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Posts Tagged ‘Gospels’

Are there any wordpress bloggers out there that attended this years Summit; either from Willow Creek or from one of the many satelite locations around the world. This was my first year. My son and I went.

There’s a lot to process, but the Lord has me thinking about the man, the message, the faith of Stephen Furtick, and a comment that was made about him by one of the other speakers. If you heard Furtick’s message, you know about digging trenches.

The other speaker who commented had been digging trenches for 35 years to alleviate hunger around the world. His comment about Furtick was the assurance that his (Furtick’s) generation, because of their great faith in God to do the impossible, would eradicate it.

When I started my latest series, A Journey of Faith, I didn’t have it all laid out. It is litterally a journey. As I learn, I write. As the Lord shows me things I wrestle them out and then I write.

Is it possible that while we want to see miracles, God is wanting to see the hungry fed? Has God just brought me to a major intersection in my journey, giving me the opportunity to get on the same road He is on? I would expect that I’ll be wrestling this out over the next little while.

Anyway, GLS attendees, if your out there I would especially like to hear from you. But also to any, if this strikes a chord with you, I would like to know your thoughts.

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The streets He walked were made of gold;
stepped down to dirt and stone.
That we might one day be with Him,
left angels round the throne.

The light of heaven came to us
with truth to light our way.
To any who believed in Him,
with Him they’d ever stay.

With Him to walk the streets of gold,
forever in His light;
then we the ones around His throne,
then we our God in sight.

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Chances are you’ve built a campfire or two.  You start with small stuff to get it going and then add more and bigger pieces of wood.  Before long you can have a pretty good fire.  In the course of an evening, you might add wood several times to keep a good fire.  As long as you add, it will stay blazing.

Have you ever noticed by morning, when the fire is gone, that if you stir around in the ashes there are usually enough coals left to get another fire going?  Add a few sticks, then a few pieces of wood and before you know it, you’ve got a good morning campfire.

Has there ever been a time in your life when all that was left of your believing was a few smoldering coals buried beneath the ashes of a fire that once burned hot for God?  Has your ‘believing God’ died down to a ‘believing in God’?

I read recently that there are certain times in people’s lives that they are more mindful of God than normal.  I don’t remember the entire list, but the birth of a child was there; a tragic event like 9/11 was pretty high on the list.  But #1 was the Christmas season.

When I first had the thought of writing this, I thought of it from the perspective of what we can do – need to do – to get our fires burning for God again.  But I thought when I saw these statistics that it is not just all on us.  God Himself comes to stir.  He uses these times to stir around in the ashes that are left of our believing.  He exposes the embers – fans them – hoping to rekindle our fire.

My prayer this morning, as it is now in the heart of the Christmas season, is that while there is this stirring, some would be compelled to keep a fire.  To do so, one must simply add wood on a regular basis.  It is really just that simple.  The word of God is our wood.  It is like a consuming fire.  Add enough and you will burn for God.

 

 

 

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Because God was with Him, Jesus “went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil”. Those were Peter’s words to Cornelius as recorded by Luke. I like that phrase – ‘because God was with Him’.

There were many who believed otherwise. In fact, they believed the opposite so strongly that they had Him crucified. In spite of all they saw Him do while He was alive, they still did not believe that God was with Him.

And that became the first part of the message of the early church. They kept the fact that God was with Him before the people. ‘You killed Him’ they would say, ‘but God has raised Him from the dead’; just a little more proof – a little more confirmation – that God was in deed with Him.

Is there anything better that could be said of anyone? At the end of our lives, will it matter what we have accomplished if it cannot be said that God was with us? And if that can be said, will anything else really matter? If that can be said, there will be a trail, not of all we have acquired, but of all we have helped.

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The Promise

In Acts chapter 2, Luke writes in regard to Jesus: “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father, the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear”. And then, “the promise is for you”. I wondered about myself. Have I received the fulfillment of that promise? Sometimes I feel a little short of it.

I thought of Abraham, Joseph and David. They each received a promise. They had to wait years for its fulfillment. Is this promise something I have to wait years for? The disciples didn’t. They were told to go to Jerusalem and wait, and in just a few days they received what was promised. But with me, after years, I feel I am still seeking—still waiting. It’s not that my life has not changed – it has. But the undeniable transformation that took place with the disciples here in this 2nd chapter of Acts – the power, the boldness, the wonders – are not as pronounced in my life.

This piece is about that, and what I feel the Lord has showed me as I have wrestled it out with Him. I think He likes it when we do that. It gives Him an opportunity to show us things He wants us to see. I think He is disappointed when we have a question and figure there is no good answer for it. Rather than taking the time to work it out with Him, we just cling to a previous misconception and move on. It robs Him of the opportunity to show us cool and life changing stuff.

For some reason I kept thinking of Moses. I’ve always thought he waited 40 years for something previously promised to him. Actually he wasn’t waiting; he was just living out his life. Delivering Israel wasn’t even on his radar. The burning bush incident was the first he had heard of it. It was there that he was first given his promise. And in just a few days . . . he was right in the middle of it.

So . . . Abraham, Joseph and David received a promise and had to wait on its fulfillment. Moses and the disciples received a promise and relatively speaking, didn’t have to wait. There is something there. What is it?

Each was given a promise. Each chose to believe it. Each was tested. Each received the fulfillment. Said a little differently, each was given a promise that they chose to believe. Each faced opposition that tested their belief. Their belief stayed in tack, in spite of opposition, and each received the fulfillment.

Abraham believed his promise through 25 years of waiting. His promise was buried in old age. Joseph believed his promise through 13 years of waiting. His promise was locked up in prison. David also believed his promise through 13 years of waiting. His promise was tracked down and attacked relentlessly by Saul. Moses believed his promise and immediately faced opposition as Pharaoh stiffened. Even in the middle of his receiving the fulfillment – as they were actually leaving Egypt – their enemy pursued and tried to steal the promise.

The disciples faced similar opposition. They were promised abundant life. Heaven’s Spirit – Heaven’s nature would actually fill them. They would be empowered to become witnesses to what Jesus accomplished and what it meant to all. They received fulfillment immediately, but the opposition was great. In the face of beatings, imprisonment, being run out of town, spoken evil of and shipwrecked, their belief stayed tack. It would have been easy for them to question whether they had actually been given abundant life. But as they were able to sing in prison, I think it suggests they believed they had.

So it is with us. We, who have been forgiven, have received the promised Holy Spirit. We have received Heaven’s Spirit. Heaven’s nature is born into us. We are given the promise immediately and immediately the testing begins. In the face of much opposition our faith is being tested. The question is: can we keep our belief in tack in the face of this testing?

When we face hardships, can our belief that we have received the promise remain in tack? When there is a shortage of evidence of our new nature, can our belief remain in tack? When our enemy pursues and tries to convince us that we have not received the new nature – when he tries to steal the promise after we have received it – can our belief remain in tack?

With Abraham, Joseph, David, Moses and the disciples, they first received a promise.
Their belief in the promise was tested. Their belief in the One who promised was tested. Against all kinds of opposition (time, facts that suggest the opposite of the promise, enemy theft and deceitful scheming), their belief remained in tack. It was no easy road.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we receive immediately the promised Holy Spirit. It is the seed of heaven’s nature. And like any other seed, it must be fed, watered and cared for. Accepting Christ gets us into Heaven; watering and caring for the seed of our new nature gets Heaven into us.

Paul puts it this way: ‘We reap what we sow. Sow to the flesh and reap corruption. Sow to the spirit and reap life. Jesus, knowing we would need water for this new seed to grow extends an invitation to us to come and drink. In John 7:37 He says, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”. Sipping is not enough; we must come and drink and come and drink often.

As we come regularly to drink from His word, we receive the nutrients we need for growth. We are strengthened against all forms of opposition. Our new nature, though it may struggle with the old at times, will eventually dominate. If we do not come regularly to drink – if we just sip now and then – the old will dominate the new.

So to answer my original question, have I received the fulfillment of this promise? Is it something I have to wait years for? In a way, the answer is yes to both. I have received the promised Holy Spirit. It was deposited in me, the seed of Heaven’s nature, when I accepted Christ. To the extent that I water and care for it, is the extent to which the seed of that new nature will grow. No plant bursts out of its shell into a mature plant; there is a growing period – the waiting aspect.

Our growth and waiting may be linked to the plan God has for us. Abraham was to be the father of a nation. So what if it took 25 years for it to begin. What did it hurt to wait? It didn’t have to happen as soon as got the promise. It happened in God’s good timing; the same with Joseph and David. Joseph was to provide food for this nation in a time of drought. What did it hurt for Joseph to wait in prison until the drought got there? David was to be king of this nation. What did it hurt for him to have to live in caves until the other king was gone?

But with Moses it was a little different. He was going to deliver the nation from bondage. What he was called to do was ready as soon as he was called. Waiting 15 or 20 years wouldn’t have worked. When he approached Pharaoh, it was game on; similarly with the disciples. When Jesus left this earth, there was momentum. It was game on. To wait 15 or 20 years for an outpouring would not have worked.

There is one aspect of our growing that relates to our watering and caring for our new nature. But there is another that is out of our control. None of the Old Testament guys or even the disciples could have done anything to hasten the events they are associated with. In God’s good timing it happened. Whether it was years or days, it happened in His good timing.

It is on us to care for our growth. But when the thing God has prepared for us comes together, I believe He tops us off with an extra portion of this Heavenly nature. It is that extra portion that we long for – that can make us feel like we are a little short of what we could have in Him. Whether that takes 25 years, or just a few, we wait. And while we wait, as much as is in us, we believe.

This morning I had a thought that led me to Revelation 12. It relates to the opposition we face. John says of our enemy that he “was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus”. He does his best to keep us from reaching maturity – from the thing God has planned for us.

In the same chapter of Revelation John adds; “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Part of our ability to overcome him has been from the testimony of others who have overcome him. When we overcome him, we must tell it to help others.

John refers to this enemy as the accuser. He accuses us before God day and night. Do you ever feel like you are being accused . . . constantly? It is the enemy. He’s trying to discourage. He’s trying to get us to quit – to not believe. It is his ploy to keep us down.

Our only defense is the word of God. It is His truth. If we do not immerse ourselves in it, we are easy targets to delude. We will not readily recognize his subtle lies and suggestions that lead to our misconceptions. We set ourselves up to have Satan’s side of the story pipelined into our minds.

By familiarizing ourselves with God’s word, we allow Him time to show us His side of the story. We give Him the opportunity to speak to us. We develop a firm bed of truth that the seed of our Heavenly nature can grow to maturity in. Only God knows what He has planned for us and for when it is planned. We have no control over that. But we can control our growth so that when the time does come, we are ready for whatever it is.

It is a critical time in our nation. The church has just been challenged by Glenn Beck in his 8/28 speech. Perhaps if we had paid more attention to this promise over the years, we would not be where we are today. But we haven’t and we are. The way out . . . every individual must wrestle this out with God. We must do the ‘hard thing’ as Beck puts it. If we don’t, we will lose for sure. If we do . . . ? The line has been drawn. It’s game on.

I finally let my wife read this today. With so much going on in relation to it, I wanted her to read it. She waited till I was gone. When I got back, she told me she had read it and that she liked it. Then she sat me down to watch something she had recorded. She had come upstairs to do some ironing. When she turned the TV on, the Martins were singing – of all things – The Promise. Neither of us had heard it before. It was a pretty cool moment. If that was not enough, the link to it, for any who might be interested in listening, was posted on October 13, 2009. We were married on October 13, 1979. The Promise

In Acts chapter 2, Luke writes in regard to Jesus: “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father, the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear”. And then, “the promise is for you”. I wondered about myself. Have I received the fulfillment of that promise? Sometimes I feel a little short of it.

I thought of Abraham, Joseph and David. They each received a promise. They had to wait years for its fulfillment. Is this promise something I have to wait years for? The disciples didn’t. They were told to go to Jerusalem and wait, and in just a few days they received what was promised. But with me, after years, I feel I am still seeking—still waiting. It’s not that my life has not changed – it has. But the undeniable transformation that took place with the disciples here in this 2nd chapter of Acts – the power, the boldness, the wonders – are not as pronounced in my life.

This piece is about that, and what I feel the Lord has showed me as I have wrestled it out with Him. I think He likes it when we do that. It gives Him an opportunity to show us things He wants us to see. I think He is disappointed when we have a question and figure there is no good answer for it. Rather than taking the time to work it out with Him, we just cling to a previous misconception and move on. It robs Him of the opportunity to show us cool and life changing stuff.

For some reason I kept thinking of Moses. I’ve always thought he waited 40 years for something previously promised to him. Actually he wasn’t waiting; he was just living out his life. Delivering Israel wasn’t even on his radar. The burning bush incident was the first he had heard of it. It was there that he was first given his promise. And in just a few days . . . he was right in the middle of it.

So . . . Abraham, Joseph and David received a promise and had to wait on its fulfillment. Moses and the disciples received a promise and relatively speaking, didn’t have to wait. There is something there. What is it?

Each was given a promise. Each chose to believe it. Each was tested. Each received the fulfillment. Said a little differently, each was given a promise that they chose to believe. Each faced opposition that tested their belief. Their belief stayed in tack, in spite of opposition, and each received the fulfillment.

Abraham believed his promise through 25 years of waiting. His promise was buried in old age. Joseph believed his promise through 13 years of waiting. His promise was locked up in prison. David also believed his promise through 13 years of waiting. His promise was tracked down and attacked relentlessly by Saul. Moses believed his promise and immediately faced opposition as Pharaoh stiffened. Even in the middle of his receiving the fulfillment – as they were actually leaving Egypt – their enemy pursued and tried to steal the promise.

The disciples faced similar opposition. They were promised abundant life. Heaven’s Spirit – Heaven’s nature would actually fill them. They would be empowered to become witnesses to what Jesus accomplished and what it meant to all. They received fulfillment immediately, but the opposition was great. In the face of beatings, imprisonment, being run out of town, spoken evil of and shipwrecked, their belief stayed tack. It would have been easy for them to question whether they had actually been given abundant life. But as they were able to sing in prison, I think it suggests they believed they had.

So it is with us. We, who have been forgiven, have received the promised Holy Spirit. We have received Heaven’s Spirit. Heaven’s nature is born into us. We are given the promise immediately and immediately the testing begins. In the face of much opposition our faith is being tested. The question is: can we keep our belief in tack in the face of this testing?

When we face hardships, can our belief that we have received the promise remain in tack? When there is a shortage of evidence of our new nature, can our belief remain in tack? When our enemy pursues and tries to convince us that we have not received the new nature – when he tries to steal the promise after we have received it – can our belief remain in tack?

With Abraham, Joseph, David, Moses and the disciples, they first received a promise.
Their belief in the promise was tested. Their belief in the One who promised was tested. Against all kinds of opposition (time, facts that suggest the opposite of the promise, enemy theft and deceitful scheming), their belief remained in tack. It was no easy road.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we receive immediately the promised Holy Spirit. It is the seed of heaven’s nature. And like any other seed, it must be fed, watered and cared for. Accepting Christ gets us into Heaven; watering and caring for the seed of our new nature gets Heaven into us.

Paul puts it this way: ‘We reap what we sow. Sow to the flesh and reap corruption. Sow to the spirit and reap life. Jesus, knowing we would need water for this new seed to grow extends an invitation to us to come and drink. In John 7:37 He says, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”. Sipping is not enough; we must come and drink and come and drink often.

As we come regularly to drink from His word, we receive the nutrients we need for growth. We are strengthened against all forms of opposition. Our new nature, though it may struggle with the old at times, will eventually dominate. If we do not come regularly to drink – if we just sip now and then – the old will dominate the new.

So to answer my original question, have I received the fulfillment of this promise? Is it something I have to wait years for? In a way, the answer is yes to both. I have received the promised Holy Spirit. It was deposited in me, the seed of Heaven’s nature, when I accepted Christ. To the extent that I water and care for it, is the extent to which the seed of that new nature will grow. No plant bursts out of its shell into a mature plant; there is a growing period – the waiting aspect.

Our growth and waiting may be linked to the plan God has for us. Abraham was to be the father of a nation. So what if it took 25 years for it to begin. What did it hurt to wait? It didn’t have to happen as soon as got the promise. It happened in God’s good timing; the same with Joseph and David. Joseph was to provide food for this nation in a time of drought. What did it hurt for Joseph to wait in prison until the drought got there? David was to be king of this nation. What did it hurt for him to have to live in caves until the other king was gone?

But with Moses it was a little different. He was going to deliver the nation from bondage. What he was called to do was ready as soon as he was called. Waiting 15 or 20 years wouldn’t have worked. When he approached Pharaoh, it was game on; similarly with the disciples. When Jesus left this earth, there was momentum. It was game on. To wait 15 or 20 years for an outpouring would not have worked.

There is one aspect of our growing that relates to our watering and caring for our new nature. But there is another that is out of our control. None of the Old Testament guys or even the disciples could have done anything to hasten the events they are associated with. In God’s good timing it happened. Whether it was years or days, it happened in His good timing.

It is on us to care for our growth. But when the thing God has prepared for us comes together, I believe He tops us off with an extra portion of this Heavenly nature. It is that extra portion that we long for – that can make us feel like we are a little short of what we could have in Him. Whether that takes 25 years, or just a few, we wait. And while we wait, as much as is in us, we believe.

This morning I had a thought that led me to Revelation 12. It relates to the opposition we face. John says of our enemy that he “was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus”. He does his best to keep us from reaching maturity – from the thing God has planned for us.

In the same chapter of Revelation John adds; “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Part of our ability to overcome him has been from the testimony of others who have overcome him. When we overcome him, we must tell it to help others.

John refers to this enemy as the accuser. He accuses us before God day and night. Do you ever feel like you are being accused . . . constantly? It is the enemy. He’s trying to discourage. He’s trying to get us to quit – to not believe. It is his ploy to keep us down.

Our only defense is the word of God. It is His truth. If we do not immerse ourselves in it, we are easy targets to delude. We will not readily recognize his subtle lies and suggestions that lead to our misconceptions. We set ourselves up to have Satan’s side of the story pipelined into our minds.

By familiarizing ourselves with God’s word, we allow Him time to show us His side of the story. We give Him the opportunity to speak to us. We develop a firm bed of truth that the seed of our Heavenly nature can grow to maturity in. Only God knows what He has planned for us and for when it is planned. We have no control over that. But we can control our growth so that when the time does come, we are ready for whatever it is.

It is a critical time in our nation. The church has just been challenged by Glenn Beck in his 8/28 speech. Perhaps if we had paid more attention to this promise over the years, we would not be where we are today. But we haven’t and we are. The way out . . . every individual must wrestle this out with God. We must do the ‘hard thing’ as Beck puts it. If we don’t, we will lose for sure. If we do . . . ? The line has been drawn. It’s game on.

I finally let my wife read this today. With so much going on in relation to it, I wanted her to read it. She waited till I was gone. When I got back, she told me she had read it and that she liked it. Then she sat me down to watch something she had recorded. She had come upstairs to do some ironing. When she turned the TV on, the Martins were singing – of all things – The Promise. Neither of us had heard it before. It was a pretty cool moment. If that was not enough, the link to it, for any who might be interested in listening, was posted on October 13, 2009. We were married on October 13, 1979.

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It was the third day since Jesus’ death. The Eleven and others were together, wondering about and discussing all that had happened and what it might mean to them. Things did not work out like they had thought. A few days earlier they were wondering about their position in the new kingdom. For the past three, they had been worrying about their position in the present one.

We have the written record of what they were about to discover. So now we too can wonder about what our position will be in His kingdom. But we can also still find ourselves thinking, as they did, that He is no longer alive, thinking that our hope has been in vain. When what we thought might happen doesn’t, when there has been no good evidence that He is still alive, we can doubt just as they did.

When some of the women, early that morning, went to where they thought Jesus was, they went wishing He was alive but believing He was dead. I’ve done that. Sometimes I catch myself thinking He is not really alive; wishing He was, wishing He would show up, but with no evidence to the contrary, I struggle with doubt.

But the women went. And in their going and seeking, they were the first to find that He was alive. Every group must have someone in it that will go anyway, that will seek until they discover for themselves that He is still alive. When the women found that He was alive, they hurried back to the group and told them what they had found. Though most did not believe, two (Peter and John) believed just enough to go searching for themselves; and they too discovered He was alive.

This group, who began the day thinking Jesus was not alive – all because a few women went seeking anyway – went from worry to wonder again. Later that day, two from the group would be walking home, wondering about and discussing all that had happened that day. Because someone found that Jesus was alive and then told what they had found, faith and hope were stirred. In this atmosphere of stirred up faith, Jesus, who was very much alive, showed up.

In this atmosphere of stirred up faith, they became witnesses of what they saw. They did not have to be prodded and coaxed to witness, they could not hold it in. The church and the world are in desperate need of some who have discovered for themselves that Jesus is still alive.

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When Jesus Passes By

Luke 18:35-40

“As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’
He called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’
Jesus stopped.”

It would be Jesus’ last healing miracle (other than restoring the ear that Peter cut off in the garden). Even as He is on His way to His own grueling death, He still cares enough to stop for this one.

There are those who know, as they sit in need, that Jesus is what they need. They go through life hoping He will pass by. The crowd has not helped; neither have the leaders. In spite of all, there they still sit . . . sure He is what they need—if He would just pass by—if He would just stop when He does.

Jesus did pass by. And because the man called out, because he would not stop calling out, Jesus stopped. Every time we hear the gospel, Jesus is passing by. The question is, will we just sit there or will we call out until He stops?

This man was convinced that Jesus could help him. He could have listened to the voices that were telling him to be quiet. He could have believed that Jesus did not care enough to help him. But he didn’t. He called out and wouldn’t quit calling.

It is interesting that when Jesus healed him, He said ‘your faith’ has healed you. I thought about that for days. Wasn’t it ‘Jesus’ faith’ that healed him? Was Jesus just trying to make him feel good? How can someone, sitting on the edge of ‘gone’, be credited with ‘faith’? Jesus had faith. At times the apostles had faith; but this blind beggar?

Within us all is a seed of faith—a seed that tells us that Jesus is what we need. This man had just enough of that seed left in him that he was not about to miss this opportunity. Jesus was passing by and he would not quit calling. And because he wouldn’t quit calling, Jesus stopped. May ‘our faith’ rise up as well, when Jesus passes by.

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In Luke 16 there is the familiar story of the rich man who lived in luxury and Lazarus the beggar who laid at the rich man’s gate. It stirs me to read that it is the beggar who ends up in heaven. Is that not a picture into where God’s heart is? Do we not all have beggars that have been laid at our gate? Are we not all beggars ourselves at the gate of God? The rich man did not see himself as one nor did he feel compelled to help one. He did not end up with God.

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The Lost

For the past few days I have read Luke 15. It is a classic chapter about the lost. There is the aspect of searching for the lost and the rejoicing when the lost have been found.

One of the stories that Jesus tells is the story about the woman who loses a coin and how she searched until she found it. It reminded me of a time when I was a kid walking to school. I was walking on a dirt bank, as kids will do, and dropped a nickel that for some reason I had in my hands instead of my pocket.

As soon as I dropped it, I looked down but didn’t see it. I looked and looked but could not find it. (A nickel was a lot back then) After a little while, I remember stopping and asking, Lord, could you help me find my nickel’. The next time I looked down . . . there it was.

After thinking about this event that took place about 50 years ago, I thought of the parallel to my life today. I have looked and looked for the lost, but so far I have not been able to find them. I prayed simply, ‘Lord, help me to find the lost’.

Last night, my wife and I had dinner with some friends. The guy has been involved in a prison ministry for years. Today I went to the sheriff’s office and filled out the necessary paperwork to become a part of that ministry team. For that I have to say, ‘Thank You Lord for helping me find the lost’.

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By a couple different means I have become a little more acquainted lately with the homeless and imprisoned; the homeless through a book I read, Same Kind of Different as Me; the imprisoned through a book they read – mine. As a result of being a little more acquainted, I have also become a little more mindful and have the following thoughts in relation to them.

We all have an enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy us. The process of that destruction begins with the regular chipping away at our worth; accompanied by his convincing arguments that we are a disappointment to family, friends and God. Once he gets that firmly established in our minds, he then persuades us to believe, since we have disappointed God, that it is He who wants to destroy us. Throw in enough major setbacks in life and some simply can’t overcome them. Instead, they are overcome by them.

Two end-of-the-line destinations that people can find themselves in are homeless or prison. It is the final nail that our enemy would use to finish us off, trying to convince us that God has finally got us where He wants us; to pay for the disappointment we have been.

His lies never end. The truth is found in John 10:10; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. God has never wanted to destroy. Matthew 9:36 says, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless”. I have no doubt in my mind that he looks on many who are homeless and many who are in prison as some who have been harassed and destroyed by the ‘thief’. I have no doubt in my mind that God wants to restore what has been destroyed.

A person in that situation can, on their own, take a proper stand and look to God for his or her help. They can seek Him by reading His word (the Bible) and from it find the truth of how He sees them. With that truth they can take a stand against the lies that have been used to get them to where they are. A person can do that and some have.

But they can also be helped to see it by those of us who have fought through the lies. Those of us who have not been overcome can help by coming along side those who have. As I said in another piece of writing, we can ‘stop to help even the odds’.

By the time a person finds themselves in either of these situations, it is like being in a hole. Shovel by shovel they are buried until the enemy has them right where he wants them. Surely Jesus must have had something like this in mind when He said, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest”.

I write this partly to challenge myself. I write it partly to challenge others. There is a field that is before us. But I will add this with the chance that this might actually reach someone who is at their end. If you can identify with being harassed and destroyed, I promise you that it is not God. As much as your enemy has destroyed, God is able and longing to restore. As much as you may feel nearly buried, if you will bury yourself in the Bible with God, He will bring new life into you. Hopefully someone will come along to help you in that effort.

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