From Riot to Revival

26 09 2016

images-8I heard on the news that a man was finally arrested and charged with setting the fires in CA that were so destructive. He is being labeled as an arsonist. I had this thought during prayer this morning that we need “Holy Ghost arsonists.” Obviously arson is a negative term and an act that has malicious intent connected to it. But since our Father redeems all things, could He give us those who are and will be fire starters: Holy Ghost fire starters? I began praying for such persons to emerge all over the world. And as the old song goes, “…it only takes a spark.”

I recall many years ago, that a revival broke out in northern New Jersey here in America. That revival among young people followed some of the most destructive riots in the East coast at the time. We are reading of those types of things (riots) happening all over the world and I would encourage you to pray that our Father, through His Holy Spirit could move our nations from riot to revival, from revolt to restoration and from rebellion to redemption. Only God could unify His body to pray in such a manner, but why can’t we believe for such things? I do believe it would be on His heart, for His people and the lost that He loves so very much.images-9

Let’s pray for fire starters and let’s pray for revival to follow riot in Jesus’ name.


Men, Women and Connecting Deeply

19 09 2016

images-2I’ve noticed some things about women and men and their wonderful differences. The women in our lives need to hear from us as men. They need to hear about our lives, our ambitions, our emotions, our issues and they really long to hear our thoughts about them. There is something internal in most women that connects with their spouse’s words, expressions, eye contact, touch and truthfulness about themselves. Women want to hear from their men in order to connect with them. It’s an internal connection and it can be difficult for men who would, more or less, rather have external connections.

Externally we as men connect with jabs, jokes, and manly conversations about work, sports and our hobbies. But women connect internally because they tend to feel more deeply. They long for that inner connection that tells them they are worth opening up to, worth trusting and worth honest, gut level communication. One is not better than the other, but both are necessary. It’s not just that women are more emotional and men are more factual; it’s greater than that. It’s about divine design as both men and women honor the way they are constructed, we actually touch each other in a holy capacity.

When I use the term external, I am not just referring to surface and when I use the term internal, I am not just making reference to emotions. I believe both men and women have the capacity to connect both externally and internally, but it takes time and a patient teacher to connect in a way that we have not naturally gravitated toward. Sometimes our parents miss this and sometimes our culture misrepresents this.

images-4In Genesis chapter one we are told that God created both male and female and it is recorded that we, as men and women, are made in His image, in God’s likeness. Our Creator represents both male and female. He certainly knew what He was doing when He created us as image bearers. He did not miss a thing or forget to add something in order for us to connect. Genesis two records that we are bone of bone and flesh of flesh. We are connected and that connection is God-created. We were meant to work together and we were meant to become a single flesh.

My brain as a man tells me to treat my wife as I would another buddy. But my spirit and my heart tell me that this type of thinking will not actually connect with my life partner. While she is interested in my hobbies and my work, she feels far more connected to me when I open up and talk about the people stories from my workplace. She more intently listens when I reveal that the person I was fishing with told me about his daughter’s eating disorder or life-controlling issue.

I can’t help but realize that our Creator knew this. Our Father in heaven who represents both male and female, as well, knows how these two completely different sexes are attracted to what they need in each other, what they can find in one another. A daughter needs her father’s internal connection with her. She needs a dad to hear her heart, to be willing to wait through the expression of details of conversation and to speak words of honor to her in how she is uniquely created and designed. Yes, she can play ball and connect with those outward, “male” expressions, as long as she is also connecting internally.images-1

A son needs his mom to connect with his abilities in skate boarding, in making his first goal and in writing his first computer code. He feels good about accomplishing something and he longs for the female in his life, his mother, to pat him on the back and give him a “Way to go, son.” Yes, women long to connect internally, but don’t misread these male accomplishments as external only. For these accomplishments are us. Perhaps in our way of connecting, we are making ourselves available for the deeper conversations through our external accomplishments. It has to start somewhere.

Men, the women (spouse and daughters) in your life need you to listen, give input only when requested and be given the opportunity to connect in a deeper sense. They need you to tell them they are beautiful, smart and worth loving. When you give them time, you are saying that you value them for who they are and how they are created. And when you are able to actually open up and connect internally, you will have a woman who feels far more complete and honored.

Women, the men (spouse and sons) in your life need you to recognize their accomplishments, joke with them and bless their outward, external achievements. They need to hear you affirm them and how they do what they do better than anyone you know. As you become their personal cheerleader, you will grab their attention and they will feel respected. And if your man feels your respect, you will experience that inner connection you long for.

Should We Pray About All Things?

12 09 2016

Recently in a conversation with a millennial that believes God put life into existence and then removed Himself from personal interaction in order for man to make his own way, I shared with him (in part) the following reply. 

images-2And…I…also…wonder why the holocaust of mother’s choosing to kill their babies in gruesome and painful measures with the governments help, push and provision of providers still takes place on a daily basis (in our enlightened and educated society) in greater numbers of deaths than all the wars America has ever been involved in (all the while this is now somehow viewed as normal).  And… why many people who cry out to God only when they are in danger and could care less in normal, everyday life (spending most of their day cursing God and denying His existence) of a personal relationship with Him or the life they could have in serving Him.  It could look like God has removed Himself.

But unlike you, I do want to rejoice with those who experience His provision and life on a daily basis and, as well, weep with those who do not receive the answers they were hoping for or suffer great, inexplicable harm.  For me, it is mostly about living life in a Genesis three world (‘fallen’ by our choice – where fallen, evil people do evil things and the innocent are affected – like abortion, wars, refugees, terrorism, random shootings and the like) and not the Genesis one and two world that our Father created and planned for us.  But thanks be to God for a second Adam -Jesus – and His redemptive plan!  (I Corinthians 15:45)

I fully trust Him to not only hear my prayers, but to answer them as well even if it is not the answer I was looking for, because I love Him more than life itself.  The fact remains, He loved me first (and every other human on the earth) even while I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8).  And, I too (out of this relationship) pray some selfish prayers at times…just like I do selfish acts in life and fall short.

So, when I am serving Him in Haiti or walking in the largest slum in the world in Nairobi, Kenya and/or the homeless in Philly I, too, see the inequity of it all.  I am not blind to it and neither do I somehow live above it…”by faith.”  If my theology told me that this can’t be so, then I am looking to my theology (which has a better chance of being wrong than right) to be God; to bring God down to my human thinking and standard, and frankly my theology, along with my psychology, will never, ever save anyone from anything, only Jesus can do that (I Timothy 1:15).

I know no more than this…at this point in my brief life.

Forgiving One Another

6 09 2016

images-13I know of scarcely anything more difficult, more challenging and more humbling than expressing forgiveness. But at the same time, I know of scarcely anything more freeing than forgiveness. In the Holocaust documentary titled Shoah, a Warsaw ghetto victim states, “If you could lick my heart, it would poison you.” Nothing depicts a non-forgiving heart better than that picture. Author Gary Thomas once wrote, “We will be sinned against, and we will be hurt. When that happens, we will have a choice to make: We can give in to our hurt, resentment, and bitterness, or we can grow as a Christian and learn yet another important lesson on how to forgive.”

images-12Forgiving is not something we naturally love to do. Even though we have been forgiven of so much and have fully come short of God’s ideal, we love to withhold forgiveness simply because (we might tell ourselves) the person has not suffered sufficiently for what they did to us. The truth is, One already suffered so we could be forgiven; we must now make the choice to do likewise (See Colossians 3:13). To do anything less is to take a position of critical judgment, freely giving ourselves over to the use of the evil one in heady, heartless self-righteousness.

Ten Areas of Concern for Our Generation Brought to Us by Simon Peter

29 08 2016

images-3This blog is from a spiritual father who loves this generation enough to share truth from a man named Peter who walked with Jesus. Please consider Simon Peter’s admonitions below, who we all know was not perfect, but who went on to be one of Jesus’ greatest spokesmen in the New Testament church.

  1. Our language use: Cursing or using crude expletives like the “F***” word and other unwholesome speech is not becoming of a son or daughter of the King. We are not slaves to our culture, but rather we are called to influence our culture with the truth and the way we live our lives, which includes our language. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. I Peter 2: 1-3; 4: 11; II Peter 2: 19-21

2. Unwholesome thoughts: What words and pictures are we thinking? How can we become more wholesome through our spirit speaking to our minds? We are told that we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2: 16), what is Christ’s mind thinking? I have written both [letters]…to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. II Peter 3: 1, 2

3. Drinking too much alcohol and getting too close to inebriation, along with any form of immorality is detestable to God: When you consume alcohol, if you drink, do you know the limit and practice it strictly in order to honor your relationship with Jesus? Too many today are calling it their liberty to get close to sin and/or blatantly sin – wounding themselves and others. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose…drunkenness… I Peter 2: 9; 4: 3

4. God desires all to be saved: Our silence with so-called ‘acts of justice’ only, does not always give voice to simply, boldly and unashamedly sharing the gospel. Always be prepared to give an answer to every one who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. II Peter 3: 9; I Peter 2: 11, 12; I Peter 3: 15

images-45. Commitment to a local church, to relationships, to accountability and to discipleship is vital for our generation: Maybe you feel like you do not need the church, but does that church (people) need you? It is not just commitment to a building or a place, it is commitment to God’s children, your family. Love the brotherhood of believers… I Peter 2: 13, 17; I Peter 4: 9, 10

6. Pornography is a direct connection to human trafficking and a picture of the depravity of mankind’s fallen nature: The present generation is passionate about fighting human trafficking, while at the same time being the largest consumers of pornography. This seems a blatant cognitive dissonance and youthful arrogance. …They themselves are slaves of depravity – for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. I Peter 2: 16; II Peter 2: 19

7. Pursuing holiness and sanctification rather than allowing ourselves to be as close to the world as possible: We are to taste not, touch not and handle not so that we might remain pure before our God (Colossians 2: 21). Holiness is His desire for us and only through Him can we be holy. But just as he who called you in holy, so be holy in all you do. I Peter 1: 13-15; 2: 9; II Peter 1: 4-9; 2: 20; 3: 14

8. Hell is a very real place: Hell is as present as heaven. It was not made for you and I, but those who reject Christ to the end will find themselves in this place. It is the Father’s will that none would perish, but rather that all would be saved (John 3: 17). For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell… II Peter 2: 4-9

9. Honoring our elders: We need to honor (rather than belittle, put down or ridicule even if we do not agree) those who went before us; those who have fought the good fight and who paid a price to bring the truth of the gospel to our generation. You do not need to always agree, but you do need to honor as they are our spiritual fathers and mothers. Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. I Peter 5: 5; II Peter 3: 2

10.False prophets: There are those who do not tell the truth or the whole gospel, but rather a perversion of the truth and it is bringing confusion to the church. Doctrine is as old as the book of Acts and it was the apostles who, through following Jesus on the earth, brought these truths to us (Acts 2: 42). Be careful of the doctrines of men and search your Bible.  But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. II Peter 2: 1-3

Eight Pieces of Advice From a Long-term Marriage

21 08 2016

images-4A number of years ago I regularly met with a spiritual father, who graciously volunteered to counsel me, read what I was writing and hold me accountable in my walk with Jesus. I loved those sessions from this seasoned man of God who was – over a long and amazing life – a farmer, then a missionary, then a pastor and then a college professor. In one of our meetings he gave me a copy of his musings about how his marriage lasted over six decades. I have listed his eight pieces of advice for you below.

1. We kept on, and on, leaving father and mother, cleaving to one another forming an ever-growing and changing union.

2. We worked hard at thinking about the positives of each other.

3. We sought absolute honesty before God and one another.

4. We embraced and enjoyed God together: serving, being pastors, parenting and worshipping.

5. We sought total spiritual oneness, far more than sexual oneness.

6. We laughed together about our failures and our life. We sought something fun for our relationship on a weekly basis.

7. We held one another accountable concerning risky tendencies.

8. Lastly, we admitted the possibility of “growing apart” in our marriage and committed ourselves to keep working at our abilities to seek periodic renewals, counseling, marriage enrichment, reading books, deepening of empathy and overcoming angers.

There you have it…profound wisdom from a matured marriage in which both partners now live with their Savior.

15 ways to Make My Husband Feel Secure

15 08 2016

images-3Last week we considered 13 ways a wife felt secure within her marriage and I thought it best to not leave the men out of this one. So, here are 15 ways a man can feel secure within his marriage as shared by a husband.

  1. She puts her relationship with God first in her life.
  2. She has a daily devotional time in order to listen to her heavenly Father.
  3. She cares about herself physically and emotionally and the image she reflects.
  4. She loves, cares for and sacrifices for her children unselfishly.
  5. She prioritizes caring for her husband in big and small ways.
  6. She cares for her home, keeping it neat and in order. There is no confusion around her.
  7. She holds her husband’s hand and is affectionate even in a long-term marriage relationship.
  8. She is not trying to change her husband, but accepts him as he is.
  9. She brings a cold drink to her husband when he is working outside in the heat.images-10
  10. She pray’s with and for her husband daily.
  11. She blesses and encourages her husband’s hobbies.
  12. She is her husband’s best friend.
  13. She quickly forgives.
  14. She has eyes and emotions for her husband only and enjoys a healthy sex life with him.
  15. She loves her husband unconditionally and tells him daily.

Go on a date and ask your husband what helps him to feel secure in your marriage relationship. You may be surprised by what you hear.

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