Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feb | 29 | Living for Three Days

Key Word:- BECOME

Title:-Living for Three Days

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content

The only time this word ‘content’ is found in the New Testament, is right here. Essentially and spiritually, it means to be ‘independent of external circumstances.’ This description strikes me as coming from an Eastern mindset, you know, accepting your Karma, being at peace with where the curious Cosmos has placed you? However, Paul doesn’t mean that! Paul was rooted in both the Hebrew Scriptures and in New Testament reality. He knew both his calling and the details of that calling. Listen: - “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake.” (Acts 9:16), and again, “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.” (Acts 20:23).

Paul, like his Master, was a man of three days and content with the product of his pursuance. Listen again to Jesus responding to a death threat from Herod delivered from the lips of the not so friendly Pharisees: - “Go, tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” Luke 13:32. No, Christian contentment is not to passively accept your so called Karma but to passionately pursue your purpose over three set days!

The first day to pursue is 'today'. Today is the day of salvation, the point where time touches eternity; it’s where we find sufficient grace and strength to meet all our needs. We must all learn to live and love in the 'now.'

The second day we are to pursue is tomorrow. I take ‘tomorrow’, not to be necessarily a day, but maybe also to be the length and purpose of our calling. We need to trust that the Grace we have experienced today shall also be available tomorrow for the whole length and purpose of our calling. Prayerfully plan, and prepare for what we expect to be doing tomorrow.

The third ‘day’ to passionately pursue is eternity. The day of our reward, the day we shall be free at last, bathing in total contentment, and utter fulfillment.

So friends, there you have it! Just live three days ahead. Live for today, prepare for tomorrow, and plan on being with Jesus forever and ever Amen!

Listen: - Nonetheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; ….. Luke 13:33 

Pray: - Lord, help me to passionately run my race this day, and so successfully finish Your course laid out for me. Amen and amen!

Feb | 28 | Checking Out Those Dusty Bottles

Key Word:- CHANGE

Title:- Checking Out Those Dusty Bottles

Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

We may be well into the movable season of Lent by now and I remember growing up, attending Roman Catholic schools and being tutored under the watchful eyes of the Jesuits. In particular, I well remember the preparations made for the 40 days of lent.

In those days of my youth and long, long before this purely man-made tradition would be a time of austerity and serious contemplation prior to the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord. Ash Wednesday would mark the ‘kick off’ of these religious proceedings and the Tuesday before, would traditionally be a day of sincere shriving. Yes, I said SHRIVING!

Shriving is an archaic word referring to the confessing of sins to a priest, thereby receiving both freedom from guilt and the gift of reconciliation. This particular Tuesday, or Shriving Tuesday or rather, Shrove Tuesday as it became known, would have been a day of confession, repentance and forgiveness. In my house however and in the houses of most modern Catholics and Protestants in the United Kingdom, it was a day for pigging-out on pancakes!

In the not so long ago, like so many other poorer households in the West, the giving up of food for Lent would have meant a waste of precious perishable and expensive goods. To that end, the larder may have been cleared for Lent, but nothing was wasted, no sir, everything was eaten and much of it was rolled and served in lightly battered parcels which we now call pancakes. What with all the abundant eating of Shrove Tuesday it then very quickly then became known as ‘Fat Tuesday’ and the literal French translation of ‘Fat Tuesday’ is in fact, ‘Mardi Gras.’ How interesting, that a time of repentance and reconciliation should so subtly be turned into a raucous party!

Sin always seeks to spend itself and before it is finally extinguished, and like a dying firework in its final moments, it will consume itself and all who pass within its fiery perimeter, will be burnt up with it, in its own self-indulgent madness. Mardi Gras, in the present bankrupt and previously flood water levelled city of New Orleans, pictures the world, like a red nose drunk, pedal to the metal, just one last time, before he drives into the waiting school children on the corner. Or paints the world in oils, sitting on an old leather lounger, leaning back with open and disdainfull legs, reconciled to death like a stage four cancer patient, sucking deep on his last cigarette before the final piece of lung is coughed up in his smoky sputum. Or like a pox-faced whore, pimped to the devil, syphilicticly deceived, still thinking she’s beautiful and so still trying to sell her wares on the brink of destruction, just one last time before her all indulgent legs are closed forever. Sin, you see, is a gigantic and greedy, self-undulgent, self-consuming madness.
When we as Christians look at the state our advanced civilizations, you would in my opinion, have to be on an astonishing amount of anti-depressants, not to tremble in fear at the obvious fact, that God is giving us up to our own sins and all their gross consequences. Whilst clothing ourselves with painted costumes, rather than repentant righteousness, nationally, we have sold our souls for a handful of plastic beads and continue to jiggle our teats before the dead but golden calf of self-indulgence. It’s all scary stuff friends, but what is more disconcerting is the absence of any current and loud prophetic voice, announcing impending doom on such once blessed nations that now so blatantly shake their fists against God Most High!

The controversy of our age, is not found so much in wars, racism, poverty, perverse political agendas or even in genocide. No, the controversy of the age is found in our hard hearts towards the long, long-suffering, good and gracious God. A long lie is being perpetuated along these Western shores, that God is at work saving people. However, let me ask you this today, “If indeed so many people are becoming Christians in the West, then where do we go, to even get a sniff of its impact on our culture? Where is the change?” There is none and so like I say, there is long lie being perpetuated among us..

It is obvious that there is no real change, no real response of repentence and our beloved nation’s present answer to so consistent and merciful a chastisement, to all the certain and clear signs of a coming calamity, that seems to draw nearer with every sunrise, has been to simply continue to dance upon the breaches. To party on and party on. We the church in our own diminishing little way, are joining in this same devilish delusion of safety, and are even perpetuating it with pitiful little picnic’s in the park and big days out in the countryside, painting faces, finding space to ‘worship’ and of course, buying as much Chisrian ‘tut’ as we can cart away with us, especially music tut. Yes, especially music ‘tut’.

We in the church must remember that snake oil never did cure any nation of its scourges and its ills. It never did and it never will. So, as we tout our so called spiritual wares, let’s take the time to wipe the dust off the bottle and take a little longer look at just what it is we are selling, because whatever it is, it’s just not working!

Listen: - “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NKJV

Pray: Lord, we Your people humble ourselves and pray. We call for the healing of our land, and Your merciful provision of those from among us who shall be called ‘The re-builders of the old waste places, the repairers of the breach and the restorers of streets to dwell in.’ In Jesus mighty name we pray, amen.

Feb | 28 | Trading For The Transjordan

Dream WordBECOME

Deuteronomy 3:19 But your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall stay in your cities which I have given you.

Trading For The Transjordan

The tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh were cattlemen with lots of cattle. I mean herd upon herd of moo-cowing cattle, I mean, good grief Batman! They had more cattle between them than the Ponderosa ranch could ever cope with. Now, this penchant for collecting cows, was aided and abetted by the fact the land they were presently loitering in, the land on the wrong side of Jordan, was in fact the best of the best of land for cattle. In terms of product and possession, they were exactly where they needed to be, especially since they had cleared out the last of the giants, and his bedstead!
The bravest of these tribesmen approached Moses with a trading proposition, which simply said, “Let us stay here, let us settle here and store our wives and cattle right here, then we shall go over the Jordan with our brethren, fully armed into the promised land and fight alongside them until they get their posssesion. "
Now I say they were brave men and they were, for Moses had already seen a whole generation fall in the desert over the last forty years and knew that their tottering heart of frail belief had previously been far too easily toppled into unbelief, causing a curse from an angry God to fall upon the congregation. Moses was well aware of the need for strong hearts and would not put up with anyone who might weaken into a cursing, all the corporate heart of Israel. Yes, Moses took some convincing and the Transjordan took some trading, but eventually their wish was granted to them.

Here in our text, after forty years the promised land is open for the people of God to possess, or rather should I say, the people of God are now open to possessing the promised land given to them! Now God is reminding the settled 2 ½ cattlemen tribes of their commitment to go and fight and in the reminding, makes mention of the foundation of their initial main bargaining chip! It’s quite funny really, for I think God is saying “Let’s not go over your bargaining position again, please! I know, YOU HAVE A LOT OF CATTLE! OY VEY! O.K. I get it, it has been agreed, now please don’t go on about it! "Now apart from this verse giving me a giggle tonight, there are three very important things to remember here:-

Firstly, that these 2 ½ tribes were not condemned in their choice of land possession. It wasn’t what was originally on offer, but they wanted it, had legitimate reason for wanting it, asked for it, bargained for it and got it! God did not condemn them for this.

Secondly, that other land had been allocated to other descendents of Abraham, for example, even the descendants of Lot had spiritual titles that resulted in material possession; this was non-negotiable. However, this former land of the giants, this good cattle-land, was spiritually speaking, ‘up for grabs’ and grab it they did.

Thirdly, that there is some play in the promises of God. I don’t know if this was the best choice for the 2 ½ tribes, or if it was a better choice for themselves than God’s initial choice? However, I do know their bargaining chip of having much cattle, was legitimate, well used in the bargaining banter and well remembered by God Himself!

Tonight, maybe you also have some legitimate reasons to ask God for something that was not initially promised to you and maybe it is up for grabs? If so, then maybe it is time to get to the bargaining table of God and start presuming on His ears? Who knows, you might just get what you ask for, and it could be a very good thing indeed!

Listen: - Then the Lord said to me, 'Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.'" Deuteronomy 2:9 NKJV

Pray:- Lord, deliver me from unholy pragmatism. However Lord, when two and two make four, help me to be wise enough and brave enough, to make You a most considerate, settlement offer. Yes Lord, help me not settle for less, but help me to know the best, in Jesus name I pray, amen!

Feb | 29 | Coming Out From Behind The Coward's Castle

Dream WordFIGHT

Acts 17:17-18 Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" NKJV

Coming Out From Behind The Coward's Castle

I was watching an old Video of that great Yorkshire giant, Leonard Ravenhill. He was recounting a story which took place in the early 20th Century on the streets of his home city of Leeds in England, where an atheist was verbally accosting church attendees, laughing and shouting and scorning them with words like “Why are you going to hear a man speaking from behind a coward’s castle, a pulpit, you can’t talk to him or challenge him, come and listen to me!....”

In one church where I once pastored, each month we held a ‘Shoot the Preacher Session,’ where I set myself up as a target, having to give an account of my previous month's teaching. That meant answering questions, clarifying positions, and putting some concrete down the side of some post-holes previously dug but obviously not dug deep enough! This is a good practice for the church and for the teachers of the church for no one should be allowed to be six feet above contradiction.Nobody should be allowed to turn the pulpit into a coward’s castle.

There a few notable exceptions in some churches today, where some selected questions are answered by some of the teachers. Sometimes this is done publicly, sometimes this is done over the internet. I think this is most commendable. However, in the vast majority of churches this does not happen and where it does, it's still not good enough! Nobody should be allowed to turn the pulpit into a coward’s castle.

In the past, I have boxed badly at an amateur level and I have gone on to be an A.B.A. coach in the sporting field of boxing. I have spent too many hours pounding a bag, pummelling pads or even beating the air. It’s all important stuff for the boxer in training, but it pails into insignificance against actual ring work. Getting into a ring, especially a ring in another club and sparring round after round, going toe to toe with boxers of differing styles and abilities, is really the only way to vastly improve on your own game. Nobody should be allowed to turn the pulpit into a coward’s castle.

It is the same in teaching and in preaching. You need to be able to stand toe to toe and give a reason for the hope that is within you. Whitefield and Wesley did it regularly, they had to do it, because they regularly boxed in someone else’s ring, and it usually was on enemy ground.

I am afraid we still have far too many Cissies in Cowards’ Castles around our land and some of you tonight may well have adopted their most pitiful style.

Friend, it’s time to take the Gospel into the market place again. This means you need to be prepared, and no, I am NOT talking about seminary. If there is any place on the planet, that will advocate the making and placing of Cissies into Cowardly Castles today then God help us, it is our Seminaries, which major on the subtleties of good churchmanship rather than pungent preaching and jaw-cracking punches. Nobody should be allowed to turn the pulpit into a coward’s castle, especially not Seminary professors.

The only way to get prepared, is to go and seek out the fighting journeymen of times gone by. Make them your mentors. Even if they are dead and with the Lord, make them your mentors still. Listen to them, mark their methods, take it and bring it with all prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit into your generation and into your day. Travel far to be with such men and if you can, go a few rounds with them yourself if you dare! I tell you what, at a previous church, our monthly preachers get together was called ‘Fight Club’ for nobody should be allowed to turn the pulpit into a coward’s castle.

I have a pair of old leather boxing gloves hanging in my study. They are dirty, stink of old spit, sweat and testosterone and are spattered with old blood. They are my gloves and it’s my blood that is on them. They are a testimony to me of all my training, of all my sweat equity which having once paid, allowed me to be able to stand toe to toe with someone and trade blow for blow. They are also a picture of who I am in Christ, a fighter and someone who is more than a conqueror. They are a challenge to me today, to train to fearlessly and with great confidence, to take the Gospel to this angry old world.

What about you preacher? Are you ready to fight in the market place or are you content only to remain the cissified occupier of a coward’s castle? If it is the latter, may I encourage you to do two things: Either get in training or get out of the ministry. Yes, go somewhere and get a job stroking bunny rabbits. It will be better for everyone.

Listen: - And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. Acts 9:29-30 NKJV

Pray:- Lord, as you did with your people of old, matching them up with a few fights with the ‘Orrible Og’ and ‘Slippery Sihon’ before they entered the promised land, so match me up O Lord and give me so much ring experience that when it comes to the main event, I will prove to be more than a conqueror through him who loved me and gave himself for me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feb | 27 | Licked by Lying Lice to Lounge in Luke Warm Lethargy

Key Word:- FIGHT

Title:- Licked by Lying Lice to Lounge in     Lukewarm Lethargy

Acts 12:23, 24 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied.

Just a few days ago in AD 303 GALERIUS VALERIUS MAXIMIANUS issued an edict demanding the persecution of Christians. Lasting eight years, this last great persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire was often so violent, that even the pagans were disgusted.

In AD 311, while preparing for his twentieth anniversary celebrations as both Caesar and Augustus, Galerius was suddenly overcome by a serious disease. First, his genitals suffered a severe inflammation, followed by the growth of a deep ulcer, which was soon infested by worms, which then caused the ulcer to began to swell and rot on his body. It was so bad, that some of Galerius' doctors were simply unable to endure the stench. Both they and others who failed to cure him, were executed immediately.

From his sickbed at Nicomedia on 30th April AD 311 Galerius issued an edict, which was confirmed by his fellow emperors, cancelling the persecution of the Christians. His strategy had failed. The suffering of the Christians may even have won them the sympathy of the empire. By swollen balls and the stench of a rotting ulcer, the tide of the vicious battle had turned once again to the favour of Jesus Christ the Lord.

Our enemy is defeated. He is fighting a delaying battle. He cannot win. The gates of hell will not prevail against the expansion of God’s kingdom. Nonetheless, be sure of this dear friends, it is a vicious and costly conflict. Millions of our brothers and sisters have perished in it and even today, the church is openly slaughtered in many parts of this poor world. Against us, the Lord’s people, our enemy’s anger is venomous. Given a chance, he would once again embark on vicious persecution even on these very shores in which we live. We must prayerfully and actively fight to maintain and prosper that which generations of Christians have fought and died for.

For us, the people of God, to lay dormant at such a time as this, when all our walls are falling down around our ears, is such a lying, louse ridden lethargy, that I believe it can only be ascribed to demonic activity! The church of God must rise up from its lethargic lounging and fight the good fight today. If not, then once again we shall surely begin to pay a very high price in this deadly conflict right here on our own blood bought land.

Listen: -Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them. Deut 32:35

Pray: - Rise up O church of God, have done with lesser things, give heart and mind and soul and strength, to serve the King of Kings.

Feb | 27 | A Consideration of Destiny or Saving & Shaping

Dream Word – DESTINY

Lamentations 1:9
Her uncleanness is in her skirts; She did not consider her destiny; Therefore her collapse was awesome; She had no comforter. "O Lord, behold my affliction, For the enemy is exalted!" NKJV

A Consideration of Destiny or Saving & Shaping

The current commercials on television tell me that with the cost of one cup of coffee per month, I can help save the lives of ten million children each year. That’s pretty dramatic? That’s pretty wonderful. It got me thinking though, I mean what would those countries do with ten million more children per year?

There is no question that life should be saved, especially if it is saved so cheaply. However, it is just not enough to stop there, for the challenges that saved lives present are enormous. I helped my wife set up and run a crisis pregnancy centre and was involved in counselling some of the exceptionally young fathers, so I know that lives saved from an abortionists knife, though being precious and wonderful in themselves, never the less, present the parents, the wider family and the State, with some remarkable challenges of support, mentoring, training and releasing!

Yes, of course we should save lives of all people created in the image of God, but it doesn’t stop there, it can’t stop there! It is easy to string a straight line from a starting point to an end point, but if all you have is a starting point, then all you have is a string that goes nowhere. We need to have an end game.

We have the same problem in the church. We sometimes are privileged to be involved in seeing people saved among us, but we don’t really have an end game for them. Yes I tell you, if having Christ formed in us is simply a matter of getting folks to read their Bible a few minutes in a morning, then turn up at all our meetings, sit up and listen, shut up and pay up, then we do not have an end game, we do not have a destination to pin our line on. This happens in the church, mostly because we as individuals do not have a destination, a personal destiny if you will, We are not travelling along a straight line from good beginnings to achieved destiny. If that is the case for most of us, then just how can we assist others in finding and pursuing their own manifest destiny in Jesus?

It seems to me that if you save a life, you also have the duty to shape a life. I think so and in light of that, I shall leave you with these challenging thoughts tonight: Where are you going? How are you going to get there? How is your shaping of your own life, as well as the lives of other people you are somewhat responsible for, well, how is it going? Consider your destiny and the destiny of those you give help bring into life, for if you do not, the dizzy and meandering collapse of you and those individuals will be awful and only the enemy shall be exalted when that happens. So, just what is your manifest destiny in life? Find it, then pursue it.

Listen: - "See, O Lord, and consider! To whom have You done this? Should the women eat their offspring, The children they have cuddled? Lamentations 2:20a NKJV

Pray:- Lord, help us to have such a seen destiny for ourselves and for those we give life to, that we would pray and plan, sow and reap, step and keep on Your chosen, directed path of growth for us. Help us to be wise in this, that we might never have to end up consuming ourselves in irrelevance and eating our own offspring with directionless and unfruitful living, in Jesus name I pray, amen.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feb | 26 | The Bittersweet Taste of God's New Wine When Served Down at The Cross & Crown

Key Word:- OBEY

Title:- The Bittersweet Taste of God’s New Wine When Served Down at The Cross & Crown!

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

James Hilton's ‘Lost Horizon’ is assured a place in the annals of publishing history, not necessarily for its literary value, but for the simple fact that it was the first novel published in paperback in 1939 by Ian Ballantine. This story of ‘Lost Horizon’ is simple: a group of travellers are stranded in the Himalayas and they encounter a remote monastery named ‘Shangri-La’ and the wonderful people who live there. Their philosophy can be summed up in this statement. “Moderation in everything, even in moderation!” Today, Shangri La’ has become a ‘by-word’ for anyone’s personal search for bliss, peace, and contentment under the sun. The West’s continuing seeking, fascination and embracing of all things philosophically and religiously Eastern, shows that the humanistic, selfish and very personal quest for such bliss is an ever-increasing one. The search for God’s greater glory however, is nowhere to be found.

The presentation, packaging and practice of such a Shangri La philosophy, where ‘All things are done in moderation, and without harm to anyone else,’ allows a passive yet investigative, non-judgmental journey into pluralism that is seemingly both without any form of accountability and without any real consequence, either now or in the future. Such a delightful drink, is an attractive and indulgent, heady cocktail for the comparatively rich moguls of the West and oh my goodness, the drink has been taken and it is being drunk to the very dregs. Unfortunately, as the Scriptures foretold, this pluralistic cocktail has a sting in it! It kills you DEAD.

Biblical prophets will stand against such seeming moderate and loving, pluralistic acceptance of all religions and be accused of being, ‘bawling bigots bereft of any insight and true compassion!’ Never the less, they will still lift up their voices and cry out regarding God’s bittersweet communicative cocktail of “Sin, judgment, fire, anger, wrath, separation, blood, sacrifice, humility, brokenness, personal ownership, Divine mercy and forgiveness that comes ONLY through Jesus who is the One and only, Way and Truth and Life!” True prophets, will plead both with anger and with tears, against a wayward and adulterous generation and will themselves be condemned by that same generation for such antagonistic and presumptuous soul-seeking passion. Selah! This message might sound mad my friend , but at least it's an honest and outspoken message, for what is Shangri La philosophy, but simply bald headed selfishness dressed in priestly robes and I tell you today that though it sounds so nice, Shangri La philosophy is simply a self-consuming madness that will in the end suck you smiling into Sheol.

We ministers of Christ, whoever we are, should examine our lives and the product of our prophetic preaching. If our message is truly wet with the tears of Jeremiah and yet burning with the raging fire of Elijah, then are the disciples we produce of the same prophetic stock? Are they deep and lasting, even fragrant with the myrrh of the Master? More often than not, I am afraid that they are as damp and as full of as much nutrition as old popcorn left outside overnight, and God help us please! Do we have a lot of old damp popcorn? Yes we do and on the side of the box it says, 'produced by Shangri La'. So, what does this say to us modern day Preachers?

Well, how about this: The quality of our fruit (NOT the quantity) must be indicative of the true power of our message. You see, if our message is simply massaging the moderation of a Shangri La philosophy, then to this generation, our preaching is to no avail and we, as messengers of the Most High, then have their blood dripping from our fearful and false, fumbling little fingertips. For when the utter selfishness of pluralism is never confronted, sin continues! Fear of the offence of the message makes us settle for damp popcorn! Such fear Preacher, has put blood on your hands.

How's the honesty of our message this morning mates? Methinks we might have made it to be both acceptable and insipid! In other words, poison. This is just not good enough. Why not repent, and then go and pour that lukewarm nastiness out on the ground man. Pour it out, and then begin to pour out yourself and your message in the way that God intended for you to do. Remember, His new wine is always bitter sweet when it’s served down at the Cross and Crown. So, speak the truth for once, oh speak it in love for sure, but please, have the courage to speak it in truth! Come on preacher, don’t be a chicken when it comes to His mission for there is no bliss outside the blessedness of Jesus. Remember that the taste of God's new wine when served at the Cross and Crown will always be bitter to the flesh, but sweet to the repentant spirit. Don't be worried if at the first taste of bitterness that some spit it out. Others will swallow and in the so doing, will find salvation's sweetness in the quaffing.

Listen: - Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” And Moses returned to the camp, he and the elders of Israel. Numbers 11:29-30

Pray: - Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come into His courts. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.” Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD. For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth. (Psalm 96).

Feb | 26 | The Making, The Breaking & The Branding of Mavericks


Exodus 3:1-2 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. KJV.

The Making, The Breaking & The Branding of Mavericks

Even though they are rarely wanted by the rest of the herd, there has always been a need for the unorthodox, the unconventional and the non-conformist. The banding together of cattle in herd mentality, might for many, lead to safety, acceptance, corporate fellowship and copulation, but for the unbranded bull, all the mooing hides, the hoofed-up dust and the half eaten grass by muddy and well trampled waters, offers little consolation for their pioneer spirit. So, they leave the herd or are ejected from it, and plough their own trails on the roads less travelled, through the high sierras and down the rocky crags. It’s a lonely life being a maverick, but it is only the mavericks that forge the newer tracks amongst God’s green and rolling hills, yes, it is only the mavericks that find the mount of the Most High God and return to the herd with a message. All true prophets are of necessity, mavericks.
I have often wondered whether mavericks are made or born? I believe it can be either. I believe it can be both. Pity the born maverick then, penned in by the herd, the deep furrows of the track, the fences, the tall tales of fearful giants and the taller tales of safer days, ‘herdside’, for I tell you that that bull shall die on his frustrated feet, long, long before his horns shall ever hit the dust. Pity the made maverick as well then, who, while longing not to be so unacceptable, and seeking earnestly some respectable conformity, nevertheless, when exhibiting the signs of some seeming, mad cow disease, is rejected and derided, excluded and divided, from those he longs to be with. Forgive me for mixing my animals, but maverick bulls are often the scapegoats that are sent away into the desert with a flea in their ear, carrying the sins of the people.

Yes, mavericks are both born and made, but both must, one way or another, embrace the loneliness of the backside of the desert. Moses was such a man, born and made a maverick. John the Baptiser was such a man, born and made a maverick. Hosea was such a man, Jeremiah, Amos, Paul, and tens of thousands of others, named and unnamed, were all mavericks, each of them returning to the herd with a burning message from Horeb, that only a maverick man might get!

A maverick with a message is hated by the enemy and he will always try and break him. Remember, that there was once a maverick Levite, (Judges 17:7 onwards) who left the herd at Bethlehem only later to sell his maverick soul for ten shekels and a shirt. Once the transaction was done, he found it easier to sell it again and again, for a little more money each time. The consequences of this breaking of a maverick bull, was that the man and his message was marred beyond recovery. Yes, there are two things that break a maverick and ruin his message once he gets it: First, money and secondly, the need for herd respectability. Yes, money and the need for affirmation from the other animals are the two siren scimitars which might slice the maverick man in two. Demas was cut in two by the former (2 Tim 4:10) and God help us, Peter and Barnabas were both sliced and diced by the latter. (Galatians 2:11-21)

The original and popular use of the word ‘Maverick’ referred to ‘wayward calves and cattle, who wandered the range, unbranded.’ Such cattle when found, hardy and well fed, became the property of the first person to put their own brand upon them. Broken Mavericks are always branded in the end. Yes, often times, many religious leaders throughout the ages, even Popes and Senior Pastors all, have all discovered that the best way to deal with a boisterous bull, is to brand him first and then cut his balls off, for mavericks always disturb the herd.

Mavericks in the making, wandering in the backside of the desert before they arrive at the Mount of God, before the fire of the burning bush is given into their bosom, might be some of the loneliest, frustrated and disconsolate people I have ever met, but oh my God, oh dear Lord deliver us, those now branded bulls, former mavericks of old, now wandering around without their balls but accepted by the herd, are some of the saddest animals in the world, sporting both bad meat for the butcher and polluted manure for the ground. For once the branding took the light from their eyes, they also lost their flavour, their singing salty savour and became respectful, ruined and absolutely rotten. There is no recovery from this.

May God grant His flock, many a mighty maverick, both born and made and may such mavericks, avoid both the branding iron and the plush pliers of the caring castrators. In all their wide and windswept wanderings, may they find the Mount of God, see the burning bush, receive the majestic message in their hearts and from such burning and lonely furnaces of affliction, deal death to Pharaoh’s everywhere and reveal the safe paths of deliverance to all the flock of God. Amen.

Listen: - "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant." Jeremiah 1:9-10 NKJV

For behold, I have made you this day A fortified city and an iron pillar, And bronze walls against the whole land — Against the kings of Judah, Against its princes, Against its priests, And against the people of the land. They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you," says the Lord, "to deliver you." Jeremiah 1:18-19 NKJV

Pray:- Help us O Lord, to arm our mavericks and not to harm them. May they find new paths, hidden trails, fresh waters, and for their own heart's sake and for our continued deliverance, may they find both The Mount and The Message, in Jesus name we pray, amen.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feb | 25 | The Blunder of Blue on Blue

Key Word:- HOPE

Title:- The Blunder of Blue on Blue

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

At Buckingham Palace, this day in 2004, Her Majesty the Queen awarded the ‘George Cross’ to Trooper Christopher Finney, who was then aged only 19 years. Imagine that!

The G.C. was instituted in 1940 by King George VI during World War II and is awarded only for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage, displayed in circumstances of extreme danger. It is equivalent to the Victoria Cross as the highest military honour for gallantry in the British armed forces. The V.C. is awarded for bravery in the face of the enemy, while the G.C. is awarded for bravery in other circumstances.

So why was a soldier who displayed the utmost heroism in a terrible combat situation, given the George Cross and not the Victoria Cross? Well in this case, the soldier is honoured for saving a comrade from the flames in the Iraq war and the incident happened during a ‘Friendly Fire’ attack from US warplanes, near Basra in March 2003.

For less than a year Trooper Finney had been in the ‘Blues and Royals,’ based in Windsor, Berkshire, when in this combat situation he pulled his gunner, from the turret of an armoured vehicle as it was engulfed in flames and as he did this, both he and his colleague were hit and wounded. It should have been a V.C. but a G.C. was awarded because the terrible circumstances were one of gross miscalculation by his allies and not an attack of the enemy.

A ‘Blue on Blue’ confrontation is an accidental misfortune of gross proportions, when forces on the same side attack and kill each other. Misinformation, bad planning, nervous trigger fingers and even the general fog of war, unfortunately always lead to these kinds of casualties and even high-tech warfare has not eliminated them!

‘Blue on Blue’ encounters are very common in our churches, causing the death of many of a good relationship and the loss to scarring bitterness of wounded and offended folk. When this happens in the church, it is to be mourned, forgiven, healed and those lost relationships, where at all possible, are to be redemptively restored. There is something far worse however than the unfortunate turmoil caused by a ‘Blue on Blue’ conflict and that is to consider the possibility of a planned and purposeful attack by forces purportedly on the same side. This kind of outrageous coup, this insane Civil War’ rarely happens in the world, but at the instigation of the devil, happens much, much more in the church of Jesus Christ.

Though the church should be the safest place on earth, it often is not. The apostle Paul’s evident and chief hurt are those blows he received from within the congregation of Christ. What do we do with Civil War? Well, if we survive it friends, it too is to be mourned, forgiven, healed and those lost relationships resulting from it, where at all possible, are to be restored. The example of this is the Cross of Christ. The medal of our redemptive love is the Jesus Cross. Do you have the courage to get it awarded to you?

Listen: - ….endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

Pray: - Heal us O Lord and we shall be healed. Amen.

Feb | 25 | The Borsalino Back Step

Dream WordDANGER

Numbers 16:1-3 Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?" NKJV

The Borsalino Back Step

The Bible is the scariest book I have ever read. The aspects it presents us with regarding our Holy and loving God, are both punishingly perplexing and terribly troubling!

In Numbers Chapter 16, to say that the Lord got a little annoyed at His people is so much an understatement that it verges on reefer madness! Let’s face it, let’s man-up about this friends, for in the plain reading of the Bible text, God lost it here! God’s wrath was so kindled by these conniving and ungrateful, power hungry and arrogant bunch of bananas. that His righteous anger knew no bounds. Twice he says to Moses here, whilst rolling up His sleeves mind you, Get out the way mate, cause once and for all I’m gonna wak the lot of ‘em! Numbers 16 (my translation) The Hebrew Wa’akaleh, translated here as ‘that I may consume them’ means very simply that ‘He’s going to take away the garbage and throw the trash in the impacter and good riddance to the lot of it!' God is very, very angry here.

On the first occasion of ‘God losing it’ in this chapter, (yes, I do hope that little phrase troubles you. It should) it was the intervention of Moses that saved the congregation as a whole. Yet still God burns alive in Holy pan fire, frying consummation, the 250 incense swinging usurpers and then turns on Dathan and Abiram, their goods, their animals and their whole family, including the lickly, little ones, and swallows them alive into the mouth of a burning hell! It was only the intervention of Moses on this occasion that saved the congregation as a whole. God held back His wrath.

On the second occasion of ‘God losing it’ in this chapter, (yes, I do hope that little phrase troubles you a little more now, it should) it was the intervention of Moses again that saved the congregation as a whole. Yet still, God sent a quickly consuming plague, killing 14,700 of his people before Moses and Aaron could do their work of supplication and propitiation, standing between the dead and the living, until the wrathful plague was halted.

These two men saved Israel over those few days and maybe one other woman, saved one other man and their whole family as well. Let me explain:

If you closely look at our text for tonight, you will see not only the names of Korah, Dathan and Abiram but also of On, the son of Peleth. Yet On and his family do not appear as names of the dead in any of the related Scriptural texts. It would appear that on the part of On, some wise and speedy repentance had come upon him and after his little foray into the land of ‘Usurption’, he had speedily detached himself from his partners in crime. Rabbinical oral history, tells us that it was On’s wife who mightily advised him to get his act together, put his Borsalino on his head and back out of the business deal, post haste! It is not unreasonable to believe that she did and that On hearkened unto the wisdom of his “What the heck do you think you’re doing?” wife. I’m pretty sure the conversation that went on in the tent of On would have made even a Hollywood producer blush! Yes sir, these were deceitful times and desperate times for sure and we all know what animated language the heat of desperation produces in us. Blood and fire were at stake here and On’s wife was by no means cooking, no sir, she had no intention whatsoever of ‘Frying tonight.’

Tonight, there are no doubt some, ‘not so wholesome deals’ that some of you have gotten yourselves into. Maybe even some of you have been fortunate to have some loving people close to you, expressing their deep concern for the transactional outcome, but you’ve thus far ignored them. Well, if the ground is beginning to shake before your feet, if people are dropping like flies around you, if your good wife is still bleeding your ears and God is feeling like an enemy rather than a friend, then maybe it’s time to start listening, put your own Borsalino on and back on out there right quickly now, doing the dance of the ‘Borsalino Back Step’ as you go!

Listen: - And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "I will disguise myself and go into battle; but you put on your robes." So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots who were with him, saying, "Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel." So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, "It is the king of Israel!" Therefore they surrounded him to attack; but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him. NKJV

Pray:- Lord, it is so scary to have our eyes opened to the terrible predicament we, our family or our friends, have gotten ourselves into. As we put on our Borsolino hat on our banana shaped heads and back out of the dreadful predicament we have put ourselves into, we along with Jehoshaphat and the wife of On, cry out to You for help. Aaaaaaaaaaargghghghghghghgh....HELP!!!!! Amen Lord and amen!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feb | 24 | God Bless The Broken Road

Key Word:- HOPE

Title:- God Bless The Broken Road

Isaiah 40:4b,5 The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,

I may have previously spoken about my premise that all true love songs are in the end, all about Jesus! (I shall speak of it again in this book.)

That being the case, all true love songs should caress and melt your new inner heart. As a side issue, some Christians I know, at least I hope they are the Lord’s, think that country music is so bad that it has to be 'of the devil! I am praying daily for their deliverance from such blind deception. After all, how can a man live without country music?

And so I come to a country song I think originally written and performed by a Christian artist called Geoff Moore, then adopted and oh so slightly adapted into a mega hit by a band primarily in the secular market place, called, ‘Rascal Flatts.’ There are three reasons for Rascal Flatts resounding success with this ‘Christian’ song.

First they have wider appeal.
Second they have better marketing.
Thirdly and most importantly, that it is a song of a lost person eventually finding their one true love along life's broken road.

This last and ultimate hope and desire of a lost person eventually finding their one true love along life’s broken road, is a common one in many songs from lots of countries, generations and genres and so I conclude, still echoes in everyone’s heart. We all want to get to that one person who will love us, just for who we are. So for this reason methinks, ‘God Bless The Broken Road’ became a resounding success because it found a resonance in the heart of every man, as we travel along the road only to find it shattered and fragmented, flying up like shrapnel before us. Such consitent brokenness begs the question then of “Why is life and why are relationships so full of damage?”

Well, I suppose there are two reasons in which the road into His loving arms is full of cracks and rubble.

The first is the devil. There is ample evidence in the Scriptures of the devil both figuratively and literally breaking the roads of advances in the Gospel, the advances of Biblical teaching, and the benefits of fellowship. The devil has a very large jackhammer and abundant traffic cones with which he delays or diverts and even stops in its tracks, our destined journey into Jesus. This is a stark fact of spiritual warfare. True love needs fighting for, because it will be thoroughly resisted. You men must especially listen well, for true love needs fighting for! It will cost you your life and often much more. Yes indeed, for true love to be both pursued and possessed, there are higher prices to pay than even death! Think about that.

Secondly it must be said that often the devil needs little help in his road destruction. We are our own worst enemies, indeed, often we are the enemy! Our selfish desires and wrong choices take us down hard roads of despair and discomfort. What should have been a smooth way for us into His loving arms, has become ill-lit, ill-conceived, crooked and covered with thorns and ankle breaking holes. I'm so sorry but isn’t it the truth? We are often, our own worst enemies.

However, I am pleased to tell you today that God has a ‘grander’ plan concerning the broken roads you might presently be travelling. The intention of His true love is to restore the lost years of unfruitful pilgrimage and to make the crooked places straight and illuminate His loving signs of direction in the darkness, so as to lead you right into His loving arms; even your lover's arms. Friends, this much I know is true for all His blood bought kin, that God blessed the broken road that led us straight to Him.

Listen: - A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:8-10 
Pray: O Jesus my Jesus, please come and get me. O Jesus my Jesus, please come and direct my steps toward You. Even though I set out on this narrow way many years ago, still, please make my lost and crooked places straight and my rough places smooth. Oh Jesus, my Jesus, raise my dark valley into Your light and loving, waiting and wonderful, safe and eternal arms. Amen.

Feb | 24 | Rings of Gold On Beds of Fulfilment

Dream Word – PROSPER

Numbers 30:2
If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

Rings of Gold On Beds of Fulfilment.

Vows are voluntary promises made with God. Vows are considered Biblically to be both sacred and binding duties, which if right when made, both scarily and majestically, change their form from voluntary to compulsory and must then at all costs, be put into practice!

Biblically, vows were often born out of mostly distress or desire and they were expressed as pledges toward God in return for favour. The favour required was various, but the pledge given, whether it was expressed in terms of devotion, abstinence or destruction, was never the less, always sacrificial in nature.

Marriage vows are also voluntary promises which when made, turn into compulsory, sacred and binding duties! In the end, these vows involve the devotion of one man to one woman, of one woman to one man, with the mutual abstinence of anything and anyone that may mar that devotion or might become, the destruction of the fulfilment of that devotion. Though often delightful and desirous, the continual completion of this devotion, the fulfilment of these vows, is always, I say again, is always sacrificial.

Marriage vows are made between a man and a woman before God. The voluntary promises made before God, are then, mightily and mysteriously, turned into a binding covenant of oaths and pledges called marriage. The marriage is performed and carried out by the man and the woman being wed. Did you get that! The man and a woman, marry themselves with the vows which they take before Almighty God. It is simply the privilege of any minister, and that is all it is, a privilege and not a power, to make a pronouncement on the correctness of such vows when made. At the time of my writing, I am counselling a couple tonight, who are in the process of getting married and I shall later, on a beach in south Florida, have the privilege of pronouncing the correctness of their marriage which they shall make with one another. Husband and wife, you married yourselves! Remember that.

Today is the day of my own wedding anniversary. Currently, I have been married 30 years. Like all husbands, I have an obligation, today especially, to examine my own marriage and make some pronouncements of either correctness or dysfunction. All us married folk have a mixture of both these things in our relationship and though the balance of one against the other may change throughout the years, with the years, comes the danger of a settling and a setting. A settling for less than the best and a setting of the less than the best, in unchanging stone! Vows however, never go hard or mouldy before God. They are as a fresh and as binding, as breathtaking and as beautiful as the day they were made. The relationship they are attached to therefore needs must be the same. There is always then in any relationship, more work yet to be done.

I remind myself tonight and in the so doing also remind many of you and warn I hope, many, many more, that the achieving of the breathtaking and the beautiful, always takes commitment and sacrifice and both of these are a continual feast. Let us married folk and soon to be married folk, commit ourselves then tonight, that on the morrow and long times thereafter, we shall achieve these vows with joy, so that all our settlings may be of diamonds of light and all our settings, may be rings of gold, on beds of fulfilment. For when the judge of the whole earth looks down on our marriage beds, He does not wear a black cap and gown, but rather sports a paper party hat, a smiling face, looking on with longing and laughing, whilst holding a party blower in one hand and several party poppers in the other. Rejoice therefore in the wife of your youth and the husband of increasing age. Rejoice! It’s party time!

Listen: - Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, "This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. Numbers 30:1-2 NKJV

Pray:- Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Remember that! For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. You will prolong the my life, my years as many generations, yes, I shall abide before God forever! So then, prepare mercy and truth, which in turn, may preserve me! Then I will sing praise to Your name forever, that I may daily perform my vows. (from Psalm 61)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Feb | 23 | The Flame of Jehovah

Key Word:- LOVE

Title:- The Flame of Jehovah

Song of Songs 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.

In M. Knight Shalyman's 2004 film, 'The Village,' the character of Mrs. Clack, an elder of the village, questions the decision of her fellow village elder, Edward Walker, in the sending of his blind daughter Ivy to get medicine for her stabbed and now dying fiancé, Lucius. Walker replies to Clack’s admonition by saying “She is more capable than most in this village. And she is led by love. The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe.” I liked the film, but I was wowed by that statement, The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe!”
Solomon in our text today, depicts love as a deep and dangerous, unquenchable and unfathomable, fire of passion, even the very 'flame of Jehovah!' Love is not something that can be purchased, but something that is kindled internally, even lit deep within, internally consuming the possessor and externally enveloping in red-hot fire those who would be possessed. This is a plain reading of the text. True love is wild and passionate beyond description. Centuries of misunderstanding and more especially of manufacturing contrived excuses for sexual sin, have presented love either as a lighted spark travelling on the wind, landing where and when it will on unsuspecting sojourners, or, as unsought for and penetrating desires, delivered by a piercing and swooning arrow upon the unmatched and unsuspecting, by a beloved and fat bottomed, cheerful and chirpy and oh so slightly quirky, naughty little cherub. “Ah love!” we then say, “It's so capricious in its choice of the carnage of the heart.” May I say to that, “What a load of old rot!”

The Christian answer to such fallacy has been the presentation of love as a choice. “Love!” We say, “Is a choice,” (told you) and we are right! We choose love, rather than it choosing us. However, the problem is that such arbitrary choosing has too often been presented in such a clinical, sanitized and surgical steel kind of way, that it leaves the hearers and practitioners of such love, both cold and corpse-like. Thank goodness, that Solomon's erotic love poem, so jam-packed, peach and plump with physical and spiritual implication, presents chosen love as anything but cold and still! Chosen love is fierce and fiery hot and very, very dangerous!

Friends, when we choose to love someone, even the unlovely, we must expect our emotions to follow, eventually maybe, but follow they must! However, when we choose to love our spouse, we must demand that our emotions follow and that right quickly! We must do all we can to set the scene, provide the fuel, light the fire and fan the flame. Does this kind of love sound contrived? Well let me tell you, after 30 or 40 years of marriage, raising kids, paying a mortgage, working 60 hours a week, dealing with ill health, loss, worries, troubles, temptations and hemorrhoids , you better believe it's contrived! You'd also better believe that it is far, far better for being so as well.

Choosing to love is the most honourable and precious thing you can do. Fellowship, fondling fun and fireworks, will always follow such consistent choosing of the self-abandoned pleasing of another that is held dearly and righteously in covenant love.
If you want to make the ground shake before your spouse’s feet, if you want to rock their world, if you want to have watching angels bowed in awe before such selflessness, then choose to love purposely and choose to love most passionately. Remember today, The worlds move for love and kneel before it in awe.’

Listen : - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33
… admonish the young women to love their husbands, Titus 2:4

Pray: - Dear Lord, let my love be found on two-way streets, that passion would find its soul mate there. However Lord, no matter what the response of others, I choose to love. Awesome, Jehovah God, come and light my fire with Your passionate flame of love. Amen.

Feb | 23 | Jalousie Strudel

Dream Word – SEE

Song of Songs 2:9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, Gazing through the lattice. NKJV.
Jalousie Strudel

I love food and pastry in particular. The thin elastic qualities of Apple Strudel pastry is a particular delight to me, especially when it's home cooked, as then, more often than not, the thinness of the pastry sometimes opens up like a jammy womb, revealing all the steaming seductive goodness inside! It tell you, when Apple Strudel is cooked correctly, it incites a green jealousness to seep from the curled lips of lesser chefs, especially if they are French! Indeed, a famous French pastry style is named after such green feelings, in that it is call ‘Jalousie!’ This particular pastry is openly slatted in such a way, that it intentionally exposes the yummy goodness of the bubbling and enticing fragrant offering, which waits so obviously wantonly inside. Don’t tell me that food isn’t sexy!

Who’d have thought that this pastry style would go on to inspire Mr. Van Ellis Huff, graduate of Florida University, to invent the parallel angled, glass slatted shutter, world famous ‘Jalousie Window’? Admittedly, Huff got his idea from wooden slatted windows which he observed in British Barbados, but the name and inspiration he got from pastry! Wasn’t it Elisha, who when in need of inspriation, cried out in 2 Kings 3:13 “Bring me a Confectioner!” I’m sure it was.

Yes, this Jealous Jalousie window style, reminds me of the time I lived in South Florida, where most of the older squat, flat, anti-hurricane designed Florida homes, still sported the old style ‘Jalousie Windows,’ which were in turn, markers of an age now long gone, when the only air conditioning available was to open the windows and let through a directed breeze, whilst minimizing the access of hot sunlight.

In Bible times of course, windows were mostly small and completely open. Yet many, especially those higher up and facing outwards, were larger and latticed. People falling out of these to their deaths was a particular problem in both the Old and New Testament, never the less, the latticed windows of old, the old windows of a jealous kind, could be used to foster privacy, whilst giving access to cool breezes and allowing the quiet, unseen observation of approaching people.

In our text for tonight it is the beloved, the bride, who speaks of her lover gazing at her through the lattice. If eyes are the windows of the soul, then they are shuttered with Jalousie eyelids. Our God has jealous eyes for us and we should have jealous eyes for Him! This verse tonight speaks to me of desire, of righteous voyeurism, of jealous protectiveness. My friend, some of you need to make better use of your jealous eyes, observing only Him, allowing only the cool breeze of the Spirit to blow across you and make cool the marbled floor of your own most private soul.

Pastry is seductive. So are our eyes. Let us make a most thorough use of the 'Jalousie Windows' which God has given us. He who has eyes to see, let him be very careful what he sees and allows to blow through the open windows of his soul.

Listen: - For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding, Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night. And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. Proverbs 7:6-10 NKJV

Pray:- O my jealous God! I am betrothed to You. God the Holy Spirit, I open my jealous eyes to You, come and blow across my soul, in cooling and enticing, comforting and exciting breezes. O God the Holy Son, my gaze is fixed on You and in all my secret places, from the corners of my soul I gaze out and wait for You. O Holy Father God, the doors of my inner courtyard and the steps to all my inner chambers and open only to You and for You. Yes, Triune triumphant God, my eyes are turned to You alone. Amen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feb | 22 | The Problem with Oracles is: ‘They’re ‘Orrible!’

Key Word:- REAL

Title:- The Problem with Oracles is: ‘They’re ‘Orrible!’

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

“The contemporary pastorate is a mess. With hundreds of books, conferences and seminars touting the benefits of changing the traditional church into the purpose-driven, seeker-sensitive, post-modern church, there has been little honest reporting on the resulting awkward evolution of the pastor. In my lifetime, this evolution has swept over the pastorate, replacing what was a recognizable consensus with a maze of models, and an emerging template of the pastorate that would be unrecognizable in most of Christian history.” So says Michael Spencer.

In his essay, Spencer’s conclusion is even more damming; listen, “I am beginning to see a volatile mix occurring between the pragmatism of the seeker-sensitive approach and the quasi-Gnosticism of the Charismatic movement. These two streams of evangelicalism share a low regard for scripture's authority in anything other than the essential Christian message. The seeker movement's pragmatism looks to the culture while the charismatic movement increasingly looks to experience and “prophecy” for their visions of the church and their direction for pastoral ministry.”Maybe his comments are just a harsh look at what might be some terrible and temporary tendencies? In any event, Spencer’s focus call, is that the job of those called to a ministry of the Word, is clear and simple, “Preach the Word! The WHOLE Word, and nothing but the Word.” I believe that if this mandate is faithfully carried out, that this is in and of itself both a very seeker-sensitive and prophetic office of Biblical proportions! You would think that would be simple enough, unfortunately no! So now to the problem. .

Do you think that any return to ‘Full Gospel Preaching’ (take that how you will) will result in peace and tranquility in the church? Do you think ‘Full Gospel Preaching’ will result in eager listeners hanging lovingly on every word? Oh No! PREACHER BEWARE! True prophets, were never liked much and never will be. Riot, revival and even personal ruin may ensue such preaching. It has in the past and it will still do so today.

In light of this, have you noticed the subtle dishonesty of a Pastoral selection committee’s searching prayers? “Send us a man of God O Lord to do Your will,” is in fact clearly heard by God from their heart as “Send us a politician O God to do our will! For whatever the cost, we don’t want to rock the boat!” These prayers have mostly been answered in the affirmative and subsequently then, the church has become a most quietly prophetic place, so much so, that we no longer even try to rock the boat! And should there arise any Prophetic Jonahs on board amongst us, we always follow the old fashioned method, tried and true and at the most opportune time, either at the next deacons meeting or future planning committee meeting, bind them up and throw them overboard! The rising storm of truthful boat-rocking always stops in local churches when that happens and after that, well, we can get back on our own merry little way. Thank goodness!

Maybe when we pray we should at least be more honest and very specific “Oh Lord, send us a suit, that suits our purpose, meets our need and fulfils our plans. No more oracles please O Lord, for they can be truly ‘orrible towards our personal kingdom expansionist planning!” Do you really want someone to come and preach God’s whole Word to you? I mean, are you really ready for it? If so, GET A HELMET! 

Listen: -If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. 1 Peter 4:11 

Pray: - Oh Father, reveal your Son in us that we might preach Him with power. Send us voices from The Throne, even though we might moan at the mighty messages they proclaim. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

Feb | 22 | The Disappearance of a Ducks Quack

Dream WordBECOME

2 Kings 3:1-3 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not like his father and mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he persisted in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin; he did not depart from them. NKJV. 

The Disappearance of a Ducks Quack

I very much dislike the simple and smulchy old picture of a life depicted as a stone thrown into the still water of the universe, the ripples from its insertional impact, slowly spreading out in ever wider and increasing circles, caressing in gentle undulation, everyone else waiting patiently on the surface of the water. Oh please! Pass me a sick bag.

Sure, we all have a peculiar ripple effect on life and the universe, but I think much more importantly than that, we each have a voice which echoes! In other words our actions, our words, the outworked intentions of our heart, our voice, if you will, does most definitely repeat itself and not necessarily in dissipation either but rather, in focus, in strength and in spreading fervour! Unless that is, you are a duck.

It has been an ‘urban legend’ for some time, that a duck’s quack has no echo. Well, of course it does have an echo, the only problem is that you cannot hear the echo, because the quiet elongation of the noise of the initial quack, cancels out the incoming and reflected sound waves. There, knowing that, you can now sleep easier tonight for believe it or not, a lot of money has been spent on investigating the seeming disappearance of a ducks quacking echo!

We all know of the beautiful iridescent qualities of the Opal, reflecting and refracting wavelengths of light even at times, seemingly absorbing them completely. Building on this natural photonic crystal effect which seems to absorb light, there is no doubt that manmade, mass-produced photonic crystals may well lead to a new wave of powerful light driven computers. Now, in the same way a photonic crystal can absorb certain frequency’s of light and reflect others, so sonic crystals can do the same. Manifestations of this sonic phenomena might be heard in the strange acoustic properties of the 'Whispering Gallery' in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where a whisper can be heard 42 metres away on the other side of the gallery, or maybe even in the Mayan Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichén Itzá, in the jungles of the Yucután Peninsula of Mexico, where if you stand at the foot of any of the stairways that climb the outer walls and then clap your hands, the resultant echo will sound like the chirp of their sacred quetzal bird, the spirit of the Maya, incarnated in Quetzalcóatl, their plumed serpent god. Interesting eh?

The rediscovery of this strange acoustical physics, where the varying wavelength of sounds essentially interfere with themselves and cancel themselves out, might not only lead to a more peaceful urban environment, but be utilized in military stealth technology such as the coating of submarines with sound absorbing paint, or even in the protecting of our cities against seismic shock waves. It’s all wonderful stuff for sure, but for tonight, my key point in this physical phenomenon, is the fact that ripples of echoes can cancel themselves out!

Our life and especially our voice, ripples its own unique wavelength signature, out into both space, time and the spiritual dimension. Like the physical properties of sound waves, not only can our unique expression of life, our own distinct voice, cause ripples, but more importantly, it can and does, cause deep echoes! Oh, the stir of echoes from ages past that undulate across our cold waters even today! Oh, the past voices that though dead, still speak to us today, loud and long! Yet I tell you, many of these mighty echoes which we should have been hearing today, have become silent ‘might have beens,’ for they have unfortunately, been well and truly cancelled out.

In our text for tonight we see the bad king Jehoram, ‘Exaltation of the Lord,’ the ninth king of Israel, who also happened to do some good. Yes, befriended and rightly influenced and chastised, even by Elisha himself, Jehoram produced a little goodness in his voice. Yet, this voice was lost, was most clearly cancelled out, by his continuing evil.

There is a great lesson in this for us tonight, for in my life, I have heard some great voices, even the greatest I have ever heard, become turned into the sound of a quacking duck, a sad, cartoon caricature orange beaked voice, with no seeming echo. This has happened because the echo of their voice has been cancelled out, usually at the end of their journey, by sin. Yes, silly, stupid, sorry, shameful, sonic crystals of sin, have absorbed their once most glorious echoes. Now, they shall pass unheard into eternity. Now, they shall lie silent in the grave. It’s all very sad.

So what about you tonight? What about your voice? Shall it grow more focused, fervent and strong, or through the sonic crystals of sin, shall it be turned into the simple sound of a sorry duck’s quack?

Yes, remember tonight, that your voice echoes! Please don’t cancel it out.

Listen: - By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. Hebrews 11:4 NKJV

Pray:- Lord, haunt me with echoes of Your people’s voices now long gone. Let me hear their powerful voices speak so powerfully still. May I be lifted and encouraged by their waves of faith. As for me O Lord, may my voice become more focused, firmer, stronger, stouter and may its echoes be heard when I too am long since gone. In Jesus name I pray it, amen.