Is Your Worship From the Heart?

Luke 19:28-40

When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples,  saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.  And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”  So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.  But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”  And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”  Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.  And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.  Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:  “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”  But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Sadly by the end of the week, the crowd was calling “Crucify him!”

Is your worship from the heart, or the kind of worship that could go from mass hysteria to mob violence?

We are physical, spiritual, social creatures.

The emotions that we reflect at various times in our lives are a part of these different elements.  When we are happy or depressed, joyous or sad, these emotions are the result of

  • Our physical well being
  • Our psychological outlook
  • Our spiritual relationship with the Creator

In extreme stress due to sickness, loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, marital problems, our entire being – body, soul and spirit or physical, spiritual and social are affected.

Here is the scene – Jesus’ triumphal entry. There were those who knew this Jesus

  • Mary Magdalene
  • A blind man
  • A crippled man
  • A leper
  • Others who had been touched in some way miraculously, wondrously by Jesus
  • Then there were those who only cried out “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” along with those who really knew Him, who really had a relationship with Him, but were expecting a King, an earthly rule, a change from the Roman occupation they were experiencing.  Expecting someone to set them free of Rome and its bondage.  Their cries were “Hosanna”, but what did it really meant?  Was it “What can I get out of this man being King – more money, more prosperity, an easier life style, a better job without Rome breathing down my neck?  Wow!  I could have a much easier life.” 

Just a few days later those who were caught up in the emotional frenzy of the day – Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – would be equally caught up in the emotional frenzy of the crowd who would cry out, “Crucify him!”

Who do you suppose really loved Jesus, the ones who had experienced a change in their life, their body or those just momentarily caught up in the events of the day?  It was hard to tell probably.  Their voices were all raised; they all shouted praises; it all sounded great. 

But there was a difference.

  • The ones who had really experienced a change in their life, the sinner, Mary Magdalene, the beggar, the lame man, the blind, all now restored – their praise was from the heart.
  • The others, part of the crowd, their emotional high was probably not too different to see, to hear, but there was a difference.  Their cry of “Hosanna” was for selfish reasons, was for what they wanted.

Is it really any different today?

We come into the church; we worship, we sing praises.  For those whose lives have really been touched by the Master, those whose sins have been forgiven, there is praise from the heart – the emotions of the heart, the soul, the spirit from way down deep inside.  Rejoicing, praising and worshiping God for who He is and for what He has done in their life.  Their worship is from the heart.

The others are giving lip service.  There may be emotion, perhaps frenzied, perhaps on the whole appearing not different from others, but theirs is worship from the lips, from being in the church, from perhaps longing or desire.  But their worship leaves them unchanged in their everyday life because there has not been a change in the inward man.

Their cry of praise, of worship could just as easily be cries of (do we dare say “crucify him”) for their life has not been touched by real change.

What kind is your worship?

Grateful for A Miracle!

Recently a local business in our community held a Arts Explosion. From November through the month of February local artists were invited to display their work. The business is involved with educating the public about agriculture and has a lot of public events at its facility. During this time people were asked to look at the paintings and vote for their favorite artist.

I entered one of my paintings. A very pleasant surprise when I won runner-up in the contest.

While I am grateful to have won this honor, what really makes it special is that this is the first painting I did after returning home from emergency surgery for a brain bleed. On a Thursday I had fallen in my art gallery in the basement of my condo. I hit my head on the concrete floor. Covid-19 had just started and I was reluctant to go to the hospital. By Sunday I was having a terrible headache and realized I should seek medical help.

After a CT scan at the local hospital they rushed me by ambulance to the hospital in our state capital about 20 miles away. Emergency surgery was required and I was in ICU for several days.

The doctor told my wife that I would need long-term rehabilitation. He listed several problems I might face including difficulty in communication, in swallowing, in walking.

But God had other plans. Within a matter of a few weeks I was walking without a walker and my communication improved almost immediately.

My wife and I are Scrabble addicts and she was worried that I might not be competitive with her any more. But I’m still able to beat her butt in the game. 🙂

Just a couple of weeks after coming home my son-in-love brought my art supplies up to the dining room table as I was still a little unsure about using the stairs to my art studio. I sat down at the table and painted this picture. I was inspired for this painting by a trip my wife and I had made a few years ago to Maine.

So – while I am thankful for winning second place out of over 40 artists who competed, I am even more thankful that I am alive and in good health.

Truly, God has been good to me.

Don’t Worry About the Storm

Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.  But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”  And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

This story is also told in Mark 6:45-51 and John 6:16-21

Jesus “made” His disciples get into the boat – this indicates it was at His direction that they left in the boat.

There are other Bible stories that tell about the safety of being in a boat.

  • Noah and the ark
  • Baby Moses in the basket set in the River Nile
  • Paul and those with him in a great storm

When you are alone in a boat in the middle of a storm.

  • There are no multitudes to impress
  • It appears that Jesus is not with you
  • Fear and doubt can quickly arise

Question:  Why did Jesus not stop the storm earlier?  Could it be that in the storm our faith is made stronger as we learn to totally put our trust in Him? It was as Jesus calmed the storm that the disciples realized who he really was. Many times it is in the storms of life that we learn more about the power and the love of Jesus.

As I think back over my life and the storms I have weathered – death of a grandson and a son; heart attack; brain bleed and my wife’s battle with cancer – I see how God was with us and how He kept us. I have truly learned the true meaning of this verse in Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

The Lord’s Prayer

Matthew 6:8-13

Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

  • “Our Father” – The Paternal Need:  When you pray, all needs are met by the benevolence of a loving Father.  This address to the Heavenly Father recognizes your relationship with Him.  You must first come on the basis of a relationship secured for you in the atoning work of the blood shed on Calvary’s cross by the One, Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:19-22 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

  • “Hallowed be Your Name – God’s Presence:  Enter His presence through praise.  You have constant access to God’s throne through praise and worship.  Wherever you will praise Him, He will come and establish His rule.

Psalm 100:4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.

  • “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done.” – God’s Priorities:  Declare that His kingdom priorities will be established in yourself, your church, your nation.  God desires to rule in every situation that concerns us.  As you set yourself to first seek His kingdom reign, you will find all that you need and more.

Romans 14:17 – for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

  • “Give Us” – God’s Provision:  Jesus told us to pray daily, asking Him to supply all our needs.  God has already provided to meet our greatest need by sending Jesus to die for us.  How much more can we expect Him to meet our daily needs from His vast storehouses of blessings?

Philippians 4:19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

  • “And forgive us” – God’s Forgiveness:  We need God’s forgiveness and we need to forgive others.  Daily set your will to walk in love and forgiveness.  This step opens the door for a greater flow of God’s grace in our lives, and the Lord will use this to bring freedom to others.

Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

  • “Do not lead us into temptation…deliver us from the evil one.” – Power Over Satan:  Pray a hedge of protection about yourself and your loved ones, and verbally put on the armor of God.  Seek to walk in righteousness and the Lord will guide you.  Resist the work of Satan, and you will have victory.

Job 1:9-10 – So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

Ephesians 6:14-18 – Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Psalm 37:23-24 – The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

James 4:7 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

  • “For Yours is the Kingdom” – Divine Partnership:  Praise God for sharing His kingdom, power and glory with us.  God daily calls us to partner in what He is doing.  We can join in His plans by daily walking in open communication and relationship with Him.

2 Timothy 4:18 – And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

John 17:22 – And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:

He Rejoiced

Acts 16:25-34

About midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the (other) prisoners were listening to them, suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s shackles were unfastened.  When the jailer, startled out of his sleep, saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was on the point of killing himself, because he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted, Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!  Then (the jailer) called for lights and rushed in, and trembling and terrified he fell down before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out (of the dungeon) and said, Men, what is it necessary for me to do that I may be saved?  And they answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping) and you will be saved, (and this applies to both) you and your household as well.  And they declared the Word of the Lord (the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God) to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and bathed (them because of their bloody) wounds, and he was baptized immediately and all (the members of) his (house-hold).  Then he took them up into his house and set food before them; and he leaped much for joy and exulted with all his family that he believed in God (accepting and joyously welcoming what He had made known through Christ).   The Amplified Version

HE REJOICED

  • He rejoiced.  He believed in God.
  • He rejoiced.  All his household believed in God.
  • He rejoiced.  His sins were gone.
  • He rejoiced.  No more condemnation.
  • He rejoiced.  His family was saved.
  • He rejoiced.  His name was written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • He rejoiced.  His family’s names were written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • He rejoiced.  There was a change in His life.
  • He rejoiced.  There was a change in the life of His family.
  • He rejoiced.  He opened His heart to receive the Word of God.
  • He rejoiced.  He received peace everlasting.
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to him.
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to his family. 
  • He rejoiced.  Peace had come to his home.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more guilt.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more sadness.
  • He rejoiced.  He had no more sorrowing for wrong doing.
  • He rejoiced.  He followed in obedience and was baptized.
  • He rejoiced.  His family followed in obedience and was baptized.

LET US REJOICE

  • Let us rejoice.  Our lives are changed.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our hearts are made anew.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our attitudes have been reprogrammed.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our family is different.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our job is different.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our walk is different.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our names are written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
  • Let us rejoice.  Our family’s names are written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.   
  • Let us rejoice.  We are different.
  • Let us rejoice.  There has been a change.
  • Let us rejoice.  Let us rejoice.  Let us rejoice.

What is the Greatest Miracle?

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

The Promise

  • Power
  • Witness

The Event

  • One accord
  • Prayer and supplication

Acts 1:14 – These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 2:1 – When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Results

  • Boldness (Peter spoke up)
  • Prophecy (the prophet Joel was quoted)

Acts 2:14 – But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

Acts 2:16 – But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel

The great miracle on the day of Pentecost

  • 3000 added to the church
  • They continued faithfully in doctrine/teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread (hospitality and communion) and prayer
  • There was signs and wonders
  • There was sharing with one another
  • There was unity

Acts 2:41-42 – Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:47 – praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

The Holy Spirit is a gift, not a miracle, but it will produce miracles in your life.  

The greatest miracle that happened was the gospel being preached and believers coming to know Jesus as Savior. The only event that causes angels to rejoice in heaven is when one soul comes to know Christ in salvation.  

Luke 15:10 – In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.

Is It Rain or Shine?

2 Corinthians 1:18-20

But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No.  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.  For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

How do we view our circumstances? Is it rain or shine?

The weather forecast always tells you what the percentage of rain, snow or stormy weather will be for the next day or the next month.  Most people usually consider rain, snow or bad weather as a negative.  We talk about the 40% chance of rain, but what about the 60% chance of sunshine

1 John 5:12-15 – He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.  Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

The promises in His Word establishes, seals us, anoints us and guarantees to us all that He has for us as long as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  To be carnal minded is opposed to God’s will.

1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 1:12 – Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”

The message found in these short passages are positive messages from a positive gospel, for His Word is positive.  To be anything else is to be negative.  There are NO grey areas.  His Word is either positive, forever unchanged or it is totally unreliable and untrue and cannot be depended upon.  Which is it for you?  You have to make up your mind.  If it is not reliable and true, then you might as well give up on your faith.  Either He really died on the cross for “whosoever believeth” or He did not.

There will always be naysayers.  There will always be skeptics and doubters.  The Word of God calls that double minded.

Where is my mind when I dwell on “I can’t”, “it’s impossible,” “there’s no way,” “it can’t happen?”

Philippians 4:8 –Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

This passage tells us to dwell on the positive, the good things in life.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Give your doubts to God and believe positive affirmations to what the Word says.

The Old Testament referred to the children of Israel “murmuring” for 40 years in the wilderness.  Do not grumble, but be thankful.  Put a smile on your face and praise God.  All the promises of God are positive.

Farmer Jones drove his big old farm wagon to market with a portion of his bumper crop of potatoes.  Someone complimented him on all the great crop of potatoes he had harvested.  His reply was, “Yeah, but not one rotten one to feed the hogs.” 

Ever hear of that old hymn of the church, “Great is Thy Faithfulness?”  His faithfulness is everlasting!

Thanksgiving

Ephesians 5:20

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 34:1 – “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Isaiah 63:7 – “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.”

Hebrews 13:15 – “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

I Peter 2:5 – “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

INSTANCES OF THANKSGIVING

  • Jacob – Genesis 32:10 – “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies.”
  • Samuel – 1 Samuel 7:12 – “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
  • David – 2 Samuel 9:1 – “Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
  • Daniel – Daniel 6:10 – “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”
  • One of the ten lepers – Luke 17:15-17 – “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.  So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”
  • For victory over death – 1 Corinthians 15:57 – “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Back From the Dead

Romans 6:8-11 (New Living Translation)

And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:8-11 (Amplified Bible)

Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

This testimony is not my testimony of how a life is changed.  It is rather a statement of fact of what God will do in a life, when that person surrenders to Him.  I want to focus on the goodness and the love of Jesus Christ my Lord and Master and for Him to receive all the glory. 

Looking back on my life from the post salvation view, I believe that I was called by God to the ministry at about the age of thirteen.  I was the sixth of seven children born in 1940 to poor parents who were still struggling from the affects of the Depression.  They had purchased a three room house in Bethalto Illinois in 1936 and attended the church just three or four blocks away.  We all lived in that three room house, minus two children that had died in infancy, along with a grandmother.  Togetherness…yes. 

I attended that church every time the doors were opened but even though I had experienced a closeness or call of God at thirteen I never was baptized, nor did I ever take communion.  No one ever questioned this fact.  Today I ask myself, why did they not question.  The deacons that passed out the Communion, the Pastor, the Sunday School teachers I had had, even my own parents never questioned this.

When I was eighteen, having finished high school, and having no job, I went into the Air Force and eventually spent twenty years, retiring in 1979.  Of course, as is often the case, I drifted away from Church and what relationship I had with God. 

I went deep into sin.  Drinking, carousing, smoking, cursing, dirty stories, porn, drugs, and all the things that sin does over time.  I was calloused to the things of God, even though my position in the service was working in the Chaplain’s office.   Again, no chaplain or supervisor ever questioned my behavior.  I was foul in my language and what I lacked in size I did very well at trying to make up for with my mouth.  My biggest problem was the alcohol.  One drink was never enough.  I believe now the reason I had this insatiable addiction to booze was due to lack of self control and insecurity.     At eighteen I weighed just 110 pounds and because of my insecurity, I was scared to death to say anything to anyone.  I was a different person when I was drinking.  I couldn’t remember my insecurity when I was drunk – so I drank.

On more than one occasion after a night out on the town drinking, I would come home in a taxi or someone would drive me home.  Several times I had to go looking for my car the next day.  Many times I just drove drunk not remembering a thing the next day.  God was merciful for He spared my life on many occasions when I was in that condition.  I remember one occasion as I was driving home in the middle of the night, drunk as usual, I heard an inward voice say to me, “Your mother’s praying for you.”

While I was stationed in Taiwan in 1973-74 my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I went back to see her on emergency leave because family did not believe she was going to live.

Up to this point I was without question, a sinner, lost, undone, chained, condemned, bound for hell and its torment, and without hope, bound for eternal separation from God’s love.  I was doomed, eternally lost.

Romans 5:8 (New King James Version)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

On my way back to Illinois on emergency leave, I had a layover in Seattle-Tacoma Washington International Airport.  All I could think about was my mom and losing her.  I was thirty four at the time.  It was past the hour of the bars being open, so I was alone with my thoughts, or so I thought.

At some point there in the middle of the terminal, while I was alone with my thoughts, there appeared what I would describe as a street sign. One part of the sign where the name of the street would normally appear said heaven and was pointed upwards.  The other part of the sign was pointed downward and it said hell.  As if this wasn’t enough of a shocker, I heard a voice inwardly that said, “And which way are you headed?”

Of course I knew enough about the bible and church that I knew where I was headed.  In my heart I answered and then I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ.   Hallelujah.

I got to St Louis International Airport and my brother picked me up.  I went to my sister’s house where my mother was staying.  She was taking chemo and radiation treatments and could not stay by herself.  I said nothing about the airport encounter to anyone. 

Several days later my mother was feeling a little better and she wanted to go home to her house and her own bed.  She told my sister that Paul could go with her and if she had any problem she was only about six blocks away.  That night as she slept in her own bed and I lay on the sofa I could not sleep.  In the wee hours of the morning I could sense an awesome presence of the Lord.   I believe His presence was in the whole house.  My mother was one of those great prayer warriors we often hear about.  That was probably the main reason she wanted to go to her own house, to have His presence.  I slipped off the sofa and sat on the floor near the door of her bedroom.  After a few minutes, she said, “Paul, is that you?”  She wanted to know if anything was wrong.  That is when I told her about what happened at the airport.  Her statement when I finished telling her of my encounter was “I knew something was different about you.”   My mother went into remission and lived for another five years when the cancer returned.

I went back to Taiwan where I was stationed.  The first thing I did when I got back was look up a fellow serviceman I  knew attended church.  He told me where we went and that Sunday I headed to the church.  

Of course, this foul mouthed, drinking serviceman was no longer foul mouthed and drinking every night of the week.  It did not go unnoticed and I began telling what God had done in my life.  The little church suddenly began to have other individuals and families that did not attend church show up.  A revival was truly in progress. 

The four or five busses going to the base some thirty miles away suddenly became filled with new Christians.  No more cursing, no more dirty stories were heard.  Instead, bibles were being read, questions about scriptures were being discussed.   One weekday we took a bunch of musical instruments up to the base from the church and did a gospel music concert during the lunch hour at the dining hall. 

Fast forward…now out of service…now a graduate of Bible School…now a definite call to the ministry.   In 1984 God gave me a Christian wife to work with me in my ministry.   Victory Tabernacle, Alpha Chapel, Bible Fellowship Church,  House of Prayer, Gospel Lighthouse, New Life Tabernacle, all churches where we served and Missionary to Iloilo Philippines along with Jessica our youngest daughter.  She is also a minister today.

Today I am retired – but you can never completely retire from God’s call.  My wife and remain active in our local church and try to share God’s love whenever and wherever we meet someone in need.

I am so thankful for a mother who never gave up but kept praying for me.  I am so thankful for the mercy and love of God that kept me and brought me back to Him.

Never give up praying for your family.  

  • Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Rejoice in the Lord Always

Philippians 4:4-7

  • New King James Version

Rejoice in the Lord always, Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

  • Amplified Version

Rejoice in the Lord always (delight, gladden yourselves in Him); again I say, Rejoice!  Let all men know and perceive and recognized your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit).  The Lord in near (He is coming soon), Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God, And God’s peace (shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace) which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

  • The Message Bible –

Celebrate God all day, every day, I mean, revel in Him!  Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.  Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.  He could show up any minute!  Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

  • New King James Version

“Rejoice in the Lord always, Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

  • Amplified Version

“Rejoice in the Lord always (delight, gladden yourselves in Him); again I say, Rejoice!  Let all men know and perceive and recognized your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit).  The Lord in near (He is coming soon), Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God, And God’s peace (shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace) which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

  • The Message Bible –

“Celebrate God all day, every day, I mean, revel in Him!  Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.  Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.  He could show up any minute!  Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”