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Posts tagged ‘Lord’s Cricket Ground’

The power of positive words…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
-Proverbs 18:21

In Luke, we read how the angel appears to Mary telling her that she’s going to become the mother of the coming Messiah. Probably 15 years old or so, Mary’s just recently become engaged to Joseph. They have not consummated their relationship, and yet the angel says that she’s going to be pregnant before they’re married. To Mary, this should come as very bad news.

Think about the repercussions socially for Mary, an unwed, teenage virgin. Joseph is going to think that she has cheated on him and she will become an outcast to her community. The outcome could be life threatening because, in those days, to have a child out of wedlock meant that you and your child were probably going to sit on the street and beg.

This is terrible, terrible, terrible news for Mary socially. However, because the news comes from God through an angel, she somehow knows that it’s not terrible news. Something great is going to happen.

And how does Mary respond? Does she respond with doubt? No, she says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be as you have said.” She receives God’s blessing, speaks her own positive words of blessing over it, and then she begins to sing.

Remember, there’s power in our every word.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you so much for the example of Mary, who had such deep and abiding faith in you that she was willing to embrace a life change that almost anyone else would have rejected. I pray that I will be as open to your every blessing as was Mary was on that very important day. Amen.

Reflection: Have you ever experienced a radical life change that you could have faced with fear but instead, because of your faith in God, faced positively?

{ Day 335 }.


I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You. Hebrews 2:12, NKJV

This scripture implies that one of the deepest longings within the heart of Jesus is to sing the praises of His Father in the midst of and through the instrumentality of the congregation of the believing. In light of the nature and importance of music, it should not surprise us that God has used minstrels to inspire and activate the prophetic (2 Kings 3:15). Nor should it be surprising that prophetically inspired people will be led to sing in the Spirit, communicating the heart of God to His people and the heart of His people back to God. This is the essence of what some have termed the “song of the Lord.” This phrase, popularized by the charismatic renewal of recent decades, refers to the scriptural references to the Lord’s song (Ps. 137:4), spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19), and singing a new song to the Lord (Ps. 33:3; 96:1; 98:1; 149:1; Isa. 42:10).

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Free my spirit to express the songs of Your Spirit. Help me to communicate the heart of God to Your people through my unfettered expressions in the Spirit.

The risen Christ loves to impart some of the passion
He has for His Father into the hearts of His
younger brothers and sisters through
giving them His songs by the Spirit.

By MIKE BICKLE.

59 of US Disagree With Putin, Call America ‘Exceptional’.


Most U.S. citizens take issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with 59 percent of Americans saying their nation is “exceptional.”

That’s according to a Rasmussen Report poll released Sunday, that found 59 percent of those questioned say the U.S. is exceptional, compared with 27 percent who say the county is not, and 14 percent who were not sure.

Putin penned an editorial for the New York Times on Sept. 11 taking issue with American exceptionalism.

“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” Putin wrote.

“There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal,” Putin said.

When asked about Putin, 72 percent of those surveyed by Rasmussen held unfavorable views, while 18 percent viewed the Russian leader favorably.

Of those questioned, only 11 percent said President Barack Obama had done an excellent job in handling the Syrian situation, while 43 percent gave him a poor rating. Twenty percent said Obama had done a good job, while 22 percent gave the president a rating of “fair.”

The survey of 1,000 voters conducted Sept. 12 and 13 had a margin of error
of three percent.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Audrey Hudson

An illuminated heart…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God‘s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship.” 
-Romans 12:1

Jesus didn’t come to the world to be served, but to serve. Everything Jesus did was in service to others. People hated him and gossiped about him and mocked him. They beat him, crucified him, pulled his beard, and poured vinegar into his mouth. Only one of his twelve disciples showed up at his crucifixion. That same day, he was denied by Peter, his right-hand man.

Nonetheless, Jesus changed everything. He changed everything.

And so, as we think we want God’s calling upon our lives, are we willing to sacrifice? God needs each of us to become a different kind of person before he calls us into a different kind of living, calling, or vocation. It requires sacrifice, trust, and dedication.

This kind of life, this kind of dedication, this kind of purpose and vision brings the human heart to illumination. It elevates us to be the people that we were born to be.

That’s joy. That’s fullness. That’s fulfillment to know that what we want is the Lord’s work to be done. We want what he wants. That’s the real kind of life. That’s how to really live – for something bigger than ourselves.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help my plans to be your plans. Illuminate my heart with your vision for my future so that I may live my life only for you. Amen.

Reflection: As you pray for God to illuminate your heart with his vision for your future, what thoughts come to mind?

{ Day 233 }.


My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. —Proverbs 3:11-12

God does not say to the sinner, “You have sincerely repented, but look at all these unsettled issues in your life. We will see how you do. Come on in, I guess, but We will be keeping a close eye on you.” We think God is this way because we ourselves are this way. People clap with excitement the day a man gets saved and testifies of his desire to leave his old ways and follow the Lord. They cheer and shout, “Praise the Lord! It’s real! It counts!” But within a few months, the same crowd is ready to censure him for issues of immaturity they see in his life. Within days their theology changes, and they no longer delight over his growing faith. They turn into grumpy Pharisees, saying, “Bah humbug! Get it right. We’re keeping our eye on you now.” The Lord says the opposite: “I delight in you when you have zero maturity.” If His gladness were based on our performance, He would be a sad God indeed!

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, how grateful I am that You delight in me regardless of my immaturity. You love me while You gently lead me into spiritual maturity. Help me to love others in their immaturity and to encourage them to grow instead of discouraging them with my criticism.

Remember, God can enjoy you even while
disapproving of an area of sin in your life.

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 209 }.


And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

The apostle Paul referenced this spiritual principle: “But we all … beholding as in a mirror the glory of Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” As we behold the glory of the Lord we become transformed. This very basic principle is foundational to Paul’s theology of heart transformation, and it’s what made David a man after God‘s own heart. Simply stated, whatever we behold or understand about God’s heart toward us—that’s what we become in our hearts toward God. If we behold a mean and stingy God, we will become mean and stingy. But if we behold His glory, as Paul wrote, the Holy Spirit transforms us into something glorious. David was a student, a Rhodes scholar, a PhD of God’s emotions. He was so consumed by this high endeavor that he made it his primary preoccupation “all the days of [his] life” (Ps. 27:4). As a result, he had more insight into the things that burn in God’s heart than any other man in the Old Testament. He became different.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, I want to gaze unafraid into Your passionate heart and experience Your transformation from glory to glory. All I want is to be more like You!

David created his own category of intimacy with
God because he dared to gaze, unafraid, at the
passionate heart of God.

By MIKE BICKLE.

The Dumbest Thing We Pastors Do.


Stressed-businessman-worried-small

Stock Free Images

We preachers sometimes torture the faithful with our complaints about the unfaithful.

We don’t mean to do that. It’s just something that happens, usually as a result of our frustration.

Listen to the typical pastor or staffer addressing the congregation:

“A little rain never hurt anybody! And where is half our congregation? But oh, no, they couldn’t make it today. They had no trouble sitting through the ball game yesterday in freezing temperatures! Or playing a round of golf in the rain. But let a little sprinkle drop out of the heavens, and they can’t make it to church today!”

Or this one:

“People can stand in the stadium for hours and cheer their team until they are hoarse. But the same people come to church and want cushions on the pews and would die if they had to crack a smile or actually open a hymnbook and sing.”

This sour song has countless verses:

“We can sit for hours in front of the television but complain if the preacher goes five minutes over time.”

“We love a good comedian, but if the preacher tells a joke from the pulpit, he gets anonymous letters telling him he’s profaning the Lord’s house!”

Or another common refrain:

It’s Sunday night and only a handful of people have shown up. The preacher is fit to be tied. “Where is the dedication these days? People just aren’t as committed as they used to be!”

You get the idea.

Of all the foolish things ministers do, this may be the least smart (I’m bending over backward to avoid using the word stupid here): afflicting the faithful who made the effort to be in church with our frustrations over those who didn’t. 

There is a certain catharsis in playing the blame game.

If, as a pastor, I blame the absentees for their failures (to show up, to worship, to pray, to give, etc.), I can get by with it since they’re not present to defend themselves and will not take this personally.

If I blame others for the low attendance, pitiful offerings, etc., it may look like the problem has nothing to do with my poor leadership or lousy preaching or our weak programs.

The preacher who is blaming the missing members for their shallowness is probably missing the point.

Ball games and golf and television shows and comedians are all about entertainment, excitement, recreation and diversion. They present a game that is basically meaningless (that is, nothing that takes place on the field has anything to do with real life) in order to entertain us.

Such games have as much in common with a Spirit-anointed worship service as a game of hopscotch does with the Korean War.

Comparing the two is foolish.

Using our attendance at the first to shame us in our lack of support for the second is an insult to people’s intelligence.

A Saturday football game can be a great deal of fun. It works on a hundred levels—the game itself, the fun of a daylong outing with family and friends, the sights and sounds (cheers, bands, crowd noise), the visit to one’s alma mater, a relaxing drive and such. Unless one overdoes it, this can be as healthy as a mini-vacation.

For most people, Saturday football games are sheer entertainment, are rare and are a diversion from the day-to-day routine. For a couple of hours, we can holler and complain and laugh and slap hands and hug friends without it costing anything expensive, meaning anything important, or committing us to anything permanent.

Church is different. Church is every week—sometimes several times a week. Church is like home, in that it’s regular, it’s the same people and it’s the same theme. Church is real life. Church is mostly all business, not fun and games.

My wife says church is like sitting through a high school history class—it’s real, it’s important and it can sometimes be difficult or even boring. But in no way should we dump guilt on the class because they don’t cheer the professor, applaud right answers or leave the classroom hyped up the way they do for ball games.

This is just one more reason why everyone who takes a leading part in worship services should plan in advance what they intend to say. We should not leave it to chance, not depend on the inspiration of the moment to supply the words and not burden ourselves and our hearers with our rants on whatever is bothering us at the moment.

The preacher who counts on the inspiration of the moment to supply the content of his extra-sermonic pronouncements (what he says other than the main message) may find that instead of inspiration, what he’s feeling is frustration. And when a frustrated preacher vents before the congregation, nothing good comes of it.

Dumping guilt on a congregation is the easiest thing in the world to do. Since everyone in the room is a flawed sinner, the list of infractions could be endless.

Pastors who flesh out their sermons with condemnations of various sins will never lack for material. And, yes, plenty of members will consider this good preaching.

Whether the Lord does or not is another matter altogether.

Written by Joe McKeever

Dr. Joe McKeever writes from the vantage point of more than 60 years as a disciple of Jesus, more than 50 years preaching His gospel and more than 40 years of cartooning for every imaginable Christian publication.

For the original article, visit joemckeever.com.

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