2010-09-11T20:14:11.939-07:00These days Israel is in the news nearly every day. We are in a position right now to watch as prophecy unfolds before our very eyes.Matthew 24:6–8 says, “And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.”Did you realize that Christians should have a heart for Israel and that Israel is still dear to God’s own heart? The one thing I hope you’ll go away with today is that Christians have a responsibility to pray for the salvation of Israel (Romans 10:1) and for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6a). In Nehemiah 1:9b God says of the Jewish people, “……even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.” The Jews call this making Aliyah back to Jerusalem.How much does the Lord love Jerusalem? Zechariah 2:8b says, “Anyone who harms you harms my most precious passion” and Chapter 8:2 says, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!” Verses 7-8 say, “……You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west. I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God."Verse 11 says, “But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. In verses 14-15, “For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid.”Zechariah 12:3b, 10 prophecies, “…..All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves. For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.” Right now for the most part the Jewish people’s eyes have been blinded of the truth and they don’t understand what they have done to their ‘unrecognized’ Savior, but one day they will understand and there will be untold grieving for what they have done.Romans 9:27 says that “Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant will be saved.” Why only a remnant if Israel is the apple of God’s eye? (Malachi 1:2a) It’s because when Jesus died He died for all men making “….peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups,” (Eph 2:15b) or as some might say ‘one new man’. “Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” (Eph 2:18) And this is where the problem begins for the Jewish people.Paul speaks about his Jewish brothers in Romans 9, 10, and 11 saying that “the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.” (Romans 10:1) He goes on in verses 2-4 saying, “I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.” Remember, Christ fulfilled the law when He died for our sins as the ultimate sacrifice.In verse 16 Paul continues to say that not e[...]
2010-08-01T19:40:04.087-07:00“Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil;” wise and timely words spoken so long ago. Our tongue can either make us or break us. It can tear down or build up; glorify or curse; mock or praise.In the past you may have been the victim of someone’s sharp, short, careless and hurtful words cutting you to the core. Some words are so hurtful they may ring in your head tormenting you for years to come!What are some of the situations we have become easily angered? They are the times we feel we’re no longer in control of a situation, when we’re sick in our bodies, when we aren’t exercising our usual self-control, those times when we’re not getting our way or are worried about something that may not even be related to what’s going on at the moment.We are better equipped to handle our emotions when we’re rested and healthy, and when we are staying close to God. It is a person of great character that can hear our anger and yet feel compassion for our situation and work with us to get a matter resolved rather than adding fuel to the argument of their own.Oh, you say you’re not given to bursts of anger? Are your words always kind and do they always build others up rather than tear them down? I told myself for years that I didn’t have a temper and that couldn’t have been further from the truth! I was one of those that stuffed it and stuffed it and stuffed it until I blew up!It’s not good for our health, our emotions or our family life, and it is being dishonest to keep all your thoughts and concerns to yourself seeming to always go along. You have a right to your opinion and your thoughts….even to your anger! Yes that’s right, even to your anger. How you express your anger is the key.One of the greatest gifts you can give another is not to be easily offended by occasional out bursts but rather “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) NLTEphesians 4:31 tells us to get rid of anger and rage. Do you recognize any of these things in your life; you seem to annoy people, aggravate, exasperate, irritate, offend, blow up, boil-over, flare up, fume, breathe fire, fly into a rage, you’re referred to as hot under the collar, that you hit the ceiling, that you lose your temper, or see red?If you recognize any of these situations in your own life it’s time to get to the root of the problem. Ask God and He will show you what it is. Perhaps we just need to communicate better with someone in our lives so things don’t have a chance to escalate. Perhaps we are unable to see ourselves as God sees us and therefore are too easily offended or defensive. Perhaps it’s a matter of selfishness or even that you’re no good at balancing your check book or managing your chores at home and want to take out your frustrations on someone besides yourself.James 4:1-2b says “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them…..” Most of the time we don’t carry it to the extremes of killing and waging war, but you’d be surprised how anger can destroy your life and your relationships.“…no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8) The Lord wants us to be slow to anger as He is slow to anger. (Exodus 34:6b) (James 1:19b)Why does the Lord despise anger? Genesis 4:3-8 tells the story of Cain and how he became jealous of his brother Abel because God accepted Abel’s gift of the best first born lambs from his flock but rejected his own gift of crops because they weren’t his best crops.It made Cain very angry. The Lord reminded him that he would be accepted if he did what was right. Later Cain took his brother to the fields and killed him. He lied to God when He asked where his brother was and God banished him from His presence. We can see from this story that simple anger, mixed when a little jealousy can lead to hatred and murder.Paul reminds[...]
2010-07-07T00:43:45.085-07:00How does it feel to be a child of the Most High God; to be made on purpose by the Creator Himself? To be chosen to be born for this very time in history and to have a specific purpose?Next time you’re at the altar beating yourself up about how disappointed in us He must be, remember that you are no surprise to the one who created you. He made you just the way you are and has a desire to be in relationship with you for eternity.Just imagine that God loved you even before the world was created AND even before you were born into this world. Ephesians 1:4 (NLT) says that, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” Yikes!!....without fault??!! That’s right, and that begins the story of ‘Who We Are In Christ’.“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”-Ephesians 2:10 The first thing that comes to our minds is like Paul in Romans 7 where he is struggling with sin and the flesh, and says the very things he wants to do he can not do!2 Timothy 1:9 says that, “…..He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” Our Father knew that we would struggle with sin and the flesh as Paul did, so He sent us a ‘way out’, a final sacrifice for our sin so we could be in relationship with Him. That ‘way out’ is Jesus Christ himself. God loved us so much that He not only made us but made a way for us to be pure and holy in His sight through Jesus’ sacrifice.The fact that we don’t realize the depth of the love God really has for us is probably one of the biggest reasons we are insecure, unsure, have feelings of lack, of not being good enough, of being incomplete and roaming through life seemingly without purpose or direction. As many have said, we’re trying to fill the ‘God shaped’ hole in our lives with all kinds of things except God.The first step in realizing God’s love for us is seeing ourselves as God sees us through Christ rather than how we perceive ourselves. If you’ve been ‘born again’, you are now a new creation! 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, 21 explains, “……This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”We are now the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus!! We owe him a debt of gratitude. It is only because of Him and His love for us that He gave up His life for us so we might live and be able to have a relationship with the Father. As Ephesians 4:14-15 says, “….we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.””….God—who does not lie…” (Titus 1:2) tells us who we are, so that is who we are!! In order to get these things into our heads, we’ll have to confess them out loud over and over until we actually start to see the truth and know what is right about who we are in Christ! No matter what notion we have of ourselves, Romans 6:6-7 points out that our ‘old man’ was crucified with Him! “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”“..have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with C[...]
2010-04-25T21:40:00.234-07:00Have you ever come up against that part inside of you that wants its own way contrary to the way you want to go? Have you ever had a disgusting habit you needed or wanted to break and just couldn’t do it? Have you ever tried with all your might to achieve a personal goal only to fail over and over again? Well you’re not alone and there is a solution to your dilemma. Paul talks about this very thing in Romans saying that which he wants to do he cannot do and that which he doesn’t want to do his flesh is determined to do. Let’s read that passage in Romans 7:15–25 (RSV).“15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”I don’t know about you but there have been several things in my life that I’ve struggled with and the only answer has been God. It’s all about those little things you hope no one knows about you; those secret little things that war against you in the flesh; those things that you cry out to God for help from.There’s a conflict between our desires and our flesh; between our sinful nature and the Spirit. It’s just the way things are—our sinful nature (our flesh) rages war in our minds. The battle field truly IS in our minds.1 Peter 4:12–13 (RSV) says , “12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”If we’re aware that our flesh is always going to war against our spirit in our minds then we have won half the battle. The Holy Spirit is our secret for successful daily living. If the Apostle Paul was continually at war within himself, then it’s certainly not strange for us to be going through these challenges in our own lives. Galatians 6:9 (NLT) reminds us to “………..not get tired of doing what is good” because “At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”Paul continues in Galatians 5:16–24 (NLT), saying to let the Holy Spirit guide our lives and so we won’t be giving in to what our sinful nature craves. He confirms that the sinful nature wants to do the opposite of what the Spirit wants. He goes on to say that these two forces are constantly fighting against one another.“16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarre[...]
2008-07-12T21:23:00.483-07:00(image) I asked the Lord to show me something He wanted to tell His people on our site. I opened my Bible and there was the verse in Deut. 31:8, "Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you, He will neither fail you nor abandon you".
Even though these words were spoken to Joshua by Moses, they can easily apply to us today.
Unlike our earthly families sometimes do, He does not fail us or abandon us. If distance creeps in between God and us it is of our own doing.
This verse tells me that the youth of our society are 'right-on' with their "No Fear" tee shirts. Because of the Lord's promises, Christians should not be fearful!
All through His Word He tells us to be strong and courageous, and not to be afraid. Deut. 13:4 says we are to fear God alone! In Psalm 34:4 He says He frees us from all our fears, and verse 7 of that same chapter says, "For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear Him". The 9th verse continues saying, "those who fear Him will have all they need".
Psalm 46:2 reminds us not to ".......fear when earthquakes come". Proverbs 1:33 says we should be "untroubled by fear of harm". 2 Chronicles 20:15 tells us, "Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged........for the battle is not yours, but Gods".
Sometimes it helps me to remember that all I'm required to do is put on the full armor of God and stand firm while He does the battle. How easy and stress free can that get? Verse 17 confirms that by saying, ".......But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord's victory". All the Lord's battles end in victory! If God be for us who can be against us?
What are the fears before us today? Health, finances, relationships, work situations, and many others. Isn't it wonderful we can lean on God, be peaceful in our situations and let Him handle what it is we have fear of?
In Job 3:25-26, Job says the thing he has always feared, happened to him. He said, ".....what I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest, only trouble comes".
It sounds like we should stay as far away from fear and dread as we can get, putting our hope and trust in Jesus Christ. I John 4:18 points out that "......perfect love expels all fear".
In closing, I want to say that I draw comfort from Hebrews 13:6 which says, ".....The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear". Maybe our youth are on to something here with their "No Fear" tee shirts.
Next time you see one of those tee shirts perhaps you'll be better prepared to use that phrase as a lead in to witness to that person about how God is your defender and fights all your battles. Who we are is not the reason we have "No Fear", but rather who He is and who we are in Him!
We choose to have "No Fear"!
Shalom, Marvin and Diana
2009-02-01T18:10:13.253-08:00The Lord has really been speaking to us about forgiveness lately. As a matter of fact we saw a documentary about ‘near death’ experiences. One person was shocked to learn how serious the Lord is about forgiving others as we have been forgiven, as in the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:12 (NLT). As the story goes he was expecting to go on into heaven but because of unforgiveness in his heart he would not have gone there.How many of us are working hard for the Lord but at the same time are harboring something deep in our souls from yesterday, or this morning or even years ago? We have learned from experience that it’s not uncommon to have to lay something down over and over again every time it rears its ugly head. Forgiveness is a process and a choice. Some people find the language of saying “I choose to forgive” helpful to put some issue to rest.This is a serious matter that we need to pay close attention to. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” How much more plainly do we need that spelled out for us?In Luke 6:37, Jesus says, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” He also goes on to say in Mark 11:25 that “……….when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”Matthew 5:23-24 says if we’re at the altar with a gift or sacrifice and we suddenly remember that someone else has something against us, that we should stop and go be reconciled to that person before coming back to present our gift. By the world’s standards that is way out there! Not only do we have to forgive but as Romans 12:18 (NIV) puts it we must live in peace with everyone as far as it depends on us.Our God is a forgiving God as seen in Psalm 86:5 and Isaiah 55:7 where it says he is ready to forgive and forgives generously. But we must remember that He is also a just God.Luke 24:47 reminds us there is forgiveness of sins for all who repent but Hebrews 9:22 says there is no forgiveness without the shed of blood which points to the price and redemption for us paid by Jesus Christ.The Holy Spirit is here with us today and will convict us and remind us of the things that need to be tended to in our lives. Jesus sent Him here to live in us to help us and comfort us after he ascended into heaven.I John 1:9 says that he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins but we have a part in the relationship as well and that is to learn to forgive others quickly. Forgiveness isn’t necessarily a feeling, it is a choice; a choice that sometimes must be made over and over again.I don’t know about you but I’m working at taking all those daily irritations, disagreements, judgments and condemnations a lot more seriously as they stand not only between me and my forgiveness but in the larger picture between me and my salvation.As we saw in the life of Joseph, God is in control. We don’t have to fight our own battles or try to control others. In the words of Genesis 50:20, what is meant by others for harm God can turn around for our good.The only way the world is going to see Jesus in us is as we become more Christ like and go against our human nature and forgive one another. We choose to forgive.Shalom……..Marvin and DianaThanks to Microsoft Clip Art for use of the graphic.[...]
2007-09-29T20:44:36.358-07:00In today’s society it’s getting harder and harder to love. People are so selfish and self-centered that it’s really hard not to fall into the grumbling and complaining trap of the world.I Corinthians 14:1 (NLT) tells us we are to “Let love be your highest goal.” I don’t know about you, but some of the people I run into during the course of a day are a long way from moving me to love. Think about it. There’s rush hour traffic, lines at the supermarket, sporting events, concerts, and more.I Corinthians 13:13 says, “Three things will last forever -faith, hope, and love- and the greatest of these is love.” The whole chapter dwells on the fact that if we don’t love others we are nothing and have gained nothing even from our efforts to do humanitarian works. Ouch!!In Matthew 22:34-40, we see the Sadducees trying to trap Jesus with the question of what the most important commandment was in the law of Moses, which of course is to love the Lord your God. But then Jesus goes on to say that “…..the second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.”After Jesus came and fulfilled the law, He said in Matthew 7:12 that “…the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” is to love our neighbor as ourselves, and yet that is the greatest stumbling block in today’s society. We not only don’t like our neighbors, we’re not even civil to them. More to the point, we won’t even take the time to get to know them.Look around in rush hour traffic at how many people are loving their neighbors. The worst of it is that the church is just as bad inside its own walls. We pick each other to pieces instead of restoring one another in love. I John 4:21 says, “Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters”. We need to take a serious look at how we treat people. We are all precious in God’s sight, and people should be able to tell us apart from the world just by our love walk.We are not to think of ourselves more highly than others. We’re not only to watch for the needs of others, but we are to answer those needs. The world may never know God without first seeing His love in us. As the scriptures say, what good is it to see a need and say go and be blessed without doing anything about it?Attitude is everything! We don’t have to embrace everyone as best friends but we need to learn to love people with the same love we receive ourselves from God. How are we going to do this? I think first of all we should pray thanking God for His love for us and ask Him to put people in our path that need His love and show us how to love them.Psychologists say if we don’t feel loved and love ourselves in a balanced way that chances are we can’t or won’t love others. If we don’t already understand and feel God’s love for us, we should press in and come to that level of intimacy with Him for our own sakes as well as the sake of others.The next thing we might look at is to show ourselves to be friendly. The old adage that you have to be a friend to have a friend is true. If you’re not friendly to people, no one will even want to be around you much less care what kind of qualities you may have. Having great compassion for others also helps to move us into a loving spirit. Jesus was a good example of showing compassion.Why should we love the unlovely and unlovable? Luke 6:32 says, “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!” Verse 33 goes on to say, “And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!” Verse 36 says, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”Don’t we need to treat people on an equal basis with ourselves? John 13:35 says, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” A g[...]
2007-09-29T19:54:32.364-07:00Time can really get away from us can't it? I’ve missed writing these articles for our Web log, but I’ve been waiting on the Holy Spirit to give me something as He always has……and He has not. At least I haven’t heard it if He has.Ah hah!!! That may be the problem!! We do tend to get distracted with every day life at times don’t we?!! In times past the Holy Spirit would often wake me up early in the morning and I would sit down and try to keep up with Him writing down what I heard Him say to me or about some topic He wanted me to write about.This morning I was just looking over the Web log and saw that we’ve only done two articles this entire year. That made me very sad. I know the Lord has a lot more to tell you and me than that, so it must be that I have been way too distracted or not listening, and that makes me feel bad!Of course I have my share of excuses, don’t we all? We’ve been preparing some real estate for sale (5 hours driving distance from here), getting the huge garage sale together, hauling, coordinating, separating, marking, and of course we’ve been attending functions during the months of April and May centered around our son getting married (4 hours driving distance from here), we’ve been dealing with some health issues, researching some investments, preparing documents and policies for board meetings, signing papers, I’ve been spear heading a database rewrite at work, we’ve been doing prison ministry, I’ve been learning new songs and lyrics, studying, we’ve been praying for our tiny new premature granddaughter and trying to encourage her parents, etc! Just like you, I can come up with a bunch of excuses!!I guess I’ll have to face the fact that my priorities seem to be in great need of readjusting. It’s not that I haven’t spent time with the Lord. He’s my favorite lunch companion parked down by Town Lake eating and reading the Word, but I see now that lately I’ve just been a big sponge soaking it all up for me and not giving anything back. Don’t get me wrong, I understand there are times in our lives when we need to be taken care of ourselves, but I certainly didn’t realize how quickly time can get away from us in the short time left to get our work done for the Lord.There have been a lot of topics I’ve thought about that would be good to share with you, but I haven’t really felt led by the Holy Spirit to write about them. Things like the fact that Jesus not only died to save us from our sins but also to deliver us from our diseases, and how important it is for our health and well being to partake of communion regularly. Things like we are to speak out loud to our circumstances to get them lined up with the Word of God and set into motion!! Things like how important it is to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of the Jewish people, and how much God really is interested in us as a person with a specific plan for our lives.In short, I thank God that He is an ever present help to me and to you when we need his nurturing, but I also realize more than ever that time is short and we all need to be able to get the work done that He has for us to do.Father, help us not to be distracted by the events of the day. Help us to keep our priorities in order with you first always! Help us think of others more often than we do ourselves, and pour out your Holy Spirit afresh on us to minister to others. Shalom---Diana and MarvinThanks to Microsoft Clip Art for use of the graphic.[...]
2007-01-15T21:32:57.496-08:00Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. Nothing! Not all Marvin’s wonderful stories about the victories in Jesus Christ, not the scriptures I had read, not the time spent in prayer and preparation, not the testimonies of others, not even various ministry newsletters I had read.Nothing had truly prepared me for the overwhelming compassion and mercy I felt when Marvin and I held our first concert and ministering event together at a nearby state jail.Marvin was in the prison ministry for many years and at one time had been to almost every prison in Texas, some in Oklahoma, and even Angola in Louisiana. He’s told me story after story of how God touched the lives of those that were incarcerated, how countless souls were won and of the lives that were changed forever.Anyone that knows Marvin knows he is a very unique story teller. He can take events from every day life and spin them into a ‘yarn’, mixing it with just the right amount of scriptures, and the proper dose of the Holy Spirit’s anointing. People say he’s a modern-day ‘parable’ preacher. I say it’s his God-given gift.All I know is as he preaches in the jails and prisons it doesn’t matter if it’s a group of 20 or 200, he holds their attention as he relates God’s love to them and what they must do to be saved or to get back on track. What I didn’t know and what I wasn’t prepared for was the overwhelming compassion I would feel.I also realized that even though they were in jail, the ones that were Christian’s had a job to do themselves ‘inside’. They needed to share the Word with the unsaved and to encourage other Christians to increase their faith. Now don’t go getting all up on your high horse. Yes there are Christian’s in prison. They made mistakes just like we make mistakes and we ALL can be forgiven and go on with our lives. You know, the Bible speaks a lot about every situation we face in our lives even about being imprisoned. I began to realize that there but for the grace of God go you or I.Hebrews 13:3 (NLT) says you should, “Remember those in prisons as if you were there yourself.” Jesus did some of His greatest works because of His compassion and as I read the scriptures I began to see that compassion is one of the Holy Spirit’s most powerful tools for healing, for comfort, and for restoration of our lives back to wholeness.What did we see as we ministered to these men from all walks of life? We saw men that wept and were broken. Men that had chosen a wrong path, men that had probably endured abuse in their lives. You know….real men, with real emotions and a God shaped hole in their lives that only a touch from Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit would fill.At this particular meeting of around 200 people, we noticed there were two men that appeared to be quietly talking way at the back of the room. At a second glance we realized that one man was interpreting for the other. At the end of the service the man needing the interpreter responded to the invitation and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.Marvin welcomes each person at the door when they arrive and then shakes each of their hands as they leave. One man told Marvin this was the first service he’d ever been to that he hadn’t watched the clock all evening long. Another man said he was so grateful that we had spent some time with them, and many others wanted to know when we could come back.I am so grateful and so thankful to of had this opportunity to share Jesus Christ with those men. I pray that above every song I sang and above every story Marvin told that the Holy Spirit’s anointing poured out His compassion, His mercy, and the understanding of Jesus Christ Himself on the men we were fortunate enough to share God’s Word with.We count it a privilege and an [...]
2006-12-26T16:26:42.580-08:00What a wonderful Christmas Marvin and I had!!! Thanks to a generous check to the ministry and a donation of some colorful toboggans handmade with love, we were again able to take gifts to 25 street people early on Christmas morning. The packages were grander than ever and each one receiving the gift was blessed and so excited!Because of the generous donations, our ministry was able to give each person among other things a blanket, towel, t-shirt, socks, toboggan, gloves, toothbrush, tooth paste, deodorant, lotion, razor, shaving cream, apple, orange, bottle of water, candy, gum, writing pens, a pen light, candy cane, rain poncho, and a witnessing brochure.There are many stories I could share with you about that morning but I’ll only share a few. We did our shopping early the week before Christmas. People would stop and look at us filling up three baskets full of blankets, t-shirts, socks and other goodies. They would come up to us asking questions about our purchases and we were able to tell them about God’s goodness.After several evenings of preparation, we got up at 5am on Christmas morning. It was cold, windy, and even though it had been raining for a couple of days it stopped long enough, praise the Lord for us to load the truck with gifts, and OH what a load!!!! We absolutely could not have placed another thing in the truck anywhere. Every nook and cranny in the entire truck including under the flat covered bed was completely full.We started out on our journey a little after 6am and it was raining again. We had been praying for several weeks that God would hand pick the persons that were to receive these gifts and put them in our path on Christmas day. We went to all the underpasses, corners, thicket areas, and other places where we knew people stayed but there was not a soul to be found.Isn’t it funny how quick the evil one steps in to say how all this effort was for nothing? We drove around for about an hour and then went by the shelter downtown and there they were. The shelter was serving hot coffee and the line was endless of people trying to get in out of the rain and the cold.Because there were so many people there and we only had 25 gifts we decided the best thing for us to do was to go back home until mid-morning and give it another try. On our way home we spotted one man in a sleeping bag up under an overpass. We stopped and without approaching him yelled Merry Christmas but he never responded. We honked the horn but there was so much noise from all the traffic under the overpass that he never looked up so we came on home.We decided to start out again about 10am and by that time it had stopped raining but it was really cold and the wind was really blowing hard. Satan tried one more time to discourage us……the left front tire was totally flat!!! Oh no….not on Christmas morning!!! Marvin put in a can of that stuff to fix a flat and aired it up with an electric compressor enough so we could get to a service station for more air. Thank the Lord the tire stayed aired up because there was NO way we could have put all that stuff in the car!Off we went to see who the Lord had selected to receive these gifts. It was awesome to see the looks on their faces! Many times we would spot someone and have to drive down to the next interstate exit and back again in order to get to them. We parked in some of the oddest places to be able to get near the people that we saw.There was one over hang up under an interstate turn around where six men lived. Marvin honked his horn and when they came to edge and looked down at us he hollered Merry Christmas! They came running down the ramp to the truck, shook Marvin’s hand and expressed their appreciation. One of the men was a bit older than the rest and he finally ambled his [...]
2006-12-21T11:58:16.570-08:00I am still overwhelmed with God’s power, love and glory as I try to give this account to you of how one man’s life was spared and the countless lives that were touched in addition to Marvin and me.Of course for privacy purposes, we won’t use any names but I want to tell you about God’s love and power as it was displayed to us just this past week.We were making plans for our annual family reunion. What was to be a family celebration turned into a family tragedy that ended up glorifying the most high God.Marvin had been working for a couple of days preparing his famous family recipe beans and potato salad. I was working on Friday when Marvin called to say that a routine test for one of our family members had indicated immediate open heart surgery.It was one of those times when your life flashes before you and totally turns your world upside down. All of a sudden we were leaving right now for the Texas Panhandle instead of the next morning, and all the food that had taken hours of preparation was left in the refrigerator as we scrambled to get our things together to make the 10+ hour drive in support of our family members.I have to say it was scary and we literally prayed out loud for at least 8 or more of those 10 hours on the road. We arrived at the hospital after midnight. Eventually we were all ordered to bed by the patient to rest before the morning surgery.The next morning was stressful and many, many prayers were going up during the surgery. The surgery was shorter than anticipated and the doctor told us the triple bypass was a success, and the patient was resting comfortably.We started praising the Lord and thanking him for his watch and care through the surgery. It was hard to see him hooked up to all those gadgets in CCU following the surgery.Several people stayed at the hospital over night and some of us went to get some rest after a stressful day of surgery. Little did we know this was the last rest we’d have for several days as God led us through a battle against Satan himself for the very life of our loved one.Tears come to my eyes just recalling God’s goodness and faithfulness, and the Spirit’s direction in the warfare for his very life. Late that evening we got a call that his heart had stopped and we should all come quickly. I estimate there were around 20 or so family members. For the next four or five days it was war around there, literally.We had prayer meetings in the CCU waiting room, we had other families join us in prayer, we saw miracle, after miracle, after miracle as Satan threw every fiery dart he could find to take away our loved one’s life.We heard bad reports like his heart had stopped, like the other side of the heart was damaged in surgery due to a possible heart attack, like he only had a 50% chance of making it, like as the surgeon said, "I've called every hospital and surgeon I know, and there's no one else to call". Someone in our family spoke out and said that we had already made a call to God and he was still on the line. We heard that he had possible brain damage and may not be able to wake up. We heard he was not a candidate for an artificial heart or heart transplant at this time.Every bad report you can think of came against us including, he’ll have to under go extensive rehabilitation, BUT God was faithful!!!!!!!!!!!All I can say is that prayer works!!! It changed the life of everyone there forever! Satan met us at every turn and the Spirit showed us how to fight. We used prayer, praying in the Spirit, reading and standing on God’s Word, praise, worship, communion, thanksgiving, you name it we fired it back under the orchestration of the Holy Spirit.I can’t tell you how exhausting it was to have a new fight at [...]
2006-08-25T20:12:21.733-07:00John 14:6 (NLT), "Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.""I like to look at other ministry Web sites from time to time and noticed that one site featured the Plan of Salvation.The Holy Spirit began laying on my heart that Christians may not be the only ones checking out this Web site, and that for some this may be the only opportunity they'll ever have to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. That was a sobering thought to realize we need to be ready with an answer (even on a Web site) for the hope that lies within us.Marvin told me about the ole time Plan of Salvation, more fondly referred to by some as Roman's Road, so we'll be sharing that with you today. Perhaps you'd like to print it out and put a copy in your Bible as a handy reference or even to give away.May the Lord bless you and keep you. May his face shine upon you and give you peace.Shalom...............Diana & MarvinThanks to MinistryClipArt.com as always for the use of this graphic.A Plan For Salvation (New Living Translation)We need to be saved because:1. Romans 5:12.......Inception of Sin"When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned."2. Romans 6:23......Wages of Sin"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."3. Romans 3:23......All have sinned"For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard."4. II Peter 3:9......None Should Perish"The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent."5. John 3:16......He Gave His Son"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."6. John 3:5,6......Must Be Born Again"Jesus replied, "The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven.""7. Romans 10:9......Confession of Faith"For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."Pray this prayer out loud:Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you to forgive me of all my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe in my heart, and I confess with my mouth that you are the Son of God, that you died for my sins and that you rose from the dead and sit at the right hand of God, the Father. I ask you to come into my heart and to be my Lord and Savior. I surrender my life to you, and ask you to make me all you want me to be. I receive you now as my Lord and Savior, and I thank you for saving my soul. In Jesus' name, Amen.Now that you're saved:1. Ephesians 2:8,9......Saved By Grace"God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this, it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us boast about it."2. Hebrews 8:12 & 10:17......Sins Forgotten"And I will forgive their wrongdoings, and I will never again remember their sins." "Then he adds, "I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds."3. I John 4:13-15......He Is In Us"And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God."4. II Corinthians 5:17......New Creature"What this m[...]
2006-06-20T04:28:40.143-07:00(image) Habakkuk 2:3 says, “But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” (NLV)
2006-05-16T05:11:40.726-07:00(image) “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” – Genesis 8:22 (NIV)
2006-04-13T20:59:19.966-07:00(image) "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2006-12-21T11:42:52.366-08:00Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint." (KJV)We had so much interest last month about eagles as they relate to Christians that we decided to share a little more with you.If we want to be an Eagle Christian for God then some of us are probably going to have to choose other friends. Some of you may be spending way too much time with people that totally suck the life out of you without depositing anything good in return. You have to find balance and it's time to come up higher.What you think about yourself is extremely important. You have so much potential. Every single one of you are special but so many never reach their potential because they never get the revelation of what they can be in Christ Jesus. We don't need to look at what we can't do, we need to look at what God can do. God is not looking for ability he is looking for availability.God uses ordinary people. Don't count yourself out. Know that you're an eagle. God has a place for you and with God nothing is impossible. Eagles have to be free. Listen to what happens to them in captivity. It changes their entire personality and totally ruins them because they were never meant to be caged. Eagles are supposed to be free as Christ sets us free. They are not supposed to be manipulated or controlled by fear.Eagles in captivity stop cleaning themselves, lose their aggression and take on a lazy, passive, depressed attitude. They begin to eat dead, rotten meat when ordinarily it's fresh. It's a down hill decent when they're placed in captivity. Some of us are in captivity. Captives to what other people think. Men pleasers rather than God pleasers. God wants to open your cage and invite you to soar. Eagles have to be eagles.Eagles love to eat fish, particularly salmon, but they always chose the ones that are still somewhat alive. Our mental and emotional health is affected by what we eat both physically and spiritually. It's amazing what you can find out about someone's character by listening to them. You can figure out real quick if someone is feeding you live stuff or dead stuff, and we need to get sharp enough to know the difference.When an eagle gets older his talons are not as sharp as they once were and calcifications have formed on his beak. He actually looks ready for the old folk's home and feels that way too. What does he do? He flies to the 'high place'. He gets as close to the sun as he can possibly get up in the rocks, and begins to pluck out all of his feathers, one by one. A sizeable eagle can have as many as 7,000 feathers, so he has to stick with the program for a long while and I'm sure it's quite painful. He is not as concerned with the pain as he is the progress. Some of us get overly concerned with pain and never make progress.After the eagle gets all the feathers out, try to imagine what he would look like now, then he seeks a cool refreshing stream to wash in. He has caked on mud and dirt. He gets in a cool spring and washes off all the parasites and lice. This is now an eagle renews and refreshes himself. Fresh and clean he stands in the sun and just starts to wait. It takes 40 days for the feathers to grow back. During this process they start rubbing their talons and beaks on the 'rock' to sharpen them. We have to go to our rock to get freshened again and again.Every person has an eagle in them if they're born again. Deep inside we have the markings of an eagle. The eagle is fiercely devoted an[...]
2006-12-21T11:37:50.110-08:00Isn't he a beautiful, strong specimen? Can't you feel his strength and feel the boldness of his character and commitment?"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint".....Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)You know if we want to take that literally, the world is full of tired people, and we need to learn to put our hope in God to let him teach us how to mount up as eagles.The eagle is used in the Bible as a simile. We can learn some spiritual parallels from the physical life of the eagle. God uses the eagle as an example, so we'd better find out what eagles are like, how they live, and what we can learn from them.There are eagle Christians and they are bold, strong, and fiercely devoted. The commitment of the eagle is unbelievable and we also need deeper levels of commitment. The eagle is a reliable mate and a devoted parent. God has chosen to liken us to the eagle to motivate us to strive to reach our potential in life. A bird that's confident enough to stand alone against the storms of life and to spread it's wings to soar high above the clouds of destruction.The eagle dwells on the 'rock' in the 'high places' of the earth. It's time to come up higher.The eagle's strength is known to be in its diet. Eagles don't eat anything dead. We eat spiritually the same as we do physically. If you feed on the wrong things spiritually, it's going to prevent you from being strong and you'll never soar like the eagle.They build their nests with rocks under them and behind them. If an eagle accidentally gets hold of diseased meat, he goes way up into the mountains. The eagle literally spreads himself out on the rock and lays in the sun until it draws all the poisons out of his body. Can you see that in a spiritual sense? When we get into trouble we don't have to go around trying to clean ourselves up, we just need to head to the high places, get on the rock and lie before the Son of God until His presence draws out all of the poisons.God has a purpose for your life and he wants you to soar with the eagles. The eagle loves adversity and they have absolutely no fear of it at all! In order to display the character of Jesus Christ during adversity, we have to discipline ourselves. The eagle can sense a storm even before it sees one. It never runs for cover but rather uses the storm to lift him up to a higher place. When they see the storm they don't think survive, they think overcome. We have to make up our minds that we are eagle Christians, learn how to soar, and learn not to be afraid of adversity.There are two things the eagle has to learn to deal with the storm and the serpent, but does it in two different ways. They embrace the storms of life but fight the serpent!When two eagles begin to build their nest, they bring in very large tree branches about 4" by 6' long, and lay a very solid foundation. An eagle's nest can weigh as much as 2 tons. They can be as much as 20' deep and 8 - 10' wide. We need to lay a solid foundation in our lives. We want to soar but we don't want to have to go through anything. For some of us God is pushing us out of the nest and we're trying to figure out what in the world is going on. It's time to soar!!!The eagle also practices a daily preparation that Christians should imitate called preening. It restores his feathers from yesterday and takes him a minimum of an hour every day. We also need to be preened and cleaned and waterproofed believers to get through th[...]
2005-12-24T11:24:10.003-08:00Directions - Mix the following:
2006-12-21T11:33:38.136-08:00Did you realize that as Christians we should have a heart for Israel?One thing was apparent to me about Marvin when we first met and that was his love for Israel and the Jewish people.Being raised in a traditional Christian church, I know the Jews are God's chosen people and that Israel is dear to God's own heart, but until I began studying and praying with Marvin, I never realized the depth and the meaning of it all.Some of the Jewish customs and feasts have blessings that can enrich our lives deeply, like the pronouncement of blessings every morning by Marvin over me and our family.You can't imagine how humbled and how special it makes me feel when the man that I love prays over me every morning for favor, protection, success and blessings to be mine that day.There are many benefits for the believer when we realize that God truly has a heart for Israel. He promises to bless every believer who blesses Israel. (Ps 122:6b NKJV)Genesis 12:3 reminds us concerning Israel that He, ".....will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you....."Even the apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:16 that it's, "...for the Jew first and also for the Greek." He further says in Romans 10:1, "Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved."Zechariah 10 talks about the restoration of Israel and in verse 9 tells of their return some day to their land.God goes on to remind us, saying that Israel's rejection is not final (Rms 11:29), that His plan for Israel and the Jewish people is irrevocable and can not be changed, which quickly strikes down the 'replacement theology' taught by many main stream denominations today.As Christians, we should feel honored that according to Romans 11:25, "....blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." Praise be to God that he loves us as well!!!!God speaks of a new covenant with Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and says he will put his law in their minds and write it on their hearts, and will remember their sin no more.The one thing I hope you'll go away with today having read this is to realize that we as Christians have a responsibility to pray for the salvation of Israel (Rms 10:1) and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6a).Shalom, Diana and Marvin[...]
2005-10-30T16:07:47.606-08:00It was just business as usual, another day, another dollar so to speak. Two more hours til closing time at the home improvement store where Marvin works.It's extraordinary the way God sends people Marvin's way that need prayer, encouragement, help in some way, even salvation or healing. After all, it is only a job you might be tempted to think, but we have found that God places us where we can do the most for Him and of course He's always looking for ways to bless us as well.If we all look around, no matter where we work God puts people in our paths every single day that need His love, care, and understanding.The physically handicapped are the people that tug hardest on Marvin's compassion. He often finds himself in the midst of helping customers, wandering up and down the aisles doing his work, silently praying for the physical and spiritual healing of unsuspecting customers, one right after another through the course of a days work.Ahhhhhhh, what about the door bell you ask?As I was saying, it was about two more hours until closing time and about four more hours before all the work was finished and Marvin could start home.A woman wandered into his electrical department and was inquiring about the remote door bell button she was holding that wasn't working anymore. She was concerned about whether she needed a new one or if this one just needed batteries or something.After examining the item, Marvin told her it probably just needed new batteries and got them for her. The back of the remote door bell was missing and she asked about putting tape on it to hold it together. Marvin explained to her that the back was probably still mounted on the wall at her house.She began to tell Marvin about how her son was getting more and more ill, having been diagnosed with AIDS and that they placed the door bell in his bedroom so he could let them know when he needed something.She said that he was so ill now that he could no longer raise up to push the button so she really needed it where he could just hold it or lay it by the bed side in case he needed to get their attention.Marvin looked around his work area and found a heavy plastic sleeve that the door bell perfectly slid into. He cut out just enough of the plastic on the front for the button to push through.She was so pleased and so grateful and as she turned to leave, the Holy Spirit prompted Marvin to call out to her. He asked her if she would like for him to pray with her about her son and she said yes.Marvin and I always carry anointing oil with us, so he pulled out the little vial of oil, anointed the door bell button and prayed that every time the young man had to ring the door bell that God would meet his every need.Isn't it wonderful that God wants to help us no matter who we are or where we are in our lives? Isn't it wonderful that no matter what circumstances we're in that there is hope through Jesus Christ our Lord? Isn't it awesome that the Holy Spirit comforts and nudges us when He needs a vessel to do the Lord's work?Look around your place of business. What are the opportunities presented before you each and every day? Thank you Lord that we can be used by you to be an encourager and a blessing to others.....even by way of a simple thing like a door bell. Shalom, Marvin and Diana[...]