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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)

Just Be Held – Casting Crowns


“Just Be Held”

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

This song was posted this morning by a dear friend and sister in Jesus.
I pray you will allow God to minister to your soul this morning through this message.
Blessings and Peace Always,
~Robert

He Keeps The Key


Is there some problem in your life to solve,

Some passage seeming full of mystery?
God knows, who brings the hidden things to light.
He keeps the key.

Is there some door closed by the Father’s hand
Which widely opened you had hoped to see?
Trust God and wait–for when He shuts the door
He keeps the key.

Is there some earnest prayer unanswered yet,
Or answered NOT as you had thought ‘twould be?
God will make clear His purpose by-and-by.
He keeps the key.

Have patience with your God, your patient God,
All wise, all knowing, no long tarrier He,
And of the door of all thy future life
He keeps the key.

Unfailing comfort, sweet and blessed rest,
To know of EVERY door He keeps the key.
That He at last when just HE sees ’tis best,
Will give it THEE.
–Anonymous

The poem was part of my devotion this morning and I had to share it with you.  I have personally struggled for a long time with my work versus my call.  To be fair, I ran away from God’s call on my life for several decades.  God tarried with me for a very long time and I must now be willing to wait.  During this time, I must be active in growing by His grace, learning and preparing for the day when HE opens the door.

The rub, the issue for is figuring out how to be “all in” while not being in ministry full time, i.e. earning my living from full time ministry.  There is this truth; as a child of God, saved by grace through Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are ALL in ministry!  We are all called to as ambassadors of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the reconciliation of man back to a right relationship with God.  There is no other calling for us as we journey here on our way to our eternal home.

What we do to fund our ministry may be as a homemaker or professional or clerk or craftsman…  Who we are though is not based on our vocation, we are children of the KING, the Creator of everything, and Savior of all mankind!  As I type this, I’m getting excited about what we are called to do and there is the rub for me.  I’m not wired to be bi-vocational and this is because God created me for full time service.

“He keeps the key”, this IS right and true.  When HIS timing is right and true and we are prepared, then He will open the door and provide the key.  We are all called to share God’s Gospel of Grace and we should be looking for those opportunities all the time, regardless of where we work.  Our labor is for the LORD!!!

Blessings & Peace Aleays,

~Robert

John, Peter, Paul…


“Which disciple do you think you are most like?”  This was the question I recall that started a conversation not long ago from my pastor.  Honestly, I returned the question to him knowing he’d say Peter.  I am a bit impulsive and can be more than just a little direct.

Being the first-born, most first-born children will agree, you find yourself in a leadership role at a very early age. In this position you necessarily feel those burdens of setting the example and the need at times to choose a course and stay with it, believing it will work out and that you have the unction to get it done and see it through.

Then, by God’s amazing grace you discover that you need redemption, salvation, a savior who you can trust and lean on. In accepting Christ there is relief and hope. Now, all of that energy you had as the first-born becomes focused on intentionally living out this new life. So you are still the example for younger siblings except, now you are not focused on setting an example for them. Now you are focused on Jesus and in that focus, brazen statements are made. Commitments are made that without the Holy Spirit’s power can never be kept.

Over the course of my life, I have found myself joining Paul in being content in all situations. “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter that the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13 (God’s Word) We have had plenty in our life and we have had very little and eaten what we could. Sometimes, having less has been the greater blessing.

The greater struggle is in learning to be content in my spiritual walk. Knowing that regardless of what I feel, faith is not about what we feel, Christ is with me in the trenches through His Holy Spirit. When I am seeking Him with all I have and He “seems” very far away, He is closer still than my own breath. Lord help me to know Your presence at all times and in all things—to be content in Your blessed presence when known and when unknown without any doubts!

I recently read a devotional and agree with the author that, God sets a grand tapestry before us for our pleasure to view. He also sets before us a field of harvest that needs workers. I pray in both that He will fit me for His use and that I will always be found faithful to be available and submissive to His call and will.

Blessings and Peace Always,

~Robert

Quote:


As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their “right” place.”
Henri Nouwen

Resolutions…..


Do you make resolutions along with the majority of people throughout the world?  With them, do you find yourself failing to keep them?  How easy it is to make statements like, “I’m giving up, such and such or this or that”; I’m going to….. Fill in the blanks and regardless of your age, you’ll most likely find you’ve “committed” to at least one new resolution every year since you were ten years old, maybe earlier or later.  I’m right at the head of the line here and know that I’m in great company!

Why do we make statements, generally without actually planning to be successful?  Are we still allowing peer pressure to drive how we think and act?

Here’s a link to fifteen verses in God’s word concerning New Years Resolutions.  http://www.openbible.info/topics/new_years_resolutions

As you read through these verses consider a couple of things.  Not just at the beginning of a new year, but daily we should resolve to be completely available to our Father for His work.  We must plan and prepare to complete His work; at home, on the job, at church, in our neighborhood and wherever He leads.  Planning to be ready at all times and prepared by studying His word and by prayer and through fellowship with those who strengthen and encourage us.

I started another devotion which is only four days in length through YouVersion titled, “One Word That Will Change Your Life”.  The goal is that instead of “making a resolution” for this year, we seek God for a single word for the new year!  That this one word will through continued focus, become the point of our year.  Whatever the word He gives or you might choose… be it one of the fruits of the Spirit, consecration, discipline, character trait, etc. having a singular focus will change our lives.

Instead of the grandiose, simplify.  Dial back and ask God to help you select the one word to focus on for this year and allow Him to develop that in us.  This is my goal, my resolution and over the next day or so, I believe He will show me my word for the year.  I will share this with you and ask only that you help me stay accountable.

I wish you a very Happy New Year filled with HIS all.

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

Different, Yet the Same


“Just as God formed each rock to look different-some smooth, and some not so-he formed us in the same way. Some of us, like me, were made with rough edges. This toughness allowed me to navigate the streets of a not-so-nice neighborhood, to survive a teenage pregnancy, and to be strong and protect a younger brother. He also toughened me for the ministry to which he would eventually call me.”

via Different, Yet the Same.  ~January Marshall

There is tremendous value in knowing which “rock” you are and how this fits into your place in where you are; home, work, neighborhood, school, work, etc.

We have been uniquely designed by our Father in heaven above and yet He created us all the same.  Where we are the same is in our physical make up, yet we don’t all look the same.  Our personalities are unique, and yet we can experience the same events in life and no two individuals will be impacted the same!

The rough and smooth stones exist together and some might say, the rough ones help make the smooth ones… Can one exist without the other?

If I am a smooth stone, can I stay smooth without the rough stones?  Can the rough stone have a complete purpose without the smooth stones?

The truth is we are all made up of rough and smooth parts.  Some with rougher parts and some with smoother, yet we ARE still the same.  We need each other, no doubt!

Recognize which you are and then apply yourself appropriately!  Ask God to show you how to help glorify Him by being the best you are created to be.

“So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things with which one may edify another.” ~Romans 14:19

Be the instrument in God’s hand to build up and encourage on another.  He will use you just as you are and where you are, just seek HIS direction in all you do.  He uses us where we are, rough or smooth.  We need only be available and follow HIS leading!

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

Blessings Flowing


So often in our journey through this life, we lose sight of our blessings.  The last couple of months have been especially difficult around our household.  Without going into all the specifics, we lost my mother-in-law on November 4th.  Our loss is heaven gain and we take comfort in the knowledge that her struggles are now at an end.

While she struggled over the past year with cancer and then recovery, we were all witness to her strength and fight.  It was truly inspiring and frustrating at the same time.  Still she endured until our Father called her home.  She was 78 years young and spent 59 years with her love Bus or Mac, depending on who you were talking to at the time.  Together they raised three children on a dairy farm in Cossayuna, NY.  Anyone who knows anything about a dairy, knows this takes a special commitment, it is a life style of long dedicated days and sometimes nights.  She is survived by my father-in-law, their three children, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Blessings Flowing… with mixed emotions, a heart that is at the same time filled with all HIS goodness and a heart ripping sense of loss, yep our Blessings are indeed Flowing!  We were blessed over the past year to see Florence’s strength, fight and humor.  You can’t be a farmers’ wife and be a wimp and you most certainly must have a sense of humor.

Our blessings included being able to see her several times, some under circumstance less than ideal.  The point is our Father made a way for us to meet the needs of my wife’s parents and my wife desire to be there!  We could have missed so much were it not for our Father’s loving care and abundant grace.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of HIS glory in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19

We were blessed to be a part in the sharing of memories old and new.  Joy in the remembering that turned such a difficult time into a blessing that was shared by family and friends.  The blessing of seeing how she poured her life into so many lives that were touched and blessed by her actions and words.  Kindnesses, graciousness and love met lives any so many ways, Blessings Flowing!

Here we are a few weeks removed and while our emotions are still swinging up and down, the blessings are still flowing.  Bus is doing well and his cousins have stepped in to help him adjust, plus it’s deer season and a regular crowd is coming and going at the farm.  Since Tracy’s brother lives in Florida and we are in Virginia, her sister is left to help.  She and her husband are dairy farmers and the demands don’t change even though life takes a dramatic turn, Blessings Flowing!!

Back here, cards are still coming in and we have our first service at church complete.  Sometimes the blessing of love from our brothers and sister in Jesus is overwhelming.  We wouldn’t exchange the hugs and expression of compassion for a moment, Blessings Flowing!!!

By HIS grace and supply, we are going to head back for Thanksgiving…. We will give thanks!  HIS provision, grace and love will be known and shared.  We will laugh and cry, share great stories and solemn moments.  Still blessings will be flowing!

Thanks to everyone who has loved us through these difficult times.  Your prayers, words of encouragement and hugs of comfort…BLESSINGS FLOWING

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

Image

Florence P. McIntyre

July 14, 1935 – November 4, 2013

Larry Morrow – Our Loss, Heaven’s Gain


This entry is in Memory of Larry Morrow, husband, dad, brother, coach and friend.  This list could go on and I hope as you read this, you’ll get the point.

Larry passed from our presence yesterday at the age of 67.  We are left with the wonder of why so soon.  It is soon to us and a great shock, truthfully the full weight of his passing hasn’t yet sunk in as of this writing.  Even though he is lost to us, he is at the feet of our Lord and Savior.

While I can’t speak to all Larry accomplished in this life or what impact he had on all who knew him.  Please indulge me as I share my part of his life story….

My first meeting with Larry was in 1971, Garner Little League in Garland, Texas.  God brought us together through baseball.  As a coach, he saw an opportunity to teach me and develop some skills, just maybe….in a scrawny little 11-year-old.  I’m not sure exactly what drew him to choosing me for his team.  I do know that what followed is without question all about God’s plan.

During our first practice, this toddler of a Christian, informed Coach Morrow that he wouldn’t be at any practices or games on Wednesdays!  I told him, “I have church on Wednesday nights and I have to be there.”  He told me he understood and I remember he smiled at me too.  That was settled, I believed.  Years later, he told me what an impact that made on his life and how this one interaction was used by God to draw him back to church.

What follows are the highlights of our journey together for the next 8 years and what I learned along the way…

I played ball for Larry during the next two seasons.  He taught me how to play center field like a defensive coordinator, seeing the whole field.  He taught me how to look at the game as a chess match, working out the possibilities for each batter and play in advance.  How to come in to first base from center field without throwing the ball over the backstop, I seriously tried a couple of times….not pretty!  Under his instruction and extra effort, I learned to pitch a little.  Good enough to throw a no-hitter, I do remember him working really hard to convince me I could finish the game.  The only trouble was, I’d loaded the bases and managed to walk in three or four runs before he pulled me to save the win.  I had lost all confidence, however he never lost faith in me.  I can’t tell you what that meant and still means to me.

During those two years, Larry and his family started coming to my church.  over the next four years God really blessed our ministry together.  You see, Larry and I started working a church bus route together.  We’d go out on Saturday mornings, get the church bus and drive our route.  Knocking on doors, inviting all we met to visit our church and ride our bus.  When we started out, it seems like we would average 10 to 15.  By the time we stopped working that route together, we were making two trips every Sunday morning with passengers. We were averaging 120 riders.  I also, learned that swallowing gold-fish as a reward for reaching goals on the number of riders, wasn’t all that difficult.  It was after all my idea and I was as excited to swallow the tiny little fish as those watching were to witness the event.

Next, Larry gave me the opportunity to work for him in his landscaping business.  Work wasn’t the word for it, landscaping is HARD work and Larry knew how.  He also always knew how to get the best out of me.  Even years later after I’d grown up and had my own son, Larry and I had the opportunity to reconnect.  My folks had moved to Whitney, Texas and Larry and Nancy lived in the area as well.  Larry and I worked together and played golf and even had investments together in an investment club.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here on what we worked on and accomplished together, especially for God’s kingdom.  I hope you are able to sense that he had a hand in developing not just a ball player, he help in molding a young mind.  I will miss him and living in Virginia makes this all the more painful.

I am praying God will bring comfort and peace to Nancy and their children, Eric and Lisa.  They have children of their own and I know they will all be suffering this loss.  In the weeks ahead, I pray we will all share the fond memories and blessings of Larry Morrow in our life.  Please remember Larry’s family and friends during this time.  As heaven celebrates the arrival of another child within the gates, we will mourn the passing of a husband, father, brother and friend.  A coach and mentor to many, he was to me.

~Robert

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