Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Call.11

"Enter therefore through the narrow gate; for wide is the path, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many go that way. But narrow is the gate and the path, which leads to life, and there are few that find it. 

Make every effort to go through the gate that leads to life. 

One day, many will want to exchange their way for the right way, and find it to be too late."

Has a human being been born who has not experienced the crushing sense of loss at being "too late?"  And the greater the want the more devastating the blow...

Things you could be too late for:

  • a beautiful sunrise
  • a stunning sunset
  • meeting your future spouse
  • your child's performance
  • the opening of a premier movie
  • "Black Friday" sales
  • your wedding
  • your funeral
  • an airline flight
  • deadline to avoid a late fee
  • a coupon discount
  • a rebate
  • helping a friend
  • blessing an enemy
  • an historical moment...
In Dallas, TX this week tens of thousands of people have come from around the world to join an historical event, Restoring Love, the final installment of the restoring character events, the brain-child of radio commentator Glenn Beck.

If you, like me, are not there it is too late to participate in the various projects engaged in by 30,000 people who have come from across the USA to bring elbow grease, hope and help to the needy.  To see first hand the miracles that love has wrought.  To wonder at the bond of friendships being built across the stations of life.  To thrill at the testimonies of old & young alike being transformed by the power of  the Lord of Love! To experience one heart. To be taught by great men. To envision the work of restoring America to its covenant relationship with God.

But it is not too late to make every effort to join in on this movement of God.  It is not too late to repent and restore faith in God. It is not too late to teach fundamental principles of freedom to every family in America.  It is not too late to do good, the right way, to communities and people across this great country.  It is not too late to elect godly & virtuous people to office.  It is not too late to cut the size of governing bureaucracy in half.  It is not too late to restore the Spirit of America's goodness and generosity to people's of the world.  It is not too late to restore a hope for tomorrow to future generations...but it does take every (one's) effort!

For people who have opted for a life of indolence, living off the industry of others, having no spiritual life in them to fully comprehend their own feeble existence, there is coming a day when the crushing sense of loss will engulf their senses.

There'll always be another sale, sunrise and rebate...but some things really are too late!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Call.10

"Because I have told you such things, 
        do you believe? 
Truly, you will witness even greater things than these."

Mountains of books have been written on knowing "what" you believe.  Few ask the question: "Why do you believe?"

If George MacDonald was placed on this earth for any reason, it may very well have been to refocus us on the one essential of faith: believing IN Jesus.  

Not stuff about Him.

To those who put correct doctrine above active obedience to the Lord of Life:

When attempting to understand Jesus' words we often ask the wrong question such as: 'Do I believe or feel this thing right?'
But the true question is: 
'Have I left all to follow him?' 
To the man who gives himself to the living Lord, every belief will necessarily come right; the Lord himself will see that his disciple believe aright concerning him. If a man cannot trust him for this, what claim can he make to faith in him? 
What I insist upon is, that a man's faith shall be in the living, loving, ruling, helping Christ, devoted to us as much as ever he was, and with all the powers of the Godhead for the salvation of his brethren. It is not faith that he did this, that his work wrought that—it is faith in the man who did and is doing everything for us that will save him: without this he cannot work to heal spiritually, any more than he would heal physically, when he was present to the eyes of men. 
Do you ask, 'What is faith in him?' I answer:
  • The leaving of your way, your objects, your self, and the taking of his and him  
  • the leaving of your trust in men, in money, in opinion, in character, in atonement itself, 
and doing as he tells you. 
I can find no words strong enough to serve for the weight of this necessity—this obedience. It is the one terrible heresy of the church, that it has always been presenting something else than obedience as faith in Christ.
(MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons II, The Truth In Jesus)

Why do I believe?  Because He said it!  I believe in Him!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Call.9

"No one can come to me unless the Father, who has sent me, draws him; and I will raise up that person on the last day. All of you whom the Father has given me will come to me: and whoever comes to me, I will never refuse." 


2012 Ramadan Prayer Guide

Mosque in Pakistan
 Sunset on July 19 begins the fasting month of Ramadan since Ramadan officially begins on the 20th.  Join with us as we pray for the salvation which comes by grace through  faith in the Lord Jesus, who according to 1Corinthians 15:3-4 died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  This is the essence of our salvation.  Will you also consider fasting from sunrise to sunset one day of this month?

July 19:   Many Muslims anticipate the beginning of Ramadan with great expectation.  It is a time when greater emphasis is placed on spiritual matters.  Ask the Father that those who truly desire to know Him will begin to see their need for a Redeemer.
July 20:   This month there is a greater emphasis on good works, hoping and endeavoring to please Allah.  Ask that those fasting would be faced with the startling realization that all their good works are like menstrual rags to God and will not gain them access to Heaven.
July 21:   Ask that those fasting will be blessed with a thirsting and hungering  after Truth and not cease endeavoring to satisfy this hunger until they partake of the Bread of Life.
July 22:   Women must rise early each day to prepare a meal which her family will eat before the sun rises.  As women tire because of this schedule ask that in their weariness they would encounter True Rest in I AM.
July 23:   Children are encouraged to fast and participate in Ramadan activities.  Many do so to gain approval from their parents, their community and their peers.  May God create unrest in their hearts, replacing it with a longing to be accepted by Him!
July 24:   Giving to the poor is emphasized during this month.  Those who have more are expected to give and those who consider themselves poor anticipate receiving from others.  Ask that each of these, both the giver and the receiver will consider and understand the poverty of their spiritual lives without the Giver of All Good Things!
July 25:   Ask that those fasting will be blessed with a deep thirst for Truth and will not cease endeavoring to satisfy this thirst until they partake of the Living Water.
July 26:   Ask that the eyes and hearts of believers would be opened and they will diligently and faithfully pursue the seekers encouraging them along the path to Christ.  Ask that the spirit of fear and apathy in their lives and hearts would be defeated.
July 27:   Ask that believers would respond with passion and compassion, demonstrating the love of Christ in very tangible, life changing ways.  Ask that in addition to helping meet physical needs they would also work to meet spiritual needs.
July 28: Ask that believers would be bold and take every opportunity to share Christ.  The season provides wonderful occasions for believers to visit in the homes of friends and break the fast with them.
July 29: Ask for new believers to see how they can remain in their culture, being salt and light and obedient to the commands of Christ.
July 30: Lift up believers asking they would hold firm and true to I AM in the face of opposition and pressure they face in this season and all year long.
July 31: Ask that He will use the Seeds planted during this season to bear His fruit in the fullness of time.  Praise Him that His Word never returns void.
August 1: Ask that the simplicity of the Good News would draw many to I AM during this fasting month.  “By grace you have been saved.”  Ask that He would give grace to many in need of His great mercy.
August 2: 2 Corinthians 2:15 & 16 speak of the dark veil which covers the hearts of those without I AM.  Ask that the veil would be removed and many would experience new found freedom in Him.
August 3: According to Romans 10:20 ask that He would seek those who are not even looking for Him.  Ask that He would reveal Himself to many who are not even asking for Him.  Rejoice that we serve an amazing Redeemer.
August 4: Muslims very often associate Christianity completely with Western culture.  Muslims often believe that Christians are being deceived.  For many Muslims, the word “Christian” signifies materialism, a lack of spirituality and moral failure.  Ask that the Father would provide true followers of Jesus for them to see.
August 5: Muslims often believe that the Book has been altered and corrupted.  They will deny its authority because they see it as not being authentic.  Ask that many would be drawn to read portions of the Book and would be unable to forget the truth of its precious Promises.
August 6: Muslims believe Jesus was conceived miraculously by God in the womb of Mary.  They believe  Jesus is only a prophet and that He did not die on the cross.  Ask that those fasting would be confronted by the Truth of the Word which became flesh.
August 7: According to 2 Corinthians 4:4 the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.  Seek the Father, asking that HIS LIGHT penetrate the darkness of those fasting this month. 
August 8: Muslims all over the world pray memorized ritual prayers toward Mecca five times a day.  They must also ritually wash before these prayer times.   Ask that as they pray God will reveal that He is the Way, the Truth , and the Life and that no man can come to the Father except through the Son.
August 9: Muslims believe the Holy Trinity implies a belief in three gods.  Many Muslims believe that the Christian Trinity is made up of the Father, Mary and the Son.  Ask that this month God’s Spirit would break through false concepts about the Trinity, replacing them with truth.
August 10: Muslims believe there is a Day of Judgment for all people.  Ask that the Lord would provide someone to tell them the truth about this coming day and that Jesus is the Judge!
August 11: This week those fasting anticipate the “Night of Power” ( Leyla Al-Qadr), which is expected to fall during the last ten days of Ramadan: around August 9-18, 2012.  They ask forgiveness for their shortcomings firmly believing that Allah accepts their prayers more readily during this night.  Ask that God in His mercy would reveal that forgiveness is found only in Jesus Christ.
August 12: Ask that the power of I AM override the Night of Power so that people will be freed from the darkness that consumes them.
August 13: It is believed that on the “Night of Power” angels and spirits descend and carry out the commands of Allah. Muslims are often encouraged to stay awake during the entire night, and pray for blessings and forgiveness.  Ask that families and communities will testify of Jesus visiting them and calling them to follow Him.
August 14: Because many expect visions, dreams, signs, wonders and proper interpretations during this season and particularly during the Night of Power, ask that people will experience these and be led to seek I AM.
August 15: It is tradition as Ramadan comes to an end that children return to the home of their parents, asking forgiveness for wrongs which have been committed against them.  Pray that as they seek to honor their earthly fathers they will see the Living God as their Father and desire His forgiveness.
August 16: It is also tradition to ask forgiveness from friends, coworkers, and neighbors for wrongs in thought and deed committed against them.  Jesus alone offers forgiveness.  Ask that this truth be planted in the hearts of Muslims.
August 17: As the month of fasting comes to an end tomorrow, Muslims prepare to celebrate with family, friends, neighbors.  Would you continue to pray for their spiritual eyes to be opened so that the angels in heaven celebrate because He has drawn new children into His family?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Call.8

"I add this to this story: many are called -- into the kingdom -- but few are chosen. The time has come. The kingdom of God is near at hand. I have called you from the world's way of living. Repent, put on the garments of salvation, and believe this good news."


The call goes out to all who want to join the game.  Many run to line up at the fence.  Captains deliberate, the rest wait in breathless anticipation to be "chosen."  Friendships, skill-level, popularity, attitude, competitive edge -- all factor into the decisions.  I remember the fierce longing to be picked near the top that often raged in my heart & stomach.  There was much riding on the "choice": self-esteem, validation, winning...

Just as there was a wide range of qualities suitable to form a winning team, so there were undesirable qualities that were nearly, if not more so, destructive to the make-up of the team than mere ability: indifference, negativity, sabotage, cheating, cowardice...

Do you ever stop to think about the "kind" of people Jesus wants on his team?  What people will populate his paradise?  Consider MacDonald's insights into the matter:

"What then is the kingdom over which the Lord cares to reign, for he says he came into the world to be a king? I answer, A kingdom of kings, and no other. Where every man is a king, there and there only does the Lord care to reign, in the name of his father. As no king in Europe would care to reign over a cannibal, a savage, or an animal race, so the Lord cares for no kingdom over anything this world calls a nation. A king must rule over his own kind. Jesus is a king in virtue of no conquest, inheritance, or election, but in right of essential being; and he cares for no subjects but such as are his subjects in the same right. His subjects must be of his own kind, in their very nature and essence kings."
The Lord's is a kingdom in which no man seeks to be above another: ambition is of the dirt of this world's kingdoms. He says, 'I am a king, for I was born for the purpose, I came into the world with the object of bearing witness to the truth. Everyone that is of my kind, that is of the truth, hears my voice. He is a king like me, and makes one of my subjects. 
His choice is the man who asks the one true question, 'How am I to be a true man? How am I to become a man worth being a man?' The Lord is a king because his life, the life of his thoughts, of his imagination, of his will, of every smallest action, is true-true first to God in that he is altogether his, true to himself in that he forgets himself altogether, and true to his fellows in that he will endure anything they do to him, nor cease declaring himself the son and messenger and likeness of God. They will kill him, but it matters not: the truth is as he says! 
Jesus is a king because his business is to bear witness to the truth. What truth? All truth; all verity of relation throughout the universe-first of all, that his father is good, perfectly good; and that the crown and joy of life is to desire and do the will of the eternal source of will, and of all life. 
We see, then, that the Lord bore his witness to the Truth, to the one God, by standing just what he was, before the eyes and the lies of men. The true king is the man who stands up a true man and speaks the truth, and will die but not lie. The robes of such a king may be rags or purple; it matters neither way. The rags are the more likely, but neither better nor worse than the robes. Then was the Lord dressed most royally when his robes were a jest, a mockery, a laughter. Of the men who before Christ bare witness to the truth, some were sawn asunder, some subdued kingdoms; it mattered nothing which: they witnessed.
The truth is God; the witness to the truth is Jesus. The kingdom of the truth is the hearts of men. The bliss of men is the true God. The thought of God is the truth of everything. All well-being lies in true relation to God. The man who responds to this with his whole being, is of the truth. The man who knows these things, and but knows them; the man who sees them to be true, and does not order life and action, judgment and love by them, is of the worst of lying; with hand, and foot, and face he casts scorn upon that which his tongue confesses. 
Is every Christian expected to bear witness? A man content to bear no witness to the truth is not in the kingdom of heaven. One who believes must bear witness. One who sees the truth, must live witnessing to it.
Is our life, then, a witnessing to the truth? 
-MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons III, Kingship