Jul 30, 2009

Father of the Bride

My oldest daughter is getting married in a little over a month from now (I have 4 daughters and 2 sons). For my daughter, I have the privilege of being both a minister and “father-of-the-bride”.

When she asked me to officiate at the ceremony, I asked her who was going to walk her down the aisle. She quickly reminded me that I alone was the one to fulfill that special role; (a role that I have looked forward to for all of my daughters). I was glad to hear her say that to me and to be a part of these two great people becoming “man and wife”; a role they both long to be in.

As I have attended and officiated at weddings over the years I’ve watched the bride’s father. I’ve observed friends of mine turn into complete “messes” as they walked their daughters down the aisle; men who themselves had performed many weddings over the years as ministers, but were now walking in the role as “dad”. I’m already starting to turn into “the father-of–the-bride”; which is a new role for me.

A few weeks ago, while making a patio for my future son-in-law, I was pondering what I would say at their wedding, and tears filled my eyes for no apparent reason. A few hours later I was picking raspberries from my garden and again as I thought of their wedding, once again tears filled my eyes for no apparent reason. Man, I was becoming one of those men who cry at their daughter’s wedding!

I admit that I cried at my oldest son’s wedding; tears of gratefulness for how this child became such a great man who I am very proud of. Tears of gratefulness for the wonderful woman he “chose” to be his bride; to be this loving woman I call “my daughter-in-law”.

As I stood in my garden, I thought of how much another Father was also longing to attend the wedding of His child. The Bible refers to Jesus as the “Bridegroom” and the Body of Christ (followers of Jesus) as the “Bride”. I had (perhaps) a very small glimpse of how much Jesus longs to take on a new role as our Bridegroom.

Perhaps the Spirit of God was trying to use my thoughts concerning my own daughter’s wedding as an opportunity to remind me that this isn’t all that there is; there is a wedding coming for the Kingdom of God! Jesus said in John 14:2-3 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

According to the Bible, there is a Day coming when this Earth as we know it will pass away. A day when God will separate those who trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior and those who chose to pay for their own sins by spending an eternity in hell. (Why would you not want to trust Jesus with your life?). Those who trust Jesus will take on a new role, as Jesus’ Bride. Revelation 19:6-10 records this as: ”6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The only RSVP to the wedding is putting your complete trust and faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; which will mean turning towards God and turning from sin; something that you can only do by the conviction and the power of the Holy Spirit.

As much as I am longing to attend the wedding of my children, our Heavenly Father longs even more for the future wedding of His children.

Listen to the Holy Spirit calling out today to turn your heart and mine to things eternal; the day when we will be with Jesus forever. “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)

Jul 23, 2009

Faith to Heal

Hi Tom, I know you are super busy. You do not have to get back to me any time soon. On the way home, last night, I brought up something and I want to find out your thoughts on it. While being trained, for the prayer team, it was drilled into us never to insinuate that the person is not being healed due to a lack of their faith. If we were to ever tell a person, already suffering, that they lacked enough faith to be healed, it would crush them. We have always been told that it the person praying (the pray-er) that needs the faith. But, Smith Wigglesworth seems to constantly repeat that it is the (pray-ee’s) faith that enables the healing. In what I have read so far, prior to praying for anyone, he asks them if they have the faith for it. He even quotes scripture about believing when asking. If I really think about it, I don’t think these 2 ways are opposites, just different approaches. But, as a pastor and student, what are your thoughts? How would you discern the path between these 2 ways? Thanks, Matt

Matt; Good question. I think that you are right that it isn't either or but, perhaps, both. Here is my answer to your question.
First of all, God is SOVEREIGN; He does whatever He wants to Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: He does whatever He pleases.

Jesus said we should ask for God’s will to be done; Mat 6:9 Therefore pray in this way: Our Father, who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

And we shouldn't add condemnation to someone doesn't get healed simply because that isn't the way God chose to respond. I believe that Smith's daughter was never healed of her deafness in spite of all of his faith and prayers. There are examples in scripture where Jesus answers prayer because of OTHER PEOPLE’S FAITH who believed that Jesus could heal someone who was sick: Luke 7:8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it. 9 And hearing these things, Jesus marveled at him. And turning to the crowd following Him, He said, I say to you, I have not found such faith, no, not in Israel. Mat 9:2 And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, Child, be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven you. Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith! So be it to you even as you wish. And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

There are examples in scripture where Jesus answers prayer because of THE FAITH OF THE ONE WHO WAS SICK who believed that Jesus could heal: Mat 9:22 But turning and seeing her, Jesus said, Daughter, be comforted; your faith has saved you. And the woman was saved from that hour.
Mat 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith let it be to you. Mat 17:20 And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you.

I think that it is a combination of BOTH the pray(er) and the person receiving prayer that makes things happen “more successfully”. I it is certainly much easier to pray WITH someone that FOR someone. There is power in agreement. This passage is referring to forgiveness, but I think that it can be applicable:

Mat 18:18 Truly I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven; and whatever you shall loose on earth shall occur, having been loosed in Heaven. 19 Again I say to you that if two of you shall agree on earth as regarding anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in Heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.

Jesus challenged His disciples to have faith: Luke 8:25 And He said to them, Where is your faith? And being afraid, they marveled, saying to one another, Who then is this One? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!

Jesus Challenged them to use the faith they have: Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, Give us more faith. 6 And the Lord said, If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you might say to this sycamore tree, Be rooted up and be planted in the sea! And it would obey you. Luke 9:40 And I begged Your disciples to cast him out, and they could not. 41 And answering, Jesus said, O unbelieving generation, one having been perverted, how long shall I be with you and endure you? Bring your son here.

Matthew records the story this way: Mar 9:19 He answered him and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me! 20 And they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, the spirit immediately convulsed him. And he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming. 21 And He asked his father, How long ago has it been since this came to him? And he said, From childhood. 22 And oftentimes it has cast him into the fire and into the waters to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. 23 Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. 24 And immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. 25 And seeing that a crowd is running together, Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter no more into him! 26 And the spirit cried out, throwing him into convulsions, and came out of him. And he was like one dead, so that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And He entering into a house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast him out? 29 And He said to them, this kind can come out by nothing except by prayer and fasting.

Again, God is SOVEREIGN; He does whatever He wants to Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: He does whatever He pleases.

I hope this helps. Tom Oestreich

Jul 16, 2009

“Some Lust-full Thoughts”

1.) Scripture is pretty clear that whatever we sow to, that we will reap. Since we know that it works with sin; that should be confirmation to us that it also works with sowing to spiritual things. Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap. 8 For he sowing to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But he sowing to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit. But we should not lose heart in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not faint. James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death.

2.) As long as we are alive we will opportunity to be enticed into sin. It really is a matter of what we do about it. 2Ti 2:22 But flee youthful lusts, and follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

3.) We are called to cast our cares upon Him. He doesn’t take them from us, we cast them upon Him. 1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxiety onto Him, for He cares for you.

4.) We need to be aggressive to cut off that which causes us to be drawn away from God. We need to see the bigger picture of what we have in Him. Mat 5:29 And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand offends you, cut it off and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell.

5.) We need to covenant our lives; settle some things before God; to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Job 31:1 I made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin? Mat 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

6.) We need to be aware that as long as we are alive, Satan will be ‘out to get us’. We need to remember that he is already a defeated foe and that in Christ we have the victory. Gen 4:7 If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at the door; and its desire is for you, and you shall rule over it.

7.) The choice is up to us individually what we will do; no one can do it, or pray it for us. We make the choices, day by day; moment by moment. Deut 30:19 I call Heaven and earth to record today against you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live,

8.) “We must assume the inevitability of attacks by an enemy hostile to our spiritual interests and build our defenses in the places he is most likely to attack” -Gordon MacDonald ‘Rebuilding Your Broken World’ PDI (personal defense system) PDI #1 Adopt a repentant life-style PDI #2 Pay the price of regular spiritual discipline PDI #3 Cultivate key relationships PDI #4 Resist the ‘applause’ that belongs to Christ PDI #5 Take time to have fun PDI #6 Hold things loosely PDI #7 Be filled with the Spirit of God

9.) We need each other:
Genuine Accountability: 1Sa 18:1 And it happened when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was joined with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as he did his own soul.
Right Relationships: 2Co 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfected; be comforted; be of the same mind; live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
A Servant’s Heart: John 10:15 Even as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep.
Constant Safeguards: Eph 6:10 Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Embrace God Intimately: James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, double-minded ones. -“The Shepherd’s Covenant” from Focus on the Family Pastoral Ministries http://www.parsonage.org/

10.) It still comes down to His grace Eph 2:1-22 And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience; 3 among whom we also had our way of life in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with 5 Christ (by grace you are saved), 6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that you, the nations, in time past were in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 and that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who were once afar off are made near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them; 16 and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20 and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom every building having been fitly framed together, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together for a dwelling place of God through the Spirit.

For further help go to my website: http://www.riverofhopeministries.org/ to the links page

Jul 9, 2009

A Bad Day

Ever have a bad day? Sure you do; and so do I; in fact I had one just the other day. I discovered that the water heater had to be replaced; after all it was 28 years old and was starting to leak water. I picked up a new water heater and made some calls to get assistance from a friend of mine who is a plumber. “This should be a “walk-in-the park”

I thought as we started the work at 6:00 at night; I had planned on the whole project to take 1-2 hours. As we were coming into the home stretch; a pipe broke, and then another, and then another. It should not have surprised me because our house is almost 100 years old and most of the plumbing is still the orginal pipes. Again, not a big problem because I had my friend who is a plumber working with me.

When we broke off a pipe at a joint our patience levels began to shift. Part of this was due to the fact that I hadn’t felt well all day and my friend hadn’t eaten. Part of this was because we were wondering; “God are you still there?”

After 4 trips to the local hardware store, we started to “lose faith” in our ability to get this done before my friend had to leave; the time was now 10:00 at night. I could feel my anger rising up as pipe after pipe would be replaced and then we would discover another leak. Frustration set in as I was facing a house with no hot water for those who had to go to work the next day.

To my friends who live outside of the USA, I realize that it may be a normal situation to have no hot water or to live in flooded areas. But here in the USA, we are used to being pampered and can’t imagine going through life with any “hardships”. I admit it; we are wimps.

When I hit my wall; God came through in the form of my brother Rick who joined the team at 10:30 and stayed with me until all was completed at 1:15 in the morning; actually it was 2:15 when I finally cleaned up.

So, what is the point of my rambling? I am amazed at how quickly we can lose our focus on the LORD and start to look to ourselves to get us out of all of our jams.I admit that there are times in my life when I forget that the LORD is always with me. I forget that I have a covenant with Him that is based upon what He has done, not me. I forget that if He wasn’t with me; all hell would literally break loose.

Fortunately, the LORD is also at my side to remind me of others who have faced obstacles and wondered where God was. The Holy Spirit is there to bring me back to His Word to remind me that He is always good. King David of the Old Testiment found himself on the other side of a terrible event in Psalm 124. We find David explaining to those who are in his midst that as bad as their situation had been, it would have been so much worse if the LORD had not been on their side.

Psalm 124 A Song of Ascents. Of David. 1 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,” Let Israel now say— 2 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, When men rose up against us, 3 Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us; 4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul; 5 Then the swollen waters Would have gone over our soul.” 6 Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. 7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped. 8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. (NKJV) My friend, I don’t know what trials, testings, “broken pipes” you are currently facing; but take hope. Look up; your salvation is near. And, if the LORD is on your side; you will get the victory! Our challenge is to learn to live in Him. “When Will I Ever

Learn To Live In God” Phil Keaggy
The sun was setting over Avalon
The last time we stood in the West.
Suffering long-time angels enraptured like Blake,
Burn off the dross, innocence captured again.
Standing on the beach at sunset,
And all the boats keep moving slow.
In the glory of the flashing lights,
In the evening's glow.

When will I ever learn to live in God,
When will I ever learn.
Cause He gives me everything I need and more,
When will I ever learn.

You brought it to my attention,
That everything was made in God.
Down through centuriesOf great writings and paintings,
Everything was in God.
Seen through architecture of great cathedrals,
Down through the history of time.
Is and was in the beginning
And evermore shall ever be.

When will I ever learn to live in God,
When will I ever learn.
Cause He gives me everything I need and more,
When will I ever learn.

Whatever it takes to fulfill His mission,
That is the way we must go.
But you've got to do it in your own way.
Tear down the old and bring up the new.
Up on the hillside it's quiet
Where the shepherd is tending his sheep.
And over the mountains and the valleys,
 And the countryside is so green.
Standing on the highest hill
With a sense of wonder,
You can see everything is made in God.
Head back down the roadside
And give thanks for it all.

When will I ever learn to live in God,
When will I ever learn.
Cause He gives me everything I need and more,
When will I ever learn.

Jul 2, 2009

Never Forget The Cross

We remember a lot of things; Birthdays, telephone numbers; “The Pledge of Allegiance”, happy and sad moments. We also forget a lot of things; Birthdays, telephone numbers; “The Pledge of Allegiance”, happy and sad moments
One thing we must never forget is the Cross of Jesus Christ: 100% God; 100% Man. Real pain! Real blood! Real death! Real resurrection! Real victory over sin and death!

I’ve been amazed over the years as I have heard what was coming out of the mouth of some people who wear a cross around their neck. They curse because this world we live in has lost the TRUE meaning of the cross as the cross has become a “fashion statement” or “accessory”.

Simply put: Jesus died so that we might live; on the cross He paid the penalty of our sins.

And you can have forgiveness TODAY by calling out to Jesus.

Never forget the Cross by One Bad Pig

Old times are hazy, oh I was crazy
I was more than just a little deranged
When Jesus found me,
He did astound me
My heart and mind He has totally changed
I don´t remember all the times I lied
Can´t recall all the days I failed
Don´t remember all the people I hurt
But can´t forget the Hands I nailed
Never forget the cross(x4)

I´m so decerning, got Bible learning
I´ve explored the most profound mysteries
I took a tumbling,
I needed humbling
He burst my pride and drove me to my knees
He doesn´t count how much I speak in tongues
He´s unimpressed by my pious game
He´s not fazed by the money I give
 But remembers I called on Jesus´ name

Never forget the cross(x4) Never forget it!!!!!

There´s no victory gained without no loss
No resurrection without no cross
No golden crown without no nails
Trade my life for a Love that never fails

Never forget the cross(x12)

Never forget the cross... All lyrics are property and copyright of their owners and are provided for educational purposes only