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Love Divine

LOVE DIVINE


When hope is strong, but strength is weak; stay with hope.

When light is coming;but darkness is present; keep looking for the light.

When friends don’t understand, remember God can.

When you resent your circumstance, take a stand and find your rest in the Lord.

You may be angry at God, and too afraid to say it; but He cares for you, and still skillfully controls your fate.

Remember God loves you even when you hate yourself.  He’s doesn’t need a reason.  He just does.


Ahhhhhhhhh!  That's Love Divine!

 

TOUCH

TOUCH

 

Remember to touch.  

Touch is an expression of love.  

Touch love is deeply sensory.  And it is different from sex.  

Sex is often robotic and too often thrives off the short term, the animal instinct and the exotic.  A friend touches.

 

Touch love is spiritual, sensory, soulful.  Touch acknowledges a person’s being. 

It says, “I am with you.”  It says, “I care.”

Ambivalence is cold, unmoved.  But touch warms.  It activates.

 

The very nervous system is heightened with touch.  So, touch him.  

Touch his face; ease his fears.  

Touch her!  Touch her hand.  Don’t hold it!  

Hold it only, for security.  But,

 

Touch it for sensory sensation.  Touch for affirmation.  

Touch for love.  

Don’t be afraid, touch me.  

 

Husbands love your wives…

(Colossians 3:19)

 

“…the greatest of these is Love.”  

(1 Corinthians 13:13)

For The Simple/Common People

For the Simple / Common People

 
FOR THE SIMPLE / COMMON PEOPLE
...and the common people heard him gladly.  Mark 12:37

Some things are a mystery.  Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that.  (The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.) Why do children die?  You may not understand, why there is so much evil or bad in the world.  Why do natural disasters destroy innocent lives?  And Look!  We cannot figure out how free will coexists with predestination.How can there be a thing called God's Sovereignty, without God ever participating in sin, leaving man’s moral choices as man’s primary responsibility.  We don't like it, but we cannot understand why it seems like bad people get away with everything, while good people suffer so much. But don't let what you don't understand stop you from responding in faith to what you do understand.

The Bible teaches us simple things that we can understand.  Things like, God loves us.  Jesus  reminded us that, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends “ (John 15:13).  But, Jesus was not really interested in winning religious or philosophical arguments.  He was not interested in scientific explanations or philosophical frustrations that dismiss God’s existence simply because a person cannot understand life’s major crisis and God’s place in them.  Instead, Jesus was interested in getting people to enter the Kingdom that the Father was building through him.  ...and the common people heard him gladly.  Jesus did not seek out the deep thinkers like Nathaniel (John 1:46 - And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?).  Deep thinkers searched for Jesus. (For example, Matthew 23:35-36 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? )  Even today, Jesus is not interested in helping you understand everything about the origin of man, the tension between free will and Providence, the detailed intricacies of human travel from life on earth to or through death; but there are things that he knew and knows that simple people need to hear.

Common people, simple people are both phrases that refer to people who live life based on a clear understanding about life.  They are not stupid or ignorant.  They, like those who consider themselves to be educated, make a choice of what presupposition they will build their lives upon.  Whatever they do not understand, they wait until it is revealed in some way.  They do not try to solve the mysteries of the universe.  Common people read the record that God left on the earth and his imprint in the sky.  Common people heard Jesus say blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), and despite the crowd they found themselves in (Matthew 4:24 - 5:2 “and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.  And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying…”) they say Amen.  Common people understand Jesus' statement, "you must be born again” (John 3:3).  They are not theologians who try to break down the process of salvation, if Jesus said it, they simply believe it must be done and it can be done, and will be done for those who will surrender.  Common , simple have no problem understanding that Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10; Matthew 18:11).

Simple people know that there are moments that miracles happen; but they understand that not every moment is a miracle.  They know that a daughter is healed when doctors have given up, is a miracle(Matthew 9:18).  Simple people know that a terminally ill leper whose science and culture could not cure him, received a miracle ( Luke 17).  They need no deep understanding of fasting and its relationship to preparing a path for God to work. Simple people are cognizant—mentally aware—that since there is God, a blind man may be made to see at any moment.  They do not ask why every blind man is not healed, they simple trust that one day, God’s generosity will overtake them.  Simple don’t try to explain things, they are just thankful. 
Maybe our joy and our commitment to witnessing about the presence of Christ in the world would increase, if we spent less time looking for deep sayings from all of the deep thinkers in the family of God.  Our experiences with God are profound without any attempt by us to magnify our journey.  Christ does the common things for common people.  He gives healing, assurance, and provision.  He makes us aware of our place in the Kingdom of God. 

Finally, simple people do not need to be impressed; they need direction.  They need encouragement.  They need the power of a word from Christ.  Simple people heard Jesus because his message was simple, plain.  In the context of Mark 12 Jesus had refuted religious arguments and openly dealt with an ernest seeker.  But when he turned to the common people, the simple people, he gave them a simple narrative question that presupposed that their answer would be, “because he is God.”  That’s all they needed.  Simple interrogations!  Simple declarations!  The narrative itself put to rest the questions about who he was and where he came from, so that Jesus could return to the plain/simple teaching of the Kingdom.

This week, why not try to listen to the simple things that Jesus had to say.  You will find yourself refreshed in the spirit and ready to live this new life in Christ with new excitement.

Another American Tragedy

Another American Tragedy

 
It's bad enough that another man was killed.  It's sad that the reporting about the incident is being analyzed and made to look like the wrongness or rightness of the killing is simply a matter of racial perspective.  The only possible good (and this is minor) that may come out of this is the acknowledgment of a constantly denied fact that the basic fabric of our country's  social and legal structure is predicated on racism, classism and fear.  This is not an indictment of all white or non-African people.  It is a fact that remains, regardless of the skin color and culture of the highest officers in the land.  The structure in which we work to secure the rights of all people has shown itself historically to be jaded against AFRICAN AMERICANS particularly.

The recent shootings of African Americans (Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown to name a few) and the injudicious ways that the killers were cleared of wrong-doing should alarm every American and serve as a call to action.  Our actions must not only include flowers and memorials (as honorable as they are), meetings and public forums where we vent our frustrations; they should include training for those persons in our society who are still afflicted with the "black bogey-man" consciousness.  The idea that a black man is dangerous or threatening to a person of another race simply because he is big, or speaks loudly or possesses any other social trait seen as normal in others, but magnified and vilified in African Americans, can only be dispelled when we begin to play a larger role in the intellectual development of how people in this country and across the world understand us. 

The truth be told, there are people who are African American that have been mis-educated about their own people, distance themselves emotionally and culturally from us and contribute to the ongoing justification of Black abuse and murder.  Not all of them are educated or raised in white institutions.  Some are urban misfits who themselves see Black life as worthless or at best expendable, as they seek to gain control our Communities for their own purposes.  So whether one has grown up in pristine white neighborhoods that demonize blacks or whether one has succumbed to the "make it in this world by any means necessary" ideology (even when it means contributing to the creation of a deadly or hostile living environment), Americans collectively must work to stop the violence that targets blacks because they are black.  It doesn't matter whether the killer is brown-skinned, white-skinned, black-skinned or clothed in blue, our justice system and the broader societal attitude that it fosters by its conclusions must see the need for change from fear of blacks and affect that change that is so badly needed to save black life and protect the innocent.  We should never feel content to hear the statement "I felt threatened" from individuals who are armed while their victims are unarmed.

A mother and father will bury their 18 year old son today.  Most cultures would see this young person for what he was, "a child."  Did he make bad decisions?  Like most of us who have gone through childhood, yes.  Should he be made to understand the consequences of his actions?  Yes.  But he did not deserve to die.  He should not have died.  The children of other groups would have had can opportunity to at least correct their young son.  No so, here.  These parents who could have taught their son have been deprived of parenting privileges because someone brutalized him.  This is our tragedy.  It is an American tragedy.  If it is justified, maybe it signals the death of the true American soul, which for others espouses "equal protection under the law," but not for African Americans.

We all deserve to live safely.  When we cannot secure safety for ourselves, we have laws, local, state and federal governments to help secure us.  But when our security turns against us; when our institutions endorse our extermination and extinction, how tragic is that?

LET US WORK TOGETHER TO END THE VIOLENCE.
 

A Man's--A Pastor's Thoughts About Love

February 5, 2014 began one of the most painful periods and experiences that I have ever had to endure.  But I am happy in Jesus.  I have been and still have bouts of sadness about it, but I am happy in Jesus.  Honestly, it took me a while to begin balancing my feelings again but, when I did, I realized that I was happy that my beloved, my friend, the woman that was "fit" to help me through life, had obtained from the Lord the form of living all Christians deeply desire (Eternal Life).  So, I have been happy for her, but sad for me.

Suddenly it hit me.  I was so sad because we loved so completely.  As much as it hurts, I would love her again today and risk the pain and sadness of loosing her again, rather than live the pitiable state of not having had the opportunity to love her at all.  So my beloved friends, love for real and love completely because if you never commit to everything about love, you will never know the true ecstasy of it.
My Love!
My Ecstasy!
1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV) "So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 
 

Stir Up The Gift

STIR UP THE GIFT
1 Timothy 1:6
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

I am a fan of professional sports.  You don't need to know which ones, but I can tell you that although do not know everything about every aspect of my teams, I love to see them play, and I am ecstatic when they win.  when they play, even during what seem to be sure losses, I have confidence that they will come through in the end.   And so, whatever good they do, I applaud.  I shout.  I find a reason to talk good them.

Although my worship experience is far too sacred to place in the same category as my sports teams, (because God's holiness is not to be cheered, but revered; His power not to be applauded but appreciated; and His acts should lead us to thanksgiving, not to mere ecstasy) I believe that the enthusiasm that I express during time of worship should minimally at least be equal to that of my sports behavior.

But God should be given more.  The command of Paul to his cohort Timothy expresses it well: "Stir up the gift of God that is in you..."  Whether worship, devotion to the preparation of sacred things at Church, or to the task of making disciples, we Christians must not simply wait for a new unction or motivation, we must stir up what is in us.  God has ensured the abilities that He has given us in several ways.  He has given us the Holy Spirit to live within us; given His angels to watch over us and attend to us; He has given us living water springing up into everlasting life, and He has given us the ability and charge to stir ourselves--excite ourselves--for the work He has called us to do.

The Word of God to Timothy is also the Word of God to you and me.  Don't wait any longer to do what God has commissioned you to do.  Even if you don't feel like it, "stir up the gift of God that is in you..."  You will experience joy and victory in Jesus as you find excitement and reasons to do God's will.

Blessings!

Not Helpless and Not Alone

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

It may be that some of the more frustrating times on your journey were like some of mine.  For me, these were times that I wanted to be in a different place in my life or times when I just felt like there was no significant spiritual movement going on within me or in the ministry that God had called me to do.  BUT, I didn't feel that I had the ability to do anything about the situation, so I smiled and behaved as though "It was all good!"  Huh!

Times of feeling powerless to change your circumstances can make you anxious and discontent.  I've learned that these are the times that God is calling us back to simply believe His word and live in His promises.  One of those Words spoke loudly to me in the middle of my day a few months ago.  "God...hath given us power..."  It's not new news, but when a revelation from God hits you afresh, it's like you never heard it before.  I heard God saying to me through this Word, "Stop pouting! Stop whining!"  Stop wasting the power that I've given to you to overcome your challenges, simply to brood your way into depression.

You see, God has given us the ability to do the next thing; to go the next mile in the life of ministry.  But like Timothy, we are sometimes too timid to approach the place that we are to enter with power and boldness.  The problem is no lack of the Holy Spirit.  It is a lack of will.  And so my beloved brother or sister, I write to remind you that you are capable.  You do have the ability.  God has given you the power to do.  Trust Him. You Are Not Helpless and You Are Not Alone!

Blessings
 

WE JUST CAN'T DO IT!

Colossians 1:12 ...Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

Ever had those days when you feel like you just don't measure up? You just don't feel like you are what everyone else thinks you are; strong, confident, always on top of your game, always winning. Would you even admit that there are days that you didn't feel so saved? Ha! When days like that come, reach back and realize that you really didn't make your life what it is, God did.

God has "made us fit" to take part in a life with His children of light. Really! God knows that none of us can be what He wants us to be, so "He" is always processing us. "He" is always adjusting us. "He" is always "making us fit" to take part in the life that He has given to us. We have two areas in life that can drag us into apathy or into paralysis: one is not being to meet the expectations that others have of us, and the second is not being able to live up to the expectations that we have of ourselves.

Our moments of inadequacy do not normally last throughout life, but they are specific times when we are vulnerable and subject to the mental and emotional stresses that Satan--through whatever means he uses--throws into the path of our lives. The Scripture teaches that "we have been made fit (KJV = meet) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." So let's take a minute and thank God for what He did and does for us. Let's thank Him for doing what we cannot do for ourselves.

Lord, thank you for saving me and for making me to grow.
Lord thank you for looking beyond my faults and for working on my soul.
Lord, I didn't start my day in fellowship with You, but thank You for staying with me.
Lord I don't feel as strong as I should, but thanks for using even this to make me what you want me to be.
Lord, I should have known what to say during that conversation yesterday, but thank you for developing in me the need for the wisdom of your Word.
Lord, I thought this sickness would keep me from serving you, but thank you, that in my weakness, your strength is made perfect.


God is at work in you. Let yourself live in the work that He is doing. You cannot do anything to qualify yourself as a child of God, you can only surrender to what the Father is making you to be in Christ. Give God glory for the work that He has done.

 

 

Talk to God: Keep It Simple

I recently endured a time of prayer.  Have you ever done that?  How embarrassing!  Unsatisfied when I finished, I went back to my knees with eyes opened and spoke to God in simple thoughts, using simple words.  The response that I enjoyed from God, the feelings that seemed to flush through my body and soul were incredible. 

After coming down from that spiritual elevation, I questioned myself about why and whether the mediocre times in prayer happen too often.  The Lord spoke to me and said, "you are spending too much time trying to impress me."  Don't impress me; fellowship with me, communicate with me.  And, Yes it happens too often."  The Lord then took me to a simple Bible passage found in Luke's gospel chapter 11 and verse 9: "So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." 

"Just ask," He said.  How simple!    I encourage you to speak to God like He is what He is: "your Father."  He doesn't require deep thoughts.  What He wants is the honesty of your heart and the simplicity of your thoughts.  If you're looking for strength today, try an open talk with God.

Blessings!

Spiritual Growth Orders

Spiritual Growth Orders
James 4:7-8
 
Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts ye double-minded.
 
Your experience with God today, has been provided to make you strong.  This was the general message that the apostle James was delivering to Jewish Christians who had been scattered throughout the region.  The words unappreciated by their society are an understatement of the conditions that they were expected to live under and be witnesses for Christ.  They were oppressed.  You may also feel that the Enemy or (your enemies) are doing whatever they can to make your miserable and inconvienient.  You're in good company.  James--the apostle of the Lord--was given a special message that fits both his time and ours.
 
First, surrender to God.  Today's Christian wants to control his/her life.  We often want God just to stamp His approval on the way we live and the circumstances that we want to live our lives under.  But James tells us that the way to peace is to surrender to God.  Second, Resist the devil.  If you are in a contest and your opponent always has you running, you will never have consistent peace of mind.  Nor will you ever gain a victory.  But the minute you go on the offense, the minute you attack the strongholds of the devil that are intruding into your life, you will experience the power of God in a life-altering way.  God did not make you an animal to be hunted by the devil.  God made you a soldier who is capable of fighting.  You can fight the good fight of faith and turn the devil's incursion in your life back.
 
Next James tells us to get close to God.  The tendency of Christians is to win a battle and then basque in the fact that they overcame the devil or a temptation.  Jesus said to his disciples one day "do not rejoice because you have power over the devil; but rejoice because your names are written in Heaven." God is not calling us to brag about our victories, but to get close to Him.  Bragging is a distraction.  It takes your mind off of the continuing battle.  Getting close to God through repentance (awareness and confession of our own arrogance),  praise,  prayer and thanksgiving keeps us acknowledging the work of God in our victories and following that becoming closer to the heart of God.  You never want to assume that God needs to be closer to you in your experiences; but that you need to be closer to God.
 
James tells these people who are in the middle of adversity to, purify their hearts.  Stress can deceive you in to thinking that you have the right to judge the activity of the Judge of all the earth as He works in and on your life.  Think clearly!  Think biblically about God during your struggles.  God does love you.  However He has saved you in order to use you to save or deliver someone else.  Make sure that you are not feeling like God is picking on you.  If you feel this way, your heart needs to be purified.  Jesus has a way for you to get through these inaccurate feelings; he said, "Now ye are clean through the Word I have spoken unto you."  Keep your hands off of the world's filth and be pure in the way you see God.  Get into the Word of God and don't judge your growth by how you feel.
 
It really is time for us to grow up.  It's time for us to put aside "childish things."  Refuse to think as an infant.  Grow up into Christ who is the head and grow in the Lord.  Jesus is "with you alway." Submit, resist, cleanse and purify!  That is a prescription for growth.  And these things are not God's suggestions; they are God's orders.
 
Blessings!
 
 
 
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