Come see us at the Ocala Hilton, Saturday, March12, to hear Coach Bobby Bowden and several recovering addicts share their journey of Hope, Love and Change. Tickets are $65 each for dinner. Call the office at 352-732-0877

HOPE… But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. Psalm 71: 14
It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord. Lamentations 3: 26
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
LOVE… Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 3:1

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

CHANGE… “And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
If a man die shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change comes. Job 14:14
The scriptures are full of promises of Hope, Love and Change. Thank you God for sending your son Jesus to give us Hope, Love and the ability by His grace to Change.

Perhaps one of the saddest but necessary events in human history was the death of our Messiah.  The little baby whose birth we celebrate each Christmas season grew into a man who endured a cruel death on the cross so that you and me could receive eternal life and spend eternity in heaven with our heavenly Father.

His mission on earth was totally misunderstood.  At age 30 He began a ministry that revolutionized the entire world and yet He never instigated a revolution.  He came to earth to fulfill the will of His Father to become the payment of the sin debt of every man, woman and child.

It was believed that He would build and/or restore a physical kingdom.  He was rejected by His very own and those who loved Him misunderstood His mission.  My prayer is that during this season each person reading this blog will understand His mission and accept Him as your personal Savior.  His Eternal Kingdom is being built daily on the earth as we trust Him.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.  1 Chronicles 16:8

Between Halloween and Christmas there is a day designated as THANKSGIVING.  I am very pleased to celebrate the day with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, sweet tea and lots of extras.

Family has come and we have a great time of sharing and especially reminding each other of the funny and warm/fussy things that we recall from years of yesterday.  Of course the kids and grandkids indulge grandpa by listening to how it was decades ago and how different it is today.

Following the delicious meal and the time of sharing some of us retreat to the den to watch football.  The others gather on the back porch to rock in the rockers, swing in the swing and share more memories while the grandkids play in the yard.

Hopefully during the meal and the time of sharing, watching football and rocking/swinging we take time to express our thanks for the great God we serve, the free country we enjoy , and last but best…THANK YOU JESUS for your sacrifice in order to give us that for which we are most thankful…our SALVATION.

 

Have you recently played “Trick or Treat” with God?  We expect God to give us “candy” and if  He doesn’t we plan a strategy to get back with God.  That is not what we do or is it?  It might be a good time this Halloween to take inventory.

 

What is your relationship with God?  Is He the bad Witch?  Our true self is often hidden behind a mask.  And we don’t just wear the mask at Halloween.

 

Your genuine relationship with God is exemplified in your relationship with those around you.   We are known as Christ-like by the way we treat others, no tricks, revealing our relationship to God.

 

I challenge each of us (that includes me) to stop playing  “Trick or Treat” with God.  As we enter the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas let us do away with “Trick” and  commit to “Treat” others the way God teaches us through His Word.  Be thankful for all that God provides daily in each of our lives.

God is not the author of failure!!!

 

I choose to remind all addicts in recovery of a Biblical truth. You and I have unlimited potential. God has gifted each of us with the resources for greatness to accomplish more than we could imagine or hope for.

 

Remember what God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

 

Before Jeremiah was born God had a plan for him.   I believe I am safe in stating He has a plan for you. God formed you in your mother’s womb. The sovereign, all knowing God has a plan for you personally.

 

You are more than a conqueror. When God made you, He equipped you with all you would ever need to be all He would ask or require of you. You in turn must invest and give away what you have been given.

 

If you are a recovering addict you must step out in faith and invest your time, talent, and treasure, you will not fail. God does not give birth to failure. What He gives to you we in turn share it with others.

 

Are you ready to hear this? You have everything you need to succeed as a child of God, an overcomer because God is alive in you!

Last night I was reminded through a message delivered at our church that God has a PURPOSE and an IRREVOCABLE CALL on every person He creates. That was quite a challenging open statement to hear. Then the speaker proceeded to mention the call on Adam, Moses, Abraham , Issac, Paul, etc.

 

And of course Jonah became the primary reference of God’s purpose and His call on each of us individually.   Nineveh? Where is that? Some of us can readily identify with Jonah. I for one disobeyed God and the devil convinced me that the call God had on my life had been revoked due to choices I had made. He spared me the experience of the giant fish. However…

 

Many of you know….the rest of the story…   Abbie and I purchased property in those beautiful Smokey Mountains and built our dream house and was enjoying looking across the mountain tops as we rested in those comfortable rocking chairs. But…a letter came saying we need you back in Florida.

 

Yes…we came and for the past 11 plus years Abbie and I have been thrust into a ministry that we never thought about needless to say planned to do. God’s call on our lives had purpose and was irrevocable and I praise Him for the joy and peace we have in service to Him.

 

What is your PURPOSE??? What is the IRREVOCALBLE CALL on your life???

Isn’t it amazing how involved we get in listening to candidates seeking the office of president of our great country and fail to listen to a sovereign God who is in total control of our great nation. We are told that more than 24 million people tuned into the first debate this past Thursday. Do you suppose that many folks read the Bible and heard from God that same day.

There are people in the world who have never trusted Jesus and it is understandable that they possibly never read the Bible or pray. But what about those of us who “claim to know Jesus”. I am not trying to be an agitator, a rebel or get folks mad at me but I ask you to consider the following.

Are you upset that the Bible is now offensive and is not accepted in the classroom in our schools?
If so, how often do you read the Bible, mediate in a quiet time to hear from God?

Are you upset that prayer is considered offensive and is no longer allowed in public gatherings at school or government meetings?
If so, how often do you pray and seek to know God’s will?

Are you upset that hundreds of babies are being murdered in our country every day?
Is so, have you reached out to a pregnant teenager or volunteered time or donated funds to keep the pregnancy center open to counsel pregnant women to birth the baby God has put in their tummy?

I could go on and on but I just wanted to challenge God’s people to wake up. If we do what we know to do will it make a difference? And before you get too upset with me please note that I used the word “WE” and not “you”. I challenge myself as well.

In the year King Uzziah died Isaiah was down so he went to church and had an amazing encounter with God. I have found in my down times going to church makes a difference. I have had some downtime recently due to events over which I had no control.

I went to church I witnessed God being lifted up, praised and worshipped. My heart was quicken by the presence of His Holy Spirit as I experienced His presence. I was reminded once again that God alone is the One who ultimately controls our world.

Then I bowed my head and prayed “woe is me” . He heard my prayer, spoke to my heart, cleansed me and revived the cry of my heart, “Lord send me”. I can not control the world’s rebellion against the truth taught in God’s Word, but I can go and share His love to a hurting world. His unconditional love expressed in my life will melt the hearts of those who otherwise would reject Him.

Let me encourage you…let’s go share His love and God will turn the downtimes into uptimes!!!

John writes “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And he adds later with a quote from Jesus, “I am the …truth…” John 14:16.

As an “overcomer” through Jesus I am reminded of the days in my addiction when I willingly lived a lie. An addict creates a reality that allows him or her to live in total deception. Living a lie reaps nothing but a deeper rut that eventually becomes a grave.

However, the One who states, “I am the way… the truth…the life” is also the one that stated “the truth shall (not maybe) will set you free”. And then He gives us the route to truth and the way by which we attain and retain truth. He adds “…when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…” (John 16:13).

Thank you Father for your Holy Sprit who guides and leads us to real genuine “TRUTH… JESUS , our protector, provider, our healer of our addictions, bad behaviors…” that interferes with our relationship to your SON.

A few days ago I attended the chapel service at the Asbury Theological Seminary in Orlando. It was an honor to be there. The speaker was Michael Beck. Michael had been elected by his fellow graduates to preach the final chapel service of the 2015 term. He will be receiving his Master’s of Divinity degree in a few days.

I have taken the privilege to share with you his words from his Facebook entry:

“I am a 9th grade dropout, born addicted, who grew up orphaned on the streets. I am the first member of my family to pursue ANY kind of college education. This afternoon, I submitted my final assignment at Asbury Theological Seminary. I have spent over 8 years in the rooms of higher learning, and maintained a 4.0 the majority of that time (received a single B+ thanks to Hebrew). This Saturday, by the grace of God I will graduate with a 96 credit hour Master of Divinity Degree with ZERO debt.

Summary of my educational process: I have learned how to learn, and plan to spend the rest of my life doing it. Don’t let anyone tell you that a goal cannot be accomplished. If God has called you to do it, he will carry you through it.”

And did he preach a sermon. I was so pleased that I could attend and hear a message from the heart of God through a young man that sometimes refers to me as “Dad” and I love it. Thank God for the Michael Beck’s that inspire, encourage and challenge us. I love you my preacher son.