Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jan | 31 | ‘Prance and Picnic’

Key Word:- CHOOSE

Title:- ‘Prance and Picnic’

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Calvin Miller in his book ‘A Requiem For Love’ pens this insightful verse at the beginning of one of his chapters. It says:

“The wings of demons are as a white as angels wings
Their halos are as golden bright
They sing as well as angels, too
But only when it’s night”

I do not begin to know a lot about ‘spiritual warfare’. I need to know a lot more that’s for sure. However,

  • I do know that it hurts.

  • I do know that it is destructive.

  • I do know that it is a total warfare.

  • I do know that it is deadly and

  • I do know, Oh God help us, that we Christians in our ignorance, both prance and picnic on a most terrible battlefield, for we have been most thoroughly deceived.
Let me speak as a man, for maybe Prance and Picnic’ need to be the name of the firm of undertakers, funeral directors if you will, that intern so many of us Christians in maudlin morgues of malevolence, well before our time, even before we have ever struck a blow for God. I am not talking about physical death here but rather, of being held by our necks under the stomping foot of our enemy. I am talking about being maybe miserable, being sullen, cynical or even blissfully ignorant! Whatever works for the enemy to keep us useless in the Lord and locked away in a dungeon, it is that we shall find imprinted on the backs of our necks! Remember, even if it is delightfully decorated it can still be a dungeon and in your case today dear friend, it probably is! Maybe you need to get a good friend to check the back of your neck for you?

One strategy of our enemy has been to remove the warrior spirit from the church of the living God so that we can neither fight nor love well and replace it with a liberal latitude, of loose living and lousy loving. The kind of loving that is smulchy, shallow and in the end self-serving and self-protecting. A most pitiful and outwardly swooning ‘amour, amour.’ True warriors both fight and love well. However, in the church most of our loving is in the end a load of sentimental old tosh! We need to stop dabbing our eyes with tissues and sniffling over some delightful little email full of puppies and good luck if we send it to seven of our friends; we need to stop shaking our head at some terrible T.V. images whilst we continue to eat the abundance off our warm and over filled plates; we need to stop sighing at what we consider to be extremists in Christendom when thay take axes to the roots of nasty trees; stop laying up for ourselves treasure that will burn; stop protecting our worm food and finally, Oh God finally, we simple minded and disobedient disciples, need to get back to the Cross, take a good hold of it and then go and climb back on the alter of living sacrifices! We need to start loving with hard love friends, tough love! We need to get dead to our self, go put the sandwiches and soda away in the picnic basket, stop prancing around like mad blind idiots on this terrible battlefield, put on our flack jackets and our helmets and lay hold of our Armalites! Good grief, what are we doing Christians? Remember, ‘Amour’ is for the stage but ‘Armor’ is for active soldiers in very a real battle.

When we finally die to ourselves, then we shall find ourselves and truly live and when we finally have done with this world, we will change it.

Let us get real today, for goodness sake. Then when we begin to smell the sulphur and the cordite let us behave like men and run to the clash of arms and the shout of war!

Listen: - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.1 Peter 5:8-9

Pray: - Lord Jesus Christ, Commander of all the angel armies, teach my fingers to fight and my hands to make war! In Your victorious name I ask it, amen.


Jan | 31 | There Were Only Fish Fingers, Until Along Came Hans!

Dream Word – OBEY

Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; NKJV

There Were Only Fish Fingers, Until Along Came Hans!

In the ages to come, in eternity, one of the things my wife wishes to do is to fly amongst the stars. Ever since I sat in front of the first few episodes of 'Star Trek', I have wanted to do the same- in the intergalactic comfort of a star ship of course! My wife wants to fly skyclad on her travels, sweeping and zooming in and out of asteroid belts. My only objection is “Baby it’s cold outside!” I tell you tonight, God did not create me for cold climates.. “Brrrr. Hate that cold.”

Space is cold, indeed, even at the edges of our own solar system, the largely unchecked out Trans-Neptunian area, which has yielded our tenth planet, or second Dwarf Planet, depending on how those who designate have thus far designated, is very cold indeed! Here the newly discovered entity sits naked, floating silently in the icy cold depths of black, black space. I wouldn’t want to fly there that’s for sure. Brrrr. Hate that cold.”

Sedan, this second Dwarf Planet at the edges of our own solar system, is in fact named after the Inuit or Eskimo, depending on how those who designate have thus far designated, goddess of the sea. Apparently, in the Inuit mythology of creation the creator god was so displeased with his daughter, (who by the way, was turning into a big, ugly, fat pig of a woman after eating everything in sight, including portions of the creator god himself, ) that he slung her out of his Kayak! When she tried to get back in, he chopped off her fingers one by one, which in turn turned into seals and whales and other creatures of the deep. Now that’s what I call fish fingers! Anyway, that cold icy second Dwarf Planet, is named after her and knowing that fact, I definitely would not want to fly there. . “Brrrr. Hate that cold.” The Inuit goddess of the sea may be located in the watery underworld of the deep, but the Inuit peoples are spread pretty widely, even down to Greenland, which I personally think is a most unfortunate name for a country which is predominantly sub polar in climate and covered in ice! I wouldn’t want to Greenland either, “Brrrr. Hate that cold.”

Hans Egede was born today in Norway in 1686. He became a Norwegian Lutheran Minister and because of his sacrificial efforts among the Inuit peoples, he later became known as the ‘Apostle to Greenland.’ Indeed, he also founded the city of ‘Good Hope,’ or ‘Godthab,’ or now as it is known, ‘Nuuk,’ which actually became the capital city of Greenland.The problems Egede encountered whilst trying to do his missionary work were enormous, not least those of his own character! Apparently a ‘head down, cold nosed man’ he had steeled himself for his calling and the cold. This was no two week short term holiday and sightseeing mission he was on, no sir, he could lose his life there and the lives of the forty Christian settlers that went with him. They may have had the Commission of both The Heavenly King and their own earthly king but this mission could cost him everything. Someone has commented that “He tended to be harsh and overbearing and though he dearly loved the people, like many other Christians, he did not know how to express this in human terms!” An icy Christian, in an icy world. “Brrrr. Hate that cold.”

The great thaw of hearts came, I am afraid, on the back of an old world disease called smallpox. In most of the New World, the population would be almost totally wiped out by contact with any European carrying viral diseases from the old world, whether they were Missionaries, explorers, whalers, traders, whatever. It’s only the British who used smallpox as a biological weapon against native American Indians, but that’s another grey story, for another cold day. “Brrrr. Hate that cold.” In this case, Egede, did not bring the disease to the Inuit of Greenland, but he did stay with the diseased people and refused to leave them, caring for them as they fell, leading them as best he could into the arms of Jesus. Egede’s wife Gertrude, so expended herself that she died of exhaustion shortly thereafter.

Tonight is about sacrifice, focus and persistence. Tonight is about flying amongst the cold, cold stars at the outer edges of our own solar system, yes the cold and very costly, outer edges of known civilisation. Would you fly there at the command of your King? Tell me would you? It’s worth thinking about. "Brrrr----Hate that cold!"

Listen: - So Samuel said: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV

Pray:- Lord, whether it be hot or cold, hard or soft, North or South, East or West, please Lord, help me to obey You fully concerning Your command to me. Amen.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jan | 30 | Fullness, Futures, and Fishing!

Key Word:-OBEY

Title:- Fullness, Futures, and Fishing!

Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.
Israel Beer Josaphat was originally a bank clerk. However, in 1849, he initiated a prototype news service in Paris, using electric telegraphy and carrier pigeons in his network. Amazing! This same Israel, later changed his name to Paul Julius von Reuter and even today, this ‘Reuters International News Agency’ is still one of the largest and probably the most prestigious of them all.

However, the greatest and most longstanding news agency, even Good News Agency’ is the church of the living God. It has been receiving information, encouragement, warning, and in turn, giving direction through various sources of spiritual mass media, for the whole of these 2000 years or more, even up to these these very last days. Oh yes, we are in the last days now. Remember, these are the end times in which we live, though not necessarily, the time of the end. If that’s news to you, then it just goes to prove my point!

In particular, though, from the New Testament, it is seen that we receive three types of information:

Fullness News! How much we have in Jesus, how much He loves us. How much we can become in Him, through Him, because of Him.

Futures News! What Jesus has planned for us when we see Him. What He is doing on planet earth now and in the near, so very near future, as well as in the vast ages of eternity to come.

Fishing News! How we should live on this present lake of tears, where we should go, how we should get there and what we should do in the process, to so gather in the chosen of the Father.

In these end times, according to our text for today that is, everyone, I say everyone has an agency job; receiving news hot from heavens happenings, 24 hours, every day, via night 'video feed' (dreams) as well as 'day video feed' (visions) and of course from the constant teletype of the written Word of God. This is the norm! So tell me, when is the last time you heard from God? Are you really on His Good News team?

Finally, everyone on the Good News Team has a broadcasting job- Prophecy. Oh yes! We are not only the Good News gatherers the Good News distributors, but we are the Good News proclaimers, yes, we are the broadcasting agency as well. So, go into the highways, the vineyard, the village, and the city. Go, into all the world and proclaim the Good News, for yes indeed, freely you have received so freely give.

Listen: - “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16

Pray: - Your great commission, has been changed by us is our day, into ‘The Great Suggestion’ O Lord, and in my life in particular, has become ‘The Great Omission.’ The teletype is dead in me O Lord. ENOUGH!!! Dear Jesus, speak Lord to me today, that I too might tell, of Your wondrous works in me, amen.

Jan | 30 | Milksop Men


Job 40:7 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me:...” NKJV

Milksop Men

I’ve been doing it again, you know, going to church and looking at all the ladies. I mostly count all the ladies heads in the church when the sermon is predominantly boring, so that’s just about every Sunday! From church to church in the West, the percentage figures rarely change for my count, with the local gathering consisting of around 60-70% women, all mostly 50 years of age and up. Women leading, women decorating, women baking, women making at all happen. Thank God for women eh? The church has become very feminine in its makeup and the men that do attend, though they aren’t necessarily effeminate themselves, have maybe, as David Murrow author of 'Why Men Hate Going To Church' has put it, become used to it indeed!

In this year of our Lord, 2008, for the first time ever, more women than men were ordained in the Anglican Church. Indeed, as I make these observations, I am looking for a ministerial position myself, I have already withdrawn my name from three large churches having discovered that they have (completely contrary to the Scriptures) quietly set aside women as elders and preachers in their church. This rampant speeding up of the feminisation of the local church is an important fact to be known because already, men in their millions are not going to church because of it, and over 90% of boys brought up in the church today, will leave it as soon as they can and never return again! Spurgeon may have remarked that “There has got abroad a notion, somehow, that if you become a Christian you must sink your manliness and turn milksop,” and unfortunately folks, that perception is obviously correct, because many men don’t go to church at all and the reason for that is often this, “they have already been!”
The writer David Murrow makes a proposal that men are already pursuing a religion outside of church and it is called ‘Masculinity.’ Now especially in this most thoroughly feminised society of ours, I most certainly believe that to be the case. Those men that want to hang on to their manhood will always avoid places of feminine control. It’s just a fact. That being the case, we really do have to pump some Holy testosterone into the church.

However, there is an even more pressing pastoral problem to which we have to attend. It is a problem which I have seen on quite a few occasions now and it troubles me greatly, because good men are either getting sick within the church or leaving the church bitter, hurt and disappointed. You see, the longer men remain in a feminised politically correct church, the more spiritually aware they become that they have sacrificed their manhood. They have lost themselves. They have become a very nice man but a very nice milksop man and in their deepest heart of hearts, they despise themselves. When this despising of self finally comes out, it’s often in a sideways manner and usually expresses itself at some level in anger and even hatred, both towards Christ and his church. In answer to this then, I would say three things tonight:

Firstly, if people don’t like you expressing your manhood, then that’s their decision. Let them live with it. Be who you are and ask Christ to help you live the life of the man He died for. In the end, you must as a man, be able to live with yourself in true respect.

Secondly, the church and especially my sisters in the church must begin to welcome and embrace true Biblical manhood back into the local church. Unless this manhood is mourned for, longed for even, then you may never see it again, and the church will become very simply, a ladies club, even a gay ladies club.

Thirdly, the church and especially the male leaders in the church must begin to count the cost of both reclaiming their own manhood and making the church a more masculine place to be and that’s not just at a Saturday morning men’s breakfast, down the local pub. Think about it.

Listen: - As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. Isaiah 3:12a NKJV

Pray:- Help the male leaders of the church to stand fast in the faith, quit them like men to be strong, in the mighty and manly name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jan | 29 | Fishing in the Common Ground of Common Graves

Key Word:- OBEY

Title:- Fishing in the Common Ground of Common Graves

Acts 17:28-29 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'

'For we are also His offspring.' This is the first half of the fifth line, word for word, of an astronomical poem of Aratus, a Greek countryman of the Apostle Paul’s and his predecessor, by about three centuries! As a relevant reference, as an evangelistic fishing reference, ‘For we are also His offspring’ it really doesn't sound such a very powerful hook does it? But maybe it was so well known in those times and such a quoted reference, that it hooked into the contemporary reader’s consciousness and drew out all the other metaphysical connections? Good grief Charlie Brown! Maybe that’s far too ethereal for some of us nowadays eh? However, this is a great way to achieve unspoken yet common and broad based affirmation, of a general and widely accepted precept, upon which you can build a mighty premise. You see, Paul wasn't grasping at straws here, he was being masterful in his evangelism, yes, he was being like the Master when he said, ‘For we are also His offspring!’

As for us in the 21st Century, well maybe we miss the common and communal connectivity of ‘For we are also His offspring!’ because our culture does not hold the powerful poetic premise encapsulated, understood and culturally received, in the lines of Aratus? So maybe a more interesting quote, a better hook to put our better bait on for us in our day, would have been from a more recent and well known poet, like William McGonagall maybe? A British poet and possibly a Christian man, who by the way, has the amazing achievement of selling more books than both the poet’s Browning and Tennyson. Imagine that! Maybe then, if McGonagall had written this quote, people in our day would connect more with that powerful, poetic and particular reference? No not really, for unfortunately, McGonagall also 'stands unique and unchallenged as history's worst poet!' So in retrospect he is maybe not the most ideal person to quote then, that is unless you wanted to laugh!

My point is this: whoever wrote the line quoted by the Holy Spirit through Paul, though he be pagan or pilgrim, though they be a craftsman of their art, or a bodger extraordinaire, it’s irrelevant! For the Holy Spirit took it, conceptualized it, applied it and utilized it. That is all that really matters. God the Holy Spirit, making the difference by taking the words of our common cultural reference points, sanctifying them and so making them useful to the Master, profitable for every good work.
Now think about this will you , for I wonder how many movies, songs, and sagas, so prevalent in the current cultural mindset, have a whole bunch of relevant spiritual hooks all lying around readily available for us to stick some bait on and use them in evangelistic fishing?

Without being of the world, we must thoroughly understand the world and its culture, investigate it and then expropriate all that is useful for correctly transmitting the message of the Gospel. In other words, why don’t you go and watch a few movies and read a few bestsellers maybe! For God is at work in ancient and modern culture, painting pictures of His immanence and drawing sketches of His great redemption. Why not join Him there?

Listen: - “…But I am the LORD your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared — The LORD of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, 'You are My people.'“ Isaiah 51:15-16

Pray: - …Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O lord, my strength and my redeemer, and Lord, give me hooks and give then give me the bait of grace to lay upon it, that in this mad, mad world, You would bring Your people up from their deep dark and watery graves. In Jesus name I pray, amen. Psalm 19:14a

Jan | 29 | Tainted Love

Dream Word – CLEAN

Zechariah 14:20-21 In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.”

Tainted Love

One of the High Priestly objects of splendour, apart from his beautiful breastplate and garments of glory, was the white-turbaned head dress, a mitre of eight yards of fine twisted linen coiled into a cap, over which was laid a golden plate, fastened by blue ribbon. This golden plate hung down across the forehead of the High Priest, between his fringe and his eyebrows and had engraved upon it: “Holiness to the Lord.”

I must admit, that my experience of ‘Holiness’ in the church has had more to do with touch not, taste not, handle not, po-faced, hypocritical irrelevant and repugnant ‘We don’t do that here’ philosophy than the real thing. So much so, that something in me just kicks against it! I would say that for me, this kind of Holiness provokes me into a mischievous naughtiness, which I am more than eager to succumb to, rather than cause me to honour and glorify Christ. Surely there must a Holiness which is deeper than that, a Holiness which is more encompassing, indeed, I would say a Holiness that is so at the fore front of who we are that it is all embracing. Well, I am pleased to tell you that there shall be and there is.

Our text for tonight tells us prophetically of a time to come when everything from making a living, to making a home, shall be considered to be and encompassed by a living holiness. Christian! Our Saviour died to make us Holy! We are called to be Holy because our Lord is Holy. To be Holy is to be fully yielded to the Son in the name of the Father by the power of God the Holy Spirit. It is to have our separated-ness to Him, ever and always at the forefront of our being. Indeed, it is to have God’s personal name, reputation and glory, like the old High Priest's, like our Great High Priest's, hanging in imprinted letters of gold between our fringe and our eyebrows. From mission praise to marriage bed, that and everything in between should be offered to God for His namesake and glory.

Oh, Robert, if only you knew how tainted even my most Holy of thoughts and actions can be!” Oh do stop whining! Why not just move over Muppet and give some other little girl some wasted time in the whimper seat! Of course I know. We all know the tainted-ness of our Holy things. We are all built of the same stuff! Now, please excuse me for giving you a verbal ‘slap up the side of the head’ tonight, but I need your full attention. You see, you have to know right now dear friend, that our Great High Priest is the Great Sin exterminator Himself and the ability of His person, the testimony of His robes and the power of His office, means that He can even exterminate the ever pox-like pollution of sin, which clung then and still clings even today, like the smell of foul sulphured eggs, to our most Holy of sacrifices. Whenever we do good this side of heaven, evil, at some level, is both present and pungent! It is! So please be assured then, that our Great High Priest covers even the sins of our Holy things. Thank God for that! Thank God for that I say, and in the so doing, encourage you to keep on yielding yourself to God for He has all the shortfalls, all the swerve balls and all the long balls well covered by His blood. He has to, for even our Holy things are tainted this side of heaven. Stop making excuses to yourselves for not living a holy life .

Listen: - You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.” Exodus 28:36-38 NKJV

Pray:- Lord, thank You so much that You have all my tainted love also covered by Your blood. Oh hallelujah and amen!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jan | 28 | Spoiled Brats; Spoiled World

Key Word:- CHANGE

Title:- Spoiled Brats; Spoiled World.

Luke 17:1-4 “It is impossible that no offences should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him.”

Kenneth Boa and Robert M Bowman Jr. in their great book entitled “20 Compelling Evidences that God Exists” point to the fact of a fallen world, as being evidence for the existence of God! In classic understatement, acknowledging that things are not ‘quite as they should be’ in this fantastically complex universe we live in, they make reference to the ‘Darwin Awards,’ where Wendy Northcut originally began catalogueing those very sad and stupid events, both initiated and followed through by very unfortunate people who are, shall we say, ‘not geniuses.’ For those unfamiliar with the accolade of the ‘Darwin Awards,’ let me quote from their web site: ‘The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honouring those who accidentally kill themselves in really stupid ways. Of necessity, this honour is generally bestowed posthumously.’

The point of Boa and Bowman in referencing such an ‘interesting’ site, is simply to highlight that great paradox we live in, where good people can do bad things and bad people do good things, where good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. The seeming randomness of such occurrences would appear to many folks to indicate the absence of a benevolent creator. However, the authors see this as actually validating active involvement of God in our lives! They would say that atheism’s response to such horrendously sticky situations is to say, “God does not exist! Pantheism’s response," they comment, is to say, “Things are what they are” or “hey man, it is what it is?” BUT the Christian response to such terrible situations, they observe, is simple in comparison to all others for we would say, “Spoiled Brats, Spoiled world! And there friends is your main answer to the problem of evil.”

The Bible does not let us off the hook here either. As nations, societies, communities and individuals we each need to take responsibility for our own spoiled little mess. Experientially, I have always found this hard to do. How about you?

Maybe today, maybe for the rest of this year, we could stop attending our very own stupid ‘Darwin Awards’ and have a go at the ‘Deist Awards.’ You know? Acknowledging our part in the spoiled mess and by God’s grace, begin mending both our minds and our ways. Yes indeed, the Bible calls that ‘repentance’ and the prize of such repentance it calls, ‘unspeakable grace!’ Maybe unspeakable grace is an award worth getting? Go on put your hand up today and own your own spoiled mess, before it is too late. When you do this, look out for a blessing dear friend, for unspeakable grace is heading your way. This is the Deist Award!

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

Pray: - Lord, help me to own my mess and only my mess. Lord, then please give me a soft heart to repent and an open heart to receive Your forgiveness. Change me O God, from glory into glory that the award of Your graciousness will be clearly seen, in the changing of my world. Amen.


Jan | 28 | Troubling The Tripartite Connection

Dream Word – CONSIDER

Proverbs 23:31-34 Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, NKJV

Troubling The Tripartite Connection

The Paris residence of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, First Sovereign Prince of Bénévent, is now owned by the embassy of the United States of America. It is this same, political prince of Diplomats, this French rogue who was also a wine bibber, glutton and one of the first people to employ his very own celebrity chef, Chef Carême, also known as the “Chef of kings and king of Chefs.” I mention Tallyrand tonight, because this great fat French conversationalist, has had one of his most famous comments, displayed very far and wide in this big old world of ours. It is of course his own personal recipe for serving coffee, “Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love!”

It was a few weeks ago now, when my mornings seemed to begin with tiredness, move swiftly into fraught activity and end in twitching anxiety. After some heart palpitations, I realized that my new regime of Espresso with my wife in the morning and then not too much later, a tall Latte, to justify my sitting in a coffee shop and writing for a couple hours, was in fact hitting my system with enough caffeine, to make an old nag chomp at the bit in a bid to run in the Grand National! My anxiety was not an emotional or a spiritual issue, it was a physical manifestation of a drug taken into my system. The answer to my anxiety was quite simply to have a nice sweet tea to start the day followed by two large glasses of water.

My point tonight, is to remind you that as a tripartite being of body, soul and spirit, any effect on the body can have repercussions on the soul and the spirit. So if you are feeling a little distant from Jesus, a little less out of love with Him, then maybe, just maybe, you need to sleep more, drink more water and attend better to your diet and fitness. If you do these three things anyways, I suspect your spiritual life will increase with vigour and your emotional life with fervour. Take care of yourself! Your spiritual life depends on it. May all your imbibing then be as “Good as God, sweet as heaven, pure as an angel, and as tasty as love!”

Listen: - And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. Acts 20:9-10 NKJV

Pray:- Father, for my overall health and my spiritual health especially, help me discern what to remove from my body and what to put into my body, make me wise in this, in Jesus name I pray, amen.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jan | 27 | Bleeding Hearts

Key Word:- CHANGE

Title:- Bleeding Hearts

Acts 2:37  Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The first real sign of the work of the Holy Spirit is conviction of sin. How do we recognize such Holy Spirit conviction? Well allow me first to show you what it is not!

Firstly, it is not only an intelligent understanding of what the Bible says about sin; neither is it a gentle acquiescence or a grudging agreement with what the Bible says about us.

Secondly, it is not just a deep imprint; a biting necessity, a hot branded impression of guilt made on our mind. It’s not just feeling awful, wretched or despondent about the things we’ve done or failed to do. No! It’s more than even that.

Thirdly, it is not just being stricken, floored or slain by our own accusing conscience, risen from its sleep like some poor dishevelled corpse that points its bony fingers at our moaning misdemeanors. No, it is especially much more, much, much more, more than even that!

Conviction is a heart racing, pant-filling fear, a deep and dire sense of a condemning dreadfulness that our own dirty and deceitful sin, has its roots in the very core of who we are. When true Holy Spirit conviction comes, we finally own the darkness to be indeed, our very own. It is a deep heart awareness that all our life we have been in bondage to and under the sickening slavery and demonic handled power and deceitful persuasion of our very own sin. It is a deep realization that we have thoroughly dishonoured God, ruined ourselves and wrecked others in such a way, that we know the terrible wrath of God towards us is both completely justified and is coming soon upon us, ready to fall at any time, in flailing sword and burning fire.

Robert Murray McCheyne says, “There is all the difference in the world between knowing the dreadfulness of our sins and feeling the dreadfulness of our sins. There is a great difference between knowing that vinegar is sour and actually tasting and feeling that it is sour. There is a great difference between knowing that fire will burn us, and actually feeling the pain of being burned.”

He’s right of course! Reading our Bibles, hearing it preached, reading books about it, are all useless, yes utterly USELESS, unless the Holy Spirit uses the words to give a deep and sensual feeling to our cold dead hearts. He that made our heart is the only one that by His Spirit can reveal the darkness within us, make us taste it, feel it and bleed it out in such pleading tears of regret, that we cannot help but force out the most desperate of cries of “What shall we do to be saved?”

Are you feeling dreadful about who you are and what you’ve done? Take hope then. For the first real sign of the work of the Holy Spirit is conviction of sin. Go with the dreadful feeling friend; let it like some terrible tsunami wash you from your shores of self-justification into the waiting, pierced and bleeding arms of your Saviour.

Finally, may I say that if you call yourself a Christian that has been delivered from sin and all its darkness, yet you have never felt such Holy Spirit conviction; then I fear for you my friend, I really fear for you.

Listen: - "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?" Jer17:9

Pray: - My Father I am ashamed, and thoroughly undone before Your awful Majesty. Oh Jesus, please forgive me. Oh Jesus, please help me. Oh Jesus, please heal me and save me, amen and amen.

Jan | 27 | Countdown Conundrums

Dream Word – POWER

Exodus 28:30 And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.

Countdown Conundrums

The British game show called ‘Countdown’ first aired in 1982 and is one of the longest running game shows in the world. One of its most popular items is the conundrum section, which is a buzzer round where contestants try and become the quickest to solve a nine-letter anagram. I rarely manage to solve the puzzle. How about you?

Most all of the time for me and I suspect for you as well, discerning the best choices in life, the God choices in life, is rather like deciphering an anagram, except it’s not as much fun! Despite my having the Holy Spirit and the whole revealed counsel of God, I rarely manage to solve the puzzle. How about you?

Maybe a better understood rending of our text for tonight would be to refer to the high priestly breastplate as the ‘Breastplate of Decision’ rather than the ‘Breastplate of Judgement.’ This gloriously beautiful Divinely designed outfit for the High Priest of Israel to wear before the manifest presence of God and His people, was finally kitted out with what can only be described as, a ‘Decision making Device.’ Whatever the Urim and Thummin were in reality, in practicality, they were a most definitive way of providing a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to questions which were placed before God. Wouldn’t you like to get your hand on those little beauties eh? Oh how much easier life would become for us. Or would it?

When we adopt this kind of thinking, we imagine our passage in life to be a series of yes and no decisions of right and wrong directional choices. Maybe though it’s not like that? I wonder if where there is no moral imperative, no command disobedience, maybe there are just choices and frankly, any right choice will do?

We do not live in the age of Urim and Thummim, however we do have a great High Priest of the good things to come, modelled after the eternal order of Melchizedeck, who is undefiled, separate from sinners, holy, harmless, and has since the eternal sacrifice of Himself, become higher than the heavens and is seated right now at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on High and imagine this, He ever lives to make intercession for us.

There is a vastness in the goodness of God that encompasses all the full and free decisions which we His people choose. Have we in this way then become the free agents of His will? Do we reign with Him as we make decisions in His name and for His glory? Have we become along with Him, part of His creation process, part of His Kingdom rule?

This kind of decision making calls us to stop playing games and invites us into a Royal maturity which most is us have never yet entered into, because of the crippling confusion of the ignorance of who we are in Him.

Life is scary. May I say that often, life is a conundrum. Nevertheless, decisions have to be made and I reckon we can have a greater confidence, freedom and even expectant joy in our decisions knowing that Christ ever lives to make intercession for us.

Listen: -
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim;
Gold of obedience and incense of lowliness,
Bring and adore Him—the Lord is His Name.

Low at His feet lay Thy burden of carefulness,
High on His heart He will bear it for thee;
Comfort thy sorrows and answer thy prayerfulness,
Guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.

Fear not to enter His courts in the slenderness
Of the poor wealth thou wouldst reckon as thine;
Truth in its beauty, and love in its tenderness,
These are the offerings to lay on His shrine.

Pray:- These choices we bring then, in trembling and fearfulness, You will accept for the name that is dear. Mornings of joy give for evenings of tearfulness, trust for our trembling, and hope for our fear.

(John S. B. Monsell)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jan | 26 | The Christ of Chaos

Key Word:- CHANGE

Title:- The Christ of Chaos

Acts 2: 5,6 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “Every workman has a use for every object he makes. Much more has God; the thunder speaks of His terror, the lion is like His strength, the honey like His sweetness. They tell of Him, they give Him glory.”

Be assured that this sound we spoke of yesterday, concerning a rushing and mighty wind, not only filled the whole house with its noise, but the whole disciple as well! They were all filled with this SOUND and so when they opened their mouth they automatically breathed out this same gale of God, which now gushed from their mouths in a multitude of other languages, ‘blowing the hearers away!’ This ‘other sound’, was for the Glory of God, telling of His wonderful works and leaving many, oh so many, in utter confusion!

Now listen, these hearers weren’t confused in a “scratch your old head” kind of way. Nope. This word, confusion, is translated elsewhere as ‘UPROAR!’ It’s more akin to a riot! Listen to the same word again in Acts 21:31- ‘And as they went about to kill him, tidings came to the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.Uproar! See what I mean?

So really, the text is saying that when the gale of God blew, the sound of it gushing from the opened-mouthed, tongues speaking disciples, stirred up such a great storm, that “the multitude came together, and were in a riotous uproar!” Man! It was 'going down' there! The gale of God pouring out of the mouth of the proclaiming disciples, had stirred the whole area into a glorious tumult, driving the devout into delirious distraction and confounding and confusing, challenging and chasing, the ‘chatterazzi’ of the religious classes. It’s always the way! Hallelujah!

Pungent preaching, piercing praise, prophetic proclamation, will always result in but two things; RIOT or REVIVAL and in the beginning you know, it is often hard to tell which is which. God’s order is never to be seen set in rows of graveyard granite you know? No sir! God’s order, is imprinted on the pounding paws of the roaring lion of deep disruption.

It seems to me that our God of order may cause chaos amongst the ‘careful orders’ of religious sinners. Look! When Jesus strides through man made religion, He overturns tables, He whips backs, He kicks butts, and then lovingly lays hold of the leper! It’s all VERY EXCESSIVE isn’t it friends? It’s all very passionate! For, when Jesus weeps, He sobs, loud and long and openly over the lost. Jesus is a wild man, you see, carving up the hypocrite and then spitting in men’s eyes that they might see. Jesus confuses, Jesus confronts, Jesus confirms, convicts and converts! He reigns and runs, screaming His love, in both RIOT and REVIVAL.

MY WARNING FOR YOU ALL TODAY IS THIS! Please be aware that when you invite Jesus to your party, He never behaves Himself. (Thank God!)

Listen: - “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions and also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:…” Joel 2:28-30
Pray: - Oh Christ of chaos, today, come and overturn my neat set, soul-blocking, Holy Spirit quenching world. Amen and amen!


Jan | 26 | On My Finger and On My Thumb

Dream Word – BECOME

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. NKJV

On My Finger and On My Thumb

One of my good friends, founder and director of a multi-faceted missions organisation, has one long running project whose arms reach out to the street people of his own home city, remarked to me just lately regarding his concern over the increasing problem and rising percentage of former long term military veterans finding themselves homeless and living on the streets.

There are lots of reasons for homeless veterans but I am sure that one of them, is an inability to cope with life after being removed from an organisation with purpose, direction, value and most of all, from such a close comradely fellowship, that only people who have been in the armed forces can fully appreciate. As a former sailor, I testify that you never forget the feeling of being part of a very close unit. You rarely find such fellowship outside of the armed forces and so consequently, you do feel the loss of such closeness and unity most profoundly and always pine for its return. Without some semblance of this manly closeness being found elsewhere, often a black hole of depression and all its consequent ills, forms at the centre of an old soldiers being, which will eventually suck the life out of him and kill his capacity to hope and cope. Such was the fate of enlisted soldier ‘Voytek,’ of the Polish 2nd Army Corps, 22nd Transport Division, Artillery Supply Troops.

Voytek, having stood shoulder to shoulder with his comrades at the crucial battle of Monte Casino in Northern Italy, loading trucks with artillery shells while under heavy fire himself, was along with his unit, retired to Scotland after the 2nd World War. When the exiled Polish army was demobilised in 1947, Voytek, being Iranian by birth, found it difficult to find a home for himself. As his fellow soldiers disappeared one by one, the loss which Voytek felt was both profound and all consuming, for he pined away over all the lost camaraderie, remembering the marching together, the sleeping under canvas together, driving together, the fused purpose of being, the happy singing, the smokes around the late night fire, the beer, yes the beer and the accompanying drinking songs and of course, the wrestling. Yes, he was good at the wrestling, so good in fact, that he would sometimes take on four of his fellow soldiers at a time. He was rarely beaten then but my, how the mighty had fallen now, for the loneliness that fell upon Voytek after this loss of this fellowship, beat him badly and eventually left him behind bars in Edinburgh, a sulky and sullen old man of a bear, unwilling to venture out in the open for anyone, not even for the children who loved him and called regularly upon him.

Voytek had been with the Polish army since they had found him as a youngster, being carried in a sack along the roads and in the mountains of Hamadan, Northern Iran. His mother had been killed by hunters and he had been left to fend for himself, though frankly, he had not been doing so good a job of it. The story goes, that the Polish soldiers from the unit had purchased him out of a brown muslin sack, in exchange for a bar of chocolate, a tin of corned beef and a pocket penknife. Once in their company, Voytek was cuddled, loved, adopted and made such a full part of everything the unit did, that he was eventually enlisted! These soldiers treated Voytek like everyone else in the unit and more than anything, they left him feeling part of something, yes, he felt like part of a family! You see Voytek, the old WWII veteran, was in fact a 6ft, 500lb, Iranian brown bear who died alone and depressed in Edinburgh Zoo in 1963.

I was out at the pub with this same Mission Director friend of mine after discussing the homeless situation of veterans. A man sat at the table next to us eating alone. Once he had lubricated his social ineptness with a few beers, he began overtly seeking fellowship with others, waving madly at anyone who passed his table, smiling like a loon, laughing loudly and drawing attention to himself, trying to force a conversation, any conversation, to get an invitation into discussions and depth he could never truly be part of. I have seen this man many times, the nice but freaky bag man, employed as the collector of abandoned shopping trolleys at the local super market. The loneliness of mental illness is as deep and black as it is, long and sad. It was obvious that this man did not even have a memory of close comradely fellowship. He was a veteran of loneliness. Maybe that was a bitter blessing? Maybe not?

Are you lonely tonight? I am so sorry if you are. It is a most terrible position to be in and is in fact, a cosmic condition which we all share and often experience if we allow ourselves to approach the centre of our being. You are not alone in this experience my friend, you are not alone.

However, if you long for a closeness and a fellowship of body soul and spirit, that only a band of like-minded brothers or sisters can provide you with, then Christian, the community of saints is the only place this can possibly be cultivated to the depth we so longingly crave. Such communities are often not pretty, and they are very hard work as well but friends, and you are my friends, it’s all we’ve got, so help us God!

On the morrow then, let us begin this deep cultivation of the spirit ourselves, by becoming a true friend to a few, maybe not so good men in the community of saints, the church of Jesus Christ the Lord. For me thinks that far too many are dying of loneliness behind bars.

Listen: - A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 NKJV

Pray:- Lord, thank You for the circle of friends and level of friendship I enjoy. Help me to be a better friend, cultivating the heart and soul of others for their betterment and our mutual closeness. However Lord, please be that friend of mine, deeper than family, firmer than similar souls, stickier than superglue on my finger and on my thumb. In Your great name I ask it, amen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jan | 25 | The Gale of God

Key Word:- OBEY

Title:- The Gale of God

Acts 2: 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The tires screamed, yet left no rubber marks on the hot tarmac road. The kettle whistled, yet the waters were cold and whilst waiting for the Almighty, as Elijah covered his frightened face, and peered out of his dark cave of hiding, gazing upon the devastation that the earth, wind and fire had now laid before him, his concluding confession was that He, the LORD, did neither come in the blazing fire, nor in the crashing earthquake, nor in the thundering mighty wind! No, the arrival of Almighty God, came after all the cataclysmic commotion, in the form of a Voice, so very still and so very small. Do you hear it whispering still in your heart? The voice of God, do you hear it? Does its touching sound caress you like the gentle wind; does it tingle and chime in your inner ear? Are you even listening for its oh so quiet sound

Adam heard the SOUND of the Lord walking in the Garden. Do you hear the SOUND of Him walking in Your garden, singing His songs of Joy over you? Listen. Shhhh……No really, listen. Gentle, quiet, forceful, moving, powerful, still. Do you remember? If not then you had better just stop doing what ever you’re doing. Just shut up! Slow down a little, for God is heard in the quieter moments of our life, in the space between the madness of our daily drive and all our unsanctified rushing. Yes, God is heard especially in that quiet space between all the madness!

Jesus did not raise His voice in the street when He proclaimed His message, in the sense that it was not a raucous rabble-rousing call to repentance, yet here in our text, with the arrival of the Father’s promise, the Holy Spirit so charges into the material world and with a such a moving, mighty, SOUND, that He filled the whole house where the disciples were watching and waiting, with the SOUND of a storm force wind! Imagine that. What a gale blowing difference now appeared upon and in them!

Yet though the sound of a gale force wind filled the house from top to bottom, not a curtain was lifted in a breeze, not one hair was out of place on the waiting and praying disciples, hopeful little heads and no goose bumps appeared on cold cooled skin.Yet even so, the SOUND of a great and gushing gale announced the long awaited arrival of the Great and Magnificent Liberator. It was as if an eternal vacuum had now finally been filled; it was as if a vortex of promise had now pierced into the waiting, yes, had now pierced into the longing and poured His very presence, His infinite purity and His everlasting passion into the eternal and empty void of the inner man where God had once ruled, in the long, so very long ago.

Friends, here in our text for today, the King of Kings had finally come and reclaimed the painful pavillions of a pitiful people. Now the end had begun and had ushered in with it the start of a new beginning that will never end. All with the SOUND of a rushing mighty wind. Tell me, what have you been listening to today, looking for today? Remember that His power is seen in the effects of wind, but His voice is heard in its whisper.

Listen: - Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” 2 Samuel 5:23-24

Pray: - Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, amen!

Jan | 25 | The Ploughman's Poet

Dream Word – HAPPY

Proverbs 19:21 There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the Lord's counsel — that will stand. NKJV

The Ploughman’s Poet

Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire, poet, lyricist, Scotland’s most famous son, is tonight celebrated worldwide especially amongst the Scottish Diaspora, because tonight of course, is ‘Burns Night’ !

Without going into the ritual and content of a 'Burns Night' supper, which is co-centred around a Haggis and a speech made to the immortal memory of Rabbie Burns, let me cut to the end of the night, where the proceeding are closed with a favourite collection of some of the songs and poems of this most famous Ploughman’s Poet.

My favourite Burns poem is ‘Tae a Moose’ or better still maybe, ‘To a Mouse.’ This great poem is peppered with sadness, regret, remorse, tenderness and soulish association. The poem centres very simply, around the destruction of a mouse nest but in so doing, it most profoundly portrays the basic theme, that mere mortals of all sizes and souls, of all desires and drives, even though they make best their plans for the future, often the unexpected, unplanned for and often times disastrous, will come upon them. The last two stanzas read as follows:-

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me;
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects dreaer!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

One example of this poem's consistent influence is the fact that Nobel Prize winning author, John Steinbeck, changed the original title of his first ‘play-novelette’ to one of the lines of this poem and called it, ‘Of Mice and Men.’ Set in the American depression of the 1930’s this work, currently on the American Library Association's list at No4 in ‘The ‘Most Challenged Books of 21st Century,’ portrays in the most magnificent, moving, and yet depressive terms, that no man made plan is fool-proof and that no one, absolutely no one, can be completely prepared for the future. Yes indeed, knowing that ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,’ can indeed fill us with a great and debilitating fear concerning the future.

I am sure of one thing tonight, that fear concerning the future will rob us of the enjoyment of the present. It is ever and always an active decision of ours not to let that happen. Indeed, we cannot have true contentment without an enjoyment that leads to satisfaction. So according to our Lord Jesus, let us feast on the day we have been given, plan and prepare for the future as much as is right and profitable and then leave it all with God. Whatever that future might be, we must leave it with God.

As for me, well, my present stage on this personal journey of mine leaves tonight’s text filling me with a strange mixture of both confusion and peace. Never the less, this statement of God stands solid and secure: The Future is His! The Lord's good counsel toward me, yes, that will stand.

Listen: - Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 NKJV

Some hae meat and cannot eat.
Some cannot eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Rabbie Burns (The Selkirk Grace)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jan | 24 | Floating Fingers

Key Word:- CHANGE

Title:- Floating Fingers

Daniel 5:5 ….In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lamp stand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace;

Roman Emperor from 117AD, Publius Aelius Hadrianus, (AD 76-138), was born this day in Spain. Adopted by his relative the Emperor Trajan, whom he later succeeded, Hadrianus abandoned Trajan's conquests in Mesopotamia and adopted a defensive policy, which included the building of a ‘Great Wall’ across Britain. That Roman fortification called ‘Hadrian’s Wall’ was built to mark England's Northern boundary and was eventually abandoned about 383 A.D. Its ruins run 115 miles from Wallsend on the River Tyne to Maryport in West Cumbria. Archeologists tell us that in some parts, the wall was covered with a glistening, white coat of mortar. This magnificent coast to coast, line of defense against the Picts in the lowlands of Scotland lying directly to the North, has in fact now lay in ruins for over two thousand years. Its still there though. Imagine that!

Now, I wonder if these same floating fingers mentioned in the book of Daniel, wrote the very same words from the rest of our text for today at some other time maybe on Hadrian's brightly glistening and patiently plastered whitewashed walls? Those words of course were, “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin, You have been weighed in the balance and been found wanting!” If that is the case, then the Emperor Hadrian never saw them and like so many of us, was never even aware of them!

Individuals, communities, nations and all the empires of our day should take these words written by the floating fingers very seriously indeed, for as the then failing and fallen Romans once did, we sorry citizens of crumbling empires, also now both legally sanction and promote the most abominable of perversions. How then can the writing not be on the wall for us as well? Do you see it? Do you see the writing on our walls today? On your walls even?

Tell me, as our countries increasingly abandon their Judeo-Christian heritage and sanction the murder of so many unborn, so that the rising toll of dead from such a slaughter are themselves now so numerous, so vast, that they would themselves constitute a sizable and ever growing nation, tell me dear friends, how this last Sanctity of Life Sunday, we could have ever escaped the writing being forcibly scraped into the walls of our heritage, yes we, the mass murderers of so vast a nation of babies?

Don’t think we so called Christian nations are exempt from God's judgement. Don’t think because we have been used by God in the past that this will excuse our so present and terrible rebellion against Him. Make no mistake, even the ‘tools of God,’ be they individuals or nations, are not beyond His quick and most fierce, fires of raging anger.

The writing is on the wall for us and the longsuffering of God is quickly shortening. Individual and national repentance is our only hope. Let's teach it, preach it and proclaim it before it is all too late, for friends if you look, if you dare to stare at our whitewashed and glistening plaster, that runs both the length and breadth of our ruined nation, then you too will see that the writing of coming judgment, which is indeed blazoned large in burning fire and smoking like a gun, across our falling walls.

Listen: - ….if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Pray: - O Lord, to us belongs shame of face; to our Presidents, our Prime Ministers, our Princes, and our Fathers, belongs shame of face because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness. Though we have rebelled against You and You are justified in Your righteous anger, Oh God, please be merciful to us and turn our hearts to you once more. In Jesus name we pray, Amen. (from Daniel 9:8-9)

Jan | 24 | “Eimi Ho Eimie” - The Resolute Declaration of Self

Dream Word – CARE

1 Corinthians 15:9-1 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. NKJV

“Eimi Ho Eimie” - The Resolute Declaration of Self

We know from his writings that the apostle Paul, one born out of due time, a late birth delivery if you will, was almost always having to defend his destiny, his calling, his apostleship. Our text for tonight is the summary of one of those several defences he gave in his writings and the capstone of that summary, was that most marvellous statement:

“By the grace of God,” says Paul, “Eimi Ho Eimie – I am what I am”

I have on the whole heard this statement used in but one way by Christians and that has always been in terms of ‘Resignation!’ “Oh yes” we whimper, “ By the grace of God, I’m just a humble servant of the Lord, just a door keeper in the house of my God. Do you want sugar in your coffee?” The apostle Paul however, uses this term in sharp and pointed crashing wave-breaking ‘Resolution.’ “By the grace of God I AM an apostle, so get out my way Pumpkin, I’m a comin’ thru!”

There is, as always, a world of difference in the fruit of these two words ‘Resignation’ and ‘Resolution.’ If I might examine the roots of both of them in our hearts, I would say that ‘Resignation’ is rooted essentially in abandoned and dog beaten depression, whilst ‘Resolution’ is rooted in revealed and pursued, focused determination.
By the grace of God, Paul here is most resolutely declaring who he is by the grace of God, “Like it or not,” he says, “and many of you don’t, I AM AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST THE LORD!” Paul knew his calling, Paul knew both his commission and his destiny. Believing it and despite a multitude of overwhelming obstacles, he pursued the same with his whole being, his whole heart and his whole body soul and spirit. “Those other apostles, those you consider the more authentic ones, the real ones, well listen matey’s all” says the great apostle Paul, “I laboured more abundantly, more abundantly than them all!”

Let me ask you tonight? “By the grace of God who are you?” If you don’t know dear friend, then you had better find out and once you do, well every day, you too need to sharpen the point of your calling, your commission and your destiny, with the sharp and pointed resolution of the apostle Paul.

Listen: - Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. Luke 9:51-54 NKJV

Pray:- Lord of the church, Jesus Christ my Saviour, please come and show me Your calling and commission for my life. Glimpse to me my destiny and then pour in to me, the strongest spirit of resolution, in your great name I pray, amen.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jan | 23 | Soapy-Sudded Folk

Key Word:- RESCUE

Title:- Soapy-Sudded Folk

Acts 2:24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

As for my wife and me, well both of our mothers died in the night. Death was painful for them and for those who watched them struggle in their passing, yet Jesus was there. Because of His great victory over death, that king of terrors and the shepherd of all men, Jesus was able to lovingly wash them clean in grace and make their departing spirits as shiny and slippery as soft soaped flesh and thus, because of Him, the pains of death though so very evident, did not never the less, hold them fast. We can take great comfort in this and say with the poet:

“And in our late evening
When it is time for us to go, at last
To lift the anchor of our past
To fill our sails with one last, great, breath,
And cross the waiting Loch of death
And slip toward the open sea
The vastness of eternity
That waits to view our bobbing bow
Break forth on Love’s horizon now”

Jesus has made us a slippy kind of people from the great grip of physical death and so to some frightened friends, may I say that through that deep water, we shall all finally pass and most securely cross. Yes, from the mundane and sometimes awful but passing trials of this day, we soapy folk shall always find a slippy way of escape. Be assured that the more death squeezes us, the more we shall be like a firm bar of freshly unwrapped soap, clasped tightly in the hand of a desperately dirty and sour smelling, showering man! For the more death so desperately squeezes us, the quicker we shall slip and pop his grip, flying up to heaven into the waiting hands of Jesus.So, in all these things we can say indeed that we are more than conquerors because Jesus is with us, His soapy-sudded washed people, and even now, He is also waiting for us all, with warm towels and clean sheets on love’s great horizon.

Listen:- So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 1 Cor 15:54-55 

Pray:- Conquering King, deliver me please from the fear of death, for I believe that I shall not be embraced by the king of terrors and the shepherd of all men but by You, the King of Kings, the Great and Good Shepherd of the sheep of Your pasture. This I know. This I now believe. Amen.


Jan | 23 | Of Changing Chains To Liquorice

Dream WordHOPE

Exodus 14:19-20 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. NKJV

Of Changing Chains To Liquorice

God, like some great war General, had given very specific instructions to these fleeing slaves about precisely where they would pitch their camp. The positioning of that place looked like nothing short of stupidity. Moses, known at court, known for being a trained and practised military leader amongst the Egyptians, would have looked like a foolish old man to this Pharaoh for the leader of Israel had obviously been confused by the landscape and had inadvertently led the fleeing and frantic, fledgling of a nation into a giant and inescapable killing zone. On the morrow, Egypt would cut them to pieces.

Egypt did not realize that Moses was not the leader! No, God was Israel’s leader and God Himself had instructed precisely where Israel should position themselves. It was God who had in fact laid a trap for Egypt and the killing zone, yet to be revealed, was to bring them on in such a way that in the end, they would utterly disappear from before the face of Israel forever. Those that Israel saw and worried about that day, they would after tomorrow, see no more. Forever!
Now, this fiery pillar, this viewing war chariot of the Most High God, moved from the front of the Israelite ranks to their rear. What happened that night, the very picture of that position of God, is instructive to us concerning the setting of hearts by God. You see, the position of this cloud set the Egyptians heart forever hard and kept the Israelite hearts, quivering in softness. Even though the hard hearts of Egypt were resolute, determined, courageous cruel and confident, and the soft hearts of Israel were in panic, disarray and quivering in cowardly custard yellow, it was they who were in His light!

You see, once Pharaoh had made the choice to thoroughly come against God, the Lord changes His position. This change is done during the night, even at the beginning of the night. The change takes place when all appears lost to those who earnestly look for their salvation. This change of position, separates forever the enemies of God from the friends of God. This positioning maintains a cold dark night over the hearts of the hardened, yet provides a strange light, even an eerie warmth and comfort to quiverers and shiverers who never the less are about to cross into the Promised Land. Our text tonight points very clearly to a God arranged separation between darkness and light and once the die is cast, God Himself appears to maintain that darkness on the one and the soft light on the other. Forever!

It is important to see that the end of the courageously resolute, determinedly cruel and confident bullies of hard-hearted darkness, was total devastation and utter destruction. They were like many fallen angels kept in the darkness of their hearts in chains of hardness until the appointed time of judgement and destruction. We all know many on the earth tonight, which are kept in exactly the same way. May God have mercy upon them and shine His light once more.

We must pray for a new enlightenment to shine in the hearts of the hardened. We must ask for a rising softening and a marvellous melting that will change into a running river of sweet and milky chocolate within them. Until that time, until the heart is softened and changed, until the chains of hardness are softened to liquorice black, every word and every work toward them, is to no avail at all. So then, our prayers must be focused and centred around the fortress of their heart, and pleading on their behalf for the light of God to shine once more. If not, then they like Pharaoh’s army shall be lost beneath the waves of judgement. Forever.

Listen: - Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads," says the Lord God. Ezekiel 11:19-21 NKJV
Pray:- Relent Lord. As you did with us, so do with them whose hard and unchanged hearts sadden and make heavy our way. Relent Lord and be gracious to them, as You were to us. Yes, smile upon them and soften their chains to melted liquorice black, yes, set Your blazing Son in their dark dungeon O Lord and bring them from their dreadful night, into Your glorious day, in His great redemptive name we pray, amen