Monday, April 30, 2012

Apr | 30 | Lousy Anna or Louisianna?

Key Word:- BELIEVE

Title:- Lousy Anna or Louisianna?

Isaiah 55:1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price........."

When God made me, I was born with what my father often referred to as, ‘Duck's Disease’. In other words, my backside was very close to the ground or, to put it another way, I’m not very tall! Subsequently, over the years I have learnt when looking for clothes, that if they fit my distinct proportions of person and pocket, then it’s best to buy two of them right that very minute, as in the long run it will save both time and money.

There was once an indiscriminate woman of purchase, who always spent too much for things that were worth far less. Anna was her name and her infamous fiscal failings led to many items which she purchased to be found in the end, of no real value whatsoever. These purchases and one large one in particular, have lately been referred to as “The Lousy Anna Purchase”.

Today in 1803, U.S. envoys agreed to pay $11,250,000 together with assumed claims of its citizens against France in the amount of $3,750,000, to purchase what was then known as, ‘The Louisiana Territory.’ It appears Napoleon Bonaparte needed money for, shall we say, other endeavors more pressing at home. So, young America acquired 828,000 acres of Louisiana Territory for the bargain price of less than three cents an acre. In the end, thirteen States would be carved from this vast piece of land. Friends, it would appear that it’s good to know when to sell, but when it’s time to buy, then buy,buy, buy! What a fantastic Louisianna purchase that was!

What do you do though, when a bargain comes around and you don’t have the money to buy it?

Well, you either sell what you have to raise the necessary capital, or borrow the money from some kind of a lender. Either way, speedy purchases can be a bit of a gamble and often times, quick sales are like buying a ‘pig in a poke.’ Imagine then an offer to purchase and consequently an offer to own, something vast and immeasurably valuable that will in fact only cost you but one thing to buy. Yes, what if the cost of such a fantastic purchase was quite simply, just thirst!

Imagine as well that this treasure you purchase with your thirst, exceeds in beauty, magnitude, return, desirability, expanse, depth, colour, height, length, breadth, fragrance, climate, consideration, welcome and wonder! Indeed, it exceeds all that you can possibly imagine or think! That would be some kind of bargain wouldn’t it? Indeed, you would be a fool not to obtain such a satisfying commodity!

So then friends, tell me today, why are you so quickly spending your hard earned money on that which does not satisfy, on that which passes away? Get thirsty, then get GOD and all the promises that go with Him!

Listen: - listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you even the sure mercies of David Isaiah 55:2-3

Pray: - Lord, make me so thirsty that I will have enough to buy all I can from You. Lord give me Your eternal currency and then come satisfy my thirsty soul! Help me make some fantastic Louisiana purchase today, instead of my many 'lousy Anna' ones! Amen and amen!

Apr | 30 | The Cotillion Of Smelly Corpses & Cleaned Up Cadavers

Dream Word – BE

Numbers 9:6 Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; NKJV

The Cotillion Of Smelly Corpses & Cleaned Up Cadavers

One afternoon whilst walking up from Brighton Beach I found an old cadaver washed up at my feet. Not a corpse mind you, not an abandoned dead body poked and pecked at by the silk white seagulls, but a well laid out old Cadaver. It’s yellowed, Glutaraldehyde stained, sandstone skin, bore the marks of its long preservation and through the barred gates of this old church building the sign read “St Andrews is no longer used for regular worship. Rather than see this beautiful Grade 1 Listed building permanently locked, the Friends are raising money for facilities in the Church, so that it may be used all year round by the community.” I noted that the friendly community consisted of the ‘Brighton & Hove (actually) Gay Men’s Chorus’ and that they would be performing in this very place of present consecration once again this May during the cities annual arts festival. The dead body smelt bad.

As Benjamin Disraeli is purported to have said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics!” Never the less, one consistent trend of church statistics in the United Kingdom, especially since the 1970's, has been the massive decline in church attendance. Excepting of course for the Pentecostal movement and some newer Evangelical churches where attendance is rising, the over-all trend is down, down and drop down dead down. Whilst the Church of England has had the amazing flexibility of being able to pound the nails into its own coffin whilst still smiling nicely and drinking lots of tea, the Baptists and the Methodists, jealous of the ignored thirty nine articled, bald headed funeral dirge, have had to let their own buildings out as carpet warehouses and Mosques. Don’t get upset, don’t get angry at me, for I am speaking statistically of course and therefore with intense, numerical hyperbole. After all, it can’t be true can it? Even if the Brighton and Hove Gay Men’s Choir are dancing with the cadaver of an old dead church, keeping it open as a quaint and queer look at a once rich Christian history now long since past, surely all these statistics regarding the death of Christ again, surely they just can’t be true?

In the U.S.A. a ‘Cotillion’ is the name of a place one attends to learn manners, and proper social behaviour in the context of dance. However, the Cotillion, this original French country dance, evolved into Royal Courtship dances and from there spawned everything that was complicated and relational in dancing, from the quadrille to the good old square dance. In the United Kingdom, this same guilty and complicated courtship dance is seen more often than not when Christians themselves start dancing with dead churches rather than leaving them. Yes, it has been my observance that it is a particularly British state of mentality to dance with dead church corpses in an attempt to bring them back to life again, and frankly, it is a particularly grotesque kind of guilt ridden desperate dance, very ungainly and quite soul destroying. It’s disgusting really isn’t it? “So then,” I ask myself, “Instead of all the desperate dancing and writhing guilt at the inability to bring the corpse back to life, why not just get out and leave that smelly old dead thing? Why not just let it disintegrate? After all, if it’s got a nice face, then I can assure you that there will be more than enough clown-face undertakers ready to turn the corpse into a dancing gay cadaver.” For the church in the West to thrive we need revival and revival begins when we choose life over death! Don’t feel guilty about doing the leaving.

To assuage some of our very British and unnecessary guilt may I suggest to some of you, that such persistent association with corpse’s has left you unclean and thoroughly unable and unqualified to celebrate! Despite the seeming negativity of our text for tonight, God gave his former unclean, corpse dancing people a full month to get clean and then they were allowed to celebrate the ‘Little Passover.’ which occurred just one month after the other famed and much missed official community event. In the same way, I tell you, that some of you have already wasted too much of your time dancing with the dead and in the so doing, you have missed the larger celebration of the main Passover. Yet even now, God has allowed you the possibility of participating in a little celebration before you too die. So, to shepherds and sheep alike may I suggest that maybe it’s time to leave the dead well alone and come and get clean? Come and choose life. Brethren, let the wild dancing begin! Be free from the shackles and smell of death. Let me say it: "Leave that dead church."

Listen: - And Moses said to them, "Stand still, that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you." Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the Lord's Passover. On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Numbers 9:8-11 NKJV.

Pray:- Lord, open my mind to understanding and let not the dead triumph, for my eyes have grown dim with grief, yes my whole insides have become but a shadow. I am appalled at this yet I remember, that those with clean hands will grow stronger. So Lord, help me let go of the both guilt and the smiling dead and then at the last, to be enabled to lay hold of life. In Jesus name I ask it, amen.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apr | 29 | Kindergarten Cop


Title:- Kindergarten Cop

Isaiah 1:2 “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;
My wife was once taking care of twenty young people of 3 - 4 years of age. Sometimes, in the evening, when she arrived home with that glazed look in her eyes, I was prompted to ask, “And how were the little angels today?” It’s a tin opener type of question and the smell of the answers informed me of just how the next hour or so might play out, whilst the baggage of the day was discarded. Usually I found this question led to three responses.

Response No1:- “They were horrible!” = They were whiney, noisy, and naughty. Solution = Two hot cups of tea and 30 minutes sat in front of ‘Judge Judy,’ just to assure her that yes indeed, there are people in the world far more crazier than she feels she is at the moment.

Response No2:- “Awful!” = She’s got a headache, is longing for the weekend and wants to sleep right now! Solution = three hot cups of tea, two Ibuprofen and chocolate, all to be applied immediately. Holding hands and being hugged profusely to follow.

Response No3:- Silence and shaking head. = This meant they were demonic! She had already written her resignation letter and all firearms needed to be hidden. No amount of tea, sugar, pills, or “Judge Judy” would justify the insane decision of taking care of twenty children,seven hours a day for pitiful wages. Vasectomy was to be discussed in any future pre-marital counselling I may be giving. It was time for me to leave the building.

Just like us, we have found that children carry sin. It is a constant effort to teach them to do good and to pray for them in the face of their consistant rebellion, that they would choose life and love. It’s hard being a parent for when our children do not respond to our loving and careful pleadings and prayers, the self-condemnation we face can be crushing, the unspoken suspicion from other parents can be cutting and the absence of ‘good results’ from applied Biblical principles can be confusing. However, to my fellow and often troubled parents, will you hear today the voice of the Lord, who still is the best parent in the world:

Listen: - The ox knows its owner, And the donkey its master's crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.” Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward. 

Pray:-Lord, please forgive us our sin, and the sins of our children and please keep leading us all, in the Way everlasting, in Jesus name we ask it, amen.


Apr | 29 | The Best of Evangelism and Not The Beast

Dream Word – CONSIDER

1 Thessalonians 1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. KJV 

The Best of Evangelism and Not The Beast.

Brian Andreas is the inventor of ‘Story People.’ These ‘Story People’ are mixed media objects which he makes using salvaged wood, which in turn have written upon them, a very short and declarative story which muses on both moment and memory. I collect his stuff and frankly, I think the man is a genius, for he has the capacity to pour the gathered effulgence of a very large story, into very small genie bottles, the size of which never exceeds one or two sentences.

After Andreas moved to Californian he was asked in an interview how he felt about the move there? His reply was most telling on a number of levels. He actually said, “I think the best way to answer this is with a story: when I was growing up in Chicago, we went to a church that had missionaries who'd come back once a year from Fiji and give talks. I remember one of them saying it was very hard work telling people they were going to lose their everlasting souls if they didn't shape up. I pictured people sitting on the beach listening to this sweaty man all dressed in black telling them they were going to burn in hell and them thinking this was good fun, these scary stories this guy was telling them and afterwards, they'd all go home and eat mango and fish and they'd play Monopoly and laugh and laugh and they'd go to bed and wake up the next day and do it all again. I feel like one of the people on the beach who actually believed the guy in black for a while, but now I've had mango and fish and I'm back to feeling the sun on my face and the warm wind on my skin and tonight I'm going to go to sleep and tomorrow I'm going to wake up and do it all again. It feels like I'm home. "

It says a lot doesn’t it?
Yesterday I listened to a Christian gastronome in his early seventies, who was giving his views on the Christian’s approach to the pleasure which is eating! He said that “He believed in all Christian’s enjoying great sex, great music, and great food.” In other words, he believed in Christian hedonism, that is, the full enjoyment of pleasure for the glory of God. I like that. Who wouldn’t? Life is in relationship and when we thoroughly engage in relationship through these often sacramental activities of sex, music, and food, then life is experienced, met with, tasted, touched, tumbled about and trembled over. In other words, through relationship engaged enjoyment, we participate in story. When we do that, we are in ‘real life,’ and it is there where we find God and His story.

Jesus! Look at Him. See Him eating and drinking, laughing and loving, weeping and wailing. Yes in each and every way, The Way Himself engages life in real relationship and in so doing, engages life in all its fullness, thereby revealing Himself as life in all His fullness. Jesus not only communicated the Gospel with stories but engaged in other peoples stories, thus revealing Himself to be that greater story of which they are part and parcel! Indeed, we are all story people. We are all people with a story. Living the realities of our Christian story well, will invite others to participate in the Way in which we live and the direction in which we travel. I tell you the truth, there is no more authentic means of evangelism than this, for ‘Story People’ telling Stories, is the best of Evangelism and not the beast.

Listen: - “There is another reason for the appropriateness of story as a major means of bringing us God’s Word. Story just doesn’t tell us something and leave it there, it invites our participation. A good strory teller gathers us into the story. We feel the emotions, get caught up in the drama, identify with the characters, see the nooks and crannies of life that we had overlooked, realize that there is more to this business of being human than we had yet explored. If the story teller is good, doors and windows open. (Peterson -‘Eat This Book’)

Father, thank you that Your story is not for the escapist, but rather for the indulgent. Indulge me then O Lord, in Jesus name I ask it, amen!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Apr | 28 | Touching God

Key Word:- TRUST

Title:- Touching God  

Matthew 9:21 “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”

Researchers say that in Asia the growing popularity of communications technologies, is providing a way for many people to express their faith? From the daily deliveries of lunar almanacs, to electronic reminders telling you it's time to pray, as well as which direction to face when doing so, it's obvious that religion, social relationships and science, are all fitting together quite nicely in the technology of the 21st Century. Indeed, if you were to go to the website of the Hindu Temple of Kentucky, then you would be able to participate in ‘virtual Poojah.’ Just click on the screen, connect to your chosen deity and up pops its image (even musically animated) and away you go, twisting on that old jar of poo! Just bow down to your screen, burn your incense and offer up that bunch of bananas in your worship of prayer and sacrifice.
Nice and sincere people welcomed me into that same temple, when I was investigating the Hindu religion of some 300 million gods. I assume, that only the top ranking deities were there that particular morning in Kentucky, as over each shrine, in Arial bold type, were some very specific instructions:


It would appear in most religions that top ranking deities can never be touched! There was no indication about what the temporal or eternal consequences would be if I reached out and clasped the man made image perched on its shelf in Kentucky, but the command was loud and clear, “Hands off!”

I remember as a young Catholic, in innocent fun, reaching into my mouth and pretending to touch the host after my First Communion. Older kids who saw me do it, blackmailed me for quite a few weeks after that, forcing me to give them both candy and money, saying they would 'tell on me' for touching God if I didn't meet their demands. Oh no! Now of course, I wouldn’t dream of touching any of these particular Hindu deities, it’s a dangerous game touching a God! Good grief even the Uzza incident in 1 Chronicles Chapter 13, leaves me shocked and fearful every time I read it. If touching wafers and picking at painted plaster can get you into so much trouble, then who of us can reach out, even in dire desperation, reach out and actually touch God and not be killed with His holy and righteous indignation?
Well the magnificent truth for us all today is, that any of us can now in fact reach out and touch God! After all, God clothed Himself in flesh, and we all know that flesh is for touching. Neither technology nor religion must become a veil of fear between us and the living God. Our God touches and can be touched, and every trembling finger of faith that lays hold of Jesus, is most richly rewarded. God is at your elbow friends, reach out and find Him there! Reach out and touch Him!

Listen: - And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:26-28

“Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour. Matt 9:22

Pray:-From the dust O God, my reaching hand trembles at Your lovely feet. Forgiving Father, feel my feeble faith and touch me in return, in Jesus name I ask it, amen!

Apr | 28 | A Stir of Echoes

Dream WordREAL

Genesis 27:22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." NKJV

A Stir of Echoes

You will forgive me but not only do I enjoy country music, I enjoy science fiction writing as well! I think I enjoy sci-fi and especially watching it, because it gives my mind a few open doors to consider the world to come. When it comes to visual space science fiction then, surely ‘Star Trek’ is the daddy of them all?

It was in the film ‘Star Trek Nemesis,’ that the bald but Shakespearean Captain of the ‘Big E,’ The Star Ship Enterprise, Jean Luc Piccard, comes face to face with the character of ‘Shinzon,’ Piccard’s very own cloned but very bitter and evil self. Piccard, like all good Star ship Captains mind you, on meeting the younger evil mirror image of himself encourages Shinzon to aspire to be better than he is but true to form, like every other black, leather coated baddie, Shinzon refuses to aspire but rather assures Picard that it is he who will expire, indeed, in I think a most remarkable little phrase, Shinzon spits at poor old Jean Luc, is when he says that:-

“He’s about to see the echo triumph over the voice.”

The older men get, the less they delight in looking into mirrors. Indeed, most men rarely look themselves in their own eyes even when they are forced to gaze into the looking glass. They will look everywhere around their face, but find staring into the windows of their own soul, often a most disturbing, accusing, sad and condemning thing to do. Even so, God the good, in His great design made sure that the rapid growth of facial hair in forms of beards, and as we get older, nasal hair and the dreaded omni-brow and even rogue curly firework like eyelashes, will all need our daily attention. If I am correct, then it is God through the growth of weird facial hair that requires men to take an increasingly longer look at themselves most every single day, the more older that they get! I think this is important for us, lest our echo should have victory over our voice. Indeed, to counter the power of my own echoes, each morning, unlike Nivea man, I force myself to stare into my mirror, then way beyond it, through my pupils and deep into the windows of my own soul, first greeting what I see and then proclaiming these three things:

“Robert, do not be your echo, for your echo is merely an aspect, a poorer image of who you truly are. It is an holograph and even if it is strong or weak, it is at best, but a warped reflection of who you truly are. Today, do not let the echo have the victory over the voice.

Robert, do not make peace with your present voice, for even at its truest resonance, it too is but a mere echo of that which shall be proclaimed and be itself proclaiming, in all the ages yet to come.

Robert, today in the midst of false reflections, and the realities of those true, yet presently poorly formed reflections, do remember, that they are both seen and heard through the darker looking glass of being this side of the grave. Do not be misled by echoes, neither let them have any victory over the ‘voice becoming.’”

Now, some morning of course I don’t feel so poetic and often shorten this three-fold declaration to sets of three simple words, such as, “Let it go!” Or, “Stop Kidding yourself!” Or simply, “Grow up man!” You might think I’m a bit mad but I tell you to try it! Indeed, try anything, to stop those echoes getting victory over the voice.

Listen: - "Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness. And the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; you only heard a voice. Deuteronomy 4:11-13 NKJV

Pray:- Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. (Psalms 130:2 NKJV)


Friday, April 27, 2012

Apr | 27 | Dot Dot Dot, Dash Dash Dash, Dot Dot Dot

Key Word:- OBEY

Title:- Dot Dot Dot, Dash Dash Dash, Dot Dot Dot

Daniel 4:2 I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. KJV.
Son of a Pastor, Samuel F.B. Morse, was born today in 1791. A graduate of Yale, he never the less dismayed his parents when he became an artist and left America to further his artistic studies in England. Previously at Yale, he had always been fascinated by the latest studies in electricity and so had some understanding of a conversation he overheard on board ship, when eventually returning to the USA. Somehow, this overheard conversation about the newly discovered electro-magnets, formed in Morse’s mind the idea of the ‘telegraph’. It wasn’t of course a new idea, except to him! For the next ten years, he worked on this project.

On his own, in 1843, without significant help from his by then, very discouraged partners, Morse finally secured funds from Congress to construct the first telegraph line in the U. S., which ran from from Baltimore to Washington D.C. By May 1844, the first inter-city electromagnetic telegraph line in the world was ready. From the Capitol Building in Washington, Morse sent the first formal message on the line to Baltimore, a message that showed his own sense of wonder that God had chosen him to reveal one use of electricity to man. The message he sent was, “What Hath God Wrought!”
Credit where credit is due on Morse’s fine choice of words, for discoveries are just that, discoveries of what God has already done! Our inventions are merely the products of material provided by God, together with a mind to construct them and even a spirit to conceive them. All three are the provision of the good and Almighty God!
Friends, it would do us good today, to turn our hearts heavenward and give thanks for the wonders that God has wrought in us, through us, by us, and for us and for the possibilities of what are yet to come!

Listen:-Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:16-18

Pray: - Thank you O Lord for Your great goodness toward me. Now O Lord, in light of Your immanent return, my Lord Jesus please help me dig up my talents, so long buried in the ground and put them to good eternal and most glorious Kingdom use. Amen!

Apr | 27 | The Clang of Symbols

Dream Word – SEE

Revelation 17:3-6 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marvelled with great amazement. NKJV

The Clang of Symbols

No, today’s title is not a spelling mistake! Rather, let it be known that symbols communicate. Yes, symbols make a sound, they inculcate a message, they congregate peoples, they educate the masses, they articulate core values, they rally the disorderly, and once they are most fully embraced, symbols define directions and ultimately rule over those people they fly over. Why do you think that after WWII and the defeat of the Nazis, every effort was made to completely remove any symbolic representation of the black, jack boot which was placed over most of old Europe then? Because it had residual and unifying power. Indeed, it is still an illegal and punishable act for the swastika to be displayed in present day Germany or Austria. Yes symbols are powerful. I think we can say these three things then concerning symbols:

Firstly,  that the creation of symbols have declarative power.

Secondly, that the emplacement of symbols have immense practical power.

Thirdly, that the application of symbols give rule.

As I write this 'Whisper', Schiller’s ‘Ode To Joy,’ it’s sentiment of unity and brotherly love so marvellously illuminated by Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, has now become the official anthem of the European union. The blue-skied background and twelve golden- starred banner has become its official flag, and the Euro, its official currency. Latin is being moved to become its official language of ‘unification, ’ its symbolic motto and tag line being ‘In Varietate Concordia – ‘United in Diversity.’ The Revived Roman Empire is now festooned with symbols of declarative power. The systems that now form under these flapping symbols arm the union with practical power and move the whole to a ruling stance. Yes Europa, robed in priestly colours, sits now ever stronger, astride her scarlet beast. These symbols speak loudly to those with uncorked ears. Are you listening?

Undoubtedly you have symbols in your life, which of those then, at least to some extent, maybe dictate, direct and rule over you? The British Pound and the American Dollar despite their maybe current frailty, still rule over many of you tonight. Pierre Cardin and Givenchy still rule over many more maybe. Mercedes and Jaguar, PhD’s and Six Golden Rings together with a multitude of other symbols, which might include even the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack, rule over many millions more.

Examine the ruling symbols of your life. If they are contrary to the symbols of God, then I tell you, you need to get yourself out from under them and raise some new and Godly symbols of your own. Yes, symbols are powerful. I think we can say these three things then concerning symbols: Firstly,  that the creation of symbols have declarative power. Secondly,  that the emplacement of symbols have immense practical power. Thirdly, that the application of symbols give rule. What symbols rule in your life tonight?

Listen: - I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets." (Hosea 12:10 NKJV)

Pray:- Lord, brand me with the symbols of Your love, yes, come fly them over my life and also place Your white streaked bark before my almond peering eyes and anoint them with the symbols of the stripped poplar of your unstoppable blessing, in Jesus name I ask it, amen.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Apr | 26 | Acquiring The Accent

Key Word:- CONNECT

Title:- Acquiring The Accent

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled.

Not so very long ago, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, if one wanted to get on in broadcasting, then one had to speak the Queen’s English in a very proper, polite and monotone kind of way, don’t you know. Indeed, once upon a time speaking this way seemed to be the only real sign of good breeding and good schooling. “Jolly good, old chap!” Now of course, the more of a regional accent you have, the more you might be heard! Regional accents today have “street cred” you see, because it’s seemingly more authentic, less pompous, more PC, don’t you know. My, how times have changed. “Rather!”

My own origins in the Midlands of the United Kingdom, make my accent very regional indeed, even common, that is in the lower, poorer, less educated understanding of the word ‘common’ of course. You can imagine then how wonderful it is for such a commoner to have lived in the South of the U.S.A. and find it hilarious, that the accent of such a commoner is regarded there with real enchantement, endearment and appreciation. If only they knew!

The early apostles were ‘perceived’, that is seen to be, uneducated and untrained men. I want to suggest to you it was because they were Galileans and you could hear it in their voice, in their accent and after all that’s said and done, everyone knew that ‘nothing good ever came from Galilee!’

These poor uneducated men that looked the part, walked the part and sounded the part of goofy Galileans, did on the surface, seem to be living proof of that very same discriminating saying! Yet these regional renegades caused the authorities to marvel, even to be astonished in wonderful admiration at how they handled themselves and spoke with such authority. It would appear that these Galilean scum, had acquired a new and overriding spiritual accent. Thankfully it is a new and universal overriding accent and all who hear it, give testimony to its power, its loveliness, its veracity and its desirability and like so many accents, it is best acquired by spending a lot of time around the person speaking it.

Friend, just who are you spending most of your time with? It’s going to tell in the way you speak don't you know? "Rather".

Listen:- ……they marvelled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13-14

Pray:- O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. Psalms 51:15. NKJV.

Apr | 26 | God The Grave Digger

Dream Word – FEAR

Nahum 1:14 The Lord has given a command concerning you: "Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved image and the molded image. I will dig your grave, For you are vile." NKJV.

God The Grave Digger

The prophet Jonah had previously been mightily, if not reluctantly, used by God to preach repentance and grace to that great city of Ninevah. The Ninevite’s response to Jonah’s reluctant proclamations then had been to repent and to accept God’s goodness and thus, God’s falling feet of judgement pounding their way toward them, had then happily been turned away. Now however, the prophet Nahum in effect says that, “Now Ninevah shall fall!” God is returning to Ninevah once more and this time, He has a shovel in His hand and the word on His very angry lips is “I’m gonna bury you!” What on earth had happened here?

Do remember that a peoples past repentance does not guarantee a present grace. Repentance must be continually lived in for mercy to ever flow. There is a lesson here for individuals and for nations, for the lions of the earth and their blood-lines, can always be finally done away with. For good! For when God brings His shovel and digs for the much warned yet unrepentant a pit, then the earth He heaps upon them shall cover them forever and the wind will blow away every remnant of their once proud existence. For example, I remember when all my maps of the world at school were mostly covered with pink, indicating the breadth, depth and spread of the once great British Empire. Selah.

There are two marked contrasts about God presented to us in this book of Nahum and the fact that God is the God of the whole earth and that all nations are therefore accountable to both Him and His laws is the basis of this reactive contrast.

First if we as nations obey God and seek to follow Him and honour Him then this attitude and action will assure for the obedient nation concerned, both peace and prosperity; on the other hand, disobedience to His purpose and disregard of His rule and laws, will bring catastrophe to that nation and on its heals a most terrible judgement. Do you see the reactive contrast? To the nation seeking to obey Him, God is a rock and a refuge, a God of goodness carrying a basket of goodies. However, to the nation that disobeys Him and in the so doing “does the dirty” on those seeking to follow Him, then He a jealous avenger, clothed from top to tail in the black suit of the undertaker, striding angrily across the mountains of doom, carrying a shovel across His judgemental shoulders. This is a terrible but simple picture and calls forth the choice of both individual and national obedience or disobedience, of life or death, even from every generation that sees it!

I look at our falling nations of the West, least not this isle of mine, and believe we are in the time of the prophet Nahum, but Oh my God! I long for the time of Jonah the prophet to come again once more and even now I still sniff the air in prayerful hope, to try and smell the vomit of the whale upon our darkened streets once more and see a stomach acid stained white prophet rise from the puked up mess and preach repentance to us once again. Though all our fishing grounds are empty, maybe God has a few of His own great fish still hidden in His deeps? Maybe these will carry some reluctant prophets to come to these beleaguered shores once more and preach righteousness, sin, coming judgement and repentance in Jesus to us again. I hope so. I pray so. Maybe some of you should do so.

Listen:- Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:6-10 NKJV

Pray:- Lord help us all by sending Jonah's to our shores once more. Amen!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Apr | 25 | Fighting Talk

Key Word:- ASK

Title:- Fighting Talk

Exodus 17:12,13 …Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Little if nothing is archeologically known of the Amelakites today. However, the Bible tells us that these are the people who blocked the path of the escaping Israelites from the tyranny of Pharaoh when they were going to the promised land; these are the people who attacked the stragglers, the tired and the weary on their way to the Holy Land; these are the people who hindered and hardened the way into the land flowing with milk and honey. It’s not unreasonable then, to view the Amalekites as a symbol for every evil and hatred against the redemption of God’s people. Maybe we need to remember that? Indeed, God says in Deuteronomy 25:19, “Remember the Amalekites, blot them out of history, and don’t forget what they did to you.” I tell you, in this same Deuteronomic destructive way, we too must remember the Amelakites!

Any person or group of people journeying towards Zion, journeying towards all the promises of God which are ‘yes and let it be done’ in Christ Jesus, well it is these people who are on the Highway of Holiness and journeying towards God’s promised land. Let it be known today then, that on this highway, you shall meet the fiercest of foes, even the destroyer himself. More than anything though you shall meet the raiding, restricting and resentful Amalekites.

Now friends this is where we have to get real. Holiness and the pursuance of God and His promises, God and His city, God and His land, does not mean the presence of peace! ‘Au contraire mes amies,’ it means the most definite practice of war! Following hard after God you see, causes a disturbance in the heavenlies.

• Did you not know that such marching disturbances, even such miniscule movement towards the practice of holiness and the power of spiritual authority is like a giant ‘blip on the enemy’s radar’ and causes them to come screaming and screeching to check you out and even chuck you out!
• Didn’t you know that when the enemy loses ground to you, he counter attacks?
• Didn’t you know that when the enemy loses people from his kingdom, he terrorizes those involved in the rescue?

Meditative, smirking, monastic montages of true Christianity do not need armor my friends but true walkers of the Way will need it on them, every single day, I say, every single day! Get real for goodness sake! Go, get tooled up!
The powerful weapon of choice to be used against the Amelakites is that of “all prayer”. This “broad sword” of “all prayer” is tiring to use, especially when the battle is long, even all the day and our hearts get weary watching the advance and retreat of battle, waiting and watching, looking and longing for the final breakthrough. Even mighty Moses would not have prevailed in prayer without the help of Aaron and Hur, both at his right and at his left, lifting up his hands and I tell you, it is the same with you. Wielding the weapon of all prayer is very hard indeed! Get help now.

Are the Amelakites on you today? Then you must SHOUT for help! Sound the alarm, ring the number, send the prayer letter, get the friends, bang out that email, beg the prayers, and get the people of God around you lifting you up, so that you can fight in prayer, after all that is what prayer is isn’t it? Fighting talk?

Listen: - praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Ephesians 6:18

Pray: - HELP LORD! Send me some help to hold up my faltering and falling hands today, in Jesus name I pray, amen & amen!

Apr | 25 | The Whirling Dervish of Sunny Delight

Dream Word – HAPPY

James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, NIV

The Whirling Dervish of Sunny Delight

After a call from a good friend for some immediate support and prayer, Matilda, having put her own four young children finally to bed, is pleased to see Jocelyn arrive at her door bearing gifts of wine and chocolates. After putting the kettle on and grabbing a nice cup of tea, they sit down together. Matilda, weary and just a little bleary-eyed, is now faced with a very concerned and frightfully angry friend, sitting fidgeting in fury on the couch just across from her.

“So, he’s finally left you then dear? I’m so sorry. How are all the kids coping? What are you going to do about your part-time job, about the mortgage, the car payments? Good grief Matilda! The scumbag! She’s half his age for goodness sake! Did you know this affair was going on? I know how much you loved him, I mean, how could he have done this to you all? I’m sorry sweetie, I’m just so angry and I’ve not even asked you what’s your take on it all? Do you think he might come back? What do you think about it all my poor, sweet, long suffering beautiful, little friend?”

“Well hon, quite frankly, I consider it a bottle full of bright yellow sunshine delight! Yes, I consider it all joy! You know how grouchy I can get with the children, and of course, my poor hubby Marlon, bless him, well he must have been feeling it so much, poor man. Which is why I think he ran away with his busty young secretary. No, really, this whole situation will give me ample opportunity to learn to be more patient. More patient in waiting for him to come back, more patient with Marlon Junior, especially as his wheelchair still keeps scraping the new paint on the walls. I’ve hated that! No, it’s all good, for I can be more patient with our mechanic, after all he has to make a living as well, and four visits in the past week to keep that pile of junk on the road, well, I’m sure it’s been worth it. No, for me to learn patience in these trying circumstances is such a joy Jocelyn. Hey! What are you doing girl, where are you going?”

“Well sweetie, I’m just ringing the doctor. I think you’re in shock. I don’t think you’re quite in your right mind. I think you need to help, some pills, just for a little while maybe, a bit of counselling, not too much mind, just enough to get you back on a level playing field. ‘Hello Doctor… just a second...’ Matilda, get the corkscrew sweetie, it’s in the kitchen, third draw down? Got it? Good. Now pour yourself a drink and grab a few caramels for yourself. Just stick ‘em in your gob and start chewing and drinking and I shall be back in a mo! ‘Yes hello, doctor, I’m ringing about my friend, Matilda Maniac, yes, well I’m afraid she’s lost it!’”

Pure Joy. Not mixed with grief, not marred by even a speck of lack of faith, not even a smidgen of doubt, not one little dash of anger, no, I'm talking about PURE JOY. Yes, consider your trials, then add them up to appear at the bottom of your spreadsheet as quite simply, PURE JOY!

Now frankly, I find this particular Bible verse to be a most stupid and outrageous, grossly offensive and mad little statement I have ever heard! Yet two important things can be dragged screaming from such Jamie madness.

Firstly, not that there may be troubles ahead, no, but rather, there will be troubles ahead. Various and vicious temptations of every kind, each with a barbed design to make you deny both God and His goodness, will come upon you with a vengeance. Arm yourself therefore. Be prepared then. For, if you think that becoming a Christian is designed to make your life easier, then you are in for a shock! No, in terms of all the troubles and trials common to mankind, then we are most definitely not the sheltered select nor the protected elect! Troubles will come upon you.

So secondly, when we come across such trials, when they are quite literally thrown and strewn across our way like fallen timber across a railroad track, we should not be surprised! Grieve, of course! Get grouchy, go kick a few trees and even break a few glasses, but save one of them mind you, because for your survival and your victory, nay, even for your redemption and the redemption of others, at some point, you will have to go and pour yourself a large glass of Sunny Delight! Yes, you will at some point, have to count it all joy, for it is very often so very true, that “outlook determines outcome, and in consequence then, attitude most definitely determines action and then just for good measure, it is also our personal values which determine our evaluation.”

Brethren, I think it quite mad to evaluate the most terrible trials as joy. However, Christianity does often appear to be a stark staring wild madness, which dances in the face of brutal reality, a whirling Dervish of happy hope smiling through tears in the face of terrible temptations. Oh yes it does! It would appear then that we Christians have a choice to make when faced with terrible trials. True discipleship will always teach us to face this fact and then make room for such a seemingly maniacal choosing of joy. So, in the face of such terrible trials, which will most surely come upon you, tell me, what will you choose?

Listen: - Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV.

Pray:- Lord, I read these verses and I think, “You have got to be kidding me!” I tell You Father, I don’t like them! Yet nevertheless, there they are. Help me then with my judgement, with my faith accounting especially. Then O Lord, help me to crack open that Sunny Delight and start gulping down the goodness. Lord, let the wild dance of redemption begin, even in the face of crowding calamities. In Jesus name I pray, amen!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Apr | 24 | A Simple Summary of all Forms and Formats


Title:- A Simple Summary of all Forms and Formats

Ecclesiastes 12:12 Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

The very first books purchased for the American Library of Congress were from London. $5000 of available funds were used to buy a collection of 740 volumes and just three maps. Today, over 200 years since its foundation, the vast holding of the Library now number well over 110 million items and continues to grow daily.

Being around just a little longer of course, the British Library has over 150 million items and reports that 3 millions items are added to its shelves annually, their shelves increasing in length by 12km per year. Now that's Amazing! Someone has estimated that if you were to attempt to read a book a day in the British library and from its existing inventory only mind you, that it would take you well over 400,000 years to get through them!

With the arrival of the digital era and the now widespread self-publishing, it has brought with it, the increase of books in every form and format is frankly even now, enormous! Indeed, the making of so many books is now so prolific, that I wonder if soon and very soon, we are going to be living in the library!

In this busy age we live in, with easy access to this vast amount of information, it's important to have a service that picks out the best of the best and neatly summarizes them for us. These very useful services are growing each day. In this regard however, once again, may I say that God was way ahead of everyone else!

You see, many centuries ago God employed a researcher and supplied him with all the resources necessary both materially, intellectually and spiritually to investigate the meaning of life and the purpose of the existence of humanity, under this hot and not so happy sun. Solomon’s years of investigation and experimentation, proved a useful journal of instruction and explanation, and thank God, just for us busy people, Solomon provided us with a summary of his findings, the best and most accurate of all the available information. Here it is:-

Listen: -
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man's all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Pray: - Lord, help me to live rightly, daily, nightly, in the whole conclusion of this great matter. Help me to fear You and keep all Your commandments, in Jesus name I pray, amen.

Apr | 24 | Bringing Back Folks From The Dead

Dream Word – RESCUE

Hebrews 13:20-21 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. NIV

Bringing Back Folks From The Dead

The Chief end of man is indeed the glory of God. However, if I were to sum up the expressed glory of God in creation, that aspect of glory which reveals His heart, His desire, His ultimate plan, power and purpose, then it would be this, it would be resurrection! I would say that the stripped down Core of Christianity is indeed, most expressed in the action of resurrection.

Yes, resurrection is not just theological theory, no, this is what Christianity is all about! This is at the heart of it all! Redemptive transformation through resurrection. In terms of this body, the curse which came upon us all at Adam’s fall, daily works itself out in an unremitting wear and tear kind of wearing out, resulting at last, in the ultimate breakdown of the body, the end of which is the separation of soul and spirit from what is left of this over ripe, rotten and wrinkly, burnt out now old shrunken hulk. The best of glory is never found in stinking rotten fruit! Hence the absolute necessity of the resurrection of the ever fresh!

Redemptive transformation through resurrection, is God’s design plan to produce beautifully perfected, smooth and majestically proportioned creatures which would reveal His heart, His desire, His ultimate plan, power and purpose! Our redemptive Captain in all of this, our forerunner, our great first sent one, the second and last Adam to the fight, our Apostle in resurrection, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who, by the shedding of His own infinite and eternal most innocent blood on behalf of all those cursed in the first Adam, was brought back from the dead by the power of the Father. Our Father God, by this same power, through the shed blood of Jesus His son and our Saviour, is bringing, and will bring us back from the dead along with Him. This offer of resurrected eternal life is a one time deal folks and only offered this side of the grave, so come and get it whilst it’s hot!

I am often asked “What do you do?” My response is almost always “Oh, I am a Spiritual Entrepreneur.” The quizzical reply is usually, “Really? How fascinating and what does that entail?”

I reply in explanation, “Its a family business really and I suppose it’s all about renewal you know? But really I suppose, I’m just helping my Dad bring back people from the dead.”

Christian, do not underestimate the great work which God has called you to. In all your service and in all your prayers especially, remember that it is a resurrection ministry that you are part and partner of.

Listen: - And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying,"A great prophet has risen up among us"; and,"God has visited His people." Luke 7:12-17 NKJV.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Apr | 23 | Wonky At Work


Title:- Wonky At Work

Romans 5:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations,

My wife had made some cakes which had filled the house with that homely sweet smell that made you hungry and happy all at the same time! I was there when she bought the mixture that she intended to bake at school for some of the young ones she was taking care of, so why was she cooking them here? For me? “Oh,” she says, “I couldn’t cook them for the kids yesterday, because the oven was ‘wonky at work.’” That made me smile! Of course, you all know what you call a three-legged donkey? ……A Wonkey!

It’s a funny old thing that being like Christ in our present Christian culture is translated as being, ‘as near perfect as you possibly can be.’ If you are a leader or even if you’re simply, ‘mature in the faith,’ then you are definitely not allowed to have problems. If you do, then please keep them to yourself, thank you very much!

I can understand the often heard, but rarely seen, frantic brush of broken pieces under the carpet, for the church has had some terrible examples of leadership and the world has rightly laughed us to scorn. Such bad leadership has embarrassed Jesus and put Him to open shame. However, my proposition is this: We have the tendency to set ourselves up for a fall, for who after all, is sufficient to rightly represent Jesus in His perfections by being perfect in themselves? Maybe it might do us all a lot of good to remember that we are all a little, ‘Wonky at Work.’

Jesus has a cunning plan in enticing sinners to His love and grace. He takes His glory, His forgiveness, His very presence and places them in pots of clay. That’s us folks, just pots of clay and the truth about us, is that we are all cracked pots! These flaws, these cracks of various dimensions depth and proportion are there in each one of us, so let’s just face it, because it’s just farcical to hide it. We are all cracked pots. The wonder of this though, is that the Glory of Christ Himself, shines out of the cracks! Could there be anything more enticing to other cracked pots, but to see shining glory pouring out of the flaws of other, but redeemed, cracked pots?

Imagine today being approached by a fellow Christian who asks, “Hey how are you?” If you replied, “Well I’m feeling hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down,” I am pretty sure you would enter into some diagnostic discourse that would lead to pastoral counsel, after all, you’d be concerned about your fellow believer wouldn’t you? However, maybe we shouldn’t be, maybe we should just shout “GLORY!” and even “GLORY HALLELUJAH!” After all, maybe we are all a little ‘wonky at work’ for a Divine purpose? Yes, Paul’s personal testimony is most instructive.

Listen: - Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size — abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become .(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 )

Pray: - Father, let me not settle in my sin but never the less be able to glory in Your GIGANTIC grace toward me in Jesus Christ, the Lord of cracked pots, amen and amen!

Apr | 23 | The Garage of The Joy Wagon

Dream WordHAPPY

1 Chronicles 16:26,27 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place. KJV

The Garage of The Joy Wagon

Our text for tonight talks about a special place. It is in fact the open face of God, it is in fact the very presence of God and it is in this very presence of God that we shall find two most valuable and interlocking gifts, which lie like coupled golden rings on the black felt of a box of midnight blue. I am of course talking about Strength and Joy.

It was Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, who by 1939 had 'streamed' over 25 million of its own people through its tourism, travel and vacation programme. The crowning joy of this peoples programme, this Volks programme, was of course the possibility for each German to acquire the ultimate people's car, or as we have known it now for so long, the Volks-wagon.

Interestingly, the name of the whole umbrella program was called ‘Kraft durch Freude,’ or simply KdF, which, when translated into English means quite literally, “Strength through Joy!” So, the concept of this powerful linkage of Joy and Strength was evident even in an increasingly totalitarian regime. The thought of the Third Reich in the implementation of its 'Strength through Joy' programme was quite simple, in that, rested people are happy people; happy people are strong people and we need strong people, with strong nerves to get us through the changes which are to come. For sure, The Nazis found some truth, some sustenance, some joy and some strength in this programme, for they took their nation from being on the canvas of a post First World War Europe, to being the ferociously strong and heavily armed beast which would plunge Europe once again into World War!

Now, I am all for a good holiday, for relaxed bodies and minds to better navigate the difficult waters of life and neither would I refuse any Joy and Gladness and recuperative strength that comes through it! However, our text for tonight and it’s very own and singular partner verse in Nehemiah 8:10c are not talking about that kind of strength and joy! No, this special couplet is not found in good vacations, in sleep or enjoyment, and no, it’s not even found in the promise of material blessing, even the material blessing of a Volks-Wagon for everyone!

This particular couplet of courage, for what is courage but the coupling of strength and joy, comes only from the face of God, comes only from being in the presence of Him who made the heavens. When you stand in the triune but singular ring of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rings of glory, rings of honour, strength and joy shall be found to the real treasure of the you, the divine Olympiad, for there is a permanent and supernatural strength and joy that in Olympian terms, simply supersedes whatever temporary ‘knock offs’ seem to be on offer down here.

When war demanded the production capacity of the Volks-Wagon factory and its product, despite all the payments made by those hundreds of thousands of Germans, no one really got their nice new ‘strength and joy wagon.’

Tell you what, if you want to be certain of a good ride in a great Joy Wagon, you need to know where it is permanently garaged for you cannot have the ‘The Joy of the Lord’ without first having the ‘The Lord of the Joy.’ You cannot have ‘The Strength of the Lord’ without having 'The Lord of Strength!’
Jesus has the Keys of both death and hell around His waist and I wonder if he keeps a spare set of keys to His joy wagon, hidden in His right hand pocket?

Listen: - You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11 NKJV.

Pray:- Teach me Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ my Lord, how to abide in Your presence. Oh and Dad! Can I borrow ‘The Joy Wagon’ keys tonight? I can! Thanks!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Apr | 22 | Filthy Love

Key Word:- TRUST

Title:- Filthy Love

1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it;

Fagin’s philosophy sounds so very true. “In this life one thing counts, in the bank, large amounts!” After all, if you are unhappy with your face or body? Money will fix it. Do you need a place to live? Money will fix it. Do you need transportation, debt alleviation, a large building for a growing congregation, need to pacify a small roguish nation or buy a nice cut jewel for her celebration? Well money will fix it, ‘cause money fixes most things friends! Oh yes it does!

We all know it’s money that makes this world go around and not love. Prestige, respect, safeties of all sorts in the many forms of medical insurance, life insurance and retirement benefits and well, you name it, are all provided by money. So get money and remember, if you’re overflowing with all that lovely green stuff and don’t know what to do with it, then may I quote Fagin once more? “Robin Hood, what a crook! Gave away, what he took. Charity's fine, subscribe to mine….”

Actually, money is great; it brings a certain freedom with it. Ask any arts group and they shall tell you how money from patrons and sponsors releases them to perform. After all, without philanthropic patrons, the rest of the country would not be able to get to the stock exchange for falling over starving artists dying in droves on all the pavements and sidewalks of our cities! Ahhhh money, don’t you just love it? Such a key to the opening of locked doors, such freedom, such supply, such happiness that comes with having money.  

I like the look of lucre, don’t you? Of course you do. Money does have a strange power doesn’t it? For though I have God living in my heart, yet I know that I am a different man, a better man, more at peace and more assured, when I have a few hundred dollars in my back pocket and you know, that concerns me greatly, for oh, the peace that money brings me and oh the plastic pompousness that comes from having some money in my own back pocket! Even the power of His Golden presence seems to be enhanced when couched in green. Scary stuff! Spiritually speaking, maybe we would be better off without it?

There is however, no godliness in poverty just as there is no evil in riches. However, let's face it, the seeming freedom and safety and open doors and power that money brings with it does give money an exceptionally strong magnetic pull. Who hasn’t felt it? Yet as gravity warps light, so the love of money and the attractive danger of that kind of fiscal freedom, that kind of financial fortressing of our earthly futures, both distorts our view of eternity and bends us away from trust in the Father. On many occasions Jesus saw money’s binding power on those possessed by it, and His loving direction to those imprisoned by their wealth or desire for it was simple, “Give it up, give it away!”

In such demanding proclamation, it seems to me that Jesus showed us not only the giant bastion of unbelief, but the all possessing fortress of great possessions, in both pictures of camels and eyes of needles.Tell me friends, how many green humps are you riding on today?

Listen:- For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 
1 Timothy 6:9-10

Pray:- Oh my Father, I am tempted not to trust in You and in Your goodness. In the building of my wooden barns, the laying down of the hay my future and the storing up of all my stubble, I fear I am but building for myself simply a big and burning bonfire to warm my hands on both now and in my latter days. Please forgive me O Lord, and help me to put my hope in You for Oh my Father, I am tempted not to trust in You and in Your goodness towards me, Your little child. Amen

Apr | 22 | Sinister Sinners and Shining Sons

Dream Word – CONTINUE

1 Thessalonians 2:11 you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, NKJV

Sinister Sinners and Shining Sons

In recent years, the word ‘Martyr’ and the idea of ‘Martyrdom’ has taken on a most sinister connotation. Rather than being a word which evokes the lifestyle of undeniable selflessness for the glory of God and sacrifice for the sake of others, even and especially in the face of grossly unjust suffering, it now evokes images of mass murder, wanton carnage, legless torsos, headless corpses, of blast damages instead of blessed messages.

Our text for tonight is drawn out of First Thessalonians which teaches Christians to wait in patience for the coming of the Lord and to wait with clean noses, quiet personas and productive lives knowing that suffering is assigned to the watching and waiting saint.

In our text for tonight, it is interesting to note Paul’s metaphor of personal discipleship here, for while building on the metaphor of a nurse towards her charges, he turns quickly to that of a father towards his children. The childless Paul, took his own instruction here most probably from the observation of other fathers as well as his own Heavenly Father, whom he saw exhorting, comforting and charging their children.

As a father to his own dear spiritual children, Paul exhorted the Thessalonians. Literally, he beseeched them and this is nothing short of desperate pleading! When a parent gets to this point in the proceedings, it’s an end game scenario. If pleading doesn’t work, the wind of parental disappointment will blow, shaking the quivering leaves of already bent over trees into frantic frustration. To be sure, a spanking is sure to follow. Yet the apostle Paul here says, part of his discipleship process was to plead! How very humbling for a parent to do this, yet Paul pleaded with them as part of his discipleship process. It worked!

As a father to his own dear children, Paul comforted the Thessalonians. He consoled them, he literally got alongside them, put his arm around their shuddering shoulders and said, “So you fell off your bike then? There, there, there, it’s alright darling, you’ll do better next time. Now get yourself up, let’s dust you down and then let’s try it again.” Yes, the apostle Paul says here that part of his discipleship process was to exhort! It’s a bit baby-ish really isn’t it? It’s all a bit namby-pamby! Yet Paul exhorted them in this way as part of his discipleship process. It worked!

As a father to his own dear children, Paul charged the Thessalonians. The root of the Greek word he uses here is from where we get the word ‘Martyr.’ Paul witnessed to them in self sacrificing terms, how, in being a witness to the truth, they must suffer for righteousness sake in this present world. The end of this charge of true martyrdom is very pointed here, and it is this, “WALK WORTHY!” That is, walk appropriately, walk fittingly, walk rightly as a child of God, indeed, walks as a child who is called into the Kingdom of the most Glorious God! It is as though Paul says, “O.K. enough! Stop your whining! This is who you are, you are Royalty. You must expect and accept both the privileges and the challenges of being a son of the King. Now, blow your nose, stop your blubbering, stand up straight and no matter what happens, honour the king.” Yes, the apostle Paul says here that part of his discipleship process was to charge them in the way of Royal Martyrdom! It’s a bit scary, its more than a bit demanding, yet Paul charged them to walk worthy in this way. It worked!

You too must make disciples. You shall have those folk who you have helped birth into the Kingdom or have others who being been birthed by others are then put into your charge, your spiritual directorship, your life formation class, your personal discipleship programme. Do not think I am talking about clergy here or paid church staff, or an organized church programme with books and dollars and loads of frills. No I am talking about YOU, the very same person he commanded to go and MAKE DISCIPLES. When you are doing this folks, you are engaged in real Kingdom ministry and when you are doing this, though you mightn’t be referred to as ‘Father’ never the less act like one! Act like a Father, act like a godly mother would toward her dear children whom she is moulding into independent man or womanhood. Yes, in all matters relating to making disciples, if you let ‘Tender Love’ be your guide, ‘Release’ be your watchword and ‘Growth’ be your motto, for then you shall go a long, long way to producing shining sons! This is the true way of Martyrdom.

Listen: -By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16-17 NKJV.

Pray:- Lord, may the wise spirit of parental gentleness rest upon all my dealings with the younger members of the Kingdom, no matter how old they are, that the crop produced, may be a sea of shining stars. Amen.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Apr | 21 | Careful now! Even Aces Make Mistakes


Title:- Careful now! Even Aces Make Mistakes

2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

The end of the war was only months off by this time and the German Air Command faced both ever-improving British airplanes and their own dwindling numbers. The German forces now held fewer aces in thier hand. Manfred von Richthofen, alias the ‘Red Baron,’ was shot down today in 1918.

The thrill of the hunt was all but gone for Baron von Richthofen, as most of his peers had already been killed and his own wounds agonized him. Though the German air doctrine he himself wrote stated that, “one should never obstinately stay with an opponent which, through bad shooting or skilful turning, he has been unable to shoot down while the battle lasts until it is far on the other side,” he nonetheless chased his British quarry far deeper into enemy territory and far lower to the ground, than his own common sense should have permitted. British ‘Pilot Officer May’ later said that it was only his erratic and untrained piloting which saved him. Richthofen followed the erratic path of this novice pilot until a single bullet, shot from behind him, passed diagonally through his chest. He crashed and burned.

After an astonishing 80 kills himself, he was dispatched by a single bullet, either from a gunner on the ground or a chasing Canadian pilot coming to the British pilot’s aid. A single bullet and the brightly coloured red tri-plane of the Red Baron disappeared forever.

Not following his own doctrine led ultimately to his own destruction. Remember that.
(As a side note, you might be interested to know that the new commander of Richthofen's squadron chose to paint his plane completely white. A good colour you would think to replace the flamboyant and flaunting red of the dead Fighter Ace? The new commander’s name was Hermann Göring. A most infamous Nazi who would rise to be head of the Luftwaffe. At the Nuremburg trials, he poisoned himself the night before his execution for crimes against humanity.)

Listen:- You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 2 Peter 3:17

Pray: - Lord, help me to hold fast my confession without wavering. The day is long, and I am tired. Come to my aid O Lord my God, Amen.