Monday, March 29, 2010

Every One Of Us Has An Expiration Date

It is appointed unto man once to die (not many times). The statistics on death this side of the Rapture of the Church are pretty impressive.. one out of every one will expire.

 

Rough day here. A loved one got a really hard health report (not terminal, though life sure seems to be) and then lost a job. Liney called to tell me about the situation tonight.

 

Trusting.

 

The fear of illness and of death might be a universal thing that people think about, but Jesus can still heal and strengthen. He also broke the chains of death so that we can have hope.. and life, both on this side of the grave and beyond the grave.

 

"This is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life." ~1 John 2:25

 

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." ~John 11:25-26

 

If I enjoy new life during life in Christ now as I do (much different that before..), I sure don't have to worry about having it later. We can know in advance an make reservations before we arrive.

 

Do love these words.

 

"Christ has not only spoken to us by His life but has also spoken for us by His death." ~Soren Kierkegaard

 

"He is risen; He is not here." ~Mark 16:6

 

Man, Friday was real dark, but Sunday sure brightened things up!
 
Glory to God! Glad Easter leaves no human out ..if they don't want to be left out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What.. Accelerate My Innovate?


Do you take some risks from time to time? Hope so. Some risks really intrigue me. Tell me about ones that worked out well for you if you have a moment. What do ya like to innovate or create? Man, I want to talk to Christians who feel some level of trepidation about innovation or simply stepping out in faith to attempt something new.

Why? Well, there have been times in history where the Church has really been missing it in this department.. when hungry people just wait and wait and wait need God's body on earth to get the Word out and not be all about itself.


You know that the purpose of all good innovation is to serve or minister to people better and to primarily please the Lord. I love how the Bible starts out with, "In the beginning God created..." (Gen. 1:1), well He did all of that with us in mind.

Look at how He blessed people in that book!
Did they lack? No! He had their back and got em all the info they needed.

But I also want to talk to others who have inborn gifts and talents, but are not quite sure where to start or how they can employ them to the extent that they were meant to be used.
Do you believe that you have gifts inside that can be used for the glory of God? For us guys, it would be a terrible thing to have tools in the garage and never use em. And how would you ladies feel to have a high-end HGTV kitchen with all the bells an whistles if you will, but then watch decades pass and no one in the family ever tries to cook anything?

"Kurt, you talk of God-given gifts but those He seems to allegedly give them to.. really make me nervous. besides, I really wouldn't mind not using the kitchen just as long as my man takes us all out to restaurant row daily!"Listen, some of those who claim to have gifts also make me feel the same way that you do, but all past misuses with some people doesn't negate that gifts can be used right and help others!

OK, perhaps you feel that in order for you to become a real Christian, you must be A.) Southern, B.) Have a thick drawl or twang, C.) Wear a white Armani suit with a diamond pinky ring flashing out the glOoorAy. D.) Go up on your toes when you shout.. a lot, even though it might be more appropriate to just talk normally. You know, "Ba Haaailed" (with a smack-down on the forehead)! E.) You must function semi-anamatronically just like some who seem to be like Christian clones around you (many are not).

Hey, it takes a living hope from the Lord inside people to create or to go forward right. You don't have to be like those in the world who are off or like me. Not called for at all! God just wants you to be yourself and use what He gave you minus all sinning. Sure He can help you if you fail, and make you more innovative in a fitting, winsome way if you are willing.

 "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~Paul, Romans 15:13

Been thinking 'bout innovation lately and how I might encourage you in this direction. With quickly changing times, the tweeking of our methods must happen if we are to remain effective in getting through to people!

Deep Satisfaction Can Be Yours!


How are you doing today? Ya got an inner void to fill or are you satisfied yet?

The Bible says, "God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy" (Lk. 6:21, nlt).

The Lord is radically glorified in us when we're most satisfied in Him, but second to such huge joy of abiding ..is when we from that personal worship experience, seek to help our buds also discover this deep satisfaction!

We are called to seek Jesus more and more! Hey, we have a lifetime to learn of Him and to help others discover what I'm talking about.. to discover it, to rediscover it and to really discover it (you know, abundant life in Jesus Christ) ..yes, as He increasingly becomes our all in all!

But why can this truth be liberatingly devastating for us?

Well, it starts to free us by acknowledging our inborn desire for pure joy that's been there all along.. where to find it as well as where not to find it. But it can be devastating when it reveals how much we don't desire the closeness of Christ, God's imperial rule, or even give a flip about our unregenerate or backslidden neighbors.  

What did Philip say to Jesus.. "Lord, show us the Father and we will be satisfied" (Jn. 14:8). So where have you wasted time looking for fulfillment? I used to look in many places.. in surfing, in the pleasure of partying, in having the right job, car, house, friends etc. It's really in just knowing Christ personally. With some cooperation on your part, He can deal with all the junk that might get in your way, and He can also use you to infect others with constant J-O-Y! 

"What then is my pay? It is the satisfaction I get from preaching the Good News without expense to anyone, never demanding my rights as a preacher." ~Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:18, nlt

"The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." ~ Proverbs 11:25

Listen, you can know Christ's warm accepting embrace.. not of your sin.. but of you. And you can share the Gospel without fear to see others refreshed in His agape Love! Are you willing to be made willing. Then tell Him so.  

"Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person's lips bring satisfaction." ~Proverbs 18:20, nlt

"He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands." ~Jesus, Luke 1:53, nlt

Are you away from Christ and think you know real satisfaction or wealth? Sadly, you do not. We are discovering what it's really all about according to His changeless Word. Why don't you join us today?

And one day believers from around the world will be even more satisfied than right now for the Bible says, "And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness" (Ps. 17:15). Don't you want to eventually look into His calming countenance and see a big welcoming smile as you enter eternity? Sure you do!

Monday, March 22, 2010

We Peeps Connect Upwards, ‘Cause So Many People Outwards Are Disconnected

I'm hearing that around ten percent unemployment will be the new normal here. Sad. It's kinda like a drought of opportunity—an employment- famine and yet other things remain in the focus for those who lead. What will time reveal? Hope you have the work you need (let us know your opinion or how we can pray for you).
 

What can we do about all this.. nothing? Naw. 

Sure, we in the Western World live in a society adrift, that's cast off restraints for the sake of pleasure, materialism and cheap instant fixes.. one that's now stinging for the most part and desperately groping around in what seems to be ein Plage der Finsternis (a plague of darkness). Those in society here are grasping for real answers and advice from corrupt non-leaders playing like leaders (on both sides of the spectrum, but not all are phony), from ungodly friends, and from wicked sports, music and film role models that are hailed and applauded in the media. And therefore, Western Society (especially here in America in some ways) is not coming up with solutions that are viable in addressing the root issues.
 

How can the masses even begin to differentiate, while swimming in a sea of lies constantly coming forth from so many of those they've trusted? This moves me.
 

A society gone astray from the Ten Commandments and their loving but just Author will not last long (check out those from the not so distant past), but like a clump of battered branches heading downstream, such a society will only briefly continue and bounce off the rocky banks of the rushing flow—yep, in a river of time if you will—and it will soon arrive at a shocking conclusion that's just around the corner. "Aww Kurt, why be some prophet of doom and gloom, when you're normally so upbeat?"
 

Well, unless..
 

.. we can stop, think biblically, each get right personally, and pray for the land we live it as well as for those around us stubbornly heading towards perdition. We can intercede for the authentic spiritual awakening that is so needed—we can have something to say and open our mouths.
 

In a day of high profile preachers given to positive confession and oratory pleasantries only, you and I cannot afford to be nothing more than PMA messengers, nor of ones without hope. We still have the Good News to spread!
 

There is a type of separation that is biblical and good, but in a day when many believers are retreating into their shells and holy huddles for safety, what's needed from the Church is mobilization, permeation, saturation, infiltration, and not cloister-ization!  
 

The Bible says, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6:17-18).
 

And it also tells us about how, "devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did" (Acts 8:2-6,nkjv).
 

God can do it again 'cause His deep compassion never changes. He has graciously sent our people awakenings in these parts before, and it's no problem for Him to send more awakenings if we as a people will simply according to His terms, hang a U-turn back towards Him.
 

Hey, are you in need? Has He got your attention yet Western World.. or do you still feel that all is good around you? God once told the wise King Solomon this..  
 

"When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" ~2 Chronicles 7:13-14
 

Perhaps, even at this stage of the game so to speak, if we also do that, we might see Him do something similar in our country. What do ya think? 
 

A society that has lost its moral compass and good stable moorings must get back to the Bible in order to survive! Hello, duh! The more disconnected people get ..along with their leader, specific cultures and sub-groups.. away from Christ, His will and precepts, the more necessary it becomes that the witnessing-Christian's living in those different cultures daily connect with and stay close to Jesus Christ. If we believers refuse to prioritize our fellowship and genuinely reflect His light in unselfishly shining outwards, who here will? If I don't go tell people about the Bible-Jesus from a base of strength with Him, will my many greatly-valued-by God.. gay and Moslem neighbors go do that?
 

We have a bit of time. The restraining factor (the real Church) standing against radical putrification that keeps trying its best to aggressively spread via well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning reprobates around the globe, has not yet been caught away. Our salty purpose is still before us. One day soon all the impediments against rot, will indeed be removed. You'd hate to be here for that.
 

But as an outgrowth of the believer's healthy, intimate, obedient union with Christ, we each for a time, can joyfully point society and those in it back to the Biblical text more thoroughly, but not with irrational applications of vain charismania or other impracticality. Society has already seen too much nonsense—too many counterfeit revivals! Many feel allergic to anything called "church" now.
 

In spite of this, we can believe for personal revival first ..all alone with the Lord and then tactfully take the time unbelievers need ..to without apology, carefully explain the Way of Salvation more accurately from the text. We can point em to the poignant lessons of how God responded in Church history as well.
 

Why not? Children of light are not to point primarily to the Church or to ministers as the Answer. We don't need to justify or condone those who have fallen, we don't aim to change em or point them to religious morality, or to habit-reformation in psychobabble clinics (and not all clinics put that first..) or to so called progressive Governments and other flawed human institutions as our providers or our Solution. We are called to point people to the Word today, for He alone can change us, awaken those in nations, and meet all our needs. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Sprungeth

A lot is going on in this land and we need to pray for our leaders, but we don't want to forget about our number one passion—Christ's Passion.
 

It's hard to believe that it is the first day of Spring here in Dallas. Feels like it might even snow outside. Just pulled in the driveway, have a hard time thinking of decent titles for these quickie devo-snacks, but I just wanted to say hi.
 

Easter is right around the corner now. Do you plan to stay in town this year or do you plan to go out of town to go visit family or just to see a change of scenery? We wish you a wonderful Spring no matter what you do. Not sure what we will do yet, but we will start to celebrate and we won't even wait until it is Easter Day.
 

Spring Sprungeth.. Easter Cometh!
 

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.'" ~John 11:25-26, niv
 

You know, explaining to friends, teaching on, or even preaching the Cross in some ho hum, stoic, Ka Sera Sera, detached, or emotionless manner would only display that you do not yet get it—don't understand Ress-day!
 

Hey, we don't need to fake anything like some hyped up disingenuous politician, nor do we ever want to bore our hearers with Scripture ..on the other hand.
 

Solution? First take the time to steal away to know the Word well and then enthusiastically go preach or share Christ's passion with His holy passion burning on the inside ..as Christ presents the opportunities! That's what is so infectious in witnessing His way
 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.." ~1 Peter 1:3, niv
"The marvel of heaven and earth, of time and eternity, is the atoning death of Jesus Christ. This is the mystery that brings more glory to God than all creation." ~Charles H. Spurgeon
 

The Gospel all by itself is beyond uber-fantastic. There has never been anything like it or even close! If it be worthily preached or shared as God expects it to be, the truths are transformationally-tremendous in their import and will take hold upon the innermost fibres of a person's thirsty soul.
 

Boring dullness about Christ's passion—you know that powerless droning on and on and on minus any passion—in the pulpit, in the school hallway, in the break room with a friend, or out on the streets as you tell the ole Story …is simply intolerable.
 

It can only be accounted for on the assumption that the Christian or the minister has not fully apprehended his divine theme or the results the Message can bring.
 

Why was it once noticed by an unsuccessful clergyman who addressed the actor David Garrick.. Hey, you draw the multitudes while I [a minister..] still preach to empty pews? A. Because replied the actor.. I set forth fiction as if it were true while you preach the truth as if it were fiction!
 

Do you even believe what you are saying? Why don't you pass it on like you do? Where is the bonafied, certifiable, recognizable enthusiasm.. the thrill or sense of urgency?
 

We in Christ have the truth—the only lasting Solution for all mankind lost and in the dark! And we need to pray like we really mean it ..and be more and more Son-drenched by the reality and the compassionate Spirit of the Gospel of the risen Jesus!
 

 "The highest act of love is the giving of the best Gift, and, if necessary, at the greatest cost, to the least deserving. That's what God did. At the loss of His Son's life to the totally undeserving, God gave the best Gift – the display of the glory of Christ who is the image of God."  ~John Piper
 

"For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." ~Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:16, 17
 

If the money-minded secular world can start real early to get us all going for Christmas.. when the summer heat is still burning outside, then why can't we Christians start praying and experiencing Resurrection JOY early before that holiday arrives? It really doesn't matter what you do or don't do vocationally, Christian. All saints are called to tactfully spread the Gospel as we daily appropriate resurrection power, so let's get on with it and be about our Father's business.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Unexpected Rescuer

"But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: 'Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent'" ~Joshua 6:15-17, nkjv
Did ya know that God loves all individuals everywhere (can a person say that too much?), and will use any person who is willing to obey Him? Sure you did—it's true.
It's interesting to notice the timing and order regarding God's judgment. He seems so patient with sinners giving em ample time to turn and then it's so deliberate in what He does ..in preparation for a better future.
Can you think of anyone or any type of person that God will simply refuse to use as an instrument? What about Rahab who was known for turning tricks with strange Johns? Well; that's what they do and the only reason I mention this is because you can't get so low in a hole that God's rescuing grace can reach down lower. And the Bible sure doesn't hide the flaws and blunders ..big and small.. of its heros. That's one thing I really love about this Book, but H-E-Y, wouldn't Rahab, with that kind of extremely low life she led be totally out of the question? Is there any filthy sin of the flesh that just can't be forgiven by God? Ok, rejecting Christ your whole life until you kick the bucket and reach room temperature is not forgivable (blaspheme of the Holy Spirit).  
No; living sinners have hope in Jesus Christ, but they need to turn asap! Man, who would want to be stuck with the consequences that don't automatically go away from a life of debauchery? Well, God is so gracious and He chose to use Rehab for His own reasons and glory. Her career of choice—prostitution—happened to be based in downtown Jericho back in the day. She lived in the city wall and was experienced in dark living, but God wanted her in the light.. for good!
Perhaps you remember the ole story of those two Hebrew messengers that Joshua sent out on assignment, checking out the Land before they were all to conquer it.
A little help from a local wouldn't have been a bad thing at all. There was a lot of area to scope out—big fortified walls with window are probably not easy sneak out of at night (remember the scarlet cord that reminds us of the blood of Jesus ..that Rahab left hanging out as a sign to these guys). It was the two dude's job to discover the best approach or strategy if you will, for the children of Israel to move on in.
But why was Rahab selected for this special role in giving aid and protection to the two spies? Man, I have no idea. I don't think that anyone can find any logical reason why. We know that God is not willing that any should perish, but perhaps she was the only one there willing turn from her wrong doings and to believe.
Maybe God wanted to show everyone—even us Gentiles—that there is hope in the Lord if we will just put our faith in Him. He is a passionate missionary kind of God you know. BTW; Have you put your trust in the Lord yet?
Listen, being a rescuer really doesn't have anything to do with tiles or rank. It has to do with genuine concern for others. And why wouldn't God choose Rahab—we've all been guilty of sinning before and it's not harder for God to forgive one person's sin over against another's is it? Is it harder for Him to use one over another if their hearts are right?
So how did this once seductive lady of the night lend a helping hand in the situation? Well, it wasn't via sinning sensually ..a skill which she had more than likely developed and was very accustomed to employing for her benefit. She might have been so sick of this ugly pollution of her soul by this time—so sick of being the boss and the provider of her own life. From the narrative, Rahab does seemed more than ready for a new type of love and a new type of Leader.   
Here's why she was selected.. it was through her spot-on clever decisiveness, through her quick wisdom in recognizing a real valuable deal before her (from God), and it was also due to her gutsy, shrewd take action style of simply getting things done. How practical to hide those blokes with the stalks of flax (v. 6). Some of us believers can over spiritualize things and miss the plain pragmatism. The men that the King of Jericho sent to retrieve the two messengers just couldn't find em on the roof there with Rahab (v. 7) so they took off after shadows at the fords of the Jordan.       
How many people do you know who snap to in doing things right, who are quick to obey—fast in adapting or in rightly applying the truth of the Word of God? She did and that's how we all need to be!  
Rahab not only saved her own life in this, but she aided in accomplishing the purposes of God in Jericho and went down in History for all time. Who did she rescue and how? Well she started by negotiating for her loved one's rescue (vv. 12-13) and Joshua's guys kept their word to her. We should also plead for people ..on our knees. 
The Bible says, "Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, 'Go into the harlot's house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.' And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel" (Josh. 6:22-23).
Joshua knew that the city would soon be engulfed and destroyed by flames (v. 24), but he wanted to honor the commitment of his messengers and he wanted this precious family of Rahab to remain safe. Rahab was rescued by faith in the Lord and then in one very clear sense, she also became a rescuer herselfyup, it was her faith in the ultimate Rescuer that saw her family get saved through the onslaught of Israel as well. It was of the Lord! We can give Him all the credit! Yup, Josh was indeed led of the Spirit that day, for if you check out the rest of the story, Rahab literally became an ancestor of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (See Matt. 1:5). What a way to be honored by God for all time! Do you have saving faith..a mustard seed kind of faith.. praying faith.. the gift of faith ..or evangelistic rescuing faith? You can! Just ask for God to work with the faith He gives you!
How sweeeeeet! How cool; God even cared about her family air looms—her personal and temporal stuff. Bonus! It meant something to her so it meant something to Him! Chivalry lives with Him. Verse 25 says, "And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father's household, and all that she had."
Did you know that you also matter to God that much?


There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. ~Jesus, Luke 15:7

Wise rescuers know that God sees the inner human heart. And while many people would never trust a woman for anything major, especially a woman with a history and spotted reputation like Rahab's.. the Lord just knew that this was the important task she was destined for. God is so kind and pure and He can make us kind and pure in heart as well. 
Because Rahab faithfully served the Lord with integrity.. she and her family lived out their days very securely. Where? It was in the direct will of God and these valuable people of her family were all adopted into the Hebrew society.
God has a special plan for you too and it will indeed involve full-on worship of Him alone and also the rescuing of others who still need to hear the Gospel Messsage. Like Rahab and God's two messenger-spies in the Old Testament, you can become a rescuer with a passion for souls ..yup, people that are about to perish forever. As you seek Jesus Christ and His Kingdom first above all else, He will, in His good time, reveal the details of His good world-changing plan for you and use you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hot Button Issues

Got questions?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wanna Defeat Your Enemy?

When they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people.. who had come against Judah. ~2 Chronicles 20:22

Do you want to prevail against the real enemy. Sure you do!

Well Christian, have you tried thanking and praising the Lord lately?

Bad idea? No way, on the contrary—this is a very good idea ..just to turn your attention away from the problem-people or situations around you for a few moments ..even if you don't feel like it.. and then as an act of your own volition, to deliberately choose to express your love and gratitude to the Lord. You know that He more than deserves this. Satan hates this so much! 

Please be reminded of the time when King Jehoshaphat of Judah became threatened by massive enemy armies (I personally love to be reminded and to remind people of this 'cause any of us can forget so easily). So, how did that go for him? Check it out...

He understood well that the people were powerless to defend themselves from those military forces, and he still refused to give up in spite of the real circumstance. Like that.

So Jehoshaphat first cried out in prayer to the Lord for His intervention (Good idea! See 2 Chronicles 20:12). And what happened after that? Welllllllll good question! The Lord's clear response came to Jehoshaphat through a man named, Jahaziel, when he said, "Do not be afraid nor dismayed... for the battle is not yours, but God's" (v.15). You know, we would all do well, first off, to pray, let the Lord fight our battles.. and to trust Him for protection. If we opt to be our main protection.. He will let us.

Then how did Mr. Jehoshaphat respond? Here's how... he started to worship to God of all creation. He also appointing praise singers if you will, to lead the army out (vv.18, 21). And as the people of God sang, "Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever," what did God do for them? Interestingly enough, God started to confuse the invading armies. And when they were mixing big time guess what happened next?  You got it. The soldiers started to kill one another (vv.22-24).

Now how much physical work did Jehoshaphat do to gain the victory. None; God did the work. Listen, no matter what battles you may be facing right now, no matter what oppression or opposition is before you, Jesus Christ by His Spirit is right there to help you when you simply cry out to Him. We don't do something to get Him to act, He is the Great Initiator. We simply respond to Him in simple childlike faith.

I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
~Psalm 22:22, nkjv

But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. ~Psalm 22:3, nkjv

Does all the world seem against you and you're in the battle alone?
It's often when you are most helpless that God's mighty power is known. ~Anon.

I try not to be into instructing Him on how to do what I am asking Him to help me with. The Lord doesn't need me to help Him in this way. I can't promise you that the Lord will do things exactly as He did for Jehoshaphat but I can promise you that you won't regret it. When the outlook doesn't look so great, try the uplook! When you feel like fixating or concentrating on solving the problem in your own power, then step back, pause, pray and praise Jesus! What do you have to lose really? Nothin'!

Yeah, instead letting panic or fear get a grip on you, hold your ground and worship Christ with all your heart! It will get easier the more you do this. I'm telling you that it won't be long before you can advance and take more ground for the Kingdom! Expect a harvest too.

We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us so; the Christ who dwells within us is the greatest power we know. ~A. Carmichael

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. ~Romans 8:37

"Yet You are holy. The praises of Israel surround your throne." ~Psalm 22:3, nlt

The way to drive Satan (doesn't his creepy name even have an ugly hiss to it?) to distraction, towards confusion and towards defeat in the battle is not through extended conversations or arguments with him... it's not through practicing extra biblical hyper-weird or religious incantation-jive! It's through simply obeying and praising Jesus Christ.

We aren't seeking for the anti-Christ, witches or devils cuz we are busy seeking Christ Himself. So regardless of whether the enemy is messin' with you through depression, oppression, worry, fear ..or by popping up in your face as a physical foe like the cold-blooded religious Pharisees would do back in the day.. to majorly go off on Him with accusations etc.. or as a non-physical foe from outside of us like the demons might try to do (remember, no demon or Satan can attack you from within or even be in a born again believer ..PERIOD), you calling it to thank, praise, and worship the Lord who is much stronger than all demons. Wait I say upon the Lord. God will drive the fallen angels away because He has already conquered Satan on the cross!

How exactly does God do it? I don't know all aspect of this. The Bible remains silent as to how He kicks Lu-Cifer to the curb. But I do know that in some supernatural kinda way, our praises offered to Jesus will usher in the authority of God into any given situation. I think it's a good thing to begin any time alone in prayer by thanking and praising the Lord first ..yup, for who He is.. for what He has already done ..and not for what you can get from Him.

Don't put this off. It's important stuff.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When You're Being ..or Feel Crucified


"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" ~Jesus, Lk. 12:4-5, nkjv
               
When ya feel like you're being crucified ..or you really are.. what will you do?

"What can anyone do when they are nailed, Kurt?"

Hey, I love the cross but, like you, I don't feel like being put up on one ..ever. Limitedly, there are some things that you can do in case you are put up on one ..or on something like it. Hopefully not, but I say just do what Jesus did during His cross experience at Calvary ..if this kinda thing happens.

What are some things He did that I can do?

You can talk to your Father, forgive sinners who've deeply hurt you or your loved ones (we can indeed forgive from the heart, just not like He can).

You can let em divide up or cast lots for your garments and then steal them from you. You can refrain from attacking back, from lying about them, from whipping em, from mocking them in return, and from spitting or punching back. You can love and pray for your enemies.

You can take good care of your family. You can be totally honest or even cry out if you need to express yourself to the Lord saying "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" It might even feel like God hasn't been faithful but in spite of all that, just know that He has been and can't deny Himself.

You can turn down alcohol like Jesus turned down wine. You can be holy and a good witness, above reproach—a loyal representative for God all the way through until you ain't suckin' air anymore.

You can love and quote Scripture no matter the peer pressure and then you can die gracefully.

"For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing God a service. This is because they have never known the Father or me. Yes, I'm telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember I warned you." ~Jesus to His disciples, Jn. 6:2-4

"There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and epidemics in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs in the heavens. 'But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will be accused before kings and governors of being my followers. This will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don't worry about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply! Even those closest to you--your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. And some of you will be killed. And everyone will hate you because of your allegiance to me." ~Jesus regarding the end times, Lk. 21:11-17

Tough, matter of fact, laconic words huh. I know ..I feel ya here.. those of you who want comfort right now. I really don't mean to come off as calous, cavalier or insensitive and I am not saying that there is never to be a time for Christians to: 1.) Be cautious about their own safety or health, to 2.) Own or use a gun ["See Kurt, you Christians are all about toting guns and Bibles to pound on. I was warned and just knew it!" Hey gang, see Lk. 22:36], 3.) to sue an unbeliever or 4.) Sue some secular company that keeps taking advantage of them or of their family (even though people selfishly abuse the legal process way to much here). Yes, we are not to be hateful, bitter people of fleshly retaliation, revenge, vigilante violence, slander, or of gang warfare. We are to be gracious people willing to turn the other cheek for the Gospel's sake and for the expansion of the Kingdom. Duh, Jesus emphasized selfless love of all people and basically warned His followers that those who take up the sword will die by the sword (see Matt. 26:52). Do you live for self protection, for having a macho image and for settling the score? Personally I see Jesus fully trusting the Father and taking steps to protect others, but not protecting Himself.. even when they came for Him with cruel homiside in their plans. Isn't He our prime Example in life? But many people really do need protection in our society, as well as restitution and to be comforted. Please let me know how we can pray for you. Who really wants to even think about hard stuff like this that has to do with possible suffering ahead.. but it is smart to pre-contemplate, pray and make decisions ahead of time before any potential pain arrives, so that ..just in case.. you and I can be ready to hold our ground in Christ.

See if you can find some more things that Jesus did while being murdered for you and me. The Good News is that He came out of the grave and so will you if you are in Christ. Are you?

Read More at F4S.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who Reveals Who?

The ways in which the Lord chooses to reveal the Father to us is totally up to Him (and I really don't mean by His face appearing in a tortilla as you might hear about on some so called Christian talk show, or in a weird looking fuzzy cloud, or in some stucco on the wall that calls for some flowers and a lame shrine to be erected..) and it indeed shows us both His unlimited amazing kindness and also our limited earthly capacity to grasp hold. Are you spiritually mature in the Word of God, or disconnected from your purpose in life, or just half committed and distracted by other things? Don't haveta stay out of touch!

He thoughtfully gives ya want you can handle for a noble upwards and outwards world-changing purpose (Matt. 13:15-17, Gal. 1:15-16)! Are you like… ready for that? What's preventing you? With all due respect, please get ready right now. Nothin' to lose for real!

The Bible says, "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, 'I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him"  (Lk. 10:21-22). Read the Revelation (in the Bible) today and ask for illumination! See where this globe we're traveling on is headed. You can talk with the Author from your heart about your part to play in the great eternal scheme of things. Need prayer?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spreadin' The Love Upwards And Outwards!

Lovin' Vertical First
 
..On Your Knees With The Right Address Attached... That's Imperative And Where It All Starts Huh.

 

Let's talk about love a bit. Why not; love makes the world go around.. they say.

 

Ever been in-love real bad ..or should I say real good? I met a few smiling young people in this condition lately. Enjoyed talking with em.

 

We all seem to get so bombarded with this term ..especially in our romantic yet isolationistic Western media-driven culture. These days we hear about "love" in countless songs on our iPods, on the radio, in movies, in social networks, and in e-literature etc.

 

I want to encourage you to love today. Not sure how many will if I don't. Please know that you are loved. God can't take His eyes off of you. I guess you could say that He's got it bad for you.. or should I say good.

 

Who or what do you love at this moment? What exactly is love? Do you ever find yourself needing more love for all those flawed sinners around you? Man, I sure do.. 'cause I'm flawed and I simply run out. I need to ask the Lord for more love for the people that I meet sometimes. And they probably need to ask the Lord for more love for me too. Dunno, hope not.  

 

The Lord is indeed the One to turn to when you run out of love for people. He can refill you with His Spirit of love today. Ever been born of His loving Spirit?

 

"Oh, how kind and gracious the Lord was! He filled me completely with faith and the love of Christ Jesus." ~1 Timothy 1:14   

 

Anyways, wanna know what love is? Well, the Word says that God is love. What a great statement huh. Check out what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 about this God of love:

 

"Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have… Isn't always 'me first' ..Doesn't keep score of the sins of others.. Puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end." ~Message

 

Choosing to love the Lord most before all others will help you gobs in loving those on the horizontal plane around you.

 

Love is unselfishly choosing for another's highest good. ~C. S. Lewis

 

If you love the God of the Bible, you will try and take some time each day to get alone and talk with Him ..in the name of the Jesus of the Bible. You will try to take some time to hear from Him as well. It's to be a two way street not a monologue. You knew that.

 

Prayer upwards these days in our whacked world where lots of junk and animals are worshipped could be to any ole address in the sky, but that would miss the point completely. There is only One Person worthy of our worship.

 

Do you love and worship the God of the Bible yet? What's holding you back? You've got no hang-ups with the Lord right? You don't love any sins more that Him do you? Do you go and do what He says for you to do? Hey, that's so important!

 

Sometimes it might feel kind of awkward turning off all the plugged-in devices, widgets and loud techno-contraptions just to grab your Bible and go be alone with God. I've been there before. You might too quickly feel vulnerable or like you need to go do something "more practical" that just be there alone with an invisible God. Do you feel that He has let you down and not answered your prayers in the affirmative before?

 

Well, keep praying to Him. Express faith in Jesus. Feelings are fickle—they'll soon change. Persevere, 'cause He has never let you down. He's still trustworthy!

 

But don't make it real complicated 'cause He ain't complicated. Speak to Him in a natural non-religious way like you would to a good Friend 'cause that is what He is ..and so much more.

 

Just talk, thank, praise, confess, offer up some requests about your needs (instead of angry demands..) and let God know when you are focused in on, and intently listening to Him ..with an open willing heart. Hey, He might speak to you. It doesn't get better than that!

 

To love at all is to be vulnerable. ~C.S. Lewis

 

He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love! Lavish it upon the poor, where it is very easy; especially upon the rich, who often need it most; most of all upon our equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps we do the least of all. ~Henry Drummond

 

Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so. ~David Grayson

 

Our loving God—He's really the Initiator and we are to be the responders in this beautiful love relationship. But you might say, "Kurt, God has never imitated His love in my direction." Sure He has, what about the cross? What would you have done differently with sinners, if you were in His shoes so to speak? Can't think of anything? You and me have never sacrificed like He has to show love!

 

The Bible says, "We love Him [God], because He first loved us" (1 Jn. 4:19). And one of the ways that we can respond to God's love is by spending time with Him and also through our obedience to Him. His Top Ten List (the Ten Commandments) was given to us for our benefit, not His.

 

It's one thing to say, "I love God," but it's another to do what He says huh.

 

Jesus Christ said, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself'" (Lk. 10:27). He didn't say love the ocean, the rocks, the earth, the stars and the moon. Perhaps you will have a chance to love God and people today? He'll show you the best Way.

 

We can only learn to love by loving. ~Iris Murdoch

 

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.  ~Psalm 36:5

 

Faults are thick where love is thin. ~English Proverb

 

Do not waste time bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him. ~C. S. Lewis

 

Note to self: Tell em by words or deeds ..while you still can. Tell Him while it's still today!

 

Understatement of the century: A lot more could be said about God's boundless love, but if I make this thing too long, (when I intended for it to be short), others probably won't stop to read the verses about love ..and might forget to show others God's genuine concern today. : )  

 

More? We get busy about so many lesser things don't we?