“The Quest”

Agape Quest
To read any single daily writing on “Agape Quest” one might find it seemingly fragmented and perhaps struggle to understand how each segment relates to the main point or purpose of Agape Quest. I will explain Agape Quest in a short statement along with a couple of brief definitions’ with the hope of helping the reader understand the overall objective of these writings.

Definition:
Agape: Divine Love, the Love Jesus displayed and taught in word and action. Agape is, a love that is above the normal human expression, above emotional love, above even the best form of human virtue in the area of caring, kindness, mercy, grace and devotion to others. Agape does not lessen the value of human love, it is simply more, Agape is God’s Love. Agape Quest is to search for and to attain the love of God, manifest in you and-or me, more and more.

Quest: Is a term used first in 14th century describing a adventurous journey of a chivalrous nature. A modern application a quest could be for a person or a group of people to commit to search for some illusive possession that seems more difficult to attain than most are willing to commit themselves to.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: a pursuit, or search, a chivalrous enterprise in medieval romance usually involving an adventurous journey

Cambridge Dictionary, a long search for something that is difficult to find, or an attempt to achieve something difficult:

Agape Quest is based on the commandments and promises of the Lord Jesus Christ to love as He loved, to seek and find, and to have faith in Him. To have faith in this: what He has commanded you and I to do, we can do! To believe we will be able to be transformed into persons that possess a higher form of love in us than is humanly possible. To trust in Him to send the Holy Spirit to help us in this quest and believe that all He has promised concerning this love and grace for us is possible.

To me Agape Quest is a lifelong journey to become more loving, more and more like my Savior Jesus! A quest to become all He has called me to be, and to attain His love in me in increasing measure. I go on this journey in order to become a more effective ambassador of Him to the world I live in.

I invite anyone who would, to come on this Agape Quest with me with one promise if you truly join me on this quest: God will change you forever and you will never be the same again, that every day will be an adventure that is beyond this world!

I pray even now that the Lord would help me in this endeavor, I pray that God will help me in every way possible to attain His love and live in it more and more. I pray in advance for God’s protection from the schemes of the enemy and for the Holy Spirits strong guidance in what I say and do. It is with the grace of God that I declare that this quest can only be achieved in His power and not of my flesh.

His Holy Word says: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zachariah 4:6) Oh come Holy Spirit come!

Romans 12: 2, 21 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Core Belief #1 of the Agape Quest;

An absolute resolve, commitment and confidence that God’s word is infallible in your call to love and the fact that love will never fail!

This may be a gateway life changing moment for anyone who would believe and commit to pursue living out Jesus’ command to Love (Agape). 100% commitment is the key in this quest! It is an essential ingredient for success with most things; though with commitment to the quest to live this Agape centered life 100% commitment is a non negotiable.

Total commitment to living the agape life is made of a fabric of a world changing potential with God’s promise of no possibility of failure! Two questions stand between the potential world changer before the quest begins:
1. Do you believe?
2. Are you 100% committed?

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses – only results.”
― Kenneth H. Blanchard

Agape Quest 9-4-13

To Love like God loves, means loving beyond human love with out finding fault with human love, all love is good love, yet God’s love is more! It is like the lyrics of the RR classic song You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

“I think that any love is good lovin – so I took what I could get!”
The truth is at the human level it is just like that! You are born and you learn about love from your family one way or the other, for better or for worst from your spouse, you take what they have to give. we do the best we can, and sometimes that works good and other times it plain hurts!

Although we have taken love and given love in ways that have failed in the past, God is always attempting to teach us to love at a higher level! We have all fallen short in this area, we have all been broken and have also caused some damage to the hearts of others! Be real for a change and admit it, I do, I admit that I have done love poorly in the past and been done poorly also! Can we start there at least? Just Real, No excuses, just truth in love baby!

So looking at the truth of brokenness and earnestly searching for a better way, why not listen to God instead a flawed human being like me or you? Why?

1. God is love, He is the expert and we need to “get our education from Him, He is the expert!”
2. Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith modeled the perfect Agape (love) life for us so we could see there is more to loving than meets the eye!
3. He left some instructions on how to love, what it looks like and what it is not! (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) The 8 ‘nots’ or warnings of how not to love are eye opening indicators that help us understand This: We need help in this quest!

God helps us to recognize that Jealousy is not love! So justify jealousy if you want, call it something else; however Love (Agape) is not jealous! So how does some flawed human being like me overcome jealous feelings and all the damage it causes to others? Like all of these ‘nots’ mentioned, to overcome these divine instructions, it don’t come easy, it is not even natural, it is supernatural, it is spiritual and we need His help to overcome the natural!

Love does not brag, it is not arrogant, it does not act unbecomingly! Wow, this reveals to me I have practiced some bad love to many in my life according to God’s standard! I have made a lot of excuses over the years and I am convicted in my spirit to love in a more becoming way. I need help! how about you?

Love does not seek its own, love seeks the object of their love! what does that kind of love look like? Jesus modeled for all of us to see was sacrificial love! His Love has no rights, His love lays down it’s life!

Love is not provoked, love does not take into account a wrong suffered! I grew up around people who were manipulators and just about provoked me into submitting to their will, and I am ashamed to say at some point I acted like that towards some! Although this type of intimation love is modeled as caring, it is not love! The guilt trip is not love, it is a perversion of the truth!

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth! My broken down old ways of revealing in sin and calling it love always caused damage and I must admit it, I also must admit I was damaged by it also!

It is like most of our rocking roll anthems of the 60s and seventies lured us into thinking, lust was equal to love and our own lame excuses that we were not hurting anyone by practicing this substandard brand of UN-truth.

God’s Spirit is always willing to lead us to a place of change, a place where we can rejoice in truth and begin to operate in love, God’s way! AGAPE! Commit to these journey, come on the Agape quest, learn a new way of love starting with what Love Is Not!

I agree with the song: “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” If you have not experienced love God’s way yet!

Agape quest 9-1-2013

I am reminded of many things when I look at this picture, but mostly about how little I knew about the things I was doing in leading my family and how great God was and is as He still leads me today to be courageous in my decisions to love and obey Him. I can confidently say this: I have been faithful to be the priest of my Family as the Lord told me to be!

This picture was taken 16 years ago as I was leading my family away from church as they had known it, and beginning a season of ministry to the down and outers. We did not have money, we did not have the backing of a large church, and we didn’t even have very many people who would take this next step with us in establishing a church! All we had with us was a handful of people from the community and some college students from Southeastern (+God). Essentially I was literally abandoning health and wealth gospel of middleclass America and taking a journey with God that would change my family forever. I am in awe of my Lord Jesus Christ this morning as I am reminded by His words, that loving Him and obeying Him are synonymous!

John 14:14-16 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—

There are too many things to mention about the next couple of years; however I will focus on one thing: Leadership lessons learned that have eternal implications. When I withdrew my kids from “church as they knew it” to serve the poorest people and place them in conditions most parents would not allow their kids to experience, it was not because I thought it would help them grow spiritually; although I believe it did in many ways! I did it for one major reason, simply to trust and obey God and with a healthy fear. Yes, I had fear that my decisions would affect them negatively; nevertheless I am glad I had enough faith that God would work out the things I feared as I loved and obeyed his leading.

God has been faithful to Linda and Me, He has held our sons in the palm of His hand all the days of their lives. Doing His work to the least of them has never harmed them one bit! My fears melted away over the years and those formative years in Lakeland were a blessing to my sons who are still hard working servants of the Lord. The love of God has been planted deep in their souls and faith and courage is an integral part of who they are. I can take little credit for things God does, all I can do is point towards Him and say to anyone who is trying to overcome doubt or fear in loving and obeying God is this:
Trust God, love God, and do His will as He leads you to Lead your family and do not look at the outward appearance of things! Do not be a copy cat! don’t just do things like everyone else is doing! Ask Him what it is you should do to serve Him, do not do what men tell you to do, do as He says and He will send the Holy Spirit to help you! (Even through your mistakes!) One more thing about having courage and overcoming your fears of serving God that I know is pure wisdom: Fear God, not the opinions of people! Don’t be afraid to do something others look down on, do what the Lord says!

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Agape Quest 8-30-13

Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.

I am still reflecting on the 90’s for a couple more days and I posted this picture for today as it communicates a look of a slightly weary me, just an honest picture of that old saying, “hard work is not easy!” ha ha ha.

The late 90’s were like that for me, my old methods of working longer and harder to accomplish things were beginning to hit a wall! Long hot Florida days were giving way to the reality of an energy depleted forty something in the evening hours! I am not wining about anything, I am just saying I needed to change the way I looked at accomplishing things. I also think the Lord was trying to get my attention in this new reality! He was teaching me to trust him and be more patient!

I admit it is easier to explain this with 15 years of perspective, but it is still true, that is how God has taught me through his Word and by His Holy Spirit. Here are some great truths found in His Word that helped me:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
I learned God could accomplish more through me in a moment than I could with years of hard work!

The Lord would also continually affirm in my Spirit Psalm 127:1: Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

A great verse that helps my perspective on what I will or will not endeavor to accomplish is Zechariah 4:6 …‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

The freedom I have found in what I should expend energy on and not has given me confidence, my FAITH has increased as I have witnessed the Lord accomplish Great things. In each succeeding year I realized the things the Lord would lead me to do would flourish in ways as He saw fit, sometimes in things I may not have thought of! Admittedly, the things I expended energy on that were mostly my idea’s and I failed to seek God’s will on had much less success! After all, it is not about me, it is about the Lord!

Now, about the Love of God, about knowing the love of God and especially living out the Agape life: Do you want to know what all this hard work-spirit led talk has to do with Agape Quest?

People often live life with a misconception about God, a fatal flaw based on faulty logic! Many people who live a life with little or no real relationship with God often state things about God’s Love, God’s provision, and even about God’s mercy and grace that is false. They just do not know it!

The verse above from Proverbs 8:17 says it clearly if you are desiring to truly know God’s Love: “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.

Some concluding thoughts for those who may grow weary trying to do things in their own failing strength and their own limited understanding:

Do you Love the Lord with all your Strength, Mind and Soul?

Do you seek Him Diligently?

Have You found Him?

I say this in light of a picture of a tired young guy, trying to accomplish God things! I am still loving God, searching after Him. It did not happen over night and I have not come to the end of this quest yet; yet I will say to anyone who has ears to hear, you have got to commit to the journey before you can ever hope to arrive at a desired destination!

Why should anyone expect to know God and his love when they are unwilling to love Him as He reveals one must love and seek Him?

Don’t give up, the Quest goes on! To be continued….

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Journey

Journey

Journey

JOURNEY
(An excerpt from my summer writings)
I have been in a study all summer long, devotionally, academically and practically in my everyday life. I suppose there is a validity to say this summer of 2013 has truly been my “Summer of Love”! It has been a gift from God to have such a long sabbatical from church work to study, pray and immerse myself in this grand subject (Agape) and to attempt to walk it out in a real way with my love, Linda by my side. Some of my closest loved ones might say to me, I didn’t see any great difference in you this summer; however I would have to add, these changes I write about have been from the inside, and are this agape infusion is even now just working it’s power to my exterior behavior.

 

One thing that has been clear from the very start to me in my study and devotion is that I was and I am still lacking in this area (Love). I consistently come up short in this area and must return to the source of this love to be endued with more love as I recognize my need for more Agape power in my everyday life.

 

Agape is the Greek word used in the New Testament that describes “Divine Love”, “love from above!” It is this Holy Spirit powered endument (of Agape) that is the primary force promised by Jesus to His followers as he ascends into the heavens. He had commanded them to love this way as they went out spreading the Good News and it is the distinctive attractiveness that made those early Christians standout in a strangely attractive way from the ancient culture that persecuted them.

 

To love those who love you is not all that difficult most times; however to love those you don’t even like or naturally want to love is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to Christian Love. That is my starting point of my study, we all come up short on this one, right? Come on, let’s get real now! I do not think it a misuse of scripture to use this verse in this context to back up our obvious short comings in this area:
Romans 3:23 There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

New Testament clearly teaches (1 John 4:8) that “God Is Love,” some of you may have a skewed view of God and don’t believe this fact and that is where you will need to start, discovering The Lords definition of love. Others have a lack of confidence that God is able to infuse broken, sinful human beings with this higher level of Love, if that is you, you will have to start right there, where your faith is failing you. Do not let a lack of faith discourage you from this quest, your faith will increase along the way! Mine has increased consistently along this journey, have confidence in this blessed side effect you will experience along the way, an increased faith in God’s power!
There are so many possible roadblocks that make this quest seem too difficult to receive and to live out this Agape life from God. Many will be tempted to blow off the thought of taking this journey and label it as a naive utopian folly; nevertheless I urge you not to go there! I urge you to remember, Jesus promised us this possibility and Jesus never lies! Remember Jesus lived the Agape life, He proved it can be lived! One more thing, remember the only way to arrive at a desired destination is to set out on the journey to that destination!

 

This is how the New Testament establishes some of the benchmarks of Agape. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
As I intend to publish more pages of this Agape quest in the coming weeks, I invite you to take the journey with me.

I leave you today my friends with this encouragement, to dream with me and imagine the world you live in becoming a bit more loving because you began this journey. As I leave you with the words of Robert Frost in his classic poem as a kind of enticement to take this journey with me into the depth of God’s love.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both. And be one traveler, long I stood, And looked down one as far as I could, To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by, AND IT HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE!”

Robert Frost

 

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Where Are You Growing?

 

Are You Growing Spiritually?

growth

I have often heard the expression, ” what ever you feed, will grow” used in the context of spiritual growth or the opposing forces of a healthy spiritual life, such as the carnal, natural or sinful nature!

It is easy to see the common sense in the analogy when we use non spiritual illustrations such as the agricultural or human dietary variety; however life is really not simple in general and understanding the eternal dynamics of our spiritual formation is even more complex than most people are comfortable, thinking through or talking about!

NEVERTHELESS, prayer, study and theological reflection can help you understand your spiritual growth needs.

How is your spiritual development going?
How would you say your spiritual growth has been going this year?
Month?
Week?
Have you spent much time with The Lord today?
Have you opened His living word today?
Have you gotten off to a quiet place and listened to the Holy Spirit?
Would you consider blocking out an hour today to be fed so that you would be able to digest and reflect on your real Spiritual growth issues and solutions?

Hebrews 4:12 ” The Word of God is living and active, sharper than a two edged sword!”…
Verse 16 “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need!”

morton222.3

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Every day is Memorial Day, a preamble to becoming “Ambassadors of Care.”

vietnam-memorial wall
Memorial Day is our national day of remembrance of our fellow countrymen who have died in combat defending us. I wanted to share a true story with you related to this photo of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall that changed me forever.
I used to travel up and down I-95 frequently and would regularly stop at the Wall to remember the many vets who had died in Vietnam, especially the ones I remembered serving with.
It was always a very emotional experience; tears would begin to flow, and most times the sheer weight of grief would overwhelm me to the point I would have to leave the area so that I could regain my composure. It seemed to always be this way every visit through the 90s; it seemed the 20- something years had not tempered the raw hurt of losing so many.
I was a mess and I knew it, yet I felt as though I could not control this crying at the wall, like it was bigger than me or something. Well one day around 1997 I had brought a group of men and boys to DC for an event called Stand in the Gap. It was the largest crowd I ever saw assembled in one place, over one million Christian men together for one purpose, to pray for our country!
It was an amazing event that changed many lives and on a personal note I experienced God’s voice in front of the Vietnam Wall! I had the boys with me trying to traverse the Mall through a sea of humanity and wanted to stop at the Wall. I left the kids in a grove of trees between the Wall and the Lincoln Memorial where I could keep an eye on them while I was at the Wall.
I knew I would cry and did not want the kids to worry about me so I went over to the Wall alone. I went to my usual spot at the Wall of those who died in 1970 and to my surprise for the first time ever since the Wall was built, NO TEARS! I was confused and began praying; I was not thinking clearly and just wanted to rush this moment so I could return to the kids I had left unattended in the nearby grove of trees.
After a while I settled down and simply began to ask God to help me understand why I was not emotional and crying as usual, was there something wrong, was I missing something here? I swallowed my pride, I bowed low, my face to the ground and remained silent…then I heard this voice clearly, and it changed my life forever, this is what I heard:
“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
That was it, it was a verse of Scripture from the tomb of Jesus, and I recognized it immediately! Luke 24:5. In the hours that passed and in the days ahead I reflected on this experience and came to some solemn conclusions. Number 1 is that I am so grateful to have had a word from God in such a memorable fashion; thank you Lord for speaking to me when I needed to hear from you. Thank You ABBA Father, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit!
In all the Memorial Days that have past, and even today I am reminded of the meaning of this message: You can do nothing about the dead, but you still can do something for the living! It is true!
We have thousands of friends and family members who grieve their fallen heroes who are hurting today and the hurt everyday! On days like Memorial day or veterans day we can come along side some of those left behind, So today come alongside someone in some way; thank them for their loss! We have disabled vets returning home all around us, and we have the opportunity to help them. We can give generously to programs like the Roever Foundation (http://roeverfoundation.org/) or many other great programs that are doing a great work in the disabled veteran community.
In the weeks ahead I will write some short messages titled “10 ways you can seek out the living,” and bless those around you who have been harmed by war or any of the 10,000 other ways humans get messed up. Here is a preview of my next article. “You Are God’s Ambassadors of Care.”
1. Seek the living who are in need of caring! Yes, many people out there in our community need to know someone really cares about their life! People need to know you care! People need to know God cares and you are His Ambassador of Care!

Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
That is right, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ and you profess to being committed to follow Him, you ought to be caring for people like He cares about them! The soul searching question prompted by the Holy Spirit is:
Do you Really Care? Do you love your neighbor? Do you resemble Christ in your concern for others, even strangers? Is your life really reflecting true Christ-likeness?
Jesus cared about people’s physical needs, their spiritual needs and most of all their Eternal needs!
In the days ahead I hope to break this big Idea down of caring for others like Jesus would care for others. I believe that this exercise might change us forever first, our communities next and perhaps the world one neighbor at a time!
Please join me for the journey, I guarantee it may change your life if you commit to this great adventure! There is one thing I have learned best from hearing God’s voice at the Wall that day on October 4, 1997. What matters most when you hear God’s voice is not that you heard it, but that you act upon it! Yes, it is important to discern God’s will, to study and understand, but is far more important to be changed by this and DO GOD’S WILL!

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A Real Horse Story

Will you be ready, when you see the Red Horse coming?

I wanted to tell a little horse story this morning so I am posting a picture of the last horse I owned who I named “Last Chance.” I don’t know if anyone from the church in Mars Bluff South Carolina even reads my post or not, but I am sure if they did they would remember my little red mare named Last Chance! Lol!

As the story goes I moved to S.C. in 2000 to pastor a church, I drove a black Jaguar in those days and found out quickly most people in that area lived at the end of long dirt driveways, many lived in small communities on dirt roads. With all the dirt roads people lived on, I found my car got so dirty all the time, it needed to be washed every day.  Anyone out there that knows me well, you would know washing a car everyday would not be an acceptable option!

Well, then a firestorm came on my brain and I went and found a horse to buy to do my visitations on a kind of impulse! It seemed like a great Idea at the time,  I loved horses and had not owned one for six years since we left N.J. In retrospect, I probably should have discussed this with my board and even Linda 1st, but it has been a few years and everyone is over it now! ha ha ha. One nugget of wisdom I have learned over the years is to allow your team members a voice in the decision making process and allow them to brainstorm with you about how you represent their church. When people feel their opinion is valued, they also take ownership and become enthusiastic about what becomes of any project!

 In finding the right horse I had some guidelines to follow:

1. It was going have to be cheap with the amount of money they were paying me to pastor this church!

2. It needed to be Red, because I have always been partial to red horses ever since the days I marveled over the wonder horse of the 70’s Secretariat (Big Red).

3. I had in mind a Tennessee walking horse being I was in the role of a southern gentleman preacher now in the Carolinas where my father in the faith and great grandfather Henry Goff  had been an evangelist in North Carolina.

 In truth I had always wanted a Tennessee walker ever since I was 16 years old and 1st laid eyes on one in Falcon N.C. on my Uncle Ally’s farm. His daughter Sarah rode these beautiful walking horses and to be honest, I had been jealous for about 30 years! Hey it is never too late to confess your sins! ha ha ha!

 As it turned out I saw a one line ad somewhere for this horse and drove over and made the deal fast, because it seemed like a steal! I came to find out later that this was an expensive brood mare that was supposed to be put down because of infertility and an insurance payoff! Well that’s the story anyway, the man who sold her to me without papers, would not even let me know the horses name and had me promise not to sell her to the killers! I was so happy to get a horse that met all of my guidelines for practically nothing, I would have promised him just about anything!

When I thought about re-naming this little mare, I thought of how her life had been spared and that I may have been her “Last Chance!” The name fit and it helped me get a lot of laughs down those dusty back roads in Mars Bluff SC! I can almost taste the sweet tea and see the smiles of those folks when I close my eyes and remissness about those times! you know the most important lesson the Lord has repeatedly taught me is to love people right where they are!

Well, with me being a Yankee in the south, it had its downside, people used to say to me: “Preacher, you’re not from around here, are yooouuu?” (I think it must have had something to do with the Civil War), and driving a Jaguar did not sit well with some either, so this little mare turned out to be a real icebreaker! When I went calling down these dirt roads in isolated little communities the people would focus on “Last Chance” instead of my accent or my fancy car.

I would let the kids sit on my horse while I talked to their parents. I would even walk them around like a pony ride a bit. It would kind of ingratiate me to these genuinely kind people, it would break down barriers and the Lord seemed to honor this humble effort!

It is kind of funny, 20 years earlier; I had a foolhardy entrepreneurial brainstorm that never made much money! The idea was to combine my love for horses and my need for supplemental income by starting a pony ride concession on the board walk on the Jersey Shore. I must admit, it was not the best Idea I ever came up with! Lol.  Boy could I tell some stories about that summer, but that a whole story in itself!

One thing for sure I was prepared for was how to safely give kids a ride on my little mare Last Chance! In the Lords economy, nothing is wasted, not even our misspent youth!

Well as I got in the habit of going down a new dirt road each visitation day, I developed a biblical text kind of dialogue to talk to people when they would ask me my horse’s name. I would tell them how I was my horse’s last chance before she was going to be killed and hinted that none of us knows the hour we would die!

 I would naturally bring that truth to the relevant evangelistic question:

“If you were to die today, and stand before God and He asked you: Why Should I let you into my Heaven?” (after all, I am from the offspring of an horse riding evangelist). Of course we would talk about the reality that all men are sinners and God is Holy.

I would usually allow the conversation drift towards Revelation 6:3-4 where the bible speaks about the 2nd seal being broken in last days and the Red Horse coming and all peace being withdrawn from the earth! ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%3A+3-4&version=NIV )

Sharing the Good News with people is a privilege and helping people to understand that only Jesus can make them  holy and able to come to a Holy God was an honor to me then and still is today.

The Red horse, the right moment and a good story helped some to address the true issue of the brevity of life, the lostness of man and every person’s desperate need for a savior!

I wonder if there is anyone out there today that this story might help make a life changing decision?

 Hey I will take the liberty to ask anyone reading this horse story today:

Do you know the Jesus as your Savior? Do you truly know your eternal destiny? If not, make a decision right now to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved before it is too late! Do not delay making a decision today, call on His name before you see the Red Horse Coming, it might be too late by then!

Will you be ready, when you see the Red Horse coming?
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When the Risen Dead Roamed Judea

I was reflecting how bizarre it might have been on the outskirts of Jerusalem Saturday morning before Sunday the resurrection day of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Do you want to know my crazy thoughts this AM? OK, I was reading through Matthew 26 and 27 when I read about the dead being raised at the moment Jesus dies! Hey I will say this up front, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, and I believe the Bible is the true Word of God! Hey I am just trying to get a visual of this scene of dead people walking around and perhaps understand why, you know?
Matthew 27:51-52 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
OK, all of a sudden the irony of Saturday struck me, these formerly dead people are free to wander outside the city, yet the Son of God lies cold in the tomb, crazy thought, ah? Well not to Matthew or the Jews who knew the prophesies of this resurrection that would accompany the coming of the Messiah! The first part of Ezekiel 37:12-13, “I will open your tombs… And I will bring you up out of your tombs, and I will lead you into the land of Israel.”
Matthew is simply recording what happened and helping Jews like himself to see that this is part of God revealing the Messiah prophetically. Christians see the death and resurrection of Jesus as the main thing and tend to shy away from these seemingly difficult verses of the righteous dead rising; however Jews have known and looked for this fulfillment for centuries yet could not see the Messiah dying on the cross! The skeptical world read of such resurrections and does not believe, yet God can raise the dead, anytime He desires and He chose to raise many that day and His Son on Sunday! I sense that there are some skeptics out there! Ha ha ha, no big deal, skepticism is not new to God, but remember it is not a virtue He admires either!
Thus Matthew throws gas on the fire that rages in the minds of liberal Bible scholars until this day! It is the Holy Spirit that leads him to record a historical occurrence that seems too bizarre to minds of the compromised modern day Bible reader who has resolved not to believe God’s Word completely! In light of the once dead people walking around as Jesus lay dead in the tomb, how do you think things went down Friday night and Saturday outside Jerusalem as all of creation waited for Jesus the Victor to rise up and claim His epic victory over death forever?
No matter how bizarre this Saturday may turn out for you or how confusing life might seem take solace in this: your day can’t be as confusing as it was outside Jerusalem on that Saturday! Also when Sunday came and the once dead loved ones enter Jerusalem and meet up with their families and friends, oh what a happy 1st day of the New Covenant that must have been for all! I know that little is spoken about this topic and skeptics abound, but I just marvel at the untold stories of joy surrounding these other resurrections. Of course, the power and weight of the resurrection of Jesus Christ rightfully overshadow this glorious Biblical truth of God’s mercy to many!
The point of my focus on this under reported yet extravagant display of God’s supernatural display of miracles for so many families in Jerusalem is that it is worthy to be reflected on. God does miracles still, just like He did in the days when Jesus lived and died and lived again! After all that is who God truly is, He is the Almighty, He is able to do anything and He loves us; therefore throughout all of time He has supernaturally worked miracles according to His will and out of His great wisdom and love for us. A little side note to those who are in need of miracles large and small, seek the Lord, read His living Word and believe in Him for miracles!
Those righteous dead that had risen from the tombs that Friday and came into the city after Sunday lived their lives out as walking, talking miracles with perhaps less notoriety than others who were part of God’s miracle working power! There are more miracles done then and now than are reported and some have more prominence in the Gospels, like the miracles of raising Lazarus (John 11) from the dead or healing blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:52). Yet, there were many miracles that did not get widely recorded back then and even to this day!! God has His purposes in all things; some miracles are to be well known for His good purposes and some are not meant to be so publicized! God is not in need of modern day media or science to give him help or notoriety, He is God Almighty!
In John 21:35, John records: But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
There is still a fragment of a document that is preserved from around 120 AD written by Quadratus a 2nd century apologist. Quadratus is referred to as a disciple of the apostles by the early church fathers; therefore he is given great authenticity in his eye witness accounts of the late 1st century as the remnants of the first fruits of the work of Jesus Christ were still visible. This is recorded to our benefit; this quote from the above mentioned fragment verifies that many resurrected people from the time of Jesus were alive and known to the church even after most of the apostles were dead:
“But the works of our Saviour were always present, for they were genuine:— those that were healed, and those that were raised from the dead, who were seen not only when they were healed and when they were raised, but were also always present; and not merely while the Saviour was on earth, but also after his death, they were alive for quite a while, so that some of them lived even to our day.”
I note this fragment that has somehow been preserved all these years later, and it points out that those who were raised from the dead when Jesus was crucified were really brought back to life and lived out full lives. Jesus really died and rose from the grave and that of course is the main thing and anything else we find significant to talk about from Calvary must be considered secondary. Keeping the main thing, the main thing and yet not ignoring this important portion of Scripture and the historical reality, is the challenge of understanding the risen dead in Matthew 27.
So it was, many righteous dead were raised as Jesus breathed His last, and they came into the city after the resurrection. These are the recorded facts in Mathew, yet little else is recorded about this astounding occurrence, why is this?
The first and most obvious reason for an absence of further Biblical notation is simply that it is secondary in the big picture. Jesus died for the remission of the sins of all mankind and rose from the grave securing eternal life for all who would believe; that is the main thing! I would venture to say that the reason that these many other resurrections are not emphasized more fully in New Testament Scripture is because it would bring undo attention away from the main thing: Jesus Christ overcame death and made resurrection and eternal life available to all who would believe!
The Big Question is: Do you Believe?
In John 20:30-31 John records the purpose of the Gospels: Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in His name.
The main point about this encouragement to believe Matthew’s account of the living dead is not to ignore it or deny the validity of His word, just as I encourage everyone to believe in the trustworthiness of the Bible. God miraculously raised many of the righteous dead as Jesus breathed His last breath, they were the first fruits of God’s provision at Calvary foretold in Ezekiel and Isaiah. 2 Timothy 3:16 teaches us that God’s Word is not of men but from Him and is to be believed: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
Now in the time you and I live in, you should believe in Jesus and have life in His name; this is my urgent advice to any misguided skeptics! Follow Jesus by faith and become the righteous walking dead with me and we will live forever! After all, back in the day, those who entered Jerusalem after the resurrection of Jesus were the first fruits of His victory over death and were walking, talking testimonies to His messianic revelation to those who would be saved in the early days of the church.
In the time we have between now and when we die in the natural, you and I are to be walking, talking miracles with great purpose that comes from God. We are a testimony of His handiwork; we are His righteousness through Christ; we are of those who are loved and valued by God! So let’s proclaim this great truth: we were dead (spiritually), yet now we live and will live forever reconciled to God; we are His righteousness through Jesus! Tell somebody about the miracle-working God you have become so intimately involved with and invite them to believe!

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The Greatness of God is still visible in the Passover

The Greatness of God is witnessed in His blessing to those who recognize (Fear Him) His Awesome Greatness!

We and our children are blessed by His love and Faithfulness! As we live our lives in love and faithfulness we begin to resemble Him who is sending us out to a society that is lost, broken and still in bondage to their idols. We have all of eternity to live under His love and faithfulness, but only now to live as God’s living, loving faithful witnesses to the world!

Psalm 115:12-15 The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, He will bless the house of Aaron, he will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike. May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

The Lord commanded the Angel of Death to Passover the households of the firstborn children of Israel and Egypt because above their doorpost was covered with the blood of the lamb! Because they (Israel) believed and did what the Lord had instructed they and their children were blessed!

The Egyptians did not fear the Lord and their firstborn were not protected, they were not blessed and worse than that, the missed coming to know the only true God; They did not cast down their Idols, their hearts were embittered and the went into eternity lost, silent forevermore!

We live in Egypt (kind of), are we living out our lives in a bold witness, like a light in a dark place with great faith in our great and mighty God? Are we obeying the Lords ongoing commission to go into our world and be His witnesses?

Passover still speaks out 3000 years after the fact and I am determined to live out the love and faithfulness of God to those who are perishing! As for me and my family we shall live in such a way so that some might be saved and blessed. The Great Commission is still tied to all of God’s promises and blessing

One last observation; The people in Egypt needed to choose to sacrifice a lamb or not, they needed to believe by applying the blood to their homes. Then By Faith, they have to go into the Exodus, they had to walk it out! So do we, we must walk out this great blessing for the world to see!
What do you think?

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A true story in the History of Hahnemann University Hospital

As I remember Hahnemann University Hospital I wanted to share this true story of my mom’s ( Myrtle Goff Morton) stay there in 1993.

Hahnemann University Hospital

Around twenty years ago my mother underwent open heart bypass surgery and had an artificial aorta valve replacement at Hahnemann hospital in Philadelphia, PA.
I was by her side, post-surgery reading from the prophet Isaiah in the Bible to my mother, when she told me she was feeling weak! In a moment her face went pale, her heart stopped beating, the monitors were ringing, her eyes closed, and she was gone!

All of a sudden, a team of medical professionals rushed in, pushed me to the side, and began to try to resuscitate and jump start my mom’s weary old heart. I didn’t know what to do as I was the only non-medical human being in the room, and no one bothered to kick me out! I was scared, in shock of what I had just witnessed, and a little weak myself! So I just kept reading from Isaiah and as I was reading these verses, a miracle happened before my eyes!

Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

It was like so surreal, like I was in a dream or something! As I kept reading, my mom began to come back to life in the same way she had faded away! As I read…”Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength”… I saw and heard heartbeat come back on the monitor… As I read…”They will mount up with wings like eagles”… Her eyes popped open!!…As I read…” They will run and not get tired”…the color returned to her sweet face…As I read…”They will walk and not become weary”…She said, Bobby? calling out to me!…Oh what a moment in time that was, one I will never forget!

My mama lived for 15 years after that day, and it was amazing how much more she was able to do with that new aorta valve, and those years were precious to me. They were a gift from God, and I give Him all the Glory!

At the time, I told this story to my mom’s pastor and to my brother, and they kind of just said ‘oh that’s nice’. I don’t know if any of the medical professionals remember it, probably not. But to me it was awesome, as I had seen God’s Word come to life before my very eyes!

I praise God for everything. He placed my mom in that hospital, with those wonderful medical professionals. He allowed me to witness this precious miracle while I read His Word! Thank you Father, thank you Jesus, and thank you Holy Spirit for your powerful presence!

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary.”

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