Sunday, August 30, 2009
you are my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
3 I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and he saved me from my enemies.
16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
19 He led me to a place of safety
he rescued me because he delights in me.
20 The LORD rewarded me for doing right;
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
22 For all his laws are constantly before me;
24 The LORD rewarded me for doing right.
27 You rescue those who are humble,
but you humiliate the proud.
28 You light a lamp for me.
The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.
30 God's way is perfect.
All the LORD's promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
31 For who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
32 God arms me with strength,
and he makes my way perfect.
33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
35 You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me;
your help has made me great.
36 You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.
46 The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock!
48 You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Well, that pretty much says it, doesn't it?
What else is there to life, besides glorifying Him & enjoying Him forever?
Does the collecting of things matter?
Does being famous or rich matter?
Does being pumped & ripped matter?
Does being safe & secure really matter?
Does having what we want, when we want it, which means wanting it NOW! really matter?
Does anything else really matter?
Friday, August 28, 2009
for I have come to You for refuge.
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from You."
3 The godly people in the land
are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!
4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
or even speak the names of their gods.
5 LORD, You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!
7 I will bless the LORD who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I know the LORD is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
10 For You will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow Your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with You forever.
Here's what my Life Application Bible says about verses 7 & 8...
It is human nature to make our own plans & then ask God to bless them. Instead, we should seek God's will first. By constantly thinking about the Lord & His way of living, we will gain insights that will help us make right decisions & live the way God desires. Communicating w/ God allows Him to counsel us & give us wisdom.
For decades, as a music minister in the Methodist church, I did the "make our own plans & then ask God to bless them" thing.
In the last 10 years, particularly in the last 2-3, I've done the "what do You want me to do, God?" thing.
What's the difference?
I have to make the 1st one happen.
In the 2nd one, I wait (btw, patience is not one of my strong points). I wait until I have some sort of direction, & then I do something. If I don't have any direction, & stay where I am.
It involves a heck of a lot more trust in Him, but I don't have to make happen whatever He wants me to do. If I do something when He tells me to, then it's His idea, not mine. If it's His idea, then He's the One responsible for making it happen - I'm just serving Him.
Is that too subtle & glib? I hope not. It's a fundamental change for me. For decades I was the go-to-guy for things. I could make decisions, plan things out, & make it all happen - key word there is "make".
So, how did all that work out for me? Well, I do have early onset of arthritis & high blood pressure. My hair is falling out in the front. And I have wondered how different my life would have been if I'd learned this lesson 30 years ago.
There's less pressure doing things totally dependent on His leadership, because He's the One responsible for making it all happen. He's the One who's suppose to go ahead of me & prepare the way & then mop up behind me & take care of the consequences of my obedience (Ps 139:5 is pertinent to this thought).
Now this does mean I have to do what He wants to do - iow, I have to subordinate my hopes, dreams, & desires for His. Another way of putting that is this - I have to die, & live the life He dreamed for me, not the one I dreamed for me.
Would I trade the much deeper pleasure of God that I now feel as I let Him be totally in control, as opposed to His pleasure I felt before when I was calling the shots & asking Him to bless them?
Well, what do you think? ;-)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
5 But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd.*6 Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers* instead and took them before the city council. "Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world," they shouted, "and now they are here disturbing our city, too.7 And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus."
8 The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports.9 So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.
"They are here disturbing our city."
Last night at House of Grace, Ashley Miller talked about how God has been dealing in her life, using the book, "The Dreamgiver" by Bruce Wilkinson.
She talked about how, in the book, the Dreamgiver compelled Ordinary to leave the land called Familiar & go to exciting lands & places for Him.
And that's what He's been doing in her life - taking her from the familiar to the exciting.
Ashley, like Paul & Silas, found out that not everyone is all that excited about leaving the familiar.
But why trade the familiar for the pleasure of God?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Paul & Silas were in Philippi, telling people about Jesus. Because Paul cast a demon out of a young girl, there was a riot led by her owners who had planned to make a lot of money with her.
The city officials had Paul & Silas arrested, stripped them, had them beaten with rods. Acts says they were severely beaten.
So, get the picture here - let's pretend it's you & me: we've been telling people about Jesus, we cast out a demon in a young girl, there a riot, we're arrested, no trial, the Romans strip us down to our birthday suits & beat the stew out of us w/ iron rods, then chain us, butt naked, to something in a cell that's hardly Club Med.
What are we gonna do then? Pray & sing songs loud enough that all the other prisoner are listening?!
I wonder how our prissy, precious little faith would stand up to that kind of situation?
I'd be calling for my lawyer, demanding some medical attention, as well as some clothes, food, & at least a cot to lie down on, all the while screaming at the top of my lungs about my civil rights & personhood being violated.
And all the other prisoners would be listening.
I've got a long way to go.
Monday, August 24, 2009
We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus (NLT)
Don't we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us (TM)
We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved (NIV)
we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus (NASB)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
5 Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them.6 When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area.7 And there they preached the Good News.
A couple of nights ago at the JCup, I saw my son, Todd, exercise his spiritual gift of discernment with another friend of mine.
I was a little envious of him, being able to speak into that person's life like that.
But, sitting here this morning, I realize how silly that is.
God chooses to love people thru me, kinda like I plug into Him & then plug into them, & the current of His love flows thru me. (MY end of the deal is to keep the "extension cord" - which is me - in good enough shape to carry the current)
I've seen lives changed as a result of it. I've seen generational curses ended because of it. I've seen lives set free by it. I'm beginning to see the eternal ripple effects of His love in their lives.
I'm ok. I'll keep the gifting He's chosen for me. ;-)
Saturday, August 22, 2009
What does this mean 4 us today?
My Life Application Bibles says, "The world may ignore the plight of the needy, crushing any earthly hope they may have. But God, the champion of the weak, promises that this will not be the case forever.
"Wicked nations, which forget the Lord & refuse to help their people, will be judged by God. He knows our needs, He knows our tendancy to despair, & He promised to care for us. Even when others forget us, He will remember.
Interesting words to ponder as we consider health care reform, further welfare adjustments, & immigration issues.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants
to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
and all who oppose you.
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
9 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
My friend & brother, Lee DeLoache, forwarded me this entry from "Waking the Dead," p. 87-88 by John Eldridge
The deeper reason we fear our own glory is that once we let others see it, they will have seen the truest us, and that is nakedness indeed. We can repent of our sin. We can work on our “issues.” But there is nothing to be “done” about our glory. It’s so naked. It’s just there—the truest us. It is an awkward thing to shimmer when everyone else around you is not, to walk in your glory with an unveiled face when everyone else is veiling his. For a woman to be truly feminine and beautiful is to invite suspicion, jealousy, misunderstanding. A friend confided in me, “When you walk into a room, every woman looks at you to see—are you prettier than they are? Are you a threat?”
And that is why living from your glory is the only loving thing to do. You cannot love another person from a false self. You cannot love another while you are still hiding. You cannot love another unless you offer her your heart. It takes courage to live from your heart. My friend Jenny said just the other day, “I desperately want to be who I am. I don’t want the glory that I marvel at in others anymore. I want to be that glory which God set in me.”
Finally, our deepest fear of all . . . we will need to live from it. To admit we do have a new heart and a glory from God, to begin to let it be unveiled and embrace it as true—that means the next thing God will do is ask us to live from it. Come out of the boat. Take the throne. Be what he meant us to be. And that feels risky . . . really risky. But it is also exciting. It is coming fully alive. My friend Morgan declared, “It’s a risk worth taking.”
Anyone else feel weak? I'm not talking about like weak to the point of given up. What I'm talking about is weak as in weighed down by the stuff we carry for people?
I'm sorta that way. Sometimes in ministry, the load gets heavy. Walking with people in all their stuff take draw out a lot of your strength.
I don't mind it. And I know as long as I surrender whatever is going on in people's live to our Abba, He will give me more than adequate strength to walk with people.
Sorry if I'm a little fuzzy this morning. It took me a while to get people out of The Warehouse after HOG - we had 60ish, & they just hung around a while.
I love my life ;-)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.
It's interesting the stuff that's come up off the page recently. I've been reading in 1 Samuel & Acts, but I just also finished Proverbs.
It seems that in those last few chapters of Proverbs, the verses that came up off the page were all about how we can do our stuff, make our plans, take action on things, but God's the one who makes it all happen.
God just seems to be simply encouraging me to continue in the direction I'm going. That in the final analysis, my job is to keep walking, & His job is to make things happen - not the other way around.
I spent decades as a music minister making things happen. It's an interesting & pretty wonderful thing to simply walk in the direction He's pointing & letting Him make whatever is supposed to happen occur.
All I ask of Him is that He keep me on track.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the LORD,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit in each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
Bearing fruit in each season...
So. is this a promise that in each season of our lives, we will bear fruit for God, if we place our focus on Him in all we do?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
While reading this verse this morning, I thought about our current "debate" in regards to proposed health care reform, & those who don't & never have had health care.
Acts 4: 13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.
I wonder if people would say that they recognized that you or I have been with Jesus?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Ya just never know how memorizing a short scripture like this can mean so much. Recently, I memorized 2 Thessalonians 1:11 Our God will make you worthy of the life to which He called you.
About a month later, LeAnn Nichols came with a full band of great musicians & worship leaders to the House of Grace. That same night, Ken Land, our campus pastor in Cochran, came to speak.
Obviously, it was a night of superlatives. At the close of the service, I'm standing over on the Poplar St side of the room, wondering how a ordinary guy like me is gonna close a service filled with extraordinary people that God chooses on a regular basis to use in extraordinary ways.
Standing there in that moment of worrying, God dropped the thought into my head - Our God will make you worthy of the life to which he called you. So, I walked over & closed the service, saying things that were pretty good & actually made sense. I knew when I was doing it that it was God speaking through me, because I'm not that good on my own! ;-)
That is one of many, many, many times that God will drop a scripture into my head that's just the thing I need to hear. I'm so thankful that over 2 years ago Pastor John had the staff start memorizing a scripture verse each week.I wouldn't be where I am today if he hadn't.
Tuck scriptures away in your mind. God will use them in the most surprising times & ways
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light.
13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don't participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you. And don't let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable.
This is truly the way to worship him.
(dan note: I feel like as I stand a a new semester of HOG, the kickoff of the Sunday Morning Gathering, & the beginning of Open Doors community time during the week, that my life is on the verge of going a little crazy with all the downtown stuff. I know I can't make all this happen, but that I have to let this happen - iow, let God make it happen in His way & in His time. If I try to make it happen, it'll kill me, literally. I feel like I'm laying my life & my physical body down, again, as a sacrifice for what He's leading me into downtown.)
2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
(dan note: it's not that God keeps telling me to think outside the box, He just reminds me that we threw away my box about 18 months ago. He's changing the way I think about how & to whom to minister downtown. And as I keep away from doing ministry downtown in the ways others, other churches & organizations think it should be done, the more I feel His pleasure.
Feeling His pleasure in what I'm being & doing is worth everything it costs me, & will cost me.)
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don't think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
(dan note: My evaluations of myself aren't geared too high; it's usually too low. I still find it hilarious that He's got me being & doing all this stuff downtown. I decided over a year ago as I yielded myself to what He seemed to be leading me toward with downtown that this whole thing was His gig, not mine. If this is His idea, then I guess it's His responsibility to make it happen. I'm just supposed keep my eyes & ears open to what He wants, & then obey.
And as I've walked this road, I've tried to encourage others to come along with me. I know I can't do this alone. I need lots of help from others who have gifts outside my skill set.)
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
(dan note: iow, do what you do best. I guess that's my challenge; to encourage everyone who wants to be a part of downtown to use their best giftings in the best way.)
9 Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
(dan note: I don't know what kind of folks God's gonna have walk thru our doors downtown. I gotta stay open to whomever may come in, & love them genuinely. And that can be a real challenge for anyone.)
11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.
(dan note: I can always tell when I'm trying to be something, do something, or trying to love someone on my own & not depend totally on God's power - I get tired. If I depend on Him, I don't)
12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other.
(dan note: We continue to struggle to get permits for everything. It gets more than a little wearisome. And I just wonder if &/or when jealousy from others over what we're being & doing downtown is gonna kick in?)
Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.
(dan note: what does it say that the older I get, the more I prefer being around "ordinary" people?)
And don't think you know it all!
(dan note: It's easy to think ya pee wisdom & truth when ya get to be my age - & we both know better about that!!! If I don't keep a lid on how wise I think I am, God will put me in extremely humbling situations to prove to me that I'm not all that wise - nevermind how I know this...)
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
"I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,"*
says the LORD.
"If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads."*
21 Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
(dan note: As we embark on this adventure in downtown, I know the devil doesn't like it one bit. He's gonna start flinging more & more distractions of the most beguiling & crippling kind. We have to keep our minds & our power source focused on Him.)
Sorry this is so long. I just got to talking & counldn't shut up. ;-)
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Romans 11: 33 Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
34 For who can know the LORD's thoughts?
Who knows enough to give him advice?*
35 And who has given him so much
that he needs to pay it back?*
36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
Monday, August 3, 2009
14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!"
We are the ones who are the answers to the "how" questions.
Time is short.
It's time for action.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I've quit trying to explain my life. When anyone asks me why I'm being what I'm being, thus doing what I'm doing, I usually come up short.
All I got is, "it's what God seems to want me to be about."
I feel His pleasure in who I am & what I'm doing.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep."*)37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.