Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The refiners fire!

"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like refiners fire, and like fullers soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness." Malachi 3: 2-3

Much has been said about God purifying us as individuals with his "refiners fire", to get out the sinful "dross" (the impure particles in Gold and Silver that rise to the top of their liquid forms- to be scooped out by the refiner) from our lives and hearts. Today, we're going to look at his refining fire from a corporate standpoint.

The last thing Jesus told his church before leaving earth was: "Go ye therefore..." Mat. 28:18 After waiting to recieve his Spirit on the day of Pentecost, revival broke out! On the birthday of the church 3,120 souls were born again. What a great day. Many more were brought into the kingdom through Gods plan of salvation (Acts 2:38) over the coming weeks and months. Along the way, something happened.

Instead of going into the uttermost parts of the earth, they pretty much stayed in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. What happened? Revival slowed. God's people got "comfortable". Life started to become a routine. So, our Lord stoked his fire a little and allowed Herod to kill the Apostle James. He also allowed Peter to be taken captive.

That fast, the people hit their faces in prayer for their leader. Soon, Peter was free, Herod was dead, and life settled down again. Once more, God's people grew complacent. So, Jesus stoked the fires again.

A great persecutor, named Saul rose up, killing and torturing Christian men, women, and children by the thousands. As a result of this persecution, God's people finally began going to the "uttermost parts of the earth"- fleeing for their lives. The results were magnificent. Wherever God's people found themselves, revival broke out and untold numbers were born again into the family of God. After much prayer,the persecutor of God's people, was struck down and born again. Saul the killer, became Paul the apostle. Again, the church new peace.

Down through the years, the same pattern has been seen time and time again. The church gets complacent and comfortable. God allows an enemy to rise up to "lite a fire under his people". Then, after repentance, revival breaks out in the midst of persecution.

It happened under Nero. It happened in the middle ages, under the Iron fists of "the Holy Roman Empire" and the Catholic church. It happened in Europe and England during "The Great Awakening". It's happened here in the USA and is happening now in dictatorial regimes like China and the Muslim controlled countries. Millions are being born again, in spite of the absolute risk to their own lives!

We, as American Christians, seem to think that we're immune to this refining process- that somehow, we're special here in the USA. God would never allow those things to happen to us, right?

Many of us are looking around us and wondering what in the world is going on. Our elected leaders, by and large, are the most immoral and ungodly group we've ever had. Our country seems to be teetering on the brink of total collapse into socialism (which always brings oppression) and communism (which brings death to many).

The state of our churches is becoming even worse! Some churches are even openly advocating gay marriage, gay clergy, abortion, assisted suicide, Marxism, and ecumenical beliefs. After all,we're all just spokes on a wheel, trying to get to God in our own ways, right?

In the midst of all of this, God's true people have been praying for revival. The reason things are like they are is because God has, once again, lit his refiners fire. He will boil the impurities out of us and light a fire that will never be quenched! We will have revival.

But revival comes with a price. Many will be arrested. Some will die. To speak the name of Jesus in public will become criminal. We will, at some point, have to go underground. Just as they did in Rome, during Nero, and as they are doing now in China and the middle east. Through it all, though, God is accomplishing 2 things. 1) He's purifying his bride and preparing us for the trip home, and 2)He's bringing more and more people into the kingdom.

We've been praying for revival. It's almost here. I pray we're ready!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just let them grow up! (by our daughter- Heather)

A green-eyed towhead girl sat on the kitchen floor banging spoons together. Mom was standing at the stove stirring a pot of stew for dinner that night.
The phone rings.

“Lucy” mom said, “ I have to step out and answer the phone. Don’t touch the stove it is very hot and you will get burned.”

Like every kid Lucy’s curiosity got the best of her.
She toddled her way over to the stove and reached up her tiny hand. She soon found out what hot meant.
As she let out a cry mom was soon their pulling Lucy into her arms.

“It’s okay sweetheart” mommy crooned, “I am here and I will help to make it feel all better.”

Yes the mom could have taken Lucy with her but how would Lucy have ever learned what hot meant. You see we can shelter someone so much that we never let them grow up. Sometime the best thing to do is let them learn and when they hurt we can always be there for them to wipe the tears away. A part of hurting is a part of growing. It comes one way or another. The thing is to let them know that you are always there for them and you love them.

God is that way. He lets us grow and find out for ourselves what life is all about. Just like the mom in this story he is there to pick us up when we fall and He forgives us.

So just a thought, maybe letting go is the best thing that we could ever do. We might just be surprised at the outcome.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A true Friend

"There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

I had started to write on another subject, a truthful subject, one that would correct some misinterpretations of scripture. That subject will wait. Today, Jesus has other ideas.

Today, we received a phone call- a desperate plea for prayer. It seems that a good friends uncle was working on the roof of his home and had an accident. One minute he was hammering on the roof and the next minute he was falling off of said roof. The house is a two story home. Worse still, on the side he fell off of, there is a drop off of the ground that adds up to yet another story. One minute he's fixing his home for his family and the next he's rapidly falling three stories- only to be suddenly stopped by a very hard landing at the bottom.

If ever I've heard an almost certian recipe for disaster, this was it. We, immediately, and with a spark of hope in our creator, began to pray. We felt as if we touched the throne of God in that prayer. What made this prayer all the more important was that the man in question had been raised in church, but had fallen away from his fellowship with God's people and with his God. He was in desperate need of physical and spiritual help!

The next word we received was that he was being life flighted to a nearby trauma center. This meant that his injuries were likely both serious and life threatening. We prayed and trusted God.
He alone knows our goings and comings. We know that Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than any brother. It's all in his hands.

Time after time, people all over the world have cried out to Jesus in times of crisis. Be they a soldier in a "fire fight", a mother begging for the life of their child, or a child crying for food- he never fails. He always moves according to his soveriegn will and purpose, motivated by a heart of love. He's all knowing, all powerful, and all loving. We can and should always trust him.
Humans will fail. No matter how loving or good intentioned the person or group may be, they will fail. Jesus never does.

Several hours later, we received another phone call. This one was good news. The backslider who slid off the roof, had not fallen to his death. In fact, he was being sent home. He has a broken arm and a broken rib, to go along with a whole lot of bruises. The hospital is calling the "life flight" a wasted flight for his condition.

You and I know better. Trained and seasoned paramedics don't call for life flight unless a) the situation is desperate and b) the doctors they are in touch with, via radio, order it. Jesus, our closest friend, has stepped in once again to bring life out of our calamity. We can only pray that the faller will really think about "from whence" he's fallen and turn back to his friend. When he does, Jesus will be waiting with open arms to, once again, bring life from lifelessness.

God bless you all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Buy the truth and sell it not!

" Buy the truth and sell it not..." Proverbs 23:23

"What is truth?" Pilate famously asked Jesus (John 18:38). That's really the crux of the worlds problems today, isn't it? Everyone's trying to figure out the answer to Pilates very poignant question.
Scientists study their data sheets searching for truth. Philosophies try to stretch our brains to accept more and more "truth". Religious teachers are all scouring their sacred texts to try and figure out the next great leap of truth with which to excite the masses and start a movement. Teachers have given up on finding "the truth" and concentrate instead on each person finding his or her own truth. Is "the truth" important?
Jesus said "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32) But what is that singular truth that we must know? What is that singular truth that, when we know it, it will set us free? This would seem to be important. After all, if knowing that truth sets us free, then not knowing that truth leaves us bound up.
Furthermore, scripture declares that many will perish because they recieved NOT the love of "the truth", that they might be saved! (2 Thes. 2:10) Apparantly, we cannot stop at simply knowing the truth, we must LOVE the truth. Proverbs tells us to buy (pay the price for) the truth and to sell it not.
So, we like Pilate ask, what is truth? In answer Jesus says, "I am THE TRUTH..." (John 14:6). Truth is not a scientific discovery. Truth is not a political or moral philosophy. Truth is not a religion. Truth- THE TRUTH- is a man. But not just any man. This man- Jesus Christ- is the God/man. The God who loved us so much that he became flesh for us to die for our sins and make a way for us to really know him! To know him, biblically, is not simply head knowledge. It is an intimate and loving relationship with God almighty. It is Jesus indwelling us with his spirit and giving us the power to obey him. It is Jesus guiding us every step of the way.
There is a popular old song in pentecostal circles that says, "For whatever you have to do to me, Don't let me be lost for eternity, for above ALL else, I must be saved." That's what Proverbs means when it tells us to "buy the truth and sell it not."
Whatever gets in the way of my relationship with almighty God has got to go! Everything else in life comes second to the man who willingly died and rose again for me. Let's plaster this everywhere we need to: "Buy JESUS, and sell him NOT"!

Lord, Help us to really love you (the truth). Help us to hold onto you with every ounce of strength that we have! We don't need another fact, another doctrine, another philosophy- we need YOU! In Jesus name!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saved the day!

Sorry, I haven't written much lately. We've been going through a lot. Please keep us in your prayers! But for us, and all of you who may be struggling, I wanted to give us all some hope! So here's my favorite group, Phillips, Craig, and Dean with a little reminder! When all seems lost and everything looks like it's over, that's when God steps on the scene and take's over! So, let's all look to the hills, from whence cometh our strength and wait for him to work. He'll not only show up, but he'll show out!

I was going to put the actual video here, but, being technically computer illiterate, I couldn't figure out how. Therefore, I'm giving you the link! Enjoy, and be blessed!