Our New Home

Our New Home
Fall is in the air!

Friday, January 30, 2015

The JOY Test...


When I opened the door first thing this morning to take the dog out, I had put on a coat but did not zip it up as the thermometer on our patio read a warmer than normal temperature of forty degrees.  I quickly realized the folly of my actions when the wind howled through the breezeway and frosted my t-shirt with a burst of cold air!  The dog was pulling at the leash so I was not able to zip up my coat until we reached the lawn area next to our apartment.  As I numbly fumbled at the zipper I was amused to observe the dog standing in the middle of the grass with a mystified look on her face and her nose in the air as if a thousand different scents were arresting her senses at once. 
That scene got me to thinking about how the stormy situations we encounter in our lives can present us with seemingly thousands of scenarios to follow at the same time!  Within a matter of a few seconds Mandie lowered her head and returned to her regular morning routine of sniffing the grass in a path that led to the edge of the apartment and eventually back to the breezeway toward our home… as if everything was normal.  Her nonchalant response to the momentary distraction caused me to consider how God’s love, peace and joy should influence our responses to the distractions that we face.
In the last few blog posts we have looked at the role of God’s peace that is driven by our love from and for Papa God.  In John 15:11 Jesus continued His teaching about our role in not letting trouble or fear lead us and about continuing in His love by adding His thoughts about the importance of His joy working in and through us.  He stated “I have spoke these things to you so that my joy might remain in you and your joy might be full.” (MKJV)  This declaration makes it easy to understand that joy is to be an important trait or characteristic that Jesus believes should be visibly evident in our lives.
Is joy something that others easily see in you?  Is it a characteristic that people would use to describe you?  It took me a while, but I finally realized that is was sadly missing in the lives of those who put their hope in the world’s answers rather than in the truth of God’s Word when it came to the attack on my wife’s health.  I use the phrase “sadly missing” because these folks were sad and it was hard not to be sad when you were around them!  This experience has taught me about the “joy test!”  When tough times come I have learned to do a quick personal inventory of my thoughts, emotions and visible stature.  If I find myself with an inner joy that is expressed through a smile, a happy word and a hop in my step – in spite of what’s going on around me – then I know that I am trusting Papa God!  If, on the other hand, I find myself sad, without a smile and feeling a bit sorry for myself, then I know that my hope is in the wrong place!
I’ve also learned that I am not going to let any situation and/or the sad reactions of those around me to influence my faith-filled expectations concerning the truth of God’s Word working for me.  I came to the realization that when I am in the company of the sad folks, that I have a responsibility to allow the love and peace of God to flow through me by my joyful expressions and confidence in Him.  I do not deny the situation nor do I belittle the very real feelings they are dealing with, but what I do is to continually point to the answer with is found through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ… And that answer is what gives me the joy to go on in the midst of the rough patch we may find ourselves in.
The Sermon Bible Commentary says concerning Jesus’ words in John 15:11 that “In order to rejoice in the Lord, you must know the Lord not as you know a mere fact, but as you know a dear friend, a loving father.  One who is the source of your life, the fountain of your good, the hope of your soul, the desire of your heart.”  My Spirit directed prayer for the sad of heart and countenance is as Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:19 that they “will (intimately) know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge… (so that they) may be completely filled with God.” (God’s Word ©)
How well do you know Christ’s love?  When you look in the mirror what do you see?  Does your reflection display a happy countenance or a sad look?  The Contemporary English Version tells us that Jesus “told you this to make you as completely happy as I am.”  Are you happy?  If not… then just maybe you need to spend some time to regain an intimate knowledge of the God-kind of love that Jesus has for you.  Then you’ll have something to be joyful about… no matter what is going on around you or how others in the room may feel… or look!  Have a joyfully great weekend!  Stay in tune to and rejoice over His Word, and keep asking yourself… What or Whom am I expecting to be joyful about today?”

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Are You a Talker or a Doer?


While reading from John chapter fourteen yesterday, I happened to glance over at the next column in my New King James Version and my eyes fell upon John 15:9.  In this continuation of His teaching from the previous chapter, Jesus had just spoken of the true vine and began to move into a discussion on love declaring, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in my love.”  The King James Version uses the word “continue” instead of “abide.”  The idea of continuing in Christ’s love was a bit easier for me to follow
Strong’s explains the thought behind this action as “to stay in a given place, state, relationship or expectancy.”  This idea seems to go hand in hand with Christ’s earlier encouragement to ‘Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)  It appears to me that the ability to stay in peace has much to do with staying present and active in the position of Christ’s love!
Roberts Word Pictures states that to “continue in My love” or “in the love I have for you” is based on “our love for Christ (which) is the result of Christ’s love for us and is grounded at the bottom in the Father’s love for the world.”  So, in order for us to stay in the place of expectancy of Christ’s love working in and through us toward others, we first have to possess an intimate experiential knowledge of Papa God’s love for us!
It is interesting when you look at the different types of love that are spoken of in John 15:9.  In talking about how the Father loved Him and how He loved us, Jesus is describing the physical actions of love.  The Greek word used here is “agapao” which is defined as ”to love people in a social or moral sense.” (Strong’s and Thayer’s)  The word “agape” is used when He speaks of "my love" which is the mindset or lifestyle of love we are to stay in.  This is the exceptional kind of love that the Patheos website defines as “the type of love that was displayed by Jesus on the cross and is always associated with the love of God.” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/05/02/what-is-agape-love-a-bible-study/)
All this simply confirms what I’ve come to vividly learn and experience firsthand over the last few years in that love is an action word!  Many people have said some very nice things to us over this time concerning our situation with my wife’s health but few have actually stepped out of their comfort zones and/or their busy schedules to reach out and display the physical activities of love that Jesus talks about in John 15:9.  Jesus wasn’t just a talker when He walked on this earth… He was a doer of the Word.
Do you know that I have a good friend from our hometown who regularly calls me multiple times a week from the opposite end of the country to see how we’re doing and encourage us as well as a cousin who texts me almost daily to inquire about Piper and make me laugh?  That’s the kind of actual love that I believe that Jesus is attempting to teach us in our verse today.
When you take a look in the mirror each day, what do you see?  A talker or a doer?  Jesus gives us a hint as how to discern this answer in you a few verses later in John 15:11 where He talks about our level of joy.  Check it out and I’ll share some thoughts on that part of the Peace, Love and Joy equation in tomorrow’s blog post.  But as for today… focus in on the Talker/Does scenario.   Which are you… and which would you rather be?  Have a great Thursday, keep or get in tune to God’s Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to TALK about or DO today?”

 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Place of Contentment


I didn’t realize what a big day that my wife and I had yesterday until I finally sat down for dinner!  After attending to the normal morning activities of getting my wife up and ready for the day, breakfast and writing the blog, I switched into high gear as I washed Piper’s hair and got us both prettied up for her appointment in Durham.  Following a quick walk with the dog we jumped in the Mustang and headed west!
I must admit that the getting to and coming from was the best part of the trip for me!  Whew!  I’ve never driven a car that can hit sixty miles an hour as fast as our newest acquisition – not that I was speeding mind you - but like a former Corvette driving Pastor we had once said: “They don’t tell you how long it should take you to reach the speed limit, do they?” So yeah… I took his advice and drove there and back with a happy little smirk on my face!  I think that Piper also enjoyed my childlike glee behind the wheel!
As we were believing for, the appointment went well and Piper got a good report.  This time around was pretty active though as they poked and prodded her quite a bit (including the use of a pin…) to check her physical reactions, reflexes and responses to various types of external stimuli. 
The Neurologist and PA also agreed with her GP in that Piper’s muscle tone was good and that she looks healthy and well cared for.  It always amazes me when the female care-givers seem to notice and comment on how nice her hair looks!  I guess my attention to details like clean, combed and styled hair along with lip stick and a nice looking outfit is a good thing!  I just want her presence to mimic how she always cared for herself!  I am fully expecting Piper to just step right back into where she left off in caring for herself without missing a beat or having to catch her grooming up to the level of her norm!
By the time we ate, I was ready for bed… tired but very contented and thankful!  That contentedness came to mind this morning as I re-read John 14:27 where Jesus told His disciples before His final hours on this earth, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (NKJV)  Today it was the word “leave” that reached out and grabbed my attention.  A little investigation into the inference of the thought behind it opened up some new areas of understanding to me.
Strong’s and Thayer’s describe the word as inferring “to send, denoting separation or departure.  To bid going away as of a husband divorcing his wife.”  Comparing Jesus’ statement about His peace in similarity to a divorce immediately brought the realization that the peace that Jesus was going to give them was as legal divorce paperwork that would officially separate or divorce believers from the turbulent relationship of their partnership with the unfaithful world.
With Jesus’ peace, we no longer are connected or accountable to the world’s standards of anger, defeat, sin, sickness, hopelessness, unforgiveness, and failure!  Jesus’ peace gives us a whole new outlook on life’s situations!  Yes we live in a fallen world, and yes we will face and have to deal with problems, but we don’t have to face them with a sense of utter hopelessness.  God’s love, His faithfulness, His “I will never neglect or abandon you” (Joshua 1:5 God’s Word ©) truth and the promises in His Word will always be there and be true and real for you!
When it was time to help Piper up for the day today, I stood up from the kitchen table and glanced back down at my myriad of notes when I suddenly understood some of the frustration I felt when people we loved confusingly reacted through the world’s standards to our beginning steps of faith toward Piper’s complete recovery.  It was as though they were attempting to pull us back into a turbulent relationship that we had left behind MANY years ago! 
The idea of going back to THAT rocky and unstable union was abhorrent and a bit sickening to us!  Why go back to a horrid place of hopelessness when we have intimately experienced the love of God on a very personal and oft time repeated basis throughout the last 39+ years of our marriage.  Stepping back DID NOT make any sense AT ALL!  What is that very graphic scripture say about the dog who “goes back to his vomit, so a fool repeats his stupidity.” (Proverbs 26:11 God’s Word ©)
Sorry… I didn’t mean to paint that picture in your mind… but you get the seriousness of my repulsion to their idea!  As believers, you and I are legally released from all of our former ties with the rollercoaster lifestyle that the world gives.  My word of wisdom to you today is to NOT GO BACK!  Stay within the limitless boundaries of God’s loving ways!  Choose to stay in the contentment of His peace that far surpasses our natural understanding and sets us free to be in line to receive all that God has for us in each situation we face in our daily lives!  Have a super day!  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or in Whose ways I am expecting to stay in today?”

 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Extended Warranty...


Later on this afternoon my wife and I are heading up to the home of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  The reason for this adventure is Piper’s six month visit with her Neurologist.  As I always do, I have been thanking God for the last week for a good report from this appointment.  You know… when you really think about it, it is the only course of action that I as a Christian can take!  I mean, what else whould I do?  Thank God for a negative report… hoping or expecting to hear how bad things are?
I personally believe that this is what the Word of God instructs me to do.  I believe it is the outlook that I am supposed to have!  If I read it right, I understand that this was exactly what Jesus was telling His disciples at dinner on the evening of His arrest which would culminate in His crucifixion on the cross at Calvary.  In John 14:27 Jesus announced “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (MKJV)
Jesus knew what was ahead for Him, and I am also pretty sure that He understood the thoughts and feelings that would face His followers as they witnessed the events of the next few days unfold before their eyes.  His advice to them before the events happened was to “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  As I studied this over the last few days I began to realize the importance of the two purposely stated phrases “Let not…” and “neither let…”  It would seem that Jesus was making the point that it is a conscience decision that they or we as Christians in today’s world have to make.  And I also think that Jesus was clearly implying by the timing of His statement before they were faced with the decision, that it was something they as well as we today have to decide ahead of time.  It is a lifestyle decision that we have to make that we will not even consider reversing in the face of trouble.
The Easy To Read translation has an interesting slant on part of this verse saying: “I give you peace in a different way than the world does…”  This makes sense to me in that we should expect the Lord’s peace to be different than what the world presents to us.  Many times His peace doesn’t quite make sense when compared to what our eyes are seeing or our ears are hearing.
Over the last few years I have come to expect the world’s reactions to my wife’s health concerns and our overwhelming peace about it to be different than ours.  What has confused and at times frustrated me (okay… and has gotten me a bit upset at times…) was when I see believers taking the world’s pattern of thought and subsequent response of hopelessness.  As believers we have the answer.  It befuddles me to try and understand why these folks don’t take hold of the heavenly rope that the Word tosses to us!
What I have learned firsthand is that most people in the world want to have the hope that we have!  I have seen people’s entire countenance change after they hear just a few words about the expectations of God and His promises to us concerning Piper’s good health.  I can’t say the same thing about the Christians who seemed to have lost their hope.  It is almost like they are afraid to give into our expectations of God’s best.  I wonder if they are afraid of us being disappointed or afraid for themselves?  At that point in the juncture, I believe that it is their faith that is on the line and not ours.  We have already made the decision in agreement with Jesus’ instructions in John 14:27, and we will NOT be dissuaded!
Where might you stand today?  Have you made the decision to “Let not?”  According to the Savior of the world, the benefits of that decision come jam-packed with His peace that yes… is far different from what the world has to offer, and is a “peace which goes  beyond anything we can imagine,” and comes with a warranty that will “guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 God’s Word ©)
I may not have purchased the extended car warranty with our new Mustang a few months ago, but Jesus’ warranty of His peace is one that I will never leave home without!  How about you?  Have a good day.  Stay in tune and on track to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s PEACE am I expecting today?”

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Spill...


Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seemed to be going right from the get-go?  Have you ever received some great revelation from God’s Word and then immediately get tested to see if it stuck in you or not?  Well, that explains my morning today!  I was feeling pretty exhilarated after reading from John 14:27 as I headed from the kitchen to help my wife up for the day.  After hearing Jesus talk about His peace and His encouragement to “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” (MKJV) I found myself walking with a bit of a swagger as I entered the bedroom.


When I got to her side I noticed that she was dealing with a heightened case of the shakes and jolts that is an effect of the Myoclonus that attached itself to the Alzheimer’s.  So, okay… I took a deep breathe, kept smiling and began to automatically speak out what God says about the situation.  After about fifteen minutes of the Word she had calmed down some, so we went to the next step of pulling back the covers and helping her up to the edge of the bed.  Everything seemed to be going well at that point as I helped her into a sweater, combed her hair and gave her a sip of some juice mixed with one of her meds.


Great!  We got it under control… or so I thought until I bumped the tumbler of juice against the nightstand and spilled its contents all over the bed and the floor…  I have to be honest here… that as something flickered deep inside me, my first thought was to pick up the cup and toss it across the bedroom!  But in an instant, the words “Let not your heart be troubled” overrode my initial reaction and I stopped and said out loud to my wife and I, “Oh NO you don’t!” and I forced myself to say “Ha! Ha! Ha!”  And you know… an almost instantaneous peace overwhelmed me and the forced “Ha!” became a natural and spontaneous laugh of joy that changed the atmosphere in that room!
Now as my wife sits next to me at the kitchen table and is humming along with the Keith Green song that is playing on Pandora (“I Can’t Believe It” is the song being sung…) I have to smile again at the victory that always comes as we yield to and work the Word into the daily events of our lives.
 
“Oh I can’t believe that You’d give everything for me
 I can’t believe it no, I can’t believe it no, no
 I know You never lie and so I’m giving up my pride
 So I can receive it yeah
 I just want to receive it in my heart and make the start with you
 Lah, lah, lah”  (Keith Green – I Can’t Believe It – chorus)

II Corinthians 2:14 tells us “Now thanks be unto God, which always (how often – ALWAYS!) causes us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” (KJV)  So… are you being tested in your life today?  Maybe it is the time to give up your pride and receive what He says He will do for you!  You know…  TRIUMPH sounds pretty good about now… wouldn’t you agree?
Have a great week!  Stay in tune to, obey and then work His Word into your life while you keep asking yourself… “What TRIUMPH am I expecting today?”



PS:  It is interesting that this is not what I had originally planned to share today, but hopefully it was meant for someone(s) special!


 


 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Where the Action Is!


Last night I stood in awe as I gazed at the star studded evening skies outside our apartment home.  I never thought that having to take the pooch out at night would have benefits like this attached to it!  As I looked upon the Big Dipper and was amazed at the detail I could see of it and the surrounding skies, I began to wonder what it would be like to be standing up there and looking down to where I stood.  Could you imagine the scope of the view, the grandeur of the sights that you could see for miles before you?  Could you possibly ever forget the perspective that this viewpoint would give you?
In that moment of time I gained a greater understanding of what Papa God’s perspective must be as He looks down from the heavens upon you and me!  Colossians 3:2 in the Message Bible encourages us to “See things from his perspective.”  Arthur S. Way in his “The Letters of St Paul to Seven Churches and Three Friends with the Letter to the Hebrews” puts an interesting spin on this portion of scripture.  He says to “aspire ever to the things on high, where Messiah is… Let your thoughts dwell on things above, not grovel on the earth.”
To “aspire”, “pursue” or “set your affection” as various other translations put it, infers “to practice a particular way of thinking or of seeing things.” (Dictionary.com)  In this case it is talking about how we are to practice thinking and seeing things in this life according to the way that God sees them from His heavenly throne.  I really like S. Way’s use of the word “grovel” in my copy of his 1906 translation.  It means “to act in an abject manner, as in great fear or utter servility.”  With “abject” defined as being “utterly hopeless, miserable.” (Dictionary.com)
Those definitions perfectly describe what my wife and I have seen in the faces of the individuals who have mentally and verbally disagreed with our stand of faith for Piper’s health and/or with the path we have chosen to follow.  It is a very visible rendition of one who is hopelessly stuck and in some respects in servility to the position of only being able to see what is currently before their eyes in the natural realm.  I recently read somewhere where the author stated: “Physical senses build life fences.  They fence God out and fence a person, his sickness, and the devil in.”
I have come to see this as a hopeless sentence that eradicates any expectations of God’s “exceeding, abundantly above” in a person’s life! (See Ephesians 3:20*)  And as the dictionary definition states, it leaves one feeling miserable!  Believe me… I’ve seen it… and it can be contagious to those around them.  That is why I had to make a point to lessen my wife’s contact with these folks.  It was having a visibly adverse effect on her which tended to amplify the very symptoms we are believing that she is healed of!
As I was lost in my thoughts out there last night (and the dog was patiently waiting for me to finish so she could go back into the warmth of the house…) I said to myself: “I wonder what it would be like to be in Papa God’s head for a day?”  Then in an instant I had to chuckle as this little voice deep inside me said “you can… it’s called His Word!”
The way for you and I to “see things from his perspective” and “not grovel” with our minds stuck on what the media tells us, is first of all, to know that His will is in His Word and that we need to “Pursue the things over which Christ presides… (and thereby) be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is.” (Ephesians 3:1-2 The Message Bible)
So where would you rather be?  Living in a hopeless, miserable state that causes you to act in a manner of utter fear or abject servility or looking and experiencing your daily life with Papa God’s exceedingly, abundant perspective?  Hummmm… That’s not too hard a decision to make is it?  Have a great weekend!  Stay in tune and in focus to the will of God as defined in His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s perspective am I expecting to live by today?”

 

*You’ve probably noticed by the many times I quote it that this is one of my favorite verses in the Bible!  It is a Biblical truth that I firmly believe and have seen manifested throughout my Christian walk.”

Thursday, January 22, 2015

To Catch a Thief


Years ago I was talking with someone about our childhood experiences and they asked me if I had ever taken anything from a store without paying for it when I was young.  I took a moment to think about it and then replied that the worst thing I ever remember doing was poking holes in the bags of beans on display at the old Farmers Market that used to be across from the High School and Junior College in our hometown. 
The reason I so quickly remembered it was because I got caught in the act by an employee who just happened to see me walking behind my Mom down the aisle.  I clearly recall feeling quite embarrassed and guilty as the young man reported my mischievousness to the cashier in front of my Mom while we were checking out our groceries.  I don’t really remember what occurred after that, but I am sure that my Mom took care of whatever recourse and instruction that I needed!
The memory of that incident came flooding back to my mind this morning as I had an “Ah-Ha!” moment while reading from Colossians 3:3.  Here the Apostle Paul reiterates a familiar theme reminding his readers, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (NKJV)  When I paused and began to roll that statement around in my mind, I suddenly realized that this is just another reason to forgive and let go of the hurtful things that others may say or do toward you. 
This scripture tells me that since our lives are now hidden with Christ’s then the attacks against our character are now in reality, an attack against Christ and not us!  So… think about that for a moment.  Since the attack is against Christ and His character, then it would be wrong for us to take it as our own because it is NOT ours to take!  Compare that action with that of a thief who takes something from a store that they haven’t paid for.  That was my “Ah-Ha!” moment…  If I take criticisms, complaints or any other form of persecution for something that the Lord has instructed me through His Word to stand in faith as if they were for (or against) me and my personal use, then I might actually be considered a thief!  That action would immediately connect me to the crime (of what was said or done toward my faith) and I would be just as guilty as the one who perpetrated the original toxic words and/or actions!
Hummmm… interesting conjecture don’t you think?  Thinking this way gives Paul’s words of instruction later on in that same chapter a lot more credibility and emphasis when he taught, “Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13 God’s Word ©)  Since our lives are now concealed in and one with Christ’s, then our only responsibility is to forgive the transgression, release it to Him and then allow Him to deal with it!
Like I said earlier, I clearly remember feeling quite awful and low concerning my destructive actions in that store many years ago and I sure don’t want to feel that way again, especially when it concerns my daily walk as a follower, or better yet, as a son of the living God!  Would you?  Consider that today as you walk in His footsteps and seek to follow His will for your life!  Don’t allow the enemy of our souls to trick you into being a thief!  John 10:10 tells us that thievery is the devil’s profession.  Papa God’s profession is love and forgiveness!  “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV) and don’t let yourselves be apprehended as a thief!
Have a great day.  Stay in tune and in focus to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s Profession am I expecting to follow today?”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Auto Focus...


I had mentioned a few blogs ago that I had a variety of degrees, certificates of completion and college level classes in my life resume.  A good portion of those have been in the study of photography.  My love for taking pictures originated back in the 1960’s when I got my first camera, a new Kodak Instamatic 100 which was a very popular consumer camera that was produced from March of 1963 through 1966.  From that early age I began to devour books on the art of photography and actually enrolled in my first official photography class as a senior in High School.
After that I took the full array of photo classes offered at our local Junior College, and a few years later, I enrolled in all the advanced level photography classes I could fit into my schedule at Sonoma State University in Northern California along with various other mail order and online classes and courses throughout the following years.  One of the aspects of the art form that I discovered that I enjoyed was working in the darkroom.  It was always fascinating to me to see the images on the film reproduced in the chemical trays under the red safety light in the various darkrooms I had built.  I also like the added level of control that doing your own lab work gives you over the finished product from the photos you have captured on film. (Obviously this was all well before the days of digital photography!)
I learned early on about the importance of the photographer’s eye in taking control over the scenes they are trying to replicate in their cameras.  Things like lighting, focus, angle, setting, and lens types become of utmost importance every time a photographer picks up his or her camera.  You will very seldom find me raising my camera and snapping quick photos of an individual or nature scene.  I normally take my time to consider the various aspects of the intended purpose of the upcoming photograph.
Developing your eye for photography is a learned trait and takes training and lots of practice.  Over the years I learned to be able to size up a photo fairly quickly.  Some of that came out of the necessity to not let your subject get bored, tired and restless or in the case of wildlife, give them an opportunity to flee the pastoral scene you’re attempting to document! 
When my wife and I were taking lots of wedding pictures we could move through all the formals immediately after the service at a pretty fast clip!  And all it took was one mother of the bride to comment about an upturned cuff on the groom’s pants early on in our wedding photography career, and we learned to rapidly check every little detail in the foreground, background and on the persons of everyone in every photo before I clicked the shutter!  (Did I mention the young groom who had sport socks with colored stripes you could see through his white tux?  That was an interesting one…)
The intensity of that level of focus got me to thinking about the amount of focus I give the things of God on a daily basis. Colossians 3:1 tells us that “Since you were brought back to life with Christ, focus on the things that are above-where Christ holds the highest position.” (God’s Word ©)  My current DSLR camera has a multi-focus autofocus system in it.  When you look through the lens you will observe many red dots throughout the scene before you.  Each of those dots covers a particular zone of focus within the picture.  The camera software allows me the freedom to average all the dots or to apply more significance to individual sections in order to better focus in on the parts of the picture I want to highlight in the finished product.
That technology is similar to the mental and spiritual technology in us that I believe this verse is talking about.  Paul seems to be telling us that we are to be more particular about the areas of our lives that we focus in on with the things of God… or not!  As I contemplated this today, I had to do a quick mental inventory in order to check out the areas within me that needed some refocusing!  It is actually an easy task because all I had to look for were the areas in my daily existence that were a little on the fuzzy side in the ways I act, speak or think about them!
Then as with my camera, all I needed to do was open up the menu of my mind and attitude and change a few of the settings!  What do you think?  Are there any areas in your life that might just be a little fuzzy?  Well then, the Apostle Paul recommends that you take the time to learn how to use software in your personal camera and start taking some practice shots until you get your (and your Papa God's) desired results!  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What subjects am I expecting to bring into clear FOCUS today?”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Uniforms


A few months ago my wife and I found the TV series JAG on the INSP channel.  It was a series that ran for about ten seasons in the late 1990’s into the early 2000’s.  The show was a an American TV legal drama centered around the activities of the US Navy’s Judge Advocate General division who prosecutes and defends criminal cases under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  I must admit that I never knew that the program even existed during its original run.  I think that we were going through our “everything on TV is not good” stage at the time!
When I came across it recently, I decided that it must be okay since it is being shown on the INSP Christian based network.  If I remember correctly, the Inspirational Channel was originally associated with Jim Bakker and the PTL Club in the 1980’s. Anyway… when I watch the show I am always impressed with all the uniforms, the order and the strict adherence to the chain of command inherent with Military life.
I thought about this show this morning as I took off reading from Colossians 3:12 in my morning study time with the Lord.  In the English Standard Version the Apostle Paul is quoted as saying, “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.”  It turns out that the phrase “Put on” infers “the sense of sinking into a garment.” (Strong's)  As I read this I understood it to not only mean to put on the particular garments described in the verse, but to “sink into” or become as “one” with these graces of God.
Then it struck me how the writer was talking about putting on a particular “uniform” that identifies us as Christians.  Dictionary.com defines a “uniform” as “an identifying outfit or style of dress worn by the members of a given profession, organization or rank.”  That got me thinking about the various Naval and Marine uniforms worn by the actors in the JAG program. It also directed my thinking to all the “uniforms” we wear as Christians!
In the over 41 years of my Christian walk, I have been directly associated with the Catholics, Baptists, and what some call Full Gospel Pentecostal beliefs, and have also rubbed elbows and had close interactions with numerous varieties of other denominational and non-denominational circles.  In that time and associations, I have personally seen all kinds of “uniforms” worn by their members.  There were those whose female members always wore head coverings and dresses.  Those who spoke in “thee’s and Thou’s”, those committed to a life of frugality, and those within the associations that we belong to who saw their Cadillac’s, expensive clothes and lots of make-up in the late ‘80’s and 90’s as a mark of Christ’s blessings upon their lives.
Please don’t get me wrong here!  I am not attempting to make a judgment on anyone’s personal belief systems.  I am only making a personal observation of the many “uniforms” that I have seen in the Christian circles that I have interacted with over the years.  But when I read verses like those found in Colossians chapter three, I discover that the writers of the New Testament were more concerned about the inner graces we demonstrate than the clothing we wear or the cars we drive.  On the other hand though, I firmly believe that those inner graces will also be seen in the way we dress and care for ourselves or the way we take care of our cars and other natural things in our ownership.
Paul consistently teaches us to look and act in the image of Christ to the world around us.  He instructs us to respond to life’s situations with “compassionate hearts,” acts of “kindness,” in “humility” of spirit, and with “meekness” and lots of “patience.”  Then he caps it all off by declaring that “regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It is your basic, all-purpose garment, never be without it.” (Colossians 3:14- Message Bible)
So… what “uniform” that identifies you as a Christian do you wear?  I firmly believe that “My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 God’s Word ©)  But I believe that He makes it clear that His richly filling of all our needs is so that we can be a better witness, a better giver, a better example and a better lover filled with His graces for the salvation of our world.  What would you say about that?  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word and His Way, and keep asking yourself… “What is my Uniform of His love that I am expecting to wear today?”

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Filling Station


I hope all of you had a great weekend.  Ours was a quiet one.  I had made a doctor’s appointment for my wife on Friday in order to check up on a few things since it had been about six months since her last visit with her GP.  She came away from the appointment with a good report.  At the end of the appointment the doctor commented that she was happy that Piper still has good muscle tone and strength.  She and a couple of the nurses told me that I was doing a great job with Piper’s care, and that made me feel good!  The next day we got the online results of her blood tests and everything was well within the normal ranges!  Praise the Lord!
It dawned on me this morning though, that all the prodding and poking during the examination and drawing of blood did take a toll on her as she had a couple of rough nights on Saturday and Sunday.  Yesterday was kind of a long day as I was up from 5:00 AM on attending to her needs.  I am thankful that after I let her sleep in, she was much calmer and content for the remainder of the day and awoke in good spirits today!
I am also thankful for scriptures like Colossians 3:15 that encourage us to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… and be thankful.” (English Standard Version)  That verse helped me in the dark of the morning when negative events were at their peak!  It is too easy to immediately think the worst or even want to panic when someone you love is having a hard time… especially when you’re half awake and not fully alert to figure out and handle the situation. 
The Good News Bible tells us to “let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts.  And be thankful.”  It is at these emergency times when I am glad that I regularly take the time to hide the Word in my heart so that even though my mind may want to panic, my heart will quickly reel in the confusion, take control of the situation and allow Christ’s peace to settle me down and guide the quick decisions that need to be made!  I have discovered in most of these situations what Piper needs first and foremost is my calm and confident reassuring voice and the gentle touch of my hands… and His peace working in and through me is the ONLY thing that can meet that need!
It always tends to amaze me at how fast and well His peace works! Then once His peace is allowed to prevail, everything else just seems to fall into place.  Have you made that discovery in your life?  Have you found His peace to be the best guide in the decisions that you need to make?  Well, in order to find that peace at a moment’s notice, you have to be full of the Peacemaker… and you’ll find His residence in His Word!
Hummm… so we’re back to filling up with the Word again!  Funny how that works!  I would whole-heartedly suggest that you don’t ever find yourself with an empty tank when you need to go and do something for Him.  Make sure that you regularly stop at the filling station and saturate yourself with His love, His faithfulness, His wisdom and His peace!  Have a terrific week.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to FILL UP with today?”

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sunny Skies... Sunny Eyes...


As I stood on the back lawn with the dog this morning, I inhaled a big, fresh breath of the wonderfully crisp and clean air, looked up into the deep blue sky and was both invigorated and inspired!  After many continuous days of cloudy grey skies, rain and ice, the brightness of the morning was a very welcome relief!  In the midst of my moment of ecstasy I suddenly realized why I am so sensitive to the importance of keeping the Word foremost in one’s life.  It is like the contrast between the dark, damp skies of the past week and the bright, warm and clear atmosphere that prevails here today!
It is something that I have had to face every day over the past four or five years.  It is the light of the expectation of God’s Word or the fear of hopelessness that I see in people’s eyes as my wife and I encounter them on a daily basis.  Without a doubt it is the hardest emotional effect that I have had to deal with when it comes to the attack on my wife’s health.  As I have mentioned many times before, my wife has always had the personality and sparkle in her eyes that would light up a room when she walked in.  She always seemed to have the right word of encouragement, the right funny antidote or humorous action that would rapidly turn a frown into a smile.
I’ve always admired her uncanny ability to instantaneously take the Word and insert it into a conversation in such a way that it was received as a very practical answer to the need being discussed.  I’m a thinker and most times have to take more than just a few moments to consider things before I am able to make a valid point.  Piper’s eloquent replies to others came across as if she had thoroughly thought out her answer previous to the conversation… and like I said, most times her words were exactly what the other individual needed to hear!
Now as we walk outside of our home I find myself being torn up on the inside as I see the dark and dreary grey shade of fear in the eyes of many that we encounter as they look upon Piper in her chair.  It really has been difficult when the onlooker with that reaction has been a member of our family or within our circle of friends.  I can’t hardly explain the pain I’ve felt when some members of our old church with whom Piper had ministered to in the past responded to her in this manner.  While Piper had always made a point to go out of her way to acknowledge them in the past, they tended now to turn their gaze so not as to make eye contact, or simply ignore her.
On the other hand, I am always blessed beyond measure when I see the bright light of love and Godly expectation in the eyes of others who are obviously filled with the Word, or are friendly toward it and who take the time to stop and talk to Piper in the neighborhood, at the store and at our new church.
It is easy to tell those who have the Word foremost in the hearts or those who are open to Its promises.  You can literally see it in their eyes!  Like our recent weather, they are either overcast in darkness or shining brightly like the sun.  Colossians 3:16 tells us to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom…” (KJV)  Thayer’s Greek Definitions explains that the word dwell means “to dwell in one and influence him for good.”  It is a verb that is in the present active imperative form that describes a continuous action or lifestyle to be followed or incorporated into the life of the reader.
The Message Bible tells us in modern vernacular to “Let the word of Christ – the Message – have the run of the house.  Give it plenty of room in your lives.”  I like that thought of giving the Word lots of room and the run of our lives.  I’ve noticed that many of those who have shown fear towards my wife’s situation tend to take the intellectual approach to their “suggestions” for us, many times implying that our dependence on the Word is short sided, not really thought out… or in some cases… just plain dumb!
As I thought about that last statement today I was reminded that both my wife’s and my Dad were very big on education as the answer to most things in life...  which would make sense since they were both career educators.  What is a bit humorous to me is that when you look at degrees, certificates and college level classes taken in both the secular and sacred arenas over the years, I probably have more natural education than anyone else in either of our families!  But yet, our calculated choice to follow after the Word instead of the hopelessness of the natural way was met with disbelief and criticism by some. 
What would you rather see in your own eyes as well as in the eyes of those you encounter each day?  The grey tint of fear, or the brightness of the ZoĆ« life that is inherent within the believer who gives the Word “the run of the house” of your lives?  Believe me, the light is a lot better than the cold, damp, dark grey of fear for everyone involved!  So open up the windows of your life to the light of God’s Word, give Him plenty of room and shine out brightly to others who are hurting!  Have a great weekend.  Stay closely in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What color am I expecting the tint of my eyes and the light of my life to be?”

 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Whose Word?


Do you have certain items that you never leave home without?  For many of us it is most likely our cell phones!  It is hard to imagine that it was only a few years ago when owning a cell phone was a luxury meant for the rich and famous!  For years I have also carried a small Leatherman mini pocket multi-tool with me.  It has almost become like a third hand as I engage it for all kinds of usages. 
A year or so ago I upgraded to a slightly bigger tool that includes a small pair of pliers besides the usual array of screwdrivers, a knife, scissors and a two sided file – all stuffed in a tool that is barely two inches long!  The only down side to this new tool is that it is a bit heavier than the last one I carried for around ten years.  On the upside, with the extra weight, I can tell if it is in my pocket or not as soon as I get dressed each day!
Another item of importance that I bring with me wherever I go is the Word that I have hidden in my heart!  I never leave home without it!  The great Pentecostal evangelist Smith Wigglesworth was known to always carry a small New Testament with him.  It is told that he would bet people that they would never find him to be without his mini Testament…  and he never lost the bet!  If you’re like me you probably have a YouVersion Bible App downloaded to your smart phone. (If not, it is available for free online at the iTunes store)  This is a great convenience, but rest assured, I rely a lot more on the Word in my heart than on my phone when it comes to sharing it with others.  I have found it to be more real and meaningful to others when you simply share it from your heart in conversation as part of your expression of what’s important to you.
As we have been talking about all week, the important thing is that we are speaking His Word and depending on the power and authority that is behind His Word and are not depending on our own thoughts or understanding. 
While reading from the end of Mark this morning I went on a rabbit trail that eventually led me to the Acts of the Apostles.  Once there I discovered the secret to Peter and Paul’s success in their ministry.  Acts 2:14 informs us that “Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them… ‘be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.”  Then over in chapter twenty six we find Paul telling the Roman King Festus that “I speak forth words of truth and soberness.”  (KJV)  In both of these scriptures the word used to describe that from which they were speaking was the Greek word “rhema.”
Bill Gothard the founder of the well-known Institute in Basic Life Principles describes a “rhema” word as “a verse or portion of scripture that the Holy Spirit brings to a person’s attention with application to a current situation or need for direction.”  (http://billgothard.com/teaching/rhemas)  In other words, Peter and Paul spoke the Word of God that was in their heart that had special significance in their lives to those they ministered to.  It wasn’t just a mechanical reading of words printed on a page (or scroll in their case…), but it was the Word of God that He had ministered to them in such a way that it changed them and they just had to share it with someone else!
If you read the full story around each of these scriptures you’ll also discover that the people listening the two Apostles were not (at least not at first) quite receptive to what they said.  But that didn’t stop them did it?  And you know what… it shouldn’t stop us either!  When people close to us looked at us like we were crazy (and in some respects still do…) when we spoke of the things that we felt the Lord was directing us to do through the truth of His Word, we stood our ground and continued to pursue and speak out His will for our lives.  And that perseverance has paid off with dividends!  We have been blessed, things continue to fall into place and our joy and confidence in the Lord has increased multi-fold!
So what do you think?  Whose word will you listen to, follow and then testify of?  Someone who thinks they know what’s best for you or Papa God who knows and loves you with a level of intimacy that cannot be measured?  Okay, okay… I know… that’s a pretty easy one to answer!  So… go out and do it!  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What Word am I expecting to do and see His results in today?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Closer Than Your Next Breath!


When I came into our kitchen this morning I sat at the table for a few moments and simply stared at my computer screen that I had opened up to my Bible Study program.  I finally broke through the blahs and asked the Holy Spirit to open up the eyes and ears of my understanding so that I could receive what the throne room of heaven had for me to learn today.  With that I felt the urging to return to the end of the book of Mark.  When I read the final verse, I was arrested by the thought of Papa God accompanying us through and in His word.
The validity of this statement has become very real to me since we returned from our stay in Oklahoma five years ago.  Very soon after we re-established ourselves in our hometown, it became very apparent as to who was with us and who was not on the same page as us.  As I have mentioned before, I was actually more than just a little surprised at the individuals who fit each of those categories!  Things got so crazy there for a while that we quickly made the decision that we were going to stick with the Word and Papa God’s directions for us no matter what others who we had thought would be part of our support team said, did or worse yet… didn’t do!
The deeper and more dependent we got on the Word, the more evident became the chasm between us and some of the members of our own family.  I remember the pain, frustration and confusion that I felt when I finally realized that we were being abandon by some of those we had hoped would be a part of our strongest allies in our “good fight of faith” ( I Timothy 6:12 KJV).
The lasting message that I did learn though, was that Papa God loves us without any judgment or criticism, for He has told us that “No one will be able to oppose you successfully as long as you live.  I will be with you as I was with Moses.  I will never neglect you or abandon you.” (Joshua 1:5 God’s Word ©)  I have come to understand that this truth becomes ever more clear and intensely more personal and intimate dependent upon the quantity and quality of the Word that you hide in your heart, speak out your lips and live through your daily actions of faith!
Mark 16:20 tells us that “the disciples went everywhere preaching (the Word), the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence.”  (The Message Bible) It would seem that as the disciples filled up and then spilled out the Word, the Lord was right there at their sides and validated HIS Word that THEY shared with evidence that could not be contested!  Matthew’s version of this event declared that as they went forth and shared His Word that “I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 The Message Bible)
I’ve heard it said that God in us in the form of the Holy Spirit is closer than our next breath!  Think on that for a moment… that is pretty close, wouldn’t you say?  There have been times at night when I have had the fleeting thought that I was all alone but then I am instantly reminded by that very familiar voice from deep inside of me that He is always with me and will NEVER neglect nor abandon me… no matter how strong and difficult the pressure may become!  People may have abandoned us, but He NEVER has and NEVER will!  The more Word that I put inside of my wife and I, the greater the strength and conviction that this reality becomes to us.
How about you?  How strong is that reality in you?  Is His Word the FIRST thing that you see and/or think of when faced with a difficult situation?  I believe that this is the way that He wants us to operate in our daily lives!  What are your thoughts and experiences with this matter – let me know!  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to the reality of His Word working in your life and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s Word am I expecting today?”

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Will He?


Have you ever ordered anything over the internet?  I must admit that I have enjoyed the ability to sit in my kitchen and peruse multiple stores without having to leave the comfort of my home.  This process has also been convenient in my current situation because I am not always able to get out to the brick and mortar storefronts to shop.  Over the last few years I have never had a problem with any of the ordering, shipping and delivery processes that are inherent with shopping online.
As I read various scriptures this morning about the confirmation of God’s Word, I began to think about how purchasing items online takes a similar type of trust as when we step out in faith based on the Word of God.  A pretty big example of this would be when we bought our new Mustang entirely without physical human contact, beginning with months of online shopping for particular models across the country, followed up with phone conversations and then sealing the deal with the online transfer of funds and the arranging of shipping logistics.
That whole transaction encompassed a high level of trust and faith… although it is not like I was totally on my own as I was led by Godly wisdom and His peace throughout each step along the way.  When the delivery day finally arrived I was fully expecting to see our vapor silver metallic Mustang convertible on the back of the vehicle transport as it pulled into our apartment community… and I was not disappointed!
Mark 16:20 informs us of God’s will and intention of the working of His Word in our lives.  Here the author Mark, who was a close companion and student of Peter and his ministry, concludes his epistle saying: “And they went forth, and preached everywhere the Lord working with and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (KJV - If you remember yesterday’s post you’ll recall that the word “them” between with and confirming is not actually in the original language)
When I read this verse I get the very vivid idea that the individuals who went out and preached God’s Word (ie; the gospel = see verse 15) fully expected to have Papa God’s help and confirmation demonstrated through the word that they preached.  They expected results.  They expected God’s Word to do what It said it would do as they spoke it out.
Let me ask you a question today.  Do you expect God’s Word to do what it plainly says it will do when you speak it out into the situations of your life as well as into the lives of those you may also speak the Word into?  I have to tell you that this understanding and expectation is the ONLY thing that keeps me going as we stand for my wife’s health.  Without that understanding and trust in Papa God, I would have nothing to stand on but the bad medical reports and the pity of those who do not understand the will of God.  And that is a pretty shaky platform folks!
For me it comes down to the thought of who’s understanding and love and peace am I going to depend on… my limited natural understanding, human affections or a peace that’s based on the fickle, roller-coaster uncertainties of what I can see, hear, touch or feel or God’s ability to do “exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask or think”, the love of Christ “which goes far beyond any knowledge” and His peace “which goes beyond anything that we can imagine.” (See Ephesians 3:19-20 and Philippians 4:6-7)  In my book… God gets the nod EVERYTIME – no matter what anyone else around me may think, say or do!
How about you?  Comparing our faith in the online procedures of commerce really can’t compare to our faith in Papa God and His Word working for us, but hopefully you get the idea that I am trying to express to you!  So what will it be for you?  Are you expecting God to confirm His Word in your daily life?  Think about it… then ask yourself… “What AM I expecting today?”

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Power in Your Words...


Have you ever heard voices coming from inanimate objects?  Well, I sure did this morning.  While I was preparing my breakfast I suddenly jumped when I heard my pocket talking to me!  It was not as much of a twilight zone experience as you may think though…  I must have bumped up against the sink and accidentally activated the voice control on my IPhone in my pocket.  It the quiet of the morning I heard my pocket saying: “Call Mom and Dad Berruto!”
I had to laugh as I pulled out my phone and listened to it ringing.  I called over to my wife who was sitting at the kitchen table and told her what was happening and said “Wouldn’t it be funny if they actually answered… from heaven?”  (My folks passed on a year or so ago)
After I turned the phone off I began to recall my Mom’s bright and cheery voice, greeting me as we spoke just about every morning until they moved to the Assisted Living complex a couple of years ago.  My Mom was definitely a morning person.  She like to get up early, exercise and then begin preparing breakfast as the rest of the family would begin to stir.  It was always a joy to walk into the bright, sunny kitchen first thing in the morning and see her happily standing near the stove with a big smile and an encouragingly happy “Good Morning!”
My wife is like my Mom in many ways, but being up and bright in the morning was not one of them, at least not in the early days of our marriage.  Over the years that all changed and it soon became the best thing in my day when I would awake to her beautiful smile and cheery “Good Morning Honey!”  Now that she doesn’t talk that much, I sorely miss the sound, the pitch and that little familiar crackle in her voice!
Another voice that I enjoy and look forward to hearing each morning is the voice of Papa God as He shares His daily plan with me.  You might ask how I hear His voice… well, I’ll tell you… It is through the voice of His Word within the pages of my Bible!  Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “God’s word is living and active…” (God’s Word ©) and when I read it, it is as if He is speaking directly to me through His voice that is written on each page.
As I listened to His voice in Luke 4:21 earlier today, I suddenly came to the realization that in what is most likely His first public sermon, Jesus pointed His listeners to His Word!  Then it dawned on me that His last recorded sermon to His disciples also pointed them to His Word!  I may not be the brightest light in the room, but I definitely get the idea that Jesus wanted us to know how important His Word is to be to us who believe in Him.
Just prior to His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples that “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go ye therefore and teach…” (Matthew 28:18-19 God’s Word ©/KJV)  The answer to the question of what to teach is unveiled in Mark’s rendition of that incident when he wrote “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel…” (Mark 16:15 KJV)  Jesus laid the foundation of our work on this earth by instructing us to go out and teach or preach and share His Word to the broken and needy individuals that we interact with on a daily basis, everywhere we go!
A few verses later Mark ends his book by accenting Jesus’ point in declaring “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with (them), and confirming the word with signs following.” (Mark 16:20 KJV)  You may notice that I put parentheses around the word “them.”  The reason behind this is because that particular word is not actually in the original language.  It was added by the translators because they felt it would better complete the intent of the sentence.  I think that we get a better understanding of Jesus’ previous statements though, when you leave out that word!
Without the addition of “them” we tend to get a stronger idea of the importance of the Word in our lives.  Without it the verse reads: “And the Lord working with and confirming the Word with signs following.”  I firmly believe that the writer’s intent was to demonstrate how Jesus works today through the living and active power of His Word that is spoken through our lips and followed through by our subsequent actions of faith!
In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus informs us that His authority is in His Word!  John 1:1 tells us that Jesus and His Word are one and the same.  So it tends to make sense that when we speak out and act upon His Word that it is just the same as if Jesus was doing it Himself… through you and me!  Kind of cool isn’t it!  When Jesus spoke to sin, sickness and disease when He was on the earth, things happened… and I think that we should expect the same when we speak His Word in faith.  I John 4:17 declares that “as he is, so are we in this world.”  (KJV)  Hummm… makes you think doesn’t it!
So let me ask you as we begin this second full week in 2015, are you expecting to see the same things that Jesus saw when He spoke His Word on this earth?  Are you expecting to see His Word spoken through your mouth and acted upon in your life to be confirmed with signs following them?  The end of the books of Matthew and Mark tell of many of these signs, but the greatest is when an individual’s heart is instantly born-again and they become a brand new creation in Christ!  That’s the kind of miracles that I want to see happening to those that I speak out His Word to!  How about you?  Have a great week.  Stay in tune to and speaking out His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What signs am I expecting today?”