Friday, May 19, 2017

ACCOUNTABILITY Partners

Think about why professional athletes need coaching? To stay on top of their game, they MUST be accountable to someone who knows their strengths and weaknesses. A mentor or coach builds a relationship of TRUST while expecting a positive mental attitude, a physical exercise routine, and a team spirit. Improved performance comes from a person dedicated to a team, and to what the coach demands. Inside an effective mentor/coach relationship, both parties are acutely aware of strengths and weaknesses. Corrections are sandwiched with encouragements in order to increase ones potential spiritually, physically or financially. WHO you are in Christ, is what makes you set apart, for His purposes.  WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery,  Trust God, do NOT be afraid.  WHEN temptation haunts you, speak aloud God's word to destroy and banish the voice that is NOT from God.  WHERE there are choices to make, make the one that honors God.  You will never regret that decision.  WHY things happen will never be certain. Hold on to your FAITH in God, and in His plan for you.  Before you enter into such a dynamic growing relationship with God, and your special accountability partner of choice... it is wise to ask yourself these important questions and write out the answers: Where have I been? Where am I going physically, spiritually and emotionally? IF I do not change
my habits, my ways...where will I be in 3 years? In five years?  For things to change I must change...my thoughts, my ways, my habits. A good mentor/accountability partner will know IF you are being honest, and IF you are not, they will be the SALT and LIGHT you need and call you on your stuff.  Taking a moral inventory requires us to be authentically honest with ourself and then to our accountability partner. We MUST place our HOPE in GOD and NOT in our mate, our sponsor, our accountability partner.  REMEMBER this TRUTH:  People will fail you.  Your expectations will not always be met.  Your heart will be broken by people, NOT GOD.  Only GOD is consistently GOOD and only His plan never fails.  We MUST choose to TRUST GOD, no matter how often our plans fail.  We MUST commit to NOT quit, no matter how many times our circumstances shift away from what we WANT.  What we NEED is different than what we WANT.  We will face trials and a CRISIS of BELIEF along our journey.  We will be required to make adjustments in our thinking to follow God's plan to prosper us. People MUST give themselves a check up from the neck up.  "EXAMINE MY MIND and HEART O' GOD and reveal to me anything in my thinking, in my ways that does NOT honor You."   AMEN!  The relationship with any accountability partner is based on TRUST.  Both must agree that whatever is shared, stays private. All information shared is honored as sacred. Our coach has the right to call us on our hesitations, and our excuses. Introspection keeps our motives pure and keeps us in the growing mode. After all, doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results defines INSANITY. Patience and commitment are critical in order to grow. Remember if you are not growing, your are decaying. Leaders read and they journal where they are physically, spiritually and mentally. Open, honest communication with self and your mentor is essential. It requires sharing feelings, thoughts, new ideas and changes. Select someone you admire and respect and schedule a time to ASK THEM to be your mentor. A "getting to know you" meeting will take at least two hours. One sitting for rapport and trust building is NOT sufficient, but it is a great start. Being straightforward and transparent will be in your best interest. Eventually you and your mentor can write a simple agreed contract which includes regular monthly/or weekly meetings. Prior to this mentor meeting make a list of where you feel you need encouragement and help. This will become a working document for you and your mentor, which can be revised and changed over time. It will give your mentor a guideline and a view of you, providing accountability and a record of your progress. Family members and friends may NOT be considered the best mentors as many have a pre-conceived idea of what you are capable of. Some of our biggest cheerleaders and critics have been family members. If you are looking to develop a model in which to measure growth, make lifestyle changes, or even be transformed by the renewing of your mind and spirit, it is suggested to find someone who is older than yourself and someone who has already achieved what your are hoping to obtain. Someone with the same energy level, someone who shares similar interests, someone who you will look forward to spending time with. Accountability partners can be sought for accelerated learning, increasing faith, improving a skill, or developing a hobby such as, photography, gardening, fishing, golfing,
arts, or exercise. Your carefully chosen accountability partner will be there to listen, pray for you, and offer suggestions for a change. You will be the one who will need to keep the communication line open and make changes as they fit in your life. Your mentor will be the one who will question your motives and challenge your complaints. Good questions to be asked are: "How are you going to handle that?" or "What would you do?"  "When do you plan to execute your firm decision?"  Coaches draw on their past experiences and share their expertise, however, the ultimate decision you make is all up to you.  You will always be responsible for your choices, good or bad. Meet together once a month, or twice a week. Decide and agree on the first Wednesday of the month or agree according to what feels comfortable for all concerned.  Make it enjoyable and celebrate your growth together.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Barb of Bright Fables

Recently I have bathed my mind in the wonderfully written pages of Anne of Green Gables.  My imagination swells with a kindred spirit to Anne as I embrace her wordy, colorful visions. As her uninhibited tongue renames anything that impresses her as "royally beautiful", she delights to describe with specific words, that which gives glory to her soul's response to God's magnificent creation.  The "White Way of Delight" is how she proclaimed the wonderfully silent, yet vivid impression she received when Matthew quietly drove her through the Avenue. "It's the first thing I ever saw that could not be improved upon by my imagination!"  We too are on a journey, in a physical buggy, best driven by the Holy Spirit...to a place of peace and eternal rest..that also cannot be improved upon by our imagination...our heavenly home. "After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.  And the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A
rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne." Revelation 4:1-4  --- It seems quite possible that the Author of our souls knows how beauty implores us to respond in praise! God's living Word gives us a glorious indescribable glimpse of His impact, His brilliance and His promise to us as He calls us to "Come up here, and I will show you"...the unmatched beauty and magnificent sounds of what our eternal home, in His presence will be like. Anne of Green Gables, Barb of Bright Fables and YOU were created to joyfully worship our faithful Father, our generous King, our powerful God for Who He is and for all that He promises us. In this life as I drive down the Libremento to it's end in Ajijic, the amber-brushed hillsides on both sides of the road
are like hands applauding Lake Chapala's graceful shifting landscape.  A beach receding that is flush with ethereal shades of green bobbings and a body of water that shimmers incandescently under a rainbo colored sky. Anne would certainly call Chapala's big translucent pond "the Lake of Shining Waters". Lakeside is a little valley that is saturated with God's creative handiwork. Wistfully and eagerly I thank my Lord for His shining light of guidance, provision and promise. Oh my heavens Jesus, my mind is raptured into silent reverence as I consider ALL what You have prepared for those who love You. A Word that fits: Halleluiah!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Secure Housing

The Eternal housing Act protects people from eternal discrimination or condemnation while they are living, dying or clinically dead.  They are secured for eternal housing in heaven.  The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, doctrinal interpretations, sex, disability, the type of baptism (sprinkle or immersion) the lack of a marriage contract, or the presence of children. Eternal Housing is your right as a child of God. If you think your rights for Eternal Housing have been violated,
the Holy Spirit is ever present to help.  Simply call on the name of Jesus and make your claim known. You must state your case as a sinner living in a world of hurt and ask for divine intervention. HUD otherwise known as the Holy Understanding Department will enforce mercy as it extends forgiveness to all inquiring parties.  HUD has a statutory obligation to ensure that individuals are not subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or the offense, or sin committed. Authority to dispense grace, mercy and forgiveness of all sins and offenses is authorized under the human race civilian act of Jesus dying on the cross in 29 AD.  It has never been amended as God never changes.  The Eternal Housing Act is a reliable resource to secure your future eternally! Unlike the Fair Housing Act, justice is served to every individual who applies.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Word Fast

Ahhh, let me hear you say "outstanding!"  Or tickle my ear with "that sounds marvelous!" Increase my joy by replying "what fun!" Fascinate me by your interest in the tale I told. "What a blessing that must have been!"  "We have two ears, and one mouth....let us listen more, and speak more about "their" positive impact, "their" value, and less about me, me, me. Why not ask more questions, and listen intently? Let us not minimize "their" experience with one of our own. Simply remark on how you perceive the potential THEY have to be a mighty force, a great
blessing to others!  The Holy Spirit dwells within each beleiver. He is just waiting to be asked to take hold of our tongues so that we can speak more blessings!  "Are you listening to what the Spirit is saying?"  We are exhorted to "LISTEN" many times in God's Word. Examine yourself: Does the content of my mind and heart show up on my face as a smile or a scowl?  Are you baffled by doors that have been closed to you? Do people seek to be around you? Are you a light?  Do you consider IF your complaints
about people in authority, or about innocent strangers..."IF"you are pleasing God, or those that hear the complaint? Or do you simply voice whatever runs through your mind without the filter of considering God's purpose? Do you resist changing your pattern of thinking and speaking?  Why? Are your thoughts superior to God's? While observing God's beloved people, are you judging them by asking "Why would anybody say that, or do that?" As Jesus hears every thought, if we remain surrendered to the Holy Spirit, He might respond "Only God knows the motives of man's heart and that we all fall short and need grace."  Are you easily irritated by perpetually optimistic people? Does your level of contentment depend on who wins the game, the race, the election?  Do you grumble when plans change? Do you automatically issue mercy because you have received much?  Do you seek opportunities to encourage?
Do you look for what is GOOD in your spouse, in the White House, your team or the church and speak it? Are you quick to inject a compliment or a complaint? Are you inclined to defend your ways, your thoughts, your actions, your opinions?  Do you listen with both ears and an open mind?  Are you quick to point out the good, the better way when in the midst of chaos? Can you admit that you miss the moment in front of you as you reminisce about the way it used to be?  Will you agree or deny the scripture that paints the picture of a man’s stinking thinking? “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.” Mark 7:20-23  For our heavenly Father is fully aware of our secret criticisms. Inside every Christian, the Holy Spirit abides, and He is there to help us be purified of all that defiles us. Can you agree that sarcastic humor is just as wicked, or as sinful as profanity or murder?  It is foolishness to deceive ourselves... and pride fully deny... that a critical spirit is not of God.   Lord, in the name of Jesus,  help us heed Your calling for our hearts to be transformed as we put on the mind of Christ.  Wash our minds and uproot  
the deep pockets of judgment that reside in our hearts.   Give us eyes to see what You see in others. A living hope, a holy restoration and the ongoing sanctification through the completed work of our Lord Jesus.  Help us to look and find the good in every situation, in each encounter You set before us.  Help us to control our tongues and speak words that will edify and encourage those You place in our path.  “Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.” Psalm 101:5  To the glory of God, and for His good purpose, as we relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ, it is vitally important that we become a love covering for another believers inappropriate actions or words.  1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because 
LOVE covers a multitude of sins”  This truth instructs us to recognize that if we gossip about a wrong choice, or a worldly way in another, we are exposing faults and uncovering them. When we tear down instead of lift up, we are choosing to sin against God's will that we love one another, forgive one another, and issue grace to one another...just as He loves, forgives and issues grace and mercy to us....daily. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2   A dysfunctional Christian justifies his complaining, sarcastic humor, negativity and criticisms.  Jesus taught that there is no middle ground between the kingdom of heaven and the world we live in. “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.” Matthew 12:30  Our judgments’ produce misery and the chronic critic reaps what he sows.  “Yet I will show you a more excellent way” 1 Corinthians 12:31  The polar opposite of a life spent in judgment, criticism, sarcasm and
bitterness is a life filled with complete joy and contentment.  “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 The NEW creation, is NOT a negative person, but a positive, joy filled, peaceful person who identifies with the freedom of Christ Paul had while in prison.  We are either praising God in all circumstances, or we are whining and complaining!  To live “in Me” as I am “in you” is to live in gratitude and contentment.  “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the WILL of GOD in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thess 5:16  Choose to look for whatever is noble, noteworthy or good in every situation, everyday.
Choose to draw people to the Love, Light and Joy that lives inside you.
Choose to rehearse or filter every thought before it exits your lips.
Choose your words intentionally to inspire, uplift and transform.
Choose words that saturate the receiver’s soul with love.
Choose words that cause the hearing face to light up.
Choose words that cause good feelings to emerge into a smile.
Choose to be methodical not mechanical in your praises.
This word picture goes perfectly with our 40 day word fast challenge. We cannot accomplish fasting on negative, pessimistic thinking and broadcasting without our indwelt Holy Helper.  Lord help us hold our tongue.  Help us listen with genuine interest and not just wait for a pause just so we can share our experiences.  Help us intentionally choose words that will uplift, acknowledge, and encourage.  Help us glorify Your plan for the world as we speak Kingdom language. Forgive us for any secretly held thoughts of criticism, judgment, malice or unforgiveness.  Amen ---- "The Forty-Day Word Fast" by Tim Cameron

Sunday, May 7, 2017

OLD FUDDY DUDDY

In 1884 Mark Twain's first lines of Huck Finn read: "You don't know about me without readin a book by the name of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by a Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.” Mr. Twain thought highly of his intellect, even boasting that he told the truth mainly. One of his readers, a Miss Olivia Langdon attended church twice weekly and she was a devoted Christian when Mark Twain came to court her in the 1800's.  As Mark was a well known outspoken critic of religion, Olivia's parents were openly disgruntled when she accepted Mark's proposal of marriage. The young woman believed that by association her husband's heart would soften towards Jesus. Soon after they wed, Mark took part in family prayers and Bible reading. However, over time, Mark Twain's skepticism about matters of faith, hardened his heart and eventually, his wife changed, and also withdrew from her beliefs. He was quoted to say this to his young wife:
"Livy, you may keep this up if you want to, but I must ask you to excuse me from it. It is making me a hypocrite. I do not believe in the Bible; it contradicts my reason." Time passes and Livy becomes depressed over a friends death. Her husband encourages her "Livy, why don't you lean on your Christian faith, certainly that will help you get past your grief." Olivia replies "I can't Mark, I haven't any." God is not an old fuddy duddy when He warns us to not marry those who do not share faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Read Genesis 1:1-27 and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth and give you understanding of what our Creator, Redeemer, Spirit is saying in regard to our relationship to the ONE GOD.  The Amplified Bible reads: "God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of
July 2014 in Sonora
God He created him; male and female He created them."  God said "let us" --- Who was in the "us"? The King James Version of the Bible: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness
Let us not rely on our intellect to interpret God's living Word, but let us be wise and ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding.  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth....and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Gen 1:2 NIV ~ And God said....and His Spirit filled living Word created all that there is. God expects us to believe in the full Deity, Power and Authority of His Godhead. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with ALL wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the MYSTERY of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment---to bring ALL things in heaven and earth together under ONE head, even Christ." Ephesians 1:7-10 What God says about His Son when He brought His first-born into the world, God said, "In the beginning, O Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You remain; they will all wear out like a garment....
but You remain the same, and Your years will never end." Hebrews 1:10 NIV ~ "Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the Builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself."  Hebrews 3:3 ~ The Lord's most beloved disciple wrote these Holy Spirit filled words "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning." John 1:1 --- God said the Word was God, and that He, the Word was with God in the beginning.  God also said "He was in the world, and though the world was MADE through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him."  John 1:10 --- God came face to face with Mark Twain and even as Mark read these words in the Bible, Mark did not recognize Jesus as God, and Mark chose his REASON over the wisdom of God found in the holy scriptures.  Let us not make the same mistake as Mark Twain and deny or profane the Name of God.
"He has a name written on Him that no one but He Himself knows.  He is dressed in a robe dripped in blood and His name is the Word of God." Revelation 9:12-13 ~ As humans who attend church, pray and worship, we will remain empty and wanting unless we return to God, our Father, Jesus our Lord, and submit to His ever present Holy Spirit. God said "I am in Him, He is in Me, and you are "in Christ".  We are not separate when we accept what God says as the ultimate Truth.  Mark Twain relied on what he thought, his human reasoning, and without the Holy Spirit, unfortunately, Mark and his wife were led astray and failed to "get it", to understand Who Jesus Christ is. Jesus is the Word of God, He spoke as God and created the world.

Friday, May 5, 2017

OPINION OF OTHERS

When the big question "Why was I born?" emerges from within, it is a time for significant endings and new beginnings!  It is a place in the road of our journey that can make us feel disoriented as we straddle our past and consider our possible future. This dot on our timeline can make anyone feel heavy, and depressed or melancholy.  When we feel stuck and unable to make decisions about which way to travel, it is time to STOP and BE STILL and LISTEN to the voice within.  Our wise elder, the inner teacher, the Holy Spirit, may be asking us to slow down and turn inward so we can take stock of what is working, what is not? How do we respond to the opinions of others?  Do we adjust ourselves to adapt to public opinion, or do we make adjustments to hold on to our belief in what God says about us?  How do we honor our priorities, commitments,
responsibilities, and boundaries?  Who do we consult when making long-term goals?   Have we examined how our belief systems? Are the stories that we tell about ourselves and the world about the miracle of our redemption?  Do we consider how our words and silent thoughts affect our current reality? Are the stories we tell useful? Do we hold captive every thought and align our thoughts with Christ, and His plan for us?  A PRAYER: Lord help each of us grow as bored with our vocalized victim stories as everyone around us already has!”  YES, it is time to shed the skin of our old sad self like the caterpillar did! Stilled out of pure boredom with all that the world had to offer, the caterpillar released his old life, his adolescent memories and surrendered his entire body and mind.  Then God created a brand new creature with wings that can fly above the world’s ways, and get a FRESH God sized perspective of our glorious short LIFE on earth, and our valid HOPE for eternity without pain or struggles!
Our heavenly Father's opinion of us is that He is pleased with His creation and He takes great pleasure in us. We must reclaim this truth and the authority of Christ within us.  We must BELIEVE that God will FINISH what He started in us! We must inhabit the truth that God equipped us to handle whatever task He assigns to us!   Let use our wings of faith to experience our pre-destined life at its best. Our death-of-self and rebirth into a new creature “in Christ” is our separation from a previous world view, and into God’s plan. Our radical break from the lie, from our old and tired self portraits accelerates our ongoing wave of renewal! It is in the “little things” that we witness change in us.  It is in the daily details that
we notice, moment by moment, that we are living an enriched, thriving and changed life. In the face of the current overwhelming planetary crisis, we can choose to start now, and begin small, to start fresh wherever we are. As set apart people, we gladly turn away from what has never worked, to embrace God’s way. This does not mean that LIFE will become easier! We will meet opposition, we will struggle, and we will be victorious even in the midst of chaos. Small efforts make significant differences in our own communities.  Instead of trying to change the world, as transformed people with renewed minds…we confidently contribute on a small scale and know that God is using us to make huge impacts on one watching person at a time. We are faced with many choices while living on earth, however, there are only two eternal choices. Pastor Rick Warren, author of a "Purpose Driven Life" gives us a look at our two eternal choices. CLICK this link and ENJOY Rick Warren's reality check, a living Word from God, and His loving opinion of WHY we should choose His way.  The Reality of Hell, Part 1

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Scholar's Atheist

Quote from "Surprised by Joy" the autobiography by CS Lewis.  "I was at this time living, like so many atheists...in a whirl of contradictions.  I maintained that God did NOT exist.  I was very angry with God for NOT existing.  I was equally angry with Him for creating a world."  CS Lewis considered Christianity nothing more than a myth.  He was an Oxford scholar, a respected teacher with profound things to say. He held two degrees from his university and also taught at Cambridge. CS prized the creative imagination and as an academic, his lectures stimulated reason and much thought among his students. He was a literary critic, a tremendous historian and a satirical humorist who was fun to hang out with. "The things that I assert most rigorously and with such vigor, are the very things that I resisted long and accepted late."  His highly intelligent argumentative skills allotted him frequent triumph in verbal debates. CS was a complex man who was gravely affected by his mother's battle with cancer and early death.  At the age of nine, the tragic loss of his mother stiffened his heart against belief in a
benevolent God.  CS believed that there was no God worthy of praise because of all the unnecessary cruelty, agony and pain contained by humans affected by war and death. His unanswered prayer for his mother's life proved that billions of weeping prayers were pointlessly directed to the absolute void of a merciful, loving God.  CS Lewis was born on November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  His boyhood library shelves were filled with fantastical books of mythology. After romps with his brother through the rich green landscape of Ireland, CS would retire to his room to draw pictures that matched his fantasy characters. At the young age of 19 ... CS found himself in France on the front lines of World War 1. Many men under his command were blown to bits and his best friend was killed in a fierce combat.  Resolved to keep his promise, CS took care of his deceased friends mother and sister after the war. His mind was filled with the haunting question of WHY? Is life and death so random?  After his father died in 1929, CS purchased a home in Britain just three miles from his work on Oxford campus.  His alcoholic brother came to live with him shortly after moving in. For
30 years CS taught, lectured and immensely enjoyed his walks and talks with other outstanding intellects. He loved the life of the mind and became close friends with J.R.R. Tolkien. Together over a pint at the local university pub called the "Eagle and Child", CS and Tolkien agreed that as there was massive amounts of inadequately fulfilling literature at the university, that they would begin to write things that would satisfy their souls. They initiated a club called the "Inklings" and their members included prolific intellects such as Owen Barfield, Neville Calkhill, and Hugo Deisen. They both began to write mythical fantasy with a morality beyond prejudices commonly held by opposing beliefs regarding religion and politics.  They met weekly at the pub, or in their respective homes to drink, socialize and read aloud samplings with welcomed and revered criticism.  The process of honing their written words among the great minds of the day, enabled the finished work of CS and Tolkien to appeal to a wide range of peoples.  Fifty years later, their inspired writings have touched the
hearts of young and old.  Millions of copies of their books have been sold and both became legends at the box office by movie goers across the globe.  "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" and " The Lord of the Rings" are indeed timeless works of great literature gone viral. To be infected by their highly contagious virus of hope for more, the series entitled "The Chronicles of Narnia" and sequels of hits for more of "The Lord of the Rings" is a testament to the thirst of the soul for knowledge that good prevails over evil.  People do celebrate the victory in these wonder filled visual triumphs. After years of believing that Christianity was a beautifully spun lie, at the wise age of 33, CS was introduced to a book entitled "Everlasting Man" by Chesterson. He had long resisted believing in Jesus and after many hours debating with Tolkien, CS became a believer because of his identification of God in the glorious theater of nature, in science and in his innate compulsion to know the truth. His satirical account of letters between the author of evil and his earthbound helper became an over night sensation.  "The Screwtape Letters" became a best-seller.  A revolutionary book in the 1920's, it rattled the souls of his peers and became the most talked about writing among his students, and eventually it was a worldwide must read. Screwtape (the devil) gives Wormwood (the temptor) detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith in people while promoting healthy pleasures. In Screwtape's advice, individual benefit and greed are seen as the greatest good.
Because CS Lewis served on the faculty at Oxford University, and as his published works caused such a scandal, the University board was unable to convince him to be silent about his faith, so they simply denied this literary giant the title of Professor.   CS Lewis was baptized at birth in the Church of Ireland, but denied Jesus for 32 years.  God used his close friend Tolkien to water the seed of faith and CS became a ordinary layman of the Church of England.  CS credits the Holy Spirit for the content and impact of his children's books.  His wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him worldwide acclaim. Later CS published a book entitled "Mere Christianity" which was a compilation of his popular radio broadcasts. In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Davidman, 17 years his junior.
Joy died at the age of 45, just four years after they were married.  Lewis died three years after his wife, from renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday on November 22,1963, in the same hour that President John F Kennedy was assassinated.  When it comes to faith in God, it is an ongoing personal choice to be made.  It is a relationship with a very real and unseen Supreme Being. Only God can aptly answer the question of why?  His ways are not our ways, and History, is indeed His story. When we are faced with the harshest of realities here on earth, we must pay careful attention to who and what we are listening to.  Intellectuals live in their minds, but a relationship with God requires trust, it requires faith in the unknown, in the unseen department of the heart.  If you have suffered great loss, or a prolonged illness, read the book of John in the Bible, then read CS Lewis book entitled "The Problem of Pain". Herein a picture of his beloved wife Joy.
We choose to listen to the voice of indisputable Truth or the voice of the great Liar...CS Lewis challenged the miracles of Jesus "You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."  Who do we trust?  "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture....the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming...If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm....I was young, now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken....Wait for the Lord and keep His way...The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble." The book of psalms was written by a young musician who trusted in God and became King.  Psalm 37

Monday, May 1, 2017

FASHION POLICE

Crowds were drawn in great numbers to hear what this 2nd century holy hippie named John had to say.  JB was not into fashion, his hair was matted into dreadlocks; he wore camel hair skins and ate locusts and wild honey.  He had grown up with the Essenes, in an outdoor commune. It was a sect of society that were known to be rigid in their abstinence of all worldly pleasures.  John the Baptist (JB) lived under the Old Testament law, and the severe restraints of the Essenes. In his commune, the human appetite for anything that may corrupt the spiritual goal of purity was denied. They adamantly practiced celibacy and willful poverty. When he was 30, JB began preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."  To the dismay of King Herod, many were moved by JB’s spirit filled words.  Throngs of people were confessing their sins and getting baptized by JB in the Jordon River.
When JB encountered many of the Pharisees and Sadducees, the two other major sects of the time, JB screamed “You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” With fire blazing from the eyes of this crazed looking hippy, he shouted at them “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves ‘We have Abraham as our father’. I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham." Anticipating the return of the Messiah, JB persisted “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." JB painted the picture of the Messiah returning like The Terminator, using a huge blow torch on all sinners. JB stands his ground proclaiming " I baptize you with water for repentance, But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” This history recorded in a letter written by Matthew, chapter 3. King Herod feared the great influence JB had over the people of Jerusalem and all throughout the province of Judea.  Feeling insecure, King Herod had JB arrested and imprisoned for two years in the dungeon of a castle called Macherus.  It
was a fortified hilltop palace which is located in Jordan fifteen miles southeast of the mouth of the Jordan River on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. Before JB was imprisoned he greeted the Messiah asking Him “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”  Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and JB saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:11-17 ~ So now imagine our JB, a strict Old Testament Jew, raised by the Essenes, sitting alone in a dark prison when he suddenly gets highly agitated upon learning that Jesus has served wine at a wedding, that he healed folks on a Sunday, and that Jesus was seen in a bar talking with sinners, and that He spoke to a prostitute! JB was extremely rattled and he actually questioned the divinity of Christ!
“When JB in prison heard what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  Jesus replied “Go back and report to JB what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the GOOD NEWS is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.”  Jesus baffles John’s disciples by asking them “What did you go out to see?  A man dressed in fine clothes? A Prophet?  Yes, I tell you more than a Prophet.  JB is the one about whom it is written: “I will send my messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.”  I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Matthew 11:2-16 ~ Man judges by appearances, but our holy God judges us by the content of our hearts.
John the Baptist was highly influenced by the Essenes, of Judea.  The Essenes were stoic and rigidly performed cleansing rituals prior to writing the name of God, Yahweh.  The Essenes were a sect of Second Temple Judaism that flourished in the 2nd century BCE. They were much fewer in number than the Pharisees and the Sadducees who were the other two major sects at the time. They lived in various cities but congregated in communal life dedicated to asceticism which is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing very high spiritual goals. Many religious traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity still advocate strict restraint with respect to actions of body, speech, and mind. The Essenes rigidly practiced voluntary poverty, daily immersion and celibacy. 
As the forerunner of Jesus, JB lived with great expectation for the return of the Messiah. God had anointed JB in his mother’s womb. When Elizabeth was pregnant with JB and her niece Mary arrived pregnant with Jesus, JB flipped in Liz’s womb, recognizing Jesus Christ as God, his Creator. Zechariah's wife, mentioned in the New Testament as Elizabeth, was barren and therefore the birth of a child seemed impossible. As a gift from God, Zechariah was given a son by the name of "Yaḥya", (John) a name specially chosen for this child alone. In accordance with Zechariah's prayer, God created John and Jesus in the womb, and they were born 6 months apart. God's purpose was to use His two creations to bring the GOOD NEWS message of our Father God, into New Testament times.  The High Priests of Israel had corrupted the truth. This is according to exegesis, which includes the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds for the author, the text, and the original audience. JB was also identified by the prophet Elijah.  According to 2 Kings 2:1-11, Elijah defended the worship of Yahweh over that of the Canaanite god Baal, which was considered as idol worship.  Elijah raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up "by a whirlwind."  In the Book of Malachi, Elijah's return is prophesied "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord,"  making Elijah a harbinger of the Messiah and the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Hebrew Bible. According to Flavius JosephusMacherus is the location of the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist. According to the chronology of the Bible, JB's infamous execution took place following his imprisonment of 2 years, shortly after the Passover.

Flying Waves - Kiwido FUN exercise

Sunday, April 30, 2017

HOLY SMOKES!

Who never departs from us, Who never ceases to surprise us, Who is everywhere we are, Who gives us courage, Who is always available 24/7, Who is always for us never against us, Who consistently issues us mercy and grace, Who is extravagantly patient with us, Who intercedes in prayer for us, Who squeezes are broken hearts with tenderness, Who is trustworthy no matter who else may deceive us, Who is absolutely reliable to give us wisdom and guidance, Who knows all our secrets and loves us unconditionally, Who replenishes our strength, Who is our constant supplier of all good things, Who knows our needs before we ask, Who fills our emptiness with everlasting love, Who teaches with authority Who God is, Who is pure, praiseworthy and exceptionally excellent in all ways, all the time, Who can you be certain is listening always, Who forgives and forgets completely all our offenses, Who is the Person who knows you more intimately than any human being?????????? He was delivered into you supernaturally when you believed that Jesus is Lord, the King of kings. 
After you surrendered your heart and life to Jesus Christ, this One holy and divine being immediately took up residence in you. He resides and abides in you!  Our most holy and loving Father, our all knowing Jesus masterfully made it possible by delivering the promised Holy Spirit into us.  We have invited Him in to counsel, to guide and to change us.  He enables us to personally embrace the real Truth of Who Jesus Christ is.  The Holy Spirit is NOT a dissipating puff of smoke or a passing feeling...but He is our omnipresent Counselor Who enables us to experience God Himself, Who is always at work "in" us and for us!  A blessing prayer for YOU! I bless your spirit to rise above circumstances and allow the transformation that only Jesus can bring.  Our greatest weapon against the Liar is the Almighty Word of God.  I bless you with a confident and playful life that engages your family and others.  I bless your spirit with a hunger for God's living Word and a supernatural relationship with the Holy Spirit.  I bless your spirit with the freedom to believe and trust God over all the restrictions and beliefs circulating in this world.  I bless your spirit to fly high above what is seen,  with illumined eyes that perceive the unseen and majestic holy presence of God in all situations.  I bless you in the the transforming power of Jesus Chist, the King of kings, in Whom there is absolute liberty from fear and JOY unspeakable.  AMEN

Friday, April 28, 2017

Imagine Your Last Breath

Imagine entering into the holy Presence of God.  Imagine that you were very sick for a long while and you closed your eyes and woke up in heaven!  Or, just imagine that you were enjoying the day like you had not in a long while, and suddenly you lose your breath. A deep sharp pain in your chest causes you to drop cold to the floor and then your spirit rises with several surprises "look down there, that is my body on the ground...and I am floating up into a brilliant Light and I feel calm, warmly embraced, deeply comforted, genuinely treasured, softly nurtured, absolutely understood, dearly cherished, completely forgiven, totally honored, happily welcomed, instantly perfected, and unconditionally loved ALL at once! God told us in His living word "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" Now, just imagine, that without hesitation or any regret your sense of self dissolves
as your soul is enveloped by the Light of the world, and you are aware of Jesus more than ever before. Imagine standing submerged in His Presence while knowing Jesus and experiencing God so powerfully that you fall to your knees in a state of genuine worship.  Imagine all thoughts and feelings as a human melting into the brilliance of His glory.  Imagine having all your questions answered without asking. Imagine experiencing God's promises fulfilled as your soul is filled with unprecedented peace.  Imagine feeling "at home" for the first time in your life while feeling "safe" and "free" to live eternally in the unequaled beauty and unmatched Love of God. How compassionate of my Father to lead me to the words to write about my son Jason's experience as he took his last breath.  Our heavenly Father loves us, He knows us and He provides all that we need to be comforted in this world. A song we sang at church today: “There’s a Peace I've come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail, there is an anchor for my soul
and I can say “it is well”.  Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed, the victory is won.  He is risen from the dead.  And I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrows, no more pain.  I will rise on eagles’ wings, before my God, fall on my knees, and rise, I will rise.  There is a day that is drawing near, when this darkness breaks to light, and the shadows disappear…and my faith shall be my eyes, and I hear the voice of many angels sing, “worthy is the Lamb” And I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain.  I will rise on eagles’ wings, before my God, fall on my knees.  And rise, I will rise.”  Chris Tomlin lyrics “I will Rise” -- In the book 'Jesus is Calling' on April 20, 2016 the day of Jason's last breath it is written:"Do NOT be afraid, for I am with you.  Hear Me saying Peace, be still to your inquiring and restless heart.  No matter what happens, I will never leave you or forsake you.  Let this assurance soak into your mind and heart, until you overflow with Joy. The media relentlessly proclaims bad news, but the Good News is that I came to give you eternal Life in Me. Let Scripture saturate your mind and heart, and you will walk steadily into your ultimate destination. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 3:16