Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Freedom is Never Free

The above here is a video that was sent to me from a friend in Israel. My how quickly we forget history. And those who forget history are bound to repeat it. True freedom is never free. Just the other day, i saw a veteran of WW2. Nowadays, i try to make it a point to whenever i see a vet, i go over, shake their hand, salute and thank them for their service. I will never know the price they've paid for my freedom. You'd have no idea how it blesses them. I've seen grown men almost break down and start to cry b/c i came over to them and thanked them and acknowledged what they did for me.

I hate the idea of war and people being killed. I also hate the idea of evil regimes killing innocent men, women and children. Someone has got to do something. I hate the idea of my very own countrymen going over and getting killed by someone in a distant land. And my heart goes out to the families of our armed forces. I pray that God would bless them and comfort them and i pray that i would be able to stand w/ them and support them.

The only way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Do i agree with everything that our President and his administration does and says? No. There are things that i wish were handled differently. But i'm not in his shoes. And i'm not going to sit by and be an arm chair critic when i don't have all the facts and act like i know it all. Because i don't.

So God, bless our armed forces here and abroad. Give them strength and wisdom. God, bless our government. I pray for wisdom and discernment for our president and advisors to know how to lead and, when given all the facts and info, to act accordingly.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

7 Years in Hindsight

I was just thinking here recently of my history and far i've come.

Back in 2000, myself and a group of 16 youth and adults went down to what was called The Brownsville Revival. It was a revival that started in 1995 when Evangelist Steve Hill was asked to minister at Brownsville Assembly of God on Father's Day of 1995. What was meant to be a simple Sunday morning service last for roughly 5 years, and was probably one of the leading revivals of its day. Out of it came a bible school called Brownsville Revival School of Ministry. All in all, just this past July, i graduated from the school that broke off from that one, FIRE School of Ministry.

So, needless to say, i have some indirect history of revival in me. Granted, i only visited the youth conference, Branded By Fire, from 2000-02. And i visited a revival meeting in 2001, perhaps for some that means i didn't actually attend the revival itself. In any case, i consider myself to be blessed beyond measure and have something deposited in my Spirit of which i hope doesn't diminish over the years, but grows in fervency and devotion to the cause of Christ. It's nice to get together w/ brothers and sisters and reminisce about the past. But its also very encouraging to pray into the future.

Since some of the leaders in the revival are now leaders at FIRE, we have contact w/ people who ministered in the revival. Many would say we have a unique DNA. It's nice to be in meetings where the precious Spirit of God is 'moving' powerfully... but what then? If that is not stewarded properly, it can be faltered. Reading through the Old Testament and especially reading in parts where it mentions the Ark of the Covenant, you'll quickly learn that there are certain things to handling the Presence of God. It's not something to be taken lightly, but w/ great precision. If not handled properly, well, lets just say it won't be pretty. The Lord even struck someone down dead on the spot for mistreating the ark. Even when this individual was trying to secure!

In any case, i again want to say that i count myself very blessed to be in the current situation i'm in. I'm around people of like mind. We are gathered to pray into the Kingdom of God. We are not just here to live in our nice little homes and go about our day, but our lives are to be a prophetic example to the world. A demonstration of His Kingdom right before your eyes!

Just this past week, we had Steve Hill visit FIRE and minister the Word to us. I've always been a huge "fan" of his. This week He spoke to us about Obedience. it was a good challenge to me. i enjoy listening to Words from speakers who like to challenge you and not just tickle your spiritual ears, but deliver words that make you think. and challenge you to go deeper in God. And speakers who use words like "repentance". it seems to be a lost word in many speakers vocabs. but i can say i like it when speakers deliver words from God and not just words that make us feel good.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Promise and a Ring

The other day I bought a ring. No, not THAT kinda ring, but a promise ring. Well, actually, the ring itself isn't anything special. It's a simple silver band with nothing on it yet. Later on, i'm going to get the ring engraved with Psalm 119:1-17. I did have that portion of scripture memorized from school, but i have since forgotten it.

The Reason being....

The reason being that i got this ring is symbolic. Many people my age and far younger don't really have any idea what a commitment means. Especially a commitment to sexual purity. This ring symbolizes my commitment to staying sexually pure (meaning no sex outside of marriage) before I get married. I'm 24 years old and have never even so much as had a girlfriend yet! Can you believe that. Much less been with any girl in a sexually immoral way. And i plan on keeping that promise until i get married.

For those who say it couldn't be done, without the grace of God, i might imagine how that could be true. But with the Grace of God, it will be accomplished. My life will be a prophetic rebuke to the secular world! I don't even have to say anything and people already are mad at me.

I was talking to a young lady at work sometime ago and mentioned that I was 24 and never had sex yet. Meaning that i was still a virgin! She was quite amazed. People all over flaunt their sexual immorality, so i'll flaunt my sexual morality!

I must say, it is quite disgusting at the low morality level I've seen at many churches. I was at a youth conference sometime ago and they made an announcement at the beginning to the girls to keep the standard high. I thought "this is amazing.. at a place where people are going after God in exceptional ways, and they still have to make this announcement!" To make matters even worse, some time after that, i got into somewhat of a heated debate with one of the girls in our group. However, since we were in a group setting, I decided not to get into that discussion with her. It wasn't going to do any good for anyone.

Exscuses exscuses... (in a Christian/Church atmosphere)

1. "I didn't have a good childhood." Sometimes, this is somewhat legitimate. Ok, so perhaps you weren't raised in the greatest upbringing. Ok, are you willing to be worked w/? If yes, great, we'll work with you. If no... there's not really a whole lot more we can say then.

2. "You don't understand what I've been through." Your right, I don't. And perhaps I don't care to know what you've been through. But I do know someone who does know. And if you'll surrender to Jesus, He'll heal you.

3."Your self-righteous!" Give me a break! Do you have any idea how hard it is for someone to correct someone else?! (This might be possible depending on how the situation is progressing. Such as if someone decides to correct someone in front of everyone else just to shame the one guilty. Especially if its a guy saying something to a girl... i'd suggest the guy tell a female leader about the issue and see if the issue can be resolved in private.

i'm sure that there are a lot of other reasons to be given. All these i'm describing are issues that I've either experienced myself or heard of. And thats just in the church! We should be leading, not trying to make exscuses for behavior! We live by Kingdom standards (Biblical world view). And yes, i'm preaching to myself here. As always.

The reason i say this is because i have a love and concern for people. I could mention names, but I don't. I want to respect privacy and identities. I'm not doing this to bring others down and boost myself. That gets nothing accomplished.

I have a desire to see the Body of Christ (The Church) rise up and take lead. Not be a weakling and a laughingstock.

It felt to get much of this off my shoulders. I can't wait to hear back from people.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ignorance Is bliss but...

Arrogance is just plain annoying (and rude). yesterday at work, i was running a speedy check out lane. its meant for those w/ just a few items so they can get through fast. it's not meant for those who have a cart full of stuff. it says "20 items" or less. its a strong suggestion. any who... i had an elderly couple come through yesterday w/ a good bit more than 20. i kept my mouth shut but the lady behind them didn't. the guy started yelling back. i was inches away from actually chewing him out to be honest w/ ya. i honestly wanted to wring his neck. and then take him out back and give him some advice. but you know what... that really wouldn't've solved a whole lot. i mean, it would've got a lot of frustration off my chest considering yesterday was just one of those days that i wanted to start kicking butt and taking names (we had a really small staff yesterday) and just things just didn't seem to work properly at all.

war on terror (in Iraq and all over).
I want to say that i stand behind our President and our leaders and our troops. i wish i could say the same for the American public. frankly, i don't get us Americans. and i'm not going to be surprised if we get attacked again and/or another act of God hits us. frankly, we need to repent of our sins. i know, that worked isn't too well liked at all. it means we have to admit fault, and i know how much we all love that. but frankly, we're not as great as what we think we are. we have organizations in this country that have no other agenda than to hurt us. (ACLU and others like them). but again, i stand by and salute our service men and women. i stand by and say thank you President Bush for taking a stand. its time for us to get a clue folks. its time for we as a Body of Christ to repent and ask for God to intervene. i don't understand how we can support our troops and yet not stand by the commander. thats lunacy. i also want to say, to all those families of the troops "thank you." its totally ignorant of those who are thousands of miles away from the Middle East to complain. lets just say for a second that our troops suddenly pull out. do you realize that we'll be left defenseless and we'll be saying to the Muslim extremists "go ahead, do whatever you want b/c we won't defend ourselves against you." how can you justify standing alongside the army while speaking out against our leadership?

all this said, i hate the idea of war. i really do. i don't like the idea of sending someone possibly to their death. however, a cause needs to be fought for.

Friday, June 8, 2007

God at Work

As i go throughout my day, i'm just marveled at what is going on. Hearts are being stirred for a deeper reality of Christendom. At church, its just awesome to sit there and just take it all in. I know it usually doesn't feel like anything at the time, but the Holy Spirit is stirring the waters. Just recently, we finally got a prayer team established at church. It's a little hard w/ our current situation at church being at the Y in the mornings. We have to be out of there by 12:30. which makes it a little rough for us. usually, the message part of the morning isn't over until about roughly 11:30ish so thats gives us like a max of about an hour for altar ministry. b/c in that hour, we have to be praying for people AND tearing things down.

But we have Steve Hill coming to preach this next Thursday nite! i'm very excited.. i've seen videos of the revival, but never got to hear him live. for those who don't know... Steve Hill was used mightily of God in the Brownsville Revival from 1995-2000. so who knows what will happen this thursday nite. i know hearts are prepped for it. at least mine is.

I just have soo much stuff... but i just don't know how to word it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Careful what you ask for

I've been thinking alot recently... am i really ready for a revival/revolution? i still haven't come up w/ a definite answer to this one. probably never really will... here's what i've been thinking. ok, God comes down in all His power and glory... we have some wonderful services... that sort of thing (revival). thats well and great and all, but then what? God doesn't do that so that we feel good about ourselves and have some great times in His presence...

He does that for the betterment of society (revolution). think about it... about 2% of your life is spent in a "church-like" atmosphere (usually sunday morning ((2-3 hours, if that in nominal meetings)) and another meeting sometime during the week ((another 2-3 hours)) so all in all about 4-6 hours a week). if your into a really vibrant church... then give it maybe 8-10 hours a week. thats about 10 hours out of 154 hours a week. wow... thats about 5% of your week in a church like atmosphere. and that counts the hours of day dreaming in church and trying to stay awake. don't act like you don't stay up til 2 am watching some stupid tv that you know you shouldn't be watching (i do it too). so then the glory comes down.. but theres a lot of people who won't initially step foot into a meeting... so then lets take the glory to them! yippee!! market place ministry. and with that comes the misunderstood idea of separation of church and state. so your going to try and tell me that i can be all nice and religious for 5% of my life, but the other 95% i have to keep a lid on it? not on your life pal! God's coming to the market place! (revolution). revolution can be another term for reformation. or a reformation can be a result of revolution.

all this to say that i'm really longing for God to move by the power of His Spirit. but when I ask God to send the fire, i sometimes forget that that means judgment/justice in the Spirit. my own life gets shaken. am i ready for that? a visiting minister at FIRE once said that he was being used powerfully of the Lord. Praying for people to be healed and touched and God was really doing something. at one point in time he remembers stopping and just saying to the Lord that he was amazed at the results and how the Lord was working through someone who had some things wrong in his own life. all God said back to him was "yeah, and i'll deal w/ you later." suddenly, he had a real desire for holiness. its funny how God gets our attention.

i'm really grateful that your taking the time to read all of this. I know that at times, i can come across really hard and sound mean. but thats just b/c i really do love people. i love them enough to get on their cases sometimes. and believe me, God gets on mine like all the time. i'm not about reproach and God loves me enough to chastise me. but thats all apart of his love and mercy and compassion. my parents loved me enough when i was younger to spank me. and to this day, i'm grateful that they did that. spanking done in the right spirit bears much fruit. when a parent truly loves their child, they'll spank. not out of anger, but out of love. i can remember that at times when my parents we disciplining me, they'd often say "this is going to hurt me more than it'll hurt you." to me, that statement was questionable.

in any case, thanks again for taking the time to read this. this really is a good outlet for all thats on my heart.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Immigration Reform

A hot topic currently in our nation right now is the issue of illegal aliens from other countries, mostly Mexico. Now, i'm not against people from other nations coming here legally. I love other cultures and people groups. But what i am against is other people coming here illegally and then getting away with it. Another issue that is tied in with this is social security. Soon, there won't be enough of people supporting it to make it last. I'm all for people coming here and working and being a benefit to society and doing their part. But what i don't like is someone coming here and enjoying my benefits without contributing. Worse yet, people come here illegally, get drunk, go drive and then end up killing someone. That is wrong. it needs to be dealt with.

Again, let me stress that i love people from all over the globe coming here and bringing all their stuff and ideas and whatnot here. it's great! its creative. and i love to travel and experience things. but if i go to Italy, i'd expect to have to learn Italian. I wouldn't go forcing them to learn English. I'm on their turf and i'd play by their rules. And if they want to learn English, thats fine. but i'm not going to force them to learn it to suite me.

Your welcome here when you coming legally and play by the rules and do your part. But not be a mooch and be lazy.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Passion for Purity

I'm sure I don't need to explain a lot when i say that purity is not exactly a flaunted quality in our society today. As far as teen hood is concerned, being a virgin at the age of 14 or so might be considered somewhat odd. Might there be some connections with why our society is messed up and the year 1967? For those of you who aren't that well acquainted with history, I believe it was 1967 when atheist Ms. O'Hare successfully got prayer kicked out of school. And ever since then, those like her have been trying to kick got out of public life.

It's hard for me to even watch the news when everything is soo doomy. School shootings, domestic disputes etc. What will it take? What will it take for our society to get a clue? What will it take for we as a body of Christ to awaken out of our slumber and realize that we have a pandemic on our hands here? We need a revolution - a Jesus Revolution.

The Lord has really been stirring my heart lately for sexual purity. And trust me, it's not hard to get side tracked in the world we live in.

Lately, i've been looking at rings. Sort of a symbolism to sexual purity and rings. I call it a purity ring. nothing really big about the ring itself, but more so about what it stands for. The symbolism behind being that I'm committing in my heart to being sexually pure until i get married. Meaning no sex outside of marriage. It was funny because today, i went to the local mall here to look for a ring to wear. At one of the stands, I got to talking to one of the young ladies that worked there. At first, she didn't quite understand what i was doing. She asked if i wanted to get a ring for my girlfriend as well. When i told her that i didn't have a girlfriend yet, she was dumbstruck for just a second. i guess its kinda the thing you do when you get to a certain age.... your supposed to have a significant other. Not that i can blame people. it's nice to feel loved and know that someone out there is thinking about you. Just my time and girl haven't come yet. either that or i'm off.

In any case, the teen female pregnancy rate is through the roof and soo are soo many other stats. We need God back in our society.

When will the world see that we need Jesus? Perhaps when we make Him look somewhat desireable instead of a laughingstock to the world.

Just another note here... I'm wanted to put an engraving on my ring when i get it. I have to pray about it more, but i'm caught between Psa. 119:9 and Matt. 5:18.