Are You A Vampire?

I don't know about you, but I have always been a morning person. My Dad used to say I was like a vampire in the older movies. In the movies they would sleep in the day because they fled from the light. Then when darkness fell, their eyes would pop open and away they went prowling about doing...well, you know. Actually I didn't prowl about at night (because I am not a vampire), but my Dad's analogy was that when I awoke, usually very in the morning, I awoke rather abruptly and briskly. He would say my eyes would pop open, I would offer up a big smile, and immediately hop out of bed. That was his way of saying I was a morning person. Yes, I was and still am a morning person, but NOT a vampire!

I'm glad I'm a morning person. To me it's the freshest, most special time of the day. I enjoy watching the sun come up as I hang out with Jesus. I get the most out of each day by starting early.

Each new morning is a fresh beginning for everyone. It's a great time to start a trip. It's a great time implement change. It's just a great time. The greatest thing about rising early in the morning is that I can ponder the truth that God's mercies are new and fresh - every morning. "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3: 22-23) Interesting! Gods love and His compassion never cease. But they are new every morning! That's an incredible way to begin any day!

Now you may not be a morning person. But that's alright. Because no matter when you start your day, God's lovingkindnesses are new and fresh. Today as you begin your day, ponder the truth that God's mercies, His grace, His lovingkindnesses are fresh and new. The beginning of your day is a great time to ponder His goodness and how you can walk in it throughout the day. He truly loves you and desires you to be aware of His love the moment you awaken to start the new day. So.....good morning to you!

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Nothing Is Impossible With God

One of the most impacting verses of Scripture from the Bible is very short. However, being short doesn't mean it is not powerful. Listen to this: "For nothing will be impossible with God." (Luke 1:37) In studying this I have learned that the word "nothing" here literally means "Not any word." "Not any word from God is impossible." That's powerful.

This powerful "word" was spoken by Gabriel, the angelic messenger to the virgin Mary. He had just announced she would supernaturally give birth to the Son of God. He had explained to her how the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and the power of the Most High would overshadow her; that the holy child born of her would be called the Son of God. He also had just announced to Mary that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived, and was now in her sixth month. Elizabeth was a very elderly woman, past child-bearing age, and as a matter of fact, had never been able to have children. But God intervened. Gabe topped off the conversation with "Nothing (not any word) is impossible with God." This did it for Mary. "And Mary said, 'Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her." (Luke 1:38)

The message came through the mouth of Gabriel. But the words were from God. Notice how Mary said "Let it happen to me according to your word." She believed that nothing God speaks is impossible. As a result, she received a miracle break-through for herself and all of mankind!

Listen to me. This applies to you. What has God spoken to your heart? What particular Scripture or Scriptures are you standing on? Never forget, nothing is impossible with God. But understand, it's not enough to simply believe God will do something miraculous in and through you. You must base your stance upon God's Word, and how He spoke it to you. You must receive and embrace the promise he has outlined specifically for you in His Word. You must apply the Word in prayer, confession, and conversation. Only then can you say as Mary did, "May it be done to me according to Your Word." 

Gabriel said, "Nothing will be impossible with God." He didn't say, "Nothing will be impossible FOR God." This is very significant as it emphasizes the fact that you have a part in it. God speaks powerful things to His people, through His Word, based on His Word. But it is for a reason. It is because He has a powerful mission for you and me. God doesn't just do miracles. He does miracles for and through people. God doesn't perform supernatural feats simply because He is God. He does them because He loves people and wants to impact them mightily. The incredible truth is that He uses ordinary people like you and me. Our part is to embrace His Word and take steps of faith that are in line with His Word.

Let me encourage you to embrace His promises for you. Stand upon those promises. Stand upon His unfailing, unwavering Word. With God not any word from Him is impossible.

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Are You Called To Missions?

When I surrendered my life to Jesus a ways back, I immediately began to feel that I needed to help people in far away lands. Honestly, at the time I didn't have a clue as to what that feeling meant, or how it would happen. But this new desire I began to have never left. Not too long after Jesus changed my life, I joined the U.S. Air Force and served for 6 years. The AF sent me and my family to Germany for 3 years. It was a great experience for my family as we learned to trust Him daily.

It was in Germany that God called me to preach and to pastor. After returning to the States I served at Robins AFB in GA for my final 2 years in the service. While we were at Robins AFB we became involved in what was then known as Holy Spirit Harvest Church in Macon. This incredible church was founded and pastored by Sam and Rheba Drye, who became our spiritual parents!

At the beginning of my last year in the military I was approached by Pastor Sam and asked to become the church's business administrator/associate pastor when I exited the service toward the end of that year. I accepted! I served under Pastors Sam and Rheba for 5 and a half years.

I had always had an affinity toward travel, especially on airplanes. A month or so after I surrendered to Jesus I was in an international airport to pick up my wife who was returning from a short trip. While I was waiting, the sounds of the jets and the smell of jet fuel caused an excitement in me. I began to imagine myself traveling and ministering in other nations of the world. I didn't have a clue (at that time) how this was going to happen. I just knew it would!

My first official missions trip was while I was still on staff at Holy Spirit Harvest Church. It was a week-long trip to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. The seeds were being planted. My next missions trip took place when I was the pastor of Jesup Christian Fellowship in Jesup, GA. Connie and I went to Canada to visit a missionary family which our church supported on a regular basis. More seeds were planted.

In 1996, while still pastor of Jesup Christian Fellowship I met Pastor G.R. Purushotham from India. Our church also supported his work as an Indian national. Pastor Purushotham came to our church to speak while he was itinerating in the States. He kept telling me, "You should come to India to preach the Word of God. The people are very, very hungry to hear God's Word!" So, in 1997 I made my first missions trip (alone) to India. This is the one that changed my life, and confirmed my calling to missions. (More on my first trip to India, and how it changed my life here.) God used the incredible hunger for the Word of God among the people of India to confirm the call on my life.

According to my own experience, my love for missions began with a call. I sensed this call early on in my service to Jesus. But always remember, the call has to unfold, one step at a time. This is where faith must be involved. Honestly, my first trip to India, the one that changed my life, was initially a "vision" trip to take a look at where our funds were going, and what they were being used for. When I was leaving India the first time, I had no desire to return. I felt the mission had been accomplished. But God used this objective to capture my heart, and to set me on a course that must be traveled by faith. After a week back home in the States, I knew I had to return to India. I've now been to India a total of 8 times.

We now reach into the nations of India and Honduras, sharing gospel of Jesus through Harvest Celebration Ministries. We're involved in encouraging the body of Christ, and pastors in Honduras, and helping to build church facilities in India. God has enabled us to offer sponsorships of needy children (In Honduras) that make an impact on their lives, their families, and the lives of those who sponsor the children.

I'm sharing all of this because there should be a call to missions. Yes, even short-term missions. And yes, sometimes folks go on missions trips for the wrong reasons. But if the call is there, God will confirm it. If the call is there, you will know it. The power and anointing is in the call, and in the obedience to the call.

So let me ask you, are you called? If you feel that you are, then go for it! Take steps of faith that get you in line with God's call on your life. If you're called, expect Him to provide. Expect Him to change the lives of those hungry for God. Prepare to have your life changed. I would love to hear your story. Feel free to make some brief comments. You have a testimony that will encourage others who must answer a similar call!

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