Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Whatever Happened to Christmas?

Dear Gentle Readers...

Christmas devotionals are difficult for me. That must sound strange coming from one of faith. I don't think I'm the only one, though. There are a number of us out here that struggle during the holidays.

I work a part-time retail job. Anyone who has done this can tell you we are on the front lines of the holiday humbug. It begins with militant christians, not unlike the Inquisitors, who are offended when I offer "happy holidays." I get the lecture on how people like me are removing Jesus from everything in this world including Christmas. These are the folks who should have the greatest joy, yet they are sour, frustrated, and unpleasant. And they really can affect your mood in great numbers. (I live in the south...there are great numbers.)

I offer "happy holidays" because I want to be sensitive to another's faith walk. Nothing says I have to agree with their spiritual choices. I simply want to respect them. There is nothing that turns people off more quickly than to have another's religion pushed down their throats. And if there's one thing about Christians down through the ages, we've been really good at pushing our beliefs down the throats of others! All of that hassle tends to leave me with a bit of a humbug problem.

And we all know those who are simply depressed during the holidays. Psychiatry always comes up with great names and acronyms for this stuff. What it all means is that you are yucky. It may relate to your childhood experiences. It may relate to experiences as an adult. You may just plain old fight depression and this is the season it's at its worst. Who knows? Either way, you get really good at the "happy holidays" fake smile. Inside you're wishing the world would go away and leave you alone.

But, when we take all of this and melt it down, what is left is our faith. For those of us who are Christian, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. For the Wiccan or Neo Pagan, they celebrate the solstice, the longest and darkest night of the winter season. Our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate Hanukkah, a festival of lights showing God's protection for His chosen people.

None of the external matters. The depression. The nasty people in the checkout line at the store. The staunch fundamentalists who would insist you worship their way or else. None of it matters.

What matters is our worship. What matters is our love for our brothers and sisters in this world. What will you do this season? Will you give in to the humbug attitude? Or will you choose to worship and honor the Jesus we as Christians accept as our salvation?

I encourage you to take time. Take time Christmas Eve to think upon the impending birth of Jesus. What must Mary and Joseph have thought? How did God the Father feel when peering over Heaven's edge to see His Son enter the world in such a manner? And on Christmas Day, rejoice with Mary and Joseph as they hold the Savior, a little baby. Remember in your own heart of hearts what this season of celebration means to you personally.

I encourage you to take that joy and share it throughout next year. May your Christmas be filled with thoughts of helping those less fortunate, for it is in giving that we receive. Really, isn't that what Jesus did for us?


PS: Remember in prayer those on the Gulf Coast who have lost so much this year. Many will be sharing their Christmas huddled in tents and eating at soup kitchens. Many will have no Christmas at all. Let us not forget these our brothers and sisters during this holiday season.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Dear Gentle Readers....
There is a blog that I read regularly, Gratefulness.Org(
http://www.gratefulness.org/t/simple.htm) which has an excellent writing on simplicity. In reading the article, I was struck by the thought of a life of gratefulness truly being a life of simplicity. I don't think that has ever crossed my mind before and it brought a revelation to my spirit!

The writer notes that by the time we reach kindergarten, we have been bombarded by and soaked up thousands upon thousands of advertisements. Of course, this must affect our daily lives. Just think of the kids (even adults) around us who have the “gimme” attitude! We go through life, thanks to this “gimme” attitude, always dissatisfied and seeking after the next big thing, the next big thrill. We don't allow ourselves to enjoy the simple things that God brings into our lives: a hummingbird outside our window, dew on the morning grass, the amazing hues in the sky at sunset! So many simple things with which God has blessed that can inspire and encourage our spirit to appreciate the awesomeness of God.

Even in our churches, we are seeking the next special singer, guest preacher, or new program. And, even so, God continues to woo us to Himself through the simplicity of the service, the speaker or the communion table. Yet we leave the church and go back to our work-a-day world without having experienced the change that simplicity brings, without having worshiped in spirit and truth.

How can we experience simplicity? We experience simplicity in gratefulness. An attitude of gratitude should be the way of our lives. When we experience gratitude for those wonderful, simple things with which we are blessed, the difficulties and trials we face fade in the Light of His glory! We get a glimpse of God and His handiwork. When we are able to see God in His creation we will be ready and able to see even more of His wonder. We will no longer operate in the “gimme.” We will find we experience God in ALL of His creation: the wind in the trees, the snow on the mountains, the cry of the eagle, the crashing of the ocean on the shore, the embrace of a dear friend, the waves of joy and sorrow and the rebirth of joy in our lives!

Some would say that this takes the focus off God and onto His creation. Let us remember that God made all things for our benefit because He loved us. We have gotten so far away from true worship! We think our piety will show our gratitude. No, my friends. We show our worship in the simplicity of gratitude for ALL with which God has blessed. That includes His creation.

I would encourage you today to ask God to show you the simplicity and wonder of His creation. You will be surprised at the joy you experience. And you will be equally amazed at how the things that normally pull you away from the Spirit of God have no affect on you. You become focused on God and His wonder. Anything else becomes as a buzzing fly around your consciousness...and even that fly is a simply reminder of the wonder of God!

May you be richly blessed this day as you contemplate the gratitude found in simplicity!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Drumming my fingers impatiently...

Hello, gentle readers...

It's good to share with you again. I've been waiting. Do you ever have to wait for things? I think it's one of the more frustrating lessons we learn in life. But, does waiting mean you just sit and do nothing?

I knew of someone many years back who needed something from God. She would go into her closet (literally into her closet)...and wait. I remember asking her what was she doing about her needs. She said, "Waiting on God." She would literally just sit there, pray some, and wait. I never quite understood why, if she had a need, she didn't put some action to her prayers. Was her expectation that God would show up as a bolt of lightening in that closet and "poof" her need be met?

Prayer requires action. Waiting requires action. They are both verbs. If we are simply going to sit around and drum our fingers, twiddle our thumbs, and wait, we may never see the answer to our needs. If you need a job, are you looking for one? If you need financial stability, are you taking the steps necessary to reach that goal? Or are you just waiting and doing nothing, expecting God to just dump something in your lap?

Right now, we need jobs and we need finances. We are sending resumes, reading the papers, cold-contacting businesses in the Yellow Pages, sending emails and thank you cards to those who have given us an interview. And we are waiting on God.

Isaiah 40:31 says, "...those who hope in (wait on) the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

If we are waiting, are we soaring? Are we running? Are we walking with strength? The Bible is very clear here that we are to be busy while we wait. That flies in the face of everything we've been taught in the church, doesn't it? We've been told that we are to wait patiently and that waiting implies inactivity while waiting on God to do something miraculous. I think this is incorrect.

God wants us to walk out our faith. Should we just sit here and wait for God to drop a job in our laps? No. We are to put feet to our faith. We are to be active in doing what God would have us to do while we wait. The thought that we are entitled to anything is incorrect. Anything we receive is because of God's grace. That includes the solution to our challenges and learning to wait.

So, my friends, I am here to tell you that God is never late. We may not like the timing. But He is never late. The challenges in our lives are there so that God can show His glory through our lives. And, we know that as this month goes on, our needs will be met.

Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will meet all of your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

God will meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus! We have no need to fret. Worry never added a day to anyone's life. But we do have an opportunity for God to show his wonder and might through our need.

Today, when you are thinking about that thing for which you are waiting on God, remember to act on it. Pray about it. Take action. Actively wait on God!

May God bless you richly this day and may you know the fullness of His presence in your life.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Spirit and Humanity

Dear Gentle Readers,

I have been reflecting on my experiences over the past weeks. They have been both full of gratitude and faith…and punctuated by moments of despair and feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances. But does this human journey of despair and concern overshadow or negate our trust and faith in our God? Does being thankful and full of faith mean that we experience no human emotion? I don’t think so.

You know by reading my posts, I believe in “but God.” I think that the “but God” ultimate core belief is the stuff of which faith is made. Just because we have moments of despair does not make us less fit for the Kingdom. Consider Jesus.

How often was Jesus discouraged? Did he not call out to his Father and ask for another way to fulfill what he was called to do? In Luke 22:42, Jesus was praying because he was overwhelmed by the circumstances. He well understood what was to take place in his earthly life and his humanness came to the forefront. Jesus wasn’t afraid to be honest with his Father. He wasn’t all “happy, happy, joy, joy.” And he knew that his human response to the coming sacrifice wasn’t an affront to God. What was his ultimate response? “Yet I want your will, not mine.” Jesus submitted his humanity to God’s Spirit. His submission brought about the victory. But his humanity was not sinful or offensive to God.

I am concerned that we, as the Church, have created an atmosphere that doesn’t allow for human weakness or failure. I hear us saying, “Praise the Lord,” because it is acceptable and expected. We don’t, however, express our honest humanity by saying, “Oh, God how can I cope?” Have we created a place where, unless one expresses superhuman joy and faith all the time, we look down upon and condemn others as less holy or a failure in their faith walk?

We must remember that God, in His infinite wisdom, made us human. But God also put within us His Spirit! That combination of humanity and Spirit is what gives us both the humanity to fail and the faith to overcome; to see ourselves and others as God sees us.

Even though we are spirit, we are also human. The Spirit strives to be like God; full of faith and holy character. But we are human. We will fail. We will hurt others, albeit without meaning to do so. We won’t always get our prayers answered the way we expect or desire.

But God…

God says we are a holy people, chosen by God.* Therefore, allow for humanity. Let us not judge another’s faith walk. Let us not presume to know what is in a person’s heart. But, let us be the hand of God that reaches, encourages, and lifts others up, knowing that we all have our humanity. That allows us to be transparent before our God! That allows us to have a deep, abiding relationship with our God.

So, in conclusion, today take some time to look beyond a fault or failure and encourage someone in your life. Love and support them, and in so doing be the hand of God in your world. Be that royal priest called by God to show acceptance…not rejection.

May God richly bless you this day and may you experience the wonderful overcoming power of the Holy Spirit as you seek to be like God.


* I Peter 2:9-10 “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you---from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” The Message Remix

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Lessons in Humility

Hello, gentle readers,

It has been a couple of whirlwind weeks. Again we were told by one of the insurance companies that we are not covered. That was the last one with which we were to meet. Now we try for loans and grants. I must admit that the process is daunting...and frustrating.

We learned a lesson in humility this week. On Friday, after we met with the insurance adjuster, two of our dear friends joined us. I felt terrible for my friend. He had stored some items in our home and they were destroyed by the hurricane. He was so kind, though. After we went through and packed these items, we went to the charity tents. Yep, you heard correctly. The charity tents. Under these tents were clothing, food, supplies and a cafeteria.

I was somewhat embarrassed by having to do that. To be at the mercy of another is a most humbling experience. First we went through the clothing tent. There were two ladies at the entrance hugging and giving comfort to all who entered regardless of ethnicity, religion...or sexual orientation. Their embraces were genuine and full of concern. If you've never lost so much and had to rely on the goodness of others, you cannot imagine what that concern meant to us.

After the clothing tent was the food and supplies tent. The line was incredibly long. The lady in front of us had her mother and her son. The son was fighting heat exhaustion. Along the way there were coolers that had ice and water. We drank it gratefully. We also poured that cold water on the woman's son, trying to help him to feel better. Wherever we went, the lines seemed to go on forever and people were hot and tired. Some shared stories of their losses. Some just stood in line with blank expressions...shell-shocked by the tragedy.

The money running low, we thankfully went through the food and supplies tent. We were grateful for everything that people had donated and for the gentle people who served us with joy and gladness. In the light of such tragedy, here were people of every shape and color imaginable all coming together to share their lives and their provisions.

I would learn more about this wonderful group of Christians. The organizers are Christian Life Church in Baldwin County, Alabama. They, themselves, have been the victims of horrific hurricanes. They have committed to serving the people of Bay St. Louis and Waveland for an entire year. I was amazed at this! The people in the tents were from all over the country. The two ladies who gave us such a warm welcome and blessing at the clothing tent were from Illinois.

All I could think of while standing in the lines was how truly this was the Church. This, as Christians, is what we are all called to do: clothe, feed, and care for those who are in need. Trust me, not everyone who went through those lines shared a belief in Jesus as Savior. But what an amazing witness to that small community of the love of Christ, expressed in the hugs and supplies of His people.

Yes, I was humbled to go through those lines. But, I was also encouraged! As always, with me there is a "but, God..." This lesson's "but, God..." spoke volumes over my embarrassment and humility. This lesson was in showing the true Light of the World through a simple embrace, a kind word, or something as elementary as a cold bottle of water.

Thank God for people like these! Please remember them in your prayers as you remember those who still struggle to recover from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

May God bless you richly this day. May you show the world the love of Christ in all you say and do.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

God's Grace in the Storm

Hello, Gentle Readers…

It is good to be back with you again. Thankfully, the cable installer has visited us and I am online and ready to spend some time with you again. I have missed our time together. But, apparently, God had some other plans for us. And that’s okay. We certainly learn more when our faith is tested, right?

I have learned volumes during this trying time. Only time will tell the lessons learned and how to express them to you. I’m not much for the preaching of those who give lessons they do not learn, nor follow. So, here we are at the brink of new discovery.

We left our home in Bay St. Louis, MS on August 29, 2005, knowing in our hearts we would not be able to return. It was a very sinking feeling. The truck loaned to us by a friend in the military was full of our “kids” (read furry, four-legged kind), whatever we could snap up in just an hour, and we were on the road to Mobile.

Without the love of our pastor and church, we would have stayed in our home during the storm and could have been hurt or killed. But, our wise pastor lovingly “encouraged” us to head for Alabama. He gave us shelter and food for three weeks while we tried to find financial assistance and a place to live. We had two duffle bags of clothes, personal papers, a couple of our Bibles, my guitars, and our “kids.” That was it. Our 40+ years of living zippered into two duffles.

We went back to Bay St. Louis a week after the storm to find our house had been saturated by 2 feet of raw sewage. It was pungent, to say the least. We were able to save some clothes and a few other items, but nothing of significance as all was full of mold. Mold is now climbing the walls, about 4’ high. Insurance (why do we pay them?) says it’s “flood damage” and we’re not covered. What a mess.

But God…

You know by now that with me there is always a “but God.” Our Heavenly Father has been so gracious to us. We have had people we barely know, and others we simply didn’t know but knew of us, give us amazing financial blessings. Other people gave us furniture, bedding, linens, a washer and dryer! There seems to be no end to the blessings of God! And I truly, truly believe that the blessings are there because we are gracious in receiving them. We are not owed anything, but by God’s amazing grace we are given all we need.

I could tell you stories of how blessing after blessing overwhelmed us. I could tell you of the friend who thought of our “kids” and blessed them with a Petsmart gift card. I could tell you of two friends who simply gave us a washer and dryer. I could share with you of the woman who sent us a laptop; her first and much-loved computer. Over and over the blessings keep coming. And we are humbled by the generosity of others and the compassion of our Lord.

We are now in prayer about employment. It will be necessary for me to obtain secular employment for a bit. I am looking forward to new challenges. Both my partner and I have interviews on Thursday, October 13, 2005. Please join us in prayer for wisdom and guidance in obtaining the employment God has for us. We know that God has already made a place for us. It is our task, and joy, to find what that path is.

To our friends, thank you for your prayers. Certainly, we have felt every one of them during this tragedy. Continue to remember those who are displaced and discouraged by both Katrina and Rita. There has been so much lost. And if you are able to help, please do so. Obviously, relief efforts need assistance. But remember that prayer is your greatest gift of all.

I am looking forward to sharing more of my life lessons with you. I hope you will join me again on this path of learning. God is our Teacher and we are His students.

May God richly bless you this day. May you know the fullness of His grace and the joy of His salvation.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm B A A A C C C K K K

Hello all!!!

I am pleased to say I am finally back online!! The cable folks finally sent us two techs who were hard workers and problem solvers. So...hopefully I will have a new blog up in a couple of days.

In the meantime, know you are loved by God and inhabited by the Holy Spirit, and forgiven through the blood of Jesus!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New Beginnings

Hello, Gentle Readers…

How often does our God bring New Beginnings? All through our Scriptures, there is testimony after testimony of God bringing His children through difficulties to New Beginnings.

Monday and Wednesday, my partner and I traveled to Biloxi for appointments. The trip took twice as long because of hurricane reconstruction and closed roads. While driving through the coastal towns, we were overwhelmed at the sheer force of “mother nature” and the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

When we reached Biloxi, nothing could have prepared me for what we saw. Homes simply flattened: nothing remaining but a roof over a pile of rubble. Downed trees and power lines were everywhere. Rows upon rows of tent cities dotted the remaining landscape. Wal-Mart parking lots were turned into relief areas full of military personnel and more tents. Simply put, nothing of Biloxi remained from the beachfront to about a half mile from the Gulf. Houses on the inland waterfront were shells. Boats were perched in trees! Cars were piled one atop the other. Completely overwhelming!

But God….

You know there’s always a “but God.”

I began to notice that, even though it’s been four weeks since the hurricane and it still looks like a war zone, there were new leaves on the trees. They were that wonderful light green of spring. There were buds and new flowers blooming everywhere; beautiful, bright and encouraging. It was as if God was saying, “I am doing a new thing.”

The people, exhausted but so resilient, were in their yards cleaning up storm damage. Everyone was chatting with their neighbors. There was a new spirit of cooperation and friendliness. Neighbor helping neighbor; whether it was cleaning the storm damage or sharing a cup of coffee brewed on a pile of sticks and tree limbs.

The initial feeling of being overwhelmed with grief was replaced with joy! How could I possibly experience joy in this place? But, I was doing just that.

What the Spirit spoke to my heart that day was a simple phrase, “New Beginnings.” Out of the ashes comes new life. Out of the fury of the storm comes calm. And out of our tragedy comes a new found concern for others. Just like the trees and flowers, new life is coming to the Gulf Coast…all the way from Mobile to New Orleans.

Wait and watch with me and rejoice at the New Beginnings of the Lord.

May God richly bless you this day and cause you to see joy in the overwhelming difficulties of life.


Monday, September 19, 2005

An Attitude of Gratitude

Hello my dear friends...

I must share with you how God has met our every need during the aftermath of Katrina. We now have a wonderful little rental home! All of the "kids" are with us, which is such a blessing in itself. The kitties and doggy are beside themselves with joy to have us all in one place.

Here is the point I want to make: We MUST have an attitude of gratitude. It is that attitude, that spiritual character, which opens the windows of blessing on God's children. If you had told me that Patti and I would lose our home and most everything that was in it, I would have told you that you were nuts. But, here we are. The home is disgusting and filled with sewage and mold. Who knows how long until the insurance settles and repairs are done. Quite honestly, there's nothing to go back to. Most all jobs are lost. Most folks in our area are living under sagging carports or tarps and tents. The scene is depressing and devastating all at the same time.

But God....

And there is always...But God!

God has, through his people, provided for all of our needs. We have a home. We are well fed. We are blessed with transportation. God is slowly replacing the things we lost.

I would suggest that it is our attitude that opens the windows of God's blessing. I challenge you today to open your heart. Take a moment to write down your blessings and thank God for every single one of them. You might find that your attitude changes and you are overcome by the many, many blessings of our God!

May God richly bless you this day!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

We're okay and blessed

Just a note to let you know we are okay and blessed. We move into our new home today! I'll write more as I am able.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hurricane Katrina--Part 2

Hello all...

Short post to let you all know we are safe. Thanks to the generosity of our pastor and church, we are staying in the parsonage in Mobile. All is lost at the house. It is 1-2' full of raw sewage. We escaped with a few personal items, the "kids," and some clothes. But God is good. We are blessed to be alive. We continue to pray for you, our dear friends. And we continue to pray for the families of those who were lost or are still missing, as well as other victims of this horrible storm. We know that God is a good god and is able to meet all of our needs in Christ Jesus. Our faith is strong and we are rejoicing that we are alive and able to continue God's work.

Thank you for your prayers, words of encouragement, and the many gifts we have received. We will be back in touch as quickly as we are able.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

My friends,
I was planning on putting up a new blog entry today, but Hurricane Katrina has put my plans on hold. We are battening down the hatches and securing our property. We are, at this projection, about 45 miles east of the storm center. We covet your prayers of protection during the storm. And we will be back in touch as soon as we are able.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Hello, gentle readers…

I was recently chastised by another blog writer for my focus on the love of God. It is his contention that sin and judgment are the cornerstone of Christianity. I beg to differ. It is God’s love that compels us to follow Him. And it is that love which we bring to a downtrodden world. To love God is to love others.

I John 4:21 “And he has given us this command: Whosoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Whosoever loves God must also love his brother (or sister). The language here is very firm. The Apostle is trying to show the followers of Jesus that love is supreme. One could not, nor cannot abide divisions and a judgmental spirit in the Body.

Look at the verses in context. I John 4:16-17 “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." I John 4:19-20 “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

You may respond that you DO love your brother and you DO love God. I would challenge you to reexamine that. When God put that mirror of the Spirit up to my heart, I certainly had to do so.

That challenge to my heart caused me to reevaluate how I treated others. I found myself shying away from the homeless. They’re unkempt, often mentally ill, and a challenge to my senses and selflessness. I have had to admit to avoiding some young people because they express themselves in ways I find disconcerting. For example, my partner and I often hang out at the bookstore. There are gangs of young people dressed in goth gear. Quite honestly, they scare me. How silly is that? I avoid talking to them because of that fear and judgment in my heart. Do I love God? Do I trust God? Or not?

Those are just two of the groups that the Lord pointed out. Trust me, there were others. But I share these with you so that you will look inside your own heart; the dark corners where you hide things from your own self. We all have those places.

The Apostle says that if we show no love toward another, we show we do not know God. It’s that simple. Now when I walk by that person who is homeless, I am responsible for sharing the love of God. How? Give a word of encouragement. Buy a hamburger. Give a bible! Show love…the love of God to all men and women.

One cannot continue to quote the often misused phrase (and in my opinion a very unchristlike one), “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” It doesn’t work that way. You say that God hates sin, therefore this is valid. I say it is not. The emphasis is on the wrong thing. God didn’t hate SIN so much that He sent His Son. God LOVED His creation so much that He sent His Son! Big difference.

I would challenge you today to ask God to show you where you are failing in this area. To whom do you fail to show the love of God in your every day lives? I can promise you it will be an eye-opener…and it will prick your spirit and your conscience.

May you fully understand the love and grace of God this day. And may you share it with someone else with compassion.


Monday, August 01, 2005


Hello, gentle readers...

I have placed a link to an article on The Epistle, (http://epistle.us/articles/sticksstones.html) a webzine which I frequently read. It was written by Edrick and I know you will be as touched by it as I was.

Along that theme, I have been considering the idea of curses. In James, the writer talks about how blessings and cursings shouldn't come from the same tongue. In other words, how can we bless God at one moment and curse his creation at another? The writer in James 3 gives a number of examples; fresh and brackish water from the same stream, a fig tree bearing olives, or a grapevine bearing figs. We have been taught that one reaps what one sows. Galatians 6:7 says this plainly.

We cannot bless God and then curse his creation.

Let's look at James 3 together. "(5) Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts...(6) The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell...(8) but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison..(9) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God's likeness. (10) Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be."

Why does the writer use the phrase, "set on fire?" It is there to emphasize the incredible power we have simply by speaking, to bring destruction to our lives and the lives of those around us. Consider Ephesians 1:19 where the writer says that we have the same power living in us that raised Jesus from the dead! And not only is there the power that raised Jesus from the dead, but the same power that lifted Jesus up to his place of authority and dominion over all creation! It would stand to reason then, if we have that power living within us, the words we speak will also have great power.

Consider this: You're driving along and you have a christian CD on or the local christian radio station. You are praising God and singing with the tunes. It's a good day, right? Now a driver pulls in front of you causing you to slam on your brakes. You screech to a halt just before you plow into him. What are you saying and thinking now? Are you still praising God? Or are you cursing the driver who almost caused you to wreck your vehicle?

Out of the same mouth come blessings and cursings. God says that's not the way it's supposed to be. Have you done it? I have. Immediately I am convicted of it, too. Thankfully, there is the sacrifice of Jesus and the grace of God to bring immediate forgiveness and healing from my shame. But we all do it...praise God and then curse His creation. (Ephesians 1:19)

I would challenge you today to keep a watch on what you say. Are you cursing God's creation or are you blessing both God and His creation? It's a moment by moment vigil to keep ourselves obedient. Every morning let's begin our day with a prayer that we will glorify God and edify our earthly brothers and sisters with what we say...and not curse them by our negative, hurtful, harmful comments.

May God richly bless you this day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Depart from me...

Hello, gentle readers.

As you can tell from past blogs, God has been dealing with my heart on the subject of LOVE. My partner and I were on our way to work, and a very simple verse came to me with such power and presence. As we shared our thoughts, I felt God speaking. Consider this with me.

Matthew 7:21-23 says, "Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as 'Lord' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' But, I will reply, 'I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.'" NLT

Jesus summarized the Commandments in Matthew 22:37-40, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." NLT

How does that speak to us today? Very simply but very deeply: It's all about LOVE. Jesus very plainly said we can do all sorts of great things; prophesy, deliverance, miracles. But only one thing truly matters. Do you LOVE? If God tells us to LOVE, are we in obedience? I dare say that not many of us walk that walk of faith with consistency. We are so busy doing that we fail to LOVE.

So, what is being the LOVE of God in another's life? On the short list would be things like listening and caring, avoiding gossip and vile talk, even providing food and shelter to one in need. Are we the good Samaritan? (Luke 10:30-36) Or are we the priest and the Levite? Interesting how often Jesus used the religious leaders of the day to show us how not to be. The priest passed by on the other side of the road. The Levite passed by on the other side. But the Samaritan had mercy on the man who was robbed, or was heartbroken over his condition. The Samaritan went directly to the injured man, bound his wounds, and then carried him on his own donkey to a place where he could be properly taken care of. Not only did he pre-pay the inn keeper for his trouble, but promised to pay anything over and above that the inn keeper had to pay out!

In v36, Jesus asked those listening, "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law responds in v37, "The one who had mercy on him." And Jesus replies, "Go and do likewise."

It stands to reason that if we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, that the whole world is our neighborhood and deserves our very best. It's not good enough to say to someone who is hungry, "Peace be with you. Be well." We must step outside of our own selves and feed the hungry. That is LOVE. It is not good enough to say to someone without a job, "Peace be with you." Help them find the job that God has for them. And if you are a business owner, give them a job! That is LOVE. It is not good enough to say to someone who is homeless, "Peace be with you." Open your home to them. Pay for an apartment if you are able. Don't just wish people well. Be the answer to their prayers! Be God's LOVE in their life!

This is the commitment that God requires of us as Christians. It's all about the LOVE. You can have all the spiritual gifts in the world, but if you don't have love you're just so much noise.
(I Cor. 13:1-3) You can preach the best sermons on the earth, but if you don't have love, you are voiceless. Jesus said that all humankind will know that we are his disciples if....we pray a lot?...we give our tithe?...we sing really well in worship?...go on visitation every Tuesday night? No. A thousand times no. Jesus said that all humankind will know we are his disciples by our LOVE! John 13:34-35 says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."

That pretty much sums it all up, doesn't it? We can only claim to be his disciples if we show love to one another. How's your "love level" today? Have you passed by on the other side of a hurting and needy world? Or are you the one who will stop and meet the needs of those God puts in your path?

May God bless you richly this day.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Persecution Complex?

Hello gentle readers,

Recently I was reading Luke 6:22-23 which says, "Blessed are you when others hate you, when they exclude you, and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets."

During the verses before and following, Jesus is teaching. All of the people from surrounding areas were bringing their sick and oppressed to be healed by him. During this, Jesus turns to his disciples to teach them a special lesson. In the midst of this, Jesus gives the above. He says that those who are persecuted and marginalized for his sake, will be blessed and receive a heavenly reward.

That made me think about all of the times I've just labeled something I've gone through as persecution and skipped along thinking I was blessed and rewarded.

Am I truly persecuted for Christ, or am I simply offensive in my witness? To be persecuted for Christ means one must actually be living for him. Pseudo-religion doesn't get it. Living for Christ requires complete selflessness and love. If we are mistreated, it is often in response to our lack of love. I have never seen someone mistreated for being the love of Christ in this world! But, I have most certainly seen well-meaning Christians mistake judgment for love and bring upon themselves ill-treatment.

It's not about a persecution complex! If we fail to show the true love and acceptance of God, it is not blessed.

Many years ago, I worked with a young woman who walked out in her life the love of God. She walked the walk. Always. I know she did because I watched her diligently for failure. I couldn't believe anyone could have that loving spirit on the inside. But she did. Every day. She was a strong witness to me of how Christ loved the world. And to this day, when I have unloving moments in my life, Lynn's walk with the Lord comes back to me as a witness...30 years afterward! Don't ever think that what you say or do won't affect folks in the long-term. It will.

Was this woman persecuted? No. There was no need because she showed the love of God to everyone with whom she had contact. Was she misunderstood? Definitely! She loved everyone and was always kind and courteous. There was no doubt whose she was and why she was that way. She witnessed to the love of God every single day we worked together. Jesus literally beamed through her to everyone around her.

So, if we are not seeing a positive response to our witness, maybe we should start to check our "love level." We live in a world full of people who are desperately seeking peace, love and personal acceptance. Let's take the time to check our "love level" and reach a hurting world for Jesus!

May God richly bless you this day! Love someone for God today...


Thursday, July 07, 2005


Hello, gentle readers...

It's been some time since we shared with each other. My mind and spirit have been so busy with a myriad of thoughts and prayers. I have felt overwhelmed by the mean-spirited talk between ministries and social groups. There are times when I think I am the only person who sees past the veil of self-promotion into the heart of God. (Yes, I know that's not true. And I say it not to seem haughty, but to let you understand my brokenness over how we act toward one another.)

In Philippians, Paul talks of others jumping into ministry positions after he was put in jail. He says, "How am I to respond? I've decided that I really don't care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!" (The Message/Remix)

I realize that Paul is speaking of specific happenings, but I wonder if it is applicable today. How often do we criticize others' walks of faith or preaching? Quite often, actually. We all seem to think we are the "chosen", the one with the answer. We all read our bibles differently. We all have our own interpretation of what each scripture means.

There are groups and denominations who teach that, unless you conform to their image of what the christ-life is, you will be eternally damned. Why can we not accept each others' teachings and be thankful that Christ is preached? Instead of picking each other apart for our differences, why can we not cheer each other on for our similarities?

When all is brought to its primary thought, isn't it really about reaching the world with the Gospel? Is it really about who thinks women should keep silent? Is it really about who speaks in tongues and who does not? Is it really about whether the wine and bread literally transform into the body and blood at communion?

I say it is not! It is about bringing God to man. It is about being a conduit through whom others can find their way in a difficult world. Paul says that regardless of the others' motives, he cheers them on because he knows that the Gospel is being brought to the people! I think this is a strong lesson for us. We should cheer on our brothers and sisters who seek to show God to the world, regardless of their motives. You see, in reality, we are but planters in this vineyard. It is the Spirit of God who brings to fruition the labor we offer. It isn't because of our own goodness, or our own motives, but because of the Holy Spirit of the One God, in the Message of Jesus.

So, today let us examine our own motives. Let us commit to be an encourager of others and not a criticizer or complainer. When you meet someone today who seeks to bring the Gospel to others, don't argue over doctrine or dogma. Agree to encourage each other in showing the love of Christ to the world around you. You will find that your harvest increases because you are operating in the Spirit of the One God, and that is a position of blessing!

May God richly bless you this day as you seek to bring the Message of Jesus to a world full of confusion and strife.


Friday, June 10, 2005

Breakthrough Prayer

Dear gentle readers,

I have been reading a book by Jim Cymbala, "Breakthrough Prayer." Now, understand that I am becoming more and more a seeker of truth. I am not satisfied with the platitudes of our staid religious leadership. Just as the Pharisees of earlier times were so concerned with the laws they prescribed, so our modern day leadership seems to be. Unfortunately, the Pharisees turned this into a legalistic system of laws and requirements that stifled spiritual growth and understanding. This is what I see happening over and over again. Our religious leaders have lost their focus. They are claiming authority where they have none and turning the personal nature of a relationship with God to a set of rules and regulations!

You ask what this has to do with breakthrough prayer? Just as Cymbala states in his book, I believe that the deliverance movement we see around us has produced a generation of people who lack true compassion and do not have the humility of spirit that would weep over their own weaknesses. This focus on other people and their failings has caused us to not consider our own. We, with malice, point out the log in another's eye without first throwing away the beam in our own. It has caused us to wait for the next prayer line, the next preacher, the next "word"...and not driven us to our knees personally before the Lord.

To immerse ourselves in the spirit of prayer, especially for personal guidance, is a lost art. We run here and there wanting a "word" from someone else, never learning to truly listen to the Holy Spirit and respond to His call. These are Christians who continue to do whatever they think (or more often feel) is best and then ask God to bless the effort. We "claim" authority and "call in" the blessings, without sincerely knowing that which God has ordained! And we take it upon ourselves to put that bondage on others, as well.

There are myriad promises in our Bibles which can only flow into our lives when we appropriate them through deep, personal prayer. Consider Jesus in the garden. He was torn to the soul on the inside and cried out in his pain to his Heavenly Father. It was this personal relationship which gave him the strength to carry out God's plan.

So what is the heart of breakthrough prayer? First, it is intimacy with God that allows us to see His plan for us, every moment of every day. Second, it is the confidence that comes from that relationship which allows us to enter the Presence of the Almighty.

The two go hand in hand. Intimacy brings confidence. Confidence brings intimacy.

Breakthrough comes from confidence in God! Breakthrough is not speaking arrogant authority. The idea that we can command God to do something is just not so. We must know the plan before we can execute the play. Christians today go around "claiming" things that were never promised. We "claim" things that God never ordained to be. In so doing, we ignore the spiritual power available to us in Jesus, and deny the world of great grace.

This is not faith! Faith is knowing God's plan and trusting Him to bring about what He has promised regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. That, my dear readers, is faith! That requires a heart of prayer. That prayer is what brings about breakthrough!

George Mueller says, "Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance. It is laying hold of God's willingness." How true! When we pray, we must do so with the confident assurance that we know and pray God's will. We cannot know and pray God's will without knowing God intimately!

And how do we gain that power in prayer? Through the wisdom, knowledge and insight found in the Bible. Have you ever prayed the words of the Bible back to God? When we don't know what to say, we can certainly turn to our Bibles for help. As we pray the words of our Bibles to God, we are strengthened and encouraged in our spirit. In turn, our spirits become open to the leading of the Holy Spirit so we can know with confidence that which God has planned.

Only the Holy Spirit can help us to pray with sincere, open hearts. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be our comforter and our teacher. Knowing that, how can we not invite the Holy Spirit to teach us to pray prayers of breakthrough? These are the prayers that will change the course of history and bring about a world of peace for all humankind.

I would encourage you this day to talk to the Holy Spirit and submit to His teaching. Pray prayers that are effective, fervent and full of God's wisdom and will. It is in these prayers that we will find breakthrough to the fullness of the Christian walk.

May God richly bless you as you seek to be an authentic follower of Christ.


Friday, June 03, 2005

The Bread of Life

Hello, gentle readers...

First, let me thank you for your continued prayers for our military personnel, especially those serving in Iraq. They, regardless of their opinion about the cause or need for this war, honor their commitment to our country. The very least they deserve from us are our prayers and our gratitude. When you see a soldier, be sure to thank them for their service. They are the reason we have the blessing and privilege of living in a country as great as America.

Today I opened my bible to John 6:25-66. Please take out your bibles and read it. I hope it will speak to your heart as it has to mine.

In the context of these verses, we've just been told that Jesus walked on water. Keep this in mind when you read, because you will be amazed at the audacity of the disciples' constant request for another sign, another miracle. In v26 Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill." Jesus calls them to account for their worldliness. He continues by telling them that they should focus on the spiritual, not the earthly. He speaks to them using food as an example because it is something the disciples understand. (As an aside, there's a lesson here about sharing faith with others. Use what the listener can understand. That's why Jesus spoke in parables.)

Yet, in v28 the disciples do it again. They ask Jesus, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" They focused on the doing. And what does Jesus respond? "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." Did you see it? Jesus focused on the being. Jesus says the work of God is being a believer in the Son.

We can get so caught up in doing things that we forget the most important part: being one who believes!

The disciples still didn't get it! In v30 they ask Jesus for another sign! How many signs do we need? Jesus had just come to them walking on water and they still wanted a sign! They even credited the manna to Moses, not God. (Here's another tidbit: how often do we take the miraculous around us and credit them to fate? Or circumstance? Or other people? Ouch. Guilty as charged.)

Again, Jesus tried to turn their thoughts to the spiritual. In v32 Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." The disciples asked Jesus to give them this bread because they still didn't understand the Jesus was talking about himself. Jesus tries again in v35, "I am the bread of life." You can't get much plainer than that! In v36 he says, "But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe." (Doesn't this speak to us of the wonderful patience and longsuffering of our God, not wanting any to perish but offering this eternal life to all?)

Jesus goes on to describe to them his purpose on this earth. He repeats himself over and over again, trying to get them to open their spirits to his teaching. You have to wonder if this teaching came back to them during the Passover when Jesus talked about the blood and the body, the wine and the bread.

In v 63 Jesus says, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." Wow, the flesh counts for nothing.
Does that mean of our striving to be super Christians is useless? Does a tree have to strive to be a tree? When you walk by can you hear it groaning under the weight of the burden? No. And neither should we. If you are fulfilling the work of God, believing in the one whom he sent, then you are doing the work of God. You don't have to strive. The believing is the key.

You ask what about sin? You say, "I'm always battling sin." Sin is covered by that same blood and body. That is grace! We are exhorted here to simply BE! Stop striving and start being. You'll find the Christian life so very satisfying when you take the flesh out of the picture, focus on the Sprit and BE.

I pray God will bring this teaching home to you in a very real and exciting way. Faith is seeing the holiness. Faith is believing in the Son. Faith is walking in the Spirit. Faith is living in grace.

May God richly bless you as you seek to BE.


Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

My dear readers,

Today's writing is in red to symbolize all of the blood shed by courageous men and women in defense of the freedoms we hold so very dear. On Saturday, my partner and I went to a National Cemetery near us and helped to place flags on all of the graves. It was such a moving experience. To read all of the names of the soldiers buried there; honor their spouses and sometimes their children. At one point, I was simply overcome with emotion. I took off my ballcap, placed it gently across my heart in salute, and wept through a prayer of thankfulness for each of their sacrifice. You see, I know in my heart of hearts that I enjoy the life I do today because of those brave men and women.

And yet, I am deeply troubled by our presence in Iraq. Our president has created a civil war where thousands are dead, tens of thousands maimed or injured, and nobody is safe to walk the streets even during daylight. Although I honor our men and women in uniform for their selfless service, I cannot help but hurt for those families who are now dealing with the dead and horribly maimed. All of this is because of an egotistical president who is unwilling to take responsibility for the mess he's made.

On this Memorial Day, say thank you to those in uniform and offer your sincere appreciation for their sacrifices. And while you're at it, thank their families who kept the home fires burning. Believe me, they made great sacrifices, as well. And if you know a gay or lesbian soldier who is hiding in the closet and yet still carrying the torch of freedom, let them know what brave soldiers they are.

Without the selflessness, courage, bravery, and intestinal fortitude of these wonderful men and women, I would not be able to fly the flag of freedom today.

God bless America. God bless all of the governments on the Earth. And continue to pray for peace everywhere.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Lost Sheep

My dear readers,

Thank you for kind words and insightful comments on previous posts. I do read and take to heart every one of them, praying that I will grow in wisdom and knowledge through your experiences in the Lord.

Let's consider our responsibility to others. In Luke 15, Jesus was speaking in parables, as was his custom. The least among the community came to listen to Jesus. (I personally believe it was because he gave them hope. )The religious leaders were appalled that Jesus would associate with those of such low socio-economic status. These were considered the dregs of society: unkempt, unlearned, and straying away from what the religious leaders required. They wanted more than the Law. They wanted a relationship!

Within our churches we have so many who are marginalized and who hurt deeply. They may not have the best clothing or hygiene. They may not follow the same rules. Yet they are starving for love and compassion, in deep emotional pain. They sit in the back of our churches completely ignored by the minsters and congregation, no one reaching out to touch them where they are. Of that, we should be convicted! We can never know what's in a person's heart! Let me tell you of a recent event that made this very real to me.

As many know, my precious partner returned after a 15 month tour of duty in Iraq. She has suffered greatly with post-traumatic stress disorder. Several months ago she asked to speak with the pastor of the church we were attending. Now, you must understand that this church falls under the category of extreme fundamentalism. They are subscribers to the religion of prosperity and deliverance. According to their theology, if you have difficulties in your life then you are in sin, basically, and must have a demon or something similar which requires deliverance...their style. And there are so many churches out there who follow that theology. In my opinon, in light of the teaching and life of Jesus, it is very condemning and lacking in love and compassion. After that conversation, the pastor pushed her aside. It was devastating to my partner. For months she kept the hurt of that deployment inside because of the negative and hurtful reaction of that pastor.*

While attending a special event at another church, she had the opportunity to speak to the minister who will be, in a short few months, installed as the leader of their entire denomination. Although this woman is busy and very important, she took the time to care for my partner and reach out to her. I cannot begin to tell you how much healing was done in such a short time.

All of this made me think of the parable of the lost sheep. Jesus said, "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep but loses one of them? Then he will leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the open field and go out and look for the lost sheep until it finds it. And when he finds it, he happily puts it on his shoulders and goes home."

We think this is a parable for the lost; those who don't know Jesus. Think about it in a different way. He was tending the sheep; those who know his voice. These were his sheep. If one who knows him slips away, it is our obligation as ministers of the gospel to gently retrieve that sheep, put that one on our shoulders and carry them back to the sheepfold. The word for sheep used here means to go forward or advance. As his sheep, we should be moving forward or advancing...maturing in our faith walk. That leads to even bigger implications. We are to encourage one another in our faith walk. Also notice that the shepherd carried the sheep home. He didn't leave it to chance, but took the weary and confused sheep in his arms and gave the sheep comfort on the journey.

In the way that this minister took my partner's hands in hers and cared for her, so should we care for one another. It's an easy, fleshly thing to look down on another, condemning them and castigating them for their weakness or pain. It is the Christ-like thing to open our hearts and our spirits to care for one so hurt and soul-damaged. God bless this woman for offering the healing hand of God to my precious partner.

May we all learn a lesson in this. It is imperative and incumbent upon us to go forward and care for the sheep of our sheepfold. Jesus taught us that we are our brother's keeper. If we heap condemnation on each other, we will be nothing more than a fold of wounded, unuseful sheep. Let's put our weapons of words, thoughts and deeds down and open our hearts, minds and spirits to each other, helping each other mature in our faith walk.

May God touch your hearth with this message as He's touched mine. May you be richly blessed and know the love and compassion to which we are called.


* For more infomation on spiritual abuse (using the bible or spiritual principles to chastise another person), please visit http://truluck.com . This site is owned by Dr. Rembert Truluck, a very learned man and scholar of the bible as a weapon against another. You will find it quite enlightening!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Food for Thought

Hi again...
Just a few things to chew on...






God help us. We are now a country who is in incredible, mind-numbing debt. We are now the least respected, most war-mongering nation in the world. And we have an idiot for a (p)resident. That's what happens when you let hate-filled, isolationist bigots run the country. It's time for those who still have brains to rise up against this administration and demand that they, including Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney, be forced to accept responsibility for their actions and their lies. Why are our elected senators and representatives afraid to impeach these morons? I hope 2008 elections speak loud and clear of our disdain for these hypocrites.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

False Prophets

Hello, gentle readers…

Today, I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to write on a very difficult topic: False prophets. In my regular study and reading time, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart in the Book of Ezekiel. Please, get your bibles and read Ezekiel 13. In this chapter God condemns those prophets who speak even though the Lord has said nothing to them. In verses 6-7, Ezekiel quotes the Lord when he says, “Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, ‘The Lord declares,’ when the Lord has not sent them; yet they expect to have their words fulfilled. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations, when you say, ‘The Lord declares,’ though I have not spoken?” *

What are prophets’ lies and how can you be wise and discern those who would prophesy lies? There are a number of telltale signs that have been noted:

1. These people are self-professed “prophets” or “modern-day prophets.” They actively promote themselves as prophets and insist that others refer to them as such. They are all spin and no substance according to Ezekiel.

2. They abuse the gift by making “prophetic” announcements, which claim a binding effect on followers. Often the followers are caught up in putting the “prophet” on a man-made pedestal and the “prophet” does nothing to humble themself and get off that pedestal.

3. The “prophet” makes no specific claims, but followers are recording, collecting or distributing what the “prophet” says and claim that the words are from God.

4. They are usually the same words to all people and usually quote the same scriptures, i.e. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made, says the Lord” or “I have a great purpose for your life, declares the Lord” As you can see, these are very general and have no specific word from God for the life of the believer.

5. It (the prophecy) is used to control the lives of the followers or for setting forth doctrine.

6. And worst of all, it draws attention to the “prophet”, not God.

The current accepted model of prophecy was set forth by John Wimber of the Vineyard Fellowship. It teaches, according to what I’ve read, that you are to take your thoughts (whatever enters your mind) and express them as though they were prophecy. Supposedly, one has to practice this gift and will gain proficiency through that practice.

So what is the problem with this model? It pre-empts spiritual discernment, assumes the thoughts and sayings are from God, and anyone who tries to be discerning or question the prophet is castigated and thought be less spiritual or doubting. It creates a hostile atmosphere where questioning is prohibited and one is expected to just follow.

What is prophecy? According to
http://gea.org/, prophecy is defined as the mind of Christ and the words of Christ spoken through those with the gift of prophecy.

In my opinion and through my study, I believe that God sent prophets forth with a very specific message about God’s plan. There was a reason for these prophecies and God shared a timetable with the prophet. Just look at the Old Testament. (I will address this further a bit later on.) According to
http://scholarscorner.com/, in the Old Testament, the Spirit of God rested ON the prophet. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit resides IN the prophet, but also in all of the people of God. God used the prophets of the Old Testament because His Spirit only dwelled in the Temple and ON the prophet.

Is there a need for prophecy in our day, or has the gift ceased? I believe we still have modern-day prophets but their role may have changed. We must understand that God speaks to all of His followers through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus, that way is open to us all. The Old Testament prophets didn’t have the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. But, we must remember that God has said we can hear from Him directly! We need no mediator other than Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to teach us all we need to know.

All that being said, how can we be spiritually discerning when it comes to prophecy? According to

1. Not everything that is inspired is prophecy.
2. Hearing God and intercession are not the gift of prophecy.
3. Words of encouragement are not prophecy.
4. Perceptive people don’t necessarily have a spiritual gift. They may just be perceptive.
5. True prophecy should quicken our hearts and minds, reminding us of Scripture.

Self-professed prophets MUST be scrutinized. The scripture says to test the spirits to see if they are from God. Is what the church now accepts as prophecy truly the gift of prophecy, or is it simply the gift of the word of knowledge? How much of what we are told is prophecy is nothing more than personal opinion or repetition of scripture? How much of what we are told is prophecy is really nothing more than hype or spin meant to sound spiritual when there is a lack of hearing from God?

Truly, God has spoken to my heart. As surely as night turns to day, we have a large number of false prophets among us who would lull us to obedience by their lying declarations. They have not heard from God but are spouting religious rhetoric that sounds spiritual.

I would ask you to get to know God more intimately so that you may discern the spirits and know when you have false prophecy being spoken into your life. And, if you are in the presence of such a person, pray that God will enlighten them that they may see their false prophecy and repent.

May God speak to your heart today and my you receive all of His blessings for you, your family and friends.


* Ezekiel 13:6-7 (NLT) "Instead they have lied and said, 'My message is from the Lord,' even though the Lord never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies! Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, 'This message is from the Lord, when I have not even spoken to you?'"

Try reading the scriptures in the NLT version. The language isn't as pretty, but the message comes through loud and clear. Those not used to reading the bible may find the NLT is more easily understood.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Commandments

Hi all...

While taking my partner to work this morning, I took notice of a sign in a yard by which we passed. Now, I've seen the sign a number of times. I don't think the magnitude of the message really struck me until today.

There is a well-painted sign of the ten commandments on a pretty white board that is shaped a bit like the front of a church. It's pretty good sized and right on the roadway, so you really can't miss it. I can't number the times we've driven right by it without paying much attention. So why today, you ask? I've been thinking about what Jesus had to say.

In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says, "...Love the Lord with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Interestingly, Jesus decided that rather than a whole bunch of rules, He would simplify it for us. He listed just two commandments . One is to love the Lord with everything that is in you. The second is to let love be the guiding force in your life.

In Romans, Paul simplifies this even more. In Romans 13:9-10, he says, "The commandments 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet', and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

It's interesting to me that some people, especially conservative Christians, feel the need to tie themselves to the Law. If we are truly New Covenant people, then it is the teaching of Jesus that we should follow. And if you really consider the scriptures we've seen today, truly all the Law and the Prophets and the Commandments are summed up in one word; LOVE. If we consider others with love, we will not sin against them or against God. If we operate in love, we will want only the best for others with whom we have relationships. If we operate in love, we will be kind to those who are not necessarily kind to us. Yes, Jesus and Paul summed in all up in a very neat little package!

It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Well, if you've ever tried to live that life, you know it isn't as easy as it sounds. It takes a concentrated effort on our part to bring our emotions and thoughts into obedience and live in love. They (the theologically learned) tell us that living a life of love will get easier with time and practice. Gee, I hope so! It is my goal to focus on and live a life that shows the love of Jesus. What about you? The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, show some godly restraint and respond in love. The next time someone grabs the parking space for which you've waited five minutes (and had your blinker on), don't give them the international sign language for which we're all so famous. Respond in love, not revenge. You'll begin to see how much the Lord had to discipline Himself to be our sacrifice, our Savior. It's an eye-opener. Promise.

May the love of Christ be pre-eminent in your life this day and may you experience the many blessings which He has in store for you as His child.


Friday, April 08, 2005

It's time for a war rant...ughh

Hi friends,

Any of you who have read the blog through know that my precious partner was deployed to Iraq for 15 months in two of the most fierce areas. I regularly check the websites and blogs for updates since I know that our government does not give us the truth when it comes to the Iraq War. I cannot number the times I've used alternative media sources and overseas news bureaus to find out what's really going on over there. If you haven't done that, you will be amazed at the censorship we face in this country.

I'm sure "W" is pleased that he has the Schiavo case and the death of John Paul II to overshadow what is happening in Iraq. The war that was to cost us next to nothing is putting us in debt like never before. Basically, when you really crunch the numbers, the US is bankrupt. Were you or I to spend as this administration is doing, we'd be put in jail for writing bad checks and they'd throw away the key!

The war that "W" said (during an interview with Pat Robertson of The 700 Club) would have no casualties has cost us nearly 1600 dead and over 10,000 injured. (And those figures don't include, from what I read, the numbers of soldiers permanently scarred by Post Traumatic Brain Injuries and other mental illness). I read today of one Guard soldier who, because of the stop-loss program, was not allowed to end his enlistment but was presented with a re-enlistment contract with an end date of 2031! The government said they needed some "wiggle room" because of the low numbers of troops and masses of Guard soldiers who are getting out of the military. The neo-cons in our government have suggested raising the age limit for enlistment, as well as the number of years one is obligated to serve. It is presently at 8 years and they want to raise it to 10 years. This is nothing more than a back-door draft! Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest that is just not right! "W" has pulled these men and women away from their families and jobs and, in many cases, ruined their lives emotionally, relationally, and financially.

But, these diversions cannot last forever. "W" can't keep hiding behind every issue that comes along and divert attention from his failures. He and his cronies MUST be held accountable for their lies and deceit! I say we impeach the president for lying and bringing about an unjust war. Once impeached, I suggest he be held accountable for the war crimes he has committed by invading a sovreign nation. I mean please, whatever happened to Bin Laden? We aren't even focusing on him anymore and he's the one who took out the Twin Towers and the Pentagon! Bush took a pre-emptive strike (hello...that's called invading a sovreign country) and pretty much bombed Iraq into a giant sandbox. Their people are starving, living in the streets, and suffering from disease brought on by unsanitary conditions.

So, rise up my friends. Become educated and informed. Write your senators and representatives to call for this administration to be held accountable for their actions. Unless we all get involved, we will be going to more and more funerals and have more and more mentally ill soldiers walking the streets because of the lack of funds for the VA. God help us all if we fail to act.


Monday, April 04, 2005

God with a big "G"

Hello dear friends,

Well, it's been a busy week full of travel and getting reacquainted with old friends. I am so thrilled to share that my home church, Cornerstone MCC in Mobile, Alabama, has a new pastor: Rev. Lee Carlton. Having met Rev. Carlton this weekend, I can tell he is a man of God who is full of love and compassion. I know in my heart that he is the right man for this congregation and they will learn much from his character.

That being said, I've been reading through the Old Testament and am in 2 Kings now. If you haven't read it for fear that it is just a list of kings and their exploits, you are missing a wonderful lesson in how God dealt with His people in the years after they insisted on having their own king. Some did right in the sight of the Lord. Some did evil in the sight of the Lord. And some, as in 2 Kings 17:37-41, did good things to honor the Lord and yet still clung to the old ways and old religions...the old idols.

The key here is v.41, "Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols."

To answer whether this is an issue in our own lives, we must first define that which is an IDOL. The word for IDOL used here is pasiyl which means vain or graven. This is where we get our word vanity. These were images that they carved themselves for their own use. And, as in vanity, they served no purpose except for the "feel good" factor!

Taking this a step further, we can understand why God would have a problem with other gods. He specifically says to worship Jehovah God only. And in Rev. 3:15-16, He is very clear when addressing the church at Laodicea that He would that people be either hot or cold and not lukewarm in their faith. Those with gods are lukewarm. They think they're doing everything right and loving the Lord, but they don't see the small images (idols) they have formed by their own hands and minds that take away from their intimacy with Jehovah God.

I've met a rare few who do not fall into this sin, myself included. It may be an addiction. It may be a mental health issue. It may be another person who has your attention and takes away your full attnetion from the Savior. Whatever that issue is, take a moment with the Lord and simply ask Him to show you if you have a "little g" god in your life. When we get rid of and ask forgiveness for those things that draw us away, we find a life of abundance, peace and power unlike anything we've ever known. We find the true life and love for the Lord.

May God bless you richly as you seek Him knowing that when you seek Him with your whole heart, you will most certainly find Him.


Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Celebration of Easter

Greetings, gentle readers...

As others will do this weekend, I want to express my thoughts on our celebration of Easter. As funny as it may sound, as a young child in Sunday School I could never grasp how Jesus was born on Christmas and died on Easter and accomplished all that we read about in the Gospels! LOL Ah, the mind of a child.

Now that I have gown older, and hopefully wiser, I wonder often why we don't talk of the resurrection much in our churches. Oh, we talk about Jesus' death. We even carry around crucifixes on our bodies (and dangling from our car rear view mirrors) to remind us of such. There are so many messages from our pulpits on how Jesus died for our sins.

Don't misunderstand me. The death of our Lord is important. But, I put forth that His resurrection is of utmost importance. The fact that Jesus died makes Him just another man. The fact that He was resurrected makes Him our Savior. His death may bring us forgiveness of our sins, but His resurrection brings us the hope of eternal life! Without the resurrection, we are without hope.

I spent some time working for a cemetery and funeral home as an at-need counselor. I would meet with families and assist them at the time of death to make the necessary cemetery arrangements. In each meeting, I could very easily tell which families had the hope of the resurrection and which did not. For those who were Christians, believing that they will again be with their loved ones in glory, the hope was amazing. Even in their grief, there was joy. Often they would talk about the faith of their loved one and take strength from that faith. Often, the graveside commital services were celebrations of a life lived for our Lord and expressions of joy and thankfulness for a life lived and a soul transferred to Heaven.

But...for those who had no faith in the resurrection, there was only loss. And that loss was so deep and so hopeless that they often despaired of life themselves. It was dark and lonely, a place of depression and sadness that could literally be felt by the soul. So often, it would just break my heart for these lost souls. There was no comfort for them, no peace.

What I am saying to you this day is to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Be joyful! Be thankful! This is not a somber occasion. This is a day of rejoicing! So, today raise your hands to the Lord in joyful thanksgiving for His resurrection; the promise of eternal life and hope of glory!

May God richly bless you this day.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Unity of the Faith

Hello, gentle readers...

Yesterday, I was reading a small devotional and the topic was UNITY. It seems to me that, in our society, we have made a practice of focusing on diversty over the past couple of decades. Now, sociologically speaking, that is a good thing. We all need to become more tolerant of others. However, if we fail to focus on UNITY, I fear we have done nothing but create gaps of understanding, factions, and schisms.

For example, we all belong to different churches or denominations. There may be a wide range of opinions on doctrine. Some believe in tongues. Some do not. Some believe in baptism by immersion only. Some do not. Some believe Jesus was God. Some believe he was the son of God. Some believe that glbtq people are part of the community of believers. Some don't.

Regardless of our doctrinal belief, there is one thing that God calls us to believe:

Jn 3:16 is so familiar. We can all quote it. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

WHOSOEVER. There are no qualifiers except belief in Jesus as the Son of God, the sacrifice for our sins.

Rom 10:9 says "If you confess with you mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

There is nothing in any of these verses that says we must agree on DOCTRINE! UNITY isn't based on doctrine. UNITY is based in belief in Jesus. Oh, you may say that you cannot be in UNITY with someone whom you feel is wrong doctrinally. What about those gay people? What about those crazy charismatics? What about those Catholics? What about those Baptists? It's irrelevant, people. Totally irrelevant. God wants UNITY.

Rom 5:13-14 says, "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of UNITY among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 4:3 says, "Make every effort to keep the UNITY of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

UNITY is very important to God. UNITY is shown in the way we treat each other. UNITY comes from having a peaceful spirit before the Lord and love for others. We don't have to always agree. As long as there has been humankind on earth, there has been disagreement. But, disagreement doesn't have to break UNITY.

We wonder why we don't see miracles in our lives, our churches. It is a lack of UNITY. We come with all kinds of agendas and personal junk that doesn't create UNITY in our families, our churches, our communities. When we live in peace and UNITY, the enemy is terrified. Great things are done for God out of the UNITY of believers.

I would encourage you today to focus on UNITY. Focus on those things that would divide you and place them at the foot of the cross. Walk away and don't grab them as you turn from them. Determine in your heart and spirit, to live in UNITY with others. You will not only find that life is more pleasant, but is filled with the power of Almighty God. Imagine the power of the unified Church, together as one, overcoming the evil in this world. Amazing, isn't it?

May God richly bless you this day and may you reach outside yourself to create unity in our world.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

Do not judge...


Matthew 7:1-2 says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Today is a short rant. Well, maybe short. Two subjects.

First, I've given you a link to the San Diego news. The Catholic diocese in San Diego refused (yes, refused) to bury a young, gay Catholic businessman because of his business dealings. (He owned a couple of gay bars.) The Bishop of the diocese said that this man's business was immoral and therefore he did not deserve a proper Catholic burial. Puh..leeez! How self-egrandizing is that? Since when do we review someone's life prior to burial to see if they are worthy of our services? As clergy, it is our duty to console the remaining family and to honor their desires for a proper burial for their loved ones. Period. It is NOT our place to judge them. Period.

If that isn't enough of a commentary on the state of the Catholic church, they went back on their own policy by giving Father Geoghan a full Catholic burial. Remember, this is one of the Catholic church's worst predators against children. He molested and damaged the lives of hundreds of children, many of whom I'm sure remain anonymous to this day because of the shame they feel. Yes, the Catholic church will bury one of its own who was a horrific child molester, but they won't bury a man who brought jobs and commerce to their community simply because they disliked him being gay.

I have one word for them: HYPOCRISY!

On another subject, please be aware the the federal marriage amendment has been introduced in the House again. It is imperative that we contact our representatives and let them know that the constitution should not be used as a battering ram against a segment of our citizens because of some peoples' fear and bigotry. Unless these men and women hear from us, they will continue to promote the reich-wing agenda of prejudice and hatred. Your voice is imperative in defeating bigotry, hatred and fear. The constitution has never, that I can remember, been used to isolate and discriminate against a segment of society. Take, for example, the civil rights amendments of the 1960s. They were used to bring relief to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of black citizens. If this horrific amendment passes, it will be open season on glbtq people in the US. We will continue to be the only class of people in the US against which it is lawful to discriminate and hate.

Your voices must be heard! The Congress must hear them. The President must hear them. The reich-wing who promote this behavior must hear them. Just as Martin Luther King led the downtrodden black citizen to a place of civil disobedience, so must we hear the call to march against the hatred that would take away our jobs, relationships, and even our lives! Rise up and say to the bigots, "NO MORE!"

May God richly bless you this day.