In the Scheme of Things

31 12 2011
I'm Just Sayin'

I'm Just Sayin'

Faith in the Lord Jesus… It is all a matter of choice. That choice is totally our own.

I was reminded of this fact while ministering to someone quite dear to me who wants to believe in everything under the sun: Every theological point of view; every religious practice; every ancient rite or ritual that is back in vogue; just everything.

The odd bit about that is if you’ll fall for anything, you won’t stand for anything. Having reached that certain age where you inevitably begin to “take stock,” they seem dissatisfied with their life.

However, as I struggled to break through decades of new-age-intellectual-spiritualism; I saw what the years of ‘questioning and reasoning‘ have produced: A self-imposed bondage, like a hamster caught on the wheel of ceaseless questions, investigation and more questions.

That very thing is spoken of in the Bible :  II Timothy 3:7                                                                “…ever learning, but never able to acknowledge the truth.” (N.I.V)

Yet, I continue to pray for them, for you and for me. There is a wonderful song by The Williams Brothers that I would love to insert into this post for your listening pleasure; alas, I am still on the WordPress-Learning-Curve (hey, it takes some folks longer–get over it).  So until I learn to do that, simply go to YouTube and enter the song title: “I’m Just A Nobody” by The Williams Brothers (accept no substitutes). The song lyrics describe my ministry efforts perfectly:

“I’m just a nobody,

trying to tell everybody,

about Somebody,

who can save anybody.”

Think about this too: It was NEVER the scholars, never the wise, the rich, the extremely privileged or the ‘top dawgs’ of this world that really “Got” the message of Jesus.

It was usually those at their lowest point; those that mourn (depressed?); those that hunger and thirst after righteousness (sick of the mess in themselves and this world-system); and those that have been given no hope (terminal illness?).

That is why I get excited when I read in the Bible about “when we were dead in our sins, Christ died for us; and also how He (Jesus) came to set the captives free!” Hallelujah, because I was captive; I was orphan; I was without hope and alone in this world and a sinner; but I heard Him whisper my name in the midst of my mess and I’ll never be the same.

Jesus is my source and resource. Jesus is the One I look to and lean upon. He is the One who is merciful enough to allow me to grow in His grace.

I say with the Apostle Paul:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do: Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

Pick up your Bible today and press in to Him. Proverbs 3:5 tells me to “ Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not to my own understanding, but in all my ways acknowledge Him and He will direct my path.”

Folks, it wasn’t until I began to personalize the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit opened the way of the Lord wide to me.

So, “In the scheme of things“, as we look out to a new year upon the horizon, can we afford to stay stuck on our hamster wheels much longer? Don’t mind me,  I’m just sayin’.      Be Blessed

Advertisements




WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?

26 12 2011
Miss Janet Jackson

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

“What Have You Done For Me Lately?” Miss Jackson made that question the most popular one posed to date through her hit album Rhythm Nation, with the assist of writer/producer dynamic duo: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Grammy awards were given out in plenty.

How can we give the Lord a Grammy for what He does for us every minute of every day? The answer: Praise. That’s right, Praise Him; give thanks to Him and for Him; for He is good, and His mercy endures forever! That’s what we read in Psalm 136:1 and Psalm 107:1. Here is just a small example how Praising God worked out in a very big way: My Uncle is 84, a retired Barber, a left-side stroke victim, and newly diagnosed cancer patient who along with my Aunt, a retired nurse with many years of deep muscle and bone damage (lifting heavy patients for 35 years); both on a tight fixed income; called me to ask for prayer: Their old car had just died, leaving them with many doctor appointments and no means of transportation in the suburbs of New Jersey.

By phone in Tennessee, I began to pray right then and there. The Holy Spirit lifted that prayer, having me to speak out the power and love of God, the words of promise and comfort of help found only in the word of God. When we concluded that prayer, we all felt lifted, encouraged and at peace; although nothing on the outside had changed (the car was still dead and they still did not have any money –me either). However, there was a big change for us all; deep down on the inside. We were renewed in our faith. I encouraged them to do what the word tells us in Psalm 150-“Praise ye the Lord.”

I asked them both to speak only blessings and positive pronouncements over their situations: “Say what you DO want to happen; and not the opposite.” We can read all about faith in the whole book of James. It’s all about faith and those who ‘walk by faith and not by sight.’ II Corinthians 5:7

Back to my Uncle and Aunt: Within days, men and women came to them saying they just had a ‘feeling’ that they should get in touch with them. The result: They missed very few doctor appointments. Then someone suggested a lady in car sales. This lovely woman was moved to compassion; took their old dead car in trade; sold them a lightly used car and even picked them up from their home to come to the dealership and sign the papers. The car is better than they could have ever afforded and has all the bells and whistles; a sunroof; keyless lock entry and great gas mileage. It’s a ‘hot’ little car and just right for zipping them around town. They were ecstatic. See Ephesians 3:20 about “More than you could ask or imagine.” That’s just how our God does what He does—all the time.

Then, the American Cancer Society ‘just happened’ to mail them a food voucher for $300.00. Finally, my Uncles’ estranged son showed up with a Christmas card with a crisp $100 dollar bill inside. This was his first visit to his Father’s home in over eight years. Prayer changes things. So, “What has He done for me lately?” God is worthy of our praise even if He never did another thing for us. HE paid it all on the cross of Calvary. All we need do is receive it by Faith. Don’t we just love how He loves us? Hallelujah! Be Blessed. Contact Lighthouse Ministries for prayer and counseling.





Christs’ Passion For Us All

22 12 2011

Our Not-So-Secret Admirer

Christs’ True Passion




Making My List, Checking It Twice

17 12 2011

Checking His List

Yes, it’s that time of the year! It’s time to give and receive gifts.The biggest view to our heart is who will be left off of our gift/card-giving list, more than whose on the list. You see, God knows the (true) intentions of our heart. HE knows the very number of the hairs on our head (or the lack thereof). Luke 12:7 and Matthew 10:30

Are we naughty or nice? Are we genuine or superficial and self-serving in our gift-giving? Don’t fear the one who could exclude you from their list, but “fear Him who has the power to send your soul to hell.” Luke 12:5 and Matthew 10:28

One part of the Saint Nicholas story that is all but forgotten today is the fact, Saint Nick:

  • Gifted anonymously.
  • Gifted the least of these among us: Children, orphans, widows, the poor, the sick and the forgotten elderly.
  • Gifted those who could not gift him in return: No strings attached.
Check your list again; whose not there? There was a person who wanted to buy his way into the power of Christ and offered money instead of a repentant heart. The Apostle Peter replied, “Your money perishes with you…” Acts 8:20

The best gift: Give the gift of a humble and repentant heart to the One we celebrate. Jesus came and gave us the gift of eternal life by paying with His own life. Receive His gift today.  Prayer: Lord Jesus; forgive my sins, come into my heart and be Lord of my life.” Amen†  Be Blessed!





Shaken, Not Stirred

14 12 2011
007
Shaken, not stirred

Okay, I will use any excuse to post a pic of Sean Connery. However, if you’ll come along with me on my rabbit trail, I promise to tie this into our Bible Lesson today… one more peek at Mr. Connery… okay, here we go: Now, it was 1964 in the movie Goldfinger that our dear Bond… James Bond requested his cocktail to be “shaken, not stirred.” Love that.

However, it was over 2000 years ago that our Lord talked to us about “shaken together and running over…” Our Lord was talking about being merciful and the results of living a mercy-giving lifestyle. Let’s read that for ourselves: Luke 6:38 “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Markets (aka grocery stores) used to measure out your selections, weighing them on a scale and/or filling the goods in your apron or shirt front (bosom) before there was “paper or plastic.” Some markets gave better ‘measure’ than other markets. Soon those markets that gave abundance in their measuring and weighing were known to give: “good measure.”

How? Well, let’s say you were buying some dry oatmeal; enough to feed your family for the next few weeks. Dry, raw oatmeal is rather fluffy. However, if you went to a ‘good measure’ market, you would get that oatmeal: pressed down (gets the air pockets out), shaken together to get the hard uneatable kernels to roll off, and running over… that’s more than the exact pound or two that you asked for and at no charge!

Ever hear of a Baker’s Dozen? We all know that there are twelve (12) in a dozen. However, a ‘Baker’s Dozen,’ contains thirteen (13)… known as “one more for Good Measure.” It was hoped that a measure of trust, caring and connection would be established between the customer and the retailer so the customer would feel that they receive ‘good treatment/good measure’ at that particular store and would become a loyal, returning customer. It’s a little, merciful, humanizing effort to show fairness, caring and concern.

From this principle of our Lord Jesus we can understand that if we: Need a hug? Give a hug away to someone else. Need a friend? Show yourself to be friendly with someone today. Want new things? Give some of those nice items you no longer use to someone else who could use it. Miss having a Mom or Dad in your life? Go visit a nursing home and just listen; be a comfort; be the son or daughter they need today. We each must start the ball rolling. Give!

In the sixth chapter of Luke, Jesus is telling the crowd and His Disciples to life their lives among each other like this every moment of every day. Jesus is reassuring them that they are guaranteed a return on investment (so to speak) and that the results will be that they will always receive what they give out (good or bad) and extra beside.

That is either wonderful or horrible news; however, as always with the Lord: It is our own personal decision and we will be held accountable for all of our decisions. So, let’s agree with Bond… James Bond: I want my life in relation to others to be filled to the overflowing: Good measure, pressed down, shaken—not stirred!          Be Blessed.





“DAY BY DAY”

8 12 2011
The Play "GODSPELL"

GODSPELL

Isn’t it great that the play “GodSpell” is back on Broadway? We, of a certain age realize that so much beautiful music came from that play; it is now in the fabric of our American Society. One of the most famous songs (there are many) is, “Day By Day.” Many of you saw the original play, or performed parts from GodSpell in High School, College or community theatre; along with the play, “Hair!

However, now you’re talking about my ‘coming of age’ decade and the background of unrest against all things ‘establishment.’ We wanted to be authentic; to celebrate our uniqueness and radically experience brotherly love. We fluffed out our hair, wore tri-colored socks, love beads and headbands… we were young, wild and free!

Many in my youthful tribe loved Jesus, but we pushed against the stuffy bureaucracy of mindless, denominational dogma, the senseless (Vietnam) war, the disgusting evils of greed and racism (and still do). Then came the 1980’s and we all got jobs. We combed our hair; donned our ‘interview suits’; stuffed our passion in our pockets along with our credit cards… Thus, here we are today: Gutted! But wait… Do I hear the first strains of a song?

The prelude to “Day By Day,” is a haunting little melody: “Prepare the way of the Lord… Prepare the way of the Lord.” Hey, it’s a sign! The next time I heard the lyrics to “Day By Day,” Ben Stiller was doing a comically, convoluted prayer in the presence of his fiancée’s parents in “Meet the Parents”: ‘Day by day, day by day… O dear Lord these things I pray… To see thee more clearly; to love thee – more dearly… Day by day…’ Yes, Ben Stiller had me falling on the floor, laughing out loud (that’s FOF-LOL for my texting friends) with his fumbling quote of a song in lieu of saying ‘grace.’

Actually, he was brilliant! Those lyrics are a fabulous prayer. After all, prayer is only conversation with the Lord. Prayer is like our public or private declaration of what’s on our hearts and mind directed to our creator. I believe God wants us to have Him on our minds and tell Him about it; or ask Him what He thinks. Additionally, He is always interested in what you think (unless you’ve gotten on His last good nerve-so to speak).

So, in this busy lifestyle of ours; why not take time to talk to Him… just talk to Him! We don’t always have to have a ‘wish list’ in our hip pocket. Put Jesus on your ‘favorites’ list. Who knows, you just might– Be Blessed: Day-by-day





CHUTZPAH !

6 12 2011

Reference Texts:   I Samuel Chapter 8 (all) and Isaiah 8:11-17

L'Chaim

True Chutzpah

The root of Christianity is Israel. Israel is our lifeline, our example and the history of relationship between finite man and infinite God-our-Father.

There is a Yiddish (Jewish) word colloquially synonymous with having the unique, individualistic qualities of: Nerve, guts, audacity, and spunk. That word is: “Chutzpah!” Quite frankly we need a lot more of it today in our 21st century society. We’re all trying to fit in: Our beady eyes fixed on the little screens; our chubby fingers flying over the acrylic keypad… locked and loaded, but for what?

To be a Believer in the One True God, the Almighty… to be a Christian; it will take ‘Chutzpah!’ In fact, from the Old Testament (the Pentateuch-First five Books of Moses/ first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy); we see our God telling us, explaining to us, warning us repeatedly that we must cling to Him, our creator and not subject ourselves to the schemes of Satan.

The schemes of Satan, his evil spirits (demons) and those misguided humans choosing to be ruled by him, will be under the evil ones’ thumb of dominion and receive his same punishment, eternally.  We’ve been warned.

However, in reading the First Book of Samuel, I recall how grieved the Prophet Samuel became when the children of Israel wanted a King (like everybody else). God warned the people through Samuel that they should be ‘careful what they wished for; they just might get it!’ And “got it,” they did: King Saul, whom God prophesied would put their kids to work for him in menial jobs; send their sons into endless wars; dominate their daughters in subservient positions for his pleasure as maids; place the young boys as pickers in his orchards; take the best of everything for himself and of course for his cronies; as well as take away the one thing they always had going for them as a nation of people: Hope in God and Chutzpah!

Here in our day we too have people who want to be “King” over us. They too have plans to subjugate our children to menial labor. Sound familiar? Our last and only chance to guard our future generations from this tyranny is to have the guts to pay attention; the spunk to stand up and grab onto the God of Promise with both hands; the nerve to look up and pay attention; to have the audacious Chutzpah to be the unique man or woman that our God created us to be. Get prayed-up and then speak up!

Sadly, this kind of thinking goes against the grain of the talking heads and reality show ringmaster’s who tell you what to think and the hired priests that take money to lull you back to sleep, to convince you  in joining them–Blessing ungodly ways just as they do. It is extremely uncomfortable to go against the voice of the crowd; to go against this worlds’ system. Prayer: Almighty Father, may we find eternal truth (and catalytic discomfort) in Your Holy word, to the saving of our soul and our nation.  Amen†  Be Blessed!








%d bloggers like this: