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Monday, October 31, 2011

Who is Poor and Who is Rich?

This past Sunday, as I watched our praise and worship leader lead our children in songs of praise, I realized that something was wrong. Something is missing in our churches in America. We spend thousands and millions and billions of dollars trying to make "fun" and entertaining for our children in this country.

Yet, many times it is empty worship. The smiles are there, the hands are raised, but if you look closely, you see kids looking around wondering what's going on. You see a few that are genuinely worshiping, but many are missing the mark.

Could it be that we have it all wrong? Could it be that the people we believe to be poor, are actually the richest of them all? Could it be that in our quest for the American dream, we have become poor in spirit? Why are we seeing some of the most underdeveloped countries filled with the Holy Spirit and loving God with all their hearts and minds?

Could it be that we, as parents have lost all sense of what God wanted from us? Why do we look to make ourselves comfortable and forget that the Bible says, we WILL be persecuted and we are to rejoice in our suffering?
These people are literally rejoicing in their suffering, while we have no joy in our comfort? We must seek to know the God of creation and learn to love him without condition. We cannot expect our children to love God if we don't even know how to love Him ourselves. It's time for a real reckoning Church of America.

" These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." - Revelation 2:1-7

Man O God

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Basics: Changing Diapers

It's been a while since I had to change diapers, but since I had so many to do, it's like riding a bicycle. First, we will explain how to determine if a change of diaper is necessary. If you squeeze the bottom of the diaper and you notice that it feels firm or heavy, then the diaper is probably wet and needs changing. Also, gently pull back the rear of the diaper and look inside. If you see brown, yellow, or green, then the baby has had a bowel movement and is also in need of a diaper change. WARNING: The first time a baby poops, it may be a black sticky substance. This is normal and is called meconium. So don't freak out and call the doctor. You should, however call a doctor immediately if you notice blood in the stool or urine.

Now that you know baby needs a diaper change, get all your materials ready:
1) A fresh diaper, at least 3-5 baby wipes or moist towelettes, baby powder (optional), and any ointments you may need for circumcision, urinary tract infections or other maladies that are prescribed by a doctor.
2) Be sure to remove socks, shoes, mittens, or anything else than baby can (and probably will) push into the soiled diaper before opening the diaper. Also, lift long gowns well out of the way so they don't get dirty either.
3) Carefully place baby on a changing table, or other flat area. Never leave the baby on the table unattended even for a few seconds (babies MOVE) because before you know it baby can flip over and fall off. In emergency situations, with a little practice, you can change the baby on your lap by closing your legs tightly and placing baby with his or her head away from you.
4) Open the diaper and begin wiping away all the mess from baby's bottom and legs. With girls, always wipe from front to back, otherwise you could risk getting feces inside her genitals and causing a serious infection. With boys, just wipe away! You can use the dirty diaper as a trash bin for all the wipes you use.
5) Pull baby's bottom up slightly by the ankles and pull the diaper out from under the baby and close it up tightly so nothing escapes accidentally.
6) Carefully pull baby's bottom up slightly again to slide the new diaper under the baby up to about the lower center of his or her back.
7) Lower baby onto the diaper and apply any powders or ointments needed.
8) Close the diaper and replace all the clothing you removed.

Warning about boys: Always be ready for a yellow fountain! When that stream starts, it can get on EVERYTHING! Coffee, mouth, eyes, clothes, and even baby's own face and body. While there's nothing harmful, it can be embarrassing and create a mess.

About powders and petroleum jelly: Some physicians, moms, dads, grandmas, and aunts will argue about the use of baby powder and petroleum jelly on baby. We started off using these, but eventually stopped using powder, because it seemed not to help much on diaper rash. I would use petroleum jelly at night when putting baby to bed if there was diaper rash because I noticed that it seemed to moisturize the skin when left overnight. I wouldn't use it during the day, but would use powder instead to keep things dry and smooth. In any case, only you know your baby and may want to experiment with what works best, powder, vasaline, or diaper rash ointment.

Have fun!

Man O God

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No Direction No Purpose

Today, as I sat here watching coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I realized that too many people in the world today are angry about things they have no control over. The article was talking about how these protesters are eating food from the same companies they are protesting against. They claim to be against big business, but they eat at McDonald's and take free ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. I realized that most of those who cry "foul" because the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer are the same people who make Budweiser, Walmart, and Michael Moore richer every week by buying into their products.

While their intentions are noble, they really have no idea where they are headed because there is no clear understanding of what it is they are saying.
The Bible makes it clear that the message of the cross is foolishness to them that perish. What may seem foolish to you one day, will all become clear as soon as you realize your purpose in God's kingdom.
You, as a father have great responsibility and purpose in your life. Your main purpose is first to accept Christ into your life and mold it around his teachings. You can then begin to pour into the lives of not only your wife, but also into the lives and hearts of your children. This direction in your live will bring specific meaning, purpose, and drive.
I know that before I gave my life to Christ, I had no desire to excel no desire to be anything more than a high school drop out and no desire to become anything more than a dishwasher or grill cook. Christ gave me both direction and purpose as well as the drive to accomplish more than I could ever imagine.
My goal, now, is to make that drive contagious within myself and my children and to teach others how to be contagious with Jesus' love.

Man O God

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lessons From Satan

How is it possible we can learn anything from the father of lies? Who, after all would want to mold themselves around this utterly evil being who despises God? Well, I'm not suggesting we follow in his footsteps, but there are some things we can learn even from this miserable, lost creature in spite of everthing: Fear and Obedience

Many of us have heard that 1 John 4:4 says, "...greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." Yet many of us still cringe at the thought of demons and the devil. How many people cannot even watch the Exorcist because it scares the bejeezus out of them? We don't like to talk about demons because we are afraid they may somehow manifest themselves in our lives or the lives or our children in our dreams and in our waking lives. Yet the Bible clearly tells us that God is above all things.

When we thing of the opposite of God, many say "Satan" This is not so. Satan is not even in the same league. Satan is more in line with Michael the Archangel.

Remember when Jesus cast out demons in the New Testament?

His power was obeyed without question. When Satan approached God to ask permission to test Job, he was granted permission with one exception: "...but save his life" Satan was not allowed to touch Job's life. Now one would think, if Satan has no regard for God and doesn't fall under His authority, wouldn't he just say, "Oops, I killed him...sorry" What could God do to Satan that he isn't already doomed for?

The answer may leave you shocked. If Satan is supposedly the most terrifying being in the universe. If Satan makes Charles Manson look like a nun and Friday the 13th's Jason look like a teddy bear, then what could possibly scare Satan?

God's wrath is infinitely more awful and terrible than anything you, me, or even Satan can imagine. Satan and his minions obey God out of sheer terror and fear.

"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder." James 2:19

If Satan and his demons fear God so much that they obey him without question, don't you think it's wise for us to do better? We should fear God, yes. But we should obey God because we love Him and because He loves us unconditionally.

Don't be outdone by Satan. If even he knows how to fear God, so should you. If even he knows how to obey God, so should you.

And by the way, Satan is not omnipresent. This means he cannot be in more than one place at once. He is more concerned with the top leaders in this world than someone like you and me. He will, however send his minions to temp you and try to trip you up each and every day. Ask for guidance and protection from these demons from the Holy Spirit and God's angels every morning on you, your family, and those around you.

Man O God

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Be Careful What You Ask For...

Last night I spoke in our Bible study group. We had planned to watch a video from John Bevere, but we had already seen it. I wasn't prepared to teach anything, so I just let the Holy Spirit lead me. I happened to open my Bible to the book of Jonah and we proceeded to read the whole book since it was only 4 chapters.
I found it refreshing that each chapter taught a different lesson. The most intriguing lesson was in chapter 3.
It seems that Jonah was warning people that God would destroy their city in 40 days because of their disregard for God and his commandments. To Jonah's surprise and dismay they changed their course, humbled themselves, fasted, and turned from their evil. Everyone from their king down to the lowliest person became aware that God was watching and was not pleased with them.
God had compassion and renounced his judgement. Apparently the only one not happy was Jonah!
Sometimes, we pray and ask for things and when God brings it about we aren't very happy with the outcome. It's almost like we ask only because we like the idea of having something. If I'm confusing you, I'll give you an example.
I'm mature enough to understand that I love beautiful cars...only when someone ELSE owns them. I love to admire Corvettes, Porsche's, BMW's, and all kinds of high performance vehicles. I know, however, that I don't want to own one because of the high cost of maintaining such a luxurious vehicle. I don't even like washing my little old red truck!
I know a woman who prayed, and cried, and prayed, and cried that the Lord would bless her with a Godly husband. When God answered her prayer, she suddenly changed her mind and was frightened at the thought of marriage even though this man loved her with all his heart and had very good values.
Sometimes we pray, Lord bless my family, let my children have good grades, let them excel at sports, or let them have good friends. Then when God answers us, we don't want to show up to their sports events, science fairs, open house at school, and we don't want their friends coming over to our house. God answers your prayer and then suddenly you realize you don't really want that after all?
We need to be careful what we pray for. God, in his infinite wisdom, sometimes says "No", sometimes says, "wait", and then there are times when he says, "YES!" For those occasions, be ready to receive His blessing with open arms. Show Him your gratitude for the wonders of his love toward your life and watch him continue to bless you with other desires of your heart if you are obedient and a good steward with all He has given you thus far.
Learn to show interest in the things your children excel at and be patient when they are slow to learn. Above all, love them through their failures and cherish their triumphant victories.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you" - Matthew 6:33

Man O God

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bless and Curse Not...

A few years back, I spent some time in a foreign country where I was in constant danger. I recall seeing the terrible conditions in that country where teachers were rejoicing because their monthly earnings jumped to $30 a month from $3 a month! I saw children as young as 8 years old working for a living driving tractors, filling sandbags, digging trenches, and cleaning up human waste. I remember feeling overwhelmed with compassion for them, but at the same time realizing that we who live in the developed world take many things for granted.
I spoke with my wife about allowing the children to have whatever they desired. For some odd reason, I felt that I should be showering my children with gifts. I think it was an attempt to make up for time lost without them. In any case, when I finally came home, my children lacked nothing.
To this day, however, my children tend to overlook the bountiful home they live in and I have to continue to remind them that we live in a world where everything can be gained and lost very quickly.
With this in mind, I would like to remind fathers that they should always seek to bless their children and their families in every way possible. Granted that you don't spoil your children by lavishing gifts that are dangerous or wastefully extravagant, you should, nevertheless see to it that they receive gifts whenever they accomplish goals that you set for them or whenever you see that they exhibit excellent behavior above what is expected.
Additionally, be careful not to curse your children even when they behave badly. It is too common for parents and guardians to say things like, "You'll never amount to anything!" or "You're going to end up in prison!". Although you may think you are correcting your child, you are setting things in motion that may forever alter your child's future.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. - Ephesian 6:12

This means that there are things unseen in the world around us that influence the decisions we make and have the ability to twist circumstances in ways that are both beneficial and malignant toward us. When we speak blessings over our children, we grant angelic forces permission to manipulate our surroundings to fill their lives with wonderful things including health, joy, friends, wealth, and wisdom. When, on the other hand, we speak curses into the lives of our children, we will allow demonic beings to fill their minds, bodies, and spirit with malicious thoughts, ideas, disease, loneliness, and confusion among other terrible maladies.

We ought, therefore, to be careful to bless our children as our heavenly father blesses us. We ought to bless and curse not. Remember the law of sowing and reaping. Those things that we sow into our children's lives will inevitably come back as fruits in our own lives (for good or evil).

Before you begin to think that this is some kind of recipe for total well being or utter destruction, let me make something clear. Speaking blessings does not guarantee that our children will be without trouble and neither does speaking curses automatically induce failure, but the likelihood of these things increases dramatically with each blessing and each curse.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! - Matthew 7:11

Man O God

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God Inhabits Praise

Psalm 22:3 says, that God inhabits the praises of his people. I've come to think about that quite a few times over my years. Sometimes it seems like whenever we are in a bad situation, it always seems to just get worse and worse. Sometimes we pray for God to deliver us from our problems, and the more we pray it seems God turns a deaf ear. When these times come around, it's important to remember this verse (Psalm 22:3). It is during those times of trial that our souls are downtrodden, and seem frail. It is those times when we can't find the strength to open our Bibles or open our mouths to utter one more solemn prayer. It is those times when we feel that the weight of the world is coming down on our shoulders. These are the worst times in our lives when we lose our job, our homes, our loved ones, or seemingly our sanity.
These are the times it becomes critical to praise God more than ever. Have you ever wondered why the Bible is so big? Couldn't God have just said it all in a few words? Couldn't he have just said that He is love and the He sent His son, Jesus? I think more of us would read our Bibles more often if it came in a pamphlet form. I think, however, that God wanted us to have constant reminders of His greatness as well. Every book in the Bible speaks of the wonders of His works. The greatness and majesty of His name. So it makes sense that when we stop in our tracks and begin to give Him praise, He will come and dwell with us at that moment. When all hope seems lost, just begin to praise Him for all he has done, not just in your life, but in the lives of all His people.

Man O God