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Category Archives: Spiritual

Doves, Vapor Trails and 555

Those three things have a lot in common. Well, I should say, they have a lot in common for me. I’m sure you’re wonderin’ what in the heck they could possibly have to do with one another.

About ten or twelve years ago I felt like the Lord was directing me to ask the proper people if we could pray over the Beckham County Courthouse. Well, after a phone call or two we found out that we had permission to do just that. That’s pretty amazing in itself if you think about it! We took a team of people in there after hours and prayed over every inch of that courthouse; every office (a couple dozen, at least), two courtrooms, the judge’s chambers….everything! When we finished up and everybody gathered up outside…the most amazing thing happened. I looked up and there were vapor trails forming a perfect cross directly over the city of Sayre! I mean, it was almost too perfect! I took that as a sign from the Lord that something very significant had happened inside that courthouse…and would set the tone for everything  that happened there in the future. That was the first time that I had noticed the vapor trails. Since then I’ve noticed them no less than a hundred times over our area…and many times forming a perfect cross. Call it what you want…but I call it a ‘sign’ from the Lord!

Then it was the doves. Biblically speaking, doves are symbolic of the Holy Spirit. I started seeing them everywhere, and at the most peculiar times. Anytime I had something pressing on my mind, anytime that I was under extreme stress and pressure, anytime that I couldn’t see my way out of a situation….there were the doves. And they appeared in such a way that there was absolutely no way I could miss them. Those sightings, many times, give me just the shot of encouragement that I need. Others started seeing the doves at similar times in their own lives. It’s really no strange thing to see a dove….but the timing on these sightings was uncanny, to say the least! To me, it’s as if the Lord is saying, “Easy, son….I got this!” Again, call it whatever you want…but I call it a sign!

If you study numbers in the Bible you’ll find out that the number ‘five’ is the number for grace. That’s a good number! Occasionally you’ll see the number fifty-five…also a good number. And, then there are those times that you’ll see the number 555! Almost every day I’ll see that number. More often than not it’ll be on my phone as it shows the time. I, somehow, just happen to turn it on at precisely 5:55! Just this week I stopped at the cleaners to pick up some shirts and the number on my check….#5555! Coincidental? I think not!

You may write this all off as hocus-pocus; I really wouldn’t blame you if you did. But, for me….I totally believe it’s the Lord in His magnificent, amazing and mysterious way saying to me, “I’m here….and I’ve got it all under control!”

He’s probably doing it for you too, if you’ll just look around!

You oughta check these out, too:

There’s Just Something About ‘That Name’!!

Just For the Record, You Didn’t ‘Find’ the Lord

I Was Born Rich!

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Accepted or Valued? There’s a Vast Difference!

One of the hard things in life occurs when we don’t feel accepted. And, I imagine just about everyone of us has experienced it more than a few times. It just doesn’t feel good to be on the outside…especially when the ‘in’ group is our family or friends and people we care about. Because of our insecurities (and most of us have ’em) it’s possible to have that feeling pretty often. But, many times that feeling is just something that’s perceived on our part and not really legitimate,….or even intended on the other party’s part. But we can still experience the blunt pain of it anyway. Being accepted on the other hand has a very positive feel to it. 

There’s plenty of talk around the church these days about acceptance. I hear some people, from time to time, kind of ‘braggingly’, alluding to the fact that they accept everyone, as it’s supposed to be some real badge of nobility. It’s not rare to hear someone say, “Yep, we accept bikers, poor folks, alcoholics, drug addicts, ex-cons, those that are all ‘tatted’ up, gays, lesbians….”, and the list could go on and on. I wanna say, (but I don’t!) “Well, ain’t that what we’re supposed to do anyway?!” I don’t have much tolerance for bragging about something that oughta be commonplace, and a ‘no-brainer’,  for the church!

But, just deciding to accept someone….I don’t think is enough! I mean, from the position of not being accepted to being accepted, that’s a big thing, no question. It’s huge!! But, just accepting someone has the feel that we’re just kinda ‘tolerating’ them ’til they change to be like us. (which in most cases they really don’t care to do….and, seriously,…..who could blame ’em!) 

But, something really supernatural happens when we go beyond just ‘accepting’ them to actually ‘valuing’ them!! Valuing someone is going to the next level. It amounts to seeing someone through the eyes of the Lord. When we can do that and then show it through our attitude….and actions with them….amazing things are apt to happen!

I’m glad the Lord didn’t just accept me! I’m really glad that He’s not just ‘tolerating’ me! I can tell by my interaction with Him, and how good He’s been to me, that He’s gone way beyond that…and that He’s put a huge amount of value on me. (….incredibly undeserving on my part, I might add!) 

Oh, and those people that you ‘accept’…..they can feel whether you actually value them or not. And, if you don’t….enjoy their presence now ’cause more than likely they won’t be there long!

Check these out: (click on the highlighted link to read)

FOMO

“Obviously, I’m God’s Favorite!”

The Thing About Unconditional Love

“It’s Not Your Job to Fix Them!”

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Why I Don’t Watch Christian TV

Let me first say that I’m not trying to influence anyone in any way. To watch….or not to watch…that’s your own business. And if you’re getting blessed by Christian TV….watch on!! I’m just stating my own opinion. And my reasons for not watching may not be valid for you in the least. When my life first ‘made the turn’, so to speak, back in November of ’84 I did watch quite a bit of Christian TV. I even watched Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker some. I did find them to be a little peculiar but, what the heck, I did learn a few things by watching their show. Same with Paul and Jan Crouch; peculiar people but no big deal at the time. And I do believe that lots of people were blessed through their TV ministries, even though I didn’t send my $100 for the little bottle of ‘holy water’ from the Red Sea.

But the further I went the less I watched TBN, The 700 Club and shows like that. For the most part, at least for me, it started feeling un-authentic, a little too much put-on, and way too theatrical for my liking. I would catch Jack Hayford from time to time, which was always good. There were a few others who weren’t ‘regulars’ that I’d try to watch if I had the chance. But it wasn’t too long that I found myself not watching Christian TV programming at all. (Been about 20 years now) And now if I’m surfing through the DISH channels and happen to cross one of those networks it just seems that I’m now further and further away from where they are and what they’re saying…..and from what I believe and perceive the Lord is saying to me. 

But the clincher for me came a few years back when someone very close to me was contacted by one of those TV shows. It was one of the most highly acclaimed ones….and one that you’d surely know if I had the liberty to disclose it. This person’s life has been one of the most, if not THE most, dramatic conversions and transformations that I’ve seen in all my years. And after several phone interviews with my friend and then with me….they declined to do the story. Why?? Because, according to their representative, his conversion and transformation didn’t fit their grid of how it should happen. Tragic….in that this person’s life….and his story could have made the difference in hundreds, if not thousands who might’ve seen the TV show.

I left that situation discouraged and, to tell the truth,….about half ticked off. It was obvious to me that they were completely out of touch with what often happens out here in the real world. There’s no formula and there’s no set way for someone coming to the Lord. There’s millions of different scenarios and I wouldn’t argue the validity of any of them. “Any man who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”.

The cynical part of me would say that if my friend would’ve just said, “I was at the end of my rope, on drugs and ready to commit suicide and I turned on the TV and the  “- – – – – – Show” was on and I fell down on my knees and cried out to God.”, that they would’ve done the show as quickly as possible.

So, don’t get me wrong….I think there might be a place for Christian TV….but it needs to be authentic, it needs to ‘not’ be about money, and it needs to be relevant for what the Lord is saying and doing in our generation.

Check These Out:

Virtual Reality

Quit Telling Me What The Problem Is!!

It’s Not Too Late to Make a ‘Mark’ With Your Life!

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Living Your Life With Abandon

I was teaching on a recent Sunday morning about the 40 days immediately after Jesus’ resurrection. It’s a 40 day stretch that I’ve never heard anyone talk about. In fact, I titled my message, “The 40 Days No One Talks About”. There’s not a lot written about what Jesus did during those days but there are a few critical pieces of information.

In thinking about those 40 days there’s a lot that comes to mind for me. I’ll probably write about some of those thoughts from time to time. But one thing that seems to emerge for me is the need that Jesus had to get the apostles in a ‘good place’. Because…..they were not in a good place, from my perspective. They were not in a good place spiritually or emotionally, actually far from it!

If these were going to be the 11 (later Judas’ replacement was chosen) in charge of changing the world, advancing the kingdom and continuing the work that Jesus started….something drastic had to happen with them. Thomas was a ‘doubter’; Jesus had to rebuke several of them for their doubt, unbelief and hardness of heart. Peter, James and John couldn’t stay awake in Jesus’ darkest hour. And then again there was Peter, who folded like a cheap lawn chair, in denying even knowing Jesus when He needed him the most! If we’re keeping score, His failure would rank up there in the top two or three, all-time! (I’m glad God doesn’t keep score on that kind of stuff!)

World changers, without exception, live their lives with abandon. People who don’t walk by faith would label them reckless. …..and reckless they are, but for the most noble cause. These were just men, fishermen and tax collectors, but their destiny demanded that they, somehow, recover from their failures. So, Jesus had to fix them if they’re going to be world changers. Not an easy task! That’s some of what He did in the span of that 40 days.

As I think about it……it seems to me that those are the exact same things He is working to change in us. ……….and for the exact same reason!

Check these out, too:

Talk About a ‘Fixer-Upper’!

Virtual Reality

God Moves Through ‘Influence’ ……. Not ‘Control’!

You’ve Gotta Quit Calling Yourself a “Sinner”!

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The People That Nobody Else Wants

Nearly 27 years ago Julie and I said “Yes” to whatever it was that the Lord wanted us to do in Sayre, Oklahoma. We knew very little about starting or leading a church but we were sure we had heard the Lord on it. We started with a little group of about 6 or 8 people….and off we went!

One of the very first things I know I heard from the Lord was some specifics on how to pray about the work in Sayre. He directed me to pray this way, “Lord, bring us the people that nobody else wants.” We started praying that from the very beginning and we are still praying it today.

Interestingly enough, about ten years after we’d been faithfully praying that, a traveling ministry person was with us at one of our Wednesday morning prayer times and gave this prophetic word. Keep in mind he didn’t even know we’d already been praying this for at least ten years. Here’s what he said, “God wants me to tell you that if you’ll pray for the people nobody wants,  He’s going to give you the people that everybody wants; and He’s going to take the people nobody wanted and turn them into people that everybody wants!”. And if you look at this family today you can clearly see the fruition of that prophetic word!

It’s sad to say but the very nature of stale and stagnant religion is to devalue the poor, the afflicted, the addicted, the ones who’ve lost their way, the ones who hate church…..and even those who hate God. The religious system really has no use for them. They have too much baggage, they require too much time to rehabilitate, they’re not givers….and the list goes on and on. …..but they’re very special to the Father!

If you look at our extremely diverse family you’ll see people from every walk of life. We have rich, poor (a lot more of the latter), black, white, red, doctors, inmates, recovered alcoholics, recovering alcoholics….and alcoholics, cowboys, bikers, hippies….and just about everyone in between. It’s a truly remarkable family, the most amazing bunch of people I’ve ever seen. There is unbelievable talent and potential in these people that nobody else wanted. They’re connecting in relationship with the Father; they’re finding their voice, they’re finding their place of purpose and function. They’re well along the way in fulfilling their God-given destiny. 

They’ve been transformed, by the love of the Father, into people that everyone wants! That’s how the Lord does it!

Oh, and just so you don’t somehow get the wrong idea about all this…..I consider myself among that group that nobody else wanted!

You might like these too

Virtual Reality

Critics……..There’s One On Every Corner

$$$ – Being a “Thousandaire” Might Just Be Better Than Being a “Millionaire”!

I Fought the Law….and the Law Won!

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Walkin’ the Floor

“I’m Walkin’ the Floor Over You”; Any hardcore country music lover like myself can sing that ‘un by memory! The song was written and performed by none other than Ernest Tubb, (click highlighted link for more information) son of a Texas sharecropper and one of the true pioneers of what we now call ‘honky tonk’ music. ET, a  Crisp, Texas (now a ghost town) kid was so fascinated by Jimmie Rodgers that after Rodgers death he contacted his wife for an autographed picture of Jimmie. Mrs. Rodgers was instrumental in getting the first recording contract for young ET. After a semi-botched tonsillectomy that affected his singing voice he turned exclusively to songwriting until he signed with Decca Records in 1940 and tried his hand at singing again. Turned out to be the thing to do; His sixth released single was the one that brought him almost instant stardom, “Walkin’ The Floor Over You”. (click to see Ernest perform) The single sold over a million copies. Quite a feat for someone whose singing voice seemed to be lacking! *(non-country music fans would probably argue that his voice never recovered……you can decide; lol)

I grew up on Country Music, thanks to my Dad. These days I can appreciate all kinds of music to some degree but those Classic Country songs are still my very favorites. I got to see Ernest Tubb when I was 15. He, and his Texas Troubadours, came to Canadian, Texas to the VFW Hall there in ’68. I’ll never forget it. I’ve since then seen a lot of entertainers live performances but ET’s still ranks up there among the best for me. I joke about that fact that we really were country long before country was ever cool (not a lie)! We were excited when the movie ET came out…..only to be disappointed to find out that it wasn’t a documentary on Ernest Tubb! LOL

I was thinking about my last two posts, “Shoot in Here Amongst Us!!” (click to read) and “Perspective, It Makes All the Difference!”. They both, either directly or indirectly, elude to the reality of our going through rough spots, challenges and problems throughout the course of our lives. It’s true that none of us are immune to them….and how we navigate them will have a profound effect on us….one way or the other.

So, you’re probably wondering by now what Ernest Tubb’s song and that last paragraph are even doing on the same page. It’s a fair assessment, but pretty simple if you ask me; When we’re going through those trials of life, which seem to be pretty often, we might ask ourselves, “God, what are you doing??!!!” 

I certainly don’t have the full perspective of God but there’s a few things I think I’m pretty sure of. When He looks at your situation (and by the way, I think He does that often!) He doesn’t have a scared look on His face like we might; He hasn’t lost His appetite and He’s not wringing His hands and breaking out in a cold sweat; He’s not worried sick about the outcome!

And one thing I do know, …He’s not ‘walking’ the floor over you’ and me,…..and our problems!!

Maybe we should stop doing it, too!!

 

Hey….if you like these….”Share” ’em! Thanks!

Here’s some similar posts:

“Only ‘DADDY’ That’ll Walk The Line”

“I Ain’t No ‘Fortunate Son’”

“If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin’”

The Gospel According to Shaver!

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If God Has Your Heart, He Can Get Your Feet Where They Belong!

That’s one of my own quotes, actually one of my very favorites.(I love quotes and one-liners that have a simple, profound message that makes people stop and think). About everyone I know has a strong desire to know God’s will for their lives. And I think most of the time we make it a lot more complicated than it ought to be. It’s pretty simple, really. But life is filled with tricky situations and if we’re not careful it can get extremely difficult to know what He wants next for us. It can cause us to wonder from time to time if we’ve completely lost our way. *Don’t ask me how I know this stuff! lol

I think you have to look at it from this standpoint; God could be anything He wanted to be. And what He wants to be is Father! I’m a dad, myself….and I can’t even imagine knowing what’s best for my kids and not letting them know. I’m a decent dad, too….but God is the perfect Father and I just can’t make myself believe that He wouldn’t want to make His will and plans for us ultra easy to discern. In fact….I think it’s probably true that He wants you to know His will for you…..even more than you want to know it! That’s the kind of Father He is.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it does take a little effort on our part. You, at least, must be seeking Him. But, if you’re really ‘after’ the Lord….you’re going to end up right in the middle of His plan for you. It really is as simple as this….

“If God has your heart, He can get your feet where they belong”!!

Check these out too:

There’s Grace For That!

God Moves Through ‘Influence’ ……. Not ‘Control’!

If You See God “Wrongly”…….You’ll Never See Yourself “Rightly”!

God Loves You, And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It!

 

 

 

 

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