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!   

 

God Simply Ignores Frivolous Questions

Blog - God Ignores Simple Questions

Once again, while I was browsing through my journals to retrieve and share with my readers a revealing conversation I had recorded between me and the Lord, I was pleasantly surprised to find an article I had written on June 27, 1983.  That year I was a young lady in her forties.  I felt a moderate ping in my spirit as I reread and reexamined my heart-felt emotions that were heavy on my mind during that time, so many years ago.

My recollection was how troubled I was when writing those words.   Prayerfully, I had been begging God to mend the rift that was between me and a very close family member concerning the Biblical message of God’s word regarding his relationship with his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the historical debates of the Triune God..

I remembered that because this family member was in denial of this Trinitarian God and was more agitated than I, more boisterous than I, more demonstrative than I and on top of everything else, used profanity to express himself, I didn’t have a chance (in Hell) to either get a word in edgewise or to gain his respect.  Plus, I was immature in the process of defending the faith and in the expressed knowledge that only God gives the increase…not an over zealous sibling or the intellectual arguments of men.

Blog - God Ignores Fibrolous Questions.jpg

At that time of the confrontation with that family member, I recalled fleeing out of the room, running upstairs in ‘defeat’ and falling on my knees in my bedroom.  I sobbed and sobbed and yelled at God and asked him why he had not helped me ‘score’ at least one point against the infidel’s argument.  I so wanted this relative to receive God’s grace, to repent and to be blessed.

NO WONDER HEAVEN WAS SILENT.  MY APPROACH WAS WRONG.

Acts 19:16  “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”

 (And, without a doubt, I felt naked and wounded!)

I used the above phrase ‘pleasantly surprised’ only because now, I KNOW BETTER than to engage someone in that kind of persuasive argument.  And over the years, I have prayed and asked the Lord to forgive me for my short comings and prideful ways in the service of the Lord.  It has taken approximately 40+ more years for me to to learn how just a little bit of ‘humility’ helps to make disappointments go away real fast.

 IN GOD’S OWN TIME HE ANSWERED ME FROM EPHESIANS CHAPTER 4

And God said to me, His Prisoner…               And God said to Paul, His Prisoner…
Even though you disagree, disagree in love.

Don’t allow your thoughts and actions to divide the Spirit.  For the Spirit is one and the Spirit is Peace.

So, if you go away “Mad” the Lord was not at all in your conversation.

1.     Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.

2.     With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3.     Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Even as ye are called in one hope of your calling…

Even though we are called, not all answer.  But as we are all called, God hopes that we all will answer.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, established for us all, but again, we all don’t accept.

If we but receive we can all have the total package.

4.      There is one body, and one Spirit even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

5.     One Lord, One faith, One baptism.

6.     One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

But now “grace” is something different.  You can’t have grace unless you accept, believe in Christ and along with grace comes a gift.  In other words, you receive a two-fold package.

Christ is the keeper of all gifts and when He gives freely and we receive it and some of us ask, “What have I to do with this?”  “What have I done to receive a gift?”

And Christ answered, When I went up on high I lead the Prisoners of the Lord (the Captives) (those persons who believe in the “one faith, one baptism, one Lord, etc.) and I freely gave them a gift once we got there.

All the gifts Christ gave out were vocations.  In other words, the gifts called for interacting with others.  “Sharing the ‘One’s’ or sharing the ‘Good News’”.

7.     But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

8.     Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

9.     (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10.   He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heaven, that he might fill all things.)

11.   And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers;

Then He tells what the results should be once the gift is shared.  Perfecting saints, furthering the ministry work, glorifying the Body of Christ.

Don’t forget the sharing of the gifts is to be done in peace, so that the recipient receives in peace and leaves in peace.

They don’t have to agree, but if they do disagree, then disagree in love.

12.   For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Suppose every profession decided to share at the same time in the world so that every human being was receiving from someone the teaching of the “one” faith, baptism, etc., and we all heard and received and even though some disagreed, the end result was peaceful and respectful…WHAT A BLESSING THAT WOULD BE!!!

Then verse 13 would be manifested and in that one hour of sharing, because of the “perfect” end results we would no longer be children, but on our way to mature adults…unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Showing no hate because there was no angry disagreement, but a sense of respect and love for one another…and the more we perfect this attitude, the more Godlike we become and God is the Head of all this.

13.   Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

14.   That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15.   But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things which is the head, even Christ.

If you haven’t followed me down to verse 15, don’t even try verse 16…forget it.

If your relative has been sitting there doubting, countering, repeating to himself…”she doesn’t know what she is talking about.”  Then the “oneness” is not in him and he has blocked this one great hour of sharing.

If his attitude had been “I don’t quite understand so I’m going to go to God for myself…then that’s O.K., everything is golden.

So now we can enter into Verse 16.  (This goes for you as well, My child…and what followers is a hard pill to swallow.)

If any part of your body is not working, then the Head sends out less supplies for it.  When the body begins to work, the Head supplies its needs.  Christians believe that all of this “order” comes from the Godhead.  God’s knowledge (free gift) is given/offered (gracefully) to everyone.

16.  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
An Infidel does not believe in God, but his own might.  So even though God has given him a measure of grace (because the Word says he has given it to everybody), the Infidel is blind (or living in darkness) and thus ignorant.  Because if he was in the “know”, he would be “in God” because knowledge comes from God. 17.   This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.

18.    Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.

 

Now you Ephesians (us) are just like everybody else.  You’ve received your gift, through grace, but you are greedy…not sharing in a godly manner.  You act like you don’t even know where the gift came from and I’ve told you all about Christ.

So, it’s about time you forget what you knew before Christ came into your life (the world’s view on how to win friends and influence people) and be renewed with the Godhead knowledge about the flowing of the Spirit, in your mind.

And that you become one in the Spirit, etc., and let God account it unto you as righteousness.

19.   Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20.   But ye have not so learned Christ;

21.   If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22.   That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23.   And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

24.   And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Thank you so much Lord for my lesson.  May I soon have an opportunity to do as the Word says and share it with another in your likeness.  Amen and Amen. Verses 25 through 32 instructs you on how to live in the Spirit of God.

Please read those last twelve verses for yourself.  Yes, read them and weep as I did.

Blog - God Ignores Senseless Questions

We each have had our say.  And although we may have disagreed on some subjects, we disagreed in love.  And that’s what counts.  RIGHT?  “God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16b

Scripture Lesson:  “Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Galatians 6:7-10 NIV

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

 

 

God Provides Instructions On How To Build A Healthy Spiritual Life Support System – Part 3

Jason's Lake Pic

Jay’s View of Worship and Thanksgiving

Good morning, my dear readers.  You know, one thing that was heavy on my heart was the fact that my two grown children were not attending church services as regularly as they had been required to do when they were kids.  Both children are married now and have their own families and life-problems, but I was still expecting them to connect with a corporate body of church folks.  But this morning, the Lord ‘rung me up’ and shared an endearing message with me from the heart and mouth of my son, Jay.

Here’s how it all began.  I prepared a cup of coffee, went into my office, sat down at my computer and began to compose Part 3 of my blog for this week on the Discipline of Worship.  I had just finished praying a short prayer and had asked the Holy Spirit for His guidance when suddenly the phone rang.  It was Jay.  Now Jay is a retired executive from the corporate world who had just moved his family to a beautiful lake front property in North Carolina.  And he wanted to call his mother and share with her the serenity of the majestic scene he was now privileged to view from his bedroom window.

I was awe-struck by the picture Jay was describing to me and the excitement that was in his voice.  Mom, I can see for miles and miles up the river; all kinds of birds are swooping down over the waters; blue jays, blue birds, red birds, yellow birds and eagles.  I can see the white feathers on their heads.  And my little furry neighbors; the squirrels and rabbits and chipmunks running around.  Mom, sometimes in the early morning there’s a lite mist hovering above the lake.  Mom, you’ve got to see this.  Everything is just so beautiful.

And with that introduction from Jay, it led us into an in depth conversation about God and his magnificent creation and His goodness He has allowed our families to share.  After a time of giving Him all the praise, honor and glory we were both shedding tears of joy and thanksgiving.  When I hung up the phone, I remained still and I heard the Lord say in a wee small voice, My child…NOW THAT’S WORSHIP!

The Discipline of Worship

To have a complete understanding of the Discipline of Worship means you must be able to define worship.  What is worship?  Worship is the human response to divine overtures and initiatives of love which come forth from the heart and dispensation of the Father.  Consequently, true worship can come forth only after the Spirit of God touches the spirit of man.  John 4:23, 24 – “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

All corporate preliminaries that go forth to comprise a worship service such as the liturgy, singing of songs, scripture readings, prayers, announcements, etc., are just that:  preliminaries.  The component to remember for your spiritual life support system is that worship does not take place until the Spirit (God) touches the spirit (human beings).  And the “touch” can come in places other than the sanctuary.  (Just ask Jay.)

During the Discipline of Worship it allows our spirit to see God high and lifted up, to see His marvelous acts and how abundantly His grace abounds.  One can do nothing short of praise.  The Discipline of Worship also helps us put our priorities in order.  Worship comes before service.  So stop running around answering the call to service at the exclusion of ministering to the Lord.  Mark 12:30, 31 – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”…and your neighbor as yourself.”  And if I might add:  in that order!

Cornerstone church service

Corporate Church Services

When we gather in our sanctuaries for worship, we go forth in anticipation and great expectation that God will meet us there.  We remember what we read in the History Books of the Bible.  How God appeared in mysterious lightings, how foundations and walls shook, how people were slain in the spirit and just plain slain and how birds became your GPS system.  Yes, we do come to a physical place in order to worship.  But now we have learned how to go inside ourselves where it is quiet and still and we can listen for our Master Teacher’s voice.

You will recall in Part 2, at the time when we discussed the Discipline of Solitude we identified moments in your life when you thought God had left you.  “The dark night of the soul.”  It is during those times you are to initiate acute listening skills.  Well, if God is expected to meet you at the traffic light, or while standing in line at the store, or while sipping your morning cup of coffee, surely He will meet you in corporate worship services at your church.  So why not go into worship with great expectations?  Just look what is at work here.  Positive thinking, constantly engaged in holy communication, the ability to recognize the Presence of God and unspeakable joy when it all comes together in worship.  It’s the epitome of Galatians 2:20…”I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Here is an example of what I mean.  If only a minority of worshipers come into a public worship service with divine expectations they can supernaturally change the entire assemble.  Those who are troubled and contrite are quickly drawn into a sense of the silent Presence of God.  I personally have experienced and testified to God’s grace in this way: Often while the preacher is delivering his or her sermon and I receive a revelation identifying additional scriptures that will also align itself with the words of the preacher, I’ll pray that those words of God will also come forth…and sure enough, the preacher does deliver them!  Another example is when one Sunday morning, just as the Pastor stood up to began preaching a baby started to cry.  I immediately went into my quiet place and talked to God about it.  The baby stopped crying instantly!  Often similar distractions can interrupt the services, but did you know that you have the power through the Name of Jesus Christ, to marginalize or to suppress them, while at the same time continuing to worship God.

(I’m reminded of a non-biblical expression:  “God Works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.”)

Yes, the Discipline of Worship takes work.  But the Lord pours out blessings from the top of your head down to the hem of your garment.  DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ENGAGE HIM!

In closing this blog, I want to challenge you to always look for and expect Jesus Christ in your worship services. If you are at mid week prayer service, listen for Him in the testimonies of others.  If you are at an all night prayer vigil, expect to hear a prophetic word.  If you are at a healing service, expect a miracle.  If Jesus Christ is truly the leader during your worshiping experience you will see and hear all types of people offering up praise and worship.  There should not be any big “I’s” and little “You’s”.  And this is a quote:  “Christ selects the human instrument He wants to play” in His sanctuary.

So, never humanly initiate spiritual activity in an attempt to aide the Holy Spirit.  Let all of your expressions of praise be divinely prompted.  Even if you don’t have a personal testimony, you can always praise the Lord with your body.  You can raise holy hands, kneel, clap, sway, be in agreement by saying “Amen” or “Praise the Lord”.  Yes, your Godly emotions need to be brought into your act of worship.  Not just your mind and spirit.  A quick vocabulary lesson teaches us that the Hebrew word translated “worship” is “to prostrate”.  The Hebrew word “bless” literally means “to kneel”.  And the Hebrew word for “Thanksgiving” refers to “an extension of the hand.”  So there!

Blog - Church choir singing pic Blog - kneeling in prayer pic Blog - Hand clapping pic adult-audience-colors-2019331

  By Singing         By Kneeling       By Clapping        By Raising Hands

The point is, without a doubt, we are to offer our body parts as well as all the rest of our being as we worship the King during the Discipline of Study, The Discipline of Solitude and the Discipline of Worship.  Amen

TO REVIEW PART  2 OF THE DISCIPLINES,  CLICK ON THE RIGHT, MARCH 2019 AND SCROLL DOWN.    TO REVIEW PART 1 OF THE DISCIPLINES, CLICK ON THE RIGHT, SEPTEMBER 2018 AND SCROLL DOWN.

Scripture Lesson:  “Where two or three are gathered in My Name there am I in the midst of them.”  Matthews 18:20

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

God’s Name Was “Houston”

Blog God's Name Was Houston morning pic

This morning I woke up with Jesus on my mind.  This happens quit often, but on this particular Monday morning, seemingly a centrifugal force was guiding me.   While still in my PJs, I went into my office/den, sat down at my desk and began to leaf through a stack of magazines.  Now, so far, I really wasn’t looking for a topic for my weekly blog post because I had already decided to share Part 3 of last week’s blog with my audience.  That blog was about building a spiritual life support system.  Part 1 was the Discipline of Study and Part 2 was the Discipline of Solitude.  Part 3 will be about The Discipline of Worship.

BUT GOD HAD ANOTHER ASSIGNMENT FOR ME!

Suddenly, my attention was drawn to the December 2018 issue of the AARP Bulletin news magazine/paper.  I began to leaf through its pages and was reminded just how much I have always enjoyed its content about senior living, senior legislation, senior commerce and senior places for travel, and senior health issues.

But imagine my surprise to read about a Q&A interview AARP had conducted with former Astronaut James Lovell on page 32.  The content of this interview was commemorating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission and the first to orbit the moon.  What grabbed my attention was the reference Astronaut Lovell (now 90 years old) made about how his philosophy had changed while orbiting the earth.  For some reason, God had me to read that paragraph over and over again.

Blog God's Name is Houston pic

There’s an old saying, “I hope to go to heaven when I die.”  Suddenly, it dawned on me that we went to heaven when we were born!  We arrived on a planet that had the right amount of mass to have the gravity to contain water and an atmosphere, just at the proper distance from a star.  It appeared to me that God had given mankind sort of  a stage to perform on.  I guess how that play will turn out is up to us.”

The above is a direct quote and picture from the article.  BUT God whispered in my ear and gave me a direct “eye-opener” from Heaven.  God said in conversation to me; My child, do you know why that mission trip was a success and returned to earth safely, in spite of a near catastrophe, when one oxygen tank was empty and another was leaking profusely?  I responded by saying…Say on, Lord!  It was because of Astronauts Lovell,   Jack Swigert and Fred Haise’s “May Day” message to their command post…”Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

Little did they realize that because of Jim’s highly insightful, informal and innamorate prayer of recognition towards Me, and his eye opening comparison of my gift of an ‘earthly stage’ for humanity to an eternal future heavenly ‘Place’, caused all of My heavenly Angels to shout Hallelujah to the King of Glory.  It took Me to this very day to calm them down and to tell them to get back to the business of protecting and guiding My people.

Yes, and as you know…”HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT A PROBLEM” has become an iconic quote because just as the article said, ‘it fits into millions of situations people experience every day’.  Always remember My Beloveds, when one of My ‘disciples‘ gets that excited (as Jim Lovell did) while admiring My Creation, he or she can call Me by any Name…I’ll even answer to the Name of HOUSTON and I will sure-nuf respond to their call.

Ultra High Definition 4K View of Planet Earth NASA

Meditate on Jesus [Let Us] while viewing this 1:38 minute video.  Just Click and converse with Him.

One final note…many, many, many years ago I referred to God as “Mr. Character”.  I blogged about that conversation and encourage you to expand your recognition of Who God Is.  Approach the Throne of Grace with humility and steadfast love for Him.  Check out http://www.tgifmasterminds.wordpress.com/Mr.Character

Scripture LessonIn the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.  Genesis 1:1-2

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.  Psalm 8:9

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

 

God Provides Instructions On How To Build A Healthy Spiritual Life Support System – Part 2

In September 2018, I posted a blog entitled “God Provides Instructions On How To Build A Healthy Spiritual Life Support System”.  The first component dealt within that post was the discipline of study.  If you would like to refresh your memory concerning that conversation I had with God, please select “September 2018” to the right of this page and scroll through those weekly blogs until you see the title listed above.  Basically, a quick review will help you better connect with this week’s blog.

Now, in this week’s blog, I would like to continue sharing about how to build a healthy spiritual life support system by once again revisiting my conversation with the Great Physician, who has never lost a case, for our Part 2 spiritual checkup.

Blog God Provides Instructions Part 2

So, let’s leave the office of “Dr. Discipline of Study” and go down the hall to the office of “Dr. Discipline of Solitude.”

The doctor takes our pulse and heart rate and immediately turns as white as a sheet.  He instantly realizes that we are all deficient in the component of Solitude.  He starts his examination with probing questions.  “How often does Jesus stop by your house to prepare a table before you?”  Followed by, “How frequently does He anoint your head with oil?”  (Psalm 23)  Surely, when recalling events of this magnitude you did not trust your memory.  You did write down the dates in your calendar, didn’t you?”

The very absence of the ability to regularly recognize an encounter with Jesus Christ is an indictment that we don’t understand the power of perfecting the Discipline of Solitude.  It goes without saying, as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, or putting it another way, as we go through life during distressing times and we can’t recognize the chastising presence of our Lord and Savior, we will surely fear evil.  Tell me, who among us does not have problems from time to time in this area?

NOW, AS A BLACK BAPTIST PREACHER WOULD SAY IN A LYRICAL MONOTONE: 

Winston Porter Large Musical Notes Wall Decor Image 1 of 1“LET ME-Ah–TAKE YOU-Ah–A LITTLE BIT-Ah–HIGHER.” 

Usually a Christian’s first conversion to walking by faith is tied to the first component: The Discipline of Study.  With that discipline we learned how necessary it is for new and seasoned believers to stay connected with God’s Word, the Holy Bible, while building up their spiritual houses based upon the following scripture in 2nd Tim. 3:16-17:  “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  These verses basically deal with the outer man.

After thoroughly understanding the first conversion/component, you are now ready for the second conversion/component:  The Discipline of Solitude.  This discipline is based on the second most memorized Scripture by Christians which is found in Mark 12:29-31:  “And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel:  The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:  this is the first commandment and the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these.”  These verses basically deal with the inner man.

So, to completely understand the Discipline of Solitude, let’s look at its meaning.  Solitude means being alone, without companions in a remote place from society.  “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he (Jesus) went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35

Blog God Provides Instructions Man praying Pic 2

Be still and know that I am God!

It is extremely necessary for the believer to include The Discipline of Solitude in their quest towards building a healthy spiritual life support system because this is an opportunity for God to perform a cleansing act in your life.  This is God’s time to eradicate ‘self-love’ from your soul.

THE TRUE STATE OF THE DISCIPLINE OF SOLITUDE REQUIRES THAT IT BE INITIATED BY GOD AND THAT YOU COME INTO IT “EMPTY” AND FREE.

In my conversation with God, He made it quite clear for me that there is a distinct difference between quiet time, meditation time and solitude time.

Quiet time with the Lord often includes verbal as well as non-verbal communications:  audible prayers, devotional readings, singing of hymns, rehearsing of events of the day, etc.  To meditate means to engage in deep thought before prayer.  You are more focused on the attributes of God.  Your brain is highly activated.  Your emotions are heightened.  You may even design a special place in your home and position your body in a certain posture when meditating.  The common thread that binds quiet time with meditation is that you initiated the act.

There was an incident in the Apostle Peter’s life when he recognized the need for perfecting the Discipline of Solitude. He needed to get away to a quiet place far from society and companions.  Peter needed his deficiencies pointed out by God.

Peter experienced a rude awakening that what the Lord had prophesied over him had come true.  Peter had denied Him thrice before the cock crowed.  The realization was that because of Peter’s mind-set for ‘self-preservation’ or ‘self-love’ he had chosen not to stand on the first and second commands of Jesus’ words recorded in Mark 12:29-31.  And thus, Peter needed the holy chastising of the Lord. (In this case, just an accusing glance.)  Peter had to get away and to be alone with God to allow God to cleanse him of a virtue that all of us believers have…professing God, but only up to the point of ‘self-preservation’ or ‘self-love’.  Peter’s redeeming proclamation was he had to affirm Jesus thrice.  (You’ve heard that old adage…self-preservation is the first law of nature…..but it is not the first law of God!)

When God calls you to solitude, He puts breaks on every other activity in your life.  This includes your relationship with Him.  Even your spiritual growth is temporarily placed on hold.  God wants to come in and sup with you.  These periods are described as “the dark night of the soul.”  These periods usually happen after you have been to the mountain top.  [One of my pastors used to say, you have been to the mountain, now come back down to the valley.]  The purpose of the darkness is not to punish or afflict us.  It is to set us free.  But when this dark period of “rebirth” tries to take its rightful place in the inner man, the outer man tries to kill it. (See Psalm 32.)  Just remember that Jesus Christ has already conquered death, hell and the grave.

Finally, I want you to remember that the fruit of solitude is this:  increased awareness of your surroundings; increased sensitivity for others; increased compassion for all living things; increased appreciation for keeping your mouth shut; and increased respect for those times when you find yourself alone.

No more fear.  You are silently waiting on God Almighty while enjoying the spiritual maturity growth that is taking place within you.  God is building you up through the power and gospel of Jesus Christ for the sake of the brethren, while at the same time washing away self-love,  in order that you might love others for who they are and not for what they say.

The Lord closed our conversation with this question:  Are you ready to lay down your life for a friend even if “friend” not only includes your neighbor BUT me-myself-and I, too?

Scripture Lesson:  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins (including self-love) and blot out my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Amen  Psalms 51:7-10

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