The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn 

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Can I Do It?

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Can I do it? Can I trust Him? Really trust Him? This is a question that I have asked and re-asked and then asked again.

Each time the answer has been Yes. Yes, I can trust Him.

This morning as I dug into Jeremiah 15 I read these words of Jeremiah as he makes his plea before his God…

You who know, O Lord,
Remember me, take notice of me,
And take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away;
Know that for Your sake I endure reproach.
Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.
I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers,
Nor did I exult.
Because of Your hand upon me I sat alone,
For You filled me with indignation.
Why has my pain been perpetual
And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream
With water that is unreliable?

Jeremiah 15:15-18

Jeremiah asked these questions of the Lord. One of my favorite things about our God is that He is not afraid of our questions. He doesn’t shout at us from behind the safety of His curtain…

When we need a heart (Ezekiel 36:26) and when we need wisdom (James 1:5) and when we need courage (Deuteronomy 31:6)… He gladly receives our request. He desires that we come to Him for help. Our God, in fact, becomes greatly offended when we DON’T come to Him.

Has a nation changed gods

When they were not gods?
But My people have changed their glory
For that which does not profit.
“Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord.
“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.

Jeremiah 2:11-13

He wants our questions. He wants our prayers. He wants our cries for help. He wants us to come to Him for help.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

Sometimes, like Jeremiah, we can have wounds that refuse to be healed. Wounds that just when we think the scab is forming and the healing has begun, something happens to jerk that scab off and reopen the wound.

We sit alone in our pain and outside we see others go on… merry making.

The word merrymaking in this verse is sachaq and it means laugh, including instrumental music, singing and dancing

So many go on… sitting in their circles… they continue their laughter, playing their music, they just keep on singing and dancing… Jeremiah couldn’t do that. Jeremiah couldn’t laugh and jump and shout and dance around. It was not a time to laugh. It was a time to weep… and unfortunately Jeremiah saw that he wept alone.

Sometimes it’s hard to shout “praise God” and “Amen” around and with some people. I have learned that it is okay to feel that way. However… God doesn’t want us to stay there in that feeling.

We see that in the way He answers Jeremiah.

Therefore, thus says the Lord,
“If you return, then I will restore you—
Before Me you will stand;
And if you extract the precious from the worthless,
You will become My spokesman.
They for their part may turn to you,
But as for you, you must not turn to them.
“Then I will make you to this people
A fortified wall of bronze;
And though they fight against you,
They will not prevail over you;
For I am with you to save you
And deliver you,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 15:19-20

No matter how bad it looks. No matter how bad it hurts. No matter how little we understand. No matter how great the temptation to keep walking away from the reality revealed… our God says keep returning to Me

If we return to Him, He WILL restore us.

Here’s the thing though… that restoration is to fellowship with Him. Restored to Him. That may not mean restored to health, restored to a marriage, restored to financial prosperity, restored to a position of power. It means restored to Him… and that should really be all that matters.

He told Jeremiah to extract the precious from the worthless. That seems hard, but it’s not… not really. I have watched my sister-in-law do this over and over again… as she has walked from breast cancer, to colon cancer, to liver cancer (metastasized from colon). She has been fighting the cancer in her liver with chemo for over three years… and a month ago she was told that the tumors were no longer responding to the chemo and they were going to have to change it again. They were returning to a chemo that caused her great cold sensitivity and neuropathy… and when I asked her if this chemo was make her lose her hair, she said “No. That was a different one thank goodness!” I responded with, “Oh good! A praise in the midst!” Then she said, “There is always a silver lining if you look hard enough!

I believe that is exactly what God meant when he told Jeremiah to extract the precious from the worthless. That “silver lining” was the “precious in the worthless” and she was extracting it.

In doing so she has become a spokeswoman for God. She stands in the face of cancer and is able to be a representative to the grace of God and a testimony of His faithfulness to others as they face cancer or any other trial of this life.

So can I do it?

Can I trust Him?

Can you?

Here’s one thing that I have learned… When it seems like we have the least reason to trust Him is when we need to trust Him most.

Trust Him

Related posts:

God If This Is Loving Me I Sure Am Glad You Ain’t Mad At Me

God Forbid It

God Forbid It (Continued)

Sovereign Savior

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Copper, Chemistry, Conductivity, and Christ

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Another little sneak peak at Devotions from Exodus Part Two…

And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze.

Exodus 27:1-2

We now come to our first piece of furniture that is stationed outside of the veil and outside of the screen door of the tabernacle. This piece of furniture is actually the one most opposite the Holy of Holies. This altar is the first step to entering into the presence of God. When we step outside of the screen of the holy place there is no more furniture of gold.

This altar in Exodus 27 was to be made of acacia wood. As in the pieces of furniture we have already studied, this wood represents our humanity. This altar would be made of wood and it would be overlaid with bronze. Bronze represents judgment. Since the fall of man in Genesis 3 this humanity, this flesh of ours, has been overlaid with judgment because of sin.

When God discovered Adam and Eve in the garden in the nakedness of their sin, an innocent animal was slain and its skin was used to cover Adam and Eve. The judgment that fell upon that animal should have been the judgment that fell upon Adam and Eve, but instead God showed mercy to them and allowed this animal to be a temporary substitute. This altar of wood that represents our humanity, is covered in bronze, which represent the judgment that is upon us, and it will be on this altar that animal sacrifices will be made as a temporary substitution for the death that we so rightly deserve.

As I wrote this devotional I wondered why bronze for judgment? The Hebrew word for bronze in Exodus 27:2 is nechosheth and it means brasen, brass, chain, copper, fetter of brass, filthiness, steel. In Isaiah 60:17 and Jeremiah 6:28 this same word is used to describe worthless people. In Ezekiel 16:36 this word is favored to mean corrupt. Bronze is made from mixing two minerals together. It is not a pure metal.

It is believed that during this time bronze was made from mixing copper and tin. Copper is an element that is essential to all living organisms. The main place where copper is found in humans is in our liver, muscles, and bones. Tin as a single atom is not very toxic. However it becomes toxic when it bonds with other atoms becoming organic. The long-term effects from exposure to organic tin are:

- Depressions
– Liver damage
– Malfunctioning of immune systems
– Chromosomal damage
– Shortage of red blood cells
– Brain damage (causing anger, sleeping disorders, forgetfulness and headaches)

(Read more: http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/sn.htm#ixzz3RuoxUHUg)

Tin is kind of like temptation. When temptation remained a single element on this earth it caused no harm to Adam or Eve. We do not know how long the tempter, the serpent of old, slithered around impotent on this earth nor do we know how long the tree of the knowledge of good and evil stood untouched and ignored by Adam and Eve. However, what we do know is that when Adam and Eve connected their own lusts with the enticement of the serpent as he used his lies to build the temptation for the fruit of the tree to dangerous levels, their lust was conceived and sin was birthed and it immediately became toxic.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 

(James 1:13-15)

Copper, silver, and gold are all in group 11 of the periodic table and they all share certain attributes. God created us in His image. He created us to share in His attributes. Thus He purposely and selectively chose to use these precious metals to display His glory and to tell His story.

These three metals are known by their resistance to tarnish, their extreme difficulty in counterfeiting, durability, fungibility, and their reliable store of value unmatched by any other metals known. They also are the most conductive of electricity of all metals. God created us to be a continuous circuit of His life running from Him through us back to Him.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:36

Do you know what happens when copper becomes bronze? It loses much of its ability to be conductive. It is as low as 7% as conductive as copper.

Oh beloved, do you see now why bronze is the representative of judgment? Do you see the way that our God uses all of creation to tell His story? Even the metals of the earth and the design of the tabernacle teach us of who He created us to be and how He has a plan to get us back connected to Him.

 

Oh Father,

You are good. You are life. You created us to be connected to You. You created us to be conductive of Your very being, created in Your image for Your glory. We were created to be pure and holy and precious, yet we are now tarnished by the results of our connection to sin. Yet, you sent Your Son here to step in and remove the impurity of sin from us and restore are connection to You so that we, once again, could experience the life of Your Spirit flowing freely through us. Purify us oh Father and make us clean.

My Jesus, I love You, and it is in Your name I pray,

Amen

 

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It Ain’t Over Until God Says It’s Over

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Our Pastor at Central Baptist Church is teaching through the book of Jonah. With all that is going on in our family I laid down to sleep last night on the brink of tears and then the Lord reminded me “It ain’t over til the fat fish sings” and then the words of Isaiah 49:1-4 ran through my heart and mind and the peace of God washed over me and I found rest.

It ain’t over til the fat fish sings” was the title of the sermon that our Pastor shared as he taught through Jonah 1:17- 2:10. We don’t always see the belly of the fish as the mercy of God… but it is. We don’t often see how a storm can bring glory to God, but it does.

Isaiah 49:1-4 is a section of Scripture that our Sunday night guest speaker shared that the Lord used to get her through her own trials as well as inspired her to write a beautiful song of praise to Him. I immediately turned to the passage and read the verses as soon as she mentioned them… just knowing that God had her share them for me… and He had.

Jumping back to Jonah… It’s believed that the boat full of men that threw Jonah overboard, as commanded by God, were all saved… not just from the present storm… but also from the eternal storm of eternal death. It’s believed that these men went to Jerusalem and there made sacrifices to God. God even used Jonah’s rebellion and his running from Him to reach and save the lost.

As our Pastor shared, he mentioned that Jonah was a living sacrifice unto the Lord on behalf of these men. These men, worshiped idols, they knew all about the false gods that required human sacrifice to appease there wrath. However, our God is not like that… I believe Jonah knew this and believed this. When Jonah said, throw me over… this was an act of faith. Had he stayed in the boat he would have died, but in faith he said toss me over… and so he lived.

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

John 12:25

Jonah’s disobedience to God had brought these men into this situation. However, as always with our God, what the enemy intends for evil… our God will use for good (Genesis 50:20). Jonah accepting the fact that he had sinned against God and brought this storm (Micah 7:9) willingly, at that moment, offered his body as a living sacrifice unto the Lord. He offered himself on behalf of all the others on that boat. This is why Jesus said that the only sign that will be given to us is the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:39). Jonah was a picture of what Jesus would do for all those in the boat that were being ravaged by the storms of this present world and our own personal sin. Although He, unlike Jonah, had never known sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God gives us Jonah… because we CAN be a Jonah.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

Our family is in the belly of the fish. Here in the belly of this fish we cry out as Jonah did

I called out of my distress to the Lord,
And He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
For You had cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me.
So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight.
Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.

Jonah 2:2-4

and we cry out as Job did…

Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
And put my life in my hands?
Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him.
Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.
This also will be my salvation,
For a godless man may not come before His presence.

Job 13:14-16

We cry out because we can… because we know He hears… and because we know He cares. We may not understand what is going on or who it is in the boat of the storm that the Lord is using us to reach… but what we do know is that whatever, WHATEVER, we face in this life is with purpose.

WE WILL NOT FORGET OR FORSAKE OUR GOD.

I WILL NOT FORGET OR FORSAKE MY GOD.

I don’t have to understand why to know the Who that formed me and my family in the womb and brought us forth in Him, born again to be children of His very own possession. We are the select arrows in His hand… and we trust His aim.

Listen to Me, O islands,
And pay attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me.
He has made My mouth like a sharp sword,
In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me;
And He has also made Me a select arrow,
He has hidden Me in His quiver.
He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.”
But I said, “I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the Lord,
And My reward with My God.”

Isaiah 49:1-4

Here’s the thing about being in the belly of the fish or an arrow in the hand… In the belly of that fish Jonah could do nothing and the arrow in the hand trusts completely in the decisions of the one who holds it.

In the belly of that fish Jonah couldn’t fix his situation. He didn’t know the Lord would have that fish vomit him up… that had never happened before. What he did know was at that moment, as our Pastor shared Sunday, God was giving him another chance to repent and to turn to Him just like He did those men in the boat.

Jonah had no gift to bring. He had no sacrifice in which to offer. He had no works that He could do. All he had was the Word of God, the knowledge of the heart of God, the knowledge of his own heart, and the words of his own mouth. Jonah 2:7 says that he remembered the LORD. He chose to surrender to what he knew of God and offered up his praises to Him. Jonah did not cry out to another god or put his hope in his own possible ability to defeat and escape the fish. He remembered God and he offered up the only sacrifice he had… a heart of repentance and voice of thanksgiving.

The life of a believer in the One True God is one with a constant return to a heart of repentance and a voice of thanksgiving.

Repentance because of a heart that so easily finds itself suffering from fear and doubt and then a voice that rejoices with praise and thanksgiving as that once doubting and fearful heart remembers the Lord and once again stands on His love in hope and assurance, knowing once again, that it ain’t over until God says it’s over.

for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

Romans 10:10-11

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Your Home Doesn’t Have To Be A War Zone

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I was a part of the book launch for one of the latest books written by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. Life got a little crazy and I was unable to post my review during the launch, but yesterday’s iced in Friday gave me the opportunity to finish digging into the book.

Motivate Book

One of the most popular parenting strategies of modern day parenting is based on behavior modification, otherwise known as reward based parenting. My parents never bought into this strategy and neither did my husbands… so this is just simply not a parenting tool we ever used. In our house their are standards, instructions, and expectations and they are taught and then are to be followed… period… end of discussion.

Our goal as parents has always been to make our children as independent and self sufficient as possible according to what we know they can do. We have always parented with a “this could be the last chance we have to teach them this” mentality.

We have always parented with purpose and intention knowing that we had to prepare our girls to be able to make wise decisions on their own and to not have to depend on us to be there standing over them constantly telling them what to do and when to do it. It’s actually quite funny the amount of times that our kids have come home and shared how they had to bite their tongue because they were currently under the authority of another adult who felt they had to tell them “how” and “when” and “why” concerning everything.

I strongly support this ministry and these books because they are geared to make your children internally motivated. They want to teach you how to help your children become people of integrity in this evil day. They also want to see you ENJOY your kids.

There are some who promote these books because they have seen the changes that learning these parenting tools have made within there home. I promote these books because they line up with the way we have always parented in our home… we just didn’t know it was “parenting tools” we were using, we just thought we were parenting “old school”.

Just the other night, my body was rebelling against me once again. I had fallen asleep on the couch waiting on a load of towels to dry as I tried to get warm to ease the joint pain. I was awoken to the voice of my ten year old who shook my shoulders and said, Momma, let’s go to bed. She then headed up the stairs as I still half asleep mumbled after her that I would be up in a minute to tuck her in and do our Bible devo time.

When I opened my eyes, the towels were folded. When I went to reach for the dishes that I knew were on the coffee table, they were gone. My ten year old had chosen to take care of those for me. I climbed the stairs and told her thank you as I tucked her in and she said, you’re welcome Momma, I just did all the things I see you do before you go to bed.

Proud Momma moment.

That’s internal motivation.

That’s what these books will teach you how to teach your children… because the simple truth is that many of us who are parents now… were not raised “old school”. Many were not even raised inside the home with both parents. Many of us who have kids now don’t know how to teamwork parent. Many of us feel like we are single parenting even if we are raising our kids in a two parent home. Many of us don’t know there is another way to parent other than the reward based way.

Many of us have no clue how to implement the Word of God and the grace of God into our parenting… implementing grace into parenting is something that my husband and I had to grow in and are still growing in as we parent our girls.

Here’s a quote from the book:

One of the important realities of life is that God is always watching. We don’t want our children to view God as a cosmic policeman, but instead to recognize that God sees the difficult situations we find ourselves in, understands our desires, and offers us strength and power to do what’s right, even when it’s hard. God promises us grace, and when kids gain a larger understanding of what grace is, it helps them live their everyday lives.

Grace doesn’t look the other way when someone sins. But grace does identify with our weaknesses, giving us the strength to handle the tough times and empowering us to trust God for His answers in His time.

I also promote these books because I have seen the way these tools have changed the homes of others when parents truly put forth the effort it takes to learn them and use them. If we want our kids to be responsible, we have to first model that ourselves…

 

Motivate Responsibility

 

I assure you that your home does not have to be a war zone. It DOES NOT have to be a place of constant battles. Yes, it might be for a while. But you as the parent must not retreat… you must stand firm until there is peace.

If your home is a battle ground now, it is most likely that your kids have already learned your point of retreat. They know how to make you blow. We blow when we are exhausted and feel out of options. If you will pick up this book and read it, then you will be stocked up and fully loaded. You will find yourself confident and ready to do the work.

You will learn what internal motivation is 
and how to develop it in your child.

You will learn:

• How to build a strong conscience to strengthen internal motivation

• How faith changes kids in practical, down-to-earth ways

• Ways to help self-focused kids think of others

• A strategy to help kids who tend to blame, rationalize, or defend

• Ways to use consequences for heart change

• Specific heart-based strategies to develop responsibility and initiative

Parenting is hard work…

It’s hard work because it’s HEART work… and beloved our hearts are a mess!

The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:10

But the hard heart work is worth it!

They are worth it!

The work you do as a parent doesn’t serve to ultimately control children or to magically determine an outcome. You’re only influencing your children for God’s purposes. It’s God who ultimately changes your children’s hearts. But the daily work you do with your kids prepares the soil for the seeds to grow. Your faithfulness in the face of what appears to be little progress is often the tool God uses to provide a strong witness in your child’s life that will be remembered for years to come.

Motivate Disclaimer

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ISIS and US

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On Thursday, February 5th the world heard our President say this, “Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

That following Monday, February 9th Ravi Zacharias responded with, “For those who did not hear the talk, it is sufficient to say that it was the most ill-advised and poorly chosen reprimand ever given at a National Prayer Breakfast. I have been to several and have never, ever heard such absence of wisdom in a setting such as this. ‎I wasn’t at this one but have heard the speech often enough to marvel at the motivation for such thoughts. President Obama basically lectured Christians not to get on a moral high horse in their castigation of the ISIS atrocities by reminding them that the Crusades and slavery were also justified in the name of Christ. Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy.  ‎In the Middle East, history never dies and words carry the weight of revenge.

There is so much I would love to say in response but shall refrain. The President obviously does not understand the primary sources of either faith for him to make such a tendentious parallel.

Then on Sunday, February 15th ISIS released a video of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian men. Fox News reports that in the video one of the militants stated, “All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together,” he said. “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Usama Bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.

Today, the breaking news is that 45 others have been burned alive by ISIS in Iraq… this taking place within miles of an US airbase.

I don’t AT ALL find this to be a coincidence. With as much respect as I can muster for the office of President of our great nation I repeat what I once said when President Obama began his first term. He is a puppet on a string. He stands on nothing. I have yet in this man’s entire presidency heard him stand on any personal conviction. I have yet to hear him say this is what I believe.

Therefore, those who never before, in the history of the United States of America, would even have considered to speak out so boldly against us or dare to kidnap one of our own now do so with brazen confidence.

When our nations political leaders are more known for their tweets than their feats. When they are more concerned for controlling the dietary choices of our lunch ladies than contributing to the defense of our citizens traveling abroad. When they are noted more for hanging out with “celebrities” rather than national dignitaries. Then… Houston we have a problem!

I have long noticed the double standard of this current leadership over our nation. I have watched them over and over again use Scripture to try to justify their political stance then turn around and with the next breathe mock the Christian faith. President Obama’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast this 2015 was no different.

This past Sunday our Pastor shared a message from the book of Jonah. He shared how in the midst of the storm orchestrated and allowed by God, Jonah was sound asleep in the bottom of the boat. He shared that the word sleep there was the same word used for sleep when God removed Adam’s rib in order to form Eve. In other words Jonah was dead to the world.

Beloved believer are we like Jonah? Are we so sound asleep to the call of the Spirit that we are dead to the world? Are we numb to the world around us? Are we oblivious to the storm?

Have we convinced ourselves that what is happening in Egypt could never happen here in the good ole USA? Here where those who profess to be Christians fight and debate over our right to wear yoga pants, view and read porn, and engage in and promote homosexuality without condemnation…

I just have to wonder if we can’t say no to something like 50 Shades… what on earth makes us think we would be able to say no to ISIS? Do we even care if we could say no?

These 21 men were not just marched out on a beach and beheaded…

ISIS Egypt ISIS Egypt 1

Sami Yacoub, the regional director for Focus on the Family’s Middle East outreach, based in Egypt, shared this:

* These young Christians were in their early to mid-20s. They went to Libya in search of work to help feed their families living under the poverty line in Egypt.

* In the days and weeks leading up to their deaths, their ISIS captors tortured them and attempted to persuade them to deny Jesus in return for living.

* They all refused to deny Christ.

* They all died on that beach singing songs to Jesus.

What is it going to take for God to awaken the American church from her slumber?

As we walk out of our services complaining because the music just didn’t move us that morning.

As we claim that our sacrifice to the LORD is just the torture of choosing to go to church when we could have slept in later on our only day off. 

As we have bookshelves upon bookshelves of “Bible studies” that are only called that because they may quote a verse of Scripture a chapter as the author pulls it out of context to prove their own personal “encouraging” point… because we busy, busy, busy privileged American believers simply don’t have time for “homework”.

And God forbid that we have to suffer by serving in the church nursery or preschool department!

We seem to have gotten used to the question of, if you died tonight… or if Jesus came tonight, would you be ready?

When what we need to be asking is… If Jesus doesn’t come tonight, if I don’t die tonight and instead I am tortured, beaten, threaten, or even worse… forced to watch someone torture, beat, threaten, and THEN behead my children… AM I READY?

The leaders of our nation think that the answer to ISIS is job security… they just need employment opportunities…

when this is what is being reported from Iraq:

…on Wednesday, a top Iraqi diplomat told world leaders that ISIS is harvesting the organs of its victims to fund it murderous operations, the latest charge of barbarity in a list that already includes mass beheadings, burning people alive, crucifying children and throwing people off of buildings.

The shocking new claim was presented by the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, who said bodies have turned up in mass graves bearing surgical incisions and missing organs such as kidneys. Ambassador Mohamed Alhakim leveled the charge as he asked the Security Council to investigate whether harvesting and selling the organs of those it executes. The claim followed an unconfirmed report late Tuesday that as many as 45 people captured by the Islamic State in the Anbar Province town of al-Baghdadi had been rounded up and burned alive.

“We have bodies,” Alhakim told his international counterparts. “Come and examine them. It is clear they are missing certain parts.”

Alhakim, who said a dozen doctors have been executed in Mosul for refusing to participate in organ harvesting, briefed the council on the overall situation in Iraq and accused the Islamic State group of “crimes of genocide” in targeting certain ethnic groups. The outgoing U.N. envoy to Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov, told the council that 790 people were killed in January alone by terrorism and armed conflict.”

Fox News

 

Crucifying children… did you catch that?

Yet, they just need jobs.

I have often felt the weight of the guilt of being an American believer. The fact that I will stand before Jesus shoulder to shoulder with those 21…

I. Am. Not. Worthy.

 

 

 

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Why I Won’t Storm The Capital

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How can you say, ‘We are wise,
And the law of the Lord is with us’?
But behold, the lying pen of the scribes
Has made it into a lie.
“The wise men are put to shame,
They are dismayed and caught;
Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord,
And what kind of wisdom do they have?
Jeremiah 8:8-9

As I study through Jeremiah chapters 7 – 9 this week in my​ precept class I could not help but see the familiarity in these chapter with our present day. Here in my home state of Alabama debates wage across social media concerning the same sex marriage and the about to be released Fifty Shades of Grey. If you follow my Facebook page you know that I am part of Dr Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh’s book team for their new release Pulling Back the Shades.

Here’s the thing… I am against same sex marriage and I am against the erotica/porn of Fifty Shades of Grey. However, I am not ready to go and storm the capital over them. I am more concerned about praying that God would prepare me to be able to love and minister to those who will be hurt through these things.

Those reading Fifty Shades for entertainment, obviously have never heard the true stories of the brutality that this entertainment breeds. They have never wrapped their arms around a 15 year old girl who had to have a hysterectomy because the stepfather who chose to rape her over and over was into BDSM and then when someone tried to rescue her the courts sent her back into that home and within months she was dead from abuse. That’s the reality of the “world” of BDSM… Fifty Shades just dips your toe in for a quick visit. It’s just the frog in the pot.

Deceived… so very deceived are we. So very blinded by the desires of our flesh and the whispers of the serpent of old. I have learned that the line between between being deceived and willingly embracing evil can be a very fine line. Evil I shall hate, but deception I shall pray for truth to be revealed. Yet, to both I will equally speak because sometimes I simply cannot tell which is which.

I won’t storm the Capital because it doesn’t matter what the law of the land states. Abortion is legal in our land, however as a Christian I will not choose to have one. Pornography is legal in our land, however as a Christian I will not choose to participate in it. Marijuana is legal in our land, however I will not choose to smoke it. Therefore, just because same-sex unions become legal in our land does not mean I, as a Christian, join myself in one.

What the current downhill moral decline of our nation does do is cause one to have to truly choose to obey the Lord because it is a Spirit given conviction and not just an outside conformity to culture. As for me and my house we will obey the Lord.

Sadly, the changes occurring to marriage in our nation is our own fault. We, the one man for the one woman for one life, opened the door to this because we ourselves chose to not treat marriage as a holy covenant before God. We chose to live with each other without a promise. We chose “sexual freedom”. We chose this… with our lives as the roadside billboard display for a divorce under $200 no questions asked. We stuck our toe in. Once again it’s just the frog in the pot.

Sometimes it’s easier to stand up and yell louder than to go to our knees and be humbled before our God and seek His forgiveness for our own part in the decisions of our nation. Judgment always begins with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). The first thing that always has to be cleaned out is the temple (John 2:14-16). When the church in America is no longer a profitable business… who all will remain?

We have chosen this.

 

‘Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
Who have eyes but do not see;
Who have ears but do not hear.
‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord.
‘Do you not tremble in My presence?
For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea,
An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it.
Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail;
Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.
‘But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
They have turned aside and departed.
‘They do not say in their heart,
“Let us now fear the Lord our God,
Who gives rain in its season,
Both the autumn rain and the spring rain,
Who keeps for us
The appointed weeks of the harvest.”
‘Your iniquities have turned these away,
And your sins have withheld good from you.
‘For wicked men are found among My people,
They watch like fowlers lying in wait;
They set a trap,
They catch men.
‘Like a cage full of birds,
So their houses are full of deceit;
Therefore they have become great and rich.
‘They are fat, they are sleek,
They also excel in deeds of wickedness;
They do not plead the cause,
The cause of the orphan, that they may prosper;
And they do not defend the rights of the poor.
‘Shall I not punish these people?’ declares the Lord,
‘On a nation such as this
Shall I not avenge Myself?’

“An appalling and horrible thing
Has happened in the land:
The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule on their own authority;
And My people love it so!
But what will you do at the end of it?

Jeremiah 5:21-31

 

 

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I Will Not Fall Apart

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I was watching the video lesson for our Jeremiah precept class and in it Kay Arthur was sharing some of the trials that her family had been facing… as she shared her trials it hit home. As my family has been bombarded.

As I read in Jeremiah this past couple of weeks I read of the nation of the north coming to set siege on Jerusalem. This nation didn’t come to make an in and out sneak attack. They showed up with their tents and livestock and set up house all around the city walls (Jeremiah 6:3). They were there for the duration. Our family has been attacked in this way…

We have had the in and out sneak attacks from which we still carry the scars. Now what we are under is the circled round about siege. Cancer has set up camp all around us, my Daddy, my Sister-in-Law, and my Father-in-Law. What we hoped would be a short fight or at least remain a maintenance camp has proven to be a full throttle war.

Looking from the outside it’s easy to wonder as Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad the Butthole (as I like to refer to him) did in the book of Job what sin we could be committing to cause such an act of discipline… and I have even asked what in us needs so pruned that it requires such a fierce fire of refinement. I have struggled with God. I have asked Him to show me… and all I have heard is “trust Me

So a strange painful peace has enveloped me as I have stood on “trust Me

There have been so many moments that I have wanted to have a “moment”. I have wondered in my times of anger and hurt if I could just say to hell with God and walk away from Him and His Church and any attempts at serving Him.

There have been moments of stunned numbness that I have just wanted to go into a zoned out stupor and just run from reality and pretend it all isn’t true.

There have been moments of overwhelming confusion when I have wanted to fall into a heap in the floor and cry and crumble and melt away.

There have been moments of desperation when I have said God give it to me… I’ll take it. Take it away from them and pour it all on me.

There is nothing so paralyzing as helplessness. Watching a loved one battle an illness makes you feel utterly helpless. I know why the four friends grabbed their friend and carried him on his pallet to a roof and ripped off the roof to lower him down to Jesus… it was finally something they could do. Finally they could help!

The amazing thing about believers today… is that we don’t have to grab our friend and rip off a roof to get them before the feet of Jesus… we have been given direct access from any place at any time through His rent flesh. We just need friends who are willing to go boldly to the throne (Hebrews 4:16) and get us help in our time of need.

As the evil from the north circled and set up camp around the city, they came as direct call of God in order to bring judgment upon the land of Judah. The prophets and priests and leaders of the land had led the people away and were not listening to God or having any regard for His Word. They mocked Him to His face within the land that He had given them.

However… Jeremiah remained. He remained to reach the remnant. Jeremiah would suffer much persecution for His faithfulness to proclaim the truth to a people who preferred their own understanding and the sweet pleasant non condemning words of the charismatic.

As I have studied through just these first chapters of Jeremiah my God has set a resolve within me… as Kay stated “I will not fall apart!” My family also declares, “We will not fall apart!

We will not fall apart because we serve the God who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17). You see my family is choosing to be Jeremiah’s in this day. We choose to stand for Biblical truth. We choose to not stay silent. We choose to not bow the knee to apathy or mediocrity. We choose to hold the banner of the Standard high. We choose to blow the trumpet.

Though a host encamp against us our hearts will not fear. Though war arise against us in this we will still be confident… because one thing we have asked from the Lord and this one thing we will seek… that we will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our life and behold the beauty of the Lord in His temple… we sing praises to the Lord… in the midst of the battle we will sing. For we know that as God made Jeremiah a fortified city so has He made us. Though the walls of our city be damaged, dented, and devalued they will not be defeated. We will be delivered. The walls of the city of our God will never fall. They will never crumble. For not even the gates of hell themselves can prevail against them.

As I was teaching the name El Shaddai in chapel to my preschoolers last Thursday one of the kids in our 4 year old class shouted out and pointed at me and said “You look like God!

Oh I hope so!

How I hope and pray that when others look at me it is JESUS they see…

We are in the wall of God (Colossians 3:3). We are the watchmen on the wall (Isaiah 62:6). We will not fall apart. We will stand. We still trust Him.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth…

Ephesians 6:10-14

 

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Prayers for Wayne Halbrooks

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My Daddy needs the prayers of the saints.

When my Daddy was first diagnosed he was put on big gun chemo. This chemo had a 70% chance of being effective. It was. It worked. However, it was also giving my Daddy neuropathy. My Dad was scheduled for six rounds of chemo, he had received five of those six. The neuropathy had reached the point that the doctors explained one more treatment could put my Dad in a wheelchair. The last PET scan had showed that the cancer was dead in the tailbone and dying everywhere else. So the doctor felt it would be safe to continue with only an Avastin chemotherapy without the drug that caused the neuropathy. Everything seemed to be going well…

My Dad planned to return to work, all seemed hopeful.

Then my Dad received word from his employer that if he could not return to work without his 25lb weight restriction they would have to let him go. The doctors could not lift the restriction because the cancer was in the bones. One wrong lift could break my Dad’s back. Therefore his employer let him go. Yeh… let that sink in.

Now my Dad fights cancer and job loss. My Dad just turned 6o years old in December. Now we wait for my Dad to be able to be “approved” to receive HIS money. HIS money that he has payed in for over the past 40 years of his life. In the meantime… the doctor bills keep coming.

Then my Daddy started feeling worse… the last PET scan results showed that the cancer was “acting up”. It was hopeful that the Avastin would have held it at bay for 6 to 8 months… it didn’t. It didn’t hold even two months. The cancer has proved to be aggressive.

With cancer, my Dad can’t just go back to the treatment that was working before. He has to go to something else. He will begin a new mixture of chemo tomorrow. This mixture has a 50% chance of working. This means, according to the doctor, that it is effective in 5 out of 10 people. My Dad needs to be one of those five.

I just finished writing a devotional in my latest book and in that devotional I studied up a little on the number five in Scripture…

The Number 5

Because man has 5 fingers, 5 toes, and 5 senses the number 5 is significant and thought to be the number of human weakness. He is considered weak and dependant. The number 5 may speak of man’s weakness and inability or God’s strength and ability. Some interesting examples:

  • The 5 loaves were not enough to feed the great multitude.
  • The 5 brothers in Lk 16 could not keep themselves out of hades.
  • The 5 husbands could not satisfy the woman at the well.

~ biblehistory.com

I am well aware of the weakness of man. I am well aware of the weakness and limitations of the greatest among us. However, in this weakness our God is strong!

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

My two specific prayer request for my Daddy is that you would pray that

1) He would be One Of The Five.

2) He would receive 1st time approval of His social security benefits.

With God nothing is impossible…

I believe that… Lord help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

We have not… because we ask not…

So I’m asking… again.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 7:7-12

I will be wearing white for my Daddy tomorrow… will you join me?

Will you join me and will you post it with a prayer request from your circle of influence with the hashtag #teamwayne

MY DAD's Battle

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God Didn’t Say He Wouldn’t Put More On You Than You Can Handle

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The misquote of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is massive…

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

This verse of Scripture has been used for years… generations even… in an attempt to comfort those who were going through a trial. You will hear people say, “God never puts more on us than we can handle” and they say this in their attempt to recall 1 Corinthians 10:13. I don’t know who it was that started this… but I would like to punch them in the face with as much Christian love as I can muster.

Claiming that “promise” from this verse is like trying to claim you won the lottery with a food stamp. It’s empty, void, and worthless because it is taking the Word of God out of context and twisting it and putting words in God’s mouth that He never said just because you heard someone else say it and it sounded good.

The context of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is set slap down in a message from Paul to the church in Corinth concerning SIN.

In 1 Corinthians 10:7 he writes,

Do not be idolaters…

In 1 Corinthians 10:14 he writes,

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 

1 Corinthians 10:13 is nestled right in between these two verses. This verse is here to let us know that NO TEMPTATION has overtaken us that is not common to man and God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able and with that temptation He will provide escape.

The word temptation here is peirasmos and in this verse it means specifically, the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, etc.; also an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from outward circumstances, an internal temptation to sin, of the temptation by which the devil sought to divert Jesus the Messiah from his divine errand, of a condition of things, or a mental state, by which we are enticed to sin, or to a lapse from faith and holiness: in the phrases, adversity, affliction, trouble (cf. our trial), sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s faith, holiness, character.

1 Corinthians 10:13 is simply a will you choose sin or will you choose God. Will you choose to listen to the Word and obey what He has clearly revealed to you or will you choose to listen to the words of others and your own flesh. And if you choose sin, if you choose the words of others over God, or your own desires, know that it WAS NOT because you were powerless against it or because God had left you with no way out… you just ignored Him and chose sin. Thus you proved the condition of your own heart and revealed your own unrighteousness and your own desire for evil… even though you knew the truth.

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks…

Romans 1:21

So please… please stop.

Please stop patting someone on the arm who is overwhelmed with circumstances that have come as a result of this sinful fallen world and not their own sinful fallen choices and tell them that God will not put more on them than they can handle.

There are things in this world that we cannot handle. If we could handle them we wouldn’t need Jesus. Instead of patting them on the arm and misquoting a Scripture reference, how about going to your knees right then and there, and storming the throne of God on their behalf. How about calling on the name of the Lord, petitioning Him on their behalf, with words and promises that God DID say and record.

How about praying Philippians 4:13 over them… in context..

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

This verse originally reads, all things I am strong for in the One strengthening me. The phrase I am strong for is the word ischuó in the Greek and it means properly, embodied strength that “gets into the fray” (action), i.e. engaging the resistance. For the believer, refers to the Lord strengthening them with combative, confrontive force to achieve all He gives faith for. That is, facing necessary resistance that brings what the Lord defines is success (His victory, cf. 1 Jn 5:4). 

A believer doesn’t need prayers for circumstances to be removed, but for strength to stand firm in the midst of them. God will not lead us in to temptation but He will however allow us to face a trial so that we might testify in and through these trials to the validity of His Word and power and the hope that we have within us. One way or another this world will come against those who confess to belong to the One True God. Our sacrifice of praise comes in our continuousness to give thanks and praise to God regardless of what we face in this world.

Walking away from sin is NOT a sacrifice or an offering to the Lord. The obvious consequences that come as a result of sinful choices in themselves gives anyone regardless of their faith the common sense to see the need to avoid certain choices. You have not done God any favors by choosing Him over sin. When God asks for a sacrifice from His own, it is to be spotless and without blemish… sin is something you discard and cut away and burn. It is not a gift you lay at the feet of your King.

In Christ we are strong for ALL things. This strength comes from the Lord and this strength is enough to bring us success according to what the Lord defines as success… not what we define as success. The strength is to be a strength that enables us to engage, to confront, to be combative, in whatever battle it is that we face.

Temptation we are to find a way out and flee… but tribulations we are to stand and fight. Even if we have to fight alone… however church, let us not forget what comes after Philippians 4:13

There is a Philippians 4:14,

Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

Yes, all a believer needs is Jesus. All I need is Jesus, but NEVERTHELESS… how dare we see a brother in need and do nothing.

We know His great name… let us lift Him up and pray that our brothers and sisters in His name are strengthened and able to be victorious in Him, through Him, and for Him. This world is more than we can handle and God never said He would not put more on us than we could handle…

Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

1 Peter 4:19

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Do The Demons Know You?

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But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Act 19:13-16

Do the demons know you?

This passage of Scripture gets me every time. It causes me to pause and wonder if the demons know me… and if not… why? They knew Jesus. They knew Paul. Yet these men who were trying to do good works, these men who were trying to help this man, on someone else’s relationship with Christ… were unknown to them.

Jesus was who Paul preached… they didn’t preach him.

The results of their attempt was there defeat and utter humiliation. These seven men who came “by Jesus whom Paul preaches” had no power… none… over the demonic forces of evil.

We cannot defeat evil by Jesus… we can only defeat evil IN Jesus.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

John 15:4-6

Beloved are you abiding In Christ or are you still standing by? Are you simply by Jesus and those who preach Him because you see the power in them and you want that “power”, you want that influence, you want that feeling that comes for being recognized for helping others, but you have not surrendered and submitted yourself to Christ?

When we read further into Acts 19 we see that when these seven men returned naked and wounded and shared their story fear fell upon those who had believed and the name of Jesus was magnified. Then those who HAD believed KEPT coming and confessing and disclosing their practices. Those who had believed realized the importance of not just being by Jesus but being all the way IN Him. They needed to be more than mere knowers of Him… they needed to be preachers in Him.

These people had spent much money investing in gathering ideas and practices from men and their ideas of spirituality. Acts 19:19 says that the accumulated price of all the books they brought to be burned were found at fifty thousand pieces of silver.

Have you ever sat down and counted up the price of what you have spent on “magic books”? You know the steps to success, the steps to a better you, the how to get people to do what you want, the easy way to whatever…

How much money have you spent on the latest culture fad… even the latest “christian” craze. How much money have you spent on books and studies that teach you about someone else’s relationship with Christ compared to you simply spending time with Him yourself. You and Him and His Word… not someone else about them and His Word.

How often do you say, I wish I knew God like they do?

Well you can.

For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.

Deuteronomy 10:17

***

For there is no partiality with God.

Romans 2:11

***

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Ephesians 1:13-19

Beloved, you know as much of Him as you want to know…

He’s waiting on you.

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