Wednesday, December 26, 2007

No Ban on Christmas, Here

Every Christmas at our hospital, we have a door decorating contest. The theme this year: The Faces of Christmas. This theme was developed in a variety of ways. Some had Christ centered decorations. Others were more commercial. One was dedicated to members of the Armed Forces. A couple were covered with snowflakes, Santa Claus, and snowmen. It was interesting to see how different folks interpreted the theme.

First prize went to the dietary department. Simply decorated with a nativity scene and the words, "Jesus is the reason for the season. Keep Christ in Christmas." Second place went to the HIM bunch. The only words on their door were; "Merry Christmas" with a bold underline on Christ. The rest of the door was decorated with tiny mirrors attached with ribbons. This was to suggest that the faces of Christmas were the faces in the mirrors.

Another door was decorated like a package. The center of the bow was a large picture of the nativity scene. On the ribbon, both horizontal and vertical, they attached pictures of themselves and their families. It was a simple decoration but profound in meaning. Actually, I didn't get their intended meaning at first. Then they told everyone what it was all about.

The ribbon represented the cross. The pictures attached to the cross represented the faces of Christmas, because they were faces of those who had attached themselves to Christ. They received an honorable mention award.

I am thankful that I work in a place that still believes in keeping Christ in Christmas. I trust that you all had a Merry Christmas day and will continue to keep the spirit of Christmas all year through.

P.S. Not a one had pictures of the Grinch or Ebeneezer Scrooge. Both of which are Christmas success stories and could have easily took their place in the faces of Christmas contest.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Information Overload

"Information is everything." I have said that so many times in the past 3 weeks that most everything has lost significance and become just information. It is a true statement, particularly related to ads. But too much information can overload the brain. At least that is true as far as my brain is concerned. Really, there are times when I think I need to just "control, alt, delete" and reboot my brain.

Enough about me. I want to share a few links for on-line Bible study resources. (This is not a paid advertisement.) I have worked with it for a day or two and I really like it. It is similar to E-Sword, yet different. Both resources can be downloaded for free or you can order the CDs.

E-Sword has many add on features. Some are free and others can be bought. I am partial to it because it offers Strong's Numbers and definitions right with the text. This link will take you to Bible This site boasts of 45 Bible translations, a dozen or so commentaries, daily Bible reading helps, and maps of all kinds. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Bible News is a basic sort of search link, good for any link list. It offers search by word, reference, or topic. If you have been to my sidebar, you already know about Christ Notes . I think their widget is one of the best for blogs and such. And a final link that offers a world of Christian links;

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Flawed but Faithful

A man with many names. Remembered by the masses as the one who walked on water and sank. Remembered by others as the disciple who denied Christ 3 times in the same night. And still others recognize him as the center stage preacher of Pentecost.

Cephas/Kepha was Peter's Aramaic name meaning rock. Jesus gave him this name in John 1:42 translated into Greek as Petros.

James refered to Peter as Simeon (the Hebrew name for Simon) Acts 15:14

He was called Simon Peter in Mt. 16:16, Acts 10:18 refers to him as Simon known as Peter.

Some facts about Peter the disciple of Christ.

Historians tell us that he was crucified for the cause of Christ. Regardless of his faults and failures, he remained faithful to the end.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Psalm of the Shepherd

Who has not heard the 23rd Psalm? The only ones who haven't heard it are the ones who have never been exposed to the Gospel at all. It is probably the most familiar text of the Bible along with John 3:16. Even the un-churched have heard the Psalm of the Shepherd. It is a staple of funerals everywhere. Often Sunday School children memorize it before they enter elementary school. It is a simple chapter, yet so profound.

It is so familiar that I often take it for granted. When attending funerals, I often join the minister and softly quote it as he reads. It is ingrained in me. Seems like I memorized it when I was only 5 or 6. Learning it by heart came through years of repeated interaction with the verses. Sometimes it seems to be an "old hat" kind of thing and other times it is the best medicine. Nothing really comforts me more than knowing The Good Shepherd will take care of me all through this treacherous journey called life. And He will be there when it is time to step over the threshold and into everlasting life with Him.

Rather than continue with my observations of the chapter, I want to link you to some sermon notes that really spoke to me. Please take time to check them out and leave a comment or two. I'm sure the pastor would be encouraged by your visit.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Cargo Transport

I borrowed this post from the Pilgrim. Stop by his place for more good reading. Enjoy.

Heavy load? This cargo was no problem for the transport. It gave us all a good chuckle when we saw the toy dump truck chained to the transport.

My mind went to the scripture written by the psalmist. "Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you." - Psalm 55:22 (KJV)

Often our trials and cares seem overwhelming and we wonder if we will break beneath the load. Why not heed the Lord's invitation to give Him our burdens...our load.
Our cares and concerns, though burdensome for us, will not break Him. They are like a toy truck chained to a mighty transport. Give them to Him today!
Posted by David Warren Fisher at Pilgrim Scribblings

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still Running with the Vision

This man has driven more miles, visited more inmates, prayed for more patients, worn out more cars, and written more booklets/tracts than anyone I know. And he is a 92 year old man
with his own website: V.V. McCoy Outreach Ministries: Preaching Peace, Perfecting Purpose, & Imparting the Prophetic.
He has been in full-time ministry as long as I can remember. He has planted churches, pastored many more, and evangelized from one end of Tennessee to the other. He has done mission work and served as a volunteer chaplain. I believe he has been inside of all 600 rooms at Jackson General Hospital; probably several times over. Ask any A/G preacher around here if they know Brother V.V. and they will probably have a story or two to tell you.
He has dedicated babies, performed wedding ceremonies, and preached funerals and homecomings. He has mentored and sent lay people and ministers alike. He has lived the Word of God and lived it well. And he is still living and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I don't know how much longer he will be on this earth, but I guarantee you he will not quit preaching until he breathes his last breath. It is my prayer that he leaves this life in his sleep, because I know he wouldn't want to be cut off right in the middle of a good text. (smile)
Please pray for my Great-Uncle V.V. McCoy. His wife of 70 years is now in the nursing home. She has Alzheimers and he could no longer care for her at home. His health too is beginning to wane. He was admitted into the hospital earlier this week. His heart is weak but his mind is still sharp. He quotes the Bible, chapters at a time. Prayers and prophetic words are always on his lips. Just this evening, he prayed for one of his nurses. She said he spoke the very scriptures that she needed to hear.
I just wanted to give him some roses while he is still living. I thank God for Uncle V.V. and I love him.
**** Late addition: You can find full copies of his works at this site.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just a Reminder

There are a few things I would like to remind you to remember. They are just as important today as they were when the Apostle Peter reminded the church of these things over 2000 years ago.

Peter exhorts the church to remember. II Peter1:12-15, II Peter 3:1,2

This indicates that the knew already. They had heard already. II Peter 3:17

What were they to remember?

Promises and knowledge of God IIPeter 1:4

Prophecy of scripture IIPeter 1:19-21

Prophecy of the OT & commandments of the NT Apostles IIPeter 3:2

Why were they to remember?

to make their election sure IIPeter 1:10

to obtain a heavenly home IIPeter 1:11

to understand the apostacy of their dayIIPeter 3:3

to understand God's promises IIPeter 3:9

to be prepared for the 2nd coming of Christ IIPeter 3:10

to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ IIPeter 3:18

Friday, November 2, 2007

All the King's Horses

Today I want to look at the life of Saul prior to the story of A King and a witch. as referenced in I Samuel chapter 28.

King Saul did not become a disobedient law-breaker overnight. As we look into scripture we can see a fleshly pattern forming early in his reign. I Samuel 13:7-12 gives insight to how he dealt with fear, pressure from his servants, and his own impatience. When he thought he could wait no longer on the man of God, he conducted the sacrificial offerings himself.

I Samuel 15:7-9 records additional actions that were in direct conflict with the orders of God. In his explanation to the prophet Samuel, he sought to blame the people for sparing the best of the livestock. In this he also established his bent toward deceit. The people would have only done what had already been sanctioned by the king. This instance also shows that he presumed his choice of sacrificial animals would appease God for his disobedience. This opens the way for his involvement with the occult.

Moving on to I Samuel chapter 18; we read in verses 7-15 of his jealousy of David, his envy of the blessings of David, and his fear of David as one chosen by God. He even attempted to murder David. And he did kill 85 priests in retaliation for one who had helped David.

Chapter 28 of I Samuel opens with the Philistines in array against King Saul and his army. Verse 3 of the same chapter tells us plainly that Saul had no means of spiritual guidance, godly or otherwise. He was in a strait and willing to ask for help. Verse 6 states: And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Saul looked for the answer to come in similar fashion as it had come before. But God was not obligated to answer the prayer of the back-slidden i.e. disobedient king.

He then sought direction in the same fashion as the heathen. Not only was he willing again to break the law of God, he was willing to break his own edict concerning wizards, witches, and such. A man is destitute when he will compromise his own integrity to save his skin.

He did not find the kind of answer he wanted. It makes no difference how you interpret the appearance of Samuel; his reply was on the mark. Rather than delve into the possibilities concerning the spirit that was conjured, I want to leave you with these observations.

Saul's position as king did not exempt him from obedience to God. His earthly possessions and power could in no way sway the hand of God. Even his past relationship as a chosen vessel of God could not curry the Almighty's favor. The prophecy concerning his kingdom would be fulfilled. Ultimately, disobedience would be listed as the cause of death for the king. Saul had pronounced his own death sentence when he broke the law of God.

  • Even in a lighted place there will always be someone who has shady connections.
  • Seeking the right answers by the wrong means will prove to be futile.
  • One must stay in right standing with God even in the absence of a spiritual shepherd.
  • Character is developed early in life and is shaped by discipline or the lack thereof.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Included

Texts for everyday; halloween included.

Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.

Proverbs 4:14,15 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.

Ecclesiastes 7:24,25 Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound— who can discover it? So I turned my mind to understand, investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.

II Timothy 2:22-26 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Check out this neat post from Nate. It is about an annual opportunity to promote the Kingdom of God. The world's halloween holiday could become Redemption Day if every church took this idea seriously.

Mark from shares some good ideas too.

A King and a Witch

This is a true story about real people. The names have not been changed. The king was anything but innocent.

Samuel was now dead. All Israel had mourned his death and buried him in Ramah, his hometown. Saul had long since cleaned out all those who held séances with the dead.
The Philistines had mustered their troops and camped at Shunem. Saul had assembled all Israel and camped at Gilboa.

But when Saul saw the Philistine troops, he shook in his boots, scared to death.
Saul prayed to God, but God didn't answer—neither by dream nor by sign nor by prophet.
So Saul ordered his officials, "Find me someone who can call up spirits so I may go and seek counsel from those spirits." His servants said, "There's a witch at Endor."

Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes. Then, taking two men with him, he went under the cover of night to the woman and said, "I want you to consult a ghost for me. Call up the person I name." The woman said, "Just hold on now! You know what Saul did, how he swept the country clean of mediums. Why are you trying to trap me and get me killed?"
Saul swore solemnly, "As God lives, you won't get in any trouble for this."

The woman said, "So whom do you want me to bring up?" "Samuel. Bring me Samuel."
When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out loudly to Saul, "Why did you lie to me? You're Saul!" The king told her, "You have nothing to fear ...but what do you see?"
"I see a spirit ascending from the underground." "And what does he look like?" Saul asked.
"An old man ascending, robed like a priest." Saul knew it was Samuel. He fell down, face to the ground, and worshiped.

Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by calling me up?" "Because I'm in deep trouble," said Saul. "The Philistines are making war against me and God has deserted me—he doesn't answer me any more, either by prophet or by dream. And so I'm calling on you to tell me what to do." "Why ask me?" said Samuel. "God has turned away from you and is now on the side of your neighbor. God has done exactly what he told you through me—ripped the kingdom right out of your hands and given it to your neighbor. It's because you did not obey God, refused to carry out his seething judgment on Amalek, that God does to you what he is doing today. Worse yet, God is turning Israel, along with you, over to the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. And, yes, indeed, God is giving Israel's army up to the Philistines."

Saul dropped to the ground, felled like a tree, terrified by Samuel's words. There wasn't an ounce of strength left in him—he'd eaten nothing all day and all night. The woman, realizing that he was in deep shock, said to him, "Listen to me. I did what you asked me to do, put my life in your hands in doing it, carried out your instructions to the letter. It's your turn to do what I tell you: Let me give you some food. Eat it. It will give you strength so you can get on your way."
He refused. "I'm not eating anything."

But when his servants joined the woman in urging him, he gave in to their pleas, picked himself up off the ground, and sat on the bed. The woman moved swiftly. She butchered a grain-fed calf she had, and took some flour, kneaded it, and baked some flat bread. Then she served it all up for Saul and his servants. After dining handsomely, they got up from the table and were on their way that same night.

I Samuel chapter 28 The Message

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Trespassing

Neither give place to the devil.

place: any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space 1a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district 1b) a place (passage) in a book 2) metaph. 2a) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly 2b) opportunity, power, occasion for acting

Now it is not anything new to me that a place can be a passage in a book. And the old saying that "I may be the only Bible some will ever read", is not new either. But the idea of my life providing a passage for the devil to read is something I haven't entertained before.

With that in mind, I want my life to be a passage of godliness and truth. Then he will not try to read me "all in one sitting". His attacks will be intermittent like one starting to read the same book over and over again. I don't want anything carnal to become a bookmark for him to use.

As long as my pages are bound by the Holy Spirit I can not be ripped asunder. While I am kept in the cover of the blood of Jesus, nothing can by any means harm me. When I fill the margins with prayers I leave no room for the devil's input. My life can not be stolen, for I am in God's personal library.

Join me Wednesday @ Beneath the Ivy Wreath for more insights on this verse.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Not a Corny Story

It looks like my corn story brought a few smiles. As I reviewed the comments and scanned the post, the part about the ipecac stuck in my mind. I'm not sure about today's ipecac, but back then it was formulated with a high percentage of alcohol. No wonder I got a bit tipsy. The corn and the ipecac were the agents of a positive outcome.

There are over 100 references to corn in the KJV of the Bible. 25 of them have reference to corn and wine within the same passage. One such reference is Zechariah 9:16,17 16)And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. 17)For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.

Hosea 14:4-9 Verse 7 reads thus: They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: Joel 2:19 The entire chapter speaks of repentance and its rewards.

I realize that each of these references are but small parts of the great prophecies given in the Old Testament days. While I could expound on the prophecies themselves, this post is meant to be topical observance of the symbols of the corn and the wine. Their presence in a land was for the most part a sign of prosperity. They were elements most often removed when a nation rebelled against God. In the 3 references I have given, they were physical signs that God had heard the prayers of the penitent.

Deuteronomy 11 See verses13 &14 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

These verses not only encouraged the original hearers, but they are an encouragement to us today. It was hard for me to sketch out this post because I found myself entangled in the full message of the prophecies. God's word is so rich, it is difficult to absorb the fullness of a text when time is limited. So I know that as you blog along you may read no more than what is actually printed here. But for an added blessing, follow the links and read the entire contexts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Come sing with me beneath the ivy wreath. Today's Worship Wednesday post will take you back a few years. Lessons came so much easier then. Osmosis worked for me before I knew what osmosis was. Yeah, now you're getting curious. Right???? See you there, and be sure to mention some of your favorite CC songs in the comments.

I set your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way. The Message version of Psalm 119:54.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Friday Night Honey

"Jesus was not sent to Earth to do miracles. He was sent here to die on the cross when His season arrived." This was the opening statement by Dr. Yvonne Capehart of Sister Keeper International Ministries. She entitled the message, "Increased Strength" and used Luke 22:40-46 for her text.

As with my previous post, I'll just sketch out a few of her points and leave the rest for you to study on your own. Always evaluate the message in the light of what the Bible says and seek the Lord for clear understanding.

Jesus had his friends to go with him to the garden. He asked them to watch and pray. He knew his death would be soon, but did not want satan to kill him before the appointed time.

Peter, James, and John were not to feel sorry for Christ in his trials. They were to support him as he went through them. They were to pray for him to be strengthened. The process that led Christ to the garden had taken his strength.

When you are facing a difficult assignment you need to surround yourself with those who know your assignment and will encourage you as you fulfill it. You do not need assistants who are jealous of your assignment. You need folks who are watching out for your soul. Those who will be wary of any opposition and be ready to protect you at any cost.

When you begin to reach souls for the Kingdom, the devil seeks to destroy you before they can be birthed. He does not necessarily attack your faith, but he will rob your strength. My pastor has put it this way, "The devil can't destroy the Word that is in you, but he can hinder you (the vessel) as you carry the Word."

She said, "Faith is what you need to believe in what God says about your life. But strength is what you need to resist what the enemy wants to do against what God is doing in your life."

She mentioned II Kings 19:1-3 as an additional reference about how the enemy wants to prevent new life from coming forth.

Dr. Capehart challenged us to guard the Word that is within us and to go forth in our assignments.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Honey Highlights

I am at the Honey Conference in Cordova, TN. We are having a blast. Follow this link to watch the services live. Yesterday we enjoyed music and preaching by CeCe Winans. She took I John chapter 3 for her text. "Process means progress" was a running theme throughout her message.

Last night, Darlene Bishop brought the Word. She entitled the message "When It Doesn't Make Sense". She used II Corinthians 4:8-12 as a text.
Rather than recap it all, here's a few nuggets.

The way out of your situation is not found in explanation, it is revelation.

Your life should be so different that it demands explanation.

Joy is emotional stability. The joy of the Lord in your life brings emotional stability that becomes your strength.

The Shunamite woman shut the door on an impossible situation. When you shut the door on impossibilities, doubt and fear can't get in. But Jesus can walk on in.

This morning host Pastor Darlene McCarty brought a message entitled, "In a little while". She chose Haggai 2:3-9 for her text. Along the way she added II Kings 11:1-3. With that passage she talked about how the enemy seeks to destroy your future. Then added how you must hide your promises in your prayer closet until the time that God will reveal His glory.

There is much more, but I need to get ready for our evening service.........

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

'Neath the Wreath Today

Come join me at Beneath the Ivy Wreath for Worship Wednesday. You will find out where these pictures were taken. The first one is of Pastor Randel McCarty, Pastor Darlene McCarty (the blonde), and Pastor Darlene Bishop. The one in the last picture with the bright orange shirt is me. :-)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Pink Seasons

Most of you know what's up with the pink ribbon. For those of you who do not, it is for October being breast cancer awareness month. It is a noble deed to raise funds for research and aid to those affected by it. Wearing a pink ribbon is a way to show support for cancer patients and survivors. It is a worthy subject for anyone to post on their blog. Still I hesitate to tell you what it brings to my mind.

You see, I have seen a few pink seasons. I have worked in healthcare for 25+ years. Those seasons just come with the territory. I have lost count of the number of cancer patients that I have met through the years. From acquaintances to my own family members, I have seen the ravages of the disease.

I have an aunt that is a survivor of 20 years or more. She has also survived cervical cancer and numerous skin cancers. She is a real trooper and avid supporter of the cause. The treatment for her breast cancer was a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, the cure was found in prayer and reliance on the Lord.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. To say it was a rough year of treatment is putting it mildly. For her it was surgery, chemo, and radiation. It was getting dressed and going to appointments when she was too weak to even talk. It was pain, tears, and hardship. It was a pink season alright. Every thing was colored by the cancer. Daily activities were limited. Food took on different tastes. Smells made her sick. The times were difficult but not hopeless.

Mama just took it all in stride. She held fast to her faith in God. She was certain that He would put no more on her than she could bear. Though she was off work for most of a year, she was never late paying a bill. There was always food in the pantry and fridge. Many times she had to encourage me that all would be well.

A pink season indeed. I was living 1200 miles away. Married and working full time at the local hospital. My heart ached to be with her 24/7. It just wasn't an option at the time. But thanks to some generous co-workers and a compassionate supervisor I managed to make 6 seven day trips to Tennessee that year. My faith in a loving Savior gave me the strength to do whatever had to be done.

Mama went back to work cancer-free before the year was over. She was blessed to see 3 more years before the cancer returned. Cruel thing, metastatic cancer; it was breast cancer cells, but found in her bones, liver, and brain. Floods of emotion and memories of the previous bout could not keep her down. A stalwart in the faith, she kept her focus on Jesus. She kept the faith and finished her course on August 8, 2001.

Breast cancer took her flesh but it could not take her joy. She traded an earthly home for a heavenly one. As much as I miss her, I will see her again. Yes it is important to promote breast cancer awareness. But it is more important to proclaim Jesus as the cure for the body and soul; to preach a message of hope to all those experiencing a pink season.

Note to my family: If you feel that I was too personal in this post, please forgive me. I just wanted to honor the faith of our family and proclaim the faithfulness of our God.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Not the Same Old Story

Some time ago I posted a synopsis of a Sunday morning sermon given by my pastor. I had a lot of traffic and seven comments on that one. Perhaps I should use Mondays for posting my sermon notes from the previous day. Then again, my note taking may be limited since I am now working with the media production crew and in the sound booth. That's another story for another day. Guess I just wanted you all to know that I gone from techno-wanna be to a multi-media flunky. (smile)

Pastor entitled Sunday's message, "Speak Lord". Sunday School veterans, stay with me now. I know you are thinking of a couple of Bible stories you heard so many times as children. I had the same thoughts as he continued on giving the text references. Just as I was about to put myself on auto-pilot, the Lord spoke to me. He simply said, "Watch and pray". It wasn't what He said that roused me. It was how my mind completed the verse, just as I had heard it so many times.

You see, I was about to lean back and let my mind wander. I was about to allow the familiarity of the text, keep me from hearing a fresh admonition from the throne. I was about to be a poor example for the rest of the body. I was about to let my pastor down. I was about to open the door and let satan step inside. I was about to .......sin.

I always exhort folks to interpret scriptures in light of their context. And I'm not much on studies that are wholly topical in nature. But there are single scriptures that can stand alone as commands of God. Each of the 10 Commandments support this notion, as does many of the Proverbs. Is it a stretch to apply shutting the devil out and avoiding the path of the wicked , to my Sunday morning experience? I don't think so. Different contexts but same principle.

The 3 verses I have referenced convicted me. They became a single exhortation that went something like this: Be alert and pray so you will not yield to temptation. Don't let satan disrupt your purpose. Push him out of your way and get involved in the service.

It was clear to me that I had to take authority over the enemy and over my flesh. Much like casting my thoughts into prison. I could not tune out my pastor just because I thought I knew where he was going with the message. I go to church to be fed the Word of God, to worship the Lord, to fellowship with the saints, to support the pastor, and to use my gifts to serve others.

So I rebuked the tempter, put my mind on the Lord, inclined my ear to hear the preached Word, and I gave hearty amens as I responded to the message. My soul was filled and my heart encouraged. All because I heard the Lord speak to me at the beginning of the sermon. I am thankful for the chastening of the Lord.

Soon I will be posting highlights of pastor's sermon "Speak Lord". For now, I will leave you with this exhortation: Muzzle your flesh and hear the preached Word. Always listen for the voice of the Lord. He may speak to you at any time, even during Sunday morning service; even when you think it is the same old story.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Encouragement: txt msgs

Hpy RU por; da kngdm is yrs! Hpy RU hngry; U wl Bfild! Hpy RU sad; u wl lol! Hpy RU whn ppl h8 U Bcos of da Lrd! B gld&dnce 4jy Bcos a gt prz is kpt 4U in hvn. Luke 6:20-23

Nthing can sepR8 uz frm Gds lv. Dth cant & lfe cant, angls cant & dmns cant. Worries 4 2day & 2mrO cant - evn da powZ of hll cant kp hz love away. Romans 8:38,39

I found these here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Beauty of Seasons

Seems that I just keep pondering on the theme of the seasons. The following is an excerpt from Singing Owl. She paints a picture of a place I would like to be. Go to The Owl's Song to read the full post.

Sunlight filtered through wind-tossed woods, casting dancing shadows across the highway. I almost expected the dappled light to scatter before my wheels like leaves. The trees, some flashing a spot of early red or gold, turned to farmland, red barns, and the occasional horses or cattle. The shadows of late afternoon stretched in elongated stripes, curving over the gentle contours of the fields. Except for the engine, it was quiet. I saw few vehicles and fewer people.

Stopping to stretch my legs, I stepped onto crunchy gravel at the side of the road. It was warm, even hot, but there was that awareness that fall is nearing--something in the breeze and the shadows and the sky. I gradually became aware of an almost undetectable sweetness in the air. Sniffing, I wondered what caused it--too mild to be called an aroma, exactly. Then I saw that on each of the four corners of the intersection was a different kind of crop.

To my rear on the left stood corn, tasseled and turning brown, loaded with ears that would become food for the cattle during winter. Behind me to the right the "spring green" of alfalfa grew in astonishing brilliance. In front to the left a field of soybeans, one of the loveliest crops imaginable, stretched to the horizon. In summer its leaves are a deep glossy green, but now they were turning to the characteristic mottled red, gold and yellow of fall. On the other corner stood a farmhouse. To the side of the wide lawn was a garden. Around the edges grew late-summer flowers--Gladiolas, Black-Eyed Susan's, Snapdragons, and many more I could not name. I was too far away to identify all of what remained in the garden, but I could see what I guessed were tomato plants along with the broad leaves of squash plants. I surmised that all these lovely growing things were what filled the air with that subtle freshness.

David at Pilgrim Scribblings shares a poem in his post about the seasons. One line that really strikes a cord with me is this one. "Summer is over and we can't call it back..."

Once we have passed through a season only the memories can be retrieved. The events of a season shape the season ahead. A hard freeze cuts down on the population of insects found in the spring. A springtime with ample rain and warm temperatures yeilds crops in abundance. A freeze in the springtime damages vegetation that is just beginning to bloom. A dry scorching summer is a sure obstacle for plant growth.

Spiritual seasons work in a similar fashion. Yet it is how we cope with the freeze that comes at the time of our budding. Or how we rebound from the drought that often follows the spiritual highs we experience. And yet another factor in our spiritual seasons has to do with the preparations we make to sustain ourselves in difficult times.

St.John chapter 15 tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches. He is the constant source of our life. We are never left alone in the seasons of our lives. Everything we need for growth is found in Him, but it our responsibility to seek Him, ask of Him, and receive from Him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Looking for me?

You will find me Beneath the Ivy Wreath today. Somehow I just can't seem to post in two places on the same day. Besides, my sister needs a little traffic and a lot of encouragement.

The Word of God is always an encouragement so I leave Habakkuk 3:17-19 for you today.

17Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bible Verse Texting

Every day at least 2 or 3 folks hit here looking for text messages of the SMS kind. Occasionally someone will stay on to check out my blog. Most however just click out and move on to the next option given by their search engine. I really don't Njoy disappointing folks so here R 3 txt msgs 4 U.

U, Lord, r my shepherd. I will neva be in need. U let me rest in fields of green grass. U lead me 2 streams of peaceful water. (Psalm 23, verses 1-2).

Wrk hard at wateva u do. U will soon go 2 da wrld of da dead, where no 1 wrks or thinks or reasons or knws NEting. (Ecclesiastes, chapter nine, verse 10).

Respect ur father & ur mother, & u will live a long time in da l& I am givin u. (Exodus, chapter 20, verse 12).

I found these at along with info on how to receive the whole Bible in text messages. I haven't tried it, so I'm not putting my approval on it. If you do try it out, let me know. Thanks.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Seasons: David

This is a somewhat abbreviated sketch of David's life. For additional info see or read everything between II Samuel chapter 16 and I Kings chapter 2. The on-line Jewish Encyclopedia is another great resource.

Personal seasons are easily seen throughout this list. Spiritual seasons are there but can be augmented by the Psalms of David. Please pardon the lack of scripture links. I figure the majority of this info is familiar to most. Only the references in Psalms are linked for you. For placement of the Psalms in the life of David, I used "The Chronological Bible" by Regal Publishers copyright 1977. For other references, use the Bible search link in my sidebar.

1. A man after God’s own heart I Samuel 13:14
2. Youngest of the 8 sons of Jesse I Samuel 16:10,11
3. Courageous shepherd I Samuel 17:34-36
4. Handsome I Samuel 16:12
5. Anointed to be king by Samuel the prophet I Samuel 16:12,13 Psalm 19 Psalm 8
6. Served as musician for King Saul I Samuel 16:14-23
7. Returned to his father’s house I 17:15
8. Became the champion of Israel by slaying Goliath I Samuel 17:25-53 Psalm 23
9. Admired by Jonathan, despised by King Saul I Samuel 18:1-9
10. Lived as a fugitive I Samuel 19 Psalm 59 Psalm 25
11. Displayed respect for the King in sparing his life I Samuel 24:1-15 Psalm 57 Psalm 108
and I Samuel 26:1-20 possible location of Psalm 7
12. Reigned as King of Judah in Hebron II Samuel 5:1-5
13. Became King of all of Israel II Samuel 5:3
14. Captured Jerusalem and made it the capitol city II Samuel 5:7 Psalm 118
15. God was with him and increased his territory II Samuel 5:10 I Chronicles 11:9
16. He took wives and concubines in II Samuel 5:13
17. Brought the ark to Jerusalem II Samuel 6:1-11 I Chronicles 15:1-29
18. Spurned by his wife Michal II Samuel 6:20-23
19. Enlarged the kingdom and won military victories II Samuel chs 8 &10
20. Committed adultery w/Bathsheba & had Uriah killed II Samuel chs 11 & 12
21. Rebuked by the prophet Nathan II Samuel chapter 12
22. Repented of his sins: Psalm 51 Psalm 32
23. Scorned by his son Absalom II Samuel chapters 15-18
24. Made preparations for building the temple I Chronicles 22:5,14
and I Chronicles 29:2
25. Forbidden to build the temple I Chronicles 28:3 Psalm 145
26. Appointed Solomon as his successor I Kings 1: 11-39
27. Charged Solomon regarding the kingdom and the temple I Kings 2:1-9
28. Died I Chronicles 29:26-28

When you read the accounts in the books of I and II Samuel, I Kings, and I Chronicles you get the facts of his circumstances. When you read the associated Psalms you can feel what he was feeling at the time. You can see the emotions including tears and rants. The Psalms reveal his spiritual condition and his faith in God. These are some of the recorded seasons of David's life.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Spiritual Seasons: Adam

Ask 5 people how they would define spiritual seasons and you would get 5 different answers. One might use qualifiers like lows, mediums, highs, or mountain tops. Someone else might use the terms ebbs and flows. Yet another might describe the seasons as dry or overflowing. Regardless how you label them, spiritual seasons do exist. They are part of God's plan to smooth our rough edges, purify our hearts, equip us for service, and adorn us as His bride.

This study will in no way be exhaustive. My point is to sketch out the seasons in the lives of some biblical characters. Then to take note of the transition factors, and the cyclical nature of the seasons. Finally, I hope to draw some insight as to what was to be learned or accomplished within each season.

Let's start with Adam. His first spiritual season had to have been his best. He walked and talked with God. No inhibitions, no upsets, nothing to hinder their relationship in any way. Must have been serene. Then....

Seasons change. Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Adam recognized his nakedness and he hid from God. The relationship became strained. God added to Adam's fear when He asked, "where art thou?" God knew Adam's whereabouts, but Adam didn't know that God knew.

Cursed by God, Adam learned of sorrow. Then he was separated from the garden and his Creator. Alienated from God, what a dismal season of one's own choosing.

Little is known about the rest of Adam's 930 years. Most every other reference to him is negative. In Eve's responses to the births of Cain and Seth, she acknowledged God as the giver of life. Given the record of Cain and Abel and their worship, we understand that they were knowledeable of God and were able to converse with Him. With this in mind, it is reasonable to assume that God still communicated with Adam and Eve. He instituted animal sacrifice as a means of covering their physical bodies and their sins against Him.

Adam had a long life and no doubt experienced spiritual seasons. Did he learn from his mistakes? There is no actual record of Adam being reconciled to God.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Seasons Change

Weather seasons change. God made the Earth and solar system to work that way. Genesis 1:14 states: "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:" In most areas of the world there are 4 seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Each having their own distinctions. In some places the seasons are more readily identified than others. The physical variances in the atmospheric temperature and the changes in the Earth's vegetation are the most obvious signs of each division.

But what of spiritual seasons? They do exist, but are they meant to be? Like the seasons of the Earth, there are notable physical signs of change that occur with each spiritual season. The causes of spiritual highs and lows are infinite. What ushers in a climate change for me may not affect you in any way. I'm not sure I even want to breach the subject, but it has been on my mind for awhile. Last week's Friday Five seemed to be a goad for me to begin this series of posts.

Bring on the comments, open the box, stir things up a little, and then we will see how the dust settles on this one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pay It Forward: Nice Matters

These folks are kind, compassionate, friendly, uplifting, and of course; they are nice.

Kari @ Healed Waters the originator of the Mercy Drop Award. Her posts are saturated with the love and compassion of Christ. They are like a drink of water to this thirsty soul.

Granny B @ Compassion to Sympathize is a homespun newcomer with a heart of gold. When it comes to being nice, she knows just how to show it.

Tami @ The Next Step is a member of Christian Women Online and participates in the daily themes. I particularly like her "Thankful Thursday" posts.

Godzheart @ Victorious Woman writes of her daily life and Christian walk. Her biblical study blog, Lessons from Life is well written and easily followed. Though I haven't met her, I picture her with a soft voice and a friendly smile.

CH Green @ Beneath The Ivy Wreath has time constraints that keep her from reading and commenting as much as she would like. Her comments may be few but they are always encouraging. She recently launched her poetry blog, The Ivy Wreath and welcomes your comments.

Cindy @ Inspirational Korner consistently posts uplifting and insightful posts. Her comments around bloggyland are also of the encouraging sort. Nice matters in blog design too. She changes the backdrop regularly to add a touch of class to her site.

Ordinary Christian is someone who is not afraid to reveal her weaknesses in order to strengthen others. No matter where her adventures take her, she always stays on the right path.

I'm not sure who created this award. All I have is these few words to go with it.
"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award."

Monday, September 3, 2007

Crucible of Praise

Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. It is something that comes standard with the package of our humanity. Some folks become praise junkies. They go about doing things just to be recognized and rewarded. Others while they relish the compliments, prefer to remain anonymous in their well doing. Proverbs 27:21 sheds some light upon the power and purpose of praise. The Message states it this way: "The purity of silver and gold is tested by putting them in the fire; The purity of human hearts is tested by giving them a little fame."

I am still learning how to be gracious when receiving compliments. When I know I have done well, I tend to reward myself. Not necessarily in a tangible way, but I just have a deep satisfaction in my labors. Often I am perceived as being ungrateful due to my inadequate responses. In reality, I love the accolades but I don't want to let them swell my head. I am learning to say a simple "thank you" and/or "to God be the glory".

Praise can incite pride or it can work perfection. Pride is the automatic response of the flesh. Perfection is the result of yielding to the Spirit of God. Remember, everything He created is good. The Word says so. Yet there is no goodness about the flesh. It is merely an earthen housing for the Spirit of God. So the Apostle Paul adds that we must keep the flesh under the control of the Spirit.

Basically, I said all of that to preface this huge thank you to Rita at Saved by Grace. She has bestowed upon me the "Nice Matters" award. Let me also add, to God be the Glory, Great Things He Has Done. Without Him, I would be neither nice, friendly, good, positive, or influential.

"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award."
I have met so many nice bloggers in the few months that I have been in the bloggyhood. Those who are nice are also positive influences in the blogosphere. Inspirational is yet another word for various blogs I have read. "Feel good" blogs are as infinite as the stars in the sky. Finding 7 worthy recipients is easy. Keeping the list to 7 is the hard part. And.......Now........The envelopes please................Ooops! There must be some mistake. I have been handed some bills instead of the nominations for the "Nice Matters" awards. Sorry to disappoint you folks, but the hour is late, the awards will have to wait..... until my next post.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Let's Get Busy

I just had to share this link. It is a wonderful addition to my previous post. Many thanks to Pastor Brad Williams. Read @ Sojourner.

For a closer look at what kind of busy we should be: check out Tyler's post @ Sons of the Prophets.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Deliberate Call

The book of Acts is one of my favorites. It is rich in historical data, sets forth the foundation of the New Testament Church, chronicles the exploits of the Apostles, and provides an overview of the life of Paul. For today's post, I want to use a portion of chapter 26; copied here from the KJV. Follow this link for the entire chapter.

16But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Here Paul recounts the words previously recorded in Acts 9:3-6 then elaborates a bit more on the message from Christ in verses 16 - 18. For our study today; I want to glean from the text some reasons Christ makes Himself known to us. Why He takes us out of the world just to send us back unto it.

  1. to make us His ministers/servants
  2. to make us testimonials/witnesses of His power/acts
  3. to use us as His heralds of the revelations He will show us
  4. to enable us to enlighten others; to be guides
  5. to aid us in turning others from darkness into light; to be reflections of the Light
  6. to use us to loose those who are bound by satan; to be agents of deliverance
  7. to use us to teach sinners what is required to be forgiven; to be teachers
  8. and to show them how to lay claim to what belongs to the sanctified; to be models

No different than Paul; we all are called and empowered to be His witnesses. We must declare the same message as Paul, as we minister to the world .

Also worth mentioning: We must be knocked off of our "high horse"of sinfulness before we can be of use to the Lord. Secondly, we have to stand up/become attentive in order to receive instructions for salvation and ministry. We can't work in the Kingdom lying down!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

LCF & My Spiritual Father

Just a little background info related to my 08/10/07 post about the awesome conference I attended in NM. You may remember back in May I posted an e-mail from my father in the ministry. His name is Earl McQuitty and he is the senior pastor of Liberty Christian Fellowship. He is also the vice president of Vision Ministries which is headed by Pastor Wilford Carrasco.

It was springtime 1991. I had just moved to Colorado as a newly wedded transplant from TN. We were looking for a church home. After shopping* around a bit my husband suggested ____ in Aztec, NM. I don't remember the date, but I recall the experience. It was on a Sunday morning and we had arrived for morning worship service. As we crossed the threshold I felt the Presence of God and knew we had found home.

We were welcomed with smiles and hugs. The music was the old-time Pentecostal kind that I had enjoyed all my life. Pastor McQuitty preached the Truth with anointing and fire. We were invited back for the evening service. The only problem was that we lived 60 miles away.

Sister McQuitty said we could stay in the evangelist's quarters for the afternoon if we wanted to stay close until the evening service. We did and that was the beginning of a relationship that has grown dearer as the years have gone by.

We relocated to Aztec and found jobs locally. It wasn't very long before Pastor had put us to work in the church. He recognized God's call on our lives and began to train us in the ministry. Rather than try to sum it up in a post, I'll just list a few events to bring the story current.

  • At some point we needed a larger facility and another church needed some folks. We moved to Farmington, NM and merged with another local church.

  • This actually happened twice in the 9 years I served under Pastor McQuitty.

  • In 1999, my hubby and I moved back to TN. God allowed us to have almost 2 years with my mother before He called her home.

  • Every time we have visited w/Pastor, he has offered to bring his truck and trailer to TN. In other words, help us move back to NM.

  • He now pastors Liberty Christian Fellowship. He has several ministers on staff as well as a full compliment of teachers, musicians, and singers. He continues to train and equip leaders for today and for the future.
  • LCF serves as a mother church to a growing number of churches in Nigeria; where souls are being saved daily and miracles happen every service.

Please remember Pastor McQuitty in your prayers. He has chronic back and foot pain that often hinders his pace. If I have any one earthly person to credit with success in ministry, it is Pastor Earl D. McQuitty.

* shopping is not the same as church hopping. Shoppers have their roots in the Lord and want a place to serve. Hoppers have little roots of any sort.

Summer Blogging Delays

My how time flies! I did not realize that it had been 10 days since my last post. According to my sitemeter, some of you have been checking in regularly. So sorry for the lack of new material. I've had lots of laundry to catch up on since vacation. And we have been involved in a couple of outreach opportunities with our church. My sis over at BTIW tells me that traffic always slacks up in the summer but mine has been pretty consistent.
Thank you for your continued support. You will find my post for today at Beneath the Ivy Wreath's Worship Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Repentance Preaching

Writing a new post has dropped a few pegs on my priority list this week. Making preparations for a vacation trip has consumed much of my time. For some good reading, I offer this link. The letter was written in January 2007, but it is appropriate for the days we are living in. We need to preach the same message that John the Baptist preached. "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." BTW, I believe David Wilkerson is a true prophet of the Lord with a message for today.

Friday, August 3, 2007

How would they know? II

There seems to be a lot of folks taking on-line personality tests these days. Many take them as I did, just for fun. Others may genuinely be interested in how they present themselves or how they are perceived. Still others may be seeking suggestions for changing unwanted personality traits.

Truthful answers are required for correct analysis. If a person’s evaluation of himself is skewed then the results of the personality test will be invalid. Often taking more than one type of test will yield better results.

Actually, you can put a label on your personality by simply asking another person to state their observations of you. What do they see when they look at you? What do they hear when they are listening to you? How do they feel when they are in your presence?

Much of what they will share will be based on external actions. Externals can be manipulated to suit the occasion. Stressful situations will often bring out the true condition of the heart. Personality is influenced by character and character by one's relationship with Christ.

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Matthew 7:17, 18 KJV

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Matthew 12:35 KJV

“What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become the servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:21, 22 KJV

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:17, 18 KJV

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22, 23 KJV

Thursday, July 26, 2007

How would they know?

Personality Preview- Bible lesson to follow in upcoming posts.
I picked this up over at Diane's Place . I don't put a lot of stock in crunching numbers and putting a label on someone. I just did this for fun. My sister over at BTIW thought it fit me pretty close.

Here are personalDNA maps that uniquely represent your personality. Mouse over any part of the box or strip to learn more about the traits that the colors represent. According to these folks I am a dynamic leader, but I am short on empathy. Click on the "my personal DNA report" link to read what they had to say about me.

My personalDNA Report I can buy the "leader" part, but I've never thought of myself as dynamic. Guess I should start thinking "Dynamite". Yeah, I have always enjoyed fireworks and blowing things to bits.

The following is an excerpt from the "Leader" portion of my report.
"You're not set on one way of doing things, and you often have the skills and persistence to find innovative ways of facing challenges. You are well-attuned to your talents, and can deal with most problems that you face. Your independent streak allows you to make decisions efficiently and to trust your instincts."

This excerpt is from the "Dynamic" part of my DNA. "You are not overly concerned with what others may think about you, which leaves you free to be thoroughly involved in the world around you. "

I think these excerpts fit me just right. Some of the other stuff is up for debate. The stuff in the "if you want to be different" section is, well, good advice. I think. Take this one for instance. "Those who are as outgoing as you are often need to remind themselves that time alone can be just as fulfilling—take some time for yourself and you might find that there are many things in your inner world that are just as compelling as the world outside your window."

Monday, July 23, 2007

RFIDs = 666 ???

All in the name of medicine, or is it?
"An American company, Verichip, is developing an RFID chip implant that will permanently store your medical records under your skin, so any hospital equipped with a reader can know all your pertinent health information even if you are unconscious. A simpler version of this subcutaneous chip is already implanted to help identify pets." writes NewsWeek .

"Injectees would thereafter be able to breeze past bouncers and entrance lines, magically open doors to VIP lounges, and pay for drinks without cash or credit cards. The ID number on the VIP chip was linked to the user's financial accounts and stored in the club's computers. " See full article here.

"The June report points out that until recently RFID technology was used mainly for logistical purposes to identify cargo. "Now it has entered the public space on a massive scale: public transport cards, the biometric passport, micro-payment systems, office ID tokens, customer loyalty cards, et cetera." excerpted from

Globe and Mail reports: "In design, the tag is simple: A medical-grade glass capsule holds a silicone computer chip, a copper antenna and a "capacitor" that transmits data stored on the chip when prompted by an electromagnetic reader."

NewsWeek reports: "The technology has the potential to transform our relationship to the objects around us. In theory, stores could dispense with checkout counters—instead, you'd grab items off the rack or shelves and walk out the door, while an RFID reader takes note of the items and takes the money right out of your e-wallet."

Steps Toward the Mark is dedicated to teaching on the relationship of prophecy and current events related to the 'mark of the beast.' The site provides additional links about RFIDs.

This is mean to be an FYI post. I know what I think about all of this, but I couldn't decide exactly how to post about it. Your comments will be appreciated. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Destination: Healing

Janet of Janet's Writing Planet has written a excellent short story here. It could easily be used as an ice-breaker skit or an altar call. The truth in it is timeless and her presentation is POWERFUL!

For a related post, visit Beneath the Ivy Wreath , where each week I am privileged to write the Worship Wednesday feature.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pastor's Part 3

I have never considered myself to be a prophet, but my comment to e-mom was correct. We did get part 3 this Sunday. Pastor went right back to last week's text: II Chronicles 20:15-28. The focus was a somewhat different from 1 and 2, so I guess it could be a stand alone sermon.

Again, rather than duplicate his message, I'll just give you the basic idea. After he read the text and gave a few introductory remarks related to the sermon of last Sunday, he titled the message:"The battle is not yours."

When a child is abducted from a rich family, the motive is to extort money from the parents. It is not to have a child to feed, clothe, and care for. The kidnappers do not ask the child for money, they demand it from the parents. The child is taken as a means to get to the parents.

Abusive people often hurt the people closest to them. Much of the time, the people they hurt actually have little to do with the conflict within the abuser. The victim simply is in the presence of the abuser when he/she commits the acts of violence.

The devil is not really interested in mankind at all, except as a means of getting to God. Yes, he is jealous that man can be saved and become a permanent resident in heaven. Yes, he knows that one saved person can put a thousand enemies to flight. Yes, he desires to sift believers as wheat. But that is not his driving force. He wants to hurt God. Knowing that it is impossible for him to over-ride God in any way, he chooses to afflict God's creation. He is much like a spoiled child; willing to do anything to gain attention for himself even if it is the wrong kind of attention. Christians are merely targets in satan's war-games.

Ultimately, we win! How frustrating that must be for old beelzebub. It further aggravates him when he finds us rejoicing in the midst of our trials. Praising God brings confusion into his ranks. The noise of exalting our Savior deafens his forces. When we worship the Almighty it sends the devil into a blind rage.

Deaf and blind, just what are the chances of them making a direct hit? And what if they do? Is it not merely our flesh that suffers? The Apostle Paul put it this way, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Satan can not take true life from us. In his efforts to destroy us, he inadvertently drives us closer to the Life-Giver.

Somewhere along the way, Pastor elaborated on the fact that the devil does not have to kill us to accomplish his purpose. Many times he advances more through trampling on Christians, tarnishing our witness, and tainting our message. We must not be moved by the aggression of our enemy. Should we fall, we must get back up and into formation.

The Church must set herself in battle array in a united front. She must be poised regardless of the nearness of the skirmish. She must follow the orders of the Captain of the Hosts. When it is time for her to engage, He will direct her every move. In the meantime, she must PRAISE! While she is praising, He is setting the ambushments. The battle belongs to the Lord.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Praise Your Way Out

Cowboy and I just got in from a revival in progress. Tonight our pastor was the guest speaker. He began with a brief re-cap of what he had preached to us on last Sunday morning. Then.......
Well, you need to know that our pastor is a bit long winded at times. He promises to preach about 15 minutes and some 60 minutes after that, he gives the altar call. At that 15 or 20 minute mark, he generally says, "I'm through preachin. Now I'm gonna talk to y'all for awhile."

The "preaching part" is usually a passage from the Old Testament and then one from the New Testament, with a bit of exposition of the texts. When he is a guest speaker somewhere, he will add the comment, "I'm just a foundational preacher, y'all." Then he proceeds with a theme or principle found in both passages.

Tonight he chose IIChronicles 20:15-28 (paying particular interest to verses 17 and 22) and Acts 16:23-26. Rather than transcribe the complete sermon or elaborate on the scriptures, I want to offer them along with the following statements he made to the crowd tonight. All of this fell under the "just talking to you now" category.

  1. Anyone can praise the Lord, even the sinner man. Psalms 150:6
  2. When the righteous praise; the captive,whether he is a sinner or a saint, will be set free.Acts 16:26
  3. Only the righteous can enter into true worship. John 4:23,24
  4. Worship will take you to another level in God. (I don't recall a reference for this one)

Basically, he elaborated on the idea of how much can be accomplished through us when we are free from sin, habits, and cares of this life. When we live a life of worship we live a victorious life. He went on to encourage us with this statement, and I quote: "The devil can't touch the anointing, he can only hinder the vessel. He can only touch the vessel, if God allows him to do so." To further back that statement, he mentioned Job. Job 1:8-12 and Job 2:3-6 . Somewhere along in here, he talked about: the joy we have in Christ, being stripped to our joy, and how the enemy can not steal our joy.

These were not all run together in the way you see here. Between each one, he gave a discourse to substantiate the point. He quoted many scriptures along the way. Too many to link here. You preachers, teachers, evangelists, and the like, understand how the Word just flows out when you are under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Giving scripture to reinforce scripture is a common practice in delivering a topical message.

I can not begin to tell you about the applications and illustrations he used in this message. For one: I experienced an information overload. (I once heard, 'the mind will only absorb what the seat can endure.') Secondly: only the mature could handle much of what he said. Thirdly: I prefer to be more concise; particularly when I have to type it all out. :-)

P.S. I will eventually get my other posts done. This stuff was just too hot to keep for myself.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Prepare for the Overflow

"Like the cruse of oil unfailing, is His grace forever more; and His love unchanging still. And according to the promise of the Holy Ghost and fire, He will every vessel fill. He will fill your heart today to overflowing. As the Lord commandeth you, bring your vessels not a few. He will fill your hearts today to overflowing, with the Holy Ghost and fire."

I love that old song. It serves to reinforce the message of God's faithfulness. Its lyrics bring together an Old Testament miracle and a New Testament outpouring of the Spirit. The widow's oil was the sustenance of her physical life. The blessing of the Acts 2:4 experience is the vigor it gives to our spiritual life.

We can easily sympathize with her in her plight; no husband, no money, and no collateral. It comes natural to focus on the negatives. Rather than look at her lack, we should notice the fullness of her life. She had a godly home, two obedient sons, a little oil, and faith in the God of the prophet. Though she was in a vulnerable state, she was willing to listen to the man of God. She was humble and obedient. She did not try to second guess the prophet's instructions nor the methods of God.

In verse one, she revealed her need; the creditor had come. That is the first step towards receiving what we desire from the Lord. Secondly, she stated her grounds for approaching the prophet with her request; her husband had served Elisha in his service to the Lord. This (our faithfulness) will establish our privilege to ask of Him. Thirdly, she took inventory of her possessions; she had a pot of oil. We must make an honest assessment of our own condition. Fourthly, she listened to the voice of God's servant and she obeyed. Without obedience there will be no overflow in our lives. Lastly, she was willing to share her blessings with others. In this she shared testimony of the power of God.

Her sons borrowed vessels from family, friends, and neighbors. Don't you know that they were asked a lot of questions? They may have exchanged some information about the prophet and his instructions. Or maybe, they just said, "mama needs to borrow a pot or jug". Regardless of what was noised at the onset, you know the story broke when the oil was sold. And isn't it neat, how the buyers of the oil were most likely the same ones that loaned the containers? (Ahh, another lesson revealed.) When we respond to the needs of others it makes way for our needs to be met.

God wants to pour oil into our lives to meet our needs. His hands are tied if we are not willing to acknowledge our deficit. When we claim to be full, there is no room to be filled. When we intercede for others, it is like gathering empty vessels to be filled. Getting the oil for ourselves is only the beginning. Just as she had to distribute the oil in order to be satisfied, we must serve others out of the Holy Spirit within us. It is then that we will be completely fulfilled in life.

Let's not forget how the song begins: "Bring your empty earthen vessels, clean......" If the vessels aren't clean, neither will be what is poured out of them.

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