Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Come & Dine

Going to close with a verse from "Come & Dine". "Jesus has a table spread, where the saints of God are fed. He invites His chosen people, 'come & dine'. With His manna He doth feed. And supplies our every need; Oh 'tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!"

There is nothing like a good hot meal after many hours of hard labor. And certainly nothing better than fish & bread miraculously cooked by the Master. Yet, He bid them to bring some of their catch to be cooked. 

It is said about worship (declaring His worth), "It is all about Him". Yet, it is for our edification, that He delights in our worship and partakes of the fruit of our labors.

"As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught." John 21:9,10 KJV

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Keep the Music Alive

Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah chapter 14 tell of the attributes of Lucifer, his characteristics, his intended purpose, his agenda, and his demise. 

In basic terms, Lucifer was created to be the music of praise and worship in Heaven. He was granted access to every part of the Kingdom. He was adorned in beauty and gifted above all cherubs. All of the heavenly creatures were to follow his example and instruction.

But he became prideful and over-estimated his importance. He became jealous of the Most High God and coveted the Creator's glory. Instead of conforming to his purpose, he strove to attain his own. He was cast out of Heaven, yet continues on Earth to seek what is commanded to be God's alone.

His agenda has not changed. He still solicits the accolades of mankind. He uses his gifts to lure them away from God and into his own band. No ethnic, age, religious, or gender group is exempt from his penetration. He uses the universal language,appeal, and acceptance of music to his advantage.

With that being said, consider how quickly your own mood can change as you hear various types of music. When you hear rhythmic soothing music you tend to linger near it's source. Conversely, music that you consider offensive will drive you away from it's source.  

Music is a powerful persuader. It can facilitate a wholesome life or one devoid of any moral character. Take the following quotes and consider their origins. The conclusions are obvious.

"Music is the strongest form of magic." Marilyn Manson
"Music can change the world because it can change people." Bono

"Music...will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"The devil, the originator of sorrowful anxieties and restless troubles, flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God. Music is a gift and grace of God, not an invention of men. Thus it drives out the devil and makes people cheerful. Then one forgets all wrath, impurity, and other devices." Martin Luther

Now consider the following words of David, a man who experienced defeat but found victory as he worshiped the Lord in music and song.

"But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress my God on whom I can rely." Psalm 59:16,17 NIV
Beloved, I challenge you to keep the music of your salvation, alive in your heart. Sing the hymns of old, the anthems of the victorious, the psalms of the Bible, the contemporary choruses of praise and worship, and the melodies that He stirs within your soul. Sing in your native language not only for yourself, but as a blessing to others.  Sing in the Spirit and edify yourself in the things of God.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Colossians 3:16 KJV

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Problem Solved

Recently I learned of a temporary type of arthritis, called Plant Thorn Synovitis. It is caused by the plant matter that is left in the joint after that joint has been punctured by a thorn.
The joint appears red and swollen, is painful to touch, and is limited in its function. It was such symptoms that drove me to search the 'net for possible cause. 

You see, I had a problem that was painful and limiting, but I didn't want to go to the doctor. I thought it was only a minor thing, I could handle it by myself.  And I didn't want to spend much time or money on obtaining a cure. Besides, I removed the thorn. I thought it would get better on its own.

We encounter similar situations in the spirit realm. Minor irritations that we think will dissipate in time. We distance ourselves from the one who offended us. We don't take the time to find the root of the problem. We don't necessarily want to discuss it with a pastor or counselor. And, we spend time worrying about it but fail to take it to the Lord in prayer.

There is no problem too great for the Master. Likewise, there is no trouble so small that He is not concerned. If He sees when the sparrow falls, how much more does He care about us? We do not have to bear our infirmities alone. But divine intervention rarely comes without an invitation.

Back to the problem with my finger. It didn't just go away. It swelled and festered. I picked at it, squeezed it, cleaned it, and bandaged it. I repeated the process about every four or five days. It would not get well. I asked friends and co-workers had they every seen something like it. I surfed the Internet and found mountains of information. 

Yet, it did not get well until I consulted a doctor. His first words were, "leave it alone. If it is thorn arthritis it will go away in time. If you keep picking at it, you will cause a bigger problem. If it is not plant thorn arthritis, I will need to lance and cauterize it." Well, it must have been something else. I left it alone for the next ten days. It was so sore that I could barely bend it. So, I went to the doctor. He opened it and found a tiny shard of glass. Once removed, it was only a couple of days and my finger was back to normal.

Many people have the tendency to pick and scratch at disorders of the skin. Most of the time that increases the damage and creates worse problems. We do the same thing with our spiritual inconsistencies. If only we would consult the Great Physician from the onset of our discomfort. The intensity and duration of our troubles would be lessened. 

The Apostle Paul found himself with a thorn. It was so troublesome that he prayed three times and asked God to remove it. God did not remove it, but He assured Paul that His grace would be sufficient for him to endure the thorn's presence.

Whatever your thorn, take it to the Lord. He will heal it or give you the grace to endure it. When you depend on Him in your weakness, His glory will be revealed. Let your thorns propel you to minister to others. Let His glory be revealed in and through you, today.





Friday, January 9, 2015

Like an Olive Tree

History tells us that all of the trees in and around Jerusalem were cut down when the Romans conquered the city in 70 AD. Yet there are olive trees there today. They could even be off-shoots of the trees that were growing in the days that Jesus walked the Earth. It has been said that olive trees can regenerate from their roots. This means they can be cut completely down and sometime later sprout, flourish, and bear fruit again.

"For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant. But a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and where is he? As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up, so a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep."
 Job 14:7-12 ESV

As long as there is breath in a man, there is hope. Hope for salvation. Hope for regeneration. Hope for an eternal life with Jesus Christ. We must never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. He searches the depths of man’s soul. He is the one who pricks the conscience of man. He is the
 One who draws the man to the Father.
 He is the one understands the non-verbal communications of man.
God created man in His image. He put within man a place that can only be filled with Him. Many search the world over for something to satisfy. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and plastic surgery are a few things that have been sought to stop the gnawing of emptiness. Oftentimes a person will have to hit rock bottom before they realize that Jesus is the answer to their woes. But some only need to witness a life that is vibrant with the love of Jesus.

Our mandate is to
 go and tell. To that I add; and live well. So what if you have been battered and cut down? Let the Holy Spirit water you soul today and you will begin to sprout again. As long as you have breath, there is hope.

I originally posted this on another site . Copyright 2008

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Greetings Beloved

Today I want to examine the first sixteen verses of Romans chapter sixteen. The text is lengthy but the observations brief. Here the Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Rome. He begins with a recommendation of Phoebe, a sister in the Lord.

He speaks of her as being a helper to the multitudes. He refers to her as a servant of the church.
Although the word that he uses for servant is the same one that can be rendered as deaconess; we can gather from verse two that he means to accentuate her servanthood rather than an office.

All but one of the following 14 verses, begin with the word, "Greet" followed by a name of a brother or sister in the Roman church. What is interesting to me is the descriptive words that he adds about each person. These descriptions range from extended compliments to just stating his relationship with them. And a few greetings are extended to nameless groups of folks.

How would he have qualified his greetings had he been writing to your pastor? Would you be considered his fellow-worker? Would he have recognized you as the first convert in your area? Would he have expounded on your faithfulness and maturity in Christ? Would he have labeled you a hard worker or just a relative?

Would you be miffed if he greeted you only as mother or sister? Or would you swell with pride at the suffix "chosen of the Lord"? And what if he openly stated his love for you?

It is a lot to think about. There may have been one listening to the letter and wondering if their name would be mentioned and what glowing remarks would be added. Still others may have gotten their feelings hurt when their names were not called. Perhaps some were tempted to be jealous or resentful. It is impossible to know for sure.

One thing is certain, Paul knew his flock. How else would he have had the confidence to instruct them to greet one another with a holy kiss? I'm afraid to contemplate the repercussions of such an act in today's churches. Holiness is considered old-fashioned by today's standards and is near obsolete in many congregations. And kissing in church? I think that there's a lot more than that going on behind some church doors. God have mercy!

I didn't mean to slide into the rants of moral decay, it just somehow came to my mind. Nevertheless, I want my name to have some goodness attached. I want to be remembered as a fellow-laborer in the Kingdom. I want to be able to give and receive holy greetings, salutations, and kisses.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Ministry Part of Suffering

It is the second day in a new year. Great time for me to make a second start on a new blog post. It has been some months since I have blogged and years since I did it faithfully. Seasons change. Jobs change. People change. Priorities change. Yet my core values remain intact, my calling as real as it has ever been, and my hunger for God greater than it was yesterday. 

Resolutions are not my thing. Most are inflated ideas, fueled by good intentions, and destined to fail without discipline and prayer. But I will say that I have been stirred to return to writing this blog. Perhaps out of my need for discipline or structure, but most definitely to focus on the goodness of the Lord & to share the Good News.

Recently I took another look at one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I say, "another look", what I mean to say is this; I read it from the KJV, I read it from the NIV, I read it from the NLT, in all I read it from ten different translations.  The essence of each translation was the same, yet when I read it from the J B Phillips version, the word "ministry" came to mind.

"This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in a common earthenware jar—to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us. We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, but never in despair. We are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down but we are never knocked out! Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours. Yes, we who are living are always being exposed to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be plainly seen in our mortal lives. We are always facing death, but this means that you know more and more of life. Our faith is like that mentioned in the scripture: ‘I believed and therefore I spoke’." II Corinthians 4:7-13 Phillips

Our perseverance testifies of the power of the TREASURE within us. When others see our troubles overshadowed by the light of His strength shining through us, they are in fact receiving the Good News of Christ. That my friend is the ministry we do when we are "going through".

My prayer today is that I will persevere through aches, pains, ailments, hardships, & loss and that all attention will be drawn to His light within me and not to my condition or circumstance. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dine In or Carry Out?

My pastor often says that it is not good to eat at every one's table. I agree; yet how do we decide which buffets are best for us?

There are many voices in the world. Which ones will you hear?

There are two requirements that are non-negotiable for me. First, the message must be founded in the Bible. It makes no difference how great the service is, if the food is a poor quality, it is not a place that I want to eat.
Second, the messenger must have clean hands and a pure heart. It does not matter how great the food is, if the waiter is filthy, I want no part of the meal.

In my sidebar you will find some of my favorite reads. Each of them I have found over time, to be consistent in biblical content and relevant to Christian living. It has been a very long time since I have blogged or even read from my own sidebar. I am slowly cleaning up the list, so I ask your forgiveness if you happen across a broken link or discontinued blog.

Bon Appetit my friends.


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