Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What Side of the Street Are You On?

I’m currently reading a book by Tommy Welchel and Michelle Griffith about the great Azusa Street revival of Los Angeles in 1906.  The book is basically made up of a collection of interviews with those involved or who experienced the movement and who were still living during 1960’s.  Azusa Street is not what many of us know as a “revival” here in the Bible Belt.  You know the ones where we plan for a guest speaker to come to town and we go to church after work every night for a week instead of our normal two days a week church attendance.  I’m not knocking that at all before someone takes offense.  I’m just stating the difference.  The type of revival that happened at Azusa Street was not a preplanned scheduled event. It was a spontaneous awakening of God and outpouring of the Holy Spirit that lasted 6-9 years (depending on the source you read) built around William Seymour’s bold steps of obedience.  Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world and denomination made their way through the old livery stable converted to a church on Azusa Street during the revival which basically birthed the Pentecostal and Assemblies of God churches (again, depending on the source you read).  Just to give you a little background.   

Most of those still living were well into their 70s, 80s and 90s when they were interviewed but still got giddy in their old age talking about how mightily God moved during that time.  One of these stories though that came from a Mr. Brown was different than the others.

Summarizing what he said about himself: He moped around for years after revival left.  He spent his lifetime remembering but never moving on.  He admitted that he should have been preaching the Gospel like so many of the others did, but instead he missed God’s purpose and spent the next 50 years daydreaming of what was. 
When I read this I really hurt for Mr. Brown and not because he was my uncle or a family member of mine.  I hurt because I could picture this elderly man telling his story and reflecting on the greatest years of his life that we wasted by sitting idle and mourning one of the great moves of God.  He completely missed what God was trying to do with him. 

Moves of revival like this aren’t meant to stay forever.  I heard a pastor recently say that most of the great revivals in history only lasted about an average of 3 ½ years.  Much like Jesus going up on the Mount of Transfiguration – it was an awe inspiring moment, but just that, a moment.  In this life we too weren’t made to stay on the Mount, we get to go up on the Mount (i.e. revival) for a little while from time to time, but we must remember our pupose is in the Valley where there is work to be done.
Do not miss this!  Which side of revival (figuratively or literally speaking) are you living on? 

Maybe your church or community of believers is experiencing revival right now.

Maybe it is and you’re completely missing it.

Maybe it did and you completely missed it.

Even though Mr. Brown missed the follow-up on revival at the very least he knew revival when it was happening and was an active part. 

Are you missing revival that is happening right in front of you right now because it’s not what you thought it would look like?  Have you been a part of revival that’s passed and now you’re doing nothing just like Mr. Brown?  Moping?  Daydreaming about what was?  Remember the first purpose of revival is always the harvesting of souls.

This is not a new dilemma.  Scripture shows us both sides of the coin, very timely for this post being Holy Week and all, in the final chapters of the Gospels. Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies in His short time here, yet an entire nation missed the Messiah walking amongst them because He wasn’t what they thought He would be like. Revival missed.  The apostles, they didn’t miss him while He was here, but they didn’t get the whole point of why He was here either.  Think about it.  What did they do after He was crucified and buried? They weren’t anxiously waiting outside the tomb on the third day!  No. They went back to their old jobs, fishing, and I’m imaging they were just like Mr. Brown, moping and daydreaming about the man they’d just given 3 years of their life to.  See for yourself in John 21.  Revival purpose missed.

BUT GOD is so good that no matter which side of this coin we are on He can and will bring us back if we are still breathing.  If we aren’t dead then we aren’t done.  After the resurrection He restored Peter though he had denied Him three times and then allowed Peter to preach the first Gospel message to the world in Acts 2. What was lost and what was missed, is now restored!   You do not have to miss out no matter where you are at in the revival. You just have to be honest with yourself, then act!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!

Do you believe in miracles? Not like the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” when the US hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in Winter Olympics.  No, I’m talking about God is still on his throne and fully capable of physically healing our earthly human bodies kind of miracles.

14 years ago this month my beautiful bride Christy and I sat in a doctor’s office at OU Children’s Heart Hospital and heard a doctor say about our 6 month old son, “Winston has a congenital heart defect that is going to need surgery to repair.  We think he’ll be fine and live a normal life, but he will never play competitive sports.”

A month after that we were going in for surgery #2.  This one much more serious and risky, this one was open heart! It’s funny how our brain processes things.  The full weight of the seriousness hit me in the waiting room on surgery day when a nurse came out and said, “Guys you’re not out here in the general waiting area.  You’re over there.”, as she pointed to a private family room with “Brown Family” printed outside the door.  I remember thinking, “Oh dang!  This is REALLY serious. We have our own waiting room with our name outside the door.”

The doctors told us to pack our bags for at least a 9-11 day stay.   On day 3 they looked at us and said, “We’ve never had a baby recover from open heart this fast! If you lived in OKC we’d let you go home today, but since you’re out of town we’ll release you tomorrow.”

Summarizing the next 12 years of check-ups it sounded a lot like this: “Let’s hope he makes it to age 3 or 4 without needing a new valve…Let’s hope he makes it through ages 5 to 8 without needing a new valve….Let’s hope he makes it to his teenage years without needing a new valve because then we can put in an adult valve that he won’t outgrow…”

Year 13 appointment the doctor says, “Browns I’ve been following Winston since his surgery was complete.  I’ve seen him every year for 13 years and you know what we’ve hoped for all along is to avoid a valve replacement.  Every year I listen and compare the amount of leakage there is in that valve because the only perfect nonleaking valve is the one God gives at birth.  Once we, man, go in and make a repair to a valve there is always leakage and what we hope for after surgery is that the leakage stays the same.  Stay the same, don’t get worse, stay the same that’s what we hope for. But today I have to say, Winston’s amount of leakage got better, guys that’s not supposed to happen.”  Hey doc, d’you hear that thump?  That was God dropping the mic!

This morning at 5:45am I sat in the parking lot of the local tennis courts waiting on the bus to show so my 14 year old son could head off to compete in his first organized competitive sporting activity, tennis (2 years of t-ball excluded especially since he told the coach he had more fun guarding the water jug).  Do you believe in miracles? 

OH, and by the way, he and his double partner won the tournament today!

James 5:14-16

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Matthew 10:7-8

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

If you want to know more about our story of recovery with Winston, complete with pics, check out my old post What I Remember About Open Heart Surgery .

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Season of embrace

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22 ESV 

Don’t you think those words God spoke to Noah still speak into our lives today? Obviously literally they do but I want you to go a step deeper and apply those words to your present day spiritual life and circumstances.  My loose translation for applying today is: So long as we remain on this earth seasons of life are guaranteed to remain and will ever be changing.

Take that thought; place it along side this scripture from The Passion Translation (TPT), and you’ll have set up my thought for today.

Know the importance of the season you’re in.
And a wise son you will be. Proverbs 10:5 TPT

When a season of life changes you must embrace, especially during the tough ones.  I don’t know that I really need to describe these times to you because you know them. They’re the seasons you feel as if you’re moving between a drought and storm but never stopping in-between.  In these times it doesn’t necessarily mean you should move on, go or run for the sake of relief.   From my personal experience very few times it meant move, often it has meant dig in and ride it out, but it has always meant embrace. This place is  where God has you and you must reframe your question of “why” to a question of “what?”  “What are you trying to teach me in this season Sweet Father because I know you are doing what’s best for me in your grand plan even though I cannot see it now. What is it?”  Embrace. 

The Christian counselor I use and trust gave me some wise words a couple years ago as I was going through a season of fear.  He said, “Tyson you can go and get away from this if you want.  There won’t be anything wrong with that because this is not a right vs. wrong situation. But I think it would be wise for you to stay.  If you go you will never have faced this and if you never face fear you will always have to deal with it. You will have never proven to yourself these are lies from the enemy and it doesn’t have to be this way.” Now that’s top shelf stuff right there! Looking back it is anyway.  At the time I felt as if I was paying this guy to tell me to stay in a situation that really sucked.  Sorry but this is just me being real and typing what I was really saying under my breath back then. 
So “what” exactly did I learn from digging in and embracing?  What did God teach me? About a year and a half later fear came knocking again not just on my door but also on the door of some people I love dearly.  This is when God said to me, “Share the truth I showed you!  Fear is not of Me you know this!  Fear is of the enemy and I am with them in this storm!  Share my truth!”  His truth to me in my former embrace was this:

He is ever present in me.
At all times He goes before me.
I WILL NOT live in fear or abandon my calling
Because He stands at my right hand.
Psalm 16:8 The Voice translation (emphasis mine)

When death calls for me in the midst of war
My soul is confident and unmoved.
Psalm 27:3b The Voice translation

Had I originally moved on, went or ran to escape my fear storm I would not have been sinning.  Again it wasn’t a matter of right or wrong – for me it was a matter of trust and comfort.  But I would have never been able to speak truth into my loved ones when they needed it most had I not dug in and stared fear in the face a couple years earlier.  Now I get to look back and see the goodness of His plans for us.  LISTEN this is not the case if every instance!!  I’ve seen God use the season to move us!  This is why it is so important to be praying the “what” prayer to Him.

I feel this is speaking to someone right now and this prayer is for you.  God has you and is holding you and hugging you like a little child.  Like a Daddy running to scoop up his toddler who took a header on the concrete. Knees scraped and bleeding, gravel embedded in the palms of the hands, tears streaming down blushed cheeks - He has you.  This pain will pass.  You will heal.  You will be better tomorrow than you were today and this will multiply over the coming weeks.  Hang in there!  Embrace! There is importance in this season you’re in and He will reveal this to you if you ask. And a wise son or daughter you will be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

40 is the new 27 1/2!

So I woke up yesterday morning.  When I was a kid I pictured that to be a major feat for those “old” 40 year olds I knew! Of course at that time anyone out of high school could have been 40 or 60 and I wouldn’t have known the difference. Now that I’m there I have to be honest. It feels a lot like 39, but I am still a 40 rookie after all.  

A good friend reminded me of when his grandpa dove into their swimming pool on his 90th birthday!  So I thought, “Well, age is really just a matter of perspective right? So, 40 it’s really the new 25!”  Then I remembered the life choices I was still making at 25 and graciously decided to move bump that up to 27 for myself.  40 is the new 27! Ugh…really I need it to be 27 ½ because it was on July 4th of my 27th year, not that I made my last poor choice, but the time I made my last worst poor choice. Follow that?  I did good choosing my bride because she didn’t kick me out of the house, only to the couch that night.  My first and only time to be kicked to the couch in our 18 years of marriage and fully deserved by the way. You’d be amazed at the loss of patience even from the best of brides with a little drunken vomit soaking into the freshly painted walls of her bedroom. But hey, let’s not rehash the past; it was covered years ago in a post. Vomit

So there it is, “40 is the new 27 ½!!”  Start printing the t-shirts and coffee mugs and don’t forget you heard it here first!

Drawing on a little inspiration from Proverbs, as our church reads through a chapter a day together in January, I thought I would impart some of the “nuggets” of wisdom I’ve attained over my 40 years like Solomon did for us through much of Proverbs.  To those of you who just had the thought that I believe I’m on the same level as Solomon please stop reading now.  Please. Like, stop now.  There are some highly intelligent and “religiously” correct theologians out there you will enjoy more than me.  I’m not that smart of a guy but I learn pretty well through trial and lots of error. Any true wisdom you might see in this list came from something I really jacked up along the way, heard in a sermon or I read it in a book.  Now, let’s have some fun! 

I may have to give up on my career dreams as a spy or cowboy, but just not yet.  40 is the new 27 ½!

You can’t cover up vomit when the wall paint is a matte finish.  Always go satin or semi gloss.

People will surprise you.  The ones you least expect will be the most loyal and stay.

Your heroes and hound dogs will die.

Whatever you do, don’t give up on your marriage in year 2.

People say you can’t want more for others than they want for themselves.  That’s not true.  You can want more, you just can’t expect more.

You never ever ever know who you are affecting around you.  Positively and negatively.

In ministry it’s a challenge to keep growing layers of thick skin while maintaining your compassion.  Thank you Holy Spirit for regeneration on both accounts.

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors... -C.S. Lewis in the preface to The Screwtape Letters

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys. ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (Letter #8) *Note: If you’ve never read The Screwtape Letters you may have to research a little to understand who’s perspective Lewis is writing from or just read it this year!

Life is about seasons. Learn and embrace the one that you are in and ask God what He is trying to teach you.

If you’re not carrying a knife, pliers and handkerchief then you didn’t get dressed this morning. –My Grandpa

Dave Ramsey quoting Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”  That’s legit!!

You can tell some of your oldest and best friends when you only get to talk to them twice a year, but can pick up the conversation like you are still roommates never missing a beat.

Not everyone will like you.  Stop wasting your energy trying to convince them to.

From a global perspective, if you’re white you are the minority.  Accept it. Get over it.  Here’s a link to my favorite piece of writing. It’s Not A Race

Most blessing have absolutely nothing to do with money. So quit judging God’s favor for you by the size of your bank statement.

Coffee is the official drink of heaven and earth.  And the apricot fried pie is the dessert.

There are only two slightly acceptable public restrooms between southeastern Oklahoma and the panhandle of Florida.

Legalism kills relationship.  It’s the condition of your heart God is concerned about.

Counseling isn’t for crazy people; it’s what smart people do to stay healthy.  –My Counselor (P.S. Your teenager won’t believe a word of this when you make them go to a session with you but it will without a shadow of a doubt instill a healthy dose of fear and understanding of how serious his parents are.)

God cannot trust you with the big stuff if you haven’t taken care of the little stuff he’s already given you.

Moles are hard to kill and keep killed out of your yard. 

“God surprise me today” is the scariest prayer I know.

Gravity usually wins.

Harmless human ignorance, in the right dose, was created for our entertainment. 

Atticus was only human.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. – Albert Einstein

Struggle with a fear of failure?  Memorize this. “I have great worth apart from my performance because Christ gave His life for me, and therefore, imparted great value to me.  I am deeply loved, fully pleasing, totally forgiven, accepted, and complete in Christ.” – My Counselor 

The disciples were just common men that were an ounce more devoted than they were afraid.  –Max Lucado

In comparison to how we choose to wander through treating God, he is merciful way way more often than we are willing to believe.

I’m not sure about all this new stuff, but in my day, wrestling was real! Woooahhh! To be the man you gotta beat the man!

You are loved!

Homemade cobbler made with handpicked grapes requires sugar.  A LOT of sugar! Even when your grandma assumes that you know that when you call and ask for the recipe is only documented in her head.  After the baking the convo goes like this, “Grandma if I knew what all went into the cobbler I wouldn’t have called for the recipe.”  Same convo. happened with both of my grandmas in my 40 years, once with cobbler and once with fried pies.  What does that say about me?

Public restrooms are from the pit of hell and porta-potties are the gateway to get there.

Because it’s true doesn’t mean you should say it. Because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s not gossip.

Fasting will bring you to a place with God that you’ve never experienced. 

Depression is real and you and your family should fight it with everything in you!

Our mission field is where we live, work and play. –Kent Humphreys

Our children get to see a realm of heaven we adults cannot because they so readily and innocently believe without restriction.  Then as they age we get our religious hands on them.

God has never intended for us to be comfortable.

If we only read the Bible for information we miss everything.  Our goal should be an encounter with God. –Jonathan Martin

People often make fun of what they do not understand.  I know because I’ve done it. Then I understood.  Then I was convicted. Then I saw how foolish I have been.

You can hear anything if you’re in the right place at the right time. –Coach John Jacobs

Careful that you don’t use a snapshot in someone’s life to judge their entire life. –Clayton King

Bad things happen to good people.  It does not mean there is no God or He is angry with you.  It means we still live in a world broken by sin that we aren’t meant for.

Spiritual warfare is very real.

You may discern everything exactly how the Holy Spirit intended but it may fail by the world’s standards.  That does not mean you were a failure or discerned incorrectly. They actually thought Jesus had failed when he was hanging on the cross– My Counselor 

Reading scripture aloud makes a difference!

A country boy from Oklahoma can manage his way through the London Tubes with only his son as a copilot and make it to Africa and back if his daughter depends on it!

The resources needed to complete God’s assignment are unlimited.  The only restriction is between our ears. –Bill Johnson

Never stop praying.  I was blessed to see 31 years of a loved one’s prayers get answered when a family member got saved recently.
If it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill. –Clayton King

Best friends are forever, especially when you are growing wiser with age.  Aging certainly comes with wisdom.  –Peter and Anna Osei-Kwame on my 38th birthday

Build your ministry on what you are for not what you are against.  I will always make a mistake on the side of believing in people.  –Craig Groeschel 

Beg, borrow and steal to get away with your spouse regularly.  And when I say get away I mean away – no kids, dogs or other distractions.  Maybe it’s across town or across the country, but make it a priority. 

God wants it to be an honor for us to speak of His truth, even if it is rejected. –Francis Chan

A raccoon will gnaw your face off if it gets a chance.

You are immortal until God’s work for you is through. –Steven Furtick 

Do your part even when they (your spouse) aren’t doing theirs.  If both commit to this 90% of your marriage troubles cease to exist.

The greatest sleeping giant on the face of the earth is the church of Jesus Christ!  And if we could get a revelation of who we are then we could advance the cause of Christ and make a difference on the earth! –Christine Caine

I will NEVER have enough rhythm to dance.

The proper office of friend is to the side with you when you are in the wrong.  Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right. –Mark Twain

It’s amazing what changes happen when you read the Bible and believe it.  I mean like every word of it, not just the parts that you’re sure of or make you comfortable.

A good wife that will stick with you for nearly half your life is hard to find. Do whatever does not harm you spiritually to keep her for the second half.

There you go.  A few nuggets that have meant something to me or I have learned over the last 40 years.  I’m sure I’ll remember something earth moving as soon as I post, but in an effort to heed to wisdom in conquering my fears of failure and imperfection…Here. You. Go.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

So what!

“So what!”  That was my initial flippant reaction to reading a national news article that reported the following:

56% of voters say Christianity is under attack (in America).
81% of surveyed evangelical Christians believe Christianity is under attack (in America).

I completely believe that stat. My quipped “so what” reply was in response to that faceless American Christian I envisioned in my mind reading that same article.  I could hear this guy in my head saying, “Well, it shouldn’t be like this in ‘Merica!” 

Now, don’t worry about me.  I’m always conjuring responses to imaginary people I’ll most likely never encounter.  There goes the daydreamer in me again.  But as you realize that faceless person isn’t faceless, that it’s really you, and now you’ve decide to view me as sacrilegious, unpatriotic, blasphemous, disrespectful or just purely ignorant, take a moment to listen to the words of Jesus.

John 15: 18-25 (NLT)

18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’

If I go back and read those statistics again, then compare them to scripture, a more appropriate response would be, “What else are we to expect?”  I would venture to say we as Christians should not be worried when we are under attack but when we are not.

19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I can't take the drama!

A friend this week reminded me how they miss the regular blog posts.  The struggle for me over the last few months has not been a lack of writing.  I'm just not blogging.  I’ve really felt God call me to continue to work on the book I started a couple years ago. And as they say, whoever they are, “There’s only so much time in the day."  I’d really like to meet “They” someday.  Anyway, in recent weeks things have happened in my family that have caused me to pause and think.  Pausing for me is not a stretch but thinking is.

We still, after 2 ½ years, regularly find ourselves talking about our adoption story with people.  We welcome these conversations and they happen more often than I ever thought they would.  The most common response from those who ask then hear our story is this, “Wow you guys are so great!  You’ve changed that little girl’s life.  She is so lucky!”  I truly appreciate and am humbled by those comments.  And actually there is nothing wrong with this way of thinking.  I went into adoption with the same attitude of God had called me to do something great for an orphan child.  What happened was much different!  What I want to reply with, but usually don’t out of respect for the person because they mean well, is this, “Oh my friend, you have no idea!  It’s the other way around.  That little girl has changed us far more than we have her!  We are the lucky ones!” 

Now let’s get down to my pause and think episode.  Africa, the adoption process and my daughter have completely changed my perspective in what I find important.  Specifically, for the sake of this post, what gets under my skin. I rarely, not never but rarely, get in a lather over the nonessentials that people present to me anymore. Right or wrong, I seldom get worked up with the people who do. 

Now mind you, I don’t mind discussing these things at all.  It’s the elevation of making a minor into a major and the drama that surrounds it that checks me out.  You know? Stuff like flipping out over the waitress forgetting your refill, what position a little leaguer gets to play, he said she said talk, worship song selection that didn’t tickle your fancy, personal parking places getting taken that really aren’t personal, complaints over anything that is free, the salt is too salty and the sugar too sweet!

 I am 100% guilty of having a serious lack of compassion for individuals that bring these things to me.  I confess!  I am guilty!  I am at fault! I should hurt for you if it’s all you know, but when my eyes glaze over it’s because your words that are entering my empty head sound like Charlie Brown’s momma!  I just can’t do meaningless, useless, unproductive drama anymore!  I’m sorry!  No, I’m not sorry!

What’s crazy is this isn't a conscious choice I've made.  It came as a result of the journey.  It’s come from spending time with third world faith overflowing believers!  I pray that someday I have even the smallest portion of faith as the Ghanaian people I’ve gotten to know.  It’s come from seeing God take control and answer promises through a difficult adoption process.  It’s come from watching my daughter still struggle to adapt to two worlds she passionately loves.  The Holy Spirit has moved the bar in what bends and breaks me. My permission was not asked.  He just did it! 

What does lather me up, stir my compassion or break my heart?  Here’s a few things. 

People getting hurt by church people who thrive on drama and make the minors, majors.  People hurt by church have and always will hold a special soft spot in my heart.  This fires up a righteous anger in me!

Continuous critical spirits that are open with criticism but private with praise if there is any praise at all.    Your porridge is too hot.  Your porridge is too cold.  But your porridge is never, just right.  You cannot see all beauty around you because the forest of disapproval you have planted has flourished and is blinding.  I’m not completely callused to you as I stated earlier.  I used to get hurt by you but now I hurt for you.  I pray that the scales will fall from your eyes.

New believers who’ve experienced radical life change but under spiritual attack turn back away from God and church.  I pray that you hang in there just a little longer!  He is faithful!  He is with you!

Corrupt foreign officials whose deceit is exposed and out of embarrassment 2 million orphans suffer because of your pride.   Let the words of the prophet Isaiah reign, Learn to do good; commit yourselves to seeking justice.  Make right for the world’s most vulnerable – the oppressed, the orphaned, the widowed. Isaiah 1:17

When my weeping daughter crawls in bed with her Momma to cry on her bosom over the African family she desperately longs to see.  Hearing her describe how she misses sleeping on a mat on a bare floor, washing clothes in a wash tub and eating pounded fufu cooked on an open fire. Through the tears in her eyes I see that Matthew 5:4 just doesn’t relate to those who have had loved ones die, God bless those who morn for they will be comforted.  And that image, of those two, in that bed and the burden of trying to explain to her why her Daddy can’t bring them here to visit is what has prompted this post.  There is a world full of hurting, crying, broken people that unless we quit being so full ourselves we will never see!!

This post isn’t meant to be a churchy guilt trip or “Jesus Juke” as Jon Acuff would say.  I don’t believe in guilt based religion.  Usually when I write on topics such as this I get the least number of “likes” and that’s fine because then I know it’s struck a nerve.  Most of the time the Holy Spirit leads me to writing hoping the subject will embrace.  Then there are times like now that He leads me to write on something hoping to sting.  My job is to obey.  I hope this post convicts one person to wake up and see that there is a hurting, lost and dying world around them that God has left for us to share His beauty with.  Will you at the very least look around today?  See a blessing and praise or see a hurt and act!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A thought from My Utmost For His Highest

Read this in my favorite devo today, My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I've been going through this devo daily since 2009 and I always find it amazing when the Holy Spirit reveals and/or convicts of something new. 

"If we have never had the experience of taking our casual, religious shoes off our casual, religious feet - getting rid of all the excessive informality with which we approach God - it is questionable whether we have ever stood in His presence."

Wow! How about that to start off the new year?? Gulp...