Do they know their lights are not on?!

Driving home in the pouring rain, i mean POURING rain; here in Florida it comes out of no where in great big drops the size of buckets… the drops are like the size of a bucket!!!

As i am driving there are cars coming toward me that i can barley see, not just because of the rain but because their lights are not on. The cars with their lights on i see fine but those cars without lights were nearly invisible and blended in with the rest of the scenery around them.

Frustrated i flash my lights and say a few choice words out loud, as if they can hear me. Then the thought occurred to me, “do they know their lights are not on?”

I get this same frustration with some fellow believers. Do they realize they are driving around, but the light of Jesus is not shining through them. I see God’s people at times causing others to either turn farthing from God or they are not seeing characteristics of God at all in the lives of those who claim to have a relationship with him and who claim to be like Him with their lips but deny him by their life style.

Maybe some people don’t realize it is raining, no, that is obvious. Maybe they just don’t think, ‘i better turn my lights on’. Maybe they think their lights are on because in some cars they are automatically on all the time. But it is obvious to those outside their car, looking at them driving by, the lights are not on.

As I prayerfully consider my brothers and sister in Christ I can only hope and pray that they will see my light (CHRIST IN ME) and it will inspire them to turn on theirs.

Luke 8:16 “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way.:

Matt. 5:14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.

15 If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand.
16 Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
1st John 1:5-7 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

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For a Child’s Funeral

It is not something we like to even consider or think about but how hard it is on us when a child dies.

I recall a close friend who is also a pastor saying, “at one funeral I did for a child I didn’t know what to say other than, Jesus loves the little children”

Here is a very comforting verse, passage, text. David mourned the loss of his child but realized life for him had to go on and that if he was truly a man after God’s own heart he would go to be with that child again.

Note this text:

2 Sam 12:22-23  He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’

23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
Note conformation that when a innocent child dies they go on to heaven, we cannot bring them back again but we can go to be with them. This is an old testament passage, B.C. (Before Christ) but David knew that God makes a way for us.
We can know without a doubt that Salvation, being saved from death and this old world, is a gift from God. I accept that gift and offer it to others as well. Not everyone will accept it. Here is a video of the famous  illusionist PENN. He still doesn’t believe in Christ, the gospel of Christ, let alone in God that the Old Testament speaks of but he appreciated that some one who does believe that shared it with him. Please take a moment to watch this and consider, are you telling people you come into contact with? Are we sharing what we know personally about Salvation with those we care about? Are your lights on? (another blog)

The Prayer Chair

Here is a story my dad sent to me, I hope it touches your heart as is did mine.

The Prayer Chair

A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside the bed. The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit, “I guess you were expecting me,” he said, “No, who are you?”, said the father.

“I’m the new minister at your church,” he replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.” “Oh, yeah, the chair,” Said the bedridden man.

“Would you mind closing the door?” Puzzled, the minister shut the door. “I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter. At Church I use to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head.”

“I pretty much abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day about a year ago , my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple a matter of having a conversation. Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because He promised, ‘I’ll be with you always.’ Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now,’ “So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he die in peace?” He asked.

“Yes, when I left the house about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back for the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?”

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go that way.”

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Back in the day…may History Repeat itself.

sa— “Preaching” In Early Salvation Army Meetings —
“William Booth clearly favored short sermons, (even a series of short sermons interspersed with singing and prayers). He preferred sermons that were mainly exhortations, free of theological or doctrinal arguments . . . The ‘parcel’ sermon — delivering choice items throughout the meeting — was described by William Corbridge in the following manner: ‘I believe,’ he stated, ‘in preaching a sermon sometimes, but not of the ordinary kind. Deal out the medicine in nice doses, and let there be a mixture all the way through (the meeting) — not one thing continually.’” –R.G. Moyles (Come Join Our Army, Crest Books, USA.)

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Some of the stats in this 2 min. video have changed since it’s post in 2012 but the thing that stands out to me is that, in short The Salvation Army, an Army of Salvation is still, after 150 year, STILL trying to salvage lives. It’s Mission: To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs without discrimination is done more by what they do, not by what they say.

“Do all you can to preach the gospel and if necessary use words.” -St. Fancis of Assisi

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THE GRAND PUZZLE/ RUSH “Closer To The Heart”

 

I put together these Hugh puzzles then glued them to keep the pieces together. How wonderful it is to take the pieces of our life, past mistakes and mile stones and keep those pieces together to try and get the bigger picture of our lives:

 

Frustrated with using my cell phone to try and add these pic.s but hope you can see close up, individual pieces.

2 Samuel 22:21-25 MSG               “God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I cleaned up my act, he gave me a fresh start. Indeed, I’ve kept alert to God’s ways; I haven’t taken God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

When looking at just one piece of a huge puzzle it is near impossible to see the whole picture from that one piece.

Whatever your going through right now, regardless of how many pieces, know that God knows the whole picture and can put it all together, may this encourage you to let Him.

Psalm 41:4-5

4 I said, “God, be gracious! Put me together again – my sins have torn me to pieces.” 5 My enemies are wishing the worst for me; they make bets on what day I will die.

Even in our darkest, most confusing times when

we don’t know what the future holds, we can know who holds the future.

If i may let me change the words to a great song by the great band RUSH…

I would only change one thing, the very last line in the song…Converted lyrics would go like this:

“You can be the Captain, let God draw the chart, sailing into destiny ‘closer to the heart’.”

Original Closer to the Heart – Lyrics

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

Philosophers and plowmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
You can be the captain
I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart

Let’s do our part, be the Captain, but go by the charts God draws (circumstances He allows us to be in, both good and bad situations) following His word as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E.) and sail into destiny HE calls us to, closer to the heart.

Romans 8:28 NIV
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Phil. 4:6-7  Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 7 Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Once again i say, “i don’t know what the future holds but i know who holds the future.”  We can not control many things but we can hold the hand that CAN. He knows what storms your way will oppose. HE knows.

For other post that incorporate RUSH songs go to: Moving Pictures -another mode of transportation.

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Patience and Prayer. WAIT AND KNOW

Patience and Prayer

As i read James 5:7-18 i noted an emphasis on waiting with confidence and assurance. This passage says so much and as you read it some other things may stand out to you but here i want to point out what the Lord said to me at this point in my journey with Him, on this day at this time (struggling with Sciatic Nerve damage).

I am going to just let God’s words speak here, note highlighted areas and pray you’ll hear what He is saying:
James 5:7-18 MSG
7 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work.
8 Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.
9 Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.
10 Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God.
11 What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
12 And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you.
13 Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing.
14 Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master.
15 Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven – healed inside and out.
16 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
17 Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t – not a drop for three and a half years.
18 Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

now note other words in bold as you re-read.
James 5:7-18 MSG
7 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see *farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work.
8 Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.
9 Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.
10 Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God.
11 What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
12 And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you.
13 Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing.
14 Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master.
15 Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven – healed inside and out.
16 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
17 *Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t – not a drop for three and a half years.
18 Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

*I also noticed how verse 7 talks about the farmer and last verse reflecting on when rain came back as a result of Elijah’s prayers to help things grow again.

*Passage places emphasis on us to look at the farmer and the prophets for an example.


When going through a tough season, hold on with me in Christ. He will pull us through.

Song, “Hold On” by Kansas was written by Kerry Livgren. In his biography “Seeds Of Change”  He wrote how he had his wife in mind and how he was praying for her salvation when he wrote these lyrics.  

May we wait in patience as we journey with the Lord and pray for others.

Luke 18:1-8 is a great parable Jesus tells of a persistent widow. He tells this story to place emphasis on the perseverance we should have in prayer.

Here is that story, not the very last question at the end:

Luke 18:1-8 NIV
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off ? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

And now i am going to curl up with your Bible and spend some time in prayer, listening as well as consistently listing up praise and petitions to Him.

Faithfully.

Cry out to God, “WHAT DO I DO?!”

God says,
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.

You’ll be changed from the inside out.

Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

(Romans 12:1-2)

“cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder”. (Romans 12:12)

OUCH, Opening up reaching out?

Be Careful
Called to do street ministry?
Desire to reach co-workers who are not only non-believers but who don’t respect the ministry of Jesus?
Find yourself asking W.W.J.D. and then trying to D.W.J.D (do what Jesus did) regardless of the cost?
Struggling with judgmental Church members ?
As you make yourself willing and available to help and minister to the needs of others BE CAREFUL.
Here are some wise words from Christ, the same words He gave as He sent out his 12 disciples:

Matthew 10:16 KJV
“Behold , I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
The Message Translation:
16 “Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.
NIV:
16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

You can stop here…enough said, but if you want to go further…

We do need to “go for souls and go for the worst” as the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth, said. However, don’t set yourself up for a fall. Don’t put yourself into a situation that would soil or leave a stain on your original intention, to serve and minister to someone. Watch that you don’t get caught in the middle of something.

What inspired me to write this was a story by a friend who was almost robbed while trying to help someone. I’ve also seen friends nearly shot while doing ministry, some because mistaken identity, others because caught in a literal cross fire going on around them.

Personally, I remember doing street ministry in down town Atlanta, GA and even in some of the small neighborhood that were inner city. One time as two of us were speaking to a prostitute she surprised us by asking us if we had any money on us. This wasn’t a surprise because it was coming from a call girl looking for money. It surprised us because we were talking to her about the Lord and she was responding to what we were saying. When I clarified, “you know we are not here to give you money, especially in exchange for sexual favors.”  She said, “that is not why i asked.” She clarified even more by saying, ” I asked because if Atalanta’s finest (the po po or police officers) were to come up to us and we had money on us, as little as $10 we would all would be suspect to going to jail!” The appearance of evil and appearance of intent could end with not only jail but even worse, being shot or possibly even caught in the cross fire. The wrong place at the wrong time. Her pimp did not like us talking to her. If she got converted, think of what that would do to his business.

I don’t say this to discourage anyone, we have to be in those “wrong” places sometime because that is where the sick are.

Jesus came for that same reason (Mt. 9:12; John 4)

So, remember what Jesus told His 12 and take His word as a guide also.

Eyes of Ambition

Eyes are ambition

(i have a much more in depth Bible Study on this in blog form called “Fix Our Eyes”)

This is the latter part of that study:

It is in fragmented sentences because as I share it or as it is being read I want to encourage the reader/hearer to search the scripture.


God pleaser not man pleaser.
Gal. 1:6-11 –v.10 try to win approval of man or of God? V.11-12 Not received by man

Try to drop your expectations on others and their expectations on you. Only fixate on God and pleasing Him.

A Lot of what we do and how we function boils down to:

  • Our perspective
  • Our motivation
  • Our priorities


Mt. 5:8 Pure in heart seek and see God.


Illustration: The original “Big Bird”, Ostrage, bury egg in sand then keep eye where they put it cause so valuable and buried so well if they take eye off even they can lose track.

Parable of buried treasure, buy field.  Parable of pearl. Mt. 13:44-46

Got a God Fixation?

Video by band: Petra  Song: “God Fixation”

https://youtu.be/LEVpOa4zPZA

Mt. 6:22,33 Seek first the Kingdom of God.

Mt. 7:7 Seek and find
Prov.3:5 Trust and ACKNOWLEDGE HIM in all ways and He will give desire of heart. Desire HIM.
Js. 4:1-9 desire, ambition, drive, motivation. Eye off others, off self, drawn to HIM. Ref. back Mt. 6:22-24 (eyes, motive, serve 2 masters? 2 eyes but can only focus on one thing unlike chameleon).
Acknowledge HIM Lk. 12:8, Mt. 10:32, Mk. 8:38, 2nd Tim. 2:12

Jn. 21:20-22 Peter one on one with the Lord and Peter asks, “what about John?” Jesus reminds Peter and us, ‘what is he to you? YOU follow me.’

John13:35-49 The light to see, blinded eyes, in the light

Luke 10:23-24 ~Holy Spirit give us eyes to see and ears to hear.

Hebrews 12:2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

CONCLUSION:

Romans 12:1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 2 Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Isaiah 26:3 MSG “People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit.”

Isaiah 26:3 NIV “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

<strong><u>AWESOME ILLUSTRATION</strong></u> Mattie Montgomery uses  – The Father uses the shoulder of the son to take aim. (Mattie Video can be seen in post called, “Do Things With  God ” Go to:

https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/doing-things-with-god-rather-than-for-him/

In the 1st 5 min. Of the latest Hobbit movie there is a man about to attempt to slay a dragon…

The son turns his back on the dragon. He hears the dragon and begins to turn &amp; look but the father reminds him to look at <u>him</u>.

The father uses the shoulder of the son to steady the shot and defeats the dragon.

Our Father in Heaven has already defeated death thru His Son, who came in the flesh to live &amp; die &amp; raise for us, to save us…

Now God can use us as His sons &amp; daughters to reach those still caught in the flesh but we <u><strong>must</strong></u> turn our backs on ‘the ways/philosophies of the world &amp; desires of the flesh’, <u><strong>keep</strong></u> our eyes on The Father and He will conquer the flesh.

He <u><strong>will</strong></u> hit &amp; kill the dragon with or without us but we <u>can</u> &amp; <u>should</u> <strong>desire</strong> to be in on &amp; with His work.

We must <u><strong>follow Him</strong></u>, stay in full community &amp; communication with Him (Holy Spirit) in order to accomplish any thing for Him we <u><strong>have to</strong></u> be <strong>with </strong>Him.