Happier New Year

Begin 2015 with a period of consecration is that God’s will may be done in our lives.  The Bible says, “Now the God of peace. . . make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST….”Hebrews 13:20, 21

It is really the Lord Jesus who does God’s will.    The Gospels tell us how the Lord Jesus did His Father’s will when He lived here on earth. The book of Acts tells us how He continued to do the Father’s will through the apostles and disciples of that day. Now, the Lord Jesus wants to work through us to do God’s will. To do this, He needs us to offer our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice.

The Lord Jesus has no hands to do God’s work here on earth except our hands. He has no feet to take God’s message to the lost except our feet. He has no lips to tell men of God’s salvation except our lips.

When we give ourselves completely to the Lord Jesus, He will work through us even as the Father worked through Him.   He loves us and wants to give you and me an abundant life.

So take some time for prayer, fasting, solitude and seek the Lord for 2015, and have a happier new year.

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Rejoice

 

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Philippians 4:4-10 KJV

Take Out The Trash

I’ve been reading through the Bible for the past few months, and I am always amazed by the majesty and the preciseness of our God.  The past two days, since the beginning of Holy Week, a persistence phrase keeps coming up – “Take out the Trash.”  It arose quite strongly yesterday during my meditation time, and again today while reading through the book of Numbers.  Now I know for some the OT can be a little confusing especially in Numbers and Leviticus, but this is where you see the majesty and precision of God.  Those wonderful details, if taken slowly and with reverence, can yield a mountain of revelation about our God.  What does this have to do with Take out the Trash?  Well in Numbers Chapter 4:1-49, God gives specific instructions to Moses and Aaron the priest on how to dissemble the Tabernacle, and whose is responsible for this enormous task.  There is a registration of men from the priestly tribe of Levi, those between the age of 30-50 years old who must prepare each sacred item for transporting during their wilderness journey. Meticulous planning and arrangements, even down to where these men are stationed within the camp were given by God to Moses and Aaron. Simply amazing.  And as I read this and reflected on the fact that this is Holy Week, I thought about how careless we’ve become during this sacred time leading up to Resurrection Sunday.  We go through the day not stopping to carefully arranged “sacred moments” for God, nor for ourselves.  Our Jewish brethren have begun Passover, where all “regular” activity has stopped, and story of the Exodus is told in great detail. This festival, commanded by God is a time of remembrance of about who they are and where they came from. It is shared, particularly with the young so they will know and understand their legacy and history, but more importantly how God brought them up out of bondage to freedom. There are preparations which included the purging and removal all food items containing “leaven” from their homes.  The house is cleared, and the “sacred” is highlighted, so mind and hearts can express appreciation to God for His gifts and blessings.

We, on the over hand spend nights watching “Scandal” or “Criminal Minds” filling our hearts and spirits with images designed to clog us with debris, and trash which robs us from experiencing God’s fullness.  The “sacred” is overshadowed by the fields of brokenness, pain, suffering, worry, pride, violence, envy, shame, guilt and the sin that so easily besets us.  Paul under the anointing of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16-17 NLT), stated “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and YOU are that temple.”  We failed to recognize who we are and where we came from.  This important announcement is highlighted God’s word.  We, who profess the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior have a duty; a sacred responsibility to maintain this temple(us) for God’s work.  It can’t and should not be littered with trash of this world.   He built us for greatness.  He created us in His image.  We are His workmen destined to show forth His majesty, dominion, power and love to the world.

Shouldn’t we consider how carefully we are approaching this sacred time?  Are we preparing our hearts and minds for His return?  Will Resurrection Sunday be just another date on the calendar, or will we show the world, by our example that we have taken out the trash?

Yes, there is much trash that needs to be removed, not just during Holy Week, but each and every day.  We must with intent and love, remove the build up of trash that has plugged, plagued and prevented our Holy Temples from being beacons of life, light and hope.  trash people 08

 

 

 

We need to stop feeding on the “dead carcasses” of the world, and prepare our Temples to transportation.  I guess that’s why the message of taking out the trash has been so pressing.  We all need to clear the way for Christ’s return, and prepare ourselves for his rightful position on the throne of our earthly temples.  Ready to take out the trash?  I hope so.  Let’s consider ways to consecrate this week to Him, and make His light shine.

My Friend is Gone

My day began with sadness, as a community recalled the life and legacy of Jean Fonville.  A woman of tremendous faith who devoted all she had to her husband, family, church and to her God. Her best friend of 45 years, and Godmother to her daughter said sadly, “My friend is gone.” Her gentle conversation mingled with tears, sorrow and disbelief spoke volumes of a relationship that span not only years, but every connected moment. Moments built on joys, challenges, and the inevitable cycles of life cemented in their love for one another. The statement, which briefly sounded so final, open the door to a moment of realization, as she said one day we will see each other again. Losing a loved one is never easy. Thoughts of past experiences enjoyed gives way to the knowledge that those moments, or others like them, are forever lost. But as her friend said to me with complete confidence, I know I will see her and the next time will be different for both of us.

As I ponder her comments, and those of my dear friend of many years, I wrote in my journal, ” The legacy of lives brought together by a single act or [encounter] forged a bond that is broken [momentarily] by death. The next time Jean and her friend see each other it will be like the ending of the story of the prodigal son, what was lost is now found.  Her dear friend is gone, but oh what a glorious reunion awaits them.  Rest in peace Jean.
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Plant Good Seeds

Yesterday, we received news one of our dear friends’ cancer had returned.  As she related the information about the treatment plan, there was an undeniable peace within her voice.  How grateful she was for the excellent clinicians, support network, and medical facilities.  She blessed God for his goodness, grace and for allowing her to survived two previous bouts.   Her confidence in His goodness was evident.  Our conversation was one of joy and hope from a beautiful woman who knows and loves the Lord.

Hosea 10:12, “I said, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness and you will harvest a crop of love.  Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”

Our friend planted good seeds for years.  We’ve witnessed her faithfulness, compassion, joy and the harvest of love.  I have no doubt God will continue to reward this remarkable woman.

Awakening

On your way to church services?  I sincerely hope you are.  However, we’re trapped at home due to the weather.  But it doesn’t matter because God’s love and grace is always present.  And even before we received the weather alert I had spent time worshipping and praising God.  During my meditation, I reflected on the legacy of Nelson Mandela and thanked God for our youngest grandson’s 4th birthday this past week.  I also paused to remember those killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7th), as well as praised God for yesterday’s baptismal service.

Everyday you and I experience celebrations, and challenges; moments of joy, and excitement, as well as profound sadness.   And when it happens, if we are fully awake and aware, our spirits glimpse into the divine, which is truly remarkable and humbling.

At the end of meditation, I stumbled across a poem from Gordon Parks’ distinguished photographer, poet, author, filmmaker and composer from his book Glimpses Toward Infinity.  It is entitled “Awakening.”

My bed hunched under me like a crooked water bird, and I was tasting a silence flavored with salt.
After years of ripening, the need for existence was rolling downward. Shaped like a frowning sword, doubt rocketed in, slashed, then racked me with a question that could only unbare itself with a thousand slippery answers: Why, after wearing yourself out brawling under so many punishing sins, have you left too much undone?  It was half past autumn and time was fluttering off like the petals of a dying rose.  I lay there for another century, a hostage to my own query – Just how much was too much?
Those bloodthirsty hours that had assaulted me along the way had seemed natural enough.  The jagged bites of hunger, the acrid smoke of bigotry, the shiftless dreams all came as they invariably come, one after the other – in their chosen armor.
And I, with my skinny arsenal, had tried to defend my survival.  My own struggle no longer recognized me. I lay there in the past, finished, a false martyr drowning in a sea of things lost.  Unexpectedly, a knock came at my door.
Jolted, I sprang from a dizzying nightmare. Through a haze of red cobwebs fragrant light was invading my room. It was dawn – up early, washing the land, sprinkling my disgruntled house with a scent of honey once more.
Above my bed, swimming mornings’ elaborate air, was the answer my chimera held as unanswerable.  Even the walls were startled when, with the clarity of a star, it spoke:

“You were called into existence to lend a hand to all that is growing as you grew.  Go out and do what you have to do.  Idleness lives too close to death.” 

Dear saints, we were called to do the bidding of our Lord and Savior.  To show the world how to “be” and “do.”  Perhaps like me you have gotten off-course and needed a gentle reminder to finish the work.   As Pastor Steven Furtick recently said, “There is strength in your season.”  So put on the whole armor of God and complete the work because “nothing is impossible with God.”  He will supply all your needs according to His riches in heaven.  So, as you prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, rejoice in the awakening.  Let us do all for the glory of God, so we can hear our Savior say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Rejoice, today is our awakening.

God bless you.