Three Simple Questions

I recently began reading a leader’s guide for a six-week study entitled, Three Simple Questions: Knowing The God of Love, Hope, and Purpose written by Rueben P. Job and Pamela C. Hawkins. Each question is designed to deepen our understanding of our relationship with God. They nudge us to elevate our personal walk; to withstand temptation, and make decisions with integrity as we embrace, with greater clarity our love and appreciation for our Creator.  In Daniel 3, there is the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whose decision to not serve other gods, for the moment, placed them in great peril.   As C.H. Spurgeon wrote, ” the narrative of the manly courage and marvelous deliverance of the three holy children, or rather champions, is well calculated to excite in the minds of believers firmness and steadfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of tyranny and in the very jaws of death.”  Their decision not to bow down, even though it meant certain death did not persuade them to seek the easy way out.  For during their captivity they had learned the answers to the three simple questions.

What are the three simple questions?

Who is God? Who am I? What are we together?

Do you know the answers to the three simple questions?  If you know the answers to the first two questions, what is your answer to the last one? What are we (God and I) together?  The challenge, and amount of soul-searching involved in all three questions is inescapable.  They require us to face, with regularity our faith in God, and our understanding of who and what we are.  Do we truly know who He is?  Do we believe in Him?  Do we know who we are? Do we understand our purpose and our destiny?  Or is our affirmative declarations merely routine responses based what is expected, and not on “the fiery furnace” personal experiences?  These questions, for some are often addressed daily.  Life’s trials and temptations lead us down the ” road to belief city” or the integrity path.”   Then the question of “what are we together” comes into operation?  Just what are we with God?  What is our function, purpose, title, assignment, position, appointment, job, role, etc., with the Almighty?  How is it [togetherness] seen by others?  Do they see it, or is it  some dreamlike mist?  The even larger question is, can it be seen by us?  How do we see ourselves with God?  Just three simple questions.

Back to C.H. Spurgeon, who reflected upon the issue of integrity as he wrote about the courage of these three young men.   Spurgeon emphasized that learning from their example, particularly for the young, “both in matters of faith in religion, and matters of uprightness in business, never to sacrifice their consciences” was paramount.  Theirs was a decision borne out of a knowing who God is, and who they were with Him. Unshakeable in their resolve to go to death if need be for their faith, cannot be overlooked in this day of flimsy, wishy-washy convictions.   He [Spurgeon] stated that “lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal.”  How often have we seen princes and paupers, celebrities, the rich and famous, and not so famous, fall from grace due to lack of integrity?   “Be not guided by the will-o’-the wisp of policy, but by the pole-star of divine authority.  Follow the right at all hazards.  When you see no present advantage, walk by faith and not by sight.  Do God the honor to trust him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of principle.  See whether he will be your debtor! See if he doth not even in this life prove his word that “Godliness, with contentment, is great gain,” and that they who “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, shall have all these things added unto them.”  Our God is worthy of our faith.  He has proven himself faithfulness since the beginning of time.

Three Simple Questions: “Who is God, who am I, and what are we together?”

“…to have a heart void of offence, to have the favor and smile of God, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield, or the traffic of Tyre could win” is greater than all this world can offer.   The priceless gold of spiritual joy of knowing who God is, and who you are with Him far exceeds all.  Jesus was shown all the riches of world during his 40 days in the wilderness and did not bow down.

So, what are your answers to the three simple questions?

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The Glory of the Lord

“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:4

A Message from C. H. Spurgeon

“Rich were the blessings of this day if all of us were filled with the Holy Ghost. The consequences of this sacred filling of the soul it would be impossible to overestimate. Life, comfort, light, purity, power, peace; and many other precious blessings are inseparable from the Spirit’s benign presence.  As a sacred oil, he anoints the head of the believer, sets him apart to the priesthood of saints, and gives him grace to execute his office aright.”

Even as I am typing this blog, the presence of His gracious and precious spirit is upon me.  It’s becoming difficult to write, my spirit is soaring.  His presence has been all over us since our return to the US.  Everywhere we’ve been since returning from Uganda has been transformed.  Last night, during a rehearsal for our upcoming Pre-Convention Concert, the Holy Spirit descended, and rehearsal became a glorious time to worship and praise to the Most High, Almighty God.  There was power, a sweetness, a gladness, and a hunger and thirst for Him.  We didn’t want to leave…the praises kept going, and going…. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.”

“As the only truly purifying water he cleanses us form the power and sanctifies us unto holiness, working in us to will and to do of the Lord’s good pleasure.”  The praises continues last night making it difficult to prepare for bed.  And now this morning I’m still praising him. It’s been two hours.

Oh, God, thank you, thank you.  How wonderful, how glorious.  The glory of the Lord is my strength;  it is my joy; it is my power; it is my peace that passes all understanding.  It is the glory, His glory.

“As the light, he manifested to us at first our lost estate, and now he reveals the Lord Jesus to us and in us, guides us in the way of righteousness.  Enlightened by his pure celestial ray, we are no more darkness but light in the lord.  As fire, he both purges us from dross, and sets our consecrated nature on a blaze.  He is the sacrificial flame by which we are enabled to offer out whole souls as living sacrifice unto God. As heavenly dew, he remove our barrenness and fertilizes our lives. O that he would drop from above upon us at this early hour.”  

O dear friends, I wish you could be here with me.  I wish you could feel His presence right now.  I wish you, with the other saints coming from around the globe to join us in Charleston for our July convention.  God has promised an amazing manifestation of His presence.  

May His glory remove all the barrenness of your soul, and may the light refresh you so that you too can feel His glory.

Joy fills my soul; joy and thanksgiving for His amazing, amazing glory.  Since returning from  Uganda, his blessed assurance is dispelling the cares and doubts which mar my peace.  He is breathing new life within me, and His glory descending; and transforming.  How Great is our God….

The glory of the Lord, how priceless.

A Date with Dad

How did you celebrate Fathers’ Day?   Did you take Dad out to dinner, gave him gifts, sent a card, posted a message on Facebook or Twitter? Or maybe there was a quick call or text. Or maybe you, like many spent the day remembering your dad, or lamenting the fact there wasn’t a dad in your life.  I celebrated the dads in my life; my husband, my dad, our sons, nephews, uncles, brothers, grandfathers and pastors. I also celebrated my male friends who are there for their families, and their communities.  These dads have struggled to make it better for those entrusted to their care and keeping.  I marveled at their strength, commitment and dedication as they navigate through life’s rugged terrains day in and day out.  I smiled, pondered, and then rejoiced at their presence in my life.  They are a blessing. They have demonstrated their compassion, courage, and willingness to help.  I have witnessed their growth, shared in the good times and been comforted in the bad.   We have laughed, cried, built, taught and challenged each other.  They have gone to the kids games, recitals and car-pooled all over town.  They have given their time and their money as well as a good dose of wisdom along the way.   These dates are, and have been priceless.  There have been missteps, and sure steps taken as well.  And through it all they have strengthen and fortified the family.   I smiled Sunday and then offered prayers of gratitude for the times of providing, encouraging, challenging, teaching, and directing.

When you think about it a date with our “dads” draws us into the circle of life.  A circle filled with wonder and growth; one of hope and challenge; one of joy and destiny. How did your date with your Dad go?  I hope there was a “dad” somewhere within your circle.  I also hope you could express appreciation to God the Father for your dates with dad.

Seed time

Seed Time

Luke 8: 9 “And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

There is a season to every purpose under heaven, the Bible says. The first official day of summer is just around the corner. It is one of those signals that ushers in the whirlwind of life events such as graduations, weddings, picnics, birthdays, and the like. It is a time for fun, and laughter and coming together to enjoy the goodness of life. Seed time involves gathering and sowing the seed. We were given the knowledge to receive, to plant, and to nurture the seed. Opportunities to do so comes in many different and unexpected ways. The important thing is to remember is the seed and its impact on the lost and hurting, even during times of celebration.
I encourage you to bring the seed to those celebrations. Share its transforming light and love at every gathering.  You will be amazed at the fruit it will produce, despite all the traps and snares of the enemy.

Remember, you are the good ground, and know how it [the seed] has worked on you, removing the years of sin and suffering.  This priceless seed has brought forth life within you.

Yes, there is a season for every purpose. Seed time is your time to plant fruit. It may be a small harvest this year, but if you continue to nourish it [the word of God], eventually you will produce a harvest of 30, 60 and hundredfold. Amen!

What are you?

I am what the Bible says I am.
I am accepted and alive with Christ
I am baptized into Christ
I am born again.
I am called according to his purpose.
I am a child of God.
I am a child of promise.
I am chosen.
I am a citizen of heaven.
I belong to the body of Christ.
I am empowered by God.
I am entrusted with the secrets of God.
I am a Fisher of men.
I am forgiven.
I am a friend of Jesus.
I am holy.
I am an instrument for noble good purposes.
I am a light in this dark world.
I am loved.
I am a minister of reconciliation.
I am a new creation.
I am one in God.
I am purified.
I am raised with Christ.
I am redeemed.
I am a member of a royal priesthood.
I am a saint.
I am saved.
I am a servant of God.
I am a soldier of Christ.
I am a special person.
I am a temple of the Holy Spirit.
I am a victorious believer.

Do you believe these statements?  Are they real for you?  These are truths from the word of God.  And they are for each of us.  How do you feel when you read them?  How do they make you feel?  

The truth is each statement reveals what our blessed Savior gave us.  What a gift.

 

Restorer of the Breach

The Message: Isaiah 58: 9-12
If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of
your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.

I became so excited when I read this chapter I had to share it with you.  The chapter focuses on God telling the house of Jacob He was not pleased with their worship, and the fasting rituals. The people thought they had a lock on God’s favor, because of “their position”, and the fact they fasted and studied his word. But God informed they were wrong.  God was seeking compassion, generosity, and integrity from them, and a willingness to serve others.  True worship meant more, much more.
God wants a full-bodied worship from us as well.  Our worship should demonstrates our connection to Him.  If we truly love the Lord with all our hearts, mind, and body, then we give as He gave, and do as He did.  The result is a full life – strong – glowing with the power and love of Christ.  We become restorer of the breach.  The community will seek us out because the word will spread that we are healers, fixers, deliverers, renovator, and those dark, dirty, dank places will become communities of life, light, and love.
I love watching HGTV where restore the old and make it new and better. Our God did the same thing with us. He took the “old man” and restore him with firm muscles, and strong bones ready to build “new life” from the rubble of  the past.

Look at the verses again.  Read them out loud. Let the words remind you of its infallible truth.  God promised to give us a full life in the emptiest of places.  Like a spring which can never run dry; refreshing; giving life to those around us such will our lives be.  Beloved friends, it is time to come out of the shadows into the light of Christ, and take our rightful place as restorers of the breach.  God promises to show you exactly where to go, and He does not lie.  It is time to take the mantle as Restorer of the Breach.

 

 

http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/?action=getVersionInfo&vid=65

 

Kingdom of God

Kingdom of God

Isaiah 2:5, “O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” When we walk in the light of the Lord and in the power of his might, then the Kingdom reigns!
Take any 24 hours and look at how badly our world needs “us” to walk in the light of Christ. The world needs to see us to walking and operating as Kingdom believers. The constant stream of pain, suffering and sin is marked by darkness which needs the divine light of Christ, which he gave to you and me. “Let your light so shine before men” is part of our orders from our Commander-in-Chief. We are to take the light of the Kingdom into every corner, every place, every home, every job, every and all situations, so the Kingdom can reign.
Today, walk in that amazing light of the Kingdom of God, and bring some much-needed “Son-light” to the world.

Sing a New Song of Praise

For the past several mornings, lyrics from a praise song have been stuck in my mind.  “God is great and worthy to be praised.”  I can’t seem to get away from the word “praise.”  I am still praising God for our recent trip to Uganda, and for the many blessings we received.  I know I am praising him for the blessings of family, friends, home, and the fellowship with the saints of God.  It is important to praise God from “whom all blessings flow.”  Praise is such a powerful thing.  It lifts you up out of earth realm into a connection with the divine.  It also prepares you for the new.  Like the scripture says, “you can’t put new wine into old wineskin.  The new will burst open the old leaving the new wasted and exposed.  Praise removes debris in the soil, and prepares it to receive the new wine – the seed – the word.  Praise bring deliverance and restoration.

The Lord is asking “What is your first song of deliverance?”  “What is your song of praise?” As the Israelites sang a song of praise after being delivered at the Red Sea, so now we should be singing songs of praise, salvation and deliverance. Songs that tell the everyone about salvation, joy, healing, and about our Holy God.  Praise songs help us to seek forgiveness for our sins and brings restoration with God.  They also deliver us from our enemies, and establish our rightful inheritance in the promised land.  Praise brings us closer to our Lord and Savior.  Praise prepares us for the new thing.

God is transforming our lives, and restoring us to our rightful positions as sons and daughters of the most High God.  As joint-heirs with Christ, we are entitled to receive all the “best” and all Christ has for us.  Glory and honor, dominion and power are ours.   This means we can possess the land, our communities.  Everything the enemy stole from us can be restored as God has appointed.   We can be reclaimed as God’s precious child.   When the praises go up, the blessings come down.  More praise will release more power, more wisdom, more love.  We become more like Christ when we praise.   What are you praising God for?  What is or was your first song of praise?

Sing a new song of praise.  Sing songs of His matchless power, and love.  Sing songs of beauty, and hope, and ones of His blessed salvation.  Jesus, our Lord and Savior is our strong tower, a mighty fortress is our God.    Focus on praising Him.   The enemy wants to come in, stop your praise, and take away “the seed” that was planted.  But praise and worship defeats all the plans of the enemy.  The joy of the Lord is your strength.  So sing unto the Lord a new song of praise.

Morning Meditation-Flourishing

Sometimes the word of God hit me like a ton of bricks. The words leap off the page into my spirit with awe, power and gratitude.  This morning I read Psalm 92, and the passages beginning with verses 10 hit me with such force that I had to share them.

Hear the word of the Lord,… v10 But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil. v11 My eyes also has seen my desire on my enemies; My ears hear my desire on the wicked who rise up against me. v12 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  v 13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of the our God. v 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, v 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. “(NKJV)

You may be wondering why such impact?  Well,  I recalled a dear friend’s recent trial and how God delivered her that she is flourishing and praising Him.  I recalled our trip to Uganda, and how forces attempted to prevent our going. But God delivered us, and we flourished under His righteousness hand.   I recalled, this morning that even at this time in my life, I have been afforded the opportunity to “still bear fruit” and flourish as was the case in Uganda.  American_elm_1a

I recalled our first grandson’s graduation last week, and how God allowed me the opportunity to witness and experience this milestone, and the evolution of our “family.” A branch of our family tree flourishing.

I recalled I have been anointed with “fresh oil” to proclaim the righteousness of God as a minister.  I recalled that “it is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to His mighty name.”  As I praised him in song, in dance, in my personal devotion and study this morning, I recalled God’s faithfulness and loving kindness toward me.  Verse 13 states, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our Lord.”  Not may flourish, but shall flourish in His courts.

Yes, dear saints and friends, His words hit me.  Today, it was a hit, tomorrow it may be a gentle, comforting reminder.  Whether it is a hit, or a gentle breeze, the Word of the Lord planted in your good soil shall flourish.