I was at a Billy Graham crusade

Billy Graham passed away this week at 99 years of age.

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His message was simple and powerful to a world hurting under the effects of sin.  Billy Graham met with several Presidents to pray for them and would give advice to lead the nation in righteousness.  Billy Graham had many standards he lived by.  One that I try very hard to do is to never travel or be alone with one other woman that is not your family. That is not easy to do but a good standard.

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In 1999 Billy Graham came to Indianapolis.

In his upper seventies Billy Graham was at the final stretch of public crusades.  Many people came because of the name (although I would argue the Holy Spirit was drawing them as well.)  His message was clear.  The terrible problems of today are not racism,  violence,  rebellion, addiction,  loneliness,  depression, or school shootings.  They are a result of a deeper issue.  That being S-I-N.  And sin cannot be dealt with by man.  Only the power and blood of Jesus can cleanse sin and restore a darkened heart.  Only the Holy Spirit can give direction and power to follow God’s teaching in a world bent on pushing God out.  Only God can make healthy a family destroyed by lack of discipline and the invasion of pornography, violence, and rebellion through TV, social media, games, and music.

The cause of all these problems is S-I-N.

The answer to all these problems is J-E-S-U-S.

 

The attraction to Billy Graham crusades was his stature as a historical  evangelist.  But also a longing to hear truth and an inward desire to have the freedom he spoke of.  A desire to become right with God drew people to the meetings.  A desire to bring health and direction to our homes and society.  It was like a light shining bright in the darkness.  The message and attraction of God’s presence attracted hungry souls.  As the alter call was given,  thousands responded. Being  a pastor in Lebanon, I was part of a group of ministers and leaders that had prepared for months in planning and prayer for this moment. A powerful presence of God followed Billy Graham and now has received him home.

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I pray another world evangelist of some kind will be raised to challenge the problems of today.  The message and the cause is still the same as when Jesus looked over the crowd in His day in Mark 6:34 NIV When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Oil of Joy Part 2 – Position for anointing

Psalms 45:7  You love righteousness and hate wickedness;  therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.

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Part 1 described the oil of joy and declared it is from God.  The Holy Spirit began to have me meditate about our part in this event.  We take the position to be anointed.

Our position of anointing.

I believe there is a position we must place ourselves in to receive this oil of joy anointing from God.

  • Position of submission – we bow our heads and hearts to the authority of God and in the acknowledgement of His status as Almighty God who created us for His Glory.

 

  • Position of Trust – We come with a heart of trust.  Knowing His love for us to become more like Christ.  We trust His leadership and follow His path.

 

  • Position of listening. We are quiet before Him – We are patient and calm before Him allowing His timing and place to anoint us.  We expect it but allow God to choose the time and place to pour out His oil of Joy.  It may surprise us when He chooses and it will be wonderful.

 

  • Position of obedience and service – We live to serve Him.  We are His vessel.  We are led by the Holy Spirit in our daily walk.  We come to God at times like this to give praise and honor to Him and to receive instruction…and sometimes to receive this oil of joy to take into battle.

 

There are probably many more positions but these are filling my heart and making the lightnside brighter.

Oil of Joy – Part 1 Psalms 45:7

You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.  Psalm 45:7 NIV

oil

 

Joy is an experience from God.

Oil of Joy.  These words caught my eye and heart.  The verse say God had anointed this man with the “oil of joy”.  Joy is an experience from God.  Outward situations has no effect on the inner joy.  If the situation outside is dark, a secure and upbeat assurance of God’s presence fills your heart with assurance and hope.  This joy worships radiates outward making life brighter .  It is seem by others who would like to experience joy for themselves. This Joy is not a selfish experience but enjoys blessings others receive.  No jealousy or envy but rather a joined happiness sharing in blessings of others.

oil of joy is a filter

This joy is like an oil.  It runs down into the places that would be rough and rugged in our daily life and lubricates them so there is freedom of movement and no frustrating friction.  This oil of joy is a filter where all the input from the eyes and ears travels through.  The darkness and valleys of death become places where the presence of God brings healing to yourself and others through your words.  Although grieving may be a part of the day there is an intense awareness of how it could be worse.  An appreciation of the Holy Spirit brings a thankfulness that has joy lapping at its edges.  You just can’t keep joy out.  It runs into every situation.

 

I remember the testimony of a student and eventually a teacher in Teen Challenge.  She said as she began the path away from addiction she had asked God to help her and I believe God anointed her with joy.  In every situation of her life she would quote  1 Thessalonians  5:18-20 NIV “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, [19] speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, [20] always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

God anoint me with your oil of joy.

I allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in me to prepare me for this joy.  I take my eyes off others and situations and look to you the source of all good.  Lord as we worship and at your time anoint our lives with this oil of joy.  Allow the lightnside to burn brighter and hotter with this anointed Godly fuel.  Amen.

Psalms 51 – God the re-builder

God created the heavens and the earth.  Jesus came as a carpenter.

Psalms 51 God is re-building a soul from sin’s destruction.

 

building plans

 

Step one.  We come broken to God for mercy and help.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1‭-‬2 NIV

 

Step two.  Confession of sins effect on us.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.  Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Psalm 51:3‭-‬6 NIV

Step 3.  The request only God can do.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Psalm 51:7‭-‬9 NIV

 

Step 4.  God the Re-builder.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

 

Do you need a lightnside? Do you need restoration? Do you need Joy?  Follow these steps and allow God to re-build your heart today.

Romans 2:17-29 Part 1 Hypocrites?

Have you heard people say the church is full of hypocrites? They may be right!

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Romans 2:17-24  “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Pride of the position

The Jews were a proud people because of their “religion” and knowledge of the scripture. They are right and this is the focus in verses 17-24 of Romans 2.  The Jews were a proud people because of their “religion” and knowledge of the scripture.  They considered themselves to a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness. An instructor to the foolish and a teacher of babes (verses 19-20.)  Paul is challenging the proud Jews to look inside and see if they are so proud of their position and knowledge that they forget to apply their knowledge to themselves.  The things they teach does not seem to apply to them.  They consider themselves to have “made it” in the kingdom because they are Jews and  are teachers.

I was a hypocrite!

I remember a revival service I attended when the evangelist called for all sinners to come forward to accept Christ.  I had a jealous place in my heart toward another pastor.  While I had been a pastor for several years and went to college.  This preacher was trained by distance learning and his church was growing like mad.  I was jealous and there I was at the alter call. “All those with sin in your life come forward” the evangelist said.  I was looking at these “sinners” knowing I belonged with them, but I was a pastor.  I am embarrassed to tell you it took too long for me to take that first step.  However the second and third step was easier and as I reached the alter I repented and God forgave and healed me.  I repented to this pastor and we are friends.

Hypocrisy makes God distasteful to the unbeliever.

If we are not careful we can become a “professional” teacher and truth giver that only shares but does not look closely in the mirror of God’s word.  The strong effect of this is found in verse 24 “The name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you”.  From the Message translation “It is because of you Jews that the outsiders are down on God”.

Hypocrites are easy to be seen unless you are one.  If you have a position of influence in the church or group of people please take heed, This is very common and easy to slip into.  The pride of the position keeps you from the humility of the truth.  Allow God to fill our own heart with His lightnside to keep you holy as you share His light to others.

Romans 2:21a ” you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself?”

Proverbs 13:20 People influence people.

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 13:20 NIV

choose friends

No man is an island

The people you hang out with have an influence on your life.  No man is an island, no man stands alone.  We are influenced by our company.  This verse requires us to look at who we choose to be around and why.   There is a drive in us to be with others.  The reasons are various.  Sometimes it is to pass the time, or to laugh.  Maybe it’s to be around people who will not judge you or are willing to hear your feelings.

There is a influence from the people we hang out with.

Whatever the reason we need to know there is a influence from the people we hang out with that will effect our life.  Are you looking for improvement and growth?  Hang out with people who are also looking to improve themselves.  They will challenge you and encourage you.  Are you looking for people to tell you the things you are doing are justified?  There are people who will agree with you but be careful of their presence.  They tend to lower your standards in life.

Iron sharpens iron but rust also spreads

Do you want to be stronger and wiser?  Hang out with people who seek righteous and truth.  Yes it will challenge you to be around these people but as you struggle you will also grow as a person.  Iron sharpens iron.  Be aware,  rust will also spread to other metals.  So if you want to feel justified and have others agree you are not the blame for any issues,  you can also find a group.  No challenge to this group of friends.  It’s an easier life.  More laughter and fun.  But beware of the effect toward a non-responsible life.  The Bible says a companion of fools suffers harm.

Choose wisely

Pick the people you hang around with by their standards.  Pick someone seeking righteousness and a passion for sharing goodness.  Grow in strength together, achieve together.  Become wise together and your lightnside will shine brighter.

 

Who are your friends?  They do influence you.

Pick right.

Help in troubled times Psalms 46:1-7

Extreme evil is in our world.

The rage of a former student to bring weapons of death to destroy lives is pure evil.  How do we pray and connect our thoughts about God during times like these.  Below are my thoughts.

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Psalms 46:1 says “God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.”

God is a place we need to run to.  God is not to blame.  Yes, He is God but this is a fallen world and the choice of allowing God in our lives are our own.  Satan and his demons are at work to (John 10:10) steal, kill and destroy.  The deaths are their joyous goals.  Destruction is their strength.  We need a revival in this land.  Our nations need’s it’s soul healed.

God is a place where we as Christians can run to and strengthen our resolve to stay holy.  Today, rest in His presence.  Who knows what will come our way.  Yesterday was just another day in Florida.  Students, parents, and teachers had no idea it was going to be a violent, deadly day.  But it came.  And it will continue to come until God returns.  When we face darkness we must be prepared and know where to find strength.  Our hope, strength and comfort is in the presence of God. “Therefore we will not fear”.

The earth is giving way.

Psalm 46:2-7 NIV

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, [3] though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. [4] There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. [5] God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. [6] Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. [7] The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The earth is giving way.  The mountain of innocence is falling into the sea of pain.  Grief, anger, shock are roaring and the mountain of society’s  “safe feeling”  is quaking under this surge of evil.

There is a stream from God’s presence that refreshes

There is a stream from God’s presence that refreshes and makes us glad during the storm. Drink from that stream today.  Let your heart know that even though the nations roar and society has an evil, dark day of falling apart,  God’s voice is above all the mess.  He is with us.  A very present help in times of trouble.

God may your great presence help those who are calling out to you in this dark troubled time.  Give them strength.  Be their safe place.  Protect them and allow the stream of gladness from your throne bring healing, hope, and refreshing to their hearts.  May great moments of Glory come out from the great evil.  Please Lord of host, be with them.  Be their refuge today. Allow the lightnside of believers shine brighter directing hopeless people to the God of hope.  Amen.

A Generous person will prosper Prov. 11:24-25

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.  A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24‭-‬25 NIV

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Ever hear the saying “What goes around comes around?”

I believe it is based on the same principle as this scripture.  As you ponder this verse you become aware there are forces beyond the people listed in the verse.  There is a cause and effect but it is outside normal natural laws of physics.  If you drop a stone from a hill it will fall at a specific speed and direction according to it’s mass and the pull of gravity.  This is a consistent law established by our creator.  We use known laws to create tall buildings and fly airplanes. Last week the most powerful rocket was launched and the booster rockets landed themselves together back on the launch pad.  Amazing but all due to known laws of nature.

The law described in Proverbs is outside the natural laws.

Implied is an observer who is a work bringing blessing or cursing in one’s path.  Blessing means unearned gain.  A gift outside your own efforts.  Usually it is a gift because of an action.  This is a supernatural reality.  The unseen is more real and has power over what is seen.  2 Corinthians 4:18 KJV — While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

A SUPERNATURAL POWER  at work

There is an unseen, supernatural power at work and you control the outcome by your generosity.  The verse is specifically speaking of money and giving.  Generosity or giving without personal gain releases the blessing in your life to be blessed financially.  There is more in this blessing than just financial.  To prosper could also be health, marriage, friendship. The one who is a Scrooge to others will not only see frustration with his wealth but also a lonely self-involved life. Malachi speaks specifically to this blessing when you give your tithe to the church. Malachi 3:7-11 NIV

Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ [8] “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. [9] You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. [10] Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. [11] I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe, ” says the Lord Almighty.

Be generous and receive God’s blessings

Be generous.  Give to God and others. The supernatural power watching over you will release blessings your way.  What goes around comes around. Allow the blessing to place a lightnside your life.

Romans 2:12-16 God wrote the laws in our hearts

Romans 2:14-15 NLT

Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. [15] They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.

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God’s basic law is written in everyone’s hearts

This is not to be confused with salvation but basic law of God toward each other.  Kindness, no murder, stealing, hatred.  The general laws of God are written on everyone’s heart.  Our conscience works with this law.  This is different from the Holy Spirit working in our hearts.  That is a deeper work beyond fallen man. There is no excuse for man to say I was never taught how to treat another human being. God has written this law into the hearts of every human being on earth.

 

Our current sexual abuse explosion

We are in the middle of many women coming out with accusations of being sexually abused by men.  The basic law of decency is written into every mans heart.  Man know what is right and wrong.  They know how to treat a woman  unless their hearts are clouded by lust and perversions.  One thing I would add to this argument is women should not dress or behave in a sexually stimulating way that highlights their bodies and increase sexual tension.  They too have basic laws of God written in their hearts.  I am not excusing men in any way because it is their actions that bring guilt on them.  I am  saying women have a powerful effect on men and they know this.  To place themselves in situations  or cause sexual tension that could get out of hand is also breaking basic laws of God which can cause harm to themselves and others.

 

Romans 2:14-16 in modern day language

(The Message) Romans 2:14 MSG

When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences.

Let us treat each other according to God’s law written in our hearts.  Ask Christ to lead you and the Holy Spirit to direct you for even greater lightnside.

Psalms 42 In a dry place? Deep calls to deep.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

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Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  Psalm 42:1‭-‬2‭, ‬5‭, ‬11 NIV

In a dry place?

Are you in a time of struggling?  Maybe you are in the middle of a long battle of unknown conclusions.  You may be in a place of uncertainty of direction.  It seems you are in this time alone.  As you look around other people are happy and going about their business.  But you are in a lonely trapped situation.  Believe it or not,  it is these places where our faith, knowledge and desire for God is deepened.  Not so much in waves of joy but in developing muscles of trust, patience, and faith that God is aware and is present.

 

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. Psalm 42:7 NIV

 

It is healthy to wrestle with your emotions and mind as you rehearse God’s truths.  You remind yourself there is no reason to feel so abandoned.  You praise God when your heart does not feel like it.  It is the sacrifice of praise.  This is the deep calling for even deeper things of God.  It is treasure, gold, precious jewels that you alone earned and possess.  When you only have God, you are at the place of greatest strength in Him.

As your heart pants for God’s nourishing waters of strength and refreshing your soul, faith, and self-control of your emotions will strengthen and deepen.  One day the sun will shine and you will be refreshed as you desire.  But you will be a deeper, solid Christian.  Times like these will make brighter the lightnside your heart.

Meditate on this Psalms and go deeper.