Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hangin’ out with a smart person

Having breakfast with brainiac Ben Rainey made me feel much smarter. Voluntary cooperative fellowship is a wonderful, spiritual, enriching, IQ increasing thing. You can benefit as well, by checking out his church and blog @ http://www.benjaminrainey.com/.

Lord, thank you for fellowship.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One thing I ask of the Lord,…

 I used to really enjoy a good game of poker with all my friends. I admit to missing the camaraderie that a poker table brings. However, though I have given up gambling, I still dream of gambling, and if I were to still be a gambling man, I would gamble a ton of money, that if you had only one thing to ask the Lord it would not be this.

I would call your ante and raise the ante a million bucks, that the 'one thing' at the fore front of every prayer would not be this.

So, here is the gamble. I bet you, a million fantasy dollars, that if you only had one thing to ask the Lord, that this is not the 'one thing' you ask of the Lord.

Psalms 27:4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

You can go to www.viennaag.com and donate your million dollars via PayPal if you want.

And, consider, moving this to the forefront of every prayer.

Jesus did not write a book, but he formed a community. All over the world, in local congregations, Jesus' community gathers as the 'body of Christ' and the 'house of the Lord'. Missing the 'assembling together' with the Jesus' community might be more harmful than anyone realizes. Joining together at a time and place, mutually agreed upon by your congregations leadership is the precursor to what the Psalmist declared and the practical application to fulfilling the 'sabbath'.

I bet some of you will gamble your soul that this is true, and will faithfully, join in community as Jesus' community with the longing that one day, you will 'dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of your life'.

And, you will win the pot along with the thrill of winning that is better than gold that persishes. And… you will not have that sinking feeling that you gambled it all and lost your soul to lesser things.

Lord, help us put it all on the table, giving all our soul, all our mind, all our strength, all of our love to You and join in community as your people that comprise 'the house of the Lord'.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Following the Jesus’ Template

Let's follow Jesus and the Apostles, and use words that affirm scripture. Especially in matters of temptation it is vitally important to follow the Jesus' Template.


 

 4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'
"

 8Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'
"

 12Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'
"

This is a very, very important pattern. We use words that affirm scripture to overcome Satan's temptations, because that is how Jesus overcame Satan. We follow Jesus, and we use his pattern.

Our words contain power either way. Either to life, or to death. We might as well be followers of Jesus and use our Words for life and to overcome Satan we must use the written Word of God.

Words contain power to overcome Satan and any type of temptation can be overcome when we say, words that affirm scripture. Our words can hurt or heal others, ourselves and our relationship with God.

Lord, help us overcome any type and any level of temptation. Help us understand that as we follow you, we also are to follow how you used words.

Mark 11: 22 “Have faith in God,”

Okay, Lord, I believe I will have some. Thank you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Song Birds

Spring is near, for I hear, birds with cheer, chirping, "Spring is near". Daffodils and Hyacinths lie beneath the mounds of snow, to us it makes no sense, but they are beginning to grow. The buds of trees will soon emerge, as blossoms begin to surge, to begin a rite of spring, flowering fragrances with beauty brings. Yes, its cold now, the snow from plows all in mounds, but soon, yes very soon, spring sights and sounds, will abound.

Lord, like spring, you are coming. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lovin’ Life

Great workout and devotion in a.m., excellent administration morning, invocation at Chamber of Commerce luncheon, made new friends, given grief by the owner of the restaurant for not invoking Jesus name in a public invocation,( same owner had unholy pictures in restroom and sold tons of alcohol), amazing ministry at a hardware store, expressed thanks to folks who cleared our lot, completed sermon, looking forward to a great night with the Communications Facilitator with the Potomac District. Life is gooood and varied.

Lord, thank you for variety.

Monday, February 15, 2010

they saw God, and they ate and drank.

Imagine face to face eating and drinking with God. Wherever God was, there was 'something like a pavement made of sapphire'.

Exodus 24:9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.

11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.

A benefit of daily reading the bible is you read stuff you hadn't noticed before.

Lord, help us know you by reading your Word.


 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Blessed Valentine’s Day to you.

1 Cor. 13:
4  Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.5  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].6  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.7  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].8  Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

Lord, we ask for Your love to be expressed today and always.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.

Yeah, but they walked on their own two feet, so how can the Lord claim that He carried them on eagle's wings. Yeah, but it was Egypt and slavery they were leaving, so how can the Lord claim that He was brought them to Himself (Exodus 19).

This sums up what grace looks and feels like, and defines its purpose. If you haven't read my book, "Constant Forward Motion-the Running of the Lymphoma Ultra Series" maybe you should, for it describes running marathon's, 50 k's, Forty and Fifty Milers. Every step was my own steps, yet, I felt an unmistakable presence at times that could only be described as being carried "on eagle's wings". Some runs lasted 12 hours, and there was a tangible drawing to the finish line, that really felt like I was being "brought" to the Lord. During the R-Chop chemotherapy, certainly there were times of being completely out of it, filled with fatigue, nausea and mentally blurred. Yet, in the big picture, total view, looking back, I can also say, I felt "carried on eagles wings", being brought forward to the end of therapy to the Lord.

The indwelling presence of God carries a person through anything, with the end result of being brought closer to the Lord himself. In the Israelites situation, not even their shoes showed any wear, and I can't claim that as I only got about 350 miles out of each shoe.

Lord, thank you for carrying us on eagle's wings out of slavery into relationship with You.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Holy Season

With an early Easter (April 4), the Season of Lent begins next week. This forty day period is a great opportunity for both immediate and progressive transformation. Consider fasting (saying no) to something, and saying yes to God, others and life itself. A great thing to say yes to is a daily reading of the bible. Consider saying yes to reading the bible for forty days and allowing God's word to work transformationally in every area of your life. Consider saying no to habits that steal, kill, and destroy time, God opportunities, health, and a fulfilled future. I prefer this season over the New Year for transformation because of the emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit, and less emphasis on self will and determination. In the forty days leading up to the celebration of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, bad habits could be cleansed and great habits formed. Let us all consider the celebratory aspect of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and use this period of time to grow closer to Him.

Lord, help us prepare to fully celebrate Easter, by offering back unto you a transformed life. Thank you for renewing your mercies and extending unmerited favor to all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Primary Relationships

Psalms 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

I struggle with this. Even while reading the scripture my mind wanders to any number of things. I am currently feeling the pull to dig my car out of the record snow fall. Even though it entails getting bundled up, and pressing through four and five feet drifts. A task at hand seems to dominate, instead of my primary relationship. To me, the hardest of all disciplines is to cleanse my heart, soul mind and strength from anyone or anything but God. To have relationship with Almighty God with absolute love with absolutely all of my heart, soul, mind and strength is something I fall short in, often.

Lord, forgive me and others for our wandering heart, soul, mind and strength. We need you to be our relationship coach to teach us to love you with absolutely all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. We also need you to be our relationship coach in all of our other relationships.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sarcasm, Global Warming and an America Centric world view

Whether the topic is bible prophecy or global warming we tend to make America central to the discussion. In the mid Atlantic we are experiencing a blizzard and just broke all written records of snow fall, but just to the north of us for the winter Olympics Canada is warmer and lacking snow. Outside my office are eight foot banks of snow that have been plowed from our lot. Wind is pushing snow vertical and at times I cannot see across the street. At the same moment I read lots of sarcastic comments about global warming and even more sarcasm directed at a particular person who is attempting to alert people of the possibility of climate change.

Some really smart people who study bible prophecy say they cannot find America in bible prophecy. That's scary. That scares me more than any discussion on any topic. I see America in bible prophecy because I want to see it. America is my country and I want to think that we are pivotal to world history, but we might not be. If America isn't in bible prophecy, then we could just be a blip on the timeline. That is scary, and I hope I am right, and the very smart people who study bible prophecy all their life are wrong.

When my children were progressing past toddler hood, Brenda and I had to break the news to them that they were not the center of the universe. They eventually dealt with it, and matured into responsible, caring, humble and spiritual adults.

To somehow think and make sarcastic comments that the industrial revolution has had little effect on climate change removes our credibility in intelligent conversations. Record breaking snow levels, combined with record cold temperatures in the mid Atlantic may make us feel good to think that there isn't any climate change happening, but we could be missing the big picture and turning off an ever increasing populace who are already turned off to followers of Jesus. If America isn't even in bible prophecy, maybe what we experience climatologically doesn't matter either in the grand scheme of things.

Everyone needs a relationship with God, and maybe our sarcasm is building an intellectual conversational wall that we will one day come to regret.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow for days of war and battle?

Job 38: 22, 23 is a passage to prayerfully ponder as plenty powdery puffs of powder is about to pummel the pavement of the powerful populace of Washington D.C. and its prestigious suburbs.

Lord, as your pupils, we pause to petition and praise you. Please, pretty please, protect us from perishing, provide, and preserve us for we are a poor, pathetic people. Help us proclaim, pursue and partake of your powerful, precious, and plentiful promises that protect from perishing.

Job 38: 22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,

23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Is this snow a response to terrorism?

Job 38: 22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail,

23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle? (NIV)

A few years ago this verse circulated after a snow storm and it is worth pondering. The week before this snow storm, the intelligence community informed congress there was increased chatter among the terror networks. Now that the National Weather Service is warning us that 10 to 20 more inches could come tomorrow, let us also add our prayers that "no weapon formed against us shall prosper" (Isaiah 54:17)

Lord, we humbly ask for continued protection from domestic and foreign terrorism. Send your laborers to them, redeem them, fill them with love and deliver them from angered hatred. We also humbly ask for help in this time of storm, and to heal our aching backs.

No rush hour in Northern Virginia

It is significantly quieter this morning with two feet of snow on the ground. There are no cars except an occasional service vehicle out on the roads. It sounds like we live in a very rural setting. It is a significant stillness. I am thankful for every one whose employment allows telecommuting. It was a revolutionary idea years ago, and may God bless those governments, companies, organizations and communities who give that privilege to work in a mobile office setting.

My readings today are from the book of Exodus. The community of God's people was mobile for 40 years and prior to the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, very early on; maybe days after crossing the Red Sea I discovered an obscure passage.

Exodus 15: 25 the Lord … gave them some laws and teachings.

Just a few "laws and teachings" were all they needed to take the next steps in their journey. Just a few "laws and teachings", if followed, brought this promise.

26 … "I am the Lord your God, and I cure your diseases". (CEV) Health and following the Lord were hand in hand as the great Exodus from Egypt took place.

Telecommuting from a mobile setting one has to be creatively diligent, with just a few "laws and teachings", from a supervisor. Too many can quench energy. One's personal health and health for ones employer occurs as the few "laws and teachings" are followed. Today and for awhile, it is inevitable that some loss of productivity will occur, however, it doesn't have to result in a loss of health for one's personal life and the life of their employer. Some really fabulous ideas can be obtained from the Lord along with storing up sound wisdom for the future. The Lord could also cure any governmental and corporate 'disease' that is present in ones work place, as "some laws and teachings" are followed.

Lord, thank you for the stillness many people are experiencing in my community. Help us follow you into health, personally and corporately. We humbly ask that you would cure personal, governmental and corporate disease.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Knee Deep in snow

The snow in Northern Virginia is knee to thigh deep. Fortunately, my 16 inch snake proof boots I use for turkey hunting with water proof pants worked just fine to check on the church property. My Neon's hood was level with the snow and it took much longer than expected to clean it and my truck. I am feeling so unmotivated to do anything, so I am going with the flow. The one productive thing was my daily scripture reading, and discovered a unique passage.

After the Passover and Israel left Egypt the Lord did not send them on a direct route, but an indirect one that included turning back. The big picture for the Lord leading them to 'turn back' (Exodus 14:2 NIV) was so that the Lord would eventually get glory for the magnitude of the miracle. My book and philosophy of life is "Constant Forward Motion", but in this instance following the Lord meant going backwards and 'turning back' for a short season. So, chilin' out, even turning back from some important spiritual duty so as to do nothing productive is going to be the flow for the day. Watching Super Bowl commercials with some football on the side and no fasting, is on the agenda.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Overflow with hope!

A foot and a half of snow, oh no. News of earthquakes, snowstorms, health issues, political differences, economic questions, vehicle recalls, moral indiscretions, etc, etc, etc. can wear down a person's hope. One of the descriptors of God is that God is a God of hope (Romans 15:3), who can fill us with joy and peace as we trust in Him. After 15 minutes of the awful realities that continues to face our global community, try 15 minutes of prayer and reading the bible to fill you back up with joy and peace as you place your trust in God.

Lord, help us all to spend more than equal time in and to you as we spend with the news of the day. We humbly ask to be filled with your joy and peace as we trust in you. Remind us, and keep reminding us that you really are The God of hope.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

@VAOG worship on Thursday@7p this week

Service to community and neighbors Sunday morning. Pray about preparing to help neighbors with their own snow issues. Open homes to single moms, the elderly, and anyone especially vulnerable. If two plus feet of snow comes, the weak and vulnerable will need the strength of the strong.