May 28, 2009

“Are you strongest when you are weak or weakest when you are strong?”

We all want to be strong. Admit it, none of us wants to be weak – physically, emotionally, financially, or in any area of our lives. We want to be strong, and stay strong, and look strong, and act strong. Weakness is a sign of; well, weakness; a sign that there must be something wrong with us.

So we train, and struggle, and strive to be stronger so that no one can dominate us.

My question for you today is; “Are you strongest when you are weak or weakest when you are strong?”

In the Bible, there is the story of a great king whose name was “Uzziah”. Uzziah was an inventor, a creator, a strong king (man). In fact, his name means “strength” in various applications (force, security, majesty, praise); boldness, loud, might, power, strength, strong or “strength of God”. Problem was, the stronger Uzziah got, the weaker he really became.

Read about his story in 2 Chronicles 26.

He goes from being a great inventor to one who died of leprosy. Problem was he was too strong to admit he had weakness, and that got him into trouble. Pride filled his heart and he couldn’t receive correction. He was too strong!

2 Chronicles 26:14 “Then Uzziah prepared for them, for the entire army, shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows, and slings to cast stones. 15 And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones. So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong. 16 But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.” (NKJV)

The Apostle Paul, on the other hand was also a powerful Pharisee who became a Christian; a follower of Jesus Christ. He too was strong; almost too strong for his own good. Fortunately, Paul listen to the voice of the LORD who let Paul know that he was actually strongest when he was weakest. Paul had a weakness, a “thorn in the flesh”. Three times he asked God to get rid of it for him; Paul didn’t want to be weak. But the LORD had another way: 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NKJV)

Jesus too understood that when He became “weak” for our sakes, He showed His real strength.: “For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” 2 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV) “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV)

My question for you today is; “Are you strongest when you are weak or weakest when you are strong?”

May 22, 2009

When The Wild Winds Blow

I was asked the question tonight at dinner; “How could someone who had it all leave it for something else that is small in comparison?”

This man was referring to a minister we both knew of who had a very large, well known ministry, yet took a risk and lost it all (his ministry, marriage, respect, family, reputation) as he sought love and life from ‘someone else’.

 It doesn’t seem to make sense that someone would take something other than what God wanted for their lives; that someone would take something outside of God's will.

Yet the truth is, each of us has a potential bent towards seeing a ‘blade of grass’ and wandering from the Shepherd who cares for us. “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 (NKJV) Each of us has (daily) opportunities to choose to follow Jesus or our own desires. “7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV) These are the days to be sober and vigilant; drawing in closer to the One who loves us and gave His life to save us, lest we too become another statistic in the hall of shame. “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)

“When the Wild Winds Blow” by Phil Keaggy Look at this man, what didn't he have,What led him down this treacherous path.Watching his life slip through his hands,Once in a while he understands. That's when the wild winds blow,That's when the pain won't go.Lost in a crowded roomWhere no one seems to care.And when the night steals sleep,There is a longing deep within the heart a cry,Will someone still be there. Do I see you, could I see meHolding on to just a memory.There was a home and a familyNow that it's gone what is to be. That's when the wild winds blow,That's when the pain won't go.Lost in a crowded roomWhere no one seems to care.And when the night steals sleep,There is a longing deep within the heart a cry,Will someone still be there. This poor man cried unto the Lord,This poor man cried and he was heard.Do I see you, do you see meIn the face of this man, or just too blind to see. That's when the wild winds blow,That's when the pain won't go.Lost in a crowded roomWhere no one seems to care.And will the night bring sleep,There is a longing deep within the heart a cry,And someone will be there.

If you are someone who has chosen the wrong path, don't give up; there is HOPE! Jesus is waiting for you to turn to Him. For resources go to "LINKS" on my webpage at

May 21, 2009

A Vision Of The Lost - By William Booth

William Booth was the Founder of The Salvation Army (1829-1912) On one of my recent journeys, as I gazed from the coach window, I was led into a train of thought concerning the condition of the multitudes around me. They were living carelessly in the most open and shameless rebellion against God, without a thought for their eternal welfare. As I looked out of the window, I seemed to see them all . . . millions of people all around me given up to their drink and their pleasure, their dancing and their music, their business and their anxieties, their politics and their troubles. Ignorant - willfully ignorant in many cases - and in other instances knowing all about the truth and not caring at all. But all of them, the whole mass of them, sweeping on and up in their blasphemies and devilries to the Throne of God. While my mind was thus engaged, I had a vision. I saw a dark and stormy ocean. Over it the black clouds hung heavily; through them every now and then vivid lightening flashed and loud thunder rolled, while the winds moaned, and the waves rose and foamed, towered and broke, only to rise and foam, tower and break again. In that ocean I thought I saw myriads of poor human beings plunging and floating, shouting and shrieking, cursing and struggling and drowning; and as they cursed and screamed they rose and shrieked again, and then some sank to rise no more. And I saw out of this dark angry ocean, a mighty rock that rose up with it’s summit towering high above the black clouds that overhung the stormy sea. And all around the base of this great rock I saw a vast platform. Onto this platform, I saw with delight a number of the poor struggling, drowning wretches continually climbing out of the angry ocean. And I saw that a few of those who were already safe on the platform were helping the poor creatures still in the angry waters to reach the place of safety. On looking more closely I found a number of those who had been rescued, industriously working and scheming by ladders, ropes, boats and other means more effective, to deliver the poor strugglers out of the sea. Here and there were some who actually jumped into the water, regardless of the consequences in their passion to "rescue the perishing." And I hardly know which gladdened me the most - the sight of the poor drowning people climbing onto the rocks reaching a place of safety, or the devotion and self-sacrifice of those whose whole being was wrapped up in the effort for their deliverance. As I looked on, I saw that the occupants of that platform were quite a mixed company. That is, they were divided into different "sets" or classes, and they occupied themselves with different pleasures and employments. But only a very few of them seemed to make it their business to get the people out of the sea. But what puzzled me most was the fact that though all of them had been rescued at one time or another from the ocean, nearly everyone seemed to have forgotten all about it. Anyway, it seemed the memory of its darkness and danger no longer troubled them at all. And what seemed equally strange and perplexing to me was that these people did not even seem to have any care - that is any agonizing care - about the poor perishing ones who were struggling and drowning right before their very eyes . . . many of whom were their own husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and even their own children. Now this astonishing unconcern could not have been the result of ignorance or lack of knowledge, because they lived right there in full sight of it all and even talked about it sometimes. Many even went regularly to hear lectures and sermons in which the awful state of these poor drowning creatures was described. I have always said that the occupants of this platform were engaged in different pursuits and pastimes. Some of them were absorbed day and night in trading and business in order to make gain, storing up their savings in boxes, safes and the like. Many spent their time in amusing themselves with growing flowers on the side of the rock, others in painting pieces of cloth or in playing music, or in dressing themselves up in different styles and walking about to be admired. Some occupied themselves chiefly in eating and drinking, others were taken up with arguing about the poor drowning creatures that had already been rescued. But the thing to me that seemed the most amazing was that those on the platform to whom He called, who heard His voice and felt that they ought to obey it - at least they said they did - those who confessed to love Him much were in full sympathy with Him in the task He had undertaken - who worshipped Him or who professed to do so - were so taken up with their trades and professions, their money saving and pleasures, their families and circles, their religions and arguments about it, and their preparation for going to the mainland, that they did not listen to the cry that came to them from this Wonderful Being who had Himself gone down into the sea. Anyway, if they heard it they did not heed it. They did not care. And so the multitude went on right before them struggling and shrieking and drowning in the darkness. And then I saw something that seemed to me even more strange than anything that had gone on before in this strange vision. I saw that some of these people on the platform whom this Wonderful Being had called to, wanting them to come and help Him in His difficult task of saving these perishing creatures, were always praying and crying out to Him to come to them! Some wanted Him to come and stay with them, and spend His time and strength in making them happier. Others wanted Him to come and take away various doubts and misgivings they had concerning the truth of some letters He had written them. Some wanted Him to come and make them feel more secure on the rock - so secure that they would be quite sure that they should never slip off again into the ocean. Numbers of others wanted Him to make them feel quite certain that they would really get off the rock and onto the mainland someday: because as a matter of fact, it was well known that some had walked so carelessly as to loose their footing, and had fallen back again into the stormy waters. So these people used to meet and get up as high on the rock as they could, and looking towards the mainland (where they thought the Great Being was) they would cry out, "Come to us! Come and help us!" And all the while He was down (by His Spirit) among the poor struggling, drowning creatures in the angry deep, with His arms around them trying to drag them out, and looking up - oh! so longingly but all in vain - to those on the rock, crying to them with His voice all hoarse from calling, "Come to Me! Come, and help Me! And then I understood it all. It was plain enough. The sea was the ocean of life - the sea of real, actual human existence. That lightening was the gleaming of piercing truth coming from Jehovah’s Throne. That thunder was the distant echoing of the wrath of God. Those multitudes of people shrieking, struggling and agonizing in the stormy sea, was the thousands and thousands of poor harlots and harlot-makers, of drunkards and drunkard makers, of thieves, liars, blasphemers and ungodly people of every kindred, tongue and nation. Oh what a black sea it was! And oh, what multitudes of rich and poor, ignorant and educated were there. They were all so unalike in their outward circumstances and conditions, yet all alike in one thing - all sinners before God - all held by, and holding onto, some iniquity, fascinated by some idol, the slaves of some devilish lust, and ruled by the foul fiend from the bottomless pit! "All alike in one thing?" No, all alike in two things - not only the same in their wickedness but, unless rescued, the same in their sinking, sinking . . . down, down, down . . . to the same terrible doom. That great sheltering rock represented Calvary, the place where Jesus had died for them. And the people on it were those who had been rescued. The way they used their energies, gifts and time represented the occupations and amusements of those who professed to be saved from sin and hell - followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The handful of fierce, determined ones, who were risking their own lives in saving the perishing were true soldiers of the cross of Jesus. That Mighty Being who was calling to them from the midst of the angry waters was the Son of God, "the same yesterday, today and forever" who is still struggling and interceding to save the dying multitudes about us from this terrible doom of damnation, and whose voice can be heard above the music, machinery, and noise of life, calling on the rescued to come and help Him save the world. My friends in Christ, you are rescued from the waters, you are on the rock, He is in the dark sea calling on you to come to Him and help Him. Will you go? Look for yourselves. The surging sea of life, crowded with perishing multitudes rolls up to the very spot on which you stand. Leaving the vision, I now come to speak of the fact - a fact that is as real as the Bible, as real as the Christ who hung upon the cross, as real as the judgment day will be, and as real as the heaven and hell that will follow it. Look! Don’t be deceived by appearances - men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea! Look at them from the standpoint of the great White Throne, and what a sight you have! Jesus Christ, the Son of God is, through His Spirit, in the midst of this dying multitude, struggling to save them. And He is calling on you to jump into the sea - to go right away to His side and help Him in the holy strife. Will you jump? That is, will you go to His feet and place yourself absolutely at His disposal? A young Christian once came to me, and told me that for some time she had been giving the Lord her profession and prayers and money, but now she wanted to give Him her life. She wanted to go right into the fight. In other words, she wanted to go to His assistance in the sea. As when a man from the shore, seeing another struggling in the water, takes off those outer garments that would hinder his efforts and leaps to the rescue, so will you who still linger on the bank, thinking and singing and praying about the poor perishing souls, lay aside your shame, your pride, your cares about other people’s opinions, your love of ease and all the selfish loves that have kept you back for so long, and rush to the rescue of this multitude of dying men and women. Does the surging sea look dark and dangerous? Unquestionably it is so. There is no doubt that the leap for you, as for everyone who takes it, means difficulty and scorn and suffering. For you it may mean more than this. It may mean death. He who beckons you from the sea however, knows what it will mean - and knowing, He still calls to you and bids to you to come. You must do it! You cannot hold back. You have enjoyed yourself in Christianity long enough. You have had pleasant feelings, pleasant songs, pleasant meetings, pleasant prospects. There has been much of human happiness, much clapping of hands and shouting of praises - very much of heaven on earth. Now then, go to God and tell Him you are prepared as much as necessary to turn your back upon it all, and that you are willing to spend the rest of your days struggling in the midst of these perishing multitudes, whatever it may cost you. You must do it. With the light that is now broken in upon your mind and the call that is now sounding in your ears, and the beckoning hands that are now before your eyes, you have no alternative. To go down among the perishing crowds is your duty. Your happiness from now on will consist in sharing their misery, your ease in sharing their pain, your crown in helping them to bear their cross, and your heaven in going into the very jaws of hell to rescue them. Now what will you do?

May 12, 2009

What Are You Looking At?

What do you look at when you are going through life’s trials? What do you look to? What do you watch? Where you fix your eyes makes all the difference in the world. What are you looking at? How is that working for you? Have you found the answers, the peace, the hope that you are searching for?

In the Bible, Judah found themselves in a bit of a pickle as the Moabites and the Ammonites came out to battle against King Jehoshapat (see 2 Chronicles 20). They came to this great realization that staring at the situation wasn’t changing anything; nor did staring at each other. They needed God to intervene. They stopped, gathered, and looked up to the LORD. v12 “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” The Bible tells us that God answered them when they stood still and looked up; their eyes were upon Him and Him alone. In v15 the LORD tells them “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of the great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” v17 “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.”

V23 tells us that they won the victory; in fact they spent 3 days collecting the spoils; all because they had their eyes upon the LORD.

So, what are you looking at? How is that working for you? Have you found the answers, the peace, the hope that you are searching for? Have you tried looking to God but you feel as though He hasn’t come through?

Perhaps you can relate to the Prophet Isaiah who wrote: “Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove; My eyes fail from looking upward. O LORD, I am oppressed; Undertake for me!” Isaiah 38:14 As you find yourself facing insurmountable odds and obstacles my advice to you is STOP! Look up to the LORD and watch what He will do! Psalm 34:15 tells us “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 25:15 tells us that when we keep our eyes on the LORD we get rescued: “My eyes are ever toward the LORD, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” Psalm 141:8 "But my eyes are upon You, O GOD the Lord; In You I take refuge; Do not leave my soul destitute."

Learn to trust God; TAKE A RISK TODAY! Don’t look to anyone else but the LORD. He may use people or things to give you the victory, but don’t look to anything or anyone else.

Psalm 121:1-2 1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 123:1-2 1 Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He has mercy on us.

So, what are you looking at? All scripture from New King James Version © 1984 Thomas Nelson

May 7, 2009

Flat Tires

My tire was low of air yesterday; I had a flat tire. Not really a big deal; I had been occasionally filling the tire up over the past 5 months. I thought that maybe the tire had a slow leak; perhaps the rim’s seal was broken during the cold spell this past winter.

Either way, I didn’t do anything about it other than “hope” that it wouldn’t go completely flat; riding on the rim is a pretty bumpy experience for everyone on board.

I drove my vehicle to the place I purchased the tires from and they said that they would take care of it and rotate the tires for me at no cost to me.

When I went to pick up my vehicle, they told me that they had found a nail that was in the tire and that they patched the tire for me. They also said that they checked the air pressure in all of the remaining tires as well rotating all of the tires.

It sounds like great service; “above-and-beyond”, you might say. But the thing is, free tire inspection, repairs, rotation, and replacement came as part of the package deal when I purchased the tires.

In fact, every 6 months I receive an email reminder to bring the vehicle in and they will check the tires pressure and rotate the tires for me; for free! The service was there all the time, the failure to take advantage of the offer was on my end. I simply hit the snooze button and ignored the email reminder that provision was waiting for me; already paid.

God’s Word; the Bible, is filled with promises waiting for us. But, unfortunately, like me and the tires we don’t always try to appropriate what is already part of the package purchased for us. Instead, we drive around on flat tires (so to speak); just getting by; not taking all that God wants to provide for us.

My friends, God has so much for us in his Word for us to search and appropriate for our lives and our situation; God really wants us to have “tires that are full”; riding on the rim is a pretty bumpy experience for everyone on board!

Here are just a few of the many promises from the Bible: God’s Word tells us we can call out to Him when we are going through situations, He will answer us: Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV) God’s Word tells us we can call out to Him when we are in need: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV) God’s Word tells us we can call out to Him knowing that He will provide what is best for us: “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV) God’s Word tells us we can call out to Him when we sin: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) God’s Word tells us we can call out to Him when we need salvation: "But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:8-11 NKJV)