Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Lay Down My Life. No One Takes It.

(11) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (12) The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. (13) The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (14) “I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know me— (15) just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father —and I lay down My life for the sheep. (16) I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (17) The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down my life —only to take it up again. (18) No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father.”
-- Words of Jesus as recorded in John 10:11-18 (NIV 1984 Edition)

Thanks You Jesus for laying down you life for me.
i am Grateful... kerry i am

Friday, June 29, 2012

At The End of the Road

When John Todd, a nineteenth-century clergyman, was six years old, both his parents died. A kind-hearted aunt raised him until he left home to study for the ministry. Later, this aunt became seriously ill, and in distress she wrote Todd a letter. Would death mean the end of everything, or could she hope for something beyond?

Here, condensed from The Autobiography of John Todd, is the letter he sent in reply:

"It is now thirty-five years since I, as a boy of six, was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me. I have never forgotten the day I made the long journey to your house. I can still recall my disappointment when, instead of coming for me yourself, you sent your servant, Caesar, to fetch me. "I remember my tears and anxiety as, perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar, I rode off to my new home.

Night fell before we finished the journey, and I became lonely and afraid. 'Do you think she'll go to bed before we get there?' I asked Caesar. 'Oh no!' he said reassuringly, 'She'll stay up for you. When we get out o' these here woods, you'll see her candle shinin' in the window.' "

Presently we did ride out into the clearing, and there, sure enough, was your candle. I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me-- a tired and bewildered little boy. You had a fire burning on the hearth, a hot supper waiting on the stove. After supper you took me to my new room, heard me say my prayers, and then sat beside me till I fell asleep.

"Some day soon God will send for you, to take you to a new home. Don't fear the summons, the strange journey, or the messenger of death. God can be trusted to do as much for you as you were kind enough to do for me so many years ago. At the end of the road you will find love and a welcome awaiting, and you will be safe in God's care."
-- Vernon Grounds

A few days before his death, Dr. F. B. Meyer wrote a very dear friend these words: "I have just heard, to my great surprise, that I have but a few days to live. It may be that before this reaches you, I shall have entered the palace. Don't trouble to write. We shall meet in the morning."
-- Mrs. Charles Cowman, "Consolation,"

At the end of the road we will find love, welcome, and God's care.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Help Me To Love And Trust You, Lord!

The Country & Western singer, Hank Williams, Jr., has this line in one of his songs: Why must you live out the songs that you've wrote. (Or something like that, anyway.)

My pastoral mentor, James Spruill, has tried to tell me: The Lord makes preachers live what they preach. In other words, if you preach "Do not be discouraged" get ready to battle discouragement. If you preach on "Christian marriage" get ready for a challenge in your own Christian marriage. And on and on it goes. Or so it often seems that way.

Well, yesterday, I wrote on my blog that God's perfect love presently makes all of our tormenting fears history. I know it's true. However, late last night... You guessed it. Tormenting fears came knocking at my heart's door.

Here's what happened: For about an hour I tried to get one of my family members on the phone. It was getting quite late and still no answer after many calls to their cell phone and home phone. It seemed no one I talked with knew where my loved one was. To say I was frightened and upset would be an understatement. The later it got, the more my fear-filled imagination went wild.

It's already a new day. Yep, it's after midnight now. I just asked God to forgive me and to help me personally more than ever to live out the messages I preach in the pulpit weekly and the subjects I post on my blog daily.Why? Because, I openly confess: Last evening, I imagined all kinds of bad things that might be happening to my family member, because of no answer from their end. It went on for about an hour and I was only about 3 minutes from dialing "911" when suddenly... a friend located my loved one. All was well. Wonderfully well.

I know it might seem I am being a little hard on myself, because after all, I do love my loved ones, however, last night, I did not draw fully from the perfect love of my awesome and available God. Let's just say, I allowed fears of torment to lick on the window panes of my soul.

To top it all off, yesterday, I was being still and knowing that God was God. During my stillness, I even repeated one song on my MP3 player over and over again. The title? I am sure you probably know the song well. It's an old hymn of the Church:

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to take Him at His word.
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, 'Thus saith the Lord'"

Lord, help me to LOVE YOU perfectly and to TRUST YOU totally!
Teach me that tormenting fears have no claim on me!
I'm Yours! You LOVE me!

P.S. I'd like to repeat the song just once more, please:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Love Present! Tormenting Fears? History!

Need Good News for today and all of your tomorrows? Here it is:
Because of God's perfect Love at work in us presently,
all of our tormenting fears are history.

Don't believe me? Take God's Word for it:

(17) God’s love has reached its goal in us. So we look ahead with confidence to the day of judgment. While we are in this world, we are exactly like Him with regard to love. (18) No fear exists where His love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn’t have perfect love.
-- 1 John 4:17-18 (GWT)

Do we believe that God's Love is strong enough to truly cancel out all of our tormenting fears?

Let's Love God? And Fear Not!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Leader's Legacy... I Must Decrease.

A legacy of a leader, according to John Maxwell, is “created only when a person puts his or her organization into the position to do great things without him or her.”

He must increase in importance, while I must decrease in importance.
--Words of John the Baptist in John 3:30 (GWT)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Causing God Grief

(40) How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness!
How often they caused Him grief in the desert!
(41) Again and again they tested God,
and they pushed the Holy One of Israel to the limit.
-- Psalm 78:40-41 (GWT)

Lord, I do not want to live a life that causes You grief.
Lord forgive. Lord forbid.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"I Am With Thee!"-- Jesus

Be not discouraged today, my friends.

My dear mom, Melba, told me that all during her recent months of physical trials, that began with a fall down the steps of my home at Christmas 2011 -- resulting in a hip fracture, and a painful surgery -- only to be followed in a matter of months by a complete hip replacement, she has heard the Lord whispering to her all along the way and and still today: "I Am With Thee... I Will Never Leave Thee..."

Be comforted today by His never-ending presence.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"How Sad!"

Alongside these verses recorded in Psalm 78, I wrote in the margin of my Bible just two words -- "How Sad!"

(17) They continued to sin against Him, to rebel in the desert against the Most High. (18) They deliberately tested God by demanding the food they craved. (19) They spoke against God by saying, “Can God prepare a banquet in the desert? (20) True, He did strike a rock, and water did gush out, and the streams did overflow. But can He also give us bread or provide us, His people, with meat?” (21) When the Lord heard this, He became furious. His fire burned against Jacob and His anger flared up at Israel (22) because they did not believe God or trust Him to save them. (23) In spite of that, He commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven. (24) He rained manna down on them to eat and gave them grain from heaven. (25) Humans ate the bread of the mighty ones, and God sent them plenty of food. (26) He made the east wind blow in the heavens and guided the south wind with His might. (27) He rained meat down on them like dust, birds like the sand on the seashore. (28) He made the birds fall in the middle of his camp, all around His dwelling place. (29) They ate more than enough. He gave them what they wanted, (30) but they still wanted more. While the food was still in their mouths, (31) the anger of God flared up against them. He killed their strongest men and slaughtered the best young men in Israel. (32) In spite of all this, they continued to sin, and they no longer believed in His miracles. (33) He brought their days to an end like a whisper in the wind. He brought their years to an end in terror. (34) When He killed some of them, the rest searched for Him. They turned from their sins and eagerly looked for God. (35) They remembered that God was their rock, that the Most High was their defender. (36) They flattered Him with their mouths and lied to Him with their tongues. (37) Their hearts were not loyal to Him. They were not faithful to His promise.
-- Psalm 78:17-37 (GWT)

Sometimes I feel so sad for You, Almighty God -- A Holy God dealing with mere humans shaking their fists of sinful rebellion in Your Holy face. Your mercy never ceases to amaze me. Amen.

Holiness Unto The LORD!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Entrusted to Be Faithful

(1) People should think of us as servants of Christ and managers who are entrusted with God’s mysteries. (2) Managers are required to be trustworthy. (3) It means very little to me that you or any human court should cross-examine me. I don’t even ask myself questions.
-- 1 Corinthians 4:1-3 (GWT)

(1) Think of us as servants of Christ who have been given the work of explaining God’s mysterious ways. (2) And since our first duty is to be faithful to the one we work for, (3) it doesn’t matter to me if I am judged by you or even by a court of law. In fact, I don’t judge myself.
-- 1 Corinthians 4:1-3 (CEV)

A servant of Christ and...
... Grateful

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Among The Leading Sins...

Among the leading sins of the Israelites was forgetfulness of God and His mercies, and ingratitude of soul. This brought forth murmurings and lack of praise, as it always does.
-- E.M. Bounds

Lord, let me never forget that Your name is Faithful and my name is...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Something Happened Inside Me

Oswald Chambers, the author of My Utmost For His Highest, was a strong Bible teacher of the experience referred to as baptism of the Holy Spirit. He testified, “ Dr. F. B. Meyer came and spoke to us about the Holy Spirit. I determined to have all that was going and went to my room and asked God simply and definitely for His Holy Spirit, whatever that meant. Four years later God spoke to me through His Word: Luke 11:13 got hold of me….it was borne in upon me that I had to claim the gift from God on authority of Jesus Christ … this I did in dogged committal. I had no vision of heaven nor of angels …..but like a flash something happened inside me …the days that followed have truly been heaven on earth. Glory be to God- the last aching abyss of the human heart is filled to overflowing with the love of God. The power and tyranny of sin is gone and the radiant, unspeakable emancipation of the indwelling Christ has come."

"Even though you’re evil, you know how to give good gifts to your children. So how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
-- Luke 11:13 (GWT)

If you ask and believe, you shall actually receive...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Curse Versus The Goal

The curse of this age is over-stimulation of the senses which blocks out awareness of the unseen world. The goal is to be aware of unseen things even as we live out our lives in the visible world.
-- Sarah Young

We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever.
-- 2 Corinthians 4:18 (GWT)

By Faith! In Faith! (Hebrews 11)

Monday, June 18, 2012

An Eternity Without God...

I’ve never known you...
-- Sad words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 7:23 (GWT)

An eternity without God will be too long to reflect, with never-ending regret, on the many missed opportunities that were given in this temporary lifetime to know Him for forever.

Lord, help us, by the indwelling presence of Your Eternal Holy Spirit within our lives, to minimize our future regrets tomorrow by maximizing our present relationships with You today. In Your Holy Name, we desperately pray that we might know You... NOW... and for forever! Amen.

Lord, I want to know You more and more and more...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Your Sons and Daughters Will "Preach"

The Lord Will Pour His Spirit on All People

(28) “After this, I will pour my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. (29) In those days I will pour my Spirit on servants, on both men and women. (30) I will work miracles in the sky and on the earth: blood, fire, and clouds of smoke. (31) The sun will become dark, and the moon will become as red as blood before the terrifying day of the Lord comes.” (32) Then whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Those who escape will be on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Among the survivors will be those whom the Lord calls, as the Lord has promised.
-- Joel 2:28-32 (GWT)

On this Father's Day, let us pray that the Lord will pour out His Spirit on our sons and our daughters and that they will prophesy, yes "preach" the Gospel ... And let us be...
... Grateful

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"A Few Things"

His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!"
-- Matthew 25:21 (NIV 1984 Edition)

Lord, teach me to know what the "few things" are that you want me to be faithful with, and let me never lose focus of those "few things" so I can immediately and ultimately hear You saying, "Well Done!".

Let it be so, Lord.

Friday, June 15, 2012

In the Slow or in The Flow

My summer has a little busy with mostly wonderful experiences so far, however, I am learning to be content whether I am in the slow or in the flow of my Loving Lord's presence.

Lord, help me to be content with Your, trustworthy, nail-scared hand on the throttle of my life. I sense You pulling back the throttle of my life's speed to a slower pace and it is all good. Yes, indeed! Amen.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Every Breath

In one of our Tuesday morning men's prayer gatherings, I asked Steve to come and pray for us. He prayed, "Lord, help us to remember that because every breath we inhale is a gift from You, surely, every breath we exhale should be worship to You."


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Please Pray Because Our God Cares

Please be in prayer for a young man in our local church family who has struggled for many years with medical challenges. His name is Bradley. Please pray also for his dear parents, Rick and Cheryl. Recently, their burden has grown heavy and they are very weary, however, they continue to trust in the Lord for their precious son's needs.

Recently, while in the university hospital, a care-sitter with Bradley named Reva spoke these words of comfort to Bradley's mom during a time of particular darkness: "Honey, our God will take care of your Bradley." What a true word of awesome encouragement Reva spoke.

It reminded me of an old sacred hymn that's been on my mind and in my heart for a few days now: "No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus!"

Click here: No One Ever Cared Like Jesus - MIDI and Lyrics

Just Remember Jesus Cares and Thanks for Praying.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Dad On My Mind

This morning I have my dad on my mind. Maybe because 51 years ago today he became a father for the first time. Yes, 51 years ago today he became my father. His son knows this is his favorite Scripture. May it somehow inspire your soul:

Some of you set sail in big ships;
You put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
saw His breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word He called up the wind—
an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
you didn't know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
He got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
and He led you safely back to harbor.
So thank God for His marvelous love,
for His miracle mercy to the children He loves.

Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!
-- Psalm 107:23-32 (The Message)


Monday, June 11, 2012

What's the Password to Prayer?

Gratitude and murmuring never abide in the same heart at the same time. An unappreciative spirit has no standing beside gratitude and praise. And true prayer corrects complaining and promotes gratitude and thanksgiving.
-- E.M. Bounds

Praise is the password to prayer.
-- Dr. Charles Thompson

Click here: Marvin Sapp - Praise Him in Advance - YouTube

Lord, You are worthy of all my worship and all my praise!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pray to God for Me (A Pastor's Request)

Brothers and sisters, I encourage you through our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit creates, to join me in my struggle. Pray to God for me...
-- Romans 15:30 (GWT)

These words recorded in Romans 15:30 by Pastor Paul (a.k.a. The Apostle Paul) are positive proof that pastors need others to pray with them, and especially to pray for them. Each Tuesday morning, men from our local church gather with me as part of "The Pastor's Prayer Patrol". It's humbly named The "Pastor's" Prayer Patrol, because as a pastor, I realize how very much I need other people interceding with me, and especially interceding for me, in fervent prayer.

Recently, a dear brother-in-the-Lord e-mailed me a very touching prayer. It was a prayer he was praying for me as a pastor. Amazingly, this dear brother does not even attend the local fellowship that I pastor. In fact, he lives many miles away from me. However, the distance surely doesn't stop him from realizing that pastors desperately need prayer. Hear and join in on the prayer he prayed for this pastor, yes for me:

"Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of leadership you have given to Pastor Kerry. It is a holy calling. It's a calling to watch over himself and the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made him overseer. The church has been bought with the blood of your Son, on the cross. The responsibility you have given to Pastor Kerry is awesome. He too is tempted and tried by the enemy. He has many responsibilities be it in his family or in the community and so it is our prayer that he would be kept from the evil one and that you would empower him to live a godly life, so that out of his fullness he would share the message of the gospel boldly. Help Pastor Kerry this week as he searches the Word and Your will for the congregation. Will you grant him the
health and strength he needs to share Your message in humility and with clarity. In Jesus name I pray, Amen."

I am humbled, grateful, and speechless for this prayer, Brother Keith. I pray it will encourage others to pray for pastors everywhere, beginning with the pastor-author of this blog.

Pray to God for me...
Grateful (a.k.a. Pastor Kerry)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Spirit of Prayer is...

The Spirit of prayer is...
...stretching with all our desire after the life of God.
-- Andrew Murray

So be it in my life, precious Lord. Amen.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Latest Weather Report from India

If you read my blog post yesterday, you will be delighted to hear this latest weather report from India from last evening:

What a joy Pastor Kerry! God has heard our prayers and it has been raining all around West Bengal. In Kolkata City (Calcutta) it has been raining very much this evening -- three hours without stop at the writing of this e-mail. God is great and He is mighty. Thank you very much for your prayers. Really!
Pastor Ajay

Thanks to You, Lord, for hearing our desperate cries for rain.
We are humbled.
India is helped.
You are honored.
Amen & Amen.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

India Needs Rain

This urgent prayer request came to me through e-mail from my pastor friend in the Calcutta, India region of God's world.

Pastor Ajay said, Please join us in praying for this need:

In India there is too much heat. Seventy-eight people have died in the last two days because of a heat wave in my state, West Bengal. If the same situation continues more than 70% of our inland water is going to be dried-up. Lord save us. Please hear our voices.

Please keep our country and state in your prayers. Pray that God will send the rain immediately.

Desperate for God's mercy and...
... Grateful

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Obedient Ones Can Boldly Look to God

(21) Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we can boldly look to God (22) and receive from Him anything we ask. We receive it because we obey His commandments and do what pleases Him.
-- 1 John 3:21-22 (GWT)

Lord, give me the desires of my heart, only if my heart's desires are one-in-the-same with Yours. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Let Us Trust and Obey!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sail Away from the Safe Harbor

Twenty years from now?
You will be more disappointed
By the things you didn't do,
Than by the things you did.
So throw off the bowlines,
Sail away from the safe harbor
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
-- Attributed to Mark Twain

Click here: sailing lyrics Christopher Cross - YouTube

Lord, let the winds of Your Holy Spirit take me to holy horizons,
for my dream holds to sail beyond the sunset. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Know God Now and Never Finish

The attitude of receiving and welcoming the Holy Spirit into our lives is to be the continual attitude of a believer. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive reviving life from our ascended Lord.

It is not the baptism of the Holy Spirit that changes people, but the power of the ascended Christ coming into their lives through the Holy Spirit. We all too often separate things that the New Testament never separates. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an experience apart from Jesus Christ— it is the evidence of the ascended Christ.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit does not make you think of time or eternity— it is one amazing glorious now. “This is eternal life, that they may know You . . .” (John 17:3). Begin to know Him now, and never finish.

-- Oswald Chambers

Lord, Eternal Life for the believer is FOR NOW and FOR FOREVER!

* John 17:3 (GWT) -- "This is eternal life: to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You sent."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

No Need For Speed!

Step out of the traffic!
Take a long, loving look at Me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.
-- God's Words in Psalm 46:10 (The Message)

Speed is greed for time.
-- Brian Charette

Lord, teach me that -- because You are my Everything, and especially because You hold the keys to my fleeting life on earth and because You are my Eternal Life both Now and For Forever -- there's really no need for speed on my part! Teach me to exhale and to take lengthy loving looks at You above all else. In Your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Click here: Michael W. Smith - Above All (With Lyrics) - YouTube

Yes, My Lord, Your Name is Faithful and my name is...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Latest Love Line (Another Life-Verse)

I love that sacred part of the journey home, when the Lord drops deep into my heart yet another life-verse from His Holy Word. Here's the latest verse He gave to me during a quiet time in His presence:

It is God who produces in you the desires and actions that please Him. -- Philippians 2:13 (GWT)

Thanks Lord for accenting two of my other life-verse's. Yes, Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 1:27 are only reinforced when Philippians 2:13, the latest love line You have whispered to me, is compounded with them. I am humbled and speechless because of Your kindnesses towards me.

Click here: Michael W. Smith - Psalm 139, Thy Word - YouTube

Thy Word continues to be a lamp unto my feet. A light unto my path!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Live in the Light

Recently, during my sacred private time in the secret prayer chamber, I was seeking the Lord's help with The Good Book open in my hands. These twelve words recorded in 1st John inspired me deep within to live always and forever among those who are called The Keepers of the Light:

Nothing will destroy the faith of those who live in the light.
-- 1 John 2:10b (GWT)

Click here: Dc Talk - In the light - YouTube

Let's Live in the Light, brothers and sisters!