Friday, July 31, 2009

Sure, We Love God, But Do We Respect Him



Hey gang!

Do you ever have those moments when you are walking around the house and go, “I just said something astounding!” OK, my wife and kids would tell you it doesn’t happen as often as I do, but it happens to me all the time.

Yesterday, I am trying to do some housework and my daughter Megan is at that age (4) where she is beginning to feel like she is quite capable. I am getting the vacuum out of the closet to do the living room rug and she takes it and runs to the living room. She looks at me and goes, “I’ve got it! I don’t need you.” Of course, I walk away a little perturbed, a little hurt. My wife asks me what my problem is. I look at her and say, “You know, I know my kids love me, they really are loving kids most of the time, but sometimes I really wonder if they respect me.” My wife responds, “What do you expect? She’s four.”

So I go off and take a shower (don’t visualize that part) and the idea hits me. As we walk around as Christians, people talk to us all the time and they know that we love God, because most of the time, we are more than happy to tell them.

We love God because…
He first loved us. He sent his son to die on a cross. He made the heavens and the earth for us to live on. He made the beautiful day. He answers our prayers.

These are some of the words that we speak with our mouths. They are politically correct. They are true statements. They are comments that non-Christians expect us to make.

We love God because…
He answers our self-serving prayers. He helped me get an “A” on that test. He helped me get the job promotion. He got me that nice car. He gave me the beautiful wife. He gave me the adorable kids. He gave me this nice house that I live in. He loves me despite that sin I commit that I can’t tell anyone about. He is up there and we are down here and he isn’t telling me today what I am doing wrong.

These are some of the words that we may or may not have the audacity to speak, but we realistically think them. Well, most people do.

So sure we love God. We really, really do. However, God knows something else. He knew it at The Garden of Eden. He knew it as the Israelites went through the desert. He knew it as David slept with Bathsheba. He knew it when Solomon married the non-Israelite women. He knew it as Judas accepted the 30 coins. He knew it as Paul was still killing Christians. He knew it before you looked at that porn last night. He knew it before you bought that pizza that you didn’t tell your wife about. He knew before you bought that wardrobe that you didn’t discuss with your husband. He knew it before you sped through that yellow light on your way to work. He knew that we would sin anyway.

He gave Adam and Eve the perfect garden to live in. They had all the food they ever wanted. Sure, they had to work the field to get it. But it wasn’t that hard. They like getting their hands dirty and loved the beauty of the day. They loved it when God came by and spoke to them audibly in the breeze of the afternoon and as the stars shined at night.

God said to not touch one thing. But they couldn’t help themselves. They had to have it. Sure, they had a little help and encouragement. But they really wanted to be as knowing as God. Truthfully, they loved what God provided, but why not be just like him. So they ate. They learned the hard way that it made things change.

After Joseph, the Israelites began serving other gods and eventually were put under the Egyptians. They were slave labor. But God had a plan. He rose Moses up to help them get out of Egypt and into a land He had for them. So Pharoah finally decided to let them go. Moses and the Israelites set out and ran into The Red Sea. God helped Moses get rid of that problem of how they would cross it. Even after they were across, God let the water flow right over the Egyptians that had pursued them. They were free. God had led them out of Egypt successfully. After two days in the desert heading to the Promised Land, the Israelites were already complaining. They needed drink. They were thirsty. Did they honestly think that water was a problem for a God that divided a body of water, just so they could cross it? He provided, over and over again.

Moses and the Israelites continued on and got to the base of Mount Sinai. Moses then heads up the mountain and spends 40 days with God. While Moses was gone, the people just couldn’t take it. They forced the priest Aaron to build them a calf to worship. That’s right. They wanted a gold statue to worship. This wasn’t because they wanted gold to be the standard. They had it built gold to look impressive. The real truth here is that they wanted a god that didn’t talk back so that they could be their own god.

Let’s be honest. The number one reason that we don’t like God leading is because there is fear in the unknown. This is a God that we can’t “see”, but that we literally see if we take long enough to look at his creation. We want our god to be impressive. That was the reason for the gold. Gold was impressive even back then. But gold didn’t strike fear into anyone. God does. What’s He going to ask us to do? What does he expect of us? The gold statue doesn’t expect anything. It’s gold. It’s pretty to look at and nothing else, period.

Moses returned with The Ten Commandments on two stone tablets, but when he sees how the people have turned, it sickens him. It sickens him enough to throw the tablets to the ground, breaking them. He gets so mad that he goes to the center of the village and asks who is with him and God. The Levites come forth and they end up slaughtering about 3,000 of the people who weren’t. You’d think that would settle it. Wrong.

In the book of Numbers, the Israelites get right on the doorstep of the land that God had promised them. You can understand that they might be tentative to go in, so they send a search party of 12 men. They go scout the place. They return and two of them, Joshua and Caleb, tell them to go for it. However, the other ten men said, “Hey, wait a minute!” They came up with every excuse not to go. The people were too big, there were too many of them. Hello, God promised you this land. You think he can’t provide a victory. That’s exactly what they thought. So God answered that doubt.

Since they were doubting, that was enough for God. You doubt. How about another 40 years in the desert? He would still provide for them, but no one over 20 was going into the land. That’s right, none of them. These ten men set the consequences for all of them. Except Joshua and Caleb. Joshua eventually became the new leader when Moses passed. Joshua led them into the Promised Land.

The people still weren’t happy even after they got there. They finally asked for a king. Samuel the prophet got mad. God explained it to him. Samuel, they aren’t rejecting you, they are rejecting me. God knew. He gave them Saul. They wanted a leader they could see. Why? There are a few theories. One, you can talk to him, physically. Two, if there were enough of you, he could be pushed around a little. Three, if it got really bad, you could kill him and try again.

Ideally, you hope for a godly person in power. That hasn’t changed over 3,000 years. With Saul, it was a struggle. So Samuel went and anointed David. And even with David, it didn’t work out perfectly. However, with David, you got to see a guy who really tried to be holy. He tried to do things as God had set them. And when he messed up, he repented quickly. He respected who God was.

Joyce Meyer once said that, “As a believer, you are still going to sin. But if you truly respect God and who He is, you won’t want to!” That’s how David lived. It’s how we should live. We will stumble and fall short. However, our goal should be to not want to. And when the inevitable happens and we do, be quick to our knees and say, “God, please forgive me. Because I love you!”

David was known as a man after God’s own heart because of his attitude. He may not have always been right, but he was forgiven and loved. He was respected by God because God knew that He had the respect of David. I pray today that we are able to find that respect for God even more than the love we have for Him. May we all become men and women after the heart of God.

I love you guys!
Frank

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friends Like a Brother, We All Need Them

Hey gang!

I’ve always admired King David. Of all the Old Testament, he is my favorite character. I don’t love David just because he’s the man after God’s own heart or because he is famous. David lived a life that changed tremendously all the time. He was given opportunities that don’t come everyday. And for the most part, he kept his head. Sure, he made mistakes, but he always danced with the One that brought him. He knew who God was. Next to Jesus and maybe Moses, David knew the person of God better than anyone.

David also made friends easily. He took people at face value. He respected authority and loyalty. It is his friendship with Jonathan that gives me the most to respect him for. Let me tell you this friendship.

The first mention of Jonathan and David together is in 1 Samuel 18. The first statement made was after David had just defended the honor of Saul, Jonathan’s father, and the people of Israel by defeating Goliath. The Bible says, “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” We are not told if they met earlier. Even though the Bible shows David in the house of Saul earlier as a harpist, there are some Bible scholars that believe the order of these events are not chronological. That means it very well could be the first time they met.

While some skeptics accuse Jonathan and David of homosexual activity, the Bible speaks of and there is no evidence that anything of that sort went on. Truthfully, I believe it may have been the first they met. So why is Jonathan already at one in spirit with David at first glance? I’ll speculate on some reasons. First, David had just saved Jonathan’s father Saul from an embarrassing loss. The Israelites would’ve have to serve the Philistines if he had lost. Secondly, think about how daring it is to take on a giant with just a slingshot and some rocks. That’s daring, no matter how you slice it. It’s pretty darn impressive. Thirdly, that was the type of chance taker that Jonathan was. Just four chapters earlier in 1 Samuel, Jonathan takes one man with him and fights off 600 at an outpost. That’s daring too. They were cut from the same cloth, figuratively speaking. Isn’t that how some of our best friendships are formed, because we have one or two dominant traits that are similar to the other person.

Verse 2 of Chapter 18 tells us that David lived in Saul’s company from that day forward. So knowing that he spent time in and around Saul’s home, David then had time to develop that same oneness with Jonathan. At some later point, the bond became so strong that Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

I don’t know about you, but I like myself. In fact, I outright love myself. I’d give myself anything if I were able to. In the New Testament, eight times we are told to “Love our neighbor as yourself.” Five of these times, Jesus is speaking Four of those five times, Jesus lists it as the second most important commandment after “Loving God with all your mind, soul and strength.” As much as we’d like to say that we make that kind of commitment to everyone, we realistically do it with one, two or at the most very few. Jonathan made that kind of commitment to David as a friend. David would make that commitment to Jonathan as well.

Verse 4 then says that Jonathan gave David his robe, his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. You may say, well the king’s son surely has more than one each of these and while that may be true, most people don’t give things away that mean something, much less all of these. Think for a moment, the sword and bow were fighting instruments. These were important in battle. The robe, tunic and belt were probably only made for the royalty. So giving these things wasn’t just a nice gesture, they showed tremendous respect for a man that was not in the family lineage.

The very next chapter tells us that Jonathan’s father had become so jealous of David’s fame and ability, that he told Jonathan and his attendants that he wished to kill David. Jonathan’s friendship was strong. He told David what his father wanted to do and protected him. Jonathan even tried to talk sense into his father that David had not wronged Saul and was an innocent man. For the moment, Saul relented.

Jonathan then had to help David escape in the next chapter as well. He had to lie for David to protect him. So he did lie. Saul exploded. Saul then says something that bears importance in his barrage. He says to Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:31, “As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established.” The Bible doesn’t even show Jonathan blinking over the statement. You know he had to think about it. If David lives, I won’t be king, ever. What it shows is the loyalty of true friendship. Look 11 verses later. Jonathan says to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” If ever there was a time to forget about friendship, Jonathan had his chance. Jonathan showed the value of true friendship. Friendship sometimes will cost you. It cost Jonathan a chance to rule Israel.

It was one of the last times that David would see Jonathan alive. The book of 2 Samuel begins with a messenger coming to tell David of Jonathan and Saul’s deaths. When David received word, he tore his clothes and mourned weeping until evening for him. He wrote a lament for the men, but then he went further than that for his friend.

In 2 Samuel Chapter 9, David asks the question if there is anyone left in the house of Saul to whom he can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake. He loved his friend so much that even after Jonathan was gone, David wanted to bless him. Jonathan had one remaining child, his son Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth had a problem. He was crippled in both feet. That didn’t matter. David gave all the land that Saul’s family owned to Mephibosheth and his aide, Ziba. That wasn’t enough. David then added one more bit of graciousness. David told Mephibosheth that he would eat at the king’s table for the rest of his days. That’s love. Wouldn’t you like a friend like David? A man that would take care of your child after you are gone.

There’s only one friendship that’s even better than that though. Jesus, who came, died for our sins, and rose again to sit at the right hand of God the Father, pleads our case to allow us to sit at that table of grace when we die once, to never die again and be part of the Heavenly table. Those of us that believe in Jesus as our Saviour already have that gift today. We know that when we die, we are to sit in heaven with Jesus and enjoy a feast for eternity. If you don’t know Jesus, you can today. You can ask Jesus to be your friend.

There are countless websites that can tell you what to pray, but I personally recommend this one, http://www.allaboutgod.com/prayer-of-salvation.htm. You can go and repeat the prayer they have listed about halfway down. It doesn’t end there. Find a trusting friend and share that you gone to pray that prayer and that you would love to begin walking with Jesus daily. If you don’t feel like you have a friend to share that with, I invite you to email me here at onemanrevival@yahoo.com. I will be joyful to hear about it and try to recommend a church in your area to share this newfound friendship in. They will be glad to have you and will talk to you to an understanding of what this means.

One last point that I would love to make today. Maybe you have that relationship with Christ, but like me are struggling to find the type of friendship that Jonathan and David had with another fellow believer. I won’t say that true friendship doesn’t take time, but I think we can pray and agree to God to please bring us these type friendships. Not just one, but in plenty. Allow us to be the kind of believer that treasures all the commandments and wants to be the blessing of loving others as ourselves. I know some days are hard as a believer, but that’s the reason God gave us the church, to develop friendships of fellowship and anxiously await on Christ’s return to take us to that table of grace.

I love you guys!
Frank

Monday, July 27, 2009

Marriage Monday: Does marrying an unbeliever lead you astray?

Hey gang!

Welcome to another week and a different type of Marriage Monday. This can be for people thinking about marriage and then the second half will be more for those already in their marriage. I hope this blesses you.

King Solomon will go down as one of the wisest men in history, but he had an Achilles’ Heel. They were the women that he married. Let’s look at chapter 11 of the book of 1 Kings to explain this.

“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharoah’s daughter-Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.” (1 Kings 11:1-3)

The Lord first gave this command to the Israelites as they came out of Egypt and were heading to the Promised Land in Deuteronomy chapter 7. He told the Israelites to go in and destroy the countries totally and do not intermarry with them because they will lead the Israelites astray from the rules that God had given them. He reiterated this point in Joshua chapter 23. The Lord even told the Israelites here that he would remove his hand and stop keeping the opponents out of the land.

The reason God takes this stand is that he wanted to make sure that the Israelites had less drawing them away from him. If you read the exodus, you realize that the Israelites really didn’t need any help to disobey. But intermarrying with women that did not believe in God’s way tended to tell the Israelites to believe in their god, a god that did not hold the high standard that our God did at the time and still does today. You may believe that God just held this standard for the Israelites, but he cautions us later in the New Testament to avoid the same downfall.

Paul talks to the Corinthians in his second book to them in chapter six, beginning in verse 14. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.”

This is a hard word, I understand that. God is telling us that we run the risk of not being able to agree and also that the person may lead us away. Catholics are one denomination that I know of that requires a person to be a follower of their faith to be married in the church to another of their believers. Sure, there are Catholics that get married outside the church to non-believers just like in other denominations, but life is harder if there is not agreement on faith.

The next part is for those of you that have already married and have a non-believing spouse. So what do I do now? I’m married, I’ve become a believer and my spouse is not interested in God. It’s OK, but there are things that you have to understand to continue to make your marriage work.

First, realize that browbeating your spouse to become a Christian is probably about the worst thing you do. Constantly rubbing the message in their face probably is not the way to go. Yes, you still have to make them aware of the word and what God says in the decision making process, but don’t be overbearing.

Ephesians gives some great words for how to treat your spouse in marriage and they apply even with a non-believing spouse. Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands in everything. I would make one proviso on this. If the husband is a non-believer, I would say submit in all things that do not tear down your faith or make you less of a Christian. If your husband asks you to do something that is against the Word of God, don’t submit. Be kind in your answer, but make it a firm no. Paul tells husbands to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Men, if your spouse is a non-believer, my advice for you is continue in that love, but do not let her push you to change your beliefs. Stand strong and stand up when it comes to your faith in Christ.

Finally, my best advice is to pray. Pray for that man or woman. You love them. Pray that their eyes are opened to the truth of God. I even suggest this for people claiming to be in love with a person before marriage. I know the last thing you want to do is break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, but pray that God show you the right direction. For you that have already married, pray that they see the truth and your walk with God as a good example.

But I’m in love and I want this person in my life. OK, God doesn’t say you can’t marry an unbeliever. Neither will I. However, I have presented you with the Word of God telling you that you really might not want to take the chance. I want you to enter marriages that will be blessed, not just by people, but by the all-powerful, wise God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

I love you guys!
Frank

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Marriage Monday: 7 Ways To Bring Peace & Purpose to Your Marriage (thanks to Encourage Your Spouse)

Hey gang!

Today’s Marriage Monday is a rather short piece of advice given from Encourage Your Spouse. Their website is located at (http://www.encourageyourspouse.com). It is a website ran by Lori and Robert Ferguson and they are in the process of writing a book of the same name. I encourage you to go and give the website a look. Below are their seven ways to bring peace and purpose into your marriage.


1.Inspiring your spouse with Hope will influence your future.

2. Fortifying your spouse with Faith will build up your relationship with God.

3. Fostering your spouse with Unconditional Love will weave your marriage tightly together.

4. Uplifting your spouse with Persistent Prayer will bring release every day.

5. Supporting your spouse with Joy-filled Zeal will create a blueprint to shape your life.

6. Stimulating your spouse with New Insight will energize your conversations.

7. Validating your spouse with Intimate Knowledge will deepen your connection.

Remember that One Man Revival’s main page is beginning a series on Tuesday on Finding God’s Will. If you would like to follow along with One Man Revival’s The Bible in 90 Days study, please click on the symbol on the right is you are on Blogspot or type in http://omr90daysthroughthebible.blogspot.com if you are coming over from My Space.

I love you guys!
Frank

Friday, July 17, 2009

Knowing God Delivers Leads To Pursuing God's Will

Hey gang!

I know that I’ve talked about my six months in Atlanta before. I had one of my favorite jobs while living there. It was working at a UPS Store in the middle of downtown on Monroe St. So to be honest, I’ve always been a little favorable to “Go Brown!” Since I’ve arrived in Effingham, I’ve done about as much shopping with UPS and the postal service. But when it comes to packages, I always shop with UPS.

Why? Well there are two reasons. First, I always get my deliveries in great shape. OK, there was that one time, but that was my fault. I packaged the items in Atlanta and got a little cheap with the packaging. I lost my computer printer, but I went and bought a new one. I’d had the last one for 10 years. The second reason is that I now have a friend working for the company. I always tell my friend Greg when I am getting packages. He isn’t always the one delivering to my neighborhood that day, but I don’t sit and worry about my packages. I’ve met two or three other drivers.

There is a confidence when you know that people are delivering on their products, their job performance or on their word. It’s something you can begin to count on. It’s very important that people deliver when they tell you that they will do so.

I once worked at a church as a volunteer youth minister and had dreams of growing the ministry to great heights. I had goals and the church had goals. The first goal that we both had was numbers. Bring as many kids into the ministry as I could. I had originally planned to go meet parents and encourage them to bring their teens. However, something happened. I didn’t have to move and 25 showed up. I announced that we were having a lock-in and 50 showed up the first time and 75 showed up the second time.

There were two problems. The first was that we didn’t have any adult volunteers the first time and we only four the second time. So it was me and my wife the first time. Us and 50 kids. It was more intimidating that I want to admit. All I had to do was say show up and they did. They wanted a place to go. Well, the second problem that came out of it was that there wasn’t enough of me to go around. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t go visit a couple nights a week, but since the numbers were high, I had to be creative to contain them. Once I had so many kids, I truthfully was afraid to grow any more. Had I visited more, I might’ve garnered the support to survive. The pastor used that as his reasoning to move me out and bring in a family that had more connections to take off from where I brought them. He even shared that he felt I failed to deliver on the ministry because I couldn’t get adults interested in helping.

However, he failed in his promise to help me grow. He saw my desire to work in other ministries and be involved. Instead of pulling me to his wing to help me grow, he pulled the one strike rule. You didn’t deliver huge so you are gone. There were other politics involved, but that was the basic rub.

The result of that lack of deliverance was sitting on the sidelines for a long period of time because I felt when the ministries were on the line, I couldn’t trust the church to deliver. It was probably a huge reason that I began One Man Revival outside the church walls. If it was begun with God and me, then no one else but God could take it away.

Thankfully, God has placed my family in a good church this time. I’m taking a Sunday school class on leadership headed by John Maxwell. The teacher of the class, Bill Burry, made a comment the first week that we may find things out about ourselves that we don’t like. As open as I am here on One Man Revival and my personality lets me talk to anyone in public. My friend Kevin Hess used to travel with me everywhere and he was always amazed at conversations I would start in McDonald’s with total strangers. I’ve always been interested in what makes people tick. It’s a hobby.

Anyhow, I began to pray and think about that personality. It comes out everywhere except one place. You guessed it, the church. Bill even brought a thought out. He asked if any of us came to church and instead of being outgoing, like many leaders are today, that you sit around and wonder if anyone is going to talk you. That is so me right now and I don’t know why. I want to be able to take God anywhere, why not within the doors of the church I’ve grown to love?

Thankfully, I’m not the only one that’s ever dealt with the issue of a lack of faith that delivery is possible. From Exodus through Joshua, we read countless accounts of the Israelites lack of believing that God would deliver them to the Promised Land of Canaan. You would think that once God helped Moses open the Red Sea and let all the Israelites cross over and wash down on top of the Egyptians that were in hot pursuit that they would never doubt again.

But it never happened that way. The Israelites grumbled for food and water after three days in the desert. God delivered manna, quail and water. God took Moses up to the top of Mount Sinai for 40 days to give him rules and regulations for the Israelites. Part of that was The Ten Commandments. While Moses was gone, the Israelites lost faith again. They built a new idol, a golden calf. This upset Moses to a point that he smashed the tablets. Moses had to take another 40 days to have it all rewritten again.

In Numbers, God even made his presence a cloud over the tabernacle. The Israelites knew he was there. So they leave Sinai and begin to complain again. God delivered quail until they were sick of quail. The Israelites moved on and got thirsty. They complained some more. God delivered water. Moses gets them to the border of Canaan. Even though he doesn’t cross, God tells Moses that they will still complain. I’m sure Moses wasn’t shocked. Joshua succeeded Moses as the leader and took them in to the Promised Land to prevail. God had delivered them.

It didn’t end there. God delivered David over Goliath. God delivered Daniel from the lions’ den. God delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abadnego from the fiery furnace. God delivered with Jesus. Jesus came, died and delivered the keys to escape the grave. Guess what, God can deliver us too. Doesn’t that just want to make you shout?

The great part is that God has a plan for all of us. Each and every one of us. That’s me, you, you, and you too. If we can do as God asks us, God will help us get there. Remember how many times he has delivered.

I get asked all the time, how do I know I am in God’s will? I could give you the long version which could be a book length story or the short version. The short version is this. When I am in God’s will, my life is at its best possible peak. I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen. The toothbrush still snaps off in my mouth, my kids still talk back, my wife tells me I’m not getting enough housework done. Those things are part of life. But my life is better. My relationships are better. My kids are mostly well behaved, my wife does try to take care of me, my church still gives me the word of God, my interactions with others are more fruitful. My mind is clearer and when I go to sleep each night, I do one thing, SLEEP! Amen and hallelujah!

I want that for you as well. When I talk about delivering, it’s one of the main reasons that I take the 90 Days Through the Bible so seriously. If I don’t deliver on making it through, you know. God wants us to deliver on our missions. Has it changed what I do each day? You betcha. But I am having a blast, despite the craziness.

And I want that for you too. Starting on Tuesday, One Man Revival is beginning a new series called Finding God’s Will. If you really want to know what God wants you to do, come and join me on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until the series is done. I want you to walk away from this study knowing three things:

1) God loves you!! Yes, you!

2) God wants to work with you in whatever you do.

3) God gave us a Great Commission to share the Gospel and you, yes you, have a job to do.

Are you up to the challenge? Do you want to see your life change? Do you want to make that difference not just for you, but for the ones you love and have yet to make acquaintance with? Between now and then, what I really want you to do is two things. First, pray for God to begin to show you what he wants for you to do. Secondly, pray for me as I prepare. Satan doesn’t want you to begin to understand God’s will. He’ll try to stop you and he will definitely try to stop me. So get ready, hang on to your seat and get ready for the ride of your life with a God that wants to partner with you to make a world of difference.

I love you guys!
Frank

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Satan Worshipping Girls From the Year I Lost My Mind

Hey gang!

Do you ever read other people’s stuff and get inspired to share? Sure you do. Today it’s my turn. This morning, I was reading a few of my favorite bloggers and came to my friend Matt’s The Church of No People. He talked about how he almost got conned by a couple people that “supposedly” found a wallet on the street while in college.

He then asked the question, “Do you have a stupid story to share?” For those of you that know me, you know I have plenty of them. I could start anywhere in my life. Part of it is because I’m more naive about people than I like to admit. I always try to see the good side and don’t like to admit that other people are nuttier than an Almond Joy bar.

This story comes from December 1993, a couple months before I got saved. I like to lovingly called 1993 THE YEAR I LOST MY MIND. My friend Steve Felosa calls it the YEAR OF ME DOING STUPID S*** THAT MAKES NO SENSE. Either way, you are about to embark on a story in my life that I’m not particularly proud of, but so comical that it needs telling.

The year 1993 was another cold year in my dating life. I couldn’t have gotten a date if I had walked into a sorority house nude. Don’t picture that! Anyhow, I was lonely. My friends Kevin and Chris had moved to Pittsburgh to start a new life and a lot of my other friends, well, they were going through a lot of stuff too.

In 1991, I placed an ad in the back of one of those Enquirer type mags and met a gal, had a great time and thought I should do that again. But I realized the flaw of that was I didn’t actually get to talk to the gal until I met her. There probably would’ve been a few clues that something wasn’t right.

Well, I decided to call a chat line to meet girls. After a few times, I met a girl from Kentucky. I lived in West Virginia at the time, so going to Kentucky to meet a girl didn’t seem like that far, so we began talking. She told me that she was 19, a nursing student and sent me a decent picture via email. So I thought, I have Thursdays off from the paper. I’ll make the drive and meet her.

She told me she had class until three and that should’ve tipped me off that something was not quite right. So I made the five hour drive to Hazard, Kentucky. Yes, it’s real. No, I didn’t see the General Lee. I stopped off in a gas station and went into the station to pay. I met a nice gal who instantly told me that I didn’t look like I was from around there. I told her I was visiting town. She then told me that she got off at eight if I needed someone to show me around.

So I went to the gal I had the real date with and when I got in the front yard, I was met by her brother. He was 16 and looked like a basketball player. He was 6’5” with long arms. He gives me a look and asks me how old I am. I was 24 at the time and he started laughing. He walked to his truck and drove away. I walked on to the porch. She gets in front of the door and says that we need to get out of here. Her mom asks her who it was and she claimed that I was a friend.

We got to my car and I asked her where she wanted to eat. She said she wasn’t hungry and told me to drive to the gas station. Yeah, that one. On the way, I asked her how class was and she totally blew off her cover. She admitted that she was a twin sister of the brother I had met already. So, she’s 16 and in high school. Great. Wrong. She hadn’t been in class because she dropped out last week. At that point, she asked me for cigarettes. I don’t smoke. She asked me for three bucks. I told her I wasn’t supporting her habit.

So she says to take her to her girlfriend’s house. Her girlfriend was a little better looking, but she was wearing all black. I thought nothing of this as black tends to make fat people look a touch thinner. So we walk in her house. We stroll by the living room. It looked normal. As did her parents. They asked who I was. A friend of her friend’s. So she’s like, “Wanna see my room?” What trouble could I get into with two 16 year-old girls 300 miles from home?

We walk in and her room is mostly dark. I notice a little table near the front with candles all over it. I look around and then say, “This is your room, huh?” She responds quickly, “Well, it is a sanctuary.” Huh? Wh-wh-wh-what? Sanctuary? You guessed it. I was in the middle of Kentucky with two Satan worshipping teen girls. She then tells me that she can’t wait to have a baby to sacrifice at the altar. I start looking to see where I could make a door for the fastest route to my car.

They continue talking and smoking cigarettes and I am asking myself why my legs won’t move to get me the heck outta there. It wasn’t “deer in the headlights” fear, it was more of “driving by a car crash” curiosity. They talked about going to this restaurant and finding boys to try to make out with. I was glad that they were looking beyond me at this point.

After about 5 minutes, we go outside, much to my liking. The girl I was supposed to be having a date with asks if I can drop them off at the restaurant. Sure thing!!! I drop them off at the restaurant and thank my lucky stars that I saw a McDonald’s three blocks before that. It was 6:15 and I had my dinner. I did think about hanging out until 8:00 so that my night wasn’t a total waste, but the more I thought about it, I just wasn’t ready to tempt fate a second time that night.

I drove home and had a message on my answering machine. Yeah, from the girl. “Hey, I never really said that I was sorry for lying to you. Just so you know, I’m not. I was looking for more of an athletic, military type guy to have sex with. Later loser.” I wasn’t Christian yet, but I already knew to thank God for letting me come out unharmed. It was definitely better to be lonely than dating a Satan worshipper.

So I’ll ask the same question Matt did at the end of his writing. Do any of you have a stupid story to share? Anyone else do something stupid before they got saved or even after they got saved? I know I’m not the only one that’s had a dumb blind date. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.

I love you guys!
Frank

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't Let the Fire Burn Out, HELP!

Hey gang!

If you are near my age, you will remember this commercial. “It’s Shake n’ Bake and I helped.” All of us want to help. I’ve not met many people that don’t have a desire to make the world a better place. As I awoke with a sore shoulder this morning, I remembered back to a time when help was all I could do.

I was 14 and was helping our Little League coaches give pitchers advice on throwing the ball accurately. I went over where to release the ball and placement of the fingers to throw a fastball. Most 10-12 year-olds aren’t ready for curves and sliders. You just want them to put it over the plate and make people swing. I had helped out a couple times and we split the team and had an exhibition. The two coaches took half the team each and both let me play first base coach.

There was nothing to do as a first base coach for a practice. I knew the signal for telling the kids to steal a base, so I tried to help by telling a runner to steal a base. To my unfortunate luck, the catcher was the slowest guy on either team. He was thrown out by half the base.

The coach begins yelling at the kid. “Who told you to go anywhere?” He answered that I did. The coach runs up to me and starts yelling. “Who do you think you are telling him to run?” I stammered that I thought it would help. He goes on. “Help? You think you’re Mr. Super Help. Why don’t you get the H*** out of here and never come back!” So I did. I never went back. It actually took me another nine years to get back on a baseball field as a coach. In another town.

It often happens like that in the church today. We get saved. We learn the basics. Then most churches start screaming from the pulpit that they need help. They really do. In most churches, it’s the same handful of people doing everything. The program, the singing, the kids’ ministry, the van or bus driving, the list goes on. The only problem is that many don’t teach you how to help. They go under the assumption that you already know how. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:2, “For I know your eagerness to help.”

So you begin doing some of this, some of that, stretching yourself here, throwing a pinch of yourself there and before you know it, you are as busy as that handful of folks and you either are drowning in a to-do list or you have no idea what you’re doing, but you’re doing it.

In the book of Leviticus, God gives the Levites to Aaron the head priest to help him get the religious sacrament type things done. Keep in mind, this was the beginning of the priesthood for the Israelites in the desert. No one really knew what they were doing other than the instructions given by God to Moses. To work with these elements, often required a preciseness. God even tells Moses that if a person between the ages of 25 and 50 wasn’t healthy and without disease that they probably shouldn’t be doing this.

In Chapter 10, two of Aaron’s sons were making the fire for some incense when they got a little overzealous and made too much fire. The NIV calls this an unauthorized fire. The fire of the presence of the Lord came out and consumed them both. It was a costly mistake for his sons, ending their lives.

Unfortunately, this happens in the church as well. People get rolling along, helping out immensely and they make a mistake. They aren’t killed, but they aren’t taught with reinforcement either. Their passion to help gets snuffed out. Not only do they stop helping. They often leave the church, period. This is when you hear phrases like, “Well, if God’s people are like that, I don’t want anything to do with them.” And that is often how they stay. No church, no God.

Proverbs tells parents to “Train a child in the way they should go and they won’t depart from it.” Sometimes, this is how we have to work with people who are helping us. We have to remember that not every Christian is on the same page with God or their walk.

Are you one of those people that want to help, but don’t know where to start? Here are a few suggestions for you. First, ask people who are significant in your walk with God where they think you may be able to help best. If you aren’t seeing any results with that, try asking someone who you see helping already. Believe me, especially if they have a tired look, they will be more than happy to give you advice on who to see to ask that question if they don’t have an answer for you. Lastly, ask people working at the Welcome Center of your church. They’ll direct you to the right person to talk to.

One of the true hopes of this ministry is to see you find your place in the church that you are going to and be a blessing to others. It won’t just make you feel good. It may change a life.

I love you guys!
Frank

Monday, July 13, 2009

Marriage Monday: Are Arrows Flying in Your Marriage(from Marriage Victory.com)

Hey gang!

It’s Monday, a new week and hopefully a season of my family’s life without sickness. After the summer bug visited for most of the week, I apologize for not having a Wisdom Wednesday or anything after that for last week. If you’ve been following The Bible in 90 Days study, that has been going very well. If you haven’t made it over there, go to http://omr90daysthroughthebible.blogspot.com. Otherwise, hopefully this week will be closer to normal.

Anyhow, we have an article I found at Marriagevictory.com that I thought was very good. Enjoy the read and have a blessed day with loved ones.

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Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows--bitter words. Psalm 64:3 (NKJV)

Picture this. Carrying a bow and some arrows, you walk into a room full of people. You then start shooting arrows all over the room. Some of those arrows hit the wall. Some hit the furniture. But some hit other people. You look over to see one of the arrows sticking out of the chest of your spouse. You cry out that you didn’t mean to. You were just shooting around and not planning on hitting anyone. But you did. And now they’re badly hurt. That arrow is out there and you can’t bring it back.

Your words can be like those arrows in that they can be devastating. People are hurt by words that are thoughtlessly spoken as much as words that are said with intent to harm. And like those arrows, you can’t take them back. They’re already out there. Those wounds can take a long time to heal. Many people are still hurting from words said years earlier.

And even worse, many are silently suffering from things said by their husband or wife.

Your mouth is not a weapon. Don’t use it as one.

Is your spouse walking around with an arrow sticking out of them? An arrow that you shot?

Whether you meant to or not, those words hurt.

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement. Matthew 12:36

It’s said of a person that can come up with a quick remark to something someone else said that they are quick witted. In actuality, they would really be slow witted. They would be quick mouthed, but their mind hasn’t thought quickly enough about the pain they may cause if they shoot off their mouth. Many people are hurt while someone is trying to be smart or funny. Make sure your remarks are not tearing others down.

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 1:19

Start taking time to think about what you are going to say to your spouse…and other people for that matter. Consider what negative effect your words will have on that person. Is what you are about to say something that you would want someone to say to you?

Remember, you can’t take those arrows back.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

99 Blogger Blogs, Are Milestones That Important?

Hey gang!

Time is something I never seem to have enough of, but always finding some is my desire. Today, I think about tomorrow’s Wisdom Wednesday being the 100th edition of One Man Revival here on Blogspot. It’s a milestone some probably thought we’d never see and one that I kept thinking earlier on about what I might say when I did get here.

When we reach milestones, we want them to be profound. Like we’ve accomplished something. As an avid sports guy, I’m always watching for athletes that break records and reach milestone that most never see. I remember being in high school and watching Pete Rose march toward history as he broke Ty Cobb’s hit record in 1985. Watching Cal Ripken overtake Lou Gehrig for the all-time consecutive games record was something else. I thoroughly enjoyed the friendship of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998 as they smashed ball after ball past Roger Maris’ single season home run mark.

The one I’ll always remember is Ripken though. He made a great comment in his post-game press conference. “I want to thank all of you for being here, but really I was just fortunate to be able to come to work and do something I love everyday.” No matter what the milestones, they take time. You show up, run the race, and go home each day.

The apostle Paul often compared life to being a race. A race that he didn’t just want to participate in, but to finish. In Acts 20:24, he says, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” That’s another thing about milestones. They are often task oriented with a goal in mind. Once he realized what the task was, Paul wanted to be able to tell people about Jesus for as long as he could.

The other main point of what Ripken tells us is that we need to be consistent. We need to keep showing up. Show up to church to be in fellowship with other believers and be fed the Word of God, show up to pray and listen for God’s guidance, show up to read our Bible and ponder what we read, show up when others ask us what God wills us to do on this big blue ball. That doesn’t mean show up three out of ten times like in baseball or even 70% to pass a class. It means what LeCrae calls, “Come hard or go home!”

We need to become consistent at being consistent. We are told to strive to do right. I like strive. It doesn’t mean to be perfect, but to attempt the best you have. If you are having doubts, read this from The Message Romans 14:23, “But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe-some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them-then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.”

God doesn’t want us to go after his kingdom halfway. If you need proof, there was a church of Laodicea that God speaks to in the book of Revelation. Starting in chapter 3, verse 15, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Have you ever left a drink in the car when you go in the mall and try to drink it after coming out on a hot day? It’s not a great feeling. The aftertaste is terrible. I don’t think we want to induce an ungodly indigestion.

Finally, as we reach milestones, we want to finish with God’s grace. I turned 40 this year. I’m thankful I still have my hair. I know that sounds rather vain of me. I’m not sure how I’d look bald. I used to get upset with the gray coming in and I still really don’t want it to turn white overnight, but I’m mildly OK when I think about friends and others that are my age that have less rather than more. It may not lay down easy after I sleep on it overnight, but that’s what water and shampoo are for.

Anyhow, enough about my vanity. God wants us to finish the race strong, but he also wants us to realize the grace that he gives us as we go. I’m 40 and thankful. I can only pray that as I go over 45, 50 and whatever else God allows that I can be as thankful and maybe, just maybe learn to complain a little less. That’s the major reason we remember a guy like Ripken. God gave him the grace to be graceful to us as the circus of insanity gathered. May he give that to us as well.

I love you guys!
Frank

Monday, July 6, 2009

Marriage Monday:Remember Your Story

Hey gang!

When I started the idea of Marriage Monday a few months ago, I’ve probably been one of the biggest beneficiaries of doing the blogs. The tips have blessed my marriage and some things that we have done, I’ve also been able to share. One of the questions I get from time to time is how did I meet my wife. I think it’s fun to look back and remember. Next Tuesday will mark seven years since I asked her to marry me. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it has been that long, until I look at the life we have created. We’ve been very blessed. So here we go.

It’s amazing that when you stop looking for love, it finds you. That’s what happened for me. I had just walked away from someone that I cared about that had no feelings for me. That may sound a little harsh, but it was true. As Biz Markie, she saw me as “Just a Friend.” Along with that, my great aunt that lived in a nursing home in West Virginia had just died. My mom and grandma went to the funeral. I had to stay behind because I had just started a new job. It was pretty much one of the worst weekends of my life.

But Sunday has always been a good day and I went to Bible Baptist and went to Sunday School with the high school teens. To say that they were the bright stars of my life might be a touch on the melodramatic, but they meant a lot during the tough times. So after that, I went to main service and did my rounds of saying hi to everyone. Right before I got to the teen section, I stopped off and said hello to Rosa Ramirez and Colleen Brotherton, two of my fellow singles who have been bright and happy people in my life.

There she was. She sat next to Colleen and on her other side was Carol. Amazingly, I can’t remember Carol’s last name. She was dressed well. Even in sadness, I made a mental note of her. Dressing well is important to me. Ask anyone. People that know my wife now may not realize how good a dresser she is most of the time because she wears set uniforms to work. She doesn’t get to dress up as often. But when she does, it really is something.

After that morning, I didn’t see her for a few weeks. My friend James Delagarza came to talk to me about teaching the Singles Again ministry because I had been part of it at one time and also had taught it before. I accepted and began going. The first Friday night that I went to teach, I saw her again. We talked briefly and then I presented the study portion of the evening. After the class, she stopped me and asked me if I was serious about people being able to call me if they had questions. She sounded a touch distressed, but I assured her that sure, she could call me.

Another five weeks of class pass and I had been floating through. What I mean by that is that I beat a couple subjects that I wanted understood a little too long and with all my other responsibilities, had left this ministry on the back burner as far as focus. After class, she called me on it. She didn’t beat me up, but she politely let me know that I needed to change the subject. It was nice to have someone tell me.

The next week she called me and asked if I would go to a wedding with her. No pressure. I’m thinking, I have nothing better to do on the 4th of July, so sure. Between that time, my friend James told me that we just needed to do a fun event without a study. It rained buckets that night and so the group decided on two things. One group went to eat at Dairy Queen and the other group went to the movies.

We ended up seeing Windtalkers. James and I always liked going to the movies right, so we stopped and got a pizza on the way. So during the most violent scenes, here I am eating pizza like I’ve seen this a hundred times before. She just stares at me. Not that I’m in love with this guy stare, but the this guy might have more than a few screws loose look. I laugh to myself. Here I am on what we realize later is a setup first date and I am looking like a complete goon stuffing myself.

After the movie, we talked about some of our friends and our concerns for them. A couple of our friends were just being stupid and needed some loving talk to kick them out of it. I think that was still on our minds when we met at the church Independence Day function on the 3rd. We had a good dinner and then left everyone for a walk and talk around Kissimmee Park. We spent hours talking about church. I’m not sure she realized she said this, but she asked me, “Do you ever think you are too wrapped up in other people’s lives to worry about your own?” I never answered that question, but boy howdy, did I ever think about it over the next 12 hours.

The next day was the 4th and we went to the wedding at Cypress Gardens. This was a beautiful place for a wedding. Flowers everywhere. However, I must admit that walking to the reception from the wedding was a little weird as all I could think about was I felt that I walking across a 19th century looking scene across a plantation. OK, it probably didn’t help to have “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” playing in my head.

Once we got to the reception, it was a great time. The music and food was excellent. I wasn’t sure how good of a connection I was making until I led her across the room. I took her hand and it felt natural. We both commented on it later and agreed. We stayed around another half hour or so and headed back to Orlando. On the way back, we passed a fireworks display. We pulled off the interstate and just watched. It was very cool.

She had the four day weekend and so we went out on Friday before group and then joined everyone at St Cloud Park for the singles’ holiday cookout. Afterwards, she had wanted to go to the beach, but I had bowling on Friday nights. So she decided that she was tired and went home.

Saturday came and we went to Family Christian Bookstore to look at potential studies for the singles. We had decided on a prayer study and a God’s will study. As we were driving back to my house, she told me that we needed to talk. We’d spent quite a bit of time talking already, but I sensed a serious tone. I began freaking. Maybe I talked too much. Maybe she had too much information. I had felt comfortable with her, maybe too comfortable. AAAAAAAAAA!

We pulled over at this mini mall between her house and mine. She looked at me and said, “Look. We can’t do this. I can’t just be your friend. I want more.” I chugged my soda. Too fast. I chucked. Not badly though. I then breathed a sigh of relief. She’s like, “What’s wrong?” I thought she’d wanted to break up with me. I was so thankful that wasn’t the case.

We went to my house so I could change and then we finally went to the beach at Cocoa and spent the evening there. Before we left, she kept looking at me. I’m like a total airhead. I kept rambling on about how we didn’t bring my camera. Finally, she turns me and kisses me. I think right then we knew. We knew that we would get married. We talked long term stuff on the way back from the beach. I took the long way on purpose. We had almost two hours to chat.

By Tuesday night, I had found the ring. It was a ring passed down from my great aunt Ida. It was a perfect fit. So July 12th, 2002, was the night of our engagement. October 26, 2002, Mindy and I got married. It’s been an interesting ride, but we have survived and it is getting better every day.

So, if you’d like to share part of your journey, take time in the comments below.

I love you guys!
Frank

Friday, July 3, 2009

Independence, It Began With The Declaration



Personally, this is my favorite Carman song, America Again. This is not the actual music video, but the actual one glitched frequently as I watched it on Youtube. However, this one is very, very good.

Hey gang!

Tomorrow, the United States of America will be 233 years old. It was July 4, 1776 that the United States signed the Declaration of Independence and left Great Britain’s control. So this weekend, we’ll see a lot of the things that an old car commercial said was America many years ago; Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, Chevrolet, fireworks. Oh yes, fireworks have become part of the culture of the 4th of July. I can still remember my first fireworks display at the old Skyline Drive-In back in the mid seventies.

If you’ve been an any American history class, you know that the reason that people fled Britain and the surrounding areas was for religious freedoms. Throughout the Constitution, there are references to God (in several forms).Ironically, there are only three references to God in The Declaration of Independence.

The first reference is from the first paragraph. I’ll post all of it because you need it to understand what is being said.

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature God’s entitle them, a descent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to their separation.”

This reference is talking about the rights that God gives us as humans. The declaration is saying that Britain was not giving these rights, or at least the leadership was not. The second reference continues that thought, “…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” Primarily what these colonists were telling the throne was that they would not surrender their rights any longer and wanted to make sure that they had their own rights protected.

The final reference is the close referring to God as Divine Providence, meaning that they would be relying on God that this would be the correct course of action that they have taken. They no longer believed that Britain was acting in their best interest. Seven years later, Cornwallis surrendered in war and America had fought for its freedom and won over Great Britain.

Many things have changed in 233 years, but if you look around this land this weekend you will see the pride of this country in flags flying everywhere. Enjoy the weekend, pray for America and be safe.

I love you guys!
Frank

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Who knew we'd be in the book?



The video choice today is from Michael O’ Brien, one of my favorites. This was his first video. It was the song that hooked me to buy pretty much every CD he’s ever done.

Hey gang!

It’s been a week since Michael Jackson’s death and I think that most people are tired of hearing about it. Unfortunately, we are nowhere near the end of this train wreck. The media has sunk their teeth in and will not give up this story for a while. There are probably many books to be written and I think I can say that most of them will not be flattering.

The idea of having all this in book form is sometimes downright scary. You know inquiring minds will want to know and there are sure to be millionaires made from all of this. But you have to wonder, if people knew that their lives would be taken in written form if they might have lived their lives differently.

You think about Michael, especially the years of what people considered crazy in his life. Everything from the nose changing, the skin getting lighter (even though that couldn’t be helped), the charges of molestation, holding his child out of the window. I’m sure there are others, but because of who he was is why we’ll remember them. But for how long?

Ecclesiastes 2:16 says, “For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in the days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man must die.”

I’m not sitting here calling Michael Jackson a fool. I am saying that most of the stuff I listed above will be forgotten someday. Of course, the books will make it remembered by some. The songs will be remembered. The videos too. The videos changed the way music was done for a couple decades. Videos are going out of style somewhat now.

That got me thinking more about the lasting of The Bible. The Bible has lasted through many generations. The stories have lasted even longer. If you think about it, some of these stories are over 3500 years old. We know that everything in the Old Testament has passed the 2000 year marker. Most everything else in the Bible will pass that milestone by the end of the century. These stories have lasted.

If you were part of the people crossing the Red Sea, did you think that this would be remembered forever as significant? No one in Moses’ time was thinking book deal, yet this story stands to show the Israelites leaving Egypt.

How about when David put the beatdown on Goliath? A small boy that would later become king beat a giant with a rock and sling. It was something that didn’t happen everyday. I’m sure David would love to know that it was written down in history. Unfortunately, he probably wouldn’t be as proud of his failures with Bathsheba or when he lost men as a result of not having enough faith in God to deliver him.

What’s almost as remarkable about The Bible is that all these men were inspired to write down the events. With the advances in technology, every two bit hack with a computer and enough genius to spell their name right is blogging on the internet about the events of the day. The events of their days.

Yes, that is where we have come as a society. Going to school, to work, even to the grocery store can be interesting enough for us to write about. I’ve seen some pretty funny things. One guy wrote about his ant collection. Another of the countless hours listening to LaToya Jackson, which might earn him a free pass somewhere. Someone even had a group of pictures up of gum that he chewed five years ago. I couldn’t find the site today, but I laughed for several minutes when I found that one.

So in remembering, it comes down to us. What do we write about? What do we tell the stories about? Those are the things that will last a little longer. Will they be remembered forever? Who knows. But one thing is for certain. One thing that we can rest assured on is that we have a God that will not forget us. Once we confess our sins and accept the free gift that Jesus gives us, we get put in a book that will never be erased. The Lamb’s Book of Life. A book that promises us that we will be with our Father God for the rest of eternity.

I love you guys!
Frank

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Favor is Just Part of the Blessing



Hey gang!

It’s time for another Wisdom Wednesday and today I started rereading Chapter 3 after looking up a word that I had been mulling over. A couple different people had mentioned this week to me that they had favor with the Lord and I find that word intriguing. I started looking to Solomon to see what he had said about the word favor.

Favor is mentioned nine times in Proverbs and there are some interesting remarks. Proverbs 8:35 tells us that whoever finds wisdom finds favor with the Lord. Proverbs 13:15 agrees as it tells us that good understanding wins favor. So by those two verses, we know that desiring knowledge helps us gain favor. Proverbs 12:2 tells us that a good man obtains favor from the Lord. So we have good and knowledge seeking so far.

Women will like Proverbs 18:22. “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Tell your husbands that the next time they want to argue about how much you bought at the mall. “Hey honey, don’t worry about what I bought. Just remember that you have favor from God just because you have me!”

Proverbs 19:12 speaks of a king’s wrath like a lion’s roar, but of his favor like dew on the grass. Sometimes I love looking at the grass right after sunrise just to see that morning dew supplying a little love for the hot day ahead.

You may have to think about Proverbs 28:23 for a moment. None of us like being put in our place, but Solomon tells us that, “He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.” We love to be patted on the back, but sometimes a little attitude adjustment is necessary and in the long run is more beneficial for both the rebuker and the rebuked.

Finally though, I looked at Proverbs 3 and realized something. God often shows me a little extra if I take a moment to reread. I came to see that gaining favor is only part of the package in wisdom. The first 10 verses give us five totally different blessings.

1. Proverbs 3:1-2 If we don’t forget the teaching of wisdom and keep the Lord’s commands, we will gain longer life and prosperity.

2. Proverbs 3:3-4 If we live with love and faithfulness, we will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

3. Proverbs 3:5-6 This is the one we hear most often. If we trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding and in all our ways acknowledge God, he’ll make our path straight.

4.Proverbs 3:7-8 If we don’t think too highly of ourselves, trust God and shun evil, we will have health in our bodies and nourishment to our bones.

5. Proverbs 3:9-10 Finally, if we honor God with our wealth, then our house will be filled with food and drink.

Don’t you like the idea of getting all that along with favor? I know I do. I mean living longer, favor, a good name, a straight walk, good health and never going hungry is a pretty good way to go. Thank you God. May we always be faithful to be blessed as you want us to be.

I love you guys!
Frank