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“Perfect love casts out fear”

May 27, 2017

We have heard this often when “fear” is mentioned or talked about. At first, this seems to be a “cure-all for fear”. Any time we fear anything, perfect love takes it all away, right? It also has been said that “perfect love is God’s love”. While this is a true statement, it leaves us questioning just what God’s love is, or more important, what is “perfect love?”. To understand what it is that casts out fear we must understand what exactly is perfect love. For when we see (understand) this, we are then on the road to overcoming fear. As always, we need to go no further than God’s word to understand it. He has given us His Spirit, and thereby together with His word, we understand.

The apostle John, who beneath Jesus, understood “love” like no other. And where better need we go then to his love letter to “little children” (the church, brother’s and sisters in Christ).

Our main text is found in 1st John 4:18.

“There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment.  He who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

First, we need to get some word definitions in their original Greek language for “fear”, “love”, “perfect”, “casts”, and “torment”. Word study is key into getting understanding of a particular verse or passage.

Our first word is “fear”. Just what kind of fear was John talking about here? The word is “phobos” .  This is where we get the word “phobia” from, which is commonly known as an anxiety disorder. “Phobos” comes from the word “phebomal”, which means “to be put in fear”; alarm or fright – be afraid + exceedingly, fear, terror” . Here we see that this kind of fear is at the top of the chart, so to speak. It’s dreadful, frightening, and haunting. Can you see how this type of fear could work havoc in our lives? Talk about not having “peace”. Talk about something that would keep you bound up and keep you stifled. This would be it to the max. Yet how many live their lives this way? Also, for those of us that think it never comes knocking on our door, consider this. All worrying can be traced back to “fear”. And if we are honest, we all worry from time to time. It might be ever so small, yet it’s  still worry.

Our second word is the most often word used, liked, and talked about more than any other word. Ah yes…..”Love”. But just what kind of love is the apostle John referring to here? This is extremely important for us in this world of everything falling under “love”. Love everybody, love everything, be it right or wrong, just love, love, love, right? Well, this kind of love is way different. The word is “agape”, which means, “i.e affection, or benevolence (disposition to do good, an act of kindness, a generous gift)”. John further spells this out in his discourse on love by teaching us that God’s agape love is a sacrificial love that was exemplified by the giving of His Son for the sacrifice for our sins. Thus John went on to say that because of this kind of love for us, “we ought to love one another”. (see 1Jn.4:7-11)

Our third word is “perfect”. This word can take on a lot of definitions. However, it is important to be reminded that we are talking here about “perfect love”. The word, “perfect” is key here, because it is the type of love that is necessary to “cast out fear”. Not just love, but perfect love. This word “perfect”, in the Greek is “teleios“. It means “complete, completeness”. A further study into the word comes up with “i.e. (literally) accomplish, or (figuratively), consummate”. Also, “the conclusion”. Here we can safely say that “perfect agape love” is a love that is complete, i.e. final, and conclusive. Sounds like there is no greater love than this, bar none, right?

Our next word is “casts” (or casteth, in the KJV ). In our text, it says that “perfect love casts out fear”. This is key because this is what perfect love does. It “casts out”. This word is “ballo”.  It means “to throw”. It has to do with “violent, or intense”. Also, “strike, or “thrust”. This word is not used as a little soft way of dealing with fear. It is intense. It leaves no room for “timidity”. There must be some power involved here. Something beyond our fleshly, easy way of dealing with things.

Our fifth and final word is “torment”. This word is huge because it is what “fear has”. You might say this is what fear produces, or this is its outcome, or fruit. In the Greek, the word is “kolasis”. Its meaning might surprise you. It has to do with “infliction”. And that of “penal infliction”. Penal? Yes. And it involves “punishment, penalties, or punitive institutions”. Most of us have heard the word for a prison as a “penal institution”. Considering this, it is safe to say that “fear” locks you up as if you are in a “penal institution”. Inside here there is punishment and infliction to be had and penalties to be paid for. This is not a place you would want to live your life in for sure. Yet how many do, day in, and day out?

Ok. Now that we get some better understanding of these five important words, let us now break down each verse that contains the word, “perfect”, or “perfected” love. It appears five times in 1st John. That’s actually quite a bit. This will unlock “perfect love”, and “love perfected”. This will lead us into application, i.e. how we are to live out this kind of love to overcome or prevent fear from coming into our lives.

Let’s first back up in the book of first John, and go to the 2nd chapter, verse 5. In this verse he is teaching just how it is that the “love of God is perfected in us”. And remember that this kind of love throws out (casts out) fear.

“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know we are in Him.”                                                                                                                        

In context, the apostle John is referring to the keeping of the words of Christ. If we back up to the starting of this chapter, in verse 1, he is telling us that Jesus is our mediator. In verse 2, he states that Jesus is the “propitiation for our sins” and the whole world. Verse 3 is key into understanding that he is talking about the commandments of Christ because he says “by this (that Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins) we know Him. Verse 4 also states this as well. We will see more as we go that the commands of Christ are what we New Testament believers need to heed and follow.

So by keeping His commandments, His words, His doctrine, His teachings, the love of God is perfected in us. This brings up something that most Christians seemly have a hard time with. And what is that? “Obedience”. Somehow God’s grace takes away, or covers for our obedience? Well, if that’s the case, we mise well go upstairs and open the bedroom window and chuck the word of God out. Because His word is full of obedience that must be done by us if we are to be followers of Christ. A simple reading of the word will bring this to light. In fact, John later writes in 2nd John, verse 9, that if we do not abide (dwell) in Christ’s teachings, then we do not have God. Wow! That’s pretty heavy.

The words of Jesus speak for themselves……

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” (Jn.14:21)

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.                                                                       “He who does not love Me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (vs.23-24)

Here we see just how Jesus wants to be loved, and how God will love us, and how they will reveal themselves to us. This is often never taught or looked at. But it’s huge. This is Jesus commanding us here.

Now since we are looking here into just what is “perfect love”, and our text (1Jn.2:5) states that it has to do with keeping the words of Christ, it is necessary to hone in on a particular commandment in regards to this perfect love.

The apostle John makes this very clear when he speaks of God’s love being “perfected (completed) in us”“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” (1Jn.4:12). This verse is pretty self-explanatory. The key? “Love one another”. And this is the commandment that Christ taught from the beginning. “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, (1Jn.3:11). John here is referring to Jesus when he gave this commandment. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another”. (Jn.13:34). He also, when teaching on “Love” and “Joy” being perfected, said this, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”. ( Jn.15:12). He goes on to say that there is no greater love than one giving their life for another. Loving one another through sacrificial love is “perfect love”, it is “agape love”.

Just how important is this commandment according to Jesus? Well, he addressed this question to one of the “Pharisees” as he asked, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”. Jesus replied with, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the great commandment”. (Mt.22:36-38). Then Jesus goes on to say, “And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (vs.39). It is important to note the word here “like”. It means “similar”, and it comes from the Greek word “homos” which means “the same”. We can safely say that these two are to be combined, i.e. Love God, Love you neighbor. “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, he cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1Jn.4:20).

Jesus finishes answering the Pharisees question of “which is the great commandment in the law?” with “On these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets.” The word “hang” here is very important. It means “suspend, summed up”. So if we want to talk and debate over commandments, we best get these two down. We could literally spend the rest of our days “obeying” this commandment. I say “this” because they are combined.

Ok. Let’s move on in this quest for “perfect love”. We have looked at two (1Jn.2:5, 4:12) of the five verses that deal with “perfect love” or “love made complete”. Our next verse is 1Jn.4:17. “Herein is love made perfect in us,”. I purposely stopped here at the first part of this verse. Why? Because, to get a proper understanding of what John is saying here we must look at context and back up to see what “Herein” is. In the five verses leading up to this verse, we see the word “dwelleth” (dwell). It has the same meaning as “abideth” (abide), which means “to stay”. Ok. So where does abide fit into perfect love?

Let’s read it. In verse 12, John says that If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. Then he says, “by this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us,”. By this? By what? By loving one another. It’s the out working of loving one another that His love is perfected in us. And through this we abide, or stay. He goes on to say that “because He (God) has given us His Spirit”Remembering that “it’s the Spirit that bears witness” (1Jn.5:6) to us to confirm everything that God has given. In the verse leading up to 1Jn.4:17, we see some more regarding “abiding” that leads to us understanding “perfect love”. John says that we have known and believed the love that God has for us, God is love,”. And what love is he referring to here? “that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another.” (1Jn. 4:10). Do you see the tie here? Loving because of what God did for us? “Herein is love!”The apostle John then finishes verse 16 with, “he who dwells (stays in) in love dwells in God, and God in him”. Bing! I think it’s safe to say that “perfect love” is loving because He first loved us, and thus, we love our neighbor as ourselves.

Now, we certainly can’t leave off here without finishing the last part of this verse 17. “that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so we are in the world”Here in the middle of the Apostle John’s discourse on love, he drops the word “boldness”. We must ask why? How is boldness tied into “love?”.

First, let’s look into this word. It is “parrhesia”, which by implication means “assurance”. It is also the same word as “confidence”. So we can say that by “abiding/dwelling” in Christ, i.e. abiding in his commandments, which namely is loving God through loving others, we will have assurance/confidence at His return. Yet, most importantly for the now, we can have this as we live out through love. And to add to this “boldness”, it also means, and has to do with, “speak”. Another definition is “all out-spokenness”. So when we our walking in His perfect love, i.e. living it out, we have out right boldness to “speak the truth in love”. Who by the way, was the perfect example of this bold love? You got it! The Christ! “because as He is, so are we in this world”.

Now, just after this look into “boldness”, guess what comes next? What would be one good word that would be the total opposite of boldness? Any suggestions? Our next and main verse has this word in it……

“FEAR”

Remember our main text for this study?

“There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

The apostle John starts off with a blanket statement here. He says that “there is no fear in love”. Remember that we are not just talking about any kind of love here. And what we mentioned at the beginning of this study, it’s not “worldly love”, or “fleshly love”. This is “agape love”. Through the studying of this kind of love, the teacher, i.e. the Holy Spirit, gave us this definition, “affectionate benevolence through sacrificial giving”. When this is in you, and you are living it out, fear will not be present. It cannot abide in the house where this perfect love takes up residence. So there is absolutely no need to even think on fear. It doesn’t even exist in this agape love. Period!

This agape love not only has “no fear” in it, but it “casts” it out. We must ask why did John put this here? If there is no fear in love, then why would it need to be cast out? Well, are you ready for this? Can your ultra spirituality take this on?

Fear does not abide in us if perfect love abides, right? However, we are all in this flesh. And we all get tempted with “fear”. It is just like the unlimited temptations that come upon us all the time. If you don’t think this is so, then take inventory of the last time you worried about something or someone. It’s a fact that worry can be traced back to fear. So this is why John brought up this “casting out”. If it wasn’t needful then he wouldn’t have brought it up. It absolutely needs to be addressed.

In simplicity, we can say that if we are abiding in Christ, and His words are abiding in us, and we are living them out through perfect love, then all temptations of fear will be casted out. “Perfect love casts out fear”. There is no fear in perfect love.

This verse 18 ends with, “But he who fears has not been made perfect in love”. Here we see that it is possible and needful to be made perfect in love. Another way to say this would be that it is possible and needful to be “completed” in love. Even though this agape love is to be a process for us to be lived out, it is, and has, already been completed in us through Christ in us. We have within us everything that is needed for life and godliness (2nd Peter 1:3). It is just up to us to use, so to speak, everything that we have been given, i.e. His perfect (completed) love within us. But we must walk it out, i.e. apply it to our everyday living through “loving one another”.

We end our study with verse 19 of 1st John. It is obvious that we are creatures that need to be reminded continually. In reality, isn’t the Holy scriptures a book written for our remembrance? And this being so, the apostle John states, “We love because He first loved us”. This is our continual reminder. This is why we love in the first place. This puts it all back into perspective. Do you remember what John said was love? “In this is love, …. He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”(4:10). And, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” (Jn.3:16). And if this was so…… Then…..

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another”(1Jn.4:11).

We could go on in this study. There is much more to be found in the word of God regarding this “perfect love”. Actually, there is a whole lot more regarding “obedience” that ties right into this love. Jesus himself taught just how important obedience to His teaching was. A good study on this would be found in the gospel of John, chapters 14-15.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this study. We spent five weeks, hours upon hours, hammer and chisel in hand with the Word and Spirit. I hope and pray that you were blessed into understanding more of just what is “perfect love” and how it does “cast out fear”. Hopefully the next time that you are tempted to fear, you will apply perfect love into the situation and thus there will be no room for fear. Remember…… fear cannot abide in perfect love! God bless you!

 

 

 

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The prodigal daughter

November 22, 2016

Blessed yesterday to be back in downtown. We even got to do some preaching :).
Towards the end of the day, God brought “Brandi” by. My guess is that she was around 30 years old. She is your typical homeless girl bound by heroin. She was raised in Alabama in a southern Baptist home. She has two kids who are being raised by her parents in two separate homes.

We listened to her story. And as we did, the Holy Spirit gave us some insight into where she was currently at spiritually. We shared and encouraged her that God is not very far away. In fact, he is just camped out next door. He is just waiting for her to turn to Him. She listened.

We reminded her of the “Prodigal son” story, of which she had heard many times before. However, we put her into the story as the “Prodigal daughter”. The Father is there waiting with open arms to through a party upon her return, but she just has to get to the point where she “has spent all”, and “comes to herself”.

We also reminded her that she is indeed responsible for that which she knows. And of course being raised “Southern Baptist”, she knows about Jesus and the salvation that He alone brings. It was good for her to be reminded of this, because in her sharing, she has allowed some demonic influence to change her thinking, which is so very common out on the streets.

We asked her if we could pray for her. She smiled and said, “well, as long as I don’t have to stand here and close my eyes” . So we did.

She shared how she misses her kids. Heroin is no doubt nullifying the pain.

She seemed to have hope as we parted. Please pray for her. She could have been any one of our daughters. Thank you.

An encounter with “Jesus”

April 3, 2016

We must never underestimate the power of one encounter for Jesus. I was reminded of this yesterday.

While traveling north on the bus, i stopped off at a local Walmart to use the restroom and pick up some water. While at the water aisle, i reached up to grab a bottle when i heard, “Hey! It’s good to see you again! Remember me?” My eyes immediately fell upon his name badge, which read “Jesus”. Bing! “Yeah! I remember you! At the neighborhood market close by where i live”.

Here we were…..

Approximately 6 months ago, i pulled into the neighborhood market parking lot and quickly noticed the “cart pusher”. I walked over to him to say hi. Then i noticed his name tag saying “Jesus”. I smiled and said that i really liked his name. Then of course, we asked him if he knew Jesus. He said that he did. We had a great visit in the parking lot that day.

Now…..

Approximately 6 months later, 5 miles north, and at a different store, here he remembers me. I was amazed. I complemented him for his remembrance, and of course knowing all the time that it was the Lord indeed that brought it all to pass. I asked him what God was currently doing in his life, and he shared a testimony of how God blessed him recently by being able to return to Walmart after quitting his last store. He realized that it was a mistake and that God showed mercy upon him and what a blessing it was to be able to work. We stood there sharing for a while, then parted knowing that we would see each other again.

One encounter can make a difference. We must never underestimate it. Go Jesus!

name-tag

Seeing and hearing

March 23, 2016

Like anything else in life, if we don’t use it or practice it on a regular basis, we can become less acquainted with that which we used to do on a regular basis.

This past Saturday, i was seeking God and wanting to go out again and be led of the Spirit to where He wanted me to go. This is a big part of the ministry that the Lord has given me and called me to over the years. I have seen some really divine moves of God into this realm of the Spirit. My heart craves for more of the Spirit of God to “see” and to “hear”, then to move into that realm.

As we were waiting upon Him, He soon gave us the route to take and the place to go. We were to head out on foot east, then turn north and walk up to the “Target” store. As we walked, we prayed, and at the same time looked around to see if there was any people around that He might be leading us to. During the approximate mile long walk, there was no one who we sensed we were to talk to. Soon we were at the Target store and walked into the restroom. Once inside, we spotted a young guy washing himself at the sink. We knew immediately that he was the one to speak to. However, not at the present time.

We left and went outside after hearing to wait out there for him to come out. After a few minutes, we looked ahead down the walkway and spotted him. Our immediate thought was “wow, he sure looks different from when he was under the lights in the restroom”. We proceeded to follow him. Up ahead, we saw him take a left into the store next door. We heard to wait there for him to come out. After waiting a few, he comes out, and we say to him, “Hey brother! Come on over here and tell me what God is doing in your life”. We saw that he had a shirt on that had a small cross on it and a ministry name under it.

He began to share his testimony of being saved right after getting out of prison, and being now clean for 30 days. He shared how God had delivered him and how thankful he was. I asked him if he has been tempted to use again since being clean. He said “oh yes”. I then heard that i was to pray for him regarding this help. So i asked him if i could pray for him. He smiled and said “sure!”. As we did, we really prayed for his protection. We covered him in the armor of the Lord, from his head to his toes. When finished, he was blessed and encouraged. We soon parted our ways. He went down the walkway, i took off to my left and went across the parking lot.

After about 10 minutes and turning to my right to follow the sidewalk, i look up ahead to the intersection and i see him and a guy standing with him at the light. As i walked up, i immediately noticed that the guy that was with him was the guy that i originally saw in the bathroom. I said to him, “Hey you were the one who i saw in the restroon”. He said that he remembered seeing me also. I then was amazed at what had just been revealed to me…..

Here i was in the presence of these two guys, one who i thought was the one from the restroom in which i prayed with, the other who i didn’t pray with which was the guy from the restroom. Just how did my “seeing” and “hearing” play into this all? Was God once again just showing his sovereignty? Would things of changed out differently if i were to of “saw” and “heard” differently? Was this just how it was all to play out, i.e. the guy that i prayed with was the reason why i was to go to “Target” in the first place?

I find it all interesting.

Then the guy introduces me to the other guy. He quickly shares his testimony of being saved and how he was also clean from addiction. He lit up as he was sharing about God’s power to save and keep him. They were both there that day to also collect money at the intersection for the ministry that they were a part of. All three of us rejoiced at God’s goodness and how our divine appointment all transpired.

Someday we will see clearly, see completely. Until now, i endeavor to “see” and “hear” more clearly as i approach the gates of heaven.

“My fate is sealed”

August 10, 2015

I had just finished walking up by the freeway that leads through downtown and was circling back around when i noticed that there was a different guy at the off-ramp holding his cardboard sign. I walked over to him and said Hi, reached in for some change and a “Born of the Spirit” card. After a short talk about the card, he tells me that he has died twice and went to hell each time. Then he said something that really made me jump up and take notice. He said that the last time this happened, he was asked by God to give up his hatred. He refused to do so, so he said……

“My fate is sealed”.

I then proceeded to ask him about Jesus to find out where exactly he stood with him. I asked him if he had been born again and if Jesus was his Lord and Savior. He said that he did not believe that he needed Jesus to get to God. He believed that he could go straight to God and bypass Jesus. I proceeded to tell him about the cross and the sacrifice that Jesus paid for him and that if he would believe so, Jesus would forgive his sins and he would not have to pay the wages for them which is death. Also that by receiving the forgiveness through Jesus, his fate in hell is not sealed. I told him that he is believing a lie that comes from the father of lies, Satan.

I then said, “It is quite possible that God would send this little nobody in a red shirt to remind you of His Son Jesus and what you could have today by believing in him”. He listened, but refused. At the end of our visit, the Holy Spirit had me get rather straight with him. I pleaded with him that he did not have to believe a lie and that Jesus is there waiting to forgive his sins so he would not have to go to the real hell and spend eternity apart from God.

Soon i parted. I am praying and believing that God in his love and mercy will still continue to reach out to this man before it’s too late.

A very sad encounter. Believing that your fate is sealed? But yet, not believing in the One who makes it all possible for one’s fate to not be sealed? Sounds like a lie to me.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom.6:23)

“Out the gate”

July 23, 2015

gate

It’s what i call it when you go out the door (or it could be a gate) and God has someone immediately there in your pathway. It could be right as you open the door and there stands somebody, or it could be within a few feet. Either way, there is a person there. Now the question here is, do I notice the person? And if I notice them, do I care? Am I in too much of a rush to even want to notice them? And, if I do indeed notice them, so what? Do I just think it is life and so what?

I am convinced that God is always moving people, and causing them to be at a certain place in a certain point of time so someone can reach them with the most important message of all time, the gospel. And as i have always said, “He saved us to reach people for Him”. He does the placement, then we are to do the seed planting. And of course, He causes the growth.

The key is that when we go “out the gate” we are in the Spirit?. We are quickened by the Spirit. We are watching, looking, seeing, and hearing. This of course must have started while we were behind the four walls, and then moved out into the world for the day.

Here are two recent examples of what i am talking about.

A couple of days ago i went out my front door to go get my car that was parked a couple of blocks away from the previous night. Where i live, parking is at a premium. The short street has six apartment complexes. And while there is some rented spaces off the street, most of us park on the street.

As i walked away from my front door and turned left, i immediately saw this guy standing there on the lawn staring at an orange tree. I asked him what he was up to. He told me that he was placing “fruit fly” traps in the tree. He then explained a little about his job with the state. Our conversation included a chat about the nice weather we were having that morning. As he was packing up his stuff i asked him if he was a “follower of Jesus”. His reply was “well, not as much as I should be”. I then encouraged him that God is not far away, and that all he needed to do was to turn towards him. And by doing that, God would surely meet him right there. He left thanking me for the  reminder.

Today, while i was at work and coming out from the back room, through the doors (out the gate) and onto the sales floor, i immediately saw this guy pass in front of me on the main aisle. He was holding a bible and reading it as he walked along. I said, “hey! what are you reading?”. He stops and shows me. I read it so that he can hear it.

“Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.”

“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Mk.13:12-13).

I told him to not hate those who will do this. And i also said that sometimes those who are closest to us, i.e our families, are the ones who we could receive the most persecution from. He had this look on his face which seemed to read….. “I see. I get what this is saying”.

He leaves and i say, “God bless you!”. And off i go to put some meat away on the shelf :-).

I hope that we will all be more encouraged to be in the Spirit when we go “out the gate”, knowing very well that God could have somebody there waiting for us for His plan and purpose.

God’s love, all about people

July 20, 2015

Let us always be reminded and never forget that God and his love is all about people. “For God so loved the world (people) that he gave his only begotten Son,”
If we are saved it is for people. We are called and gifted to reach people.
I love how God moves people, places people, in our path so that they would hear one more time about His Son. That’s love.
If we are “in the Spirit” we will not miss out on the opportunity.

Today i was at the cross walk, and this lady is standing next to me. I’m looking straight forward waiting for the light to change. Out of the corner of my eye i noticed her look over at me real quick. When she did, i sensed that God was up to something.
I get on the bus and sit next to the window. And who comes down the aisle? And where does she sit? Yep just like a magnet :-). I believe that God can and does move people to his own choosing.

We soon get on the train together and spend the next 30 minutes conversing. She is currently a “Buddhist”. She was raised in a Christian home though. It was just God and his love reminding her again about His Son. We spread the seed. God gives the increase.
Pray for her tonight.

God’s love, 3 guys, and a “Jesus Bus”

January 17, 2015

Last night we were checking in with Holy Spirit to see if we could get a jump on where we might be going. Sometimes He lets us know in advance, other times not. This was one of those times where He laid a particular street upon my heart. Sometimes it is certain areas, corners, or even pictures of where we are to be. In any case, when this happens, it goes from what He places in the heart, then to the mind. Such was the case that it was indeed 82nd Av.

For the first hour it was relatively quiet as we traveled via bus and light rail to get there. Once we made it to 82nd transit center, we ask the Holy Spirit where to go and what to do. As we looked both directions, we sensed that the left was the way. As we walked, we prayed. After about 6 to 8 blocks, we sensed that it was time to jump on the bus and head south. The bus came and off we went. A couple of Jesus cards passed out with little feed back. After a mile or so, we knew that there was a Walmart ahead to get some water and a snack. So we headed that way. That was done. So we again hopped the bus and made our way south.

Again, pretty quiet on the bus. As I looked out the window to my right, to my surprise, I spotted the “Jesus Bus”. Yep. There it was parked on a side road just off 82nd. As the bus came to the next stop, I immediately jumped up with not a lot of thinking involved. 🙂 As I looked over at the bus, I noticed a guy with his dog standing on the sidewalk singing and playing his guitar. Nice I thought. We introduced ourselves and spent the next few minutes sharing what God had been doing in our lives. He shared about the ministry that the Lord has called him to. How he travels all over the United States with his dog in the Jesus Bus. God brings people of all kinds across his path. Many are blessed, some can’t stand the bus, and some get saved 🙂

After a while I was moved upon to head across the street where there happen to be a bank that I bank with. I was off to get him some gas money. After I returned, this other guy shows up who is also a believer. He shares a little about his experiences with Jesus.

Then we all noticed a car in the middle of the road, just to the left of where we were talking. It had stalled and cars were trying to snake their way around to keep going. We then all took off to help him push his car to the curb. Once at the curb, the driver gets out to thank us all. A short way into our conversation, the other believer takes off, and now its just me, Cas (the owner of the Jesus Bus) and David, the guy whose car gave out on him. Oh, and lest I forget, God was there too 🙂

A short way into our conversing with David, I said to him, “Hey, where ya at with Jesus?” This begin our conversation in this time of divine appointment 🙂 He began to tell us where he stood with God. What he believed now. He said that he used to go to church and study the Bible. He assured us that he believed in God, only that he wasn’t too sure about Jesus these days and the Bible. My new friend Cas, led by the Spirit, shares all the right scriptures that David needs to be reminded about. I assure him in love, that he is indeed responsible for what he knows. Especially what he knows of the Bible. He listens well. We remind him how much God’s loves him, and that through His love, He even allowed his car to stop right next to some guys and a “Jesus Bus”. What a God! Right.10734117_1491414041121922_717046348752541166_n

Once again. God is perfect and exact in all His ways. Nothing is “happen chance” with Him. His love is just plain too powerful to let one go without continue reminders 🙂

Homeless can collector gets his teeth stolen

December 19, 2014

Had a bad day? How would you like to be homeless and collecting cans for a living, and then have someone take your coat which had your dentures in the pocket?

I just got on to the train platform from the bus today when i noticed him sitting at a bench and then jumped out of his seat in anger. He was very upset about something for sure. He kept talking out loud as he went through his backpack in hast looking for something. I walked behind him and went down a little and prayed for him.

Over the last two years we have had some good conversations with him. He is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and knows the Bible better than most I’ve seen. I will never forget one time about a year ago. I was on the back of the bus talking to a young guy about his need to be saved, when all of a sudden this homeless friend jumps in with all the right scriptures. I just sat back in amazement as to how the Holy Spirit orchestrates at just the precise time with just the right scriptures and the right people. This friend captured this young guys attention by not only sharing the scriptures, but by giving his testimony that made the guy really listen to him.

So after standing there and watching him in his frustration, I walked over to him and said “Hi”. He immediately calmed down and shared with me what had happened. He said that two days ago he was doing his usual thing of taking his cans to a local Walmart to get money. While he was there, he took off his coat which unfortunately had his dentures in the pocket. After he had finished putting all his cans into the counter machine, he turned around to get his coat and it was gone. Somebody had lifted it. Its winter here and stealing from everyone is a common way of life for most of the homeless. He was the victim.

After telling me what had happened, he began to change and thank God for what he still had. The clothes on his back. His shoes. His health. He also gave testimony about a couple of healing’s that God had done in the past for him.

After listening to him change by remembering how good God has been to him and what he has done, I asked if I could pray for him and could we believe that God would bring his teeth back to him. He also shared how there might be a possibility of getting a new pair through the place that he had got this pair from. He said that he is checking into it. We then prayed and believed that God was going to be glorified through this provision.

The train soon came and we both got on. We continued to listen to him share about his life and how it fails in comparison to the apostle Paul. He brought up all kinds of scriptures that related to the apostles trials, testimony’s etc. He then shared something with me that didn’t surprise me, but I didn’t know it about him. At one time in his life he taught the scriptures to other believers in his church. This didn’t surprise me because I knew from past experiences with him, that he indeed did have the gift of teaching.

I mention to him the scripture that says that “the gifts and callings of God are without repentance”. His eyes began to water and he wipes them with his hand. God is reminding him of his love for him. I just assured him that all he has to do is turn back to God at times like these and be obedient to what God shows him.

While he was getting encouraged and excited by sharing the scriptures with me, his stop comes. He shakes my hand and says goodbye, then goes out the door only to turn right around and come back in. He said that he couldn’t leave. This was too good. So for the next few more stops we continued to be blessed together. Finally, he gets his pack together and leaves out the door on the next stop. As he leaves, he says, “Wow! Every time you show up, God really gets a hold of me!”. I point my finger up and say, “It’s all God! He loves you!”. He smiles, and off he goes.

Please pray for him.

Darkness before light

June 26, 2014

Tonight at the mall gathering one of my favorite thought provoking scriptures was brought up…..
The thought…..
In the beginning God created the earth. And the earth had no form, and it was void.
Picture that, if you can.
Then….get a glimpse of this while you’re still seeing a earth with no form and void of anything….
Only darkness was found upon the face of the deep.
Was there anything or anyone that was moving out there? Anyone or anything alive? Hello!
“And the Spirit of God moved”……..
Where?
“upon the face of the waters” in utter darkness. There was the Spirit of God found.
Before light even existed.
Now wrap your brain around that…….
What a God!

(see Genesis 1:1-2)