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Archive for April, 2015

REFLECTIONS

Reflections existed before time began when the Spirit of God reflected the glory and power of God as He hovered over the face of the waters. And the Son of God gave glory to the Father, when He enunciated the magnificent dawn of creation, “Let their be light; and there was light.” DSCN2934 And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:2-3, 5 NAS). God’s created light illuminated the brilliance of the sun and placed the soft glow of the moon over all mankind reflecting His glory back to Him. And reflections have grown and multiplied through corridors of time to today. Right this moment, whose image do you reflect? The holy or the profane? Jesus left two perpetual instructions for all generations—God’s truth—how to have the reflection of God’s glory in us. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 NAS). But we have failed. Failed to love Him with all of our hearts. Because if we had loved Him as He commanded, we would have obeyed Him. In all things. And would not have refused to love our neighbor, unless they were just like us. But you can’t do or teach what you don’t know. And many, even in the church have no knowledge nor appetite to study and learn God’s Word. 2015 05 26 013 Many tiptoe through the scriptures picking and choosing what to believe and throwing out the rest. And the reflections they mirror are muddied, rebellious images. Incorrect representations of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Is it any wonder the growing majority of mankind turns their backs on hypocritical religious rites? They can’t see. Their eyes are blinded. They don’t know God’s truth. And many have chosen to reflect other images. Images of chaos. Images of pride. Even images of death. Before Jesus was crucified, He prayed for those who belong to Him. Yes, for you and me, and for all generations who claim the name of Jesus, and He asked: “…I come to Thee, Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou has given Me, that they may be one, even as We are. I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst sent Me…I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me” (John 17:11,15-17, 20-21, 23 NAS). Church are we one? One crisp, clearly defined image, reflecting His Word, His love, His forgiveness, His grace (salvation), His peace, His joy, His righteousness, His holiness? Are we standing firm, as He commanded, in the foundational truths of His Word? 2015 05 26 001 Or are we a muddled mess? Or have winds of deception, ripples of discord, and murmurings of boastful pride stirred the reflections of the churches into grotesque, false representations? Do you really think there’s going to be an Episcopal, Catholic, Baptist or Presbyterian or Church of God or countless other congregations in eternity? Separated by their own special quirks? I’m afraid that’s where many congregations find themselves today. Choosing to walk in their own understanding rather than the truth of the Word of God. Picking and choosing what they perceive to be popular. Divided. Deceived. Doomed. 2015 05 26 030 Or will this eternity purchased by the perfect Son of God, born of a virgin, who was sent—fully God and fully man—to shed His blood as God’s once for all sacrifice, then three days later resurrected, just like God said, so you and I could be forgiven and live forever with Him—will this eternity ring with one unanimous voice of praise and glory? Saying: “Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou has made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10 NAS). Then why can’t we praise Him with one accord now? Why can’t we speak in one accord the Truth, known from the beginning? There’s only one answer, “there are enemies in the camp.” Unbelievers who don’t know Jesus. But like the first century church, the refining fires of persecution are heating seven times hot in the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan, and these fires will rage across the globe, across America, purifying God’s people. Until God’s people return, repent, and obey our Father’s commands. Or until the appointed day when God says, Son go get My children. Or until the moment of Christ’s return catches many by surprise? 2015 05 26 025 What image does your heart reflect today? Images of a world gone mad or images of our Lord Jesus Christ? I wish I could say my reflection was never muddy. But as my mama used to say, wish in one hand, spit in the other and see which gets full first. Trials have taught me to depend on the Lord Jesus. Tests have given His strength when I ask—when I choose peace—rather than grumbling. Tribulations teach me to trust Him…even in death. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy. If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:13-19 NAS). Now it’s your choice. Which image will you reflect? Christ Jesus as Lord of your life, regardless of your circumstances? Or images of whatever you’ve chosen to worship? 2015 05 26 038 Christ tells His own people: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:10-11 NAS). God promises to transform you, from faith to faith, into a clear, concise, mirror reflection of His only Son. If you will let Him. Forever.

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How long has it been since you prayed for your children? Your grandchildren? The children in your neighborhood? America’s children?
How long has it been since you’ve realized God answered your prayers?Hot in the Kitchen 4
How long has it been since you’ve prayed for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?
“So,” you ask, “…what’s the big deal about praying that old rote sentence about God’s will? That’s just rhetoric—right?
Well, millions of school children prayed that prayer every morning in public schools—for generations. And America prospered. While children were schooled in the Word and in the faith of their fathers. But that part of their schooling has been snatched away and we are reaping the consequences of mocking God.
Children now play act in public school about being a Muslim. And we allow them to be taught about Islam, but not Christianity. Can that in any way be construed as God’s will?
Several generations of public school children now suffer from a void of God’s Word and His name being totally removed from our educational system. And your tax dollars fund what has filled that void.
I wonder if the parents of the young lady who was gang raped on that Pensacola Beach during Spring Break 2015—that they paid for—are suffering from a massive attack of the if onlys this morning? Or how about those who suffered multiple gun shot wounds on that same beach? These parents don’t get a do-over and their kids’ lives are forever changed, perhaps forever ruined.
Drug dealers, thugs, and vermin of every nature and description weave themselves among our children, in public schools, and we sit—doing nothing! Folks, the foxes are in the school house gobbling up our little chickens. Do you think that’s God’s will?
1 Peter 4:1 tells us:
“…he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
There’s nothing like a huge dose of realities consequences to capture one’s attention. And that works if the kid, the parent, or responsible adult has any knowledge of Truth. But what if they don’t?
If we don’t stand up and speak the truth of God’s Word, we are as guilty as those who perpetrate evil.
I have prayed for the past number of years for God to raise up men of His own choosing. Godly men like the men of Issachar. Men “…who had an understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32 NKJV). If we look at the nation of Ancient Israel we should feel a very close kindred ’cause we’re doing the same stupid, evil stuff they were doing.
Israel turned their backs to God’s instruction for them to be a holy nation. They determined to be like the world around them. For goodness sake, they even brought false gods into the temple and tried to blend these idols with their worship of Jehovah.
And here’s how it worked for them.
God sent sufferings on His people—floods, famine, disease, captivity—to turn their hearts back to Him. But, they were stubborn and stiff-necked—just like us. However, when they finally humbled themselves and cried to God—in His mercy, He delivered them.
As I prayed the other day, pleading for our children and our nation, it occurred to me God has answered my prayer. And in places of authority on the national scene, He has raised up godly Hot in the kitchen 2men. Men unafraid to proclaim the truth of His name. Men who stand ready to lead this nation back from the brink of disaster, back to the foundations America was built upon. Just like those men of Issachar. Wise men. Courageous men. Godly men.
The question we must each ask ourselves is the same question Israel had to answer—do we really trust the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Or will we continue leaning to our own understanding?
I’ve heard comments like “He could never win. He’s too conservative.” Or “I don’t want to waste my vote on someone who can’t draw the independent or liberal voter.” “To have any chance of winning, we have to have a middle-of-the-road guy.” I’m sure you’ve either heard or maybe even said those words.
Yet, correct me if I’m wrong, “God + you = A majority.
In all but two elections in my lifetime, I’ve always voted against someone rather than vote for someone.
How long has it been since you’ve voted for a candidate?DSCF2698
God has provided several men Christians could vote for in 2016. But you and me, we get to choose. Like God waited for Israel, could He be waiting to see if Christians have had enough heartache and lies, enough corruption, enough lawlessness?
Are we ready, regardless what others say, to repent, return, and stand firm in God’s Truth?
Many good Christian people chose not to vote last time because of their limited choices. Do you realize when you refuse to vote you give the other party two votes—yours and theirs?
You may not like my words this morning, you may choose to punch delete and dismiss them from your mind. But I know, according to His Word and His character, if we hide in the shadows evil will overtake this land I love and God will judge America and just like Israel, we don’t get to choose His course of judgment.
I believe these men of godly principles have been led to sacrifice themselves to lead this nation. And they well may be our last hope. You hold America’s future in your hands.
Will you vote according to your faith or your skewed understanding? God moves when His people pray and determine to act with courage and stand firm in Him.

Hot in the Kitchen.jpg 1
Will you seek God’s will for America and hear Him say:
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14 NKJV).

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Which do you choose?
And where do these words come from?
And where do these conversations take place?
From you. Just you. In your mind and in your heart.
Yep, the person you converse with the most is you. And what you tell yourself is the prime suspect or super star of your day—your life.
Trust me, I’m not crazy nor did this statement originate with me. Think about what’s going on in your mind right this moment. From the moment your eyelids pop open in the morning. Every day. All day. For better. For worse. In sickness and in health. As long as you live.

DSCF1479What’s the tone of your internal conversations? Hammering, yammering words or comforting conversation? Probably words that run the gambit of emotions and topics and knowledge. And some of the stuff we tell ourselves is just plain wrong. Even stupid and pointless. Maybe even cruel. Right?

Is it any wonder God told us:

“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV).

Ever argue with yourself? Sure you have. So have I. So has everyone else on the planet. Where do these thoughts, sometimes absurd thoughts, come from? Ah-ha, I’m glad you asked.

Only two sources—Either from the Lord God Almighty, through the power of His Spirit, or from the enemy of your soul, The devil himself. Lucifer. I heard Bill Gilham say: “Satan speaks to you in first person singular, with a southern accent.” Cute and catchy phrase, right? But, oh so true.

There is a battle raging inside, outside, upside down in this world and our hearts and souls are the prize.

Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and watched the internal script crawling across your neck line? “I’m so ugly. Inside and out. My nose is a pointed catastrophe. And my hair is stringy. Why would anybody want anything to do with me? How could God love me? I’m so hateful. That’s why I feel so bad—He doesn’t. Look at my life. If He loved me I’d be______________”  You fill in the blank.

Would those thoughts come from The Lord God who created you and said you were very good? He made you in His image and fitted you together in your mother’s womb. Numbered your hairs and your days before you were born—and you think He’d put those thoughts in your mind? Of course not. He loves you and promises He will never leave you.

But God’s enemy is set on destroying everything God loves and you, beloved, are in the center of God’s love (whether you believe it or not) and consequently, in the middle of Satan’s bulls-eye. And those words are the first person singular, with a southern accent arsenal of fiery darts the serpent of old flings in a constant barrage against you and against me.

Our Father in heaven didn’t leave us defenseless, he instructed us to freeze-frame our every thought. Dissect those suckers. Determine their origin. Decide if they’re truth or lies. Then accept God’s truth and toss Satan’s lies on the garbage heap.

Of course, our mirror haranguing is a simple illustration, while other disturbing and dangerous thoughts march like assault soldiers through our minds each day. Some thoughts we pay no attention to ’til the path of their tracks is so embedded in our thought processes that depression or worse cloud our thinking.

But it’s never too late to chase ’em down and hogtie ’em. And that’s exactly what Jesus tells us to do isn’t it? Hogtie ’em! Disable them. Refuse to accept enemy lies. Kick ’em to the curb. Repair the deceived and desecrated terrain in your heart and mind with God’s truth. Then—guard your heart.

“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NAS).

What yammering thoughts march machete style through your mind today? Advancing with steel blades drawn, stabbing pain in your heart, while other mind- marching-soldiers slice and dicefile1691345353992 those in your path. While a myriad of troublesome thoughts lodge and fester in those dark crevices, preventing you from experiencing the peace and comfort of our Lord Jesus.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NKJV).

Satan has no new tricks. Why should he bother? We keep falling for his old ones.
But Jesus promises His peace. However, we are housekeeping servants, responsible for keeping our minds from becoming garbage heaps, whether we’re suffering or smiling. And that means whatever our circumstances, we are to pull down the stinky stuff hanging in the closets of our life, toss out rotten leftovers, and refuse to live in a dumpster-diving mentality.
Jesus gives us the step-by-step remedy.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

IMG_0013Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worth of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:4-8 NAS).

What’s your mind dwelling on right this moment? Does it meet the Philippians 4:8 sniff test? If not, the Sword of the Spirit can change that you know—yammering words or continual comforting conversation with your Lord—your choice!

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The past few weeks a battle raged in my mind and heart—God is either sovereign or He’s not. There’s no middle ground. His sovereignty doesn’t bend in light of my circumstances.

And the battle alarm sounded with Paul’s first troublesome words in Romans 13. Words that stormed the siege line I’d erected in my mind and heart concerning the state of America and the current administration.

God says: “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves”(Romans 13:1-2 NAS).

And I said, “Yeah, but God…” and during this three week battle I’ve come to understand when I say, “But God…,” I’m take-to-the-bank doubting Him and I’m wrong.

Those of you who follow my blog know I’ve been out-spoken at best and slanderous at worst, of this administration and all they have done in our country these past years. The Holy Spirit brought to mind God’s Words from Isaiah 45:5-7:

“I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.”

And I heard, “Do you believe I’m in control?” “Yes God, I believe you. But America’s coming apart at the seams. The world is on fire with so many evils and they are spreading. Am I just supposed to sit here and do nothing?”

“Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength’” (Isaiah 45:21-14 NAS).

“Yeah, but God, aren’t we supposed to stand against evil? Aren’t we supposed to point it out to the folks? Aren’t we supposed to fight?” And that voice in my heart led me to finally tear up my last tirade about the evils we’ve allowed to exist and I wrote the blog last week about what I am—what you are—called to do. Follow our Lord’s command to “Go and make disciples, teaching them to follow all things whatsoever I have commanded you and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

And we can’t and haven’t fulfilled that command if we’re “…not depending on Him who made it, nor did you(me) take into consideration Him who planned it long ago” (Isaiah 22:11b NAS). Especially when we abhor what’s going on.

So from Romans 13 are we to conclude God appointed Obama to be president of America? What do you think? If so, why? And so went the struggle ‘til I surrendered my need to fight—to control—to condemn, and I crowned the Lord God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Sovereign King over all of my life.

“The Lord of hosts has sworn saying, “surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand…this is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:24, 26-27 NAS).

When we look at the marvelous order in all of His creation, could we agree His decisions, actions, and judgments all have purpose, according to His plan?

“Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”

Did the Lord God give any clue why He sent Nebuchadnezzar to take Judah captive? Or Assyria to conquer Israel? Or why He created the calamities He spoke of in Isaiah, or the ones occurring today? Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel headlined those years—long before, during, and after the sieges and captivities. I’d like to hear your thoughts, in light of scripture, and we’ll talk more about this next week.

“The preparations of the heart belong to man. But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weights the spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. The Lord has made all for Himself. Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; though they join forces, none will go unpunished. In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:1-7 NAS). Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, who are far from righteousness. I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel” (Isaiah 46:8-13 NAS).

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