Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Love-Hate Relationship

The latest definition for holiness that has quickened my heart is: A Love-Hate Relationship -- A Love God and Hate Sin Relationship.

Psalm 97:10a (NLT) -- You who love the LORD, hate evil!

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

From Nothing to Something to Everything!

There's a powerful, faith-filled prayer story in 1 Kings 18:42b-45:

(42b) And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, (43) and said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." So he went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing." And seven times he said, "Go again." (44) Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he (the servant) said, "There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!" So he (Elijah) said, "Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’" (45) Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. (NKJV)

We can outline the Elijah prayer story in three parts;
(1) There was nothing -- initially, there was a cloudless sky.
(2) There was something -- eventually, a small cloud appeared.
(3) There was everything -- finally, there was a heavy rain.

As Elijah prayed for rain, the servant kept coming back with the same weather report over and over: THERE IS NOTHING! Yet, Elijah continued to plead face-down before the Lord for rain. Finally after seven times, the weather report changed from THERE IS NOTHING to THERE IS SOMETHING! It was only one small cloud the size of a man's hand rising up over the Mediterranean Sea, but it was something big to Elijah's faith. Elijah jumped up and began to run off the mountain, knowing that a mighty rain storm was approaching Mount Carmel and the Jezreel Valley. So, the man of faith-filled prayer ran for his life. We realize that the whole time he was praying face-down between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jezreel Valley, Elijah believed His God would change a nothing forecast into a something forecast and that something forecast meant everything to Elijah! AND YES INDEED, FINALLY A MIGHTY RAIN NEARLY WASHED MOUNT CARMEL OFF THE MAP!!! Be careful what you're prayerful about.

James 5:16b-18a (NLT) -- The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. (17) Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! (18) Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured.

Let's keep praying and hoping in the Lord. Eventually, our seemingly nothing forecast will turn into a something forecast and that something forecast will turn into an everything forecast for His glory in our lives!

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Why does it take just a moment to say "Hello," but seemingly forever to say "Good-bye?"

2 Timothy 1:3 (The Message) -- I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.

IF MY PEOPLE...WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Take Time to Be Holy

Today is my precious Mom's 68th birthday. I just talked with her on the phone. After I had spoken well wishes and given thanks for her life, she, as always, tenderly turned the conversation away from herself and to our Lord. She said. "Son, I haven't been able to get the words of that old hymn, Take Time to Be Holy, off of my mind."

Lord, I am so grateful for the gift of a Christlike Mom. Help her eldest son to saturate day-by-day in the words of the holy hymn that's on her mind today. In Jesus' Holy name, I pray. Amen.

Take Time to Be Holy -- William D. Longstaff, 1822-1894

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
abide in Him always, and feed on His word.
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide,
and run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cry Out to Jesus!

Today at 2 p.m. I will conduct the funeral service for a 20-year-old, Joshua, who passed the line of worlds in a car crash over the weekend. The pain of the family is in my heart. These words from the Christian vocal band, Third Day, are echoing from the chambers of my soul:

To everyone who's lost someone they love,
Long before it was their time.
You feel like the days You had were not enough,
When you said goodbye

Cry out to Jesus... Cry out to Jesus...

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.
Grateful (But Tearful Today because of Joshua's passing and because of his friend, Brandon's passing, too... Lord Have Mercy...)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Refused to Rest?

I recently read a line in a book written by a Messianic Jewish author. It wasn't my book, so I cannot retrace the author's name but I have not forgotten the line:

In the beginning God created Paradise, but the man and the woman refused to rest.

Refused to rest? How sad is that!

Lord, you say in Luke's Gospel that "the Kingdom of God is now within us." Sounds an awful lot like Paradise to me. Lord, help me to live in the atmosphere of Your Holiness. I want one of the undeniable proofs of Paradise within me to be that I don't refuse to rest in You. After all, if Your Kingdom is really within me, and I believe it really is, then surely You are my King meaning You are both resident and president within me. You have recreated Your Paradise within me. Let it never be said of me, ever again, that I refused to rest in Your Paradise. Lord forgive. Lord forbid. Your Name is Faithful. My name is Grateful. I'm exhaling NOW! Amen.

Luke 17:20-21 (NIV) -- (20) Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, (21) nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you."

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Presence is much more essential than words.

Lord, when I don't know what to say, let me continue to be present in the lives of the hurting so that I might inhale and exhale Your essential Presence in their presence, knowing that these seven words from Colossians 1:27 are wonder-working indeed: "Christ in you (me), the Hope of Glory!" Amen.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Loving Him And Loathing Sin!

When I really love God, I will at the same time loathe sin. Yes, when I love God with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, I will at the same time hate everything that breaks my God's heart. The things that break my God's heart are the things that immediately threaten to break my life and ultimately threaten to separate me from my God for forever.

I think it's true to say that loving Him and loathing sin is one way to define holiness.

Lord I want my love for You to increase and my hatred for the things that break Your Holy Heart to increase simultaneously. Holiness is what I long for. In Jesus' name. Amen.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Justification & Sanctification

Justification means I am found in Christ.
Sanctification means Christ is found in me.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Anything, Everything

Christ won't be much of anything to us until He is Everything to us.

That's why The Apostle Paul said, For me to live is Christ...

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Faith Not Feelings!

One of my favorite songs comes straight from Scripture and was sung by the late Rich Mullins -- The Just Shall Live By Faith.

Dr. James Dobson wrote a book several years back titled, Emotions? Can You Trust Them? He went on to say that he wrote the whole book to say just one thing -- No!

Lord, help us to live our lives by faith, not by feelings. In Jesus' name. Amen.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Open, Living, Love Letters

Lord, make our lives open, living, love letters to You for others to read and to know Your love for us, our love for You, and Your love for them. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14

Monday, January 18, 2010

On The Cross

In 1992, Galatians 2:20, became a life-verse for me. I first grasped the impact of the Galatians 2:20 message when I read it on a kitchen calendar at the home of Rev. Clark and Mrs. Christine Langford in Greensboro, North Carolina. Beyond information the verse was immediately inspiration and affirmation of the transformation the Lord had already initiated in my heart, mind, and soul.

Galatians 2:20 was printed on that kitchen calendar from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

While I agree with the hymn writer who penned these words. There’s room at the Cross for me and for you, I have come to know something beyond those words as well: There’s room on the cross for me and for you, too.

Have we or will we go beyond Near the Cross to On the Cross and then even In the Cross?

IF MY PEOPLE...WILL? I WILL! God’s Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

He Will Be Faithful!

This song blesses my heart today. It is based on Philippians 1:6:

He Who began a good work in you...
He Who began a good work in you..
Will be Faithful to complete it!
Will be Faithful to complete it!
He Who started the work,
Will be Faithful to complete it in you!

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blush And Weep?

In my quiet time this morning, Psalm 119:36 from The Message Paraphrase of the Holy Bible struck a cord in my soul:

I cry rivers of tears because nobody’s living by your book!

I wonder if the main reason the world doesn't seem to blush over sin anymore, is that the people called by God's name don't seem to weep over sin anymore?

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My God Canceled My "Train" Ticket! Ps.16:10

Yesterday, as I was reading through the Old Testament Psalms from The Message Paraphrase of the Holy Bible, these ten words from Psalm 16:10 passionately encouraged my soul. I'm guessing the same ten words will encourage your soul, too:

You canceled my ticket to Hell -- that's not my destination!

Country singer, Josh Turner sings a song titled "The Long Black Train." He tells about how the Devil drives that long black train leading eternal souls to Hell. As I saturate and celebrate in Psalm 16:10, I can hear these words of Josh Turner's song in my mind:

Look to the heavens. You can look to the skies.
You can find redemption staring back into your eyes.
There is protection and there's Peace the same...
Burnin' your ticket for that Long Black Train.

'Cause there's vict'ry in the Lord I say.
Yes, there's Vict'ry in the Lord.
So, cling to the Father and His holy name,
And don't go ridin' on that Long Black Train

Lord, I thank You for the reality of Psalm 16:10 in my life! You have canceled my ticket to Hell -- that's not my destination. Because You're taking me with You, Lord, in a whole new direction, the whistle for that long black train becomes more distant day-by-day in my life. How sweet it is!

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

P.S. You might not believe this, but as I post this blog entry I can hear a train rumbling down the track and I hear the whistle blowing. Just in case you're wondering, the train is going away from me, not coming for me. Yes, my Loving God has canceled my long-black-train ticket. :-)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"The Eight 'We Can'ts' of Ministry"

At Nazarene Bible College, in 1994, a seasoned pastor spoke to the student body at chapel one day and shared what he called "The Eight 'We Can'ts' of Ministry." I wrote these still relevant notes in the flyleaf of my Bible:

"The Eight 'We Can'ts' of Ministry"

1. We can't control everything.
2. We can't change or fix anyone.
3. We can't explain everything.
4. We can't dodge questions and decisions.
5. We can't explain why God loves you and me.
6. We can't worry about who gets the credit.
7. We can't cling to the past.
8. We can't do what needs to be done apart from the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:1 -- Therefore, since through God's mercy we have ministry, we do not lose heart...

Based on 2 Corinthians 4:1, I've added a ninth 'we can't' of ministry:
9. We can't lose heart! (We can, but we must not lose heart!)

IF MY PEOPLE...WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Prayer & A Psalm for Haiti

Yesterday, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti, experienced an earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter Scale. It all happened without warning just before sunset. Only at daylight today will the devastation begin to be discovered.

Let us take time alone with the Lord, to weep over Haiti. Their pain is surely in our hearts.

Also, Psalm 46 is on my heart. I am claiming it for the precious Haitian people. It is Psalm 46 from the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible:

(1) God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
(2) So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come

and the mountains crumble into the sea.
(3) Let the oceans roar and foam.

Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude
(4) A river brings joy to the city of our God,

the sacred home of the Most High.
(5) God Himself lives in that city; it cannot be destroyed.

God will protect it at the break of day.
(6) The nations are in an uproar, and kingdoms crumble!

God thunders, and the earth melts!
(7) The LORD Almighty is here among us;

the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude
(8) Come, see the glorious works of the LORD:

See how He brings destruction upon the world
(9) and causes wars to end throughout the earth.

He breaks the bow and snaps the spear in two;
He burns the shields with fire.
(10) "Be silent, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world."
(11) The LORD Almighty is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Facing Fear? Pray: "Jesus Savior, Pilot Me!"

I woke up early this morning in a deep spirit of personal prayer. These six words of comfort and assurance from God's Word in Proverbs 3:25 (NIV) were on my mind as I inhaled and exhaled the presence of my Lord: Have no fear of sudden disaster!

When I went to bed last night, the words of an old hymn of the church were among my last thoughts. This hymn was sung at my Grandaddy Gray's homegoing service when I was in the seventh grade. My granddaddy, a boat captain, recognized, like every wise boat captain recognizes, Jesus is the Pilot. Hear now the words of the hymn and have no fear of sudden disaster:

Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life's tempestuous sea;
unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
boisterous waves obey Thy will, when thou sayest to them, "Be still!"
Wondrous Sovreign of the Sea, Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

When at last I near the shore, and the fearful breakers roar
'twixt me and the peaceful rest, then, while leaning on Thy breast,
may I hear Thee say to me, "Fear not, I will pilot thee."

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who Do I Want To Please Most?

Today, I am inspired by Hebrews 11:5 (NLT) -- It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to Heaven without dying—"suddenly he disappeared because God took him." But before he was taken up, he was approved as pleasing to God.

My Loving Lord, I want my life to be lived for Your approval, not for the applause of people. In Jesus' name. Amen.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

At His Expense

Please saturate in this small but powerful portion of a wonderful blog post entered by my mentor and friend, James Spruill, earlier this week. I'm still soaking in it myself:

Christ Jesus never forces Himself on anyone. He makes us an incredible offer of eternal life at His expense. You don’t have to blow yourself up to make it to Heaven, the ticket is on Him.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Cab Ride

I love a good story. This is a great one. You'll need a few minutes and maybe a few tissues?

"I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated'. 'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?' 'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly. 'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice'. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.'

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. 'What route would you like me to take?' I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now' We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. 'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse. 'Nothing,' I said 'You have to make a living,' she answered. 'There are other passengers,' I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. 'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.' I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, ...BUT... THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL."

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Returning Home

Repentance is more than being remorseful for our rebellion.
Repentance goes beyond just being sorrowful for our sins.
Repentance is only made complete by returning home.

I believe the greatest piece of literature ever penned is the story Jesus told in Luke 15 about a son lost in rebeliion, a son lost in religion, and their loving, relational father.

In the passionate story, the rebellious son was obviously remorseful for his rebellion but that was not equal to complete repentance. Yes, he was sorrowful for his sins but he was still lost in the filth of the pig pen. His repentance was only nearing completion when he turned his back on his sinning and began walking in the light towards His Father's House and a new beginning. The Prodigal Son went from being totally lost to being totally found by returning home.

Lord, indeed, we must be sorry for our sins, but we must also go beyond our sorrow and leave the sin-pig-pen for the Father's House. Find us returning home where Your embrace of Holiness waits to warmly welcome us in from the frigid far-country of sinning... for forever and today. In Jesus' name. Amen.

IF MY PEOPLE...WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


This morning in my quiet time, I sensed the Spirit of the Living God saying to me and now through me:

If your profound questions to God begin with why, the simple answer in each instance is HAVE FAITH IN GOD! Have faith that God knows and that God cares. You may think He has forgot? But the truth to that is... He has not!

Four words from Mark 11:22 provide my strong-faith-footing for today and day-by-day. Yes, especially when many of my profound questions to God begin with why, I have come to know that these four words contain the answers every time: Have faith in God!

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Today, I 'm thinking along the lines of those curious words old Billy Boy Shakespeare penned: TO BE OR NOT TO BE? That is the question.

Lord, I want TO BE focused more on BEING YOURS than on DOING CHORES. Let Your overflowing Holy presence override my overworking human performance.

1 John 3:1 (NLT) -- See how very much our Heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us TO BE called His children, and we really are!

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Be Present in the Present!

Yesterday was mine but now it is God's. Tomorrow is God's but will one day be mine. Today is God's gift to me. That's why it's called "the present".

But don't just take my words for it. Hear the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 6:34 (TLB) -- So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.

Lord, help me to stay out of the two days that belong only to You -- yesterday and tomorrow. Give me a focused faith that causes me to be present in the present. Instead of worrying over yesterday and wondering about tomorrow, help me to be all about worshipping You in Spirit and in Truth today. I want to be found in your presence in the present. In Jesus' name. Amen.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trusting & Suffering? Both Are Privileges!

For you have been given...
not only the privilege of trusting in Christ...
but also the privilege of suffering for him.
-- Philippians 1:29 (NLT)

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Surrendered Heart. In Unity. We Get To.

By now, must who of you probably know that I was a professional photographer for about fifteen years before becoming a full-time minister. Though I do not use my photo skills often these days, I do publish a yearly full-color calendar titled "Surrendered Heart" and it contains photos I have taken of the places I love or have traveled in the previous year. The purpose of the "Surrendered Heart" calendar is to encourage others day-by-day, or at least month-after-month and yes, it is one way to keep my creative skills at least dusted off?

My 2010 calendars are almost totally distributed now, marking seven straight years of publishing these "Surrendered Heart" calendars. While there are thirteen color photos in each collection -- a front cover image and a monthly selection -- the final page of the calendar is the most important to me. Yes, on the back inside cover of each yearly calendar I write inspiring words that are especially close to my heart and take time to dedicate each particular calendar.

In today's blog entry, I have decided to print the words from this year's back inside calendar cover. I hope it inspires your life in some meaningful measure.

"Surrendered Heart -- We don’t have to. We get to."

True Love has a Surrendered Heart.
True love is marked by giving, not getting.
We love because we want to.

Philemon 8, is an irresistible and inspiring invitation:
“I appeal to you on the basis of love…”
In other words: “You don’t have to. You get to.”

In John 14:15, Jesus teaches us that our love is proven by our will.
Listen to His Love letter:
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
We do not obey Him to prove we are His.
We obey Him because we are His.

We love God so much, because He first loved us too much.
Holy God is True Love.

True Love is not a job-description. True Love is all joy-description.
True Love is not about hard and stressful, religious duty,
but holy and blissful, relational devotion.

True Love is undeniably about pleasure, not pressure --
opportunity, not obligation -- invitation, not intimidation.

I dedicate this year's calendar to the local church that has partnered
with me in Love & Unity for 16 years. We don’t have to. We get to.
Yes, to the family -- Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene --
You’re a generous people. I’m a grateful pastor. All Joy!

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! - God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Crossing the Bar" & "The Sailor's Psalm"

Alfred Lloyd Tenneyson was an English Poet. His classic poem titled, Crossing the Bar was written in 1889, just three years before his death. This is my Dad's favorite poem. He has quoted it to me from memory many times over the years. Because my Dad has spent the majority of his life on the ocean as a shrimp-boat captain, the imagery of the sea is especially meaningful to him when it comes to understanding life and death.

The word "bar" in this poem, for example, has to do with "a final sand bar near a safe harbor before a captain puts his vessel out into the unknown deep". "Moaning" in this poem likely refers to "bad weather". Also, "Pilot" as used by Tenneyson is a synonym for "Captain". It is an endearing title given to "God" by sailors. You might be aware of the cherished hymn, "Jesus, Saviour Pilot Me."

Anyway, here's the passionate poem, Crossing the Bar, by Tenneyson:

Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark.

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Also, Psalm 107:23-31 is my shrimpboat-captain-dad's favorite Bible passage. I refer to it as The Sailor's Psalm:

(23) Some went off in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. (24) They, too, observed the LORD’S power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. (25) He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. (26) Their ships were tossed to the heavens and sank again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. (27) They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. (28) "LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. (29) He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. (30) What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! (31) Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them.

IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL! -- God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.

Friday, January 1, 2010

"SIX MINDS" For 2010 & Beyond

I received a mind-provoking e-mail this week from a lady in our local church named Ramona. The content of the e-mail is titled "SIX MINDS." It seems to be especially appropriate material for us to "MIND" at the beginning of a New Year (and beyond), for sure:

1. Mind your TONGUE! Don’t let it speak hasty, cruel, unkind, or wicked words.
2. Mind your EYES! Don’t permit them to look on wicked books, pictures or objects.
3. Mind your EARS! Don’t suffer them to listen to wicked speeches, songs or words.
4. Mind your LIPS! Don’t let tobacco foul them. Don’t let strong drinks pass them. Don’t let the food of the glutton enter between them. Don’t let foul words proceed from them.
5. Mind your FEET! Don’t let them walk in the steps of the wicked.
6. Mind your HEART! Don’t let the love of sin dwell in it. Don’t give it to Satan but ask Jesus to make it His throne.

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NLT) -- But we can understand these things, for we have the MIND of Christ.

"IF MY PEOPLE... WILL? I WILL!" -- God's Promise in 2 Chron. 7:14.