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Archive for the month “April, 2020”

The Best Ability

I remember the excited voice of our softball coach.  It was at the beginning of the year and he had just turned in our roster to the city organizers. “I put Kip on there and he is really good!   He fields everything at third base and he has great power!” He later explained that Kip couldn’t come every week but he is on the roster for when he could.  It turned out that we played the whole season and Kip never showed up.  I thought of this story from my past because of my favorite football team the Detroit Lions.  This year they drafted one of the best running backs in the college ranks!  There were some people that didn’t like the pick.  “Why should we draft another running back when we have one with enormous talent already?”  The answer seems to be very clear.  The talented running back that they have is undependable.  In 32 games that they have played with him on the team he has been able to play only 18 of them.  Injuries have taken their toll on him and the team has decided to not totally depend on him to show up every game.

Lions' Kerryon Johnson had an outstanding night against the ...

Have you ever wished you had certain abilities other people seem to have?  “I wish I could speak in front of people like that person can”, you might say..  “I wish I could have the gift of prophesy or the gift of healing”, others might think.  There are many gifts that we can have that put the spotlight on us, but is that what it is all about?  Be careful when you see a ministry that is centered around one person.  We have seen at times that where it should be less of me and more of him in reality it is more of them and less of him.  It is also a common thing for us to see someone get healed in a famous persons ministry and feel like that we have to go there to get our healing.  We forget that God loves us just as much as them and he can heal us by our own faith!

So what should we pray for in abilities?  I can tell you that we shouldn’t pray for anything that would make us proud.  Throughout the Bible God despises the proud.  It is with pride that they reject his son as their savior.  Proverbs 16:18-20 states these things about the proud.

18. Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall.
19. It is better to be humble and stay poor than to be one of the arrogant and get a share of the loot.
20. Pay attention to what you are taught, and you will be successful, trust in the Lord and you will be happy

We can conclude that God loves it when we are the opposite of proud.  When we give him the glory instead of keeping it for ourselves.  After all he is the reason we live and breath!  It is God who makes anything we are or ever will be possible!

Have you ever considered how God continuously uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things?  The Bible is full of these examples!  How about David fighting Goliath and winning?  This is what David said to Goliath in Samuel 17…”David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.”  David was not relying on his own power, but the power of God!

FreeBibleimages :: Moses and the Red Sea :: God opens a path ...

God had to work with Moses to get him to do what he asked.  Moses had the opposite problem of being proud.  Moses had the problem of not thinking highly of himself.  When God asked Moses to lead his people out of Egypt Moses had five excuses.
1. I’m not good enough
2. I don’t have all of the answers
3. People won’t believe me
4. I’m a terrible public speaker
5. I’m not qualified

Moses had the same fears and doubts that we have today.  These fears and doubts hold many of us back from doing God’s will.  Like Moses we argue with God and make excuses for why we won’t do what he asks.  We get the idea that someone else has more abilities, and can speak eloquently, or have all of the answers.  Why would he call me when somebody out there has all of these wonderful gifts that people think so highly of?
The answer is that God wants to use you, an ordinary person, to do extraordinary things through him!  So what is the ability that God cherishes the most?  It’s the same ability that the Detroit Lions cherish in a running back.  It’s the same ability that you and I can have that Kip didn’t.  The writer of the article made this quote. “The best ability is availability”  If we are available we are in a position to hear God’s voice.  If we hear God’s voice we are in a position to do what he wants!  So being available is the ability we should strive for and is the best ability to have!

 

 

 

 

Getting The Trash Out

THE-CROSS-AND-THE-SWITCHBLADE-BY-REV-DAVID-WILKERSON-PAPERBACK-GREEN

David Wilkerson and the team helping him were in a bind.  They needed to buy a house for the  vision God gave David..  It would be a house that people in New York City could enter and feel loved.  It would also be a house where they could kick their habit of drugs and come to know Jesus.  It was a big dream that grew as David listened to God’s voice to help free the Gangs in New York City from drugs, hatred, and violence.  Now the dream was about to be fulfilled.  Yet with each step forward there was an added burden.  You see each house they looked at was more expensive and they had less money in their account. Yet they had faith that God would let them know what to do, and he would provide the finances.  In the end they bought this beautiful large mansion of a house that had a foundation as solid as a rock, and enough room to house an army,  even though the house needed repairs and was a mess. Going to work on it was much harder than you would think because a hermit had occupied the house illegally for years.  Besides dealing with getting the electrical work up to code and repairing damages within, they had to deal with the hermits damage.  His was not in the form of structural  damage as much as it was trying to clean up all of the accumulated garbage the hermit had brought in.

When David and his team walked through the house the first time they noticed the enormous amount of junk.  It was piled up in every room until they could barely walk through the place.  The house was totally useless for the good work they were planning to do due to this accumulation.  The junk ranged from old pictures, to cardboard boxes, to things the neighbors threw out and he claimed.  The hermit would take a shopping cart out each day and accumulate this junk and dump it in the house.  Because of the ill repair and all of the junk the seller gave David and his team a special deal.  Now that they had the house how were they going to clean it up and transform it into a clean and efficient home for the needs of it’s future occupants?

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Finally an idea came to David’s wife Gwen!  Why don’t we have the churches send their youth groups over for a work party?  That was exactly what they ended up doing.  On a Saturday morning the youth started to arrive.  There was a feeling of optimism in their voices as they told David to show them the trash and they would make quick work of it.  Unfortunately when David let them in the house it was like letting the air out of their balloons.  However, they were persistent and started by making a path through the house.  They continued to pull out item by item and carried each one to the roadside.  After several hours of work the group of teens had all of the junk out of the house, and into the front yard. From there David had the city on alert and they sent three trucks over to haul it away.  Finally the house looked amazing!  With all of the junk gone, they discovered that there were rooms they did not know had existed!

PRISON-TO-PRAISE-Spiritual-Power-Through-Praise-Paperback-Merlin-R-Carothers

So now I turn your attention to another book I have been re-reading during this coronavirus time.  This one is called Prison to Praise and there was a similar story in it.  You see Merlin Carothers was in the army.  Merlin was an energetic guy who wanted to be where the action was. When he got delayed from actually being in the war action he was bored and developed a way to get very rich.  He was always good at gambling and won money that way.  Of course his winnings weren’t actually money it was army script.  That is a currency used inside the army community but not good anywhere else.  Merlin also sold things like cigarettes on the black market.  That was a dangerous place on the other side of town that he could get top dollar, but the threat of physical harm was such that it was very unsafe.  Merlin carried a revolver and as he put it “he had one hand on the revolver and the other on his bag of currency.”  Still there was a problem. When he left the army he would only be able to keep the money the army owed him in monthly pay.   How was he going to convert that bag of script into something negotiable outside the army and get it out of there?  His answer came when he noticed that one of the platoon leaders was getting script converted for his whole base.  The guy had a card for each soldier and each card could be used to convert a limited amount of script into money orders.  Merlin made an under the table deal with the platoon leader.  He would pay him 5 dollars for each card the leader could give him.  Suddenly he was in business and he converted all of his script money into money orders.

When Merlin left the army he was carrying his bag full of money orders. Once again as they were they were worthless to him.  What he needed was a plan and he found one. One by one he sent his money orders to a Post Office box in New York.  Before he knew it the money started trickling back to him!  One day he went to his grandparents house to visit.  Instantly he knew that he was in the wrong place that morning.  They were getting ready to go to church and asked him to come with them.  “I would love to”, he replied, “but I have a friend who is going to pick me up in a few minutes.”  When he got free he called every friend that he knew.  Unfortunately his friends were all busy that morning, and he felt forced to go to church with them.  While at the service, he heard a voice that told him, “This is your last chance to get right with God.”  It was so powerful that he knew it was God and he answered, “yes Lord.”  He felt so clean from his salvation experience that he seemed like a different person.  Now he had a purpose in his life, and a peace inside his whole being!

That next morning there was an uneasiness that came over him.  He knew what the problem was.  It was the money he had accumulated illegally.  It was like a cancer inside of him.  He had to get rid of it, but how?  He had a lot of money orders he hadn’t cashed yet so he took them and started flushing piles of $100 money orders down the toilet.  With each flush he felt floods of joy come over him!  The money was a different story.  He called the post office but they said that he didn’t get them illegally, so he was fine within the law.  He contacted the army, and they mentioned a guilt fund that they had.  With that solution, Merlin was free of all of the burden he was carrying.  He later became a Chaplain in the Army helping countless young soldiers to have a faith in the Lord for all of their needs!

Foundation of Praise - Spreading the Word of God

So how do these two examples that seem totally different, yet similar, help us in our lives today? Why do we feel that we can’t possibly get as close to God as these guys, who he used so powerfully?  Could it be that we have garbage in our lives that needs to be flushed out?  What if you had garbage in your house that ended up making a horrible smell?  Would you get it out of there as quickly as possible?, or would you ignore the aroma?  The answer is obvious right? Yet we tend to ignore the little things in our lives that get in the way of our walk with God.  God will not compete for our attention.  We can’t have our minds on the TV, or our phones, or the worries of life all of the time and expect God to speak to us.  He speaks with a still small voice that we need to be tuned in with to hear.  When David and his team bought that house it was not ready to be used.  In the same way we are not ready to be used until we have put God in his rightful place as Lord and Savior of our lives.  We wouldn’t think of inviting a guest to visit us if we had a house that was a mess, and the repulsive smell of garbage everywhere.  We wouldn’t think of wanting to listen to what our friend is trying to say to us with the TV blaring, and our phone constantly causing interruptions.  Now you may think it was foolish for Merlin to send all of his money away, and flush his money orders down the toilet.  However,  we should ask ourselves this question “What is more important, being right with God with joy everlasting?, or  accumulating garbage that will block the conversation?  Can God come into your heart and talk to you, or is your hearts door blocked with garbage?

Please pray this prayer with me.  Lord take the garbage out of my life and let me feel your presence.  Give me a desire to hear your voice and bring to my attention anything in my life not pleasing to you.

In Jesus Name
Amen

 

 

Dreaming Of Good Things To Come

I was watching an old Smothers Brothers youtube the other day and they were singing the song “The Impossible Dream.”  What struck me was the monologue that Tommy Smothers made.  Normally Tommy is funny as he does outrageous things in the middle of songs that takes all of the seriousness out.  Dick his brother was always the straight guy in the act.  He would chastise Tommy for his outrageous statements.  In this one however Tommy was making a lot of sense.  He talked about our country and how that it was born of dreams by a few men.  It was just a concept but they were determined to make it a reality.  Through their dreams our country was born and has been the talk of the world for over 200 years.

From watching this Smothers Brothers song and skit I was inspired to write about the “Impossible Dream.”  Still it felt like something was holding me back until this morning.  Again I was watching an old youtube and this time it was from the old show Gomer Pyle USMC show.  In this episode it became revealed how well Gomer could sing and they thought he would be perfect to sing an inspiring song for the marines at a big gathering.  Gomer literally got so scared with the thought that he lost his voice.  He could only whisper and he had to tell the organizers of the event that he wouldn’t be able to perform.  Feeling really down he was sitting in an adjacent room with his head down.  An old commanding officer happened to walk by and asked Gomer what was wrong?  Gomer in his slow way explained his dilemma and how he wouldn’t be able to perform.  The commanding officer was very straight and honest with Gomer.  He couldn’t really feel sorry for Gomer but he did feel for his Sargent and all of the people that would miss his performance.

The officer went further.  There happened to be a small statue of Abraham Lincoln with the words of the Gettysburg Address on the wall behind him.  The officer mentioned the courage it took for Lincoln to write that.  Gomer replied that he wasn’t a hero like Lincoln.  The officer told him his definition of being a hero.  “A hero is someone who knows what they are supposed to do and does it”.  Gomer started reading the words to the Gettysburg Address in his raspy whisper.  Suddenly a feeling of fearlessness must have resonated inside of him because his voice started becoming clearer until he had his full voice back!  When Gomer saw the crowd you could tell he was scared.  But he overcame his fears by proceeding to do what he was supposed to do!  He had an amazing performance singing “To Dream The Impossible Dream!”

Now I know that it was just a TV show written by writers and played out on the screen.  However there is something very true about the concept.  Sometimes we are scared to carry out our dream.  What if we fail?  What if we lose whatever money that we have?  What will other people think?  The biggest thing that can keep us from our dreams are self made.  They are our fears that something will go wrong.  It’s time that we replace the fear with faith.  It’s time to keep going forward in the midst of our fears.  That is how we will have victory over the fear!

As we speak the Corona virus has caused a lot of fear and panic in our country and world.  We have been told about things that we can do to stop the spread of the virus.  This is the time that we need to step up and do what we are supposed to do in spite of our fears. This is the time for us to be heroes!  I have a dream that there will be far less casualties than predicted. I dream that this whole episode will sometime soon be in our rear view mirror.  Mark 11:24 states Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  I pray that this pandemic will soon be over and I ask you to pray it too!  Believe in your heart and speak the words of faith and healing!  Speak positivity and hope and let’s do all that we can to truly be heroes in a time of hurt.

The Impossible Dream
composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
And to love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
Ooh, no matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march, march into hell
For that heavenly cause

And I know
If I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart
Will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
Oh, that one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable, the unreachable
The unreachable star

Yeah, and I’ll always dream
The impossible dream
Yes, and I’ll reach
The unreachable star

 

 

 

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