Saturday, November 16, 2013

Going through Hell with Help from Heaven

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; 
and sayeth such as be of a contrite spirit.
- Psalm 34:18

Being brokenhearted can leave you in the dumps.  The damage done to you can leave you feeling like totally damaged goods and all out of sorts.  It happens to a lot of us.

Fortunately, the Scriptures assure us that the Lord is near to those of us who feel broken and contrite.

Can you imagine going through hell without any help from heaven?

It is hard enough to catch hell as a Christian.  We have fellowship with the Lord and communion with Him.  We have fellow saints, brothers and sisters worldwide praying for us and fasting for us in unity.  We have the Lord's Spirit indwelling within us due to our conversion.  We have all that, but we still catch hell and it can break us down.

We can have all of these things to our advantage and still remain vulnerable to satanic attacks and demonic forces that seek to do all sorts of damage to us and our relationship with the Lord.  Yet, we still have more than those who have no relationship with God.  We can catch hell and still know that God is watching over us and He still loves and cares for us.

Though we may catch hell here on earth, we still have:

  • Hope: We have the Lord's will on our hearts.  His will being fulfilled gives us hope that what we may go through is part of the bigger picture that will lead to us having a better perspective and bolder praise.  We go through hell, but we have HOPE.
  • Help:  We have the Lord's Word to provide us with His words of comfort and displays of His miraculous power and lovingkindness as well as longsuffering throughout time.  He extends his hand of mercy and grace to help us when we least deserve it, especially since we cannot earn anything from Him on the merit of our own goodness.  It is good to know that we have His HELP.
  • Heaven: We have heaven on our side.  We have the Lord and His angelic forces, His almighty power that encompasses all things created on earth and in heaven.  I oftentimes wondered why God and the "sons of God" did not launch a full court press on Satan when he walked into the heavenly realm in the Book of Job.  However, as I learn more and more about the attributes of God, I realize that Satan (Lucifer) was summoned just like all of God's other angels in order to stand before Him.  He was subject to God, even in his fallen state. God has all power over all things, even the hell that we go through with help from heaven.
Keep this in mind as you endure what you have to face in this life.  it could be at work or school, in your home or your family.  No matter where you go through hell here on earth, you can depend on help from heaven.

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Discover more about the type of help that God offers us all.  Read my article Praying with Trust and find some simple ways to continue in Christ with deeper faith.  Also, view facing Your Fears in Faith.  I believe that both of these articles can help those who are hurting and are in need of healing that only the Lord Himself can provide.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Facing the Facts about Mobilizing Ministry in a Media Age

The average Facebook user has 20+ "friends," according to Usama Nasir's "16 Social Media & Blogging Stats of 2012"

Digital Buzz Blog states that 55% of Twitter users access the platform via mobile devices.  Additionally, the site also states: Out of the 6 billion people on the planet 4.8 billion have a mobile and only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.

Is it time for your ministry to go mobile?

Let's face the facts.  People are using all sorts of mobile devices.  It is a global trend.

But you are just getting your website revamped. Let's not to mention the fact that you have yet to update the pastor's blog or the photo gallery that have no new photos since 2010.

I am just saying.  Now you know I don't mean any harm.

Let's get mobilized with the times.  We are called to lead people in the world to Christ. Yet, if the world all are captivated by Miley Cyrus VMA video clips and TMZ news feeds on their iPhones and tablets, then we had better come up with some methods for entering the multimedia marketplace with an action plan and some real strategies that can deliver results without burning out our congregations or volunteers and that won't cost loads and loads of money.  After all, Jesus ministered in the marketplace.  Paul did so, too.  The other Apostles reached people by the methods of their times, too.  Imagine what they would have done with email, text messages, and YouTube.

Stay tuned as I launch several posts in a series on starting your own multimedia ministry.  The series will span several weeks and include some interesting pieces on mobile sites, video conferencing, and other methods.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Message for the Messenger of God


The messenger is to devour the Word.  He is to take it in so much as to fill himself with it.  As he is filled by the Word, he is to taste of its sweetness which is like honey.  He must then prepare himself to regurgitate the Word that he has taken in as God's message to His people.

In the Book of Psalms, we are told to taste and see that the Lord is good.  The metaphorical reference is that we can ingest and digest God's goodness.  How do we do this? In most cases, we will experience this by taking in His Word. 

By reading His Word, we get an inside look at God's heart for mankind.  God offers us His Word as a direct message to both our hearts and souls.  We experience His goodnes when we engage in the reading and study of His Word.

As we read His Word, we come to recognize how God is and what God does and says.  We become exposed to the numerous incidents of God's interaction with man by seeing His relationship with Israel unfold through the Scriptures.

God uses the Scriptures to communicate to the ones with whom He has a relationship and those who seek a relationship with Him.  He carefully crafted sixty-six books to demonstrate His relationship with man, including Moses and the Prophets.

We are encouraged to read the Word with the enticement that once we taste of it that we will see that the Lord is good.  We will see that He is so good that we will feel the urging to echo the same sentiments as the psalmist and share it with others.

The Word is for both the messenger's filling and fueling.  
  • It is his filling for his own satisfaction.  It is good for him to partake of it.  
  • It is his fueling for the people's sake, taking the Word to them with the utmost urgency.  


He has tasted of it himself and knows of the value it contains.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why Your Manna is in a Mess


In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.
-Exodus 16:13-21 (ESV)

The bread from heaven that God provides represents our daily supply from God.  God promises to provide enough for us for the present day.  In this episode of scriptural accounts, God commanded through Moses “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” However, the people disregarded the commandment regarding the manna and the manna became a mess.

The manna was a mess because it:

  • Spoiled: worms began to breed in the bread
  • Stank: the leftovers began to have a stench that emerged
  • Stained: the leftover manna left a stain among the people due to their greed
Sadly, the satin that the leftover manna left was a spiritual stain on the people of God.  Their failure to heed the man of God and the word that he carried from God led to their own detriment.

"The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed."
Mahatma Gandhi 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Leaders Lead by the Light

Ye are the light of the world. 
A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 
- Matthew 5:14

Let's be honest.  Real Christian leadership cannot simply rely on charismatic personas or catchy buzz words and slogans.  Christian leadership must embody the True Light (John 1:9).  Christian leadership must reflect that same Light.  Christian leadership must lead others by living as "the light of the world."

We cannot hide that light.
We cannot dim that light.
We cannot deny that light.

We must let our light shine before others in order to lead others to the True Light.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blessings from Bonhoeffer

 
Believe him to be the Son of God,
and you will find him wonder upon
wonder, counsel upon counsel.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A few years ago, I was introduced to Dietrich Bonhoeffer through a play that depicted an interaction between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Ever since that introduction, I have read something by Bonhoeffer at least once a year.


Recently, I continued reading Life Together by Bonhoeffer.  Undoubtedly, it reminds me of the kindred spirit that Bonhoeffer offers me through his discourse on the concept of community to people of faith.  In all fairness, Bonhoeffer shares some inspirational words that should cause us all to pause for a moment and realize the true value of our Christian community despite the shortcomings and mistakes of our humanity.
I also started reading I Want to Live These Days with You, a daily devotional by Bonhoeffer.  I had read through it previously back in 2006 and 2009.  As I prepared for 2013, I decided to return to the devotional once again.  I had done the same with My Utmost for His Highest by Chambers and Morning and Evening by Spurgeon.

I suggest that most believers could glean something from Bonhoeffer's writings.  He provides the reader with both inspiration and insight.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

God is Available


14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

-Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)

God is available to us.  We do not have to await a mediator in the form of a priest or anyone else.  Jesus serves as our "great high priest" who "did not sin." He is our mediator, seated at the right hand of the throne of God and advocating for us before God.  


Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 
- Mark 15:38 (NKJV)

He makes our access to God available to us.  The work of Jesus upon the cross brought about the torn veil that led to the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the temple where access to God was limited to those of the priestly order.  That was destroyed and torn in two by the sacrifice of Jesus.  We, as believers through His shed blood, now have access to God.

Take some time and spend it with God, meditating on the sacrifice of Jesus.



 
Amen Me!