Sunny Days With Sunny Smiles

Well hanging out with family in one of the most beautiful locations in Florida ( Panama City Beach ) is definitely one of the times in life that brings joy. As I watch the children play I notice the many changes that has occurred since my last time with them. Not only have they grown and changed their looks some but they have grown as people as well. Christian has been fun to play with and sporting hair now has me left as the only folically challenged person. Ryan is now able to run and is quick to get into anything. He loves to play hockey with Christian and I is no longer happy to be put to bed. Evelyn has grown too as a person and is revealing her thoughts more and more. It is common to see her drift off to a world of imagination and even speaks out loud to it as if it is as real as the world that we are in with her. She is often pleased or satisfied with the events going on in her world. I wonder if is part of the seeds that are in us that call us to be creators.

It gets me to thinking of how God gave us this world to subdue it and to enjoy it’s fullness. God made a beautiful world for us and then gave it to us to tend for Him. What are we creating here on our time on the earth? I could look at the various wars and destruction that has gone on over the years but what about us and what about now. I find when we look at the world and the negative things going on around the globe it is definitely not my responsibility…..or is that true? I wonder how many of us through time has forgotten what Evelyn does on a daily basis. In her mind she creates a world or atmosphere that is a pleasant place for all to enjoy. She doesn’t do it on a grand scale but just the world that she lives in. Is it possible that I could do the same thing? Could I use my imagination to create a world around me and the people who occupy space in my world, which would be very hospitable for all the ones in it? Could I bring it from a place in my mind to a present reality? I believe the answer is yes and that it is a gift that we have been given to either use to bless or to hoard.

In my world I have many choices that I make get to make everyday.  It is those choices that will shape the world I live in and will affect the ones I love and do life with. So maybe a good place to start is to take a quick assessment of my world and decide what areas that I have that I wish were different. I don’t have to look far to see I have relational problems with some family members. I have managed this problem area through avoidance. Strangely enough it really hasn’t changed anything. I thought time was just supposed to heal everything??  Who said that anyway? I have seen some people who have grown older without maturing at hardly at all. Though the body continued to age the person was stuck at a child state in who they are.  Many times it’s those things that happen at young age that can shape who we are forever, unless we allow ourselves to be healed up.

Our world of imagination is all about having a look at what we would like to see become real so we can know what to create. Too many people don’t take the step to create but go there to stay and hide from the real world. Escapism is a choice that some of us make when we can’t cope with world of reality. It is like getting the mail and throwing the bills in the garbage. It may look like you got rid of the problem but it is still very much there. I know there are many people who are stuck in these situations and wish they could make the change but don’t have any idea even where to start. We have listened to a lie that things will never change and we just have to get used to things as they are etc…… We have a God who loves us and has called us into a life of fruitfulness regardless of whom we are or where we are at. His plans for you are good ones so if your plan for your life is not working out then He is the best option. He is waiting for you and I just to partner with Him. It’s time to be a child before Him trusting Him to do the best for you regardless of any other thought you may have. He will be with you every step of the way guiding you and teaching you lessons that are true wisdom.

He is the Master Creator and all his created things were made without flaws but turned out just as He desired. Fallen man has done many things to this earth that cause it to be less than perfect now but that is just the result from being fallen. No longer fallen man but a new creature in Christ we are able to move forward and fix what is broken. Let us invite Him into the places where we imagine and let Him give us a good picture with all the plans on how to make it happen so we can change our world.

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Heart Function

Our heart rules our emotions. When our senses pick up on some news or information our heart will interpret it though it’s belief system and then release our emotions to the rest of our body. If what our heart truly believes is perverted from the truth it will act out of the lie and have a negative emotional response that causes us to do wicked things. If however healing has taken place in our hearts then our emotional response will be one that is good and wholesome. It appears that the heart rules over our members of our own body. If the heart is offended and gets angry it releases fury to the body and the body may attack the person it is angry at. If it is a heart of love it will compel the body to go and minister to the ones with a need or be willing to serve. It will train the body to be watching for need or a place to serve. If the heart is full of pride it will have the body’s senses look for those willing to serve its agenda.
Have you ever noticed someone walk into the room who you were at odds with? Immediately your heart jumps inside you and then it releases a rush of emotion to the body. The body reacts with tension and the face may frown and the eyes and ears are on full alert for what this person may do. Then the heart will not want to tip it’s hand so it will try and deceive the person by having you fake a smile or say something that would conceal how you really feel toward them.
It is the same when you notice someone you really like walk into the room. The heart will be excited and will release the emotions to the body that will cause a smile and may pursue them for a hug Etc. What is in our hearts is so crucial to how we will walk this life. No wonder David asked the Lord to Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.24 Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life. The Spirit speaking to us through Proverbs 4 : 23 says “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” I guess to say that we need to get our hearts healed up would be an understatement. We must be vigilant not to accept anything that comes along but really seek the Lord on whether there is good or evil in the new thought presenting itself. Once a lie is believed in your heart it has been empowered to change the course of your life and will affect those around you as well.
If you examine your life and see reoccurring relational difficulties then perhaps it is time for us to be like David and ask the Lord to search me and reveal the lies that are in my heart. Just what do I carry in there that is contrary to the truth and is an offense. This type of operation is really for our benefit. Would you let your 4 year old behind the wheel of your car on a busy highway? You would know that a wreck is on the way because you have set yourself up for that to happen. It’s the same thing living life with a heart wounded by lies and deception. Come Holy Spirit and expose all that is wrong in my heart and give me the truth that will fill the void left behind from the lie being evicted.
I so want to know Truth in both knowledge and in person. How fun it would be to have a journey through the heart of God. We would be awed by the beauty and splendor of it all. The bible has lots of scriptures dealing with the subject of the heart. Here is a link that has some listed together.

http://www.faithandhealthconnection.org/uploads/the-heart-scriptures.pdf

Discipled By The Best

I was pondering the thought of discipleship. Regardless of what field of interest you have, if you are serious about becoming knowledgeable about it then you would seek out the best teacher you could find in that particular field. You would also know that applying to be a disciple of such a person would really require a great effort on your part to show him/ her that you were a good investment and that you would give it your all. Less than offering that to him/her would likely mean you would not be chosen and would have to settle for something less.
Once chosen you would be so excited that you are going to spend time with the proven champion of the world and that you would learn the secrets of greatness. It would be time to purge your mind of the “ things you know about the topic” as it would disable you to hear the truth and absorb it as just that, truth. When we know something or think we know something and we hear a word or idea that is contrary to that we kick in a defense system. The new idea is not readily accepted but is being investigated by your mind and all the information it has to determine whether this is truth or a lie. The source of the word or idea also comes into play. Do I trust the person who is telling me this new thing? Can they prove to me that what they are saying is true. Unless we have the innocence of a child then we are skeptical and just can’t simply learn. We have been fooled in the past so when this word or idea shows up that doesn’t seem to fit with your belief system that is already established it will not be able to be absorbed.
Now if the person doing the teaching is a person who is trusted by you and you see them as one who really knows then the new word or idea comes in and displaces the previous thought or opinion. The thing is, that if you really want to learn then you must make a decision to submit the knowledge you have and be willing to receive what you are being taught by the one you submit yourselves to. You also need to communicate to your teacher that you value them and you are really thankful for what they are investing in you because that is what they are doing. All this is for you and not so much them. If you have a listening ear and a willing heart the teacher will be free to share the deep things with you as one who places value on the deep things rather than trying to be creative in ways to get through to you. The more we esteem them and create a great atmosphere for them to teach the better the lessons will be that we get. The teacher can only take you as far as you are willing to go.
My thoughts went from there to the ultimate teach Holy Spirit. Jesus said that He would send us the comforter who would lead us into all truth. I am a disciple of the greatest teacher who ever was or will be. He has taken me on with all our warts and flaws and is willing to pour into me whatever I can handle. There is no need to use any filtering system with Him because all He says is true. That being said I still find myself blocking His words and ideas to what I think I know at least in some cases. I really need to get it into my head just who it is that is talking with me and teaching me. I should have been honoring Him as He deserves but I know I haven’t been. I really need to meditate on just who it is that is with me and what he is offering. The truth of the matter is that unless Jesus had dispatched Him my way I would have never offered enough in myself to be chosen to be His student or disciple. But the fact remains I have. This is great news. I need to shake off the blinders to the truth and create an atmosphere of honor to Him who is oh so good and knows the way, all the truth and what life is really about and how to live it in a way that will prosper me and be a blessing to others in this world. This is wonderful news. There is never a situation that I will be faced with that is too much for Him to handle and He is always, always with me.!

Giving Up The Pursuit

Well it’s Friday and I find myself seeming to be relapsing into the cold/flu that I thought I was over. Not sure what all this is about but the prospects of me being able to sing at church on Sunday are not looking so good. I am bring in a couple of newer songs that the words will really minister to those who let the words sink in. The words are definitely convicting me. The song is called “ Chasing Idol’s” by Jaye Thomas. Here are the words of the first stanza.
In my mind pursuing you all the while chasing idols
You are Jehovah Jireh I treated You, like You were not enough
I call You king of everything,
still I expected You to wash my feet
God I’m sorry, I’m so sorry
How many times my minds confession is that I really am pursuing God with all my hearts when in fact my heart have drifted over to an idol. Lots of times I have followed a path that appeared to lead to Him and yet the path had not ended when my journey did.I guess I got close enough to get a little of what I needed but wasn’t hungry enough to make the effort to go all the way. If you continue the path towards Him you will encounter Him because He promises us that if we seek Him with all our heart we will be found by Him. I know I have followed the path towards Him and have in fact met Him there. These are times of wonder and amazement and I treasure the memories of each and every one. Yet sadly I have lived my life that would suggest once I reached Him then the pursuit was over. “ I achieved my goal” The truth of the matter is that this pursuit of Him is something that we should be doing each and every morning. The moment I wake from my sleep my first thought should be “ How do I find you today Father” I know that if I don’t the day will not amount to anything like it might of. But what often happens is that I am distracted away from taking the journey and instead trying to get life from the memory of the last encounter. It is similar to the manna that God provided to the children of Israel in the desert. It was meant to supply their need that day. There would be new manna available the next day but you again had to seek it every day ( except the Sabbath ). Well He is waiting for us to pursuit Him each and every day and there is something waiting for us that will so satisfy us again but only for the day. He wants us to come to Him each and every day of our lives because He so loves to have us interacting with Him.
When I don’t pursuit Him daily and instead replay the memory I find the memory has lost its power. I look for it to satisfy me as I try and get life out of it when the life is gone. This is a relational problem caused by my being broken whether I acknowledge it or not. The same thing happens between husbands and wives. Once the marriage has happened the pursuit often ends thinking that the hunt has ended successfully when in fact it was only that part of the hunt that was successful. Every day is a new chance to pursuit and explore the depths of the partner but often we don’t so that either. Instead we try and live off the old things of the past and we miss something that was so much better. When a person fails to pursuit their partner they may find that there eyes and heart will wonder on to someone new. They may even begin to pursuit someone new and the pursuer looks for something in this that he or she will never find. It is like grasping for the wind. It is only something distorted in one’s imagination.
It is even more common that we do that with God. When my pursuit of Him stops and the memory loses it flavour then my hearts look to be satisfied somewhere else. The steps away will be subtle at first and yours or my friends probably won’t even notice because you still know how to do the church chat. You will still know what the right answers are but you will look for a reason and a way to colour the truth in a way that will “ work for you”. It is really hard to walk out a love relationship when you no longer are in love. When yours or my heart is not having it’s needs and desires met in God then it will search for a new source regardless how disciplined you are. There truly is nothing out there that will satisfy so your pursuing idols will leave you hurt and you will not be satisfied despite its many promises.
So many people try to follow some rules that they think if they do a good job they will receive something good. You won’t do a good enough job and nor will you be satisfied. If you are in this position you will not be leading people to Jesus because you yourself no longer knows where He is. You no longer have the joy of the now relationship with Him but have a vague recollection of something you used to have. If you find yourself “ out of love and not satisfied in your God/ bride relationship then pursuing Him everyday is your path to joy, love and a satisfied heart. Just repent and turn from your idols and let the hunt begin. I’ll be joining you on that path…… and of course will try and get there first. 

I

The Afterglow

Well it is Monday again and it seems like the right time to sit and reflect on the events of the past week. This time last week I was sick and lacking any energy. The floor was torn up in my kitchen and we were finishing the last bit of preparation for the laying of the new floor. My mind was torn between the floor project and the guests that were scheduled to arrive with us on Thursday. We had also organized a night of ministry and worship at the Claymore in town which was a first for us to do. There was also a church annual business meeting that I had never attended before and then a few hours before was invited to do a devotional at the meeting. Just before going out the door to go to the meeting I received a call where I heard someone’s heart being overwhelmed with all that was ahead of her and was asked to pray. At that moment I too could identify with the feeling of being overwhelmed. So many unanswered questions were on my mind, and I did not feel like I had a firm grip on all the details of what was about to unfold. Even the devotional was going to be a step of faith as there was next to no time to really ponder anything at length so I felt ill prepared and vulnerable not to mention physically exhausted. There was this sense however that God was with me in this time and there was a quiet assurance inside telling me that those things would come together as my God is for me.
I was curious to watch His hand move in all this because I knew that He knew I was not enough for what was ahead. I read out the passages of scripture that I felt to share. As I looked over the people that were gathered I did not see a crowd grading me on my delivery or anything that I was doing at all but saw a family of people just loving me and one another. It was this unfamiliar feeling of being safe to be weak in flesh or unguarded. It was something new and I was so amazed. There was a sense of belonging regardless of whether I was at the top of my game in my performance or whether I offered anything at all other than who I was. This is something we should all find in our places of worship. It is His spirit moving among us.
The next day my father in law and I were ready to start the task of laying the new floor when a friend arrived with saw in hand offering to assist us and boy he did. He gave his whole day to work with us and yet he owed me no debt to be willing to do this. At supper his wife arrived with supper and biscuits in tow.. They also volunteered to be hosts to a couple of our friends who were part of the worship team for the Catch The Fire Meeting. By 8 p.m. all was complete and the floor looked great.
Well the day of our meeting arrived and there was a menu to plan and songs to get ready on power point and the room to set up and the worship team had to get all the equipment hauled in and set up and then practise for the first time playing together. They just seemed to gel together so easily. My Pastor and friend set up the Power Point and the projector so when the worship started everyone could follow along. She also took on two billets that were traveling with the Longs assisting them in the ministry and the many details that went along with that.
Finally it was time for the meeting and there were about 50 of us gathered. The worship team consisted of : Jennifer Bowman, Charl Eksteen, Jim Sutherland, Joey ? & Zach ? As Jennifer led the team in worship, the presence of God moved into the room. It was so beautiful that I just wanted it to continue for the night. We were indeed blessed. Then Steve walked us through the scriptures proving that Jesus healed no one apart from the power of the Holy Spirit opening the door for healing to flow out of those of us who have received the Holy Spirit within us. Then he activated the word by having those with pain get up and have the believers around them pray 3 different prayers for healing. A number of people were completely healed as well as a number of partial healings.
God was faithful to come and move among us. It was so sweet. In all this stuff I saw the body differently than I have in the past. I saw genuine kindness, a willingness to serve and to honor one another. I saw the body working together for the common good. I saw my wife serve in her gift of hospitality feeding supper to a guest list that rose to 11 people and it never stressed her in the least. She still was joyful in it all. I saw my own pastor be willing to serve and take a low place in all the activity. I am always amazed when I see how the Holy Spirit perfects character through our trials in life.
The body of Christ isn’t a perfect place nor is it always totally safe as there are always people flowing in or that hang in that are people of pain and suffering who have not submitted to the process of healing and therefore become a danger to the ones around them. But that being said there are a greater number who are willing to let healing come to their souls and to replace the lies of the past with the truth of the gospel. Lies need to be exposed because that is what gives Satan his beachhead to launch his assault on us and those around us.
Living by the Spirit’s Power Galatians 5
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

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