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 I for one disobeyed God and the devil convinced me that the call God had on my life had been revoked due to choices I had made.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.

HE HAS RISEN!!! He could only come forth from the grave due to the fact that He had been put to death at the hands of the angry mob. But I remind you He gave His life they really did not take it from Him.

The greatest event in the history of man took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was followed by the Cross the Resurrection and the Ascension. It all began when our Savior, our Redeemer, Jesus fell on His face before the Father and prayed “…Not my will but your will…” Those words, that decision changed the world

His will was to do the will of the Father. The will of the Father was for His Son to pay the penalty for your sins, my sins and the sins of all mankind. Easter is a reminder that Jesus died for each of us, he came out of the grave, and offers to us redemption from sin that we may spend eternity with Him. Jesus makes Easter very special.

Happy Easter to everyone.

matthew

Christian 12 Step’s annual celebration banquet was a night of worship and praise. God is so good to us. We burned the note on the building. We are debt free.

However , that was not the highlight of the evening. With more than 150 in attendance we were witnesses to numerous miracles of lives being changed through the power of our Risen Christ Jesus.

As Lance, Jamie, Brandy, Josh, Amber, Mark shared their testimonies of their healing and restoration in overcoming horrendous and destructive addictions the very presence of the Eternal Healer permeated the room creating an overwhelming gratitude for His Power and Love.   It was a most exciting evening.

Thanks to all who was involved in preparing such an awesome event in which our Savior was exalted. God is our Protector and our Provider. Amen and Amen!!!

“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

That is some strong words.   Let me try to put that in my vernacular. “If you don’t know God you don’t know how to love and if you know God you are going to show genuine love because God is love.”

Do you think perhaps we have distorted the word LOVE. I cannot help but notice all the advertisements focusing on Valentine’s Day. Does how we behave and what we do on this particular day really describe love?

The kid was asked “what about broccoli” and she said “I love broccoli”. When the broccoli was passed at the table she did not take any out on her plate.   The hostess reminded her that she had said she loved broccoli. The kid said “I love broccoli but I sure as heck don’t eat it.”

This Valentine’s Day I challenge you to think about it when you say “I love you” to the one you consider to be your valentine. And especially when you tell God you love Him.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!

 

heart

 

God is good all the time…

…all the time God is good!!!

 

Do you remember one of the first prayers we learned as kids? “God is great, God is GOOD, let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed. Give us Lord, our daily bread. Amen.”

Then we were introduced to the song “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He is so good to me.”

In Psalm 100:5 -we read, “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

Throughout the Bible we are reminded of the goodness of God. As we study the attributes of God we realize it is His very nature to be good.

Because God is good and full of mercy we receive the benefits of His goodness. Upon our repentance we are not only forgiven but we are granted a pardon, “old things pass away all things become new”. Our pastor recently stated that a born again believer has no past.

In His goodness we have access to Him. We can pray to God and He not only hears our prayers He answers each prayer. Oftentimes we consider a prayer unanswered because God does not do exactly what we ask Him to do.

For me at times the reason He doesn‘t give me the answer I desire is because of His goodness.   He has something better. He see the whole picture from the “beginning to the end“.

Another great benefit of His goodness is the gift of His Holy Spirit to live in us that we may have fellowship with God at all times. The fellowship is realized as a result of His presence. It is a trust relationship that assures us that regardless of what happens the results will reveal His goodness.        

The goodness of God is not always visible to us. Difficult times come and bad situations cause bad things to happen to us.   In these times we face problems.   Disappointments come and we find ourselves in a deep valley. We question the goodness of God. If God is good why am I experiencing bad times?

If God is good why did my mother die of a heart attack at the young age of 63? If God is good why are so many people being tortured and beheaded today because of their allegiance to their faith in God?

If God is good why are we facing such tragedies across our state, our nation our world? Why are bad things happening to good people? Again I am reminded that when God created this world He said “It is good”.

Could it be that God allows valleys so He can build mountains in our lives? Yes, God is in charge. In fact the Bible teaches us that He is the Sovereign God.

The little boy was lying on the floor and he looked up to see what Grandma had in her lap. She was sewing away doing a cross stitch design. The grandson said to his grandma “that is the ugliest thing I have ever seen.”

Grandma invited him to stand up and look over her shoulder. As he looked at the design of the cross-stitching from the top view he did not see the knots and the hanging strands of thread. He quickly stated “Grandma that is one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen.”

I am not trying to be pious or pharisaical but it takes some knots and hanging threads, the good and bad things that happens, for God to create the person He knew would make the best person you could ever be. I know it is hard for some of us to believe that God is creating a beautiful person but He is.

If it is not good it did not come from our good God. He alone is the source for good not bad. In His wisdom He allows situations that seem to be bad and from that experience we are molded into an individual that exhibits the goodness of God.

The main problem is we use the wrong standard for goodness. We adhere to the standard of goodness set by the world. Goodness today is measured by what is good for me.    

Let me encourage you to submit to and trust the One that is the source of all goodness. He will never let you down. It does not mean that you will never experience bad things. It simply means that He is able to take the bad things and demonstrate His power to cause the bad to become eternally good.

God is good all the time…

 

                                                All the time God is good!!!

 

 

Happy New Year.  2015 is here.  As I review events of the past 12 months I am challenged to make 2015 twelve months of serving the Bethlehem Baby who went to the Cross, came out of the tomb and became my living Redeemer.  Jesus makes all the difference in the world.

Jesus turns sadness into gladness, defeat into victory, depression into joy, rejection into acceptance, bitterness into sweetness, unforgiveness into forgiveness, darkness into light, and on and on I could go.  How does He do it?  From the manger to the resurrection He defeated satan and every enemy even death itself to give to us abundant life.

There is nothing logical about how He changes things.  He told his disciples  that we gain life by dying.  We gain by losing and to follow Him we give up everything to have unexplainable abundance.  It sure doesn’t make sense to me but that is exactly what He tells us in His Word.

I listened to the message of Nick Vujicic at the Hour of Power broadcast this weekend, a man born without arms and legs. You can visit his webpage Life Without Limbs and hear his testimony.  He shared how he had prayed for the miracle of God giving him arms and legs until God revealed to him that he was the miracle.

Too often I allow myself to be caught up in the memories of the past, remembering the difficult times I have faced.  For the most part the valleys of the past are the consequences of the choices I made outside of the will of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I remind you as I often must remind myself that He told us we will reap what we sow.  Praying for crop failure does not work.

Then I hear the message of Nick Vujicic, a person with no arms and legs, by no fault of his own or the consequences of choices he has made and He shares the message of seeking a miracle from God to give him legs and arms and God tells him he is the miracle.  I was showered with conviction.  How often I consider my past as an obstacle for God to do with my life what He would choose to do.

It isn’t my past that forfeit’s the manifestation of the power of God.  It is me continually praying for forgiveness when God took care of that on the Cross centuries ago.  The miracle God desires to perform in my life is me simply surrendering everything I have to Him.  Yes that means the terrible choices I have made in the past.  Even through the consequences of disobedient choices, reaping what I have sown, a spiritual law that God Himself made, He desires through my dying to self to make me His living miracle.

As we enter 2015 would you join me in surrendering everything to God and allow Him to make you the miracle He desires you to be.  I commit myself to quit asking God to take away this and add that but simply ask Him to make me the miracle that He can use to proclaim His message of  hope.  Let me share the abundant life that comes in a total surrender to His Will by becoming His miracle.