Monday, April 30, 2012

Even The Birds Sing Praise To The Creator

During this time of year, Spring, the birds are extremely noisy before sunrise.  In order to save money on the power bill and try to enjoy fresh air, I wait as long as possible to close up the windows and turn on the central air conditioning, so I hear everything outside early in the mornings.  I can just imagine the birds, as I hear them chirping and singing and making all their noises, being excited to welcome another day, the warmth of Spring, the anticipation of building nests, laying eggs, raising new offspring, flying and soaring from the trees; just doing and being what they were created to do.  They sound so happy, they are praising their Creator for another day to live and breathe and soar!
Psalm 148:7-13 (KJV) "Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth; Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven."
We, more than the birds, should greet each morning with thanksgiving and praise to our Creator for yet another day, to live and breathe and soar, to do and be what He has created us for - to show forth His glory as His masterful creation!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Cross Is Both Vertical And Horizontal

Jesus bore the cross for our salvation, but what is the cross that He speaks about in Luke 9:23-27?  Verse 23 - "And He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
 The cross is horizontal, representing the relationship between us and God.  There's an abandonment with this earthly world that we must make in order to truly follow Christ.  Most all Christians understand this concept, but what about the vertical part of the cross?  That represents our relationships with other people.  This may be the most difficult aspect of 'taking up our cross daily' we face.
When we are challenged with forgiving, loving, serving and accepting others, we often times balk with multiple excuses of why we shouldn't.  I Peter 4:8-10 says, "And above all things have fervent charity (love) among yourselves; for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."  (KJV. Words in parenthesis mine)  Notice in verse 8 it says the multitude of sins.  I think Jesus is emphasizing that not only will each of us have sins that need love to cover, but that each of us will have 'many'.  Not only will I need love to cover my sins, but I will need to give love to cover the sins of others.  This covering of love comes to us first from the blood of Jesus Christ.  If He gave it to us, it wasn't strictly for us to have and to hold, but to be shared.  Let's remember that our Christian walk is more than the relationship between us and God, but also the relationship between us and others!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Who Is The Church?

If you've received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are part of the church, which is a representation of His body on earth.  The church is not a building of mortar, brick, stone, wood or metal, but people who are His children.
We are sheep, Christ is the shepherd.  John 10:11
(leadership, protection, our dependency)

We are the branches, He is the vine.  John 15:5
(His sustaining strength for growth)

We are priests, He is the High Priests.  I Peter 2:9-10
(worship, fellowship, service to Him)

We are building stones, He is the cornerstone.  I Peter 2:4-8
(Jesus is the foundation for what the church is and does - love is the mortar)

We are the body, He is the head.  I Corinthians 12:12
(vibrant organism, not an organization, each believer supplies a unique and necessary part)

We are the new creation, He is the last Adam.  I Corinthians 15:22,  II Corinthians 5:17
(Jesus initiated the church)

We are the bride, He is the bridegroom.  Ephesians 5:25-33, Revelation 21:9
(intimate fellowship)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do You Have Religion Or Relationship?

I believe that every person who comes to Christ begins in a relationship with Him.  We see our need of salvation and we accept the cleansing, redeeming blood of Calvary as our forgiveness of sin.  We are in love with a God who would give up His only Son that we may be saved, but too many times, as we go along, we lose the fervency of the relationship with our Father God and slowly regress into religion.  How do we know if we're serving God out of religion or relationship?  The main question we should ask ourselves is, "What are my motives, my reasons for following God?"
Religion - Because I'm supposed to.  Because I ought to.  Because I'm afraid of what might happen if I don't.  Because someone will see me do, or not do something that I should, or shouldn't.
Relationship - Because I want to follow Christ.  Because I love God.  Because I desire to please God.  Because my commitment to God is more important to me than anything.

The results of religion are negative while the results of a relationship are fulfilling.
Religion - failure, disappointment, inability to live the requirements, overburdened.  Religion, like the law of the Old Testament, cannot be fulfilled.
Relationship - freedom, peace, joy, ability to live in God's grace and receive forgiveness for failures.

Prayer For God's Transformation Power

Oh God, help us to carry the burning coal of Your love.  Give us wisdom and ability to relay the words You want spoken; for endurance and fervency to weep, pray and fast for hearts to be open and receptive to the truth; for humbleness to recognize we're only vessels in the Master's hand; for repentance to continually be in our hearts and for Christ to be seen in our lives.
Lord, that we will train an army instead of entertaining an audience.  Inspire passion instead of passivity.  Ignite fires of fervent love for every human being.  Stir hearts of devotion instead of feelings that fade.
Remove the veils of deception that cover our spiritual eyes.  Bring revelation to our sight, let darkness be dispelled so light will illuminate the hidden parts of our lives.  Let us face our failures and turn our ships in obedience to Your way, for there is a crew on board along with passengers that depend on our direction.
Let God be revealed and man exposed.  He is holy, we are not.  Help us to lay down our dependence on man and pick up the supernatural dependence upon God.
Let our motives be exposed and challenged by the righteousness of God.  Dig deeper into our hearts, dig for pure gold.  Turn up the heat and increase the fire so that every bit of dross will rise to the surface and be disposed.  Let only the purest gold be produced, for it alone will stand the test of fire.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spiritual Awakening

There's evidence of Spiritual Awakening when the faithful become fiery, 
the good become excellent, 
the parishioners become passionate; 
when we've become sickened by our evil 
and disgusted at our good.  

Spiritual Awakening doesn't happen when we simply get rid of sin, but when we give God all of us He wants!  I believe we're about to see the kind of Spiritual Awakening that the earth has not seen before - it's the resurrection of a new generation - one with hearts of gold and souls on fire!  A generation that seeks not their own, but that of a King - to build their Master's Kingdom, not theirs.  They will love not their own lives, not even unto death - for their love and devotion for their Savior means everything.  To please their God will be all that matters and the wildfire that will spread across the earth will make the Book of Acts look tame!

Joel 2:28 (KJV) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30) And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible days of the Lord come. 32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in  Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Change Us God

Change us, Oh God
A little more every day.
Mold us and shape us
Continually in Your way.
Break our hearts, dear Lord
So Your love will abide in us.
From glory to every glory
Cause us, Your people
To reflect Your light to the world.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

God's Word Is Alive!

The Word of God is so much more than print on paper.  It is living, empowering & amazing!  Words written three thousand years ago speak into our lives today - this is the power of a living God!  He transcends time because he is not confined within time.  He has no beginning, He has no ending.  God dictates time.  Time dictates us.  His Word is not limited to relevance only in a certain time period.  What He spoke thousands of years ago does not lose its applicability because as far as God is concerned, He's speaking it today!
John 1:1 (KJV), "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
John 1:14 (KJV), "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."  The Word in essence is God, who was and is and is to come.
Hebrews 4:12 (KJV), "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Too many people read the Word of God with the intent of finding 'proof' for what they already believe, instead of searching the Word of God with an open heart, seeking God to reveal His truth to them to base their belief on.  Begin to read God's Word, the Bible, in a fresh approach.  Ask God to reveal His truth as you read.  Ask His Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind as you read.  God will confirm His Word, He will never waver from His Word, He will always be true to His Word!  He IS the Word!

Colton Dixon - Everything by Lifehouse

My Prayer For God's People

God I pray that our eyes will be open and our hearts be broken.  That we will search for You - not in the wind, nor in the fire or the earth shaking, noise of man, but in Your still small voice, confirmed by Your Word.  I pray that our longings for more of Christ increase and our desires for God never cease. That we'll never stop short of seeing God's Glory revealed on earth.  I know that our time is short and of great importance here on earth.  The urgency of the hour increases each day.  God, shake us and awake us, move Your people out of slumber and sleep.  Let our ears hear Your voice above all the noise of our hectic lives, and most of all, respond to the drawing of Your Spirit.  Cause our hearts to hunger and thirst for more of You and our appetites for this world to decrease.  May our affections be on things above, Lord, reveal Yourself to us in a greater way than we've experienced before.  Show Yourself as the Lion and the Lamb that you are!  Amen!  (Revelation Chapter 5)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roll That Stone Away

Deep within my tomb
Of depression, lack and gloom,
The stronghold of darkness prevailed.
Entwined with a shroud
Of sickness, fear and doubt,
I heard a voice calling to me.
It said, "Roll that stone away!
There's life here today,
Take a step of faith into the Light.
Roll that stone away!
In Me you'll find The Way,
To leave your grave clothes behind."

Could it be me,
This man from Gallilee,
Was speaking to, deep within that tomb?
Could there be life
On the other side
Just waiting for me to come out?
So I said, "Roll that stone away!
There's life here today,
I'm taking a step of faith into the Light!
Roll that stone away!
I've just found The Way,
I'm leaving these grave clothes behind."

In case I wasn't heard,
I declared again those words,
"Roll that stone away!
You better hear what I say,
I'm not staying here one more day.
Roll that stone away!
You better hear and obey,
'Cause I'm coming forth in Resurrection Pow'r!"
c Tracia Bussey 1997

What Is An Anointing?

     In Luke 4:18 (NAS) it reads, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has anointed me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."  These words are written in red, signifying Jesus was the one who spoke them.  We know that Jesus was anointed, but what about plain, everyday people.  Can they be anointed of God?  The answer is yes!
     An anointing is not man-given, it comes from God as the equipping for the call of God on one's life.  God gives what is needed to fulfill what He asks of us, however, the anointing is God flowing through us, not we ourselves.  It is the God given ability to go, to do, to speak, to sing, to create beyond our normal capabilities.  An anointing will carry what we do to the very depths of the human heart.  Our intellect and abilities can tickle man's brain, God's anointing can change man's heart!  His anointing is the only avenue to the heart of man for eternal value.
     With a call will come an anointing.  As with a call, being yielded to God's will is necessary to flow in His anointing.  I tend to think of the anointing as oil, or grease to machinery.  When the working parts of a machine are well oiled, they move easily and freely, producing the desired function that machine was invented to perform. Without the oil, the metal begins to grind against metal and production slows down.  Eventually, a breakdown is inevitable (sure to happen).  Anyone who is called in ministry and recognizes God's anointing can relate to this example.  A good friend says, "The anointing - it's thrillin' with it, and it's chillin' without it!"
     Isaiah 10:27 (KJV) "And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off their shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing."  The anointing breaks the yoke of bondage.  It is the divine power God gives believers to minister to the world and to the body of Christ.
     The anointing therefore is for ministry to people.  It's a weapon against the works of the enemy.  It sets people free and breaks the yoke of bondage.  It is the power to change hearts.  The anointing is for service, not for show!  Jesus never monopolized on his anointing for stardom or fame.  It was not the dominant factor in his life.  The dominant factor was his relationship with the Father.
     We need the anointing to do God's will or else, we will be trying to meet the needs of people out of our flesh.  Zechariah 4:6 (KJV) "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts."
     We cannot do a spiritual work for God with our carnality and flesh.  We do not have a better idea, nor a better way than God.  He will grace us where He takes us!  He knows we can't do it, so He provides His grace, which empowers us to be able to walk out His truth.

Repair The Broken Wall

     The wall around Jerusalem was built to protect and shield the inhabitants of the Holy City.  Walls keep in and walls keep out.  Walls are meant to hide, cover, guard and withhold.
     Upon returning to Jerusalem, Nehemiah was distraught concerning the remnant of Israel who were in Jerusalem.  Neh. 1:1-3  "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire." (vs. 3).  Nehemiah wept and mourned for days, fasting and praying, (vs. 4).  He sought God for the people (intercession).  Chapter 2, God makes a way for Nehemiah to put action to his prayer.
     Chapter 4:9 - "But we prayed to our God, and because of them (enemy) we set up a guard against them day and night."  The rumor was widespread that they would not be able to do the task at hand (rebuild the wall) vs. 10.  They received the word of warning from their own people 10 times (the meaning of the number 10 is the number of God's order/government for man).  Then, men were stationed in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, exposed places - because in vs. 12 it says, "They will come up against us from every place where you may turn".  Nehemiah knew the enemy.  He knew their attacks would look for uncovered places, exposed places to gain entrance to the city.  He spoke to the people of Jerusalem for he saw their fear (vs. 14).  "Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
     When the enemy heard that they knew their plan because God had strengthened them, they were deterred from their evil intents.  From that time until the task was accomplished, the workers toiled with one hand and were prepared to battle with the other.
     So it is, we have a work to, but there is a battle to be fought with the enemy at the same time.  We are fighting for our brothers, our sisters, our sons, our daughters, our wives, our husbands and our homes!  You don't think there's an enemy?  Look around at the growing number of tragedies.  John 10:10 says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus has come to give life.  There's a wall that's broken.  There's exposed places where the enemy is creeping in.  If you're a Christian, our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness.  We war not with swords and guns, but will overcome the enemy by the Blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Psalm 23 Contains All 7 Names of God

Psalm 23

David wrote this Psalm before he went out to fight Goliath, it contains all 7 (the number of completion) of the names of God.
The Lord is my shepherd (1. Jehovah-Ro'i, the Lord my Shepherd) 
I shall not want (2. Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord my Provider)
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters. (3. Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord my Peace)
He restoreth my soul: (4. Jehovah-Rafe, the Lord my Healer)
He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. (5. Jehovah-tsidknu, the Lord my Righteousness)
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:  for thou art with me             (6. Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord who is Always There)
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparedst a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (7. Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord our Banner)
Surely, Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:  and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


A life can be changed when a person believes God in unity.  A church can be changed when its members believe God in unity.  A city can be changed when its leaders believe God in unity.  A world can be changed when believers believe God in unity.  Genesis 11:6 (KJV) "And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do:  and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."
Unity, like faith, is not easily obtained or maintained.  It is a continual battle to keep.  Faith is essential for unity because people without faith in God rely on man's ability alone. 
Unity with others must be based upon a common denominator that all hold dear, not on the perfectness of people.  Why?  People will never be perfect!  If we give room for one another's shortcomings and focus on the perfection of God, we can work together in unity, striving together for a common goal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

God Can Swing A Big Door On Small Hinges

I love the story of Esther in the bible.  Here's a young girl, a 'nobody special' kind of gal, born on the 'not so popular side of the tracks' in her time.  She was content to be unnoticed and happy to just live a 'normal as possible' life.  However, her uncle Mordecai saw an opportunity when the King divorced his queen for disrespecting him, having her beheaded.  The opportunity that Mordecai saw was that the King was searching for a new wife, and would choose candidates for consideration through a 'beauty contest'.  (Wow, wouldn't you love to have such a thoughtful uncle!)  Anyway, Mordecai convinces Esther to enter this contest and sure enough, she finds favor with the King.  He is so wowed by her, that he picks her to be his queen!
All is lovely in the palace until the King's evil assistant, Haman, gets tiffed because Mordecai won't bow to him.  He persuades the King to sign a decree that all of Mordecai's people would be eradicated from their land by the sword.  When Mordecai receives this news, he gets a message to Esther.  She knows that if she approaches the King without being invited by him, even to plead for her life, she could meet the same demise as the former queen.  Mordecai reminds her that if all the Jews are slain, she will not be spared, and how did they not know that she had come into the King's palace for such a time as this.  Esther calls on her people to fast and pray, as she does the same.  She prepares a lovely banquet for the King and invites Haman, too.  Haman is so full of himself that he boasts to his family of his high favor in the palace to be invited to such a banquet. 
Before the banquet, the King's attention is brought to an incident when Mordecai had risked his life to protect him.  He calls in Haman and asked his opinion of what should be done for a fellow who would risk so much for the King.  Silly Haman thinks the King is speaking of him, so he suggests that the King should put his very own robe upon this man's shoulders and his ring upon his hand.  Then the King should select one of his most favored servants to parade this man all throughout the Kingdom declaring, "The is the man that the King wishes to honor!"  The King liked Haman's suggestion and commands him to go and get Mordecai and see that all these things are done, he being the favored servant to parade Mordecai throughout the Kingdom.  This caused Haman to hate Mordecai even more.  Haman had a gallows constructed strictly for Mordecai.  He hated him so much that he couldn't wait to kill the Jew who wouldn't bow to him and caused him so much humiliation parading him throughout the Kingdom declaring "this is the man the King desires to honor".  
At the banquet, Esther tells the King that someone has tricked him into signing a decree that would not only kill her people, but her as well.  The King is furious!  He has never questioned her ethic origin, and loves her so much that he doesn't care.  He demands to know who this villain is that would do such a thing!  Esther points to Haman and says, "He is the one!"  The King commands Haman to be hung on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai and he writes another decree that the Jews will be able to defend themselves against anyone who tried to harm them.    


Faith that moves mountains is not easily obtained or maintained.  It is a continual battle.  We are a three part being - spirit, soul and body.  Faith is built through communing with God in our spirit.  The more you know God through fellowship, your inner man/person is strengthened and renewed.  True faith emanates from deep within the spirit of man.
Faith is built in the soul when you renew your mind with God's word.  If you do not renew your mind, then the fallen nature of man drives your bus.  When you were born again, your spirit man/person was reborn, but you didn't get a new brain. Our mind needs to be re-programmed much like a computer.  Input - output, what goes in is what comes out!
Faith is given life with your body.  Words and actions give birth to the seeds of faith that are being developed inside as you renew your mind and fellowship with God.  We live what we believe.  Our actions are reflections of who we serve.

His Footsteps

Lord, in Your footsteps I strive to be
Ever walking close to Thee
Keeping Your face in my focused gaze
Living in thanksgiving, offering You praise.
Reaching higher each day as I go
Stretching my faith and continuing to grow
More and more to reflect you in my life
Step by step, in Your shadow I hide.
c Tracia Bussey 1999

Are There Berries In Your Bucket of Pain?

Pain in life can happen at any time, to anybody, for any reason.  It's part of living.  "Surely not!" we find ourselves proclaiming.  "I'll have a life without it if I do all things right and I live a good Christian life, and I pray, and I go to church."  But, pain happens.  Surely there is no greater pain than the loss of someone we love.  Yet, if we live, we will die.  Why do we try so hard to convince ourselves that we will somehow fool life and skip any pain?
God encourages us that all things will work together for our good if we are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)  Be we try to pursue our own purposes and have a life free of any hurt.  God knew we would have hurt, otherwise, why would Jesus have to 'carry our griefs and sorrows' on the cross?
Okay, so we've established this basic fact, that there is pain in life, but why?  And what good could God bring out of it for us?  We imagine everything in life turning out okay and the princess riding off with her Prince Charming to live happily ever after in a beautiful castle in the land of no problems.  God imagines us being changed from glory to glory to become more like Him.  I believe that in the wake of a painful time in life is the prime time for God to change our heart.  It is broken and tenderized.  Beaten like a steak ready for the hot grill.  During the softened time, God can insert things into our heart that we couldn't receive before.  He can show us our faults and short comings, if only we'll take a look.  He will also enlarge our perception of Himself.  How small we are in this vast universe and how we need Him to help us get through.
Joseph in the Old Testament had to have been an individual who felt deep pain.  He was betrayed by his own brothers who sold him as a slave to a foreign people.  He believed he would never see his family again.  He was wrongly accused by Potipher's wife when he wouldn't enter into a sexual encounter with her and was thrown in jail.  He was promised to be remembered by the Pharoah's servant but was forgotten when the servant was freed from jail.  He could have had revenge on all those who had caused him so much pain, but he didn't.  When he became the second in command in all of Egypt and his brothers came begging for help, he forgave and had compassion on them.
Isn't this a perfect picture of Jesus?  Betrayed, wrongly accused, forgotten, abandoned?  But His forgiveness was the key.  "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."  were His words on the cross.
Forgiveness will bear fruit in the garden of our hearts.  It will liberate us to live through the pain, go beyond the tears, wake up to a new day.  But this is something we will need God's grace to do, which He will supply, "His Grace is sufficient"!
Forgiveness are the berries in our buckets of pain.  It is the sweetness that can only come as we release the people and/or circumstances that have caused our pain.  Eat the fruit of forgiveness!