CRAVINGS: What You Really Want!

Real satisfaction is only experienced through obtaining what your souls truly craves

Copyright © Speak True Life, Wanda Murry, June 22, 2018

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It is my belief that in mankind’s pursuits lays the desire for a connection to others beyond customary.  Hidden beneath society’s downward spiral into moral madness, and disguised as human rights, politics, justice and the rights of the people, lies very basic needs.  Every man, woman, and child has a need to be loved, a need to belong, and a need for true intimacy.

Mention the word intimacy and many things may come to mind, so let me clarify what I’m not talking about.  I’m not talking about that physical imitator passed off through verbal graphics of bodies intertwined while the heart remains tucked away untouched and unaffected.  I’m not talking about sharing space or pleasantries or moments of time with another. And, I’m not talking about a surface driven state of euphoria that incites our emotions.

Nope  —  I’m talking about i-n-t-i-m-a-c-y 

  • I’m talkinga longing for; an ardent (warm, affectionate, passionate) desire
    • “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1
  • I’m talkinga very eager or urgent or fervent desire for
    • “O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is;” Psalm 63:1
  • I’m talkinga deep, almost painful craving
    • My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Psalm 84:2

This desire occurs in the deepest, most remote part of our being.  It’s seated in our mind and in our heart. It has been covered, concealed and is often replaced with temporary idols in a vain attempt to escape the pain produced when it is unmet in its most genuine, sincere form.

Who on earth doesn’t crave a kindred relationship that makes your eyes light up, your heart warm over with deep appreciation, and your smile spread big and bright across your face?  Who hasn’t searched out the kind of intimacy that causes you to voluntarily and unconditionally open your arms to receive, to embrace, to take comfort in, and to bask under the protective covering of another!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As much as we crave this intimacy, we’ll continue to fall short of experiencing such depth of heart as long as we skirt entering the portal of God, where true intimacy begins. As long as we are willing to run along the edge or remain on the border of detailed knowledge and close association with God, the mind, heart, and soul will continue to have a great thirst for intimacy.

I love the way “Till I Found You” by Phil Wickham paints a picture worth a thousand heartbeats!  DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT LISTENING to the video below.  In it you will find two beautiful pictures for all of us:

  • An intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the source of Salvation where our hunger to be known is met with the confession of our mouth, and the heart belief of God’s all-knowing, all-seeing sovereignty; and
  • An intimate, loving, committed marriage where the man loves his wife as Christ loved the church, and the wife, in turn, reverences her husband.

 

 

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Song:   Till I Found YouPhilWickhamVEVO

Published on May 17, 2018

© 2018 Phil Wickham New song from Phil Wickham’s upcoming album “Living Hope.” Coming August 2018

 

Never lose sight of the fact that Christ came from his heavenly home specifically to create an opportunity to have intimacy with you by the redemptive power of his blood.  The Plan of Salvation is available to YOU! 

Heart Worship: I Am the Master’s Clay

Surrender becomes easier as truth settles deeper into the heart

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Copyright © Wanda Murry, June 6, 2018 

 

Scriptures:

Isaiah 64:8 (KJV) – But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

Ephesians 2:10 (KJV) – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Song:

MasterpieceDanny Gokey Official Lyric Video – Published on Mar 4, 2018 – Official lyric video for Danny Gokey’s “Masterpiece” from the album RISE.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a song blog, but with everything that I and others have been facing lately, this Wednesday Worship goes directly to the core of everything God’s children may be facing.  With understanding and the right heart, we count the trials and tribulations as an honor!

Only God’s Children – those who have accepted the gift of salvation according to the scriptures by confessing with their lips their belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and believing in their hearts with prayer for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – can comprehend the magnitude of what an eternal privilege it is in having our lives turned upside down and inside out, for God’s glory.

I was taught to be my own person growing up.  Now more than ever, I am learning to exchange self-will for God’s will through daily surrender as Corinthians 6:19 becomes a growing, tangible2 truth:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

There is still room at the cross!

There is still time to answer the call!

There is still time for huge Savings!

Salvation Remains Free For the Asking

As Does Your Free Will to Choose or Reject the Gospel Truth!

 

Blindsided by the Blind Spots in the Wall

Beware of the dust that gathers while standing still at the gate!

Copyright © Wanda Murry, Speak True Life, May 23, 2018

Encarta Dictionary: English (North America):  blind–side (transitive verb), blind–side (blind·sid·ed, blind·sid·ing, blind·sides)

  1.  Attack from blind side

to attack somebody suddenly and physically by hitting the person on a side where his or her peripheral vision is obstructed

  1.  Attack when vulnerable

to take somebody unawares suddenly, with detrimental results to that person

WebstersDictionary.com – blind spot  noun

2an area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination

Your chest is on fire; your eyes burn with cloudiness; your breathing is labored.  Your head hurts as swirls of darkness envelop you like a soft glove.  You are rattled to the core and left feeling as if a sledgehammer has pummeled your chest. Surely you must be dying; surely the pain will be to your demise.

Tremors ripple throughout your body leaving you spineless.  Your body, in slow motion, crumbles into a heap upon the floor.  Using the last bit of strength you can muster, you wrap your arms around your body as you curl into a ball.  As tears fall, draining you of any coherent thought, even death becomes a welcome idea.

You have just been blindsided by the blind spots in your life.  While you were busy managing the multiplicity of life, you left yourself vulnerable to the attacks that are constant against those in Christ, and that which is common to the flesh.  Sometimes, the greatest blind spot is to believe one is exempt from the very temptations and troubles that accumulate into lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and pride, even though God’s Word speaks to the contrary.

In our failure to stay spiritually and mentally alert through God’s Word and an active prayer life, complacency creeps in like a tiny spider—unseen until its webs are anchored in the dark spaces our eyes did not see — and our lukewarm hearts did not feel.  Blind spots take many forms: stubbornness, carelessness, laziness, pride, trust issues, scriptural starvation, spouses, work, multiple endeavors (spiritual & physical), worldly lusts, fear, ministry(ies), bitterness, fatigue, children, weariness, etc., etc., etc.  Their development grows as one gets a little too comfortable in their state of fellowship and worship with the Holy God.

Old Testament stories highlight this common breach in the life of those on varying levels of relationship with God.  Nothing new under the sun, for there are many examples of strong beginnings of faithful servants who later falter and fall.  A tour of the internet provides an increasing number of moral failures in our churches for our learning in these modern days.  And, it is this faltering that creates the breach in our spiritual fortress.  The story found in Nehemiah is a welcome reminder.

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Photo by Chris Carter on Pexels.com

In learning that The remnant left of the captivity in the province … (were) in great affliction and reproach: (1:3), Nehemiah’s response provides us with a picture of one whose heart is towards God and God’s people, much like an uncompromising shepherd in this Laodicean church age.  In short, verses 3b-11 is the hope of a heart for what God loves … his people.  Note:

… the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, … Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, … 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: … and grant him mercy in the sight of this man…”

We are warned to remember the examples in the Old Testament by 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 – to not lust after evil things, be idolaters, commit fornication, tempt Christ, or murmur. Nonetheless, when there are blind spots in our vision, the walls of spiritual protection fall, delivering our moral compasses into the hands of worldly versions of right vs. wrong, causing spiritual weakness and compromise.052418-PrideWhen I read “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12) or the warning cry of Isaiah 5:21-Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” it is like the slap of wet hands upon the face saying, WAKE UP!  Ignorant I am not – I have fallen into several pits with scars to show.  I suspect there may be more.  So there is a great need to minimize more damage by banishing complacency, and opening my eyes and ears.  It is as good a place as any to start – at least for me.

 

The walls are failing, the breaches are widening, and God’s people cannot afford to abandon their posts#2.

Lord, wipe away the haze from our eyes; open our ears to hear the crumbling of the walls that we may turn our hearts to you again. Though our fortresses are weakened by decay, help us arm ourselves with the building materials of your mighty sword (Hebrew 4:12) and vanquish the enemy of our flesh.  Keep us from getting lost in the fabric of a busy life, that we may fortify the kingdom of God and secure the breaches with armed watchmen upon thy walls.

MISSION MINDED: Traveling Outside My Box

Why I Want To Take My First Mission’s Trip Abroad

February 1, 2018 – Copyright © Speak True Life, Wanda J. Murry

God continues to be gracious and merciful unto me.  I live a comfortable life and try to keep it that way.  My life revolves around church, work, home, family, and the occasional movies and dinner with friends.  I have enough to live on, although there is always room for better stewardship of my resources.

It’s a comfortable life!  Unfortunately, getting comfortable has its drawbacks.  I recently heard of a person who believed they had learned all they needed to learn from the scriptures and felt all they needed to do at their stage of the Christian walk was maintain what they’ve learned.  Of course, at first, some might agree that sounds good.  But, with careful consideration, you realize it’s only justifiable if you’re talking about material things.

Speaking truth to myself is a necessary reality[noun, 2.] because I understand that I am opposed by an uncouth roaring lion looking to wreck my life.  I cannot allow myself to get so comfortable in my spiritual life that I leave myself open to becoming a casualty in this spiritual war.  Every time I read the bible there are new truths being revealed that I hadn’t grasped before.  Comfortability brings about a spiritual laziness that lures one into believing they are giving God their best when, according to the scriptures, even our best is as filthy rags.

The fear of spiritual complacency is one reason I’m using the 52 Weeks of Pursuit bible study by Mark Trotter for this year’s reading through the bible.  Every year I look to go deeper into the word to get a better understanding to help me more rightly divide the Word.  There is power in the confidence of knowing what you are talking about.

I know fear is not of God, but a healthy reverence for him is a reminder that he is a holy God; there is no other (no matter how many new theories arise — the earth is flat; worship of the created things, I alone am master of my destiny, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera).  The thought of missing an opportunity to go ye therefore and teach all nations leaves me with an unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach.

If I were willing to remain in this current, comfortable spiritual state, I have no doubt it would render me ineffective for the kingdom of God in many ways.  I don’t want to be lured into forgetting that I will stand before God one day to give an account of what I did with his gifts!  This is one of the reasons I jumped at the opportunity to take my first Mission’s Trip abroad.

Witnessing the increasing sense of entitlement our society (young and old) exhibits is another thing that spurs me toward mission mindedness.  I find it both frightening but biblically anticipated, since we are so full of ourselves that we’ve relegated God to the backseat instead of letting him lead.  We are the modern reality and future of Revelation 3:14-22.  Pride is the attribute[noun, 2.] that gets us in trouble with God and man, and personally, I don’t need that kind of trouble in my life!

This leads me to the inspiration behind today’s postWhen the door was opened in October 2017 for my pastor, Ray Stewart, to embark on an overseas mission trip to Malawi, Africa, I was both excited and scared for him.  I prayed earnestly for his safety, Mark Trotter and all who those traveling and working together on this mission trip.  Working through the ministry of The Passion Center for Children / Passion Center for Pastors, my pastor proclaimed the gospel in the villages and helped to equip local pastors in their study of Scripture to help them “rightly divide the Word of Truth” and, to stand against Islam/witchcraft.

MALAWI, AFRICA — A place I had never heard of before, and most likely, you either.  My pastor shared some of the highlights from his trip with the congregation.  We learned of Malawi’s richness, and they are underdeveloped.  The statistics were saddening:  only 9% of the entire country has electricity and running water; only 20% of children attend secondary school; and, the infant mortality rate is high due to HIV and AIDS. [Read the article on Pastor Ray’s trip by clicking here.]

I was gracefully convicted of my own wasteful and careless spending habits.  Becoming a $40 a month donor to the Passion Center for Children was a spiritual no-brainer.  Not surprisingly, I haven’t missed a dime of it!  In fact, I was blessed instead.  As I mentioned in my first post of this year, the excitement and pleasure of meeting and talking with Pastors Mark Trotter and Malawi Pastor Pilira Chibwana was a blessing.

It’s confession time. Since making the decision to join the October mission team this year in Malawi, I have been attacked with fear.  My consolation, however, is implementing a lesson I learned to push past the fear.  I wrestle control of my heart and mind out of the grip of my flesh (our enemy), and reposition myself back under the control of the Holy Spirit.  I never forget to expect spiritual attacks the moment my heart service to the Lord increases.

I’m encouraged to enjoy the comfortable interludes in my spiritual walk with God.  But, I don’t want to stay there 20, 30 years.  God desires fruit, and my knowledge is increasing on how to be a more profitable sower.  I want to bear more fruit.  Being mission-minded is another part of the process that will help me do that so I don’t become stagnate in my Christian walk.  I am honored for the door God has opened for me to participate as part of the Mission Team.   Malawi is a spirit-led open invitation to travel outside my box!

Let the preparations begin!

 

Any Support You Can Give Helps Send Our 7-Person Mission Team to Malawi, Africa.

Donations are acceptable in two forms:

Grace & Truth Baptist Church, c/o 4000 SW Kamryn Drive, Lee’s Summit, MO 64082

or

Give as a Guest on our church app on our website:

https://pushpay.com/g/gtckcmissouri?src=hpp

(Give as a guest: select Missions (not General Fund) – Forward a copy

of your receipt to graceandtruthadmin@icloud.com so that we can

acknowledge you on our website and Facebook page)

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Byers Speak Truth

Guest Post by Irene Byers, Kansas City – Used with Permission

 

This past Friday, January 26, 2018, a dear friend and former coworker of mine made a post on her Facebook page that she has allowed me permission to share with you.  I’ve titled it Byers Speak Life because the message she shares is representative of what my blog is grounded on. It’s also a much needed reminder to help God’s children to set 2018 on fire for Christ.  May you read it, meditate on it, and let it take root in your heart and thoughts.

Irene Byers

Good Morning, Good Friday, and GOD Bless All!!!

I am putting forth my best effort to be positive, uplifting, hopeful and faithful with the intention of encouraging myself.

James 3:5 says Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

The tongue is strong and mighty; can speak life and unfortunately, can destroy life, friendships and relationships. Speak positively, speak encouragement, speak empowerment, speak love, speak justice, respect, and show human kindness, because our lives depend on it. Telling a child what they can’t do, what they’ll never be able to do, that they’re useless, worthless and will amount to nothing; how ignorant they are, how ugly they are, that they’re not loved or wanted, can be the murderous death of an innocent spirit.

Decide before you speak what will come out of your mouth, whether it will be healing or hurtful. Hopefully, our hearts reflect what we speak, and hopefully, we do (emphasis added) not speak from a bitter, self-righteous or angry heart. It’s a real task to speak positive and speak life when seemingly all around you is going wrong or is topsy-turvy, but when we speak from a positive place it turns life around and works in our favor.

Proverbs 18:21Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Blessings, love, and Speak Life, my friends, over yourself and others  😉

Sister Byers, I could not have said it better!! The words that proceed from your mouth expose the things you believe in your heart.  It’s imperative that Christians take heed how they represent our Heavenly Father to this lost and dying world, for we will all one day give an account for it.

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2018 – Enlarging My Investment Portfolio

Keys to growing your spiritual bank account!

Happy New Year!

For all who are reading this – God has graced us with another day of life, and a new year to choose to do something new or better. My new year goals are very simple – I plan to become a better INVESTOR:

  • Invest more in my relationship with God!
  • Invest more in the study of God’s Word!
  • Invest more in the things God cares about!

For a little over three years, I have been investing in quality time alone. It has been an adventure in digging deeper and unearthing the dead things lying beneath the surface. Normally, I end each year with time away from home to prepare for the new year, but that didn’t happen this year. Instead, God provided a ram in the bush that was far better than a trip away from home.

On New Year’s Eve, I had the pleasure of meeting with an African pastor and a stateside mission leader in preparation for my first mission’s trip abroad! Talk about a great ending to 2017! Our mission’s team was able to ask questions, listen to stories of needs, and how those needs are being met by mission efforts. I wanted to cry, both from excitement and of hearing some of the stories. It was definitely the fuel I needed to come into the new year with.

Today, I couldn’t wait to delve into the new year-long bible study I was starting. Titled “52 Weeks of Pursuit,” it is a 5-day, weekly reading through the bible, from Genesis to Revelation, with notes that provide wonderful insights into the bible.  I invite you to join me in the reading – it’s an opportunity open to everyone by just clicking on the title above, then scrolling down to click on Week 1-4 and begin.

Already, my investment in reading and studying has paid off. I’d like to share just a few things I have gleaned from God’s Word using the guide of 52 Weeks of Pursuit:

Mankind is foolish! Our attempt to change the interpretation of God’s written Word is insulting to His holiness. One example is the foundation set for marriage which God has never changed: One man. One woman. One lifetime. Period! (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:24) [52 Weeks of Pursuit; page 1]. Although I fell short in this area, it makes God’s grace and mercy through salvation all the more precious!

God created man to have a relationship with him. The notes say: God beautifully offered man the opportunity to exercise his will by making his own choice concerning this relationship. [52 Weeks of Pursuit; page 1, last paragraph].  There were two trees and two choices. Just as the first Adam choose the wrong tree, man today chooses the world [Satan’s domain] over a relationship with God [through salvation].

We can run, but we can’t hide.  In Genesis 3:8, “…Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Trees are a picture of man. Man’s attempts to hide himself in the world [amongst the trees of the garden] is sad. The substituting of good works while outright rejecting the good news will be exposed at the great white throne

Satan’s tactics are transparent. It’s important to know how Satan operates. Genesis 3:1 reveals his tactics with these words, “…Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan is transparent–he has always attacked God’s Word, and he always uses three effective traps against man: (1) lust of the flesh, (2) lust of the eyes, and (3) the pride of life. On page 2 of 52 Weeks of Pursuit, in the last two paragraphs, we are provided a great example of one who falls for Satan’s trap versus one who resists Satan’s attack in comparing Genesis 3:13 with Matthew 4:1-11. Our greatest weapon against Satan remains the Word of God hid in our hearts to help us resist his temptations!

Day One of enlarging my investment portfolio has been an amazing day to set the tone for a wonderful 2018 year!

I invite you to stay tuned and join me in the 52 Weeks of Pursuit bible study. As well, I request your prayers and our support in raising funds as I and others prepare for our first mission’s trip.

Let’s set 2018 on Fire for Christ!

 

 

 

 

My Soul Cries… S-t-r-e-t-c-h

Let me ask you; “Have you ever felt an inner unease or restlessness in your spirit where you can’t quite pinpoint the source of the feeling?” I’m sure this sounds eerie to some, but I’ve learned to pay attention to this feeling because my past has proven that it is seldom without merit.

I don’t watch the news or keep up with current events, politics or the such so I can’t pin it on those outside factors. Yet, I know something is in the wind, heading my way, and experience has shown it will become an exercise in spiritual and mental stretching. This I know: I must prepare myself for whatever is coming by praying in earnest.

Needing encouragement, I grab my first book, and find these words:

Philippians 3:13-15 – Page 37

In order to press forward to do that which we are called to do, we must make peace with the past! God has brought us this far for a reason and the past has already played its part in developing a part of our character.

Aim to do better, and be better for Christ with each new day. Do you want what God has for you? Then, press for excellence in the call God has placed upon your life. If anyone deserves the efforts of our very best it is Christ who gave His very best unto death!  Maybe you are facing something that is trying your patience or endurance.  Like me, you can probably use a little encouragement, so for all who may need a dose of uplifting, here’s a few words of comforting encouragement to help you along the way.

Matthew 7:12-20 Page 62

“The fruit of Love is an action word best confirmed by attitude and deed. The real thing shouldn’t be hard to see or feel. It will be sacrificial and compassionate in spirit, just as Jesus was. However, rotten fruit may still appear to be usable until you draw near and are met with a horrible smell that repels. For that reason, it is better to cut off anything that corrupts to keep from ruining the testimony of the Christian faith.

Psalm 22:22, 25 – Page 63

When we are knowledgeable about both our enemy and our Savior, there is little that should surprise us or catch us off guard. When you know that you are the prize in a spiritual tug-of-war, wisdom dictates that you prepare for the battle, that you stay alert, and that you map out your strategy for a sure victory.

Zephaniah 3:12 – Page 46

When there are no problems in our lives we tend to get lazy in our daily communion with God. We kind of get a faulty way of thinking toward God that says, “out of trouble, out of mind.” We mistakenly forget that troubles don’t last always, but neither will the calm days. Satan never, ever rests; he just changes tactics and disguises.

When my soul cries, “Prepare Arms,” my spirit says, “STRETCH”

to meet the unknown encounters that are ahead.

Who Do You Love?

Are You Sure?

I was listening to this wonderful song by Zach Williams titled “Old Church Choir.”  If you get a chance, you should click on the link and go listen to it!  It made me think about why people go to church.  However, I realize I can’t answer that question for any one but myself.

The first and foremost reason why I attend church faithfully is because I LOVE THE LORD and I’m learning to demonstrate that love for him by practicing it in the church and in the world.  Not only that, I WANT TO STRENGTHEN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM!  Doing so requires a daily relationship of talking and listening and learning – not just being religious-minded.

I love my churchI love my church family; the people and their heart for worship and serving each other and Christ.  It’s truly a family atmosphere where the majority is like-minded in their reasons for being a part of our church body.  I love the teachings that cover church history, bible doctrine, discipleship, sharing the word of God, rightly dividing the word, and so much more.  Being a person who doesn’t like history, I love learning, and there is so much I still don’t know.  But, I am building a knowledge base that helps me in my relationship with Christ and with others.

I’m a relational person which simply means I like getting to know people so I can connect with them, love on them, minister to them, be an ear to bend, and most importantly be a source of inspiration.

That’s the gist of my message today.  I love the Lord and I NEED HIM EVERY DAY! And that’s the message I hope the imagery below conveys!

Im Relational 112117

BE INTENTIONAL: Honor Those Called to Duty

Spiritually empowered Shepherds understand the full dynamics of the battle & develop well-trained troops

Our nation recognized its veterans this pass Saturday. Many businesses offered free services to military persons who are serving or have served this country. It is an honor that bears year round observance.  As an Army veteran, I count it a privilege to have had the opportunity to be used in preserving the freedoms this country enjoys! To those who gave so much more than just their time and service I say – THANK YOU – GOD BLESS YOU – GOD KEEP YOU!

Today, I want to honor another group that has been called to dutyThe Good ShepherdThe PastorI firmly believe God is the only Commander-in-Chief who directs one to this very important office and God directs and guides the Shepherd in the abundance of his duties toward the sheep.  Without God operating from the very seat of the Shepherd’s heart, it is easy for the church to be infiltrated by those who have today, have crept in unawares, to cast shame upon the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Jude 1:4 (KJV) – For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Moses gives us an awesome picture of what the Shepherd’s mission is – to bring a people out of bondage. Moses was called to bring a nation out of bondage, which in itself is a far cry from just managing a congregation of 50-3000 people. His call was simply stated:

Exodus 3:10 (KJV) – 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Egypt is a picture of the world, and Moses was called to pull this great nation out the world, which is a picture of bondage.  No true Shepherd nonchalantly throws his hat into a ring like this shouting, “pick me, me, me, pick me!”  A true Shepherd spiritually discerns and recognizes that there is an overwhelming responsibility appointed to those in this position, and he bombards heaven with his prayers for confirmation. Moses was described as one who was very meek and faithful.  I wonder if in addition to his fear of being rejected by his people for his past, if a part of his reluctance was also his experience with the inherent difficulties of getting sheep to follow directions.

Today, I want to honor those Shepherds who, totally dependent on God for guidance and instruction, organize their bodies through the teachings of the bible, to the mission ministries, into a fitly joined body working together to accomplish the main goals of ministry.  I have observed some qualities I associate with good Shepherds I’ve admired and been under:

They Have A Heart For Making Disciples – Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

They Devote Themselves To Studying The Word Of God – Acts 6:3-6 (KJV)

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

They Sacrifice Their Lives For The Ministry – Acts 20:23-25 (KJV)

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Their Ministry Is Christ & Mission Centered – 2 Corinthians 4:1-5 (KJV)

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Their Ministry Is Focused On Reconciling The Lost – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (KJV)

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

They Strive To Maintain A Blameless Ministry – 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (KJV)

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

They Build The Ministry Through Servanthood – Ephesians 4:8-16 (KJV)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Their Ministry Endures Through Hardships – 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (KJV)

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Believers are the sheep of the congregations where we worship and learn the ways in which God desires his children to develop their Christ-likeness and impact the world that surrounds us.  We stumble, we go astray, we are afflicted, but God uses his Shepherds to draw us back to the way, the truth and the life. We are no different than the Nation of Israel in the wilderness:  we complain; do our own thing; do our dirt; and then, cry out for God to deliver us from the error of ways.

If you think it is easy to Shepherd people, I question if you understand the full picture given in the wilderness experience for both the shepherd and the sheep.  I want to leave a picture from the wilderness experience in the hopes that there would be a greater honor associated and demonstrated daily to those who answered the call of duty to Shepherd God’s people, and who do so with a heart sold out entirely to building the spiritual kingdom of God; not a kingdom on earth.

True Shepherds don’t want to be put upon a pedestal and/or treated as kings. True Shepherds are Christ servants serving God’s people to expand the kingdom of God.  True Shepherds train men, women and children to be dedicated, faithful, and steadfast soul winners.  True Shepherds look for open doors in the community to serve and share the gospel message of redemption.  And, True Shepherds thrive on going beyond the four walls into the mission fields to minister in the word of reconciliation.

To the True Shepherds Called to Duty

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HUMBLE SERVICE

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DAILY SACRIFICE

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DEDICATED LEADERSHIP

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVANT’S HEART

THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING THE CALL TO DUTY!

Psalm 106

We as Sheep…

Sometimes …

  • Lack spiritual discernment – v.7a
  • Forget God’s mercy of before – v.7b
  • Provoke God – v.7c

Yet God …

  • Saved us for his namesake to prove his might – v.8
  • Leads us through dry land and valleys – v.9
  • Protects and redeems us from our enemy – v.10

We then …

  • Believe his words and sing his praise – v.12

But we …

  • Again forget his works and his counsel – v.13
  • Lust after the world’s offerings – v.14
  • Gain the world, but lack grace and spiritual comfort – v.15
  • Exchange God’s glory for other gods – vv.19-20
  • Forget yet again – vv.21-22
  • Despise his provisions & word – v.24
  • Complain more & listen less – v.25
  • Join ourselves to the unrighteous – v.28
  • Provoke our Shepherds to do them a disservice – vv.32-33
  • Mingle with the works of the world – vv.33-39

An Apology to My First Love

Bowing of the head comes before the lifting of the soul…

Today’s post is a very personal and emotional one. I feel sometimes like I’m sinking into a deep pit where only by looking up can I see how far I’ve fallen. When you fall down getting up and climbing out of an abyss isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Something has been missing in my life these last six months. A subtle decline in eyesight, a muffling of the ears crept in unawares. I miss filling pages with thoughts generated by what I read in my KJV bible. My brain desperately needs a clearing service to remove all the clutter of an overindulged imagination. Reading, listening to music, and watching movies helps provide other balances, but writing has always been the most effective choice for release.

In the midst of self-imposed idleness these words penetrate my sleepy spirit …

First Love embed

Trembling inwardly, I attempt to arouse myself from my sluggardly slumber. To my shame, I have somehow allowed myself to be lulled into forgetting that I am a purchased possession with a divine earthly mission.

I confess that I have minimized the importance of my ambassadorship. This is far too important a privilege; I dare not continue to slumber. The alarm has sounded, and I can see now that I have slowly been veering from the straight and narrow path. Somehow, I’ve allowed life to wedge itself between me and my First Love.

See, in my flesh dwells no good thing, even in my best intentions, when they are born out of my human effort. I am in danger of straying onto the broad road where silly women are led into captivity (2 Tim. 3:1-7)! I have gotten too comfortable in my self-centered existence. The spinning wheels of my mind drive me to works that aren’t always profitable. This, followed by mental fatigue, attaches itself to the hidden areas of spiritual blindness so that I don’t even recognize that I am operating out of the spirit of my first birth.

To her credit, Momma didn’t raise no fool, and I wasn’t born yesterday (physically or spiritually). I will not allow myself to stay in this comfortable space. My enemy’s plot to create a bigger gulf between me and the Love of my life has been exposed. I will exercise a mustard seed of faith and of wisdom to bring about the immediate remedies at my disposal to start repairing the error(s) of my ways.

I will be like my brother David. I will humble myself before my God and pray:

First Love (Forgive) embed2

according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sinFor I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward partsand in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdomPurge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.  Psalm 51:1-12

Oh, what foolishness has befallen me! I cannot live without my First Love! My human capacity to love is at best, limited and conditional at times. But My First Love’s love remains unconditional, never ending, tried and proven. When I withdraw into myself, my First Love is there waiting patiently for me. When I have no words for my fears, He comforts me. When I’m in that dessert place dying of thirst, He leads me to living water. When I am wounded by the falsehoods of others, My First Love demonstrates truth that stands forever. Knowing I am without righteousness, He supplies me with his own. Like a beautiful garment, I am covered thoroughly so that my heavenly Father sees only my First Love in me!

I will awaken from my slumber. I will unsheathe my Sword and bear my spiritual arms. I will boast of my First Love’s Glory. I will bow the head of my reawakened soul, and start with that which must come first … an apology to My First Love!

First Love (Bow) embed