It’s Pride Month and I am Proud of the Humble Man

During this Pride Month I am most proud of Jesus Christ, the humble man whose awesome work in me has totally transformed my life. I honesty didn’t know who I was until I really got to know Him and understand His grace. Perhaps you too can relate.

Yes, I grew up in church where I saw pride as a bad thing. And I still believe it’s not good to be proud of yourself – at least, not in an arrogant way. For as the scriptures say, God gives grace to the humble. With the humble there is wisdom. But what is true humility? Is it beating one’s self up or putting one’s self down. Is it saying, “Yeah, I know. I’m worthless. Why would anyone care about me?!!”?

For those who haven’t read the Bible, as well as for those who have, Moses is said to have written the first five books. And for what it’s worth, Moses called himself “the most humble man on earth.” (Numbers 12:3) Now, that doesn’t sound like a very humble statement, at least not in the sense that most people see humility. But there is a quote that someone wrote (I’m not sure who), and it states that “Humility is not thinking of yourself less but thinking less of yourself.” Moses was a man who thought more of God than probably anybody of his time. Whenever he had a problem with the million-plus crowd he had to lead, he looked to God for help.

And think of all the protesters Moses had to deal with. It seems all they ever did sometimes was complain.

Moses was indeed probably the most humble person of his time compared to others, but Jesus Christ showed even more humility. “Who, being in the form of God” became a man. And as a man, he “humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Seeing Christ on Tree Despised Plucks Logs From Blind Men’s Eyes

He did this to save ordinary people like me from death and bring us to God. That’s why, during this Pride month I am very proud of Him.

Thank You For Not Trying to Change This Tree

Thank you, peeps for not trying to change this little tree,

Because it was created with originality.

Thanks for accepting it the way that God meant it to be –

Because, you see, it has been put together carefully.

 

This tree did not amount to much until somebody hung

Some ornaments to highlight its green branches so far flung.

They’re reaching out in hopes that they might get a little lift

From presents down below, as each supporter gives a gift.

 

We do not need to change this tree, but help each drooping branch

By recognizing what it’s worth. Let’s give this tree a chance,

Through waters of encouragement, with bells to make it sing

And – wrapped around its little trunk – a joyful covering.

 

For, you can’t really change a tree, but you can give it care

And if you nurture it, who know what beauty it will share?

It may not fit your concept of what you think it should be.

Perhaps it will not hold big ornaments reliably.

 

But if it fills the purpose for which God chose it to be,

Then who are we to treat its branches superficially?

Because, like trees, we all fall short and we don’t always see

That God accepts us as we are but wants to set us free

 

Of wrongs we’ve done to damage one another’s destiny.

He wants to change those hurts into a bright reality.

And I believe He wants to do it supernaturally.

So, let’s thank Him for grace instead of trying to fix that tree

 

Because it’s kind of like a peep in that you tend to get

The good you give to it and the example that you set.

So, thank you, peeps, for trying not to change this little tree

Because to help it may involve some creativity.

Once Upon a Rooftop: Four Men and a Mat

Moses: Dying Young, Seeing Christ

I. Seeing Moses Dying Young

 

I see you, Moses, dying young,

A notion which is not far flung,

Because God called you by His grace

That you might seek His awesome face

 

So, youth renewed, you’d choose to chase

God’s glory and His will embrace.

For, His might vested you with strength

Because you went to such great length

 

To seek Him and to know His will.

Therefore He helped you climb the hill

No other human dared to touch

For near that mount they trembled much.

 

But you found grace in Jesus’ sight.

To draw near you He did delight.

A hundred twenty was not old,

For when you died, I’ve heard it told,

 

Your eyes saw clearly. They weren’t dim

Because He kept them set on Him.

So, yes, I see you dying young,

Though some might say, “That’s so far flung!”

 

Methuselah lived much longer though

Upon the earth. How do I know?

I read it in the oldest book

You helped to write. They say it took

 

So many centuries to complete,

With stories, often bittersweet,

Of sheep drawn from the deepest pit

That in God’s presence they might sit.

 

II. Dying Young, Bringing Life

 

Yet from above, by God’s own grace,

You met with Jesus in a place

With somebody who never died

But in a mighty whirlwind ride

 

(By fiery horses he was flown)

Rose up toward God’s heavenly throne.

Then on the mount he did descend,

To join with you (‘twas not pretend)

 

And speak with Jesus of the day

When, dying young, He’d make a way

To save mankind from all their sin,

That all who trust in Him might win

 

And know the resurrection life

Which frees their souls from death and strife

That they might live forever young.

His praises truly you have sung

 

So, we His people now may bring

An offering fitting for our king!

https://atomic-temporary-102676306.wpcomstaging.com/holy-spirit/clothed-power-superhero-costume-change/

Clothed With Power: The Superhero Costume Change

I. Clothed With Power

A. In Need of a Superhero Costume Change

Don’t go anywhere, my Clark Kent-style Christian super hero, until you have a superhero costume change. Because God won’t let you blow when you do things His way. By going into His phone booth, you will succeed in making that power connection. This is where the superhero costume change takes place. Once properly outfitted, the mild-mannered “nobody” transforms into a man or woman capable of great exploits. (see Daniel 11:32)

This has profound spiritual applications for believers in Christ, called to spread the gospel which can save a person’s soul (see Matthew 28:18-20). For this, the Christian must take on God’s full armor (see Ephesians 6:10-18).

 

B. Believers are Already Super

Just as mild-mannered Clark Kent is really Superman, believers in Christ are already superheroes – as ordinary as they may appear on the outside. Like young Jeremiah, they might not look like someone to take seriously, but within burns a fire waiting to come out (see Jeremiah 20:9).

We are not our own but are “strangers and aliens” upon the earth (Hebrews 11:13). Having been crucified with Christ, who lives in us, we live by faith in Him. (Galatians 2:20). If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation. The old has passed away. All things have become new. (II Corinthians 5:17) The believer doesn’t need a superhero costume change to prove his or her true identity. But being clothed with power is another matter.

 

II. The Superhero Costume Change Itself

Jesus instructed his first disciples (the apostles) not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for power from on high (Luke 24:49). That’s what they were to wear before going anywhere.

“But you shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

They received this superhero costume change on the day of Pentecost where Peter preached his first sermon. As a result, approximately three thousand people got saved. (see Acts 2:42).

Notice that they received it while meeting in one place – an upper room (see Acts 1:13). It’s sort of like a phone booth, if you think about it. This is where Jesus clothed them with power from on high. What were they doing? Praying (see verse 14) – talking with God. Except He didn’t answer with a flashing light like in the movies, but I can just imagine that mighty, rushing wind. Who needs special effect when you have the real thing, right?

Ephesians 5:17-20 commands believers not to be unwise but to “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  This is our superhero phone connection.

 

Speed of Sight, a Superhero Adventure, is about an ordinary boy, Pete Plain, who undergoes an amazing superhero transformation.   It is available on Amazon and Kindle. Feel free to check it out and see how he accomplishes this costume change.

https://sightspeed.wordpress.com/boy-from-broken-home-gets-super-powers/

https://sightspeed.wordpress.com/healing/comic-book-pete-summer-vacation/

 

The Problem With Using Reverse Psychology on God

Have you ever used “reverse psychology” to try to get God’s attention? I know I have. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had just gotten used to being around people who would say things like, “It’ll never work” in a way that sounded like, “Now, watch God contradict me. He never gives me what I want and loves to prove me wrong. So I’ll ask for what I don’t want. I told it not to work. Now watch it work.” It was almost as if predicting a bad outcome would make them look humble, thus forcing God to be nice to them.

It’s almost like trying to guilt God into doing something good for you. But you know you can’t make Him feel guilty because He never does anything wrong. Some of us act as if He’s out to get us, however.

In Exodus 34:6 God describes Himself as, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. . .”

Why then, do we tend to act as if He’s out to get us, as if He wants to ruin our lives?

Perhaps a better question is, “What god are we serving?” Is it a god who likes to trick us and kick us when we’re down? Do we need to use reverse psychology on him to get his help?

The baal worshipers described in I Kings 18:26-28 seemed to think so. To get their god to hear them, they cut themselves. It was a mess. They beat themselves up to get their god to send down fire, hoping to bring good out of evil they inflicted on themselves.

I know what that is like. One time someone close to me was acting like a bully. So, I hit myself to try to get him to apologize to me. By means of self-abuse, I try to guilt him into caring. It’s like saying, “There, I beat myself up. That should make you happy.”

But all it did was make him angrier, because bullies don’t respond to reverse psychology – at least, not the way we’d like. Nor can we beat ourselves up and expect God to cheer us on.

“But, wait a minute,” some might say. “What about the man who was beating his chest and saying, “God be merciful to me, a sinner?”

Well, he wasn’t exactly beating himself up, for one thing. For another, there’s a big difference between humbly asking God to “Have mercy on me, a sinner” and saying, “I’m so horrible, you must be mad at me. I don’t believe I can expect anything good from you.”

Asking God for mercy is a humble act of faith, but speaking doubt over a situation to try to make God do the opposite is manipulative. It’s like trying to guilt God into giving you your own way.

God can’t be guilted into doing anything, but Jesus paid the price to cover our guilt and sin. His blood shed on the cross enables us to come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). We don’t need to use reverse psychology in order to find mercy and grace from Him to help in our time of need.

 

 

When People Pull Your Strings, Abide in the Vine

I. Controlling People Know What Strings to Pull

Controllers like to pull people’s strings to make them move. Instead of dangling like strings from a branch, Jesus invites us to live as branches as we draw upon Him, the vine. In so doing, we’ll bear good fruit. Do you see the difference? Strings are flimsy but a vine is strong. But people tend to come with strings attached. The question is, who pulls those strings?

When someone knows what strings to pull to get their way with you, then maybe they have too much control over your life. If they know that pushing certain buttons makes you jump, they’ll just keep pushing them until they drive you mad.

There’s a word for that. It’s called “emotional manipulation,” which is a form of abuse.  Abusers take advantage of needy people who are desperate for affirmation. With a smile for a lure and a hug to reassure, they draw their little “fish” into a cozy little nest.

The “s” inside the nest stands for “security.” If your security is in man, then the “s” will fall out of the nest, leaving you with nothing but a net.

It doesn’t feel like a net, though, until you realizing that you’re gagging. Then you see that the relationship is not as nearly as strong as it first appeared to be. The flimsy threads have become a trap for you, because to please the person you must follow their rules. Like a robot, when they pull your strings you must obey.

 

II. Pulled Strings are Tied to Fear

When people strings get pulled, they often have knee jerk reactions. Such reactions may come in the form of an automatic “I’m sorry” which pops out of one’s mouth before the other can explode. Knee jerk reactions usually cause more harm than good, however. It’s like throwing grease on a fire, because such reactions spring from fear:

Fear of what the person thinks;

Fear of what they’ll do;

Fear of any and all repercussions resulting from their anger (repercussions the Grim Reaper cannot cushion).

Fear attracts more fear and makes anger escalate. People try to placate anger, thinking  they can make it stop. But it simply doesn’t work that way.

 

III. The Fear of Man says “Man Will Save Me,” Breeding Insecurity

The fear of man lays a snare (Proverbs 29:25).  When we look to people to make us feel secure, we put way too much pressure on them to provide for us.

There’s an old country song where a man pleads with a woman, “I’ve got to know if your sweet love is going to save me.”

Is he kidding? God’s word is clear: no mere human love can save us. Salvation comes from God alone, in the form of His only Son Jesus Christ whose blood shed on a cross paid for our sins to be forgiven. He didn’t come to pull our strings or push our buttons. His goal was not to manipulate us into obeying God’s laws in order that we might somehow earn our way into heaven. On the contrary, He became THE bridge that draws us near to God. He didn’t come to take from us but to give us abundant life (John  10:10)

Instead of commanding us to, “Do God’s will or else,” he invites us to abide in Him so we might bear much fruit: the fruit of His grace.  (John 15:1-5; Ephesians 2:1-9;  Galatians 5:22-23).

Isn’t it time we as believers found our identity in Him instead of looking to man to tell us who we are?

Jumping Through Hoops to Get Healed?

Have you ever tried jumping through hoops to get healed,

In search of a cure not yet fully revealed?

For example, how long do you think you must pray

To maintain your health so it won’t go away?

 

Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Isaiah 53:1

 

Perhaps if you could, you’d get healing right now,

Because if God would, He could heal you somehow.

But do you believe you must first act just right?

Because jumping through hoops might just make you uptight.

 

Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

 

Does unconfessed sin seem to block healing’s path,

requiring hoop jumping to shun God’s fierce wrath?

If so, how many sins would you have to confess

In order to get relief from all that stress?

 

When the evening came, they brought unto him many. . . with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick  (to fulfill Isaiah 53:4, which says), “(He) Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:16-17

 

Do  you have to wait for the right place and time,

Jumping through hoops with no reason or rhyme?

While religious guys urge you to “Just go away,”

To “Come, get your healing some other bright day”?

 

 

And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? Luke 13:16

 

 

“Do you want to get healed?” Jesus asked someone lame

Whose condition for decades had stayed just the same.

He desired to be well,  but the line was too long.

Besides, to jump such a hoop, he wasn’t strong.

 

Jesus said unto him, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk.” And immediately the man (became) whole, and took up his bed, and walked. John 5:8-9

 

 

But what if something tragic has beaten you down,

Because death’s own shadow just entered the town?

You can’t bear the facts staring you in the face.

Where can you find a trace of God’s unending grace?

 

 

Didn’t I say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God? John 11:40

 

 

We don’t need to jump through hoops to find healing. We just need to reach out to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)

 

https://miracle-times.com/faith/seeing-believing/

 

The Hardest Part of Ask, Seek, Knock

 I. Ask, Seek, Knock – First Ask

“Do you want to make your mountain move? Then before you start commanding, ask for understanding to lay aside all doubt. That’s what asking is about.” – original quote

“Ask, seek, knock. That’s what the Bible says. “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened.”

Who has never heard this verse before? Perhaps a better question is, what is the hardest part about asking, seeking and knocking?

Let’s discuss the first part, asking.

To some of us, asking can be a hard thing, especially when those close to us reject our requests for information. Despite the saying “There’s no such thing as a dumb question,” people tend to treat questions like dirt. They make the other person feel as if he or she has asked a stupid question. That’s what makes asking hard.

Nevertheless, Jesus instructs us to ask. For if we ask, then we’ll receive an answer. Of course, the best person to ask is God Himself, because He is all powerful. He knows what you need before you even ask Him. Sometimes people don’t ask God anything until they’e desperate. That’s okay, because a question is a question. A request is a request. And if you don’t know what to ask God for, a simple “Help!” will do.

If you’ve ever asked God for something and received an answer, then you know the power of asking.

If not, then maybe you need to seek it.

II. Ask, Seek, Knock – Second, Seek

A. Seek Wisdom

“If you don’t seek, you’re up a creek because you need direction” – original quote

Do you know it’s possible to receive an answer but not recognize it when it comes? Perhaps it’s because you forgot you asked the question. Or maybe you didn’t completely like His answer or got distracted by something else you wanted more. If so, then maybe you’ve been asking the wrong question. Is it possible that God wants something better for you – something you’re not smart enough to think of asking?

If you think God is a know-it-all, you’re right. That’s why you should ask Him for wisdom, because He is more than happy to supply it.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

In other words, God will never fault you if you ask Him for wisdom.

B. Seek Faith

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. for he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)

Whoa, what’s this? It seems that asking for wisdom isn’t enough. We need to have faith too. How do we get that?

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

There’s something about hearing God’s word that gives us faith to receive what we ask from Him.

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us: and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petition that we desired of Him.”

That said, the best way to know God’s will is to know His word. That involves seeking.

After all, how can you know the wisdom contained in God’s word  – the wisdom that shows you His perfect will – unless you seek it?

“My son, if you will receive my words, and hide my commands within you; so that you incline your ear unto wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry after knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; then you shall understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5)

 

III. Ask, Seek, Knock – Third, Knock (The hardest part)

“You search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they (the scriptures)…testify of me. And you will not come to me that you might have life.” (John 5:39)

Jesus spoke these words to people who were really into reading the Old Testament but who found fault with Him, the Messiah to whom those scriptures pointed so many years before.

They might have had the asking and seeking down pat, but they didn’t seem to know much about knocking.

To knock involves taking a step of faith toward God, reaching out your hand and tapping on His door.

“I am the door,” Jesus said. “By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

To “enter in’ involves more than merely asking and seeking. It involves friendship and a willingness to share life together. This is the kind of relationship Jesus spoke of in Revelation 3:20, to quote His words, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me.”

It is this relationship, this close knowledge of God, that allows you to come boldly before His throne of grace, in order to find grace and mercy to help you in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Knocking on God’s door involves submitting to his will, which is perhaps the hardest part of asking, seeking, and knocking. After all, don’t we all like to get our own way? To “ask, seek, knock,” you must surrender all.

Speed of Sight Book Release

 

Christian Fantasy Breaks the Ice

For those to whom the scriptures make no sense,

Christian fantasy might help them feel less tense,

Through stories full of hope and vision bright

That shine into their darkness a fresh light.

 

Now, some people have heard throughout the years

Hard messages that left them bored to tears.

Their hearing has grown dull. Their minds are dense.

But Christian fantasy can help them off that “fence”

 

By breaking through the ice that numbs the head,

Thus, bypassing the barrier of dread

That binds a person to his own strict view

Though deep inside he knows that view’s not true.

 

Sometimes it takes bold pictures to explain

The simplest faith to an exhausted brain.

Fresh creativity, though, can ease one’s pain,

revive the heart, and make it whole again.

 

Hebrews 5:11 speaks of believers who have become poor listeners. The writer is talking to them about Jesus, “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.”

 

If listeners have dull hearing, then what can interest them in the Bible?

 

There was a time in my life when I couldn’t even read the Bible. Every time I opened it, I felt condemned. I even started to wonder if I was a real Christian because other Christians seemed to be doing so much better than me. All I could see was my mistakes. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, no matter what rhymes I tried to write.

 

No well-defined theology could help me. I was too bound up in legalism: trying to follow rules I had no ability to obey. To get free, I needed revelation from above. So, I cried out to God. Not soon after that, the Holy Spirit moved in power through my church. Surprisingly, He gave me laughter, which lifted all the condemnation off me. I felt “joy unspeakable.” It wouldn’t let me speak because I couldn’t keep from laughing. Through the joy God gave me, I finally began to understand His grace.

 

His joy inspires my writings, with Christian fantasy that’s rooted in reality.

 

Of course, I have had my share of opposition from those who don’t believe in miracles – at least, not instantaneous ones. The truth is, I’ve seen my share of instant healings done in Jesus’s name, and no one can persuade me they’re not true. However, trying to get others to believe is another matter, especially since I do not have the gift of debate.

 

I do enjoy writing Christian fantasy, however, in hopes it will inspire both children and adults to read the Bible. After all, that’s what C.S. Lewis did for me when I was young. In his Christian fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Christ is pictured as a lion. He is a good lion but not a tame lion, an allegory derived from the Bible.

 

“And one of the elders said to me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” Revelation 5:5

 

The Bible uses such imagery to help us understand God’s nature and His character. It is the best book we can read. But for those who have no Bible or who don’t understand it, well-written Christian fantasy may be the next best thing. For the spiritually hard-of-hearing, it may break the ice that shields their ears and give them a new glimpse into God’s character.

 

https://miracle-times.com/

https://miracle-times.com/fun/curing-freezer-burn/

 

 

 

 

 

Free the Doves

Symbols of purity, flashes of grace,

Whispers of gentleness, sweet freedom chase

The dove spells good tidings, but when it is caged

No souls are delivered. God’s Word finds no place

In men’s hardened hearts, for they can’t find their way.

False messenger pigeons have led them astray.

Free the doves,

Let them loose,

Let God’s Spirit prevail.

Do not clip a wing

And do not snip a tail,

But open the cage,

Let them fly where they may.

Don’t hinder their progress

But heed what they say.

 

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves. Matthew 21:12