Rich Mullins…

Words written long ago by the late great Rich Mullins. And still true.

These Days

There’s a song down in my heart, nobody there to sing it
Like a vision asleep in the dark, with no one around to dream it
We just all sit back and watch all that we love sinking away

When we got to where we was going, we forgot just where it was
The next thing that you know is, all we found was, we was lost
And the blame, oh, the blame comes down on all of us, these days

And these days, we got nothing left to find
These days, oh, it’s the blind leading the blind
And these days, I need more than just a line about Jesus
Oh, I need to see His love, these days

We got sophistication in the wake of the fall
Now we got this civilization and it’s got us all involved, in nothing
Oh, nothing at all but atomic waste

And we got too many people, who are too easily disposed of
Well, you can make it all legal, but in the end you know that it ain’t right
You were just doing your job and your job did you in, these days

And these days, we got nothing left to find
And these days, oh, it’s the blind leading the blind
And these days, I need more than just a line about Jesus
Oh, I need to see His love, these days

And these days, I need more than just a line about Jesus
Oh, I need to see His love, these days

Songwriters
Mullins Richard W; Hall Pamela Ann

ead more: Rich Mullins – These Days Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Check out this You Tube Video.

 

Deep Waters? Trust in Jesus…

beach6There are times when my Christian walk feels like I am out in the middle of the ocean caught in a tumultuous storm, no boat, no floating device, just my body tossed to and fro by thrashing winds, waves crashing in on me, rain and thunder so loud I can’t even hear the sound of my own screams for help. But my God, He is so awesome! He opens my eyes and allows me to see His hand at work in my life-and He gives me peace. And the feeling passes. A momentary lapse of faith that comes when I focus on the circumstances in my life, and on my inability to change them… rather than trusting in the Living God… that He is working all things out for His purpose. It is not just a platitude. God really is working in the lives of those He has chosen, in those He knows by name. When I consider that God knows me and calls me by name…I am left speechless and in total awe that the Living God thinks about me all day long. Who am I, that the Living God would give me so much thought? I am no one special, but I am His child. I am the child of the King and if you are so blessed to be a child of the King…Praise God! Pity that Christian that sees a blessing only in material things, but rejoice with the one that finds contentment in the things of God.

There are many that call themselves Christians that He will turn away. The world mocks us because it refuses to believe in God, and rejects the love and salvation of Jesus. The things of God are foolishness to those that perish. I pray for those He calls by name, because…gosh…to be like Jesus and love like Jesus is not easy…but He never leaves us alone…Praise God!

Rich Mullins sang long ago…these lyrics…song titled “Elijah”

The Jordan is waiting for me to cross through
My heart is aging I can tell
So Lord, I’m begging
For one last favor from You
Here’s my heart take it where You will

This life has shown me how we’re mended
And how we’re torn
How it’s okay to be lonely as long as you’re free
Sometimes my ground was stoney
And sometimes covered up with thorns
And only You could make it what it had to be
And now that it’s done
Well, if they dressed me like a pauper
Or if they dined me like a prince
If they lay me with my fathers
Or if my ashes scatter on the wind
I don’t care…

This is one of my favorite Rich Mullins songs…Elijah.

 

The Voice of Truth…is Heaven for Real?

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A couple of years ago my two-year old grandson was sick with vomiting, fever and just feeling pretty bad. At some point, he began to look bad. His eyes were sunken in and his color was a bit off. It happens when you have stuff coming out both ends. Anyway, my daughter and I were keeping a close eye on him, believing that it was nothing more than a stomach virus. Well, it was late one evening, after about three days of illness that my daughter was in her room, sitting on her bed and just holding him. It was an ominous sight that to this day I cannot forget. My daughter, already tired herself, was holding my grandson. His little body laid almost draped over her, almost lifeless. She was worried and had called me in to check him out, not sure what to do for him. I cannot tell you the fear that came over me upon seeing his lifeless little body. I told my daughter that we had to get him to the emergency room, asap. We did not call EMS. We just got in the car and sped to the Children’s ER which was about twenty minutes away. When we got to the ER, of course they took him right back in. ER doctors immediately started running tests and such. As it turned out he had acute appendicitis and by God’s grace, we got him medical help in time. The doctors performed an emergency appendectomy and he was going to be alright. The doctors told my daughter that if we had waited any longer his appendix would have ruptured and things would have been worse. Praise God. God is so good.

So, I just finished watching the movie Heaven is for real. This movie is about a little boy that goes to heaven during emergency surgery. It’s a touching story based on real life. The reason I shared this story about my grandson is because the little boy in the movie had his appendix rupture and he nearly died. So the experience hit close to home. I don’t want to spoil the movie for those that have not seen it yet, but as I watched as the father struggled with his own faith, the mom not sure how to help, and the Christian community coming together to pray and support that also had a difficult time accepting and believing this little boy’s experience…I found myself… not questioning the validity of the boy’s experience, but just having a heck of time deciding whether to believe or not believe that God would reveal Himself through this little boy. There have always been individuals that have reported near-death experiences, some pleasant, others not so pleasant and most of us have some doubt about the validity of such experiences.

So, the little boy shares with his father his varied experiences while visiting heaven. His mother just seems to pass it off as a dream based on past experiences, and exposure to the things of God. Totally, nonspiritual, she was being a mom. Well, the movie goes on and later on, the boy shares something with mom that she knows he could not possibly know and she too begins to believe in his outrageous tale. After a while, typical… the critics come out, the supports start questioning the father’s behavior and such. In the end, everyone must make their own choice.

As I watched, I thought…how many Christian genuinely believe that Heaven is a real place and that Jesus is real and that we are not alone in this universe? How many believers can accept Jesus as a brother, father? How many Christian women would accept Jesus as their husband? Not just in a spiritual sense but like the Catholic nuns that wear a wedding band to signify their marriage to Him (I guess they still do that???).

Today, as I was skimming Yahoo news, I read that Ann B. Davis (of the Brady Bunch) died yesterday, right here in my hometown. It was reported that she had lived here, 18 years in a “Christian community”. I was like…what? She lived in San Antonio? What Christian community? I don’t know of any such here…that’s just the way it was reported.

Davis’s death and my grandson’s experience raised some questions for me. I have read of other near death experiences, but never watched any in film. This particular film struck a chord with me because of my grandson. Also, because of the mom’s nonchalant attitude at the start of it all…but more because God had a message of love and comfort to a world stricken with grieve and doubt, cynicism and just pure hate for the things of God. The little boy had a message for his mom, but also to rest of the us (I won’t spoil the movie). Reading about this “Christian community” that I knew nothing about also raised concerns about what “we” as Christians are doing to reach the lost with the love of God. Are we just sitting pretty somewhere, content in our own righteous living, unnoticed?

Well, I thought…the world wants us to believe that God, that Heaven and hell for that matter exists only in our finite minds. If we, as humans have retained anything it’s that human knowledge, unfettered, can be a dangerous thing. Not because knowledge is always a dangerous thing, but because the human chooses to believe in “survival of the fittest” as an end goal rather than on the Creator of the man and His destiny for each one of us.  You can fill in the blanks. History is filled with plenty of examples.

I just wonder, …as believers, can we distinguish the voice of truth from all the voices in our head? False teachings, false teachers, and false prophets grace our churches at every corner and people blindly enter, and our “Christian communities” sit by unnoticed. The biggest problem we face is that every church pastor, preacher, teacher, etc. believes they are preaching truth.

In this last hour…God has a message for us. How many of us are listening? Heaven is real. And if heaven is real…

I see Dead People!

“I see dead people.” said the little boy. The 1999 movie, The Sixth Sense, sent chills up my back when I figured out the plot to the movie…the psychologist was dead, but he did not know it. The boy did not like the fact that he could see dead people. Who could blame him?  In the movie, I don’t recall if it was some kind of special, spiritual gift that the little boy possessed that gave him the ability to see dead people, but I imagine it would be pretty creepy.

Imagine, as Christian believers, we walk among the spiritually dead all our lives and rarely do they creep us out. If anything we enjoy their company. However, the Lord said He came to separate.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Mat. 10:34-39

He was clear when he said “we were in the world, but we are not of this world.” And that we cannot separate ourselves from the world, but we are to steer clear of other “believers” who mock God with their contradictory lifestyles and we all know one or two Christians that cuss like sailors, are having an affair, or are just mean… seriously lacking in God’s love and compassion. As fellow Christians, however, we may simply pray for them, rather than confronting them about their unchristian lifestyle. No one wants to judge and no one wants to be accused of being judgmental or self-righteous.

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Consider, the Febreze commercial, the participants are blinded folded and placed in filthy rooms that are sprayed with a pleasant aroma that completely eliminates bad odors. Well, when their blindfold is removed they are grossed out by the surroundings, the mess, the filth in which they have been standing, or sitting. I would too.

These are pictures of our spiritual walk. Some of us walk among the living, but we are really dead and don’t realize it. Others are blinded to the mess surrounding them, because it smells so good…it can’t be bad. The adulterous Christian feels no remorse, no shame in his/her behavior, because it feels good. How can God be against that?

Thus, when the truth is revealed, we have no choice but to accept the truth, sadly some of us still refuse to heed. As Christians, however, we must…how does the song go…

dark skies
Only the living God can penetrate the darkness.

“…I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.” We need to always be in check with the things of God. If the Lord is merciful enough to show us our true spiritual state, thank God for His love and faithfulness. God loves us and wants nothing less than for us to be right with Him. In these last days, deception is everywhere. Sure, we have always had deception, but the Lord warned us it would get worse as the time drew near. We live in the “if it feels good, just do it!” generation.

We cannot separate ourselves from the dead, as I mentioned they are always among us. However, when we gain spiritual truth, and subsequently some outside force attempts to twist that truth…we need to make sure whatever voice we choose to hear aligns with the truth of God. Test the spirits.

Be Blessed.

Sometimes my Christian walk looks like this..

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But then God always has a way out…and He shows me things that I can’t even fathom…why? I wonder. 

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Our walk with Christ should be evidenced by our daily lives. Our daily lives should reflect Christ’s influence, His love, His grace and His mercy. We should be pleading with those around us for We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20. We don’t do that…instead we rely on empty platitudes to reach the lost, to comfort the hurting, well … at least we try, or so we convince ourselves. Sometimes we don’t even do that preferring to separate ourselves from anyone not walking as we walk. 

In these last days, it does not suffice to merely quote scripture…we know what the Bible says about that. We serve a living God and yet the evidence of that is minuscule. Have mercy on us, my Lord. 

Self-control – In me I trust

It is about 2 am in the wee hours of the morning. I finally finished reading the first five books of the Bible and what a revelation it was. I think the most resounding revelation, for me, was that the God of the Old Testament, the God that is criticized for initiating so much violence against humanity is the same God that gave His only Son as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind, His creation. God in all His glory took responsibility for His creation.  He gave us the first look at the fierceness and compassion capable in parenting. Yes, to God be the glory.

As sinful creatures we have an innate desire to be in control, to provide for our own needs through our own abilities. Blind trust is difficult, especially when trusting in God whom we cannot see, feel, or touch. Jesus came to do the will of the Father. He was obedient to the cross. Self-control was never an issue, because all He considered was the will of the Father.

Our first challenge as believers is giving up our need for control. The flesh wants it, if not demands it. Others alike expect you to take control of your life, your desires, if not to embrace your desires, and your walk with God. We believe there is always a degree of control that we must have, but I don’t think that’s how God meant it. He told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of good and evil, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” this implies obedience, not self-control. For every action there is a consequence. God was always testing His people to see if they would obey Him. We obey His commands out of fear and reverence, respect and yes even habit.

This is what the Lord shared with me, so when I finished writing everything down I went back to bed.

In the morning I awoke and the message continued.

As infants and children we learn self-control. As newly born humans, it’s the flesh that drives our behavior until we learn obedience.

An infant that cries for food, for a diaper change, or feels ill and wants attention the babe knows no other way of communicating other than crying, this is the flesh demanding. When a baby takes its first step, it opens up a whole new world, and he wants to go everywhere. He takes a few steps here and there. He has no concept of danger. His little body wants to go. He fights any restraint. It is up to the parent to put up safety guards and establish limits to keep him mobile, yet safe.

A toddler has the worst of times because all he wants is his way. You hear people refer to these behaviors as the terrible two’s, but the child is learning obedience, patience, sharing, etc.. As we grow, we learn to bring the flesh under submission, we come to expect certain things, so the flesh learns not to be so demanding. The flesh no longer dictates because it knows that certain things will take place that satisfy its needs. The need for sustenance is a great example. we know that mom will fix breakfast, lunch and dinner.  As the flesh hungers, what we learn is patience, to wait. When we lack self-control we gorge ourselves while waiting for dinner, and then eat a complete meal.

Self-control we learn as children. Self-control is about behavior and when we have the mind of Christ, the mind of Christ only wants to do the will of the Father. Having the mind of Christ allows God to always be in control.

Self-control is carnal mindedness. It has to do with the self, I, me, my, the flesh, it’s desires, it is never satisfied.  From an early age, if basic needs are not met, if limitations are not set, the child never learns self-control. The flesh then goes into overdrive to satisfy its desires.

The mind of Christ is focused on the things of God. The flesh is put to death. We are to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We are to give the devil no ground. Surrender is not easy.