The Armor



Ephesians 6
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
To be honest, I’ve never been really fond of this set of verses.
It’s not that I disagree with them. We certainly need everything listed here. I think the problem is the list. I’m just not a “list” kind of guy. If a go into a store and I need more than two things, I have to write them down. God has blessed me with the (often times annoying) ability to remember and store in my brain all kinds of facts and trivia. At times, I even lapse into Cliff Clavinism. (If this reference is lost on you, suffice it to say that is has been said that I am the type of guy who, when asked what time it is, will tell you how to build a watch—quite possibly with tidbits thrown in on the history of the watch.)
So, although I like having Bible verses committed to memory, the whole “list” thing is just one of the things my brain does not do well. (See also “math.”)
For some reason, I was thinking about these verses the other day and they reminded me of another mention of armor in the Bible.
1 Samuel 17:
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
So, David saunters off into battle against the giant Goliath with no armor, a sling, and five stones. This was not lost on Goliath, who is recorded as saying,
He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
But David was not without armor at all! No, David had on the full armor of God.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
David stands firmly and calls God “LORD Almighty” as he fastens on the belt of truth. He righteously points out that Goliath has defied God, as he puts the breastplate of righteousness in place. He shods his feet with the readiness and peace of knowing the LORD will hand Goliath over to him. Oh, and David’s shield of faith was immense when he told Goliath he would not only strike him down, but cut off his head! David says that the LORD’s salvation is not by sword or spear as he takes the helmet of salvation. And, when David says the battle is the LORD’s  and all the world will know that there is a God in Israel, his words bear a remarkable similarity to the very words God spoke when he told Moses what He would do to the army of Pharaoh in Exodus 14. So, David also had the sword of the Spirit in the Word of God.
The thing is, had David trusted in all the heavy armor Saul had given him, he might not even have been able to sling the small, smooth stone that dropped Goliath to the ground.
So we don’t have to weigh ourselves down with massive chunks of bronze and iron. God’s armor is weightless and invisible. The truth, the righteousness, the peace, the faith, the salvation, and the Word all lift us up and equip us for battle far more effectively than anything made by human hands.
And now, when I look at that list I find Jesus saying He is the truth, He makes us righteous through His atoning sacrifice, He brings the peace that passes all understanding in the gospel, He models the highest faith possible, He paid for our salvation with His death on the cross, and He is the Word made flesh.
Is there a Goliath in your life? Have you been battling your giant with the visible or the invisible? If it’s also hard for you to memorize lists, can you find the full armor of God embodied in the person of Jesus Christ?
Today’s Praise
Colossians 1:16 (KJV)
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Revival


John 3:13 (NASB)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
One of the things I pray for each day is revival.
It’s happened before. Recent periods of revival include 1727, 1792, 1830, 1857, 1882 and 1904. More recent revivals include those of 1906, the 1930s, and 1970s.
I firmly believe our country, and the world for that matter, is definitely in need of a return to God.
God says His Word never returns void—that it always accomplishes the purpose for which it was intended. (Isaiah 55:11)
He also says we should not be overcome by evil, but that we should overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
As a Christian, I also believe the love of God is the most incredible, awesome, powerful force in all the universe. We were created in love, God provides for the just and the unjust in love, and Jesus Christ died and rose again  purely out of love for us.
I also believe God uses His people to do His will. (That would be you and me.)
So how do we get the Word out that Jesus loves you? How do we tell the world how much God loves them and wants each and every person to have not only eternal life, but an eternal life in a place of unimaginable beauty and joy?
Consider this:
In 2008, there were 262.7 million wireless subscribers.
Those subscribers sent 75 billlion text messages in 2008.
In 2008, the average teenager sent 3,339 text messages per month.
By 2010, an estimated 6.1 trillion text messages were being sent per year.
Also in 2010, Americans sent 294 million emails per day, or 90 trillion emails per year.
Clearly, we have never had a greater ability to witness for Christ in the history of the world.
What if every Christian who could was to send a John 3:16 text to just one person who might not believe? What if we sent a John 3:16 email to just one person we weren’t quite sure was going to heaven.  
I agree, we might annoy some people.
Yes, we might have to tell whoever received it why we sent it. Yes, we might be uncomfortable doing so. Yes, we might struggle for the words.
God gave us an app for feelings like that:
Romans 1:16 (NKJV)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
I am willing to take the risk of annoying someone—especially if I find even one of those formerly annoyed people standing next to me in heaven singing and worshipping God forever.
How about you?
Today’s Praise
Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne.
We crown you now with many crowns
You reign victorious!
High and lifted up
Jesus, Son of God
Partial lyrics from “Worthy is the Lamb” written by Darlene Zschech

Pride


Genesis 3:5
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
I recently had a conversation with a church leader about how that church was run and afterwards something just didn’t feel right—and it was something in me.
I was pondering this after my morning prayers and what I found in me was something I didn’t like at all.
Pride.
Oh, I had asked all the right questions. Questions of theology and doctrine and practice. And the answers were spot on.
But I had asked those questions with an air of judgment. What I found in my heart was something I had not expected and something hard to put into words. It felt like one of those sins one could never repent of—something so bad it was hard to face—something to rationalize, to pretend it didn’t happen, to make excuses for.
Given all the sins of my past, I have not found it hard to avoid pride. I know I am no better than anyone else. God has been very good about reminding me just how humble I should be whenever I’ve even come close to thinking I was some kind of genius or big-shot.
But this—this one snuck up on me. Maybe it’s because writing this blog has drawn me closer to Christ. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing more and more things in service to the Lord. My faith and my commitment to Jesus have definitely grown, but….
I just didn’t expect to look back on a conversation and find myself with the heart of a Pharisee. It was not a pretty sight.
Despite the nagging in my heart, I had things that needed to be done. I sat down at the kitchen table and decided to finally reply to the letter from the Indonesian child I sponsor through Compassion International. (For $38 per month, Bril gets food, medical care, and a Christian education. It’s a wonderful ministry. Months ago, I sent an extra $10 so Bril could have a birthday present.)
Here’s what Bril had written:
Shalom!
I would like to praise the Lord because of His love given to us so that me, my family, foster parents, and Dan Jones are in His protection.”
I am very grateful and would like to say thanks for the help and money gift given to me, and it has been used by my grandma to buy shoes for me. “
Once again, I would like to say thank you. I couldn’t repay Mr. Dan Jones’ kindness that had been given to me and my family.”
I leave it to God, He would repay your kindness.”
Thank you,
Loves greetings from Bril.”
And Jesus took my pride and nailed it right to the cross.
Here I was, all self-righteous and proud, yes, proud of my faith and my Biblical knowledge, and a nine year-old boy from Indonesia was overflowing with gratitude and glorifying God because the measly ten bucks I sent in had bought him a pair of shoes.
I wrote Bril back and told him he never had to even think about repaying me because I could never, ever even come close to repaying Jesus for what he did for me on that cross. I told him anything I was able to give him had come from God.
How do you cope with pride when you find it sneaking up on you? How do you recognize the signs and stop it before it comes out in your words or your actions?
Today’s Praise
James 4:6
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Who Is Jesus?

John 8:58
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
From the beginning, this blog was intended to glorify God, help Christians in their walk with God, and lead the lost to God through Jesus Christ.
I have made a promise that what I write here will focus on Jesus. I will not put Scripture under a microscope to the extent that the character and personality and love of Jesus is lost. I will not make Jesus an academic exercise.
So, who is Jesus?
The Bible says Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the way, the truth, and the life, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the only begotten Son of God, the savior of the world, the light of the world, the lamb of God, the good shepherd, the bread of life, the messiah, the Christ, and ( as it says on the radio tower, Jesus is Lord.)
To those of us raised as Christians, we all know what those words mean, but how do we describe Jesus to people who don’t know what those words mean?
In is book, “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis eloquently stated who Jesus is not:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”
Jesus is he who had the courage to look the religious leaders of the time straight in the eye and tell them they were blind guides because they were so caught up in making up rule after rule after rule that they had forgotten about justice and mercy and faith.
Jesus is he who had the mercy to stop those same leaders from killing a woman because they caught her in the act of adultery by showing them they were no better than her.
Jesus is he who had the compassion to weep with his friends over the death of another friend and the power to raise that friend from the dead.
It is Jesus who had the humility to stoop and wash the dusty, dirty feet of those who were there to serve Him—including the one who would betray him to death. 
 It is in that very Jesus that God Himself stepped down from heaven into this world and did for me what I could never, ever do for myself. He healed my broken relationship with God by dying nailed to a cross, taking all the punishment I deserve and none of which He deserved– and then rising from the dead. He took away all my sin and everything that separates and puts a wall between me and the almighty creator of the universe, God.
And, He did this when I did not in any way, shape or form deserve it.
And all because He loves me.
So, who is Jesus to you?
Today’s Praise
2 Corinthians 4:6
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The Bread of Life

Susie Jensen, who went to be with Jesus, July 31, 1995.

John 6:51
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
My grandmother made the best bread ever.
No, it wasn’t focaccia, or challa, or sourdough, or ciabatta or any kind of fancy “artsy” bread that is fashionable among “foodies” right now. It wasn’t even whole wheat.
Grandma made plain white bread and she made it better than any bread I have ever tasted anywhere at anytime.
When grandma went to be with the Lord, I missed her greatly. My mom had left this earth when I was 13. Grandma promised mom that she would watch out for me and we became very close. I saw grandma making bread more than once and the big yellow milk glass bowl covered with a dish cloth with bread rising inside it was a familiar site on her kitchen table. But, I never had Grandma teach me how she made that bread.
With Grandma gone, something inside me wanted to make bread.
At first, I tried and tried to make a loaf of bread like grandma’s. After the first two or three attempts (and the resulting epic failures), the focus changed to being able to make a loaf of bread that was simply edible.
Then, my aunt announced that she had gathered up a bunch of Grandma’s recipes, copied them, and bound them together in a book—and the bread recipe was among them!
I eagerly looked up the recipe and found this:
1 heaping teaspoon yeast in a little warm water
1 cup water for each loaf
1 tablespoon sugar
1 scant teaspoon salt
¼ cup shortening
3 cups flour (about)
Let raise once, knead it down, & then form into loaves and let raise again.
What?! Grandma, how much is a LITTLE warm water? What is a SCANT teaspoon of salt? What in the world is shortening? And for goodness sakes, what do you mean ABOUT three cups of flour!?!
I wanted precise measurements. I wanted detailed instructions. I wanted the SECRET!
Instead, this so-called “recipe” was just a general idea of what went into a loaf of bread and how to make it.
Nonetheless, I took the recipe, tried it, and failed. All I could produce where hard tasteless lumps or puddles of sticky dough which were incredibly difficult to work with.
I got some books from the library and began an earnest study of bread. I learned that, in grandma’s day, “shortening” meant lard. Yes, lard as in rendered pig fat. I also learned that I could use vegetable shortening or vegetable oil as a replacement. The “scant” teaspoon meant just a little bit less than a full teaspoon and the exact amount of salt wasn’t critical to a good loaf of bread. No salt at all would result in a flat, tasteless loaf. Too much salt and it would impede the yeast and create salty-tasting bread.
Over the course of a year of trying and failing, I learned that the critical part of bread making is the proportion of flour to water. And, the reason grandma’s recipe said “about” three cups of flour was because the exact amount varied with how much moisture the flour absorbed from the air. That varied with the time of year, whether the windows were open, what the humidity was in the kitchen, half a million other unknown factors, and a certain amount of just plain guess-work
I learned the “scientific” method was to weigh, not measure, the flour and water.
Of course, grandma never weighed the flour and water. She did it all by feel. She’d combine the ingredients and keep adding flour to that wet, wet dough until it “just felt right.”
And that’s the point.
You can’t make a really good loaf of bread without failing numerous times. And you can’t make a really good loaf of bread without love.
You have to have failed numerous times to know what doesn’t work. Only by creating mistake after mistake do you eventually get the right “feel” for it. And, you absolutely have to care. You cannot just toss a bunch of ingredients in a bread machine, hit the button, and have it turn out consistently good and wholesome and delightful every time.
Yes, we fall down and we fail time after time. We repent and we sin, we sin and we repent—over and over and over again. We want an instant, quick, microwave-generation, 30-second-attention-span solution to our problems, but it doesn’t work that way.
Thank God we are given 70 years or so of God kneading us and working us gently over and over again to develop in us the texture and flavor of Christ. Thank God that we are deflated when we puff ourselves up with sin and pride. Yes, we get punched down in this life, but the loaf isn’t ready to glorify its creator until after it has risen a second time.
Bread is mentioned over 250 times in the Bible. It is always used to signify and symbolize that which feeds us and sustains us. The “bread” which grandma fed me was her love for me. Even when I had fallen away from the Lord, it was clear she still loved me. She didn’t necessarily approve of what I was doing, but she NEVER stopped loving me. Her example is one of the things that fed me and sustained me as I came back to Christ. Was there someone like that in your life? How did they feed and sustain your life in Christ? You can share their story here. Go ahead.
Today’s Praise
Psalm 78
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above
and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat,
he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Human beings ate the bread of angels;
he sent them all the food they could eat.

The Word

Isaiah 55:11
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Looking out from His throne, the Father of light and of men
Chose to make Himself known and show us the way back to Him
Speaking wisdom and truth into the hearts of peasants and kings
He began to unveil the Word that would change the course of all things
(From “The Word is Alive,” by Casting Crowns)
The Bible is an amazing book. It is God’s love letter to us. It is an owner’s manual for our lives. Every aspect of the human condition is addressed within it.
I heard a pastor quip that while many people are fond of saying, “There’s an app for that.” He liked to say, “There’s a scripture for that.”
And indeed there is. The Bible contains advice and a solution for any situation we could possibly encounter.
Simple strokes on a page
Eternity’s secrets revealed,
carried on from age to age
It speaks Truth to us even still

As a writer, I am constantly amazed by the complexity, the consistency, the meaning, the foreshadowing, the symbolism, the unswerving purpose, the depth, and the incredible richness of the Bible. I am thoroughly convinced that it could not possibly have been written by a single human being and that no collection of people could have possibly collaborated to produce this, the greatest book ever written.
At the same time, I see so many of my fellow Christians facing feelings of hopelessness, exasperation, and even resignation that the world is too far gone and cannot be saved. The news reports another murder, another war, another corrupt politician and it’s, “Oh well,” as we throw up our hands and say, “End times.”
And then we do nothing.
I’m convinced that the Word of God is powerful and effective in changing lives. (I am living proof!) And, I know that the Bible tells about more than one time when a society was on the verge of destruction but repented and came back to God. He even tells us how. (2 Chronicles 7:14.) Not only does the Lord tell us that His word never comes back void, (that the Bible is effective) He also tells us that people in the most need of His presence are the most grateful when they are saved. (Luke 7:41-43.)
There are organizations that get Bibles into the hands of those who need them and they do change lives. We’ve all heard of the Gideons and their work in getting Bibles into hotels and motels. There is also Bibles for the World and the American Bible Society.
I also know that outreach Bibles bought in case lots cost about $2.25 each. And, that God is not poor and He can certainly provide for such a mission and ministry, perhaps in your own local church. I find nothing in Scripture which says we should be careful not to give out too many Bibles.
And as the rain falls from Heaven, feeds the earth before it returns
Lord, let Your Word fall on us and bring forth the fruit You deserve

So what do you say, fellow Christian? Will giving away Bibles change society? Is it worth your time and effort and resources to support organizations that provide Bibles? Is it something your pastor and your church could get behind?
Today’s Praise
1 Thessalonians 2:13
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

The Beauty

“Beauty so brilliant I can hardly take it in.”
from “You Are the Sun” by Sara Groves
I recently spent a week in Northern Minnesota. It was a wonderful vacation.
We stay at a house on Little Bowstring Lake, courtesy of some very generous and kind relatives. I bring my boat and, several times during the week, get up early and go exploring some of the many lakes in the area. There are many to choose from. In fact, if you pick up a map of Itasca County, it looks like a sponge. There are lakes everywhere.
On one particular morning, I ventured off down the main road to mile marker 17 and took a left down a minimum maintenance road. It took seven minutes to traverse the final 1.7 miles to the lake.
When I got to the lake, I found the boat ramp sloped at pretty close to a 45 degree angle and the ramp itself was at 90 degrees to the access road.
This would test my trailer-backing skills.
After three attempts (pretty good by my standards) the boat was in the water.
I pushed off, got my feet wet doing so, and hopped in the boat. After arranging all the various equipment, I stood up and looked out into the lake.
I was shocked.
The lake was flat and still as glass. My boat was sitting in a long, narrow bay flanked by towering white and red pines, balsam fir, and birch trees. The sky was a brilliant blue. I looked down into the clear water and the vegetation below me glowed a beautiful emerald green. I could clearly see the bottom of the lake. I glanced at the depth finder.
I was in 12 feet of water.
“Thank you, Lord,” I said as I stood in awe of the beauty around me.
It was so still and calm I could not bear to start the noisy gas motor. I put down the electric motor and silently coasted along the shoreline. I hadn’t gone very far and a fat crappie bit. I caught several more, in addition to largemouth bass, a rock bass, and a very large and beautiful pumpkinseed sunfish.

I probably trolled along two miles of shoreline that morning. It was one of the most beautiful mornings I have ever experienced.
As I was driving back along that bumpy, 20 mph forest road, the thought occurred to me,
“If God gives us this kind of beauty in a sin-filled world, I wonder what heaven will be like.”
And that’s the thing.
God put us in charge of this world and He never took away our free will. We can choose to preserve and protect  and enjoy places like this, we can choose to be beautiful in the words we speak to others, we can choose to lift beautiful praises to God, we can choose to act in love to our neighbors, or we can choose ugly words and ugly thoughts and ugly actions.
It’s our choice.
Sara Groves has another song on the same album called “Add to the Beauty.” Some of the lyrics are:
We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold…
And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That’s burning up inside…

And this is grace, an invitation to be beautiful.

Do you have a story of being awed by the beauty of God’s creation? How do we keep the peace and beauty we find on vacation welling up inside us when we go back to our jobs?

Today’s post written by Dan Jones

Today’s Praise
Psalm 96:6
Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary

No God?


No God?
There are various forms of this story scattered throughout the internet. The author is unknown:
The dentist filled the man’s cavity and said, “There you go, all done.”
The patient said, ‘Thank God for that!”
The dentist said, “God? There is no god.”
“Oh, I believe in God,” said the patient.
“What kind of god would allow all the pain and death and suffering in the world? There is no god,” replied the dentist.
“Well then,” said the patient, “I don’t believe in dentists.”
“How can you not believe in dentists? My certificate is on the wall and I’m standing right here beside you.”
“Well, if there were dentists, why would they allow all the decaying, hurting teeth in the world?”
“I can’t help it if people won’t listen to what I tell them and won’t come to me when they need dental care,” said the dentist.
“So, your patients take care of their teeth of their own free will?” said the patient.
The dentist saw where the patient was going with this, but he had to agree.
“It’s the same thing with God. He doesn’t force anyone to listen to Him or come to Him. People take care of their souls of their own free will. He can heal the decaying, hurting souls of the world—if only they would just come to Him.”
One of the most common things atheists cite as proof that there is no God is all the awful things the world. How would you respond to such a statement?
Today’s Praise
1 Samuel 2:8 
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and He has set the world upon them.

The Tree

Psalm 1: 3 
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
For several years now, I have been praying that Kinship Christian Radio would be like a tree planted beside water—that it would grow and prosper and bear much fruit for the Kingdom of God.
I believe that it has and it will continue to do so as long as it is bathed in prayer and adheres to God’s Word.
I recently spent some time in the Kinship Christian Radio booth at the Faribault County Fair. We gave out music and printed materials and colorful children’s bracelets and pencils to fairgoers as they walked by. We even received some words of encouragement from listeners.
My car was parked near the south edge of the fairgrounds, and the Blue Earth River meanders along the back edge of that parking lot. The water was low and clear, and  (being an avid fisherman fascinated by rivers) it drew me to it. The bank was steep and high next to the river, but right behind the antique machinery building, the mown lawn gave way to woods where a trail sloped gently down through the greenery.
I walked down the trail, eager to get a closer look at the river.
As the trail leveled off next to the river, I came upon the most enormous cottonwood tree I have ever seen. Now, cottonwoods are common in damp areas and they frequently grow large. Having spent many hours fishing various rivers, I have seen my share of large, even giant, cottonwoods.
This one was beyond large. Standing at its base, I guessed it would take four people holding hands to encircle it. It reached up so high I could see, even from my vantage point on the ground, that it towered above all the other trees around it. The grooves and furrows in its bark where deep and dark and a vine had taken root in some of the soil deposited in one of those furrows during high water.
Fascinated by its awesome size, I began to walk around the trunk to get an even better idea of its circumference.
And there, right at eye level on the back side of the tree, resting comfortably in one of those deep, deep grooves as if to mark it and name it, was one of the Kinship Christian Radio pencils we had been giving away, proudly bearing the name of Jesus.

Do you have a story of how the Lord smiled on your prayers? How do you pray for the ministries close to your heart? Do you see a common thread in the way trees are mentioned in the Bible?

Todays Blog post written by Dan Jones

Today’s Praise

Revelation 22 

The River of Life

 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

The Fear Factor

1 Samuel 17:45
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
 (From “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.)
K.G. Wilson had been involved in drugs and gangs in Chicago. Then he came to Minneapolis where, eventually, he spent three months sleeping on a park bench praying that the Lord would let him die.
Then one morning, when he had not eaten for three days, he woke up, looked up into the clouds, and heard the Lord tell him he had work for him to do.
KG Wilson spent the next eight years holding prayer vigils for the families and friends of people killed in street violence. He worked for an end to the violence and the shootings, praying and speaking the word of the Lord.
On July 15, he quit.
He said he was tired of the greed of groups who “really didn’t want a solution” but were more interested in competing for funding to “stick a ban aid on the problem.”
On July 21, he came back—and was ridiculed.
Now, the news media never reported what KG thought the real solution was. But I know that at one time, he organized an event to bring 100 ministers and lay people into North Minneapolis to pray.
North Minneapolis is where a bullet came through the wall of a home and killed a five year-old child sleeping on a couch earlier this year. At the time of this writing, Nizzel George is among 17 killed in Minneapolis in 2012—and by the time you read this, it will almost certainly be more.
When I heard the story of KG Wilson, I wanted to contact him and offer prayer and help.
Then it came and it crippled me.
Fear.
Dark, incapacitating fear that said, “You can’t.” Fear that I would be laughed at, spit on, beaten, or even killed. Fear that they wouldn’t want my help, and even if they did, it wouldn’t do any good.
Those lies (and they are lies) are exactly the thing that cripple us as Christians. I can see the adversary trying to speak those very same lies to Jesus as He prayed in Gethsemane.
So fellow Christian, how do you overcome the giants in your life that mock God when all you have is a sling and five smooth stones?  How could we, who might as well be from a different planet, cause the love of Jesus to change the culture of gangs and violence in places like North Minneapolis?
Today’ s blog post by Dan Jones 

Today’s Praise
2 Timothy 4:18  The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.