Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Bold and Solid Stance of Prayer

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to standStand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;  praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:13-20)
 A Bold and Solid Stance of Prayer . . . . This is what Paul is writing about in the verses above! It paints a picture of a warrior girded for battle. A line is drawn in the sand! Weapons are loaded and prepared to use. The soldier is trained, ready, and willing to go to battle for himself and for those whom he loves. He stares down the enemy and attacks, not waiting to be ambushed but on the offensive!

So does this describe our prayer life? It ain't no joke!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Listen.....

 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lordbut the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)

Just LISTEN! Oh, we l o v e to talk. We all have opinions, concerns, advice and the like. But how many of us really take the time to listen . . . to others or to God?

Elijah was looking for thunder, lightning, viscous winds, a powerful earthquake, fire, something great and mighty from God. Yet he heard a quiet whisper when he finally crept up to the opening of the cave. That was God!

Take time to hear the quiet whisper of God today . . . .LISTEN!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Celebrating our son

Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”(Luke 18:15-17)
Celebrating our son today....he turns 17! His name, Michael, means "gift from God"! He is indeed. If you know the story you know why. God gave us Michael from within our hearts in the winter of 2002....actually about seven months sooner.

Michael has been nothing but a blessing. He came innocent as the words of Luke state above. He has been with us in ministry since he was born. He has served on at least six mission trips from New Orleans, to St. Vincent, to Columbia, SC and most recently and again this summer, Puerto Rico. Michael has grown and matured into a loving, caring, fun-loving anime-watching young man. It has been a loving challenge partnering with my bride and " the village" in raising him.

Such is the Kingdom of heaven: come to Christ as a baby into this world. Embrace Him. Serve Him. Grow with Him! The rewards are eternal!!!!

Monday, February 25, 2019

I got You Lord . . . and You got me!!!!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:4-7)
Constant conversations with God . . . I found myself there this morning between three and four a.m. It was one of those "Why can't I fall back asleep?" mornings that turned into a morning talk with the Lord. Really it was just a plea session: "Lord, I need You to step in because there really is nothing I can do!"

Ever been there?

So as I finally rolled out of bed at four, after getting dressed, I went down to discover my coffer maker did not come on automatically. Of course, it was set for five! So I flipped the button to "on" and . . . . NOTHING! Seriously! Of all mornings . . .

Then I read my scriptures today dealing with not being anxious about anything, pray about everything, and I will be ok. Well, I have to be right? Many things are indeed out of my hands.

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
 I got You Lord . . . and You got me!!!!

Friday, February 22, 2019

be the rock

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.  Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:23-24)
Saul had been chosen as the people's king.  God was not good enough for them. They wanted a king like every other nation. Ok. . . . Fine, Samuel said, but I won't stop praying for you!

I like that. It reminds me of my own children and those I teach and mentor. While we all screw up daily, kids tend to wander more often. They have hopes and dreams that do not always line up with what is best. Yet we must allow them to fail, despite the consequences. Then we are there to pick them up and put the pieces back together. Sound familiar? We were once young too!

Samuel said he would not stop praying for Israel nor would he stop teaching what was right. We as the adults and mature ones must stand our ground. We cannot give in to be the friend or the enemy , but simply the Godly example and model. We must be the rock!

As a parent, grandparent, educator and mentor to youth, it is a challenge indeed. Yet our kids need a stable place to go. They need a shelter to run. The need a strong fortress that remains standing despite an unsettled world. They desire honesty and consistency. They want real love and genuine care . . . this can only come from a sound Godly perspective!

Don't stop praying for our young people and teaching what is right!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Model Prayer LIFE

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secretwill Himself reward you openly.  “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. (Matthew 6:1-8)
Anyone who has attended church for any extended amount of time know what Jesus is talking about here. We all have witnessed the "pray-ers"! Those who stand before the congregation or even in small groups and begin to speak in that "prayer vernacular". Their voice suddenly gets more religious. Their words suddenly become more on the seminary level and their pronunciation becomes very detailed. When they are finished praying, many feel as though a sermon has been given, confession completed, and all that's left is to take up an offering and go home!

Jesus would say the same to us today as He did back then: It's not about people knowing what we know but do we know Jesus a personal level!

This Model Prayer in the Gospels is not for repetition or grandeur. It is a guide for personal conversations with the Lord our God. It is meant for a quiet time of speaking and listening to God. There is a time and place for corporate prayer . . . to lift up the needs of the people and to Praise God as a Body. However, more needed is a consistent private time between us and our Lord and Savior.

Let's ask ourselves some questions: "Why do I pray? Is it to be seen and heard by men or by God? How intimate am I with my Lord? Am I simply going through formalities of CHRISTianity or do I have that personal relationship with Christ that shows in my daily living? Am I living a life Jesus outlined in Matthew 6? Am I more a Pharisee or a follower of Jesus?"

Am I living a Model Prayer Life?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Are you sure about that?

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.(1 Corinthians 10:13)
Do it . . . . Don't do it? .  . . Yes or no? . .  . Right or wrong? . . . Acceptable or unacceptable? . . . These are the daily struggles we face as born again believers today.

Most times, we KNOW the right thing to do. However, there is that little voice inside that asks the question, "Are you sure about that?" 

God has one response to the temptation we face: RUN!
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.... (2 Timothy 2:22--24)
God always gives us a way out! Avoid the foolish temptations of this world. How? . . . by pursuing the things of God! Protect yourself. Set up barriers. We must know our weaknesses and strengths as well as those of the enemy.

Be ready to fight but also be ready to RUN!

Monday, February 18, 2019

No one is perfect . . . BUT GOD!!!!

Praise the LordPraise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LordPraise the Lord! (Psalm 150)
Everyone becomes a bit uncomfortable at some point with constant praise . . . Enough already! Yes, when it comes to praise for you, me, our kids, our favorite team, favorite singer, whatever . . . whoever . . . enough is enough!

No one is perfect . . . BUT GOD!!!!

As David writes, let EVERYTHING that has breath praise the Lord . . . with everything we've got!!!! Maybe we should stop praising people so much and begin to praise the One Who created us all in the first place!

Friday, February 15, 2019

#tiredofthesameole.....

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that  moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28)
I know by now it may seem like just another quote, but Dr. King's  words still ring clearly in my mind and heart today as I faintly remeber though  was only three on August 28, 1963:

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7)
It is sad how far we have progressed her how far we have to go. Because of the political and social shenanigans, our young people are being pulled backwards into the ugly past.  Racism is taught as we all know. As we read in the scriptures, we ALL are equal! God indeed judges character! Please do not allow man to undo what God has established. I pray for our youth and am doing all in my power to teach and model Kingdom values.

What about you? Have we allowed Satan to creep in through the cracks? It is about time we as a Body begin to have some real conversations and some real fellowship!

#tiredofthesameole....

Thursday, February 14, 2019

All this fuss about Valentine's Day . . . .

All this fuss about Valentine's Day . . . . Why not? The most popular legend is that St Valentine - a priest from Rome - was arrested after secretly marrying Christian couples, who were being persecuted by Emperor Claudius II in the third century AD. As helping Christians was considered a crime, St Valentine was imprisoned; while in jail he attempted to convert the emperor to Christianity and was condemned to death. He was beaten with stones and clubs, before being beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate. According to some, while in prison St Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and sent her a love letter signed ‘from your Valentine’ on February 14, the day of his execution, as a goodbye. Wow . . . love and marriage . . . it was once worth going to jail over . . . just think! Now, people do not think it is necessary. Let's just live together. Let's get a divorce. Marriage, after all, is only a piece of paper. Not so for Valentine and not so for GOD!

“Have you not read that He who  made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’  and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
As we celebrate today and even as our little ones share innocent greetings with one another, my prayer is that we do not forget to be reminded that marriage is still sacred in the eyes of God and worth dying for even today!

After all, it reflects the relationship between our Lord and Savior and you and me! (Ephesians 5:32)


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I wanna know what LOVE is . . .

Let LOVE be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly LOVEin honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;  rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;  distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.(Romans 12: 9-18)
November of 1984 a group called Foreigner wrote and sung  "I wanna know what LOVE is". Here we are in 2019 and people still ask the same question! Yet is it clearly defined in the scriptures; God is LOVE! (1 John 4:8)

Paul outlines how we, who are Christ-followers, are to live . . . in LOVE. We are not to be one way in church and another at home. We are to hate the things God hates, clinging to the good. We are to put other's needs above our own daily, serving others as if we are serving Christ . . . in LOVE! We are to keep our hope in Christ, not in all the hoopla and confusion of this world. Prayer should be a mindset, not a sometime ritual. 

We are to LOVE as we are LOVED by God Himself, so others may see Him and glorify Him!

Do you still wanna known what, or WHO LOVE is?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

"What do I do now?"


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
 I often near the question from young folks, "What do I do now?" once they accept Christ as Lord and Savior. How do I know what to do? What changes? The answer comes directly from Jesus.

Just before He was about to go through the torture leading up to and including His crucifixion, He was very plain with His disciples: LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU! Jesus LOVED sacrificially! Once accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, we are commanded to put others first and ourselves last!

There is no room for selfishness, greed, hatred, retribution, etc. In other words, we must act "other-worldly"! We are not of this world. (John 15:19, Romans 12:2). The politics, the cultural biases, the social acceptance . . . . not for us who claim Christ as Lord and Savior! If He is our Lord, then we obey Him! He is not simply SAVIOR, but LORD and SAVIOR! You can't have one without the other!

Monday, February 11, 2019

It is not the weatherman's voice!

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,

And night unto night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech nor language

Where their voice is not heard.Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
We look outside and see if it is raining, snowing, cold, hot, blustery or if a storm is brewing. While we heard the forecast, we still look. Why? Well, if you live anywhere near the DMV (mid-Atlantic for those who don't know!), you know what I mean. The weather forecast could be for a light dusting of snow and we get 6- 8 inches. It could be pouring rain in one neighborhood and ten miles away it is sunny. One day it is 0° and the next a balmy 50°!

It is not the weatherman's voice we trust, but what God declares from the heavens! His voice echoes in the winds and commands the snow to cover the landscape. His majesty is displayed in the sunset and His might in the thunder. The rainbow still proves His Word to be true! (Genesis 9:12-13)

Wanna see God at work? Take time to experience nature! Don't allow the weatherman to be your guide!


Friday, February 8, 2019

Actions Influene Louder Than Words!

Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.(Daniel 3:28-30)
 Actions influene louder than words! We all played follow the leader, right? They did not really speak. We followed and mimicked their actions! We see the same result here with Daniel's buddies as they decided to trust God despite the circumstance. As a result, even the king now honored their God!

In sports, team leaders show by example much more than words.

My boyhood hero, Frank Robinson just passed away Feb. 7. I watched his every move in a game and read every word written about him. He was known for his tenacity, grit, and aggressive style. He would never back down and never quit. Though facing bitter racism, he chose to let his play answer the critics and not his anger or frustration. I believe a bit of his style rubbed off on me. It has even helped me in my faith.

As I am challenged by situations and even by particular people, I am reminded of the bigger picture: the example I am setting and the legacy I am leaving behind. Someone is watching!

Thank You for the heroes of my life. Perhaps I can be a hero to one or two? Allow my actions to influence louder than my words, unless You want me to speak!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

the fire had no power

Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:26-30)
We are staying in the fire again today! Weird? Yes it is! Why stay out in the heat of August summer when most all of us have the comforts of air conditioning? Well then, why walk on seering coals of this world and dive into the flames of sin when we have a Savior Who rescues from the fires . . . without hint of smoke or burns?

The fire had no power over the teens in Daniel 3 nor does the fire we face daily have power over us today! The key is the gods or God we serve!

David had a similar stance:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.(Psalm 23:4)
If we give in to the heat God allows in our lives, seeking pleasures and comfort over facing challenges and battles of faith, though we may feel better physically, we fail miserably spiritually! God receives no glory. We have no testimony as to our faith or His power!

However, when we stand admist the heat and allow God to work through us, like in Nebuchadnezzar's case, God receives glory and all can see His power! God is still stronger than any heat we may face. Don' t run. Don't hide. Don't melt. STAND UP and face the heat! The fire still has no power!

It's a matter of trust . . . .

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Can you STAND the heat? (Part II)

But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”(Daniel 3:15-18)

I rarely focus on the same scripture a second day, but these words right here move me to do so. These young people, Daniel and his boys, his SQUAD if you will, just impress me and cause me to inspire other young (and not-so-young) people today!

I ask once again, Can you STAND then heat? To quote a past favorite President, "Yes, we (YOU and I) can!" 

People of faith in Christ, Lord and Savior, STAND UP! Despite the pain . . . Despite the challenges . . . Despite the lies and corruption . . . STAND UP! Yes, I am yelling . . . 
in ALL CAPS and BOLD!!!!

Please stop siding with slanted politicians. Please stop partnering with untrustworthy associates. Please stop joining in with backbiting and gossiping classmates and co-workers . . . Get on the Lord's side and stay there . . . STAND there! Do not be moved! 

We have to get our noses out of this world and into God's Word to be better equipped. What good is CNN and FOX without the B.I.B.L.E.? There lies the TRUTH!!! 

I am officially challenged! What about you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Can you STAND the heat?

But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”(Daniel 3:15-18)
Just one question this morning CHRISTian: Can you STAND the heat? 

Daniel's young friends were faced with a heated decision: follow the law of the land or STAND for their faith . . . . their God. We live in a challenging world. Young and not-so-young, we all face peer pressures, political correctness, social acceptance, and cultural and historical practices and traditions. When faced with these choices and biblical values, where do we STAND . . . or do we crumble?

I will leave it at that and have us ponder this thought . . . . What are we leaving to our children?

So loud that we cannot hear!

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