It’s Midnight, What You Want To Do?


“But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25)

Attacked, stripped, beaten and thrown in the INNER prison; in stocks; bruised and bleeding; in pain and extreme discomfort, surrounded by the very worst criminals, in the worst of places. What does one do? Pray and sing praises to God, of course!

Well, ok, perhaps not for most of us, but these two men had a different mindset. They were more interested in pleasing God than men, more interested in Kingdom principles then social edicts and perils. God had given them great boldness and confidence even in that horrendous, I do not want to be here, God how could you allow this to happen to me, place.

I have not written to my blog in a couple of months. I have just been sitting, listening and thinking on the events that are taking place in our world today. From the circus act we now call politics, police actions, humankind on humankind criminality and greed, acts of terrorisms, we as a people across the globe are in a time of midnight. In the natural, midnight is the starkest period of gloom and darkness and it is made to appear that the sun has gone away. However, the real truth is the earth has turn away from the sun. Whether you realize it or not, darkness, extreme intense gloom is covering our world today and it is made to appear that the Son has gone away. However, the real truth is the world has turn away from the Son. Not only are we in a dark time but also we have been thrown into a dark place, prison. Not just prison but an inner prison. What is an inner prison?

Inner prisons in the days of Paul were not pleasant or healthy. In the mind of the people, prison was equal to death, despair, sickness of mind and body, and humiliation. They did not have TVs and cable. They did not have commissaries and work out areas. They did not even have windows. It was devoid of light. There was no natural light at all. Sometimes we find our lives can be that way. Naturally we cannot see a light at the end of our proverbial prison tunnel. We struggle to bring a light of solution to our place of darkness and entrapment. Prisons, in the time of Paul had no air conditioners or heaters. The minimal comfort needed for sleep, were nonexistent. The floor was their mattress.

But far worse was the psychological and spiritual impact of total darkness on the prisoners. Some prisoners chose to commit suicide. They purposely decided to QUIT where they were. They purposely sabotaged their own life… BUT it still did not get them out of their situation. You know what I am talking about. God did not come through like YOU wanted Him to so now you do not believe in Him. Now you quit serving Him and going and BEING the church. You refuse to pray and bow the knees of your heart to Him because He failed you in your darkness. Spiritual suicide but you are still in locked up in your situation, dead. In Paul’s time dead bodies could lay in the inner prison for weeks at a time.

The bleeding, suffering apostles uttering their prayers and singing the praises of God must have amazed the other prisoners.

They sung hymns to God at midnight. In there location they could not be aware of time so the fact of it being midnight to them did not matter. They chose to BLESS the Lord at ALL times, in ALL times, through ALL times so the time of the times did not matter. It was not just midnight for Paul and Silas. It was midnight for everyone. It was midnight, not merely in that inner prison, but throughout the Roman Empire outside of prison, also. It was a midnight of morals, humanity, justice, forgiveness, kindness and TRUE love as well.

We are living in a time of midnight and the whole world knows. What song are you singing? And how are you singing it? How convinced of you of your own song? You can sing the right words but not be convinced of those same words! You sing “I Trust in God”, but do you? You sing “Great Are You Lord”, but are you convinced? You sing “You’re a Good Good Father”, but do that come with favorable conditions?  You sing about loving Christ and Him loving you and wanting more of Him, but are you loving others with the same passion He possessed and displayed. Yeah you know, I am talking about that, “Father forgive them cause they know not what they do”, type of love.

Imagine the impact of the things heard in prayer and hymns on the jailer and the other prisoners. It was a far cry from the wails, threats and curses usually heard in such places. The message, the song, had its effect on the listeners, it always does. The kind of effect depends on each individual heart, but there will be an effect. What is the “world” hearing from you?

What is your song? “Nobody knows the trouble I see?” “Take this job and shove it?” “We can’t go on?” “Crash and Burn?” “Let’s Build a Wall, ten feet tall?

We understand the main objective of chains is to restrict mobility and prevent escape. Chains were made of rough iron that would eventually rust with the perspiration of the prisoners, causing infectious pain, saying nothing of the weight of the chains. Finally, chains were noisy, and that clanking noise of chains prevented even less sleep for the prisoners. Paul and Silas’s chains become apart of their song and provide accompaniment like a rhythm section, tambourines.

Every link became a part of their praise. The link of failure, PRAISE, link of pain, PRAISE, the link of plenty and the link of lack PRAISE. The Link of bad choices PRAISE, the link of right choices, PRAISE. Everything that is weighing heavily on my mind and causing me to lose rest and peace and feel fearful and powerless will be an accessory to my song.

I am certain that Paul and Silas didn’t feel in their natural man like praying and singing praises unto God. They were going directly against all their natural feelings and deliberately exercising their will to enter into praise.

Notice this final point, the prisoners heard Paul and Silas praying and singing praises unto God. This explains why none of the prisoners escaped when the earthquake came and their prison cells were opened. They had apparently been so moved by Paul and Silas’ demonstration of faith in God to such a degree that they recognized the earthquake as an intervention of God and followed Paul and Silas’ leading in not fleeing the prison. What a song, what a message they must have delivered in that “midnight” hour.

Paul and Silas had the audacity to forgive, before they were asked, to trust where they could not see and sing a song that shook the world.

It’s midnight… what are you doing? What song are you singing?

               Don’t You Want Somebody To Love?


Real love is a mystery to most people. Most people never realize the true potential or value of love. It is usually very poorly defined. There is a great deal of confusion and cross-referencing of the terms LOVE, ROMANCE, INFATUATION, AFFECTION, TENDERNESS and so forth.

Love may include romance, infatuation, affection and tenderness. But even if those elements are not present, it could still be love.

How? Love can come in many ways, facets and or degrees.

But love requires one aspect… giving. Love requires the giving of one’s self to another. It involves an element of self-depletion, self-exhaustion. Love also may involve RISK. Love is empathic. It puts itself in someone else’s shoes. Love seeks to understand another’s perspective yet love is bold and honest and truthful. Love cares. It does not pre-judge. It does not pass sentences. Love does not jump to conclusions. Love does not throw down ultimatums. Love does not declare war on its object. Love is tender, it is kind, and love is forgiving.

Love is tuning into another’s sensitivities. Love sense’s another’s strengths and weaknesses. It uses the other person’s measuring stick. It suffers and rejoices on another’s terms.

Love seeks rapport and connection. It seeks to bond in every facet of being. It seeks to relate emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually. Love sacrifices personal whims if they are incompatible with the one who is loved. Love abandons pursuits that hurt the one who is loved. Love will do without. Love bends. Love stretches. Love must sometimes keep silent, while screaming inside. Love is a desire that someone will fare better than yourself. It is the willingness to spend all that you are for the well being of another. Love will pay a debt the other cannot pay. It will bail them out for the sake of survival. Love wants the other to survive even if it means death to oneself. Love will die so someone else can live. Love is color blind, it does not deem one nation, culture, country or race over another. Love seeks o satisfy those who would partake of it.

Sound familiar?

SO JOHN SAYS SOMETHING SIMPLE YET PROFOUND…

      For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

God so loved the world that He “gave.” This is the secret of love, to give, to share, that others may benefit. Jesus Christ, the begotten Son was given to the world for all and to all.

God delivered His love through the Son. It wasn’t enough for God to speak from Heaven and say, “I love you, world.” God showed His love through His action. His Son dying on the cross for our sins saw the apex of God’s love. In fact, God IS love.

When Christ walked our world He shared His love by opening the eyes of the blind, healed lepers, caused the dumb to talk, and raised the dead. He gave power to His disciples over all the forces of the devil. Christ gave us an example that we ought to love one another. He set the example of how we are to be in this world. How far it seems we have strayed from the foundation He laid. As Christ loved us, we are to love one another.

We are called to be disciples. We are not disciples of Christ by building a huge church and having a huge membership that do not exemplify the love of Christ. We are not disciples of Christ by giving large sums of money. The cattle on a thousand hills are His and even the thousand hills are His. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein. Believe me He is not impressed by our stuff.

We are not disciples of Christ by outward appearance. We are disciples of Christ if we LOVE one another.

The O’Jays had a song back in the day, perhaps you heard of it. It says, “People all over the world, join hands, start a love train, a love train. ISIS is tweeting and propagating hate, murder and mayhem. How much more should we use the same venue and proclaim LOVE is King. PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD… let YOUR love reign and rain down on this dry and thirsty world desperately in need of its benefits.

 

Do Faith, It Pleases


“How many of you think God is really pleased with you?” In the natural a person can choose to love you because of his or her own goodness, but to be pleased with you, they actually have to like your performance. Right?

With God, no one could ever be pleasing to Him based on performance. His standard is perfection, and no goodness on our part can ever compensate for our sins. We may please man with our actions, but “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Once one becomes more thoroughly aware of the exceeding sinfulness of sin within himself it calls up the question, “What must one do?” Notice the word “do.” Does this not indicate activity of some kind? In other words, are we willing to expend some measure of energy—work—to begin stopping actions of sin in our lives?
The way we receive the forgiveness that’s available through Jesus’ blood is by faith (Rom. 10:9-17). When we put our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we are pleasing God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.”

Faith comes from the heart (Rom. 10:10), and God looks on the heart — not the actions.

It’s our hearts that really concern God, and faith in Him (trust, reliance) is what He is searching the heart for.

A person whose actions are not right but who trusts the Lord is more pleasing to God than an individual who is doing the right things but has no faith in God. It’s not a case of those who act the best will get accepted, and those who act the worst get rejected. That would put some of the followers of other religions ahead of many Christians, but that is not what the Bible teaches.

This is exactly the point Paul is making in Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” The amplified says it this way “6But if it is by grace (His unmerited favor and graciousness), it is no longer conditioned on works or anything men have done. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace [it would be meaningless].” It’s one way or the other but it cannot be a combination of the two. We’re either saved by God’s grace through what Jesus did for us, or we’re saved by what we do without Jesus, but not a combination of the two.
If God used performance as the basis of whether or not He was pleased with us, no one would ever pass the test. “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps. 130:3).

Satan used to accuse me and say, “What makes you think God will use you?” The truth is that none of us are perfect. We don’t deserve the blessings of God. We must put our faith in Jesus. It’s hard for some people to accept this. It has been ingrained in us that if we aren’t holy, God won’t bless us. When God looks at you, He doesn’t see your goodness — He sees Jesus. If he saw us we would all be doomed.

If you’re walking in faith, God is pleased with you even though your actions don’t measure up. The worst sin is self-righteousness. The attitude that God owes it to you because you’ve been good is erroneous. When it comes to God, your performance can’t earn you anything. Because you have, do and will sin, you need a savior. It is your faith in the FINISHED work of Jesus that will grant you access to God.

I’m not advocating sin. Your actions are important. Your holiness is important because it changes your heart toward God but it does not change God’s heart toward you.

The actions and consequences of sin will hurt you. Even though God will love you just as much, you won’t love God as much. It will harden your heart toward God. If you constantly live in sin and never feed yourself spiritually, it will kill you. I am not saying you should ignore your actions. You will never do everything perfectly, but don’t let it keep you from receiving the blessings of God.

Look at Peter during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. He denied the Lord three times. He cursed and blasphemed God, and yet Jesus prayed that his faith wouldn’t fail. Jesus’ prayers were always answered. Peter’s actions failed, but not his faith. He was restored to God and went on to become a pillar of the church.

Some of you may be thinking, this is great — I can live like the devil and still get what I want from God.” If you think that, I would ask are you truly born again, because a True Believer wants to please God. This word is for Believer’s who have a desire to serve God and live by FAITH in His completed work.

HH&MC


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all.

Joy to the WORLD, the Lord has come, let earth receive her KING! For unto us a son was born, a Son was given. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) – “ For to us a child is born,to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He is our Wonderful Counselor – Wonderful (extraordinary, hard to understand thing), Counselor (to advise, consult, give counsel, purpose, devise, plan). The name “Counselor” speaks of His wisdom (Omniscient-ALL KNOWING). Do you know when wisdom is worthless? It is when it is not available and when it cannot be applied to your Life. But with Jesus it is available and can be applied to your life. As the Wonderful Counselor, God Became Available to us. He became a personal God. As Wonderful Counselor, Jesus came with an assurance of hope in a world that sometimes seems hopeless; Jesus brought hope to those who had no hope. No situation or problem is too difficult for Him to solve. With that truth surely He has brought JOY to the world.

I declare upon every readers life the prosperity of His WONDERFUL Counsel, Joy, Peace and prosperity, as we begin our exit of 2014 and the entry into the awesome prospects that await you in 2015. I speak a blessing over your health, finance, families and life. No matter your nationality, race, creed or color or religion leanings, He THE wonderful counselor is available to you. For some 2015 is going to be LIFE CHANGING as you begin to walk in His counsel.

Be Blessed and God Bless the WORLD and cause us your children to be a blessing!!

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW, IS LOVE SWEET LOVE


1 John 4:15-17

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.”

Have you noticed a lot of people across the world talk about God’s love and other moral things, but it often merely camouflages their real intentions. These talking heads are not peaceable, righteous people, but are deceivers seeking an opposing purpose. More than likely that purpose is self-serving. I myself have grown tired of the hypocrisy. The so called Christian conservatives that FAIL to show the heart of Christ towards children crossing the border, the leader of our country, the people from another ethnic or financial status. The calls for a “Holy war” except the ones doing the call are not the ones on the front lines while wearing Rolex watches and silently accumulating wealth. Love cannot be shown while preying on others.

Today’s Christians are the victims of an age that is apathetic to a true relationship with God. He is saying that in His own church there are some who know that He is at the door, yet will not get up to answer it and fellowship with Him! They are refusing to fellowship with Him. They are so far from Him that they do not even see their need. If there is no awareness of need, there is no desire; no desire, no prayer; no prayer, no relationship, and back to no awareness of need. It runs in a vicious circle. AND THAT becomes COMFORTABLE.

But God wants to rekindle an awareness of need. Awareness of need to see clearly how holy, gracious, kind, merciful, and good He is, and then we will want to be like He is. In other words, we so admire and respect Him and His qualities that we want to be near Him and will chase after Him, diligently seeking after Him like a lover seeking after His Love. We will exalt Him and seek to honor Him by being like Him. WHAT IS HE LIKE? GOD IS LOVE!!

Do we really want to be like God? Our frequent contact with God, or lack of it, is an easy, concrete measurement for both God and ourselves to know the true answer.

What is the purpose of love? Love is the desire to enhance another. God is love. God builds, he strengthens, he helps – all the while he is being resisted, rejected and ignored. God loves us. That means he wants to do us good. If we reject him, it is because we do not want his ways or his lifestyles. It is because we have deluded ourselves into believing that our way is better than his way.

If our lives are not motivated by love, we become corrupted, contaminated and diseased by other spiritual forces. If we do not love our spouses, our children, our families, our fellowman, then we have indicated that we care nothing about their end. The failure to love is a form of abandonment. It says I don’t care how you turn out. Wow, imagine if that was God’s thought towards you. It says your life is unimportant to me. It says I am selfish – I don’t want to be involved in your well-being. God requires us to love every man, because in doing so, we become partners with God in the redeeming of mankind, ALL of mankind not just those who look like us. When we love our neighbors, we are allied with God in salvaging ALL the human race. When we love our children, we are allied with God in the saving of ALL children. When we love the Father, we are allied with God in the saving ourselves.

When we do NOT love others, we align against the will of God. We are neglecting what God is trying to build up. We are ignoring a cause that is uppermost in the mind of God. Husbands should love their wives. Wives should love their husbands. Parents should love their children and children should love their parents. It is illogical to think that we can help any society while we are neglecting our most fundamental responsibility… to LOVE. So my question is this, “are we displaying…no it needs to be more focused, are YOU displaying the reflection of LOVE? “; because as He is, so are we in this world.” … and He is love! Where has LOVE gone, will we find LOVE, REAL LOVE in time? Where is the love……where are you? You are to be the personification of Him.

I am in SOOOOO Much Debt!!


royalty-free-bank-check-clipart-illustration-216711

The other day, I retrieved my monthly budget excel folder. I keep a log of all of my financial obligations. I list what I bring in and how much is going out to those I owe and what I am able to save or invest for that proverbial “rainy day”. It helps me to maintain a handle on what must be done, what I should prioritize and focus on. No one desires to be in debt. All of us would like the experience of being “debt” free. While I was looking at my natural budget file, the thought occurred to me, what does your budget folder look like, spiritually? How much debt have you incurred? Who and what do you owe? To owe some one is to be in debt, or even more sinister it means to “be bound to”. Think about it, when you are in debt to someone or something, you are bound and even in part a slave to that which you owe.

Just like I recognize my natural debts, what does my spiritual debts look like? Am I being diligent in this responsibility or am I accruing late charges and interest? In my personal budget folder I categorize my file into two categories, “one time pay offs” (ie. medical bills, furniture, clothing, repair expenses, credit cards, etc.) and “on going and revolving” (ie. food, gas, credit cards, car payments, insurance, mortgage, utilities, rent, etc.). Spiritually what expenses are in my two files? Wait… there not two files, only one. It is “on going and revolving”. All of my debt can be placed under this category. What are some of the expenses found in my spiritual file? Well, I owe you prayer, I owe you a smile, I owe you a shoulder to cry on, I owe you the gifts and calling on my life, the poem inside of me, the song, message, book, play, compassion, listen ear, a safe harbor, encouragement, recognition and validation. These are just a few, BUT they are not just my expenses, they are yours also. You owe the world the same.

The Bible says in Romans 13:8 to “owe no man anything, but to love one another”. So let’s call this one category “Love/ Forgiveness”. Why is forgiveness mentioned in this category? In order to truly love there must be perpetual forgiveness. The need to pay on our personal forgiveness expense is huge. There is a need to forgive the past and even present hurts that we have buried and tried to ignore but not forgiven. The old relationships, friends, parents, ministries, the ex’s, the ones that just walked away without any explanation or goodbye. Oh here is one we do not like to confess that is on our expense docket. We need to forgive…wait for it… GOD! I was talking to my wife on just yesterday and she was telling me about a friend’s 10-year-old son who is very mad at God because for over a year, the boy has been praying to God to heal his father who had a stroke and God has not done it. I told my wife that if I would have conversation with that young man, I would say that it understandable and okay. God is not upset with you for how you feel. In fact, (a confession)… even in my fifties, I have been angry and mad at God and needed to “forgive” Him. Do not look at me funny, be honest…you have felt the same way. There has been many times when God in our own estimation, disappointed us and let us down. Understand it is really not the person or persons you are forgiving, it is the perceived (real or imaginary, intentional or unintentional) offense you are forgiving. Many times an individual have no idea that you are harboring that debt.

In order to “owe love only” we must first realize the definition of “forgiveness”. It means to “abandon, forsaken, to let die, leave destitute and irretrievably broken”. We cannot truly realize Romans 13:8 unless we handcuff love to forgiveness. We cannot obtain the “new” if we are still in debt, bound and enslaved to the old. The latter part of Romans 6:4 reads “…even so we also should walk in newness of life”, so through what the Father did through the sacrifice of His Son we have access to the “new”. Understand not only did Jesus take our sin, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he who had not known sin made himself to become sin in your place”. AWESOME SAUCE! We are no longer bound to the penalty and power of sin. God, the Father “forgave” abandon, forsaken, let die, left destitute and irretrievably broken, the offense, the sin (noun). JESUS! (read 2 Corinthians 5:21 again) Did not Jesus cry from the cross, “Father why have you FORSAKEN me? (just something to think on

We too can pay our debt of love, through our resolve to forgive, freeing ourselves from what has us shackled, enslaved and obligated to the pain, memories and power of past and even present offenses. Paying this debt is a conscious effort, especially in the beginning. Just as in the natural it must be planned and purposed. It just does not happen through mere happenstance. How much better our world would be if every man, woman, boy and girl began to make payment on their debt of love and forgiveness. Would we see so much conflict in our world? Would there have been and continue to be the countless numbers of wars where nations are against nations, tribes against tribes, races against races, brother against brother? Would those who espouse different religious beliefs treat each other so inhumanely understanding God have given all men free will and choice? Would there be the crisis in Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan and countless other locations that have not been in the international spotlight? When will we pay on this “Love/Forgiveness” bill? I did write “we” didn’t I? Well anyway… let me pull out my checkbook! I am late with my payment. Not to just Christians or Americans… but to the world! “For God so love the WORLD that He “FOR” gave His only begotten Son…”

It’s official. I’m no longer a Christian!


I am giving up my “Christian card”. The term “Christian” is no longer what I want to be known as. Before you turn away hear me out. The word “Christian” is only found 3 times in Scripture, none of which Jesus’ uses. It was initially used as a derogatory term, like the “N” word. It was not a term of endearment. Gradually, through acceptance of it’s meaning “Christ like”, the word “Christian” became a standard for a religious viewpoint. For me, it is not the word, “Christian” that I can know longer align myself to, but it is the definition and the illustration of that word. Have you been paying close attention to our world today? Answer me this, what as an unbeliever would inspire you to become a “Christian” today? What can you point to that is universally the indisputable and unshakeable standard of the word Christian across the board? If the word’s initial definition is “Christ like”, then why does “their” Christ like, and “your” Christ like and “my” Christ like look different from each other’s? Is Christ schizophrenic? Is it denominationally or culturally, or racially or politically based? It appears to be the case based upon its nature of separatism. I am personally so ashamed of how so called conservative “Christian” have either bought into the ploy of politics or are treacherously hypocritical in order to reach a political goal. Their actions of name-calling, lying, denigrating, fighting, etc., is that “Christ like”? What is the draw to a un-believer? The word “Christian” has become a joke to the world because it leaves so much too one’s interpretation of the “word” and the personal manipulation of the one using the “word”. This too is also where the real problem lies. We argue and differentiate between the “interpretations” of the words of Christ instead of what He ACTUALLY did. I heard an “evangelical Christian” politician quote the Old Testament verse” “if you do not work, you do not eat” as a reason for not helping the poor and unemployment increase etc. Hhhmmm! I seem to recall Jesus saying in Matthew 25:33 – 40, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me…. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. How can one misinterpret or remotely over look that as a “Christian”? John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples (not Christians), if ye have love one to another.”

Let me say this, I want to be identified only as a “disciple” and follower of Jesus Christ. He never once said become a Christian, but over 90 times He says, “follow me”. The word “follow” in the Greek does not just mean “trail” as we know it in the English language. It also means to be a particle of union or to be an attached piece to the whole. It means to copulative, bonded, yoked as one. His footsteps are my footsteps. His actions are my actions. His words are my words. His showing of love is my showing of love. If we mirrored Him completely and became His reflection in the earth would there be so many different “Christian” images? You might have your own interpretation on what He said and what He meant but you cannot question what He did. No I am no longer a Christian. I want to be a follower of Christ. I want to be one of His disciples. I also learn I cannot “be” like him, but He can “be” in me, but that is next week’s thought. So from this day forward… let me be a “follower of Christ”.