Wednesday, August 29, 2018


America and western civilization were both founded on Christian principles. This is undisputed no matter what the history revisionists and secular humanists say.  One of these principles has always been prayer.  

Prayer has been with us from Creation and will carry us through the end. (My book on the Prayers of the Bible – ACTIVATE – looks in fast moving detail, into the Origins of Prayer.) It was Prayer, in the 100 Year Prayer Meeting, in particular, which basically spurred the still-vibrant prayer movement, still alive and well in the United States. While church leaders and others can cite good data to dispute that Christians even pray at all, this does not negate the fact that more and more organized prayer movements are now being revealed everywhere across the fruited plain.

It was on August 27, 1727 in the community led by Count Zinzendorf, the once wealthy  launched a prayer meeting. They made a covenant on that day, with twenty-four men and twenty-four women committing to spend one hour each day in scheduled prayer. This happened in Hernnhut, Germany and not only lasted 100 years, but heavily influenced the spiritual direction of America. The Moravians, who were the backbones of the 100 Year Prayer meeting, operated on the Principle of what Pastor, Author and Ministry Leader Chip Ingram calls B.I.O

B.I.O. is not short for biography, but is an acronym for the following:
B  (Before God, as in coming before God is prayer and gratitude each morning  of a new day)
I (In community, as being an on-fire for God “carrier” of God’s truth and love so as to impact lives)
O (On mission…as in always being ready to tell someone else about the Hope of Christ that is in us).

Having this concept in mind, simple as it is, should then inspire us to prayer, as much as possible as close to the Moravians and their 100 Year Prayer meeting. Just as ALL Scripture has been written for our instruction and direction in daily life, the proven impact of 100  years of prayer is out there for the world to see. The Moravians spent 100 years BEFORE God, in submission and prayer and lives were changed. 

They not only managed to send over 300 missionaries to all points of the known world of the early 1700’s but the most famous of them – Leonard Duber and David Nitschmann actually went to the West Indies from Saxony (Germany) and sold themselves into slavery on the Islands, in order to minister to the slaves there, live among them and serve with gladness. Only a heart transformed by Christ would so such a thing.

Just as significant is the influence of the Moravians on the spread of the Gospel and Revival in America. In 1736, John Wesley, then a Church of England minister, was heading towards and soon to be revealed ill-fated mission to Georgian when the ship hit rough waters. The storm was so strong, that the British passengers were screaming for fear of dying. Then, all of a sudden, John Wesley noticed another group of missionaries on the other side of the ship who seemed oblivious to the danger therein! These people were singing hymns of praise and in fervent prayer. They were Moravians.

This scene unnerved John Wesley, who was troubled for over two years when he had returned to Britain. He was troubled by the nagging feeling that things were not right between him and God, even if he was a high church official. After some friends convinced him to go to a Moravian Society meeting in London, Wesley ultimately said he was born-again on that day and the direction of Christianity changed in England, then later on in the United States. 

Wesley’s wonderful evangelism and habit of preaching in open fields, the countryside and unorthodox places outside of the formally sanctioned Church of England cathedrals laid the groundwork for the huge revival and tent meetings in America’s First Great Awakening. Wesley is also the founder of Methodism, which quickly became the largest Protestant movement in America until the 20th Century. The great Evangelist George Whitfield preached the Gospel up and down the US Colonies, aided by Benjamin Franklin and established Biblical Truth as the foundation of the United States.

All of this came out of the influence of prayer. The Moravians spent 100 years straight, 24/7/365 before God, in their community and literally gave their lives and freedom to help a community of the less fortunate who had no hope – slaves. Prayer led them to be ON MISSION.

This is one of the amazing legacies of this 100 Year Prayer Meeting. How about us? Are we this committed to the Cause of Christ to come before Him daily, seeking Him in all truth and surrender so that we can have Kingdom impact? We too, can be on mission from God. This is something worth praying about.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


The decline in the percentage of people who call themselves Christians but never read the Bible is increasing at a more rapid pace than even ten years ago, as the number of Biblical illiterates grows by leaps and bounds. As the quantity of the spiritual unwise, unredeemed and face it – spiritually dead in their iniquity- climb, the wisdom of the wise is now being called foolishness, some even inside the assembly.

But what does mean for the Faithful? How does the Remnant respond when we are now in the shrinking minority of those who walk boldly in the Word, all day, each day? This illustration from the hills of Tennessee should give us some sort of direction.

There was once a wood-chopping contest in the Smoky Mountains, similar to the rail-splitting competitions in Central Illinois town of Lincoln, Illinois.  President Abraham Lincoln was the rugged outdoorsman who split huge blocks of wooden rails with his ax, long before he became the great 16th President of the United States. Back to this wood-chopping contest in the Smokies: two men decided to compete against each other in this contest.

One man chopped wood all day long. The other man chopped, then took a break, then chopped some more. The first man who chopped without stopping began to get frustrated as he saw the other guy, apparently taking multiple breaks yet his pile of wood was getting bigger and bigger. Finally, at the end of the day, this frustrated man lost to the other gentleman who has taking many breaks and seemingly not working as hard. 

Exhausted and full of exasperation, he went to his winning competitor and asked him, how in the world he was able to cut so much more wood when he took so many breaks. The reply was "what you did not see was, that when I took all those breaks, I was sharpening my ax!"

This is so illustrative of what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 10:10 when Solomon writes " If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength, But wisdom brings success". The wisdom spoken of here can only be learned over a period of time. 

Jesus Himself illustrates the ultimate in sharpening your spiritual ax, while in the act of not becoming like the rest of Christianity or the secular world. In Luke 10, verses 38-42 we see Mary and Martha, who were Jesus' closest friends. Mary was seated at the Feet of Good News - Jesus - and soaking in every single word He said. Martha was busy preparing the meal and serving etc. Both were doing a great thing. Both were like the two men chopping wood, but only one will end up with more fruit and rewarding blessings. Here is what Jesus said to Martha after she asked of the Lord for Him to request her sister get off the floor and come to help her with the food prep. Apparently, Mary was ignoring her.

Luke 10:40b-42 "Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;  but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”"

Jesus Himself says that the necessary and important part of this life, is not WHAT we do and how busy we stay doing "good things", but where we place our identity and priority. Martha is given to us as one who knew where her real food came from - hearing Divine Revelation at the Feet of the Master, period.

So many times, we think we have to do this and that for God and then run, hither, thither and yon. We should do all of this only AFTER we have been in the Presence of Jesus, in the appropriate place with Jesus and listening to the Word of Jesus. In other words, contrary to popular thinking in both the lost world and cultural "Christianity" (which are strangely one and the same, it seems), it is all about Jesus!

Therefore, this is the message and the key to keeping our Faith ax sharp - Jesus. We must not just be "people of the Book (the Bible)" but have a mindset like the great ancient Father of the Faith- Athanasius. Athanasius went "Contra Mundum" - against the World and stood for the one true faith - Biblical Christianity when heresy was abounding all over the place.

These are some practical steps which have worked for many of us, who are completely in the Camp of the Messiah:
Be intentional about reading Scripture daily. After giving thanks for another day, read the Bible first before praying. It will focus mind, body, and soul on the Lord so our thoughts do not get sidetracked as soon as we get praying. Anyone who has prayed for many years knows what this means. The world, the flesh and the devil know how to interject a thought, off through the side door, while we are praising Yahweh and praying to His Holy Name. Even reading a short Psalm or five verses in context, will focus us on His Word, His Person, and His Power. This practice, day after day, builds our love not just for Jesus but the Bible! We can't put it down! We want it in our car, our desk at work, our locker at school, next to our bed, on the shelf.....everywhere!

- Be honest with yourself so you can be transparent with God. You and I cannot fool God. Why? His Spirit lives in the believer and He knows what we think, feel and do and when we are about to do something really stupid. We already know what lies to the Holy Spirit did to Ananias and Sapphira when the Church was first formed in the Book of Acts.

- Become friends with the Holy Spirit.  Being full of biblical knowledge and how to apply it will be ineffective if not backed up by a full measure of integrity. When in doubt about ANYTHING, ask the Holy Spirit. He is sent by the Father for a reason - to be our counselor and guide. You would be amazed if this specific discipline is developed. As you grow in complete dependence on speaking to the Holy Spirit, a spirit of divine discernment and revelation will grow in us. We even start seeing with the Eyes of Christ as we develop the Mind of Christ, through Reliance on His Spirit. There is no doubt this equation works.

- Be patient and wait on the Lord. The longer we walk with the Lord and see through His Eyes, because of our permanent Home in the Word and Spirit, we become more disciplined in patience. The more we comprehend that God's Timing is well, God's Timing and not ours, the less stressed out and tense we will be. This does not mean we do not have some measure of anxiety and even fear, but Faith and Hope always conquer fear....which is, as the song says, is a liar. Here is the reward of "waiting on the Lord", even when He appears to have gone silent for long periods of time. Remember - He is still God and has our best interest at heart. Isaiah 40:31 "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary".

- Be an Evangelist. In other words - tell somebody what Jesus has done for you. Any true Christian has a story. Our story is His story. It is our history with the Lord which, if done according to Biblical principles become our family legacy. Any true Christian has a testimony which must be developed into a lifestyle. We cannot become like cultural Christians who cut corners in business and/or morality. We cannot do things close to the edge of ungodliness and say "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission". This is misusing Grace, which the New Testament specifically warns against. Let us be known not just for our testimony of conversion and a life of Faith, but for a consistent daily life of honor, generosity, service, love, and gratitude. May we be the first line of defense and a refuge where a troubled family member, friend or co-worker would seek solace and prayer, because by our faith and lifestyle, they know we are the real deal. 

These five disciplines are easily accomplished. They can sharpen our Faith. They can cut through the noise. They can show the Love of God in Christ, to a lost and dying world.

Sunday, August 5, 2018


There is a unique member of the cactus plant which looks like any other desert cactus. It is so nondescript that no one notices it....and why should they? This cactus is so indicative of the incredible Mind and Hand of God that any definition cannot do it justice.

It is called the Night-Blooming Cereus (seen here). This cactus flower only blooms once a year. It blooms once, on a random night in either June or July and then, at nightfall. It remains until just before dawn, when the cereus wilts and is done. It is such a beautiful, sweet-smelling fragrant flower, it has names which point to majesty and beauty. Some of the other names for this flower are "Christ in the Manger", "Princess of the Night", "Honolulu Queen" or "Dama de Noche" (Queen of the Night). Perfumers have even tried to recreate this in the lab as seen here. The official name of the night-blooming cereus is Selenicereus grandiflorus

The night-blooming cereus is found mainly in the south-western United States deserts of West Texas, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of southern Arizona and parts of northern Mexico. Apart from the amazing fact of the one-time annual nightly bloom, is the size the stem can get up to. The stem can run from between four to eight inches in length, in those few night hours, before it goes by dawn the next day.

This is an absolutely amazing natural phenomenon which only the outstanding, unfathomable Mind of Creator God could come up with.  The desert Cereus testifies to the wonder of the Divine Who is always working, but Who is always unique in His design.  He Himself describes the characteristics of some of His masterpieces. Read what He says about the ostrich in Job

Whether is the humorous ostrich; the fearsome leviathan reptile; the dangerous Orak or the stunningly fragrant and temporary bloom on the Cereus, nothing approaches His masterwork –  you and I. He Who made the Heavens and the earth; the stars and galaxies yet unknown, has called us to Himself as a people in the greatest plan of redemption ever known to mankind.

It is this, through the Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom He has achieved this perfect plan, yet still unfolding.  The Ancient of Days allowed His One of a kind (only begotten) Son to step off the Throne of Heaven one time. He did not consider equality with the Father a thing to be held on to, until His knuckles turned white. He poured Himself into a human body and still did not descend from Heaven with trumpets blaring, driving a golden chariot. Man-made Hollywood movie studios and heads of earthy governments would do that, not God Himself. Instead, Yahweh God, the One Who lives forever, lowered Himself to be born in a cave where animals were kept.

He had no fancy baby crib from Macy’s with fresh new clothes from the well-attended baby shower, but he was wrapped in poor strips of cloth and placed in a feed trough. Instead of royal attendants and hundreds of servants, He was visited by men who were branded as outcasts from the all-important Temple in Jerusalem and by the elite of that city. Yet the baby lambs and sheep they raised in their many flocks on Shepherds Field in Bethlehem, were the same animals used for the required sacrificed in pre-Crucifixion Jerusalem Temple worship of Yahweh. These outcast men, some of whom were not of the best character, were chosen by God to have the huge Heavenly hosts of Angels appear to, in order to announce the birth of Jesus in one of their caves!

Like the sweet-smelling Cereus cactus flower which only appears once a year in the middle of the night, the sweet Savior of the World appears to the depressed and deserted on the rocky, hard-scrabble Shepherds Fields where only loneliness and toil prevail.. The sweet Savior only came once, paid for all sin for all time - ONCE. He then died, was buried and was resurrected - ONCE. There is nothing sweeter than this.

Psalm 8 comes to mind, because it contains the Words from the Holy Spirit through King David. David marvels at the God Who would create a mostly unseen unique gem of a flower like the Cereus, yet announce the greatest event in History – to poor, disgruntled, depressed and discarded shepherds. These shepherds – “poimenes” (or pastor) in the Original Language of the New Testament.

As we contemplate the power and wonders of our Great God and Creator, as seen here in Psalm 8, may it challenge us to take the beauty and divine fragrance of the Pure Gospel of Truth and Love to as many as we can in our brief lives. May it not just remain unseen, like the beautiful Cereus, in the desert. But may more than too many, see us, our actions and our words, and want to know Him, Whom the great classic song calls “The Lily of the Valley” – the “Rose of Sharon” – that Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Amen. Jesus is our Lord. He is our Creator. He is God in the flesh. He is our Savior.

Psalm 8 - The Glory of the Lord in Creation

1  O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

2    Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

3    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

4    What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?

5    For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.

6   You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,

7   All sheep and oxen— even the beasts of the field,

8   The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.

9   O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!