Unstoppable

Unstoppable

All of us have been through those middle school years. For some the transition may have been smooth. Then there was the other half, whose transition came with many obstacles. Either way your life was changed. You entered as a little kid out of elementary school and left as a teenager ready to meet the high school years. Not only was your body going through transformation, but so was your mind and emotions.

If you are a parent of middle school children, or should I say tweens who end up as teenagers, it can be like a riding a carnival ride. You want to have fun, but you also realize that the ride was put together in only a couple days. It can be a little unstable and perhaps a little scary.

During one of those tumultuous rides I have had the privilege of experiencing, I was having a very serious talk with the Lord. I was asking for wisdom and felt the Lord gave me three areas that I could spend time praying over.

  1. Revelation of God’s love.
  2. Loving Oneself.
  3. Understanding the power of honoring (or respecting) one’s mother and father.

That sounded simple enough. But as I was thinking about those concepts, I needed to make sure they were stable in my life. First, I needed to adjust my oxygen mask, so to speak, then through prayer I could help adjust my middle schooler’s.

REVELATION OF GOD’S LOVE-

That is simple enough. We know the Sunday School song, “Jesus Loves Me”. We’ve read the bumper stickers, “Smile God Loves You” that is inclusive of a smiley face. I know how cliché these words can sound without the leading of the Holy Spirit. I have been told that God loves me since I was a child. But it took me a LONG time to get the revelation.

In my youth I worked hard for that love so I could have a pat on the back. And as an adult I resolved to have a godly home. But it wasn’t always the case and when I would make unwise choices for my life, I would beat myself up. If I let someone down, especially my heavenly Father, I would be angry at myself.

But if I REALLY had the revelation of God’s love, it wouldn’t have been such a strenuous walk. There was a time while I was beaten down emotionally and spiritually when the Lord spoke to my spirit to trust him. My reply: but I don’t trust myself! I knew that I was imperfect and would make mistakes.

Then I heard him say, “I never told you to trust yourself, I said to trust ME.” It is hard for those of us who want to have control to let go and allow the Lord to work in our lives and in those around us. But it is necessary to allow him to display his love towards us. So, I chose to take the step to trust God’s love.

It was that same love that David experienced. Though he had made unwise choices at times, his heart was humble, and he was devoted to the Lord. God said about him, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22)

It was because of the revelation of God’s love that John could write, “the disciple that Jesus loved” about himself in the Gospel of John. He understood the deep love that the Lord had for him. It allowed him to stand with his Lord at the cross. It allowed him to endure suffering, as well. It also allowed him the honor to receive the visions to write the book of Revelation.

LOVE YOURSELF-

When I say to love yourself, I do not mean it to be a self-centered statement. It means to take genuine care of oneself. It’s concept: “I am worthy.” It gives a person the ability to make wise choices for themselves whether it is mentally, physically or even spiritually. It gives the individual the power to put up boundaries and surround themselves with positive input.

It loves the body you are in. It even makes it easier to consume the proper food, view clean content and make wise friendships and life influences. Believe me, this concept will keep you from much heartache.

Once you can love yourself, it will be easier to love those around you.

HONOR YOUR MOTHER AND FATHER –

Well, that is a nice statement and a great Bible verse. As parents is easy to want to share this one with our kids. But as I was meditating on it, the reality of its power became more evident.

“Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise; so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV)

If you think about it, respecting authority creates peace. Respect for our elders, teachers, bosses, police officers, judges and our highest office –presidency, begins with honoring our parents. Those you see fighting police officers, destroying property in the name of protest, making rude jesters and comments towards those in authority probably never learned to respect their own parents when they were young. (Of course, perhaps no one took the time to teach them.) Regardless, honor brings peace, peace brings blessings. Blessings create the ability to enjoy your life with longevity.

Be Unstoppable-

Though there are many views and suggestions to help raise our children, tweens and teens, these three concepts are some of the tools they will need to face the giants that will try to defeat them. This isn’t just for the young. It’s for all of us.

There is transforming power in God’s love. We can only love him because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).

How can we share his love without the revelation of his love towards us? How we can love others if we do not first love ourselves.? How can we bring peace to our families and our societies if we do not first show them respect?

I pray that the youth today experience a God-encounter inclusive of the powerful revelation of HIS eternal love for them. I pray that they will take that revelation to their peers. I am believing and praying that the Holy Spirit will transform our children, tweens, teens, their parents and grandparents so that our land can rise up with the knowledge of God’s love.

Then we will be unstoppable and can spread his Gospel .

God bless

Escaping the grasp of hell

Escaping the grasp of hell

I am forwarding this short message or dream from Jeremiah Johnson Ministries. This is actually from one of  his Facebook sites dated June 23, 2018. I found it extremely enlightening, yet challenging and quit sobering. If you have not had the opportunity to read this, you might want to take a moment out of your time.

I WENT TO HELL AND WAS TOTALLY SHOCKED

Several months ago while I was extensively studying Matthew 7:22-24 and asking God for increased revelation, I had one of the most disturbing prophetic dreams of my life. The Scripture I was studying in Matthew says, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name did we not cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”

In the prophetic dream, I was taken to hell where I saw all these ministers and individuals who had performed miracles, cast out demons, and prophesied. What I was shown next, I will never forget. The Holy Spirit showed me long lines of people behind all of these ministers and individuals. He immediately revealed to me that these were all the people that had received the miracles, prophecies, and had been at one time delivered. As I gazed at the people in these lines, He said to me, “Did they not RECEIVE miracles, prophecy, and deliverance, yet I never knew them?”

I woke up from the dream alarmed and startled. I said to the Holy Spirit, “So there are not only people that will perform signs, wonders, and miracles that will be sent to hell, but also people who receive all these things that will also be in hell. Why?” Immediately the Holy Spirit spoke again to me and said, “Because those that worked miracles, prophesied, and cast out demons never preached the full gospel of Jesus Christ which is the message of repentance. They were so in love with the gifts that I had given them that people became trophies and souvenirs to them. When My power would manifest in their ministries, they would tell people that I loved them, but never that they needed to repent for their sins. I tell you that a great deception will sweep over the signs and wonders movement in the earth. Beware of the ministries where miracles and prophecies will flow, but the message of repentance is a no go. You have been warned”. Then I woke up.

Will you pray with me today that ministers and individuals who move in God’s power will not only live a lifestyle of repentance but also preach it? What if people getting healed, delivered, and prophesied to, and only told God loves them isn’t the full gospel message? What if repentance and holiness is the full gospel message too?

-Jeremiah Johnson

I have often read the same verses with curiosity. How could God state that he never knew those who walked in the knowledge of him? And how could people who walked in the revelation of the Lord, be deceived into not understanding the importance of repentance?

Was it because they never had a relationship with the Lord in the first place? Did they love the signs of the Lord but never truly love the Lord? Does this message of “love” that is being preached from some pulpits, never explain the need for repentance? According to the dream the “whole” gospel is not being preached. Love without total surrender or commitment is artificial love, at best.

The dream reminded me of the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25. Ten virgins had all fallen asleep as they were waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus). At the midnight hour the announcement of the coming of the bridegroom was heard and they all woke up. The Bible states that five virgins were wise because they had extra oil for their lamps to stay lit. They were ready. The other five, who were foolish because didn’t have enough oil to keep their fire burning, left to buy more. While they were gone they missed the bridegroom’s return.

“Later, the others also came, ‘Lord, Lord’, they said, ‘open the door for us.!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Matthew 25:11-12

Will people enter hell under the assumption they were in right standing with the Lord only to discover that the Lord never knew them? Of course he knows us each by name, but they never wanted a “real relationship” with God; not enough to repent of their sins, turn from their wicked ways and follow him.

I think about the message Billy Graham preached. It was always one of repentance.  At every meeting the song that was played was, “Just As I Am”. We are invited to come to the Lord as we are. Yet, the blood of Christ was not shed so that we can stay in our sins, and never change. We come in repentance. As we continue having a reverent repentant heart towards the Lord, we will begin to eventually look like our Lord, because we will change from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Where do you stand? What do you think about this dream? Is it just someone’s dream? Or is it really a warning to make sure that our hearts are in the right place? If you have never had the opportunity or knowledge that you are welcomed to know the savior of the world, this is it.

John 3:16 is a popular verse that explains salvation as it is. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)

Please don’t walk away from the greatest invitation you will ever receive, to be in the presence of the Almighty forever and escape the hell and fire that was created for the demons of darkness. This invitation is not only for the life to come, but for you to enjoy now!

God DOES love you. He desires that you repent and accept his forgiveness and be set free. You will NEVER regret that choice.

God bless.

Can God Hate?

Can God Hate?

GOD IS LOVE!

Though I totally agree with that statement (God is love)–I mean completely! What does it mean? What does it look like in our day-to-day walk?

We hear so many people in today’s world believe with all their hearts that if they follow the God of Heaven, the Christian God, that all they need to do is LOVE– period.  I agree that we are called to love people. There is no doubt in that comment. Again, what does that look like? Does it mean that we are to accept everything that everyone is doing because we LOVE them?

I believe there is a gray place that people fall into. I have heard some people explain it as “sloppy grace”. It is a place where the love of people gets mixed in with acceptance of sinful practices. That area isn’t just gray, it is muddy, at best. Eventually truth and love become loose words that turn into tolerance. Is tolerance bad? Well, it probably depends on what you are tolerating. It can be a deceptive policy.

“The silence of tolerance can quickly morph into endorsement.” (Lisa Bevere)

Then you hear the statement, “love the people, hate the sin”. That is a great concept, but then again we have to ask ourselves, how do we put that into practice?

I have been reading the book, “Adamant” by Lisa Bevere. In her book she has one chapter titled, “Adamant in Love” explaining how much our Lord loves each of us. His love is eternal and doesn’t flinch or fade. The very next chapter is titled, “Adamant That We Love“. Of course it is just as the title describes. We are to love others, which is not always easy. Sometimes we have to just love others by faith.  In other words, we may not always “feel” like it but we take a hold of God’s love and ask him to help us.

But the next chapter is the one that caught my attention. It is titled, “Adamant in Hate“. She begins this chapter by quoting Charles Spurgeon,

“We cannot love God without hating what he hates.”

Interesting.

She states, “God hates ALL that undermines love, for everything that debases love, debases US.”

What does God hate?

Here she quotes Proverbs 6:16-19 and then goes into detail about each item plus uses other scripture references explaining things the Lord hates. Again it is because of his PERFECT LOVE for US that he hates what will undo that love. I will be using the Amplified Version and add the list numbers.

“These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him;
1) A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others]
2) A lying tongue
3) Hands that shed innocent blood
4) A heart that creates wicked plans
5) Feet that run swiftly to evil
6) A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths]
7) And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers.

This is just one of the many verses she uses. (You might want to reference the word, hate, for yourself).These scriptures are so relevant for our time. Each reason for the hatred is because it twists and corrupts HIS LOVE. It corrupts the life he has for his children.

Let me add: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

These are my thoughts:
There is a battle for each of our hearts and the enemy of our souls only desire is to destroy the concept of God’s love for us so that we get confused. Eventually we don’t really understand his love at all. It becomes twisted with the world’s concept of love. That is why the Lord desires us to hate evil, NOT THE PEOPLE, but hate and despise the traps that ensnare each of us.

The world cannot understand this and tends to accept the lie that we, as believers, are hateful people because we stand up for righteousness. But the truth is that we are lovers of the Lord. Our desire should not be to “tolerate” what is sinful. And it isn’t that we think that we are better because we were once caught up in the same darkness.

Ephesians 5 states: “live a life filled with love.” But then the letter continues to warn us to stay away from the sinful life we once lived and to not be fooled by those who make excuses for sin.

Often people hate the light of the Lord simply because it exposes the sin that enslaves them. The darkness hides it. But the letter to the Ephesians in chapter 5 makes it very clear, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.” (verse 10-11 NIV)

In my previous blog I stated that the Lord challenged me to love him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. I believe that includes hating what he hates. It does not mean to hate those who are enslaved in sin. Love them enough to show them the light. The sin that holds them will not like this at all, but the person who is bound and wants to walk in freedom, will.

We are called to love the individual, not judge the individual. How do we do that? By being kind, helpful, gracious. Romans 2:4 states that it is God’s kindness that will lead to repentance. But on the other side we are to hate what God hates which is anyTHING that undoes his great love for us.

When we do not hate what is evil, our love is not genuine. ” Lisa Bevere

This may take his grace and wisdom to decipher. Just be wise: Do not confuse tolerance with love.

Finally: Jesus did warn us that if the world hated him, it will hate us also. If we belonged to the word, it would accept and love us. (Matthew 10 & John 15).

It is not always easy to live for the Lord, but always worth it. I have found no greater joy and peace, even in the midst of many heartaches, then following my Lord. I remember someone once said to me: “I have many things that I could regret in my life but one I have never regretted: giving my life to Jesus.”

To answer the title’s question,”Can God Hate?” I would say, yes. God can hate because he IS LOVE. I challenge you to research this for yourself.

God bless you as you continue to walk in His Light. Be courageous and filled with his wisdom and his love.

 

How can I love?

How can I love?

LOVE is a strong word yet used so freely in our society. Young girls think they LOVE a pop star, little kids think they LOVE candy, a tired employee thinks he LOVES a vacation. (Well that one might be true to an extent. LOL). Expressions and explanations of  LOVE could fill a book. Even website meanings are slightly different as the word seems to evolve and conform to different circumstances. It is like it is alive and takes on many forms.

When I attended a Sunday school class in my junior high years our teacher read the “love chapter” from the Bible. If you have been a follower of the Lord for any amount of time you have probably read it or at least heard about it. It lists what love is supposed to look like and what it is not. The love message is found in the book of 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. The explanation goes from verse 4 through the first part of 8.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.  (NIV)

After my teacher finished reading the material she asked us to insert our names in the place of love. Well, that was disappointing. I suppose she was trying to prove how far we are from loving others. She did a good job because I fell extremely short.

Eons later and that message has never left my mind. Still whenever I read that chapter I tend to put my name in it and again it seems to have the same effect. I suppose it is similar to the commandments. It shows our humanity and our need for a savior.

The message of love is obviously not contained in that one chapter. It is riddle throughout the Word of God. It is the purpose God created us and sent his son to this earth. (John 3:16) It is the purpose Jesus died for our sins–stole the keys of sin and death from satan– and THEN came back to LIFE. It is the purpose for our lives.

In the gospels we find one of the teachers of the time wanting to test Jesus and asked him what the greatest commandment was. Again the word LOVE appears.

Jesus answered him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matt.22:37-39 (GWT)

What struck me was AS you love yourself. Hmm. How much do I love myself? I mean, I take care of myself, right? The question is: do I take GOOD care of myself? Do I want what is best for me–not selfishly– but do I actually feed myself what is healthy, am I careful what I watch, what I agree with, or who I hang out with? I think the thought of loving oneself has been considered selfish at times. But how can we really love others IF we don’t even love ourselves.

In Ephesians we read that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for the church. It continues by stating that husbands are to love their wives as they love THEMSELVES.

A man who loves his wife loves HIMSELF. Eph 5:28b (GWT)

So to love others really we must begin by loving God. Then continue the process by loving ourselves. Out of that will flow love for others. So I regress to the “love chapter”.  Instead of putting my name in place of LOVE, I actually checked to see if I even love myself. I began by stating, “I am patient with myself, I am kind to myself.”  It is obviously important to the Lord to learn to love ourselves so that we can love others.

But back to the greatest commandment: to love God with ALL our heart, soul and mind. That sounds wonderful. And I want to love him. But really even that is a gift from God. We can’t even love without him giving us the ability to do so in the first place.

1 John 4:19 ” We love BECAUSE God loved us first.”

In fact, though we state we love others, things or events those statements are just a show of affection towards something else. Perhaps LOVE is not just a show of affection. Perhaps it just is. Perhaps instead of a verb or even a common noun it is a proper noun.

LOVE = GOD. God isn’t just showing affection. But he IS the affection. It isn’t JUST one of his attributes, but WHO he is. The Word states as much in 1 John 4 :8b and 16b.

“GOD is LOVE.”

So back to “love chapter”. Replace love with GOD.

GOD is patient.
GOD is kind.
GOD is not envious, nor boastful or proud.
GOD does not dishonor others, nor is self-seeking.
GOD is not easily angered, nor keeps record of wrongs.
GOD does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth.
GOD always protects
GOD always trusts.
GOD always hopes.
GOD always perseveres.

GOD NEVER FAILS.

I know I fall short of the above description of LOVE but I also know that when I surrender myself to my heavenly Father he covers the area of my failures and begins a beautiful work in me. We are always being changed into his image as we allow God to work in our lives. It is a process. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Lord,
Thank you for your love. Teach me to love as you do. Teach me to love myself. Teach me to love others. And ultimately teach me to love you with all of my heart, soul and mind. Amen.

God bless.

And, now these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

 

The Masterpiece

The Masterpiece

I enjoy painting during any free time I might have. I don’t necessarily consider myself an artist though. I paint just to relax and my paintings stay in the privacy of my bedroom. My niece once introduced me as her aunt, the artist. That seemed odd to me as she and her siblings are extremely talented artists, you know, those people who actually sell their artwork! I laughed and explained that I wasn’t really an artist. She asked if I enjoyed painting? I told her I did. Then she said, “If you enjoy painting and are expressing yourself through an artistic medium — you are an artist.” That stayed with me. I guess it is like my enjoyment of writing. I may not always be a paid author, but I enjoy writing.

Last night was one of those nights that I had an urge to paint. But unfortunately I didn’t have a new canvas on hand. So I looked at my wall and took down one of the paintings that I considered less desirable. I had tried to paint something on it before and didn’t like it so painted something else over it which was not much of an improvement. This time I thought I would simply paint it white so I could start with a fresh background. After I was done I hung it back up on the wall to dry. As I viewed it hanging on the wall I noticed some of the dark color bleeding through and the different textures that were visible from previous acrylic paint. Then the word, “whitewashed” came to my mind. Didn’t the Bible mention something about being whitewashed?

Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (NIV)

I could visibly see the mistakes that were under the coat of thin white paint. It made me think how we sometimes try to cover our sins by acting righteous, but the Lord sees through the coat of paint where we try to hide our sins . He sees into our hearts. Yet since he is so full of love and grace, he desires to completely blot out our transgressions. We just need to ask.

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“Come now lets discuss this.” say the Lord. “Though your sins are bright red, they will become as white as snow. Though they are dark red, they will become as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 (GWT)

I sometimes struggle with the concept of truly being forgiven of past mistakes in my life, as I am sure so many people do at times. But what about….? Can God truly forgive? I want to be pure, but past sins sometimes knock at the door of my mind and haunt my soul like green mold on cheese. You think the entire chunk of cheese is no longer good to eat because of mold. But once you cut off the moldy part of the cheese – the rest is fine. If God has taken away that darkness from my life, why couldn’t I trust him with the rest of my life?

Once when I was struggling with this concept and was calling out to the Lord he revealed his truth to me while in prayer. I saw him standing in front of me as I was trying to explain to him the reason why I wasn’t able to be used and each time I would try to explain, he would put his finger to my lips to stop me from speaking about my faults. I’d try again and again he’d put his finger on my lips and whispered “Shhh”. He ignored my whining because he already was in my future and knew my past. He knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The blood he shed doesn’t just cover our sins so they are not seen anymore, it literally erases our sins. He throws them into the sea.( Micah 7:19) I don’t understand how that is possible. I don’t understand his grace. I don’t understand his forgiveness. I don’t understand why he loves us so much. But HE DOES!

We become as clean as a new canvas that has never been painted as soon as we ask him into our lives. (2 Corinthians 5:17) He can then paint a beautiful picture about our lives. He can use the darkness of our past, the brokenness of our hearts, the foolish of our choices, the hopelessness of our souls and mix it with his blood and by his Spirit a masterpiece is created. How? Because he is the master of our lives and we are his artwork.

His masterpiece is YOU!

His masterpiece is ME!

How awesome are his masterpieces. We have been created by the hand of the Lord.

There are many emotions that are rocking our world lately. We have seen another shooting in America, another tragedy on our soil. It goes without saying that many different opinions follow these tragedies. This follows the crazy weather patterns that seemed to plague our country last year. And of course the ring of fire that is always sure to bring shaking to our world. We often hear of earthquakes and volcanos in that ring, and recently there has been shaking outside of it. But when I heard that the great legend, Billy Graham passed, I felt that an era had passed and all the other things filling the news suddenly became silent. I meditated on the thought of this man, known as the American Pastor, passing on into eternity. I thought about the great celebration that he was experiencing. Then I began to think what this means for us that are still sojourning in this world.

Does his death represent more than a great man who had succumb to age and illness in this dying world? The Lord tends to use natural circumstances to help us understand spiritual meanings. An example took place during the last plague that the Egyptians encountered. The angel of death passed over the Children of Israel, as well as the Egyptians. But the Children of Israel obeyed the Lord by placing the blood of a spotless lamb on the sides and the tops of their doorframes. (Exodus 12: 12-13) This represented the blood of Christ that would later be shed for our sins.

Then again, during the “last supper” (which was also during the celebration of Passover) Jesus shared a last meal with his disciples. During this time, he demonstrated the suffering he would endure and the blood he would shed for our sins. He expressed that things would be different, a new covenant, a new era.

“After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them. saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying ‘This cup is the NEW covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:17-20

So how is this similar to the death of the American Preacher? In my spirit I feel that a door has closed regarding the way things use to be done regarding spreading the Gospel. Now a new door will be opened regarding sharing the Gospel. In times past great leaders went before us, preaching the gospel and spreading the truth. Many people flocked to these great leaders and came to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Today is a different era. I feel the new era is up to you and me. We are to take the baton, so to speak. We (you and I) are the next great leaders. We may not be in a pulpit preaching salvation to a host of hungry souls, but we are lights in a very dark world. I recently heard someone describe the God-head as three different candles, each with their own flame, but when the candles come together, one flame burns; and how bright that light is! It is also the same with each believer. We all carry the light of Jesus in us, but when we walk as one with our Lord AND one with other believers that light is extremely bright.

There will still be individuals who preach to masses, but I believe the era of “the great evangelist” has been changed to the era of several individuals burning as one light for the world. The message will still be preached throughout the world BUT it is up to YOU; it is up to ME to spread that Gospel.

Lord let us each live as Billy Graham lived, deeply in love with you and eager to spread the Word of God. Wake those up who once were changed by his words. Arise in us with new boldness and joy as we shine the light that you gave us, so that others can see that light and be set free. Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

Reaching Out

Reaching Out

I once knew a man
Named Johnny McGee.
He lived down the road
A couple houses from me.

He worked hard in the week,
But weekend parties didn’t end.
He had so much money
That he was eager to spend.

His house was quite grand;
His car was the best,
On his property: a boat and more
Grown-up toys filled the rest.

He was that man
That men wanted to be,
And women loved to be with
To live frivolously.

After a few years
Watching this week after week,
I noticed action was gone.
Things seemed to look bleak.

I wondered what happened;
Why the house had no noise.
Where were the people
Who played with the toys.

The grass grew tall
Around the house in the lawn.
The boat no longer moved.
The parties were gone.

The quiet was quite nice
But yet unsettling too.
Were things going okay
For Johnny and his crew?

I prayed for my neighbor,
Then I wanted to see
What may have happened
To Johnny McGee.

I took a deep breath
And walked to his place.
I knocked on the door
To see him face to face.

A grouchy voice hollered,
“What?” through the screen door.
I entered into darkness
And saw him sitting on the floor.

“What do YOU want?”
He asked without thought.
“No one comes here anymore!”
He seemed angry and distraught.

He looked thin and sad.
This couldn’t be the same man.
He wasn’t laughing anymore,
And had lost his golden tan.

“I live a few houses down,” I said.
“We’ve met a time or two before,
I wondered if you were ok?
I hadn’t seen you anymore.”

“I know who you are,”
He said with some pride
“You’re that pastor that prays.
We all hear you outside”

He grumbled, ” Why do you care?
All my friends have all gone.
Nothing matters anymore
And everything’s gone wrong.”

Suddenly he began to ramble
Like he hadn’t spoken for years.
And as he shared about his life
I noticed his eyes fill with tears.

“I thought I had it all,” he began,
“The joy that money can bring.
But now it doesn’t have a spark,
It doesn’t mean a thing.

One day I lost it all.
I made a wrong choice.
Lost all of my hope.”
He began to clear his voice.

“I don’t know why I’m saying this
I don’t really know you well.
But I feel I need to speak,
I need someone to tell.

I was driving too fast
Around the bend down the way.
And I lost control of the car
And I crashed it that day.”

He stared in the air
Perhaps remembering the minute
When he rolled his car
And his girlfriend was in it.

I had heard about that crash
Someone told me the next day.
I didn’t think on it more
Now I didn’t know what to say.

“I lost the girl I wanted to marry
The girl who brought me life.
What was my purpose now?
I killed my future wife.”

Silence entered into the room
I struggled with words to say
Suddenly a thought hit me
And I began it this way,

“I’m sorry for your loss.
I’m sorry for your pain.
I’m sorry nothing seems right,
And your life seems insane.

But the Lord loves you dearly.
He knew how this would end.
He knew that you needed hope.
He knew you would need a friend.”

I reached my hand out to him.
He got onto his feet.
He hugged me in tears,
Expressing his hurt and defeat.

That was ONE moment
Of many times we would share.
He opened up more each time
Realizing someone did care.

One day he met someone
Who knew him better than me.
That someone was the Lord
Who eventually set him free.

And in time he met another
Who shared his hopes and life.
That was the time I married them
And they became husband and wife.

Take the time to listen,
Take the time for prayer.
Someone might need to know
They are worthy enough for you to care.

I now know a family
Whose last name is McGee
They live down the road
A couple houses from me.