Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's just really not that difficult when you think about it...

Yours truly could run an entire blog themed on this week's subject matter for Kingdom Bloggers. Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of disobedience in my spiritual life, but as the popular radio song goes...God's not finished with me yet.

I almost immediately knew what I was going to write about this week because God recently put me to the task. For several weeks, I kept running into the same person at an unusual frequency. I graduated high school with this person back during the Industrial Revolution, and we went a number of years without seeing or hearing from each other. Over the past year or so, this person (I'm remaining sex neutral for a reason) and I started bumping into each other at Wal-Mart, the grocery store, the mall and even once at a restaurant. After several times, we would just see each other and laugh...eventually avoiding the small talk altogether by just throwing up a polite hand in acknowledgment of one another.

Coincidence only goes so far in explaining such encounters, that is if you believe in coincidence. Deep down I knew God wanted me to talk to this person on a more personal level. During my prayer time, this person would often come to that's got to be God trying to tell you something! But still...the awkwardness of broaching the subject matter of God with the person at a haphazard meeting was daunting.

Finally, I realized the problem for me was rooted in who I had been when this person and I shared a common past. My failure to let go of the 'old Tony' was hampering the new me from being obedient to God...whom I now served. I commited to having a testimonial conversation with this person the very next time we met face to face.

Weeks went by, then months. Pretty soon the better part of a year was gone. The opportunity to redeem myself with obedience seemed to have vanished. I tried being more proactive by asking friends about this person, searching for a telephone number or address, and even looking through a then new medium called MySpace. Nothing. I was crushed by the thought of disappointing the One who has never disappointed me. I prayed for one more opportunity to make things right.

Nearly two years past when I received a Friend Request on FaceBook from this person. Bingo! I quickly accepted and sent a message of thanks for the request. My first inclination was to dump it all out there at once and completely atone for my prior disobedience...but then a feeling to wait came over me. Now, I'm no Rhodes Scholar or anything, but I am smart enough not to step in the same hole twice...well, most of the time. So, I took time to pray and ask God to guide me in this situation...and again I got 'wait'.

Several more weeks go by when I get a message in my Facebook Inbox from this person. The message conveyed surprise at the openness I displayed concerning my faith on the social media site, and how I must have changed from the Tony they once knew. Finally! I kept my reply loose and nonchalant...and replied that God had truly changed my life for the better. There were a couple of pleasant exchanges with one being a confirmation that my blog, Tony C Today, was evidence I hadn't lost my sense of humor.

I recently ran into this person again in Wal-Mart (I promise we don't use the retailer as a social site on purpose here in Tennessee...well, I don't at least), and after the necessary pleasantries...I finally talk about what God had done for me and how the same could easily apply to them.

No news yet...but I hope this person is reading today and knows how important they are to God and to me. Oh...and I'm truly sorry about my procrastination too. Some things just don't change with either time or faith...unless you really want them too.

A Whisper in the Darkness

I will start by simply writing...I love my Lord Jesus, more than I can express in words....This has nothing to do with the topic at hand, I just felt led to write it...Now, I'm gonna scream it..Not a real good idea at 1:10 in the morning..My husband (Pablo) is use to my random out bursts when it comes to Jesus.. O.k. onto topic - "disobedience"..A time I was disobedient? And how did the Lord deal with it? When I think of a time of my disobedience all I can really think of is a time almost 5 years ago when I had turned my back on the Lord due to conflict, confusion, lies and offense...For those who know me, they know I do everything in excellence..So, when I'm disobedient I do it ALL THE WAY!!..This was a time in my life when everything that once had made sense and mattered , no longer mattered..As I mentioned my disobedience was the 100% turning away from God, I turned my back on the cross and the love of my Savior...It's really crazy how the whole thing started...I imagine it had all been transpiring for some time, I just did not know about it..Any way it happened, I walked away from everything I had known and everything I had come to believe as truth...As a matter of fact I didn't walk away, I drove about 900 miles away into the city of Charlotte NC...Yes, I did ..My husband and I sold everything we owned and moved our family away from all the pain and heartache of our soon to be past...What kills me is how much deception we were walking in, hidden of course by the stronghold of bitterness and unforgiveness..We all know what those two things do to us..They blind us from the truth and hold us in bondage to our emotions...DANGEROUS!! We left Cape Cod Ma with the hopes of starting over and leaving it all behind...What we soon came to realize is that we left Jesus behind..Saints, my disobedience came when I refused to listen to the instruction of the word, when it came to the dealings of integrity, character and unresolved issues..Oh come on now...You should know by now that I am not ashamed of my past or short comings...I left my home in Ma because I was running away from my problems, masking it with it being God's release or timing....NOT!!! The sad thing about all of this is that I had become so disobedient and felt so seperated from God..That I no longer cared about anything..Really... I cared about nothing..I entered back into my life of parties and night clubs..Jesus and my salvation was a thing of the past, a distant memory, that I intentionally kept locked up in the depths of my despair..Uhhgg, I hated that...How did Christ deal with this??How did He deal with me??Well that's easy..He did it in love, unconditional love, with mercy and grace..I felt Him tugging at my heart, He sent people to speak into my life..He got my attention in the still of the night...Jesus, my Father reminded me of my promise..Just about 3 years ago, I rededicated my life to Christ and began a deep healing process, seeking for the root of my disobedience searching for answers about what made me stumble..I began looking deep inside myself....The more I looked (and listened) I heard a familiar still, small voice calling my name..He was telling me to trust Him..He told me to lay my burdens down..I did just that..I called out to Him , He answered, Jesus heard my cry that day in a small brick church in Monroe, NC..In my disobedience Jesus waited for me..He waited for me to once again choose Him over all my sorrow...Jesus, choose me, healed me and restored me, my family and my long awaited reconciliation to my church family on Cape Cod MA..JESUS DEALT WITH ME..In my disobedience, He handled me with tender, loving care...How else would He have done it??

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nausea As A Sign

When I was young someone wrote in a book this odd little poem:

God fixes a fix to fix you
If you fix the fix before its fixed
God will have to fix another fix to fix you.

I still don't understand what that means. I wish I did. You are welcome to comment and help me. 

I think it might have something to do with my understanding of disobedience. For many years I saw God as this harsh Being who was ready to clobber me every time I did something wrong. I used to lay awake at night repenting over and over again for the minutest of sin. I had seen too many Left Behind type movies they used to show in churches -- the ones where those left behind face the guillotine and the like. As a child I was in terror when my Godly mother wasn't home when I returned from school. I would flip on the TV and watch for news of a rapture type event. Since there was no CNN in those days, the lack of a breaking news special report assured me that all was well. 

Don't misunderstand me, sin is serious. Disobedience is not something loving children of our Father should do. However, we do. Sometimes we squirm and try to avoid what God wants us to do. Other times we are much more blatant about it.

One time, many years ago now, I was wanting God to use me in church with a "word from the Lord." I really wanted God to use me in this gift. I had prayed about it and was wondering how I would know. Then it happened. It was a normal service and I had this impression. I thought I was supposed to say something. I waited. Someone else gave a word. This happened three times. Each time I never said anything. By the third time I thought I was going to throw up. 

That night, dejected and feeling very disobedient I drove home. I thought God will never use a disobedient child like me. I learned something that night. I learned that God knew that I wasn't going to be obedient. He had someone in the wings ready to take my place. I also learned that this was a training session. Like that session with the live bullets that people in Basic Training go through. There are times when we are in the thick of it, and we blow it. Its real and yes, we've disobeyed. 

That wasn't the end of the story. God still uses me in this way. He had patience with me. He fixed the fix for me. It did take years before I would be obedient before I felt nausea. I could always count on the nausea if I hesitated too long. Terrible way to know that God wants you to give a "word." But it worked. I trained well for the glory of God.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cheerful Disappointment

It was an awesome season in  my life!  I was the strongest in my Faith at any time in my life. I was digging into the Word with passion. Instead of watching Sportscenter first thing in the morning, I was reading my Bible. Instead of watching cartoon network after work, I was marking up the margins of my bible with new insights. I dusted off the concordance and was "discovering" answers to questions I had noted in the columns years before. I was memorizing Scripture and singing Praise and Worship as I was banging around the house, even at work. I would even break out a song of my own while on the job or in the grocery store. Sometimes His love would be so great I would sing in Tongues. (I imagine this might have been odd to those who didn't know me, maybe even to those who did?) I was sharing Jesus with people, I was even praying for co workers right the spot. I was soaring! I was strong!

Man, it is easy to praise Him when things are going great.

During this time of strength, I made a few choices that would impact my life. I did not enter into these decisions lightly. I prayed about each one, I sought the advice of friends who knew me well enough to speak honestly with me. I 'confirmed' my decisions with Scripture. I was confidant that I was in "God's will."
And right now, I can strongly say that some of those decisions that I had made were my will!
It sucks having to admit that. I hurts even more as I am still digging out from some of the decisions I made. Periodically, I have had to stop myself from thinking about "what if", "I coulda" or "I shoulda".

Coulda?! Woulda?! Shoulda?!

If I am honest with myself and with Jesus, during a period of great strength I made poor choices but it was a season of pain and suffering that has strengthened my Faith and character the most.

Eventually, the poor choices that had all the 'signs' of being led by God, had proved to to not be of God. Looking back now with my perfect 20/20 vision, I recognize that even though the 'signs were there' His Peace wasn't.  Now I had come to a point in my Faith, in my life, the Joy was gone and I was more than disappointed, I was depressed, bitter, resentful and hateful with myself and with God. How my bud Ray and my little sis Kristy stuck it out with me is a testament to their Love and Faith. How I got through it I can only be attributed to Jesus. 1Timothy 2:13

I went to church on one Sunday morning with my son Logan, who was 3 1/2 at the time. That actually was a huge first step for me, because I was so upset with God that I didn't want to waste my time at another Sunday "dis-service".  Then I got lost looking for the church I wanted to visit. Like a majority of churches, 10:00 a.m. is the required start time, so with time running out, I gave up searching for that church. Instead, I pulled into a church that I had attended previously, many years ago when they held Saturday night services.

By this time I was irritable and I imagine it showed on my face because, the greeters and ushers let me walk by without the usual questions of "Is this your first time here?" "What's your name?" "Do you have our visitors packet?" Looking back at it now, I think one of them pretended not to see me outta fear.

When worship began, I was tossing around all sorts of criticisms in my mind. As usual the sound was at concert level and the worship team wasn't leading the body in worship, but more so, they were performing for the congregation. Then, after one song, the band stopped playing and announcements were given and the beggar's pots, errrr, collection baskets were passed around. It's interesting to me how often Worship of Jesus will get interrupted for announcements, collections, introductions and such, but I have yet to see a sermon interrupted for the same tasks.
By this time I was wanting to split! But I felt like Holy Spirit was asking me to stay. So as I am singing through a clenched jaw, fighting back tears. I become overwhelmed with all the mistakes I had made that led me to this time of darkness. I wanted to bolt out of there so bad, but I stayed. I would like to say that is was me that made the decision to stick it out, but I know that it was His strength that enabled me to "endure". And then the song Blessed Be Your Name appeared on the overhead screen. Only by the strength of the Spirit that I was sealed with, was I able say to myself, "He is worthy of my praise! I am gonna praise God!"

It aint easy blessing Jesus when life sucks!

But it is so much easier to bless Him in difficult times,
than trying to slug through the slop and slime of life without Hi,
trying to dig myself out of my sin and mistakes.

Since then I have come to learn to recognize Holy Spirit's leading more clearly. I have now a greater discipline to accept God's direction. I don't just accept 'signs' as His confirmation, I need His Peace to confirm the signs.  I understand that when He says wait, I better put the brakes on. When He says move, I better not hesitate.

After all, He is God and I am not!

Now, I am still a flawed man that can be overcome by selfish motivations and stubbornness. Both of which limit Holy Spirit's influence upon me, as well as my desire to do what He suggests. I will get out of line with His direction, His will. By having gone through the desert, I have learned to trust Him, to know that He wants to guide me. By praising Him because He is worthy and not because I felt happy enough to do it, I said to Jesus "Not my will, but Your will!"

Yeah, it was and is cool to have the love of Jesus so strong in my life that I can't contain it. But what is even more cool, is that I now can and will praise Him when life seems tough and unfair. No matter what happens in my life, no matter what I do, Jesus is on the Throne and He will remain there until God says otherwise. Dad has given me a will of my own and it is my choice, in good times as well as bad, to say God, blessed be YOUR name.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Can You Fit 2 Sawhorses in Your Car? - Heaven and Earth Link

In December of 1993, I lost my job the day before Christmas - so did my wife. There on the kitchen table sat 2 pink slips for unemployment. It was during a season of real personal revival. It seemed that my faith was growing, and God was doing amazing thing. My friend and I laid hands on my pick-up and God fixed the water pump. I was in need of a $1,340 car repair for the other car, and by faith I had dropped it off at the dealer knowing I had only $13.00 in my account. A woman met me in church on Sunday morning and pressed a wad of $50's in my hand saying that God had shown her a need that I had. Wow, we hadn't told a soul!

God is faithful, and He also instructs us to do things - and when we don't. . . This week your faithful Kingdom Bloggers are going to write about a time *cringe* when we were disobedient - and how God dealt with us.

Do to the unemployment, we ran out of cash during the penalty week, we had no health insurance, and we were being evicted from our home with 2 little girls. The good news was that we were eligible for dislocated worker benefits - about half of what we were bringing home prior to Christmas.

The week before New Years, the phone rang, and a guy that I had photographed a wedding for in the previous Fall, wanted to know if he could buy the negatives. Sure I said, $750. He showed up with a check. Let me tell you what a struggle it is to pray for money, get it, and then try to part with a tithe - But we did.
Obedience is tough going some days.

I collected unemployment, worked part time in construction - an industry that I had earned a repetitive motion injury in, and left a few years earlier for the safety of the photography studio. After 26 weeks of collecting, working, and going to computer school (prophesied perfectly by a fellow in New York), time was up and the checks would end - and soon.

I had been talking with my friend Cap about what I should do. He had been in business and was trying to convince me to become a computer consultant - I could make $50 per hour he thought. Even if I worked 10 hours a week, it was at least as good as my old job. There was something godly about his counsel, and my pastor agreed with him. It wasn't even about the money - it was just something I was passionate about - it fit me. We prayed, and I went off and started, thinking, brainstorming, and talking to God. I told God I wanted to do it, I even found a part time job teaching a few computer classes - but it wasn't going to be anywhere near enough to live on.

I felt like God wanted me to do this business, but I couldn't see how; and time was running out that very week.

I had re-earned a name as a good carpenter, although I had no desire to start working full-time running nail guns, drinking cold coffee and buying all the needed tools. When you have a family, it is hard to hold out for what you want, and take chances - kids like to eat - wives like security. So I interviewed on Thursday that last week with a great company doing high-end work; they even had benefits. The owner asked me if I had any tools? "No," but I would get some.
"You don't have a truck?" (the clutch finally went even after the healed water pump) he said, "do you think you can fit a couple of sawhorses in your car?
"I don' think so." I replied.

I took the job for a lower rate until I had the tools that I needed, and had a vehicle big enough to take enough materials to work on my own. I had just $200 in the bank with no more checks on the way.

Friday morning I talked with my pastor who happened to be in the parking lot of my kid's school. There was something wrong with my decision to work as a carpenter, I told him. I couldn't figure it out. I tried to remind myself: Hadn't God miraculously spoken a career in computers over me, the brand, and even the software package? Hadn't He provided a vehicle when I had none? Hadn't he found us a great house after we were evicted for less money, with better neighbors and more room? Hadn't I earned top grades at school with glowing recommendations? Hadn't I been brought this far? But without some security in the job, I just couldn't make it work in my mind, or on a spreadsheet.

My pastor said something simple. "God will forgive you if you make the wrong decision. But remember delayed obedience is disobedience."

All weekend I struggled with the job I was supposed to start on Monday. I just couldn't see how I was going to go into business on Monday, and make a check by Friday. I had sinned taking this job, and I knew it. I couldn't start this other job and "see how it went." I would have to spend all my money on tools before the hardware store closed at 5.

"God forgive me for being disobedient!" I cried out late Sunday afternoon. (I have done this before.) I called the construction company and said that I would not be starting on Monday. I felt awful, and I was scared.

Monday I got up, and the Lord gave me a name for my business as I read Acts chapter 8. I spent my last $200 on a business phone, took the little teaching job and started as a partner of a few days later - and my little company grew, and grew and grew.

I don't need to tell you how the Internet exploded in 1994 and 1995, raging on until the DOT COM bubble ended around 2000. In less than two months I needed to hire a full-time programmer and a part-time bookkeeper. A year later I had 16 employees.

Today I thank God for allowing me to be disobedient, and for being so intensely gracious to give me what he wanted to, in spite of it. He is truly faithful.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spreading God's love may only require using your fingertips...

I came to Twitter reluctantly. The benefits of 'micro-blogging' my oft drudged daily routine to solicited followers seemed...narcissistic. Maybe there's still truism in that initial feeling, but I'm also sold on the fact that social networking mediums are a powerful force in our world today.

When I originally wrote this piece, the future course of Iran was playing out in the streets of Tehran...history in the making. With the media blackout imposed by the reigning power, news was finding it's way to the rest of the world via Twitter, Facebook and other such mediums. The U.S. State Department requested that Twitter delay a scheduled maintenance outage mid-week so the flow of information would continue. Just typing State Department and Twitter in the same sentence would have been completely incomprehensible to me a year ago.

For those of you resisting the fad, Twitter is a web-based social networking service that allows users to 'tweet' 140 characters at a time to their followers. According to a recent front page Time magazine article, Twitter is changing the way we look at our world. Some would say it already has... Most of you know I try to stay on top of the latest trends in internet innovation. My motivation is really quite simple, if it draws the interest of people...Christians need to be there with WWJD bracelets on representing Christ. As I've stated in numerous blog post, the internet is only evil because evil people are there. Evil people who need to know about the love of God...even for them.

So now, like my fellow blogging buddy Katdish and Matt among others, I'm a Twitterer (?). Katdish just calls us Twitter ho's, but I don't think that's a sanctioned title by Twitter. I'm tweeting about daily task and thoughts, prayer request, good articles or blogs I've read...any number of things each day. I must say it's quite liberating in the fact that I have yet another daily opportunity to witness for God. I receive prayer request daily from people which I add to my daily prayer list...sometimes taking a moment to stop and pray the minute they're received.

At the risk of sounding Pharisee-like, I think it's important for Christians to acknowledge our piousness to the rest of the world. After all, Christ hung on a cross in a public spectacle that changed the world as it had never been changed. I'm not trying to undermine the importance of humility by any means, but people need to know they are loved and cared about by Christ and Christ Followers. If one tweet can show that love and bring another soul to heaven...color me there.

Twitter or Facebook may not be your thing and that's perfectly okay. Just don't avoid them because of the negative stigma we often place on internet based application as Christians. God needs to be all over the world wide web too...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The "Net"- Matthew 4:18-19

Last Saturday night my dance ministry " On Eagles Wings" had the awesome privilege of ministering for an Apostles birthday celebration..It was an awesome time in the Lord..There was a mime team, an anointed choir and lots of men and women of God helping to usher the magnificent presence of the Lord into the house!!!!..I had the opportunity to connect with other God loving individuals...The Apostle said from the pulpit..Hey, I'm a Christian and yes, I'm on Facebook...Everyone laughed out loud and started pointing at each other...(He was full of life..)I thought to myself..How awesome it is that Christians are storming the net with ministry opportunities, prayer requests and there testimonies and journeys with the Lord...Satan does not have the upper hand!!!!!..The Body of Christ is getting real and becoming very evident via the internet..I have used the internet as a means to preach and teach the gospel, restore broken relationships, tell the struggles and triumphs of my life, and bring glory to God... I love being able to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries with people from far away...Online ministry??It just doesn't get any better than that..The Glory of God being revealed from nation to nation, city to city, by just the click of a few buttons.....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Stopped Playing Online Wack-A-Mole

If you have ever read any sorta thread of comments after an online article you have noticed how 'brave'  and 'superior' some peeps are.  They are critical of everything, right about everything and insulting to everyone.  It is particularly vicious on the threads of sports articles.  A dissenting opinion will not only have their favorite team or athlete trashed but they will also have their intellect, gender and sexuality questioned as well.  Even their profile picture is subject to insults, unless it is a sleazy shot of some chick in a bikini, then a backhanded compliment may be given.

The political threads tend to be less confrontational, unless a peep is looking to poke a hornet's nest with a stick.  Then someone with a dissenting opinion will jump into a thread of disagreeable content.  From the ones that I have wasted, errr, taken the time to read they don't seem to get as vicious because usually the people complaining, errr, commenting on the article are of a similar opinion.  Examples, not too many conservatives are using MSNBC or the Huffington Post as their online source for news, just like there aint too many libs looking up Fox News or Newsbusters for their news.

Now on Facebook, things are a little bit different.  See, the people that will comment on your own post are your collection, errr, friends.  There is a person behind the opinion, sometimes even an actual friend that you may have (gasp) actually hung out with outside of Facebook.  So biting, sarcastic comments tend to be limited or else they're followed up with a ;) or a :P to let you know that the person is just playing.

For me, I made the decision recently, that for me and my 'valuable' opinions, these threads are kinda pointless.  When I get the vibe that the threads are opinion 'whack a mole', when it doesn't matter how valid a point is made, others will just pop up with another opinion, I tend to stay outta the mess.  However, every now and then, I will interject a completely random thought such as 'Project 86 is the greatest band ever' or 'My middle name is Joseph' or possibly 'the sky is blue' just for my own giggles.

Another decision I made when I got into the world of blogging and online commentary, errr, opinion expression is that I wanted to glorify Jesus.  I dunno if I have done this all of the times, I do know that there have been several of times when Holy Spirit (or my wife) have convicted me of my intentions for typing some of the things that I wanted to.  I have had buds make comments that have led me into rants but never into a reply because I knew I was coming from a place of Dave and not a place of Love.  I have also seen a few threads by Christians that made want to punch the monitor but instead I wrote a blog or a few.

By making these decisions and following through with them, I believe I have saved myself and many others a lot of frustration.  I also believe that I have come to learn more about Jesus and the Word by seeking to convey Truth rather than Dave.  Because of this mentality, I have been able to build meaningful relationships online because of my desire to exalt Jesus over Dave.  By trying to serve others by encouraging them with the Word, positivity or laugh and seeking relationship with people of a similar attitude, I have built relationships that are still limited by distance but not by an impersonal internet.  I have been blessed to get to know quite a few others and deepened the relationships with those I have known in the past.  Relationships that are genuine, caring, encouraging and Christ like because when I go online I try to watch my mouth.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4.29

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm A Techie!

To say that I thrive online is an understatement. I’ve had the same AOL email since the early 90’s. I still use it. I will probably be forever known as Joyce8888.

My love affair with computers and the internet started with a Tandy Radio Shack computer that my husband had in his office as a high school Vo-Ag teacher. I would go to his office and copy dos codes so that I had a crude program that would tell you what day of the week any date in history fell on or something like that.

I bought a Timex Sinclair computer that hooked up to my television.  It cost a mere $99.95 at the Katz Drug Store. I think it played a few games after you enter dos commands. This was done every time you used it.

I’ll bet most of you didn’t know that in the early history of the PC you could save your programs to a cassette tape. I’d sit for hours to copy codes and save them to a cassette for my husband. Computers and I have a long relationship.

Eventually I moved on to 5½-inch floppy disks. Does anyone else remember when you had one with the program and one for data? I preferred WordPerfect but my husband’s office used WordStar so I would go help him again with documents with the two floppy disk method.

Eventually we graduated to 3½-inch disks. I gave them up a long time ago but my husband still has to have a computer with a 3 ½-inch drive.  My first experience with emails and messaging came from Prodigy an early competitor to AOL.
I’m a techie. I may not fit the profile, but I am.
David did a nice job of summarizing how the internet is used for ministry and fellowship. I would be lost without it. I live in South Dakota where I have very few friends or even acquaintances. I have no church family. I have little social interaction. My virtual world is the best I have right now. It saves me from insanity.

With a few strokes on the keyboard, I can have prayer and conversation. I can download a sermon or listen to praise music. I like old hymns. On YouTube, I can find just the hymn to drag me out of my melancholy. In the early days, I learned about revival in such places as Toronto and Pensacola. I started praying for the same thing to happen in my church. It did.

My first major experience with ministry online came in the mid-90’s. I was searching for information about Muslims, particularly ministry to Muslims. Somehow or other I started email conversations with a person in Europe who had a website Answering Islam. Through this, I was asked to moderate a support group for non-Muslim women in relationship with Muslim men. The group was to be known as “Loving a Muslim” or LAM for short.

I remember the day I sent out my first email to the group of two. Quickly, almost miraculously, the word spread. We grew quickly. Young women dating an Arab, married women with children, all with a unique bond. We were Catholic and Protestant of every variety. We saw some women rescued from bad abusive marriages. We counseled young college woman who were dating Muslim men. We explored the concepts of muta marriages and the differences between Sunni and Sh'ites. We were built up in our faith.

The first Ramadan we shared we cried and we laughed as we dealt with the complexities of this month of fasting. Along the way came 30-days of prayer for Ramadan. I would love to open up those emails and know that people around the world were praying.

I loved this group of woman. They were my dearest friends and sisters. In this group was a woman whose story I will never forget. She is a woman with a husband who is harsh and difficult. Harsh and difficult people are found in all cultures and religions, but this man is a Muslim. 

She went by a pseudo-name, as she feared her husband would find out she was part of group. Many of the women did. I never did. Her story started as a Hispanic Catholic girl. She grew into a woman and married a Muslim. She went with him to his country and converted to Islam. She was a practicing Muslim for many years.

One day a group of Jehovah Witnesses came to her door. They reached out to and she converted again.  Her husband now had an apostate for a wife. In some parts of the world, she could be killed for such a thing. Now as part of this loving group of women on LAM and because of God’s drawing her, she was having second thoughts about the JW’s.

She would often say that none of the evangelical churches she now tried to attend loved her or checked on her like the JW’s.
Selah (pause and think about that)
She had no Bible other than her JW one. She was afraid of her husband. She was afraid to have a Bible in her home. She had no money to buy one.

I purchased a Bible for her and sent it to her. To her it was the most precious thing she had ever owned. She kept it in her purse. One day he opened her purse. She was standing there and waited for his anger to explode.

It didn’t. Miraculously, God hid it from his sight. He never saw it. God proved to her that He had her protected.

LAM still exists but I’m not part of it. My days as moderator for LAM were some of the best days of ministry I’ve known. I’ve moved on to other forms of ministry, including this blog.

God is alive and well in cyberspace. You can literally reach the world.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm So Much Cooler Online!

You can probably still hear the sound byte on AOL, "You've Got Mail." That was 1994 for me (Yes, that's me in the pic 1997). The Internet was little known at the time, and we likened it to the advent of the telephone. Like TV and Radio before it, the Information Superhighway (doesn't that sound so old?) was going to change things - and it did.

This week your Kingdom Bloggers are going to talk about churhin' it on the Internet.

I have been building web sites and working as a web programmer for over 15 years. For all the good that it brings, there is a fair amount of trash out there too - it depends on what you are looking for. The latest rage, and actually the very thing that caused the 'Net to proliferate, is social media. From the days of Compuserve and AOL chat (remember all the free discs!) to AIM, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter - the Internet has changed the way we communicate with humans. It also is changing the way that we interact as Christians. Of course the same problems with communicating via written text, minus the non-verbals of facial expressions, hand gestures and body language, apply.

Although online relationships are second rate in my book, they do have a purpose in God's Kingdom, and they are meaningful to me as an individual. I met my beloved wife on Yahoo Personals. Our first "real" date was a little awkward - there was something that seemed out of place. After regrouping online, from the second date on were we destined to be together!

If you are a Facebook user, be sure to read the Facebook 10 Commandments!

So what's so spiritual about being online? It allows us to fellowship with Christians that we would have never met. This very blog is a testament to that. Tony C, Dave T. and I have never been in the same state, let alone the same room, at the same time! And only I have met Joyce and Michelle. You be the judge, but I think God is using it. We are not only online friends, but the guys call each other at least once a week. We usually have a weekly thread where we act like a family - praying, sharing, encouraging, and joking too.

Online prayer can be a wonderful way to be an online Christian. I have belonged to the Sunset Road Baptist Church Prayer Group - it's been 14 or 15 years now - and their coordinator I have never met, but we've prayed through all kinds of stuff together. I know more about her church then I do my own!

It is an interesting, and I suppose controversial way to have "church," but it is producing fruit for the kingdom. Of course it has its limitations - we can't give each other a hug, or a handshake. But we are not transmitting H1N1 either - Tony prefers to catch that locally.

I guess what is most intriguing to me is that when we pray, God uses it. We also send out praise reports which encourages the others, and when we're down, we can get prayer from the brethren. As an online family, in many ways, this is a lifeline for some of us who don't have quality fellowship in our area. We are walking with each other through the ups-and-downs of life. I do love the KB bunch.

It doesn't seem to matter that there are 815 miles between me and Tony, 1,194 miles between me and Dave T, 707 miles between me and Michelle, and 1,585 miles between me and Joyce. In the Spirit and online, there are none.

Over 10 years ago - before blogs were invented - I wrote a daily email that went out to about 30,000 folks around the world entitled Time After Time. Some of my readers were in countries where Christianity was illegal. I received prayer requests for all kinds of things ranging from sermons to missionaries that feared torture. I had no idea what it was like to live in the Middle East, in a Communist or Asian country where Christianity is not the major religion.

One man I met via the Sunset Road prayer list, who I finally met, became a real friend. His name was Theodore. He died doing what he loved, missions for the Lord. HERE is that story. Let me just say that these were the kind of folks that had faith. They prayed for a jet, and God gave them one. They laughed about it, because He didn't give them a pilot or jet fuel. They ended up selling the plane to feed the poor.

There was a woman on that mailing list named Sue, and she would occasionally send a reply to a message I had sent out. Simple things such as, "thanks", "I needed that", or "could you pray for my kid's exams?"

One day a prayer request from her showed up in my inbox. Sue said that she was having tests to determine if the lump in her abdomen was cancerous. She asked for me to pray for her, and gladly I did. A week or so later she sent another email that confirmed that she had cancer; stage 4 it read. I remember feeling sad, but you know, I had never met her, and I didn't even know what she looked like. From a few of her replies, I gleaned that she was married, had older children and worked for an aircraft manufacturer. I prayed each day as she waited for the surgery date.

There is another footnote to the story, all of this happened shortly after I buried my dad. He died of lung/brain cancer on February 13, 1998. I hated cancer.

The next email that arrived from Sue read. "Could you please call and pray for me over the phone? I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow." Wow, I could do that for a sister in Christ. And so I dialed the number the next morning about 8 'clock; 6 o'clock their time. She was leaving at 7 for the hospital.

"Hello," answered a man's voice. It was her husband.

"This is David and I am calling to pray for Sue." I said.

She picked up the other line and said, "hello." I could hear the emotion in her voice.

I said, "Well, you know why I am calling, let's ask God what He wants to do here." I began to pray quietly in the Spirit. Then I prayed directly for her healing. "Amen" I ended in my most religious voice and wished them both blessings and hung up.

On and off all day, I was wondering how the surgery had gone. At about 4 'clock the phone rang in my office (Caller ID, never thought of it in those days). "They took another x-ray and the doctors can't find anything! Nothing!" Sue said.

"You're kidding me? Really?" (There in lies the sum total of my faith.)

"They took x-rays so that the surgeons could see the size of the mass before the surgery and could not find anything!" she said in such and excited voice.

That wasn't the last time I heard from Sue, but that was the last time I heard about her stage 4 cancer.

The value and even the quality of these relationships speaks volumes to the eternal value that they can have. The Internet has also allowed me to keep up with folks that I met in Brazil years ago - amazing as we have shared all types of experiences, photos and Christian fellowship online. Some of these relationships turn into the real thing - which is best in my book. But for now, I can be so much cooler online.

Friday, February 12, 2010

All you need is Love...and maybe Dave Tvedt.

What a week at Kingdom Bloggers! I got a little behind on reading this week and ended up reading all four of the prior post back-to-back...well...I did stop after Joyce's post and called my wife to tell her I loved her. Reading about that much Joy and Love is like being supercharged on Spiritual Red Bull! Praise God because He is Love!

I feel remiss not to write about the love of my life and all that she means to me when the subject matter is intimacy. But, I'm being lead in a different let's go with it.

I have a great story about David Johndrow that I often share with others and you can read about on Tony C Today. If you could measure how we each share God's love by using the be a light analogy...David would be a football stadium light, or maybe even a Coast Guard helicopter searchlight. Pretty bright stuff.

But my post today is about another Kingdom Blogger brother. There have been several occasions that my Blackberry has vibrated with an incoming message from Dave Tvedt, and before I ever open the message...I feel a blessing coming on! Dave has a way about him that can only be a gift from God. When my brother is bathed in Joy by the Holy Spirit...he shares. When he shares...I get that Joy coming over me that can only come from an intimate relationship with Abba Father.

I was sitting at my desk one day not too long ago when one of those messages arrived. The text wasn't long or complicated, but it did turn my focus to the my Savior. It was past my normal lunch (which I worked through), so I stopped what I was doing and got in my car. I drove a very short distance to a nearby park. There with just me and my friend Jesus, I had a long talk about what had been going on in my life. Nothing heavy...just the normal every day stuff.

After nearly half an hour, my focus moved to where I wanted to go with my life in the near future. Again nothing Earth-shaking, just an intimate, heart-felt talk. There were even times I probably spoke out loud! All together, I spent almost an hour just sitting in my car and pouring my heart out to the One who matters most. When I left work at the end of the day, I continued the conversation on the 30 minute ride home. It was completely awesome and all provoked by my friend Dave! I treasure those intimate moments with my Father and try to have them as often as possible...with or without Dave's rousing.

But Dave is great about sharing his Joy, and when he does, it always reminds me just how close I can be to God by just opening up and being receptive to His ever-flowing Love. Now I won't say that necessarily makes Tvedt the Victoria's Secret of living in the Spirit...but then again...he does sort of favor a certain mythological son of Venus that's an archer and known instigator.

Just for fun...I'd like to share a video that I 'doctored' with one of my friends demonstrating the loving feeling that comes over me when I feel a blessing coming on...(you might want to make sure there's no open-source video of you floating around on the internet...he sure wishes he had).

Note: Josh is actually dancing to a video game called Karaoke Revolution and the song is Turn the Beat Around...but I like this version better and apparently so does the YouTube world.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Looking For Love?

I had read so many books on Christian marriage, each author with their own opinions on intimacy between the husband, wife and The Lord....My ninth year wedding anniversary is on February 17th....That will be my second ninth year anniversary...Let me explain....My husband and I were married twice..When we got saved we were living together...Your probably thinking yeah so, that happens all the time...Well, not only were we living together I was still married to a man that was serving several years in prison...Now, don't get judgmental on me, let me finish....My first husband who I married at 22 years of age was accused and arrested for statutory rape 5 months after my daughter was born...He was the love of my life( I thought)..After his incarceration I became very bitter and began to live a lifestyle that was engulfed in sin and addiction...I felt so betrayed , I was humiliated..You see my ex- husband was a business owner and a role model in our community..The families in our community trusted us as people, business owners and with their children...The reason I am telling you all of this is because I want you to see the big picture...And because I am not ashamed of my life before Christ...My life before Jesus is gone...Behold all things have become new!!!..O.k back to my story..When my husband and I met ...I had 2 children with my ex- husband, met a great guy in between him and my husband today..We had a son(who is amazing)..But, I was so unhealthy I screwed that up...So, as you can see my track record wasn't that good...So, I meet Pablo (my hubby)..It is obvious to you by now, that love was something I did not know and intimacy was not a word I rarely heard of, never mind understand it...Love had been replaced by lust and intimacy just did not exist in my world.....Pablo told me shortly after meeting me that he was going to marry me...Remember, I was still married...Any way, months after meeting we moved in together, Pablo is an amazing guy, he took on the responsibility of 3 children that were not his own..He helped pay the bills and babysat my kids while I attended school at night...I began to love him(the best way I knew how)..We talked about marriage often but, I honestly never saw it in our future..Well, on mothers day 10 years ago, he popped the question , it was beautiful...We got saved soon after that..After our salvation we began to read the Bible and attend church regularly..As we grew in our faith being engaged and married to another man became an evident issue..(even if he had been locked up for a few years)......My love for God was growing, my love for Pablo was changing..I wanted to marry Pablo, I wanted to be his wife more than I had ever wanted anything else!! We had sought council from our Pastor regarding the issue of adultery and living together, the man of God directed us to scripture, instructed us to pray and ask for direction..We did just that...My point of all of this is this....Pablo and I were establishing an intimacy with Jesus, we were seeking His face, wanting to know him deeper..When we drew nearer to Him we began to change..We realized our lives did not line up with His word.. we decided to make a covenant with each other and God to refrain from sexual immorality until my divorce was final and we were married...I can say to all of you today that was a very difficult promise to keep, but we did it!!!!..I was so sick of repeating the same old mistakes, I was tired of broken relationships, breaking the hearts of my children and feeling hopeless....My love for Jesus had superseded any relationship I had ever known, I loved Him so much that I didn't want to disappoint Him..And I loved Pablo so much that I didn't want to lose him or push him away..I wanted God to bless my marriage and teach me how to love Pablo completely, I also wanted to be loved....On Nov.17th 2000 I was divorced at 1:00 pm and married to my beautiful husband by 1:15pm..In the same office we received The Lord as our Savior , I came into an intimate union with God my Fatherr and Pablo my husband....We remained faithful to our covenant and 9 years later, we are happy, raising kids, we have a grand daughter, own a business and serving in ministry together....Intimacy with Jesus taught me how to love Pablo, I even learned to love myself, I have received forgiveness from those whom I have wounded, and I have forgiven my ex husband ..You see saints, when you come into a place of intimacy with Jesus he teaches you all you are "willing" to learn..

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Thirty-two years ago around this time, I was running from love. I was running from the love of the man who would become my husband. Central Missouri is getting a lot of snow this year, and so it was in 1978.  There was a foot of snow on the ground and the University closed.

I was a single mother of three living in “subsidized housing,” a nice name for the projects.  Scrambling to support three children and finish a degree so I could them better.  I was cooking pasta in the kitchen expecting spend the evening with cabin-fever stricken children.

It wasn’t quite dark when someone knocked on the door. Here was the man who was to become my husband with four valentine candy boxes, three smaller hearts and one larger. I had been refusing his phone calls and hadn’t seen him in weeks. Exactly what I was running from, I do not know.

He had walked to the house from his apartment on campus, a trek of about three miles in a foot of snow. He stopped at the grocery store to pick up the candy. It wasn’t even Valentine’s Day and he was new to the country. His only comment was I didn’t want you and the kids to not have anything for Valentine’s Day.

Needless to say this changed my mind, my heart and my life. In two weeks, we were married. Maybe he didn’t want me to change my mind and run again. I was in love and swept away by the romanticism of it all.
On February 25th, we will celebrate our thirty second anniversary. I guess that is an accomplishment. All of us like a romantic story with a happy ending.  Even more than love and romance, a marriage requires a lot of hard work, perseverance and commitment.

I think it is the same way with our walk with the Lord. There are times when the love of God is as overwhelming and as powerful likened to my husband walk in the snow. I have felt that baptism of love as I have surrender to God’s love through Jesus.

While God’s love is constant, sometimes in the grind of life, it seems to be dim. Sometimes I get weary and doubt. I have done the same in marriage. I made a commitment. I made a vow to my husband. More importantly, I have made a commitment and vow to the Lord. Love is not just goose bumps or romance, love is commitment, perseverance and at times just plan hard work. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Proud Poppa

I haven't ever heard the audible voice of God.  I don't get goose bumps, I don't shake and I don't get slain in the Spirit.  I haven't had a conversation with an angel and I haven't had deep of convys with God like Abraham or Moses  but I do know that God and I have some cool conversations.  I can be praying in the Spirit, praising Him, driving a car or a forklift or just be chilling at home when Holy Spirit starts up.  Usually, He leads me in specific prayers for others or just overwhelms me with His Peace and Joy.  All of which is pretty cool.

But what is really, really cool during our 'conversations' is when God brags about His kids to me. I can be driving and I will feel my heart swell with pride as Holy Spirit places someone on my heart and mind. I am so deeply impressed with how strong their Faith is and how they have committed themselves to fighting the good fight. During these times of intimacy with my Lord, I really get the sense that God is such a proud Poppa and so much in love with these people that He can't contain it. He just wants to brag on His kids. It leaves me speechless at the thought of how the Creator of all Life takes the time declare His approval of others.  I mean, God has a lot going on and yet He still takes the time to brag about His kids.  He has bragged about my wife, buds that I have known for years, coworkers and facebook friends from all over the nation. He has exhorted their Faith and perseverance, celebrated their loyalty to Him and His Word and God has humbled me by boasting about how much Joy these people have given Him.  It is amazing to listen to God hyping up His little ones as any other proud parent does.  It is  a really cool privilege to hear God give honor to those who have honored Him with their Faith. 

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.
1 John 3.1

Monday, February 8, 2010

Adam Knew Eve and They Had . . .

Genesis 4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain.

The word "knew" is the Hebrew YADA. In this instance it means sex.

Deuteronomy 9:24 You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.

In this verse it means that the Lord "knew" who the stiff-necked Israelites were. In both cases it implies intimacy, both a physical and emotional "knowing." It is this same intimacy that God desires to have with us, to fully know us and walk with us "in the cool of the day."

This week your Kingdom Bloggers are going to write about intimacy with Jesus. It is always interesting to see what tack each one of us takes to describe the topic as it applies to our own lives.

I have had many personal, warm and fuzzy moments with my Lord. It is hard to describe a time when I felt fully known, and also felt close to God. Many times I have set out to draw near to God, only to have another semi-religious experience. With all the years of study, and Christian practice, I can only say that my intimate moments are sovereign. I can't seem to force them, set them up, or get my self in the right posture to have something happen.

On the other hand, I can set my self up to receive from God - or at least increase the odds by doing the basics: prayer, study, worship and alone time. Intimacy, like any relationship, must be cultivated. For those that are married, especially the men, you know how you can't put relationships on auto-pilot for to long. Parents can't do it either. We need to invest real emotional and spiritual currency to be intimate with our kids and spouses.

I have experienced many miracles over the years, as well as been witness to thousands of accurate prophecies, and healings of every type. For me, witnessing these "gracelets" of God's power builds my faith, but it doesn't make me closer to God. What makes me closer to God is knowing Him, and hearing His voice.

Intimacy isn't always a spiritual high either - some days it a walk through the valley of death.

One of the most intimate times in my Christian journey, one where I felt a connected to God, and not only enjoyed His presence, but felt His comfort and peace in a supernatural, way was in 2001; a time most of the world wasn't thinking about what would happen in the US on 9/11. I know I was one of them. I was busy helping friends establish home-groups and churches where they lived. I had taken a year off after my divorce, but I was slowly getting things going again.

I was scheduled to be in Cincinnati area to meet with friends. It was an amazing time. I was praying about going out, and received a check in the mail for exactly, to the penny, what I need for the airline ticket—after a tithe.

One morning while I was working, about a month before I was to leave, I got a call from my mother. She had bad news to share; pancreatic cancer in the last stage. As with my father (MORE) only a few years before, I began to pray. I began to seek the Lord on how to pray, what to pray for and what I should do.

A few weeks later, I went to Cinci and borrowed my friend’s car in order to make the trek up to Ft. Wayne and visit my mother. We had a nice time, talked about real issues, and had a simple lunch together in her home. As I hugged her before I left, I knew that she, like my father wasn't going to make it. Oh, we had some time, but the cancer was going to kill her. No matter how I tried to summon faith for healing (how I wanted her to live and not die), and take captive the thought that I was going to lose her, I just knew it was going to be over.

On the drive back to Ohio, I just cried out, what should I do Lord? Peering out at the horizon; over miles of corn fields, I heard the still small voice say, "Call her everyday." And so I did. Each morning between 8:45 and 9:00 I called, usually on my way to work. I would end every call with, "I love you." and hang up as I walked down the hall to my office. In the beginning it was easy. She was still getting around, she was even working a little, going to concerts, and taking short trips. As time went on, she got sicker and sicker.

One morning I called and my step-father said that she was asleep. About an hour later, sick from the chemo, she called me to say that she was sorry that she missed our call that morning. She told Gene to make sure to wake her whenever I called. She never missed one after that.

I visited her four times during those final months. I would usually stay for four or five days. Each morning at 8:45, she would ask everyone to leave the room. "So how are you today, David?" she would say, knowing that I was in her house the whole time. At 9 o'clock, after I kissed her on the forehead and told her that I loved her, she'd have me open the door. I had no idea how important those calls were to her or me until my last visit.

It was a few days after 9/11, and there were no planes, so I drove with my brother and my two daughters to Ft. Wayne from Cape Cod; 17 hours each way. We arrived and mom was in her guestroom, the one with all but one of the stained glass windows I had made for her over the years. One morning, close to the end, my girls and I went into the room. I stood on one side of the bed, opposite the door, and the girls stood on the other. I asked her if I could pray for her, and she of course said yes. The girls and I laid hands on her. As we prayed the presence of the Lord grew and grew. Erin said, “Grandma is hot!” Zöe nodded her head in agreement. We kept praying and she began to glow. She was lit up like a lamp as the presence of God came into the room. Erin said, “Grandma is hot, really hot!” She almost shouted.

The Hospice nurse came into the room and fell to the floor near my mother’s feet. She couldn't stand in His presence. My brother and step-father felt the presence at the door to the room. The glory of the Lord was there in a powerful way. My mother’s frail body shone like a lamp. This went on for a few minutes and finally subsided.

After we were done praying, my mother called us close to her face. She said to me, “I am ready for glory.” We had a wonderful conversation where she told the girls that she so wished that she could have had more time with them.

We drove back to Massachusetts and two days later she died. She couldn't take my last phone call. But I told her that loved her and she made a quiet grunting sound. She died the next day.

I spoke to my brother and asked him what her last words were. "Tell David, that I love him and thanks for calling everyday."

It is in times like this, that intimacy is built on daily contact. Each day filling our love account, so when it comes time to make a withdrawal, there is more than enough to go around. During this time I was close to God, and close to my mother. I would pray each day for her comfort, knowing that my Father was taking perfect care of her. He surrounded me with family, a few friends and my eventual wife to be, Mary Anne - and most of all, He surrounded my with His perfect peace, His promise, and His love.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some sweet day I'll sing up there the song of victory...

How can something so small cause so much trouble?

My post is very personal today. It's a victory post. A shout of appreciate to our loving God above. I have so much to be thankful for overall in my life, and my daily prayers most always start with that acknowledgment. I'm blessed with a wonderful family, loving friends, an awesome church, a great job and most importantly the peace that only a life in Christ can bring. A close personal relationship that gives me the opportunity to talk to the God above all. But this Sunday...well that date is very special to me, and today I'm especially thankful to my Lord.

It was 6 years ago this Sunday I heard the words that I wish no one ever had to hear...despite the awesome feeling of joy and relief the words bring when you do hear them. Words that bring feelings so turbulent, it often takes days, even weeks, to sink into your consciousness. It was February 7, 2004 when I heard the words coming from my're cancer free.

My battle with hairy-cell leukemia was intense and short lived. I was lucky, and I'm grateful to God that my family didn't have to endure a long, drawn out battle watching me slowly go to my Creator. I was prepared if it did happen and knew spiritually and emotionally I could weather well, but how would everyone around me do? I had made my peace with all the thinks going on in my life at that time. I didn't know what the future held for me here in this life, but I had the security of knowing no matter what, even in the worst case scenario, God would be with me every step of the way.

People treat you different when they know you are sick. That's why I chose not to tell anyone about my cancer until I knew what I was up against, and by that time, the battle was (for the most part) over. I had other lingering problems, but none that were fatal in consequence like my battle against cancer. There's a psychological struggle that goes on well after the cancer is gone, but nothing like the isolation and helplessness that happens while you wage the fight to get better. No, I didn't suddenly feel like running a marathon on that February day six years ago, but the relief of knowing that I didn't have to tell my future wife, my daughter and the rest of my family that I might be dying soon...all I can say is praise God! Thank you Lord!

I went through some pretty tough times of a different nature in the following two years, but I know in my heart that God let me live for a reason. His reason. I prayed and gave my problems to God on a Sunday morning in December 2003 at an altar surrounded by people who had absolutely no idea what I was going through. My prayer that day was really quite simple...

Thank you Father for all you've done in my life. I ask forgiveness for my many shortcomings and where I have failed You. If it is Your will that I pass from this life soon, I vow to serve You with every breathe You give me until that day. If it is Your will to heal me and see me through other problems that are a result of my own creation, I also vow to serve You with every breathe You allow me until I'm called Home...

I know today the victory didn't come the following February or even a few years down the road when it was all well behind victory came the moment I got up from my knees, free of all burdens because of a loving, caring God. My prayer today is that He will some day look at me with a smile and satisfaction that I honored my vow back then and served Him with my life. He loves me, He cares for me, He watches over me...just as he does you.

I will never truly be cancer free, but that's okay. I hope God let's me grow old with my beautiful, loving wife. I hope He lets me watch both my girls graduate college and some day marry (in that order girls!). I hope God lets me hold my grandchildren. But today, I just praise God and thank Him for the victory.

1 John 5:3-5 (NIV)

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

From Victim to Victor

Victory has not been defined by what I have experienced in my own walk but, even more amazing than mine, I have been privileged enough to see the transforming power of Jesus take men and women from victim to victorious....It never ceases to amaze me , the awesomeness of God !!!

''One" of my ministries is a dance team..It is called On Eagles Wings...Isaiah 40:31...I have been ministering through dance off and on now for almost 10 years..It has been a ministry that has never lost its power, there is something unfathomable that happens when you enter the throne room by way of intimate worship...One word!!! V.I.C.T.O.R.Y...I have seen deliverance from depression and anxiety..I have seen many victories in the area of forgiveness and miraculous restorations of relationships take place.

I have also experienced many victories in my walk with the Lord..I have often made reference to my salvation experience because of it being the first time in my life I had ever felt triumphant, I had a glimpse at hope...At that moment in my life I had understood (finally) freedom..That freedom has sent me on a journey of one victory after another, I never look at one being greater or bigger than another..There all stepping stones after all our greatest victory will be when we are standing face to face with our beautiful Savior..I am excited that my mess has become my message...I have not a single regret, my past and its ugliness has shaped me into the sold out, radical Jesus lover that I am today...That is a victory I wouldn't change for any thing this world has to offer me...I love Jesus!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Forever, Victory is Mine

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15.57

For years my walk with Jesus resembled riding roller coasters. And roller coasters were never my thing. Ups and downs, anticipation, fears, regrets, excitement, worries, thrills and no sense of control.  It seemed as if I was just going along for the ride.  Sure, I had buds that were on the same ride, sometimes.  I don't blame them for getting off, if I got sick and tired of the same ride, same 'adventure', imagine how these dudes felt as I didn't get outta my seat at the end of a ride and complained "Here we go....again.....and again."
Looking back, I can see now where it was Holy Spirit in me that kept me from quitting my Faith altogether.  Even after I told my closest buds and God that I quit.  He kept drawing me back to Him and I know it was because of the prayers of many that kept my heart from becoming bitter and cold.
I got outta the church scene after going through After listening to all sorts of different 'doctrines' and points of view about the Trinity, Salvation, Gifts of the Spirit.....I just needed to figure what my own 'doctrine' was.  If that makes sense?

I dusted off my concordance, after putting down the remote and began digging into the Word. Man, it was cool the way His Word opened up!  Verses that had question marks next to them now had 'answers' written in the margins. All of sudden, (compared to the years on the roller coaster) verses in different books in the Bible were meshing together, creating greater understanding of  the differences between Righteousness and Sanctification   I was amazed at the simplicity of Righteousness and how it wasn't anything like what I had made it out to be or what I was trying earn.  I understood that the Work of God was completed in my life.

Now, when I aint obedient or when come up short, I aint put through an emotional wringer or get worked over by the enemy, others or myself. No matter how bad the situation, argument or failure, I can always go back to the simple fact that I am saved, that I am victorious. 10 days from now, 10 years from now, 100 years from now and 10,000 years from now, I am saved.

I definitely understand that I will stand before Him on the Day and be responsible for every word and action.  I aint saying that just cuz I'm saved my Faith is complete.  Contrarily, its because of what Jesus did for me  compels me to live for Him and do my best to serve others.

I am confidant in the work He did for every single person and the work He did in me.  It is Christ's Victory and He just didn't share it with me, He gave it to me.  It is mine, and I can't lose it , give away it and it can't be stolen from me. 
Forever, Victory is Mine

because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever
1 John 2

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


If you’ve lived in the world of charismania for very long you’ve sung a bunch of songs about the devil. When I was a little girl, I learned that:

 The devil is a sly ol’ fox, if I could catch him I’d put him in a box,
I’d take the box and throw away the key for ol’ those tricks he’s played on me.

This was followed by hand clapping to a rousing chorus of:

I’m so glad I’ve been converted (3x just in case the first didn’t take) I’m trusting in the Lord.

I guess they are still teaching this meaningful song to children. You really should check out this little boy singing it. He hasn’t been converted though, he got salvation. See it here, it’s adorable.

I suppose this song is supposed to build up ones faith just like the more adult versions such as:

I went to the enemy’s camp and took back what he stole from me. He’s under my feet.

I tell you I’ve gotten quite moved by that song a few times as I put the devil under my feet with excited jumping and stomping. If you watch this video, you’ll see quite a few people very excited to put the enemy under their feet. You’d think with all of this, the devil would never show up again.

Or how about this one if you are a little bit older:

Victory is mine, victory is mine, victory today is mine. I told Satan to get thee behind. Victory today is mine.

It seems Satan likes that King James English too and the use of the word thee.

If you are singing along with me, some of you are no doubt shouting by now. We could have a Holy Ghost breakdown if we tried. A few strong exhortations with some hallelujahs would have our faith exploding. We’d be ready to whip that sly ol’ fox’s butt. If only it were that easy.

Several years ago, I was a camp counselor. Of course, they told me that there was some unwritten rule that you had to be under the age of 30, preferable under the age of 25 to be a camp counselor. However, one of my daughters begged me. The old mother  went to camp, slept on a cot, took showers in cold water in the centralize bathroom outside our cabin, dealt with little prima donnas who would have preferred a cool college age counselor, and almost got saved all over again. After all everyone gets saved during church camp. Every day in chapel we’d sing another catchy song about the devil and spiritual warfare.

I don’t think the song ever caught on like the sly ol’ fox one or stomping the devil under our feet. So you probably don’t know it nor has any one put it on youtube. That year at camp though, it was our theme song.  With extreme enthusiasm, we asked God to take us to the front lines of the battle – where the Lord is marching on.

God answered that prayer for me. If you’ve been in the frontline of a spiritual battle you realize this wasn’t exactly what you bargained for…All that stompin and excitement can give way to exhaustion and lack of faith.  After months of frontline detail, I found myself severely battle fatigued.

One day when the spiritual fatigue was particularly bad, I thought about that camp song. I remember clearly that I was engaged in a great spiritual activity, I was changing the sheets on the bed. As I walked around the bed several times, tucking and tugging and straightening, I said out loud with more enthusiasm than I had at camp:

God, you know how I sang that song about going to the frontline. I don’t want to go to the frontline anymore, I take it all back. This was followed by my ranting about how stupid that song was, that they should never have taught me that song and work me up into a spiritual fervor to declare such a thing.
This went on for a while. Then I thought about how driven I am to excel, to be the best. I thought about how people tell you, this is a spiritual test. I always thought I should be in the spiritual AP or honors class.  I was strong, and ready to face all the challenges. After all, I’d been putting that sly ol’ fox in a box since I was about two years old. That day I asked God to put me in the remedial class. I said no more AP or honors classes for me. I just want to pass with the ordinary class--No more of this frontlines business for me!

Okay, so you thought this week we were supposed to talk about victory. Doesn’t this sound a bit like defeat? I should have known I had power because I had sung “We’ve Got the Power” and “Faith is the Victory.” (Thought I’d throw another song or two in there to pump us up a bit so we don’t get too deflated.)

This is about victory. This is about realizing your own limitations and that you can’t fight alone.  I fought on then and I am still fighting on. I didn’t give up, God didn’t answer my prayer and send me to the remedial class. God gave me more strength to fight another day.

Several years later, I saw Lord of the Rings. As I watched Aragorn at the Black Gate, ready to go into battle, my spirit leaped with excitement. This time it was a more realistic excitement than stompin the devil under my feet.  For I now understood what it was like to rise up out of my own weariness, weakness, defeat and fear to fight on another day.

I need to hear this often – maybe you do too.
Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight!
By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13