30 June 2011

right song, right time

There is nothing like the right song at the right time
A few of these I heard as I was driving & taking care of errands
And a few are just my current favorites that I threw in for good measure

Your Great Name by Natalie Grant

The Healing Has Begun by Matthew West

From the Inside Out by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Strong Enough by Matthew West

Stronger by Mandisa

Take Me Into the Beautiful by Cloverton

Move by Mercy Me

fellowship of suffering ...

‘For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.’ Hebrews 4:15 

We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize …  

Those words have brought comfort to many believers – myself included. They let us know that our Savior can relate to what we are experiencing. And I do not believe it is [for us] simply a case that misery loves company – rather that misery seeks above most things to be understood and comforted. 

But what happens when we as believers, who are the kings and priests that He has made us to be, are called to sympathize with the sufferings of our Savior? 
  • What happens when the circumstances of life leave us alone in the dark with none who will tarry with us for even an hour?
  • How do we comprehend when we have sown good seed, ample seeds (of kindness, finances, encouragement, time and self) into the lives of the many that we come in contact with; yet there is but a handful present when the hours of crucifixion commence? 
  • Where do we turn when our experience betrays the truth of His Word, when we cry out, like Jesus did, and no response comes from heaven?
  • How do we endure the taunting and torturing of enemies, along with the scorn from those who identify themselves as ‘God’s agents’? 
Perplexing situations –   
Yet completely natural and to be expected, if we are like Him, if we want to know Him.   

Do we desire to know Him?
‘He is [was] despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.’ Isaiah 53:3 

Do we truly hunger to know Christ like this?

Do we strive to know Him in the manner expressed by Paul?
‘I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.' Philippians 3:10 

It is certainly not the Christian experience that has been marketed to the masses. Yet it is the closest thing to reality that I have been able to comprehend in the years that I have been following Jesus.  

We desire to know the power of His resurrection but would just as soon leave the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings on the buffet table. We want to go where He went after His death, burial and resurrection. Yet we would kindly like to skip the aloneness, shame, beatings, cross-bearing, nail-piercing and slow painful dying that He endured.   

Yet we are called to and given the directive to, ‘Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.’ I Peter 4:13 

Why? Because you are able to participate in the sufferings of Christ.

When?  Any time you are able to participate in the sufferings of Christ.

Such an often overlooked portion of the Christian experience … the fellowship of suffering. 

Yet, this is the walk...

29 June 2011

I still believe ...

I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Pit Stop’

Well, it is June 29 …
Tomorrow we will be at the midpoint of 2011. Therefore, I thought now would be a good time to gauge the progress that we have made; to make a 'pit stop' if you will. 

I don't know about you, but it has been an extremely challenging six months of journeying for me! However, as I prepared for this week’s post, I thought it would be good to revisit some of the ‘vision’ items that I shared with you in the beginning of the year in the post entitled: JOURNEY 201¦1 See It! 

One of the first visions I shared was this picture: 
A representation of my vision of souls being saved and lives being changed.   
     When I lost my home a few weeks ago, there was one nagging thought among all the things I could be thinking about, and it concerned one lady, a Jehovah’s Witness who I have been sharing my life and God’s Word with for about two years. And, my thought as I left my house was, ‘How will she find me?’ So, I resolved to just keep praying for her salvation as I have for the past two years.
     Well, about a week after leaving my home, I was driving down a street which I rarely travel down. And who did I see walking down the sidewalk? It was my friend, the little old Jehovah’s Witness lady and her daughter! So, I turned my car around and shared about the goodness of God and His faithfulness in the midst of life's storms. I talked with them right there on the sidewalk for about an hour. It was great! She gave me her contact information and I am still praying and trusting God for her salvation. The Holy Spirit is at work and the work of salvation ... This is a vision continually in progress.

One of the other images I shared was this one of the fruits of the Spirit: I still have a great deal of growing that needs to take place, especially in the area of self-control (needing to remind myself that I do not have to attend every debate that I am invited to). I was encouraged however during one of the last meetings that I had with the Jehovah Witness lady and her friend. We were sitting in my living room [something which they marveled at … seems not many people actually invite them in … non-Christian or Christian]. And as we sat talking, one of the ladies exclaimed, ‘You are in the Bible!’ She opened up to Galatians 5:22-23 and stated, ‘It's right here … I see these things in you!’ That was a ‘Wow!’ moment for me, yet so humbling because I know how far I have to go. I am still a work in progress … but making progress! 

Next was my book which, well, is kind of on hold. One publisher backed off after expressing interest and the other publisher who desires to print the book requires that I first hire a publicist. Another work in progress … 

Next was the image of a spine …. representative of the healing work I desire to see take place with my son. He has been wearing his brace [with the exception of the last three weeks where we have been in transition]. However, it looks straighter to me. I got a second opinion to make sure it was not wishful thinking on my part. And, in a few weeks, we will have an official recheck with his doctor. Please keep him in prayer. Although with the way he is growing – upward and not sideways – I have full confidence that there will be a good report. He is now taller than both his brothers and his dad! Not bad for a ‘used to be runt’ with scoliosis and a bone-age delay. 

Next were the blueprints which represented the future building plans for my home church. Well, below are the pictures of the land being cleared. The foundation will be going down soon ... Enough said!

I am so excited!!!

Lastly, there was the image that I hold in my heart of all of you ... readers around the globe in 46 countries so far. You are the reason that I keep up with this blog: you and the fact that I go back and read my blog entries and get encouraged myself. My prayer is that your journey with God has been fulfilling, even if it has not been what you would consider ideal. His plans are perfect! (Jer. 29:11)
     We are halfway through 2011 and the journey doesn’t end when this year does. This is just the beginning. Praise God for His faithfulness and for the ways He has carried us thus far! Trust Him to continue to be faithful in all of our future travels. I pray you are able to see some progress in things you were envisioning at the outset of this year. And, as always, I pray God's abundant blessings upon you all. 

Have a Blessed Week!

'I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus ...'
Philippians 1:6

24 June 2011

No Longer I ...

‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.’ Galatians 2:20

These are amazing words from a man who once persecuted Christians. Paul had undergone such a major life transformation that he no longer acknowledged himself in the equation. This is the aim for every believer – to be so one with Christ that it is no longer we but He that lives and moves and breathes through us.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about 'Power' and we looked at several verses:
  • ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…’ Acts 1:8
  • ‘Be ever filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit…’ Ephesians 5:18
  • ‘Walk in the Spirit…’ Galatians 5:16
I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit. And, I have been trying with all my might to truly crucify my flesh, be filled with the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. However, if I am honest (and I believe in being as transparent as possible), I have not always been as successful as I would like to be. 

I can mark the day this wilderness journey began – it was November 2005 and I had just come off of a forty-day fast when all sorts of turmoil began. And, it has not stopped for six years. Yes, I have experienced quite a bit over the past few years: incurable illnesses, job troubles, job layoff, concerns for my son (academically and physically), financial devastation, homelessness and family concerns [just to name a few]. But God has been faithful to keep me in the midst of every storm. 

Even still, there have been moments where I simply wanted to scream, ‘I quit!’ ‘But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Rom. 8:11).’ No, I cannot give up the fight even when I desire to. It is no longer I who lives but Christ in me. Christ in me ...

The incredible thing about the Spirit of God is this: Resurrection power resident on the inside of every believer! He infuses me with strength and causes me to rise when I want to lay down and give up. He brings about newness of life, joy in my heart and peace to my spirit - even when I want to sulk. He compels me to move forward despite any obstacle which might present itself.

Be encouraged today:
Greater is He who lives in us than he who is in the world (I Jn. 4:4)
His strength is made perfect in our weakness (II Cor. 12:9)
He is GOD, not only with us but in us!
No longer us but Him, no longer I but Christ ...

Keep Trusting! Keep Standing! Keep Moving! 

23 June 2011

Psalm 23

What do you do ...
When the issues of life are too much to think about,
Yet they are too pressing not to?

You Trust God ...
The LORD is my Shepherd,  I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness
will follow me all the days of my life, 
And I will dwell
in the house of the LORD forever.

22 June 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Power’

‘Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.’ Luke 24:49

What powerful words from Jesus! 
Why were these words of promise so powerful?
They signified yet another shift in our relationship with the Father. 

God, Exalted and looking down upon the earth 
Jesus, Exalted and walking among us on the earth 
Holy Spirit, Exalted and dwelling within us in the earth, infusing us with power.

What kind of power do we come to possess as a result of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling? 
  • Power to learn – John 14:26 
  • Power to know – I Cor. 2:11-12 
  • Power to overcome dangers – Luke 10:19 
  • Power to minister to those in need – Acts 6:8 
  • Power to be strong and patient – Col. 1:11 
  • Power to be joyful and longsuffering – Col. 1:11
  • Power to prophesy – Acts 2:17 
  • Power to have dreams and vision – Acts 2:17 
  • Power to stand strong & be faithful – Acts 7:55-60 
  • Power to be free – II Cor. 3:17 
  • Power to pray effectively – Romans 8:26-27 
  • Power to be a gift to others – I Cor. 12:7-11 
  • Power to live righteously – Gal. 5:16-18 
  • Power to be full of love, joy, peace – Gal. 5:22
  • Power to be full of gentleness, goodness & faith – Gal. 5:22 
  • Power to endure, to be longsuffering – Gal. 5:22 
  • Power to know truth – John 16:13 
  • Power to be sons – Gal. 4:6 
  • Power to be a witness – Acts 1:8 

We all need power for this journey called life –
And the good thing is that it is available to every believer. No special degrees or distinctions are required, simply a willingness to receive and a commitment to continually be filled with His Holy Spirit. 

‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…’ Acts 1:8 

‘Be ever-filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit…’ Eph. 5:18 

‘Walk in the Spirit…’ Galatians 5:16

Receive power for the journey ...

21 June 2011

I have no man ...

‘The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” John 5:7

This section of the gospel of John recounts the story of a man infirmed for thirty-eight years. Thirty-eight years …

'Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath … But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working."' John 5:1-17

I have heard this text preached many times and often the preacher will focus in on the reasons or excuses that the man launches into once Jesus asks Him if He would like to be healed.

That is not my focus today –
Today, I simply have a question... 
  • Had he refused help all those years?
  • Had he pushed everyone away?
  • Did he not have one friend or family member in thirty-eight years who would assist him into the pool?
  • Was there not anyone who cared enough to help him in thirty-eight years?
Perhaps you might be feeling like this man today –
  • Are you facing an impossible situation?
  • Do you desire help and healing?
  • Have you grown weary with striving?
  • Have you given up trying altogether?
  • Has the circumstance lingered so long that your hope has waned and you wonder if help will ever come?
If so, take courage!
Believe again, trust again, hope again – try again! There is a Savior who stands ready to break the years of bondage just like He did for this gentleman.

Single mother –
Do you cry every Father’s Day and say, ‘I have no man …’?
There is a Man, Jesus, who will bring wholeness to that void.

Fatherless child –
Without leadership or love,
Do you cry out daily, ‘I have no man …’?
There is a Man, Jesus, who gave His life to give you a Father.

Young Woman –
Do you ache because you have had too many men?
Do you look at your life and say, ‘I have no true man?
There is a Man, Jesus, who looks beyond your past and ushers in a bright and promising future.

Young Man –
Doing all you can to be a real man,
Left with a void because you never received guidance,
Do you silently proclaim, ‘I have no man …’?
There is a Man, Jesus, who equips and empowers and coaches you on how to be a godly man of influence and character.

Old Man, Old Woman –
Are you looking at the sun set,
Do you mutter to yourself, ‘I have no man … I have no one?
There is a Man, Jesus, who says, ‘You still have tremendous purpose.’

Young, old, man, woman or child – There is a Man. His name is Jesus. And both He and His Father have been working up till now. And They are working still.

19 June 2011

Happy Father's Day

Today I would like to take a moment to celebrate dads...
Biological fathers, step-fathers, uncles, cousins, pastors, friends ….  basically, any man who has assumed the role of a father figure and is having a positive impact in the life of a young man or lady.

Fathers have a unique opportunity to give their children (natural or spiritual) a glimpse and reflection of God Himself.

Typically, a much bigger fuss is made about Mother’s Day than Father’s Day. In fact, to a large extent, many in society have devalued the role of a father. However, fathers, godly fathers who are positively and actively engaged in the lives of their children, are to be celebrated and honored.

Francis Bacon Sr. is quoted as saying, ‘One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.’ This is so true – for they teach lessons that can never be taught in a classroom. And the greatest of the lessons are often without words – they are merely communicated through righteous living and godly example. May your children echo the sentiments of Clarence Budington Kelland who said, "My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."

To all these fathers, I say…

Happy Father’s Day!

17 June 2011

One True God ...

One True God

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”

But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So in everyone who trusts in them.
Psalm 115:1-8

It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes.
Psalm 118:8-9

Remember the word to Your servant,
Upon which You have caused me to hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
For Your word has given me life.
Psalm 119:49-50

At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.
Psalm 119:62

I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.
Psalm 119:147

For I know that the LORD is great,
And our LORD is above all gods.
Whatever the LORD pleases He does,
In heaven and in earth,
In the seas and in all deep places.
Psalm 135:5-6


Your mouth speaks and reveals
the wondrous plans You have for me
Your eyes look upon me;
Yes, they roam throughout the earth,
To show Yourself strong
on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to You.
Your ears are not deaf;
they hear every supplication,
spoken and unspoken.
You smell the fragrance of true worship.
Your arms are not too short to save;
Your hands, they hold me;
You have inscribed me in Your palm;
Your feet,
They walk with me through the storms of life.
And You speak to me.
You are mighty God,
The One True and Living God.
I know You will not disappoint.
Let Your will be manifested in my life,
And in the life of every reader.
My trust is in You.
In the Matchless Name of Jesus
I Pray,

my soul waits...

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I have cried to
     You, O LORD;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

If You, LORD should mark
O Lord, who could stand?

But there is forgiveness with
That You may be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for
     the morning -
Yes, more than those who watch
     for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant
And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

15 June 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘destination … not location’

Good Morning!
I pray that as we approach the mid-point of the year that your journey is going well. As I look at my own journey, it has taken a few turns that were not entirely expected. However, I will not allow that to discourage me or get me off focus of what the LORD has called me to do and who He has purposed me to become.

Dealing with homelessness, it is easy to get focused on my present situation and location in life and to lose sight of the destination. It is a fight to stay out of the ‘now’ and keep my mind fixed on heavenly realities and the ‘eternal’. Yet it is a fight that I will keep fighting with every bit of strength in me. And when that strength is depleted, I take comfort in His Words of encouragement in II Corinthians 12:9: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’

Understand that the journey may take you places that you had not planned. There will be things that occur that were not on the itinerary – at least not the itinerary that you could see. Yet, as believers, we must keep traveling the road and keep the destination at the forefront of our mind. 

We must determine like Paul to be forward-focused at all times: ‘I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 3:12-14

Part of our focus is fighting the good fight of faith and understanding that this is a spiritual battle as much as it is a spiritual journey!

Yet, it is not the present situation or location that matters … but the destination!

‘Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…’ II Corinthians 10:3-6

Fix your mind ...

‘… whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.’ Philippians 4:8 

Focus on the destination!

Keep moving forward, no matter what comes your way. We have saints who have gone before us, cheering us on. We have believers and non-believers who are walking beside us, drawing perspective and strength from our ability to stay God-focused and peaceful in the midst of the storms. We also have those who will come after us who will benefit from our ability to have traveled our journey successfully. And we have this confidence, that He who began this good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6). The LORD God Almighty wants us to achieve all that He has set before us even more than we want it.

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG

Have a Blessed Week!

14 June 2011

move ...

Had to share this one by Mercy Me ... Move!

Have a Blessed Day!
Keep on Moving...
Singing ...

08 June 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Dusty Roads’

‘The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ‘ Genesis 2:7

Out of the dust of the ground God created man …

Ever been in a life situation where you feel like all you are dealing with is the dusty remnants of what used to be? Ever dwelt in a season where there is dryness all around you, where it appears that nothing can grow? Ever traveled a road that is so dusty that you feel like you can scarcely find your way?

In those times, it is vital to remember that God created man out of the dust of the earth and saw that all He made was good.

I’ve missed posting my weekly messages here. But, it has been an extremely busy time. This morning I am sitting in a hotel room with my children and my faithful MinPin Chico. Yes, I was able to find a hotel which takes pets – Praise God!

I have done more packing and moving and lifting over the past few days. Physically, I am utterly exhausted. Spiritually, I am remarkably peaceful, hopeful and, oddly, full of anticipation of what God will do next.

Painful situations come into the life of every person and some can feel so crushing that you feel like you could never pick up the pieces again. However...

There is a God who is expert at creating works of beauty out of dusty, dirty, crumbled, shattered situations and circumstances. He calls forth life from barren and parched places. And He provides encouragement and peace on those dusty stretches of the journey.

As I packed up my home, I kept finding scripture cards in the oddest places. So, I thought I would share some of them with you … in the order that I found them:

‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you,
let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’
John 14:27

‘He knoweth the way that I take:
when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.’
Job 23:10

‘I have set the Lord always before me:
because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’
Psalm 16:8

‘The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations.’
II Peter 2:9

‘Call upon me in the day of trouble:
I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’
Psalm 50:15

‘The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him,
to all that call upon Him in truth.’
Psalm 145:18

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion:
for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee,
saith the Lord.’
Zechariah 2:10

‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things
and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.’
Revelation 21:7

‘At the voice of thy cry;
when He shall hear it, He will answer thee.’
Isaiah 30:19

Wow! I can’t say it any better than He says it Himself. As long as you have Christ dwelling on the inside – you have everything you need … and you have everything you need to begin again.

I am praying for all of you who are traveling dusty roads and going through trying situations. I hope you’re praying for me and my family as well.May God bless you abundantly in every way!

'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’
Romans 8:28