Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A way that "seems" right.....

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (KJV)

There are some verses of scripture which seem to always strike a sense of fear and awe in my spirit. This is one such verse. The older I get, the less confidence I have in human effort and ability. I have come to realize that without God's discernment and His wisdom operating in my life, I am capable of making shipwreck of my faith. Those with a church background are probably very familiar with the expression (found in scripture) "we walk by faith and not by sight." Most Christians are willing to accept this in generic terms. We know there is an unseen God, and Invisible, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and all powerful Saviour named Jesus Christ. Even though we have never seen Him, we love Him (I Peter 1:8).

But there is an ever-present danger that we must always remain vigilant about. And that is walking by "feelings." We often judge the merit of an action or belief system based on the perceived sincerity of an individual. But I have learned that I can indeed be sincere....but be sincerely wrong!!!! Sincerity and zeal are often commendable attributes (when channeled in a godly direction) but they can be deadly when misguided or misdirected. Jesus illustrated this when He taught His followers that people would kill Christians and actually think they were doing a service to God (John 16:2).

Yet another passage of Scripture which never fails to produce a sense of godly fear in me is found in Matthew chapter 7. I will post it here for illustrative purposes:

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV)

If I'm reading this correctly, it would appear that these individuals mentioned above are genuinely surprised that entrance is not permitted into Heaven for them. This tells me that it is indeed possible to think that everything is going right- doing service for God (even participating in the miraculous!!!)-and yet be terribly misguided to our own destruction. Today's entry is rather heavy, I must admit, but the issues that we deal with are indeed life and death issues. The bible is very clear that one day we will face a just and a holy God to give an account of what we have done here on the earth. I want to make sure that my foundation is solid, and built upon a Rock.

You and I may be on a "way" that seems to be the right way. But the question we must ask ourselves is- is this the Biblical Way to heaven? Liberal theology teaches us that we should never question or investigate our standing with God. Scripture teaches us exactly the opposite (II Cor 13:5/ II Peter 1:10). This post is not intended to cast doubt on the assurance of salvation- but rather to make sure that assurance is based on the truths of scripture and not some arbitrary standard that we have constructed in our own minds. Remember that there is a way that seems right....but the end of that way is destruction.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Back from Camp Meeting

You may or may not have noticed my absence from the blogosphere last week, but I just returned from a week long trip to the Great Smokey Mountains of NC where we had our yearly state camp meeting. For those of you not aware with the whole "Camp Meeting" genre, it's basically a huge gathering of believers and ministers to worship God and hear relevant preaching and teaching. I had hopes of turning the week into a mini-vacation but there was little time for rest & relaxation. But nevertheless, I come away from the whole experience with a positive outlook and a spiritual renewal.

One of the best things about camp meeting is getting to see friends and fellow ministers that I rarely get to see any other time of the year.

So this is my short contribution today...nothing of substance...just filling in the blanks as to my absence. (if anyone really cares-I don't want to sound too self-important -LOL)

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Hard Cases....

Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting

Jesus and three of His disciples had just come down from the mount of transfiguration. An experience of tremendous glory and revelation has just taken place. However they descend from the mountain to find a tumultuous scene. We find the other nine apostles (and possibly others) are struggling with something they've never run up against before. Previously Jesus had called them and commissioned them, and given them authority to cast out demons and heal every disease! (Matthew 10:1)

And yet we find a great crowd assembled here- a vexed boy (the KJV calls him a lunatic) -and a desperate father. The dad remarks that he has brought his boy to Jesus' disciples but...they could not cure him. Can you imagine their frustration? Up until now, demons were fleeing, bodies were being healed, lives were instantaneously being changed and delivered. But now they are up against something they've never seen...and it's happening in front of a crowd (Matthew 17:14). Of course Jesus immediately deals with the situation and brings deliverance to the tormented boy (right after He gives some rather sharp admonition to His disciples!).

Later they come to Him privately (as they often did) and asked Jesus (in essence) "what's the deal? Why couldn't we cast out the demon this time?" First Jesus remarks about their unbelief. He basically tells them they don't even meet the bare minimum requirements as far as faith goes (mustard- seed- size). But lest they be filled with despair, He goes on to tell them that they were not up against the run-of-the-mill opposition. He goes on to say "this kind" of demon can only be expelled by extraordinary means (prayer and fasting).

I dare say that all of us run into extraordinary problems from time to time. There are trials...and then there are TRIALS!!! There are times when a "now I lay me down to sleep" prayer life is not going to move the mountain. It's going to require some extra effort on our part. I want to encourage and challenge you today by asking- what are the hard cases in your life? Is it financial? Health-related? Perhaps your sons and daughters are under the influence of the devil just like this poor man? Got any lost loved ones you are desperate to reach before it's too late? Or pastors how about your churches? Tired of seeing the enemy put your church up against a barrier it can't seem to break through? Churches often hit a "plateau" spiritually and it seems like it's impossible to get past. We often look at the physical symptoms and fail to realize there are deep-rooted spiritual problems at the core. Is not Satan a master strategist, schemer, and deceiver? Does he not have ranks of principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places? (Ephesians chapter 6) Does he not have a kingdom (that even Christ commented) is not divided? (Matthew 12:26)

I believe these are the last days and if my assumption is correct, then we are facing demonic powers that we haven't faced before. If that is indeed the case, then I ask you (and myself) are we willing to pay the extra price in order to see our loved ones, family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers come to Christ and be set free from the powers of darkness? Fasting is never fun (if it were, you and I wouldn't be human beings)- prayer requires a sacrifice of time and energy and a submission. But beloved, if we are not willing to do these things- we shouldn't complain or ask questions when we are unable as the body of Christ to deal with the "hard cases."

Have a great weekend!
~Henry †

Monday, June 05, 2006

Potent Prayers

(I saw this on Woodrow Kroll's site and decided to share it with you today)

Potent Prayers
By Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
Taken From: Streams in the DesertBroadcasts
"Make thy petition deep" (Isa. 7:11, margin).

Make thy petition deep, O heart of mine,
Thy God can do much more
Than thou canst ask;
Launch out on the Divine,
Draw from His love-filled store.
Trust Him with everything;
Begin today,
And find the joy that comes
When Jesus has His way!

We must keep on praying and waiting upon the Lord, until the sound of a mighty rain is heard. There is no reason why we should not ask for large things; and without doubt we shall get large things if we ask in faith, and have the courage to wait with patient perseverance upon Him, meantime doing those things which lie within our power to do.

We cannot create the wind or set it in motion, but we can set our sails to catch it when it comes; we cannot make the electricity, but we can stretch the wire along upon which it is to run and do its work; we cannot, in a word, control the Spirit, but we can so place ourselves before the Lord, and so do the things He has bidden us do, that we will come under the influence and power of His mighty breath. --Selected

"Cannot the same wonders be done now as of old? Where is the God of Elijah. He is waiting for Elijah to call on Him."

The greatest saints who ever lived, whether under the Old or New Dispensation, are on a level which is quite within our reach. The same forces of the spiritual world which were at their command, and the exertion of which made them such spiritual heroes, are open to us also. If we had the same faith, the same hope, the same love which they exhibited, we would achieve marvels as great as those which they achieved. A word of prayer in our mouths would be as potent to call down the gracious dews and melting fires of God's Spirit, as it was in Elijah's mouth to call down literal rain and fire, if we could only speak the word with that full assurance of faith wherewith he said it. --Dr. Goulburn, Dean of Norwich

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Secret to a Life of Impact

Today, I thought I would post an excerpt from Chip Ingram's site- I know there are quite a few pastors and evangelists that read this blog so it is my hope that it will encourage them as well as the lay minister.

The Secret to a Life of Impact - Chip Ingram -

"How are you really doing in your ministry?" I asked.

This small gathering of ministry leaders had arrived at a certain
level of transparency, so I was pretty sure I'd get some honest
After the initial responses about expanding congregations or
audiences, new
products being developed, and opportunities on the
horizon, I pressed
further. ?No, I mean in your relationship with
God, your sense of
connectedness with Him. How's it going??

Every eye seemed to stare at
the floor until a couple of these
leaders looked up and said, with sad
expressions, "Not so well, I

It's surprising how often that
scene is played out. One of the things
I love about my job at Walk Thru the
Bible is the number of
relationships I'm able to build with key ministry
leaders around the
world - pastors, publishers, broadcasters, and many more.
whenever those relationships get deeply personal and honest, this
trend seems to become evident. Ministry is hard, the needs are never-
ending, and very few leaders are able to spend much time alone with
- much less enjoy the time they do spend with Him.

Nearly everyone who
entered this field of service did so with a
desire for God to use them in
lasting and powerful ways. So what's
missing? Why, in spite of our
ever-improving technology and
methodology, does this life of impact we hoped
for seem to elude us
so often?

The answer, I believe, is available
to all of us. The secret to a
life of lasting impact is the one thing we
preach often and practice
rarely, mainly because few of us think we have
time for it. And if we
miss it, we can end up being what I call a
?successful failure? -
someone who is doing great things in ministry (or so
it appears), but
who is still lacking what's most important.

Four Great Examples

Four great lives in the
Bible illustrate the principle well. In fact,
you could easily argue that
these four people had more impact than
all others - and that they had it
because they knew this secret.

Consider Moses, for example. He had been
called to great tasks and
had seen God do powerful miracles. A whole nation
depended on him,
and at times he had people lined up for miles to see him.
If ever a
man bore the burdens of leadership, Moses did. Considering the
of responsibility he carried, what would you expect Moses' prayers to
be about?

A conversation in Exodus 33 tells us. ?If You are pleased
with me,
teach me your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor
you,? Moses said to God (v. 13).

God then assured Moses that
His presence would go with him.

Moses pressed in further: ?Now show Me
your glory? (v. 18). And God
answered Moses' request.

Do you see
what happened? Moses could have asked for a shorter time
in the wilderness
or an increase in power. But when he got face to
face with God, he asked for
the presence and the glory. His passion
wasn't success, miracles, numbers or
impressing people; it was to
know God. Above all else, Moses wanted favor
and intimacy with the
One Who had called him.

David is another
example. He was a highly successful warrior, a king
who loved his people,
and a popular worship leader and song-writer.
Yet imagine him being
interviewed on a talk show: ?David, you've done
great things, demonstrated
great power, and defeated great enemies.
You've risen to the top. The
Scriptures even say you were a really
good-looking man. You have it all
going for you. What's your secret?
What makes you tick??

His answer?
?One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I
may dwell in the
house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze
upon the beauty of the
LORD and to seek Him in His temple? (Psalm

Behind the mighty
warrior, the songwriter, the king, this man who
changed the world in his
day; and before all the pressures of
leadership and even in the midst of his
greatest failure; this leader
had a passion to meet with God and know His
heart. Like a thirsty
deer panting for the water in a brook, David's soul
yearned for God
Himself. That was his secret.

Then there's Paul, one
of the greatest intellects of his time.
Schooled by the rabbi Gamaliel, he
was a scholar among scholars, and
arguably the most influential man in the
New Testament apart from
Jesus. In spite of being flogged, shipwrecked, and
imprisoned, he was
mightily used by God. Most of us, if we could have a
ministry with
even one-thousandth the impact of Paul's, would be thrilled

What was the secret to Paul's success? Was it his
education or his
pedigree? His methodology? His status? Motives driven by
guilt and
shame, or an obsessive-compulsive personality? No, Paul uses a
much stronger than ?garbage? to describe everything in his past, at
least as it compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus
(Philippians 3:7-11). That's what kept him pressing ahead toward the

Before going on all those mission trips, before writing
letters, before the all-important Jerusalem council meeting - even
before getting out the whiteboard with Barnabas or Silas and planning
his strategy for the next few years - Paul had a greater ambition. He
wasn't simply after more converts and churches, wider distribution of
his letters, and more opportunities to preach to larger audiences.
Everything took a back seat to knowing Jesus.

Jesus, of course, is
our greatest model. He came to earth and
explained the Father, doing amazing
miracles and preaching amazing
messages. The very last night, at the end of
His ministry - the
highest-impact ministry ever - Jesus spent quite a bit of
praying. What did He say? ?This is eternal life: that they may know
You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent? (John
17:3). He didn't focus on His disciples serving God better or
accomplishing greater things. He asked that they would know Him.

ministry leaders, we understand the theology; eternal life isn't
just about
getting to heaven. It's about a quality and abundance of
life that comes in
fellowship with God, moment by moment in the holy
of holies. The problem for
most of us is practical, not theological.
The core issue is spending time
with Him, and, beyond that, it's
enjoying the time we spend with Him.