Friday, November 30, 2012

Nov | 30 | Of Delirious Proportions

Key Word:- BECOME

Title:- Of Delirious Proportions

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

 
Mark Twain, that ‘personality which defined an era’, was born today in 1835. His married and eldest daughter Susan, ‘passed away’ aged 24. His son Langdon, had already died of diphtheria at an early age, so the death of Susy Clemens, came as an even greater blow. Clemens was Twain’s real last name and the epitaph on his daughter's grave stone reads as follows:

Warm summer sun, shine friendly here
Warm western wind, blow kindly here;
Green sod above, rest light, rest light,
Good-night, Dear heart
Goodnight, good-night.


This is in fact taken from the end of a much longer piece written by Australian Poet Robert Richardson, published in 1893. In this work entitled ‘Annette,’ the poet imagines himself standing by the graveside of this former vivacious and promiscuous young woman and saying:

If that ancient ethic view
Of Pythagoras be true,
Your light soul is surely now
In that bird upon the bough,
Singing, with soft-swelling throat,
To the wind that heeds it not;
Or in that blue butterfly,
Flitting like a jewel by,
Flashing golden to the sun.
Soon, like yours, its day is run -
Dead, and only twenty-one!


My point today is to highlight that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ and the espousing by the ‘New Age Movement,’ of reincarnation and transmigration of the soul, is indeed nothing new, having it’s roots not only in the East, but in the ancient past.

Current Gurus, whether with flowing beards or shaved legs; or whether wearing pants or togas; decked in brilliant minds or braggart souls; are not touting, spouting any new stuff, but old guff, gilded anew in political correctness! There is more to come, mark my words, there is more to come and with it, a whole panoply of deceiving spirits, ‘channeling’ pictures, perspectives and power. I am convinced, we have not yet seen the half of it.

The Bible is clear. One life. One death. One judgment. I can understand how the echoes of eternity, it’s dark and empty vastness within us like some deep and bottomless well, demands to be filled by something, by someone. Deep cries to deep. Listen. Deep cries to deep. Let us be vociferously violent in our proclamation of truth, so as not to give these shallow charlatans the opportunity to try and fill this God shaped vastness with bobbing lies and sea green sewage from the shores of hell.

However friend, in doing this, the call is out: “The old will not do! A new type of disciple is required to meet this old, New Age. A disciple with the ‘goods of the gospel and not just the words;’ a disciple with true depth of and in, the Almighty; a disciple of delirious proportions, a disciple that laughs at hells gate and rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory before the mad and watching crowds.”

What age are you fit to witness to today dear friend?


Listen:- For Christ has entered into heaven itself to appear now before God as our Friend. It was not in the earthly place of worship that he did this, for that was merely a copy of the real temple in heaven. Nor has he offered himself again and again, as the high priest down here on earth offers animal blood in the Holy of Holies each year. If that had been necessary, then he would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But no! He came once for all, at the end of the age, to put away the power of sin forever by dying for us. And just as it is destined that men die only once, and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died only once as an offering for the sins of many people; and he will come again, but not to deal again with our sins. This time he will come bringing salvation to all those who are eagerly and patiently waiting for him. Hebrews 9:24-28 TLB

Pray: - Holy Spirit, dig and clear Your deep well within me. Remove the garbage and let springs of living water flow, that I and others, may draw joy from the wells of salvation. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 

Nov | 30 | Weaving The Web & Holding The Centre

Dream Word – FIGHT

Proverbs 30:28 The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings' palaces. NKJV.

Weaving the Web & Holding The Centre

The other morning I found a spider in the corner of my ceiling, seemingly hanging there in empty space. Of course it wasn’t just hanging there at all, but rather, was held in place, sitting in the centre, astride the trampoline tension of an invisibly well- spun web.

Sometimes, when you look around, maybe at your ‘wayward’ family or long time friends, and think about your seemingly lack of any ability to make any spiritual impression on them whatsoever, you have the tendency to ask, “Is it worth it?” I mean, is it worth consistently being that good example? Is it worth consistently being that model for what is right and good, pure and lovely? Of course in relation to God, this is a good thing, indeed, this brings Him glory and that of course should be good enough. However and even so, sometimes, just sometimes, you have the tendency to ask, “Is it worth it?”

Yes, over the years, I have heard this particular “Is it worth it?” question from many a good and well worn saint, temporarily cast down in various measures of despondency. The problem of course is that they have not only failed to see the web of goodness which they have spun, but have ceased to be still and to feel the tension of all they secretly hold together. Families and relationships, ardent hope and high standards, love and grace, are all seemingly hanging there in adverse and empty space. Webs have that invisible capacity don’t they? Do you see the good web you weave? Be still. Do you feel it?

That particular spidery morning, I took my walking stick and reached up into the corner around the sitting sentinel and broke its secret web. It balled up and plummeted to the carpet, bouncing on the plush pile and rolling to the white, chipped, skirting board. I have observed that when either through the death of the centre holding saint, or the sinful desertion of the same, the invisible web they once maintained becomes noticeable now only in the holders absence. When, as I said, upon either their sad demise or upon their most fateful and sinful departure, families and friends, loved ones and 'longed fors’, all come crashing to the ground! Ending up in the same spidery dead gutter of the white, chipped skirting board.

Saint of God, in your goodness and in your grace, in your petitional payers and in your constant and good example, you occupy the Kings Palace! You spin an invisible and all-upholding web of hope and possibility, of drawing redemption and of escapes to safety. You hold the centre! Ever repairing the trampolined tension of prayerful possibility. Sometimes, when you look around maybe at your ‘wayward’ family or long time friends, and think about your seemingly lack of any ability to make any spiritual impression on them whatsoever, you may still have the tendency to ask, “Is it worth it?” I mean, is it worth consistently being that good example? Is it worth consistently being that model for what is right and good, pure and lovely? And I say to you tonight and in no uncertain terms that YES! IT IS WORTH IT! SO, KEEP HOLDING THE CENTRE, FOR YOU ARE UPHOLDING MORE REDEMPTIVE POSSIBILTY THAN YOU COULD EVER POSSIBLY IMAGINE! KEEP HOLDING THE CENTRE!

Listen: - But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7-8 NKJV.)

Pray:- Lord, for all those worn and forlorn saints, who secretly hold the centre of hope for so many people, who in turn most secretly look to them, grant them grace and strength and the chance to see the glitter of the morning dew upon all which they unknowingly hold together. In Jesus name we ask it, amen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nov | 29 | Of Pussy Cats and Chewing Gum

Key Word:- BE

Title:- Of Cats & Chewing Gum

Job 18:13,14…It devours patches of his skin; The firstborn of death devours his limbs. He is uprooted from the shelter of his tent, And they parade him before the king of terrors.

Probably the smallest man in the Bible, Bildad the Shuhite, is here in today’s text and with enormous poetic insensitivity, describing to poor old suffering severely Job, what the wicked can expect if they ‘cross God.’ The subtext is clear and Job obviously caught his drift. Bildad was in effect saying: “Looking at you Job, covered in festering sores and crushed like a moth, it’s obvious that you must have done something extremely wicked!” Please someone, reach out give Bildad a slap will you!

Now Bildad’s intent may not have been the most caring and instructive, but his content and description at this point in the narrative, is astonishingly wonderful! The writer, moved by God the Holy Spirit, pens for us in the most picturesque of poetic terms, the incarnation of death, the ‘King of terrors’ and its firstborn son, the devourer of limbs, ‘leprosy.’

In 2003 English born, world renowned leprosy physician Dr Paul Brand, died at his place of work in the National Leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana. A compassionate and world renowned doctor, just four of his multitude of achievements, move me to tears of thankfulness, and inspire me to life and joy.

The first is his apparent discovery of the reason why lepers go blind; t
hey feel no pain or discomfort in their eyes and so do not blink! Brand solved this problem by surgically attaching a chewing muscle to their eyelid. Subsequently every time they chewed gum, they blinked! Thus their eyes were kept clean and they retained their vision. Brilliant or what?!

The second is the discovery of why many lepers seemed to lose their toes and fingers overnight. Observing them whilst sleeping, he discovered that rats were stealing into their sleep area and gnawing living bones and tissue, literally chewing off the extremities of fingers and toes. Of course in the absence of pain, they could not feel what was happening. Imagine that. His solution was simple and profound. His leprous patients were required to take cats with them, wherever they decided to sleep. What simple and yet wonderful innovation!

Thirdly was his dedicated life to the unwashed, unlovely and uncared for. When he was finished with them, they were clean, helped, healed, and loved. The sweet perfume of Christ was all over his patients. What a challenge.

Fourthly and finally today, his attitude to suffering and death. It was Tim Hansel that said . “while pain is unavoidable, misery is optional!” The good Doctor Paul Brand seemed to take this philosophy and apply it to his whole personal life and was by example, able to impart this philosophy to his patients.

Brilliance; innovation; hope; love; laughter; and gentle care. What will you take to your Job today?

Listen:- You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Psalm 30:11-12

Pray: - “One day I shall experience a sickness unto death. I shall sense my mortal frame has no more strength to fight and that my pathway is leading into the valley of the shadow. Let me not feel the despair of one who is losing a battle, or that a triumph of evil is ahead. Focus within me, O Lord, the light of your eternal Spirit. Show me again that my body, for all that it is wonderful, is but the mantle of a greater wonder, my soul. Hold me, Lord, in such awareness of your presence and your love that my parting from my body shall be but the opening of a more vivid intimacy and union with the spirit of my Saviour. He who has been the inspiration of my stumbling body shall now be the very light and substance of my soul.” (Dr Paul Brands own prayer regarding death).
 

Nov | 29 | Of Holy Hop Pickers

Dream Word – DESTINY

Amos 7:14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: "I was no prophet, Nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit. NKJV.

Of Holy Hop Pickers

I went to a Christian men’s breakfast meeting the other day in a local pub. The smell of urine, cakes, bacon fat, and stale ale, filled the morning air, mingling itself with the smoke of the burning maple logs lazily humming on the open fire.

Interestingly, the pub was next door to a Christian retreat centre, an old 'Hopping' hospital situated in the gardens of Kent. Hops are of course part of the Cannabis family and are picked from bines in the fall of the year and used to add bitterness, texture, taste and aroma to various brewed ales. Unfortunately, due to mechanisation, it was in the 1960’s that the annual migration of thousands upon thousands of seasonal hop pickers to the gardens of Kent virtually ceased. Gypsies, locals and Londoners all, travelled to Kent to stay some six weeks in the meagre Hopping Houses and pick themselves some seasonal cash. Unless you are from the former Eastern block countries, the life of the working class, uneducated common migrant worker, the travelling working man, is for the present, all over in England.

Training for the ministry is a common thing nowadays. In America, the academic completion of Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Doctoral training can at best maybe take ten to twelve years. These trained folk are ten a penny at the moment and many of them cannot get jobs in the religious industry at the salary they expect because of the seminary churned ensuing glut in the labour force. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not into decrying education, good grief, if you have a brain then use it! No, what I am saying is this, academic education may qualify you for the service of men, but it does not qualify you for the service of God. Yes indeed, there are many called men that would never get a job in a church because they fail the qualifications of men.

Amos the 'iron man; was a kind of Hopper. A seasonal migrant worker if you will. He may have owned herds and fruit gardens but the context of his prophecy is indicative of a migrant and rural preparation for ministry. Amos had no professional credentials but he had a calling, courage and a well conditioned character and I tell you, that might not get you a job, but it will get you a ministry, that might not get you a salary, but it will put you in the sincere service of the Most High God.

Amaziah, the professionally trained scribe serving in the Royal Court having completed his most thorough education, thought little of this sun browned kind of ‘Holy Hopper’ from Tekoa. Amos however, had a Holy Spirit, red-hot, burning, cow-catcher fixed on the front of his words and they scooped old Amaziah up and just threw him out of the way. You know, conviction, courage, and a conditioned character when it is coupled with a true calling from God, always has the tendency to do that!

Make sure you’ve got the latter, for in comparison, pieces of paper are easily gotten.

Listen: - Then Amaziah said to Amos: "Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah. There eat bread, and there prophesy. But never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is the royal residence." Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: "I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, 'Go, prophesy to My people Israel.' Now therefore, hear the word of the Lord: ( Amos 7:12,16a NKJV.)

Pray:- Lord, come be my coach, my tutor, my sergeant major and my blacksmith for the fight. Train me, teach me, arm me, send me, in Jesus name I ask it, amen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nov | 28 | Of Teats and Truffles

Key Word:- LOVE

Title:- Of Teats and Truffles

Proverbs 5:18,19 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.
 
World-renowned chef, author, instructor and the host of popular cooking programmes on public television, ‘Jacques P├ępin’ has served as dean of special programmes at the French Culinary Institute and as an adjunct faculty member at Boston University! After receiving his formal training at the Grand Hotel de l'Europe, and various Paris restaurants, he served as personal chef to French heads of state, Felix Gaillard, Pierre Pfimlin, and Charles de Gaulle. Author of the acclaimed 'La Technique' and 'La Methode', two books that present the principles of culinary technique and artistry; he earned a place in the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame. Amongst many other things he is a restaurant consultant and a contributing editor for 'Food & Wine Magazine' and a founder of the American Institute of Wine and Food. Bearing all this in mind, I tend to believe what he tells me about the art of cuisine!

Recently on a cooking programme, whilst I was observing his skills, he commented on the hunting of truffles in Italy and happened to mention that: “it was not necessary to have the correct breed of dog to do this; indeed even a mongrel could be trained to do it. The key to success was to ensure that truffle oil was poured over the mothers teats when the dog was whelping.” It was as simple as that! The nutrition, warmth, satisfaction and comfort they felt as a whelping pup on the teats of their mother, would always be associated with the smell of truffles. This association then, would be forever imprinted upon their mind. Of course this outlines a well known cycle of: ‘attraction or recognition, leading to desire, leading to satisfaction, leading to attraction or recognition, leading to desire leading to satisfaction, leading to’….well you get the picture.
Today’s text is a wonderful and pronounced blessing, that this cycle of desire and fulfillment should be forever unbroken with the wife of your youth. It quite unashamedly says FIVE important things.

First, that what God created was good. Very good!
Second, that He intends that we rejoice in these good things. Both of them, if you will!
Thirdly, that we might be mutually satisfied and
Fourthly, that this satisfaction would take place in enraptured delight, and
Fifthly and finally, that that this delight of enraptured satisfaction, would occur in the wide and wild fields of unshakeable faithfulness.


What a glorious cycle!

It follows then, that the wrong replacement of any one of these five things, like for example, replacing the acknowledgement of goodness with shame or guilt; or replacing accepting joy with unhappiness of our possession, or replacing desire with dissatisfaction; or allowing the crude and rude lustful commonality of 'any', to replace the caring, committed and covenant exclusiveness of 'the one', well this kind of unholy replacement breaks the cycle of attraction, desire and fulfillment and once this happens, well let me put it this way, it will be hard to go truffle hunting again!

The spiritual application is clear: to consistently seek, pursue and find that which is good, we must get a taste of it, a smell of it, a pleasing satisfying sense of it and that, right from the start. For now though friend, if the cycle is broken; if you couldn’t find a truffle to save your life, then you must go back to the beginning, back to the start, back to the source, back to the breasts of God that fed you first! Lay aside all the unpleasing, unsatisfying, disruptive and impure aromas of sin and get on your face before God and in confession, repentance and in olfactory brokenness; open the Word, and smell once more, and suck once more, taste once more. Remember? Excellent! Now, seek what is good!

Listen:- Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-3

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Psalm 34:8-10


Pray: - As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Psalm 42:1-2
 

Nov | 28 | 'Twean The Pillars of Protection

Dream Word CARE

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. NKJV.

‘Twean The Pillars of Protection

Babies! They’re quite remarkable aren’t they? I watched a new father the other day, pick up his young son from the floor. The baby boy had just managed to begin to sit up by himself and also use his hands for grabbing stuff. Everything he got hold of was of course, brought to the primary source of his investigation in this world: his mouth! The household hound was intrigued by the little pink screamer and took delight in circling him, sticking its snout right up the youngsters own snotty little nose and taking a lick of the cookie crumbs around the wee boy's mouth. The baby thought this was just wonderful and on a couple of occasions, grabbed the little dog by its own big ears and would not let it go. Once the father had observed what was going, he picked his boy up from the centre of the floor and then sat down again, placing his beloved on the floor right in front of him, between his open legs. The small child sat there completely protected by the mighty shins of his loving father who looked down at the little bundle sat between the two giant redwoods.

Our text for tonight depicts our heavenly Father like this earthly dad; watchful, careful and protective. The church of God sits childlike between His protective shins and I tell you this, if that devil of a dog comes sniffing around, ready to lick the cookie crumbs from around your gentle chops, well, he’s going to get his snout slapped.

Finally of course, the tribe of Judah was enabled by God to be the tree trunk legs of protection for that growing promise of 'Shiloh', the promised Messiah. Until of course He came! Until that time, they had the right to remove all people they thought were murderers and deceivers. Now, at the time of Christ however, the ruling council of the Sanhedrin had already had any authority to pass the death sentence upon any man, removed from them by the Romans! They were in effect powerless in terms of protection. Judah’s tribal staff, this ‘jus gladii,’ this right of the sword, this right to impose the death sentence, had been taken from them! Yes, they had ceased to possess the ultimate final ability to give and apply law. In Judah, all regal and legal powers had finally been totally removed. Augustin Lemann, in his book ‘Jesue before the Sanhedrin,’, reports a statement by ‘Rabbi Rachmon’ from the Talmud saying that: "When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them: they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: 'Woe unto us for the sceptre has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come'"


Meanwhile, in small town Galilee, ‘Shiloh’ was shovelling up the shavings from the floor of his father’s carpenters shop. Shiloh, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, had come and would one day stand before them on His own two lovely legs.

Remember tonight then, that God always protects His promises and God always brings His Word to pass.

Listen: - Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel — he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright; yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph's — the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. (1 Chronicles 5:1-3 NKJV)

Pray:- Father, place me between You mighty feet, set me between the safety of those most marvellous of pillars, Boaz and Jachin. Bring all Your good words over me to pass. Be peace to my soul as I wait and my protection on all my sides. In Jesus name I pray, amen!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nov | 27 | Applying Wisdom’s Fifth Wheel

Key Word:- CONSIDER

Title:- Applying Wisdom’s Fifth Wheel

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.

It was apparently Sid Caesar, that icon of early American television comedy, who with much insight, declared that “The man who invented the first wheel was an idiot but the man who invented the other three, he was the genius!” It’s a good joke and is indeed, a ‘starting handle’ on wisdom.

Will Durant says thatIdeally, wisdom is total perspective -- seeing an object, event, or idea in all its pertinent relationships.” Durant continues “Spinoza defined wisdom as ‘seeing things 'sub specie eternitatis,’ or ‘in view of eternity.’ I suggest,” he says “defining wisdom as, “seeing things sub ‘specie totius,’ or in view of the whole!” Thank you Mr Durant!

However, despite that fine use of Latin, that’s exactly what Sid Caesar said, only he said it in a way most of us can understand. Oh and by the way, I’ve often observed that sad comics and unhappy humorists seem to express truth much more succinctly, than any dead philosopher ever could!

The wisdom of this world says “Money is the principle thing and with all you’re getting get more and then with it, achieve power.” Think about that. Think about how much this kind of worldly wisdom permeates and possesses the whole of Western Society and especially the church! I personally know, Oh God help me, that it is the largest lie that I have battled with all my life and friends, I continue to battle with it because the lie seems so true, doesn’t it? Getting money does seem to be the principle thing in this world and the main goal of our existence for I mean, without money you can’t do anything! Not even the church can do anything without money. So, our Pastors most gingerly tell us, let’s get it prayerfully and carefully, humbly and openhandedly, but let’s get money and lots of it! And so, in all our fund raising and in all sewing of financial seeds, we say quite simply and so loudly that ‘Money is the principle thing, therefore get money!’
Again, Will Durant, the gentle philosopher, says of humanity and of himself, …. “We are all fragments of darkness groping for the sun. I know no more about the ‘ultimates’ than the simplest urchin in the streets.” That’s seemingly very profound and humble, but God’s response to this philosophical ignorance of little man before His vast and eternal ultimates is simple! He says: “No! Wisdom IS the principle thing. SO GET IT!” In other words God says; “Stop the philosophical nonsense about not knowing and not understanding because honest, I tell you, both wisdom and understanding can be got! So GET IT!” It seems in God’s sight that none of us need be urchins in these possessions! Money is not the principle thing” says God, Wisdom is and you can get it!”

In the Scriptures, this wisdom which can be acquired, is done so always from a position of humility and awe. In other words, we acknowledge that we are the created and are accountable to receive from a benevolent and Fatherly Creator, God the Lord, God the ‘revelator’ if you will, even God the redeemer extraordinaire! This is the beginning of wisdom: humbly knowing both our position and His greatness, especially His great goodness. He is the Master and the Master of our fate.

The reverence of God may be the beginning of wisdom, yes it is, yet as I write this, even now I know I am conscious of my old man, still not dead, raising up it’s foolish fist and spouting ‘Invictus’, crying that 'I am the master of my own fate' as it marches me towards the empty halls of hell. Take note of this fist friends, for whenever we reject the gentle and constant entreaties of wisdom, whenever we refuse humility, whenever we refuse to bend the knee, we ‘Invite Invictus’ to speak its powerful foolishness once more. My being master of my fate always says that “Money is the principle thing therefore get money!” Stupid or what? No, there is no wisdom in a raised fist, never was and never will be. Cain found that out when he killed his brother. So, let’s be humble and let’s get wisdom.

In conclusion then, may I please add an extra little thought? If wisdom is better than gold, then surely understanding is better than silver. In other words, may I add to Sid Caesar’s wise comments and say “The man who invented the first wheel was an idiot and the man who invented the other three, may have been a genius but the man who put the fifth wheel in front of the driver’s seat, now there’s a man who applies wisdom and understanding, lacks nothing and can go anywhere!” Do you see what I mean? Wisdom and understanding without application is shining folly. So friends, today may I leave you with some words from possibly the wisest woman that has ever lived…

Listen:- On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” John 2:1-5

Pray:- Lord, I am sorry for my arrogance in not getting what can be got. Lead me to the beginning of wisdom and guide me in understanding and bless me in application, In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

Nov | 27 | Are There Fairies At The Bottom of Your Garden?

Dream Word – CARE

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified. NKJV.

Are There Fairies At The Bottom Of Your Garden?


I often drive through Crowborough and pass the small bronze statue of old A.C.D., who spent the latter part of his previously productive life in fruitless exploits, fallacies and falsehoods. It’s such a shame really, that for the sake of simply ‘wanting to believe’, he gave credence to the infamous hoax of the Cottingley Fairies, where two young teenage girls supposedly took photographs of the creatures at the bottom of their garden. Just how could the author of the inscrutable Sherlock Holmes be taken in by such a hoax?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an intellectual and brilliant man, like so many people at the end of WWI, had lost such a large number of his friends and relatives, that he fell into a deep depression and eventually took solace in the possibilities of connection and the continuing of relationship through Spiritism, even though the founders of which, were themselves self-confessed hucksters and hoaxers. You see, the need to desperately want something can often lead to the necessity of a belief with built in blind spots.

There are three things to say here tonight.

Firstly, please note that unscrupulous people for personal gain in terms of power, prestige, pound notes and dollar bills, will without conscience, manipulate and make use of many depressed and desperate people.

Secondly, that the devil and his hoards are also hucksters and will themselves join in the game for their own purposes of pleasure, muddying the waters of human hucksterism with some metaphysical manipulation of their own.

Thirdly, that Christianity has no blinkers. Christianity questions. Christianity queries. Christianity makes room for people who demand a couple of nail holes to stick their fingers into.

So, if you are seeking answers to sincere questions tonight, then go straight to the top and ask them! For it is my experience and indeed, it is most clearly written, that those who seek, shall most surely find. That those who ask shall really receive and that those who knock righteously in naked openness, shall have the door of their knocking laid opened wide to them.

Examine yourself. Examine your faith. Examine the Bible. Let's make sure there are no faeries at the bottom of our garden.

Listen: - But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. Galatians 6:4-5 NKJV.

Pray:- Father, lead me to the truth, in Jesus name I pray, amen.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nov | 26 | Getters, Grabbers and Giving Kings

Key Word:- GIVE

Title:- Getters, Grabbers and Giving Kings

Job 1:21 
Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.


The January sales in my home country of England often produces a great rush of activity and spending as children and teenagers, their Christmas cash hot and heavy in their itchy little hands, exchange it for ‘stuff’ in all it’s promised packaging of pleasure. Mom is also ‘off down the shops’ as well searching for as many bargains as she can find and dad is down the ‘Do it Yourself’ temple to buy another tool he’ll hardly get the time to use and then begin another project that his wife will nag him about for the next six months. Ah…..sales time! You can feel the bargain goose bumps, dry mouth and sore feet just thinking about it.

My goodness though! The ‘after Christmas sales’ pale into insignificance along side the ‘after Thanksgiving sale.’ Black Friday, they call it in America and it’s like a herd of wilder beast high on ‘Crystal Meth’ lining and looting the highly overstocked and under priced isles of slashed and bleeding merchandise. Even Christian Radio joins the fray insisting on playing Christmas Carols from now until the New Year, to get you in the gift hunting mood. God help us.
Yet we continue to acquire all of this ‘stuff’ despite it taking so much time to manage. You’ve got to work at a job you might not like, to pay for stuff you might not really need, to get some peace that you can’t really enjoy, because you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for the stuff you might not really be able to afford. Plus, when you get it home, you find it doesn’t work and needs a warranty exchange, and trying to get one of those done smoothly would turn Ghandi into Genghis Khan at the customer service desk, which is a misnomer anyway, because it’s just another sales outlet where they’re going to tell you that it’s not broken at all actually, but is incompatible with the equipment you’ve presently got but thank God!....for a little extra money you can purchase an upgrade, oh and while your at it, it’s highly recommended that you pay for an extended warranty on everything, including the batteries and the plastic bag your going to carry your treasure home in! Then whilst the fresh air and sunshine beckon us outside, we finally sit, surrounded by our stuff, staring into glass or plasma, or liquid crystal displays, with blaring speakers selling us more of the same stuff we’ve already got and don’t really enjoy. It is utter madness!

There is no question that we are part of a system that relies heavily on us continuing to consume. It is geared to perpetually entice us to do so and so enslave us to debt and the demands of plastic in all its various forms. This robs us. This kills us. This destroys us. Do you think this satanic system might just be distracting the church from it’s mission and it’s real family values? Real family values has little to do with stuff! Many of us have had a ‘hard time’ of it when it comes to our childhood and we certainly do not want our children to go through similar experiences of need, so we ensure they never have the need we had. However, we are blind to the fact that what we needed then was but one ten thousandth of what the system and our children’s influential and much influenced peers tell them they actually need today! So parents beware! For our careful and seemingly loving intentions often simply help us to feed the monster.

Those of us in the West are also exposed to an interesting twist of Gospel goodness from the health, wealth and glory boys, in the form of the ‘inquisition of acquisition’. After all, plenty is obviously a sign of the Masters pleasure! So get more, and make sure it’s bigger, shinier and sharper than the world has ever seen, then they and our neighboring churches shall also truly know that God is with us. Yeah right!
Despite perceiving a kind of hot and happy, spiritual 'keeping up with the Joneses' going on around me, when the gospel has to deck itself out with bulbous “bling bling” to justify its efficacy, it actually leaves me cold and makes me feel ever so guilty while I am sitting here in my own lack and in my own need. I wonder if this kind of 'Bling Bling Gospel' now gone the way of Balaam, this kind of “faithing it,” is in fact just faking it really and that this pursuance of the gospel of wealth, which is what it really is, might just in the end rob us, kills us, destroys us and distract us from our true mission?

The problem is that the big attraction of possessions is that they do carry with them an attractive aura of power and protection, after all if I have much, then when want arrives, I shall possess enough to carry me and my loved ones through! If I have much, then when persecution comes, when the stock market plunderers thunder across Wall Street once more, then me and mine shall be safe. Our nest egg shall hatch and the roof shall remain over our head. Our health insurance shall also stand tall, against any onslaught of sickness or desperate need of a psychiatrist? Do I need a psychiatrist? Maybe I do, because though this kind of Gospel thinking is all very enticing and seems so very wise. I wonder, yes I really do wonder, if this kind of Gospel is NO GOSPEL AT ALL but rather is in fact just a great big fat lie, to get us to get more of that all encumbering stuff?

Be honest with yourself today and ask yourself these three questions.

1) Despite all my stuff, am I happy?
2) What is my source of provision and protection and so what do I truly value?
3) Does God value what I value?


The choice is ours to be ‘wise kings seeking Jesus’, or be ‘greedy grabbing gentiles’. What are you doing today? Still trying to grab peace, provision and protection by the gentiles? Careful now, you might just lose your own right hand of peace provision and protection.

Listen:- 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek.

Pray: - Father, help me not to worry but to seek Your righteousness and Your kingdom. Show me how live so much more with so much less in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

Nov | 26 | A Time Of True Thanksgiving

Dream Word – COST

Luke 14:26-28 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. NKJV.

A Time Of True Thanksgiving

At some point this date in our calendar will fall on the final Thursday of November, which of course is the dedicated day in America for the celebration of ‘Thanksgiving.’ Harvest celebrations are however not new. No, not at all. For an innate thankfulness to a ‘Higher Being,’ the ultimate giver of food and fertility is found in almost all indigenous peoples, even amongst the once flourishing, native Indian tribes of America. Yes, the need to say ‘Thank you’ is a human trait, not a Christian one.

Such polity to a ‘Supreme Being’ however, might be offered by pagan peoples, more out of relief and fear rather than a thankfulness which is offered out of the relaxed joy of a gifted prized possession. Relief in the sense that a seemingly capricious God has finally come through with the goods once more and fear, in the sense that we must be thankful lest He not continue to come up with the goods next year, if we don’t acknowledge His present and most beneficent goodness. If we have to sacrifice an odd virgin to maintain this fertile flow, then so be it. Whatever it takes.

It was a commercial decision to regulate the specific start date of ‘Thanksgiving’ and was overtly chosen by this other ‘nation of shopkeepers’ to make sure that the selling days before Christmas were as long and as profitable as they could possibly be. To this end then, the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus are regularly sacrificed on the altar of commerciality each and every year, for tomorrow in America, is the start of the Christmas period and all the fun and all the feasting, all the selling and all the competing will now get under way with the earnestness gobble of a chocoholic waking up in the Hershey’s factory.

I was told yesterday of a Christian man who after years of serving his local church and heading a very successful ministry to children had one day, just up and left his calling, his duties and his responsibilities. Apparently a tornado had gone through and damaged his own church so badly that one Sunday the doors had to be left shut for that Lord’s day and so, he had opportunity, for the very first time, to go and visit another church nearby. In his opinion, this “other church” was bigger, better and shinier in oh so many ways than his own, that he just “up’d sticks” and decided he would go there instead. Now, we all would like to see this seemingly fickle move as being indicative of some much deeper reasons for the abandonment of years of profitable ministry but no, there was nothing deeper. The reasoning and the decision was as shallow and as a fickle as that. It was very simply, a much more nicer deal.

I think if we are honest, we could acknowledge that much of our church choices are commercial ones. Yes, much of our church choices are from a ‘what’s the best deal I can get for my kids and my marriage, for my future and my personal happiness’ sake, rather than for any other. Pastors know this and so all their programming panders to these ‘spiritually’ commercial needs. So much so, that Pastors have become the high priests of the annual sacrifice of the Virgin and her Son. Oh don’t worry and please don’t be too upset, for this sacrifice can be justified in oh so many ways, that in this now commercialised and man-centred religion which we have created, we leaders spend most of our time making sure we are lining our shelves with so much shiny and cut-priced Christianity, just to make sure that our shameful sheep might never actually be seduced to go and shop elsewhere. Yes, most church leaders in America especially, actually live under the dark cloud of a commercial fear, where the Shekinah stenched breath from the mouths of disappointed founding member stockholders, fill the air with the condemnation of commercial loss, the like of which should only be found in the boardrooms of K-Mart and the once great American car industry. Unfortunately though, it is this same cloud of “fear and condemnation of loss” that most of the time fills both the pastor’s leather bound studies during the day and their horror filled dreams during the night. Yes, like all good shopkeepers, pastors face daily the questions of “What do I need to do to keep my shoppers and then go and get me some more!” So, should the congregation numbers drop and with it the fertile flow of money, materials and manpower suddenly cease to flow, then in the face of such commercial condemnation from remaining members, inevitably, the virgin and her Son shall be sacrificed again. Whatever it takes you see? Whatever it takes.

To break the sacrificial commercialism of the church, the question we must ask of our own local churches is this, “What can I give?” Not “What can I get?” The question we must ask of our own local churches is this, “What will it cost me to serve here?” Not, “What can they offer to keep me here?” You see, real Christianity, the heaven branded stuff, is never cut price! Pastors, don’t you know that the possession of something valuable and costly brings with it such a great care and thankfulness from the possessors of the same, that their words and their lives will inevitably ooze with the relaxation and joy of a true thanksgiving. No fear you see, no manipulation, just a confident and heartfelt thankfulness.

This Thanksgiving then Pastor, leader, commercial sacred and spiritual feeder, why don’t you stop the annual sacrificing of both the Virgin and her Son on the altar of competitive cut-price commercial Christianity and simply begin to offer them the real deal? Stop cutting Him down and selling Him cheap! Rather, go raise Him high and make Him costly. Maybe then, maybe in a few years time, we as a nation can then begin to live in a time of true thanksgiving. Tell me tonight then, just how valuable is Your Jesus? Regarding your church, don’t ask yourself, “What will they have to do to keep me?” But rather ask yourself, “What has it cost ME to follow Him?”

Listen: - Then the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing."( 2 Samuel 24:24a NKJV)

Pray:- I am persuaded, Lord to love You, for I have been changed to bless Your name. I am constrained by this great Gospel, forever to worship Thee. (From ‘Precious Jesus’ by Thomas Whitfield)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nov | 25 |Tom Wattle & Ringing Bells

Key Word:- WORSHIP

Title:- Tom Wattle & Ringing Bells

Job 39:13-17   “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork. She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labor was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense.”NIV

 
Since President Lincoln’s appointment of a national day of thanksgiving in 1863, each president since then has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually intended to be the fourth Thursday of each November. Unfortunately this has become known as Turkey Day! So let’s take up the theme, for birds are so prominent and emblematic in the history of nations, and biblically so full of reference and instruction, that we cannot fail to get fed!

Writing about America's national bird, the Bald Eagle, the National Wildlife Federation tells of the first American bird controversy concerning the Eagle and the Turkey that arose between Benjamin Franklin and Congress. They write: ‘A year after the Treaty of Paris ended the conflict with Great Britain; Franklin argued that the turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol. “A much more respectable bird and a true native of America,” he pointed out. Franklin conceded that the turkey was “a little vain and silly,” but maintained that it was nonetheless a “bird of courage” that “would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.” Congress was not convinced, however.’
So tell me Congress, just what is wrong with having the Turkey as the national emblem? The wild Turkey can fly faster than a horse can gallop! Each Tom's leg, sports such a fearfully sharp spur and then stands so tall, that it looks like it's packing a couple of six shooters. Oh yes, a turkey is armed and extremely dangerous! As for beauty, well, when a flock of wild turkeys take to the skies their iridescent metallic glittering feathers turn the whole sky into a copper dome metallic cloud! Its brave chest bears its own medals of honor, and it’s brightly coloured warlike caruncles, those fleshy masses around the head and neck, are colourfully communicative when agitated or aroused, and that happens even in the ultraviolet range that is invisible to humans! Imagine that! It seems that the majestic turkey has undoubtedly been given a very bad name.

Our verse today is taken from a delightful diatribe of God. Gently, yet forcefully and lovingly upbraiding Job, God sets out the secret and wonderful mysteries of His creation, in which He most certainly takes, what appears to us to be, a sincere and hidden, daily delight. In our text, God refers to the Ostrich, purposefully created by Him to be a bird that does not act like a bird! A bird that is in effect, goofy and clumsy. Imagine that! God says “I didn’t give her the wisdom she should have to adequately take care of her young.” Oh yes, He did say that friend! However, this is no excuse for those human turkeys which we see on the Jerry Springer show!

The point of the passage is this: God made you and though compared to other people you may not be the brightest bulb on the tree; though compared to other people you may not be the biggest bulb in the flower bed; though compared to other people…….. Well, you get my point. God does not make comparisons. You are the way He made you! YES YOU ARE! It is my belief, that in some way pleasing to the Father and most surprising to others, you are gifted to excel. Find it friends! My suspicion is that you shall find it when you search for it in the deep delights of the heart that God gave you. What rings your bell brother, sister? What gives you pleasure and makes you feel His smiling delight? Find it for it is most likely there that you will excel. You see, the thing is, maybe being a bit of a Turkey, is not a bad thing after all!

Listen:- “…for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense. Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider." Job 39:17-18 NIV

Pray: - Jesus, show me my heart, the new heart placed in me, my true heart, my good heart, my restored heart; then help me to live in it and unpack it's awesome treasures, these wonderful gifts from You, that I might feel and live in Your pleasure. Amen.
 

Nov | 25 | The Plays & All The Picture Painting of Redemption

Dream Word – FORGIVE

2 Samuel 12:1-4 Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: "There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveller came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." NKJV.

The Plays & All The Picture Painting of Redemption

It is Shakespeare in ‘Hamlet,’ Act 2 Scene 2, who has the Danish Prince, seeking to gain visible proof that his uncle, King Claudius, had indeed murdered his dear father, the former king. To this end, Hamlet himself turns playwright, constructing a picture wherein he impregnates the play with references to regicide. Knowing that the present King, his uncle Claudius will be watching the play at court, Hamlet looks and waits for the flinching signs of sin. Hamlet is so confident of this happening that he says, The play's the thing, wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.”

In the first instance, I find it profitable, if not uncomfortable, to examine my own reactions to all the stories, scenes and sentiments which I might find in the many plays and pictures which I expose myself to. Sometimes when I do this, the overt glance of a long since silenced conscience, often creeps across my barrier mountains and meets my eyes once more, inviting confession and even demanding repentance and restitution. Hamlet was right.

In the second instance it is also of interest to observe another person’s reaction to stories, scenes and sentiments which they are also exposed to, for these reactions, especially if the response is grossly out of proportion to the pictorial ignition point, show large a person’s pain in terms of them either being victim or villain. Every time I preach, every time I paint pictures with my words, here and there in the congregation of the listeners, it is often in the well-shuffled buttock, the wet eye, and the bowed head, where I too see that 'the play is the thing which shall catch the conscience of the King.'

All good pictures call forth truth, confession and repentance, restitution and restoration. Yes, in all good pictures, unlike the heart of Hamlet who was only intent on self justified revenge, there always lies the possibility of redemption. If God keeps bringing pictures across your petrified path, I tell you, He is but seeking your redemption.

Listen: - So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity." Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! (2 Samuel 12:5-7a NKJV)

Pray:- Lord, in all Your drawings on the wall of my soul, lead me to those places of restoration and redemption in Jesus name I pray, amen.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nov | 24 | A Lizard Like Jesus?

Key Word:- TRUST

Title:- A Lizard Like Jesus?

Matthew 14:25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.


The combination of lasers, video framing and reflective molecules, has led to the discovery of the forces which allow a small Lizard called the ‘Green Basilisk’ or the ‘Jesus Lizard’ to be able to walk on water. Actually it simply runs very, very fast. Lest you think scientists have invested money into this research for some theological purpose, think again! Knowing how to walk upright on various surfaces will be of tremendous application for the production of multi-terrain robots. Sounds quite military doesn’t it? You betcha!

From our text for today, I see that the DNA of the Church of God, was being formed in these fishermen out on the sea of Galilee in the 4th watch of the night, for what they experienced and knew, would become the bedrock of what was birthed and grew. All their life they had dealt with water and had experienced beyond the shadow of a doubt that the water would not allow a man to remain above it. Simple! They had learnt something else as well: Storms were dangerous, storms were where the placid fluid was so antagonized by the raging wind, that in its anger it would reach up into the swaying and swinging dryness and snatch you to itself and while embracing you tightly in its all enfolding arms, would plant upon your lips, its cold wet kiss of death. This they knew. This they experienced.

Jesus has remained behind to watch and pray. From afar off, He sees His disciples struggling hard against the violent waves which might not allow them to reach their destination, and if they did, they would be exhausted. He also knew that their hearts were still not open to the fact that He was the all providing, all commanding, supernatural God. Though five thousand bellies were recently filled with bread and fish from but five loaves and two fishes, their hearts were still dull to the fact of who He truly was. Think about that.

So, another lesson was needed; a lesson so fully immersed in their familiar and dangerous environment, that who Jesus truly was, would become both manifest and irrefutable to them. So Jesus lets the storm grow large, the day grow late, their arms grow tired ,their stomachs grow sick and their hearts grow desperate, until He begins lesson 301 regarding who He really is.

Effortlessly, Jesus steps into the waves. Not trudging up the height of each violently moving crest only to then, like some holy surfer, hands outstretched like a small aero plane, begin sliding down the tumbling trough shouting “Wha-hey-hey! Look at this guys!” and then begin yet another trudge up some other writhing, looming, rising, rough and ready monster of a wave. No. I don’t think it was like that. He was simply there, walking on the water and wherever His foot trod, they carved the calmest of passages that was never intruded upon by the raging sea. This indeed is another miracle. Like the children in the fire who had not even the smell of smoke upon them, so I wonder, if Jesus had amidst the sea, not even one drop of salt water splash against his face or lap the edges of His toenails as they peeked out of the front of His size seven sandals.

Let's not talk about Peter's darling and daring escapade for the moment, but focus on this fact: The disciples needed to have this particular hardness in their hearts, softened. They needed to more fully believe! Jesus sees to this to such an extent that they are reported to have been, “greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled!” Or, “astonished exceedingly, completely amazed beyond measure, whacked in wonder, gob smacked, utterly open mouthed, unable to take it in and totally astounded!”
Now listen friends, don’t think that Jesus is not about walking on water in your life today. What areas, or what facts and truths are you so overly acquainted with; or what unbending familiarity do you have with the mundane of the day, that it has left your little heart hard or dull in believing that Jesus is Lord over all? YES LORD OVER ALL! Has this truth become too much to take in?

May a storm brew in your life. May you struggle and despair even to the point of fearing the loss of all things and then may you find Jesus walking on your water, coming toward you, and climbing into your boat. If a little lizard can be like Jesus, then it’s about time you learnt to be like Him as well. How Jesus toughly trains His beloved disciples sounds quite military doesn’t it? You betcha! Now shape up! Now step out! Now believe!

Listen:- Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33

Pray: - O Lord I believe. Help me with my unbelief. Amen.
 

Nov | 24 | Flick, Click, Crush!

Dream WordHOPE

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, NKJV.

Flick, Click, Crush!

When truth is set aside, men believe anything. So, for some time now at the beginning of the 21st Century, we have been bombarded by a multitude of ever growing parapsychology programming, their attractiveness being not just in their seeming entertainment value, but on their uncovering dark, hidden and malevolent forces. One of the most telling of tag lines for one these television series says something like this: “If you look into the dark, sometimes, the dark looks back!” Now this is a tag line that not only, I believe, has an ominous tone to it, but I think speaks some truth to us as well.

There are two ways to deal with darkness, that is to either Disdain it or to Discover it.

We disdain any darkness by offering to it the high and cold shoulder of our abject haughtiness. After all, what is the value of darkness, its power and its fruit, to the sons and daughters of the light? We should not investigate the darkness, stare at the scuttling cockroach or even consider its ways. The Bible is scant on its revelation of the metaphysical and spiritual realms for a very good reason: it is a dangerous place for us to be. To that end, the Scriptures are very clear with both judgements and warnings that we should have no involvement with it whatsoever!

There are times however that we have to discover it. I do not use this verb in the sense of a continual action of going deeper into the manifestations and ways of darkness, but rather a simple click of an action of turning on the light. I am of course simply talking about the discovery which light exposure brings. Concerning the cockroaches of darkness then, when we suspect their scurrying, we should simply, flick, click and crush.

Brother, sister, live in the light and whatever you do, do not look into the darkness, for yes indeed, it will look back at you. Remember, flick, click, crush. If you don’t, your openness to them will bring infestation.

Listen: - For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep,Arise from the dead,And Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:8-21 NKJV)

Pray:- Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9b-13 NKJV )

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nov | 23 | The Wild, Wild Men of The West!

Key Word:- BECOME

Title:- The Wild, Wild Men of The West!

Judges 11:1-3 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. Gilead's wife bore sons; and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.
 
Now, the book of Judges reads better than any ‘western novel’ you will ever purchase. With plots as deep as wells, intrigues as complicated as a bowl of spaghetti and characters whose lives and ego’s are larger than Goliath's sword; you will not want for colour, excitement and controversy. The backdrop for the revelation of God Almighty in the book of Judges, is truly like the ‘wild wild west’ because everyone is doing ‘that which is right in his own eyes.’ Armed, strong and ruthless men, roam and rule the land. Now enter stage left, Jephthah the Gileadite.

Not many people have heard of Jephthah but everyone has heard of ‘Billy the Kid’, who was reputed to be the world’s most famous outlaw! He was born today in 1859, possibly in New York. His life can be split into four distinct sections:

Firstly, the story of a young man's good character, corrupted by parental loss and early abuse;

Secondly, by the near redemption of a life gone wrong through a scheming but strong Englishman in the form of Mr. John Tunstall;

Thirdly, Billy’s taking revenge at the murder of his redeeming mentor and

Finally, in 1881, his death at the hands of a cowardly old friend and acquaintance, Sheriff Pat Garret, who would gun him down in the dark at Billy’s girlfriend's house in New Mexico.

Billy was just 21years old when his legend was born and Hollywood as usual, has milked it for all it’s worth.

The story of Billy the Kid's real life would not be out of place in the Book of Judges! Dennis Bratcher commenting on the life of Jephthah, might equally apply his comments to Billy the Kid when he notes that there is nothing positive about the story of Jephthah. Except it is a heartrending model of what not to do!”

Actually, I think Mr Bratcher might be right if he were commenting about Billy the Kid but wrong in commenting about Jephthah. The wild, wild men of the Book of Judges are not simply placed in scripture to show us what not to do! They are placed there to show us how to fight; and especially how to fight with faith! You see, these aren’t just oversized, extravagant colourful cardboard cut-outs, to keep the kids entertained in a five minute slot before the sermon. No! These are real people like us; men with some of the most severe character flaws you could ever come across. To say they needed therapy is an understatement. Some of them needed locking up! However, remarkably God is there and God is using them; and finally pointing out some good things about them for our example and I believe, encouraging us to imitate them. Now that’s truly amazing and remarkably gracious.

It might be good for us to bear this in mind when we mourn the catastrophic fall of Christian leaders who crash upon the public stage. Remember that while God never overlooks, justifies or excuses sin, it also would appear that in the final analysis, God does not let sin blot out the good things that were achieved when these same people operated in faith and righteousness.

Medals and trophies; the commendations and applause of the popular people, heard and handed to us in the world of men, mean nothing, absolutely nothing, before the judgment seat of Christ. I have decided therefore, along with the apostle Paul, to wait until then, to see what really matters and in the meantime, learn from the wild, wild men of the west by taking note of both their mistakes and their marvelous feats of faith. Dear friend what about you? How wild do you want to get? How wild dare you get? 

Listen:- And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Hebrews 11:32-35

Pray: - Lord, keep me from final judgements and help me learn, both from others good and great examples, as well as their mistakes. Amen.
 

Nov | 23 | Avoiding The Disappointment at the End Of Gushing Tap

Dream Word – PREPARE

Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." NKJV.

Avoiding The Disappointment at the End Of a Gushing Tap

At the end of a long day, usually when my old bones are stiff, my joints are a creaking and my muscles are contracted with stress, sometimes, instead of a shower, I long for the long therapeutic relaxation that only a hot bath can provide. It never ceases to disappoint me then, even to the point of utter disgust, when while sitting naked and slightly cold, longingly and expectantly waiting in the running water for the final filling up of the shroud of my warm death, that just before you get to the point where you can slip beneath the bubbles and even cover your hairy and white, blubbery, old belly, the hot water sometimes just runs out! I stand abruptly. Naked, angry, cursing the waves, while whipping out the plug and letting go the lukewarm water down the wasteful drain. What a waste of time and effort. Now I am more tense, more spent and more in need of relaxation than when I first disrobed.

I do not think our Jesus likes to find disappointment at the end of a running tap either. You will forgive my mix of metaphors, for I wonder if there is something which He finds ‘appily anticipatory and even ecstatically expectant at the end of our long ploughed furrows. So much so, that should we fail to reach the end, that when the hot water of our hot beginnings runs out before His watching eyes, it leaves him very disappointed. I think He might wish then, that He never even bothered to get ready to relax in enjoyment with us, never even bothered to prepare to bathe with us in all the hot Jacuzzi-like completions of our many started endeavours.

So I say to you tonight, keep your water piping hot and make sure, the tank is full and bubbling. It it's lukewarm don't even bother turning on the tap.

Listen: - Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." (Hebrews 10:38 NKJV)

Pray:- Lord, give me fuel and ignition and an ever burning fire in the centre of my soul, in Jesus name I pray, amen.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nov | 22 | Festal Festus Finishes 'Gits R Dun'

Key Word:- PERSEVERE

Title:- Festal Festus Finishes & 'Gits R Dun'

Haggai 1:8 “Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD.


I suppose out of many Red Neck phrases, the one I like the most is 'Git 'R Dun.' In other words, get her done, get on with it, you know, 'stop yer whining', stop your loudmouth planning and proctrastinating and just 'Git R Dun!'

The apple of God’s eye, the Jewish people, had now returned from Babylonian exile. The task of rebuilding themselves, their nation, their families and communities, was a most enormous one and every last penny was poured into that end! That focal point for the Jews, that centre of the manifest presence of God, the temple of the LORD, was however now being left till last. They had made a good beginning, but difficulties and problems had turned a temporary lull into a long term postponement! “Now,” everyone was agreed, “Was not yet the time to rebuild the temple of the LORD.”

Unfortunately this was not a good move. Whilst leaving the temple of God undone, half built, in ruins, open to the elements, disheveled, lack luster, -you get the picture don’t you? - they had in-fact continued to invest in their own homes in a substantial manner. Indeed, what was meant for God was going to themselves. ( Oh, and by the way, this isn’t a message about money. It’s far more important than that! )

I am not a good finisher. Countless projects yet to be completed are testimony to that. Examining myself, I am aware of a number of reasons for this. However one that bobs to the surface of my unfinished waves the most, is the lack of FOCUSED PERSEVERENCE. Interestingly, I have observed that this is a particularly bad trait in the area of many of our spiritual lives. Maturity, growth, healing, possession of the land, does not come without a fight which in turn is often a grueling and exhausting experience. So when the tiredness sets in, the tendency of many of us after making such a good start, is not to press on through to completion, but on reaching these difficulties, to lay our existing unreached goals aside and like the good Christians we are, begin yet another good start! The results of this are clear, for unfinished works, especially in the spiritual realm, do not lie quietly, but rather stand and shout at us as a testimony to inconsistency and then they become a further invitation to spiritual mockery and attack and accusation from the enemy. Consequently, the maintenance of such unfinished work becomes in-fact, far higher than the completion of it and if you have a number of these yet to be finished, then be sure, resources across the board will quite naturally get a little tight!

Of course, in Israel’s case there came a time when God also stepped in and said “Enough! This is embarrassing. You are spread too thin. You have not put Me first. It’s a bit of a disgrace and great danger for you. So for now my children, all My good resources are also withheld from you until you put things right! Laziness, lethargy, unholiness, death and disease, are all spread by contact you know? Holiness, wholeness, life and prosperity however, need to be pursued with perseverance. So go up to the mountains, start logging and then COMPLETE THE WORK YOU STARTED! I’ll take pleasure in it, I’ll be glorified, and trust Me, you will be happy. You’ll have enough, you’ll be filled and even be able to save all those resources you have lost to the hungry ground. TRUST ME, put Me first and persevere in the completion of those most spiritual of projects, that I have shown you to do.”
The good news friends, is that the Jews listened to this message from the Lord, attended to the temple and were truly blessed of God in doing so. Now what about us? It is time, isn’t it, for many of us to lay aside our fine houses and our continual good projects that we begin well, and say “Ok Lord. Enough! Where should I first begin to bring to completion, that which I have already started? “Oh Lord! Please finally turn my fretting frustration into thankful festivity.” He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Listen:- Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, spoke the LORD's message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.” So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,….. see:- Haggai 1:12-15

Pray: - Lord, show me today my half built houses. Lord, show me today what You would have me to first attend to and complete. Lord I want to put you first in my life. Please be my building manager today, that I may persevere in such a way, that it would lead to some completion, rest, provision and much greater glory for You, O my God. Amen.
 

Nov | 22 | Suited, Booted & Ready! Having No Sympathy For The Devil

Dream Word – PREPARE

Revelation 19:19-20 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. NKJV

Suited, Booted & Ready! Having No Sympathy For The Devil

It was in Dallas today in 1961 that President John F Kennedy was assassinated. Nearly forty years on from this event it is interesting that over 70% of Americans believe that this assassination of the President was a conspired removal plot.

Though intriguing, the roots of these many conspiracy theories are at best, tangled. Yet never the less, they all point to some form of secret and shadowy forces hidden in the background of world affairs, moving and manipulating for their own sordid means, protection, greed and gain.

Evil has been around for a long time friends and Lucifer, its not so hidden head, has been waging war against the saints and more particular against their Lord, for unknown ages. We are privileged to have access to the high points of this long battle if not its intricate historical developments, but this long war has developed and is developing still.

Be assured that the enemy though thoroughly defeated at Calvary, is not convinced of it and in his anger and in his pride continues to marshal his forces, his satraps, his own bad, blood-bought dynasties against the marvellous moving of the Most High God.

Evil has been around a long, long time. It has big plans, big people in its pay and bad things at its heart. We may all mostly be but little players on this present stage, poor foot soldiers as it were, warriors only for the working day maybe, but be assured of this, that the devil is out to take you out!

Like it or not, we all have a gun pointing at our head, so watch out dear friends, watch out. Get booted, suited and ready for your part in the fight which is so surely to come upon us with an even greater ferocity than ever before in history.

Listen: - The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months. It yelled blasphemies against God, blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church, especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven. It was permitted to make war on God's holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races. Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world's foundation in the slaughtered Lamb's Book of Life will worship the Beast. Are you listening to this? They've made their bed; now they must lie in it. Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword. Meanwhile, God's holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground. Revelation 13:5-10 from, THE MESSAGE


Pray: - Lord, deliver me from paranoia into truth. Let Your peace reign in my open eyes. Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle, my loving kindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take my refuge. Amen!






The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil

Please allow me to introduce myself
Im a man of wealth and taste
Ive been around for a long, long year
Stole many a mans soul and faith
And I was round when jesus christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
I stuck around st. petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a generals rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
I shouted out,
Who killed the kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
Let me please introduce myself
Im a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached bombay
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But whats confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me lucifer
cause Im in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or Ill lay your soul to waste, um yeah
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down
Woo, who
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, whats my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, whats my name
I tell you one time, youre to blame
Ooo, who
Ooo, who
Ooo, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Oh, yeah
Whats me name
Tell me, baby, whats my name
Tell me, sweetie, whats my name
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Oh, yeah