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when things get in the way


“As they talked together, I thought about all the times our “dates” have gotten interrupted, or when the trees have gotten in the way, or when our plans have changed.  Most times it would leave me being frustrated- because my focus was always on ME- wanting to make MYSELF happy.” ~Julie Harris

Source: when things get in the way

How often are we guilty of missing a blessing by God?  We all get busy focused on our desires, goals, and plans.  How very often we find ourselves in a situation not so different, it might not be a stroll with our husband or wife, it might be at work or the store or anyone of a number of moments.  The same and yet different, different yes and yet the same in that we are interrupted for our intended course.

As Julie has pointed out, “…those things are really blessings in disguise – if only we know what to look for.”

We plan and yet God calls us to live in the moment.  To look to Him for what we need now.  Not only what we need, we are to see how He wants us to meet the needs of others.  Blessings come in so many different ways, are we looking?

Blessings and Peace, ~Robert

walking with me


“I am so thankful for the  many “trees” that have stood with me and supported me throughout the years.  And I am grateful to be walking this journey of life-

with my husband

my family

and my family in Christ…

and you!” ~Julie Harris

stepping in time we walk in stride  thankful you  are by my  side…  with no one else I’d rather be-  all is right  when you’re walking with me I came home the other day to BOTH tv…

Source: walking with me

Who are the “trees” in your life and mine, the ones we need to reach out to and simply say thank you for being a part of my life?  Great or small, each has gifted us with a portion of themselves and contributed to who we are and will become.

For those of us in Christ Jesus, God uses everything in our life to work His out the transformation in us into the likeness of Jesus! Paul told us to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind,…” Romans 12:2.  As God uses His word to work this renewal, He also uses brothers and sisters in Christ in this process.  In Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Blessing and Peace Always,

~Robert

I didn’t know what I was missing


“When I finally changed my focus and made walking about spending time with Him– the whole world around me began to look different.” ~Julie Harris

Source: I didn’t know what I was missing

The first gleam of dawn…


“So, stop being so hard on yourself…surrender those thoughts to HIM! It’s a new day to love the Lord and to recognize how much He loves YOU!”  ~Julie Harris

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

 2 Corinthians 10:5  

The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,     which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.  But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.     They have no idea what t…

Source: The first gleam of dawn…

Heart Thoughts – Wineskins


Today, Pastor O challenges us to realize that we might have again placed God in a box, an old wineskin…
“No one pours new wine into old wineskins.” Mark 2:22……..’We know God easily if we do not constrain ourselves to define Him.” Joseph Joubert….”The life of a disciple may be rigorous, but it is never rigid……Though we can certainly expect Him to be constant, we cannot expect Him to be predictable.” Chris Tiegreen
 
Judging, if I may use that word, from what I see on Facebook and other places these days, there seem to be a great many people who feel they have pretty much figured out what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will do and how They will act. We’ve done quite the job of putting labels upon each other, so its small wonder we should try to place labels upon Him. We see ourselves as flexible and would reject the idea of being considered, “old wineskins.” Yet our flexibility seems to disappear whenever we come into contact with anyone who might not agree with our concept of the 3 in 1 God. There is much tragedy to be shared in all of this, but the greatest tragedy is that we have succeeded to a very great degree in removing the mystery of who He is. Our western minds want a Father, a Jesus, a Holy Spirit that we can have reasonable expectations as to how They will show up in our lives. We don’t like surprises, and we certainly don’t like living in the unexpected. I believe very strongly in having correct doctrine and theology. However, we can construct a God that we insist stays within the bounds of our doctrine, theology, and especially the characteristics of our own group. We don’t want Him to step outside the boundaries we’ve set for Him. When that happens, we become old wineskins, and we can be just as unaware of that as were the Pharisees Jesus spoke of.

Chris Tiegreen writes, “Do we take the time to ponder which of our own wineskins have attempted to accommodate Jesus and failed?….On what points are we rigid? Where do our expectations lie? Do we insist that Jesus bring about our own vision for the future? Do we try to constrain Him to our church structures? Do we rely on methodology in our ministry? (They)….may be good, but Jesus will not fit. He defies constraint. The Lion of Judah cannot be tamed.”

Jesus said in John 3:8, “The wind blows wherever it pleases.” We cannot control the wind. Why do we seek to control He who is the Source of the wind? Joubert’s quote is powerful. The less we seek to define Almighty God, the more we may know Him. And the desire of His heart, His greatest desire, is that we know Him. He is a mystery. He says so Himself. But He invites us to enter into His mystery, and behold Him to reveal Himself in its midst. To do that, we have to let go of all of our presumptions about Him. I had a very great friend who has since gone home to Him. One of the favorite things he used to say was that he had an “Oops theology.” As in, “Oops, I guess I was wrong.” Old wineskins can never live in such a theology. Only new ones can. He will never violate the truth and authority of His Word, but we must know that our limited minds cannot begin to understand how deep, high, and wide His truth really is.

I continue to grow older, and my natural skin is losing the soft, flexible feel it once had. Yet it is my fervent hope that the “skin” of my heart remain as tender and pliable as that of a child. How about you? In the spiritual realm, we’re all wineskins. Are we old ones…..or new?

Blessings,
Pastor O

Living for NOW


“live for Now… not yesterday, not tomorrow… NOW!” ~JH

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Matthew 6:34

Source: Living for NOW

the struggle is real


“Lots and lots of cotton-balled clouds that are shielding the sun from my eyes… so why it is that they don’t “get in the way” of my view?  In fact, they give the light something to reflect off of, making it even more lovely. The clouds don’t detract from the light, they diffract it :)” ~ Julie Harris

Source: the struggle is real

Heart Thoughts – A Reputation


But I think what Jesus saw in the midst of it was that they were doing all of it with hearts that had drifted far from Him. The church was a well oiled machine, but machines are not alive.”
Shared by permission from Pastor O
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis……I know all the things you do and that you have a reputation for being alive – but you are dead. Now wake up! Strengthen what little remains for even what is left is at the point of death. Your deeds are far from right in the sight of God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly and turn to Me again. Unless you do I will come upon you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.” Revelation 3:1-3
 
I realize that there is disagreement in the Church as to how we are to apply the book of Revelation to it’s life today. Still, regardless of where your “theology” fits into it’s message, to deny that His Spirit speaks to the Church now through it all is the height of foolishness. What the Spirit says to the church at Sardis scores a direct hit on me as a pastor, an individual, and as a part of the Body of Christ. We disregard it to our great peril.

The “angel” the Spirit of Christ speaks to is the pastor of the body of believers found in Sardis. What pierces my heart here is the use of the word “reputation.” For most of us, our reputations mean everything. How we are viewed by those around us carries tremendous weight. What the Lord is saying to the fellowship at Sardis is that in the eyes of the culture around them and even in the sight of other believers, they have the reputation of being centers of His Life. It would also seem to be the opinion of those in that church as well. What should shake us to our very foundation is that it was not the view of Christ. He saw a tremendous amount of activity for Him, but He did not see a body of believers rooted and grounded in Him. Think on that for a moment.

What do we generally see as being a church filled with life? Top of the line worship with high quality skills in musicianship and voice. Skilled communicators in the pulpit. Many and varied ministries that care for children, youth, singles, as well as home and care groups geared towards those with special needs. A ministry pointed toward reaching out to the community and drawing them into the fellowship. An atmosphere where there is a sense of excitement, of something “happening.” I think that these are just a few of the things we’d define as a church with a reputation for life. I think that much if not all of these were found in the congregation at Sardis. All of them are good things. Very good. Yet none of them seemed to enter into Christ’s assessment of them as to their being a true Life giving fellowship. How could this be? What could be missing?

It’s human to desire that all that is listed above be found in a church. They should be. But I think what Jesus saw in the midst of it was that they were doing all of it with hearts that had drifted far from Him. The church was a well oiled machine, but machines are not alive. They move and are active, but they have no soul. Without realizing it, a living body can become the same. Sardis had crowds. Sardis had ministries. Sardis had a name. Sardis did not have life. His Life.

The question we have to ask ourselves, whether we are the “angel” of our fellowship, a leader in it, or a member of it, is, are we, in the midst of all we do, really producing Spirit filled followers of Jesus Christ? Are we overcoming the world both within and without by the power of His resurrected life? Is real transformation taking place in the lives of the people, and are those lives marked by maturity, victory, and wholeness? Are we trying to take flesh, and by our efforts, make it better flesh, or are fallen, lost lives being laid hold of by the power of His Life and made new? Completely new. Have we drifted from the “first things” into just doing church things? Have we become so enamored with our reputation among men that we no longer really know, or care what our reputation with Him really is? Can He even speak to us about it? It starts with the “angel” but the speaking goes on throughout the entire body. He’s speaking. Are we hearing?

 
He speaks today as to our reputations.  What does He say about ours? What is our reputation…..with Him?

Blessings,
Pastor O

That Brick Wall Was Meant to Be Climbed


An honest observation about the obstacles that come along in life and then the TRUTH about HIM who gives the plan and leads the way!!! Be blessed by this post.
Blessings and Peace the THANKSGIVING season. ~Robert

Coffee with a Shot of Faith

hole-205448_1280

I am sure you have had one of those periods in life. When you are skating along and everything seems to be going great. You feel confident in the direction in which the Lord has you moving. Then-BAM! WHACK! You slam right into the makings of a brick wall. Or two.

A wall of defeat, maybe.

Maybe it’s a wall of criticism. Or self-doubt.

Hurt. Grief. Loneliness. Sin.

Regardless of what that brick wall may be, it begins to slowly tear away at any progress you have made. Making you feel that instead of moving ahead, you are now starting to move backwards.

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you the path to take. Proverbs 3:6

This is what I had been doing. I had been letting Him lead me. Allowing Him to show me the path. I had a renewed sense of passion. Of…

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Heart Thoughts -Silent Partner


“But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
I’ve mentioned before that I keep a prayer journal. I do so not because I am so “super-spiritual” but because I am so prone in my flesh to not be spiritual at all. One of the prayers I have written down is based on the above scripture, and simply reads, “Father, may I at all times pray in the Spirit, speak in the Spirit, hear in the Spirit, and live in the Spirit.” This is the only way we will not live in a manner that consistently sees to it that we carry out the desires of our flesh. Many of those desires will be good ones. The great problem for us lies in the fact that they are not necessarily God’s desires. Watchman Nee asked the question, “How much of our work for Him has been based on a clear command from the Lord, and how much simply on the ground that it was a good thing to do?” There were many good things Paul wished to do. The Holy Spirit closed the door on all of them in order that he would go to where the Father wished him to be; in Macedonia and Greece. He saw a “wide open door for effective service.” He also saw the “many adversaries” that would be against it.I think we seem much more comfortable in the Church in the west with the idea of the Holy Spirit being a “silent partner” in all we do. This would be true even in those fellowships that say they are Holy Spirit centered bodies. Indeed, the consistent observation of those brethren from non-western cultures who fellowship with us is how much we are able to get done without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. There are a number of books out right now from prominent church leaders saying that the voice of the Spirit ceased at the end of the first century of the Church. That the Lord has said all He needs to in His Word, and He doesn’t need to say anything more. Now scripture is the final authority in all things, especially that which we hear in and from the Spirit, for He will never speak anything contrary to it. This is where spiritual discernment comes in. It’s what Paul meant when he told us to “test the spirits” in order to discern what was and was not from the voice and heart of God. I would also add this to those that hold the view that He no longer speaks to us. In those same congregations, the people are regularly asked to “pray about” how much they should give to building programs, mission efforts, and special projects. Somehow the Lord finds His voice when it comes to money. I’m only partly joking with that.

I heard James Robison say recently in the midst of interviewing one of his guests, that he, “heard the Spirit speaking over their conversation.” What he meant was that in the midst of their talking, He heard the Lord break in and speak into it all. He said that some might find this “spooky,” but that it was his life in Christ reality to hear the Lord in such a way regularly. What struck me was that the Holy Spirit, so integral a part of our three in one God, would be perceived with fear by so many in His Church. So much so that we proceed in our walk, relationships and ministries with far more reliance upon ourselves and our own understanding, than in His leading. We don’t recognize His checks or His voice, and so we miss both His open doors, and His closed ones.To our own harm and loss. He remains our “silent partner.” We mention Him, but we don’t walk in Him. We’re not overly anxious for Him to “show up” either, unless it’s in ways that allow us to maintain control. We build a lot of things, but they don’t last.  In the end they’re just wood and stubble. We miss that which is His silver and gold. If we doubt that, we can simply look at how many of those things we’ve built in our own strength have crumbled after the human architect of the building left the scene.

Paul wrote to two totally different fellowships; the Corinthians and the Ephesians. The Corinthians were a flesh centered fellowship, and though He spoke in love and encouragement, his words also carried His rebuke. To the Ephesians he wrote in exhortation of their going on in the life and fullness of the Holy Spirit. Through those letters, he writes to our own fellowships. Which letter is for us? Corinthians or Ephesians? Wood and stubble or silver and gold? Which are we really, and which do we really want to be? Are we living in Corinth or Ephesus?

Blessings,
Pastor O

(Shared by permission)
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