Archive | July, 2013

Quote: Is it God’s will to heal?

31 Jul

“If you believe that God makes people sick to develop their character then Jesus sure messed up God’s plan by healing them ALL!” by Kris Vallotton

“Jesus healed a few people who came to Him, but He told most of the people that He felt their pain, they needed to be sick a little longer so their sickness would build great character in their lives.  And if they wanted to grow their character faster they should run out in front of a chariot to accelerate the process!  Mess 6:66  God Bless you!” by Kris Vallotton

Recent tweets from Kris Vallotton ministries.

To subscribe to Kris’ tweets: http://twitter.com/kvministries

Quote: In response to the trend of tolerance of sin

23 Jul

“When you get rid of the Creator, you get rid of design.

When you get rid of design, you get rid of purpose.

When you get rid of purpose, you get rid of the need to answer to God for your choices in life.

When there is no need to answer to God for your life choices, you dismantle the fear of the Lord.

And for perspective: “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”  (Prov 1:7)

“The implication that you were born a certain way which leads you to sin, is a mockery and an absolute rebuttal to the blood of Jesus.”

“Grace does not overlook sin, it empowers righteous living!”

 

by Bill Johnson (from Sunday AM sermon – 7/21/13)

For free weekly downloadable podcasts from Bethel Church: www.ibethel.org

 

“If you’re not free from sin until you die, then Jesus isn’t your savior; death is.” – Georgian Banov

Quote: Kings operate by inheritance

20 Jul

“If we are going to advance the Kingdom of God, we must think as kings.  Kings don’t sell their time, knowledge, or investments; they operate by inheritance.” – by Jonathan Welton

roguetheologian.com

Follow Life… A Little Child Can Do It!

11 Jul

There are 613 laws to keep if I want to live in right standing with God… according to the Old Testament!!  And Jesus said, under that system, if I break even one, then I’ve broken them all.  Wow, I don’t know about you, but I’m discouraged before I even get started.  There’s just no way!  But did you know that Jesus radically lowered the difficulty factor for being able to come to Him and walk with Him?  Listen to this, “Except you become like a little child, you cannot even enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 18:3).  In other words, the Gospel and walking in the fullness of God’s favor is so easy a child can do it.

So why has religion created so many ‘hoops’ and made it so hard to walk with God?  Let’s see if we can dismantle that myth.

Let’s consider: Could a child be saved if they didn’t know the book of Revelation, the seals, the trumpets and the ‘highly touted’ tenets of eschatology?  And could a child be saved if they didn’t know basic Biblical doctrine… or if they don’t even know John 3:16?  I believe the answer is resoundingly, “Yes!”  It boils down to an inner ability to respond to God’s Spirit.  

A child just knows when something feels good and when it doesn’t.  For instance, they know that Grandma’s hugs are good and the boogie man is bad.  So they run to Grandma for hugs… and run from the scary boogie man.  When that basic recognition and response pattern is nurtured correctly, a little child can be taught how to find and walk with God.  Sadly, because of our intellectual and religious environments, we ‘mature’ people tend to lose our childlike ability to recognize the Spirit of God… the Author of Life.  We allow ourselves to be ruled by religious and societal norms, trends and pressures at the expense of listening for the Voice.

So how does this apply in the real world?  Well, let’s consider basic decision making for instance.  Usually, we put our almighty brain to work and make it crank out a data sheet readout of all the pros and cons regarding the possibility in front of us.  But what if the pros and cons balance out?  Then we’re frustrated and unsure of our decision… so we just ‘toss a coin’ and hope for the best.  That scenario is a very poor testament for the believer.  But there is an even greater problem… our brain is not capable of knowing the unknown in the possibility ahead.  This leaves mere mortals with a grave disadvantage when facing life’s decisions.  So how can I know for sure?

Paul said in II Cor 5:7, that we’re to “walk by faith, not by sight”.  When we rely on our human brain alone, we are by definition, walking “by sight”… in other words, by natural means.  But doing it God’s way has to be easy, because remember, a little child has to be able to do it; “Suffer the little children to come unto me…” – Matt 19:14.  That’s where we go back to the little child recognition and response pattern. 

Now, this may seem overly simplistic, but I believe it boils down to the simple way a child knows whether something ‘feels’ good or whether it ‘feels’ bad.  We’re not talking about emotions necessarily… rather, an inner ‘knowing’.  Or in ‘grown-up’ language we may ask, “Does what I’m about to do or what I’ve done, make my heart come alive and feel empowered… or does it weary and diminish me?  If it feels like Grandma’s hugs and adds Life, then do that again… if it feels like boogie man and takes away Life, then don’t do that anymore.  This is easy.  We must learn how to follow Life.

Simple goals:

1) Basic objective: To walk in and embrace things which create inspiration and energize us.  This premise is found in Jn 4:34 where Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of the Father.”  In other words, if we’re doing the “will of our Father” it will strengthen and supply for us. 

2) Conversely: Distance ourselves from things which stress us and wear us down.  This premise is found in Matt 11:28, “Come, all you who labor/heavy laden – I’ll give you rest…”  Evidently, Jesus wants to free us up from yokes and burdens which diminish us and weigh us down.  

So my two-word life motto: Follow Life.

Here are questions to help determine whether something ‘adds life’ or ‘takes away life’.

BEFORE — When considering a thing, and after we’ve stilled our mind and emotions, we ask ourselves:

* Does my heart instantly rise and feel eager for this occasion… or does my heart feel strained and resistant to this occasion?
* Do fresh inspirations come to mind when considering this opportunity… or does my mind get clouded and unresponsive?
* Do I feel peace… or do I feel discouraged and unsettled at the thought of it?
* Do practical situations around me seem to be divinely set up for it… or does it seem like I’ll have to force circumstances to make it happen?
* Do my closest friends and mentors support me in this… or is there caution or resistance expressed from my support group/friends?
* Do I have two or three qualified God-signs pointing this direction… or is this a product of natural and mental sweat or zeal?
* Can I see God’s fingerprint in this venture… or does it look and feel like a ‘man thing’?

AFTER — When evaluating a thing after we’ve ‘been there/done that’, we ask ourselves:

* Did I experience an unusual empowering grace while I was doing this… or did it feel hard or laborious and did I feel like I was ‘sweating’ to get it done?
* Was there an unusual effectiveness and impact in the people’s hearts and lives… or was there an average and ho-hum response?
* In my activities or sharing, was there an unusual flow of thoughts – did it feel like they came from my spirit man… or did it feel difficult to find my thoughts and words — was my mind the primary source of thoughts?
* Did I encounter unexpected divine connections with people and schedules… or was it awkward and hard to meet with the right people and to get things to flow right?
* Were there any ‘signs or wonders’ – outstanding and noteworthy things which follow those who believe… or did it feel like my efforts and words landed with a ‘thud’?
* Did my spouse or team flow in harmony, feel a special grace from God and come home inspired… or was my spouse or team stressed out, find unity difficult and more than glad to get home?
* Is my heart now fuller, in peace, ‘alive’, inspired and in-faith for the next time… or was I glad to get home so I could hide away for a couple days in order to recuperate?

These questions will help us listen to and evaluate our hearts.  The objective:  When we do the personalized and unique will of our Father, it will be our food… it will strengthen us… it will add ‘Life’ to us in every area of living. (Jn 4:34)

Pray with me: Jesus, help me become childlike enough to recognize and enjoy ‘Grandma’s hugs’… and enter and live in the Kingdom!  I want to learn to how to Follow Life.  Amen

— MLH

Quote: The BBQ of Me

7 Jul

“My personal theology has been stripped!  I told God to shake my foundation and take away anything that was not of Him.

What is left:

1 He is God and I am not
2 He likes mankind and he really likes me
3 Salvation, Grace, Hope, Fullness are free gifts from God
4 I can do nothing on my own to attain or acquire anything in #3

That is all for now.”

From Ben’s blog: What’s Left after a BBQ of My Life (6/30/13)

Ben Kilen is a long time friend of mine and has fun, fresh, witty, and even zany ways to express insights in life. 

More from Ben:   Kilen’s Spot – Things that make ya go hmmmm

How’s Your Heart? … Try This Spiritual ‘Dipstick’

6 Jul

Have you met really good Christians who are bored, frustrated or listless in life?  Sure we have… we might even be one of those persons.  This condition is more prevalent than we’d like to acknowledge.  Ambiguity in life gnaws at our vitality to face life.  So why and how does this happen?  I believe that much of the time it is because there is little understanding of how to truly feed and exercise our hearts.  This requires that we know our unique giftedness and the unique will of God for our lives.

Must know the will of God for our lives!

A poll in a large Christian conference asked how many knew what the unique will of God was for their lives.  About 10% raised their hands.  Those 10% were then asked how many were currently walking in the will of God for their lives.  About 5% of that group raised their hands.  What a sad commentary!!  No wonder the frustration or boredom in life.

Carpe Diem – Seize the day

Even though we may be confused, ambivalent or lethargic, life’s circumstances and pressures are not.  They just keep coming.  Living life well requires consistent attention.  We must be PROACTIVE instead of reactive or complacent; which means that we must plan and mobilize OR we will have to scramble to play ‘catch-up’ later.  This is part of becoming a maturing believer.  As we mature we must be able to make tough choices for ourselves based upon personal revelation and our unique DNA; which means that we become less influenced by others’ mandates and the fear of man.  Life must be apprehended (Phil 3:12).

Two crucial ingredients for healthy growth:

Let’s focus on two inviolable requirements of every living thing; whether plant, animal or human.

1. Intake/nutrition that matches our unique DNA:   Just as a body builder needs a high protein diet to build muscle, so it is in the spiritual.  We must find feeding spots for our heart and spirit.  What makes your heart come alive?   It may come through solitude, worship, reading the word, meditation, prayer, fellowship, listening to teachers, mentors, waiting, nature, etc……  Whatever the case, it’s imperative that we find our own personal ‘on-ramps’ into God and visit them frequently.

Nutrition without output leads to obesity and sluggardliness.  It’s like eating too many high calorie snacks and becoming a ‘couch potato’.  Often this results in poor attitude about life and one’s self.

2. Output/engaging challenge that matches our unique DNA:   Just as a body builder needs to press against specific resistance to build certain muscles, so it is in the spiritual.  Each of us has a unique spiritual ‘DNA’ that needs a uniquely personal opportunity of challenge and resistance.  This challenge should probably be something where if we don’t ‘deliver’ in that area of challenge, then that area will fail.  This ‘the buck stops with me’ principle helps to make us dig deep and thus stay ‘sharp’ and alive in God.  We grow and mature, accordingly.

Output without nutrition leads to exhaustion and a weak immune system.  We become vulnerable to sickness, disease, discouragement, etc.

Just as it is in the physical body, so it is in our spirit man.  We can either be too full, not exercised and sluggish  OR  it can be over-worked, too depleted, anemic and vulnerable to sin and the world.

So how am I doing?

Would you like to be able to know how your heart is really doing… what condition is it in?  It’s unlikely that others can really tell us how we’re doing… and it’s quite possible that we may not able to correctly and honestly asses our own condition.  So how can we measure our own hearts?  We need an unbiased ‘dipstick’.

Hopefully we regularly check the oil dipstick in our auto engine.  If we don’t we’re flirting with a possible major malfunction of our engine.  That dipstick is designed to give a reading on the internal condition of the oil in our engine.  Assessing the dipstick helps us know the appropriate actions necessary to ensure a long engine life.  So in like manner, I’ve put together a ‘dipstick’ that serves to tell us our heart’s status.  Use it regularly and similarly to the auto engine dipstick to ensure a healthy heart and happy life.  If this is meaningful to you, you may want to make a copy of this spiritual health ‘dipstick’ and put it in your Bible or in a handy place for future reference.

A spiritual health ‘dip stick’

The top is ‘healthy’ and degrades toward ‘unhealthy’ at the bottom:

Status            Confession                        Description

Alive……….”This is the best!”………Fully engaged with the unique
…………………………………………………purposes of God active in our lives

Busy………..“Life is OK”……………….Lots of scurrying around ‘doing the
…………………………………………………stuff’… but no ‘edge’

Active………“This feels like work”…Busy but without a sense of the
………………………………………,…………presence of God in it

Bored………..We ask “why”…………..No vibrancy any more – hard to
………………………………………………….drive oneself ahead

Frustrated…“How long”……………..Mind gets filled with oppressive
………………………………………………….thoughts of discouragement

Irritable……“You did it”……………..We begin to find fault and point at
………………………………………………….others as a cause for our discomfort

Angry………“Don’t get in my way”..We’re hard to live with – anger is our
………………………………………………….involuntary weapon of choice

Divisive……“I’m out of here!”………We become easy prey for the devil to
………………………………………………….separate us e.g. church splits,
………………………………………………….relational schisms, divorce, etc

Did you find yourself?

When I evaluate the consistent confessions and symptoms in my life and compare them to this ‘dip stick’, it gives probable evidence of the status of my heart.  Although there may be other reasons, generally speaking, the issue boils down to whether or not we are getting the right kind of ‘intake’ AND ‘output’.  Is one or the other or both, deficient?  As ‘intake’ and ‘output’ are fully engaged, we will have greater potential for our hearts to feel Heaven’s favor in our lives.  When this is functioning properly, it makes us less vulnerable to temptations and pitfalls… and empowered to conquer.  You see, this was our Father’s plan from the start; His favor in and His power out.

Proverbs 4:7 says, “In all your getting get understanding” – may I say, in all your getting, get fed, get ‘hot’ and get going.

— MLH

Audio of Mark speaking on this topic: How’s Your Heart?

True Tales – From Mark Twain Land by Jack Hendrickson

4 Jul

Book Cover - Front black reducedMy father Jack Hendrickson, has compiled true and gripping accounts of his early life while growing up on an island in the Mississippi River. Lots of down-home stories that will make you laugh and cry. Over 200 photos and interesting historical facts will keep you spell-bound. A great table top hardback book.

Introducing 
 True Tales – From Mark Twain Land book

True Tales will let you escape to a place in your imagination where life was simpler and relationships were all that was truly meaningful. A spirited young man, his loyal and enduring wife and their five children will live out their lives in front of you in a real-life drama. The actors are real, the names are real and there is no attempt to protect the innocent or the guilty. These heartwarming stories of their grit and courage will win your loyalty and admiration… and your love.

You will likely laugh and you’ll likely cry, but for certain you will enjoy this front row seat as you read of their action packed adventures. Don’t be surprised if you find that one of the family members becomes your favorite… even your hero, in this early 1900s pioneering family. You may even find yourself ‘cheering’ for them as the story unfolds.

Most of the drama in this action packed and suspense-filled book takes place on a seven mile long Mississippi island called, Long Island. This poor farmer / fisherman family bravely faced life with little more than determination and common sense ingenuity. Nature was both their greatest friend and foe. Every day these elementary age school children had to cross two rivers each way in a row boat in order to attend school the 12 years they lived on Long Island. Nature’s wintery fury was not a thing to trifle with and yet the island’s summer afternoon comfort was a most pleasurable reward after a day spent cooped up in a stuffy classroom. Their larger-than-life adventures–the joys and the traumas–will keep you spell bound from story to story.

Passions of love, rejection, curiosity and nurturing run deep, yet when faced with life’s crucible of difficult circumstances this family continues reaching for nobility and honor. Almighty God was a central focal point in all they did and without a doubt kept them alive through many harrowing close brushes with tragedy.

What makes True Tales most powerful, is that the stories are true. Some of the family members are not living today but those who are, almost revere those unforgettable times in their early and formative years. When they get together, their conversations inevitably return to these beloved memories. The retelling of these stories is always accompanied with smiles, enthusiasm, animation… and deep affection. You may be surprised when you find yourself longing to have lived at least a portion of their lives with them.

Happy reading!

— MLH

True Tales – From Mark Twain Land – pictorial hardback
Size – 11.25″ x 8.75″ x 1″
ISBN: 9780984150311
Pages: 336
Over 200 pictures

For info and to order: www.truetalesbook.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrueTalesFromMarkTwainLand