I AM

III. I AM THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP. I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD.

In this series, we are looking at some of the fires that have been burning in our lives that we have started ourselves, through our own sin, mistakes, etc. In 1976, Pastor Mike Quinn, who was at that time a very new Christian working as a fence builder in California, started the Ventura County Fire in the San Diego area. He was good at his job, but he did not think through the consequences of cutting some metal with a torch right near a patch of sagebrush. The sparks from his tool ignited the fire and it spread quickly before he could put it out, burning large areas and many homes (including that of his parents-in-law). The two factors of severe drought and the Santa Ana winds combined to amplify his mistake. The fire burned seven days but had to be fought for three more weeks before it was completely out. He burned down his entire world. In the first moments of the fire, he ran to it and took his shirt off to beat down the flames, but that only fed more oxygen to the growing flames. He ran to the house, many feet away and began to fill a 5 gallon bucket. Pouring that water on the fire was like “spitting in the wind”…useless. 

We have set firestorms in our own lives, such as worry, anger, control, sexual brokennesss and negative corruption. 

John 10:1-14 tells the parable  of the Good Shepherd.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them:

“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me[a] were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.[b] They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.

Again, Jesus says, I AM. The very words reveal His deity. He is what we need Him to be.

We are His sheep, and if we follow Him, we will go in and out and find pasture. We will have life to the fullest.

Our brokenness affects others. What do we do when we have lit a fire that is hurting others?

  1. Run to JESUS, before running to the fire! Our own meager bucket of water is useless in the face of a raging fire.We can not fix it. Run to Jesus, Who is the GOOD shepherd. He will not fail us. Fires are to be fought on our knees, not with our puny little bucket of water (our own efforts).
  2. Listen to the right voice. Do not listen to your fears, or to the crazy inner voices inside your head, or to the enemy’s voice. John 10:8 says that the true sheep did not listen to the thieves and robbers, but only to the shepherd. The thief’s aim is to steal, kill and destroy. There will be Pharisees and Saducees there at the scene of your fire to shame you. Power on past them and do not listen.
  3. Focus only on the voice of the Shepherd. John 10:30 says that He leads us and calls us by name. We must learn to hear His voice. The more emphasis we give to private devotions and scripture in our lives, the better we are equipped to hear Him. Our dreams and desires must be submitted to God’s dreams and desires. We will hear Him speaking through inner promptings, other people, and even pain.
  4. Walk through the right door. Jesus is the Door. He has laid down his life for you. You can trust Him with yours. We must be real with God. We must own the fire that we set with humility and authenticity and honesty. This will be our testimony of how He came to the rescue.
  5. Choose faith—not fear. God will save you and bring you to pasture. He promised. He will bring beauty from ashes. There will be consequences—ashes—from the fire, but God will bring new life from those ashes, just like Ventura County greened up again the very next spring. Jesus will live the ninety-nine and come for you.

11 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. 12 I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. 13 I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. 14 Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.” (Ezekiel 34)

IV. I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

The setting of John 8:9-12 is the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. Torches were lit, tents were erected, people we obediently following the rituals prescribed for them from history. The torches lit at the Feast of Tabernacles represented God’s presence in the Pillar of fire which led them through the wilderness. But Jesus Himself, the fulfillment of the feast’s prophetic imagery, was physically right there among them, and they did not recognize Him!

While aware of the historical God, they were unaware of the present God. The narrative takes up right after the accusers of the woman caught in adultery had silently slipped away into the crowd.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:9-12

Like the woman caught in adultery, we have sinned. Jesus walks to us past the crowd, and does not condemn us.  Darkness causes people to stumble, experience confusion, and take foolish stems. “Go and sin no more,” He says to us. This is how He operates. Yes is with us right now, in our need, in the present tense.

We won’t have to follow darkness if we live in and follow the Light.

Einstein said, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

We cannot fix our fires ourselves. We all need help. The worst things grow in the darkness: emotional pain, mental illness, destroyed relationships, anger, unforgiveness, etc. Dense spiritual darkness is the worst kind of darkness.

“The people who walk in darkness  will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” (Isaiah 9:2) and Matthew 4:16

 Areas of blindness need a light to shine into them. THE LIGHT is shining. Blind people are the only ones who need to be told that the Light is shining. 

 

Jesus said, I AM THE LIGHT. This is Jesus’ core identity.

Darkness cannot overcome light.

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God,  and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”  (John 1:1-5)

God’s Light shines upon us to lead us into Truth, and He desires for us to experience Him in the Present Tense. NOW. WITH US NOW.

His Light shines IN us to free us from darkness. Light leads to life. If we continue to follow Him, we will live in the Light continuously. Jesus is not just the Light for a moment of need. He is the Light for our entire life.

His Light is progressive too, as it works over time. We are “called out of darkness into light” (I Peter 2:9) and we are to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12:2) We need to consciously open our doors to the Light.  We need each other. We need accountability.  

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

Confess means to say the same thing about ourselves that God is already saying. We are to constantly confess—the good things and the bad things in our lives.  The more that God is allowed to shine His light in us, the more darkness will be dispelled, and the more we will shine for the world around us. If the darkness is rising we need to turn up the Light.

Let’s pray:

Lord we come to You with our useless empty buckets. We cannot put out the raging fires that are in our lives, whether we set them ourselves or they were set by someone else and we are suffering from them. ONLY YOU can do it. We put ourselves in Your hands where we are safe. We ask that You change us from the inside out so that we are able to fully experience Your Light. We choose to enter into Your presence through the true Door, Jesus Christ. Help us not to listen to the lies of the enemy around us or be overwhelmed by the darkness. We are trusting You as the I AM–the ANSWER to every need and every question we may have. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Resurrection of Christ: Theory or Truth?

“We believe that Jesus died and rose again.” (I Thessalonians 4:14)

Let’s look at some theories peddled by those who have tried to deny the resurrection. Some say that because the Gospels were written two to three hundred years after the event, the story was either falsified or embellished. But archaeology disproves that. Now we know that the Gospels go back to the authors whose names they bear, and that the testimony of the resurrection goes back to the decade in which it took place. So there was no time for legend to develop! Some say that the disciples experienced visions or hallucinations because Christ promised to rise from the dead and they fully expected Him to. But in the history of hallucinations there is no incident where five hundred people from different backgrounds ever saw the same vision at the same time. And what about the two disciples on the Emmaus Road who walked and talked with Christ after His resurrection, then ate supper with Him? (See Luke 24:13). Were they hallucinating too? When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost about his “great hallucination,” he was standing only ten minutes away from the tomb (See Acts 2:24). Thousands of people believed; others heard it and didn’t believe. Did no one think of walking down the street to check it out? Certainly those conspiring Sadducees would have taken every opportunity to show that this way simply a hallucination. On coastlines there are lighthouses shining, and attracted by the light, birds fly into them only to end up wounded or dead. That reminds us of the critics of Christ’s resurrection, doesn’t it?

“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple (body), and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19)

Let’s examine another theory put forth by those who try to disprove the truth of Christ’s bodily resurrection; the “Swoon Theory”. In his book The Passover Plot, Hugh J. Schonfield theorizes that Jesus simply swooned, was taken down from the cross, and thought to be dead. Then in the coolness of the tomb He revived, came out, and convinced His disciples that He’d actually risen from the dead. It raises some interesting questions. For example, how come for eighteen hundred years prior to this theory, neither friends nor foes of Christianity ever mentioned it? And what about the Roman centurion who pierced Christ’s side with a spear, and blood and water came out–empirical evidence that life had cease because the blood had separated into its constituent elements? And what about  the testimony of the centurion sent by Pilate: a man who dealt and trafficked in death; whose business it was as an executioner to know that Jesus was dead? Then there’s the question of the grave clothes. Jews customarily wrapped dead bodies in grave clothes and used a hundred pounds of spices between the folds, sealing the garments around the corpse, like a mummy. The head was also wrapped. How could Jesus have breathed? And how could a man in such a weakened condition remove the great boulder that sealed the tomb and overcome the Roman guards? It takes more faith to believe that than it does to believe the truth of what really happened! Christ is risen!

“He was raised to life to make us right with God.” (Romans 4:25)

The Great Houdini promised he’d come back from the dead and talk to his friends. Some actually consulted mediums to see if there was any word from beyond the grave. But there wasn’t! Only ONE Man who promised to rise from the dead kept His promise. Jesus! And He did it “to make us right with God.” Business transactions in Bible days were relatively uncomplicated. Once the seller laid down a price and the buyer picked it up, the deal was done. On Good Friday, Jesus laid down the price. On Easter Sunday, God picked it up; and your salvation was paid for. But the greatest proof of the resurrection is found in the transformed lives of people all over the world.  The songwriter A.H. Ackley put it like this: “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!” In one of His final appearances recorded in the Book of Revelation, Jesus announced: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore…Whosoever liveth and believers in me shall never die” (Revelation 1:18; John 11:26).  Today Christ stands knocking at the door of your heart, saying, “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in”  (Revelation 3:20). Unless you know Christ personally as your Savior, you are without hope in this world and the one to come. The resurrection of Christ is your only hope. Without that, you have nothing to look forward to but a hole in the ground. So today, repent of your sins and place your trust in the One who died and rose again for you. (The Word for You Today)

He is not here–He is risen!

 “Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” (Matthew 28:1-4)

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the central truths of the Gospel–the Good News–of forgiveness and eternal life through Christ. Apart from the resurrection, Christ’s followers would have no hope, and their faith in God and testimony about Christ would be useless.  The enemies of Jesus tried very hard to suppress the message of His resurrection…but they could not stop a miracle! The importance of the Resurrection is:

  1. It proves He is the Son of God.
  2. It guarantees the effective result of His death for our sins–that it certainly did provide the means of forgiveness and a restored relationship with God.
  3. It verifies the truth of God’s Word.
  4. It is proof of future judgment of the wicked.
  5. It is the foundation for Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit and renewed spiritual life to His people; and proves His current ministry of intercessor in heaven for all who rely on Him.
  6. It assures Jesus’ followers of their future inheritance in heaven and of their resurrection when He returns.
  7. It makes Christ’s presence and power over sin available in our everyday lives.

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Out of the Ashes Part 2: I AM the BREAD of Life

Going on with what we talked about last week: Firestorms in our lives produce ashes and leave scars, whether they are from self inflicted fires or fires caused by the sinful acts of another.

Pastor Mike Quinn tells the story of how he lit the great Ventura County Fire in California in 1976 as a result of a poor decision he made while building fences. The fire spread quickly because of drought and the Santa Ana winds. Many homes were destroyed, including that of his parents-in-law. He had to live with the guilt of having set his world on fire.  He tells of coming to the place of owning the mistake and confessing it. Though there was forgiveness, there were lasting consequences.

Everyone has scars. There is always a story behind the scars. There are physical scars as well as emotional scars. At the moment of the possibility of recovery, a decision must be made: We must move forward or shrink back. There is always the Why Question. Why did this happen to me? Why did my life change so drastically? Why do I continue to hurt and hurt? Why? Why?

There are times when the ashes in our lives come through someone else starting a fire.  People’s personal decisions hurt others. Many times it is hurt people who hurt other people. And there are, unfortunately, times when the fire is started by our own sin, and affects our lives and the lives of others.

Jesus has scars from fires not of His own making. He invites us to gaze upon the scars in his hands, his feet, his side. He knows how to minister to us, no matter where our scars come from.

John 6:26-27 directs us to spend our energy seeking eternal life, not temporary things. We must not miss the point. We can get so bogged down in one seemingly overwhelming aspect that we miss the greater picture. We miss seeing the beauty of the forest because we are focused on just one tree. In John 6, the disciples focused so much on one sign (Jesus feeding the multitudes with five loaves)  that they nearly missed the whole point of there being signs in the first place. They almost missed the deep meaning of the Bread of Life because of their being focused on five small loaves that had filled their bellies.

“26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man[a] can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

He wants us to seek HIM, His Kingdom, His will for our lives—not just the bread (loaf; single meal), the outward sign of His ministry among us.  Jesus did not say “I possess the Bread of Life,” but “I AM the Bread of Life.”

47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. 48 Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John)

The story is told of a small boy who dove into the water and was happily swimming around, going out a little farther than he had planned. Suddenly his mother frantically called from shore, “Swim in quickly! There is an alligator coming toward you!” The boy obeyed, swimming with all his might to the dock, where his mother waited. Just as the alligator caught his legs in the powerful grip of its jaws, the mother reached him and pulled with all her might, digging fiercely into the flesh of his arms, unwilling to give up her precious son to the pull of his enemy. She finally prevailed and rescued him from the teeth of the alligator. The boy healed, but he had terrible scars on his arms and legs. When people would comment on the seriousness of his leg scars from the teeth of the alligator, he would draw their attention to the scars on his arms where his mother’s fierce hold on him had left its mark. He was far prouder of those scars, for they proved his mother’s love for him!

Jesus’ body is the bread that is broken so that we can be rescued from the jaws of the enemy and the brokenness inside of us can be made whole.  He said, “I am the Bread of Life.” The picture of Bread calls to mind the Eucharist, or Communion. Christ calls us to the table of Eucharist TO REMEMBER the broken bread of His saving sacrifice. By His sacrifice, He showed the PURPOSE in the pain and scars, and He asks us to meditate on this profound truth:

The scars of Jesus are the proof of His love for us. 

As He conquered death and brokenness in His life, so can we. We overcome the wounds inflicted on us by owning them, receiving God’s healing touch, and then testifying to others about Jesus’ love for us.  Thus we are sharing the Bread of Life with others. First we must allow ourselves to feel the pain. Feeling is the beginning of healing. We accept the breaking of the Bread of Life as our life, and we come into the precious process of inner healing. His life grows inside us, and overflows into the llves of others.

Sharing our testimony with others is vitally important, because when we give God access to the hurts, the enemy is overcome. And then He can use us to provide ministry to others who are experiencing the same pain and wounding that we experienced. There is a process to healing in the body of Christ. All of the parts need each other. Our sharing in the Body of Christ will give us access to the LIFE.  Christ,  who is the LIFE, will empower us to spur each other to press on, and that will inspire hope.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.” (II Corinthians 1:3-7)

There is something very powerful released in the spirit when we share our testimony, giving the glory to God for all that He has done in our lives. We are strengthened and emboldened to continue the fight against evil; and the enemy is put to open shame.

“And they have defeated him (the enemy) by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.”(Rev. 12:11)

Lord Jesus, we take off our masks just now and we stand before You. We are willing to show You our scars. We share with You the intimate details of our wounding. We ask You to break Bread with us, and we are blessed to partake. We receive the healing You so freely give us through your scarred hands. We take it into our very being, and we assimilate it. You are the Bread of Life. You are all we need. You are so much more than just a loaf of bread which temporarily fulfills our need. YOU ARE THE BREAD OF LIFE! As we grow in our healing, cause us to willingly share the You, Bread of Life, with others, that You may be glorified, and that Your Kingdom may be manifest here on earth as it is in heaven. Let the words of our mouths forever declare the power of God, and defeat the enemy of our souls. Our LIFE is in You! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I AM: The Seven I am’s in the Gospel of John (Part I) “Out of the Ashes”

I. I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

All of our pain has a story behind it. ASH is the aftermath and residue of fire. Some people’s fires are their own fault; others are caused by another. Whether the fire is started by our own sin or error or the deliberate act of another against us, the ashes can bring dysfunction and bitterness–or new dreams can rise out of painful ashes. God offers Himself as a solution, not a 5 point planner for change and success.

He did not say, “I am the possessor of the life”; He said “I AM the Life.” Our deliverance OUT OF THE ASHES lies not in what He does, but Who He is.

Jesus is the answer to everything–every question, every need. For example, He is not just our financial advisor, but He is our Provider.

John 11 tells the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. Let’s walk through the story together.

A. A fire has started

A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair.[a] Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

Jesus is a real person who had friends whom He loved. He had an inner circle of friends, in which Lazarus, Mary and Martha were included. He hurt when they hurt, and wept with them even while He delayed coming to them for a higher reason.

B. Jesus sees beyond the fire.

But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

He is not limited by being reactionary to the emotions of the moment. He sees long term. He knows the end from the beginning; and His thoughts and plans are deeper and more far-reaching than we can begin to imagine.

C. Jesus moves toward the ashes after the fire seems to have ended everything.

But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people[b] in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” 12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. 14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin,[c] said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.” 17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles[d] down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus saw beyond the stark and painful reality of Lazarus’ death to his recusitation and resurrection. He sees far beyond what we see. He moves toward the ashes after it all seems to be over. Martha still had faith present in her, shown in the fact that she talked to Him about the “ashes”. She had a conversation with God even in the depths of disappointment. She knew Him well enough to realize that He loved her, even in the midst of her confusion regarding why He had not come sooner to their aid.

D. Jesus is the Answer

23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[e] Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

While looking upon the ashes of death, Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. Death lay in the tomb. Life stood outside the tomb. He called Martha–and He calls us–to believe even in the presence of stark evidence to the contrary. He is the Answer!

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him. 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him,[f] and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

Sometimes our practical nature can prevent us from even seeing the possibility of a miracle. To Martha and Mary, death was final; but to Jesus, it was not.

40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

Jesus shouted. We can pray like He prayed. He does not speak timidly to resurrect things.  If Jesus had not used the name of Lazarus in his command to come forth, every dead person would have had to obey His powerful command.

Then He commanded, “Unwrap! Don’t live in the ashes!” We are equipped by our faith and our life in Him to speak the name of Jesus and call others out of their ashes!

Jesus calls us to listen to a new voice—the words that He is speaking to our situations, our ashes.

Is Jesus calling your name?

Don’t just hear—COME OUT!

Let’s pray together.

“Lord, we ask that we would be able to see with the eyes of faith that You are standing right beside us, weeping with us, at the scene of our fire. When there are ashes and death all around, help us to look at YOU, not at the scene. Help us to believe. We stand there with You right now looking at the ashes of __________________________________(fill in the blank). We see you weeping with us. We hear Your shouted command to come forth, live again. We know that You have a very personal interest in the things that are on our minds. We choose LIFE over death, standing here with You. We wait to see how You will bring new life, hope, healing, or purpose from our ashes, whether we caused the fire, or someone else’s actions did.  We trust Your timing, Your methods, and Your heart in this. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Let’s go forth trusting Jesus as our great I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE, and apply the Word from Isaiah 61:1-4 to our own mission as we walk with our Lord.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.”

Henry and Betty

This is a story of Mr. Bowser who worked at the Post Office. He hated his old Chevy, but he still had to drive it because it just wouldn’t break down. It was still running, so he had to hang onto it. It was all rusted out along the sides and the floorboard was rusted out. He had a piece of three-quarter inch plywood on the floor so he would have somewhere to put his feet. The Chevy’s name was Henry, after his late father. His father taught him never to throw away something if it was still working.

 

 

He couldn’t get rid of it, because after fifteen years, even on the coldest mornings, all he would have to do is point at the ignition and it would start. He drove the thing around and hated it for ten of the fifteen years that he owned it.

 

 

The heater didn’t work so it was freezing cold inside, but Mr. Bowser was brought up to endure suffering and be cheerful. So he drove around cheerfully in this horrible car, even though it depressed the life out of him. He hung onto it until a year ago last January.

 

 

He was sitting in the Chatterbox Cafe and someone said to him, “Well, that old Chevy of yours is amazing. It’s quite a starter, isn’t it? What do you ever do with that thing?”

 

 

Well, he never did anything. Lack of maintenance seemed to encourage that car. It thrived on neglect. He hadn’t changed the oil in five years, but the car didn’t seem to notice.

 

 

They said, “Lordy, we have never seen anything like it. We’ve never had any kind of luck with a Chevy like you have.” In that moment, something seemed to snap inside of Mr. Bowser. He drove that car out to the hill by Haberson’s farm. He stopped, put it into neutral, got out and gave it a push. It ended its life near the second telephone pole it ran into…..He put that car out of its misery.

 

 

It was a happy man who walked nearly two miles back to town. He now has a new Chevrolet he calls Betty. It doesn’t start all the time, and he’s had problems with it. But when it does start, the heater works well. But, better than that, there is still that new car smell. It smells fresh.

 

 

You get that fresh feeling when you sit in Betty. That’s all he wanted.”

 

 

That is the “Christian feeling,” a new life, a fresh start and a hope that encompasses the world, “a fresh inspiration of wonder and joy, a spark to touch us and to start us.” That is the dream; but – –

 

 

How often do we hold on to things we no longer need or really want? We do that, you know. Downsizing for all of us is a desperate attempt and desire to move into the future yet holding on to the past. This goes not only for our material possessions but also our emotional hurts and depressions. Oh, we have a suitcase full and we carry this burden, and it gets very heavy. We are ready and yet we hold on to our pains, our habits, our afflictions, our hurts; and we want to walk through that door but the baggage is too heavy to carry and too broad to fit through.

 

 

We just don’t know how to let go of that baggage, how to just drop it and leave it behind. And it keeps getting heavier and heavier. We drag it behind us because it gets too heavy to carry. Yet we never let go. Wherever we go, we carry that burden. We carry that weight of our world on our shoulders. What a burden it is!

 

 

God says to us,  Matthew 11:29 – 30: 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, ………….. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

 

We don’t hear that. We have gone through so many times of distress and regret, still carrying all our stuff. All the time it gets heavier and heavier.

 

 

Dennis Wheatley, the wonderful speaker, tells us what we should do. Let’s look at his remedy:

 

 

“#1. We should focus on where we want to go – rather than where we’re coming from.

 

We focus more on where we’ve been than where we’re going. We focus on the mistakes we’ve made in the past, the failures we’ve had, and we think it binds us. That limits us. That puts us in a cage. We hold the keys to the cage, but we stay inside anyway.

 

 

#2. Learn from your mistakes – as well as your successes.

 

You can use your mistakes and transcend them. What you are here today to do is find out how to transcend your own biography. We all have a biography. It’s in our mind. We’ve written it from day one.   The minute we came out of mamma’s womb, we decided who and what we are. Then we hold those opinions tightly. Now, possibly, it’s time to rewrite our biography. It may be time to write a new chapter, or even to close the old book and begin a whole new book.”

 

 

“There was a man who was very distressed. He said, “Do you think it is possible for a human being to do a redo?” These were his exact words. He said, “I just don’t think I can. I have made so many mistakes, mistake upon mistake. I don’t even know why I’m alive, because some of my mistakes have been with drugs and alcohol.”

 

 

He was telling about how much he had taken at one time. It was physically impossible for a human being to live through a poisoning like that. But he did. He said, “Because I lived, I must be here for a purpose. Do you think it’s possible for a human being to do a redo?”

 

 

Psalm 32:10: Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.

 

 

That is the whole message of Christianity. You get a redo – “a start over.”

 

 

And that is where many of us are. We sit, preparing for a redo – a start over. Many of us have changed just so far this year – with moving to a new location, a new life, new friends, new activities. Some of us have lived through family and friends upheavals and stayed with them, praying through the dilemma. Some of us faced a physical change in our personal or a loved one’s physical situation that prevents living the life as before and needing to walk through that door to a new way of living.

 

 

“Back in 1974, a man wanted a car. He had a great desire for this car. The reason I’m telling you this story is because the man saw this car the other day. It was a 1974 car – the exact car he wanted. He looked at it and it had big rust holes in it. He thought, “How could I have invested so much time and energy desiring this car?”

 

 

I realized as a young married woman that you just can’t make a car new again – no starting over for a car. Once it starts to rust, it just keeps on rusting, once the electrical stops or the wires begin to get crossed (and believe me, they do – let me tell you about my old Studebaker sometime), there is NO turning back. You can patch it and paint it – and surprise – a new rust hole will pop out or another wire will break or another door won’t open or a windshield wiper won’t work. That is just what old material objects often do, they decay like Mr. Bowser’s old Chevy Henry. But a human being is always going through a redo phase. Every cell is continuously being replaced and made new. I think we have new cells every 48 hours or so.

 

 

The only thing we are carrying, that is old in us, may be our opinion of “who we think we are, what we think we can do, how far we think we can succeed, or not.” We carry those with us in our luggage. We all carry the baggage of the past, and we are constantly finding baggage and being surprised by it, and, hopefully, unpacking and discarding the negatives of it. But, do we?

 

 

Believe it or not, we unpack useless baggage in our minds daily. It is a focusing on “self” – not to expect the worst in the future, but to expect the best, to know that God is really with us and we can expect the best. We have the right to expect the best. We are a child of God.

 

 

You can reach above your own history (of who you were or have been). It’s redo time.

 

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So, if you are listening to voices telling you that you lack, that you are not good enough, educated enough, pretty or handsome enough, shut your luggage and lock it. Do not let that baggage in.

 

 

God would never give you a message like that. God will never talk to you in a discouraging way. God will never tell you what you can’t do. God always whispers in your ear and tells you what you can do and accomplish.

 

 

Our God is an Awesome God.

 

Watch this video and then you will know that God can certainly create you and me as His perfect child.

 

 

God is the great giver of ideas, not generic ideas, but ideas for you on how you can use the idea in your own life. God is all good, endless good inside of you, and love.

 

 

You will never hear a negative thought or word from God.

 

 

So when you pray, if you’re beginning to get negative messages, that is the human part of you that should be quiet.   Listen to the all-positive voice of God. Throw the negative baggage into the lake and let your “woes be gone”

 

 

 

 

Let me tell you, if you don’t at first succeed, you’re running about average. It’s true. Failure creates success, improvement of life.

 

 

Now, here is a prime example of what I am talking about. It is the rendition of the story of Abraham Lincoln:

 

He failed in business at 22 years of age.
When he was 23, he ran for the legislature and was defeated.
When he was 24, he failed at business and went bankrupt.
When he was 25, he was elected to the legislature.
When he was 26, his sweetheart died.
This so destroyed him that at 27, he had a nervous breakdown.
When he was 29, he ran for Speaker and was defeated.
When he was 31, he ran for Elector and was defeated.
When he was 34, he ran for Congress and was defeated.
When he was 37, he was elected to Congress.
When he was 39, he ran for re-election to Congress and was defeated.
When he was 46, he ran for the Senate and was defeated.
When he was 47, he ran for Vice President and was defeated.
When he was 49, he ran for the Senate and was defeated.
And when he was 51, he was elected President of the United States.

 

 

This makes a good example because he is one of the most famous of presidents; and if he would have given up, we probably would never have heard of him and our country may have gone in a total different direction.

 

 

 

We don’t know how we can overcome the great problems that are facing us. It’s that moment we need to hold the hand of God and say, “I can’t do it alone. I am walking with You. Take me one extra step.” After that step we ask God to take us another step. That way we can go on and get our energy back. We then have the strength not only to endure, but to transform our lives.

 

 

Inside each of us is a strength that God has given us. We all, and I mean all, have that connectedness with God. Whether you believe it or not, you now have it. Every once in a while everyone needs a pep talk to remind us of the power and the strength of God.

 

 

Within our minds there is a part of us that is like a mental prison that forces us to look at the negative, at our baggage. It forgets that there is One who can unlock that prison, the great power and the strength of God will flow through at any moment. All we have to do is open our hearts and ask. Have a pep talk with God.

 

 

It doesn’t matter where you hear the pep talk, either.

 

 

Well, I invite you to listen to other ministers of other religions because the pep talk is the same.

 

 

Oh, we may have to change a word here and there to make the pep talk more personal and alive, but the Truth of God coming from every minister is about the all-present, good God that is available to you right where you are, a God that will make your moments so very special right now and make tomorrow better than ever before.

 

 

Do you want to go back and live in the past where you may have thought your problems were so much less and life was so much more worth living? “The Good Old Days” We might think that our problems today are so great that we just can’t carry that baggage around or overcome it. Well, alone we can’t. It takes a far greater mind and power than we possess alone. These are teaching opportunities for us to expand our minds to the limitless Mind of God and to reach to Him for solutions.

 

 

God is bigger than any of your problems. No matter what you’re facing, GOD IS BIGGER.

 

 

God can figure out a way when to your mind there seems to be no way. God can work out a solution, too, but you have to do your part. You have to consent and allow God to work through you. Then you have to go out and follow His direction.

 

 

 

Edgar Allen Poe once said, “Those who dream by day are aware of many things that escape those who only dream at night.”

 

 

Become a daydreamer, who realizes there is no lack but a lack of faith in God. There is no sickness in the soul, but only a separation from God. Become the kind of dreamer who knows that you can go beyond where you have been, where you think you’re going and become something great for humanity and for yourself.

 

 

Bury that baggage and look to the future, using your past experiences as teachings from God.

 

 

With God, you can go beyond even your best yesterdays. With God, you can have the greatest gift of all, and that is a fresh start.

 

 

God creates your fresh start and makes the best tomorrows of your life.

 

 

May God Bless Your Tomorrows!

The Homecoming

 

(a special thank you as always to Christopher C. for his insight and resources)

 

 

“Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and God’s courts with praise.” Psalms 100:4

 

 

 

I hope and pray that every time you go to your church and/or come into our Bethel —http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com/ — you will feel as if you have come home.

 

 

 

I also hope and pray that next to the home where you live, your Church and/or our Bethel is or soon becomes your second home as a physical site outside of yourself, but most important, I pray it is your spiritual home in a way that a one way traffic sign points the spiritual way; and I pray that it points the way to God.

 

 

 

Reverend Billy Graham told of a time many years ago when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. When the young boy told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, “Son if you will come tonight to the Baptist Church, you will hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven.” The boy stood there for a minute, scratched his head, and said, “Well, sir, I don’t think I will be there because you can’t even find the post office.”

 

 

 

There is a big difference between knowing ABOUT God and knowing God. Lots of people know about God. The word God is on our money, in our sacred documents; God’s name is used by the devout, and sometimes, sadly, often as a curse. Everyone knows about God. Nine out of ten people in America say they believe in God, although they may not know really how God works in their own individual lives. Knowing God is something else entirely. So, perhaps for many of us, it is time to make a spiritual homecoming; and it may be a wise idea to do this on a daily basis.

 

 

 

A professor (you have probably heard this story) was given a choice of two doors to go through. One of the doors was marked “love” and the other was marked “knowledge about love.” The professor who loved knowledge, chose the latter. Just as there is a difference in knowing about love and experiencing love, so there is a difference in knowing about God and knowing God.

 

 

 

To know God, not just know “about” God,  we must realize that God is bigger than any of our problems whether they are within or “without” ourselves. Our concept of God should be so large, so great that we know whatever we do, whatever we think, whatever we say, wherever we go, at any moment of the day or night, God is with us and we are home. We are moving with the power of God;”  we are spiritual. We are not alone when a problem rears its ugly head and stares at us. We are standing there with the biggest God there is around us and through us. We can do anything because we “know God.”

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 10:17. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.

 

 

 

Whenever we face a crossroads, here is a positive spiritual affirmation to repeat often as needed: “God is bigger than my problem!”

 

 

 

I am glad you are here because A Spiritual Homecoming is waiting for you.

 

 

 

Have your ever heard of the story which has also been made into a hymn (so inspiring) called“The Old Apple Tree.” Read the words below because it is a story, as well as a spoken hymn, especially for me since, as you know, I am melodically challenged.

 

 

 

“Coming home. God I am coming home. A minister had completed services one night in a Midwestern town. As he decided to board the train one night he took a seat next to a young man. While sitting there he found the young man was crying. He turned to this young fellow and he said, ‘Young man, I am a minister, I am a man of God. Maybe l can say something that will help or encourage you.’

 

 

 

“The young fellow turned and looked at the old preacher and said, ‘Preacher, I have been roaming this countryside for two years now. I left home two years ago tonight, and while there I gave my mother and father so much trouble. I even had the nerve to strike my father with my fist. So my dad came to me and said, ‘Son, we have to let you go. You are breaking your mother’s heart.’ Preacher, here I am tonight on this train. I wrote my mom a letter to tell her I would be on this train. See preacher, three weeks ago I had a spiritual experience. I gave my heart and my mind to God. I told mom I would be on this train.’

 

 

 

“The old preacher looked at the young fellow and said, ‘Son, how do you know that everything is going to be all right? How do you know that you will be welcome, that you will be able to get off the train?’

 

 

 

“That young fellow turned and looked at the man of God and said, ‘Preacher, all of my life we have lived in a little white house that sits right beside these old railroad tracks, and in back of this old house we have a big apple tree. I told my mom if it is all right for me to get off the train to have dad go out back and tie a big white rag on that tree, and I would know if it was all right for me to get off of the train. So preacher, we are almost home.’

 

 

 

“The young man turned to the preacher and said, ‘Would you look out of the window and tell me if the old rag is in the tree? I can’t bear to look. I want to go home so bad that I don’t know what to do.’

 

 

 

“The old preacher took the arm of his sleeve and he wiped the window and looked out. He said, ‘Son, why, you don’t have anything to worry about at all. That old apple tree is in full bloom. It has white rags from one end of that tree to another. Standing under that old apple tree I see an old gray headed mom and dad waving a white bed sheet like a flag, saying ‘Come on home son, come on home.’”

 

 

 

That is the way God is. God does not care what you have done. God does not care how long you have been going the wrong way. We all love you because we are friends and family; but God loves you regardless of your past or present.

 

 

 

 

This next story, is absolutely the truth. It is almost a believe it or not story.

 

 

 

“It had always been Ken Gaub’s goal to help those who were hurting. Some people just needed a little boost, and Ken Gaub said, “I wanted to influence people’s lives in a positive way, so I became a traveling missionary.” So, with his family he conducted crusades, not only throughout America, but also in many foreign countries. He established a magazine, a radio and television ministry, and a youth outreach program.  He was doing what the man we are remembering this week, Billy Graham, did for many years.

 

 

 

Ken says in his own words, “Sometimes even preachers get drained and discouraged. They wonder if they should consider another line of work.” This is how Ken felt one day in the 1970’s as he and his wife Barbara, and their children, drove their two ministry busses down 1-75, just south of Dayton, Ohio.

 

 

 

Ken was at the wheel and he said in a very prayerful voice, “God, am I doing any good at all traveling around like this, telling people about You?” He didn’t say this aloud; he said it inside of himself the way you may have many times. He wondered silently, “Is this what You want me to do?”

 

 

 

About that time he heard his child’s voice. The voice said, “Hey Dad, let’s stop and get some pizza.” One of Ken’s sons was the voice. Still lost in thought Ken turned off at the next exit, Route 741 where one sign after another advertised a wide variety of fast food. “A sign, a sign,” Ken mused. ‘That’s what I need, a sign from God. That’s what I need God, give me a sign that You know I even exist.”

 

 

 

They maneuvered their autos into the pizza parlor’s parking lot. The family bounced out, but Ken sat in his seat staring out into space.

 

 

 

“Coming?” Barbara, his wife said.

 

 

“No, I’m not really hungry,” Ken told her. “I will stay out here and stretch my legs.

 

 

 

Barbara followed the others into the restaurant. Ken stepped outside. He could see them through the windows of the restaurant ordering their pizza.

 

 

 

 

He stayed outside, closed the door, and looked around. He noticed a Dairy Queen. He strolled over and got a soft drink and ambled back still pondering. He was absolutely exhausted at the core of his being. He wondered and he questioned if his doldrums were a sign of permanent burn-out.

 

 

 

Then Ken heard a persistent ringing. It broke his concentration. It was a jangle that was coming from a pay telephone in a booth at the service station next to the Dairy Queen. As Ken approached the booth, he looked around to see if anyone else at the station was coming to answer the phone. The attendant continued his work. He was oblivious to the noise.

 

 

 

The constant ringing annoyed Ken, who was praying and wanting help from God. “Why doesn’t someone answer the phone?” he wondered, growing irritated. “What if it’s an emergency?” The insistent ringing went on, 10 rings, then 15, then 20 rings. Finally curiosity overcame Ken’s lethargy. He walked over to the booth, lifted up the receiver, and said, “Hello?”

 

 

 

The operator on the other end said, “Sir, I have a long distance call for Ken Gaub.”

 

 

 

Ken was stunned. First he thought it was his family. He looked over through the window of the Pizza Hut and they were all eating. Everyone was accounted for. Then he said, “You’re crazy.” Then he realized his rudeness and said, ‘This can’t be. It just can’t be. I was just walking down the road here and the phone was ringing.” The operator ignored his ramblings. She said, “Is Ken Gaub there? I have a long distance phone call for him.”

 

 

 

Was this a joke he wondered? Immediately he looked around for the Candid Camera crew, but they were nowhere in sight. The operator was persistent. “I have a long distance call for Ken Gaub, sir,” the operator said again and again, obviously reaching the limits of her patience. She said in a harsh tone, “Is he there or not?”

 

 

 

“Operator, I am Ken Gaub,” Ken said still unable to make sense of it. The operator asked, “Are you sure?” Just then Ken heard another woman’s voice on the telephone. “Yes, operator that’s him. That’s Ken Gaub. Yes, I recognize his voice.” About then the operator hung up.

 

 

 

The other woman’s voice said, “Mr. Gaub, I’m Millie from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You don’t know me, but I am desperate. Please help me.”

 

 

 

Millie began to weep, crying uncontrollably. Ken waited patiently for her to regain control and finally she explained. ‘Mr. Gaub, I was about to kill myself. I started to write a suicide note but then I began to pray. I told God I really didn’t want to do this.” Through her pain, Millie remembered seeing Ken on television. She said, “If I could just talk to that nice kindly minister, the one with the understanding attitude. I knew it was impossible because I didn’t know how to reach you.”

 

 

 

Millie went on, a little calmer now. “So, I started to finish the note and then all of a sudden some phone numbers began to pop into my mind. I wrote them down.” She began to weep again. Silently Ken began to pray for wisdom on what to say to help her.

 

 

 

“I looked at those numbers,” Millie continued tearfully. “I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful, wouldn’t it be an answer from God, wouldn’t it be a miracle if God has given me Ken’s phone number?” She said, “I can’t believe I am talking to you. Are you in your office in California?”

 

 

 

Ken explained, “I don’t have an office in California. It’s in Yakima, Washington.”

 

 

 

“Then where are you?” Millie asked, puzzled.

 

 

 

Ken was even more bewildered. “Millie don’t you know— you made the call.”

 

 

 

“I don’t know what area this is,” Millie said, “I just dialed the long distance operator and gave her the numbers, making a person to person call.” Somehow she had found Ken in a parking lot in Dayton, Ohio. Ken gently consoled the woman and then they prayed together for God to lead her out of the situation into a new life. Then he hung up the phone. Ken was dazed unlike he had ever been dazed before in his life. Would his family believe this incredible story? Perhaps he shouldn’t tell anybody about it. Some stories are just so sacred and so unbelievable that they lose everything in their retelling.

 

 

 

Then he thought, he had prayed for an answer. He had received just what he needed. He received a renewed sense of purpose, a glimpse of the value of his work, an electrifying awareness of God’s concern for each of God’s children– all in an encounter which could only have been arranged by God. Ken’s heart overflowed with joy.

 

 

 

When his family came back to the bus, “Barb,” he exclaimed. “You won’t believe this, but God knows where I am.”

 

 

 

And just as that story is astounding, believe it or not – God knows where we are, each one of us. God knows what we are going through. God knows how to help us. God knows how to heal us. God knows exactly everything about us. There is nothing in your or my mind or in our body or in our life that God is not aware of because God is not far away. God is with us here, right beside you and right beside me.

 

 

 

Did you realize there is a place where God talks about calling you in our Bible. Isaiah 66:4. “. . .because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen;. . . . .” Now, look at Isaiah 65:24. This is about you and me. “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.”

 

 

 

You know, I am sure, that each of us have a voice mail or an answering machine for God. We often do not answer when God calls; we just let it go to voice mail. However, when we talk to God, He hears us. “before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear” Is. 65:24.

 

 

 

 

You and I are here today to have a spiritual homecoming. In order to have this “homecoming,” we will need to have a receptive mind that is open and receptive to the communication of God. The answers you get, the solutions to your problems are going to be higher than your own human mind, higher and better than you can ever imagine.

 

 

 

Because they will be higher than what we are used to, they may seem different and even odd.. They may tell you to walk down a different path than you are walking down right now. It takes courage to turn around. It takes courage to go God’s way. But remember, with God and going God’s way, we are never alone.  We are just walking home. Praise God for our Spiritual Homecoming.

 

 

 

Luke 11:9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

 

 

 

Can you come home? You had better believe it. God is waving a giant white sheet and saying, “Come on home. If you need forgiveness, come on home. If you need a healing, come on home. If you need prosperity, come on home. If you need a solution to the biggest problem you have ever had in your life, come on home. I am here for you; and I am as close as you are, right where you are sitting.”

 

 

“All you have to do is knock and open the door.

 

 

 

” Walk to Me. I am here; I am waiting for you.

 

 

Come on home.”

THOUGHTS – -WORDS – – DEEDS

 

Matthew 4:4 , “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God” [RSV].

 

 

 

Each of our mouths can act as a mouth of God. To do so, we have to understand something the wonder of God.  And we earn and understand this through the study of our Holy Bible.

 

 

 

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have it within our ability to speak one word and completely change our lives? To be able to create exactly what we want?

 

 

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God looked at each one of us and said, “You can have all the health, wealth, happiness and all the desired outcomes you want in your life.”

 

 

 

God said this, and yet many do not take advantage of this spiritual offer. Many repeatedly say, “No thanks. I’d rather not.”

 

 

 

The real food of God is spiritual not material;  it feeds our soul and then our mind, and then our body.

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 30:14 says, “But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” In this part of scripture, the Lord is speaking to Moses, haven given him a commandment and instructions on how to live a spiritual life. These instructions are very plain and simple. The word and the power ARE IN YOUR MOUTH and in your heart.

 

 

This word of God is not just locked up someplace in a Bible. In fact, when these words were spoken in Deuteronomy, the Bible as such didn’t even exist.

 

 

 

So what did they mean when they said “the word of God”? They were actually talking about the living presence that would spiritually come through the human voice that people could experience and feel. Just like what we receive during a prayer time and meditation – a spiritual experience in our hearts and in our minds; a living presence will fill us, and then we will be able to express it through our mouths and into our lives.

 

 

 

God is actually busy expressing His Word through us, through life, and through the very planet earth itself. The Bible says that humans were given dominion over ALL life; we have that added gift of God’s power. All that God has created, we’ll listen to His word, and if this power from God is used in the right way we can speak new spiritual worlds into existence. In this very deep perspective, we can say whenever we speak rightly that God CAN speak through us.

 

 

 

Sometimes we hear people ask the question “How can there be so much misery in this world?” The answer is through the misguided, misused use of free-will through humankind.

 

 

 

If things aren’t exactly the way we would like it to be, all we have to do is look around at each other, and look inside of our own hearts and minds to find out why. It can be very difficult because it places the responsibility on us, instead of blaming our wrong concept of a vengeful God. But, if you contemplate this even a moment, you see that it also places incredible opportunity on us as well.

 

 

 

We have it within our own God-given power to speak the Word of God, creating by what proceeds from our mouths and hearts. Each of us, literally, is a co-creating channel of God’s good.

 

 

 

Words are the most powerful agents of the mind. Every time we speak we cause the atoms of the body to tremble and change their places. Not only do we cause the atoms of our own bodies to change their positions, but we raise a lower  rate of vibration, and otherwise affect the bodies of others with whom we come into contact.

 

 

 

A scientific experiment took place in which a handful of iron filings were placed upon a thin metal sheet. Then a certain musical note was struck and those iron filings formed themselves into a star pattern. Then a different musical note was struck and they formed themselves into a snowflake. (You probably have seen this done.)

 

 

 

This was a literal experiment that demonstrated how a certain kind of vibration, a certain sound vibration, literally demonstrated itself into the physical world in a different pattern. So it is with every word that proceeds out of our mouths. Those sounds have specific vibrations that affect the patterns of matter in this world.

 

 

 

Commit today to speak only positive words about yourself, about others, and about your world.

 

 

 

It is not only prayer that affects a change—it’s whenever we speak. In fact, whenever we think positive thoughts , we are causing good vibrational changes in our lives and in the world.

 

 

 

There has often been some kind of lost word of power, that if we could just recapture it somehow, we could recreate for ourselves the power of God. The Hebrew people believed that this lost word was hidden in the word Yahweh, out of which the word Jehovah came. They believed this word was unpronounceable and yet had that kind of power.

 

 

 

“Sow a thought; reap a word. Sow a word; reap a deed. Sow a deed; reap a habit. Sow a habit; reap a character. Sow a character; reap a destiny.”   From the simple, seemingly innocent sown thought grows a lifetime of destiny, and influencing future generations.   As Jesus Christ said, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

 

 

 

The seeding process begins with the thoughts we think. Words are formed based on the thoughts that we hold in the incubator of our mind. Words are powerful and formative.

 

 

 

One of the chief delusions of this world we live in is that talk is cheap. We say that because in this modern age, fewer people keep their word. Promises are broken more frequently. In today’s world sadly nobody really expects you to keep your promises anyway, UNLESS you sign your name and somebody has a lawyer. Just try to buy a home, or even a car, by just giving your word. And yet a human’s word used to be a respected bond. Our words should always be a respected bond.

 

 

 

There is often an ignorance of the relationship between talk and deeds.   “As we sow, so shall we reap.”   We sow our thoughts; we reap words. We sow words; we reap deeds. Eventually we have habits, character, and destiny.

 

 

 

Look out on the road you’re driving on sometime this week, and see all the cars out there. Just ask yourself this question: “What is it that is driving those cars?” You might say, “Well, human beings, obviously.” But what’s driving those cars? What’s driving those people? Thoughts. Thoughts are driving those cars; thoughts like “I am hungry! I can hardly wait to get to lunch,” or “We should visit Grandma today; we haven’t seen her for a long time,” or “I’d better cut the lawn this afternoon before it rains again.”

 

 

 

Thoughts like that are driving those cars. Distracting thoughts like that can drive our lives also. Think about it. It’s true, but we don’t usually remain conscious of it.

 

 

 

Jesus wants us to wake up our words; he admonishes us to pray constantly, using words.

 

 

 

In the East, the yogis speak about words having great power also. They have special names for these words—”mantras”. “Mantra” is a Sanskrit word which means power or protection. It also means that which brings the experience of the subject directly to the speaker.

 

 

 

You must become awake, and aware, of the words proceeding from your mouth, and their cost to you in what they are creating in you, and others around you.   Others judge you more on the words coming out of your mouth than on the clothes you wear.

 

 

 

For the next thirty days do not allow ONE NEGATIVE THOUGHT TO PROCEED FROM YOUR MOUTH. Only positive uplifting life creating words proceed from your mouth for the next thirty days. If you are a couple, help each other in this transformational exercise that will literally change the rest of your life as you form new habits of speech. This may change your communication forever!

 

 

 

Start with your new thoughts and words, but those new thoughts and new words have to translate into new deeds. And those new deeds have to be sown so that new habits can be reaped. And those new habits will create new character. And that new character will change your life.

 

 

 

So to repeat, , start with your new thoughts and words, but those new thoughts and new words have to translate into new deeds. Use your life to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Those new deeds have to be sown continually so that new habits can be reaped. And those new habits will create new character. And that new character will change your life, and the lives of countless others that witness your life whether you are aware of it or not.

 

 

Change your words; change your life!

 

 

 

 

 

God Bless You!