Listen

Life is a daily classroom of teaching and instruction, if we are willing to listen and follow through. My most recent lesson was simple, profound and forever life changing. Here’s the lesson;

Don’t ignore the prompts and nudges from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not only the Comforter but the Great Teacher and Guide.

I woke up absolutely consumed with thoughts of a cousin who was currently in the intensive care unit.  It was a cousin I had never been really that close to but that really didn’t matter at the moment. All that mattered was him!  I had to go see him, nothing was more important.

It wasn’t a still small voice giving me an instruction. It was just an impression in my spirit—a knowing that something wasn’t quite right.  I reached out to one of his children and asked, “Is your dad saved? Has he made Jesus the Lord of his life?”  She said “I’m not sure.” I told her we have to make sure. Let’s make sure together!

Everything I expected upon arrival at the hospital was present the grief, the pain, the tears.  His face is still in my thoughts right now as I type this.  The way he held my hand when we prayed and how he wouldn’t let go. The way he said “I love you too.” It is all still very heavy on my thoughts.

Sadly he had been shown “religion” his entire life and not a “relationship” with a living, loving Father. The church had failed him but I was driven to remind him that Jesus would never ever fail him. I asked him the greatest question you could ever ask at his bed side, “Have you ever made Jesus the Lord of your life?”  His answer was solid and truthful, “NO.” My response was. “Would you like to?” His answer again came solid and truthful “YES.”   I asked him to pray a prayer with me and he repeated the prayer with his children and grandchildren surrounding the bed.  He repeated every word strong, fully aware and fully sincere.  It was in that moment that the presence of the Lord came and heaven touched earth.  When we finished that prayer my cousin said something that I will never forget as long as I live he said, “We did it!” I sobbed! He said it again, “We did it.”  It was almost like he knew how God had pushed me all the way to his bedside.  That he was hanging on for just this moment in time so that now he could move on with complete Peace that he had made Jesus his Lord!

At 11:00 a.m. he was born again from above, translated out of Darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. Saved! Safe! Secure! Forgiven!

At 5:08 p.m. the same day he was Home in Heaven.

Since his passing I’ve been emotional, unable to focus and changed. Just changed! I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit, thankful for an open heart, thankful for a God who answers when we call, thankful for JESUS who defeated death, Hell, and the Grave.

THANKFUL.

On the way to the hospital that morning the enemy had flooded my mind with several lies.  Thoughts that ran in my mind; “You’re going to minister? Your own life is a hot mess!” I could almost hear Satan’s mocking laughter.  “Someone else will do it, another minister is sure to be at his bedside.”  ALL LIES! NO ONE was there.   And if we all had waited for our lives to be perfect we wouldn’t have a church or ministry on this planet. We are all broken and that’s the exact reason why we need JESUS!

Life lesson:

When God whispers a name to you, when you can’t get that person off your mind and heart, RUN to that person. God has a reason for those promptings. Don’t assume someone else will help! God’s speaking to you! You’re not here to just live and die. You are here on assignment from Heaven to fulfill Gods plan. You are not a human being having a spiritual experience you’re a spiritual being having a human experience! This is not our home.

Who do you have on your heart right now? What’s God saying? Obey! God’s on the move and God wants to use you today.

Listen.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

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HE is a GOOD DAD!

With chubby little fingers and a smile that would melt the coldest heart Elianah, my six-year-old, stands in front of me.  With curly blonde hair and big blue eyes that hold so much love and wonder she very carefully hands me her letter to Santa. “Will you give it to him?” she asks?

“Well, of course!” I reply with great enthusiasm.

I take the list and look over every single item written in crayon and chuckle at the precious misspelled words.  It’s so cute I want to frame it.  As Elianah’s daddy, this scrap piece of paper with her Christmas wishes has NOW instantly become my TOP priority. As her father, I desire to give her every single item her heart so desires.  I WANT TO BLESS HER!  Why? Because I’m her father and I love her and desire to lavish her with MY LOVE.

Listen, maybe your earthly father is gone either physically or emotionally but you’re NOT ALONE! You still have a DADDY that loves YOU!

Your HEAVENLY father wants to LAVISH His LOVE on you the exact same way.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”   Matthew 7:11

So ask.  We have not because we ask not. So ASK that your JOY may be COMPLETE.  Jesus said whatsoever things you desire, believe that you receive them and you will have them.

The LOVE I have in my heart for my daughter, Elianah, is THE LOVE your Father has in His heart for you. He not only hears you He sees the much-needed desires. He feels the desires written on the table of your heart. Your needs have INSTANTLY become His TOP priority. Simply because you are his child and he is your Father.

I’m believing God with you that those things that are heavy on your heart as we close out 2016, those things that can’t be wrapped and put under a tree, will come to pass in your life as a miracle you’ve been praying for and 2017 will be the year of Answered Prayer for YOU a child of GOD!

God knows EXACTLY what you need. HE is a GOOD DAD and with HIM EVERYTHING is POSSIBLE!

“Abba, Father, he said, everything is possible for You.”  ~ Jesus  (Mark 14:36)

My “Neighbor”

Love your neighbor as yourself. Romans 13:9

 
When I close my eyes and think of my child hood the deepest memories of Christmas come flooding back.  I see her…I affectionately called her “Neighbor.”  Her real name was Connie Lee Jones.

As a child I wanted to buy my mom a gift for Christmas but as a family who was already beyond poor I didn’t have a nickel to my name.  That didn’t stop me however because as God would have it… sitting right beside the home I grew up in was a buy, sell and trade antique shop called Buffalo Prairie Trading Post owned and operated by Connie Lee Jones.

As a little boy who could barely see over the glass counters that displayed treasures from all over the world. I would bring in a trinket or toy straight from my toy box and ask Connie “How much for this?”  She would think and look at the item and look back at me and look at the item and then would give me the fair price.  I can still smell the shop.  I remember the sound of the Christmas bells hanging on the door when I would walk in and she would always have a plate of Christmas cookies.  I didn’t have gloves but would pull off the socks that covered my cold hands and after hearing the amount of money I had been given to spend I was SO excited!  I would then spend the next hour looking throughout her entire store for just the perfect present for my mom for Christmas.  Surely THIS would make her happy and give her the JOY she needed.  I would walk the floors of that old creaky shop so long Connie would eventually shut the “Open” sign off and lock up just to let me browse.  I would holler from the back room “How much do i have?”   She would lovingly remind me. Finally after finding just the perfect gift I would lay it on the counter and then she would spend the next fifteen to twenty minutes wrapping my treasured find.  The “just perfect gift” with brown paper and ribbon for my mom! Out the door I would run in the snow making a bee line for my house.  I remember the snow, the moon and the glowing Christmas tree through the window of the old broken down trailer knowing that this gift that I held would truly give my mom the best Christmas ever.  I lost complete contact with Connie over the years and then just last week, I found out my child hood “Neighbor” passed away on the exact same day as her birthday.  Tears, laughs, memories came flooding to my mind that only her and I shared and the reminder from the Holy Spirit that She is now spending Christmas with JESUS this year.  I love you Connie Lee Jones!  Thank you for giving me and my family so many sweet Christmas memories. No more buy, sell or trade for you. You’re in a mansion filled with all your hearts desires. The songs you spent hours writing to your Savior you can now sing to Him face to face. Say hello to my dad will you?  Love you my sweet friend and see you soon, I know you’ll be waiting for me.

 

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LIVE TODAY IN ALL CAPS!

Psalms 51 verses 12-13 say that David has just blown it… He has sinned.  He has messed up BIG!  We see however that he is running back to God and this is his prayer…

“Father, Restore unto me the JOY of thy salvation” and then … ”I will teach transgressors thy way and then sinners will be converted into you.” 
NOTICE…When do they do this?  WHEN THE JOY OF THE LORD is RESTORED unto YOU!  THAT is WHEN YOU ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE for the Kingdom of God.

Now do you see why the enemy fights so hard to steal it?

Joy is Strength!

JOY is a TRUE Spiritual FORCE.

Nehemiah 8:10 SAYS…THE “JOY” of the LORD is your strength. When the enemy wants to pull you down he goes after your Joy first.

You might be saying, I hear you but man…I’ve got issues…my family has some issues. Listen, we ALL DO!  If you don’t think you have issues then “that’s your issue!”  I’m sharing that with a bit of sarcasm but actually that does seem to be “the issue” for some folks, they believe they are reaching perfection.

John 15:1  JESUS said: “I have told you this so that MY joy be in YOU and your JOY may be COMPLETE.  IN LIFE you will have good times and bad times.”  But then JESUS said…”I want my JOY (my strength) to be in you and your JOY to be complete.”

We don’t base our JOY on our circumstances WE base our JOY on the WORD OF GOD!


Hang on to your joy; don’t let the enemy or anyone steal it.  It’s the strength you need to be most effective and to finish your race with JOY.

A LOVE Letter

Imagine the Lord saying this to you right now…

“I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, The First and The Last. I started all this and I’ll be the one to have the last word, you can count on that.

As in your life when trouble falls on you like rain, do not fret or have a care.   Remember I make rainbows from storms!  I make beauty from ashes!  I make what seems to be the end a fresh new start. Deep sorrow may last for a night but JOY comes in the morning!”

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.”  Psalms 34:19

Each time! Every time!

So today…don’t be discouraged or down but hold your head high. Look around and see not only the physical blessings I’ve given you but the spiritual blessings as well.  You’re seated with Me in heavenly places.   I’ve given you all authority to overcome all evil. I’m with you and in you through the Holy Spirit. The same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead lives deeply and richly in you.

You are more than a conquer.  Don’t look back and panic.  I am the one who holds time together just as I hold you.

All good and perfect gifts come from Me and you will see that the greatest days are ahead. Keep planting, keep serving, forgive and forgive some more.  I’ll see to it that you reap a harvest of everything you could ever hope, imagine or dream. Oh yes! A truly grand place of MORE.

More peace!
More power!
More healing!
More hearing from Me in this very hour!

I will work with you to pour out my Spirit beyond measure.   People will run to be in My presence and leave changed…not just for a week or two but for a life time. The same goes for you…spending time with Me is the key to that place of intimacy. It’s where I’ll build you up and I’ll make sure your gift is in full operation. Make a determined purpose to know me and you will see that the greatest days are ahead for you.  In every action and in every day I’ll be with you telling you what to do. I’ll give you the Spirit of seeing and knowing. You will see it and then do it.   You will need to listen and it will take time to learn but be still because in that hour I will give you the power to fulfill all your dreams and desires as you delight in Me and walk out My will.

No demon can stand in the presence of the one who carries My name…JESUS! Speak the name Jesus, the name above all names.  Throughout your day then Listen and Obey!  And above all love.

Love, love, love it’s your best weapon against the enemy. It confuses his plan and no weapon formed against you will stand.   Yes you’re the head and not the tail you’re above and not beneath you’re the body of Christ moving and reigning! Preparing a way for Me!

Let’s Talk About It!

I’m no spiritual giant.

I’m no Billy Graham.

Someone once said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

I get that.
I always have.

Ever since I was a child, I have been very sensitive to spiritual things.  I have always felt God’s presence with me.

I had a dream the other night. I was standing on a stage in a filled-to-capacity theater. I told the crowd, “If God would open your eyes for just one-half of a second to see what hell looks like you would all be evangelists for life.”

Then I woke up.
I laid in bed the rest of the night, eyes wide open.

Pondering eternity.
Pondering heaven.
Pondering hell.

There is a one-hundred percent chance you and I are not making it out of here alive.

Yet, today I am consumed with paying bills, dealing with family issues, wondering if I am a good father…or a good husband. Are we taking a vacation this year?

I will tackle all these…one by one.

Which brought me to consider, should we not all be compelled to spend at least the same amount of energy with an inward compassion about the destination of our soul?

And those of our family?
And those of our neighbors?
And … our co-workers?

Even the majority of unchurched, non-spiritual individuals believe in heaven or an afterlife.

But, what about hell?
Hell is just as real as heaven.

So what am I going to do about it?
What are we going to do about it?

It starts with love. Pray for someone today. God will show you just who to pray for, if you ask.

Then, pray earnestly for them by name, requesting God to open the door to conversation.

Then be bold.
And be strong.
And just ASK.

After all, we talk about everything else with people.
The weather.
Politics.
The highlights from last night’s game.

What if, with compassion-filled eyes and love on every spoken word, you asked…

Have you ever turned your life over to God?
Do you know how easy it is to have Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Did you know He will accept you just as you are?
Would you mind if I pray with you?

No need for religious language. No “what church do you attend?”

A plain and simple, “Jesus changed my life. Did you know He can do the same for you?”

Now GO.
Someone is praying for you to speak.
Someone just called on God for help.
You can be answered prayer.

God wants to use YOU.
We have the honor of sharing the greatest story ever told.

Love has a name. That name is Jesus.
Healer.
Deliverer.
Savior.

And He just as real as you and I.

Jesus was moved with compassion and healed them ALL.  Matthew 14:14

Stellar

Ever wish you could be famous?
Do you dream of being on TV, or in magazines?
Perhaps you desire to become a household name?

I get that.

What about having your face plastered on billboards all across the world?
Or, having your name on the side of a building? Or two. Or more!
(What do you think Donald thinks when he pulls up in front of Trump Towers?)

Yeah, that would be cool.

What about a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
Or having your name sold to become a franchise?
(What’s that you’re wearing? Oh, those are Steve Madden’s?)

Sweet, huh?

What about all those statues and monuments of famous people who did great things?
The Lincoln Memorial…The Wright Brothers…Thomas Edison…

That’s cool.

Hey, I would like to be a famous Missourian.
But, the only one who thinks of me as a celebrity is my Grandma.
And she thinks I hung the moon.

Strangely, I am happy with that!

But here’s the deal…

Birds will poop on your statue.
People will walk all over your star.
And the paparazzi? They will follow you everywhere…

Sure, some see it as a big honor—in the here and now.
Yet, the truth is, you can’t take it with you.
And it doesn’t matter how famous you are—when you die—you’re mortal.
Just like the man who sells newspapers on the corner or the person who served you at the drive thru.

Elvis died. Michael Jackson died. John D. Rockefeller died.
Did any of them take their fame and fortune with them?
No.

Join me in thinking BIGGER.
WAAAAAY bigger!
Like out of this world bigger!

Like…..FOR-EV-ER.
Yep! I am talking’ the big “E”!
Eternal.

Why settle for fleeting fame when you—and everyone you know–can achieve Daniel 12:3 (AMP):

Those who are [spiritually] wise will SHINE brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead many to righteousness, [WILL SHINE] like the STARS forever and ever.

Now we’re talking!

When you tell people the “greatest love story ever told,” they are lead to righteousness and eternal life by accepting Christ. And, they in turn, will become busy doing the same as will their next generation, and so on …

Announcing to the world that God IS indeed ALIVE…and on the throne.

Now that’s something worth doing.

Those who are [spiritually] wise will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead many to righteousness, [will shine] like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12: 3 (AMP)

 

Love Your Life, Every Minute Of It.

Time is what I want the most. Time is also what I waste the most.

Doesn’t make sense, does it? I want to savor time. Savor like I would a good meal or dessert. The kind of meal that makes me throw up my hands and shout, “This is amazing!”

I learned how to savor time the hard way. I ran out of time with my dad. I still remember the moment we said our last goodbye even though I didn’t know it at the time. I backed the car out of his driveway after bringing him home from the doctor’s office. He waved goodbye… I woke up the next morning to a fresh snow fall which blanketed the Ozark hills. I walked to my office at the church I worked at, and that’s when I got the call. My sister was on the other end telling me, “Daddy ran out of time.”

I’ll be honest, I sometimes get anxious about time now. But the answer to my worries is not needing more time. The answer is to use each day, each hour, each minute more wisely and not to waste those precious moments.

When each of my grandfathers passed away, my grandmothers gave me my grandfather’s watch. Of all the gifts to give, they gave me time. To this day, I believe those gifts didn’t come to me by chance or accident. My father’s watch sits next to the two that were given to me. Watches of three men who impacted my life and ran out of time. A sober reminder to cherish my time.

There are three things I do to help keep my mind in perspective.
– Choose to schedule time with those I love.
– Choose to look into people’s eyes instead of at my phone/tablet/computer screen.
– Choose to think of those things that will last for eternity.

Family, friends, and neighbors are what matter the most. Those relationships we make during our time on Earth will last us forever. So, my friend, don’t waste the time you have.

Make goals, dream big, and don’t put things before people. Time offers no refunds, spend it wisely.

I am come that they might have life, and life more abundantly. – Jesus

I’ll leave you with this prayer.

Lord, help me savor my time. Allow me to redeem it and use it wisely. Let my time here bear fruit as yours did through your son, Jesus. Help me number my days and count each one blessed. For my time on this earth is truly a gift.

Thankfulness

It really does work. You don’t hear a lot about it.  It’s shrugged off, looked over, and swept under.  It’s something that changes everything. Thankfulness

Several years ago I was the producer for a nationally syndicated morning show, among a long list of other responsibilities; my job was to screen hundreds of calls every morning.  I would listen intently for radio gold, this was an 800 number that received calls from 47 States, some calling to comment about a story we had just aired, calling for prayer or to speak with one of our pastor’s. Here’s the point…it didn’t matter how bad my week had gone or what was going on in my life. After being on the phone for only FIVE minutes I was SO thankful for all my problems because after hearing the stories of others for only FIVE minutes I had ZERO issues.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  

I Thessalonians 5:18

I’ve tested this out in my own life for sure.  I get why it’s the “WILL OF GOD” for our lives! Here’s the picture…your driving to work and you start complaining maybe not out loud but internally. “This stinking traffic!”  “What the car needs an oil change already?” “I want a new car, look at that car?” “What do they do for a living?”  You go on…and on…and on.

Flip it around!  “Well, good morning GOD!”  “I’m so thankful I have a JOB. It’s not the best pay but I get to GO to work.”  “This car isn’t the greatest but it’s PAID for!”  “God, thank you for the warm bed I slept in last night, the coffee this morning and that bagel with cream cheese.”THANK YOU! THANK YOU! You get the picture!

It’s just the difference in FOCUSING, sometimes hard, on what you DO have instead of focusing on what you DON”T have. What if we just spent some real time in thanksgiving mode?  Try thanking God for all the big things, like your health to something small like a hot shower.  Create your own list!  I get why this is “THE WILL OF GOD!”  You may not be where you want to be but thank GOD you’re not where you once where. You may not have what you want to have but thank GOD for what you do have.

It’s something that changes everything. Thankfulness!


“Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there.” – A.J. Gossip

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”
– Harry Ironside

believe

I believe in a God…who cares, who holds, who loves.  Who’s not distant or untouchable.
Who is as close to you and I as the air we breathe, and everything that matters to you, right now, matters to Him.  I believe He loves you more that you can comprehend; His thoughts toward you are countless.

I believe He heals not only the body but He heals everywhere we hurt…the brokenness, the past, the soul, the marriage, the loss, the unimaginable hurt, our family.  I believe He loves and He longs.  He hears and He answers.  He longs for us to know Him more.  I believe He hurts for His children.  He grieves for those whom the enemy has captive.

I believe He is seen everywhere.

I believe when we speak the name of  JESUS supernatural power is available.

I believe His word is 100% true and accurately prophetic, scientifically proven, holy and eternal.  Armies of Angels stand at attention when His Word is read.  His Word is healing medicine to you and me, we who are so far from home.  Like a hot shower or a good night’s sleep it soothes and comforts us.  It’s not an option, its life sustaining and life fulfilling.  His Holy written Word is filled with promises for YOU, for me!  Every promise kept by the faithful “promise keeper” sealed with a rainbow as a reminder.
I believe Heaven and Earth will one day pass away but NOT His Word.  I believe His Word is eternal and is a love letter penned for each of us.  I believe our loved ones and saints gone before us still study His Word.  Heaven is filled with His life giving Word.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Teacher, and the Comforter.  He is the daily reminder that you’re not alone in all this.

I believe in loving people right where they are.  That’s how He found me.  That’s the day Heaven touched Earth and I was set free, filled with His Spirit and sealed with a promise and now sent to tell the world that I believe.
I believe He uses the “nobody…” the least and the last, the uneducated the one with the “bad name….” anyone…. anywhere…the shepherd boy and the one everyone overlooks and forgets.  I believe He uses anyone He wants so His power is displayed for all to see.  Showing that He is alive and well and still performing miracles.  The blind see, the dead are raised to life and any minute of any day we can start again.

That’s what I believe.

I believe the news headlines are matching what I believe.  I believe the birth pains are happening on the Earth more frequently and coming rapidly closer and closer together…I believe in the signs of the times and believe something is about to be born.

Do you hear the call?  Do you sense it?  Do you feel deep within something is coming?
A call of urgency is what I believe more and more.

I believe the sky will split and our King will return and every knee will bow and every eye will see.

That’s what I BELIEVE.