Sunday, October 30, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Velcro Devotion in a Teflon World

Once more, we're featuring a "Guest Writer," you might say.  This is such an important topic, and it was one we would have been addressing sooner or later.  The fact that Lisa Crum, (songwriter, inspirational writer, and pastoral assistant), wrote this as one of Streaming Faith's devotions, well...  Apparently it needs to be addressed now.

In these last days, it seems harder than ever to find people who will serve in any capacity—much less ministry--with lasting devotion. In the era of contractual service, we seek an “out clause” in almost everything we say ‘yes’ to. Marriages dissolve once the honeymoon is over; parents abandon their post and leave their children to be raised by the grandparents (an alarming trend); and, few places of employment are left where someone can hope to work clear up until retirement. We all tend to want to milk the best out of something and then discard it once it’s no longer profitable or fulfilling to us. It makes me think of the Winans’ song, “Bring Back the Days of Yea and Nay.”
Deuteronomy 15:16-17 relates to someone who had sold himself (or herself) into servanthood. “But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life” (NIV). It was an understood law that in the seventh year, that person would be set free from the master, at which time the master awarded a blessing for the service before releasing the servant. Now, I’m aware that sometimes it’s entirely fitting for someone to operate in a season, or an agreed time of service, and then be released from it. What I do want to encourage, however, is for a special remnant of people to catch the vision of becoming a servant for LIFE.

Can we say to the Lord, “I will faithfully tend this patch of Your field, in good times and in bad, in season, out of season, when I’m praised for it and when I’m an unsung hero too. I’ll be so predictable and so constant, You and my leaders won’t have to wonder if I’ll show up to serve…it’ll be a given!”

Do you consider God’s work and His priorities something that you do ala carte, or is it an integral part of who you are? You may never be called upon to go full-time into ministry, but if He were to ask, would you be willing? What material possessions, hobbies or other preoccupations would you find hard to push aside in favor of going to a higher level in your commitment to the Lord and His work? Do you ever feel offense rising within your spirit whenever the pastor or a leader asks you to give up some of your closely guarded leisure time for a worthwhile investment in kingdom work?

Most of us who serve in the ministry do so on a purely volunteer basis; but may we, from this day forward, never look at it as a “favor” that we do for God. Whether the time we invest in ministry is a few minutes a month or several hours each week, may we treat our offering of ourselves in this way as a holy thing unto the Lord…because it is.

God knows there are times in your life when you're only able to give less of yourself—He knows babies will be born, times of sickness may temporarily slow your pace, aging parents will need care. He is not a tyrant Master! That said, in whatever capacity you choose to give yourself to kingdom work, I pray that, beginning today, you will do so with joy and with excellence, and with a renewed sense of zeal for His purposes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is there any noise in your valley?????

Eze 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
Eze 37:2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
Eze 37:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
Eze 37:4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
Eze 37:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
Eze 37:6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Eze 37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
Eze 37:8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Eze 37:9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
Eze 37:10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Eze 37:11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
Eze 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
Eze 37:13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

In this day and age it has become common for our people, our churches to take a back seat to things spiritual and fall into a comfort zone. This my friend is the death of our belief and our faith. So far from the glory of those new testament churches of old and the movement of the Holy Spirit. What happened to walking in authority, prophecy, walking in the gifts we have as believers in Christ????? The church has become a valley of dry bones, but I challenge you today to prophecy to these dry bones and command them to live. I challenge you to seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit, to embrace and seek who you are in Christ and dare to tell the enemy where they can take their religion and their darkness!

Jos 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Know this my beloveds, He is with us always, so today invite Him in, rise above your situation, get out of your comfort zone, raise a noise in your valley. Speak life to the dead places in your life, homes, businesses, ministries, schools.... wherever you are!

Let us pray: Father Yahweh come into our lives this day and renew our spirit pour out your love and power into our lives, remind us of the authority we have in your Son's precious blood. Help us to be bold where ever we dare to tread, help us to rise above the death and decay in our lives and find life and light in you. Be the breath we breath, our strong-tower in the storm, our light in the darkness. Lord we turn over our old will unto you and lay down our sins and and false mindsets, and take up the mantle you have placed before us. Heal us where we have gone astray, and give us the strength ,the wisdom and boldness to do your will. In Jesus's name and by His blood amen.

Bless you all -warriorsoul (yoda)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

News and Acknowledgements

We just wanted to take an opportunity to thank all of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning.  We hope that we have been able to encourage you, uplift you and provide something to think about.  If nothing more, we want you to read these posts and come away with a sense that you are living strong- Strong in the Word of God, strong in your faith and strong in your convictions.  We hope we've inspired you to live intentionally.

God bless all of you.

You may have noticed that we've had a change of scenery around here.  This is due to the number of folks who stated they find it hard to read white text on black backgrounds.  As such, the main sections have gone to a more neutral tone with black text.  We hope this will encourage you all to share these entries with your friends and family.

In about a week, we will unveil two brand new features to this blog.

The first is something that has been being tossed around for a while now, but we've just been too busy to do anything with it.  This is the inclusion of an audio file which can be streamed or downloaded for convenient access.  That means that every entry will now be read aloud, and the audio files will be available freely to anyone who may not have time to read.

The second feature will be posted every Sunday.  Some of you, for reasons known to you and God alone, do not have a home church.  Whether it's because you've been burned, or are simply away from home too often due to business travel, you simply cannot be in church.  We understand this, and we'd like to offer you something as well.
As many of you have noticed, we've had no written entries for Sunday.  This is because half of us do have a church commitment, while others have family obligations that prevent us from being able to submit to this blog.  However, starting a week from this Sunday, we will begin posting two videos to this page.  The first will be of praise and worship.  The other will be a simple devotional or study which you'll be able to follow along with.  These too will have audio files available for download.

We hope that these new features will help to continue encouraging you in your walk with the Lord.

Pastors, R.E.T.S. has a special project he's working on with which he would like to request your involvement.  If your church has a history of ministering to those who have been wounded or burned by other Christians, he would like to contact you.  The overall goal will be a permanent list of places wounded warriors may be able to go and find healing.  Just click on his name under contributors, and look for the contact information.  He looks forward to hearing from you!

Next, we'd like to update you on the success of this blog.

We're pleased to announce that in about one month, we've seen the visits to this page increase dramatically- From about five, when we first began, to topping off now at about 150.  So far, it seems The Learning Curve is the highest viewed entry; and we are overjoyed that this has been of such encouragement to you!  So far, our top referring sites have been Facebook and The Circle, a community comprised of the readers of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker.  We'd like to thank all of you who have shared these entries on Facebook, specifically, as these have been a means of encouraging others beyond our personal sphere of influence.

Keep on sharing, folks!  We appreciate it more than you know!

We'd also like to give you some fun facts about this blog: First, we've noted that the majority of you are using Windows- 86% of you, in fact!  We've also noted that Chrome seems to be the browser of choice, with 36% of you using it to view this very blog.  (This has been a point of personal enjoyment for R.E.T.S., who also uses that browser and claims it as the best he's ever used!) We'd also like to make a point of stating that we now have viewers from all over the world!!

If you live in a country outside the United States, speak English, and have an idea for making this accessible to those in your country who do not speak English, please contact us with your thoughts. We'd very much like to see this ministry reach as many people as possible.  Thank you in advance.

Finally, we'd just like to thank everyone, once again, for supporting us with your prayers, as well as your shares.  Sharing this ministry with others encourages us to continue to do what the Lord has placed upon our hearts.  While we'd keep going simply because of what God has called us to do, it truly means a great deal to know that you share this with others.  Thank you!

We'd also like to specifically thank our readers in Russia; Canada; Germany; Indonesia; India; and Taiwan- Thank you SO much!

May God bless each and every one of you, abundantly; and may you find Him a tangible presence in your life.  See you all tomorrow, with the next entry!