Thursday, June 29, 2006

What Is Man?

What Is Man?
I am Your beloved, Your creation
And You have loved me as I am
You have called me chosen
For Your Kingdom
Unashmed to call me Your own
I am Your beloved
Unashamed to call me Your own!
Unashamed to call me Your own!

Alive From The Inside Out

I don’t want to live on the outside, I want to live from the inside out. I don’t want to live for the approval of men, I seek your blessed words, “Well, done thou good and faithful.” Lord, I read these things we call the beatitudes and I know I can never cultivate them apart from you.

Come into your garden; weed, prune, and cultivate your garden. Oh, by your Spirit help me to prepare a place for you. Come into your garden, come into your garden. Lord, just as you prepared a Garden for you and Adam to fellowship, commune, and simply rest in each others presence, by your spirit cultivate my heart into that Garden.

I am no longer my own; I am your garden. I am no longer my own; I am your garden. Your place of habitation; let this garden been a place of beauty, serenity, and a pleasure that you long to dwell. I have allowed weeds to flourish come and remove them your hand. These are the many distractions of my heart. The vines that have overgrown come and prune them; these are the thoughts that have caused me to think more highly of myself than I should. Jesus come and change the landscape of my heart, form it into a Garden worthy of a king. Kings have beautiful gardens.

The Beatitudes are simply the picture of the garden you want to create in my heart. Lord amend the soil, in my heart, yes you do this through your word and your Spirit. Let me commune with you precious Holy Spirit. You are the river of living water that flows through our garden. Oh, let me jump into your river fully; your waters are refreshing, satisfying and life giving. Oh, transform me into this garden for your delight. This one thing I do; I leave it all behind and I press on—towards the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Your words & your Spirit these sustain me, refine me, cultivate me.

Come and sit with me in this garden. Hold me in your arms; I am changed in your presence. I bath in your glory and become new; a new creature in you my Lord Jesus

In Love with Jesus

Let our hearts say that "I am Lovesick!" No other "lovers" destined for my heart. Oh, let me say that I am lovesick for You are the one...I wanna be just be with you God.

This is the desire of the Father that we would freely love Him with all of our heart, sould and mind. So let us run with all of our heart to the waiting embrace of the Heavenly Father. He is waiting. -- Yvette

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Got Any Rats? We All Do!

The post below about the man living with 1,000 pet rats really got me thinking. He claimed that it started out as a food for snakes (I won't even go there), and he couldn't let the snake eat one of the rats. Then before he knew it, he was sick and the rats took over the place. He was feeding them 250 pounds of food a week. They consumed his life. By all outward appearances he was an ordinary retiree. But inside his private space there was another life growing.

This story has me thinking about sin and how it can start out small and manageable, like the little "white lie", and yet soon it grows. Requiring more and more of our energy to manage. Then one day it is bigger than we could have ever imagined. Sin is like that, we allow it a place in our hearts and for years it is manageable, then suddenly, it morphs and takes over our lives.

The truth is we can't manage the sin in our lives and we are even more powerless to eradicate it. But Jesus says I will come in and deliver you from that sin. We have limited the "Gospel" to a moment of salvation where we confess Jesus and our guilt is removed (true YES)....but the Gospel is more, it is the sanctification of our souls. It is the process by which guilt is removed and the rodents are driven from our lives. When we discover a few more have shown up, He promises to eradicate them.

The message of Grace is only complete when we serve it up with a call to holiness. God says be holy as I AM holy. When He calls us to something He will empower us to accomplish it. Some will cry: "legalism"...Legalism is calling you to do something we ourselves are unwilling to do. Legalism results in a false appearance of holiness. Legalism is when I put on a yoke on others, Holiness is the Father calling you to live like your father.

Holiness is simply exchanging our ways for His ways. Jesus wants to exterminate the rats in our lives...but He only does it when invited. In Revelation Jesus says behold I stand at the door and knock...we use that verse for altar calls to unbelievers. However, in the context, Jesus is speaking to believers in a church.

Got any rats? We all do and its time to drive them out!

Man Lives with 1,000 Rats


Roger Dier, packed 1,000 pet rats into his Petaluma home,He has lived quietly since moving to Petaluma in 1978, where he rents a one-room cottage where animal control officers found 1,000 rats this week.Dier, who was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty, said he became ill earlier this year and lost control of his fast-breeding pack of pets."I admit it is a gross irresponsibility on my part," he said. "It came from denial. I didn't want to face the truth of it."In an interview outside his home,

Dier, now 66, said he has had a deep compassion for animals since childhood.He doesn't squish spiders or bugs. He feels bad if he accidentally cuts an earthworm in half while digging a hole. It bothers him to see animals, such as possums, run over on the road.He initially was reluctant to talk about his case, and said he fears the reaction to his story.Dier said depression, loneliness, denial and his recent bout with ill health were to blame for all the rats.Petaluma animal control officers were expecting to find cats when they went to his house Tuesday following complaints from neighbors about the smell.Instead, they seized Dier's rats.Most of them were kept in cages, though a few had escaped and he said he was trying to catch them.Dier has had other animals over the years.He currently has seven cats in his home, and he feeds three abandoned cats outside. He once had 30 snakes. And he also is part-owner in two race horses, he said, showing his horse racing ID card for proof.

One of the snakes, a three-foot-long Indian python, actually led to the rat pack, he said.The snake wouldn't eat pre-killed rats. So Dier fed it young mice and rats he bought from the pet store. One baby rat kept escaping the snake and pleading for its life with little squeaks, Dier said."I couldn't stand it," Dier said. "I took the rat out of the cage and got to know it."He called her Miss Mousey, and when she died he replaced her with four more bought from a pet store.Those proliferated, some escaped into the house, and six months ago, when Dier was sick with the flu and bronchitis, he couldn't keep up with the fast breeding population."I did not set out to do this," he said. "I do acknowledge irresponsibility and there's a case for laziness, denial, incompetence and just plain foolishness."But "it was not all my fault," he added. "It was this force of nature that overwhelmed me."

A single pair of breeding rats can produce several generations and hundreds of offspring in a matter of months.Dier was buying 250-pounds of rat food every five days and said he felt some relief that the rats were seized because he couldn't keep up with caring for them and knew it was a dangerous situation."I was aware of the crushing burden of having to take care of them all," he said.

By all appearances Dier is an everyday retiree.He drives a new Toyota Tacoma. He dresses in jeans, a Hawaiian shirt, sandals and a gold-plated watch. He has a bushy moustache and an almost-shaved balding head.He worked in an assembly plant and as a craftsman making stained glass, but now lives off a small inheritance from his mother. He has a daughter in Napa but no other family.His home, which he's rented for 20 years, reeks of urine. The floor is covered with the chaff of feed mixed with rat droppings. The Sheetrock walls have holes chewed in them. Everything is gnawed on.He sleeps there, but leaves during the day to an office. He doesn't have food or prepare food at the house.He hangs clothes outside to avoid the smell.

He said the rats are misunderstood.They are gentle, lovable, clean creatures and are endless source of entertainment, he said. "There is nothing cuter than a baby rat," he said. "They melt your heart."He worries about the rats being euthanized or adopted out to abusive homes."Right now I feel a lot of grief," he said. One rat, which was injured, was euthanized as of Friday, according to animal control.But the city takes legal control of the rats Sunday, and staff will come in to start euthanizing rats that are not socialized enough to adopt out, said Nancee Tavares, manager of the Petaluma animal shelter.People started coming by on Friday offering to adopt some of the rats

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Before Your Eyes

Lord,I want to live before your eyes; I want to stay before your gaze. Just keep me steady here. I want to live before your eyes; I want to stay before your gaze. Just keep me steady here.

Lord, I want to yearn for You; I want to burn with passion over You and only You. Lord, I want to yearn for You; I want to burn with passion over You...only you.

I want to live before Your eyes; I want to stay before your gaze. Just keep me steady here. I want to be found faithful I want to be found steady till the end. I want to be found faithful, I want to be found steady. I want to be found steady. Till the end.

I Desire You

Songs from the Prayer Room

Come live in me
All my life take over
Come breathe in me
I will rise on eagles wings

Come live in me
All my life take over

Lord, I give you my heart
I give you my soul
I live for you alone

Every breathe that I take
Every moment I'm awake
Lord have your way in me

Father, I desire
I am in love with your son
I would give anything
I would give anything

Father, I desire
I am in love with your Son
I would give anything
To know Him to be with Him

O Jesus I desire
I desire You Jesus
I desire You I desire You

To know Him to be with Him

Monday, June 19, 2006

So Blessed!

Fathers Day...isn't without kids. These two the Lord has given me are incredible! They are growing up learning to love God and love people. Last night they were worshipping in Service with Misty Edwards and band; while singing/shouting out-"I pledge my allegiance to Jesus! To Jesus. To Jesus!" Hearts were ablaze with worship. Who needs a tie or aftershave, when you get the privledge of watching two little hearts be formed into the image of Jesus!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

How to Encounter Jesus’ Fiery Affections

A teaching by Diane Bickle
I. God’S love: Both the Father and his Son are madly in love with you!

A. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; 25 "O Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou did send Me; 26 and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:24-26)

B. Mary or Martha?

38 A woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister, Mary, who was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and came to Him, saying, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Tell her to help me." Jesus answered, "Martha, Martha, you are worried & bothered about so many things; only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

C. A Worker or a Lover?

1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:… 2 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not… 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. 4 ' I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 'Remember from where you have fallen, repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand -- unless you repent.” (Rev. 2:1-5)

D. Do You Know Who Your Husband Is?

24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deut. 4:24) & (Heb. 12:29)

E. What Does Loving Jesus Look Like?

3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)

34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)

II. WHAT DO YOU DESIRE? wHAT do you seek? – JOHN 1:35-46

38 They said, "Rabbi where are You staying?" 39 He said "Come, and you will see." They came and saw where He was staying; & stayed with Him that day, it was about the tenth hour. (John 1:38-39)

41 "We have found the Messiah"... 45 "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth." 46 Philip said to him," Come and see.” (John 1:41-46)

III. the reward of seeking

A. Jesus bestows true identity – i.e. Simon becomes Peter (v. 42) and Nathaniel is described as being “without guile” ( v. 47).
42 Jesus said, "You are Simon… you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter)…47 Jesus saw Nathanael and said…, "An Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" (Jn. 1:42-47)

B. True faith is born; God’s Word comes to life

11 This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him… 17 His disciples remembered it was written, "Zeal for Thy house will consume me." 22 When He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered He said this; & they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken. (John 2:11-22)

IV. CultivatING intimacy with jesus

3 "Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I took great delight and sat down, And his fruit was sweet to my taste. (Song 2:3)

5 “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, Leaning on her beloved…” (Song 8:5)

37 ...Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” (Jn. 7:37-38)

V. a revelation of his love PRODUCES FAITHFULLNESS

A. Our Choices and His Kindness

32 I shall run the way of Thy commandments, For Thou wilt enlarge my heart. 33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Thy statutes, And I shall observe it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Thy law, And keep it with all my heart. 35 Make me walk in the path of Thy commandments, For I delight in it. 36 Incline my heart to Thy testimonies, And not to dishonest gain. 37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Thy ways. 38 Establish Thy word to Thy servant, As that which produces reverence for Thee. (Ps. 119:32-38)

B. This Revelation Grants Us Entrance into our Destiny

10 ...that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. ( Philp. 3:10-12 )

Watch your thoughts; they lead to your words. Watch your words; they lead to your actions. Watch your actions; they lead to your behavior. Watch your behavior, it leads to your character. Watch your character; it determines your destiny.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Learned or Learner

I used to be a learned professor. Now I'm a learner.

When I was learned, life was a quiz show. Now that I'm a learner, life is a discovery channel.

When I was learned, it was a question of how much I knew. Now that I'm a learner, it's a question of how much I'm being stretched.

When I was learned, knowledge was everything. Now that I'm a learner, kindness is everything.

When I was learned, knowledge went to my head. Now that I'm a learner, knowledge travels the longest foot in the universe–-the foot that separates my head from my heart.

When I was learned, I used to point my finger and pontificate. Now that I'm a learner, I slap my forehead all the time.

When I was learned, I used to think I was the best. Now that I'm a learner, I do the best I can.

When I was learned, I was frightened of new ideas. Now that I'm a learner, I'm just as frightened of old ideas.

When I was learned, I looked to the past: to have confirmed the set of beliefs I already had. Now that I'm a learner, I look to the future: to grow, be stretched, and remain open to what I don't know.

When I was learned, I knew where I was going. Now that I'm a learner, I don't know where I'm going----but I know whom I've going with.

When I was learned, I loved to talk. Now that I'm a learner, I'd prefer to listen, because that's when I'm learning.

When I was learned, I had something to teach everybody. Now that I'm a learner, everybody has something to teach me.

When I was learned, I was impatient with dumb people. Now that I'm a learner, I'm grateful when people are patient enough to dumb down to me and care enough to smarten me up.

When I was learned, I thought that all knowledge was a form of power. Now that I'm a learner, I suspect much knowledge is a form of weakness.

When I was learned, life was knowledge about God. Now that I'm a learner, life is knowledge of God.

When I was learned, I knew where my nose was headed. Now that I'm a learner, I go where my nose leads me.

When I was learned, mission meant "go to give." Now that I'm learned, mission work is becoming pilgrimage: mission means "go to learn."

When I was learned, my life revolved around what other people thought about me. Now that I'm a learner, my life revolves around what I think about myself and what God thinks about me.

When I was learned, from the high ground of hindsight I instructed the past on where it went wrong. Now that I'm a learner, the past instructs me about how I can right the future.

When I was learned, the power and mystery were in the big words. Now that I'm a learner, the power and mystery are in the small, simple words.

When I was learned, I thought that the educational system was so much better than the market, the other main channel for the mediation of cultural capital. Now that I'm a learner, I realize just how closed and controlling the knowledge industry can be.

When I was learned, I deemed the great threats those made dangerous by strength. Now that I'm a learner, I deem the great threats those made dangerous by weakness.

When I was learned, I loved to fill out questionnaires. Now that I'm a learner, questionnaires are an exercise in saying "I Dunno" since I keep checking the "don't know" box. ("Don't know" doesn't mean "don't care")

When I was learned, I imagined myself the church's resident "know-it-all." Now that I'm a learner, I'm more willing to admit I don't know everything.

What I was learned, I was always trying to speed things up. Now that I'm a learner, I'm always trying to slow things down, even when I'm speeding up.

When I was learned, I bragged about how our knowledge is an ever deepening ocean. Now that I'm a learner, I shudder at how our wisdom is an ever-shrinking drop.

When I was learned, I said, "Take it from me." Now that I'm a learner, I say, "Don't take it from me." I boast no immaculate perceptions. I see through a glass dimly.

I'm still an academic. As a theologian, I have my little bottle of Windex and am cleaning that glass for all it's worth. I'm trying to get rid of as much fog and film as I can. But the best I will ever to is to "know in part." I will never "know it all." God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8) , and God's thoughts not our thoughts.

Copyrighted by Leonard Sweet

Great Bible Software & It Is Free

This Bible Software program is free and it is nearly as good as the $300 dollar program I have (Thanks to Johnny K I got a legal copy for much less) This program has commentaries, studie aides, and other books. Let all of your friends, know of this resource. Bible study has never been easier. Its free and they add new resources frequently.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Inward Disciplines...Prayer

Your own children can and should be changed through your prayers. Pray for them in the daytime with their participation; pray for them at night when they are sleeping. One delightful approach is to go into the bedroom, as a couple, and lightly place your hands on them and bless them (Mark10:13-16) He has given you the ability to do the same. Blessed is the child whi is blessed by adults who know how to bless!

"Flash Prayers" is an excellent idea developed by Frank Laubach in his many books on prayer. He purposed to learn how to live so that "to see anybody will be to pray! To hear anybody, as these children talking, that boy crying, may be to pray!" Flashing hard and straight prayers at people is a great thrill and can bring interesting results. I have tried it, inwardly asking the Joy of the Lord and a deeper awarness of His presence to rise up within every person I meet. Sometimes people reveal no response, but other times they turn and smile as if addressed. In a bus or plane we invite Jesus to walk down the aisles, touching people on the shoulder and saying, "I love you. My greatest delight would be to forgive you and give you good things. You have beautiful qualities still in the bud that I would unfold if only you will say yes. I'd love to rule your life if you'll let me." If thousands of us "experiment" with "swishing prayers" at everyone we meet and would share the results, we could learn a great deal about how to pray for others. We could change the whole atmosphere of a nation if thousands of us would constantly throw a cloak of prayer around everyone in our circle of nearness. Units of prayer combined like drops of water, make an ocean which defies resistance.

We must never wait until we feel like praying before we actually pray for others. Prayer is like any other work; we may not feel like working, but once we are at it for a bit, we begin to like working. We may not feel like practicing the piano, but once we play for awhile, we feel like doing it. In the same way, our prayer muscles need to be limbered up a bit and once the blood flow of intercession begins, we will find that we feel like praying.

We need not worry that this work will take up too much of our time, for "It takes no time, but it occupies all our time." --Excerpts from Richard Foster's Book A Celebration of Discipline

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Diet Coke & Mentos Off Topic But Lots of Fun

Try This Out...It's What We Do For Entertainment In The Mid-West

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Something We Learn

Real prayer is something we learn. The disciples askede Jesus, "Lord teach us to pray"(luke 11:1) They had prayed all their lives, yet something about the quality and quantity of Jesus' praying caused them to see how little they knew about prayer. If their praying was to make any difference on the human scene, there was somethings they needed to learn.

It was liberating to me to understand that prayer involved a learning process. I was set free to quesiton, to experiment, even to fail, for I knew I was learning. For years I had prayed for many things and with great intensity, buty with only marginal success. Buth then I saw that I might possibly be doing some things wrong and could learn to do them differently. I took the Gospels and cut out every reference to prayer and pasted them on sheets of paper. When I could read Jesus' teaching on prayer at one sitting, I was shocked. Either the excuses and rationalizations for unanswered prayer I had been taught were wrong orJesus' words were wrong. I determined to learn to pray so that my experience conformed to the words of Jesus rather than try to make His words conform to my impoverished experience.

P.T. Forsythe says, "Prayer is to religion what original research is to science."

Usually the courage to actually go and pray for a person is a sign of sufficient faith. Frequently our lack is not faith but compassion. It seems that a genuine empathy between the pray "er" and the pray"ee" often makes the difference. We are told Jesus was moved with compassion for people. Compassion was an evident feature in every New Testament healing. We do not pray for people as things but as persons we love.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

What's Prayer Got To Do With It?

"You ask and do not recieve, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions" James 4:3. To ask rightly involves transformed passions. In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God's thoughts after him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things he loves, to will the things he wills. Progressively we are taught to see things from his point of view.

All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of thier lives. The words of the gospel of Mark, "And in the morning, a great while before day he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed," stand as a commentary on the lifestyle of Jesus. David' desire for God broke the self-indulgent chains of sleep:"Early will I seek thee" Psalm 63:1

When the Apostles were tempted to invest their energies in other important and necessary tasks, they determined to give themselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). Martin Luther, declares, "I hasve so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer. He held it a spiritual axiom that "He that hath prayed well has studied well." John Wesley says, "God does nothing but in answer to prayer," and backed up his conviction by devoting two hours daily to that sacred exercise. The most notable feature of David Brainerd's life was his praying. His journal is permeated with accounts of prayer, fasting and meditation. "I love to be alone in my cottage, where I can spend much time in prayer."

Andoniram Judson sought to withdraw from business and company seven times a day in order to engage in the holy work of prayer. He began at dawn; then at nine, twelve, three, six, nine, and midnight he would give time to secret prayer.

Many of us, however are discouraged rather than challenged by such examples. Those "giants of the faith" are so far beyond anything we have experienced that we are tempted to despair. But rather than beating ourselves for our obvious lack, we should remember that God always meets us where we are and slowly moves us along into deeper things. Occassional joggers do not suddenly enter an Olympic marathon. They prepare and train themselves over a period of time, an so should we. When such a progression is followed, we can expect to pray a year from now with great authority and spiritual success than at present.

In our efforts to pray it is ease for us to be defeated right at the outset because we have been taught that everything in the universe is already set, and so things cannot be changed. And if things cannot be changed, why pray? We may gloomily feel this way, but the Bible does not teach that. The Bible "pray-ers" prayed as if their prayers would make an objective difference. The Apostle Paul gladly announces that we are "co-laborers" with God"; that is we are working with God to determine the outcome of events (1Cor. 3:9) It is Stoicism that demands a closed universe not the Bible.

Many people who emphasize acquiescence and resignation to the way things are as "the will of God" are actually closer to Epictetus than to Christ. Moses prayed boldly because he believed his prayers could change things, even God's mind. In fact, the Bible stresses so forcefully the openess of our universe that, in an anthropomorphism hard for modern ears, it speaks of God contsantly changing His mind in accord with His unchanging love (Exod. 32:14 & John 3:10)

This comes as a genuine liberation to many of us, but it also sets tremendous responsibility before us. We are working with God to determine the future! Certain things will happen in history if we pray rightly. We are to change this world by prayer. What more motivation do we need to learn this loftiest human exercise? Do you believe in Prayer? For real?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Frontier of Spiritual Life

Prayer catapults us onto the frontier of the spiritual life. Of all the Spiritual Disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father. Meditation introduces us to the inner life, fasting is an accompanying means, study transform our minds, but it is the Discipline of prayer that brings us into the deepest and highest work of the human spirit. REal prayer is life creating and life changing. "Prayer--secret, fervent, believing prayer--lies at the root of all personal godliness," writes William Carey.

To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change than we will abandon prayer as a noticable charachteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ. William Blake tells us that our task in life is to learn to bear God's "beams of love". How often we fashion cloaks of evasion--beam-proof shelters--in order to elude our Eternal Lover. But when we pray, God slowly graciously reveals to us our evasive actions and sets us free from them.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jesus Loves Raymond

What Now, Raymond?After nine seasons, the popular sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond broadcast its final episode in May 2005. Due to the series, the star, Ray Romano, went from struggling stand-up comedian to one of the highest-paid actors on TV.

At the conclusion of the last day's filming, Romano spoke to the studio audience, reflecting on his past and his future. He read a note his brother had stuck in his luggage the day he moved from New York to Hollywood nine years earlier. It said, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" A tearful Romano looked up and told the audience, "Now I'm going to work on my soul."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Primary Reward


Those that battle with boredom are called entertainers, and their reward is the quick passage of time.

Those who battle with causes are called activists, and their reward is a measure of justice on earth, here and now.

Those who do battle with spirits and principalities, partnering with the God of heaven for the good of man and magnification of the one thing Holy...those kind are called intercessors, and their ultimate reward is the fullness of God...Heaven coming to earth and bringing justice down with it for eternity.Ps 68:24, 25 & 28Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. Summon your power, O God. Show us your strength, as you have done before...It's fascinating to me that the ultimate procession of the King of Glory is not made up of heavily armed guards, but rather singers, musicians and dancers. What other warring clan goes forward this way? Surely He knows how to do battle better than we do.And that's what's on my brain right now. 10:25 AM, plus or minus a few seconds. Written by Randy Bohlender Posted without permission by Chris Ferguson

Friday, June 02, 2006

Update on Prayer For Heidi & Rolland Baker

The victory...

It's absolutely amazing to be receiving so much support from all over the world as a result of your spreading our news through your networks and connections! Clearly, Jesus has some creative options, and is using them in response to the prayers of so many!

We were trying to meet with the Frelimo political party chief in Pemba for days, but we were refused and ignored, even when Heidi and our staff waited in his office for hours. Finally one afternoon his secretary was gone, and Heidi and our provincial pastor just marched up to the chief's office and persuaded him to listen.

On the way she met the author of the article, who was very ill at ease and embarrassed.The party chief did not respond well at first, and in fact kept threatening us, saying that not only would they not retract their story, but that they were going to print even more against us in the newspaper.After quite a long time, though, there was a sudden big shift. Heidi had been explaining our hearts and work, softly and in tears. We are for the country, have nothing against the party, and simply want to love and help. She explained what we do with children and education, and Pastor José boldly told of our evangelism all over the province. We have no political agenda, and want to do good to everyone we meet, in the name of Jesus. As they kept sharing our motivation and purposes in Mozambique, the chief softened and broke.

He believes us, he said, and confessed to having a hard knot in his heart over all this. He said he was so relieved to be free of this hardness, and that this had become a great day in his life.It seems that some pastors or people in our Iris churches somewhere had been stirring up some political activism under our name without our knowledge or involvement, and word had gotten back to the capital. The president of the country himself became concerned, and had ordered the country's justice department to investigate Iris. He also was the one who asked the newspaper in Pemba to publish this article! A lot of people got inflamed, using the incident as a means to resist our presence in Mozambique.But this chief of the Frelimo Party (the party we were accused of undermining) in Pemba melted before Heidi, and now has promised to have another article published correcting the previous article. We haven't seen that article yet, however, and are waiting for the result.

The situation right up until almost five o'clock on Tuesday was actually very critical, and looking very dangerous for Iris, more than we had communicated. The chief's reversal was huge.But Jesus had something else up His powerful, creative sleeve. Yesterday Heidi arrived at the Pemba airport to fly out on another speaking trip, and very uncharacteristically was early. But she was there at the airport just as the president's wife and entourage landed for a big Frelimo political event in Pemba. As the provincial governor and others who has been attacking us looked on, Heidi connected with local leaders who were putting on a dance at the airport to welcome the VIPs. Heidi was enthusiastically asked to dance with the children in their Frelimo t-shirts, and soon was blending in comletely with their program, all of which was broadcast on national TV. She got on famously with everyone, and clearly showed that she and Iris had no problems with the party and the people of Pemba. All this, of course, will get back to the president.

Our Moslem friends in Pemba have been seen meeting with the instigators of the anti-Iris reports, but they are dealing with huge pressure from their families and the Moslem community.We do need very much to address these issues among our pastors and church people. As in China, believers need to build a reputation for being the best citizens, the most reliable, honest, hard-working people around who will be good for the country. We have only one life to give, and in such situations we need to give it for the Gospel and not for secondary issues... We are sure that the vast majority of our church people have no desire to use Iris for political purposes.So, Jesus is doing what only He can do, as usual, and we trust Him to be with us always in everything...

We love all of you for the way you have lifted us up before the King, and have encouraged us so overwhelmingly... We will keep sending you updates...Much, much love in Him! --Rolland and Heidi

More songs from the Prayer Room

I want a love that will last
I want a love that will never fade away

No one can love me like you love me Jesus
No one can love me like you love me

This momentary light affliction is working in me
An eternal weight of glory

This momentary light affliction is working in me
An eternal weight of glory

I found a love that will last
I found a love that will never fade away

I found a love that will last
I found a love that will never fade away

Oh, Jesus you are working in me
Your love shaping and changing me

This momentary light affliction is working in me
An eternal weight of glory

This momentary light affliction is working in me
An eternal weight of glory

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Can you define comtemplative prayer?

Since intimacy with Jesus is so very personal, and His way of coming to us is defined by Him according to who each of us are in relation to Him, our experience with Him will be unique and very personal. We do not want to define contemplative prayer by a certain method.

Through the ages this devotional approach has been called various names. Madame Guyon called it, "The Inner Way." Brother Lawrence named this practice of contemplation and fellowship, "Practicing His Presence." Others have referred to this practice by such names as; "Waiting on God," "Basking in His Presence," "Centering Prayer," "Beholding the Christ Within," "Way of the Heart," and the "Prayer of Silence". These names and many others are as diverse and unique as the individuals who pursued communion with the Indwelling Christ.

In Contemplative Prayer, a silent waiting in faith on the Indwelling Christ is our beginning point. Our intention is to focus on our reality with the Indwelling Christ, who has taken up His abode at the center of our being. This devotional life begins with an opening up of our hearts to receive from Him. Our first priority is not to give something to Him or even love Him. We are simply responding to the hunger that He has put in our hearts, we are responding to this hunger by quieting ourselves in His presence to receive His love.

Having received His love, we now are able to begin to return love back to Him. Contemplative Prayer is not so much about searching to "go" someplace to find Him; Christ is already there within us, waiting for us to come apart in silence and to know that He is God and that He works on behalf of those that wait on Him.
In one sense there is no place to get to in contemplative prayer because He is already there, waiting for us. Yet, in another sense there is an interior castle within each one of us that the Lord loves to invite us into. There are depths in His presence reserved for those who come apart and give Him first place. This is our entrance into the glorious inner life that Christ died to give us. May this journey within lead us to the very depths of union and perfect love as Christ lives His life through us!

"Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful and loving infusion of God, which, if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love."--St. John of the Cross
--Used without permission from Chris & Susan Berglund's site