Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Hearing From God
1Kings19:11-12 NLT “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a sound of a gentle whisper.
For me personally there is nothing greater then hearing from and/or being in the presence of God. One of the first times that I heard God speak directly to me was one of the most powerful times. I was sound asleep when suddenly I was jolted awake and sitting straight up from God’s voice saying “GO TO THE STREET!” I sat there stunned by the power of it. I did not understand what it meant. It was the middle of the night and the middle of winter, very cold out, in the 20’s. Go to the street? I sat there thinking about it and started talking myself out of going to the street. I lay back down. Immediately I heard it again, “GO TO THE STREET!” I quickly sat back up. I looked over at my wife Dorinda sleeping; she had not heard a thing. I knew it was God speaking to me but I still really did not understand. Why “go to the street?”
I decided to obey God. I got dressed, put on my heavy coat and hat and went out in front of my house to the street. It was very cold, very dark and blustery. Looking around, up and down the street there was nothing moving, no cars, no people, nothing. I waited, and waited. Nothing. I was praying and talking to God. He was silent. I began to start doubting myself. Did you really hear it or were you just dreaming? After about 30 minutes I came back in and went to sleep not waking up again until morning. I would ask God many times over the next weeks and then years what it meant but I received no answer. I was still hearing and experiencing His presence but not receiving an answer for this. Eventually I forgot about it.
A few years later I was excited to be heading to Lexington Kentucky for training to become a Church of God Chaplain. Though I was not sure that God had called me to be a Chaplain both of my Pastor’s had asked me to and I did need the credentials to get into hospitals, jails, etc., to be able to pray with the sick, the lost and hurting. Arriving for the first morning’s seminar I was seated in the front row right in the middle. Our very first speaker introduced himself and opened the meeting with these words; “As Chaplains we are called to GO TO THE STREETS!” I nearly fell out of my chair! The Holy Spirit hit me like a 50 gallon drum of hot oil was poured over my head! Tears began to pour down my cheeks. The man next to me reached over and put his arm on my shoulder and asked me if I was all right. I told him I was more than all right and I would explain to him later. I composed myself and finished off the meeting with very red eyes, a very large smile, and a very grateful heart! God always answers in His time! It had taken a few years but I now understood that God wanted me to take Him to the streets as a Chaplain!
A few years later a friend asked me to visit an acquaintance in jail. The night before making the visit as I was going to bed I prayed and asked God to give me the words to speak to this man in jail. God woke me up three times that night and each time I jumped up out of bed and wrote down what he told me.
The first time God said;” Am I like the gold chain that you put on once in a while so that you look nice?”
The second time God said;” Am I like the trophy that you pick up, dust off, admire, and then return to the shelf?”
Or am I like the pair of eyeglasses that you reach for first thing in the morning, put them on, so that you can see clearly all day, everyday?”
Even though I felt that this was meant for the man (whom I had never met) I felt that it was also a message for me. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ first thing every morning and keep Him on all day!
In the morning I went to the jail and talked with the man. He had been unexpectedly sentenced to six months when he thought he would receive probation. He was devastated. We talked about his situation and he admitted that though he was a Christian he had not been as faithful as he should be lately. I felt it was time to share with him what God had spoken to me. I said to him; “Is Jesus like the gold chain that you put on once in a while so that you look nice? Is He like the trophy that you pick up, dust off, admire, and then return to the shelf? Or is He like the pair of eyeglasses that you reach for first thing in the morning, put them on, so that you can see clearly all day, every day?” He immediately began to weep and ask God to forgive Him. I put my arm around Him and told Him that it was OK God does forgive Him. As I was getting ready to leave I asked him if I could pray and he said yes. I prayed and thanked God and asked God to open the jail doors like he had done for the Apostle Paul. This was Saturday morning. Monday morning I got a call from his girlfriend. They had released him, glory to God!
God is speaking to us if we will just be faithful, trust Him, pray and ask Him, and listen for His still small voice!
TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!
Thursday, April 25, 2013
A TRIBUTE TO THE BIBLE
The Bible is not an amulet, a charm, a fetish, or a book that will work wonders by its very presence.
It is a book that will work wonders in every life, here and hereafter, if acted upon and obeyed in faith and sincerity. It is God's inspired revelation of the origin and destiny of all things, written in the most simple human language possible so that the most unlearned can understand and obey its teachings. It is self-interpreting and covers every subject of human knowledge and need now and forever.
As a literary composition, the Bible is the most remarkable book ever made. It is a divine library of 66 books, some of considerable size, and others no larger than a tract. These books include various forms of literature - history, biography, poetry, proverbial sayings, hymns, letters, directions for elaborate ritualistic worship, laws, parables, riddles, allegories, prophecy, dramas, and others. They embrace all manner of literary styles in human expression.
It is the book that reveals the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts binding, its histories true, and its decisions immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. The Bible contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the travelers map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good is its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill your memory, rule your heart, and guide your feet in righteousness and true holiness. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully, meditatively, searchingly, devotionally, and study it constantly, perseveringly, and industriously. Read it through and through until it becomes part of your being and generates faith that will move mountains. The Bible is a mine of wealth, the source of health, and a world of pleasure. It is given to you in this life, will be opened at the judgement, and will stand forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the least to the greatest of labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
B.T.A. Believe. Trust. Accept. As Christian’s many of us, and I did say US, have little trouble with believing and trusting in God, the power of God, and the promises of God. Where we might get into some trouble is with accepting His promises, His healing, His answers to our prayers, His will.
Accept in the Webster’s Dictionary means to take (what is offered or given), to receive favorably, approve, to believe in. So accepting would be the act of taking what is offered or given, receiving favorably, approving and believing in. “Accepting” is the action part of receiving the Lord’s will. There comes a moment in time when the Believe, Trust, and Accept come together as one, and become a realization in your mind, your heart, your very soul.
Desperation in prayer brings on accepting. The effectual fervent (to boil up, hot; burning; glowing; intensely devoted or earnest) prayer of a righteous man avails much, James 5:16b. Jesus prayed fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane, so fervently that He shed great droplets of blood from His pores. We know that He prayed Believing, Trusting, and Accepting. Jesus prayed that the suffering that He knew He was about to endure would be taken from Him. But, He then said “nevertheless” Thy will be done. He “Accepted” the will of God His Father without any reservations. We might not always know God’s complete will for our life but we can always Believe, Trust, and Accept that God knows best, He has the best plan for us and the Kingdom, and that we can Believe, Trust, and Accept His will, and His promises.
In Proverbs 4:20-22, the word of God says; My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. In other words ACCEPT.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive (ACCEPT) them, and ye shall have them Mark 11:24.
Norman Grubb, in his book, The Law of Faith, makes interesting commentary about “asking” vs. “taking”: Faith is the spiritual hand, exactly as, in the natural world, nothing is received and put to use merely by wishing or hoping or by asking for it, but by taking and using it, so in the spiritual. The hand must reach out and take the food or the book. Faith must reach out and take the promises, and the spoken evidence of such taking is the spoken word of faith. Probably the effect in the realm of the Spirit is the same as in the realm of matter. God offers all in His promises. The word of faith is the act of taking and applying His power according to need. What we actually take we actually have, and when the decisive word of faith has been spoken, God in His grace begins to work; and as the stand of faith is persisted in, the answer appears. That is why the declared word of faith is so vital and should be so stressed. It is the act of taking in the invisible, and we suggest that the serious lack in so much of our prayer life, both public and private, is that it hardly gets beyond the stage of asking. Hardly ever do we hear a person in a public prayer meeting, having asked, take and thank; yet probably it is much more important to have “taking” meetings than to have “asking” meetings. Our constant asking must have the same effect on God as would a child on his parents, who keeps asking for food, when they have set his meal before him and told him to take and eat it.
We have a choice whether or not to accept Christ at His word. We must begin to speak to our mountains and accept God’s promises.
Don’t be afraid. Just trust Me. Mark 5:36
If you trust Me, you are really trusting God who sent Me. John 12:44
Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in Me. John 14:1
No matter what I pray for Lord, nevertheless, I Believe, I Trust, and I Accept Your will for my life!
Friday, March 29, 2013
Re-posted from my son David's Facebook
So...I've chosen to stay silent on a subject dominating my news feed for the past week or so, but I've grown tired of silence and feel I need to voice my opinion in the growing debate I witness daily from so many. The topic?
While many among you are in support of it...equally as many stand against it.
I don't support gay marriage personally because of my belief in the Words given to us in the Bible, a book I believe to be inspired by God Himself, but I cannot stand idly by as I watch Christians call other other human beings by awful, desecrating names. The lack of love towards the world, who you ask God to send you to on a weekly basis, is clanging brass...the truth is, while we were yet sinners...Christ died for us. He didn't die for us when we were cleaned up...He died for us on the day we were our filthiest...our most treacherous...backstabbing...o
On the flip side, those of you who are in support of gay marriage I have this to say: your judgmental behavior is equally inhumane. I've watched just as many despicable names lobbed at those in ministry, or those that believe in God, in which I find my path in life, which is unwarranted as well. Do I believe homosexuality to be a sin? Yes...but no greater than if I harbor hate in my own heart towards another brother. While one is an outward act, it makes it no greater than the sin of my inward act. Many of you claim to love everyone or not be judgmental, yet I've watched as you've lumped me in with those within the church that despitefully curse you. Your judgmental stereotypes are just as guilty as those in which you point the finger to within the church.
While I wish that God could enlighten us all in the error of our ways, I know that He allows us the privilege of free will. I wish I could ask both sides of the argument to quit looking to the other, but look inward. You're both judgmental...and regardless of where we stand on the issue, we're all sinners in need of grace.
Every last one of us.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
The Parable of the Fishless Fishermen
Anonymous from the Evidence Bible
Anonymous from the Evidence Bible
Fellowship. They were surrounded by streams and lakes full of hungry fish. They met regularly to discuss the call to fish, the abundance of fish, and the thrill of catching fish. They got excited about fishing!
Someone suggested that they needed a philosophy of fishing, so they carefully defined and redefined fishing, and the purpose of fishing. They developed fishing strategies and tactics. Then they realized that they had been going at it backwards. They had approached fishing from the point of view of the fisherman, and not from the point of view of the fish. How do fish view the world? How does the fisherman appear to the fish? What do fish eat, and when? These are all good things to know. So hey began research studies, and attended conferences on fishing. Some traveled to faraway places to study different kinds of fish with different habits. Some got doctorates in fishology. But no one had yet gone fishing.
So a committee was formed to send out fishermen. As prospective fishing places outnumbered fishermen, the committee needed to determine priorities. A priority list of fishing places was posted on bulletin boards in all of the fellowship halls. But still, no one was fishing. A survey was launched to find out why. Most did not answer the survey, but from those who did, it was discovered that some felt called to study fish, a few to furnish fishing equipment, and several to go around encouraging the fishermen. What with meetings, conferences, and seminars, they just simply didn’t have time to fish.
Now, Jake was a newcomer to the Fisherman’s Fellowship. After one stirring meeting of the Fellowship, he went fishing and caught a large fish. At the next meeting, he told his story and was honored for his catch. He was told that he had a special "gift of fishing." He was then scheduled to speak at all the Fellowship chapters and tell how he did it.
With all the speaking invitations and his election to the board of directors of the Fisherman’s Fellowship, Jake no longer had time to go fishing. But soon he began to feel restless and empty. He longed to feel the tug on the line once again. So he cut the speaking, he resigned from the board, and he said to a friend, "Let’s go fishing." They did, just the two of them, and they caught fish. The members of the Fisherman’s Fellowship were many, the fish were plentiful, but the fishers were few!
Monday, March 18, 2013
Watching "The Bible" episode three on the History channel last night I was moved by King Darius' actions. After having Daniel thrown into the lions den he then said "May your God, whom you worship continually, rescue you." He then went and fasted all night for God to save Daniel. Darius possibly had heard accounts of God's deliverance of Daniel's three friends from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3). As we all know God answered the prayer and fasting with Daniel miraculously not being touched all night by the hungry lions.
When I first excepted Christ as my Savior I would fast on Thursdays for my Pastor's wife and her ladies class that she taught on Thursday nights. Even though my fasting was for the Holy Spirit to lead her and anoint her for God's purposes I too was encouraged and strengthened in my walk with the Lord. When my Pastor and his wife moved on to a new church I stopped the fasting on Thursday's and for the most part never fasted anymore. I have often wondered why I have not seen as many miracles as I used to see and I believe it is because of my failure to fast in my dedication to God.
Daniel was depicted in the History Channel's "The Bible" as being terrified when he was thrown in the lions den even though the true Bible does not read that way. I have to admit that I am sure there might have been some clean up needed if that would have been me. Who would not have been terrified? Yet at some point I believe that faith rose up in Daniel and he 'expected' God to save him. We need to expect God to answer our prayers like Daniel did. I feel faith rising up in me again!
Some times our mountain seems so very big. But, isn't our God so much bigger? Didn't our God, the only God, the Alpha and Omega, create everything everywhere? YES HE DID! I don't know what you are going through but GOD IS ABLE!
I am going through one of the biggest battles of my life, and it is for my life. This Friday March 22 2013 my battle will either begin or it will end. I believe that it will end, glory to God! Starting Thursday March 21 2013 I am returning to my Thursday fasting to draw closer to God, and to make my prayers more effective for me, for my family, friends, and for you. I ask you to join in fasting this Thursday and every Thursday for the rest of our lives. We need to draw closer to Him. In James 4:8 the word says to "Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you." Fasting and prayer and reading scripture draw us closer to God. I have said before that I believe that we can have as much of God or as little of God as we want. I want more! Do you?