Thursday, December 23, 2010

IT IS NEARLY CHRISTMAS EVE. REJOICE!

Here I sit on the day before Christmas Eve playing some of my favorite songs for this time of the year. The one theme of most of the songs is the joyful praise of the birth of Christ. How fitting for this time of the year amidst the rush and stress of making sure all have the perfect gift for the holiday before closing time on Christmas Eve. Being in retailing over the years before I retired, I usually did all my shopping at a leisurely pace and had all the shopping done way ahead of time. Sadly, that is not the case any more. Yep, I am now one of the many stressed out shoppers racing around the store like a zombie 5 minutes before closing to get the last gift for some one special. You would think I would know better after all these years but that is not the case.

I guess I should post some thing prophetic, devout, or religious but I am not a prophet, and I don't think I fit the devout model, nor am I religious as most may profess. I may better qualify as a messy believer with off the wall ideas about true faith and God. What I do love is the words spoken by Jesus in the bible. Every time I read them, I feel a closer relationship with Jesus and pray for understanding. It is as if the words were written for this messy sinner to follow exclusively. As matter of fact, those word were written for "all" to follow in order to to be saved.

The stories of Jesus and His miracles by His disciples is riveting causing me to sometimes wish I could some way go back in time to witness first hand His words and feel His healing touch. However, we all know that is impossible or is it? Here is the case where we all must have faith and believe what is written in a book that has endured time as the truth and our guide to salvation in a world clouded with darkness and doubt.

As it is written in Paul's letters to the founding Christian churches, we must openly follow his teachings about the Spiritual Gifts, miracle healing, and the super natural even though many denominations of the faith do not subscribe to such this day and time. When I am open to these teachings, I feel I am closer to God and His will. I just have to cast aside my doubts and openly accept what He wishes as a follower of the faith. I have to let Him lead me, not me lead my self.

God gave us part of Himself in His Son's birth that fateful day two thousand years ago. What could be a more precious and priceless a gift than the birth of Jesus the Messiah and Saviour in the flesh. His birth changed the world and gave hope in a time when despair was rampant then and today. What He promised was salvation and hope for an eternal life in God's kingdom after the death of the sinful flesh if only we would believe, love others, and turn away from sin.

For that I am grateful for a gift that keeps on giving for eternity. In return, I am singing praise and glorifying Jesus for all that He has done for us all on His birthday.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!










Saturday, December 11, 2010

IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HAVE NOTS?


Christmas has always been a time of festivities in my family with decorations, buying gifts for each other to the extreme, more food than we could eat in one day, and rejoicing in the birth of Jesus. It is a time of the year that I wished could last every day of the year. Even when the winter cold and snow is so harsh out side, there is a glowing warmth on the inside when we are together.

Sadly, not all with have the same festivities as we are blessed to be able to enjoy which saddens me to the point of feeling guilty for what we do have. With the current economic condition this nation is now under, many will be on the outside looking in at the proverbial festivities of the fortunate ones not affected yet by the down turn of the economy. Some are losing their homes and jobs with no promise of future employment or the ability to at least have a place to stay. Many have their utilities turned off for lack of the ability to pay and live with out heat of food. Most are too proud to accept welfare or food stamps or fail to qualify due to their prior income status.

Yes we do have a new class of destitute and homeless or near homeless people in our ranks that fall through the cracks as far as the government agencies helping them in their times of hardships. You would think the churches would step in and offer help to this new class of destitute people but it may not be the case sometimes.

Here is an opportunity that most Christians can truly show their love for their fellow neighbors in need. It doesn't take much to be able to once in a while take them to the grocery store to buy essential foods for their family needs. Donate time to watch their kids while they seek employment. Help them by doing their laundry since their power is turned off . Make a list of their children for Christmas gifts and deliver it secretly on Christmas eve. Might even add a few gifts for mom and dad too.

We have a lot of wooded areas around us and we cut up fallen trees and give to the families that have fire places to keep warm where the utilities are shut off. Invite them over for dinner occasionally for a warm meal. There are thousands of ways to help out the ones that are suffering in this festive time of the year. The most important item is we give them the gift of love during their time of need and let them know they are not alone.

As I once read, " It is better to give than receive". What better gift is there than showing your love for others in Jesus' name and giving when they are in need? These acts of kindness and love does not go un noticed in God's eyes. I would have to think we are following what God wishes for us to do. Perhaps maybe we overlook the less fortunate in this time strapped season of Christmas for obvious personal reasons.

Be thankful for what we do have, pray, and help those less fortunate.

I pray that all have a Merry Christmas and rejoice in our Saviour's birth.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WHAT A MESS I AM


Ok so I don't go to church much any more by my own choice. I just don't feel like I fit in with the conventional churches. I do miss the musical worship sessions in church but I now have a good collection of worship music so I can pull those up and really get spiritual in my own way. I still study the Bible and related books. I do pray for and with others and keep in contact with people that are in my communities that are in need and assist them when I can.

A few people still come to me thinking I am a minister ( which I am not) seeking salvation and I do my best to minister to them in their spiritual needs. I don't go around preaching to every one but if they ask, I will spread the Lord's word on salvation. One thinks I have healing powers ( which I don't).

It was the lady I mentioned in an earlier blog who has a daughter that wears braces in order to walk. She dropped by my office one day a while back with her daughter to ask for prayer and to heal her daughter. Reluctantly I prayed for her but I assured her it would be God's work, not mine. I cannot heal others. Yesterday they walked by the office to show me the daughter can walk with out her braces now and Doctors don't know how it happened. Maybe God did heal this precious deserving little child after all.

What I have found in my dealings with people in these two communities I manage is they don't fit in at churches either. Most say they don't feel comfortable in a church or they don't have the money to spend on good clothes to go to church but they feel comfortable talking to me in spiritual matters on their turf. They claim I bring the church to them instead of bringing them to a church. I try to explain to them that a church is when ever two or more gather to worship God. It doesn't have to be an established church. I reminded them that Jesus frequently spoke in open fields and by the sea in gatherings and that was essentially a church in all respects even though it was not in a building. What was important is that when one gathers with others to hear the Lord's words. Then it becomes a church

We don't need extravagant multi million dollar buildings or scripted programs to hear God's word. Only a place to gather and sing praise to the Lord, hear his words, and let the Holy Spirit prevail. Perhaps doing that we might see more souls won over to the Lord and miracle happenings just like in biblical times. What money is gathered should be divided up and given to the needy and hungry. In these hard times, there are probably many that need help.

For some reason I find my self closer to God helping others and being where they are instead of in a church. This way I can be close by 7 days a week instead of only on Sundays. Most attending churches are already saved so to speak but a massive amount of others that never set foot in a church are missing out on God's salvation and love.

I don't attend church regularly, I think way out side of conventional thinking in Christianity, I show compassion to those less fortunate, I try to walk in their shoes, and I show love for them. Essentially, I am a maverick upsetting the apple cart.

Am I a mess or what?




Thursday, October 14, 2010

THE WAY I SEE THINGS, POLITICALLY


PHOTOGR FOR PRESIDENT IN 2012


THE WAY I SEE THINGS POLITICALLY


My fellow Americans. I come before you today to announce my tossing of the hat in the ring to run for the President of America in 2012. Already I am forming the new political party called the Silver Back Party as an alternative to donkeys and elephants running amonk. Are you fed up with their monkey business? I sure am.






Today I want to address our esteemed seniors in this great country. Have you missed your cost of living increases the last two years in your Social Security benefits? The current administration claims there was no inflation over the last two years so they canceled it. I wonder if this administration ever shops at Walmart or grocery stores much. Milk is up almost a dollar over the last two years, Twin pack T bone steaks I used to buy for about $14.00. Now I have to pay nearly $20.00 for the same steaks and they are really tougher to chew. Have you noticed your medicare co- pays have jumped from $100.00 to $200.00 on the average for surgical applications if you have part D?






Look on the bright side of this. For the last two years the current administration has voted their selves a 10% pay hike each year and they get all their health insurance paid for by us ( no deductibles). Now that sounds like an equal cut back for all parties except the Washington bunch.






If I am elected president of this great country I will enact the Cost of Living increase for seniors retro active from 2009. Now you ask how am I going to pay for this huge expense and debt? Being I favor a balanced budget, I will freeze all future pay hikes for 10 years on senators, congressmen, and their aides plus make them pay back their last two pay hikes they voted their selves. I will also force all senators, congressmen, and aids to fly coach, take the bus, and no more jumbo jets for two. That should more than pay for what they did to you seniors.






We are told by the current administration that Social Security is going broke and they must cut benefits, medicare coverage, and what medicare will cover in the future.. They claim it will save billions of dollars. My question is where is that billions of dollars savings going to? Definitely not back into the benefit fund I would guess. I recently read in a recent AARP article that social Security taxes paid by us in the last 25 years has been more that what Social Security has been paying out. It now has amassed a 2.5 trillion dollar reserve fund. I'll bet some in Washington are really salivating over that nest egg. My Pa used to tell me that Washington was raiding the Social Security fund back in the 70's for special interest projects and not paying any of it back. If I am elected President, that money will not be touched and no benefit cuts will be allowed. Medicare will again be allowing coverage for all health care needs. No rationing.

In the future weeks I will be covering more about my campaign pledges to the citizens of this great country. For one thing I pledge to give every family in this great country a banana bearing tree for nutritional needs. Nothing wrong with eating healthy foods.

PHOTOGR FOR PRESIDENT IN 2012. A CHANGE WE CAN LIVE WITH.





( disclaimer) This campaign is a satire on the upcoming presidential election. No animals were hurt or injured in this production. Also Photogr was born in America irregardless of his ancestor's heritage.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I AM A MESSY CHRIST FOLLOWER


The more I seek knowledge and a relationship with God, the more I realize He has been beside me all along during my times of doubt, sin, and desolation in the desert. Always there with gentle prodding and encouragement even when I wasn't even seeking His grace.

He has brought people before me seeking salvation and led me with encouraging words for them. I asked why me of all people but I get no answer. Just more people brought before me to minister to. Do I win souls to Christ? A few maybe. Am I good at it? Probably not. Do I have compassion and love for them? Yes to a point. Is my faith un wavering? I don't think so but I think God has other ideas. Do I have any spiritual gifts? I once thought I did but that might have been only me. I really don't think so. However, I do desire them to serve others through God's grace.

So where does this leave me spiritually? A totally messy Christ follower is the best I can describe the situation. I am confused, I don't seem to fit in with a conventional church, I enjoy the musical worship services more that I do the sermons ( I find my inspiration more from the bible than from a sermon), and I really think way out side of the box. I find I feel better helping those out side of the church seeking God's grace instead of in a church. Aren't those the ones we should really be helping in the first place?

I wonder if there is such a church for messy people and what would it be like. Here is an idea.

As you walk in, there are greeters that are sincere in their greetings that are filled with love for others. You take a seat and wait for the services to begin. Others in the congregation walk by going to their seats and greet you as if you are a long time friend ( not ignore you). As the service begins, the pastor or associate walks onto the stage and gives a brief report of the current activity in the church. He/she then ask for prayer that the Holy Spirit fills the service with His presence and leads others to Christ. The band begins to play worship music that gets all up and singing praises to God. The Revelation Song and All That I Am gets me jumping every time. The pastor steps back onto the stage for a few words of encouragement inviting all to come forward that feel touched by the Holy Spirit. The band begins to play more worship songs. Some come forward to pray at the stage or altar. Others are touched by the Holy Spirit and feel joyous during the singing. Some weep, some shout out in praise. As the band continues to play, the prayer groups come forward to pray over the ones at the front of the stage or altar.

The pastor makes a brief statement praising God telling all that the Holy Spirit is among the congregation and all that feels his presence rejoice in the Lord and gives a short sermon inviting others to come forward that seek salvation or prayer. The band continues to play softly as others come forward for prayer, seeking salvation, or healing. The pastor speaks out to others quoting scripture and invitations continue.

There are no time schedules to follow. God and the Holy Spirit are not regulated to a box or time frame. In this service God controls when it is over and only then. After the service, many regulars travel through the crowd greeting those seeking more about God and directing them to the places set up in the church that may be able to help them in their search as well as giving fellowship.

Perhaps I expect too much from a church. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are you God?


I was at this rental community where I was asked to work in to reorganize the office and coordinate the clean up of the appearance of the community. Needing some exercise I decided to walk around and introduce my self to the tenants that were waiting for their children to arrive in a bus from the local school. I was talking to one lady as the bus pulled up and noticed a young child about 6 or 7 with braces on both of her legs. Quite a beautiful child with a smile that would melt any ones heart. I noticed the difficulty she was having getting off the bus and it broke my heart. She hobbled up to the lady I was talking to and cheerfully greeted her mother. I asked "who are you little girl?" She replied "I am Samantha, Are you God?"



This really took me by surprise and the mother sheepishly replied that she has been praying to God to heal her daughter so that she would not have to wear braces any more due to a birth defect. The doctors had said when she was born, she would never be able to walk but she does get around ok with the braces. The little girl spoke up and said "Mommy said that one day God would come to visit me and take away the braces". I was speechless but I felt the urge to say that some day He will do exactly that in due time and God does love you. He will not forget you. Needless to say she seemed a bit sad when I told her I was not God but I said I will include her in my prayers to God. The mother appeared to get tears in her eyes and said thanks for saying that. I didn't know how much that would mean to her. She said it seems that her prayers are not getting through. I told her yes her prayers do get through but it helps if more pray for Samantha. The mother asked if I was a pastor and I said no but I do believe that God can do miracles when the time is right.



As I drove of back to the office I felt compassion and anger that God would let this child suffer and asked Him to have compassion for Samantha and her family and grant this beautiful child her wish. This was one of the rare times when I wished I had the gift of healing through God's grace. Perhaps some day I may but I have to first get out of the desert I now feel trapped in.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A TIME TO PONDER AND A TIME TO REFLECT

A CROSS BY THE SEA


As I wander along the shores of the Gulf at sunset reflecting on my journey pursuing my faith in God and Jesus' teachings, I begin to become awakened to a realization that we are all sinners ( especially good self professed Christians). It is only by the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for our sins that we all can be saved in His name. This means all of us no matter what your walk in life is. Avid church goer, sinner, drug addict, thief, criminal, or just an all around good person with no ties to a church can be saved and follow Christ.



The only requirement is if you believe there is a God and a Jesus then you can be saved no matter what you have done in your past or present. God so loved His creations that He sacrificed His only son for our sins. And God still loves you today whether you go to a church or not. All He ask is for you to believe and accept Him into your life so that He can guide and comfort you. No established church attendance is required. Only have faith in Him. When two or more is gathered in worship no matter where, that is a church or body of Christ.



I recently met a man that had tattoos all over his arms and a beard. A rather rough looking fellow but was kind hearted. He asked about a book I was reading ( surprised by the Holy Spirit). I told him I was a Christ follower and believed in God. He asked if I went to Church and I said I did not any more as I had a falling out with the established church model I had attended. I stated I was more of a maverick when it came to my faith. I just didn't follow a set of rules or denomination guidelines.



He stated that he felt he was touched by God and started going to a church and even asked to be baptised. The pastor or deacon of that church laughed and stated that he would not fit in with that church so he quit going but felt he had to go to church to be saved. I told him he did not need to go to church to be saved but to open up his sins to God and pray for forgiveness as well as accept Jesus as his saviour. I reminded him of Jesus' disciples and their backgrounds and they were also touched by the Holy Spirit through Jesus and went on to do many miracles as leaders of the early church.



We continued to meet frequently and discuss the faith. He did state that he watched some Christian programs on TV fearing being rejected going back to a brick and mortar church. He told me about watching a healing conference on You Tube where a young baby was brought back to life by a pastor on the program after Doctors gave up all hope. As he told the story to me it brought tears to his eyes but joy over what he had witnessed. I asked him if he wanted to pray with me to worship God for saving this child and open his heart to God. He was reluctant but I assured him God will lovingly welcome him into His arms.



As we prayed some thing came over the both of us. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and the hair stood up on the back of my head. He immediately started to speak in tongues and jump up and down praising God. Tears from the both of us flowed like a raging river. This went on for a few minutes. After wards, He stated he felt the burdens lifted off his shoulders and that he felt he was in the presence of God. I said: "Chester ( not his real name) you were blessed by the grace of God. What you have experienced was God touching your heart. You were in the presence of the body of Christ (a church)".



Since then we have had more talks and prayers. Now he wants to bring his wife and friends for our round house talks and prayers. It really doesn't matter where you are you can experience the virtues of being in a church as long as two or more gather to worship and praise God. It doesn't have to be an established church or building. It just have to be a place where two or more gather to hear God's words. Even a beach with cascading surf can suffice. Any one can also be saved no matter what or who you are. Just believe in faith.



Although this maverick swore off blogging, I just had to tell this story about a chance meeting. It seems that if your heart is with God, He always leads you into a position where He can use you to lead others to Him such as the case with Chester.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

IT IS TIME TO SAY FAREWELL




Yep it is time to bid all farewell on this blog project. To be honest, I am running out of things to say. So much of my time is going to maintaining sanity in this small community that I live in, I can't keep up with maintaining a blog site too; and reaching out to others across the world. Now this doesn't mean that I will not drop by other's blogs and share my off the wall and out of the box thoughts from time to time but more time must be spent in fellowship in person to others close by.




I think this is where the Lord is leading me or it might be my own thoughts. Been hard to get clear receptions lately but through the static, this is the message I am getting.




Thanks to all that have commented on my articles and I do hope it was helpful in a way




Farewell




Larry AKA photogr

Sunday, June 20, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: TESTIMONIALS


As I am reflecting on Father's day, I think of my Holy Father and what testimony I have about Him. To be honest, I have not always been the best Christian model for others and He knows that. But yet His love for me and others is never ending. He is always there to lead and guide us through bleak times and good times. Giving encouragement when we please Him and corrections when we wander astray. Offering opportunities to make a difference in some one's life and listening to our prayers. Yes He is a good Father.



This article By O.Hillman came to mind as something we should be doing in honoring our Holy Father.




"I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony." - John 3:11




Over the last several years I have seen two distinct types of Christian workplace believers. One type enthusiastically teaches their Bible knowledge to others. These people, though they may be genuine in their motive, lack one essential ingredient to being effectively used by God - a testimony. The second type of people I have encountered has a genuine testimony of what God is doing and continues to do in their lives. This was the case in the early Church. Men and women were able to give powerful testimony of events and experiences that could only be explained as a work of God.




God desires to build a testimony in each of us. Each of us is one of God's chosen vessels to reflect His power in and through us. When others see this power reflected, they are impacted because they cannot explain that power. God desires to frame your life with experiences designed to reflect the character and nature of Christ. Sometimes these events can be very devastating, but they are designed to reveal His power in and through us.




Every one of us has a testimony. What would others say your testimony is today? Can others see God's work in your life? Is your testimony one of Bible knowledge only? Are things happening in your life that can only be explained as God? These can be problematic questions for each of us. Ask God to build a testimony of His life in and through you today.



By O.S. Hillman

Monday, June 7, 2010

CROSS BY THE SEA: I JUST DON'T GET IT!


I just don't get it. Here I live in a community where I run a mobile home park with 95 families. The members of this community come to me when they are hurting or looking for help with illness, stress, or financial help. I set up places they can go for help when in need, I provide food and toys for children and families at Christmas time, and during the year. I pray for those that have health issues, I pray for those that ask for prayers. I strive to provide a safe place to live and volunteer to help out those too financially strapped or ill to repair their homes. Others have also volunteered to take up the slack that are aware of my faith and my mission.



Some have accepted Christ as their saviour. Others call me a miracle worker. but I am far from that. I am just a simple person sharing my love for others in need. A few are well off in this community and chip in when I alert them that there is a crisis. A couple have suggested I become a pastor and start a church in the community but I am not gifted in that respect and the Lord has not led me to do that yet. Some come by my office just to talk and let me know how much my prayers or what I do for them meant. Wouldn't any one do this if they knew there was a need?



What I don't get is when I attend a particular church, I see no love or fellowship except in the click groups. I am an outsider for the last year and a half in this church. I do all the right things and join in on volunteer activity, study groups, and classes. Yet still I am an outsider and ignored most of the time. There seems not to be an interest in developing fellowship with others out side their established groups. I shower before attending church and like David I use after shave lotion after I shave. Still I am an outsider. Perhaps I should stop wearing a gorilla suit to church. As a matter of fact, I gave up on fitting in with this church as my own community of families have so many needs that take up much of my time



Perhaps there is where my church is and I don't know it yet. Perhaps I have planted seeds and don't realize it. Perhaps this is where the Lord has led me in service to others but I don't pick up on it yet. I just don't get it yet. Perhaps the Lord needs to get my attention in a bold way. Then I would get it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A CROSS BY THE SEA: 74TH PSALMS


I was led to the 74th Psalms today while researching another subject. At first things weren't registering but as I read more of the Psalms line by line I began to realize what it was saying is closely related to the current times. Psalms 74:4 Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations: they set up their ensigns for signs. It seems in those days that there was discord and disruption in the church as it is today.

In today's times, we hear of prayer and God being offensive to some who in turn make attempts to banish prayer and God in public places. The sad part is our government allows the baning of prayer and God to appease a select few but allows some to teach impressionable minds that there is no God. Psalms 74: 7 They have cast fire in their hearts, let us destroy them together: They have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. Even on public air waves , the word of God is prohibited as being offensive. It is almost as if a few with influence want God taken out of our lives permanently.

Psalms 74: 10 Oh God, how long shall the adversarys repraoch? Shall the enemy blaspheme thy name forever? It appears that way doesn't it? And this was written back in biblical times and can be applied in today's times I would think. The seemingly current trend by some organizations today is to marginalize God's presence or simply state there is no God and no laws to follow. Only what seems right to you personally. Almost seems like the rebellions of some of God's people in biblical times.

Psalms 74: 23 Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually. And to this day that is still happening. Satan's time is short in this world and I am sure he has increased his efforts to turn more against the Lord for his own gain. The question is : Will we be misled in following the wrong path and miss the promise of eternity in the Kingdom, or will we not falter in our faith in God?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A CROSS BY THE SEA: MATURITY


As I think I am maturing in the faith, I have began to realize that I am not as mature as I think I am as far as faith. Much like when I was a teenager thinking I had all the answers to life's mysteries only to find out later in life I didn't have a clue back then.

There are so many mysteries and miracles in having faith in God that even as adults we cannot fathom the ramifications of all those mysteries and miracles. Only by the scriptures do we gain an understanding of what God is telling us but yet there are still mysteries to be disclosed by God. I would imagine when He feels we are mature enough to accept these mysteries, He will reveal them to us. I have begun to understand this based on my reading scriptures. As an example I read a passage say a few years back and didn't get a message. I re read the same passage today and the message pops off the page opening up a door to a new understanding of that passage.

In reading Revelations, ( which I have read a few times over the years) I get a deeper understanding each time. It is as if I am given more knowledge each time I read Revelations even though the words were there all this time. Yet there are still mysteries to be revealed from Revelations. As I mature, I would imagine more mysteries will be revealed to me in time. I am beginning to get the idea that all of the mysteries and miracles are embedded in the scriptures and that in time they will all be revealed to all of the faith. As it has been said, the heavens will be revealed to us and there will be an expansion of knowledge beyond our imagination. I would have to think that time is fast approaching.

Have I reached maturity yet? No. I am still a child in the faith. I have much to learn and a short time to do it. How is your maturity in the faith?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: SOLID FOUNDATIONS




"But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand." - Matthew 7:26




There were two kinds of people in the days of Jesus. Some heard the words that Jesus spoke and were awed by His wisdom and understanding, but did nothing about what they heard. Others heard those words and acted on them. Jesus said that those who heard the words but failed to put them into practice were foolish and likened them to building a house on sand. How foolish, indeed, it would be to build a house on sand.
The person who followed what Jesus taught was a person who would be sure to weather life's storms.




Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25).




You never know how well your house is built until it is tested by the elements. Torrential rains reveal the quality of your roof. Wind and cold reveal how well your home is insulated. Heat and sun reveal the quality of your paint and siding. All these elements reveal whether a solid foundation has been laid to make your home a secure and lasting place to live.




Many of us find that we have given only lip service to God's commands. We are faced with the reality that our foundations are not strong enough to weather life's storms. How do we react when the trials come? Do we fret and worry? Do we take life into our hands? Do we respond inappropriately when we don't get what we want? The Lord uses these times to help us recognize whether our foundations are sand or rock. Ask the Lord today if you have built on His rock. If so, you can be comforted to know that you can weather any storm that may come your way.




By O. Hillman

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A CROSS BY THE SEA: TEAMWORK



"Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord." - 2 Chronicles 30:12




I have often marveled at the "V" flight formation of Canadian Geese while migrating. A perfect V formation which allows additional lift for the flock to travel with less effort over long distances. All the while the leader is constantly receiving encouragement through loud honking by the other geese. As the leader tires, he relinquishes the lead and another goose from the flock takes up the lead with encouragement from the flock that is following in perfect unison. This activity occurs the entire trip until they arrive at their destination which some times involves hundreds of miles.


This is a case of the flock depending on one another to be successful in their trip to their destination which requires team work from all involved. There is no individualism at work here. All contribute to the success of their journey much like the functions in the body of Christ. We all have a purpose in service to the Lord and all are a vital part in our journey. We work as a team to generate the desired results and lead others to Christ. As one of us tires another will take up the lead and continue on all the while getting constant encouragement from the assembled team.

As a single individual we cannot accomplish as much as an individual working with in a team effort with others focusing on the same goals and united together in the same cause. That same fact is true in the Body of Christ. There in lies the dependency of all to offer their share in order to succeed. In the Body of Christ, we need team members to minister to others in need and with illnesses. We need team members to be prayer warriors and pray for these that need prayers. We need team members to be teachers of the scriptures. We need team members to be prophets and share God's words to others. We need team members to be evangelist and win souls to Christ. We need team members to sing praises of God's words. We need team members to welcome and seek out others seeking God's grace and make them feel welcome.

United in the Body of Christ, all play a vital part in service to the Lord through encouragement and love to others. It was never intended for us to go it alone. Going it alone will insure failure. Where is your place in the Body of Christ?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A CROSS BY THE SEA


I find these songs to be spiritual in nature sung by voices of angels. Celtic Women.













What I want to do with this new venture is rely on spiritual music as well as a word from scripture and will include what I feel may move you in worship. I have always had a soft spot for music most of my life and have played an instrument off and on over the years ( mostly by ear and rather badly at that). I can't read notes at all so I have to transpose the notes to letters. I recently took on the challenge of learning to play the violin thinking it might be easier than drums or piano. Boy was I wrong. It has been an up hill battle. To make it even harder a challenge, the cancer surgery in my left arm has made the arm muscles a bit stiff and painful when holding the violin. Perhaps I should switch to something a bit bigger.




I should be adding more later but this should suffice for now. Got to hit the books to come up with a topic for the week end. Hope you enjoyed the music.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A CROSS BY THE SEA

A CROSS BY THE SEA


An old friend (Jamie) from across the pond had always said I should build a church next to the sea for others to worship the Lord. Considering the cost of real estate on beach front property, this is the closest I could come up with for now. Perhaps some day it will be a reality.



I have always been one to sit on the beach and listen to the incoming waves splashing against the beach sands in a constant soothing rhythm allowing me to get lost and relax. The one thing I found is the ability to marvel at the glory of the Lord as I sit, meditate, and give thanks for what I do have. It is at the beach when I feel closer to Jesus. Just me and Him. As I look back along my walks on the beach, I keep looking to see if there is another set of foot prints in the sand. Some day I might be able to see them.



With this in mind, I have decided to change directions with my blogs and rename the blog "A CROSS BY THE SEA". I want to open this blog with an invitation for all that are lost and hurting and can't find a place to call their home church. Perhaps you are shut in and can't go to church or are suffering from an illness that prevents you from attending on a regular basis. Perhaps you are in a toxic church ( been there/ done that) and feel left out of the click groups. Perhaps you are looking for fellowship with others and want to share your sadness, joys, and faith in the Lord.



I welcome all to make suggestions and give me ideas of what you want from this adventure. For me this is a new venture and I am excited as I can be as I feel the Lord is leading me to do this for His glory and reach out to others wanting to share their faith in Jesus. As we all know, a gathering of 2 or more to worship Him is a body of Christ.



Dear Heavenly Father. I pray to you to lead me in your name's sake to begin on this new journey and exalt your name . Help guide me to make the right decisions in service to You so that others will have a place to worship Your loving grace. I pray that you give me the strength and courage to minister to others in service to You. I pray that you can guide me to seek out pastors, leaders, prophets, evangelist, and disciples that can help this ministry grow in service to others. I pray that some day we will be able to go national and plant seeds glorifying Your name. In Jesus name , Amen.





Wednesday, May 5, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: IN GOD WE STILL TRUST


Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?" - Psalm 10:1


One of the great mysteries of God is His ways. Some of His ways almost appear to bring us into the most difficult places, as if He were indifferent to our circumstances. It would appear that He is turning His head from our sorrows. These events in our lives have a particular objective to perform for us. That objective is to bring us to the end of ourselves that we might discover the treasure of darkness. "Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness" (Job 30:26).


When we are taken into these dark periods, we begin to see light that we never knew existed. Our sensitivities become heightened and our ability to see through spiritual eyes is illuminated. Unless we are taken into these times, our souls never develop any depth of character. We do not gain wisdom, only knowledge. Knowledge is gained through understanding; wisdom is gained through the experience of darkness.


After we go through these periods, we discover that God was, in fact, with us throughout the entire time. It does not feel or appear that He is there when we are in the midst of the dark periods. However, He is there walking with us. He has told us countless times that He will never leave us. However, when we are in those dark periods, it does not feel like He is there because He does not rescue us from the circumstances. He does this for our benefit in order that we might become more like Jesus. Jesus learned obedience from the things He suffered (see Heb. 5:8). What does that say about how you and I will learn obedience? Embrace the dark times and gain the wisdom that God intends for you from these times.

By O. Hillman.

Need I say more?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

REALLY HEARING HIS VOICE: MY RECENT EXPERIENCE





The wife and I recently went down to our home town in Pensacola Florida to help out my brother in law get a van and equip it with a handicap ramp for mobility. He had polio as a child and is getting up in years. Also has other health issues thus preventing him from having the freedom to get around as well as he did in his earlier years.




The day before we were to leave, the Weather Channel reported a major storm with tornado watches, warnings, and thunder storms in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida heading right into our path back home to Cincinnati, Ohio. We were to take I-65 straight through Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. It didn't look good at all.




All I could think was "Dear Lord, how are we going to get through all that? I have to be back before Monday?" As I watched the weather radar images, I heard a still voice pointing out to me the path up in between the storms saying "You can make it, I will guide you."




The next morning we got up and packed the car and took one last review of the weather channel radar images and found a semi clear path right up the center of Alabama where I-65 is located but seemed to have storms on either side of the interstate. We took this as the path we were to follow. We had rain all the way but it was mostly light or moderately heavy except in 5 places. When we hit our first torrential down pour so bad you could barely see out the windshield and high winds, I heard a still quiet voice saying to pull over under an over pass and wait out the storm as cars whizzed by us doing 70 to 85 MPH. After the heavy rain and hail passed by us we started back on our journey only to see a major wreck involving several cars that lost control just a mile or two up the road. Each time we encountered a major torrential down pour, high winds, and hail I heard that voice again saying pull over or get off the interstate and I did. Getting back on our journey, we encountered several wrecks along the way. We experienced this all through Alabama and Tennessee. I would imagine had we continued with out pulling over, we might have been one of those wrecks.




After a harrowing day on the road, we decided to stay at a motel in Franklin Ky. that I made reservations for 4 days earlier as it was getting dark and the rain was becoming torrential again. After getting a room we turned on the weather channel and found out just how big and bad this storm was. Mississippi was hit with a 1/2 mile wide tornado that devastated a small town there. Several tornado sightings were noted in Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee right along or near the I-65 route we took. Franklin Ky. was under a tornado watch at the time. The next morning the skies was clear and not raining thus the last leg of our journey was smooth sailing all the way home.




Looking back over this experience, what led me to believe we could get through harms way unscathed? What prompted me to make reservations at this motel 4 days before we left Florida to go back home? What were those still silent voices I heard prompting me to pull over during the violent storms? Was it luck or divine guidance? I know what it was but I will let you be the judge.



Sunday, April 25, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: HEARING HIS VOICE





"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." - John 8:47





Jesus said that the key to being able to hear God's voice is first to be one of His children. One of the great mysteries of the universe to my logical mind is how God can communicate with six billion people on the earth at the same time. It is one of those mysteries I must let go of because my "hard drive" would crash if I had to explain and understand this before I believed and trusted in Him. It is as though God places a computer chip in each human being, and when we place our faith and trust in Him, it becomes activated. We begin to communicate with Him. Jesus says that if we are children of God, then we can hear God's voice.




He further explains this relationship in the following parable:
"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice (John 10:1-5)."





The Shepherd is always representative of Christ. Sheep are representative of God's children. This passage tells us that the Shepherd communicates with His children. We are called by name and we can listen to our Shepherd's voice. There is another comforting aspect to this relationship. The Shepherd goes before the sheep to prepare the way. Jesus has already gone before us today to prepare our way.





Knowing the Shepherd and His voice allows us to have the assurance that we will not be fooled by another shepherd's voice. The sheep know His voice. It is only when we are dull of hearing that we mistakenly hear another's voice and follow it. Sin can create a poor frequency in our communication with the Shepherd. Make sure your frequency is free of static (sin) today so that the Shepherd can lead you and go before you.





Finally, distractions can also keep us from hearing our Shepherd's voice. When the sheep get entangled in the fence or wander off, they get too far away to hear the Shepherd's voice. We must stay in close proximity to the Shepherd to hear His voice. Stay close to the Shepherd today. Listen and follow. He wants to lead you.





By O. Hillman.





We must always be in close contact with the Lord to hear His voice. We can always do this by prayer and even conversations with Him on a daily basis. It doesn't have to be a long winded prayer or oracle but just a simple "Hello Lord, I am thinking of you." can do if you are strapped for time. Talking to the Lord is a lot like a Ham radio operator dialing in a frequency on his radio for communication with others. We just have to keep our frequency open for communication with the Lord in the same way. Not using that frequency on a regular basis may cause you to loose it thus the trial and error of searching for the right frequency again and again. Stay connected and His voice is never far off.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: 23RD PSALM


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me." - Psalm 23:4a KJV


In the battles of the workplace or home, your peace is actually a weapon. The workplace creates many opportunities to rob us of our peace. Cash flow concerns, deadlines, relationships - all create stress on us. Your confidence in the God of peace declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. You see the first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the devil, he did not confront satan with His emotions or in fear. Knowing that the devil was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any voice other than God's. His peace overwhelmed satan; His authority then shattered the lie, which sent demons fleeing.


There is a place of walking with God where you simply fear no evil. David faced a lion, a bear, and a giant. In this Psalm he stood in the "shadow of death" itself, yet he "feared no evil." David's trust was in the Lord. He said, "...for Thou art with me." Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory as you maintain your faith in God!

David continued, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" (Ps. 23:5a). The battle you are in will soon become a meal for you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually. Only God's peace will quell your fleshly reactions in battle. The source of God's peace is God Himself. If fear has been knocking at your door, begin to face that fear with God's peace. It is God's secret weapon to destroy fear. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me." - Psalm 23:4a KJV


By O. Hillman.

When I am faced with serious or threatening issues, I find this psalm to be a comforter for my worries. I am not one to be prone to flying on a commercial jet or any air craft. The thought terrifies me but it was part of my job years ago. I had no fear racing an 800 H.P. car at up to 200 M.P.H. but the thought of flying was another matter. Naturally the 23rd psalm always seemed to come to mind and it became a habit when ever I flew to recite it and it comforted me. However if we hit turbulent air while flying, I would recite the Lords prayer and the 23rd psalms like some say Hail Mary's. It made me feel safer. Even today after I don't fly any more, that simple psalm makes rough going much easier in a time of crisis.

Friday, April 9, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: FAITH EXPERIENCES

"These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." - 1 Peter 1:7




This article pretty well sums up what we should be doing in our walk with the Lord.




One of the great tragedies of the Christian life is that if we fail to enter into a relationship with God that is born of the Holy Spirit, we are left with a religion, not a relationship. Many a person today lives with an intellectual belief in God, but without a relationship that is based on two-way communication. This is the greatest tragedy of all. It's like having a brand-new car but never having the gas to run it. It can't move you anywhere. It only looks pretty, but one cannot enjoy the ride or smell the newness inside.




Peter tells us that until our faith is proved genuine, we will never be able to give praise, glory, and honor to Jesus, because until such testing He will not be revealed in our lives. Peter describes this in the verse before: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (1 Pet. 1:6).




Trials are designed to bring us to a level of trust and experience with God that we would never know otherwise. These "faith experiences" with God allow us to know firsthand the faithfulness of God, the love of God, and the personal nature of God. If you cannot recount several instances when God has met you personally, then chances are your faith has not been born of the Holy Spirit into a living relationship with God. It is easy to fall prey to a relationship to God that never experiences His real presence; rather, it is based on knowledge only. This is a tragic place to be.




If this is where you have been in your Christian experience, ask God today to make Himself real to you. Ask Him to show you His personal nature and love. He desires to do this. Those whom He has called know His voice. He will show Himself to those who are His. "He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him" (Jn. 14:21b).


by O. Hillman

Sunday, April 4, 2010

YOU WANT TO PRAY FOR ME?



It never fails when the wife and I go to this particular church, some one comes up and wants to pray for us quite a few times over the last year. 99% of the time we have never seen these people before. Do we have down trodden signs posted on our backs?



Here are a few examples:

Several months ago the wife had a knee injury and was on crutches. We were in the atrium before the service eating some snacks when some one ( later found out she was a director of ministries) walked up to our table and said she wanted to pray for my wife's injury. We thought that was a nice gesture but in front of the whole atrium assembly who had been ignoring us any way? After her prayer, she spoke up and asked if the knee was healed. The wife, trying to be polite said it felt better. The prayer gal then got up with out a word and walked away before we could even find out who she was. I think the wife ticked her off.



At one encounter ( mini revival ) at this church, I was quite engrossed in a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit praying during the worship and a leader of the encounter walked up to me and started to pray over me by laying of the hands. This startled me but I decided to ignore her and continue with my own personal encounter. She did tell me I was not retired but re fired up. That was nice but whoa, I was not up front at the altar asking for prayer.



Over time the wife has met a person that is on a prayer group and she went up to say hello before we left for the day. I stood off towards the side and wouldn't you know it a guy whom I have never met comes up to me and asked if he could pray for me. I politely said no thanks and walked away.



At another encounter ( mini revival), after the service the same leader was with the worship leader by the altar. This one worship leader is very passionate in his music and we wanted to say how much we loved and appreciated his music and passion. The leader of the encounter turned to me as we were walking away and wanted to pray for me. I said thanks but I was OK and did not need prayer. She seemed shocked that I refused prayer but I tried to explain politely that it was not time for me to do that yet and I had a close relationship with our Lord through my own prayers.



Just recently after the service, the wife went up to the prayer group to say hello to her friend again as they don't get to see each other much. I did my usual standing off to the side and away from the prayer groups waiting for her and this new person whom I have never seen before walks up and says he wants to pray for me. I said no thanks, but that did not deter him. He wanted to know why and I told him as politely as I could. "That he did not know me and I did not know him. I have been in this church for over a year and no one has ever walked up to me and said hello or even made an attempt to get to know me even though I went to classes and study groups to get connected. No one was friendly in those situations so why is it that you want to pray for me now? Will you remember me at the next service and say hello, how are you doing?" He couldn't answer and walked away.



After wards, I felt bad but I imagined he was new and wanted to get in some prayer experience. I should have let him do it but considering the brick walls I have run into trying to make friends in this church and get connected for over a year, I guess I have built up a defensive wall to protect my self from any more hurt. It seems this church loves to pray for people but they don't want to have fellowship with any one out of their click groups. Had the wife not found a friend (she thinks) and likes this church, I would have never went back a long time ago.



If you have read any of my earlier post you might get an understanding of where I am coming from. Have any of you experienced this in your churches? Loving to pray for you but no connections with in the church?

Friday, April 2, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: SPIRITUAL EYES

I want to take this opportunity to wish all a Happy Easter and glorify our Risen Saviour Jesus.





"And Elisha prayed, 'O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.' Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." - 2 Kings 6:17p




Elisha was counseling the nation of Israel against the impending attack of the king of Aram. The Lord supernaturally gave Elisha the plans that the king was implementing, and in turn, Elisha warned Israel of each intended attack. The king could not understand why his plans were continually foiled. It seemed there was a secret informer in his midst. He was furious when he was told it was the God of Israel who was to blame for this inside information. The king decided the only way to resolve the situation was to get rid of the problem - kill Elisha.




The king's forces arrived and surrounded Elisha and his servant. Elisha's servant became upset and fearful when Elisha was not upset. Elisha immediately prayed that his servant's eyes might be opened to see that there was no need to be afraid, because the angels were protecting them.




And Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, "Strike these people with blindness." So He struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked (2 Kings 6:17-18).




Who is the Elisha in your life? Do you have a mentor friend who can see the activity of God in your life when you cannot see it? We all need to have somebody we can trust to help us see the activity of God. It is often difficult for us to see what God is really doing because we are so consumed by the circumstances of the moment. Ask God today to help open your spiritual eyes that you might see Him in your circumstances.


By O. Hillman.

Monday, March 29, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: CONVICTION

"For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction." - 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5a


This is not only for the workplace but also the home and your personal life as you walk in God's grace.



Everyone lives a life of conviction. Whatever we give our greatest time, our greatest energies, and our greatest resources to is a good indication of where our convictions lie. Some live a life of conviction about sports. Some live a life of conviction around pleasure. Still others live a life of conviction about very little that matters at all.




Whenever God chooses to do a deep work in a life, a strong conviction is born of the Holy Spirit. Conversions in the early Church resulted in changed lives that held to a deep, life-transforming conviction regarding what they believed and how they lived out that belief. Paul explains that the gospel they received came not just in words, but also in power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.



In order to impact the workplace for Jesus Christ, each of us must be reflecting a faith that is demonstrated through deeply held convictions. Are you living a life of deep conviction that spurs you on to reflect the power of Christ in your life and the lives of others? Paul was willing to suffer great persecution for his faith in a living God. God calls each of us to a life that is supernatural, not simply a good, moral life. The early Church understood the role the Holy Spirit played in demonstrating this power of the gospel. It was this deep work that resulted in living the gospel with great conviction. If you are not living the gospel with great conviction, ask the Holy Spirit to so fill your life today that the power of His Spirit is truly reflected in your life so that you may impact others in your workplace.



By O. Hillman

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

PRIME TIME WITH GOD: BITTERNESS




This is one area that I have really fallen into a trap. In my own personal experience, it can turn you away from the one who loves you the most ( God).





"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." - Hebrews 12:15





In business and life the opportunity to harbor bitterness for a wrong suffered is great. We are given plenty of opportunities to grow bitter from relationships that bring hurt and pain. The writer of the Hebrews passage above admonishes us not to miss the grace of God so that we won't take up bitterness as a response to life's pain. He cautions us against this because he knows that a bitter root grows and grows until it eventually defiles many others through a wake of bitterness. If bitterness is allowed to take root, we become imprisoned to it. God's grace will no longer have as great an effect in our lives. We become ineffective, insensitive, and spiritually dead. We can even become physically ill from it. God does not live in bitterness. He lives in grace. He has provided grace for every person to walk in.




One day I was challenged to deal with an individual who hurt me terribly. I was faced with a decision. Would I choose bitterness, or would I choose grace? Oh, how my natural tendency was to choose bitterness. But God provided the courage to choose grace. With that grace came freedom - a freedom to love and even accept the person who was the source of such pain.
This is the real place where Christ's power is most revealed. We cannot live without His supernatural grace. Are you in need of grace today? It is there for the receiving. It will take courage to accept it and walk in it. This will be your step to freedom.




By O. Hillman

Thursday, March 18, 2010

MORE PRIME TIME WITH GOD


An interesting article I found on Prime time with God.

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection...." - Philippians 3:10 P


If I asked you the purpose for which God made you, what might you say? You might give a lot of answers that required some action on your part. However, the simplest answer to that question relates to one primary thing: fellowship. The most important thing God desires from us today is to have a deep and intimate fellowship with each of us.


The apostle Paul said he wanted to know Christ, and by knowing Christ he could experience the power of His resurrection. I find this to be the hardest thing for many of us workplace believers to do. So often it is much easier to be busy with the urgent (or even Christian) activity than spending quiet moments before the Lord. Before we realize it, days have passed since our last quiet time with Jesus.


Jesus understood how important quiet moments were with the Father. "After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone" (Mt. 14:23).

The more mature I become in my relationship with the Lord, the more precious this time becomes to me. It is a time I look forward to almost daily. It offers me a time to reflect, to share my concerns with my Lord, and to hear Him speak. In the last few years I have begun prayer walks, which accomplish three things: fellowship, prayer, and exercise. It has changed my prayer life. I have come to understand that Jesus views us as His friend and He wants to spend time with us. We are depriving Him of His time when we put Him aside for the urgent. An interesting thing happens when we make prayer a priority: Urgent things seem to wane as we focus on Him. He makes all these other things fall into place.


Are you taking the time to get to know Him today?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

AM I IN A TOXIC CHURCH?




Am I the only one that sees some thing amiss in some churches today? Do you go weekly and never meet any one new? Do you try to meet others yourself only to be ignored? As one blogger once mentioned "I pass out my phone number to others but never get a call to have coffee or they say they will call you some time but never do."Another blogger I read on another site mentioned every one is so busy serving or involved in activities that they never seem to have time just to talk.




Granted in today's society our time is so pressed that free time is virtually non existent. It seems fellowship is an obsolete principle. So one decides to get to know people by joining a bible study group or volunteer to do services in the church. Ok that is going to get you the opportunity to meet others and share in your faith. Well that really doesn't happen frequently. I will give you some examples.




I joined the greeter group in this one church. Every one seemed to kinda stay to their selves and didn't really go around and introduce themselves to the ones that were new greeters. Actually I was ignored. So I though I would go around and introduce my self to every one in the group. I did this for three weeks only to over hear a person say to others gathered "Who is that guy going around to all of us saying Hi! I am Mickey Mouse." Some seemed to have a laugh about it . I was really hurt thus I quit that group of servers. Not easily discouraged, the wife and I decided to join a bible study group. It was led by a truly devout leader but none of the members of the group were at all friendly and kept to their own group of friends. The wife and I actually felt we were not welcome thus we quit going.




We decided to enroll in some classes over a period of time and it was the same fiasco. Every one seemed to stay in their own click groups and actually were not very friendly. If you saw them before or after a service they would completely ignore you as if they didn't know you. Now let me say every one is not like this there as we have had some contact with maybe one or two people but it is rather only in passing that they will speak. Perhaps it is the way churches operate now but wasn't like that in the past when we attended churches years back. We always gained some friends that kept in contact. Perhaps it is an age thing. This church seems to have very few older folks our age ( 65) as it appears to be younger oriented.




Perhaps it is a social/ economic situation. This church seems to be well heeled and operates on an expensive budget that only members with substantial incomes can afford to tithe properly can support. Being retired now and with high medical bills, the income is rather limited so I might not fit in considering. Being a believer of most of the spiritual gifts, I do practice what I call the involuntary poverty gift so we may not live in the best part of town. Perhaps that is it.




Considering the wife really enjoys all the bells, flashing lights, and the rocking music this church offers, I go along with her desires to attend this church but I am really bothered when she is hurt or ignored by those that she tries to meet. I really hope some day she sees the light and desires to move on to a more friendly church filled with the Holy Spirit and practices fellowship as dictated in scriptures.




To be honest I get more fellowship in sharing my faith on blog sites such as Abundant Living, Fire and Grace, Kingdom Bloggers, and other sites than I do at the church I now attend. That is sad and not following one of the things God has led me to do. How ever, I have met many great people by sharing my faith on the Internet blog sites and will continue to share my faith with you as long as the Lords words can make a difference in your life through my testimonials and articles.

What have your experiences been at some churches?






Wednesday, March 10, 2010

LOST AND ABANDONED





Oh dear Lord. I am wandering about in a desolate desert thirsting for the living waters you offer but I can find none. I feel lost and abandoned. My prayers go unanswered. Your loving grace eludes me. I do not hear your comforting voice. There is no cool shade to comfort me. Truly I will perish if I cannot find my way back to your grace.



I am sure a few of us (as well as I) have been in this position at one time or another in our walk with the Lord. In the desert we are cut off entirely with God to wander aimlessly to realize the importance of a close relationship with God. However as it was with Jesus, you will have a tempter that will offer you the world if you will only worship him. He will promise you living waters and comfort and the temptation to fall back into sin is always ever present. The tempting to give up on your faith as a waste of time is always on your mind. You then begin to think your friends at church are not really your friends. Don't fall into the trap. You are being swayed by the prince of darkness ( Satan) whose domain is the desert.



Those that are strong in their faith and unwavering will overcome the desert and the temptations. Just as Jesus replied to Satan with his trials in the desert, so must we also do the same in order to return to God's grace, taste the living waters, and feel his love once again. For those that are weak in faith, this will be a more difficult time but you can still overcome all temptations by keeping your heart and eyes on the ultimate goal. God's grace and love that promises so much more for you into eternity. God can hear your thoughts, Satan can't. Yet Satan can talk to you in your thoughts, he cannot hear what is in your heart. That is where you can overcome all trials and tribulations and receive God's blessings through your walk in the desert.



Put your faith in the Lord and let His word comfort you in your trials through the desert and you will also be able to overcome all obstacles.



Dear Lord. I come before you humbly to confess of my sins and beg for forgiveness. Help guide me through my walk in my life so that I may serve you and exalt Your holy name to all that will listen. Grant me the courage and faith to endure hardships, persecution, and temptations so that I am in Jesus as Jesus is in you. In Jesus name, amen.

MORE PRIME TIME WITH GOD




"It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering." - Genesis 41:52


Joseph named his second son Ephraim. Ephraim was given to him after he had been delivered from his suffering of 13 years. Joseph said that he named him this because God had made him fruitful in the land of his suffering. Ephraim means "twice fruitful."


Joseph was fruitful in two instances. He was fruitful during his time of adversity and in his prosperity. When God brings us into a time of suffering, it can be a fruitful time. It's rare for us to see the fruit during the suffering period. But know that the roots are going deep into the spiritual soil of our soul because of our pressing in to God during our time of suffering. This is producing a work in our character that cannot be seen until it finishes the process. Such was the case for Joseph.


It was not until several years after such a time of suffering that I began to see the fruit of the trials that the Lord allowed me to experience. How grateful I am to understand some of the "why" that has led to a new life in Him that I would never have had without this period.
Samson had great anointing but lacked character. We see many today who have great anointing yet lack character. But God is rising up Josephs who not only have great anointing for these days but also great character. Suffering produces character.


If you find yourself in a time of suffering, now is the time to press into God. Let your roots grow deeper. Whenever there is a famine, tree roots are forced to drive deeper into the soil to find water. These times are designed to create such a deep-rooted faith that our natures will be changed forever.

By O. Hillman

Monday, March 1, 2010

MESSAGES FROM PRIME TIME WITH GOD

Few men of God have become extraordinary people of faith without the influence of mentors. A mentor is one who takes responsibility for the spiritual and, sometimes, physical care of another. It requires a commitment from the teacher and the student.



Elijah mentored Elisha. Elisha became one of the greatest prophets in the entire Bible. One of the primary reasons for this was Elisha's hunger. Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah's spirit. It was this hunger that drove Elisha to be sold out to God's purposes for his life.



I have been privileged to have had many mentors throughout my spiritual life. In each stage of my maturity, God brought new mentors who had unique gifts that the previous mentor did not have. God has given me the hunger to desire a double portion of those positive attributes of my mentors. This desire is sorely missing among many today. I fail to see the hunger among many who could be used greatly in the Kingdom. Instead, the cares of this world distract them. It is an attitude of a la carte versus an attitude of pressing in to the full measure of what God might have for them.



Who are the people of God He has placed in your life? Are you learning from them? Are you seeking a double portion of their anointing? What prevents you from gaining from their wisdom and experience? God may have brought them into your life to prepare you to be a man or woman of God with great anointing. However, there is a time of training and waiting to prove out your own faith. Ask God today if there is someone He would have you mentor or be mentored by.



When is the last time God did something in your work life that can only be explained as God? Was it yesterday? Was it just last week? A month ago? A year ago? The answer to this question may mean several things. If it has been some time since you saw God's activity in such a way that you know it was His hand, you may not be trusting to a level that requires faith. You may not be risking enough for God to show Himself.



The converts in the early Church changed the world they lived in because of what they saw and heard. It was the power of the gospel that changed lives, not what they learned from mere teaching. This power drew people to Christ. Things happened that could not be explained as anything other than the activity of God. Is that the kind of faith you are experiencing in your life? Many of us live a wholesome, moral life, but those we associate with do not see this activity as anything that cannot also be achieved by themselves. That is why many are not drawn to our lives. God's power is not evident. The Lord has been challenging me to trust Him at levels I have never trusted before. This level of trust has placed me in a vulnerable position. However, the blessing of this relationship is that I see the activity of God as never before, and those close to me see it as well. It builds their faith and draws others to investigate.



Sometimes the activity of God comes in unusual ways. God often sets up scenes that appear to be negative on the front end, but God has orchestrated these events for His glory.



-Without Pharaoh's pursuit of Israel at the Red Sea, there is no miraculous deliverance.
-Without Lazarus's death, there is no rising to life.
-Without Goliath, there is no underdog story.
-Without Peter stepping out of the boat, there is no miracle on the water.
-Without Judas' betrayal, there is no resurrection.



God wants to show Himself in ways you and I cannot imagine. Let God demonstrate His power in your workplace today. Then, you will see "all men drawn unto Me."

Articles I found inspiring by O. Hillman.