The older I become the less I dream, or so it seems. Most of my dreams in recent years have come during my waking hours. Anymore, I savor those rare moments when God wakes me up in time to capture one in its entirety.
My favorite dreams are those in which I am cast in a role as though I were a character in a play. Such was the case when I became the headmaster of a school for older children of wealthy citizens in a small community on the edge of a large city. It was during the days of corporal punishment when paddling the offender was not only permitted but often expected.
Most children knew that getting into trouble at school meant Mom or Dad would add to their discipline when they got home.
Three young boys were caught breaking the rules and sent to my assistant for discipline. After hearing their story the punishment was decided….three "pops" each with a wooden paddle, to be carried out by the assistant head master. Parents were asked to be present for the sentencing. This was nothing new for two of the boys, and their parents did not accompany them to school that day.
The third child, age 12, had never been in trouble before so his dad came with him to observe the paddling. Just before the sentence was carried out, the boy asked to talk to me. He stood before me with his father, tears steaming down his face, and said meekly, "I'm not a bad boy."
"Let's go for a walk," I said to him.
"You are not being punished because you are a bad boy, but because your actions were bad.
Long after the pain of this day is forgotten, you will remember two things...your father still loves you, and for every wrong action there is a consequence."
Oh, my Beloved Children of the King! How we would love to wipe away every punishment for the sins of our loved ones. If we could we would take all their pain upon ourselves and shelter them from the stumped toes and scraped knees. Gladly we would exchange places to protect them from all their mistakes, but we cannot!
Therefore, since we are not the answer for their sins, nor the provision for their eternal security, do not let the sun set this day before we tell them about the only One who can offer that kind of love. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
GospeLines Prayer: Oh, my God, my God… deliver my loved ones from the consequences of their wrong doings! Place their stripes upon my back; allow me to be chastised and beaten in place of them. I would rather stand in their stead to protect them, but if I cannot, then I beseech you to deliver them from the evil one. Though they may suffer for their actions, place a hedge of protection around their souls and give them what they need more than physical safety. Breathe into my loved ones the gift of eternal life with you. Amen and amen.
"Sure Alyssa, but don't go anywhere else without calling."
A dear friend who was visiting said, "How did you know that was Alyssa? They both sound alike to me." (We have twins) My answer was, "I know their voices."
Jesus said that His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. How does that happen? How do we distinguish between the voice of God and other “voices” which invade our thoughts?
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sent in His name, will teach us all things and will remind us of everything Jesus said. (John 14:25-27) Jesus also said that this Counselor (The Spirit of truth) would be with us forever. (John 14:15-17)
When Paul said, "May... the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." (2nd Corinthians 13:14), that word 'fellowship' meant communion, communication, association, joint participation, intimacy and social intercourse. So, when you have a question, go to the one Jesus sent to us for that purpose.
Jesus talks to your spirit and to your soul (mind). The evil one talks to your flesh. When you hear His voice, it always reminds you of His Word and the heart of the Father. But when the evil one speaks, he speaks with the voice of the flesh. So, you "hear" physical messages like lust, greed, anger, pride and envy. These things only remind you of the world. If you know His heart, you will know His voice.
But how may we be sure that the voice we hear is the voice of God?
He will NEVER tell you something that is contrary to Scripture. You may discern His voice from the voice of the evil one because God will never speak with the voice of the world. He said, “I have overcome the world. If anyone wants to know my voice, they must know my heart.” You will know His heart when you invite Him to take up residence your heart.
Do you want to know the voice of God? Ask Him to come into your heart right now. Please, don't wait another moment.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5
Someone is certain to raise an eyebrow when I ask this question, "How much is enough?" So much of our time (and too much of our preaching) is spent dreaming of more, wishing that we were richer than we are, scheming of ways to make one more dollar. We forget that wealth is not attached to money. Hear the words of a wise man on this subject:
SAYINGS OF AZUR
Two things I ask of you, O Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread,
Otherwise, I may have too
much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
GospeLines Prayer: Father, help me to know when I have had enough, in my leisure and in my labor, in my spending and in my wanting. I want to learn how to say "Yes, but...," and when to say "No!" Give me the maturity to realize that more is not always better for me. Amen and amen.
Why is the divorce rate in the United States over 50 percent? Most experts agree that time, intimacy, money are the biggest obstacles for marriages.
Poor communication and lack of conflict resolution skills are usually manifest due to the lack of time committed to these needs. If we don't take the time to make a commitment to the marriage, we shouldn't be surprised when it gets into trouble.
No marriage can long endure if there is no intimacy. A lack of intimacy can result in failed expectations or unmet needs of one or both parties. When there's no intimacy, it's easy for your priorities to drift in totally different directions. Unmet needs and different priorities can lead to infidelity.
No time to talk and truly understand each other's needs; no intimate relationship and different priorities can easily lead to financial problems. Without collaboration and a strong focus on common goals, resources are often squandered.
Time, intimacy and money touch all the major physical and emotional needs of individuals and couples.
The church in the United States is not growing; it's not even keeping up with the population growth. Between 1991 to today the US population has grown about 15%, while the unchurched population has grown 92% and the average church has declined over 47%. Why? Most experts agree that time, intimacy and money are the biggest obstacles for churches.
Poor communication between church leaders and church members usually results from a lack of time committed to these needs. When problems arise, we need to devote time to problem resolution. If we don't take the time to make a commitment to our church, we shouldn't be surprised when it gets into trouble.
No church can long endure if there is no intimacy. Intimacy in the church includes familiarity with each other, closeness, understanding and a confident and trusting relationship. A lack of intimacy can result in failed expectations or unmet needs of church leaders and members. When there's no intimacy, it's easy for our priorities to drift in totally different directions. Unmet needs and different priorities can lead to infidelity - turning our faces from the cross to the world.
No real communication, no intimacy and different priorities can easily lead to financial problems. Without collaboration and a strong commitment to common goals, resources are often squandered or withheld.
Time, intimacy and money touch all the major physical and emotional needs of Christ's church.
What else is common between marriages and churches that are in trouble today? Let's ask that question another way. What else should be common between marriages and churches to keep them out of trouble today?
"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." (1st Corinthians 2:11)
We cannot have communion with each other or with the Father without the Spirit. We cannot have intimacy without the Spirit who opens our hearts to the truth.
It is no accident that our Lord contrasted His relationship with the church to that of a bride and groom (Matthew 25:1-13, John 3:28-30, Ephesians 5:23, Revelations 22:17). "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." (Romans 8:5)
If we want a successful marriage, or a successful church, we must be led by the Spirit; we must believe in the name of Jesus Christ and love one another as He commanded us. If we obey His commands and live in Him, He will lives in us: We will know it by the Spirit he gave us - a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5