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Category Archives: Heaven

It’s Either a Blessing or a Curse!

I know exactly which of the two it is….but, seriously, there are times that I wonder. As a kid there were a couple of my classmates that were killed in accidents, another one or two that died from vicious diseases. Joe Wingo, a ranch kid, was flying his kite when it got tangled up in some electric wires. He climbed up on a tank with a metal rod to try to untangle it when he was electrocuted. Joe Glenn Crane, just about the sweetest kid you’ve ever seen, was healthy as could be in the first grade….but by the third grade he’d contracted Muscular Dystrophy and was confined to a wheelchair. Both died before they were in junior high.

I was broken hearted both times; didn’t understand. Their funeral services were devastating for me. So, early on in my life, I subconsciously developed an attitude that would cause me to avoid funerals at any cost, no matter whose they were. It worked for me for a long time, or at least I thought so. It wasn’t long after I began doing ministry that I was asked to do my first funeral. I immediately thought, “No Way”! But the deceased person was the Granddad of a close personal friend so I felt like I couldn’t say no. I was serious in prayer with the Lord because I knew that I couldn’t do it without His help. I made it through the service just fine but didn’t really care if I ever did another one or not.

Well that was about 28 years ago and since that very first funeral I’ve done in the neighborhood of 360 more. Here’s my struggle; I can’t separate myself from the feelings that the family members of the deceased have. You’d think that after that many funeral services it’d get to be pretty routine. Not so for me. In fact it might be a funeral for someone that I don’t even know. I’ll get emotional just about every single time. When little grandkids come by the casket after the service is over and they’re breaking down with tears…..it’s about all I can do to contain myself. In some strange way it’s as if I’m feeling exactly what they feel. In fact about ten ears ago I did a service for a daddy and his little boy whose vehicle was t-boned by semi truck. It was hard and I remember driving from the church to the cemetery (about 15 miles) and telling the Lord, “I don’t want to do this anymore”. It was if the Lord spoke immediately my spirit, “Andy, you don’t have to do it anymore….but if you do I’ll give you a greater anointing to do it.” Well, here I am today…..still doin’ ’em!

I think Jesus was like this. It appears that He so identified with the feelings and the emotional state of people that he literally felt what they were feeling. There hasn’t been a funeral yet that has felt ‘routine’. Every single one is somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s dad, or somebody’s little girl. My next one….a little 16 year old boy, only child, a good kid that suffocated in a grain trailer. I’m already feeling what the family is feeling. I think I’ll be able to comfort and console them because of it.

It’s not a curse…..I know it’s a blessing. It just doesn’t feel like it a lot of the time!

Here’s a similar blog:

“Known”

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The Bible Does Not Have All Your Answers!

I bet that got your attention! I know it got the attention of the ones I call the ‘over-religious, self-righteous doctrinal police’. You know, the ones that just can’t resist the opportunity to set you straight about your errors in not seeing every single Biblical truth just exactly like they do. Yeah….those guys! They’d never agree with the blog title….to them it’s blatant blasphemy!

But it’s the truth whether you want to admit it or not. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Bible does have a lot of our answers. And don’t you dare get the idea that I don’t believe the Bible. I do believe it!! Every word of it! I love the Bible more today than at any other time in my life. I love reading it,…I love studying it, I love teaching it, I love listening to great teachers teach it. There’s nothing I don’t love about the Bible. But the Bible was never meant to be a substitute for our ‘relationship’ with the Father! …..and it has become that to countless thousands!

I talk a lot about that relationship and because of it there are those love to criticize saying that I don’t give the Bible the respect that it deserves. I don’t get that! In fact I believe I’m giving it much more respect than they are. In their mind they think they’re defending the integrity of the Scriptures….but in all reality they’re actually fighting against what the Bible is all about to begin with! We live in a ‘religious’ culture that values knowledge over connecting relationally with God. This desperately needs to change! From the Father’s perspective….it has always been about the encounter…..and the ensuing relationship that will naturally follow! In its essence the Bible is written to enhance our relationship with the Father…..not to limit it. It is written with the divine intent of drawing us into relationship with Him! 

And all those answers about our lives that we need to know along the road of life….some of those you will find in the Bible….but not all of them! God has sealed up the details of our lives up in His heart….(and you’re going to love Him for this!), and the only way you can get those details is to go to Him! He’s designed it that way! ….so He can reveal Himself to you in a personal way….and show you how much He loves you!

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; but you’re not willing to come to me that you might have life”.  Jn 5:39

It’s exactly what Jesus was talking about a couple thousand years ago.

It has always been about the encounter!

I bet you’ll like this one too:

I’ve Never ‘Led’ Anyone to the Lord……and I Ain’t Planning on Doing it Anytime Soon!

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Just Say, “Yes”!

I know…..that’s not how you first heard it. “Just Say No”, (click highlighted link) was the slogan for the anti-drug campaign initiated in the ’80’s and ’90’s. The whole idea was created and championed by none other than, Nancy Reagan. “Just Say No” is great advice when it comes to drugs. Hopefully hundreds of thousands of both young and old have heeded that advice…and will continue to do so.

I’m suggesting we start another campaign kinda of like the one Nancy started but with the slogan, “Just Say Yes”!! Well, obviously, you can’t say yes to just anything. That would be dumb. I’m saying we, “Just Say Yes”, to the plans of the Father for our lives. I don’t know many people who would reject that line of thinking….but in practice I’m afraid we might be suffering a little! God has an incredible, intricate and very personal plan for our lives. We can only ‘lay hold’ of that plan, and the details of it, by faith. But the good news is that you have adequate faith, and more than enough of it, to get that done!

If you’ve been really sincere and serious about your walk with the Lord you’ve surely inquired of Him about His plan for your life. If not….you could, and should, start now. Nothing difficult about it. In fact it’s so simple that anyone (even a caveman! lol) can do it. If you’ve heard some things from the Lord and said “yes” to them…I’m convinced that you’re already experiencing the blessings that accompany that kind of response. But what about the things that we don’t even know about yet? Well, that’s where this “Just Say Yes” mindset really begins to be beneficial for us. We should “Just Say Yes” to the things we’re aware of….but go into the next realm where we say “Yes” to the things we don’t even know about yet!

I agree, that’s a radical step of faith…but it’s what we’re created for! So, the next time that something comes up in your spirit that you think might be the Lord…..Just Say Yes!! You can’t go wrong!

You should like this one too:

What If I’d Said, No?WordpressSignature2015b

 

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If He Can Fix My Life…..I Know He Can Fix Yours!

I’ve been blessed in my life to have a lot of good friends. Wasn’t long after my life had ‘made the turn’, so to speak, that a steady stream of my friends started coming to see me. That may not seem like a big deal to you but it really was. For one reason, where I lived at the time wasn’t on the way to anywhere! I mean it was way off the beaten path. So, it was no accident that they were coming to see me. In fact, looking back, it seems pretty obvious to me that the Lord, Himself, was somehow sending them across my path. 

I knew something was very different for me and that for once my life was ‘working’ but I had no idea how to communicate it or put it into words….especially to somebody else. These friends would pour out their hearts to me telling me their problems….all kinds of problems! I had no idea what to tell them….and to be honest some of their problems were pretty intimidating. But I knew one thing…..my life, just a short time before, was pretty messed up! In fact it was so messed up that no one but the Lord could fix it. And even though their problems looked extremely difficult,….and in some cases impossible, I had a profound sense of confidence that they were going to make it. I just knew that if God could fix my life…..He could fix their’s!

Now, more than 30 years later, I still get faced with people’s problems…and just like then, most of the time they look nearly impossible but I still have that same confidence. So, if you’re reading this and you’re in a jam….and maybe, just maybe, it looks as if there’s absolutely no possible solution, run to Him! ‘Cause….I‘m convinced that, “if He can fix my life….He can fix yours”!!

You’ll like this one too!*(click on highlighted link):

There’s Grace For That!

“God, If You’re Out There,  You Gotta Help Me!”WordpressSignature2015b

 

 

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What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

It’s been about 7-8 years ago; I was riding my bike on a 15 mile jaunt. I like the bike for several reasons. For one, it doesn’t hurt my joints anywhere, and …..2, I like it because I can ride and, at the same time, do some serious thinking, praying, pondering, etc. On this particular day my mind was pretty much preoccupied with the dilemma that two people very close to me were having to go through.

As I prayed for both of them, intensely, the Lord reminded me of at least half a dozen people I’d been involved with over the years that were pitted up against, what at the time appeared to be, insurmountable circumstances. In each of those half dozen or so instances the Lord showed me how He came through for them when it didn’t look like there was any way possible. He also reminded me of how those circumstances somehow ‘catapulted’ them into His perfect will for their lives. In each of those instances the outcome was nothing short of miraculous.

As the Lord encouraged me with those examples I heard His ‘still, small voice’ say to my spirit, “Andy, this is not to ‘break’ them….it’s to ‘make’ them!” I knew at once that this was the voice of the Lord. He always knows just the right thing to say….at just the right time! *And just for the record…not once did I think that the Lord somehow arranged these people’s harsh circumstances so He could teach them a lesson! It’s sad to say but there’s plenty of people out there who think that God does just that. NO WAY!! That totally goes against the nature of a father….and He’s a better Father than any of us could be! 

What the Lord said to me totally, and immediately, put their problems into perfect perspective! ….which brings the conversation to you and me. What if these trials we go through in life are not meant to ‘break’ us….but to ‘make’ us?! The Bible often eludes to the fact that we’re being purified like gold. That all sounds great until you consider how gold is mined and then purified so it can actually be used or sold.

Most of the time that ‘rock’, that’s brought out of the mine, looks absolutely nothing like gold. I mean, you can’t see any gold in it at all. It’s only when that rock is ‘heated’ up to insanely, intense temperatures that the gold begins to emerge. When the heat causes the ore to melt….the impurities come to the surface. The ‘dross’ is scraped off the top and discarded….and the heating process starts again. Sound familiar?!! Well, it’s the exact process that the Father allows us to go through in our ‘being conformed into the image of Jesus’!

As we go through these unpleasant circumstances in life it’d serve us well if we’d consider that maybe, just maybe…..“they’re not to break us…..but to make us”!!

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Room at the Inn?

You know the story; Joseph and Mary arrived at the motel late on that fateful night….only to be informed of the “No Vacancy” status. Not one single room available so they had to search elsewhere. The only thing they could find was a barn,…..equipped with animals,….. so they settled in.

Sometime during that night Mary gave birth to her Baby, precisely as the prophets of old had declared. The Angels showed themselves to the shepherds who were working out in the fields at night. And ‘wise men’ came from far away to witness what was happening there. Without a doubt this was an event that the world would forever commemorate, ….and rightly so!

In this busy time with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, some goofy controversy over Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas, our culture has made it all about shopping, money and commerce. But for the wise ones among us, it’s still about Jesus! And the reality that He was born…..and died….and rose again after He finished the work set before Him….is a guarantee that sin would never again hold us hostage, and that our relationship with His Father (now our Father, too!) cannot, would not ever be revoked! 

On this Christmas Eve we oughta slow down for a minute and just say, “Thanks”. My prayer for you/us is that it’ll be a ‘special’ time for you and your family. And let’s not forget to make some ‘room’ for Him!

Merry Christmas from the Taylors’!! *(kinda like the Griswolds’, only scarier…and more of ’em!)

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Prayer Changes Things!

It was the message on a little plaster of paris wall hanging at my Grandmother’s house in Wheeler, Texas. (My Mom’s Mom) I never knew my Granddad, he was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier in the year that I was born. That left her to raise 3 kids who were still at home. (2 older ones already married) She was an incredible person, in my opinion, and I’ve grown to appreciate that more and more as I’ve gotten older and understanding more of what it takes to raise a family.

One of my favorite things to do was to stay overnight, or a few days, at her house. I still vividly remember bedtime at her house. There were two beds in her room…one for her and one for Herman, my uncle, her youngest son. (only 3 years older than me) There’d be a story or two before we all fell asleep and they were always good ones. *(Herman always tried to tell a scary one..so we’d sleep with a butcher knife under our pillow for safety! lol) One story she told me when I was 3 or 4 years old was of an ‘old, old Grandmother by the name of ‘Mamaw Teak’. Well, that name ‘stuck’ and I called her that for the rest of my life.

When you’re a single mother with 3 kids in a small town you just have to do what you have to do to make ends meet. I remember her working at cafes and cleaning houses for people and then coming home completely worn out…but then cooking one of the best meals that you could possibly imagine. One of my most memorable Christmases was when Herman, my brother Monty and I all got our “Rifleman” rifles. We maintained a high level of justice on that block and kept the bad guys at bay in Wheeler, Texas for a good long while!

I think, somehow, the importance of prayer was imparted to me back in those days. That’s one of the things we’d do every night that I was at her house. And looking back and assessing her situation….I think she lived by it! They lived a simple life, a good life….but a simple life. And they got by,…I believe, by the provision of the Lord.

There’s a lot more to say on the subject of prayer. But simply put, “Prayer Changes Things”! 

*When my Grandmother passed on, I asked for this little plaster of paris wall hanging. It means a lot to me!

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