miss Manners” mentality that commanded give and serve demeanor. Instead, Mary made use of the time of Jesus’ coming to listen and learn. Housekeeping items were not nearly as important as gaining wisdom and power from the Master of her heart. That would have made Jesus the Master of her “house” as well. For the body is a temple, a house of the the Lord, where the spirit dwells within.. The greatest honor Mary could bestow on her Master was to worship and praise at the feet of Jesus.

So, what does this vinette have to teach us as mighty men of God? You think it is giving permission not to help around the house and make it presentable when company comes? No, not at all. In fact, it would tell us to make sure that our house, our lives, are in order…in priority order. In all things, Jesus first! In all things, we take our cue from Jesus and approach the day as if we have been sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His words for our lives. It means that we do not move forward until we have looked inward. Externals are important and necessary. We need the Martha-orientation in our lives but we need the Mary-priority first. Mary did not pass off the responsibility to Martha believing “oh, she will do it.” Martha probably would have done it anyway and been glad to bask in the glow of appreciation for all she had done. She probably would have turned offers of help away saying “it’s okay, I can do it.” But, all that does it keep the focus on her instead of where it belonged. Martha wanted credit, praise and appreciation. Mary, on the other hand, wanted to give glory and honor to the Master seeking first the kingdom of God knowing that everything else would be taken care of.

Be warned, mighty men of God, of the admonition given to Martha by Jesus. Martha, wanting affirmation, wanted Mary to give up what she had chosen as her best gift in order to validate Martha’s gift. She wanted to command Jesus to validate her by ordering Mary to stop listening and get to work. Jesus, without blatantly blasting Martha for her wrong thinking, reminded her of what was most important when He was “in the House.” It was not the time to be busy working to meet earthly standards but the moment to pursue the kingdom and celebrate Jesus by being with Him. Draw near to Jesus when you invite Him into your presence in times of prayer, study and reflection. Don’t just invite Him in. He stands at the door knocking and you ought to let Him in. But, when He comes in recognize the real reason He is there. He is there to bless your house and enrich your life. There is nothing He needs for His life than this. Doing the will of His heavenly Father is food and drink and hospitality for Him. It should be for us as well. Do not steal the opportunity away from yourself and others to sit at the feet of Jesus and glean from Him the words needed for your life today and forever by busying yourself with things that can never truly satisfy.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, before we put our house in order this morning, we have come to You to make sure our house (our heart, mind, body and soul) is ready for the day of Your visitation. May our aim today be to prepare the way for others to come near to You instead of serving us and validating our place in the world. Rather, we want to claim the joy of Your place in our world. Amen.

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January 15, 2013

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

Ezekiel 20.21

“But the children of Israel rebelled against me: They did not follow my decrees, they were not careful to keep My laws- although the one who obeys them will live by them; and they desecrated My Sabbaths.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Jesus would teach that man was not made for the Sabbath but that sabbath was made for man. Remember the first expression of Sabbath? It was on the seventh day of the world on which the Lord rested from all His labors. He took a day, made it holy, and then enjoyed it by giving thanks for all that had been made. He admired the handiwork of His love, especially man, and was satisfied that His purpose and intention was successful. That seventh day did not stand alone but as an enduring reminder that God’s mighty men should also rest from their labors and reflect upon the good works and goodness of God who has done this for their sake. And it was not just this one day a week but there were special Sabbaths as well which were given to men so they could remember the continuing works of a loving God who acted on their behalf for their provision and salvation.

I guess the question is begged- are we a grateful people? While we are not constricted by the Law and live as sabbatarians (those who do no work on Saturday) do we respect the provision, promise and practice of honoring God’s sabbaths? Do we set aside time to remember all the works of God’s hand including ourselves and give thanks? Do we take time (a day?) to consider all that He has done to provide for our health and salvation? God rested from His labors but it would seem that many of God’s mighty men celebrate with work as their tokens of gratitude. But, we are not saved by works righteousness! We are saved by the loving grace of Almighty God who knew that our works and attempts to be obedient to the Law would not save us. In fact, the opposite is true. Our works hold us captive to a world and a lifestyle that cannot satisfy. Only when we enter into the promise of love and life can we find our true satisfaction and the promised life free from sin and the desire to sin. Remember, God did all these things so that we would not have to do them for ourselves. Sin, on the other had, brought in the curse of being tied to the earth and to labor for all belongings and prosperity. Adam and Eve toiled in the consequence of sin, but God’s mighty men of today labor in love to bring freedom from the world and its consuming pleasures to all people.

And where does it begin? It begins with ourselves, of course, but it truly begins with the “next” generation- our children. Have we passed on to them the “works” ethic or the power of love, mercy and grace seeking to honor God’s decrees, Law (of love) and His Sabbaths (days set aside to think only about God with humility, gratitude, prayer and praise.)

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 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 Philippines
* 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 anticipated healing of arthritis in my knee
* 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, for all You have done for us we are grateful. May our thoughts, acts, words and deeds be satisfying and purposeful reflections of Your love, mercy and grace! Amen.

January 10, 2013

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

1 Kings 8.10

“When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I wonder what the priests did with this extra time. The Word says they could not perform their service in the temple of the Lord because the glory of God was there. It wasn’t that there was no work to be done but that there was no use in doing that work because God was there. He was high and lifted up and His train filled the temple just as it was in the days of Isaiah when King Uzziah had died. Do you understand that our work as God’s mighty men is to keep people focused on God and to do godly things to manifest the presence of God. We do not do them to usurp the place of God in the world and on the earth. We do not do them because God is absent from the world and so our efforts are a poor substitute but a necessary duty. No, if we see our work as a duty or obligation instead of a glorious opportunity to declare faith and believe in Almighty God then we are standing apart from God. But, when God is with us then that work ceases to be needed because nothing is greater than God.

Remember the gospel remembrance of the bridegroom controversy? Those who were adherants to the Law were criticizing Jesus’ disciples because they were not fasting (a work of the law). But, Jesus said, that while the bridegroom is with them there is no need for fasting. But, a day will come when the bridegroom is absent and on that day there will be fasting. Do you not see? The fasting and the work is related to our walk with Jesus Christ by faith. When God is with us there is time for rejoicing and praising God, trusting in Him for all things and in all things. Mighty men of God- when is God not with us? When does His presence not fill the tabernacle of our lives as the dwelling place of His Holy Spirit? When it is absent by your admission then you should be fasting and doing the work which God has appointed you to do. When He is present, then all fasting and work should cease and be replaced by the joy of our own lives celebrating God is with us.

As you go through this day, consider well your response to this lesson. If you are working, are others seeing God through you until His full presence returns? Or are they seeing His full presence in you in all you say and do and the work, as others might call it, is merely another form of worship and praise of the One True and Mighty God?

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 wisdom in leading our young people away from desire of the gang mentality and into the pursuit of righteousness with a relationship with Jesus
* 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 Palestine
* 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 God’s rain on the just and the unjust to provide for the nourishment of the earth…we praise God for a dent in the drought in Central and Northern Texas and beyond
* 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, be manifested in us today in order that the words of our mouths, the mediations of our hearts and the works of our lives might speak of our love, trust and faith in You. Amen.

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