From Broken To Blessed, This Is Our Story

A very important post that my wife and I wrote together. We felt the leading of the Lord that it was time to share “Our story” of how the Lord brought us from broken to blessed! Our prayer is for others who are experiencing difficult times in their marriages to be encouraged by our testimony and to find complete healing and peace in the Lord!

Life Is A Beautiful Mess

 In the past few weeks, I have felt an urging to intercede on behalf of biblical marriage. My heart has been so heavy at the thought of so many marriages that are broken and on their way to complete destruction. The enemy of our souls has set out on a war path to destroy biblical marriage. Why would he want to do this? Because the effects of divorce are so much more than just 2 people “falling out of love” and moving on with their own lives.

If the two of them have children, they are indeed affected by the divorce. Their stability, self-worth, routine….everything about their lives is affected.

In an article I read, it explains it very well.

Here is the link:

 http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2000/06/the-effects-of-divorce-on-America

When you get divorced and break “soul ties” from the one you have vowed to love forever, it obviously affects your soul. There is also a good article that explains this…

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The Gong Show

(Original post was written by a fellow brother in Christ and within the blogosphere.  I am thankful for his heart and the biblical insight that he shares on this issue.  You can get to his blog here….http://realrevival.blogspot.com/ )

The Gong Show
Robert Wurtz II

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV)

It may be inferred from our text that certain believers at Corinth believed that speaking with tongues was (is) the hallmark of true spirituality. Paul erases this notion without forbidding or disparaging tongues. He points to the fact that without the love of Christ, speaking with tongues will annoy people as fast as banging a gong in their ears.

In the early 1900s, Classical Pentecostalism became a sect within Christianity teaching that speaking in tongues is “the initial physical evidence” of receiving the Holy Spirit. The fact that a case can certainly be made for this from the book of Acts is beside the point. Over the next 100+ years this “initial evidence” doctrine has been reduced to any kind of ecstatic utterance or gibberish that may come from a person’s mouth — regardless of whether or not the person’s life was radically changed by the event. Couple this with the shallow conversion experiences that have come into vogue along a parallel line,  and we live in an age where there are people who ” speak with tongues ” who may never have truly been saved — much less received the Spirit. It may be a radical thing to say, but many people believe they are spiritual and have at no time been born again. 
The Simon Generation

“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money.” (Acts 8:18 KJV)

Around 50-60 years ago “moving in the supernatural” became so popular, that by the time we reached the 1980s and 1990s certain well-liked Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders were practically flaunting what they termed as “the power of God.” Knocking people down with their coat or their breath were common occurrences.   This enticed several generations to desire that type of power — in a similar way that many young men desired to be great athletes. There were even books written and sold to teach people how to get what was termed “the anointing.” The royalties from some of these books made the authors richer than Simon the Sorcerer could have ever hoped to become. For those who read the books but still fell short, they just tripped folks to get them on the ground — simulating being “slain in the spirit.”
The full-Gospel movement (especially on TV) drifted into a murky mess that skewed and twisted hundreds of thousands — if not millions of peoples understanding of true spirituality. Like Simon the Sorcerer, the unsuspecting saw what appeared to be the power of God and lusted for it. From that time until now multitudes of people have their mind fixed on the lie that the supernatural is evidence that they are spiritual and there is no real sign that this delusion is being overthrown.

But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  (Acts 8:20–22 KJV)

Peter called Simon the Sorcerer’s misguided desire for the power of God, “wickedness.” He had one major problem, his heart was not right with God. He wanted to move in the gifts (as is sometimes said), and he was a hairs-breadth from blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Peter’s reply was a foretaste of what Jesus spoke of when He made clear, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21–23 KJV) In other words, you are not spiritual because you appear to be prophesying, casting out devils and doing miracles: you are spiritual when you do God’s will. Again as it is written, And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32 NKJV)

False Experiences

Many people have learned about receiving the Holy Spirit through what we might call “on-the-job training.” They learned it from someone they trusted and watched  — who learned from someone they trusted and watched and so on.  Meanwhile, few have returned to their bible to see if what was going on is biblical. Apart from a few obscure proof texts, there is little for them to base what they are doing on. This is why ministers and altar workers try to pray people through to the Holy Spirit who haven’t even repented of their sins and trusted Christ. Their heart is not right with God and someone is trying to pray them into receiving the Spirit. This is madness, but it happens all the time and it has happened for decades. 

I personally have been in countless meetings where altar calls were given and there had not been enough Gospel preached to save a flea, and yet folks are trying to pray people through to the Spirit. The band starts playing and people are driven into near madness trying to somehow get to God. In many cases the music is so loud that the people can’t hear God. They are being carried along in some mindless music induced emotional state. What happens? They have a good cry, utter a few unintelligable words, and there is no change. Someone declares, “You got it! You got the Holy Ghost!” And they go back to their old ways. Why? Because they try to do with music and emotionalism what can only happen through total surrendering our will to God’s will. The altar workers are listening for the sound of a “tongue” rather then seeking to lead a person into total obedience to God. Tongues is the end-all. What is more delusional is that these type altar calls are believed to be essential to the furtherance of Pentecostalism and if we don’t have them, we have failed in ministry.

True Change 

How can we know if the goings on in meetings are producing fruit? First, turn the attention off of the supernatural and get it on Jesus. A person has to come completely under His authority. This can take days and weeks to establish. It all depends on the person and their understanding of what God is doing in them. Many people try to receive and resist the Holy Spirit at the same time. They want to receive His power– while resisting His Lordship and guidance. This is impossible. To dabble in this way is to open oneself up to demons and counterfeit spiritual gifts.

When the Holy Spirit really comes in He pours in with the love of God (Romans 5:5). Compassion for all people floods into your being. This is what Paul was speaking if when he wrote, If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV) Speaking in tongues is wonderful, but if a person is doing it who does not move in the love of Christ it is only an annoyance to people. We may even want to question the source of the utterance. The Holy Spirit does not come in with just tongues or prophecy: He brings the full load of the fruit of the Spirit. This means compassion for people like unto what we find in the New Testament. 

For example, while Christ was on the cross suffering the worst injustice in the history of mankind He uttered these words, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) The question is not whether a person speaks in tongues, but whether they can forgive like Jesus forgave. What about Stephen when he was being stoned to death at the hands of a merciless angry mob? And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. (Acts 7:60) How could he do it? Why didn’t he curse and swear as the pain and agony bore down upon his battered body? What about Paul the Apostle? He spoke of being stoned, beaten of rods, and a host of other disfiguring assaults. Nevertheless, he could raise his shirt, show you the scars on his back, and still exclaim, “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:1-3 NKJV). 

No matter  how deep the nails probed into Christ’s hands or the spear probed into His rib and side — they still tapped love. Stephen was smashed to bits and as they stirred through his battered body nothing could be found but love. When Paul was beaten and stoned the scars left behind his testimony,  I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh. These are the words of lamentation because of the Israelites who had rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the love of God. This is what removes the clanging gong from the testimony of those who speak with tongues and move in the gifts. 

The disciples had desired to call fire down from heaven on the Samaritans, but here is Paul wishing himself could be accursed from Christ if it would save his people. Have you ever wondered why he would utter such things? What could be at work inside of him to make such selfless statements? He was not lying. He means it. His own conscience is affirming within that he is not faking these comments. This is fervent, unfeigned love. Could this be the same man that was breathing out threatening and slaughter against Christians some twenty years before? What could have possibly caused such a radical change in this man?

Simply put, he was baptized into Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and that reality was demonstrated through his great compassion and labor on behalf of Christ. He was no noisy gong. He was the real thing, and he wanted the Corinthians to be that too.

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Are You Safe Or Sailing

A reblog from my wife about living for the glory of God and a dear pastor who did just that. Great read!

Life Is A Beautiful Mess

Did you know that we are a lot like ships?

There are countless types of ships and each one serves a purpose.

Each ship is uniquely different and individually crafted

for its particular use.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-ships.htm#comments

The Bible says in Ephesians 2

that we are HIS workmanship created in Christ for good works

which God prepared for us before we were even born.

That tells us that we have been individually created/crafted by the very hand of God

for a particular purpose.

How wonderful it is to know that just as a shipbuilder begins building a ship

with a particular purpose in mind,

our Heavenly Father has hand crafted each of our lives

with a distinct purpose and calling in mind.

Once the ship is complete, it is ready to set sail!

shipsandrainbows

What does this mean for us?

How can we know our purpose??

We look to HIS infallible Word!

In the book of Isaiah, chapter 43…

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Gospel Gem

cross

The withering of Eden’s flowers has often caused a fading in the garden of our souls. We have mourned exceedingly that we have been driven out to till the ground with the sweat of our brow—that the curse should have glanced on us through the sin of our first parent, and we have been ready to cry, “Woe worth the day in which our parent stretched forth his hand to touch the forbidden fruit.” Would to God that he had rested in unsullied purity, that we his sons and daughters might have lived beneath an unclouded sky, might never have mourned the ills of bodily pain or of spiritual distress. To meet this very natural source of grief, I bid you consider Christ in old eternity. Open now the eye of thy faith, believer, and see Christ as thine Eternal Covenant-head stipulating to redeem thee even before thou hadst become a bond-slave, bound to deliver even before thou hadst worn the chain – Spurgeon, sermon “Consolation in Christ” Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 2nd, 1860, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon

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The Ordinary Christian Life

Christian%20Living

   There are many different views of the Christian life all ranging from minimal to radical.  I think all Gospel lovers and all true students of the Word would agree that Christ calls His people to radical commitment, you would even say extraordinary.  That is a good word to describe the born again believer, we are extraordinary people who believe extraordinary claims and live extraordinary lives.  But we can also see that there is something incredibly ordinary about our lives.  When I use the term ordinary in this sense there are no negative connotations involved.  Just a humble attempt to view our work and lives as Christians as wonderfully ordinary.

Let it be known that I am a preacher of the extraordinary, of revival, and of God working in supernatural ways, I believe in a God who still interrupts the “normal” to move His way.  In fact the church desperately needs this, the very life and body of the church is charged with the supernatural power of God.  But all this is determined by the Head(Christ) of which in his sovereignty directs to all the rest of the body.  We as the members of the body have been trying to tell the Head what to do.  He takes no orders from us, we listen to Him and respond accordingly.

There is a danger to avoid here as well, we must not always seek supernatural experiences and “good” church services.  When we become people who follow after the next great thing we are no better than those of whom Jesus rebuked for needing a sign (Matthew 12:38-39 – Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas).  The point of this post is to show that outside of God sent revivals and miracles the Church is to operate day-to-day proclaiming the Word, visiting the sick, caring for orphans and widows, feeding the homeless, loving our families, and showing grace to the world.  This all happens in very ordinary ways through ordinary men and women.  Although it is God who supplies grace and strength to do so.

Throughout church history we can find sovereign acts of God upon a people group or church.  These are classified as revivals or spiritual awakenings, from the reformation to the first and second great awakenings on down to our day God has wrought wonders!  These have brought about conversion of sinners, re-establishment of morality, social justice, and the overall expanding of the kingdom of Heaven.  But outside of these we find a church that continues her work day in and day out without much fanfare.  We need both the evangelist and the pastor, both the prophet and the teacher.  We need the revival along with the ministry of longevity.  I believe there are missionaries who live in obscurity that will never be known by men but cherished by God.  There are those who intercede who prevail with God in prayer, they will see no earthly rewards but they will be numbered with the saints of old for their “ordinary” ministry.

We must not be afraid of the ordinary, of the day-to-day grind of being the church.  Let us not fall into the notion that every service needs to be a spiritual blow-out, or every sermon needs to be at 100 mph, or that every song needs to excite the crowd.  The result is that many people come to church with these personalized expectations rather than to just submit to the teaching of the Word of God.  We want sensational rather than sanctification, entertainment rather than worship, and in the pulpit a man who parades rather than a man who prays.  Let it not be said of us in this hour that we are more concerned with pleasing men rather than God.

So I call on you dear brothers and sisters to expect the extraordinary with God but learn to live in the incredible ordinary that is the church.  Let good works be seen among men so that they may glorify your Father which is in heaven.  Do not look for thunder, fire, and earthquakes when God is speaking in a still small voice.  Get on your knees with an open bible, pray and worship in secret, and learn to listen to the slightest whisper of the Holy Spirit.  He brings fire but he descends as a dove.  Embrace the ordinary ministry of the church, walk with God through the spectacular mountain tops and lowly valley but in all things be content.  This is the Christian life, it is always glorious no matter how ordinary it may seem at times.

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In His hands

God is in control

God is in control!  This is a statement that professing christians can make without really thinking about what is implied here.  This is a great truth that we must know and meditate on often.  We must remember this not only when things are looking up but also when things are falling apart.  It is the knowledge of the sovereignty of God that reinforces our often shaky faith.  Not only is there an all-knowing and all-seeing God, but that He is involved with the our day-to-day lives.  Not only did God speak the world into existence but upholds it by the word of His power(Hebrews 1:3)!  Scripture further tells us that “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”(Colossians 1:17).

This is vital to keep in mind as we look at a world that often seems hopeless and dark.  Reports of terrorism, planes falling from the sky, Ebola outbreaks, and tension in Ferguson can leave us looking for answers.  The striking question is…why?  Why all the chaos if God is all-powerful, all-wise, and all loving?  Couldn’t He stop it all.  The answer is yes He will stop it all when He closes this age and starts His rule on earth where peace will reign.  The other answer is while we do not know the why all the time we do know generally the chaos is here due to man’s sin and rejection of God.  The problem is we have all turned our back on God, we have all like sheep gone astray.  We live in a fallen world where there is sickness, misery, disease, suffering, and death.  There is racial and social injustice, there is famine, there is real hurt with real pain.  But the good news is God in His grace has left room for man to repent.

This leads us to our reality, that we live here among it all.  Yes we live in this tension.  The tension between heaven and earth.  The tension between God and man.  The tension between sin and holiness.  The tension between the bad news and the good news.  The bad news is the world is dark, the good news is Jesus is the light.  The world is unstable but God is not.  He sits on His throne weaving together a tapestry of grace that will be glorious when all is said and done.  The main goal of all this is that man will ultimately acknowledge his Creator and be reconciled.

How does this apply to the unbeliever and believer.  The answer is the same, that each might see Christ as the only means by which true happiness comes.  God draws the unbeliever through various means so that he may finally cast himself on the mercy of God found in the Gospel.  For the believer God graciously conforms us into the image of Christ and we learn to value Him above all the riches of the world.  So that even in this world with trials we might say “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ”(Philippians 3:8)!

So He will give rain and sunshine, laughter and tears, rest and work, pain and pleasure, and all the countless details of life are in His hand.  Our view of God in America is very shallow when in reality He is much greater, grander, and more glorious than we would ever dare imagine.  Look to the God of the bible and see Him as the One who raises kingdoms and tears them down, as the One who calls every star out by name, as the One who leads Joseph to the pit only later to place him in the palace.  He is the one who knows you personally and has every hair of your head numbered.  All is done for our good and His glory, trust in His providence, His care, and His love.  Our times are hard…but our times are in His hands!

Psalm 35:15 – My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me

My Times Are in Thy Hand – Hymn by W.F. Lloyd

“My times are in Thy hand;”
My God, I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul, I leave
Entirely to Thy care

“My times are in Thy hand,”
Whatever they may be;
Pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
As best may seem to Thee

“My times are in Thy hand:”
Why should I doubt or fear?
My Father’s hand will never cause
His child a needless tear

“My times are in Thy hand,”
Jesus the crucified!
The hand my cruel sins had pierced
Is now my guard and guide

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To Our One and Only Son

Our prayer and blessing for our son

Life Is A Beautiful Mess

Calebblog0calebblogcalebblog6

To Caleb, our one and only son.

From the very first time we laid our eyes on you, we knew you would bring us tons of joy,

just as your sisters do.

You have truly been a blessing to our family with all of your adventurous ways,

your creative imagination, your gentle hugs and sweet “I love you’s.”

We are so thankful that God chose to make you our son.

You have been created by God, given life by Him.

Always remember that you live and move and have your being in Him!

Every man’s chief end is to glorify God

and enjoy Him forever

and we pray this for you!

Our desire and prayer for you is that you will be a man of God,

a man of prayer

and that by the grace of God that you will obey the

Great Commandment

to love God with all of…

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