God Dealt Me A “Royal Flush” This Week

ace-cBlog - God dealt mea a royal flushAn Earthly Royal Flush

As you may know, in a very popular card game known as Poker, the best possible straight flush is known as a “royal flush”.  It consists of the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and ten of the same suit. And everybody knows that a “royal flush” is an unbeatable hand.

But did you know that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, can trump any “Action Jackson” at his game of Poker in a twinkle of an eye.

Now, I’m not a card player, but you just might know somebody who would love to engage you in a conversation about how to win at Poker.  So, let me help you use this once in a lifetime opportunity to witness for the Lord and to allow the Holy Spirit to provide the increase to lead a lost soul into eternity.

First, let’s define what a “Royal Flush” consists of for each Player:

Action Jackson’s Definition              Jesus Christ’s Definition

Ace                                                                 Alpha And Omega

King                                                               King of Kings

Queen                                                           Queen of the South

Jack                                                               Jehovah Jirah

Ten                                                                Trinity: Three in One

Secondly, let’s explain where I am going with the message in this week’s blog:

All this week, the Holy Spirit has put into my consciousness the express meanings for “manna from heaven” and the name Jesus.  It took me well into the first part of the week to begin to understand the connection of the two subjects.  I reviewed Old Testament scriptures about how God fed the children of Israel manna from heaven while in the Wilderness, and I also reviewed several New Testament Gospels concerning the life of Jesus Christ.

And then it hit me.  My conversation with God commenced!

Lord, I exclaimed…I can see clearly now.  Both of these subjects You have dealt me have unique names that have caused others to proclaim…”What?” or “What manner of” thing or person “is this?”

We read in Exodus 16:15 that the heavenly bread (manna) fell, and when the children of Israel saw it they said to one another, ‘It is manna,’ because they did not know what it was.  (‘Manna’ means “What is it?” in Egyptian and refers to food in Hebrew.) (Remember, the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt for a very long time and learned their language.)

We read in Matthew 8:24-27 “And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.  And his disciples came to Him (Jesus), and awoke Him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.  And He saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What manner(*) of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

(*) Note:  The English word ‘manner’ is very similar to manna.)

Now with that back ground, let’s begin comparing the two subjects and be blessed by the similarities and compositions of both manna and the Man Jesus.  But more importantly, with just five cards in your hand, you can witness the authority of Jesus Christ while you engage a skeptical person in a game of Poker.

  • The first comparison you should see is that both manna and Jesus represent a food substance that sustains life.  More succinctly, they are both ‘bread’ provided by God in Heaven for mankind’s survival.  BAM!  That’s the ACE trumped by Alpha and Omega! The physical food was trumped by the spiritual food!  The physical food had yeast in it and was considered leavened, and relates to sin (evil).  The spiritual food had no yeast in it and was considered unleavened, free of sin.
  • The above explanation explains Galatians 5:9 –  “A little leaven (sin) leaveneth the whole lump (a man’s life).”
  • Next comparison – Both ‘breads’ remained with the people until the end of an era.  Manna physically remained with the people until they arrived at Cannan, a land flowing with milk and honey.  Jesus will remain spiritually with us until Judgement Day, a place without end.  God giveth and God taketh away.  BAM!  That’s the physical king being trumped by the King of Kings.
  • Next – The Israelites had to go out daily and receive the manna so as not to starve.  Thus, they had to depend on God daily. We, too, must continually receive Jesus Christ in our hearts as God’s Son so as to live eternally.  But when the people of Israel disobeyed and gathered too much manna, they suffered.  (How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Matt. 23:37)  Likewise, when we disobey the teachings of Jesus, we, too, suffer.  (The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Romans 6:23) BAM!  The earthly queen is trumped by the Queen of the South!
  • Next – Manna came in 2 parts; meat and milk which hardened and became a type of flake bread served both day and night.  Jesus’ word is also referred to as meat and milk and is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).  Whichever formulae you are on, its available both day and night.  BAM!  Action Jackson was trumped by our Provider, Jehovah Jirah!
  • In conclusion – In Revelation 2:17 ( The biblical numerology of ten [2+1+7=10]); Jesus promised those who overcome that He will give them ‘some of the hidden manna’.   Because they believe in Him (The Trinity; Three in One), He will continue to sustain us spiritually. His sacrificial, substitutionary death – His flesh, His blood – will continue to give those who trust Him life, forever. They shall remain in Him, and He shall remains in them [John 6:56].   BAM! The hidden manna is the trump card that you get when you pray for it in those times of temptation to do evil and dishonor God. It is the nourishment you receive, the power from on high. It is given to everyone who asks for it, everyone with a longing to be free from sin.  The hidden manna gives vitality and life.

NOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK?  DID NOT GOD CONVERSE WITH ME AND DID NOT HE ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DEAL ME A “ROYAL FLUSH” HAND OF SPIRITUAL TRUTHS?

I dare you to step outside of your comfort zone and reach someone searching for the truth while becoming stagnated in the wilderness.  Do not allow him or her to become drunk with wine, but help them to be filled with a love for Jesus because love covers a multitude of sin.  BAM!

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

 

 

 

Sometimes God Can Be A Hard Task Master

Blog God Hard Task Master

Extending a Helping Hand By Becoming a Mentor

Are you an avid Bible reader?  What do you do with the information written therein?  After you ingest what you’ve read, do you find ways to apply it?  Were you really able to learn the lessons that you thought God expected you to?  And finally, can you evaluate the effectiveness of your learning experience?

IF YOU WOULD PERMIT ME, I WOULD LIKE TO HELP YOU EVALUATE YOUR EFFECTIVENESS OF BIBLICAL CONCEPTS.  FIRST, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING 3 QUESTIONS

  • Can you identify a set goal you harbor based on your biblical learning experience?
  • What bible stories can you mimic in your daily life to show that you understand the godly principles that Jesus Christ displayed or shared?
  • How will others be encouraged and transformed by your actions and recognize that it is not you, per se, but the godly attributes in you?

TO TEST OR NOT TO TEST, THAT IS THE QUESTION

How many of you would be willing to take a personal growth and assessment test to see how your biblical knowledge and your expectations measures up to the goals our Creator would be pleased with.

A LAYMAN’S CREDENTIALS

Some year ago, I was asked to design a self-assessment covenant booklet for a female organization at my church.  This women’s auxiliary was not required to be ordained participants, but they did have the awesome responsibility to shepherd and nurture the  female population of the flock that sort them out.

Basically, our Senior Pastor wanted to acquaint himself with the level of dedication and preparedness of the women who were seeking assignments in this role of responsibility.

A CONVERSATION WITH GOD ON HOW TO BECOME A BIBLICAL MUSE

After much prayer and fasting before the Lord, the Holy Spirit meticulously and painstakingly began to communicate with me how laborers in His vineyard could self-evaluate their commitment to keeping their covenant vows to Him.  I tried in vain to reason with the Spirit that I was just a layperson with no formal credentials to take on such a sacred task, but He wouldn’t listen.

So, because the creation of my assessment booklet was so well received not only by the Pastor, but by the participants as well, I have decided to dust it off and present it to my blog readers as well.  (By the way, I would love to receive your comments on the effectiveness of your test results.  So please respond in the comment section below the blog.  Thanks)

LET’S GET STARTED

There are six categories of a servant’s life that can be measured to ‘somewhat degree’ to give an idea as to how one measures up as a true (work in progress) soldier and willing vessel in the service of the Lord.  See if you agree with me by taking the evaluation survey below:

Instructions:  Place an “X” under the appropriate frequency on right for each bullet point.  Instructions provided on tallying the “X”s at the end of article.                            

 

  1.  PARTICIPATION IN                                                             PERSONAL GROWTH                                                           DEVELOPMENT
R  E  G   U  L   A   R   L   Y S   O   M   E   T   I   M   E   S S   E   L   D   O   M   E N  E  V  E   R

 

Those seeking to mentor others should attempt to acquire more than a casual knowledge of God’s Word by studying and attending outside Bible Study classes.  I have…     

  • Daily Bible Study or weekly devotions with self or friend(s) or prayer partner(s)
  • Enrolled in a Bible Study class at a school or church
  • Participate in Women’s meeting group
  • Participate in Women’s prayer meeting
  • Have my car radio set on a religious station  most of the time while driving
  • Subscribe to one or more religious magazines, websites, or have purchased religious periodicals videos or tapes within the last three months
  • Read a book from the Church library
  • Study personal notes from sermons throughout the week
  • Attend religious workshops and/or conferences
2.      PARTICIPATION IN WORSHIP                                                SERVICES R S S N

Those seeking to mentor others have an opportunity to show their need for worship experiences by their faithful attendance at Sunday and midweek services.  I attend…       

  • Sunday School
  • Early-morning Church services
  • Mid-morning Church services
  • Wednesday Night Prayer Meetings
  • Week Day Bible Study Classes
  • Special Worship Services: (Check all that apply)                                  New Year’s Eve Watch Night                                                        Easter Sunrise Service                                                                  Thanksgiving Day Services                                                                (Including feeding others)                                                      Christmas Eve/Day Services
  • Participate in Mission Trips
  • Volunteer as a worker for VBS
3.      PARTICIPATION AT CHURCH                                                  MEETINGS R S S N

In many respects, the status of those seeking to mentor others is different from the status of other organizations in the church.  However, each position requires that every participant attend certain business and spiritual meetings held to impart church operational and procedural data.  I would make myself available to attend…

  • The Monthly Layman’s Meetings Established by Pastor
  • The Quarterly Church Meetings
  • The Monthly Worker’s Council Meetings
  • The Annual Church Revival
  • Special Retreats or Other Church Functions Applicable
4.     PARTICIPATION WITH OTHERS R S S N

Those seeking to mentor others must practice unceasing prayer if they are to be able to find fullness of the Christian life for themselves and if they are to be leaders among people.  When counseling others, I…

  • Often pray for them (calling them by name) and their situation either right then or later
  • Instruct them to pray for their own situation either right then or later.
  • Instruct them to seek another spirit-filled person to help    them
  • Just talk with them relating my own experiences, very seldom closing in prayer
  • Offer them a variety of scripture
  • Mostly, listen
5.    PARTICIPATION IN THE CHURCH’S                                  OUTREACH MINISTRIES R S S N

There are a number of ways a person seeking to mentor others can express their dedication to his or her calling.  You can depend on me to…

  • Volunteer to work with the Vacation Bible School
  • Accompany others to support the Prison Ministry          programs
  • Contribute cheerfully and regularly to the                        financial support of the church ministries
  •   Make at least 2 hospital trips to visit the sick               within 6 month interval
  • Assist in the youth Ministry
  • Support Nursing Home Projects
  • Work with Shelter Projects or other non-profits
  • Make at least 2 home trips to visit the sick and                         shut-in within 6 month intervals

SCORING OF QUESTIONS:

Each section should be treated as an individual area of growth and development.   Points To Be Applied:

“REGULARLY” = 10 POINTS:  “SOMETIMES” =  7 POINTS:  “SELDOM” =  3 POINTS:  “NEVER” = 0 POINTS

RESPONSE TO TEST RESULTS FOR PART ONE:

  • A SCORE OF 41 TO 50 INDICATES THAT YOU ARE APPLYING THE JESUS PRINCIPLE EXTREMELY WELL IN THIS AREA.
  • A SCORE OF 31 TO 40 INDICATES THAT YOU ARE APPLYING THE JESUS PRINCIPLE MOST OF THE TIME IN THIS AREA.
  • A SCORE OF 21 TO 30 INDICATES THAT GOD KNOWS YOUR WORKS, BUT SOME AREAS LACK A TOTAL COMMITMENT.
  • A SCORE OF 11 TO 20 INDICATES YOU LACK A TOTAL COMMITMENT IN THIS AREA AND PERHAPS NEED TO SEEK ANOTHER MENTOR AS YOUR MENTORING BUDDY.
  • A SCORE OF UP TO 10 INDICATES THAT YOU SHOULD PERHAPS RE-EXAMINE YOUR COMMITMENT TO THIS ASSIGNMENT AND BECOME A MENTEE                                  
6. BONUS SECTION:  CHARACTERISTICS OF A MENTORING WORKER R S S N
  1. Serious but happy person
  2. Sensitive to the feelings and concerns of others
  3. Polite and courteous
  4. Accept Jesus’ lordship in all areas of my life
  5. Build up and encourage others
  6. Set aside willfulness and self-pleasuring for the sake of building up the body of Christ
  7. Pursue Christian duties just as diligently as secular duties
  8. Recognize the Bible as the Word of God and exercise faith in areas of controversy.
  9. Read the Bible diligently each day for meaning and guidance in my daily life
  10. Genuinely concerned about how the church ministers to me and the life of the community
  11. Abstain from the use and sale of intoxicating beverages
  12. Encourage others and family members to seek the Lord
  13. Give tithes and offerings to the support of the Church and it’s ministries
  14. Avoid backbiting and gossip
  15. Pray unceasingly

RESPONSE TO TEST RESULTS FOR PART TWO:

Special Individual Scoring for CHARACTERISTICS OF A MENTORING  WORKER

Points to be applied: “Regularly” = 3 Points; “Sometimes” = 2 Points; “Seldom” = 1 Point; “Never” = 0 Points

Evaluation of Scores in this section:

  • For a Score of 17 to 24 SEE Response to a Score of 31 to 40
  • For a Score of 7 to 16 SEE Response to a Score of 21 to 30
  • For a Score of 1 to 6 SEE Response to a Score of 11 to 20

***********END OF TEST***********

Scripture Lesson:  35 Jesus [My Pastor] went through all the towns and villages [Church Congregation], teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing [with the aide of the Holy Spirit] every disease and sickness . 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples [Pastor’s Mentors], “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers [Mentors]into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:36-38  [Scripture embellished by me.]

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Was In The Mix of my Relocation Plans

                                  My New Home

Hello, to the cyber-world of all blogger readers and followers.  My blog for this week is dedicated to anyone who is contemplating down-sizing from their current home to a 55+ community or to a senior citizen’s facility for the aging.  Tada

YES, I’VE BEEN THERE…AND DONE THAT!!

My plight is probably no different than yours, but it all started when my overall health began to fail.  As late as 2015, I occupied a beautiful 3,000 sq. ft. 2-story condominium in an upscale gated and quiet enclave of 39 units.  This residence had been my home for approximately 8 years when all of a sudden it started attacking me.  Probably because I was single, a widow and living alone at a ripe ole age of mid 70’s. Relieved

Basically, here’s what happen.

The entire square footage of the house, seemingly, started to rearrange itself.  One day my home office would be to the left of the top of the stairs and the next day to the right where it belonged. Thinking face

The stair treads got deeper, steeper and lengthier.  I could hardly make it up the stairs without stopping to rest halfway up.  That didn’t use to happen. Confused

The exterior entry doors managed to change their security lock combinations at will. Weary

The washer and dryer no longer kept their programmed wash and dry cycles.  Clean clothes remained in the units for weeks. Smirk

My alarm clock would go off in the mornings, I guess to remind me of appointments I needed to early rise and dress for.  But I didn’t have any appointments…I don’t think. Sleeping

I said to myself…”God is trying to tell me something.  Maybe he wants me to move.  So during the next 14 months, I did some research on accommodations for senior living that provided substantial amenities.  I visited most of those facilities and  I did a lot of praying. Pray

So to make a long story short, I truly believed that my prayers were answered and the Lord guided me to find my current residence in early 2018.  My new residence is marketed as a 55+ active senior apartment/home community with lots and lots of amenities and entertainment.  I now reside in a different suburb from my old place just a few miles from my daughter and her family .  She, my son-in-law and my 2 grandchildren are a tremendous blessing to me.  I receive renewed strength from their outpouring of love towards me.

It goes without saying I am totally happy living here and am celebrating 16 months under glorious living conditions and new surroundings.  Just view the above pictures and see for yourself.  But basically because of one request I made to management, it has greatly contributed to making my living here much more rewarding.  And that’s because God was in the mix!

I ASKED THE MANAGEMENT OFFICE IF I COULD HOLD A CELEBRATION FOR MY FRIENDS AND ANY APARTMENT RESIDENT WHO WISHED TO ATTEND A HOUSE BLESSING SERVICE FOR THIS NEWLY CONSTRUCTED EDIFICE, AND THEY AGREED.

So after searching the internet for a litany model, reprinted below,  I invited my pastors and guests to come and help me make a smooth transition.  I also treated everyone to a delicious meal while fellowshipping in the beautifully decorated dining hall.

Leader:  Wondrous God, the skies and the highest heavens cannot contain you, much less any building made by human hands.  Yet you dwell on this earth among us and make yourself intimately known in the places we dwell.  So it is, we ask you to bless this complex and use it for your glory through the lives of those who make it their home.

Guests:  Fill this building with your Holy Spirit.  May its walls, its furnishings, its presence in this community, declare your praise.

Leader:  As we ask your blessing upon this structure, we ask that its resources might particularly bless the life of this sister in the Lord.  May she be refreshed in the shelter of this place and that her life may be able to show forth your loving-kindness as a light upon a stand that leads others, also, to give you praise.

Guests:  Also, may all the inhabitance of this apartment complex accept the joy that comes from a place of their own; the peace to be found behind their own front door, the confidence bestowed within one’s living room, the security of one’s own bedroom–and in these gifts given, may the families of this complex always affirm your holy and eternal presence.

Leader:  May the needs to be found in this building become the framework for prayers of dependence upon you; and may you, O God, attend to every prayer uttered aloud or in secret, touching each heart with the certainty that no prayer goes unanswered.

Guests:  As people are greeted into this place may they also know what it means to be welcomed into your outstretched arms, embraced with a love that draws them ever nearer to you.  May this be a home that provides a place in which people find new commitment to one another, a sense of peace and belonging that replaces estrangement and hostility, a comforting hope that replaces grief and loss, a sacred sense of worth that erases the poverty of hopelessness.

Leader:  In everything that happens within these walls dear Master–from the refreshed hopefulness of awakening in the morning, to the holiness of shared meals and other friendly gatherings, to the solemnity of bedtime’s trusting prayers, to the interaction with staff and contract workers–may all who find themselves between the foundation and shingles of this place come to know a renewed and empowering awareness of your sheltering presence in this world.

ALTOGETHER…….

We collectively ask these blessings in the precious Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

My gathering consisted of approximately 55 guests and 2 Pastors.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and the food.  They also took a tour and admired the ambiance and decor of the facilities.  Already I have made a reputation for myself here.  The residents have labeled me as the ‘puzzle lady’ because that is where I spend most of my day…at the puzzle table.  I also have recently started a writer’s club, attend the drumba exercise class, swim in the heated pool, and frequent the fitness room from time to time.  My favorite past time is watching old movies in our private theater room.

                                                  Ddrumba class

                                           A Typical Drumba Class…What Fun!

God has blessed my latter days better than the former…whereof I am glad.  (By the way, my health and memory have improved and I am living the life of Riley!)  Thank you Lord!   Raising hand  Smiling face with halo  See no evil  Speak no evil  Hear no evil

P.S.   Feel free to use the Litany for an occasion you may have.

P.S.S.  There’s a message behind each emoji.  Just move your mouse over it.

Scripture Lesson:  The steps of good (wo)men are directed by the Lord.  He delights in each step they take.  If they fall it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with his hand.  I have been young and now I am old.  And in all my years I have never seen the Lord forsake a (wo)man who loves him; nor have I seen the children of the godly go hungry.  Instead, the godly are able to be generous with their gifts and loans to others, and their children are  a blessing.  Psalms 37:23-26 (Living Bible)

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

 

 

 

 

God Instructed Me To Reblog This…

Blog Reblog this Help pic

FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD…DEAD…DEAD   James 2:26

Hello, My Dear Readers.  Below you will see an article I am re-blogging that was submitted by Buckner International on their website.  They are a faith based organization that sponsors and financially supports various humanitarian causes and they also sponsor children orphan homes all over the world.

You will recall I identified Buckner in my last week’s blog entitled “God Empowered Me To Take A Risk For His Kingdom”, as the organization I travelled with for over ten years during my time as an international missionary.

I found this article so inspiring when I read it, that I thought you might like to also read it to see just what kind of dedicated and faithful organization this company is.  At the end of the article, the author, John Hall, offers up a prayer for us that we will…”see each other as God sees us, looking for opportunities to share his love and encourage people in faith.”

 Buckner International
eye-test.jpg
The world around us is falling apart. But the problem isn’t me. Chances are, it isn’t you, either. At least that’s what research says.According to the AEI Survey on Community and Society, 43 percent of Americans do not believe things are going well in the nation. But when we get closer to home, Americans are a bit more prideful. Seventy-three percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in their communities.The research follows the pattern of other surveys, including a survey where people overwhelmingly believed their marriages were strong while marriages everywhere else are falling apart.For me, perspective is often the hardest thing to gain in life. Small things can feel immense. Large movements in the world can go unnoticed. Many times, life simply becomes about me. What do I want? What can I get? What do I think?And that’s when I get in trouble. When life becomes about me, it’s easy to believe I have all the answers. It’s easy to judge others. It’s easy to put myself in the place of God as the one who knows best.

The saddest part about this is I don’t even realize when it’s happening. I see everything “so clearly.” All without seeing the plank in my eye.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. –Matthew 7:3-5
I pray this week, each of us see the world through God’s eyes in the wake of the resurrection. May we see each other as God sees us, looking for opportunities to share his love and encourage people in faith.

Let us see the world differently this week, so we can make it different for eternity.

Written by John Hall, associate director of public relations for Buckner International.

I actually considered the above article as a ‘divine’ confirmation to my last week’s posting about an armed Asian Guard who shadowed our mission team while we performed God’s services in Hanoi, Vietnam.  You will recall I confessed my trepidations about witnessing to him, especially since the Asian government forbid us not to apotheosize.

So, thanks be to God for His bountiful blessings on my life and yours.  For His caring acts of comfort and support towards us when we do the right thing and step out on faith…trusting Him to take care of the rest.

My conversations with God this week were prayers of thanksgiving, forgiveness, strength, power and obedience to the calling that I have received.  Be blessed because of Whose we are in Christ Jesus, my friends.

Scripture Lesson:  Dear Christian friends at Ephesus […and you guys in Cyber-land], ever loyal to the Lord:  This is Paul writing to you, chosen by God to be Jesus Christ’s messenger.  May his blessings and peace be yours, sent to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.  How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ. (Living Bible) Ephesians 1:1-3

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!     

God Empowered Me To Take A Risk For The Kingdom

Blog Hanoi Children

Beautiful Hanoi, Vietnam Children

COME, take a stroll with me down memory lane.  I want to share with you a memorable conversation I had with the Lord while on an international  7-day mission trip to Hanoi, Vietnam  in 2013.  In conclusion, God caused me to realize that Vietnam is a country whose wheels turn more slowly; patience and perseverance among travelers and visitors are the key; being flexible; and finally, understanding that time is not money…relationship building is!

The mission trip had been organized by Buckner International, a world-wide humanitarian organization that operates orphanages in many countries all over the world.  Our mission team consisted of just eight dedicated travelers on a maiden voyage to Hanoi, Vietnam to deliver some new shoes, personal, school and medical supplies to the children in an orphanage supported by Buckner.  We were also to teach English as a second language, and serendipitously instill the love of Christ to all persons we met along the way.

Reprinted below is my conversation with the Lord about an assignment given to me by our Buckner tour guide.  Realizing that the people of Hanoi, Vietnam believed in Buddhism, I was surprised when the Holy Spirit led me to deliver our group’s private morning devotions from Acts 19:10.  You see, I knew that our permanently assigned Vietnam government official (who holstered two guns and a rifle) who shadowed us everywhere we went would be in attendance.  And Buckner had been forewarned not to apotheosize while in the country.

Well, after being reassured that it was permissible for our group to hold private prayer meetings in our hotel, I further questioned the Lord as to why he wanted me to present the gospel from Acts 19, knowing that a Buddhist believer would be in attendance.  I asked the Lord why He had in a dream forbidden Paul  to preach the Word in Asia and instead to go over to Macedonia .  Was it because of Confucianism and Buddhism which had been worshiped in that region long before Jesus Christ was born.

The Holy Spirit convicted me that I was wrong in my query.  Paul would later preach throughout all of Asia (see Acts 19:19) and lay the foundation for such a time as this.  Furthermore, I had no idea what God was up to.  He actually told me, My child, this trip is not about you, but about what I am about to do for a Buddhist believer in your mist.  All you have to do is trust and obey.

Blog N. Viet Nam 5

I would personally love to hear from you guys out there.  Have you ever stepped out on faith and taken a risk for God’s Kingdom?  Please feel free to send me your comments along these lines. I will proudly and wholeheartedly print them.  Some times in our walk with the Lord He tests us just to see if we are sincere in our adoration and obedience to Him.  I learned just this week, that God never takes a situation from bad to worst.  So although I have never learned if Mr. Chong’s son was healed, I do know that God is able and that He never fails.

Our mission team’s role in all of this was to come to Vietnam and to water the seeds which God had assigned to be planted some 2000+ years ago.  Always remembering that only God gives the increase.

Scripture Lesson:  I Corinthians 3:6-9  I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.  So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

God Suffers The Little Children To Come to Him

Blog Dylan 2 Children

When my fourth grandchild was born, the Lord put it upon my heart to compose a poem about him.  Perhaps it was because in His eyes the child was special.  And also perhaps in the child’s  short existence of only five months, he was the most inquisitive baby I had ever seen.

Little Dylan was so strong for a new born.  And seemingly, so ‘all-knowing’.  His dad would place Dylan on his lap, hold out two fingers and Dylan would grab hold of each finger and lift himself up off his dad’s lap and perform exercises like doing a reverse pushup.  In amazement, the family described this action as ‘baby-ups’.  It was unbelievable the strength this kid had.

Well, as I said, when Dylan was only five months old, the Lord allowed me to search the child’s heart and soul and to imagine just what the boy might be thinking as he gazed into the eyes of the many family members, friends and total strangers that would visit him from time to time.

In the voice of Dylan, I wrote the following poem entitled…

                         Little Dylan James Cross(*)

Oh, no!  More new faces and groping hands.  They pull and stretch me as though I was a rubber band.  Why do they think they have to pinch my cheeks.  And doesn’t anyone use Listerine or brush their teeth.

Mom, Dad, give a five-month old a break.  We just went through this last week and my body still aches.  Oh, no! Not the little guy.  Don’t give me to him again.  On the first go round, he tickled me dead under my chin.

Stop playing the piano on my stomach, you ole bat.  Yes you, in that stupid looking hat.  Who are you anyway, with your lips all poked out.  I guess you want to plant a kiss on me, right on my mouth.

I heard somebody say, “These are your cousins, and here is Auntie Pat.  Give Grandmother Punkin’ Dunkin’ a big smile and hug Uncle Jason around the neck.”  The response was, “Isn’t he cute.  He looks like Granddaddy Bill.  I sure wish he was alive to see his grandson.  He would be thrilled.”

How long did they say these people would be in town.  And why do I feel like everybody is having a grand ole time.  For some reason most of these people all look alike.  And my dog, Boomer, after sniffing them, did not take one bite.

Well just maybe this bunch of folks really are special.  After all they did travel a long way just to see me.  They brought me lots and lots of gifts and things to help celebrate my February 15th Christening.

Did I hear Mommy call out, ‘Mommy’?  Is she addressing that old lady by that name.  Oops, here they come in my direction.  It seems like lots of names in this room are the same.

Now Larry, Joanie and me, Dylan James we are called Cross’s.  But the visitors in this house are acting like they are the bosses.  They are chasing my dog and scaring our little cat.  And eating everything in sight except my formulae, what’s with that.

But the truth is, the more they hang around and play with me, the more I’m beginning to like them;  so I’ll smile when they say ‘cheese’.  Especially the old one who has the two nice cushions.  I guess she is the pillow for everybody to relax on.

At first I was wondering if I would like where God had placed me.  With a daddy and mommy and a doggie and a kitty.  Now I know I am satisfied thanks to all these extra folks…Uncles and aunts and cousins and grandpas and little old ladies they call grannies. 

(*) NOTE:  Not the family’s real names.                                                                                                                        ♥  ♥ ♥ ♥

At this writing, Dylan has grown into a fine and loving young teenager.  Thanks be to God and to his parents, he is a good student, well mannered and respectful to his elders.  In my conversations with God about my five grandchildren, my prayer is that they will always look to the hills from which cometh their help.  And that they will always live, breath and teach the commandments of God to their future families and to every one they come in contact with.  May God continue to bless all of them richly, as well as you and your families, too.

AFamilyThatPraysTogether              A Family that prays together stays together.                                   

Scripture Lesson:   “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

God Suffers Rejection But Rewards Acceptance

Pic Mt. Calvary B

My Former Baptist Church Edifice

Some years ago, while a member at a Baptist Church in Maryland, I was designated as their ‘roving reporter’ whose assignment was to contribute informative articles about our members and supply entertaining trivia, etc., word games like crossword puzzles, cryptograms, children riddles, etc., for our monthly church newsletter.

I took my job very seriously and throughout each month I would interview certain members that had been on mission trips, retreats, conferences, and special speaking engagements.  I would also love to corner the Sunday School teachers that taught the young children and pry juicy information from them because as you know, kids say the darnedest things.

So, for this week’s blog I would like to share with you a true serious story about one of our members who had a real-life encounter with the Lord one evening while participating at a men’s weekend retreat.  I’ll call this man, John Smith (not his real name) and casually mention that he admitted he was a reluctant participant at this meeting.  In other words, at the time of his experience, John was initially a member of our church in name only, but after his ‘rude awakening experience’ he recommitted his life fully ‘sold-out’ for the Lord.

Following is John’s interview with me in 2003 which I entitled…….

“A Spiritual Encounter, Re-visited”

Blog God Suffers Rejection but Rewards Acceptance picOn July 28, 2003, I drove up to the Smith’s house and found all three of them, Annie, Big John and Little John Smith in the driveway cleaning out a huge black van, readying it for return to the car rental office.  Little John had just moved his belongings out of the dorm of his alma mater (Morehouse College-Atlanta).  He was returning back to Maryland  from the trip and was unloading all his stuff into his parents’ garage.   Actually Annie was the only one inside the now-emptied van, sweeping it out.  Big John was on the outside inspecting the fresh dents and chipped paint and musing out loud if the rental company was going to charge him.  As I approached, and was warmly welcomed, I could tell this was a happy residence filled with loving and endearing memories of the goodness of the Lord.

The Smith’s were expecting me because for about two weeks I had been trying to interview Big John for this month’s article.  Indirectly, it has a whole lot to do with Annie because she’s the cause of it all.  Before I go any further, I want to tell you that both John and Annie are long-time members of the Deacon and Deaconess Boards of our church.  Their son, Little John was also a member of the Jr. Deacons until he left for college four years ago.  The entire family aide and assist each other in their Christian walk and have been instrumental in the furtherance of spiritual growth for many others, as well.

While comfortably situated inside their house, John and I began our interview at the dining room table.  After a short prayer, I asked John to begin narrating just how his initial spiritual encounter with the Lord took place and what keeps this experience burning alive within his heart, low these many years.

It’s Annie’s fault, John said.  If it had not been for her, I would still be playing church.  It was the fall of 1985 and the men of our church were getting ready for their retreat to Harper’s Ferry, Va.  I was attending the church, but not yet a member.  Sam C. asked my wife if I was going on the retreat.  She said no.  Sam kept asking and finally, Annie said to add my name on the list.  Annie paid the fees and told me I was going.  I realized that there was something special about this retreat while traveling to the destination.  As the Lord would have it, our drive became very hazardous.  Several vehicles were snowbound along the roadway, but our twelve-passenger van made it without any trouble.  Just a lot of white knuckles and frayed nerves by the time we arrived.

“That evening the opening message was delivered by our former Pastor.  After his sermon he asked if anyone wanted to be ‘saved’.  Now I had received numerous blessings from the Lord and was feeling pretty good about my status with Him, but was desirous of a more intimate relationship with Him.  Upon hearing that invitation from the Pastor, ‘Something’ made me go forward.  All the men, about twelve including the Pastor, laid hands on me and prayed and asked that I might repent and be saved.  To be honest, afterwards, I didn’t feel any different, but everybody else was excited and rejoicing.

“Later that night, in my room, I decided to read my Bible.  My roommate was asleep and all was quiet.  Suddenly, without warning, a grayish cloud appeared in the room and was definitely moving towards me.  It was transparent, but I could not escape it.  All emotions of fear were fleeting.  Softly, the cloud came to rest upon me.  I could feel myself changing.  I felt differently.  At that precise moment I had a sense of realization that everything was True.  As quickly as the cloud came, it vanished.

“I could not wait to tell of this experience to others the next morning at breakfast.  My countenance had changed but I must have looked like a crazy man while reliving that moment.  Most of the men wanted to know if my roommate had seen it, too.  All I can say is that that mysterious rendezvous with Jesus changed my life!  Even now, as we speak, my sister, I could shout!  God opened my eyes and I saw my shortcomings.”

I drove back to my house after our meeting rejoicing.  Thankful to God for our members at our church and praying that John’s message will inspire others to seek a closer walk with our Savior.

Blog God suffers rejection but Rewards Acceptance pic feet

John later told me that the second night of the retreat he positioned the chair in his room at the same place it was the night before and sat down in it with his Bible.  He watched and prayed all night for the ‘Cloud’ to return…but it didn’t come.  So his only alternative is to wait for his change to come…that is, when he goes to meet Jesus.  Amen  (At this writing, some 16 years later, John’s wife, Annie has already  met her Savior.)

Scripture Lessons:  “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Hebrews 11:6

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will become a rewarder of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

 http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!