Posts Tagged With: Salvation

“Do you have your Gotham?” > Chapter Seventeen

The Encounter III > How big is your Gotham? Your personal assignment from God. Is it just your family? I have seen cases where that in itself might be all a person could do, but for most of us, God expects something more. And how do we go about answering that call? Do we give our all, or… something much less…something less sacrificial… something much more “man-made than God-made”. What is the secret side of our Priesthood? What is God’s Covering, his Cloaking, his Anointing? What does it mean to be a “caped crusader” for God? Batman had his secret side, and if I’m a proper Priest of God, so do I.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret… And when you pray…go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in secret… And when you fast… don’t make it obvious… then no one will notice you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret…and your Father who sees everything, will reward you. (Excerpts of Matthew 6: 1-18)

Don had a smile on his face as he cruised around the parking lot in his 97 Honda Civic. What a story this car could tell. Everything from the white rear bumper on a silver-gray car, to the rumpled hood, the soldered gas tank, the repaired brake lines, the fact the car sat for three years and the alternator was locked up when he started it. Soaking it with WD40 and forcing it to turn actually worked, and somehow he now had this great job as a “Watchman”, a guard, cruising around a parking lot in a bad area of town, keeping order, protecting, while a small yellow bubble light flashed repeatedly on the roof of his silver-gray car. In some respects it was ridiculous, but in others it was awesome.

His prayers were being answered. So much was happening! When he hired on as part-time, working the evening shift, who could have known the day shift guy would suddenly, without warning, quit! And he was offered the full-time, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday position. God knew. And now his work schedule was as perfect as it could get. Not only that, but he could pray while in that car, and listen to things on radio, preaching, books on tape, etc. etc. The physical need was met and a strategic position acquired, all in one moment, after that very bad day when he chickened out on the Starbucks job and came home depressed. Then he looked out the window and saw this little car waiting to be fixed. Reluctantly he obeyed God’s lead, and now he sat in the car smiling, for God is good and always has a plan.

When the door opened for day-shift, Don was once again able to reconnect with “Oasis of Hope Church” and help with the ministry birthing at that government housing apartment complex. The need was great, and when he reconnected he discovered there was talk of expansion! The Southern Baptist liked what Chris was doing, they had plans to send teams and help him expand to three new complexes! Soon he would have a ministry outreach every week! But this was only one opportunity whose door was opening, and these other two really had his attention.

Pastor Kerry and his wife Twyla. Their Church on Mass. Ave. and the special assignment from God on Pastor Kerry’s heart, that of reaching the “creative people” of the city. You see, the purpose of this ministry was not geographical as much as it was “gifting oriented”.  Pastor Kerry, as an artist, had a heart to reach out to other creative type people, which just happened to include “writers”. Don pondered what this special door could lead to? He had always felt a bit of a loner, misunderstood by others who did not have his pondering ways, because he thought deep about things, sought out solitude, as in his little car cruising around, so he could ponder things and create stories revealing the treasures he uncovered in God. What might this new connection lead to? Only God knew. Pastor Kerry wanted to read his newest story as soon as it was ready.

He thought about the unexpected call from a past disciple. How did God resurrect this old connection? Years had passed and this brother was in sore straights. They met after work and spent three hours together. This meeting had started at a Burger King and ended up in prayer in a secluded cemetery. God’s ways are unique, and His Presence had been strong while they prayed, but what could he leave this brother with? A story he had written, “Flapless”. That story had continued to minister, teach, and uplift, long after the two had parted, until they would meet again in one month, and Don was working on another story called, “Grasping the Wind”. God was still using his gift for writing, but how much more might God have planned?

However, the vision itself, that was the other unknown door. He had not been able to convince anyone at the Pentecostal Church to take up this vision. Perhaps because it was still untried. So the vision fell to him alone, to figure it out, to see what God would do, how do you reach your own neighborhood for Christ? The plan was slowly coming together and soon it would launch, but not without complete dedication to the “SECRET THINGS” of our Priesthood in Christ.

Yes, Don knew full well that was how he had gotten this far, and if it were to continue, then so must his Priesthood habits. After his year sabbatical, he fully understood that being a Christian was more than just being a “good person”, but there was a Priesthood. A Priesthood that God spent 4,000 years paying the price for, and when he ripped that veil in two, in the temple, when Christ gave his life on that cross, God the Father said, “Finally! IT is done!” Finally a supernatural life unlike any other was available for God’s people. Now we could be Caped Crusaders, if we are faithful to the secret things.

God is disgusted with his “SPOTLIIGHT seeking people”, who caught up in pride and desire for admiration, hide in their Church Boxes, proclaiming great things in the safety of their own, while neglecting the lost multitudes all around them, even in their very own neighborhood. We live in a day when some Christians make great and expensive journeys to minister one week in a land whose language they do not even speak, and yet they fail to try and reach their own neighborhood or city where they live all year long. What logical sense does this make? These people speak from pulpits as if they are examples?

We need to wake up. We are losing our own country while we hide in our church boxes listening to speakers who hide in the box too. Is it so brave to go to other church boxes in other countries where the people greet you with open arms, and need your money? Perhaps I should not speak such things? I who would compare Christianity to being a Caped Crusader? A Batman? How ridiculous. But if only Christians would be as faithful to the secret things of God, as Batman was to his secret things.

Is our Gotham lost? We are losing it more every day if we do not wake up to this vision. One year alone with God did this to me. I have more to say about this secret life. And there is a book growing, “Grasping the Wind”, written by a Christian Batman, with a neighborhood to reach and a city to save, one secret thing at a time, as it is revealed.

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FLAP LESS…SOAR MORE!

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Samurai for Christ

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“Fighting Our Demons” > Step One

“BECAUSE HE HATH SET HIS LOVE UPON ME, THEREFORE WILL I DELIVER HIM:…”

There is much to be said on this subject. We are going to take it in steps, and we will be spending some time here. Our over-all plan is simple.

1.) Keep loving your Lord, and love him more.

2.) Keep fighting your demons, and fight them more.

BUT HOW DO WE FIGHT TO WIN?

Our first mistake is, like Adam and Eve, we are ashamed and want to hide from God. This is exactly what the devil wants…because…(if you will pardon my cowboy analogy)…the devil knows he needs to get us out in the open! So we run from God, instead of running to him.

It may not happen on your first failure, maybe not even the second, but sooner or later the devil is going to say you have gone too far! God can no longer save you! He is now your enemy, and your judge! Our conscience condemns us and we run. We run and we hide. We run and we hide, and we give up. We decide we are doomed. We come out from under God’s cover and now we are in the open. Now the real danger is upon us, because if we are so depressed that we really give up, we just might be tempted to actually “embrace” our sin, and surrender to its ways. Now, if we do not turn around, we may well be doomed.

I started out with one line of a scripture, and I want it to give you hope. We have a journey to freedom to make, and it starts by running to God, not from him. Let your sin cause you to love him more! Because he still wants to save you, and set you free! Let your sin cause you to hate the devil more! And fight him more, never to embrace his ways!

“BECAUSE HE HATH SET HIS LOVE UPON ME, THEREFORE WILL I DELIVER HIM:…” (Psalms 91:14a)

Our best hope of deliverance is in the loving of God more!

Adam and Eve hid from God, and when he found them, what did he do? Yes, there was a reaping of what they had sown, but also, God helped them, and immediately began to work towards their deliverance!

Understand that we are not talking about sins that come and easily go, we are talking about STRONG-HOLDS.

These are sins that refuse to go away! They have a strong hold on us! They are the sin that so easily besets us! Every time we think we have it beat, somehow it finds its way back again! And we are tempted to give up because we have failed God too many times!

IT IS NOT TIME TO GIVE UP. ITS TIME TO FINALLY WIN, BUT IT WON’T COME EASY.

I don’t believe it is important as to what the strong-hold is. It is something that simply has a strong hold on us. We evidently have a weakness for this thing. There are sure to be demons attached to it. We are in spiritual warfare. And in this day that we have grown up in?

CAN A PERSON GROW UP IN SODOM AND NOT FIGHT DEMONS?

“But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality  of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day.”  (II Peter 2:7-8)

I BELIEVE WE ALL HAVE OUR DEMONS TO FIGHT.

I was reminded of my own personal battle I faced many years ago, but the memory is very strong, because it was such a battle. I also have reason to believe it was a generational thing, a weakness passed down to me through my family. But that makes no difference, because I was the one faced with defeating my own personal demon! I was reminded of this battle while surfing some blog sites and coming across a very interesting article by a woman who had fought homosexuality, and won. She made the statement: “It’s okay to fight!” I highly recommend reading her article at:

www.prodigalmagazine.com/on-homosexuality-its-ok-to-fight/

I had already declared I was looking for a fight, and now this began to cause me to think about how many people in the church are spiritually struggling. I remembered the vision of the man who said he saw demons riding Christians, and I saw the fight I wanted to jump into!

This is simply “Step One”. RUN TO GOD!

I want to raise up some Psalms 91 Rough Riders! What I mean by this will become more plain as we make this journey. Our “deliverance” is in loving him more! Psalms 91 is all about dwelling in his presence! Shepherd and sheep!

At the end of this incredible chapter God declares SIX > “I WILLS”!

Six “I wills” of God! And they are all connected to loving him.

This is where we start. We do not move out into the open, defeated and beat, but we run to the Safe House!  The Lord is my refuge and my fortress! We do not use God’s grace as a license to sin, but we pray, and we regroup to fight again! But this time, perhaps we will have a better strategy, and it starts by LOVING HIM MORE. (Step One) (Priority One)

If you know there is a strong-hold in your life and you need to see this demonic oppression broken, then begin studying Psalms 91 and let its powerful wisdom speak to you. Personally, I have memorized Psalms 91, and I love praying it. I make it personal. “Surely the Lord will deliver “ME” from the snare of the fowler!” I make the whole chapter as personal as I can.

I intend to stay with this subject, “Defeating our Demons”, as much as possible, until I feel we have lit the path of God’s deliverance. We need to prepare to be lights in a country I fear is going the way of Rome, and falling apart from within. Now is the time to prepare. Today is the day of our salvation. He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed! Satan is trespassing, it is time to expose him, arrest him, and cast him out. The strong man must be bound, and he will be bound by the Word of God!

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“The Tin Man’s Curse”

I watched a man hang his head in shame and defeat just the other day. Exposed to be weak, revealed to be untrustworthy, embarrassed publicly, and laughed at by the devil. Already in prison for another crime, now, even while still in prison he had just been caught stealing. He was caught with his hands in the purse of a female officer in search of a cigarette!

As a thirty-year smoker he simply could not resist the desire, the craving, the crutch, the addiction of tobacco, even though capture was probable. His head hung in humiliation and pain as the rough sergeant stripped him of what little he had left. A trust that had taken many months to build was destroyed in seconds and laid scattered and shattered on the floor. The sergeant man-handled him, jerking his pockets inside out as everything fell before him. The saddest part of all was the total lack of respect this thief had even for himself! There was no sign of hope in his eyes, no talk of I can do better, only total acceptance of what he was, a completely broken spirit with nothing left to give.

His every body language was: “I am a defeated man…I can never change…there is no hope for me.” Totally defeated and broken, the victim of his own sin; it was obvious this man was the ‘slave’ of his craving, tobacco was the chain, and Satan the master. It was evident that after many years of sin and the bondage that goes with it…this man no longer had a heart to fight or a heart to hope. He had become the Tin Man, in need of a heart.

Totally defeated and broken, the victim of his own sin; this man was living the life of a ‘slave’, an addict, without fight or hope, his heart lost long ago, he now accepted his plight completely. This is who he had become, this is who he was, and he had just been caught again.

America! Land of the free???

Maybe in years gone by, but no more! Chains come in many forms, and slave masters are well paid. The flesh is so easily addicted, and then what do you do? We have become a country full of slaves and color has nothing to do with it. A drug store on every corner and liquor stores between! Our children are sedated in order to go to school and more marriages divorce than survive! Pleasure, money, and entertainment have become our masters and we the willing slaves! Our prisons are overfilled and undermanned, requiring early release back into our streets! The innocent become victims and women are raped! The womb is invaded for convenience sake! Young people kill with the stone-cold heart of professional assassins, as we simply pop another pill, put it on our charge card, sink deeper in debt, and watch bankruptcy rates soar. Who can blame those who turn to sleeping pills and tranquilizers for their answers?

Non-racial, equal opportunity…slavery! Red or yellow, black or white, all are equal in his sight! Come one come all, to the land of the lost! There is a sad fact the Bible teaches us about sin. Repeated acts of rebellion and sin slowly ‘hardens the heart’. Little by little the heart dies a thousand deaths until it becomes hard as stone, and the conscience seared as with a red-hot iron! We become people past feeling, numb, going through motions, craving passion, enslaved to our sins, and a part of us wishing to die.

Little by little the heart dies a thousand deaths becoming as stone, and we become the Tin Man in search of a heart.

Then comes the moment of truth for we know who owns us. Once again our master has betrayed us as we stand there in weakness and shame. No where to run and no place to hide! You are desperate and want to cry out to God, but does the Tin Man still have a heart?

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all of your heart.”  (Jeremiah 29:13)

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine ‘heart’ that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the ‘heart’ man believeth unto righteousness…  (Romans 10:9-10a)

And so the Tin Man’s search begins. Do you still have a heart? A heart to hope? A heart to fight? A heart to give to God? Or have you come under the Curse of the Tin Man, in need of a heart?

 It is an inward search we speak of, an inward journey back to God, seeking a heart that can still be touched by pure love. A heart that can still be moved to repentance, compassion, and hope!

The plain truth is that so many of the pleasures of sin are highly addicting. Satan knows how easily the flesh is hooked, like a fish on a line, ready to be reeled in, slowly…don’t want the fish to get off the line, you know. Very slowly, wear him out, get him close and then scoop him up in the net. The hook leads to leverage, and eventual control. I believe most of America is addicted to more than one thing. It is a multitude of addictions Christ has kept us free of. It is a sad state of affairs, but because God is God, there is still hope!

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stoney heart out of their flesh, and I will give them a heart of flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”  (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

Only God can do the kind of heart transplant needed in a lost soul. His guidelines and laws are meant to keep us free and give us victory! Do not be afraid of words like statutes and ordinances, those are just code words for walking in the Wisdom of God! Wisdom is good! All the good things of life are found in the wisdom of God!

The self-seeking and self-centered life, is a journey that eventually winds down and collapses upon itself. It is a spiral that winds inward, instead of outward. It is a toilet being flushed. The flesh always hungers…give me, give me! The flesh life becomes meaningless and hollow. Some people figure this out in time to be saved, others remain the Tin Man clear to the bitter end. I promise you, the key to true joy in life is getting your mind off yourself, begin listening to God, discover that special thing ‘in you’ that he means for you to give to the world, and be fulfilled. The question is, do you still have a heart to believe, and will you give it to God?

“The Tin Man’s Curse.”

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“Two Planets”

I was forty-five years old when I started phasing out from being a youth minister. My wife and I had seen many youth come and go during our time, and we always love it when one of them “pop” back up. Not long ago, a young lady who had moved away years ago, suddenly popped up on our Facebook! Of course we let her in and soon discovered she was in trouble, as a matter of fact, this young lady had drifted so far from God, I really don’t know her anymore. When she first came to us many years ago, she had been a “run-away” who got caught and brought back to her mother. A friend of hers invited her to our youth group and she fell in love with it. Her life changed. She even went on t.v. with me as a testimonial of a changed life. The t.v. interview was a miracle of God that has only happened once in my life, but she was the girl who was with me on it.

Now fast forward several years and she is a single mother living far away from us, but she finds us on Facebook and tells me that those youth ministry years were the most spiritual time of her life. She was having problems and wanted us to pray for her. More time goes by and I watch her language steadily becoming worse and worse on Facebook. I can hear pain and anger in her words. I want to delete her words from my site, but I still hope to help her. So finally, I decide I must send her a private message and hope she doesn’t get so mad at me she cuts us off. I will give her a false name here, but this was the short message…

Jane, this is your old youth pastor. I’m sorry you have drifted so far from God. I read your language and I don’t know the person you are any more. I send this message private because I want you to know we still care. Even though it hurts me to read your language I have kept you on my Facebook because I still remember the young woman you were. Now you live on another planet from me. I’ve seen the planet you live on. There is a lot of pain there. The king of that planet is a cruel and ruthless ruler, and he does love to rule.  My planet will conquer his one day. His days are numbered. You should leave him while you still can.

So I shot those words out into cyberspace like arrows shot from a bow. I offered her my two blogsites as a means to relearn living in the power of God. I “love” to teach God’s word. I am a teacher through and through. It is my passion. However, a teacher can only teach those willing to learn. God can only change those willing to change. There must be a hunger, drive, and vision. A teacher loves it when he finds such a person. The story is not finished when it comes to Jane, at least not yet. None of us know how much time we have, and in the meantime she is raising her children to carry on the same lifestyle she is. It will be all they know, what else are they to do?

Truly, planet earth is not one, but two planets. In the end one planet is destined to remain while the other is judged and cast away. We have this short time to invite as many as possible into our world, the Kingdom of God. Our planet has a righteous ruler full of love. He teaches his citizens how to live life to the fullest and walk in power, not defeat. Please pray for all those people who have tasted of the good things of our King, but somehow lost their way on the dark planet. The ruler of that world enslaves his people and refuses to release them without a great struggle. Moses, and the people of Israel knew all about that. There is a promised land for one and all, but no one can cross that desert for you. No one can give you the hunger, drive, and vision to listen, study, and learn but you. We can shine light, we can love, and we can seek to inspire, but in the end each person must be the one to say “yes” to Jesus, for themself. Yes, we serve a very “personal” God, and thank God he is.

So the next time you try to reason with someone from the “lost planet” concerning politics, creation, faith, science, raising children, going to church, entertainment, or “whatever”, and you walk away shaking your head asking: “What planet does that person live on? How can they think that way?” Just know planet earth “is” two planets. And don’t ever stop trying to help people cross the Red Sea and come to ours…The Kingdom of Light.

 

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