I am reposting this article because I believe it tells the truth. Please pray for Netanyahu’s protection.
Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama left him no choice – Caroline B. Glick
I am reposting this article because I believe it tells the truth. Please pray for Netanyahu’s protection.
Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama left him no choice – Caroline B. Glick
Last Days? Heavenly Signs Abound During Netanyahu Speech
MY GOD IS REAL, ANSWERING THE CALL OF GOD
A continuation of THE TESTIMONY OF GOD, PART 1, THE CALL OF GOD
We now had a decision to make. How would we prepare for the ministry to which God had called us. With the help of Pastor Arnold, I decided to apply to the Associate program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I discussed the whole situation with my business partner and he felt I needed to set a date for leaving the company that would allow me to finish the two houses we had underway at the time. Since I held the builder’s license he would not be able to continue building after I left, so we would not start another house. After working out a schedule to complete the houses, we set May 31, 1977 as my termination date. I was now committed. I already had my house for sale because I had plans to build a bigger house. I had purchased eighteen acres of land with two pond sites and had bought a double wide mobile home and placed it on the property. My plan was to live in the double wide after my house sold, while I built my ponds and new house. To complicate matters, I had mortgages on my present house and on the eighteen acres of land. Everything had to sell for me to be able to go back to school. To my amazement I had God’s peace. I knew that He was in control and was working everything out in its proper time. I was learning to trust God on a day to day basis.
The first thing that sold was the double wide and it was moved off the property. Next, the eighteen acres sold. I neither made a profit nor lost money on either sale; I simply broke even, but it increased my faith in God. Sometime in April, I received a letter from Seminary informing me that my application had been approved, but there was a catch, I was the fortieth applicant and there were only thirty-two spots available. For the next six weeks it seemed like nothing at all happened in my favor. Friday, May 31st arrived. I had not sold my house and had not been accepted at Seminary, yet I cleaned out my desk on this final day of my job with total peace in my heart. As I contemplate those days, I often wonder why, today, I sometimes have a hard time finding the same peace that came so easy for me in those days.
THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES!
I left the office that day and went to the Post Office to pick up our mail. God was faithful, the letter from Seminary read, “Congratulations, you have been accepted in the Associate Program…” Elated, I hurried home to tell Jeanie the good news. As I got to my driveway, there was a car sitting there and a man was getting out. It was our real estate agent and he had a contract for the sale of our house with an amazing stipulation, the sale would close and we would have to vacate the house within ten days. We accepted the contract as written. It was one of the most fantastic days I have ever experienced. God came through in a most miraculous fashion. But this was just the beginning of a fantastic journey with God!
Monday morning, Jeanie and I left home around 5:00 AM headed for the Seminary to find a place to live. We arrived on campus about 10:00 AM and I went straight to the housing office. I showed them my letter of acceptance and announced I had come to obtain campus housing. The lady behind the counter pushed a legal pad over to me and said rather matter-of-factly, “Sign the list and we will call you when campus housing is available. Right now, there is about a nine month wait.” I was devastated! I explained my situation, I had to move by the weekend. She suggested that I check out the bulletin board on the opposite wall for any ads for rentals. There were only a few ads and it did not take long to find out they were all rented.
Since we were only about twelve miles north of Raleigh, North Carolina, we decided to look for a place there. We returned to Raleigh and bought a newspaper. Because of a construction boom around Raleigh, rental property was almost non-existent. The few ads for rentals in the newspaper read something like this, “For an $80.00 fee, we will be glad to show you our rental property.” I was not willing to pay just to look at a house I probably would not want to rent anyway. By now it was lunch time and we decided to go back to Wake Forest and ride the streets looking for a “FOR RENT” sign. We thought, after last Friday, God certainly has a place for us. We covered every street in town and followed the roads out into the country side for five to ten miles in all directions but there was nothing for rent.
DESPERATION SETS IN!
We were getting desperate now, so we decided to go back to Raleigh and pay the $80.00 fee to see what was available. About half way back to Raleigh, just before I reached the Neuse River Bridge the Lord spoke to me in my spirit, as plainly as I have ever heard Him speak, “What are you doing?” He asked. It was so real, I answered out loud, and out of sorts, “What do you mean, what am I doing? I’m looking for a house.” Jeanie, apparently wondering if I was losing it, and what had come over me, asked, “Who are you talking to?” I told her that God had spoken to me. I actually pulled the car over on the shoulder of the road and stopped to compose myself! Did I really hear God speak? This was a new experience for me. This just doesn’t happen! God does not speak to people today, except through His Word, or at least that is what I had been taught. Sitting there on the side of the road, God responded to my answer by asking me, “Who have you asked?” This was amazing! I was actually having a conversation with God! I recounted the day to Him, where we had been, who we had asked. Then God asked the third question, “Have you asked Me?” Sheepishly, I hung my head and answered, “No.”
GOD’S CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS TO ME!
I had been so caught up in the emotion of Friday that I had failed to ask Him about that Monday. He was not angry with me and He gave me instructions, “Turn around, go back to Seminary, they have a place for you.” I was obedient, but I was also in a quandary. Being raised as I was, my theology did not make room for God to speak with me as He had just done. I was sure that the people in the housing office held the same view. How was I to walk back in there and tell them that God Himself had sent me back and told me they had a place for me? I could see them calling for the authorities to carry me off. I decided to go back into the office and go to the bulletin board as if I was checking for any new ads. If nobody spoke to me, I would leave. I did not get a response from God about it, so I assumed my plan was OK.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH!
I pulled into the parking lot of the housing office just before 4:00 PM, took a deep breath, got out of the car and went into the office. The moment I came through the door, the same lady that had waited on me earlier that morning and informed me of the nine month waiting period was still there behind the counter. To my amazement, she remembered me and broke out in a big grin and said, “I’m so glad you came back! You won’t believe what has happened.” Maybe I had heard God after all! Emboldened, I said, “Try me!” She began to recount her story. She explained that the Seminary had an agreement with Wakefield Apartments in Raleigh to help with their housing shortage. That morning, all the allotted apartments were filled, but not long after I had left the office, a student who lived at Wakefield Apartments, had called saying he had received a call to a church field and would be moving into the church parsonage before the weekend. Since there was no waiting list for Wakefield Apartments, we could rent the apartment he was vacating. To make it even better, the Seminary students got a reduced rate and we were able to get the apartment for $125.00 per month. We rushed back to Raleigh and got there just before the Wakefield office closed at five. We signed a lease agreement, paid the deposit and moved in the apartment just a few days later. God is good, but He does cut it close some times.
I will acknowledge that I do not have conversations with God like that every day or even every week. But it does still happen. I do believe that as we learn to “Practice the Presence of the Lord,” He will speak to us on a regular basis and give us personal instruction and direction for our lives. Jesus said He could do nothing of Himself, but only those things He heard and saw from the Father. John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. And John 8:38a, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father…” If Jesus needed to hear from the Father, how much more do we?
One of my favorite verses is John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” A number of years ago as I was meditating on this verse and asking the Father when I would see this become a reality in my life, God said to me, “When you do the things that Jesus did, you will do the things that Jesus did!” Let that sink in for a moment, or as David would say in Psalms, “Selah” which according to the Amplified Bible means, “[Pause, and calmly think of that]!” (Psalm 3:2 et al.). What were some of the things that Jesus did? He fasted, He prayed, sometimes all night, He listened to the Father’s voice and He did what the Father asked Him to do. Lord, Speak to our hearts!
To be continued…
Blessings, Tom and Jeanie
I read a very sobering blog this morning, sent to my Facebook page, entitled, “The Wake-Up Call that is ISIS: Who in the Church is Answering?” One lady, after reading it, wrote the following comment on Facebook, “Very powerful read… I often feel like Jonah. Like the prodigal’s older brother: we are called to trully love the loveless–including but not limited to the poor and homeless. Jesus didn’t preach to Pilate, but I don’t think Pilate missed His testimony. Nope… Love is great, but not quite as fickle and fun as we often act. love ISIS? God’s salvation is for ISIS too? Like Jonah my advice to God (who didn’t ask) would be: BLAST THEM! Like the brother, I’m still perplexed that God loves folks who ~~~ as much as He loves me…WOW!”
Jonah wanted to see the enemy (the Ninevites) destroyed, God wanted to see them saved! However, had they not repented under Jonah’s preaching, they would have been destroyed (read the book of Jonah). Later, this destruction did take place under the preaching of the Prophet Nahum who describes the complete destruction of the city of Nineveh (read the book of Nahum). Pray for the salvation of all Muslins. Leave the judgment up to God! This is truly a “Wake-Up Call” for the Church! I encourage you to take the time to read it and then ponder the truth that it contains. Click on the link below to read the article.
The Wake-Up Call that is ISIS: Who in the Church is Answering? | A Holy Experience
THE TESTIMONY OF GOD
Paul, in talking about the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, makes the following statement in II Thessalonians 1:10, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (BECAUSE OUR TESTIMONY AMONG YOU WAS BELIEVED) in that day.” (emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “testimony” here is “G3142 – μαρτύριον – marturion – mar-too’-ree-on – Neuter of a presumed derivative of G3144; something evidential, that is, (generally) evidence given or (specifically) the Decalogue (in the sacred Tabernacle): – to be testified, testimony, witness.”  Note that testimony can refer to personal experience or to the “Decalogue,” i.e. The Ten Commandments.
W. E. Vines in commenting on this verse notes that testimony “…refers to the fact that the missionaries, besides proclaiming the truths of the gospel, had borne witness to the power of these truths…having to do especially with the preacher’s personal experience.” 
Bill Johnson, in his curriculum, HOSTING the PRESENCE, makes note that the Presence of God in the Old Testament was represented by the Ark of the Covenant which is also called the Ark of the Testimony. The description of the Ark can be found in Exodus 25:10-22. In verses 21 and 22, God says, “And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and IN THE ARK THOU SHALT PUT THE TESTIMONY THAT I SHALL GIVE THEE. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony…” (emphasis mine). The three things that were put into the Ark are the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments, a jar of Manna from the wilderness journey and Aaron’s rod that budded. (see Hebrews 9:4). It is very significant that in the way God had the Ark of the Covenant assembled that the “Mercy of God rests upon the testimony of God. Every time you share what God has done in your life, you usher the Mercy Seat of God before somebody’s life. This is the privilege of who we are – carrying the Mercy of the Lord and introducing others to the Mercy of the Lord through our testimonies. Your story ushers in the Mercy of God for people to draw from.” 
In that regard, over the next several posts, I want to share the highlights of my story, my testimony, my journey with the Lord. Hopefully, you will be encouraged, because if God will do it for me, you can be sure He will do the same for you. I have had my ups and downs, my victories and my failures. Jeanie and I will be married for fifty years this July. Because of my failures, I struggled with anger. It was mostly anger at myself because I couldn’t seem to get the victory at times. But often that anger would find its focus on my wife and my family. It took the threat of divorce to finally get me to go for help. This year, I will have been happily married for fifty years, Jeanie will have been happily married about twenty years. Don’t wait as long as I did to confront the “hidden sins” in your life. The amazing thing is that through all those years, God still blessed and people got saved under our ministry. But I am just now beginning to experience His presence in ways I never dreamed possible and over the coming years, it’s just going to get better. I will be seventy years old this October and a few weeks ago I was down on myself because of all the time I have squandered in my life when I should have been and could have been a better servant of the Lord. That particular morning as I open my Amplified Bible to do my daily readings, my Bible opened to Isaiah 46 and my eyes caught verse 5, “Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you, I have made, I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you.” I wept! God has not given up on me! Neither has He given up on you. Read on and be encouraged.
Blessings, Tom and Jeanie Graves
MY GOD IS REAL, THE CALL OF GOD
As I pondered my experience in ministry, I realized that my life experience encompassed much more than my ministry experience. In fact, as I thought through my life, I realized that those experiences that had the most impact in my life were personal experiences with God teaching me to trust Him, to rely on Him and to look to Him alone to meet our family’s needs. I have not always remembered the lessons I have learned and I have been prone to worry at times and then try to do it myself. It has been a great help to me to recount all that God has done for me; thus as I write, I may become a little wordy in remembering what may seem to some as inconsequential details. May God use my experiences to encourage you as you read.
I grew up in a Christian home with parents and grand-parents active in a Southern Baptist Church where we lived. I was born again and baptized by immersion at age nine while attending Beech Island Baptist Church in Beech Island, South Carolina. When I was sixteen years old, I was attending revival services at Beech Island Baptist Church. During one of the week-night services, I felt led to go down and rededicate my life to Jesus. During the invitational hymn, I went down the aisle to Pastor Long, but instead of telling him I wanted to rededicate my life to Christ, I heard myself say instead, “I want to dedicate my life to full time Christian service.” Immediately, the thought came, “That was a mistake and I did not mean to say that,” but I never told the pastor. I was invited to the pastor’s office to discuss my decision, but even there I did not tell him it was a mistake. I simply sat and listened to his counsel. I did my best to put the whole idea of being a pastor out of my mind, for that is what I thought full time Christian service was. One thing I knew for sure, I did not want to be a poor preacher. I have since had to repent for the judgment that I made against the church for keeping the pastor poor.
A few years passed, I graduated from high school and went to college to study to be an architect. Architects made plenty of money, at least I thought so. While I was away at school, I did not have to think too much about church and was able to put any ministry idea out of my mind. However, I dropped out of school and went to work for an architect to receive a practical education in the field. I moved back home and returned to Beech Island Baptist Church, but had effectively blocked the ministry idea out of my mind. I married a beautiful young woman, Jeanie Wilson, and shortly thereafter started a family. Jeanie was born again while attending Beech Island Baptist Church and we became fairly regular participants in church life. I designed our first house and hired a contractor, who was also a deacon in the church, to build it for me. At the same time problems developed at the church over the pastor; the result being a very ugly church split. I was unhappy with my deacon builder and unhappy with the “hypocrites” who split the church. I decided that I did not need that kind of religion and quit church. I was free from ever having to think about being a pastor again. Jeanie and I did not attend church for any reason for almost eight years. But God had other plans for me.
After suffering through our house being burglarized four times in less than two years, we decided it was time to move. We sold our custom built home and moved to North Augusta, South Carolina and rented a house. I bought a lot on a twelve acre lake on the outskirts of North Augusta and designed our second house. This time, I was going to be my own contractor and build it myself. The real estate developer who developed the sub-division in which I was building liked my work and asked me to come and build for him. We struck a deal, I got licensed as a homebuilder in South Carolina and went to work for the developer, Dozier Lacey. He was a “real” Christian who walked the walk as well as talked the talk, a member of First Baptist Church of North Augusta. He set right to work on getting me back in church. Within a few weeks Jeanie and I visited Sweetwater Baptist Church which was closer to our new home. Two weeks later we “joined the church” again. I must admit, it felt good being back in church. The Pastor and his wife, Rev. Roy and Joan Arnold, were wonderful people and we fell in love with them. We became very active in the church, I joined the choir and we both filled in where needed. We became active with Campus Crusade for Christ and the “I Found It” campaign of the middle 70’s. Through a film, I heard Bill Bright preach a sermon on “The Spirit Filled Life” and was introduced to the person of the Holy Spirit. Until that time, I never remember anyone even mentioning that there was a Holy Spirit. I prayed with Bill Bright at the end of the film and asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I do not recall feeling anything happen to me at that moment, but from that day on, I was a different person. Some of the men in the church even began to ask the pastor, “What has happened to Tommy?” He asked me to give my testimony from the pulpit on a Sunday night. God was setting me up!
I had once again fallen in love with Jesus and His Word and I began to read large amounts of Scripture every night instead of watching television as I had previously done. One night I decided to read the book of Ecclesiastes from the Living Bible. When I got to chapter 5, verses 4-5 I read these words: “So when you talk to God and vow to him that you will do something, don’t delay in doing it, for God has no pleasure in fools. Keep your promise to him. It is far better not to say you’ll do something than to say you will and then not do it.” As I read these verses, I had what I would now call a vision. At that time, however, the concept of a person having a vision in modern times did not fit my theology. When I retold the story to others, I described it as “having had a video tape of myself as a teen, replaying in my mind.” I saw myself walking down the aisle in Beech Island Baptist Church and I heard myself saying, “I want to dedicate my life to full time Christian service.” My reaction was identical to the actual event except this time I spoke aloud to the Lord, “That was a mistake, You know I did not mean to say that.” I looked back down at the Bible and my eyes caught verse 6, “In that case, your mouth is making you sin. Don’t try to defend yourself by telling the messenger from God that it was all a mistake…” God had me exactly where He wanted me!
I still was not totally convinced ministry was for me and I was looking for a way out. I decided that I would ask Jeanie for her opinion about the whole matter and if she laughed at me, I would be off the hook. To my amazement, she agreed with God and said yes, I did have a call on my life. From that moment on, I began to pursue a course that would take me into the ministry, but I was very careful not to share it with anyone besides Jeanie at that point in time. Several days later Jeanie came home from going shopping with her mom and said, “You won’t believe what happened today.” She went on to recount how she and her mom were riding in the car with our daughter Linda, who was only five at the time, sitting between them. With no warning or explanation, Linda turned to her grandmother and said, “Daddy is going to be a preacher.” We had been very careful not to discuss the subject in front of our son Thomas or Linda, so Jeanie took it as a word from the Lord. Her mother made no comment and Jeanie did not try to explain. It was several weeks later that we told both sets of parents. My parents were excited and pleased. Jeanie’s parents, who were not saved at the time were cool toward the idea but did not try to discourage us. Their main concern was that we would be moving their grandchildren away from them.
To be continued…
 Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible. McClean, Va.: Macdonald, n.d.
 Vine, W. E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. New York: Nelson, n.d.
 Johnson, Bill, Curriculum, Hosting The Presence, Book, 2 DVD’s, Student workbook, Shippensburg, Pa. Destiny Image, 2013, DVD2, Session 6, The Ultimate Prototype for Normal Christianity.
WHO AM I?
“And Moses said unto God, WHO AM I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11. Moses had a dream when he was a man of prominence in Pharaoh’s court. Born the son of slaves, but adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, yet his heart was with his brethren, the Israelites (see Hebrews 11:23-29). Moses thought that the Israelites would understand that God had raised him up to be a deliverer, but the Israelites rejected him (see Acts 7:20-36). It had been forty long years on the back side of the wilderness for Moses, rejected and feeling very insignificant when Moses led the flock he was tending to the foot of Mt. Horeb, the “…mountain of God.” (Exodus 3:1). It was here that God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and gave Moses what must have seemed like an impossible assignment, one at which he had failed forty years earlier. It was at this point that Moses asked the question, “WHO AM I?”
THE LIE OF INSIGNIFICANCE 
Moses’ question indicates that he still remembered his failure and rejection by the Israelites forty years earlier. No doubt there are failures in your past that still haunt you and make you have feelings of insignificance and ask, “WHO AM I?” It is a question that I have had to deal with since my call into God’s service when I was sixteen years old. I ran from that call for fifteen years for all the wrong reasons. My feeling of insignificance I now realize was major among them. At the time, I rationalized my running for a number of reasons. I liked “things” and the preachers I knew were poor and were kept that way, and I didn’t want to be poor. Besides, the Church was full of hypocrites. It never occurred to me that if they stood between me and God, they were closer to God than I was! From my earliest memories as a child, I always felt like an outsider, always on the outside looking in. I was never able to live up to the expectations of those around me. Not that my family didn’t love me, because they did and I know they wanted the best for me. The problem, that I discovered years later, was that I was an APPROVAL ADDICT!”  I had to have the approval of others to feel good about myself. When I did not get that approval, I felt rejected and that led to my acceptance of the lie that I was insignificant. One of the signs of believing the lie of insignificance is the desire to isolate yourself from others. I developed a “loner mentality.” My dream as a young man was to build a house in the middle of several hundred acres with a couple of ponds and never have to go out for anything.
BELIEVING THE LIE EMPOWERS THE LIAR!
Satan repeatedly tells us lies about our insignificance. He wants us to live with a deep consciousness of our past failures. Unfortunately, religion also wants to keep us aware of our past under the guise of using our past to keep us humble. As Bill Johnson said, “That is not humility, that is stupidity!”  The Apostle Paul made a most amazing statement in II Corinthians 7:2: “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.” Was Paul lying? Did he forget about being involved in the murder of Stephen? (see Acts 7:58-8:1). No, he was not lying, but he did forget his past, because that past no longer existed. It didn’t exist in Paul’s mind, nor did it exist in God’s mind. God said in Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” It was the Blood of Jesus that made that possible! Paul understood that, thus Paul said in II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Then he applied it to himself, Philippians 3:13,14: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” If we are believers and have confessed and repented of our sins, we have been forgiven! I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If after forgiveness, we continue to focus on the sin in our past, we are agreeing with something that no longer exists! It has been blotted out by God! Satan tries to get us to continue to focus on something that no longer exists, and when we listen to him and agree with him, it empowers him in our lives. In God’s thoughts, that sins no longer exists! If I think thoughts about myself that God doesn’t think about me, I am thinking a lie! The world believes the devil’s lies, but we should not! Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: BUT BE YE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
FIVE LIES TO CAST DOWN!
In his book, The Search for Significance, Robert McGee list five lies that Satan wants us to believe about ourselves. If we believe them and agree with Satan, we empower him to wreak destruction in our lives. Here are the five lies:
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!
WHO AM I?
Did God answer Moses’ question when he asked God, “WHO AM I?” Just a casual reading might give us the idea that God just ignored Moses’ question and begin giving instructions. But consider for a moment the first thing God said to Moses and what that implies. Exodus 3:12a: “And he said, Certainly I will be with thee…” I like the way Bill Johnson explained it: “…I will be with thee…” In other words, Moses, you are the one I like to be with!”  Who are you? If you are born again, you are the one God likes to be with!
The song “Greater” by Mercy Me expresses this whole idea of our significance to God and has been very much a blessing to me. I encourage you to take a few minutes to click on it below and let it encourage you in your walk with the Lord. If you have never read the book Search For Significance, I would encourage you to read it and do the workbook section. It was a great help to me. (Tom)
Tom and Jeanie
 Johnson, Bill, Hosting The Presence, Shippensburg, Pa. Destiny Image, 2012, pg 49-64.
 McGee, Robert, The Search For Significance, Nashville, W. Publishing Group, 1998,2003.
 Johnson, Bill, Curriculum, Hosting The Presence, Book, 2 DVD’s, Student workbook, Shippensburg, Pa. Destiny Image, 2013, DVD1, Session 2, The Lie of Insignificance.
Mercy Me, Greater, Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXI0B4iMLuU
ARE YOU JUST SURVIVING?
Have you ever felt like you are stuck in a rut, just barely able to hang on and survive? I have been there and done that, more often than I would like to think about. I refuse to “Buy the T-Shirt” however, because that is not where God intends for us to be. John 10:10b, Amplified Bible, personalized by me: Jesus said: “…I AM COME THAT YOU MAY HAVE AND ENJOY LIFE, AND HAVE IT IN ABUNDANCE (TO THE FULL, TILL IT OVERFLOWS)!!!”
I have been so blessed by a song by the group Casting Crowns, entitled “Thrive” because it expresses the desires of my heart to know Jesus more and more day by day, “…AND ENJOY LIFE, AND HAVE IT IN ABUNDANCE.” Here are the lyrics, followed by a link to the song on YouTube:
Here in this worn and weary land Where many a dream has died
Like a tree planted by the water We never will run dry
So living water flowing through God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls With one desire
Just to know You and To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
WE KNOW WE WERE MADE FOR SO MUCH MORE
THAN ORDINARY LIVES
IT’S TIME FOR US TO MORE THAN JUST SURVIVE
WE WERE MADE TO THRIVE
Into Your word we’re digging deep To know our Father’s heart
Into the world we’re reaching out To show them who You are
Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible
WE WERE MADE TO THRIVE
Thanks to Elly McKinsey for adding these lyrics. Link: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/castingcrowns/thrive.html (emphasis mine.)
Listen to the song and allow the truth that it brings forth to change the way you think! “WE KNOW WE WERE MADE FOR SO MUCH MORE THAN ORDINARY LIVES! IT’S TIME FOR US TO MORE THAN JUST SURVIVE – WE WERE MADE TO THRIVE!”
May the Lord bless you and may you thrive!
Blessings, Tom and Jeanie
Link to Casting Crowns, “Thrive”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ71RWJhS_M
JOY TO THE WORLD!!!
I woke up this morning with the last part of the third verse of the Christmas Carol, “JOY TO THE WORLD,” being repeated by my spirit. I got up at 4AM as usual when I have to be at work at 6AM, had breakfast, read the scriptures and had my prayer time with Jeanie. Through it all, this line kept being repeated over and over in my spirit. This lasted most of the morning and I was very encouraged by it. The words that my spirit was repeating were, “He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found.” God was definitely trying to impress a scriptural truth on my mind and heart.
I thought about all the things that are included in the curse that came with Adam’s sin and fall (Genesis 3:14-19 & Romans 5:12-21) and with the curse of the law (Deuteronomy 28:15-61). You can basically boil these down to sin, sorrow, sickness, pain, suffering and death. Jesus came to deliver us from these curses. Paul summed it up wonderfully in Galatians 3:13-14: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
When I got to work, I discovered what all of this was leading up to. I have a friend at work that I have been praying with for about two months in regard to his thirty year old daughter who was run over by a hit and run driver. In fact, he told me this morning this was the 53rd day since the accident. Fifty three days ago, his daughter was in the parking lot of a business when a man in a pick-up truck, backed up suddenly and ran over her. He then left the scene of the accident. When apprehended later he said he thought he had just run over a curb. He claimed he did not know he had run over a person. My friend’s daughter suffered severe trauma to her head and one hip was crushed. She was life-flighted to a hospital in Jacksonville in critical condition and she was not given much of a chance for a successful recovery. My friend would drive the 50 miles one way to the hospital every day after work to spend time with his daughter and pray for her, even while she was in a coma. He and I would pray for her every morning when we worked together. The brain swelling was so severe that the doctors elected to remove the entire left side of her skull to relieve pressure on the brain. About day 20, she opened her eyes, but could not respond to anyone. Shortly after this, I visited her in the hospital and prayed for her and read several passages of scripture regarding healing to her. Even though she was not in a conscious state at the time, I know her spirit heard God’s Word.
My friend’s church was also praying for her on a regular basis. There was much spiritual warfare done in her behalf. About day 40, the swelling in her brain had subsided to the point that the doctors were able to replace the section of skull that had been removed. So far there had been no real indication of brain function resuming. We continued to pray each morning at work. Her eyes began to focus on people in the room, she would squeeze a hand when asked to do so. Then she began to make noise. Last week she spoke her first sentence. Yesterday, they moved her from the hospital to a rehab center with the prognosis of a complete recovery! My friend told me this morning that the Neuro surgeon that had done the surgery told him that according to the damage he had seen, his daughter by all rights should still be in a coma. He did not understand what was happening. But my friend and I knew! Jesus had been there doing what only He could do! “He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found.” Instead of being in a coma, she is laughing and smiling and talking to her dad. What a Christmas present for him. There is still a ways to go, but my friend knows that God is seeing them through! Truly, for that family, there is JOY TO THE WORLD! THE LORD HAS COME and done a miracle.
Let these words sink into your heart, “He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found,” and become real in your life. And may this be the best Christmas you have ever had.
Blessings, Tom and Jeanie
GOD’S ROSE COLORED GLASSES
Have you ever thought about the fact that once you are “Born again” God looks at you through ROSE COLORED GLASSES? As I thought about this idea, I did some research on the web to see if I could find the origin of this phrase. This was the only reference on the subject that sounded factual: “TO LOOK / SEE THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES: To view events and people very positively seeing only their good points. To have an attitude of cheerfulness and optimism and seeing everything in a favorable and pleasant light – to have unmitigated optimism. For those who have read Dickens’ ‘Pickwick Papers,’ ‘Mr. Macawber would be a perfect example of someone who looked at the world through rose-colored glasses. This term began to be used figuratively in the 1850s and found its way into print in 1861, when it was first recorded in ‘Tom Brown at Oxford’ by English novelist Thomas Hughes (1822-96). ‘Oxford was a sort of Utopia to the Captain . . . He continued to behold towers, and quadrangles, and chapels, through rose-colored spectacles.’” 
I like the way this author above, expressed the definition: “To view events and people very positively seeing only their good points.” Could we say that that is how God looks at us? Let us consider the story of Abraham and Sarah when God came to tell Abraham the time had come for his prophesied son to be born. Genesis 18:1-3 & 8-15: “And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, THREE MEN STOOD BY HIM: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant…And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And THEY SAID unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. AND HE SAID, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.”
One thing I want to point out in this passage is the change in references to “…the LORD…” from plural to singular. First we are told “…THREE MEN STOOD BY HIM…” then we read “…THEY SAID…” and finally “…AND HE SAID…” I think the three men are God, manifest as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity. Yet the writer, trying to describe something that is indescribable simply refers to God in the singular when he says “…AND HE SAID…” Jesus employed this same change, except from singular to plural in referring to the Trinity in John 3:11: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.” God, as the Trinity, was in the Garden of Eden the day Adam sinned and fell and they saw Adam’s spirit die, i.e. be cut off from God, thus Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus in John 3:3b: “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
What I really want us to note in this passage is Sarah’s actions and reactions to the Word of the Lord, “…AND HE SAID, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” Sarah was standing in the door of the tent and heard what the Lord said and she laughed! It is interesting to note that Abraham had also laughed when God spoke to him in Genesis 17:17: “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” However, with Sarah, God actually took note, “…And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” And then to make matters worse, Sarah lies to God. First, she laughs at what God says, and then she lies about it, “…Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not…” Add to this incident the fact that it was Sarah who came up with the scheme to use Hagar as a surrogate in her place and Abraham went along with it, resulting in the birth of Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-16). Ishmael became the father of all Arabs, just as Isaac became the Father of all Jews. Listen to the prophecy spoken almost 4000 years ago that is being fulfilled in the Middle East today! Genesis 16:11-12: “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
You would think that God could have some pretty negative thoughts about Abraham and Sarah because they really messed up some things. But listen to God’s report of how this whole situation turned out! Romans 4:17-21: “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” And Hebrews 11:8-12: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”
This is amazing! Not one mention of failure on the part of Abraham and Sarah. Just glowing reports of their faith! Why? Because of “GOD’S ROSE COLORED GLASSES!” Here is where I believe that saying really came from, even though I have not been able to document it. Song of Solomon 2:1: “I AM THE ROSE OF SHARON, and the lily of the valleys.” Jesus is “…THE ROSE OF SHARON…” and when God looks at us, He looks at us through Jesus colored glasses! And in the same manner, that is how He looked at Abraham and Sarah. That is the meaning of Jeremiah 31:33-34: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: FOR I WILL FORGIVE THEIR INIQUITY, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SIN NO MORE.” And when God forgets our sin after we repent of it, He never brings it up again!
Consider Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is something that is conspicuously absent from this list of things that can separate us from the love of God. Do you know what it is? It is the past! As far as God is concerned, our past will never separate us from His love, because our past is wiped out in Christ Jesus! II Corinthians 5:17: “THEREFORE IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.” Renew your mind with that thought. Your past can only separate you from God’s love in your mind when you believe the devil’s lie. Cast down those negative thoughts and bring them captive, obedient to Christ Jesus! II Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” This, by the way, is how you turn off the gate of hell!  (See last week’s post, THE GATE OF HEAVEN.)
Blessings, Tom and Jeanie
 Some of these ideas are from the following DVD series by Bill Johnson. If you are interested in further study of this subject, the curriculum, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind which includes the 2 DVD set, a Study Guide, and the book by the same title is available from Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” at the following Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY2jBXTP448&index=2&list=TLG4KrwqBE8CI