Drinking

Image by nori_n via Flickr

I know it has been a bit since I have blogged. I have a new job that has been keeping me really busy. In my new job I am around people all day long. I have been meeting people from all walks of life.

One week I could be helping and hanging out with people that live an upper class life style. These well to do people love their belongings and things. They are busy trying to impress and outdo each other.

The next week I am working with the type of people that live simple, have a high priority for family, friends, and partying a lot. They have a tendency to live on the wild side of life living hard and free.

Over these last couple of weeks God keeps bringing up this verse of scripture that is recorded both in Matt 11: 19 and Luke 7:34 (NKJV):

“ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

As I was reflecting on this verse God reveled something that I felt was interesting.

First, Matthew recorded this verse of scripture under the power of the Holy Spirit. When he did, who was the audience he was trying to reach?  If you do some digging and studying you will find out that Matthews intended audience was the Jews who were waiting for the Messiah to come and establish the new kingdom. Matthew was trying to point the Jews to the Messiah that had already come and done everything that was need for them to have a new life.

Just like I have been working around an upper class of people, Matthew was trying to reach those that through a promise felt they were of the upper class (chosen people). He was seeing the same things that I have seen of lately. A people who loved their status and belongings as well as trying to impress and outdo each other in living a religious life that had exceeded the demands of what even God wanted.

The Religious accused Jesus as being a glutton and winebibber (drinker or drunk) but Matthew says there was wisdom in what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t sin in his actions but built relationships to reach those that the religious had failed to reach as God had wanted them to do.

Next God showed me that Luke also recorded this in his gospel but his audience was to a different class of people. Luke being a doctor was hired to record from eyewitness what Jesus did and the life he led for not only Jews but also for the gentiles as well. Luke wanted even those that lived on the wild side and party hard to come and know this same living example of God in man form, Jesus.

I do not find it a coincident that the Holy Spirit inspired both authors to write about basically all walks of life who should know Jesus. What really gets me the most in this scripture is that Jesus was being accused of being a “FRIEND TO SINNERS!”

As a minister and while I was on staff as a pastor I found I had surrounded myself with only people who professed to be Christians. As I look back at that time in my life I really could not even list one person that was not a follower of Jesus. I never really went anywhere, with any type of effort, to spend time with those that did not know Jesus let only even care that there was a God or that he existed. In the last couple of months God has really showed me what Jesus really came to do.

Jesus came to “BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH SINNERS” so that he could show them a loving God that wanted to know and live with and in them on a daily basis to fulfill them fully beyond even what they could dream.

Truth being told, as a lover of God I can find it hard being around people who profane my God and Father who I know loves me. But that is my flesh talking, not the Holy Spirit that resides in me.  It is his (Holy Spirit) responsibility to give me the peace and the will with all to live and love those that my heavenly Father wants to know personally. Every day, God shows me incredible insights about those that I encounter. God whispers to me as he did Jesus about the love he wants to show those that do not love Him. I have been convicted many times and repented for saying things to God like, “Are you sure you want to have that one in your kingdom?” I know, I have repented for my judgmental attitude and thoughts towards others especially when God shows me a picture in my mind of me standing at the feet of Jesus who I crucified with my own sins.

So I have decided to embrace the wisdom of Jesus and learn to be friends to sinners so that I can build relationships with them. I am confident that the Holy Spirit will guide me to live in actions and wisdom before a Holy God who wants to reach those children that do not know Him yet. Yes, I know that all of us are sinners, but through repentances and submission I live close to God. But there are those who do not know of my loving God and I want them to come to know Him as I do.

I hope you will take a look at your life and see how many people you have as friends that do not know God that according to the scriptures are sinners. Then start living a non-hypocritically life full of God in action and deeds than just words and judgment. I want to encourage you that if you are surrounded by believers only then pray, repent and ask God to lead you to those He wants you to start building relationship with so they can come to know the loving God you serve.

Today, be a “FRIEND OF SINNERS!”

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The stark reality of the Red hooker shoes I’m sure has caused you to think. You might be thinking, “How dare that hooker send these shoes to me. I have never done anything that would lead me to sleep with men for money. Let alone strap these shoes on and even think I could find out where she might be. Besides what could I do to help her? I wouldn’t know what to do. Sure I could give her a place to stay but I certainly do not want my husband around her or even my kids for sure. I think my pastor would be better equipped to handle this anyways. That’s why we voted to bring him on full-time at the church. He’s the one with the call on his life to reach the down trodden. I am just a stay-at-home mom.”

Or maybe you are the opposite person thinking, “I sure would be able to help her. I would snatch her of the street and tell her she is going to stop all this nonsense and get her life right. I will make sure she has a place to sleep and I will teach her to do chores. I make sure she goes to church every time the doors are open and make sure she will get her life right. I’ll make sure my family smother her with love. Yes, she is going to learn love even if I have to show it to her each day over and over. I know I can fix her. I was the captain of my basketball High School team and lead them to a winning season all four years. I lead the women ministry at my church. I make sure the pastor knows when we are supposed to have communion and that I already made sure the hospitality team knows it.”

Or lastly you may be just to busy with your own life to even care to help. You have bills to pay, kids to run all over town to soccer, dance class or baseball. You have a ton of laundry to do and you still have to cook dinner. Maybe you are just too busy.

Over the next couple of days you think about those hooker shoes while you go on with your life. The next day your husband is at home drinking his coffee while you are running the kids to schools on your way to the women bible study.

We pick up with the husband as he is drinking his coffee and there is a knock on the door. After he lays down his newspaper he goes to the door. You guessed it, there is another package. After he signs for it he walks to the table and starts to open the package. This time there is a pair of dirty work boots with a note attached as well….

Dear Sir,

Please find my pair of work boots. I was talking to this girl I hooked up with and she said she recently sent you a pair of shoes because she had a weird impression that your family could help her. I have nothing to loss and I need help. You see I just spent fifty of the last one hundred dollars that I have on the girl I just hooked up with. I know, I know I shouldn’t have done it but I am so lonely. My current girlfriend is always cocked out of her head and she only wants to have sex with me when she wants me to go get more coke for here. I was just laid off from my job because the economy has tanked. On top of all that my ex-wife is hounding me for more child support and wants me to come spend time with the kids. Every time I go over there we end up fighting. The kids start to cry and I leave. I stay drunk all the time just so I do not have to deal with all of this junk. I am miserable and just want things to change. I’m tired of being judged and just want some one to walk in my shoes. Maybe just maybe someone might understand me and knows how to help me? I do not why but for some reason I feel you are the one to help me.

The husband doesn’t know what to make of the note. And what did he mean by some girl who sent some shoes? He will have to ask his wife about it when she gets home.

How about you? What would you do in this situation?   (Matthew 5:41)

 


Imaging you are sitting at you house and you hear the doorbell ring. You go to the door and a UPS driver is standing there with a package. You sign you name and take the package. You walk back to you dinning room and sit down to enjoy the cup of coffee you poured for you just before you door dell rang. As you look at the package you noticed that there is no return address. Now you curiosity is starting to rise like a kid at Christmas. You get a knife and cut the tape on the top of the box. You open up the flaps of the box and you see lots of paper. As you wade through the paper your hand brushes up against something hard. As you grab the item and pull it out this is what you see.

There is a note attacked to it that says,

Dear Recipient,

Please find one pair of hooker shoes. Yes I said hooker shoes. I am sending them to you because I really need someone to walk in my shoes for a little bit so you might be able to understand what I went through. I did not seek to be a hooker or turn tricks but my Step-dad was a freak and abused me until I ran away from home when I couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to tell my Mom but she wouldn’t give me the time of day or even believe me because she did not want her life to be interrupted. When I ran away I stayed with a friend, well I say a friend, but in truth she was no friend. At a party she was having I meet this guy. I started to drink to get away from all the stuff going through my mind. The next morning I woke up naked in a bed with the guy lying next to me. I was glad I was on the pill so at least I knew I wasn’t going to get pregnant. Thanks to my Step-dad.  I felt horrible. I didn’t know this guy and he sure didn’t know me. The guy woke up and got dressed. I went and sat on the couch. As the guy was leaving my friend I was staying with called him into the kitchen and talked to him for a minute. I got up to see what they were doing. As I walked into the kitchen I saw the guy handing a wade of cash to my girlfriend. I instantly felt betrayed. My girlfriend just looked at me and took a couple of the bills and handed to me and said, “You got to pay for what you are eating and where you are sleeping.” Then she just looked at me and laughed. A piece of my heart broke and died. I went and threw all my stuff into my back pack and ran out the door as fast as I could. I didn’t know where I was going. I ended up at a Whataburger joint just sitting in a booth. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do next. The manager walked over to me and said if I wasn’t going to by something I had to leave. I got up and walked to the counter and ordered some fries and a drink. When the cashier told me the total I reached into my pocket and pulled out the wade of money that my girlfriend put in my hand as I left. As I looked at it I realized it was over two hundred dollars. I was floored. That guy was willing to pay a lot to sleep with me. I hated sex but it was an answer to what I was looking for.

That was some time ago. My life is ruined and I need help. I am at the end of my rope and life is worthless. Will you please walk in these shoes and come find me. I need help.

As you sit there in your kitchen the question you need to ask yourself is would you strap on the shoes and walk in them? Are you willing to go and help this woman?  (Matthew 5:41)

P.S. I will be posting the next parts to this blog for the next couple of days.


Le Penseur, Musée Rodin, Paris

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever stopped to examine what thoughts you are thinking about?

I know it sounds weird to be thinking about the thoughts that you are thinking. In truth your thoughts reveal a lot about what is truly the core of who you are. This morning when I woke up I first went and shaved. While I was shaving I was thinking, did my son use my razor, because I nicked my face and usually this happen after he uses my razor.

My mind then bristled like an angered porcupine because my wife rolled over when the alarm went and ask me to wake her up in ten minutes. I wish I could sleep an extra ten minutes. I stumbled into my clothes for the day. I went and sat in my wallowing hole. You know that spot on the couch that is conformed to the circumference of you rear end. I then woke up my computer as if I was wake some input portal of time to see what time it was. I then grabbed my Bible reading for the day. I call it a bible reading because in truth that is all the time I seem to have in the morning. I finished by praying the little pray provided. Not much studying comes from this reading. In fact as I am writing this I could not seem to remember what the reading was about as if the moment I pour the words into my  brain they were like cold water evaporating instantly as it hit the liquid molten of mass thoughts of life choking it almost out of existence. I say almost because I just remembered it was talking about how we need to be ready for the last days that are coming. Now my brain didn’t jump to thinking about all of the people I need to talk to about Jesus or the things I need to put in order. I zeroed in on all of the dead fish and birds that have been popping up in the news lately. Then like quick lighting my mind seized on the uprising in Libya and Egypt.

At that point I pulled up huffingtonpost.com to scan the news head lines. As I finished scanning the news it became time for me to leave for work. I climbed into my truck to leave for work and…… it wouldn’t start. AGGH! Stupid truck! As I was trying to start my truck it loaded up and back fired, ricocheting, throughout the apartment complex registering its complaint and defiance to start. As my blood started to boil my wife came out to see what was going on. I began to fret about how late I was going to be getting to work. After I tortured my poor starter my truck finally started. I was saying “Thank you God.” As I tore off towards work my truck dies a couple of miles from the house. Angry again!! A guy helped me move my truck off the road. My thoughts exploded, “I don’t have the money to tow my truck or to even get it fixed.” I tried to starting it again and I it felt like an earth quake then it roared to life. I spun a u-turn and headed home as fast as I legal could.

Ok, I need to call my wife. I said, “Honey, I need you to be ready a.s.a.p because the truck is messing up and I need to take you to work early so I can take the car. I Hung up. She is not happy!! Call the boss to tell her I’m going to be late. She isn’t happy either. I get home and my wife isn’t ready! Errh! Come on we have to go. On the way to take my wife to work she turns and asks me, “Honey, what’s wrong with the truck?” “Agggh!” I retorted, “I do not know what is wrong with it. Besides we don’t have the money to fix it!!!!”  Now it is official we are both upset. I drop my wife off wondering how we are both going to get to work over the next couple of weeks with only one vehicle.

As I am heading to work in the car it isn’t sounding to health either! My thoughts beating in my brain are, “Really both vehicles. Why?” I finally get to work and it starts storming outside. After being at work for about five minutes the power goes off due to the storm. OMGosh really!!! Lastly I get a text from my wife. “I got to work and the air conditioner is broken at my work. It is HOT!” My next though or action….

I just start laughing….

You may be thinking, “Wow, what a bad morning or yeah, I’ve had those days.” As I stopped to consider my day and the thoughts that were going through my mind, believe me there were many more thoughts that I didn’t write about, one last thought popped into my head.

Ronald, where was I, God, in all of those thoughts. You know I love you and want to help you.

Ouch! God is so gracious. I believe in him and am learning to walk each and every moment with him, but today I chose to leave Him out of my life.

So, Father, forgive me for not seeking you first in all of these things that I was going through. I confess and repent. I need help making you first in all things.

How about you? How is your thought life? Do your thoughts go to God first in ruff situations? Do you ever stop and examine what you are thinking about? Take a moment and turn off the T.V., the radio, and even the computer and examine your thoughts. Unplug!!!!! You may be surprised about what you are really thinking about.


Searching

Image by kevindooley via Flickr

Petty Cloe Davis (Storer, Stoffell, And Black), David Ray Storer or David R. Halprin (same person but used different names), Gerald Michael Black Junior…. You may be wondering who these people are or why I have listed them. These are family members that I have not ever seen or have not talked to since I was 11 years old. So… why is this important? For years I have been a wrecked person, with no family, no history and no full understanding of where I come from.

I have searched for my mother, Petty Cloe Davis, trying to find out anything about her. I have always felt that if I could find her, it would allow me to better understand who I am. I have always wanted answers to questions like: How come you never came and found me? Was I an accident or did you plan to have me? Am I like you? Who are my other brothers and sisters? Are my grandparents still living? Do you love me even though you have never met me? Why? Why? Why?

I had the same feelings and questions for my dad, David Ray Storer or David R. Halprin, with a few differences: Why did you abandon me when I was eight? Why didn’t you come find me after you got out of prison and make us a family again? Who are our relatives? Why couldn’t you be a man and an example in my life? Will I ever be able to trust you again? Why? Why? Why?

As For Gerald Michael Black Junior I also have  questions like: When I was eighteen I called you to find out about my family, which you did know, but why did you yell at me? Why did you say you didn’t want to have anything to do with me or anyone else related to me? How come you couldn’t take two minutes and help me find out any information on my family, good or bad, to help me understand my life? Why? Why? Why?

I have searched and tried try to find out any information on anyone, or about anything concerning my family, to hopefully bring about some sense of meaning to my life. Even after I married my wonderful loving wife and started a family I continued to search. Even after I came into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ I still searched. I searched and searched, thinking that if I could just find anything, any scrap of information, any leads to where these people were that I would become fulfilled and go on with my life. I felt if I found out anything I would have a sense of identity and understanding of who I am. I thought it would bring about some definition into my life.

In truth, I was and am so completely wrong. In God‘s gracious mercy, he stopped me while I was praying and thinking about my family. He expressed to me how I had grieved Him by searching for my family. I was confused and did not understand. That’s when God dropped the bomb on me. He showed me how over the years He had taken care of me since I was a young child, and had provided family members that he wanted me to have in my life. He said to me, “While you were searching for your mom I sent you a foster mother by the name Aunt May. She has loved you from the first day she met you. She has prayed for you everyday of your life and still talks to me about you. But you have forgotten about her. You need to call her and call her more often.” Ouch!

God went on to tell me that He wants to be the Godly example for my life on how to be a man, but you were to busy searching for your dad. Please remember, I am not a drug addict, an abuser, or a thief as your dad was. I pursued you before you even knew who I was. I provided a way for you to live so you would not have to live on the streets.  Yet you wanted to know who your dad was. I even redeemed your crazy life and gave you a beautiful wife and great kids. Instead of learning from me how to be the best husband or dad you kept looking for your family instead of building up the one you have. You kept looking for your identity and hoping to find it from your past. If you will only seek Me I will meet your needs and establish your identity in Me.

I have since repented and am seeking God on a daily basis. God is showing me through His mercy how much he loves me. He is teaching me to be a better follower, dad, and husband. I also call my Aunt Mae about every two weeks and have wonderful conversation about God and the family he has given me.

God has come and shown me how wrecked in truly am. I am so thankfully He loves me so much that He refuses to leave me this way.

How about you? Have you taken the love of God and His gift to you for granted? Are you seeking in the past instead of trusting in Him in the present? Have you been searching for something which God has already provided for you? When was the last time that you confessed to God, because He already knows, how wrecked you truly are?????


Crying boy

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever been wrecked? My definition of wrecked may be different then what you are think of right now. Some of you might actually be picturing a car accident. I have been in some of those but that is not what I mean. By wrecked I mean that you have been at a very vulnerable time in your life that as you look around you felt like the world had stopped, that there was no hope for the future, and the pain you were or are experiencing can never or will never go away. No one can say anything to fix how you feel you. If fact physical you can not breathe, crying has become a way of life, and your brain is being bombarded by incoherent thoughts that scratch your brain like nails on a surround sound chalk board amplified to the edge of insanity.  Are you there? Are you remembering that moment as if it was yesterday?

If you have not experienced anything like this than be thankful. But to those of you who have I have been down that long black dark road of night tragedy.

I have not told many people about this day but I am praying that this will help someone. I was eight years old. I was standing in the yard that I had played in for sometime. On the lawn in front of me was everything that my Dad, Step-mother, brother and I owned. A man that I was told was now my social worker was standing next to me. He was explaining that I could look through all the stuff laid out on that lawn and pick three things that I could take with me to the foster home I was being taken too.  I was having a hard time understanding what was going on. My Dad had left my brother and I with our step-mother and was running from the police. He was a drug addict and a dealer. He had embezzled a lot of money for a boss and was now running. There were a couple of things going through my mind. Why couldn’t I stay with my step-mom?  She was being arrested for jumping bail in another state and wasn’t really my step mom. What? Why can’t I keep my toys, clothe, my possession? Well, since your dad stole a bunch of money the courts have seized everything and it is to be sold to pay back the money that was stolen.  Within a span of a couple of minutes everything I knew as life was a lie. Every bit of security that I had to come to trust in was decimated. I had lost my parents and I was only allowed to take three things from my entire life with me to an unknown family that I have never met. I had to live with these people because my parent had wrecked there lives and mine as well. Eight year old shouldn’t have to experience things like this. I kept asking myself, “What did I do wrong? I’ll change whatever it is.” To be honest I was over whelmed and I didn’t understand.

How about you? Have you ever been wrecked? Have you ever been devastated and emotionally spent? Maybe it was a dying loved one, a loss of you child, or you were abused. It could have been a spouse having an affair or your wife having a miscarriage.

In the gospel of Luke 7:11- 16 there was a widow who had to bury her husband but now had to bury her only son who had just died. She was wrecked. She had lost everything that was dear to her. She was walking behind here son’s casket on the way to bury him and Jesus shows up. You see Jesus seek out those that are wrecked in life. The woman didn’t go seeking Jesus but Jesus came looking for her. In her devastation Jesus reached into her living death. He reached in the casket of a lifeless son and gave him life. Then he, Jesus, turned a wrecked devastated future into a living redeemed life.

If you are wrecked then Jesus is looking for you? You may not understand it but He is.

For me I didn’t understand what was happening to me at the age of eight but God did. How do I know?  Psalm 27:10 says, “When your mother and Father forsakes you: I (the Lord) will take you up.” I was wrecked until I was 25 years old and Jesus came to me in my wrecked life and showed me that at the age of eight He (God) started to take care of me because my parents couldn’t. I might have been found by Jesus sooner in my life if I had not been running from God while in my wretched wrecked state.

Where are you at? Are you living in a wrecked life right now? Have you moved through the wrecked parts of your life, just try to function day to day? Maybe you have experienced Jesus finding you in your wrecked life then I would say praise God. For those of you, who are going into, are in the middle of, or coming out of wrecked moment of your life then take comfort know that Jesus is looking for you.

Note: If you need some help please listen to this sermon “Jesus Raises a Widows Son” (http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/luke/jesus-raises-a-widows-son) by Pastor Mark Driscoll.

Jesus Raises A Widows Son


Large beef steaks over wood

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever craved something? I mean really craved it? Have you ever craved chocolate, a fudge Sunday, a well seasoned steak, maybe some sweet and tangy BBQ ribs, or how about a certain latte from Star Bucks? Were you willing to do anything to get it? I mean really willing to go to whatever lengths it took to satisfy that need? And in the back of your mind you knew that there wasn’t going to be anything else to take the place of what you really wanted?

Or even better have you ever been desperate? I mean so desperate that nothing else consumed your thoughts. Have you ever been desperate for money to solve your finical problems that you started selling stuff you owned or you borrowed the money promising to pay it back? How about love? Have you been so desperate for love that you were willing to do stuff that you shouldn’t do because all you wanted to do was feel the embrace of another human being? Or maybe it was even the desire of a sexual need.

We all have experienced cravings and desperation at some point in our lives. To be totally open with you I have had a craving so bad that I was willing to do anything to satisfy them. I have even been so desperate to be loved by someone that I was willing to forgo common sense to get it. In fact I remember that this one time I had met a woman and had gone out with her a couple of time. I wasn’t a Christian at the time and I was at a place in my life where I just needed to be wanted and loved by someone. I needed someone to hold me, embrace me and who was willing to spend time with me because I was lonely and miserable. After I had gone out on a couple of dates with this woman she told me that she was really stressed out because she didn’t know how she was going to pay for her bills the next month. Wow, my need to be near someone was so bad that I instantly went and took out a loan for $750.00 dollars at 29% interest to help this woman out. I didn’t care and I wasn’t willing to see that she was a user of men because I was craving and desperate for the love on anyone in my life at that time. I know it was stupid and I paid for it, the woman stop seeing me shortly after I gave her the money.

I have not blogged in a while because God has had me on a journey for the last couple of months. I have been seeking Him for some answers and direction in my life and the life of my family. I really have been desperate to hear from God and have been really seeking His blessing for my circumstances that I find myself in at this time in my life. Recently I have been listing to a band called Deluge. They have a live album that is incredible. One of the songs on the album is called “Open Up The Sky.” I had never heard it before. As I was listening to the song I heard the chorus for the first time and I thought is was cool. In fact over the next week I listen to that song everyday. But something kept needling me every time I got to the chorus. It goes like this:

Chorus:

OPEN UP THE SKY
FALL DOWN LIKE RAIN
WE DON’T WANT BLESSINGS
WE WANT YOU
OPEN UP THE SKY
FALL DOWN LIKE FIRE
WE DON’T WANT ANYTHING BUT YOU

I kept on hearing the part that says “We don’t want blessing we want you.”

The song kept looping over and over in my head like a Sunday NASCAR race and each day I kept seeking God to bless my family and to pour out his blessing on me.  Each day my mind would keep playing this song over and over again. It came to the point that I was craving and I was desperate for His blessing in my family and my life. See my wife and I love to minister and help people. I am a Pastor with no place to pastor. I have really been seeking God to open doors where I can love on the people He wants me to Sheppard. My wife and I both want to be used by God to fulfill His will in the earth even though the time is short.

But I couldn’t get away from that song and so I started to think about its meaning. I was thinking, “Ok, open up the, fall down like rain,” yeah that is cool. I really want you to do that in my life God. Then, “We don’t want blessings, we want you.”

Wait a minute!!! We don’t want blessings we want you. Hey now, I want your blessings God! I need your blessing in my life right now God. If you don’t bless me then I am up a creek with out a paddle. I mean I have bills to pay. I am only getting a few hours a week at work right now. I feel like I am spinning my wheels by not being able to minister to anybody right know. I am desperate for you. In fact at one point I was even angry at those who wrote the song. I was like,” I can’t believe these guys in the band are being so churchy by not need God to do anything for them. I know they have needs just like we all do. They don’t want blessing they just want…….HIM.,”

Wow, that is when God hit me up side the head with a spiritual proverbial bat. You see, I am such a brainy-acke that I miss what God is trying to tell me sometimes. All along it was right in front of me. I have been craving and so desperate for the blessing of God that I had separated Him and his blessings. In my mind I viewed God sitting on his throne. Beside him was a pile of blessing and he was dispensing them as people needed them. But in truth, it is impossible to separate God and the blessing of God. That is like trying to separate the sun for it heat. The sun stops being the sun if there is no heat or like craving peanut butter with out the peanuts. It can be done but what you will be eating is a substitute for the real thing.  You can not separate God from His blessings. His very nature is blessings. In reality if God were to show up in your living room his very essence would cause all those things he touched while in your house to be holy and blessed. God very own voice can not be audible with out causing blessing. If he were to say to you that it is a good morning we would be overwhelmed with the goodness of his proclamation of a good morning and think it an unbelievable morning. God in his very natural form is so indescribable that if we were to encounter Him as he truly is we would understand that by his very presence blessings occur out of shear obedience of who he is!

So that is why the scriptures say, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33 KJV)

In my desperation and craving I sought the wrong thing. I need Gods in all that He is. I want to be in His presence, and by His very being, all of the other things in my life will be straighten out and blessed.

So what are you desperate or craving? If you want the desperation and cravings to be fulfilled, without a poor substitute then just remember to sing, “

OPEN UP THE SKY
FALL DOWN LIKE RAIN
WE DON’T WANT BLESSINGS
WE WANT YOU
OPEN UP THE SKY
FALL DOWN LIKE FIRE
WE DON’T WANT ANYTHING BUT YOU!

 


Boys Opening Presents

Image by sdobie via Flickr

As a kid growing up I live in the foster system and did not get the usual Christmas experience most kid had. My Christmas usually consisted of all six boys drawing a name from a hat and we were given $20 dollars to spend on the kid we pulled from the hat. The rule was we had to spend the whole $20 dollars and not buy some cheap toy and pocket the rest of the money. Well, one year I pulled the name of a new kid that had just come to the home. I really didn’t know him very well so I had to guess what kind of toys he liked. At the age of eleven I had a mean streak so I went to the dollar store and I bought a pack of army men, some candy, and a bunch of little toys. When I was done I still had ten dollars left over. So I came up with an idea and I got a roll of quarters.  When I got back to the group home I decided to pull a prank on the new kid. I got together all of the stuff I need to wrapped his present.

 

First, I found four bricks for a pile of bricks that been cut for our new building that was being put up. I took a chisels and hammer and chiseled out a hole big enough for the roll of quarters to fit in. After putting the roll of quarters into the chiseled out part I then epoxied the four bricks together. After that I took newspaper and I would wrap a layer around the bricks and then tape it. As I built up the layers I would tuck in a small toy here and there in the paper. I must have taped at least twenty layers on to those bricks. When I was done I wrapped the whole thing in cool looking Christmas paper and put the new kids name on it. I know one thing that was the heaviest present under the tree that year. In truth it was really mean but I thought it was funny.

 

When it was time to open our presents it took the new kid over two hours to unwrap that present. But something weird happened in that two hours. You would have expected that for two hours he would have been mad or frustrated unwrapping that present. But as he started to unwrap that present he got happier and happier. You see each time he found a new army guy who would blurt out, “Wow, I got another army guy, cool.” Or he would say, “Man, in needed that plane to go with my other planes.” With out me meaning to I gave him one of the coolest presents he had ever had. He was an explorer and each little toy was a new discovery. In fact when he got to the center of the presents with the bricks he became even more excited. Tell me one kid who wouldn’t want to use a hammer to smash the bonkers out of bricks to find the prizes inside. That new kid played for hours and hours with his new toys oblivious that I was trying to pull a mean joke on him.

 

You know some people think that God is the same way. That he sent his Son, Jesus, as some cruel trick or present. They look at Jesus as if he is some terrible present. If the even dare to unwrap him that the they will now have to follow some set of unwritten rule and give away all they have and become some devout good two shoes. When in reality if they were to open up God’s gift they would be like that new kid. With every new layer they unwrap of Jesus they would discover a new freedom and gift for there life that was meant for their good. As we approach this Christmas season I am wondering which one you are this year. Are you the kid trying to pull a bad joke on others because you are miserable and unhappy, or are you the new kid discovering the goodness of God at each and every layer you unwrap of His Son Jesus?

 


Rahab and the Emissaries of Joshua

Image via Wikipedia

Why do I keep on doing what I am doing day after day? I have to keep sleeping with these men just so I can take care of my Father, Mother, brothers and sisters, my family. I am not proud of it. In truth I am ashamed of what I do. Yes, I sleep with the drunken soldiers, sheep herders, and any other riff raft that comes through my door. I am constantly in demand but if only there was a way out of this horrible life. I have heard about those people called the Israelites. In fact if I am not engaged in sex then I am engaged in the talk of the people and how the Israelites God parted the red sea and killed all of the Egyptian army.

I see these blustery men come in looking for a good time and they end up in my arms as scared babies talking about how the Israelites God put a curse on the two Amorite Kings Sihon and Og, and destroyed them. I see even myself and the whole city is in a state of fear of the Israelites.

In fact just the other day the old rope merchant had been listen to some of the soldiers rattle on about the battle the Amorite had lost. So intense was he wrapped up in the conversation that he measured almost three times the amount of the scarlet red rope that in needed. When I showed him what he had done he just waves his hand at me saying, “take it, take it, it your to keep,” and he turned and started listen to the soldiers again not wanting to miss any bit on the story. I do not know what I will do with this much rope but maybe I will be able to find a special use for it. It is a pretty rope.

As I finish thinking about the rope the door opens and two men that I have never seen before enter my inn. Instantly, I knew these men were not from around here. How? Because, I know men. I greet them as they sit down. All they wanted was some water. As I approach them I felt a sense of fear fall on me. No, it is not fear but there is something more surrounding these men. It is a sense of awe or yes that is it, as dirty as I am as a sinning harlot, they are clean like a holy God. Israelites have come to my inn. I feel terrified, and yet I have an ounce of hope. I know I must help these two and quickly. As if I am about to jump off a cliff, I hurriedly tell the two Israelites that if they want to live they must follow me. I led them to the roof of the inn and tell them I know there God has given them this city as well as the land. I ask them to help me and my family when they come to conquer the city. They agree to help me.

After I get rid of the kings men by misleading them. I quickly go to the roof and tell the Israelites what they must do to escape. Since my inn is built into the wall of the city I led the Israelites to the window. With out think I grab the bag of scarlet rope. As I lower the Israelites down they tell me to leave the scarlet rope as a mark of our agreement that they will save my family and me when they take the city. What a mark. How long must I leave that scarlet rope hanging from my window? It marks my inn as bad as I am marked by all of the men that have slept with me. But, if they keep there agreement I may be able to find a new life for my mother, father, brothers, sisters, and could I dare to hope even me? Could I find a new life, a life with out men every night?  My name is Rahab the harlot. Could the God of the Israelites take even a harlot and give her a new destiny?

If you don’t know Rahab does find a new life. In fact God does change her destiny. Rahab is actual the great great great Grandmother of King David, and is in the family line of Jesus Christ.

You may be asking why I wrote about Rahab. Well, if you have never asked Jesus to come into your life and save you then this is for you. What in your life compares to the low depths of depravities as a harlot. What do you have in you life that is keeping you from stepping towards a loving God who is willing to save a harlot and her family? I truly believe Rahab repented of her life style and was forgiven by God. He wants to do the same for you. Repent and be saved.

If you are a devoted follower of Christ then this story can be a reminder of where we have come from and renew our hope of the future along with the fact that God has a destiny for each and every one of us. What is yours?


What if?

Image by Oha-Lau 2 via Flickr

Below is a list of question that people on yahoo came up with when faced with the question “What If?”

What if there was an actual money tree?
What if bee’s produced butter?
What if yahoo was called yagoo?
What if Quagmire actually had a spin off?
What if 16 year olds could buy and drink alcohol?
What if we lost WWII?
What if the walls could talk?
What if the U.S. took over Canada and Mexico?
What if dogs had gills?
What if there were no what if questions?

(http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100307200744AAwsOEN)

We all are faced with the “What If” question at some point in our lives. “What If” has destroyed relationship, split religious groups, made conquers go where none have ever gone before, and hung politician out to dry.

I personal try not to play the “What If” game. Many have tried to goat me into an argument, and the Lord knows I love to debate, of the “What If” game. I have never seen the value because it is too easy to twist and change the out come of “What If.”

The other day as I was listening to the Gospel of Mark chapter 9 I heard this:

19-20Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth.

21-22He asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been going on?”

“Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”

23Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”

Wow, did you catch what Jesus said. Let me say it again so there is no confusion about what I am pointing out.  “There are no ‘if’s‘ among believers.”

When I heard that verse of scripture it rocked my world. What a bold statement. If you believe in Jesus and are a follower, then the word “IF” should not belong in our vocabulary.

Can you imagine your life with no “IF’s” in it?

Take just a moment and walk through your day and take all the thoughts or words that you used “if” in, and change it with a word like: when, I will, We can, etc…

What would your world look like and become? You would be embolden with the confidence and assurance of knowing what you will accomplish.  In fact I will leave you with the last statement Jesus said, “Anything can happen.“

What anything do you want to happen?