Monday, November 30, 2015

"BLESSINGS" / Csilla Muscan

My friends, David and Csilla Muscan, helped our local church to transition from the Thanksgiving Season to the Christmas Season this past First Sunday of Advent with many inspiring songs. David played the pan flute amazingly and Csilla's voice is her instrument of worship unto The Lord, no doubt. Here's one song she sang. It will bless you,

Click here: Blessings - cover by Csilla (MUSIC VIDEO) - YouTube

Give away your life... Believing Every Season is full of Blessings for the true believer in Jesus.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Jesus Lamp -- Light Your World

Especially as the Season of Light is here -- The Christmas Advent time of the year -- this image of "The Jesus Lamp" from Nazareth Village, The Holy Land, greatly inspires my heart and reminds me of the last three words of our local church's mission statement: "Light Your World!"

(Click image below for full-frame.) 

Give away your life... Light Your World!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Gift of Encouragement

When asked what I believe my primary spiritual gift is, I almost always answer: "That would most probably be the gift of encouragement." I have easily come to this vulnerable conclusion because I often deal quite personally with seasons of discouragement.

Makes sense, don't you think, that the gift I most often give to others is the gift I also most often hope others will give back to me?

In my estimation, next to the ever-abiding Presence of The Holy Spirit within us, the gifts of encouragement we offer to one another undeniably help to fuel our eternal souls to persevere to the end.

Give away your life... If you want to get Life in return. 


Friday, November 27, 2015

Count on The Good Shepherd for Everything

"The Lord is my Shepherd..." 
Psalm 23:1b 

When The Lord is our shepherd, we can count on Him for everything we need. 

In The 23rd Psalm, David, the Bethlehem-shepherd-turned-Jerusalem's-King assumes the role of a sheep. Why? Simply because a sheep exists in total dependence of a trustworthy shepherd's watch-care. 

Calling ourselves "sheep" demands humility. Trusting The Lord to care for us completely means living in absolute reliance on Him. 

Let us pray:

Lord, be our Good Shepherd. Your insights and power are so much greater than ours. We trust You alone to provide everything we need and even beyond. We don't even have to fear death, because you will not abandon us. Our lives overflow with bold blessings, because You, The Lamb of God, have laid down Your life to save Your sheep. You live again now and forevermore to be our Guarantee of Eternal Life and to be for all-time The Great Shepherd of our hearts. We adore You, Jesus. Amen.

Give away your life... Praying boldly the prayer language of a sheep: "Baa. Baa."


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jesus said, "Thank You..."

Words of Jesus for this Thanksgiving Day:

(Click text below for full-frame view.)

Give away your life... Thankful that God's ears are not deaf -- knowing He hears. 

Grateful, INDEED! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gratitude -- A Song & A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day & Everyday

I pray you will have a Blessed Thanksgiving Season. 

This song of "Gratitude" sung by Nicole Nordeman is the prayer at the depths of my being on Thanksgiving Day and everyday. 

Give away your life... Leaning into Holy God with Whole-Hearted Gratitude.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Great Gratefulness

With Thanksgiving coming, the soundtrack of my mind is this hallowed hymn:

Give away your life... Giving to God the Great Gratefulness He deserves. 


Monday, November 23, 2015

Aging Hopefully

These words written by Henri Nouwen encourage me to be filled with hope especially as I age:

(Click type below for Full-frame.)

Give away your life... Aging Hopefully.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thankful for The Cross

As this week of Thanksgiving begins, I must begin by giving thanks for The Cross of Christ. By it, there is in this lifetime:

(1) Regeneration -- the washing away of our sins (The Acts/Deeds of our Rebellion)


(2) Sanctification -- the cleansing absolutely of all Sin (The Attitude/Disposition of our Rebellion).

And, even more...

(3) Glorification in the Life yet to come.)

Give away your life... At and on the Cross.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hope for Guatemala -- Friday Afterglow

It's Saturday morning and we were up at 5 a.m. After our 4-hour bus ride over and through the breath-taking Guatemalan mountains we have arrived at the airport. 

As I sit in the gate, it's 11:15 a.m. Central Time and Delta flight #906 is scheduled to leave for Atlanta, then onto Baltimore arriving about midnight Eastern Time.

My brain is yet basking in the afterglow of this journey. The only destination that came close to preparing me for life in Guatemala was my trip to Haiti in December a few years ago. About 70% of the Guatemalans live in some level of poverty. To understand life here, one must understand that. 

Let me now give you thoughts and share images in Friday's afterglow. 

We started the morning at the children's wing of St. Luke's Hospital located with the Hope of Life village. Here babies who have been literally rescued from a premature death are being nurtured to wholeness again. Unbelievable. When I walked in the room, all but one baby was being held and loved on. So, I grabbed little Ana up and here we are:

Next, I got to watch some on our team spend much of the morning with the kids they sponsor through World Help. It was a very tender moment to see the interaction. Jesus-compassion filled the atmosphere. 

After lunch we went to visit families who literally live in a dump. They make their living actually going through the garbage in an attempt to recycle glass, plastic and metal to meet their basic needs. And of course ends still don't meet. So, we were there with Hope Alive to provide food and drink for all generations. They are fed three times a week by groups like ours who volunteer through Hope of Life. Watching the children was especially heart-wrenching. I am not ready to post pictures of the little ones yet. It's too real to me. I will, however, post a photo of a grandmother named Pastore. She sat peacefully in the buzzard-filled and smoke-filled dump. My heart broke when I saw her, too, but the countenance on her face curiously drew me in. When asked, "How are you today?" she replied, "I AM HAPPY!" I squatted beside her and asked about the reason for her happiness. She touched her chest and said, "Jesus lives inside me." Looking at her beautiful, filthy feet, I proclaimed the DNA of my blog: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." Pastore indeed gave us good news in a dump. Pictures below:

After leaving the dump, we journeyed to our adopted village to dedicate the first-ever church there. I was asked to lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony and to preach at the first service. I asked two villagers to come and join us and to actually cut the ribbon -- Marta, an old Jesus-glowing, prayer warrior-granny and Freddie, a single dad who drives an 18-wheeler, who let us know he was saved in a Nazarene church. See images of the celebration below. Off-the-charts! 

Last evening the Hope of Life orphaned teens who live at The Village of Transformation thanked us for coming by serving us and entertaining us at a full-blown fiesta. Humbling and Holy Ground. 

Give away your life... God will give you LIFE for now and for forever. 

Note: Click on photos for full-frame view. 


Friday, November 20, 2015

Hope for Guatemala 2015 -- Friday at Ingrid's House

If you read my blog yesterday about Ingrid, we went back today with all her meds and many others supplies, etc. from Hope of Life Ministries. Her husband sent a message that he wanted our whole group to come by their home because Ingrid wanted a group photo with all of us around her bed. God is truly at work. Keep praying. I told her many are praying for her to be back on her feet. She cried.

I will post again tomorrow about our other Friday experiences. In short, we dedicated the new village church with a packed house. We also visited the families who live at the dump. Words are not enough. But God is more than enough. 

(Click below for full view of group photo.) 

Give away your life... Embracing Hope not only for yourself but for others, too.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

"Holy, Holy, Holy" in the Village -- Guatemala 2015

I could spend much time writing about the multiplied blessings I encountered today, however, because one highlight was so "Holy, Holy, Holy" ... I will only share it. 

Her name is Ingrid -- a young beautiful wife and mother in the village we have adopted. Our group learned after their last trip that Ingrid needed lifesaving surgery. The money was raised before our arrival and she had the surgery a few days ago. She is at home on her sick bed. 

As we climbed the steps and entered the humble, second-floor home, I suddenly remembered my recent trip to Capernaum in The Holy Land, and the New Testament story that happened there -- yes, the story of Jesus healing and saving the paralyzed man.

We were invited into Ingrid's home. There laid Ingrid, her husband and small kids all around. Though sick, she was still beautiful. After Heidi, Claudia, and Angela talked with her for a while, we learned she may still be in a fragile place with her health, in part, because she needs follow-up medicine she can't afford. She didn't even have pain meds. We gave her ibprophen, and promised to do all we can to get the other prescriptions needed by tomorrow. 

I asked Ingrid if we could pray and anoint her. She tenderly agreed. We prayed, asking God to touch her body. It was holy ground. Her young son who had been loudly whining since we arrived slowly but surely fell asleep at the head of his young mom's sick bed as I prayed. Such peace fell in the room. 

As we consoled her after the prayer, she said with such fervency: "I want to receive Jesus." Heaven came down and glory filled my/our soul(s). Without hesitation, I took Ingrid by the hand again and prayed the sinner's prayed. As I was praying and pausing in English, the translator was echoing in Spanish as I paused and Ingrid was reechoing his echo in Spanish as he paused. 

"Holy, Holy, Holy, indeed!" What a glorious day in Guatemala.

(Click image below to view full-frame, the precious recreated Ingrid. See her son peacefully sleeping behind her.) 

Keep praying for Ingrid'a healing. I told her: "Don't worry. Worship!" We will return tomorrow. 

Before leaving today, Ingrid's husband, Harrison, was tender. He wants to think about it before receiving Christ. But he allowed me to pray blessings over him and his life. 

Give away your life... For Jesus' sake to whomever you encounter in your journey. 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

To Guatemala with Hope... 2015.

My Wednesday itinerary...

* Alarm sounds 1:15 a.m. in Harrisonburg, VA. USA

* 2:15 a.m. enroute to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. 

* Arrival 5:15 a.m. for supposed 7 a.m. Departure. 

* Actual departure? 8:30 a.m.

* Landed at 10 a.m. Atlanta. Off plane in Concourse E at 10:25 a.m. 

* Sprinting through world's busiest Airport in world towards Concourse F for 10:45 a.m. departure. Run down escalators carrying cases. Catch airport train. Run up two more sets of Escalators. Arrive in a pile at Gate F-10 just before plane jetway closes. 

* Grateful to be boarded, though winded. Worth it.  

* My "taxi" ride at Guatemala texts thinking I missed my plane to Guatemala just before we take-off from Atlanta. I advise otherwise. Whew. 

* Wonderful 3-hours to Guatemala City. (More on that Sunday when I preach.)

* Land in Guatemala. Breeze through immigration and customs. My ride shows up just as I am ready to exit the airport. Favor. 

* Eddy R., Otto and Antonio and I make the 3 3/4 hour drive in a Chevy Suburban to Hope of Life in mountains in just 2 3/4 hours. A few times I thought I might meet Jesus face-to-face before arriving. (I've ridden on the autobahn in Germany numerous times. The Germans have nothing on Guatemalans when it comes to fast, scary, and breath-taking road driving. One major difference, too -- The Germans have workable seat-belts. Invigorating, indeed!)

* Ate fresh unique fruit called "leeches".

* Had a lovely supper with the team in the open air dining room -- chicken, peas, potatoes. 

* Listened to heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories from Bobby, Gene, and Heidi, then Karen closed in prayer. 

* Shared some tears and laughs. 

* 9 p.m. here now, but for me 10 p.m. 

* Showered and listening at this time to worship music through my Bose headphones. "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus..."

* Praying I won't snore as loud as I've been accused of. The room is nice and cool but the walls are a little thin. :) 

* Big days ahead. Anticipating. Thanks for the invite, Heidi. And thanks for the airline ticket, World Help. 

Give away your life... Traveling to all the towns and villages to hear and to share Good News. 




Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Unclouded Day -- 1 Year My Dad's Been There

This song is in my thoughts on this one-year anniversary of my Dad's (Cap'n Billy's) passing through the earthy clouds and entering Heaven's clarity: 

(Click frames below for full-view.)

As we left our Tuesday morning prayer time today where 32 men came to seek God together, the sun was breaking through the clouds on the horizon. Seems the likeness of the face of Jesus was shining through.

Give away your life... Today, anticipating bright tomorrows. 


Monday, November 16, 2015

"Make Me Who I Need to Be" / Prayer Poem

Lord, I know You care so deep
For Your world that seems asleep.
And I know Your Love for me
Can make me who I need to be.

Some seasons of our lives down here
Are difficult, You see each tear.
Some days are long, strength gives way
Please be our God Who helps us pray.

The losses of our hearts take toll;
At times to breathe? Our daily goal.
Come to us with Your Great Power
Deliver us, in sin's dark hour.

Give us compassion from on high;
To care for others as we sigh.
Search us in the inmost parts
Guarantee us all, pure hearts.

Give away your life... in vulnerable prayer to our Loving God.

(Click image for full-frame view clay jars in Jerusalem window.)


Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Don't Let Me Make a Mess of Things..."

Psalm 119:31-38 (TLB) is a personal prayer of mine:

31 I cling to your commands and follow them as closely as I can. Lord, don’t let me make a mess of things. 32 If you will only help me to want your will, then I will follow your laws even more closely.

33-34 Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I’ll wholeheartedly obey. 35 Make me walk along the right paths, for I know how delightful they really are.
36 Help me to prefer obedience to making money! 37 Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours.[a] Revive my heart toward you. 38 Reassure me that your promises are for me, for I trust and revere you. 

Psalm 119:31-38Living Bible (TLB)

Give away your life... Obeying Holy God.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Beginning to End"

Leafing through the pages of my old Bibles today, I made some very interesting discoveries. One was a poem I wrote in 1998, entitled "Beginning to End."

I don't pretend to comprehend
Why Jesus gave His all;
To rescue me for Eternity 
From my sinful fall. 

But this I know, I'll love Him so
And true to Him I'll be;
Until His face my eyes embrace
When He comes back for me.

(I also found a photo of my wife and I taken about the same time the poem was written. Click below to see me without gray/white hair.)

Give away your life... Until the earthly end gives way to the eternal beginning.


Friday, November 13, 2015

"Stronger For It" (YOU CAN TRUST GOD!)

This song by my friend -- musician/songwriter and preacher, Kim McLean is so powerful in my life. The first time I heard her sing it, it seemed the Lord gave me a message to share with my family and others: "YOU CAN TRUST GOD!"

May it's lyrics add strength to your faith in all of your days and nights as well.

Click here: Stronger For It - YouTube

Give away your life... You Can Trust God!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Prayer in a Song

My prayer is in this song today and everyday of my life.

Give away your life... To The Mind of Christ. 


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

God's Love

My friend, Pastor O'Shell, wrote these words to close his recent writing on God's Love:

(Click image below for full-frame.)

Give away your life... Being Loved by God. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"You're Welcome Here... Jesus."

This song by Bob Bennett comes close to expressing some of the deep places in my own heart, mind, soul and strength,

Click here: You're Welcome Here - Bob Bennett (HQ) - YouTube

Give away your life... Welcoming Jesus.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Apologies, Etc.

Please accept my apologies for not loading my blog every day this last week. My schedule has been somewhat loaded with wonderful things while my back has been a little out of whack resulting in me needing more rest. 

Anyway, today, I do see some daylight in my calendar and while yesterday was one of the most overwhelming I've endured with physical back pain, right this very moment I'm feeling better than I have the past two weeks. Thank You, Jesus. 

I preached yesterday at Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church in North Carolina. The first service I preached from the words of Jesus: "Who do you say that I am?" In the second service I preached: "The Wonderfulness of our Weaknesses." The Apostle Paul learned that God's power is made perfect in our human sufferings. So, I believe God's working on me and I anticipate His strength to very soon prove my weakness as a suitable platform for His Glory to be displayed. 

Finally, I pray today that The Awesome Wonder-working God of all things beautiful will surely make Himself gloriously real to you on your journey.  

Give away your life... Allowing God's Grace to give you everything you need for life everlasting. 


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Project Galilee 2015 -- Lady Melba

My Mom ministered alongside me last evening at 4th Annual Project Galilee 2015 Gathering in Beaufort, N.C. The crowd got to hear her testimony. Wish'd you all were here. 

Today, she prayed a mother's blessing over us all at the benediction. Precious.

5th Annual Project Galilee Gathering scheduled for November 3-5 of 2016. Hold the date. 

Between now and the end of this year, our teaching sessions will be slowly uploaded at our podcast. Our theme this year was "Lostness & Redemption."

Give away your life... To The Savior. 

(Click on image below to view photo of my Mom, Lady Melba, ministering alongside me.) 


Thursday, November 5, 2015

"Release All Comparison..."

Jesus says in John 14, "In my Father's house there are many places to live." Therefore, each of us as children of God have our own unique dwelling places in the Father's presence. Let us release all comparison, all rivalry, all competition as God's unique children and simply surrender to our Father's love for each of us." 
-- Nouwen with Willis remix 

Give away your life... Being Loved uniquely by The Father. 


Wednesday, November 4, 2015 2015 Gathering

Click image below to read verse that inspires our yearly seaside gathering to strengthen the interior lives of Jesus-believing leaders...


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ever Be (Praise The Lord)

Started and ended my day with this song of praise for my Lord:

Give away your life... Praising Holy God.


Monday, November 2, 2015

The Gospel Effect

"You can tell the Gospel is having its effect upon you when you are becoming a more compassionate, loving, patient, tender-hearted person and you are reflecting these qualities to people around you.
-- Stedman

Give away your life... For the sake of The One Who gave us the Gospel -- Jesus.

* Gospel = Good News