180 Degrees

“Isn’t this the same man who persecuted Jesus’ followers with devastation in Jerusalem? (Acts 9:21 NLT)”

Talk about a turn-around! Paul went from persecuting Christians to being a faithful and passionate follower of Jesus Christ; from persecuting to the one persecuted.

God——-Only God.

My friend, there is always hope.

lonnie

Without A Lifeboat

“Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.

“So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.” (Acts 27:32 NIV)

Can you FEEL the lifeboat drift away?

I can.

What lifeboat are you depending on?

From here, it was all about trust ——trusting that Paul had, indeed, heard from God. And trusting that God would keep His promise.

“He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.” (Acts 22:44)

They ALL got there—–but not the same way.

Just sayin’ . . .

Lonnie

Hardship: Is it Necessary?

“God, can You speak to me about this?

Do pain and hardship accomplish what nothing else can? In other words, we shouldn’t be surprised by it?

God answered.

I’d been reading in Acts and just picked up where I left off. I was struck by the harshness of Paul’s words. They describe the heart and mind of a persecutor.

Check these out:

convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:10)

“I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.” (V.11)

“I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.” (V.11)

We are so offended! We can’t believe people are so bent on evil; so DETERMINED to SILENCE us.

I suppose persecution ebbs and flows, but it IS our history. I close with Robison’s words from yesterday, and James’ words which agree.

“The church has grown more through persecution and poverty than in prosperity.”

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverence. Let perseverence finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV

I have grown in perseverence—-through pain and poverty. I whined, blamed, and cried my way through, but I’m a different person; more at peace, more believing God’s love. And I am . . .

ForeverGrowing,

Lonnie

CHANGE THE CHANNEL!

The sad fact is, many people—-including Christians—-have not handled blessings and prosperity well. The church has grown in character and strength more through persecution and poverty than in prosperity.” (James Robison,The Stream– p.180/Worthy Publishing 2016)

Change the channel!

Turn the page!

Isn’t that what we do when we don’t like what we’re seeing or hearing? I have to tell you, that’s what I wanted to do. Robison believes, though, that persecution and poverty are not God’s perfect will. I absolutely believe that God does not delight in our pain,

But

I pen-prayed in my journal: “I don’t want to admit it, but I suspect pain and hardship accomplish things that nothing else can. Can you speak to me about this, God?

I am determined to keep posts relatively short. I don’t have time to read longer blogs (tho I do sometimes) and I suspect others don’t either. So, ponder Robison’s words; pray about them. Share your thoughts and check in again later.

EverGrowing,

Lonnie

Sorcery

“Practice of making decisions or foretelling the future by reading signs and omens.”

Fred Smith/Holman Bible Dictionary p. 433

What took me here?

This phrase from Acts 13: “Elymas the sorcerer . . . tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.”

Paul writes that the proconsul (governor) was an intelligent man. He sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.

“But Elymus, the sorcerer . . . opposed them and “tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.”

Two things struck me:

Sorcery, often tagged as innocent fun, is hardly that.

and

The warfare for men’s souls.

” Such practices . . . Are condemned . . . because the source is often demonic and practitioners are trying to circumvent God to find guidance for the future. Christians should heed the biblical instructions against astrology, fortune-telling and mediums.” (Fred Smith/Holman Dictionary of the Bible)

I used to read horoscopes, had my tea leaves read, and used Quija boards–always saying that I didn’t really believe them. Not true. Not honest. If I didn’t believe them, why was my mood changed by what they said? Later, becoming Christian, I confessed them as sin and determined never to go there again. (Repentance) That being said, the temptation crops up once in a while — not for horoscopes, but perhaps being tempted to chase after Christians known to have a gift of prophesy or words of knowledge. Behind the temptation is fear of the future, or hope–wanting to know God’s plan before I really need to know. With both, I have come to respond this way:

God, whatever is ahead, I can do it WITH YOU. You and I can do it, TOGETHER.

I need to remind myself of that, even today. How about you?

EverGrowing–Ever Dependent, On Jesus,

Lonnie

INADEQUATE, BUT . . .

“If Scripture tells us anything, it tells us that God tends to call people who are

too young,

too old,

too timid,

too inexperienced, or

too immoral.

God seems to take delight in calling people who are inadequate for the task and almost certain to fail . . .

‘You are, in fact, unqualified. But never forget that I am able.'”

Nik Ripken/ The Insanity of Sacrifice–Nook page 271

I don’t know about you, but I’m encouraged. I am not TOO old, not TOO timid, (not TOO introverted), and I am not TOO inexperienced. I am not TOO un-prosperous nor TOO boring, busy, or bad.

I AM called! So are you!

By the Creator of the universe!

EverGrowing,

Lonnie

Dinner With Friends

“The praying life feels like dinner with friends.”

Paul E. Miller/ The Praying Life p. 19 (NavPress 2009)

It’s been eons since I’ve blogged–long enough that I have to relearn. Life now affords me some free time. I look forward to writing blogs again; and in finding encouragement from other bloggers.

I’ve read plenty of books on prayer. Each time I’m tempted to buy another, I kick myself with the words, “Just do it! The learning is in the doing.”

But shoot! This book was $2.

And I’m learning through someone else’s struggles and failures, rather than from a master. I’ve learned a great deal from other books, but I guess I needed someone who understood.

Like Dinner With Friends.

I like that. And, I understand better than I would have decades ago. For one, I’ve gained some incredible friends in that time; friends who listen and who make themselves vulnerable by sharing their own struggles, and successes.

I have learned to be a little more real with God. He knows anyway. Right? He sees my doubts, frustrations, unforgiveness and ugly words. We work it out together.

How, for you, is prayer like feasting with friends?

How is it different?

Let’s grow together.

Lonnie

“Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:4 NIV).