Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cast Your Cares Upon the Lord

One of the most popular search items on the internet is some variation of casting your cares upon the Lord.

Apparently, a lot of people are having severe troubles in their lives and are looking for a way to get relief from those problems.  They could be dealing with:
  • Financial problems
  • Fear of terrorist attacks
  • Unemployment
  • Bad relationships
If you are seeking in this area, know that the answer is as close as your Bible.

St. Peter tells us, in his first epistle:

6Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
7Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
8Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
1 Peter 5:6-8 [AMP]

Whatever is bothering you... whatever is taking your sleep away... whatever is driving your blood pressure upwards... whatever seems an insurmountable obstacle... just humble yourself under God’s mighty hand.

You can’t handle it yourself... so why even deceive yourself by thinking that you are big and bad and tough enough to handle it?  Just take it to the throne of Almighty God (who loves you more than you could ever comprehend) and let Him deal with it... and then keep your eyes open so that satan can’t harm you.

By the way, you can listen to the original Cast Your Cares Upon the Lord podcast using the audio control below:

Germaine Copeland of Word Ministries wrote the following:

The human body and central nervous system cannot tolerate the burden of worry, fretting, and anxiety. This type of burden causes a chemical imbalance in your DNA and interferes with the production of necessary hormones for physical, mental and emotional health. Worry is probably the major cause of sickness. The Holy Spirit taught me to cast all my burdens on the Lord during a crucial time in my life. I chose not to worry and declared that God cared for me and my household. The Holy Spirit taught me how to take off my cares and lay them on the Lord. I approached God boldly in prayer and read His Word aloud to myself until worry subsided. Today I teach classes on Overcoming Worry, but find that some Christians are determined to worry and have their anxiety attacks. The choice is yours. You can lug around the worries and cares or you can talk to the Lord about any situation whether it is financial, marriage relationship, the death of a loved one, or children gone astray. Choose to cast the care of any circumstance that is causing you to worry over on the Lord because He cares for you.

That about says it all, doesn’t it? Worry makes you sick. Worry makes you physically weak. Worry makes you spiritually weak. Worry is like faith in reverse... rather than believing God for the victory, you are believing your problems for defeat. How about making a decision to exorcise worry from your life, once and for all?

Have you ever said, “That person gets on my nerves” or possibly had someone say that about you? Well… if people are getting on your nerves, don’t worry. Judypie has a meditation to deal with that too! Just pray this prayer:

To you, O Lord, I pray. My enemies will not triumph over me, and I will never be disgraced for trusting you. Show me the path where I should go, point out the right road for me to walk. Lead and teach me for you are the God who gives me salvation. Thank you for seeing me through eyes of everlasting love and kindness. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 25
A Psalm of David

1-2 My head is high, God, held high; I'm looking to you, God;
No hangdog skulking for me.

3 I've thrown in my lot with you;
You won't embarrass me, will you?
Or let my enemies get the best of me?
Don't embarrass any of us
Who went out on a limb for you.
It's the traitors who should be humiliated.

4 Show me how you work, God;
School me in your ways.

5 Take me by the hand;
Lead me down the path of truth.
You are my Savior, aren't you?

6 Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, God;
Rebuild the ancient landmarks!

7 Forget that I sowed wild oats;
Mark me with your sign of love.
Plan only the best for me, God!

8 God is fair and just;
He corrects the misdirected,
Sends them in the right direction.

9 He gives the rejects his hand,
And leads them step-by-step.

10 From now on every road you travel
Will take you to God.
Follow the Covenant signs;
Read the charted directions.

11 Keep up your reputation, God;
Forgive my bad life;
It's been a very bad life.

12 My question: What are God-worshipers like?
Your answer: Arrows aimed at God's bull's-eye.

13 They settle down in a promising place;
Their kids inherit a prosperous farm.

14 God-friendship is for God-worshipers;
They are the ones he confides in.

15 If I keep my eyes on God,
I won't trip over my own feet.

16 Look at me and help me!
I'm all alone and in big trouble.

17 My heart and kidneys are fighting each other;
Call a truce to this civil war.

18 Take a hard look at my life of hard labor,
Then lift this ton of sin.

19 Do you see how many people
Have it in for me?
How viciously they hate me?

20 Keep watch over me and keep me out of trouble;
Don't let me down when I run to you.

21 Use all your skill to put me together;
I wait to see your finished product.

22 God, give your people a break
From this run of bad luck.
Psalm 25 [MESSAGE]

Fear is a Killer

We listen to Pastor Gregory Dickow each week and are impressed by his 40 day fast from wrong thinking. It has nothing to do with not eating... but it has a lot to do with not worrying! Free your mind... and the rest will follow!

With the economy in the worst condition since the 1930’s, people have been killing themselves. Even worst, and as a first, some have murdered their spouse and children before taking their own life. Why? Because of fear of the consequences of the economic downturn. Hey folks, fear is a killer! Jesus Himself said so:

Men swooning away or expiring with fear and dread and apprehension and expectation of the things that are coming on the world; for the [very] powers of the heavens will be shaken and caused to totter.
Luke 21:26 [AMP]

Although it is one thing for people to be so afraid that they faint or drop dead... it is another to take a gun, knife, or bottle of pills and do the job yourself.

Or, even worse... to do harm to innocent family members. The sad truth is that satan is trying to draw souls into hell by causing them to deny the salvation freely offered by Jesus and choosing to handle their problems themselves.

If you have a friend or a family member who is going through some difficulty because of the pressures of this life and the world system that is turning upside down on itself, you can help by having them slam some of the word of God into their iPod or MP3 player.

Suicide is not the answer... it only opens the door for problems your loved ones will spend their lives dealing with... and if you don’t know Christ as your Savior, you will have an eternity to deal with it!

Wisdom from Judypie

Do you know the reason we are stressed? Because we think our needs are not going to be met. We say, “Oh my goodness, I'm not going to have what I need!” Jesus tells us not to worry about what you are going to eat. And don’t worry about what you are going to wear. He’s saying only one thing is important — His righteousness. These things don't even take significance until your deepest needs are met. You are to find your satisfaction in Him. If you don't find your satisfaction in Him, you're going to be stressed. Are you stressed out about something today? Turn it over to Jesus and turn your focus to Him. Let Jesus meet your needs and transform your heart today. (Adrian Rogers)

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matthew 6:30 [AMP]

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”-
Psalm 46:10

Father, You are leading me on paths I do not know, past all my fantasies, hopes, doubts and fear. When I go through deep waters and great trouble, You will be with me. When I go through rivers of difficulty, I will not drown! When I walk through the fire of oppression, I will not be burned up -- the flames will not consume me. Even though I walk through the shadow of death I will fear no evil. You lead me in the paths of righteousness for Your name's sake. In the name of Jesus I will rejoice in You and be glad. Amen.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.
Isaiah 43:2 [AMP]

1 THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him--not for my earning it, but] for His name's sake.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
Psalm 23 [AMP]

Father, in the name of Jesus, I clothe myself with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from me]. I repent and renounce pride and arrogance. Father, You give grace to the humble. Therefore I humble myself under Your mighty hand, that in due time you may exalt me. Amen.

6 But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).
7 So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.
James 4:6-7 [AMP]

34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers and scorns the scorners, yet He gives His undeserved favor to the low [in rank], the humble, and the afflicted.
35 The wise shall inherit glory (all honor and good) but shame is the highest rank conferred on [self-confident] fools.
Proverbs 3:34-35 [AMP]

Are you worried, anxious about anything? I encourage you to pray this prayer aloud:

In the name of Jesus, I cast the whole of my care [all my anxieties, all my worries, all my concerns for my future, my family, once and for all] on You, for You care for me affectionately and care about me watchfully. Amen!

5 Likewise, you who are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders (the ministers and spiritual guides of the church)--[giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel]. Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)--[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble.
6 Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
1st Peter 5:5-7 [AMP]

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
Philippians 4:6 [AMP]

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Body Battles

Considering all of the tragedies in the world... war and civil unrest in the Arab nations... threats of war and terror against Israel... and the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, Japan and elsewhere... now should be the time that Christians fulfill the work that Jesus commissioned:

  • Healing those who are hurting.  
  • Feeding those who are hungry.  
  • Clothing those who are naked.  
  • Loving those who are broken.

Unfortunately, it seems a difficult task to accomplish when there are so many fights and schisms between those whose lead characteristic is supposed to be that of love.

Tired of participating in battles within the body of Christ?  Ready to begin your course of treatment?  This week’s blog features articles on broken relationships within the Body of Christ.

Following is medicine from Pastor Jake, Judy Ann and Brotha DC that should help us begin to bridge the chasms that separates us.  Use these to help clean your headlights so you can shine for Jesus.

by Brotha DC

What are Schisms?  The dictionary definition:


  [siz-uhm, skiz-]  Show IPA
division or disunion, especially into mutually opposed parties.
the parties so formed.
Ecclesiastical .
a formal division within, or separation from, a church or religious body over some doctrinal difference.
the state of a sect or body formed by such division.
the offense of causing or seeking to cause such division.

Scripturally, schisms are something that God hates.  In Proverbs 6, we see the six things that God hates (indeed, seven are an abomination to Him).  The seventh is sowing discord among your brothers.  In other words, creating or fomenting or perpetuating schisms.

16These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him:
17A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil,
19A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.
Proverbs 6:16-19 [AMP]

Schisms are something that Jesus prayed that the disciples would not have -- expressing His desire that those who believe in Him (that includes modern day believers, not just the 12 apostles in the Bible) would be in unity, not separated by schisms.

And [now] I am no more in the world, but these are [still] in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep in Your Name [in the knowledge of Yourself] those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We [are one].
John 17:11 [AMP]

Schisms are something that St. Paul gave great effort towards avoiding.  He exercised and disciplined himself (spiritually speaking) so that he would not offend God or man.  As someone who opens his mouth and changes feet... I can see the need to avoid offending others in my life.  How about you?

Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men.
Acts 24:16 [AMP]

Schisms are something that should not -- must not exist in the body of Christ.  The human body can not function without clear connectivity between each organ, limb, and system.  The same would apply to our corporate spiritual connectivity.

So that there should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest in and care for one another.
1 Corinthians 12:25 [AMP]

Schisms are a disease that prevents God’s people from doing what God wants us to do.  For more on this topic, check out the following Powerhouse Sermons:

Discerning the Body

The Body of Christ

The Things That God Hates

Nail in the Fence
by Pastor Jake

There once was a little boy who had a bad Temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his Temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that He was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the Holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, those words leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m Sorry,’ the wound is still there.” A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise. And they always want to open their hearts to us.”

Show your Friends how much you care. Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND, even if it means sending it back to the person who sent it to you. If it comes back to you, then you’ll know you have a circle of friends. YOU ARE MY FRIEND AND I AM HONORED! Now send this to every friend you have!! Send it to your family. And, finally…

Please forgive me if I have ever left a hole.

Word In Due Season…
by Judy Ann

The Effect Of Your Words
Curse not the king, no, not even in your thoughts, and curse not the rich in your bedchamber, for a bird of the air will carry the voice, and a winged creature will tell the matter.
Ecclesiastes 10:20 [AMP]

Ecclesiastes 10:20 is a powerful scripture that warns us of the danger of gossip, tale bearing and backbiting. Speaking such things in private to even one person is just as damaging as speaking it to a multitude. Not only have we slandered an individual to another, but WORDS have been spoken out into the atmosphere that have continuing effect in the spiritual realm.

Gossip is a big problem among God’s children, and it should even be named as an attribute of the life of a Christian. Tale bearing, gossip, slander, and backbiting cause strife and division, which is the devil’s goal. Jesus’ words are spirit and life. Learning to say only what He would say, we would speak forth life - to the listener, to the person being discussed, and to ourselves.

Too often, we speak what the devil would say - words that have the potential to minister death to everyone concerned. I believe that “unscriptural speaking” causes depression and sickness. Remember words spoken into the atmosphere can cause trouble also - not just words spoken directly to an individual, for if no human person hears, remember that God hears every word. And every word is recorded and will be replayed on judgment day. Order your conversation so that your words minister life. Your reward will be more joy and better health.

Let God use your mouth… not the devil…

My desire Lord is for people to see You in me… may I reflect your love and grace and mercy… may I be more like You Lord everyday with a heart of compassion… You are the reason I live and breathe…

Words of Wisdom

Father, in the name of Jesus I apply my heart to instruction and my ears to words of knowledge. All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal. The words of the Lord are flawless, silver refined in a furnace of clay, seven times. My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding. Amen

Apply your mind to instruction and correction and your ears to words of knowledge.
Proverbs 23:12 [AMP]

The sum of Your word is truth [the total of the full meaning of all Your individual precepts]; and every one of Your righteous decrees endures forever.
Psalm 119:160 [AMP]

The words and promises of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times over.
Psalm 12:6 [AMP]

My mouth shall speak wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
Psalm 49:3 [AMP]

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:2)

Fruit of My Lips

Lord, by Your Holy Spirit perfect the fruit of my lips. Help me draw thanksgiving forth from my innermost resources; reach down into the most secret places of my heart that I may offer significant thanksgiving to You in the name of Jesus. Amen

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
Hebrews 13:15 [AMP]

Praying for Others

In the name of Jesus, I thank God for you—every time I pray. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Amen.

16I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.
17[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,
18By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),
19And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,
20Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places],
21Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.
22And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church],
23Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].
Ephesians 1:16-23 [AMP]

The Tongue of the Learned

Holy Spirit, help me remember that a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, I have not been rebellious; have not drawn back. Amen

A word fitly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Proverbs 25:11 [AMP]

4[The Servant of God says] The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught].
5The Lord God has opened My ear, and I have not been rebellious or turned backward.
Isaiah 50:4-5 [AMP]

Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You do I wait all the day long.

Changing our World

34I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.
35By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
John 13:34-35 [AMP]

When believers begin loving as Jesus loves, we will change our world. It may be one person at a time, or you may be sent to other nations to proclaim the gospel. Whatever you do let it be done as a true representative of Jesus. Love is your identification badge!

Father, Your Spirit has anointed us to change our world! Help us to be imitators of You, and bring good news to the poor, and healing to the brokenhearted. Give us loving hearts so we will share Your love bringing freedom to those in bondage. We make it our goal to bring a refreshing to others, and we are refreshed! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

1THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,
2To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
3To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3 [AMP]

The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],
Luke 4:18 [AMP]

The liberal person shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered.
Proverbs 11:25 [AMP]

Sing a New Song

Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. This water is for your healing and the healing of those within your realm of influence. This living water will wash away thoughts that would limit your spiritual and emotional growth and your possibilities. What are you speaking; what are you singing? Are you singing songs of self-pity, gloom and doom or songs of joy, peace and love? The choice is yours.

Speak out to others in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with your voice and making melody with all your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19) You begin by loving the Lord your God. Choose to be joyful in him and be in high spirits. If you are feeling down, if circumstances are holding you in depression, if you are in the midst of a trial choose to sing a new song to the Lord, and your feelings will be lifted, and you can go on your way holding your head high because the joy of the Lord is your strength. Praise goes before victory!

Heavenly Father, today I am singing a new song. Yesterday with its victories and failures has passed away, and behold on this day all things have become new. I look forward to all things that You send my way -- a new sunrise, new friends, relationships, assignments, responsibilities, blessings, and new opportunities to be a blessing to someone today. I release the past, and will not judge by the former thought patterns and attitudes. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your goodness to me. The earth is full of God’s unfailing love. Amen

9Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.
10Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth! You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, the islands and coastal regions and the inhabitants of them [sing a song such as has never been heard in the heathen world]!
Isaiah 42:9-10 [AMP]

8Bring forth the blind people who have eyes and the deaf who have ears.
9Let all the nations be gathered together and let the peoples be assembled. Who among [the idolaters] could predict this [that Cyrus would be the deliverer of Israel] and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses, that they may be justified, or let them hear and acknowledge, It is the truth.
10You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know Me, believe Me and remain steadfast to Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.
Isaiah 43:8-10 [AMP]

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord.
Psalm 33:5 [AMP]

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Living Like a Christian

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 [AMP]

I first heard the above scripture as a youngster in church.  Of all the theology spoken with much gravitas by our pastor, that one verse had a profound impact upon me.  Here, God is giving us a blueprint for doing what He considers to be good.  We are to practice justice... to love kindness and mercy... and to be humble and not proud and haughty.

Pastor Lon Solomon made note of the attitude of a tax collector in the Bible.  This man, unlike the self-righteous Pharisees, humbled himself before God and prayed, “Be merciful to me, a sinner.”  This man did not approach God in a proud or haughty manner... and as a result, his prayer was honored by God.  As we take on the right attitude, we can be vessels that God can use.

And how can we expect God to use us... even if we are average every day Christians?  We address this question in this week’s blog featuring articles by Pastor Francis Ng, Melody Green and Brotha DC.

Do What is Good
by Pastor Francis Ng

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
Proverbs 3:27 [NKJV]

Dan Clark recalls when he was a teenager, he and his father once stood in line to buy tickets for the circus.  They noticed a poor family immediately in front of them.  The parents were holding hands.  They had eight children, all probably under the age of twelve.

He could tell that the circus was going to be a new adventure for them.  The attendant asked how many tickets they wanted.  The man proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets.”

When the attendant quoted the price, the man’s wife let go of his hand and her head drooped.
The man leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?”

The attendant quoted the price again.

The man obviously didn't have the money.  He looked crushed.  Clark says his father watched all this, put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a twenty dollar bill and dropped it on the ground.  His father then reached down, picked up the note, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, I think this must be yours.”

The man knew exactly what was going on.  He looked straight into Clark’s father's eyes, took his hand, shook it, and with a tear streaming down his cheek, replied, “Thank you, thank you, sir.”

“This really means a lot to me and my family.”  Clark and his father went back to their car and drove home.  They didn't have enough money to go to the circus that night, but it didn’t matter. They’d blessed a whole family, and it was something neither family would ever forget.  That is called “doing good.”

The Blizzard of 1985
by Brotha DC

Let us not forget to do good where we have the ability to do so.  Specifically, in reaching out and touching the lives of others. This is not specifically referring to the giving of financial blessings... although that is often needed.  Sometimes it can be as simple as taking a few moments out of our schedules to touch someone’s life in ways that may seem trival... but that often have eternal reverberations.

I was recollecting the Blizzard of 1985 with a friend who was with me in San Antonio Texas during that event.  My friend was amazed at how a normally toasty town in South Texas could be inundated with a historic amount of snow.  But I also remember what appeared to be a homeless bum sitting on the sidewalk near my new apartment, begging for cash.  He had a bottle of booze in his hands and I figured there would be no way I would give my money to support some drunk’s alcohol habit.

Imagine my surprise when the Holy Spirit spoke and directed me to give $50 (a tithe I had set aside for the following Sunday) to the guy.  I figured it had to be a mistake.  I had to be imagining things.  After all, that was God’s money.  But after much prayer, I obeyed God and went back to give the $50 bill to the guy.  Long story short... he was near the end of years of running from God.  He had in his pocket a bottle of pills and was planning on washing down the pills with the vodka and ending his life.  We prayed on that sidewalk and he recommitted his life to Christ.  He took the money to a cheap motel nearby and called his family.  That night was the blizzard that hit San Antonio.  I imagine that, under other circumstances, he would be a frozen corpse.  But thanks be to God who knows each of us and puts His blessings in our path.

One thing that I recall was that this young man had made an earlier attempt at cleaning up... and went to a church requesting help.  He was turned away.  Man, how often do we as Christians wind up dropping the ball and, worse, feeding the atheists (see our book Please Don’t Feed the Atheists (you can click the publications menu at the top of the page).

We recently heard about a divine appointment that Melody Green experienced... she was famished and ready to grab food at a deli when a young woman interrupted her train of thought.  She quickly realized that this woman had a spiritual need and chose to pray with and minister to her rather than give precedence to her growling stomach.  Sound familiar? 

Then the woman left her water jar and went away to the town. And she began telling the people, Come, see a Man Who has told me everything that I ever did! Can this be [is not this] the Christ? [Must not this be the Messiah, the Anointed One?] So the people left the town and set out to go to Him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged Him saying, Rabbi, eat something. But He assured them, I have food (nourishment) to eat of which you know nothing and have no idea. So the disciples said one to another, Has someone brought Him something to eat? Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment) is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish and completely finish His work.
John 4:28-34 [AMP]

As you spend time in prayer this week, ask the Lord to show you ways that you might touch someone’s life.  Whether it is a financial blessing... a prayer... or whatever, be a vessel of the love of God manifest in this world.

My Most Recent Divine Appointment
by Melody Green

Last week my friend Paulette and I were running late and had not eaten anything before we left her house.  So we stopped en route to grab something quick at a small deli she liked. Just as we were about to walk in, an upbeat voice called out to us from the open window of a parked car.

“Hey, that’s a great place you’re gonna love it!” 

We nodded and gave a faint (hungry) wave back.

“I just had the little dumplings on the left side of the counter, but the salad with the nuts is great too,” the voice continued.  We paused at the deli door. “Everything is so good there… sorry for rambling, my mom just died, but you can’t go wrong at this place.  It’s the best.”

We started towards the curb as she continued recommending menu items.

“I’m in culinary school here, and this place is so…”

Stepping towards her, I interrupted, “Excuse me, did you just say your mom died?”

“Yes mam, this morning,” she said, as we inched our way to her car door and listened as her story unfolded.

Her name was Keisha and her mom, who’d recently been diagnosed with cancer, had been rushed to the hospital that morning.  They talked and prayed on the phone together and Keisha told her mom she’d be on a plane that afternoon to come see her. But another call came just a few hours later.  Her mom had slipped into a coma and died.

The sun was beating down hard on Paulette and me as we told Keisha how sorry we were for her loss.  She slipped out of her car and continued with her tragic story.  Her fiancé was just back from Iraq, mending from a gunshot wound, and they’d planned to travel to her mom’s for Thanksgiving so her mom and family could meet him.

Understanding how loss felt, I put my arm around her, and the next second she fell sobbing into both of our arms. “I believe in Jesus and go to church but the devil is trying to destroy me.  But he’s not gonna get the victory,” she declared. “I’m not going to let him win!”

Now that we were holding her, I could smell something stale, like old whisky on her t-shirt, and she was out of it with grief and whatever she’d used to numb the pain in her life.  But the Lord had us there to stand with her in her grief and comfort her breaking heart.  It seemed surreal.

We asked if we could pray for her and she said, “Yes. Yes, please.”

So there we stood, in a parking lot praying for Keisha her and her whole family.  We thanked God for sparing her fiancé’s life and identified with her great loss. We shared our faith and assured her that God totally loved her – and wanted all of her heart to be His.  It was somehow clear she’d been dabbling on the dark side and that a battle was going on for her soul, perhaps for a very long time.

It was a sensitive moment.  Not a time to preach or correct.  But her heart was soft and God gave us the words to gently remind her that Jesus wanted to be her only one – and to let everything else, not of Him, go. And she agreed and fought for herself with us in prayer.

“Something told me you ladies were safe,” she said, lifting her head. “That’s why I kept calling out to you, trying to get your attention.”  She started thanking the Lord for sending us to her.  “It’s exactly what I needed,” she said.  “Thank you Jesus!”

About 40 minutes later we said goodbye. I thought about how easy it would have been to totally ignore Keisha and plow forward into the deli.  To hear the growl of our stomachs instead of hearing those few sad words, tucked inside the cheerful-sounding voice of a stranger.  Instead of the hearing the Holy Spirit.

It’s so easy to miss the moment. To miss God.  I’ve missed Him before, more than I could ever possibly know.  But not last week.  God wanted to touch Keisha last week and we didn’t let Him down. It felt really good to know we played a small, but strategic part, in a painful part of someone else's journey.

Internationally known author, minister and songwriter Melody Green has traveled to over 30 nations to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Her best selling book, “No Compromise. The Life Story of Keith Green” has been translated into numerous languages.  This article was reprinted by permission from Last Days Ministries’ November e-letter. For more information on Melody and her prolific ministry materials, visit 

Spiritual Meanies
by Brotha DC

I was reading a political blog and the topic of evangelical Christians came up. The writer, who presumably was not a believer, wailed about how so many people who call themselves Christians do lots of things... but the one thing that they don’t do is follow the teachings of Jesus.

I stopped and thought about that. We do so many things in His name except the one thing that He said would be a sign of our being connected to Him.

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
John 13:34-25 [AMP]

That made me think both of my lack of love... and of experiences from spiritual meanies that I have encountered over the years...

You know the type. They look as if they have been baptized in pickle juice. They frown and scowl. They never offer positive encouragement but, rather, are quick with the put-downs and condemnation.

Look at that whore on the street corner...

Why, that ugly old drunk needs to go somewhere and sober up...

Those kids with the tattoos and the BB’s through their noses oughta be ashamed, walking around looking like that.

I have experienced people wagging their finger at me to point out some (real or percieved) sin in my life. Hey pal, how about praying that we all are stronger in our walk?

Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].
Proverbs 27:17 [AMP]

I remember as an undergrad in Washington DC, I got through college by the skin of my financial teeth. But I trusted God and He provided. Granted, I never received enough salary or stipend to maintain a bank account, so I cashed each check I received. In DC at that time, liquor stores were authorized by the District to cash checks. Granted, a lot of poor people would go in with some sort of subsistence check and come out with an arm full of booze... but some people were mostly honest in that regard.

Well, a sister in Christ confronted me after church with her finger pointed in my face.

“A-ha!” she exclaimed. “You’re supposed to be a CHRISTIAN! But I saw you go into the liquor store!

I asked, “Did you also see me exit the store?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“Was I carrying any liquor?” I asked.

She realized that I was not. I explained that I simply cashed my ROTC stipend. And she went away sorrowful... because she didn’t have occasion to accuse her brother.

Whoa! Don’t you think maybe she might have gone to her prayer closet and said, “Father, I don’t know if my brother has sin in his life... or if there is some problem that has taken his eyes off of You and made him seek the bottle. In any instance, I just pray his strength in the name of Jesus.”

But, in reality, how often do we ever do that? Most of the time, we are quick to judge, and then thank God that we are not as bad a sinner as the other guy. Whoa! Are we so self-righteous that we don’t realize that we are all saved by grace... and were it not for God’s grace we would all be a disgrace?

Let’s not be Christian meanies. Let’s not act like self-righteous weenies. But let us be quick to intercede for each other and (most importantly) love one another with humble spirits and godly fear.

Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men--extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers--or even like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain. But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am! I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Luke 18:10-14 [AMP]

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Love Is All You Need

As young children, most of us were nurtured in the loving embrace of our mothers.  Love is typically the first thing most of us experience in life.

As adults, many of us came to experience the harsh realities of life that often treats us unfairly.  For many, love seems to be impossible to find.

Tina Turner sang the popular song, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”  Technically, love should have everything to do with it.  It is so unfortunate that many people find themselves in a veritable love famine.

Fortunately, we have a loving Heavenly Father who is ready and willing to joy over us in His love, forgiving our sins and proving Himself our Abba Father.

Abba, by the way, is Hebrew for Daddy!

The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 [AMP]

The Beatles sang “All You Need is Love” back in the 1960’s.  There is truth in those five words.  Love is truly all that we need.  And the type of love that we need is God’s agape love.

20But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit;
21Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)--[which will bring you] unto life eternal.
Jude 20-21 [AMP]

Jude exhorts us to guard and keep ourselves in the love of God.  When people get on your nerves… guard and keep yourself in the love of God.

When some knucklehead cuts you off in traffic, nearly causing a wreck… guard and keep yourself in the love of God.

When idle office gossip causes you to miss a promotion or even to lose your job… guard and keep yourself in the love of God.

Love is the greatest of the spiritual gifts. Love is the very nature of God. And, according to Burt Bacharach… it is what the world needs now.

This week’s blog provides expository on the importance of loving each other with articles from Pastor Jake, Judypie, and Brotha DC.

Love One Another
by Pastor Jake

This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
John 15:12 [NASB]

This is My commandment, that you love one another

This is the “new commandment” (John 13:34-35) that is to govern the relationship of the disciples of our Lord. We are to love each other with the love of Christ as He loved us with the love of the Father even to death on the cross.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 [NASB]

Greater love has no man than this

No higher expression of love can be given. Life is the most valuable object we possess; and when a man is willing to lie that down for his friends, it shows the utmost extent of love. When he considers the life of a friend greater than his own then he has loved with the love of Christ; there is no greater love. To lay down one’s life may not mean in death always, but that he consider the welfare of others above his own.

You are My friends if you do what I command you.
John 15:14 [NASB]

If you do what I command you

Friends love their Master and friend and obey Him from that love.

No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15 [NASB]

No longer do I call you slaves

A slave receives the command of his master without knowing the reason why it is ordered. It is one of the conditions of slavery not to be let into the counsels and plans of the master. It is the privilege of friendship to be made acquainted with the plans wishes, and wants of the friend. This instance of friendship Jesus had given to His disciples by making them acquainted with the reasons why He was about to leave them, and with His desires in regard to them. As He had given them this proof of friendship, it was proper that he should not withhold from them the title of friends.

Our friendship with Christ is evidenced by each revelation we receive of His word. It is His desire that His friends know all mysteries as they seek to know them from a heart of love.

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
John 15:16 [NASB]

You did not choose me

Our Lord had chosen these to be His Apostles; they did not choose Him to be their teacher but He chose and commissioned them that they bear much fruit and that their fruit remain.

We are God’s elect through Christ our Lord; chosen and called to serve and to bear the fruit of righteousness to the glory of the Father. Those who remain steadfast in their calling bear much fruit and their fruit remains. We have the Apostles as witnesses of this fact. They were steadfast in their faith even unto death and their fruit remains to this day as evidenced by their writings that we are privileged to study.

so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you

Our Lord has made covenant with His disciples as He did with His first disciples; and if we remain faithful to that covenant then whatever we ask of the Father in our Lord’s name our Father will give it to us.

We are reminded that:

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Numbers 23:19 [NASB]

This I command you, that you love one another
John 15:17 [NASB]

that you love one another

This is the third time our Lord speaks this command to us; this is, no doubt, to emphasize the importance of our obedience.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 [NASU]


James C Sanford

by Brotha DC

Why can’t we seem to find it within ourselves to put up with the annoying traits of our brothers and sisters? After all, God puts up with us.

21Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times?
22Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!
Matthew 18:21-22 [AMP]

Slammed me to the ground
They hurt me, and brought my spirit down
i can’t see why...
i still have to love them
when i’ve suffered undeserved

Tried to kill my joy
The devil, he’s seeking to destroy
i realize...
i can’t fail to love them
Though my love is not returned

If i don’t forgive them of their trespass
i won’t have peace from God
So i will suffer long even though provoked
In faith, keep going strong

So, i will suffer long
Although i forgive and Forget their sin
They won’t let me live in peace with them...
i won’t cease to love them
when i suffer undeserved

Heart to reconcile
our differences; Fight to wear a smile
while facing this...
Inside i’ll still love them
Though my love won’t be returned

Loving Others
by JesusLover Judy

Heavenly Father, You made me what I am and gave me a new life; and long ages ago You planned that I should spend my life in helping others. You are a great God, a loving God, a giving God, and I purpose to imitate You. The end of all things is at hand, and I will be serious and watchful in my prayers. Above all things, and by Your grace, I give myself to a fervent love for others – a love that covers a multitude of sins, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
Ephesians 2:10 [AMP]

But the end and culmination of all things has now come near; keep sound minded and self-restrained and alert therefore for [the practice of] prayer.
1 Peter 4:7 [AMP]

by Brotha DC

…for God is love.
1 John 4:8b [AMP]

i love You, Father
For You gave Your Son for me
i love You, Father
For He went to Calvary
i love You, Father
For Your mercies never fail
i love You, Father
For You took away the veil

i love You, Jesus
‘Cause You gave Your life for me
i love You, Jesus
‘Cause You came to set me free
i love You, Jesus
For the gift of the new birth
i love You, Jesus
Spread Your word across the earth

i love You, Spirit
For the comfort that You bring
i love You, Spirit
For You led me to my King
i love You, Spirit
You’re my Comforter, my Friend
i love You, Spirit
You have sealed me ‘till the end

i love you, brother
With the love that Jesus brings
i love you, brother
Not expecting anything
i love you, brother
As the word of God commands
i love you, brother
Leave you in His loving hands