Sunday, 30 September 2007

Dr. Ed Young
The Winning Walk
source: CrossWalk
Over the course of my life, there have been several times when I thought it might be the end.

For instance, once when I was in college I had been very sick with chicken pox and then had to stay up all night studying before taking my mid-terms. And after my midterms I had to drive back home to my parents' house feeling just awful!

I'll never forget… it was pouring down rain, I was sleepy, and somehow I just dozed off. I remember waking up just in time to avoid hitting the car in front of me, and I swerved off the road not knowing what I would hit. In that moment I cried out, "Lord, help!" Needless to say, I made it through.

Then there was the time a few years back when I was in a private plane flying back to Houston and we had a crash landing. We were fortunate to have a tremendous pilot and thankfully, no one was hurt. But on the way down in the plane, the prayer that overcame me was, "Thank You, Lord. Thank You for my family and my life."

We've all had those moments when we've prayed prayers like the ones I prayed. But that's not really praying, is it? Those prayers are crisis prayers. They're last-second, desperation prayers!

As a pastor, I can tell you that most of the Christian men and women I talk to would like their prayer life to be more than just random outbursts to God in the midst of desperation. They would like to improve their prayer life. They want a real, intimate, interactive prayer life. Like the kind of prayer life Jesus had.

The apostles studied Jesus' lifestyle. They saw Him go off by Himself to pray at all hours of the day. And they would see Jesus come back from these prayer times with the Father invigorated, alive, refreshed, and motivated. So they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray!

Jesus gives them a model prayer in Luke 11:

"Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation."

Now, this is not the Lord's Prayer, but a model prayer. It is an outline for prayer, a pattern for prayer. And there are six basic ingredients in this prayer that I want to share with you today.

I have formed these six factors around the acronym CHRIST.

C stands for concentrate. The first word in the model prayer is "Father." Almighty God says that His children are to go to Him and call Him Father. We are to concentrate on Him as God, Father, His nature, His character, His dominion, His omnipresence. That's the first ingredient.

H stands for hallowed. "Hallowed be Your name." The name of God is not to be used in a pedestrian or profane sense. It is to be set aside, it is unique, it is holy. It is to be separate from all other names.

R stands for ruler. "Your kingdom come." It is His kingdom. His agenda in heaven is the same agenda He has for earth. We should not pray for God to bless our kingdom and agendas, but rather that we may be in the middle of His plan and kingdom…which is anywhere Jesus is Lord. Anywhere God's will rules and reigns is where you will find the kingdom of God.

I stands for I need. "Give us each day our daily bread." This is where the pattern of prayer changes. We are simply to pray for the needs of today… not tomorrow. And it's not what we want or what we desire, but what we need.

S stands for sin. "And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us." We are to ask forgiveness for our sin. This is a prayer for believers, not for unbelievers. If we forgive those who have sinned against us, we too will be forgiven.

T stands for temptation. "And lead us not into temptation." This does not mean, "God, do not try to trick or tempt me," but rather, "Lord, please make sure I do not get entrapped by the world. Keep me away from the wrong crowd."

Remember, this is not a rote prayer. This is simply an outline. A model for communication with the Lord our God.

Prayer can be as ordinary as picking up the telephone…but as awesome and incredulous as discovering that almighty God is on the other end of the call!

It's my prayer that you will remember the word CHRIST in your prayer time this week and in the weeks to come. I hope this powerful tool will help strengthen your prayer time…and your relationship with Him!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Email from God

As you got up this morning, I watched you and hoped you would talk to me, even just a few words, asking my opinion or thanking me for something good that happened in your life yesterday – but I noticed you were too busy trying to find the right outfit to put on and wear to work.

I waited again. When you ran around the house getting ready I knew there would be a few minutes for you to stop and say hello, but you were too busy…

At one point you had to wait fifteen minutes with nothing to do except sit in a chair.
Then I saw you spring to your feet.
I thought you wanted to talk to me, but you ran to the phone and called a friend to get the latest gossip.

I watched as you went to work and I waited patiently all day long. With all your activities I guess you were too busy to say anything to me.

I noticed that before lunch you looked around, maybe you felt embarrassed to talk to me, that’s why you didn’t bow you head. You glanced over three or four tables and you noticed some of your friends talking to me briefly before they ate, but you didn't. That's okay.

There is still more time left, and I have hope that you will talk to me yet you went home and it seems as if you had lots of things to do.

After a few of them were done you turned on the TV, I don’t know if you like TV or not, just about anything goes there & you spend a lot of time each day in front of it, not thinking about anything – just enjoying the show.

I waited patiently again as you watched the TV and ate your meal but again you didn’t talk to me.

Bedtime I guess you felt too tired.

After you said goodnight to your family you plopped into bed and fell asleep in no time.
That’s okay because you may not realize that I am always there for you.
I’ve got the patience more than you will ever know.
I even want to teach you how to be patient with others as well.
I love you so much that I wait everyday for a nod, prayer or thought or thankful part of your heart.
It’s hard to have a one-sided conversation.

Well you are getting up again and once again I will wait with nothing but love and hoping that today you will give me some time.

Have a nice day!
Your friend

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The Armour of God

We are engaged in a spiritual battle – all believers find themselves subject to satan’s attacks because they are no longer on satan’s side. Thus, Paul tells us to use every piece of God’s armour to resist satan’s attacks and to stand true to God in the midst of those attacks

Belt of Truth - Satan fights with lies, and sometimes his lies sound like truth; but only believers have God’s truth, which can defeat satan’s lies.

Breast plate of Righteousness - Satan often attacks our hearts – the seat of our emotions, self-worth, and trust. God’s righteousness is the breastplate that protects our hearts and ensures his approval. He approves of us because he loves us and sent his Son to die for us.

Footgear, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace - Satan wants us to think that telling others the Good News is a worthless and hopeless task – the size of the task is too big and the negative responses are too much to handle. But the footgear God gives us is the motivation to continue to proclaim the true peace that is available in God – news everyone needs to hear.

Shield of Faith - What we see are satan’s attacks in the form of insults, setback, and temptations. But the shield of faith protects us from satan’s flaming arrows. With God’s perspective, we can see beyond our circumstances and know that ultimate victory is ours.

The Helmet of Salvation - Satan want to make us doubt God, Jesus, and our salvation. The helmet protects our minds from doubting God’s saving work for us.

The Sword of the Spirit - The sword is the only weapon of offense in this list of armour. There are times when we need to take the offensive against satan. When we are tempted, we need to trust in the truth of God’s Word.

So today do not forget to put on the full armour of God.

Love and Hugs

Monday, 24 September 2007

Mum, here's a prayer for you to pray:

"Lord, help me to give my children the best - not of things, but of myself, cherishing them on good days and bad, theirs and mine. Teach me to accept them for who they are, not just for what they do; to listen to what they say, if only so they'll listen to me; to encourage their goals, not mine. Let me give them a home where respect and integrity are the cornerstones, and there's enough happiness to raise the roof.

May I give them the courage to be true to themselves; the independence to take care of themselves, and the faith to believe in You. May I discipline them without demeaning them, demand good manners without forgetting my own, and let them know they have limitless love no matter what they do.

Let me feed them properly, clothe them adequately, and have enough to give them small allowances - not for the work they do, but the pleasure they bring. Let me be moderate in all these things, so that the joy of getting will help them discover the joy of giving.

See that their responsibilities are real but not burdensome, that my expectations are high but not overwhelming, and that my praise is thoughtful and given when it's due.

Help me to teach them that excellence is work's real reward. And when it comes - let me revel in each honour, however small, without once pretending that it's mine - my children are glories enough.

Above all, let me ground them so well in Your truth that I can let them go. In Jesus' name, Amen!"
"God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try."

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Dear Friends

What an awesome syaing. How often have we suffered from burnout because we have had a need to succeed. What is success in God's it tramping over all to achieve and get what we want? Is it perhaps aggrsively challenging others, pouting and wanting our own way? Is it perhaps being the most popular, the most it money, goods......what is it.

Well God says in His Word,

"Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. "

The way UP in Gods Kingdom is the way DOWN....God calls us to take the example of His Son into our hearts. The night Jesus would be crucified, do we find Jesus lounging back and the disciples washing His feet, no our Lord, our Jesus, took a towel and washed the feet of His disciples.

Success comes in many forms, but mostly we succeed as we serve, as we find ourselves amongst the crowds, helping them, bringing them the greatest gift of all time, the gift of Jesus.

Success is KNOWING Jesus and Him KNOWING you.

The things of this world will fade away...the things of heaven are eternal.

Today, consider your definition of success and meditate on what God says it is.

Remember I am praying for you

Hugs and blessings


Monday, 10 September 2007

God is not looking for servants. He is looking for sons (and daughters) who will join him in the family business. Buddy Owens, pastor of spiritual growth at Saddleback

Not long ago I had two separate conversations with two different people who said the same thing. One is a man, the other is a woman. One is Presbyterian, the other is Assemblies of God. They each were worship leaders in churches that were experiencing great renewal. And they each said to me: "I wish what is happening in my church was happening in my life." Sad to say, their sentiment is not uncommon in the ministry.

In Song of Songs 1:6, the beloved laments: "My brothers have made me tend their vineyards, but I have neglected my own." Her words ring so true, and remind me of my two friends – and of myself.

If I'm not careful, the joy of service turns so easily into the drudgery of duty, and before I know it, I have replaced intimacy with responsibility. I fill my life with activities when God wants to fill it with himself. More meetings, more projects, more hours spent at work serving my master. All of these things are worthy of my time and effort. But as I learned from the Parable of the Prodigal, God is not looking for servants. He is looking for sons who will join him in the family business.

The frustration mounts. The emptiness deepens. I become restless and dissatisfied. I occupy myself with more activity – but that's just digging the hole deeper. Like the older brother in Jesus' parable who cried out, All these years I have been slaving for you!, my "being" is soon overshadowed by my "doing."

When I center my spiritual identity on the work of the ministry rather than centering myself in the presence of the Father, my passions change. My old passion for God is replaced by a new passion for service. Its rewards are more measurable and often more gratifying: acclaim, a sense of achievement and importance. I feed this new passion, and by doing so, starve the old one. The result is that I begin to measure my spiritual maturity by the load I carry rather than the freedom I enjoy.

But when religious activity takes the place of spiritual intimacy, my heart begins to harden and I end up – as the beloved lamented – having spent my energies tending my brothers' vineyards while my own vineyard has been neglected. The result is burnout, jealousy for the spiritual intimacy that others experience, and a longing for a taste from the spiritual feast that others have enjoyed at Jesus' feet while I was slaving away in the kitchen.

I justify my negligence with a Martha mentality that if someone else isn't working as hard as I am, then what they need is a good swift kick in the pants from the Lord – when what I really want is to be sitting at Jesus' feet myself. The fear is that if I sit at his feet, nothing will get done.

But the truth is that if I don't sit at his feet, nothing I do will matter in the long run. Like my two friends, I will miss out on the blessing of God's presence, and God will miss out on the pleasure of my company.

Sounds audacious, doesn't it? That God would miss out on the pleasure of anybody's company? But think about this: Why would God invite you into his presence if he didn't want to be in yours? He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden" (Matt. 11:28), and "Come to me that your soul may live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you" (Isa. 55:3). Is his invitation only for our benefit, or is it also somehow for God's benefit? After all, the
Bible says, "The Lord delights in those who fear him" (Ps. 147:11).

The dilemma is this: the "God-shaped void" that Pascal wrote about does not disappear. It gets larger. It's an appetite that, once awakened, grows into an all-consuming passion. We cannot get enough of God's presence because God continually makes more room for himself. He expands his sphere of influence with each encounter. Our capacity for true spiritual fulfillment enlarges with every fulfilling experience, until we reach the place where we say with the psalmist: "My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God…Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere" (Ps. 84:2, 10).

The fear is that if I sit at Jesus' feet, nothing will get done. But the truth is that if I don't sit at his feet, nothing I do will matter in the long run.

Buddy Owens, pastor of spiritual growth at Saddleback

Monday, 3 September 2007


Dear Friends

George and I will be away for 2 weeks. I look forward to touching base with you when we return.

May your 2 weeks be joyous and bountiful in the Lord till we meet again.

Love always


Sunday, 2 September 2007

source: Crosswalk
Whitney Von Lake Hopler
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Joni Grace Powers & Robert A. Pyne's new book, LifeSpace: The Practice of Life with God, (Regal Books, 2007).

Life's demands can suffocate you if you settle for less than the abundant life God offers. So take a breath of fresh air and expand your life with God beyond the limits what you can imagine and into an experience of unbounded adventure.

Here's how you can expand your life with God:
Seek worth beyond measure. Instead of trying to prove your worth to yourself and other people, remember that God's glory shines through you because He has made you in His image.

Be confident in the fact that you are valuable simply because you are God's child.

Pursue identity beyond circumstance. Understand that your circumstances don't define who you are. Know that your circumstances are simply tools for God to use to shape you into the person He wants you to become. Realize that God is able to redeem even the worst circumstances in your life to accomplish good purposes.

Seek love beyond performance. Rather than or trying to earn God's favor, accept the fact that God already loves you deeply and unconditionally. Rest assured that your relationship with God through Christ is sealed for eternity.

Embrace the messiness of being human. Understand that you can grow not by trying to transcend your human frailties, but by being honest about them and coming to God just as you are so He can use your weaknesses to make you strong.

Don't focus on trying to project an image of perfection. Instead, admit your flaws and let them reveal how much you need God. Be authentic in your relationships with other people and seek to learn from the messy interactions you sometimes have with them. Realize that being human isn't a problem to be solved; it's a calling to grow more like the God who chose to take on human form to save the world. Know that God loves real human beings like you because He chose to be incarnated as one.

Live fully in the present. Instead of wishing the present away and longing for your future in heaven, pay attention to where you are right now in life. Rather than trying to escape your life, start looking for ways that God is at work around you. Ask God to help you bloom where you're planted.

Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you. Remember that everything – even your next breath – is a gracious gift from God. Thank Him regularly for giving you life through His Spirit, and welcome the Holy Spirit to fill your soul and transform you. Ask the Spirit to enlarge your view of reality so you can envision more than just what you can see and embrace the full potential of your life.

Aim your love in the right direction. Ask yourself the key question: "What do I love?" Honestly consider what you might currently desire in place of God, such as comfort, stability, affection, opportunity, piety, or success.

Make sure that nothing knocks God out of His rightful place as your absolute top priority. Plan how you spend your resources (time, energy, money, etc.) around the fact that your relationship with God is most important. Choose to love for who He is instead of just what He can do for you. Expect that the more you get to know God, the more you'll fall in love with Him. Know that loving God for His own sake will bring you true joy.

Discover joy. Be alert to specific ways God is at work around you, and make time to reflect on the beauty of that work (such as something you appreciate in nature, or a quality you find charming in a person you know). Notice when and how God answers your prayers, and make time to thank Him for His generosity and creativity. Read, meditate on, and study the Bible to learn more about God, and delight in what you discover about Him through His Word. Be open to the mysteries of faith and avoid futile attempts to fit God's work into a box you can fully understand or control. Look for God's reflection in human creative expression, such as through art, music, literature, and dance. Make a frequent practice of getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new, such as traveling to a foreign country or learning an extreme sport.

Celebrate fresh joy whenever you encounter it.

Let God's love flow through you to others. Don't just take God's love for yourself and let it end there. Share that love with other people by reaching out to them as God leads you to do so. Draw a diagram that represents your sphere of community, listing the names of people you're closest to in the smallest circle and moving outward. Then, outside the largest circle, write the names of people you consider enemies or don't feel able to love for whatever reason. Pray about how your circles can expand to encompass all the names you wrote as people with whom you share God's love.

Recognize that God intends for you to be roped together with others in community. Don't practice your faith alone; build meaningful relationships with other believers and actively participate in church. Rejoice with others when they have something to celebrate; weep with others when they're suffering. To the extent that it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Slow down the pace of your life and make time to be with people face to face often. When you spend time with friends and family, enjoy their company instead of just trying to accomplish a set agenda during your time together.

Don't use love as a tool to try to manipulate others for your purposes. Ask God to help you love others as He loves them – unconditionally.
Make space for grace. Thank God that His grace gives you the space to grow as you're becoming more like the person He intends for you to become. Let your gratitude motivate you to extend grace to other people. For example, let your husband enjoy eating goat cheese or sauerkraut, even if it grosses you out, and give your son or daughter permission to join a garage band, even if that means loud practice sessions at your house.

Go easy on others when they make mistakes for which they're repentant. Just as you don't have to earn God's love, don't make other people earn your love. Don't parcel love out sparingly to others. Ask God to help you love people lavishly, whether or not you think they deserve it. Ask God to give you the humility you need to overcome pride, self-righteousness, and self-sufficiency.

Remember that you – just like everyone else around you – are a sinner, yet God still loves you and Christ still died for you. Be willing to help other people without expecting anything in return. Decide to love even in ugly situations. Believe the best about others and wish the best for them, encouraging them and supporting them as they pursue God's dreams for their lives. Every day, be proactive about doing small things with great love, such as forgiving an obvious slight, offering someone a ride, preparing a meal for someone in a crisis, or complimenting a colleague. Constantly ask yourself: "How have I seen God's grace extended by others toward me?" and

"How have I been the space of grace for someone this week?"
Forgive. Know that, just as God has forgiven you for all your sins, He expects you to be willing to forgive others who hurt you. Don't wait until you feel like forgiving; you likely never will. Instead, make the choice to forgive, and rely on the help God will give you to do so. Work toward reconciliation with those who are willing. Realize that by forgiving, you create a new beginning out of past pain. Understand that forgiveness opens up the space you need for healing in your relationships.

Sacrifice. Ask God to help you place your life at His disposal with gladness and eagerness to see how He will use you to accomplish good purposes. Let your love for God and gratitude for all He has done for you motivate you to give freely of your time, energy, money, and other resources to God's work on Earth. Don't just give what's left over after you take care of yourself; give the best of what you have. Be willing to make sacrifices for others as God leads you, even when your efforts aren't rewarded or even acknowledged. Remember that, though you main gain nothing from other people, God will give you joy as you serve Him.

Be welcoming toward others, taking a genuine interest in their lives and making time to build meaningful relationships with them. Let go of your own agenda for your relationships and invite God to use them however He chooses to help you and others grow. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to be humble and kind as you go about each day, willing to give yourself away one commitment at a time.

See clearly. Don't settle for a small vision that limits your concept of who God is and what plans He has for your life. Instead, ask God to give you the right perspective on Him and reveal His big vision for you. Let go of your own plans that don't align with God's plans, trusting that for every one of your own dreams that falls away, a better dream from God for you will take its place.

Place your hope in the reality of God's promises, and realize that doing so creates space for your faith to keep expanding.

Adapted from LifeSpace: The Practice of Life with God

Psalm 149:4 - For the LORD taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with Salvation.
Outward beauty is just skin deep, but Inward beauty is for eternity. We don't need physical beauty in order to be loved by our Heavenly Father, He has given us one of His most precious ornaments for our beautification and that is His Salvation. Real beauty comes from the inside and then out!
Don't let your outward appearance reflect your inward but beautify your inward that it may reflect your outward!

BetweenYou and Me

BetweenYou and Me