Tuesday, October 8, 2019

GOD IS ALWAYS

Have you thanked Him?
Have you praised Him?
Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?
Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?
1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.

As I mentioned late last week, I recently was blessed and honored to share a message at Mosaic Church.  And I shared the first half of the message a couple of days ago here on the DISPATCH/OFH. 

Just to jog your memory, the talk was titled “In the Middle of the Mess” or in other words “What is true about GOD when we are in the middle of our mess”.
So, here are points 4 through 6 from that message.  Points 1 through 3 if you recall were GOD was ALWAYS, COMPASSIONATE, COGNIZANT, and CAPABLE. 
Continuing on…
The Lord is always CALCULATED in the middle of the mess.  
…we are convinced that every detail of our lives …
(EVEN THE MESSES)
is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. For he knew all about us before we were born, and he destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son – Romans 8:28-29 (TPT)
Piper put it this way, “Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.”
GOD’S MATH, the EQUATION of our LIFE is without error.
GOD is always CONSUMMATE. In other words, we can trust that he is PERFECT; that ALL His ways are PERFECT.  So even when we are in the middle of our mess as our PASSAGE from ROMANS above says, …we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan
Next, GOD is ALWAYS CLEAR.  Mandy Hale remarked, “The more you go with the flow of life and surrender the outcome to God, and the less you seek constant clarity, the more you will find that fabulous things start to show up in your life.”
We should pray as the PSALMIST prayed to GOD to, “Give (us) revelation about the meaning of your ways so (we) can enjoy the reward of following them fully.” – from Psalm 119:33 (TPT)
I think I am going to hold off on number 7.  Hopefully I will be able to pen it tomorrow.  
My hope is WE BOTH remember these TRUTHS when we are in the middle of OUR MESSES!

Love you all!
Have a BLESSED DAY!
Opportunities for Hope

Thursday, October 3, 2019

WHAT GOD IS...

Have you thanked Him?
Have you praised Him?
Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?
Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?
1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.
Friends, all I can say is “whew” and what happened to SEPTEMBER?  I am guessing some of you are saying what happened to Pastor Greg and the “less than daily” DISPATCH or OFH.  I must ask myself a little too! 

I wrapped up my mileage log for September (Recovery Month) late last night and was stunned to see the number just south of 5000 miles. And that was in 26 days of September.  YIKES!

So, I certainly don’t mind finding October pop up on the calendar.  I got married in October, had Sammie my middle and rather precocious daughter in October.  FALL happens in October and that is my favorite, but October hopefully promises to be “not quite so” crazy. 

But enough of all that.  A couple of weeks ago I was blessed and honored to share a message at Mosaic Church.  Rosario Picardo and his team has architected an AMAZING, THRIVING, INCLUSIVE, and PASSIONATE church.  So, I was so warmed by getting share with them.  And I thought as I “resurfaced” today to write, I would share the first half of that talk and the second tomorrow  because I know it has HELPED me a bunch of late (even though it is tough to practice what we preach sometimes) and I feel like it is for others to hear as well.

The talk was titled “In the Middle of the Mess” or in other words “What is true about GOD when we are in the middle of our mess”. 

And the Lord shared this with me.  That HE is always COMPASSIONATE in the middle of the mess. Psalm 56:8 (MSG)
You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.
Let that sink in for a second.  Our GOD, the GOD who right now has more than 7 billion folks to “keep an eye on” is so INTIMATELY engaged with you that he is meticulously keeping your tears, your every hurt, your every apprehension, fear, pain, etc. in his ledger.  And He is ALWAYS ready to TAKE them and heal them.  (1 Peter 5:7). 
That friends is UNPARALLELED COMPASSION!

He is always COGNIZANT of our mess.
Psalm 139 reminds us that there is NO WHERE we COULD GO, no place, no cave, no mountain, no depth or height that would remove us from HIS WATCH or HIS CARE. And the writer of HEBREWS confirms that, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all…” (Hebrews 4:15 MSG).
And lastly for today, He is always CAPABLE to get us THROUGH our MESS (even when we don’t “think so”).  Remember, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” (2 Corinthians 3:4 NLT).
…apart from me (GOD) you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV)
Tomorrow I will share (4) more “C’s” to get us through the rough “SEAS” of life. (Thanks Pastor Wayne).
But for today remember…
 Inline image

I love you all!
Have a BLESSED DAY! (Good to feel you October)
Opportunities for Hope

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

DECLARE COURAGEOUSLY

Have you thanked Him?
Have you praised Him?
Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?
Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?
1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.

Challenging and unexpected situations.
Relapse.
Pesky sin.
Oppressive circumstances.

Are you...
Angry?
Tired?
Frustrated? 
Are you in a battle today?
Don’t be surprised.
In this world, you will have trouble.  – Jesus (John 16:33 NIV)

But is it taking more than just a physical toll on you? Are you finding it difficult to find the words to tell the devil to be gone? Has your recent resistance been reduced to rubbish?
Never forget that while you may be tired, Jesus also said,
take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 (NIV)

The cold hard truth is spiritual warfare is crippling, real, and troublesome, but Jesus has already won us the victory! And when our energy to resist starts to wane, HIS STRENGTH is more than enough!
I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)

But I get the fatigue factor, so let me offer this; a prayer for both of us from Rebecca Barlow Jordan today to embolden and empower us.

Jesus, sometimes I can almost sense the heaviness of pressure mounting and the ominous presence of darkness around me.

I recognize my enemy is at work again. Whether he's trying to discourage me to get sidetracked, to fall into temptation, to give up, or to take my eyes off you, he's always hanging around.

I need your supernatural power, Lord, to stand strong and not surrender. Physical force won't help, because you've said the weapons of our warfare are different from those in this world. As believers, ours are powerful and can demolish strongholds and lies. These supernatural weapons originate from you. By your precious name and blood, Jesus, I'm asking you to confuse Satan and cancel his attempts to shut me and my influence down.

Help me not to become discouraged or to give in when heavy times of testing come.

When I'm tired and weak, you are strong, Lord, and you are my only source of help. I cannot fight without you. Teach me how to pray and to trust you to pull down those strongholds that keep me or others helpless. Guard me from isolation that leaves me exposed and vulnerable. I believe you destroyed the power of my enemy by your death and resurrection. But like a bad penny, my enemy keeps showing up, whispering lies, twisting truth, and attempting to inflate my selfish pride. He never gives up.

I am declaring the devil and his demons liars today, Lord. Through the power of your precious name and blood, I agree with your Word and the truth that you are in me and that you are greater than my enemy who wants to rule the world. You, your Word, and prayer, Lord, are my secret weapons.

I belong to you, and that fills me with a powerful God-confidence. I want to constantly dress in the spiritual armor you give me. Help me use it to defend others from Satan's fiery darts as well.

No one and nothing can snatch me away from your hand.

Strengthen my faith, Lord. Forgive my sins, so that I may be clean in your righteousness.

Make me brave, so I can stand and fight the spiritual battles in my life and in our world. Give me your wisdom and discernment so I won't be caught off guard. Together, Lord, we'll win, because in truth, you already have.

In Jesus's powerful name, Amen!


Have a blessed DAY!
I love you all.
OPPORTUNITIES for HOPE

Monday, September 9, 2019

STAY LINKED

Have you thanked Him?
Have you praised Him?
Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?
Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?
1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.
 Last week I had a rather unexpected “thing” happen.  While sitting with some of our nation’s leaders on substance use in DC one of those leaders at the close of the session asked me to pray for the group.
I will tell you; I was a little taken back.  I will admit I probably looked a little “goofy” to be honest with my dumbfounded look.  But one at the table clearly said, “Pray Pastor”.  So, I prayed.
I don’t think everyone in the room was “ready” for it, but I was honored to do it.  Really honored by the whole thing. 
And what I was stirred to pray was rooted in this passage.
apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5 (NIV)
This is the close of the passage where Jesus is describing Himself as the VINE and US as branches and the criticality of never losing our LINK to Him.
But John 15:5 also says that God does intend for us to do much Christ-exalting good, namely BEAR FRUIT: “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.” So, as our strong and reliable friend — “I have called you friends” (John 15:15) — he promises to do for us, and through us, what we can’t do for ourselves.
And despite being surrounded last Wednesday by some of the most high-ranking connected people in the country, I felt it important to remind all of us that if we FORGOT GOD in our efforts, they WILL NOT produce the FRUIT we all so desire. 
For there was NO question as to the passion and dedication of my new and old friends in the room.  None.  But on our own steam, 1.8 billion dollars or not, without GOD this task, this job, this crisis intervention IS IMPOSSIBLE.  But WITH HIM?  You know the answer to that. (Matthew 19:26)
My thought and encouragement for today is one that I need as much as anybody.  If I am not careful, I can get pretty self-reliant, pretty self-absorbed, pretty enamored with what is going on with me and around me.  And I must be intentional about stepping back and remembering that without CHRIST, I am NOTHING, I got NOTHING to offer, and all the NEEDLES I desire moved in the right direction will NOT move or will move FAR LESS than they could.
D.L. Moody said it this way using Moses as a PERFECT example of what I am trying to say today. “Moses spent forty years in the king's palace thinking that he was somebody; then he lived forty years in the wilderness finding out that without GOD he was a nobody; finally, he spent forty more years discovering how a nobody with GOD can be a somebody.”
 Today my friends, be reminded of the IMPORTANCE of your connectedness to GOD.  Don’t drift away from Him. Stay linked. Recognize your limitations but RELISH in the truth that despite them, anything is possible. (Philippians 4:13). 
Remember…
Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 I love you all!
Have an AWESOME DAY! (Good to be back today)
Opportunities for Hope

Friday, August 30, 2019

EXPUNGED!

Have you thanked Him?
Have you praised Him?
Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?
Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?
1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.
As I was looking over my log of OFH entries, I have gone more than a week without penning one.  And yes, things have been a little hectic.  If you hang out with me on FACEBOOK you know, but I wanted to get “back on track” today.  For when I don’t write, my days tend to not be quite as good as those when I do.
And today I just want to tell you an extraordinary story.  About a week ago or so my dear friend Joyce asked if I would write an advocacy letter to one of our Judges, Judge Herbert of Franklin County C.A.T.C.H. Court.  C.A.T.C.H stands for Changing Actions to Change Habits.
It has been around for 10+ years and is MOST WORTH a GOOGLE.  There are amazing stories of women who once were bound in a lifestyle of prostitution and crime who after given a second chance via this progressive court, turned their lives COMPLETELY around.  The stories of restoration are AMAZING
And my friend Joyce is one of those stories.  And ironically, she “didn’t complete” CATCH court like most of the gals, rather it was CATCH Court, Judge Herbert, and his team that RECOGNIZED the remarkable and sustained change in my friend.
Joyce was a prostitute and thief for 20+ years.  She was arrested and jailed multiple times.  She was beaten and nearly killed on more than one occasion.  And these are just a few of the highlights or lowlights.  Flashback 6 or so years ago and you would have found Joyce finally experiencing the help she so desperately needed and what GOD has done in that little window of time since is nothing short of extraordinary.  
I mean extraordinary.  When I think of Joyce I think of this passage, I (THE LORD) will pay you back for those years of trouble. Joel 2:25 (ERV).  She is a living breathing personification of this PROMISE!
And yesterday GOD “paid Joyce back” some more.  As Joyce stood in the same courtroom that had many times accused and punished her, GOD gave Joyce a remarkable gift, the gift of EXPUNGEMENT. Because of Joyce’s transformation, because of Joyce’s OBEDIENCE, because of Joyce’s unfettered passion for CHRIST, to love Him and serve Him, Judge Herbert effectively expunged more that 150 charges that were on the books for Joyce.
That made me think of this passage, …Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! – Ephesians 3:20 (TPT).
I most like the Passion’s take on this from Paul.  Especially this, “He will achieve MORE than your MOST UNBELIEVABLE dream”. 
GOD showed up, showed out, and showed off for my friend Joyce yesterday.  He lifted the weight of 20+ years of sin, hurt, mistakes and missteps with a single stroke of a pen.  It was as my friend Joyce likes to say, AMAZING.
But this sort of AMAZING isn’t reserved for just the Joyce’s.  No, it is FOR ANY and ALL of us!  GOD is in the RESTORATION business, He is in the making DREAMS a reality business!...after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. – 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)
Friends I shared a most abridged version of Joyce’s journey today to simply ENCOURAGE you to keep believing and keep dreaming.  Sometimes it is the darkest before the dawn like the old cliché says.  But one thing is for sure, GOD never leaves us or slows his pursuit of us.  Instead He is faithful to us always ready to restore us, wow us, and bless us! (Matthew 7:11).
Trust Him!!!  He will!
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”– Eleanor Roosevelt





I love you all!
Have a BLESSED WEEKEND!

Opportunities for Hope

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

BAD EGGS

Have you thanked Him?
Have you praised Him?
Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?
Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?
1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.
“No clever arrangement of bad eggs will every give you a good omelet and no clever arrangement of selfish hearts is ever going to give us an unselfish world.” 
CS Lewis is credited with the first portion of that quote, the second half I couldn’t find a reference, but let it sink in a little this morning.
Paul put it this way.
Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. – Philippians 2:2-4 (MSG)

Our world is a little “scrambled” don’t you think?
These days far too many folks are obsessed with pushing themselves out front.  Substituting cleverness for kindness, callousness for compassion, and rotten for righteous.
You have “heard” me say on several occasions in this forum, in this OFH, that selfishness is often at the ROOT of bad behavior. It was mine.
And when I think of selfishness, I am often reminded of a little cartoon that played on Saturdays when I was a kid. The Warner Brother's cartoon when Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny happen upon a buried treasure and instead of sharing, Daffy decides to erase Bugs from the equation. Daffy Duck - Mine, mine, mine!





“Mine, mine, mine”, Daffy says.
Pretty rotten huh?

Friends this is a simple reminder today.
GOD didn’t call us to be rotten.
GOD didn’t call us to be selfish.
We’ll never accomplish His will for us if we are.
Rather GOD called us to service; called us to be like His Son.
Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served…Mark 10:44 (MSG)
Put someone else ahead today.
Take a back seat.
Defer.  Seek ways to be agreeable and caring.
A Christian reveals true humility by showing the gentleness of Christ, by being always ready to help others, by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts, which elevate and ennoble the most sacred message that has come to our world. Ellen G. White

I love you all!
Opportunities for Hope

Thursday, August 15, 2019

ORCHARD OFFERING

Have you thanked Him?
Have you praised Him?
Have you made it your priority to agree and cooperate with Him today?
Have you taken that deep breath and listened for what He has for you today?


1 Timothy 2:1 (The Message)


The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.

We know what we are but know not what we may be.
William Shakespeare


I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil… John 15:16 (MSG)



What will you BE today?
Can I make a suggestion?

Be a FRUIT BEARER!


…what happens when we live God’s way? HE BRINGS GIFTS into our lives, much the same way that FRUIT APPEARS in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG)

Show affection for someone!


Go about life with exuberance and enthusiasm!
Emerson said…Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.

Want to be a GREAT FRUIT BEARER?


It takes ENTHUSIASM, GOD GIVEN ENTHUSIASM! 


No drabby personalities or sad-sack demeanor will do!

Seek serenity.  
Affect the things you can change and accept the things you can’t and don’t spin your wheels doing the opposite!


Persevere!


Allow your GOD GIVEN LOVE to see the BEST in people!
Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, Trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. 1 Corinthians 13:5-7 (MSG)

Be committed.


Be second.


Be focused.


Be disciplined.
If you care for your orchard, you’ll enjoy its fruit – Psalm 27:18

GOD has big plans for you and your orchard today! 
It is GOOD FRUIT season!
Embrace your possibilities and bear a little of GOD’s fruit, won’t you?




Have a blessed day today!
I love you all


OPPORTUNITIES for HOPE