Friday, January 15, 2016

FLATTENED

There may be some things that are better flat. Like bread.

I can personally attest today that tires are definitely better inflated and round.

Basketballs are no good when flat.

Soda tastes bad when it goes flat.

Followers of Jesus Christ who go flat in their spiritual life is not very good either.

Luke 14:34"Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltness be restored?"

Jesus likens us to salt. Once the saltiness is gone (or goes flat) what good is it?

The insinuation that it may not be able to be restored is disturbing.

Basketballs and tires can be pumped up with air.

Unless they are full of holes.

Some folks are full of holes. They can't retain the Spirit of God. He blows through them instead of filling them.

They get "pumped up" for a bit and then deflate and go "flat" after a season.

I find that this happens when our desire to follow Christ is more of a fad. Or when one turns to Jesus only during times of stress and difficulty.

There is no steadiness. No spiritual good health. 

Jesus spoke often in the gospels of leaving the things that kept us bound and useless spiritually and never looking back.

He said we will leave our mothers and fathers.

He said we would not even allow the death and burial of a loved one interfere with following Him.

He said we would walk away from even the largest fortunes to be His disciple.

He said we would put our shoulder to the plow and never look back on the ground we already have turned.

There is only Him before us. Our eyes are ever upon Him.

Do you have holes? Are you leaking? Deflated? Flat?

I think there is a danger zone we can reach where the flatness cannot be restored.

I also think that there are many opportunities along the way where we are given chances to achieve spiritual health.

Maybe this is your wake up call this morning?

Be blessed! Be filled!

Doc

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Us Being Us

When major league baseball player Manny Ramirez was with the Boston Red Sox and used to "act up" and perform his strange and eccentric antics, his team mates coined the phrase, "That's just Manny being Manny".
There was never really anything really wrong with "Manny being Manny". He just looked and acted a little strange at times. Then Manny got caught by a drug test for using performance enhancing drugs and was suspended for 50 games.
That now defines Manny as being Manny. It's no longer cute or funny. It's sad and disappointing. Manny is out of baseball now, and his once future Hall of Fame career is no more.
Such is life. "Manny" is really no different than us.
We are just us trying to be us on a daily basis, from the rich and famous and powerful, to the rank and file of people who have to punch in to be noticed every day.
People being people. Us being us.
Paul says in 1 Cor.4:12 - "And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it".
In other words, we act upon or respond to our world in certain ways.
What he is describing is how a disciple of Jesus Christ gets through the day.
We "despised fools for Christ" are just "disciples being disciples".
We choose to be that just as everyone else including Manny choose to be who they are.
Your mission today, should YOU decide to accept it, is to be you being Jesus.
Doc

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Home Is Protected And I Have Peace Of Mind

I am a friend of God's. It's the epitome of "friend's with benefits".

Because I have become friends with God through my relationship with His Son Jesus Christ, I live free from fear and condemnation (John 5:24).

I also live in a home that enjoys peace and angelic protection.

Psalms 91:9-12 (AMP)  - Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, 10 There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent.11 For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. 12 They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

I believe this passage this morning as much as I believe any other verses from the Word.

I have felt the protection of angels. I have sensed them surrounding me. I know beyond doubt that they have rescued me at times, and have probably been doing that for as long as I can remember. I have even caught glimpses of them. I also believe some have shown themselves to me in human form.

All of this is trustworthy to believe as it is corroborrated in God's Word.

It's easy to dispute this or deny it, or even write me off as a crackpot, as long as you have no such knowledge or experience.

I have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit that speaks to me and shows me Truth (Rom. 8:16).

You may dispute or disagree all you like.

I know better.  I know it's real.  I know it works.

You can know that too if you choose.

Only believe.

Jesus never fails.


Still Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Soul Dome

Animus Domus. The "Soul Dome".

It's the it's the center of your character, intellect, memory, consciousness. 

Your very mind.

It is accessible to spiritual matters and beings.

Good and evil can enter in.

You have control although many do not realize this.

The mind of the unsuspecting and ignorant becomes a revolving door party zone for evil spirits.

Jesus addressed the issue most adequately and succinctly.

Matt. 12:43-45: "But when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid] places in search of rest, but it does not find any. (44) Then it says, I will go back to my house from which I came out. And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated. (45) Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So also shall it be with this wicked generation.

This is the picture of the person not completely dedicated to Christ.

The person could even be described as largely religious (there is a vast difference in being a follower of Christ and being religious).

In any event it appears that there was some kind of reckoning of sorts where unclean spirits were deposed.

However, as the spiritual life of the overtly religious or spiritually dead (the terms are interchangeable) often runs, the evil spirit sensed that the Soul Dome was open for business again, returns to the previously vacated digs and finds it in a neat and orderly condition.

Seeing that there is no conviction which would prevent the spirit from re-entering, it decides to call a few friends and announces a party at the Soul Dome.

Now, as Jesus explains, the host of this demonic soiree ends up in a far worse condition then he was when there was only one demon to contend with! 

Makes perfect sense. Do the math. There are more to contend with. What happens when those eight invite seven more each? A real motel where demons check in but never check out.

The demonic realm senses weakness in the flesh. They know who's an easy mark and who's not.

Demons/unclean spirits are intelligent spirit beings (NOT fallen angels), but since they are spirits without bodies of their own they need to inhabit warm blooded creatures. According to the bible, animals and humans fit that bill nicely.

Only the true born-again disciple and follower of Jesus Christ filled with the Holy Spirit are protected.

Pretend or "play" Christians have no such guarantee. In fact the scenario described by Jesus fits that category perfectly.

The pretend Christian. The Christian who plays church. Always in a bad way. Always trying to kick something unclean out of their life, and once it appears they have gained the victory, are plunged back into darkness again, each time sinking deeper into more desperate situations.

Until you just don't see them around church anymore.

The evil spirits come to your Soul Dome to steal your Soul. They are often successful. 

A casual relationship with Jesus, and you thinking He rubber stamps your sins, is a perfect setup for the Soul Stealers.

Only a transformation of soul and spirit by Christ Himself is the answer.

You can't fight this battle in this evil realm on your own.

Listen to me and trust me on this. You can't. You will fail. You will lose.

You will be lost forever.

Jesus is the answer. Jesus never fails.

The Soul Dome must become the domain of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Be blessed!


Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><
~SoZo~

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When You Need A Great Peace

There's peace, calm, serenity, and the general sense of well being that we all need and crave.

And then there comes a time when we need something bigger. Larger. Greater.

We need a great peace.

I sense that today.

I sense it in what I see going on around me.

I sense it in myself.

Something bigger than just "less stress" needs to prevail.

Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified Bible) "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. (7) And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Yeah, that's it.

That tranquil state of the soul at rest in Jesus.

A complete absence of fear (calm enters when fear leaves).

Contentment in the midst of attack (big medicine there).

I need a "garrison of guards" surrounding my mind and heart (acknowledge the angels dispatched to you).

I need Jesus (Come to Me if you are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest).

You know the feeling. It sometimes come with disturbing news overload.

When corroboration comes in the form of others saying "Pastor, what's going on?"

An offensive mounted by enemy forces aimed at believers.

That's when the need for GREAT peace comes in.

I'm already feeling it. I have to let it wash over me, and start sending it out to others.

Paul says "God's peace shall be yours".

I want you to receive that today.

God's peace is yours today.

If you're in that place today where the scale is tilted a bit toward the downside, heavy laden with cares and woes, take joy and comfort that God's great peace is yours.

Be blessed. I am in it with you. 

Jesus is in it with us together.


Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><
~SoZo~

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Next Stop...?

"This is Gart Williams, age thirty-eight, a man protected by a suit of armor all held together by one bolt. Just a moment ago, someone removed the bolt, and Mr. Williams' protection fell away from him and left him a naked target. He's been cannonaded this afternoon by all the enemies of his life. His insecurity has shelled him, his sensitivity has straddled him with humiliation, his deep-rooted disquiet about his own worth has zeroed in on him, landed on target, and blown him apart. Mr. Gart Williams, ad agency exec, who in just a moment will move into the Twilight Zone— in a desperate search for survival."

Any die hard Twilight Zone fan would recognize that classic Rod Serling intro to one of the most famous episodes ever: "A Stop At Willoughby".

Remember? The burned out ad exec who keeps waking from his nap on the commuter train to envision a simpler, less stressful life outside the train window in a town called Willoughby?

The conductor tells him there is no such place or stop, but the man is convinced. He decides that the next time he wakes from his nap and sees it, he is going to get off the train. Well, he does, and he enters into this place called Willoughby, a "peaceful, restful place, where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure."

Back on the train we find that at the moment the man decided to get off the train, it was actually his demise, as he fell and was crushed under its wheels. The camera shows him being loaded into a hearse belonging to...yup...Willoughby & Son Funeral Home. (insert Twilight Zone theme here)

Great stuff late 50's and early 60's sci-fi. It always seemed to teeter between truth and fantasy.

I think this episode is probably more pertinent today than it was back then.

How many people in armor suits do you know "held together by one bolt"?

I know plenty. You probably do too.

Maybe you're one of them.

"Willoughby! Next stop, Willoughby!"

Who doesn't need Willoughby? Who wouldn't appreciate Willoughby?

Brother, you would be surprised.

That Twilight Zone episode is less like the Twilight Zone and more like life than we might care to ponder.

Certainly the pressure cooker existence is real.

But what of Willoughby?

Ok, there is no such Eden or Nirvana lost paradise we can hop a train to...

...but... what if we could transform where we are now, our own place, our own little world, our own private existence, into a better place?

Well, isn't that what Jesus promised? No, really, isn't it?

John 10:10 - "I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."

This Twilight Zone character...Gart Williams...saw something he wanted, which contained the elements of joy and peace and comfort. It was life out of the pressure cooker. It was a less stressful environment where the frog could jump out of the kettle.

You know about the frog and the kettle, right?

Put a frog in a cold kettle on the stove and turn the heat up and he will not detect the gradual changes in temperature until it's too late.

That's what stress and being overwhelmed by life does. It slowly cooks us until by the time we realize we are in trouble....well...we just never heeded the signs along the way. Kaput.

If you don't believe the Word from Jesus today, well, I guess there is nothing I can do about that.

You can gaze off on life's train, napping and awakening from a fantasy vision of life perhaps getting better "someday", and hold onto that until the grave. Hopefully you're in "Willoughby" when you wake up. Unfortunately, today's Willoughby is a winning Powerball ticket. Or a pill bottle. Or a bottle of Jack...or...

Or...you can recognize the fact, as many of you do, that Jesus' words are true and efficacious for your life right now.

Jesus...Powerball...Jesus...drug induced Willoughby...Jesus..............

It's a fairly safe conclusion that out of all the people who will read this devotional today none of them will ever win a large lottery. Amazing isn't it? That's how the odds are stacked against you. That's why they call it "gambling".

Yet the one safe venture on a life changing course will be ignored while the search continues for Willoughby.

I hope it's Jesus for you today. I really do. I couldn't tell you any of this with a clear conscience if it hasn't been the greatest decision I ever made in my life.

I love you all today, and praying for you!

Willoughby is not real.

Jesus lives. He is Real.


Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <>< 

~SoZo~

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where Summer Goes To Die

Fall Is The place where Summer goes to die.

It's coming. Soon. It definitely harshes some peoples lifestyle.

Fall. Interesting enough, it's my favorite season.

However, did you ever contemplate the name?

I mean, why "The Fall"?

Someone told me once that it's because the leaves "fall".

I personally find irony in the name.

Stuff dies in The Fall.

And it happens on the heels of the joys and fun of Summer.

The irony is in the reminder of a dark time in man's history called "The Fall".

Adam and Eve were living a lifetime of summers. Carefree. Off the fat of the land.

Eve took what she thought might be a better deal from the Serpent, in turn convinced Adam to do the same, and "Summer" ended.

Enter "The Fall".

Genesis 3:23-24 - "Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (24) So [God] drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep and guard the way to the tree of life."

Stuff died.

Innocence died. Trust died. Summer died. The spirit of man died. All generations to follow were born into spiritual death. "All inclined to be sinful and that continually."

I suspect that at that moment the fruit trees shriveled. The grass turned brown. The lion began to see the lamb as food. Fresh water stagnated. Mosquito bites. Bee stings. The entire Edenic habitat became hostile.

The snow globe burst.

Fall. Stuff died.

There's the irony for me. Right at the height, the very zenith of what could be called the most beautiful season, ...it all starts to die.

The leaves shrivel and the trees become unadorned and divest of their beauty.

The cold winds start to blow. The sky turns gray...everything turns gray...

...and then...Winter. Hibernation. Like the soul does sometimes.

Spring of course is right around the corner! The seasonal Resurrection of life!

Stuff starts to grow...the bleakness disappears...and then..YES! Summer!

All is restored. We can really let it all hang out and live it up in the...Summer.

I think God planned it this way as a reminder for us.

He wants us to see how man has been given everything, and how we have mistreated it...disregarded it...even to the point of our own demise...but that God has made a way of restoration...has saved us from our destructiveness by providing a Savior in Jesus Christ!

God lets us enjoy the beauty of the planet for three seasons and then suffer through the darkness of Winter. He lets us see the planet thrive, die, become depressed, and then live again.

The seasons of this planet reveal to us the spiritual seasons of mankind. Where we have come from, and where we are headed.

Had Adam not traded off his legacy of planet earth for a cheap imitation, there would only be one season on earth, and also only one "season" for man spiritually.

I suppose we could say it would always be "Summer". There would be no death, no pain, no sickness, no poverty, no ravages and fears of life whatsoever. Spiritual Eden. What I refer to as the "Snow Globe". Perfect. Protected.

Well, Jesus brings us back to that. Paul called Him the "Second Adam", the One who has come to "reverse the curse." And He has.

One by one people have had the curse of Eden overturned in their life and have come alive spiritually, and are on a continuous path to the place where it will all be perfect once again!

Be blessed today my friends. I love each one of you. We are on this path together, and come what may in this life, we will see each other someday in the next. Yes...it's true...

...Jesus is preparing our place.

So, run everything past Him first and you will never be taken by surprise!

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><
~SoZo~