Thursday, December 27, 2007

In order to succeed

"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure." - Bill Cosby

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Generosity

Although now a new thought, the impacting thought for Sunday was the cycle of blessing.

The cycle of blessing is like the water cycle. The water fills the clouds and the rain falls. The rain waters the plants of the earth, flows to the rivers, lakes and oceans of the world. In this process water evaporates and returns to the atmosphere forming clouds and preparing to rain again.

The cycle of blessing is similar. God, being good and generous, provides our needs and gives to us so we can bless and help others. We share what God has given us with others - ministries, the needy, charitable organizations - and they see their needs met and can help others. They give thanks to God for the provision and blessing they have received and God blesses us again. This is the cycle of blessing.

The key to it all is generosity, even when generosity is not convenient and be generous at all times, not just when there is abundance. In that manner we will keep God's blessings flowing in our lives and as 2 Corinthians 9 says, even in times of emergency, we will have sufficient for our needs and enough left over to help those in need.

Generosity, it is God's plan for provision and abundance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Have a Good Day

"If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day." - John A. Wheeler

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Humps and Who We Are

"Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel." - G. K. Chesterton

My Father's Business

"I must be about my Father's business."
 
My Fathers business is:
  • Worship
  • Extend His kingdom
  • Intimacy
  • Bless nations
  • The promise of His Word
  • Restore families
  • Sacrifice
  • Save and heal lives
  • Eternal Relationship and Life
  • Establish His kingdom in our hearts
  • His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes can have eternal life."

Tradition

I don't know where the original thought came from, but I found this in one of my journal entries.
 
April 30, 1998
"The longer a church is in existence the more it looks like the religious tradition of the area."

That's scary. It's true. I've seen it happen. I've lived it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Prayer at Graduation

Father God:

Thank you for the opportunities you have given us to discover, learn and put into practice new knowledge and ideas. Thank you for the different and special talents and abilities you have given each one of us.

Thank you for our father and mothers who have provided for our needs and have encouraged and motivated us to study and learn. Thank you for their love, patience and kindness that helps them put up with us each day and under every situation and circumstance.

Thank you for our teachers who have dedicated their time to us and the future that is in the lives of each child and adolescent. Thank you that they believe in us and always search for the gold that is hidden in each student.

Thank you for the students that have worked each day to learn more. Thank for their desire to know new things and to pursue a better tomorrow. Than you that they dream of a future that is full of love and hope, justice and peace. Help us all to learn from their example.

Thank you Father God that all we dream with you, we can do.

Amen

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Unique

"You are the only person on earth who can use your ability." - M. Kathleen Casey

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Absurd

"Only exceptionally rational men can afford to be absurd." - Allan Goldfein

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Past, Present, Future

As I've reviewed notes from a "strategic supernatural planning" seminar I attended last year I rediscovered these ideas mentioned by Kris Valloton. They reminded me of what I had written in a previous blog.
  • In regards to change, the church at large is the only organization that is trying to get to the past. What we should do is honor the past, live in the present and look towards the future.
  • We should honor our past but not react to it nor live in it [we are not to be victims]. The past is gone. Neither should we live in the future by not taking responsibility for the present
  • We are in constant change and what is good for today will not work tomorrow." [speaking of methods because the gospel message never changes]
I wrote on July 19, 2007, we should learn from the past so we can make wise decisions in the present and prepare well for the future.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christ Among Us

Thanksgiving has come and gone… if Christmas hasn't already hit the market, it will now. In the upcoming weeks we will enjoy giving and receiving gifts, special meals and foods, friends and family, and vacations and days off of work. We truly have the chance to enjoy unique and special experiences and we should do so. For this reason, let's allow each special moment and memory to remind us of the real reason and focus of Christmas.

  • Christmas isn't gifts we give or receive; it is the gift of eternal life God gave us.
  • Christmas isn't the special meals we'll share or the special foods we'll eat; it is the Bread of Life that came and was broken for us so we can have life.
  • Christmas isn't friends and family; it is God our Father, Jesus our friend, the Holy Spirit our counselor and companion. It is intimate relation with God.
  • Christmas isn't vacation, time off and relaxation; it is rest from religious works and trust in the grace and mercy of God.

Let's celebrate God became man, Jesus died for our sins, He rose again to proclaim our victory and is seated at God the Father's right to eternally intercede for us.

Let the celebration begin. Yes, let's celebrate Christ among us.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Existence of God

Whoever it was who searched the heavens with a telescope and found no God would not have found the human mind if he had searched the brain with a microscope. - George Santayana -

Enjoy Life

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval. - George Santayana -

Different Stuff

How does a man guard his life and soul? Ps 119:15-16
  • think on God's precepts
  • focus on God's ways
  • enjoy God's statutes
  • remember God's word

Faith...

Faith is not merely believing " in Jesus". It is believing that His will is the very best there is for us. Therefore, since we believe God's way is the best - His good, acceptable and perfect design-, we will obey Him instead of man. We will want to please God more that we want to impress man. Faith includes obedience. Obedience is the manifestation of our faith in God and His design and plan for our lives. There is no faith without obedience.

James taught - Faith without works is dead. Without obedience to God, faith is lifeless, non-productive, barren, non-existent.

Evolution

In relationship to evolution, "it is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man." - HL Mencken

The Future

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay

Progress

"Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality." - George Santayana

This quote serves as a reminder that quantity is not all there is and quality is not an excuss for no quantity. Where there is quality there will be quantity of some measurable sort. Yes, there can be quantity without quality and I have seen that over and over in so many different ways, but quality in the long run will always result in quantity.

I guess I read this quote in a bit of a scarcastic mode as if to say that quantity is not all there is.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Raise the Ceiling

Bill Johnson at Bethel Church, Redding, CA says, "my ceiling should be my children's floor". I got off on that this morning too while writing in my moleskine.

I want my ceiling to be my children's floor. Jesus said the works I do you will do and greater. -my ceiling is your floor- We should desire that our children and disciples/followers go beyond where we go.

Since I desire my ceiling to be their floor I should make the effort to get my ceiling as high as possible so their floor will be even higher and the greater things they do will be even greater.

Now, those that follow us WILL DO GREATER THINGS. Either we can pursue greater things and take them there and higher or do nothing, and God will seek out those with the desire for more and He will take them higher and further than we ever dreamed. Yes, some of our followers will then do greater things, leaving us behind, seated and satisfied with our achievements, as we become old and cold religious leaders content with just achieving the status quo or even worse, doing nothing.

They will be greater failures or greater successes. What part do I want to take in the equation?

Again, I want to burn out, not rust out. I want the next generation to go on with God and surpass me by light years of "greater works than these". I want to raise my ceiling so high that standing on their floor those that follow me can't even imagine where I started.

I'm gonna stay young until the day I die old!

Old but Still Green and Full of Sap

I read these vss. this morning

Ps 92:12-15
The righteous flourish like a palm tree... they are planted in the house of the LORD... [Growing in grace AMPL] they still bear fruit IN OLD AGE; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright...

Back to the thoughts on getting old, they interrupted my final touches on the morning message.

Maintaining our youthfulness... stay full of sap [vitality, vigor, energy, growth in the spirit of the future, full of abundant-life and fruitfulness] and stay green [able to be molded, bent or formed, able to flex with change and move forward with it, even better provoke it]…

We must be planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of our God [where the river and the flow is Ps 1]. This house, court, river of God must be contrasted with cisterns [Jer. 2:13] of dead, man made traditions and methods of the last decade(s) [day old manna --that are a result of not being in the flow of the river of God-faith, praise, worship, prayer and intercession].

Randy, you've got me hyped... I want to burn out, not rust out. I want the next generation [my 7 kids and those I touch in Nicaragua] to go on with God and surpass me by light years of "greater works than these".

I'm gonna stay young until the day I die old!

Having Fun with Photoshop



Before


After

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Old, Mature and Generations

Randy Bohlender kind of awakened a few of my previous reflections yesterday with his blog titled "thoughts on getting old...". Good thoughts. Made me think of a few good memories and challenged me with new risks that must be taken so I can pass spiritual acheivements and blessings to my children, next generation.

I remember when Cheree, now 21, was 7. She thought 15 was old. Her 15 year old friend that lived with us thought 30 was old. I wasn't to far from 30 and thought 60 was old, therefore old is twice your age...

My Grandmother Rutledge, when she was 75, referred to the "old ladies" in her Sunday school class, but you dared not call her old, no sir! By the way, she was by several years the "oldest" in the group..

I went back through the thoughts in this vein I've written in this blog under the heading Generations. It's something we all must come to grips with if we are to continue impacting our world, nations, cities, families and our own children and grandchildren. In Nicaragua 70% of the population is 30 or younger; I got to stay in touch.

God of Mercy, Choose Life

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked... and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, decalres the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.

INSTEAD...

[I] desire all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

THEREFORE...

I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.

Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers..., or the gods of the... land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Ezekiel 18:23,32; 1 Timothy 2:3, 4; Deut 30:19; Joshua 24:15

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nicaragua: Home Sweet Home

I'm back. I've been back now for 9 days, but I'm not caught up yet. Emails, letters, blogs, sermons, homeschool classes, radio, etc... Mmm, maybe that's why I've not done any blogging the past week and 2 days and probably won't get any done for til next week.

Still, God has been good.

Hebrews 12 speaks to me today through the following verses:

6 ...the Lord discipines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives...
10 ...but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Being set apart for God's use and glory - holiness - must be our goal. Burn out the trash, LORD. Purify me and make me holy.

It's good to be home with family and friends... the 3 days apart with Bev in a hotel and beach were great and good for conversation, thought exchange, catching up and planning...

Yes, God is good.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Dream

Thursday afternoon once we arrived at the Dove Retreat Center I went to my room and started reviewing and writing in my journal. I fell asleep and had a very short dream which is the following.

I saw a man jump forward but he bumped his head on the ceiling. The ceiling was low and getting lower in the direction he was jumping. -- Got to raise the ceiling.


I shared the dream Friday afternoon and got a very positive response... it continued to be a focus point during the rest of the pastors' retreat. Thanks you Lord for your grace.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some of Cheree's Recent Work

Cheree did this painting in the art class she attends on Mondays. She just finished it yesterday.




The picture was done with Adobe Photoshop. The original picture is below.









A Couple Pictures of the Family

Well, I've gotta include a couple of MyLady and little Esperanza.

Framing Injustice

In a conversation I had with a few friends at the Reklaw Fly-in Friday night I was reminded how easily we justify and legalize our lifestyles. The conversation was about laws in TX counties that allow nudity for BYOL locations for 18 year olds, but in bars that serve liquor, 21 years old and up, only "topless" was allowed. Now, I'm not for either one. Both are against my moral beliefs and standards. I believe both abuse of women as sex objects and destroy the focus of the true intimate relationship [that is included in marriage but goes far beyond sexual intimacy] a man should have with one woman. The ideas that reverberated in my brain were first, the illogic of allowing total nudity for 18 year olds and only topless for 21 year olds. Mmmm... something is not right here [actually neither is right]. And how easily we can with laws make right our unjust and immoral lifestyles.

I guess the Psalm I read the next morning kind of sums it all up.

"Can wicked rulers be allied with you [LORD],
those who frame injustice by statute?" Psalm 94:20 ESV

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Decide to Forgive

The Spirit of God came to bring good news, comfort the afflicted, announce liberty to the captives, console the sad; give joy instead of morning, songs instead of desperation; to give victory in the LORD and to show His glory.

Forgiveness is the first step towards healing of our memories and remove, affliction, sadness, rejection and heaviness. We forgive by praying like this...

Lord, I confess that I have not love correctly. Instead, I have resentment towards some people and I lack forgiveness in my heart. I repent and I ask that you forgive me for no forgiving others like you forgave me. I come close to you, Lord; help me to completely forgive those that have offended me. Amen

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Multi-generational Experience

This past weekend I had a funny multi-generation experience. I was at The Call Las Vegas and drove around with a couple great friends from Redding, California, Lynne and Torston.

The first thing I did once I got to Vegas and promptly got lost on the edge of where I didn't want to go, was to stop at a cornerstore/gas station and I buy a map. How can one get around town, especially one you don't know, without a map? This was good map and it faithfully got me from point A to point B all day Thursday and Friday, until I picked up Lynne and Torston from the airport. That's when the excitement began.

Lynne had an iPhone and Torston was showing off the map search, I don't remember what site he was using, I was just thankful that I could now enjoy driving my rent-a-car upgrade around town without worring about finding my way along too. Torston was now responsible for getting us from point A to point B and that worked fine until Sunday morning when we got lost not far from home. Before we became "more lost," I pulled into a parking lot, stopped, found out where we were and where we were going in a flash, with the aid of the notes in my faithful moleskine and my handy map, I located and plotted the route to our desitination for the morning, International Church of Las Vegas.

I began laughing inside... not because of the old map and notes winning over the new technology of iPhones and internet, but because it was such a clear example of two different generations. I was very comfortable with the map; Torston, 21+/- was more comfortable with technology. Hummm.

It's not that I don't like modern technology. In fact I really do. When Bev and I went to Puerto Rico in August, the car we rented had GPS included and free since we had to wait sooooo long for the rental. It was a life saver several times and a constant laugh as we listened to the computer voice telling us when and where to turn. It was so good that I checked out getting one in Vegas, but I was too cheap to pay the 11 dollars per day plus the 50% additional cost all the different and diverse taxes added to it. The map came out cheaper, $2.50 and when it came down to the show down, I had the quick draw.

Forgiveness Heals

Agnes Sanford said, "As we practise the work of forgiveness we discover more and more that forgiveness and healing are one." But, how does forgiveness help us heal the wounds and memories we have?

True forgiveness accelerates the process of forgetting. Fresh memories are... like a color movie, we are the protagonists. As we forgive, the movie changes to black and white, we become observers... Later there is a moment, in which... we stop participating in the movie and there is no pain. The time needed for healing is something very personal... it is a process.

Pain is inevitable for all, but misery is optional. Let's forgive others so we ourselves can be healed.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not keeping bitterness for an offense. You must decide to forgive... it's not an emotion, it is a decision of your will.

The heaviest weight one carries on his shoulders is a bundle of bitterness. Hana More said, "it is cheaper to forgive that carry resentment. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger and the cost of hated." Then, our emotions and feelings change.

Obviously, forgiving in no way changes the past, but it sure does change the future. Through forgiveness of others we receive healing, freedom, peace and forgiveness from God. Now we are not victims; we are free in Christ - and what a great liberty there is in forgiveness. Forgive you offenders. Receive you freedom.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good Thoughts

Thoughts not only cause us to sin; they also reveal who we are.

The psalmist said, "search me, oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts." He was willing for God to reveal the tendencies and desires of his soul. "If there is evil in me, show me, LORD."

Examening our thoughts, we know how we are doing. If one is evil, as Jesus mentioned, "from the heart flows evil thoughts: death, adultery, lies, stealing and more." If one is honest, the wiseman said, "the desire of the just is only good."

How important it is to live in peace and victory. Let us live with good thoughts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Our Worse Enemy

The Anglican Bishop B. Porteus taught that what we fear to do before men, we should fear to think before God.

Evil thoughts are worse enemies than lions and tigers; because we can get out of their path..., but bad thoughts come in for every side. Like the cup that is full and no more can be poured in, we must keep our heart full of good thoughts, so bad thoughts cannot find a place to enter.

"...Bad thoughts quickly ripen into bad actions; and that if the latter only are forbidden, and the former left free, all morality will soon be at an end."

Above all things... guard your thoughts.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Change and Challenge

Last night Trey Hill shared about seasons, seasons of change and challenge... We do not like change, but it is necessary. Challenge is difficult, but all goes through challenging times and challenge brings change and blessings.

This morning as I was reading Jeremiah I made an interesting observation. Jeremiah 21:10 says "I have set my face against this city for harm and not for good, declares the LORD..." That was prophesied against Jerusalem. vs. 9 says, "He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he how goes out... shall live and shall have his life as a prize of war." Not good news for the Jews that revered so their holy city and temple of worship.

Yet... consider Jeremiah 29. Here Jeremiah is prophesying to the captive people in Babylon. He challenges them to build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce... marry and multiply. Seek the good of the city where I have sent you... in its welfare you will find your welfare [29:5-7]. Then in vs. 11 is the big promise and hope for them. "I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

What must we do? Leave the "holy city" and established religious practices. Go where God sends us. Seek the LORD. Call upon Him. Come to Him. Pray. Seek and you'll find. Seek with your while heart. I will be found by you! [verses12-13]

The final promise, what is it? "I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you... I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile." vs14 The anointing and the power and the revelation and the blessing and the joy and the celebration will return. Why? because we turned loose of our comfort and traditions. We left our city and went to the foreign land [the world] and blessed them with our presence.

Lord, let your face shine upon me as I go to the land where you have sent me. Allow me to bless those around me. In blessing them is my blessing.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

In spite of me... He blesses me

Today traveling from Dallas, TX to San Antonio, this song by Darrell Evens and Ben Ferrell blessed me.

You Bless Me

I messed up my little world
Broke Your heart and about lost my mind
So far from You and so far gone
But Your love was there for me to find

O You just took a hold of me
And my tears were flowing freely
But Your joy came in the morning
And You blessed me
O You blessed me
You could have shunned me
But You blessed me

Now when I'm running out of rope
With less of me there's more of you
I worship You my only hope
'Cause You're dear to me and I belong to You
And O You have got a hold of me
And now I'm living freely
'Cause Your joy comes in the morning
And You bless me
O You bless me
You bless me You bless me

Your goodness led me to repentance
I fell down on my knees
Instead of judgement You gave me mercy
Now I am living in Your presence
Your love just flows so free
And Lord You take good care of me

And You bless me
You bless me
You bless me
You bless me

Monday, October 15, 2007

Guard Our Thoughts

James said we are tempted by our own evil desires that seduce and take captive. From our evil desires, sin is born, and... when it develops, death is born.

Note the process, our evil appetites provoke thoughts that cause us to act and satisfy the desire. Like the bait on the hook attracts the fish, one is seduced to fulfill the evil desires when they meditate on them.

What we think on today is what we are or will soon be. This is why we must guard our thoughts and think only on what is good and pleasing to God. In this manner we can protect ourselves from doing evil and we can overcome evil desires and sin.

Guard our thoughts and hearts. Let's live victorious lives.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vision - Wind in Our Sails

Vision is the reflection of what God wants to do in your life; it is the revelation of a creative idea to your mind so you can bring it to past.

Once you understand the plan God has for your life, you must do it. To His ideas, God adds faith, work and perseverance. Doing is the difference between being a dreamer and a visionary. Action is the difference between somebody with imagination and someone with purpose and destiny. The visionary has an extraordinary imagination. Divine plans and persistent action connect the imagination to your vision and makes it reality.

The idea revealed to you by God is like wind to a sailboat. It is our responsibility to raise the sails of action... for the sailboat of life to arrive in the port of hope, peace and success.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Reflections

Vision is the reflection of what God wants for your life. It is faith, hope and purpose; it is the creative idea revealed by God for you.

God wants to show you His purpose for your life; and this destiny is deciphered and developed successfully only upon receiving understanding from God. Jeremiah said, "call to me and I will reveal to you great and secret things that you do not know." God reveals to us His purpose for our lives through prayer, meditation, Bible readings, writing ideas that He gives us and obedience to His plan.

Understanding of our future must come from God. He wants to reveal His plan to you. Get close to God and He will give you purpose and a future full of hope.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Reaching the Vision

"Vision," according to Cesar Castellanos," is a reflection of what God wants to achieve through us." Consider these three ideas: vision is a reflection; it is what God wants to achieve; and it is achieved through us.

Vision is a reflection. A reflection is an imagine of what is real. It's not real, yet it is a representation of reality. Habakkuk said: "write and declare the vision, so the people that read it can run after it." It is important that the vision for your life is clear and understandable. It is your map to a successful future. To have a vision is to have faith; it is to enjoy the complete security of receiving what you are waiting for; it is the evidence of what you cannot see.

To have vision is to have hope of a good future achieving God's plan for you.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Thoughts on Taking Risks by Babe Ruth

"Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back."
"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run."
"If I'd just tried for them dinky singles I could've batted around .600."
"Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games."
"You just can't beat the person who never gives up."
Babe Ruth

Risk

"Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death." - James F. Byrnes

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Special Piece of the Whole

We are all part of a beautiful painting; each person is a piece of the puzzle and each person is necessary for the completeness of the work.

We must live in unity, for the benefit of the others.

We work according to the diverse abilities and personalities we have, in the area that God has placed us, according to the uniqueness He has given us. Like the members of the body sympathize with each other, we must live in the same manner, helping our families and communities, feeling their pain and joy.

Since we are all different, we provide something special to others. We serve each other with humility and Patience. We live in harmony. We protect the peace and demonstrate love. We remember that we are distinct members of one body. The Body of Christ.

Uniqueness

"Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else." - Margaret Mead

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Discerning the Answer

Reading Psalm 73:16-17 reminded me that the answers to life's difficulties and questions, the knowledge of the future, the peace to go forward isn't found in just thinking, thinking, thinking... They are found in God's sanctuary.

The God-answer is found in His presence.

We Are All God's Creation

We have individual talents, different personalities and assorted preferences; this makes us special. We are not all the same. Leaves on a tree are all different; each cloud is unique; every person had their own special and important qualities and, we are all God's creation.

We have different abilities; among us there are musicians, mathematicians and mechanics. Since all receive their talents from the same Holy Spirit, we need each other. We all have our own particular focus: mercy, administration or teaching. And, when Jesus is Lord of all, each one allows us to help others. We live in different manners. Personalities and temperaments are diverse but when we acknowledge that God made us all, we will serve others better.1

Corinthians 12:4-7

Monday, October 1, 2007

God Made You Special

The world population is six billion six hundred million people and each one is different. There are different colors, heights and sizes with different and special talents, abilities, personalities and temperament, combinations without end.

The plans and destinies of the LORD for each person are special and just for them. He is able to design our lives in a way that is marvelously better than we can even imagine, because the plan of God for our lives is good, perfect and pleasing. We must permit him to control our lives; we must trust in His grace when we do what He asks us to do.

Trust in His plan and power. Live according to the specialness God has made us for.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thankful

Surfing the net today I came across another moral failure of a man I much admire and have looked up to for several years. The public acknowledgement occurred several months ago. I'm just a bit behind, maybe it's because I don't go around looking for that type of news. Still, today I found out and again I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for my dear wife. Oh, how much she loves me and takes care of me. I'm very thankful for her.

My prayer continued with a cry to God to continue protecting me and alerting me of dangers in my own life so I will not ease down the path of self-interest, finding myself sliding down the very slippery bank of self-gratification into the pool of an unclean and deceptive life-style, displeasing my Lord and King, bringing pains of disappointment and discouragement to my friends in Christ and feelings of disillusionment and deception to those that haven't yet chosen to walk the "way less traveled".

Lord, keep me pure. And thanks a million for Bev. I love her so!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Caught


I guess you gotta get caught smiling sometime! Thanks Cheree for the privilege to smile with you at your YWAM, PCYM graduation party. Love ya lots.


An uninvited, but welcome visitor at the pool party. I think iguanas are beautiful reptiles; God has did an awesome job in creation.

Walk, Follow, Live

  • Walk by the Spirit - what we do and dedicate ourselves to
  • Be lead by the Spirit - who we follow... the primary influence in our lives
  • Live by the Spirit - Who and how we are

to live - to have and enjoy, without end, the true, genuine and authentic life of the Kingdom of God that activates and blesses our life

"My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives."

The Message Galatians 5:16-18,25

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Jumble of Thoughts and Ideas

Our [mine and Bev's] call is to establish five self-sustaining, self-governing, Christ-centered, worshiping, transformational, discipling, reproducing churches; not to form a new denomination. Instead, we are to plant autonomous churches that work and fellowship together for a common cause: discipling of the nation through the renewing of minds and transformation of lifestyle lived Monday through Saturday and Sunday. The relationship should be more like a family than a business. As children grow there comes a time to cut the apron strings. That is not easy. Our children are to make their own decisions and establish their own lives. Parents must let go and let them walk alone.

It is time to take new risks.

All are ministers of reconciliation; there is no separation of sacred and secular in our lives. Living according to God's direction, all is sacred. The supernatural is natural and daily for all the children of God. We must develop a personal and intimate relationship with God. Our call is to go into all areas and influence all the world.

People are unique and special through their own personality, giftings, family influence, national and cultural background, and God-given destiny. That uniqueness must be valued and enjoyed: first, by the person himself; second, by those closest to him (family, friends and team); and finally, by those around him in his neighborhood, church and workplace.

I enjoy who I am and what I do. For me living life is a pleasure and all I do is sacred and holy, blessed and prospered, enjoyable and to be pleasurable. I believe God wants me to enjoy what I do in life as I live for Him.

Who are you?
What do you enjoy doing?
How are you preparing yourself to do what you do best and enjoy most?
How are you preparing to do what God has made you to do?
How are you preparing to be a city on a hill, a light to the world?
How are you preparing for the next step in your life to take the next risk God calls you to?

Whatever God calls us to is seldom easy and might not be exactly what we would like to do or are called to ultimately do, but it should always be done with pleasure, joy and excellence. It will prepare us and mature us to enter into the destiny and design God has for our lives: to live life at its fullest, being light, giving testimony, transforming lives through who we are and what we do as we feel God's pleasure being who we are and doing what we do.


These thoughts are a combination of my own with those of The Shaping of Things to Come, Frost and Hirsch; Discipling Nations , Darrow Miller; The Old Testament Template, Landa Cope; and Chariots of Fire ["When I run, I fell God's pleasure"].

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Taking a Risk

"If at first you don't succeed... so much for skydiving." - Henry Youngman

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How to Learn

"When one teaches, two learn." Robert Half

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Influence...

"The less you talk, the more you're listened to."

Abagail Van Buren

Another thought on Hope

"Patience is the art of hoping." Luc de Clapier de Vauvanargues

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Faith, Hope and Love - 2

Faith is willing to take action no matter the risk. - Romans 4:17, 21
Hope is willing to believe no matter the impossibility. - Romans 4:18
Love is willing to give no matter the cost. - Song of Sol. 8:7

Other thoughts at Faith, Hope and Love - 1

Friday, September 7, 2007

2 Quotes - Bondage / Truth

“Bondage is...subjection to external influences and internal negative thoughts and attitudes.”

"Truth will always be truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief or ignorance."

William Clement Stone

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More on Trust

"A person who trusts no one can't be trusted." Jerome Blattner

"It is an equal failing to trust everybody and to trust nobody." English Proverb

"A man who doesn't trust himself can never really trust anyone else." Cardinal De Retz

Perfect Confidence

Considering all the problems Paul had with the Corinthians, what he says in 2 Cor. 7:16 is amazing. "I rejoice, because I have perfect confidence in you."

From my own experience I have to say it is difficult to have perfect, complete confidence in somebody, even the best and the closest there are. Paul had experienced major problems with these people and here he expresses, total confidence. Wow! Amazing! How could he do that?

A different way to look at it is: God places his complete confidence in us, even with our faults and errors, failures and sins; he still trusts us with His authority, gifts of the Spirit, the ministry of reconciliation, and more. Wow! Amazing! How can He do that?

Trust and confidence is a gamble. It's a risk. It requires faith. Faith requires action, trust and confidence. We must be people of faith; faith in God, others and even ourselves. We've got to take the risk.

"I rejoice, because I have perfect confidence in you."

2 Corinthians 7:16

Monday, September 3, 2007

Mediocrity

"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius."

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (Sherlock Holmes) Valley of Fear, 1915 British mystery author & physician (1859 - 1930)

Influence

I posted a thought this morning on A Look in the Mirror that dealt with influence. Later I saw this quote and, in a different way, it deals with how to increase influence.

"Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow." - Lawrence Clark Powell

...good thought!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good People and Politicians

Good people don't make good politicians is a common comment made by many in some manner or other. I don't care to dispute the statement, but I would like to say that good people do make good mayors, governors, congressmen and presidents. Why? Because they consider the real issues, the right responses and the actual needs. In our time we have almost no, if any, true statesmen and orators that are truly public servants. The majority in government are politicians; they vote the party line, they vote what will push their ratings up, they vote what will help them be re-elected.

I know there are good men and women in elected and appointed offices. Yet, it does seem as though the "politicians" get a lot more attention.

We need more Davids - men after God's own heart; Daniels - we will not lower our standard nor change our convictions; Shadrachs, Meshachs and Abednegos - we will not bow to other gods; Esters - if I die I die; and Mordecias - he sought the welfare of his people. We need public servants, commited to God, dedicated to serve the nation according to God's mandate, not man's. There are no perfect people, but they are people with clean hands (actions), pure hearts (attitudes) and renewed minds (thoughts and philosophies), men and women of God.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More on Truth and Mercy

Job 33:29 - 30 Moffett's
Now God does all this over and again, twice, thrice, for men,
to bring them back from death into the sunshine of life.

Job 33:13-19 indicates some ways God speaks to us: dreams (vs 15), clearly in the ear with warnings (vs 16), and sometimes through discipline (vs 19). The purpose? To show us his mercy. He speaks the truth to give us the chance to abandon our deadly decisions and return to "the sunshine of life." Thank you LORD.

LORD, help me remember that you are always speaking. Help me hear your voice and respond to you (vs14).

A Deep Yearning III

Why are you cast down, O my soul
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him
my salvation and my God.

Here is a clear response to depression and turmoil. Put your hope in God.

I like how the Lenguage Actual, a Spanish translation, says it:

There is no reason for me to be unsettled!
There is no reason for me to be worried!
I will put my trust in God my Savour!
I will praise only Him!

If the way is dry and the presence is not there, there is no reason to get upset. Trust in God. Praise Him. He is our hope and our salvation.

As the deer pants for water, so my soul longs for you!

Psalm 42:5, 11, 43:5 ESV

God's Glory Prevented

Ricardo shared Sunday AM and concluded with the following main point that I have expanded.

Question: What prevents the glory of God in our lives?

1. impurities - the God is merciful and He will forgive spirit

We must pursue holiness in our lives - 1 Peter 1:15-16

  • This is not to say that God isn't merciful and doesn't forgive.
  • It is to say that his mercy and forgiveness do not give us license to sin.
2. mediocrity - the more or less spirit
We must pursue excellence in all we do - Eph 6:6; Joshua 1:7-9

3. self imposed limits - the I can't do it spirit
We must hope in the future and believe we can do all things through Christ Jesus - Jer 29:11; Phil 4:13

4. unbelief - the if God wills it spirit
We must believe and take action
by faith based on the Word of God - Rom 4:18; Heb 11:1

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Deep Yearning II

Time magazine has published an interesting article about Mother Teresa. David Van Biema writes a review of her "autobiography", Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday). The book's compiler and editor, Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, uses Mother Teresa's "private writings", letters to her confessors and superiors, to produce the book that will be released on September 4, 2007.

The Internet article is quite long, but interesting; it will provide plenty material for some good, thought provoking conversations and it should inspire some deep, personal reflections.

Adventure or Inconvenience? Frustration or Fascination?

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered." G. K. Chesterton

This quote from Chesterton reminds us that so much of fun in life has to do with perspective and mindset. For one that like things to always go right as planned, it really puts a kink in the hose. Now I've got to rethink those moments when changes have to be made, risks have to be taken and inconveniences have to be looked at from a different view point. As Jim Rohn has mentioned, I have to ask myself: is life frustrating or fascinating ?

Yes, things do work out well when we keep our hand in His and our eyes on Him.

Romans 8:28

A Deep Yearning

As the deer pants for flowing streams
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?



I long for you O God, your light, your truth, your love; the refreshing river that flows from above and passes within to satisfy the thirst and longing desire for more of you.


Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves have gone over me,
By day the LORD commands his steadfast love
And at night his song is with me a prayer to the God of my life.


Yes, deep within calls to deep without, O God, let your water flow, let the Spirit grow, the well, the river, that sweet and satisfying water. Cover me with your faithful love.

The song of the night is, "I need you more that anything. I need YOU , O LORD. You are my life, my reason to live."

The song wells up within me. "More of you, less of me. I want more and more of you, O my LORD."





Psalm 41:1-2; 7-8 ESV

Friday, August 24, 2007

Absolutely!

"2 is not equal to 3, not even for large values of 2." Grabel's Law

"There ARE NO absolutes."

Reflecting on the two previous statements does remind me that there are absolutes. Thankfully we have a standard for our absolutes, the Bible. It is our absolute standard for faith and practice. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Absolutely!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Biggest Problem and the Solution

"I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I've met." Dwight L. Moody

Now I can agree with that! It seems that Paul did too when he lamented his own personal struggles in Romans 7.

The good thing is that there is victory through Christ Jesus and therefore there is no condemnation for those that live connected to him.

Romans 7:24-25; 8:1-2

Monday, August 20, 2007

IMPOSSIBLE?

"I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution." Wernher von Braun

Obviously von Braun is referring to man's achievements but we know that there is a greater "possible" in our lives, it is our faith in God. We can be confident that our faith in God removes all impossibilities and He is pleased.

We must be careful with what we call impossible, because all things are possible for God. All things are possible for those who believe.

Hebrews 6:4; Matthew 17:20; 19:26; Luke 1:37; Mark 9:23

Age and Maturity

"I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity." Tom Stoppard

To be mature one doesn't have to be "old", and being "old" doesn't guarantee maturity. Our maturity is directly related to our efforts to live according to the "golden rule" and implementation of the fruit of the spirit in our lives. The more we dedicate ourselves to living God's way the more mature we will be and surely some young people may be much maturer that some of the older ones among them.

Galatians 5:22-23

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fears

"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you." Eric Hoffer

This was copied from the Google feed on my gmail account. I'll have to spend some time thinking about this and how it applies to life and spiritual conflict.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Creation Declares the Glory of God

Taste and See that the LORD is good!

A good taste with my eyes of one of the beaches we visited while in Puerto Rico, Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island, is for me an expression of how GOOD God is.
We were actually on Culebra Island only a couple hours and at Flamenco Beach just a few minutes, but the white sand and the crystal clear water was indescribably beautiful. I can only say, a view of this beach shows the beauty and glory of God. We had problems getting there and after the effort, expense and time invested, we were on the beach only 45 minutes, but it was worth it all as we enjoyed the pure, refreshing colors and the beautiful birds.

Returning to the main island, we gazed at and admired another small island. It's not the large green area; it's the small green on top of the white sliver to the right.
God is good! Taste and see; enjoy the beauty of His creation.

Yes, the heavens do declare His glory!

Psalm 19:1; 34:8

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Good Bye Puerto Rico

Tomorrow morning at 3:30 am we leave for the airport. We've had a marvelous time and are ready to get back in the saddle. I'm truly thankful for such a fine wife. Thank you Father for Bev. MyLadyMyLove

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday in Puerto Rico

Cheree's graduation and celebration was yesterday with a day at the beach/pool and then supper and giving out of the certificates at the base. It was a very, very nice day with Cheree and time we were able to spend with Yarley and Lyssette, the directors of YWAM Puerto Rico.

Today we attended church with Cheree at Casa de Refugio Emanuel. The service was very nice and we were glad to see how good of a choice Cheree had made for her home church while here in Puerto Rico.

Well, the rest of the day is lunch, drive around Palmas del Mar and rest and relax at the condo. Tomorrow we'll be going for a ferry ride to se Culebra Island and Tuesday we'll go and see Old San Juan... the original founding site in Puerto Rico.

We feel like kids again as we enjoy our "luna de miel" for our 25th anniversary. We sure are having fun!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Day 3 in Puerto Rico

Enjoying life, resting, celebrating our 25th anniversary, sight-seeing... going to the beach today and then celebrating Cheree's graduation. It's been fun and exciting getting lost and taking time to see a couple sights and... we're looking forward to seeing a few more things before we leave next Wednesday.
The picture is of the water falls, Mina Falls, we visited on Friday.

Off to have fun!!!

A Thought

"The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish." Robert Jackson

Thursday, August 9, 2007

En Puerto Rico

Well, we have arrived and we are getting ready to go see our 25th anniversary honeymoon house. We're looking forward to Cheree's graduation on Saturday and special times together here on the "Enchanted Island."

God is good.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

On the Way to Puerto Rico

Bev and I are getting ready attend Cheree's graduation from the YWAM course "Preparation for Youth and Children Ministers" and to celebrate our 25 wedding anniversary, actually the date was May 22. We'll spend 5 days in Puerto Rico, some days just being together and other days with Cheree to celebrate her successful completion of the 2 YWAM courses.

Check out a new blog I'm posting with ideas from the 55 second radio reflections I do in Spanish. I am translating them and posting Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each week is a sequence of thoughts, each day is a separate idea. The all stand alone, yet they work together to present the best one can a complete thought in less than 3 min... it's fun.

A Look in the Mirror - http://earlrutledgemirror.blogspot.com/

The same meditations are in Spanish at MirĂ¡ndote al Espejo - http://mirandotealespejo.blogspot.com/

We'll see you there!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Truth and Mercy

Bev shared at church yesterday morning. Here are some of the ideas.

Psalm 25:10 All the ways of the LORD are mercy and truth. - Here we see that God and His ways are always truthful and mercy.

Mich 6:8 What does the LORD require? to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before the LORD. - Here we see what God requires of us; justice, mercy and humility.

  • do justice - action
  • love mercy - something precious
  • walk humbly - lifestyle
When we reject truth, we prevent His mercy from reaching us, our defense is removed.

Revelation of the truth, of how poorly we are doing, is so we can humble ourselves, repent and receive mercy. WE have the examples of Rehoboam and the prices of Israel in 2 Chronicles 12:5-7 who humbled themselves and saw God's mercy in their lives. We must also consider the Bad, bad king Manasseh that repented and sought God and received mercy during the last years of his life, 2 Chronicles 33:10-13. These kings responded to the truth revealed by God by humbling themselves and repenting. Because of their humility they received the mercy of God instead of the justice they deserved.

King Asa in 2 Chronicles 16:7-10 is the other example. He began trusting in man instead of God and the prophet came by to give him God's message. Asa rejected the truth and received justice instead of mercy.

Fortunately, God is slow to wrath and quick to show mercy, but still the best defense against having to live the complete justice we deserve is to be humble and acknowledge truth revealed in our lives.

Then we must take the application to our own lives and dealings with others. How do we generally deal with truth and offense in our own lives. Well, they did offend us, that is the truth and justice must be served. That is so common a response in our lives. One of the primary elements of mercy is forgiveness. Let us forgive and love those around us who have offended us as Jesus loved us. Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were still living in rebellion against God, He loved us and gave His life for US.

Yes, James 2:13 is true. Mercy triumphs over justice. Let us walk in the ways of the Lord. Acknowledge truth, walk in love and show mercy one towards another.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I Want to Finish Well

Reading 2 Chronicles these recent weeks I've observed the ups and downs of the kings of Judah. So many started well and end poorly.

Solomon - had various encounters with God, built the marvelous temple, experienced his manifest presence and then was lead away and worshipped foreign gods..

Asa - started off very well but in the end he trusted in man and persecuted the Lord's prophet.

And on and on. What a warning! So many of the kings started well, but finished poorly bowing to the god of pride and trust in man.

Today I read the account of Manasseh. I was surprised... How could it be that having seeing that story so many times I never remembered that after being such a bad, bad, bad king, he repented and"commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel" [2 Chron 33:16].

I want to finish well.

Galatians reminds me that I'm not above any of the faults I see or have seen in others. Gal. 6:1b, "Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted" and 6:3 "if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself," serve as strong reminders that I have feet of clay and a very good ability to deceive myself into thinking that all is well.

Lord, I want to finish well. I want Paul's words to be my words, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" [2 Timothy 4:7]. I'll keep another idea from Paul on my lips to help me stay faithful. Phil. 3:13b-14, "I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

I want to finish well.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Past, Present and Future

Honor the past - remember the successes and learn from the errors; take advantage of experience
Live in the present - take the risks required to achieve new heights and climb new mountains; live on the edge, advance
Look to the future - dream big and fill you heart with new hope and purpose; reach forward

The past gives us wisdom and experience.
The present offers us chances for innovation and adventure.
The future brings new understandings and successes.

Phil. 3:12-14
Put away what is behind.
Progress to what lies ahead.
Press toward the future.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thoughts From an Almost 50 Year Old Man

Here are the only important things in life that really matter:

  • My Lord Jesus Christ – how incredibly marvelous it is that God would love us so much that He gave His own life for us. Unbelievable!
  • My dear wife – Beverly Ann, MyLadyMyLove… 25 years of faithfulness, service and love. You are the greatest treasure I have and the most incredible blessing I have ever received.
  • My children – Cheree, John, Judah, Lance, Luke, Kelsy and Esperanza… seven blessings from the Lord that are making their own choices to follow God with all their hearts. This gives me an unbelievable felling of satisfaction and success.
  • My friends – to name one would be to leave out several, so I'll go without any names. Friends are to share with and to confide in. Their presence is the greatest reward a man could ask for. Satisfaction and realization is the result.
  • My testimony – that only good could be said of me, that God's name is always glorified when my name is mentioned. That's my purpose in life, my greatest call.

And looking towards the future:

  • I do not pretend nor profess perfection; I must always continue forward in my faith and practice – Phil 3:12-14
  • I will continue pursuing God and His fruit and gifts in my life. Maturity is a continuous growth process.
  • I must always be strong and very courageous as I obey God's direction – Joshua 1:7
  • I will not grow weary; the harvest will come – Gal. 6:9
  • "Well done, good and faithful servant," are the words I want to hear – Matt. 25:21,23; 2 Tim 4:7

I want to finish what I've started. I want to finish well.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I Want More!

Since the beginning of the year and earlier we've been seeking for more of God. I'm not satisfied. I've not received what I'm looking for. I want more of God and His holy power. When Pastor Eddie from Nebraska shared at evening prayer in June he touched the area going to God's presence and staying there until you get a word and receive His power.

He shared that we must go to the high place, the place where God dwells and his presence is manifest. In Acts Jesus said go to Jerusalem and wait. Once in the presence of God we should wait there till he speaks and fills us with power. As we wait we must worship and serve the Lord with all our hearts. We must allow his holy presence to cleanse and purify our hearts. Who can believe that God will respond to an unrepentant heart? Who will go up the mountain of the Lord but those with clean hands (actions and lifestyle) and a pure heart (motives and attitudes)?

Once there don't move, until God says, "go." Saul got anxious and made sacrifice before Samuel arrived and began the process of doing things his way instead of God's way. If we wait until we have heard from God and then with quick and confident obedience we do what he said, His backing is certain and our success is sure. Too often, like Joshua, we are asking God to be on our side. When what he wants is for us to join his side and follow his leading.

Wait in Jerusalem until you have been filled with power, and you will be witnesses from you own neighborhood to the ends of the earth. Is that worth waiting for? Is that worth seeking God with all our hearts for?

Father, I want more. Help me be willing to pay the price and actively seek you face.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Boy with My Guitar

Here is Luke in his first public appearance, playing my guitar. For a 10 year old and just 10 months of lessons he did an awesome job. He accompanied his children's church group on a song for Father's day.

Beauty Personified and Blessings From God

Here are two of the four most beautiful women in the whole world.

My Dearest Beverly and my youngest, Esperanza. Wow, I've been blessed.

Today is Lance's 13th birthday, now we have 3 teenage boys. Life is truly getting more and more exciting.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I never knew

"Here go my people; I must follow them as I am their leader!"
Mahatma Gandhi

I have heard and used this quote for years, but I never knew the source was Gandhi. Interesting.

Thoughts on Laughing

"Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life.
Laughing at someone else's can shorten it."
Cullen Hightower

Well, the above quote on Google started the search. What did I find? Laughter is important for our physical health. And learning to laugh at ourselves is important especially for our mental stability; sometimes we just take ourselves too seriously [I've no idea who said that the first time]. Here are a few more quotes I found interesting.

"Laughing at ourselves as well as with each other
gives a surprising sense of togetherness."
Hazel C. Lee

"When a person can no longer laugh at himself,
it is time for others to laugh at him."
Thomas Szasz

"Inviting people to laugh with you
while you are laughing at yourself
is a good thing to do.
You may be the fool, but you're the fool in charge."
Carl Reiner,

"Accept every funny happenstance as a gift to be shared.
When you laugh, especially at yourself, everyone else will join in.
Laughter is nothing less than contagious - and healing."
Barry Bittman M.D.

"Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
'The LORD has done great things for them.'"
Psalm 126:2 ESV

"A joyful heart is good medicine..."
Proverbs 17:22 ESV

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Now That's a Thought

"It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear." Dick Cavett

So true, but if we can be open to constructive criticism we can go so much farther and achieve much greater things. That person is truly a wise one.

A Proud Dad

Yes, I'm a proud DAD. Here I'm with Cheree in Puerto Rico at the Youth with a Mission NIKO Camp. she was "staff photographer." That was in April. Before that she had gone to China for 6 weeks and did prayer walks and taught English.

On Sunday she left for the Dominican Republic for 10 days. She will again be working with a NIKO camp, but this time she is "administrating the kitchen", what ever that means. I think it has something to do with making salads and washing dishes.

Still, no matter what it is that she does... she is not a missionary that doesn't do anything. She is a very active and dedicated young lady in pursuit of excellence for God in everything she does.

Cheree, you make your mom and dad very proud. You've got a missionary's heart. You're a servant and a lover of God. I'm proud of ya.

Friday, July 20, 2007

GOD Is Bigger Than me

Here is a picture of the sovereignty of God.

"If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place... And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Mordecai, Queen Esther's cousin.

The lack of Esther's help wasn't going to prevent the manifestation of God's protection of the Jewish people, it would just remove her and her family from it. Mordecai was clear that the favor of God had placed her in the position of Queen for a divine purpose, but Esther had to decide to cooperate with the plan. God would work his plan with Esther or without. The decision was hers.

Father, in every situation and circumstance I want to obey your divine will and follow your divine direction. I want to be part of your big plan.

Esther 4:13-14 NIV

Great Enterprises

¨Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.¨ Demosthenes


This has so many applications in life. Paul indicated that the areas we emphasize are the ones that will be strongest in our lives. What we do today decides what we live tomorrow. Applications are positive and negative, spiritual and natural.

The small opportunities given to desires, lusts and pride are the beginning of succumbing to the weaknesses and sins that so easily bring us down. In the same way, small decisions of honesty, uprightness and intimacy with God are the beginning of great victories and acts of faith in our lives.

LORD, that my small opportunities lead me to great successes, in your kingdom.

Romans 8; Hebrews 12:1, 11:25

Thursday, July 19, 2007

24 HOP

We're getting ready for our 3rd 24 HOP at La Fuente. Our first 2 were great and God was faithful to present himself there. We're looking forward to our next on this Saturday the 21st from 5 am til 5 am on Sunday morning. Pray for us.

Pictures from the first one can be found at:
www.picasaweb.google.com/NorixZeta/24HOP

Thanks Eric for letting us in on the secret. We've not gotten up to 48 HOP yet, but we sure are enjoying the 24 hours. We plan to do 2 more this year with the last one possibly being one on the city-wide level.

Maybe in the not so far future a prayer room can be established... looking forward to 24/7.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Confident and Trusting

Esther was content to spend her one night with the King of Persia dressed according to the suggestions of the King's chamberlain. She did not try to embellish her beauty with fancy dress or jewels and jewelry of her choice. She trusted Hegai's advise. Because of this, her natural grace impressed all who saw her and the King chose her to be his queen.

Are we willing to approach our King clothed just as and only as He has provided, in garments of salvation and robes of righteousness? These are gifts from Him, prepared by Him and paid for by Him. They are His very life and righteousness. Or, do we feel it necessary to add to His provision of righteousness with our own good works so He will choose us to be His bride?

We should be as confident and trusting as Esther was. His righteousness and salvation are more than sufficient.

Esther 2:15-17; Isaiah 61:10

Hey Good Looking!

No matter how sour, serious or sad our face may be, praise and thankfulness changes our countenance. Praise is good and pleasant; praise beautifies; praise gives us an appealing, attractive and agreeable look and appearance.

Praise looks good on you. Hey good looking!

Heart Check

Let us be radical revolutionaries, not defiant rebels.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On Being Religious

Could it be that our practice of not being religious has become our religious practice? Time to check the motives of our heart.

Well, just a thought.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Changes

For purpose of better readability, I changed the template and colors.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Nice Perfume!

Our efforts to gain God's favor by good works and personal righteousness is a stench in His nostrils (Isaiah 64:6), but works of faith done in humble obedience and sincere worship are a pleasing smell, a sweet, pleasant, appealing perfume, that awakens His desire for us and opens the door for our entrance to come close to Him and to enjoy his holy and intimate presence.

A thought from this morning at La Fuente

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"You Do See" Ps 10:14

We come to you
oh God our King
With humble hearts
we pray and sing
Repenting now
for all our sin
Please make our hearts
complete again

On bended knees
before your throne
We give our lives
to you alone
Breathe on us LORD
your spirit wind
And turn our hearts
to you again

We your people humble ourselves
We turn away from our wicked ways
Hear us from heaven; forgive our sin
And heal our land, oh God

You see, oh LORD,
we're not alone
We know you're near
and hear our song
Arise, oh God,
lift up your hand
And send revival
to our land


Friday morning, this song actually started with phrases in the last verse, "you do see" and "arise, o LORD" from Psalm 10:14 and 12. It became a song of repentance and cry for more of the presence of God as it developed. After the verses, I added the bridge from the ideas of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Lights Out

Lights out has different shades of meaning. Lights out-asleep; lights out-knocked out as in boxing; lights out-lights turned off; lights out-no energy available.

Here in Nicaragua the primary meaning is that the company has turned out the lights in your sector to not over load the national generators. The problem is that the generating plants are too old and too under powered to handle all the demand so energy is cut a few hours a few times each week to help deal with the problem. We've gotten used to it over the past 14 years.

The past couple days "lights out" was for a totally different reason... about 11 pm a post a block down the street broke... not sure why, but it did, therefore until just 15 minutes ago we were without lights. Freezer thawing, refrigerators warm, visitors and a meal for 30 people. Life must go on, even without lights. And it did; we were prepared.

Sometimes "lights out" means there are no light in the heart of a person. Jesus is the light of the world and I want to keep the window of my eyes bright with His light that shines from within me. Help me LORD never let the lights go out and if they do that it not take 2 days to get them turned back on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Have Been Blessed

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22.
Thank you Father God for my favor from you, my dear wife Beverly. She has blessed me now for over 25 years. What more could I ask for? She has ministered at my side, cared for our children, gone to the ends of the world with me, and all she has done with love and joy.
God you have been so good to me.

Thanks, Bev. I love you with all my heart.

Risk and Nothingness

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." Anonymous
"[We must] play down our longing for certainty, accept what is risky, live by improvisation and experiment."
Hans Kung quoted in The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch.
I'm beginning to learn that the risk of failure while trying is better that the risk of doing nothing and accomplishing just that, nothing. The only way to guarantee complete success is to do nothing because doing nothing will certainly accomplish nothing. Nothing will be lost and nothing will be gained, but you won't fail at accomplishing what you set out to do.
I must at least run the risk of failure, maybe I'll succeed instead.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Upcoming thoughts on the purpose of generations

What are we to do with different age groups, generations and eras of people? What creates the differences between generations? How can we prevent the seperation and conflicts frequently experienced the different generations and eras of people? How can we take advantage of the differences in methods, likes/dislikes and manners of thinking?

Any thoughts?

A Staggering Thought

"Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering."
R. Buckminister Fuller

Fortunately, I know we're not alone, because Jesus said he would send a Comforter that would never leave us nor forsake us. Still, the thought is staggering that the Creator of the Universe would make that strong of commitment to us. Then again, we are His creation, the work of His hands, His children.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Faith, Hope and Love - 1

Love is the motivation.
Hope is the promise.
Faith is the action that brings it all to reality.

...kind of like what I wrote in What Happened to Hope just reduced to three sentences.

Anger without Sin

Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent. Ps. 4:4

Anger is not evil. It is why you are angry or what you do with your anger that makes it evil. Anger is immoral when based on ego, when we seek vengeance, when we don't forgive, when we become bitter, when we explode, when we simmer.
A proper response to anger is be silent, think about what has happened, wait to respond, pray before acting, forgive and release, pray for those that hurt and abuse you and "don't go there again".
  • ponder = think
  • in your own hearts = to yourself
  • on your beds = let time pass before taking action... "on your beds" could refer to overnight
  • and be silent = no talk/no sin... "put a guard before my lips"

This is obviously not a complete treatise of anger and how to deal with it, just thought that come from the Psalm.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Eph. 4:26-27

Friday, July 6, 2007

Life...

"Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one."
Martin Heidegger
...a quote I found a few days ago and rediscovered today.

How to:

"The most effective way to do it, is to do it."
Amelia Earhart

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Light of the World

"I am the light of the world." Jesus Christ
It's not a great new insight; I've heard it many times. The moon generates no light nor energy, yet it is the light in the darkness of the night. The sun is pure light and energy. The moon is dust and stone. During the day, when the moon is next to the sun, it is barely visible, but during the night it is seen clearly and as a full moon it is a strong bright light providing visibility and mobility for all.

We are not the SON of God, but we are His sons, and we are to reflect the light of His glory here on earth. In middle of the darkness, we are to be the light of the world. Just as the moon is the light of the night, we are to be light in the darkness so the blind can see, the deaf can hear and the dead can be raised to eternal life and light in Christ Jesus.
"You are the light of the world." Jesus Christ
John 8:12; Matthew 5:14

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What Happened to Hope

Faith, hope and love these remain permanent and the most important is love. Faith - conviction and trust; hope - confidence and expectation; love - sacrifice and service. The greatest is to live our life in service for the benefit of others, love.

We constantly speak of love. God is love. The great commandment is love. Faith operates by love. Jesus was love personified and it is clear, the greatest of all spiritual attributes is LOVE.

Faith. We live with God, by faith. His grace is ours, by faith. Faith gives substance and is evidence of the dreams in our lives. Your faith heals. By faith the mountain of difficulty is removed and situations are changed. The god-like-man lives by faith.

What about hope? If we have no hope, we can have no faith. Faith needs an object to give substance to and that object is our hope. Our hope is not a capricious dream. It is a promise from God. It is His life active in us. It is Jesus, the hope of glory, revealed and active in every area of our life.

There are works realized by our faith, deeds motivated by our love and consistency sustained by the hope placed in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thes. 1:3) Hope sustains us while faith makes the promised future reality. Hope provides consistency as we serve in love. Hope provides a sustained and patient perseverance as faith works and love serves and Jesus is manifest in the circumstances of our daily lives. This three legged stool looses stability with just faith and love. We must include joyful and confident expectation, hope, in our lives.

These THREE remain effective faith, continuous love and patient hope (Geneva Bible Translation Notes). Let hope have it's place in our lives. Without it we are hopeless.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Consciousness

One of my favorite moments of the day is the time between awake and asleep, between asleep and awake. In those minutes I am aware of God and His world. I sing, I pray, I worship, I listen, I look, I feel. I come and go between consciousness and sleep and dreams and thought and streams of intimacy with Him. I lay there still. He speaks and I listen. Eyes closed, I see. Asleep, I perceive. Quiet, we talk together in the cool of the day, morning or night, as close to Eden as is earthly possible, today.

I sing for joy on my bed; He takes pleasure in His servant (Psalm 139:5, 4). God and man, one (John 17:20, 21).

"Even the Darkness Is Not Dark" Psalm 139:12

The understanding is that I cannot hide from you, God, not even in the darkest place. If I cannot hide in the darkness, then in my most difficult situation I can be confident you see and know my circumstances and tribulation. A Spanish translation, Lenguaje Actual, says - for You there is no difference in dark and light - that is, You see all there is, at all times and in every situation, even in the darkest hour.

In that darkest hour, with confidence, I can declare, "You, Lord, will fulfill Your purpose for me. In You I place my faith and trust; in You I have hope of a future that exceeds my expectations. (Psalm 138:8 ESV; Jer. 29:11)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Melt My Heart

He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. Psalm 147:18

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone… and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes Ezekiel 36:26

Ice is hard, cold, non-changing, blocks the flow, breaks on impact, etc. Water is liquid, fluid, warm [relatively], takes new forms, take others in it's flow, absorbs impact, etc. (Alejandro, thank you for awakening me to the ideas about ice) My prayer is, "melt my heart, oh God. Make your wind blow over me and your waters flow through me. Give me a heart of flesh. Put your Spirit within me. I want to walk in your ways and be a light here in this world. Melt my heart, oh Lord."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Waiting I (more to come)

WAITING… in Nicaragua one must frequently WAIT. It's up to us if that is a loss. When we wait, are we doing nothing or do we go prepared to take advantage of the "waiting time". We could read a book, write in our journals, study for class, talk with a friend, rest, pray, etc.

Too often we have passed the concept of waiting – lost time doing nothing – to our understanding of "waiting on God." We say, "A day is a 1000 yrs. for God… God's time is different than ours… it mustn't be God's time." This makes God sound like a capricious doctor who attends his patients when he decides, according to his schedule; and we must WAIT in his office for "our turn." If we don't wait, we'll loose our chance. And, who knows when we'll get what we need, want or ask for. – "Gotta WAIT on God's time, brother." We get impatient because we must wait for God… and unused time is a loss!

Waiting on God is TOTALLY different. First of all, waiting on God is not being in a spot of limbo, "doubtfully" hoping it won't be long, until by some whim God moves. WAITING includes hope, trust and confidence in God. The positive spiritual attitudes of faith and patience are primary elements. Secondly, waiting includes the idea of "attending to". We serve HIM. Waiting is sitting close by so we can respond at the very moment he indicates desire and direction. Worship and intimacy are included here. It is kissing His feet. It is sitting there and listening, being there out of desire and joy, not obligation and necessity. Third, WAITING is filling ourselves with him. It is not passively doing nothing. Instead, it is actively receiving. It is WAITING until the Holy Spirit comes upon you, like a cell phone being connected to charge. It is resting in Him; it is filling our lives with His presence and power. Forth, WAITING is becoming one with Him. As John says abide in Him. It is being connected to the vine in the dry season and rainy season; the new bud season and the fruit bearing and harvest season. Abiding is always being connected to receive His life. Waiting is twisting our lives together with the life of God like a 3 strand rope so we will be strong as we "wait. It is dancing together and moving as one.

Waiting is a place of trust and confidence; it is serving and attending to our LORD; it is worship and intimacy; it is sitting at His feet; it is resting, filling and being empowered. Waiting is active; it is peace; it is patience; it is being, with HIM. Waiting is becoming one with Him. It is dancing with Him so the meaning of life can be clearly seen and beautifully understood. Waiting is living for Him, here on earth.

Just as we must wait for the doctor, sometimes we must wait for God. I don't know why, but we do. What will you do while you wait? Will it be a loss of time? Or will you charge you life with Him? Will you increase your faith? Will you allow hope to be that joyous expectation that something good is going to happen so faith can convert time and waiting into an intimate time of trust in our Lord?
Be still and know that I am God. KJV
Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently stay yourself upon Him… Psalm 37:7a Amplified