Monday, January 31, 2005

It's a cloudy, yucky Monday

My dear readers,

Welcome to the first of a new week. Can you believe that January is now just about gone? Why is it that when we get older, time seems to go by faster? Hmmm.

Today I did the flop the Bible open test. Interesting passage of scripture today. Psalm 120:6-7. "I am tired of living here among people who hate peace. As for me, I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war!" The notes on the bottom of my NLT Bible are pretty clear. The glory of war is in the hope of winning. The glory of peacemaking is in the hope that it may produce two winners. My friends, there is NO glory in war.

How quickly we get on the bandwagon to war. Our emotions are riled up and we cry for blood. It would seem to me that in this age of grace, as Christians, we should be waging peace. I see so many preachers crying out for the blood of the children of Ishmael. It's like both societies have a holy war against the other. The problem with holy wars is that they are not holy...but they are certainly war.

And what about this idea of a pre-emptive war? Is there really such a thing? Or is that a fancy word for gaining control of a sovreign country for whom we have great dislike? I'm putting my money on #2. Pre-emptive? That just means you go first. Okay, who starts war? Duh...the one who goes first.

Again, I draw our attention to Christian people and preachers, especially those who would use this war as a means of emotionalism from the pulpit. My gentle readers, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I implore you to pull away from this war. I implore you to turn your attention to peace. I implore you to reach out to each other in love and godly concern. The Bible is clear that others will know us by our love, not our war!

Reach out to the children of Ishmael, followers of Muhammed and offer them the hand of peace and welcome. It is the only way we will be able to create peace in our world.

May God speak to your hearts and bless your lives according to His riches in Christ Jesus...


Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sending out the Apostles

Hello, gentle readers...

I am an avid reader of Granted, it's not a spiritual blog by any means. But, the writer does make some interesting points and follows the political scene very well. The top article today was Time's Top 25 Evangelicals. I didn't know there was a list! :-)

The amazing thing about all of them was the way they adhered to the "religious right" agenda. I can't say that I'm surprised. But, I can say I'm disappointed. When did religious zealots hijack our religious freedoms? I think I have an interesting thought to ponder.

Luke 9:1-6 speaks of Jesus sending out His apostles to heal the sick and share the good news of Jesus' teaching. Jesus tells them, "Take nothing with you for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic." Interesting that Jesus doesn't want them to be beholden to anyone.

Today's popular preachers and evangelists all have one thing in common: greed. They give the people what will keep the people under their so-called ministry. The do no healing, only dividing. They divide the kingdom against itself by their hatred, words of violence and intolerance, and lack of care for the downtrodden of our society.

Do you want to see the true believers of God? Do you want to experience what it is to live in this world with the power and grace of Jesus? Then turn to those who take nothing from you except that which the Lord causes you to give. Look for the one who serves God out of a pure heart, not one that seeks to make a profit. If they make a profit...they are no prophet.

God is calling out His true church to set themselves apart from the hatred and intolerance of this religious generation. His call is to serve willingly, without thought for what they will GET, but only thinking of what they can GIVE.

Are you a part of the true church? Do you serve only to give? Do you serve only to bless God? Or are you guilty of being one of today's religious zealots?

May God speak to your heart this day...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Thoughts on War

Hello all...

Well, normally I share a spiritual truth from my life. Today you will hear my heart. I read every day about the war in Iraq. And, yes, I've had a personal stake in it. My precious partner served fifteen months in Balad and near Fallujah. We deal daily with the aftermath of that deployment. PTSD is a secret little monster that appears at the most inopportune times. If you're not familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, do some reading. And, while you're at it read about the soldiers returning home and how this war has affected them. Did you know that our wounded soldiers are actually being charged for their food in the military hospitals? Did you know that our soldiers have been exposed to chemicals that will change their lives forever? Do you know that the latest figures are over 100,000 dead Iraqis?

Every day there's something new, some forgotten incident that comes flying back into her life assailing her senses and causing horrid emotional and physical pain. The articles I read say anywhere from 17-30% of soldiers returning from Iraq are suffering extreme cases of anxiety and PTSD. That's a huge amount when you consider the numbers of soldiers being deployed. And you can't just take a pill and make it better. PTSD is an illness that will continue through her entire life and the entire lives of other soldiers. The VA cannot possibly keep up with the numbers of soldiers requesting help. And since we are over 400 TRILLION dollars in debt in this country, basically bankrupt, the government cannot budget enought money to care for our veterans as they should be and as they've been promised they will be.

These men and women are being told to "soldier up" and get over it. They are routinely shipped right back into the very situations that caused them the PTSD in the first place. Here in the US, we are not told the extent of the war and what our men and women are facing over there. One only has to have access to a computer, the internet and be a bit investigative to find the information that our government doesn't want us to have. If you gain access to foreign press articles and political blogs, you will be angered at the lack of honesty we are experiencing.

I've been appalled at the religious leaders who have pushed for this war thinking they would bring about Armegeddon. GWB sits in his fancy office and sleeps in his comfortable bed while men and women are dying for his own personal vendetta. People, this isn't about democracy. These are the children of Ishmael. They run their governments based on their religious ideals. This is about doing what GWB's daddy didn't do. This is about oil. Please don't be deceived on this.

Don't just take for granted what your government says as being 100% true. Realize that the political wheel is turning the wheel of justice. There is no justice in an unjust war brought about by lies and innuendo. Seek out information for yourself. Be informed. Find the truth. Then you will see that this president was wrong, lied about our reasons for going to war, did not plan for the reconstruction except to give contracts to his colleagues, and should be impeached for all of it. GWB cannot continue to pass the responsibility for this fiasco to underlings. A real man rises and accepts responsibility and takes the consequences.

Gentle readers, be informed consumers. Be informed citizens. Then, take what you find to the Lord and cry out for His mercy and grace. Pray for the safety of our troops, citizen contractors, and the people and children of Iraq.

May God bless you richly this day...

Friday, January 28, 2005

Cliques in the Family

Dear Friends,

I've been thinking about how, in our every day lives, we divide ourselves into small groups. We are very prone to this in our churches, as well. In my experience, full-gospel type churches have a corner on this market. The people who speak in tongues don't associate intimately with those who do not. The prophets don't talk to the non-prophets unless they have some "word" for the others. It's like the parable about who gets to sit at the head of the table. (Lk 14:7-11)

But, God does not show favoritism. Therefore, He does not want us to show favoritism either. What do you think cliques really do to a church family? Let's consider this.

Cliques create an insider versus outsider mentality. If you have what a particular group deems important or special, well then you are an insider. If you do not, you are an outsider. This very simple thing grows into a huge monster if not confronted. First, a spirit of offense begins to brew among those who don't fit in. Next, you'll hear grumbling and complaining. By now, the special group of insiders is so unimpressed by the behavior of the outsiders, a large rift occurs...division among the brethren, dissension in the family. The lack of acceptance and inclusion divides the church in pieces and the purpose of God is completely stymied. Don't think so? Find what we would consider a "dead" church and you can trace the origin of that death right back to cliques and a spirit of offense.

God is very clear about His feelings on this. I Corinthians 1:10 says, "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought." God wants us united. Romans 14:10 says, "You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat." James 5:9, "Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door."

Moving on, read James 2:1-4 and James 2:9. God doesn't play favorites and He expects His children to do the same. "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism...But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers."

By creating cliques in our church families and allowing them to continue, we show favoritism and create an atmosphere of offense, division and dissension. Period. Let's commit today to a serious life review. We must get before God and ask Him to show us those areas in which we fail. For if we don't, our churches will die and our ministries be unfruitful. Like the withered fig tree, we will cursed to bear fruit no more.

So, what do we need in place of those cliques and small groups? Love. If we show love to all, we are fulfilling the New Testament commandment of Jesus. Acceptance. We need to be aware of our tendency to marginalize others, especially newcomers, and extend our full acceptance of all who cross our path. Equality. Everyone has the same position in Christ. Everyone. We must not place someone above or below us on this journey. We walk equally through this life. Unity. This is the strength of our faith communities. We must have unity in the church. We must be willing to submit out of respect to another even though we may disagree for the sake of the unity of the brethren. Common. We must share all things in common. It doesn't matter if it is wealth, spiritual vision, earthly ministry, etc. We must have all things in common just as in the Book of Acts. These believers prospered and thousands of Christians added to the Church because they simply shared all things. In that spirit of love, acceptance, equality, unity and common sharing, God was able to grow His church.

So, today I would encourage you to do an inventory of who you are and how you act. Are you one who creates and participates in the clique mentality? If so, repent and purpose in your heart to return to the model that Jesus has set forth for us. In so doing, you will open the flood gates of heaven bring blessing to your life and to the lives of others around you.

May God richly bless you this day.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Praises and musings on this week

Hello gentle readers...

First, a great PRAISE GOD for my precious partner's surgery. God is good and certainly our Great Physician. The surgery went better than anyone anticipated. There were no complications and no cancer found by the pathologist. God promised through the prayer of others that this would be a great healing...and so it was! She is in a bit of pain, but walking out her healing and we anticipate being able to attend church this Sunday!

Now, on to my lesson for the week. Oh my, where to start? It's interesting how we find ourselves in situations that we think are just the normal, every day fare and then they turn out to be lessons on living the Christ-life. This week, Patti was put in a room with a Christian woman whose husband was a traveling evangelist. Y'all, this lady griped and carried on about everything...and I do mean everything! She made the nurses miserable. Everything was drama and had to be a big production. She was a diabetic who came in with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure (CHF). She was a big woman and couldn't seem to stay away from the junk food that put her in this position.

The nurses were very professional, to their credit. I couldn't have been so. The doctor would order medications which she would refuse to take in the form in which they were to be given, or wouldn't take them altogether. She fussed over the I.V.s. She fussed over the food. She fussed over the bed. She fussed over the (fill in the blank). I mean, there wasn't anything this woman didn't make a problem. Her sugar level was over 400 each time it was taken and she still had her husband bringing in sodas and candy. It was crazy! Finally, it's time for her to be discharged. She even carried on about how long it took to get her medications and paperwork. I'd have just been grateful to be going home in something other than a hearse!

Okay, on to the lesson. As the nutritionist tried to talk to her about her weight and eating habits, all she kept saying was, "I try, but it doesn't work." or "I just don't have the will power to keep it up." But, what she really meant was that she simply doesn't do it. She doesn't let God help her. She doesn't rely on His strength. And, quite frankly, she doesn't care about her physical body. She just wants what she wants when she wants it.

Ouch (again). It was like I could hear myself in her words. God was telling me just that. I want what I want when I want it. It's really easy to say I tried. It's really easy to gripe about how I have no will power. But what it boils down to is a big ol' fault: not putting my health on the altar and asking God for His help and His perspective. Hey, our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. I know in my head that I must take control of this area of my life. It's that 18 inches between my head and my heart that's the bumpy road. It's just easier to fail than it is to the flesh. But, God says that He is able. God says that we are to live a self-controlled life. God says that we have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead living inside us. Okay, OUCH. If that is so, then why am I not tapping into that same strength to overcome the nutrition and health issue?

There was a second lesson in all of this, too. It was the constant fussiness. What kind of a witness is that? And this woman's husband was an evangelist, someone who's call is to win the lost. How far do we think she would have gotten with the nursing staff and doctors with this kind of witness? Not far, trust me. It is when we are kind, patient, gentle, joyful and treat others with care that our witness shines the brightest. This woman carried none of that with her. It really broke my heart to be honest. I wanted to go to the next bed, sit down with her, and explain how she was being perceived. But, I didn't. Know why? Because, like Moses, I balked and figured she wouldn't be open to what God had to say and I would be lousy at the saying of it.

Okay, so here's the finale. I failed. I failed at the nutrition stuff by not giving God the allowance of taking over that part of my life. I failed. I failed at reaching out to this woman and sharing how she was hurting her witness with her toxic behavior. And, I failed. I failed to see that God in me is greater than any fear or embarrassment I might suffer for doing what He asked of me. BUT, thanks be to God for His unspeakable Gift in Jesus: our redemption and forgiveness of sins! Even through the failure, there is forgiveness to be found and a new start to be had.

So, this day I would encourage you to listen to those around you. Hear the way they talk to each other. Understand that God wants us to speak encouragement into the lives of others and give them a message of hope. The talk around us is terse and depressing. We are God's light in this world. Today, reach out in faith and touch someone's life. You will be blessed in the attempt!

May God richly bless you this day...


Sunday, January 23, 2005

This is the day that the Lord has made....

Hello gentle readers...

This is the day that the Lord has made and we choose to rejoice and be glad in it. We are preparing today for the surgery tomorrow. It isn't easy. But, we know that the Lord God Almighty is in charge and has His angels at the ready.

Psalm 103:3 (NIV) "He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases."

God uses lots of different ways to heal. Not everything is instantaneous. Sometimes healing is progressive. Sometimes God uses the wisdom of a surgeon! Tomorrow, God will bless the hands of the surgeon and give wisdom to the anesthesiologist. We have faith. We believe in the Mighty Hand of God!

So, when you remember us on Monday the 24th, pray in faith believing in the power of God to heal Patti and raise her up a testimony to His power and love.

God's blessings as you go throughout this week.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Prayer Request

Hello dear friends,

I am writing this blog to ask for your prayers. My partner, Patti,is having surgery on Monday 1/24. I, of course, will be by her side. The surgery is quite invasive and extensive. That will mean minimal blogging for the next few days. If you would, please remember Patti in your prayers.

On a lighter note, I read a version of this on Beliefnet and it cracked me up...

St. Peter was looking at martial arts masters for entry into heaven. He called a Japanese, Chinese and Jewish expert in the use of swords. The first to demonstrate his skills was the Japanese master. He walked into the court, let loose a fly and with a whoosh of his sword cut the fly in two. St. Peter was impressed! But then the Chinese master entered the court, let loose a fly and with two swings of his sword,cut the fly into four pieces. St.Peter was amazed and all of his guests were extremely impressed! But, then came the Jewish master. He let loose a gnat and with one swipe, the gnat flew away free. "Aha!", said St. Peter. "You missed!" The Jewish master, not missing a beat replied, "Circumcision not meant to kill!"

I love that!

Blessings to all for a wonderful Lord's Day. I will post on the wonder of God's healing through the use of doctors as soon as possible. I appreciate your prayers during this time. We are counting on you to be our intercessors!

Many blessings,

Friday, January 21, 2005

He who forms the mountains...

Hi all...

Glad to be back to the land of the living! Whew! My precious partner is feeling much better and is back at work. I know they were thrilled to see her walk in the door this morning. However, I'm sure her desk is piled high with stuff to do! And me? I've got laundry that seems insurmountable!

Ahhh. This was a good morning to be with the Lord. Now, I must admit that I began studying an entirely different passage. I, of course, got completely caught up in the wording and spent over an hour tearing the language apart. Any of you who know me know that I have that challenge. I get caught up in word meanings over and over. Sometimes I just have to shut the books, turn off the computer and all of my many websites and commentaries, and just let the Lord speak.

This all reminds me of how easy it is to get bogged down in the things of this life and not stop long enough to listen. I emailed a message to friends and prayer partners this morning about my partner's upcoming surgery on Monday with all the particulars. My pastor emailed back with a reminder, "You have what you say." Gee, didn't we discuss how powerful our words can be just the other day? Bingo. Why must I learn the same lessons over and over again? And why do I struggle between what 'reality' would say and what God would say? I guess I'm human after all.

Do you ever do the 'flop your Bible open and see where it lands' devotional? Me, too. Today was a good 'flop.' And it's very, very appropriate to the struggle of retraining our reality mentality.

Amos 4:13 (NIV) says, "He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth the Lord God Almighty (of hosts-NASB) is his name."

Well, I feel chastised. You have what you say. I thought that spoke to our need to verbalize. Okay, yes it does to some extent. But, doesn't it also speak to knowing who GOD is? If I truly understand that the One God, Jehovah, who formed the mountains and fights for my cause, will I not speak it out? The Lord God Amighty (or of Hosts) speaks of an army ready for battle; an army of angels at God's command. This God of Hosts has His armies at the ready, the whole host of heaven ready to take up my cause! Isn't that just mind-boggling? The God of all creation is standing at the ready with His entire army of angels to care for us.

So, I'm learning every day that I do have what I say. Dear God, get me out of myself and into You so that I might truly understand the working of Your Spirit and the vastness of Your army ready to support and fight for me. So, today I will be meditating on that scripture as I pray for my partner's successful surgery and quick recovery. I would cherish your prayers, too. Just remember, it's positive prayer that gets positive results.

God bless you richly this day...

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Yes...I know I've been MIA

Hi all...

Please forgive the lack of blogging for the past couple of days. My sweetie and I are both fighting the annoying stomach flu. God-willing, I'll be back late tonight or tomorrow with a timely word from the heart of God. In the meantime, continue to pray for one another and trust in the love of the Lord.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Using Wisdom

Hi Everyone!

It's a beautiful, cold day in Mississippi. My precious partner who is originally from Hawai'i is freezing and living in thermal undies. Me? Hey, I grew up in New England. I have on shorts and the windows open blasting Audio Adrenaline and Sonic Flood to the outside world! Funny how we are all so different on this planet...yet, so very much the same. That's my philosophy lesson for the day. :-)

I ran across an outline for a study I was doing and it struck me deeply today. I want to share it with you. There is so much to learn in the book of Proverbs. Consider Proverbs 13:10 (NIV), "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice." How very true is that?

There is so much in the book of Proverbs to guide us in our every day lives. And many of the verses have wisdom as a central theme. So, why is wisdom so important? Check out Proverbs 3. God formed creation through wisdom. That would say to us that God must see wisdom as of prime importance. Also, when considering Proverbs 13:10, we must conclude that pride can be wisdom's adversary.

What does all this mean? To me, pride is self-sufficiency, but wisdom is God-sufficiency! Take Solomon for example. In 1Kings 3, after Solomon, in obedience to God, made his sacrifice on the altar God says an astonishing thing. In a dream, the NCV says that God came to Solomon and said to him, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." Solomon could have asked for anything; wealth, pleasure, or even social status, but he didn't.

What did Solomon ask for? First, Solomon expressed his gratitude to God for God's kindness. Solomon worshiped! He took a moment to praise God for who He is. Then, Solomon acknowledged his weakness and his need for an obedient heart to rule God's people. Solomon submitted to God's authority. Solomon understood the responsibility which was given to him! God was so pleased with Solomon's worship and submission that God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding as Solomon requested. Yet there was more! Because of Solomon's humility (no prideful attitude here!), God blessed Solomon with more than he could have hoped for: riches, honor and a long life!

How does this speak to us today? For starters, God is pleased when we are thankful, full of gratitude for simply who God is. He is touched when we acknowledge our need of Him. And when our requests honor God instead of feed our own egos, God not only gives us that for which we ask, but in addition blesses us with more than we could ever imagine.

James 1:5 (NIV) says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." God yearns to give you the wisdom you need to be successful in your every day life. But, read on: "(6)But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (7) That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; (8) he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

Yes, it comes down to faith. If you want to please God, you must operate in faith, in expectancy. If you want wisdom to deal with the situations in your life, you can have it but you must ask for it believing in faith that you will receive that for which you ask. I would encourage you today to be thankful to God and ask Him for those things that would honor Him. Know that God is honored when you seek Him and use the wisdom given through His Holy Spirit to walk through this life.

Seek wisdom, gentle reader, and God will give you so much more than that for which you ask.

May God bless you this day as you serve Him.

Monday, January 17, 2005


Hello gentle readers,

Today is the celebration of a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I must admit that, living in the deep south, I have heard the argument for this special day from every side imaginable. I did wonder if it was an appropriate holiday since all the others for people in this country are for presidents. But, as always I did my research before I took a side on the arguments.

Today is a political and spiritual commentary. Please, hear me out before you turn away. Dr. King was an historic man for an historic time. I often think that the Lord gives us these extraordinary people to place a mirror in front of our own lives and compel us to look at ourselves in light of His truth. Acts 10 talks of the gentiles hearing the Good News of the gospel. Peter is speaking and says, (34)"I see very clearly that God doesn't show partiality. (35) In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right."(NLT) Let's just say the gentiles weren't considered to be special people. But, God in His mercy showed Peter that He came for all people, even though the Jews were His chosen. Through the adoption made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus, all people have access to Amighty God. So...God doesn't show partiality.

Regretfully, humankind continues to show partiality. Black, white, gay, matters not to God. When God used the word "whosoever" in John 3:16, that's exactly what He meant. Just as God sent Jesus into the world to show us our sin, Martin Luther King rose to extraordinary heights for humankind to show us our partiality and our sin against our fellow man. Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that Martin Luther King was equal with the Christ. What I AM saying is that now and again, ordinary people do extraordinary things which bring us kicking and screaming into a greater understanding of humankind.

Dr. King epitomized that call of God to show no partiality. He brought us into lunch rooms and rest rooms and motels of this country, the forefront of society, and held a mirror of hate up to the public and cried out that what we were doing was wrong...and wrong in the sight of Almighty God. Our faces may appear different, but our hearts are the same. We all want to be free to marry or to not marry, have children or not have children, raise our children in a good society, live in a safe society where war is no longer present. It matters not if you are gay or straight, black or white, of Asian descent or European. We all want the very same things.

I have grown appreciative of this holiday because every year, year after year, Dr. King posthumously holds a mirror up to our lives and challenges us to live in peace with each other. Today I would challenge you. Hold the mirror of freedom up to your life and ask yourself if you, or those in your small circle of influence, are really, truly free? If not, then take a page out of the book of Dr. King, the Bible, and lay your prejudice on the altar and ask God to consume the bad and refine the good and change your heart.

Today, choose to walk in peace with all mankind. And, take a moment to pray for the peace of our world that not one more person die for another's evil or prejudice. In so doing, you will honor Dr. King for his supreme sacrifice to bring about a peaceful change in our society.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

So what kind of power do we really possess??

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a blessed day in the Lord's house. I know we did. Of course, how could any day that you get to share corporate worship of Almighty God be anything other than extraordinary?

Today from our pulpit we heard about God's vision for the new year, with an emphasis on revival, restoration and transformation. Hallelujah! I have to admit that I need all three. The day by day revivial that God brings into our lives as we serve Him keeps us going when we feel emotionally and physically spent. The restoration that the Lord brings to our lives for family members, friends and church family by making what was in pieces whole again is necessary to maintain our fellowship in this world. Of course, He continues to restore us to Himself. And, transformation as we are becoming the Bride of Christ and transformed into His likeness. God blessed us with wonderful interpretive dance and words of prophesy about preparing His Bride for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Needless to say, it was a wonderful time of worship and celebration today. Pretty cool, huh?

All of that has me thinking about the power we have been given in Christ to affect our situations here on Earth. 2 Peter 1:3 says that He has given us, through His power, everything we need for life and godliness. Colossians 1:11 says we are strengthened with all power according to His glorious might. Ephesians 3:20 says that He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or think. How? By His glorious power! Even greater...Look at Ephesians 1:17-23. The last half of verse 19 is amazing. "That power is like the working of His mighty strength, (20) which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms." Wow! Did you realize that we have that kind of power if we are in Christ and walk according to His will and His might?? Jesus said that after we received the Holy Spirit we would do, through that power, even more miraculous things than He did on Earth. Within the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, we have the power to raise the dead, heal the lame, make the blind see, and the deaf hear. It is through the annointing of the Holy Spirit that Jesus' work continues. We are His ambassadors to this world. Let us yield to God and go forth in power healing the sick and giving hope to the hopeless.

It's not all about the "sweet by and by". It's about the transforming power of Almighty God, Jehovah Sabaoth, here in this life, on this Earth, overcoming the Enemy on his turf, and bringing about the Kingdom of God on Earth! Amighty God. Warrior God. Overcoming God.

I would challenge you to join me in this quest to be in the perfect will of God, full and annointed of the Holy Spirit, walking through this life in the victory that the power of God brings.

May God bless you as you go through your week. Remember to start your day by surrendering to His leadership.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Welcome to Saturday "TANK" Blogging

Ever have days where no matter what you do it turns out all wrong? Welcome to my day. You see, I thought I would share pics of the "kids" on Saturdays since it's one of those down days where you either do everything all in one day or spend the day in a vegetative state in front of the sports channel.

So, my lovely assistant (my partner) took a whole bunch of pics of the dog, Tank. She and the dog are inseparable. If she could bring him to work and church, she would. It's really pathetic, okay? (No, I'm not jealous! Ughh.) She copied all of the pics onto a disk and brought it home from work. I hop online thinking I'll share some cute pictures with you. Will I? No. Why not? Computer won't read 'em.

What do you do with a project that falls apart in your lap? (Well, besides find the chocolate.) You IMPROVISE! Yes, there are days when we plan and plan like good folks and God comes along and says it just isn't His plan for the day. The most important thing in a moment like that is to ask Him what His plan is. Of course, that is what we should have done in the first place, right?

So, todays thoughts are on hearing God's plan. We have to make ourselves stop. It's so easy to just change directions and go our own way again. We are too quick to just assign this little hiccup to the back of our minds and move forward on our own.

But, God says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me." (Jn 10:27) We should be listening for God's voice always. Oh how often have we gone our own way only to cry out to the Lord to save us from our own errors. Life would be so much simpler and better were we to listen to the voice of our Lord before setting out on any venture.

The word used for learn here is akouo which means to understand, comprehend or recognize. To me, Jesus is saying that we are to actively listen for His voice on a moment by moment basis so that we will know which way we are to go, or what we are to do...or conversely, not do. Are we actively listening for His voice??

So, today's short little lesson for me is to learn to stop and listen to the voice of God first, before making any mistakes that could really muck up a day!

Today, stop and listen for His voice and follow Him.

God's blessings for a glorious Lord's Day.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Is Your Tongue Saved?

Welcome to Friday! TGIF!

Yesterday I saw one of Joyce Meyer's broadcasts on TV. I like Joyce. She's straight to the point and real. She doesn't hide her faults behind her Christianity. She gives them to you as a lesson and hope that you grow through her mistakes.

She was talking about our speech. (She also has a tape series on the topic "Is your Tongue Saved" and I'm fixing to get it!) We so often face difficulties and we talk about how God will be our strength in them. But, the minute an attack from the Enemy comes, we fold by confessing those things that aren't in agreement with what God says. Hey, I'm guilty of it and I'm sure you have done the same thing before, too.

James 3 says (NLT), "(7)People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, (8)but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. (9)Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. (10)And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!(11)Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? (12) Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can't draw fresh water from a salty pool."

I don't know about you, but that speaks deeply to my heart. It's not enough to have your soul saved. Okay, let me back's enough for entry into the Kingdom. But, when we give account for how we used our time here on this Earth, I don't think by the standard we read above that God will be passing out any jewels for the crowns. To live in victory in this life, we must gain self-control and operate in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-25). These verses talk about crucifying the flesh, that is our earthly passions and desires.

Don't you desire to live in victory in this life and not just muddle through?? So do I! We bring about that victory by the things we say and do. The example Joyce gave on this really put light on some areas of my life that were of confusion to me. She said if you feel really rotten with a cold (or something similar) and someone asks you how you're feeling, don't lie about it. Say you feel rotten.'s the important part...bring up the rear of that comment with a positive confession in Christ. "I'm not feeling well today, but I know God is the Great Physician and has healed my diseases and illnesses and I am well in Christ." Get it? You're affirming God's ability to be your Healer and Deliverer.

I've been around folks that, to me, are just living in denial but clothing it in spirituality. They are feeling rotten but if you ask them they deny it altogether. "No, why would you say that? That's a negative confession, a word curse you just put on me. I feel great!" Now, do I believe in word curses? Sure I do. I mean, we have the power of Christ working in us, right? He cursed a fig tree and it died. The Bible is clear we will do greater things now that the Holy Spirit is in the world.

But...hear me clearly...denial is wrong. Speaking the world's truth and then overcoming it with the heavenly truth of the Word of God is the power of and Spirit of Christ, in my opinion.

So...just as Luke 6:45b says that, "...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.", so out of the abundance of our heart, our mouth speaks. Is your heart full of the abundant life of service to the Lord? Are you speaking those things which are pleasing to him, blessing and not cursing? If not, join me today in praying that the Lord will be the ruler of your mouth and your heart. Let's get our words in line with the Word!

May God richly bless you this day and may you bless God by your words!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Another day, another chore

Hi everyone,

Welcome to Thursday. Yes, another day, another chore. Do you have days where you get up in dread knowing that you have so much to do that it feels overwhelming? I think, really, we all do. It doesn't matter whether it's at your place of work and you have a project looming overhead. It doesn't matter if you are a homemaker with six loads of laundry. It is so very easy to be distracted by the enormity of the workload that we forget God.

Colossians 3:17 says, (NIV) "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

That's a great verse to keep in our hearts. But, even more encouraging are the words prior to this verse. Read all of Colossians 3. We are said to be God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved. We are told to "put on love." We must allow the peace of Christ to rule in our bodies. We are admonished to be thankful, and to teach each other with wisdom. We must sing songs that are spiritual, hymns and psalms with gratitude. Wow! That is our duty and our joy.

Today, when I looked at the pile of laundry or the dishes in the sink (or the place where the dog had an accident), I wasn't thinking about thankfulness and hymns. That, my gentle readers, is not how God wants us to live. He wants us to live in holiness, peace, thankfulness, wisdom...and singing! Listen, you don't have to have a great voice to sing. And, to sing the psalms to God is a wonderfully spiritual experience.

When I realized what God expected out of me for this day, I had to tell Him I was sorry to have failed Him. The wonderful thing is that where sin abounds, grace abounds that much more. (Romans 5:20) Repentance is the most wonderful, freeing experience. It's like having a good cry over something you've done wrong only to sniffle your last and feel relieved for the release of the weight of the deed.

So, just like I need to now go forward, thankful for His grace that brings forgiveness and make my way through those chores, I would encourage you to look at your day and do the same. You will be surprised how glad your heart will feel; the joy that will come springing from your soul as you sing in thankfulness your way through your day.

May God bring you a new song of praise and gratitude for this day, the day the Lord has made. Go rejoicing and be glad in it!

Many blessings,

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Difficult Times of our Lives

Hello, everyone...

While driving my partner to work this morning, I was so struck by the beauty of the sun on the water. We take the road by the beach each morning. Some mornings it's foggy. Some, raining. But, today it was simply beautiful; one of God's gorgeous paintings on the canvas of His creation.

We were talking about those days when you just feel yucky. You know we all have them. For me, they are days when I want to pull the covers over my head and sleep through the day with hopes tomorrow will be better. I have yet to meet someone who's sun-shiny all the time. And the few who seem that way are, generally IMHO, faking it. It takes guts to be real. It takes guts to acknowledge a yucky day in the face of optimistic people.

While we were talking, that verse you hear over and over in times like this stuck in my head. It's the last half of Psalm 30:5 and says (NIV), "..weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." We all quote that verse. And, always we quote just the back half of it. Funny how we pull stuff out of context in the Bible to meet our needs.

But, in this case I think it is a good thing. Does the writer, most likely David, really mean a literal night and a literal morning? I don't think so. What I do think is that he talks to us about the seasons of our lives. There was an old song that Frank Sinatra sang about the seasons of our lives. I believe it starts off..."When I was 17, it was a very good year...". And, so do we have seasons. In Ecclesiastes 3, the speaker talks of the seasons of life. Take a moment to read it today. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says (NIV), "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance".

All of this reminds us that no matter the season, there is another right behind it. If you are depressed today, there is joy on the way so hold on to His hand and wait on Him. If you are sorrowful today, there is a time of dancing on the way, so give your sorrow to the Lord and He will teach you to dance. But, conversely, you can know that if you are jumping for joy today, you will have seasons of difficulty. So, you must prepare your heart in the Lord so you can weather those storms of life.

I would encourage you today to take your heart to the Lord and let Him show you how to live in victory over those seasons of darkness that the Enemy would try to use to destroy our walk with God. Remember, joy always comes in the morning. And the Enemy has already been defeated. Learn to dance in the Lord!

May God richly bless you today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

What is Surrender?

Hello. Well, as we talked about before I'm going through Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Filled Life." I am learning much. Yesterday's lesson was on surrender, or submission, to God. You know, I thought I was at that point but I find there is much work to be done. If you go through The New Strong's Concise Concordance, there isn't a listing for surrender. You have to check out submit to get an idea of the language used. Even then, it quotes only Hebrews 13:17 as reference. So, when left to my own devices, I turn to Webster's Dictionary. Now, the one I have is old, but a dictionary is a dictionary to me unless you're looking at new words. (Bohemian, I know.) The listing is really long so I'll paraphrase as much as I can. "to give up possession of or power give up claim to...abandon..." That made me think. Have I really submitted, surrendered all I am to Almighty God? Have I given up claim to my life? Have I given God all the power over my life and how it is lived? Have I served God with abandon, knowing He is the One who has the final say?

Okay, OUCH! There are so many ways in which I fail to surrender. And, since I truly want to be a godly minister to the people to which God has called me, I have to put my hands in the air and give up. That's why I love worship that is more expressive. I can put my hands in the air to (1) surrender to God, and (2) ask Him to pick me up and make it better. This life can really beat us up emotionally, huh? So, I want my Heavenly Father to reach down and let me surrender to His love. Isn't that a neat visual?

So, on to surrender. I wonder if anyone else is scared of failure. I wonder if anyone else is afraid to succeed fearing they won't be able to keep it up. Basically, I wonder. The place to which I've come says that I cannot be fully used by God unless I reach total and absolute surrender to His will and His way. That comes with serious knee time included. Prayer, my dear readers: Deep, unbound, walls-down prayer to God. I think that once we get outside ourselves and can pray with that kind of openness, then God can speak to us freely. It's like unplugging your spiritual ears. Get the wax out of your spiritual ears and then you can hear clearly.

So, today, I encourage you to look at your life as I will mine. Reach inside and know that there is nothing to fear because God is love and love takes away fear. Open yourself up to the Heavenly Father who created you and knows you, and you will find rest for your souls. Pray with your spirit as you never have before. Then, you will hear clearly the still, small voice of Almighty God speaking to you as you could have only imagined.

May this day bring you blessing, healing, comfort and prosperity in the Lord.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Opening comments

Well, they say blue is an intelligent color. I hope it is indicative of the type of opinions I post and the comments you send my way.

For starters, let's think about religion in America. Whoa, big subject. My personal opinion is that we often play church, not taking into account the severity of our vows or the sincerity of our hearts. It is too easy to just go, day dream through the preaching or the homily, and then go home unchanged. We exchanged the truth for a lie. In my case, my Christianity is there so I can please my creator and redeemer. But IMHO, I see so many go Sunday after Sunday expecting to be entertained. Could it be that the real church, the church of the end age, is separating itself to be holy and in worship waiting for the second coming of their Lord? Possible. What do you think?