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?

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!!

I Am Hearing Voices


I have been off-line for a week or so because my youngest son and his family came to visit me here in Florida. I have not seen them in over a year and a half’s time and I thoroughly enjoyed the visit. During that time my grandson illustrated something to me. He’s approximately 15 months old and I had not seen him since he was about a month old and obviously he did not recognize me so when I saw him last weekend I went to pick him up and hold him and to show him affection. I was calling his name and immediately he began to cry and to reach out for his father despite my best efforts of trying to woo him and to demonstrate and show him love. He still with adamant fervor tried to make his way into the arms of his father, crying and with tears running down his face reaching for dad. In that, even though it was disappointing I saw the God lesson.

John10:4 – 5 “…and they follow Him because they know His voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” His sheep will not follow a stranger. They indeed will flee because they don’t know this strange voice.

Now in my case, as a grandfather naturally that is kind of disappointing but in the spiritual how much more should we have the reaction of my grandson? When we hear and listen to the voice of a stranger many times we are wooed and pulled in by the voice and its promises or perceived benefits. Draw back to memory the event of Eve and the serpent in the Garden. But the Word of God says my sheep know my voice. They know the tone, yes, they know the accent, yes, but they also have an intimate understanding of the being, the persona, projecting the sound, the voice. They have an understanding of who He is. This understanding is far more than words and sound. It is knowledge derived from personal experience. His care, His loving kindness, his provision, His protection, His tender touch when He draws you in close to Himself. However, His sheep, upon recognizing that the sound, the voice, is not familiar but strange will flee and turn away and will not follow it.

Now traditionally I think most “religious” people put that “voice” that “sound” into context of the stranger being the devil or being something of a demonic nature but let’s have a Nu Mind thought. A lot of times that voice, that sound which we should flee from, are closely related to us. It is recognizable DNA. It is a part of our nature from the first Adam. The sounds are comprised of many things that we are embracing instead of fleeing. These voices or more specifically this sound is foreign yet prevalent throughout the world today. Religious or not, a Christian or not, believer in nothing or an unbeliever in everything, can you hear them? The voice of greed, treachery, manipulation, deception, seduction, adultery, bullying, sabotage, false accusation, superiority, murder, destruction, pride (cultural, self, or national), self-love, racism, sexism, politics and religion etc. They are a strange voice not illustrating or eliminating the voice, the sound, and the character, of the Father. Yet for many these voices are seductive. The promise, the bribe of power, fame and fortune is alluring. Can you hear them? Come here and hear little girl, would you like come candy? Come here and hear young man, sell this dope and make a quick buck. Come here and hear government rulers, politician, corporate executive and “religious” leader and presume a dictatorial stance against your own people and amass personal wealth and prorogate fear to bolster you own insecurities. These are familiar strange voices.

I tried animal cookies to entice my grandson from his daddy’s arms, but to no avail. A one-year-old child said I don’t know this voice, and I am not trying to get close to it. This sound, it is strange and it doesn’t sound like what my Father would say.

My lesson learned and reinforced this past week was this. RUN with arms outstretched to the Father! Flee the voice of strangers and reach out and cry for the one you can depend on to protect, hold and shield you from the strangely familiar. Understand, no matter your race, creed, religion or nationality, these voices are not from without but are from within. They are family by nature. Quit pretending you do not hear them. They are whispering to you in the darkness of the night and beckoning to you in the brightness of the day. BUT my sheep know my voice, my sound, my character and a strange sound he will not follow.

Question, what is the voice, what is the sound that is trying to move you from your Father’s presence? What voice is trying to move you from the lap of He who loves you? What voice is making you curious? What voice is it trying to seduce you with things and with positions and with power and with fortune? What is the promise? What would it take to draw you from the lap of your Father into the arms of a familiar stranger? What is getting you to compromise?