Good News! God Doesn't Require You To Be PERFECT!

I was praying recently and out of nowhere, God dropped in my spirit something really, really significant. Actually, it wasn't out of nowhere, it was straight from the heart of God!

There is only One who knows our flaws even better than we do...God Himself! But with that said, we are pretty knowledgeable of our own flaws. The problem is that we tend to key on our imperfections and mistakes. God doesn't. Instead, He looks at you and me as those redeemed by His Son, Jesus. When He looks at you, He sees not only one who is redeemed, but in addition, one who is also the righteousness of Himself. Of course, He gets all the credit for that because it comes only through and by His grace and mercy; not by personal merit. That's really cool about God!

I will stick my neck out a bit to say something here I know not everyone agrees with. But I speak from my own experience, founded on God's Word. I truly believe that we hinder God's using us because we key on our own flaws, more than hindering ourselves by falling short of God's standards for us. Please, don't misunderstand. Certainly we must live on every word that proceeds out of God's mouth. The Word of God is our blueprint for life. It is God's holy standard for living this life and serving Him. No question! But my point is, many Christians live far beneath their spiritual means because we hold ourselves responsible for (even guilty of) our own flaws and imperfections as human believers. When we will get it? By His doing...we are the righteousness of God, in Jesus Christ!

So the questions I pose to you are these: Will God use you, even if you know your are not perfect? Will He use you, even if you haven't mastered some of the things you've battled for years? Let me answer those questions with some examples from the Word.

There are many examples, but let me use just a couple. (That means 2.) Moses actually murdered a man and God used Him in incredible ways. Read the Book of Exodus. Another example is the Apostle Paul. (Acts 8:3), "But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison." Paul was a bad dude to the early church. He even looked on and approved the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr mentioned in the New Testament. And years later, after he had been apprehended by Jesus, and had served Him many years he says this: (1 Corinthians 15:9), "For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." Could it be that this was Paul's "thorn in the flesh" mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:7? Could it be that he constantly had to battle the accusation of the messenger of satan telling him, "You're not worthy to be an Apostle! Look what you did."? In spite of Paul's past, God used him mightily! He wrote one third of the New Testament! Paul said in the very next verse, "...but by the grace of God, I am what I am."

How did Paul do it? He got it. He believed it. He understood that even though his past was not something to be proud of today, God's grace is sufficient! I can promise you this. God wants to use you in bigger, more powerful ways than you think. You are not limited by Him. But YOU might be limiting Him. Don't look at your imperfections. Stop keying on your mistakes. Stop maximizing your weakness. Move in the grace of God by keying on the One who has redeemed you through that infinite grace. Remember, if His grace is sufficient for Paul, it is also sufficient for you and me. Believe that God is bigger than your past, your struggles, and your weaknesses. Believe that His grace IS sufficient for you! Prepare to do great and mighty exploits for Him!

Through Here To Eternity

For years I've heard that old saying, "He's so heavenly minded that he's no earthly good". It's very similar to the old saying, "He's got his head in the clouds". These words usually describe a person who is so focused on spiritual things, they make no applicable connection to natural, practical things. I'm sure you've known someone like that. Perhaps it is you!

Let me use another old-time, popular phrase: "Let's don't throw out the baby with the bath water"! It is true, with some folks, the ideals swimming around in their heads don't quite connect with the ground they are standing on. But there is a side to that "heavenly minded" thing above we must see, understand, and apply in our lives...every single day.

Titus Chapter 2 tells us that the very grace we are saved by instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires. It instructs us to live sensibly, righteously, and Godly in the present age. This is the "earthly good" part. But there is also a "heavenly minded" part too! According to Titus 2, we must also be constantly looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Understand my believer friend, you are on this planet to impact people, and to leave a Godly legacy. But you are also here to make an impact on eternity. So how are you doing that? According to Jesus, we are not of this world, just as He was not of this world when He came 2000 year ago. Yes, we're here for now. And our mission here is to touch all we can with the life-changing love of Jesus. But earth is NOT our home! The life you live must be lived with a view to eternity. Everything you do, everything you are involved in must be done with eternity in mind. To be truthful, this is how you make an earthly impact and leave a godly legacy.

1 Corinthians Chapter 7 says we should not make full use of this world. John tells us we should not love the world, because all that is in the world is passing away. (1 John 2:15-17) I pray more believers would understand this. To become heavily involved with worldly things is to sow nothing toward eternity. A believer bound to this world is a believer who has no vision of eternity. Eternity is our destination. Earth is simply part of the journey.

The only way to live Godly and sensibly here is to understand where we're headed, and what we're laying up for eternity. Our hope is not in the latest worldly trends, fads, and past-times. Our hope is not in our professions or vocations. Our hope is in the appearing of Jesus Christ. That's what we live for, and who we will live with for eternity.

558032: Driven by Eternity: Make Your Life Count Today and Forever Driven by Eternity: Make Your Life Count Today and Forever
By John Bevere / Messenger International

How would you live if you discovered that the next 24 hours would determine your future? Would you intentionally direct your actions or let the chips fall where they may? In this 6-session study, Bevere blends allegory with Scripture to show how the choices we make today have an eternal impact. Includes discussion questions.

Don't Forget To Set Your SPIRITUAL Alarm Clock!

This morning I am up early. It's Saturday, so why I am not sleeping in? Could it be that "body clock" thing? No, not really; even though I've been an early riser for years. At one time (earlier in my life) I was a radio announcer. You know, a Disc Jockey. Most of my shifts were very, very early shifts. In order to start my shift at 5:00 am my feet would have to hit the floor at 3:45 am!

Even though I'm up very early this morning; and even though my "body clock" is set to wake me early every single day of my life, it's not the body clock thing. It is something much greater than that.

The truth is, it's my "spiritual clock" thing! Yes, I have a spiritual alarm clock Holy Spirit chimes for me...every single morning of my life. With Him it's always a very early chime. That's just the way it has been for me. No matter what time I retire at night, my spiritual Holy Spirit alarm clock chimes at the same time each morning.....early! But I wouldn't have it any other way! What a joy and a blessing it is to rise early every morning to meet the King of the universe. It seems He has personally dedicated this time to just Himself and me.

What I've discovered through the years is that He is more excited about our time together than I am. He is always waiting for me when I awaken...every single morning! On the mornings I struggle a bit with my physical senses, He patiently loves me into complete consciousness. Wow!

I made it a priority years ago to rise early and seek my King. As a result, my spiritual Holy Spirit alarm clock has been set for "early". Like God longed to walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden, I have no doubt He looks forward each morning to our communion together. One of my favorite verses of the Bible is Psalm 5:3, "In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch."

I am so grateful for my Holy Spirit alarm clock! You have one too. Even though He chimes through it, you must set the time. For me, it is early. It may be different for you. The key however, is that we set the alarm by consistently meeting with Him daily. I promise He will be waiting for you when the alarm goes off!

The Word Christian Is Extremely Abused

Do you call yourself a Christian? You may be using this word/label incorrectly. A Christian, according to the Bible, is a "follower" or "disciple" of Christ Jesus. A disciple is one who dedicates their life to following Jesus, and His Word. So a Christian is a follower/disciple of Jesus Christ.

We get the English word "Christian" from the Greek word "Christianos". "...and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." (Acts 11:26b) Notice - the disciples were followers of Jesus before they were called Christians. Here's another very interesting fact: The word Christian does not occur in the New Testament as a name commonly used by Christians themselves. In other words, those who were called Christians didn't refer to themselves as Christians.

In the above verse the words "were called" means "to be directed by God" as if by divine oracle. This same verb "chrematizo" was used involving the magi from the East, who were divinely informed not to return to tell Herod where the baby Jesus was. (See Matthew 2:12,22) As the writer of Hebrews names Noah to the great "Hall of Faith", he uses the same word. God divinely instructed Noah to build the ark. (See Hebrews 11:7) The point is, the folks who first called the disciples "Christians" were divinely directed to do so by God Himself. This blows away the idea that the disciples were first called Christians as an appellation of ridicule, as commonly taught.

To be clear, the folks who were not yet followers of Jesus were the ones who (by divine direction) first began to call the early followers of Jesus Christians. And I'll add that the "divine direction" was the obvious hand of God on the early believers. Who could deny that they were followers of Christ? Thus they were Christians!

This little study has challenged me! So let me challenge you. If you never said you were a Christian, would your coworkers know you were a Christian? Do others who observe your life at home, at school, at work, or in public observe that you're a Christian? By God's hand upon your life, does He speak to others to divinely inform them that you are a Christian (follower of Jesus)? My prayer is that He does. And having been challenged, I am more eager than ever to live for Jesus in such a way that others will not only notice that I'm an Christian, but that they will call me a Christian, without me ever having to give them a hint!

The Magnolia Story
By Chip & Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino

Stars of HGTV's Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines have garnered fans across the country with their creativity, humor and their wholesome example of marriage and family. In The Magnolia Story, they share their journey of how they met, their first renovation project, business ups and downs, and the fateful day when Joanna's design work caught the eye of a television producer. Since then, they've not only flipped houses and made people's dreams come true, they've become America's favorite real-life couple. Reading their story, you'll feel like you're sitting at the table with friends you've always known.

Are You Preparing The Next Generation?

The answer for our nation's future, and really...for that of the entire world is quite clear. The answer is of God, and lies distinctly in His Word. It is our future generations. The answer for a better tomorrow lies in the hands of our own children and grandchildren. Yes, we must seek the face of God for our nation, and for ourselves today! We need divine intervention now! And God will do it if we His people will humble ourselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. But what about tomorrow? What about after you and I are gone? What about the next generation? How will they impact our world? Will things get better or worse? Instead of fearing for the future of our children and grandchildren, our generation can do something now about the future!

Listen to Proverbs 22:6. "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." This verse not only applies to teaching your children right from wrong, according to the Bible. But it deals with the future. This is God's way. We are facing way too much trouble today, because Christian parents failed to accomplish the above verse of Scripture in the past. I want to look more closely at the Scripture above.

The words "train up", from the original language have meaning that perhaps most Christian parents don't realize. Very early training for the child is indicated by this word. Some meanings: to initiate, to teach; to dedicate, to consecrate, to inaugurate. This Hebrew verb "Chanak" occurs 5 times in the Bible. Let's look at a couple of examples. (I Kings 8:63), "Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the LORD, 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the sons of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD." Another example: (2 Chronicles 7:5), "King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated the house of God." This Hebrew verb describes something very similar to our ground-breaking ceremony.

It's very common for Christian parents to "dedicate" their children to the Lord very early. But this Hebrew word "Chanak" goes much deeper than a simple ceremony. Along with the dedication, it is a commitment to properly train the child to live in our world according to Jesus, and His Word. Not only is this "dedication" and "consecration" a commitment by the parents, but by the community as well.

Let me share a very important reason we need to prepare the next generation. You see, there is a hole in our society representing over 50 million babies aborted since 1973. Think about the world-changer that never made it out of the womb. Think about the possible cancer-curers snuffed out before they were born. Think about the Preachers, Pastors, Teachers, Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists whose voices and ministries were never heard. How could that not affect our land? But there is still hope. It is the upcoming generations. Those whose parents get it. Those who are not being trained by the latest trends and fads of our culture. But those who are being trained up in the way they should go....the way of God! God's way is counter-cultural, but most powerful. God's way is the way that changes lives of billions for eternity!

The above verse Proverbs 22:6 is not just another verse to encourage parents to train their children to be good Christians in the midst of a lot of bad folk. No, it is a challenge to change the future of cities and nations. Parents please get this. As long as your children are young, you can train them up way they should go. Again, this verse deals with their future, and the future of the world. Make a commitment NOW to be very particular about what they watch, see, hear, listen to, where they go in person, and on the internet. Provide them with materials. Talk to them. Teach them about Jesus. Pray with them. Teach them that to be a world-changer, they eventually will be faced with going against the flow of this world. And never forget, either you will train them up in the way they should go (God's individual destiny for them), or the world will train them up in a way that opposes God.

My Presidential Vote Goes To......

The 2016 Presidential election is almost upon us. And I can honestly say, this has to be the worst election season yet! When I say this, I'm not referring to the choices of candidates to vote for. I'm referring to the atrocious conduct of the candidates involved toward one another. But....this post is not about who is running, how they are acting, or what they have done to each other. This post is about my vote.

Before I discuss my vote I want to say that no matter "who" is elected the next President of the United States, Jesus is still Lord. God is still in control! Yes, for believers it is very easy to become frustrated and discouraged over the events of the past several years, and the drifting away from God by our nation. But that doesn't change who God is. Don't ever forget...the future and destiny of our nation does NOT lie in the hands of mere humans. God controls the universe. Our responsibility as followers of Jesus is to seek God...not man. When we do, we draw closer to Him. When we draw closer to Him, we experience His love and His heart for mankind. It is His love and heart that changes human hearts and destinies.

So, how will I vote? Here we go. I will vote for the innocent. I am voting for the helpless. My vote goes to the aborted unborn. I will be voting for God's design for marriage; the holy union between a man and a woman. (God designed it, not me.) "And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'?" (Matthew 19:4-5)

I will be voting for the persecuted Christian here at home, and all around planet earth. I will be voting for the destitute throughout the world whom God in His infinite grace has allowed our nation to impact throughout our history. I will be voting for the church, through which God's Word has been proclaimed from the very inception of America. (We became a great nation...because of God's church!) I will be voting for the missionary stationed, standing, and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus in the deepest, darkest of cultures, way far from the comforts of America. I will be voting for the freedom for anyone to proclaim the Gospel, anywhere in our nation; the Gospel (good news) that presents eternal freedom to those who are trapped in sin.

I'm voting for equality of souls. In heaven no color distinguishes between souls in any way. In heaven, we're all dressed in white, stained with the crimson blood of the Lamb of God. Even today in our midst, the Holy Spirit sees NO distinction between souls. We are all ONE in Jesus through the same Spirit.

In summary, I am voting for all the "life" principles for humanity, outlined in God's Word, the Holy Bible. The very same principles America is founded upon; and that she has stood firmly upon until recent decades.
Now comes the $64 question. Is there any candidate who represents all of the principles outlined above? The answer is no. But remember what I said. The future of our nation doesn't lie in the hands of mere humans. So what do Christians do...not vote at all? Do we write in our favorite person, or better still, our favorite cartoon character? No! Here's what we do...we VOTE! For whom? Vote for the candidate on the ballot who best fits the principles outlined in the Word of God.

It is our privilege to vote. It is our duty to vote. Love me as I say this, but to not vote is to concede to the notion that God is not strong enough, or big enough to be in control of our country. On the other hand, to vote (as a believer) is to understand the imperfection of our humanity, and have faith that our leaders are in the hands of the One who created and now rules the entire universe.

Many believe our nations is where she is because we've distanced ourselves (as a nation) from God. This is true. But there is more to it. America is in the shape she is in, so that we can clearly see what we must do...turn back to God! My prayer is that believers will see and act accordingly (Biblically).

Well, now you know my vote goes to...

Standing For The Kingdom

This post is about taking a stand for the Kingdom of God, and it is for those who are followers of Jesus Christ. Taking a stand is more than saying you are a Christian. It is more than going to church. It is much more than wearing a WWJD wristband. Taking a stand for the Kingdom of God is living wholly for Jesus Christ, the King of the Kingdom.
You see, the world can see straight through one who claims to be a Christian, but does not live for the King. To live for the King, you must know the King, and live by His principles (the Word of God). He has given us the complete blueprint for living life...forever; the Word of God. How well do you know God's Word? Remember, it is your blueprint for living life. It is the only moral standard given from heaven among people. When one takes a stand for the Kingdom, he/she takes their stand upon the rock of the Word of God.
In our current time it is not only about you and me standing or falling. It is equally about others standing or falling - because of how we live for Him. One who claims to be a follower of Christ must always realize that their own life can determine whether or not someone else stands or falls! The answers to life's problems are found only within the rock upon which you and I commit to take a stand; the Rock of Ages...Jesus Christ. We must take our stand in these current, troubled times, because folks are desperately seeking King Jesus.
Taking a stand for the Kingdom affects the decisions you make. It means you are not swayed (at all) from the Word of God by criticism and/or persecution. It means that most (if not all) of the principles you stand on oppose those of this world. Taking a stand for God's Kingdom means you will be a peculiar person, but at the same time a holy possession of the King Himself. When you stand for the Kingdom of God amidst the kingdoms of this world, God will show Himself strong and mighty through you and for you, for the sake of His name.
And finally, when we take a stand for the Kingdom (and remain standing) in perilous times, heaven comes to earth; the supernatural shows up; and lives are impacted for His Kingdom. True Christianity is not for show. It's not A show. True Christianity changes the world - one soul at a time. So stand for the Kingdom in these last days. The force of temptation to falter has never been stronger. But the power of our almighty God has never been greater than it is at the present time. Don't sit back. Stand up! Don't compromise. Take your stand on the Rock of Ages! Souls are depending on you!

Ouch! There's That Thorn-In-The-Flesh Thing Again!

You've probably heard of it...Paul's thorn in the flesh. There has been much debate over what this "thorn in the flesh" was the Apostle Paul struggled with. Here is the Scripture from which it comes. "Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me - to keep me from exalting myself!" (2 Corinthians 12:7)

Paul made it clear WHY he experienced this thorn in the flesh. To keep him from exalting himself (being prideful), concerning the incredible revelations he had had. He was caught up to Paradise some fourteen years earlier. He said it twice: " keep me from exalting myself" the above verse. So it is clear why he received this thorn in the flesh.

I'm pretty sure this thorn in the flesh was not a sickness, crippling disease, or some physical disorder. He clearly states this thorn in the flesh is a "...messenger of Satan..." Yes, a messenger of Satan. So let me ask you, what do messengers do? They deliver messages.

Paul implored the Lord three times that this messenger of Satan (a.k.a. a thorn in the flesh) might leave him. And I believe three times God's response was, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

If you think about it, this message from Satan had a two-fold purpose. First, to keep Paul humble. And second, to promote God's infinite grace. Is God awesome or what! A messenger from Satan is nothing more than a pawn in the hand of our mighty God!

What would a messenger of Satan, given to Paul, say to Paul? I will venture to say it had to do with his past. Paul was a very bad dude before he met Jesus. "But Saul (later called Paul) began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison." (Acts 8:3) He continuously made threats of prison and even murder, to those who were disciples of Jesus. He was on his way to Damascus with permission to apprehend and drag back to prison, men and women who professed Christ, when he met Jesus himself!

Paul makes this statement some time after his conversion..."I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." (1 Corinthians 15:9) This is not simply Paul's humility speaking. It's obvious he struggled with the fact he persecuted the very church he now loved and served.

We know Satan is a liar. But he is also the accuser. Even in your life and my life, the enemy accuses us of our past failures and mistakes; much of what is true! We all have done things we regret; things we are ashamed of. The enemy is always accusing. But listen to Paul's next statement: "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain..." (1 Corinthians 15:10) This is the power of God's grace! Even though Paul couldn't deny such accusations, God made him who and what he was. Paul's right-standing with God was not based on what he had done, but on who God is! No matter what we've done, or how we've failed, God's grace is sufficient!

When Paul implored the Lord to remove this thorn in the flesh, God replied, "It doesn't matter if you violently ravaged my church and drug folks from their homes to prison, My grace makes you innocent in my eyes! And that's more than enough for you!" (Steve's slight paraphrase.)
The message from Satan was humbling, because Paul was ashamed of what he had done in the past. But the same message was the ground for God's infinite grace to be applied in his life! The grace of God was sufficient not for Paul to hang on and bear the shame of his past. Instead, it was sufficient to make Paul completely innocent before God, no matter what he had done. God's grace was more than enough to make Paul a powerful vessel through which this grace flowed.
Why did Paul implore the Lord to remove this thorn in the flesh only 3 times? Why not more? Because the third time he got it! He understood it! He understood now - that in spite of his past, in spite of his short-comings, and in spite of his human weaknesses, that by God's grace he was what he was.
When the enemy comes to you with a message about your past, be humbled by the fact that it may have happened. But be encouraged by the fact that the grace of God He has made you innocent in His eyes. Through His grace you are what you are. And what you are is awesome, because He is awesome!

Where Is God? Better Question: Where Are You?

It's a pretty messed up world out there nowadays. You don't have to look long and far to see that! This election year is a microcosm of the state of our nation, and world. It would be very easy for one to decide things are hopeless. But actually things are not hopeless.

The same God who created light and darkness, along with the entire universe, is still the same God. He hasn't changed. He never promised the world would get better and better. What He did promise however, is that He would never leave us or forsake us. Even for the non-believer, Jesus stands ready with open arms to receive to Himself, any person who will call upon His name.

From Hebrews 13, "...for He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,' so that we confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what shall man do to me?" Just before Jesus returned to the Father He said, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28: 20) This means that through the presence and power of His Spirit, Jesus is just as present among us as He has always been!

So if Jesus is still here, where is He? A better question is, if Jesus is still here, where are you? Are you drawing closer to Him as things seem to get worse? Are you seeking earnestly the One the Bible refers to as the Anchor of your soul? The Apostle James said, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." There is no reason that any born-again believer should be tossed to and fro by the winds of adversity!

It's only when we draw near to Him, that we understand He will never leave us nor forsake us. And only from that understanding can we say with boldness and confidence, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what shall man do to me?" In these present times, without drawing closer to Jesus, we become the most consumed with what man can (and might) do to us!

Be encouraged friend. Jesus is alive, present, and accounted for. He is in the hearts of those who have received Him. He is on the lives of those baptized in His Spirit, with power and might. Be encouraged! The greatest days for His church are just ahead! Don't be paralyzed by fear and intimidation. Instead, draw near to Him, and walk in His boldness and confidence. Believe in what He has said! Take refuge in His presence, and in the mighty fortress of His word!

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus supernaturally revealed to Peter the incredible foundation of His church; and how He would build upon it! He referred to this revelation as a "rock". He said, "...upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." More than 2000 years later, His church still flourishes! It may seem dark, but Hell's gates haven't prevailed. They won't!

Yes, darkness is growing. But God's grace and power increases even more. The darker the night, the brighter the light! Your light shines brightest when you pursue Jesus in the midst of the darkness. Don't lose hope. Instead take refuge in the God of hope and peace. Don't delay. Draw close to Him now!

Are You An Actor, Or A Reactor?

Some folks tend to react to things in life. You know, they live in a closed world, and things go well until someone or something invades their realm just a bit. This provokes a reaction to the situation. And then others tend to "act" on principles that remove the impulse to "react" to people and things.
Let me ask you something. When you meet a stranger on the side-walk, or walking through the mall (or anywhere), do you wait on them to smile and greet you? If you're a waiter, you probably never give strangers a greeting, or a smile; unless they greet you first. Then you react to their greeting. I decided years ago, I was going to speak first. Not only to strangers, but to church members and co-workers as well. 99.99999% of the time I get a reaction. And of that percentage, 99.99999% is positive! I simply love that.
I know from working with people that most folks just don't love their jobs. So, especially early on in the day, most people are not in the best of moods. Knowing this, I make it a point to offer smiles and greetings, especially to those folks who seem to need them. I never get negative reactions. Sometimes they are less than energetic, but that's Ok because I accomplish my part to act, not always react.
I've had several opportunities to react to irate customers over the years. But listen to this. I have already decided what my response will be. Did you catch that? It's not a reaction, it is a response. I have determined that since I have to respond to an unhappy customer, I will respond in a predetermined, positive manner. Not because I always feel so positive, but because I know what a calm, positive response will do. This is what the Book says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh answer stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1) I have seen this truth displayed among we humans over and over through the years. A harsh word, provokes a harsh reaction. But after receiving a harsh, critical word from someone, what if we are prepared to "respond" with a gentle answer? I've seen many volatile situations diffused by a soft, gentle answer. Again, it's not always easy, but it works. And, in order to respond gently, you must determine beforehand that you will do so!
Truthfully, it is more difficult to be an actor, instead of a reactor. With our human nature comes the desire to defend ourselves when harsh words are launched our way. But those who live by God's Spirit, and His Word, are learning what the Golden Rule really means; and how incredibly powerful it is when applied in our lives. "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you..." (Matthew 7:12) Think about it. How do you want people to treat you? Well, treat them the same way! Jesus makes it possible as He lives in us and we allow Him to work in us.
Please remember this very simple statement. An actor is one who acts first, or has predetermined how they will respond to any harsh words. He or she acts or responds with principles from God's Word that remove the impulse to react. When we act, there is no need to react. And when we are prepared to respond positively, our response replace any negative reaction. Blessings!

Because I Can, I Will

You know, before I sat down good to type this post the enemy (the devil) was already telling me not to write, because it won't change anything. But let me tell you why I continued. Because I still can! Yep, I can still do it. And as long as I can, I will!
Lot's of good, Christian Americans have accepted the fact that things have changed so drastically (for the absolute, unadulterated worse) that why try to stand up or speak out? Here's why you should. Because you can! As long as you have a voice, things can change! They might not go back to the way things were, but they can change for the better. And never forget, the way things were can motivate us to change the way things are.
It's hard not to sound negative when you're speaking of negative things. But listen. America's deepest, most serious problem is not that our nation's leaders have gone from being incredibly corrupt incognito, to blatantly overt in it's corruption. I mean, things used to be swept under the proverbial rug in Washington in order that we the people would not find out about it. And when we did, some sort of justice was administered. But now, who cares! So then, the most serious, and the most dangerous problem is that we the people see it, know it, and tolerate it. It's time for the good ole average American person to simply stand up and say "enough!" Are you one of those?
For almost 8 years I have wondered how good Americans (especially Bible believing Christians) could support leadership that for all practical purposes, opposes everything good, just, and righteous. That's why I speak up, and speak out. I can! It's not so bad (yet) that you and I cannot stand up and speak up. I'm not saying to riot. Just stand up! Just speak out, when it is necessary! You will draw more criticism now than ever before. And the spirit of "political correctness" (a hideous demonic spirit), will screech out "You might offend somebody!" This is where I interject my own version of "Who cares!" I would rather NOT offend Jesus! If you and I stick to God's Word, we WILL offend someone, but we WILL NOT offend Jesus! That's all that matters to me. "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:33)
The absolute worse words anyone could ever hear are the words "Depart from Me, for I never knew you." Wow! I live my entire life, with the power of His Spirit, making sure I will never hear those words. And right now, in the land of America, we still have the privilege of speaking out for what is right. Yes, we must do it in love, just as Jesus did, but He never minced words. He always spoke the truth, and spoke it directly. And He always looked for the most opportune times to stand up and speak out! I will do that too. And since I can, I will! What about you friend?

Motivated By Perception

God has really stirred my heart recently about the need for revival. There is a need for revival, beginning with the church. When there is revival in the church, there will be revival in the land.

Why is there a need for revival? You can simply listen to the news, look around you, and even consider some of the very stuff (yes, stuff) you may be struggling with, and perceive the desperate need for revival!

While many seem to believe the need for revival is caused by the growing presence of sin, I disagree. The "need" for revival is caused by the absence of the presence of God. When Holy Spirit is given the place He deserves in our lives, and in our gatherings, His very presence dispels the darkness in and among us. Light always overpowers the darkness. On the other hand, when sin is given a place in and among us, it takes everything (and more) that we give it. "...And do not give the devil an opportunity." (Ephesians 4:27) When sin is present, it is because it has been given ground to stand and grow on. Sin is a barrier that causes a void between believers and the manifest presence of God.

When sin is present, and the presence of God absent, what once was passionate service to God becomes no more than lifeless works. The form of Godliness may be present, but the true power of God is absent, because Holy Spirit's presence is absent. The answer - become most adamant about giving Holy Spirit His place among us and in us; His presence.

The first step in praying for revival is to perceive the need for revival. How could we pray seriously for revival if we do not perceive the need for it? Again, all the signs that we desperately need revival are everywhere. But the greatest perception (of the need) must come for ourselves! Do we see the need for revival in and among ourselves as individuals?
Jesus addressed the church at Ephesus and commended them for several things. But then He stated that He had one thing against them. " have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place - unless you repent." (Revelation 2:4 - 5) This message was to the church, but please remember, we are individually members of the church, the body of Christ. Jesus told us to "repent" two different times in the passage.
To repent is to return to the place we were before. First we consider how far away we have come from that place. Repentance is a turning away from those things we know are displeasing to God; things we have continued to give place to in our lives. This is a 180 degree turn from going the direction of sin, (which us takes us farther away from God, even in certain areas of our lives), and going straight back to Jesus.
Revival cannot happen without repentance! Repentance is not simply asking for forgiveness. That's where it begins, but then, all of the above must be applied for it to be true repentance.
I actually believe true revival begins when a person makes a commitment to repent. Because true repentance is a commitment to God to change our ways. When we do our part, and hold fast to our commitment, God will do His part. These are no longer dead works, because they are in obedience to God's Spirit, inspired by the perception of our need for revival in our hearts. As we pray, change our ways, (repent), and earnestly seek His face God will begin to pour out His Spirit and heal our land!
What we are about to see in our time is a massive outpouring of the Spirit of God. This will happen because enough Christians are beginning to perceive the need for it. Rather than being passive about it, thinking somehow, things will automatically get better, many believers are personally repenting of any and everything they already know is sin in there lives. And they are motivated, by the perception, to  pray and seek God's mighty face. My question to you is, are you being motivated by the perception?


You've probably heard the story of David and Goliath, and how David killed Goliath with his slingshot and one, single stone. But this event from the Bible is much more than a kid's Bible story. There was a series of events leading up to this supernatural feat that recently spoke to my heart - loudly and clearly.
We find this event in the book of 1 Samuel, Chapter 17.  Israel's army had drawn up to the battle line against the army of the Philistines. Israel was on one mountain while the Philistines were on another mountain, opposite Israel. There was a valley in between.

The Philistine war champion, Goliath, who happened to be over 9 feet tall had issued a challenge to Israel. He would fight a champion from Israel to the death. If Israel's champion won the fight, the Philistines would serve Israel forever. However if Goliath won, Israel would serve the Philistines forever!
David, a teenager who tended his father's sheep, had already been chosen by God, and anointed by the prophet Samuel. He would stay out in the field a few days at a time, and then return home for a few days. One particular day Jesse (David's father) told David to take some supplies to his 3 brothers who were in the Israeli army. David arrived at the camp of Israel to find the entire army intimidated and fearful from the taunting of Goliath. Goliath was arrogant, boastful, and threatening. He was a well-armed military war machine, trained up from a very young age. And let's not forget...He was a really big dude. For 40 days and nights he had taunted the armies of Israel, causing them to become paralyzed with fear and dismay. 1 Samuel 17:23 says that David heard the words of Goliath. David's only response was anger, not fear. He wasn't intimidated, he got mad!
Back in 1 Samuel 13:14 it says, "The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart..." This was David. David was in constant pursuit of the heart of God because his heart was to follow after God. So when He heard this arrogant, boastful, boisterous Giant, taunting the armies that belonged to His God, it just riled him up! "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" Listen to this. Goliath had been reproaching the army (same as the people) of God, and David was the only one who recognized it. And again, he was the only one who was not intimidated, but rather got mad about it; so mad that he had to stop the nonsense!
Let me ask you. Do you ever become intimidated over the loud, boisterous, boastful nature of the world we live in? Do you look at the sin allowed in places where it shouldn't be and think, "It's too much! It's too powerful! What can I do?" Are you afraid to stand up for Jesus, and declare His truth in a world that literally hates Him more than ever? Are you afraid you might rock the boat, and perhaps make someone not like you as much if you speak out or live according to His standards?
Please don't feel judged. Because I too have felt the same way for the past few years. However, recently I saw that what is happening in the world is not because sin is just growing stronger. It is because many of God's people (the army of the living God) are being intimidated by the boastful, boisterous, arrogant voice of sin. Many of God's people are living in fear today because they lack the courageous heart of God. Simply stated, their heart is not after God. The armies of the living God are being reproached by the taunting of sin, terrorism, and immorality in our world today. Know what I say? Enough! Who is our DEFEATED foe, that He should taunt the armies of the living God? Enough!
Instead of being intimidated, fearful, and dismayed, I've become angry. I've been praying for revival! Revival must begin with God's people! The need for revival is not due to the presence of sin. It is due to the absence of the presence of God. In these last, perilous days, God is stirring the hearts of His people. Prayer is going up. Hearts are changing. God's people are beginning to see what is really happening. People are saying, "Enough!" And like David, they are trusting in the God their heart pursues with fiery passion.
Mark my word, we will see impact and influence return to His church; because many of His people are beginning to be stirred to seek after Him. Many of His people are beginning to see that in these last days, God's power will be stronger than ever. God is supernatural, and does supernatural feats. His vessels through which these supernatural feats are expressed are His people, His church. This is how the world is impacted for the Kingdom of God.
Finally, are you intimidated or angry? Are you fearful, or annoyed over the arrogance of sin? Are you dismayed over the boastful and boisterous voice of sin, or have you simply had enough?

Praying For Revival

It's quite obvious to most Christian folk that we need revival in our land. I really don't have to go into great detail because the signs are everywhere. If you have lived at least 30 years you can see from where we have fallen.

Yes, we need revival in America. But revival won't come to America unless it first comes to the church. Let me be clear about the church. I'm not talking about church buildings and the organized part of what we call local churches. When I say the church, I am referring to what the Bible calls the body of Christ. One person, truly born again is part of the church I'm talking about...whether they belong to a certain organized church that meets regularly in a building or not.

Revival is bringing life to the dead. For the unbeliever it is being reborn (born again) by the Spirit of God. It is God breathing life into the spirit of a person. That spirit which was dead to God is made alive to God through trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior!

For the believer, revival is a renewal of the spirit of a born again person that has grown cold. It is a genuine re-infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is when God's Spirit fans the embers of a born again spirit causing it to burst into raging flames again! Revival for the believer brings a new boldness and confidence in God. Revival brings change in the heart and life of any believer. Oh how the church needs revival and renewal! When the church changes, the land changes.

Revival won't happen in our country unless it first happens in the church. But can you see the need for renewal in the church? Are you satisfied with the way things are? Are you comfortable with the status quo in the church, turning off those who would be hungry for God? Do you genuinely see the need for change? If so, will you do anything about it?

How does revival come? How does it start? Contrary to what many have taught over the years, revival is not simply a sovereign move of God. Revival and renewal will come when the church positions itself correctly with the sovereign God. When the church is in the right position, God will move in miraculous ways through His church. You are a good example. As you position yourself correctly with God, He uses you in awesome ways! As long as the church is out of position, the world is cut off from God's move, and wickedness prevails. Let me ask you again. Do you see the need for revival in our land?
To truly pray for revival is to truly present yourself to God. "Therefore I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Rom. 12: 1- 2)
You must understand. To pray for revival means YOU must be willing to be revived. You must be willing to change. It begins as you present yourself to God as a living sacrifice, pleasing and acceptable to Him. Are there things in your life that you know are not pleasing and acceptable to God? You must be willing to sacrifice those things as you present yourself to Him. This is not only prayer for is also repentance. Repentance is our willingness to change in order to facilitate God's move. A commitment to pray for revival must also requires from you and me the commitment to change.
I truly believe revival is coming to America and the rest of the world in these last days. This is not just something I'm hoping and believing for. I'm changing my ways so as to position myself before God to be an instrument of revival. I wonder if you are willing to do this too? If so, present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice, pleasing and acceptable to Him. In the process you will have to give up things you know you need to release. Do it! Allow Him to reveal things to you that perhaps you were not aware of until now. But then...expect God to move in and through you. And remember, it's not just about God moving through you. It's about revival coming to His church and to the nations.

My Choice For The Election

Is God In This?
I know I will ruffle some feathers by this post. But I feel it's something I have to do. We are at a very critical point and God has given us the answer. Please read this with an open heart, and an open mind.

Let me be clear in saying this. The United States of America needs revival more than it needs your favorite candidate to be elected. Revival (beginning with God’s church) is the only answer to the decline of our nation. And those of us who have lived long enough can clearly see from where we have fallen, and how far we’ve fallen. Our nation truly needs a spiritual break-through, and it won’t come through politics or legislation. It won’t come through the controlling party. It won’t come as a result of electing a man (or woman). It will come through prayer and repentance which brings about a change of heart.

It's bad enough to see and hear the mud flying throughout our nation from the candidates. But peruse social media for just a few seconds and you see Bible believing Christians caught up in the same hideous rhetoric! Is our God in this? I think not!

What is wrong with this picture? The very conduct of those running for office in our land proclaims our need for revival! These are the ones vying to be our leader! And yet do we see it? Do you see the need for God to move in our land? The move of God will only come through prayer, repentance, and revival of hearts!

I’ve heard it a million times, “Yes we need prayer, but we also must take action.” How true that is. But we’re not praying! Prayer births action. However action in place of prayer is all man…not God! The truth is, the church is just as politically divided (possibly even more) than those who are not a part of the church. I’m talking about God’s church, the body of Christ.

For the last few decades, political season has produced nothing but division among our fellow Americans and sadly between brothers and sisters in Christ. The current political season is no different. In fact, it is the worst I have experienced in my life. The nationally televised debates could be billed as the latest “trashy, scummy” reality shows! These debates are nothing more than mud-slinging, character-destroying bash sessions designed to put down the other candidates in effort to promote self. How un-scriptural is that! And we church folks think a Godly, Christian President will be raised up through that? Here me clearly…God is not even remotely close to these tactics!

Godly leaders come about as the result of Godly people praying. We don’t manipulate God by prayer. We position ourselves, as well as those we pray for, and the situations we pray for to facilitate the moving hand of God among us. If we’d just let God move! How do we do that? Pray! Did I mention we do that by praying?

Don’t ever forget. God is bigger than any political party. God is not a Republican or a Democrat. He won’t fall off His throne if your party is not elected. And truthfully, God could care less about political correctness. It is all about His Word, Scriptural correctness. (Just thought I'd throw that in.)

Some say that Christians should be involved in politics. I totally agree. But the Christian must stand true to the Biblical principles he/she stands on…and NEVER compromise those principles. Never! You will never change things by compromising God’s principles for “the party”. Remember, what America needs is incredibly bigger than "the party". And only God can deliver it....through prayer, repentance, and revival.

Let me encourage Vote your convictions. But the election process is not the answer. The answer is prayer, repentance, and revival in our land. Yes, it seems too simple...but's the answer, thank God! 

America needs a spiritual break-through. America needs a Spirit break-out! This will come only as those who can perceive this truth do something about it…pray. What will you do? It’s not too late.

Oh yes, my choice for the election....prayer.

You Really Can't Run From God (Just So You Know)

The Bible is full of examples of running from God. Jonah is a good one. God told him to go to Nineveh and preach the gospel. He ran. God found him and he ended up in the belly of a whale. The whale vomits him up on the beach. Jonah obeys God. The folks of Nineveh repent! It doesn't pay to run from God.
Moses ran from God by believing he was unworthy and unqualified to do God's will in bringing deliverance to Israel from Pharaoh and Egypt. But Moses could not run from God's will. God used him mightily in bringing deliverance to the nation of Israel.
Gideon was the same way. When an angel appeared to him (as he was hiding from the Midianites in a wine-press), the first thing he said to him was "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior." I'm sure Gideon looked around to see if there was anyone else in the room (wine-press). Gideon ran from the Lord by making excuses about his youth, inexperience, and even his lineage. God called him a "valiant warrior". Remember...what God calls you is what you are. He sees you as what he has made you (or making you), and calls you what you really are. God doesn't lie!
When we say things like, "I'm not qualified", or I'm not good enough", or "God won't use me", we are calling God a liar! It's God's responsibility not only to call you, but also to anoint you and appoint you.
The key in these Scriptural examples is the fact that God was with them. God stated it clearly to Gideon, "The Lord is with you..." God said to Moses and the children of Israel time and again, "My presence shall go with you." Again, that's the key, God with us!
No matter the call, no matter the task, God is with you! That is what makes it possible. That's why you should stop running and surrender to Him. He is with you! The things that have happened in the past do not change who you are, and what God has made of you. You are a valiant warrior!
So...return to the call on your life. Press forward into the call on your life. Stay the course of the call on your life. God is with you, O valiant warrior! 

Even For Just One

The last time I was in India God spoke something extremely powerful to me. It was our very last night there. We were on our way back to the airport to fly home. The streets of Hyderabad were packed with thousands of people. From inside the taxi my eye happened to catch a frail little elderly lady, simply sitting on the curb. The traffic was moving slowly because of the congestion so I had a couple of minutes to study this little lady. She was what is known as an "untouchable".
Before I continue with my story, let me say just a bit about what it is to be an untouchable. Untouchability is the low status of certain social groups confined to menial and despised jobs. And since there are so many untouchables, any type of menial, despised jobs are few. Untouchability is usually associated with the Hindu caste system, but similar groups exist outside Hinduism. Many of the untouchables are homeless and live wherever they can find a place. One born as an untouchable (one who is excluded from the caste system) will always be an untouchable. The only hope for an untouchable is to come to know Jesus, and fully trust Him for life's redemption. Even then, life is difficult.
As I continued to study this little lady, my thoughts were how insignificant she was to her culture and environment. No one noticed her. No one cared for her. If she died on the street that night, not one person would even notice. There would be no funeral or memorial service for her. She was an untouchable. Was there anyone on the planet that cared for this little lady? She looked so pitiful.
God began speaking to my heart about her. He let me know He would notice if she died that night. He let me know that He cared for this little lady, and that He died for her. He let me know that just like any other person, if she died without knowing Jesus, she would be eternally separated from Him. God continued to remind me that if this pitiful, little lady met Jesus, heaven would go ballistic celebrating her salvation.....just like any other person. How significant this frail, broken-down little woman was to Jesus. Her status in life didn't matter. She was a lost sheep. Again, one for whom Jesus died.
We have a tendency (especially we in the Western culture) to see the helplessly poor as insignificant to our society. But it's not about our society, or our culture. It's about God's kingdom. No one (that includes you) is insignificant to Jesus. Therefore no one is insignificant in God's kingdom.
Jesus illustrated time and again how significant you and I are to Him. The parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin are just two powerful illustrations of how significant people are to Jesus.....even just one. (See Luke 15)
If mankind consisted of just one single person, Jesus would still have come to the earth and died for that one person. And listen carefully to this, if Jesus knew you would be the only one out of all humanity to accept Him, He still would have come, just for you. That's how significant you are to Him. And that's how significant even the lowest of the lowly are to Him.
Please join with me in loving the unlovely, and reaching out to touch the untouchable. We must, because He does!

381769: From Life in the Hollywood Fast Lane to the  Untouchables of India From Life in the Hollywood Fast Lane to the Untouchables of India
By Jennifer Wilde

* An actress, model, and pampered daughter of a California real estate tycoon, Wilde partied with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and film stars. But her whirlwind life took an unexpected turn when she encounterd Jesus. Witness her amazing transformation from a Hollywood party girl to God's dedicated missionary to the Dalit people of India! 352 pages, softcover from Creation House.

776782: Embracing the Untouchables Embracing the Untouchables
By Stephen Fortosis