Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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.

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Godless generations = Opportunity

January 20, 2012

I am getting like really stoked lately about the young people (particularly those around 12 to 16) that God has led me to. I am finding out recently, that they are truly naive to the things of God.

Today, I handed a guy a tract, and he might have been around 14 yrs old. As I sat on one of the side seats, I peeked over occasionally to see if he was reading the tract. I kid you not, he spent probably 15 minutes reading the thing, twice over. This was after he began reading it on the train when I first handed it to him.

Last week, another guy, probably 15 or so, had similar thirst. The best I can tell it, is that God is placing a hunger into them. Most of these are raised in homes where there is NO Godly influence. Many have never seen a Bible. Just last week, I ran into a guy who appeared to be around 20, and he had never heard of “John 3:16′.

We need to all be aware that the generations coming up, know little if nothing about God. Of course, we are talking about the majority here, they don’t go to church, they don’t have both parents, they never hear anything about God unless it’s to degrade Him, or laugh at Him.

We need to wake up to this need. Godless generations are rising up. I don’t see it as a bad thing, in fact it could very well be a good thing. What I am seeing is like being on the “mission field” and finding people for the first time that have never heard about God. Yes, and it’s right here in good ol’e America.

Big sinners and little sinners?

April 10, 2011

We might classify them this way, but does Christ?

It is easy to look around us and see or hear people who we would consider to be “big time sinners”. Many times I hear people say, “oh I am certainly not as bad as that guy.” Or, “I’m a good person, I try to treat people right.” Well, trying to be good is good, and treating people right is also good. However, in God’s eyes, we all have sinned (countless times, in fact) and fall short of sinless perfection.

There were some people in Christ’s time that tattled on others and said that they were “worse sinners” than all the rest. We pick up the story in the Gospel according to Luke.

“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or how about the eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who lived in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Lk.13:1-5)

So in Christ’s eyes, there is no “worse sinners”. The main point that He address here on both occasions, is that unless we “repent” (turn from sin) we will perish. This word means, “to destroy fully”. And also comes from a word that means “separation” and “departure”.  And it is all because of sin. The wage for sin is death. Not only physical death, but more importantly, spiritual death. This type of death is separation from God. That is what sin does, it separates.

So all the time, Christ is being offered as the cure for sin. He paid the debt for our sins on the cross in which He died. We are not sinless. We can’t approach a righteous, Holy God, unless we receive the Righteousness of Christ. The sinless sacrifice for all of our sins, is Christ. Sacrifice for sin, dates way back. There must be a sacrifice for sin. And, it’s an Old Testament law that states, “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin” Along comes the “sinless” sacrifice that God offered, which was His only Son. This He did, because of His love for us.

“God is not willing that any perish, but that all would come to repentance”(the turning away process from sin). That is the heart of God’s love.

“For God so loved the world (human’s) that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn.3:16)

So, no “big sinners”. No “little sinners”. Just the message of the Christ. Repent from your sins and believe the Good News that God gave His Son for our own personal sins that separate us from God. The really good news is that you no longer have to be separated from God because of sin. If, you choose Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Because without Him, there is no eternal life, just eternal death. Life or death? Which choice will it be?

God’s Righteousness for Us

December 8, 2010

The only way to be made right (righteous) with God is through faith in Christ Jesus. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We are all not right before God. We have no righteousness in and of ourselves.

There is only one way to be justified (be innocent, be just, set free, be made right) before God. It is offered freely to all without charge. It is by God’s grace through the redemption (deliverance) that is found in Christ Jesus.

God gave Christ as the atonement for our sins. It is by His blood, through faith in Christ, that God demonstrates His righteousness.

God righteousness proves that He is just and the justifier of all those who put their faith in Christ Jesus.

(taken from Rom.3:22-26)

Of Love, and Life or Death?

July 27, 2010

“For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. “But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. “And this is the will of Him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Jn.6:33-40)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (Jn.5:24)

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Rom.5:12)

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

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His one and only Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (Rom.4:9-10)

A simpler life. It’s a “must” in God’s Kingdom

April 11, 2010

The simpler our lives are, the more we can be available and used in His Kingdom for maximum potential.

By experiance, I have learned a few things in my walk with God as far as the need to simplify goes. One of the best things that I have experienced and learned, is simplicity of  life lends to spirituality. By this, I mean that the more one can simplify his or her life, the more freer one can become to move with the Spirit. Not only is our physical body better off, but most importantly, our minds are freed up. In teaching on “walking in the Spirit”, one of the most important things to learn is, freeing up the mind. Emptying the mind of all cares and concerns. I am not talking about some “new age” teaching here, but through God’s Holy Spirit. Big difference. I have never had to use “yoga” or the like, to get into the Spirit and calm the mind and body. The Holy Spirit is more than capable. It does take some effort and it is certainly a process, but doable.

Now, I am certainly aware of  personal circumstances and personal responsibilities that enter into the picture. It was not all that long ago that I had a large family, a large home and a business. I know what it is to work 100 hour weeks with three to fours hours sleep.

I also know the process of “selling out” for Him. The process of “forsaken all” for Him and His kingdom. What I have learned, I want to share. I want to help and encourage other disciples to also get in the “process”, if not currently there.

We must take a hard look at our lives. We must take inventory of our time, our resources, our money etc. If we have a family, we must be leading by example. Showing them how to live a life less complicated, less stressful and with less material possessions. Yes, I said “less material possessions”.

We must face the fact, that the more we posses, the more it can and usually does, posses us. The more responsibilities we take on, the more our minds, the more our bodies become involved. Our lives become complex  many times by the choices and the purchases that we make.

Do we ever STOP and ask ourselves before making a choice to take on more responsibility or before making a purchase, and ask ourselves, “how is this going to affect me for God’s Kingdom”. By that, I mean, affecting me physically and mentally. Oh, you might say that by making this decision, I will be more affective for God’s Kingdom. If it involves more stress, more care and concern, more worries, I would say, forget it. If it is going to clutter your mind up more, I think not. If it is going to take more time out of your personal time alone with God, I think not. If it is going to take you away from your family more, you best be sure that it’s the Spirit leading, and not your own desires.

One of the biggest problem areas is fiances. We always think that by making the choice to make more money that it will solve the problem. Not usually the case. At what expense will it cost me if I do? In my relationship with God? With my family? It usually requires a high price tag. I speak from experiance.

Now most of us are not out to “gain the whole world”, and thus, “lose our soul”. We are well acquainted with that one. However, it is not the question of out to gain the world, but to try and solve our problems with money. Yes, it does take money to live. But at what standard are we trying to live at? This is the question.

What do we base our contentment on? Our satisfaction on? Are we even contented with spending time alone with God? Quietly? Are we satisfied with an evening without the computer, TV, stereo or phone? What about gathering the kids together to pray as a family? Often? What kind of example would this be setting? Or reading the Bible together?

Another monumental problem that we face today is DEBT. I also am well acquainted with this one. Let’s suffice it to say, tens of thousands of dollars.  And I’m not talking about including a home mortgage in that either.

I found out through the simple teachings of Jesus. About “seeking first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness”, that in his timing and way, He could supply all that is needed to get out of debt. I found it so. He can do things beyond our wildest imagination. He can give us favor with debt collectors. He can cause debt to go away. He can cause debt to be settled for pennies on the dollar. He can increase your pay at work without increasing your time at work. He can drop money into your lap. There is millions of ways that He can do it.

We limit God.

We think that the only way to solve our problem of finances, is get out and work more. Get another job. Put the wife to work. Forget about the kids, we need money. Where is the trusting God? Has it gone by the wayside? Was it only for the 1800’s or early 1900’s? Was it only in all those old books we read?

The bottom line is, we have promises given to us from God. Now, are we going to believe them, or not? Are we going to live them out or not?

Pray and trust God to help you simplify your life. Then trust Him to provide as you seek Him and His Kingdom (the extension of His Kingdom). It works!  Amen.

Children and the spiritual realm

December 19, 2009

I am convinced that children sense something in the spiritual realm. They of course can’t speak about it like you or I can.

How do I know this is true? Well, on numerous occasions now there have been little children that have come up to me, or have passed by me as I was either preaching or just standing there holding out a tract. They are diffidently attracted to what is going on in the spirit.

Their look on their faces tell some kind of story and it’s not superficial.

First off, I am talking about children in the age bracket of three to five years old. Their look on their faces is more than curious. Yes, you could say that when one of these little ones pass by as I am preaching they no doubt wonder in their little minds what is that guy doing. I will give you credit for that. But it is deeper than the surface of that thought. Especially when one is just standing there saying nothing.

Examine this case for instance:

Today, I was standing on several corners in the downtown area. I had just picked up some of my newest tracts from the printer. I had sensed that the Lord wanted me to just get them into their hands, He would do the rest.

So, I had noticed this mother of three children pass me by on three different corners at three different times. The first two times, I had pretty much noticed all three kids. Their ages where probably nine, six and five. Two girls and the youngest was a little boy of five (my best guess).

Each time they passed by they would all look at me as to try to figure out what I was doing. This is common with children, I have found.

However, the third time they passed by the little boys eyes caught mine before he came close, and we both kept eye contact as they passed by. The boy kept walking with his mother and siblings down the sidewalk. I kept my watch on him and he would turn around every few steps and look back at me.

They were almost a block away, when he turned around to see me. I leaned out a bit so he could see me because of the people standing next to the wall where I was. THEN I WAVED TO HIM. AND GUESS WHAT HAPPEN NEXT?

HE WAVED BACK! He was just about a block away. I prayed that God would raise him up to be all he was created for.

Now in my spirit, I know that this is very deep. It is deeper than I can grasp.

Is it because?

This little guy was someday going to be a real man of God that would turn the world upside down for Jesus?

Someday he would be doing the same thing? Standing there handing out tracts?

Did the spirit of God in him know what was going on and that is why the boy showed signs that he knew what was taking place, he just couldn’t come right out and say it?

Whatever was going on, I know it’s spiritual and I know that God loves little children and He is manifested in them.

“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.” (can you imagine this?)

“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.” (Matt.19:13-15)

This just came to me:

In heaven we are going to be with All the children that have died when there were young. Think about it. All the little ones that went out by no choice of their own. Those who were “aborted”. Those who were “killed”. Those who died because of some “incurable disease”. They all received a “Free Ticket” to heaven. How awesome is that! Does God love children or what?

“SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”    Amen.

A living example of commitment

August 24, 2009

Today I was blessed to listen to a lady as she gave me her testimony of commitment.

In today’s quick and throw away society, little is found out about marriage commitment. We live in a society that accepts divorce as a throw away option to commitment, if necessary. In many cases the couple stands before a minister of God and they recite their marriage vows. In some cases they still say vows that have the time-tested words, “through richer and poor, through sickness and health, tell death do us apart.” All these vows are said before witnesses, the minister, and most importantly, God. (Although, in a lot of cases now days,  there is no “minister of God” who believes in the Bible anymore. And the “vows” have little to do with real commitment such as the above)

What about commitment?

Here is her testimony as the best I remember it:

She was married for 40 years before her husband passed away with his final heart attack. In the last 10 years her husband had four strokes. Each one set him back farther and farther. He became more abusive, angry, bitter, and aggressive with each one. He made continued threats to her life on a regular basis. The family no longer wanted to be around him because of his aggression. In the last year of his life, his wife slept out in the front room with little sleep each night because of the fear of what he might do. She told me, “I had to guard my back at night”.

She also shared about how he became like a little kid out in the yard always getting into trouble. He would be working on things like his tractor, and then get himself caught in a bind and have to yell to his wife to get him out. She would always come to his rescue and help him and get him inside for help.

I was so amazed to listen how, as she put it, “God gave me abundant patience through it all”.

Not only was this a real trial for her, but they also had a physically challenged child to raise. This had its own requirement of much grace and patience, let alone a husband who was no longer the one who she married years ago.

About three-quarters of the way through our conversation she said, “through richer and poor, through sickness and health”. That jumped out at me big time. Wow, I thought to myself. Where has commitment gone in today’s society? Does it mean anything anymore?

Here was a lady that had way more reasons than most to “divorce” her husband. Most would have left long ago and would have put their husband into a rest home for someone else to deal with the mega problem. She admitted that there was a time when she checked into it, but could not get herself to make such a big move and separation.

Her love ran deep. It was not based on circumstances. Most love today between husband and wife is based upon circumstances. Things like finances, status, looks, and figure enter into the basis of keeping that relationship going or not. True love runs deeper than any earthly or physical circumstance.

I could not help but think about our laws today that grant divorce based upon “irreconcilable differences”. How can this be even in the same ballpark as what this lady went through? Or, others that have gone through much worse. You can’t even compare it to “differences”. Or how about this one, “we no longer have anything in common?”

This story has an awesome ending:
She told me that three days before he passed, he made his peace with God and also apologized to her. From that time on he began to change and to smile the remaining three days.

AND GET THIS: (this one blew me away)
HE DIED WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE! Yep! She told me that when they came to get him to take him to the morgue, that she demanded that they not cover up his face. She said that he went out the front door in the stretcher that day for all to see that he was smiling as he went.

Now she lives with such joy, peace and contentment, knowing that he is at peace, and that she will see him again someday. Her testimony is living proof to what true love, commitment, and forgiveness is. Also to what it can do.

God bless her richly! For her testimony is powerful and it has God all over it!

“Mommy, what was that?”

June 25, 2009

Many times when I see a young mother and her children, the Lord will have me hand a tract to the mother. The best I can figure out is that this puts the mother in a situation to see what she is going to do or say, with her young children looking on. And of course, God has his special ways of reaching children.
Most of the time, I would say that the mother refuses to take one. This happened again today.
What do you think is going on in the mother’s head, as the children are watching? What is she going to tell them when they ask, “Mommy, what was that?” Is she going to be honest with them?
The accountability of the mother has got to be huge in this case. This has got to be both good for the mother and the children. How about when the siblings get alone together with mom not around? Can God do something with that?
I believe in God operating in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. I see it all the time. He is so much bigger than we give him credit for. He can do things in ways that are hard to figure out or comprehend. He’s God.

Touched today by God

August 26, 2008

Today at work on my last break I went into the restroom as usual. Once inside, I noticed a little boy about 8yrs. old just standing there. I noticed that he did not have any hands. I said, “hey what’s up?”. He stood and looked at me as I went over to the urinal. I said, “so what are you doing?” He spoke in a speech that I could not understand. I figured that he had a speech impairment and possibly a mental disability. I continued to talk to him as if nothing was wrong. He still talked in a speech that I could not understand.

He went into the stall. I said, “are you going to go to the bathroom?” Again he mumbled out loud. I washed my hands and headed over to grab a towel. As I did, I felt impressed to mention God and Christ to him. After I finished, he spoke and I could understand him only when he said God and Jesus. Wow! I thought. He actually said something that I could understand.

I asked him, “do you know Christ?” He said, “yes I know Christ”. Wow! I was amazed.

Here was a boy that the only thing I could understand him say was “God and Christ” and now he said, “yes I know Christ”.

As I was getting ready to leave, I said, “God bless you”. He said from back inside the stall, “God bless you”. Wow again! I smiled as I opened the door.

Outside was another boy. I asked him if that was his brother inside. He said yes. I told him we talked about Jesus Christ. He smiled as to if he knew what the deal was.

I was smiling all the way back to the lunch room. Inside I had an opportunity to share it with a co-worker. Glory about God to God.
Praise Him! He is truly very awesome! He works through people.