Monday, October 17, 2022

Choose The Presence

Choose The Presence

By Tobin Crenshaw

In the Old Testament we are told when Moses received the Ten Commandments there was a tremendous display of God's presence. Exodus tells us, "And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not" (Exodus 20:18-20)​.

The children of Israel had seen miracles as they were delivered from Egypt, they saw the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, but when it came to the presence of God they asked Moses to intercede for them.

Ronald Crandall well states, "We need to qualify what church we want to be a part of... The church of the wilderness experience or the church of the mountain experience. They were comfortable with His miracles but uncomfortable with his presence."

The challenge has always been the same. We want to experience the good things in life, but that is different than saying we want to experience the presence of God.

In the Book of Judges a familiar character, Gideon, has an experience with God. God calls him to lead an army. Gideon tests God by saying that in the morning if God wants him to lead this army then give him a sign. The sign is given, but Gideon says he is still not convinced of God's call and asks for a second sign. He is given a second sign, and then were are told he does what God wants him to do, including removing false idols from the town, but "because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime" (Judges 6:25-27).

Therein is the second challenge, our concern for what other people might think about our faith journey, and our fear they will reject us because we are too committed.

But that is the call for us, to move to the mountain, to be in God's presence, regardless of what others may say or do. When we are faithful, whether the crowds are or not, we leave a legacy like no other.

Such was the case of Dan, as told by author Lee Ross. Dan was a pastor who was dying. In the hospital he asked his lifelong friend Bob, to visit. He spoke long and hard with Bob about the gospel message. Before leaving the hospital, Bob had placed his faith in Christ. But Dan asked one more thing, he wanted Bob's story to inspire others, so he asked Bob to be baptized at his funeral.

That is the legacy of choosing the mountain, choosing the presence of God over fear and public opinion. So choose the mountain, choose the presence, and live with passion this journey of faith.

Done For You Affiliate Marketing System Magic Submitter by Alexandr Krulik



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Sunday, October 16, 2022

From Slave To Alcohol To Child Of The King

From Slave To Alcohol To Child Of The King

By Tobin Crenshaw

In the late 1800's Mel Trotter was a slave to alcohol. It consumed his every whim, and his every dollar. Married, he had a young child that was suffering malnutrition due to Mel spending all the family's money on liquor. As the child became more ill, Mel became more lost and distant.

One day he returned home to find his child had died at only four years old. Mel knew it was his fault. Weeping he told his wife, "I'm a murderer. I'm anything but a man. I can't stand it, and I won't stand it! I'll end my life." He did not follow through with ending his life. Instead within two hours of the funeral he was drunk again.

What happens when a person is so consumed with themselves they can't even see the needs of those they are created to protect and provide for? What does one do with a man or woman who is so selfish they would reach such a low place in their life that it would seem all hope was lost?

Perhaps more importantly, when life drives us to a place we never thought we would be, where do we turn, to whom can we plead our case? I hope in this most powerful picture of redemption each of use can see there is a presence even in the darkest pit, a presence of grace and mercy.

It seemed nothing could change Mel Trotter, he had simply fallen too far. Then one day he passed a chapel and heard music inside. As he entered the worship service he looked almost as bad as he felt. People began to pray for him, and in minutes he surrendered his life to Jesus. His statement about that moment is simply profound.

Eventually he would go on to found clinics to help people with addictions. When asked later on how he knew that he had truly believed in Jesus unto salvation, he would share something so powerful and moving, his words still ring through today over a century later.

As you read his words, carefully consider the prayer of John G. Lake that follows. Then consider the same can hold true for you, Christ can truly change everything when you simply allow him to reign in your life.

Trotter's reply to how he knew Jesus had changed his life was this; "I was there when it happened, January 19, 1897, 10 minutes past 9, Central time, Pacific Garden Mission, Chicago, Illinois, USA."

You can know with that certainty as well, no matter how far you think you have fallen. Perhaps the following prayer from John G. Lake will be a perfect place to start,

"My God and Father, In Jesus' Name I come to Thee. Take me as I am. Make me what I ought to be, in spirit, in soul, in body. Give me power to do right, if I have wronged any, to confess, to repent, to restore, no matter what it costs. Wash me in the blood of Jesus, that I may now become Thy child, and manifest Thee, in perfect spirit, a holy mind, a healthy body, to the glory of God. Amen."

Done For You Affiliate Marketing System Magic Submitter by Alexandr Krulik



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Friday, October 14, 2022

A Former Missionary Finds God

A Former Missionary Finds God

By Tobin Crenshaw

David Flood and Aggie Hurst's story of redemption is a picture of unending grace that has captured hearts for decades. In the early 1900's David and Svea Flood entered the mission field in Africa. Another missionary couple joined them. After little success at reaching the people around them, the other missionary couple gave up and returned home. The only contact the Flood's had was with a little boy who sold fruit.

Svea Flood gave birth on the mission field to a daughter, but died from malaria shortly thereafter. It was then that David gave up as well, gave up the mission field, gave up his faith, and gave up his newborn daughter. Feeling abandoned by God, he left the baby at the mission station and returned to his home, broken hearted. The people that adopted her named her Aggie.

For as long as Aggie Hurst had been alive, her father David Flood had remained on the other side of the ocean, ignoring her attempts at reconciliation. Years later she found out he was deathly ill. She was determined to see him. When father and daughter met for the first time since she was an infant, he tearfully told her he never wanted things to end up like they did.

Aggie attempted to comfort him by sharing that God had been there through it all, working faithfully behind the scenes. David erupted in anger and told her not to mention God in his presence. Forty years a widower, forty years since the mission field, forty years an alcoholic had left him filled with bitterness at the thought of a creator.

Then Aggie showed him an article, it showed a picture of a cross, a memorial to his former wife Svea. She told him about the revival that happened in the Congo after he left the mission field in disgust. She told him about the little boy that sold fruit that became a preacher and led the village to Christ.

Forty years was a long time to wait for healing. But David Flood experienced it that day, turning his heart back to the one with the nail pierced hands.

It was not long after Aggie's visit that David died, finally at peace with God. But the Flood's story was far from over.

Years passed and Aggie and her husband were in London at a conference listening to a preacher from the Congo. After the conference they approached him and asked if he knew David and Svea Flood. "I am the little boy that sold your family fruit," he proclaimed!

Then he told her that Svea Flood was one of the most famous people in the Congo. Then he told her that after the village was converted, the gospel spread like wildfire. He was now in London as a representative of over 120,000 believers in the Congo who traced their spiritual foundation back to Flood's. Their story is a picture of grace, amazing grace indeed.

Done For You Affiliate Marketing System Magic Submitter by Alexandr Krulik



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Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Words Of Jesus Not In Red

The Words Of Jesus Not In Red

By Tobin Crenshaw

Many New Testament translations have the words of Jesus appear in red to make them easier to locate in the Bible. However, there are less familiar words of Christ found in the Old Testament that are just as powerful and inspired, but for some reason editors have not placed these words in red which is why so many people miss them.

Scripture paints life as a courtroom scene. The devil is called the "accuser", taking on the role of prosecutor, pointing out people's faults and sin. The Father is seen as the righteous Judge, and Jesus is called the "advocate", similar to the role of a defense attorney. While the devil calls out "guilty" all day long, it is Christ who simply responds, "Not guilty."

The reason is that by his death he took our guilt and "nailed it to a tree." The Bible says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil who had kept men in fear of death and judgment. As the story unfolds in scripture, finally the harassment had gone on long enough. At just the right time we are told that Christ was born, the "Word made flesh", and heaven invaded Earth.

Amazingly in the Old Testament as Christ was preparing to incarnate as a baby in Bethlehem, in the same verses that speak of his death and resurrection, there is a stunning statement he makes on our behalf to the devil.

The words are found in Isaiah chapter 50:8: "He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me." Or as the NIV puts it, "Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me!"

In an amazing interaction we see the living Christ challenging the devil to a fight, in a sense saying, "You have harassed people long enough, why don't you try to do that with me and see how far you get? These people are my family, if you want to get to them then you have to come through me!"

Forget the soft portrayals of Jesus in many a movie, this is the biblical picture of the Commander in Chief standing up against pure evil for you and me. Take heart, the King of the Universe is on your side, and in the end devil doesn't stand a chance, because between him and you stands Jesus, the Word made flesh.

Done For You Affiliate Marketing System Magic Submitter by Alexandr Krulik



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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Darkest Before The Dawn

Darkest Before The Dawn

By Tobin Crenshaw

Theodore Roosevelt's wife and mother both died on the same night. This excruciating experience helped shape the man he would become as he went into solitude for many months to heal and recover. The scars he bore from this tragedy gave him a strength and a resolve that would carry him into the presidency.

Steve Jobs, who famously founded Apple, was just as famously fired from this same company. Years later he was brought back into the company because they needed his genius to turn things around. His creativity and innovation and ability to see things as they could be took Apple from a $5 billion dollar company into a $170 billion dollar company in ten years.

What did Jobs do to accomplish this? He turned boring computers into colorful, hip and fun additions to the home and office. He created computers that were red, green, blue and yellow and the world ate it up. He charted the course where none had seen the potential, using his pain to create something new.

Woody Allen once shared, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." Henry Ford famously said, "A handful of men have become very rich by paying attention to details that most others ignored."

What they have learned is that people that reach their goals are the ones who don't stop at the sight of adversity.

I learned from author and Nigerian minister D. K. Olukoya that to fulfill your destiny you need two things, prayer to make power change from the hands of the enemy to the hands of the Holy Spirit, and "Seek the restoration of your destiny through aggressive prayer."

Notice he qualifies prayer with the word aggressive. It is an undaunted strength that pushes through until one reaches the light at the end of the tunnel. It is stepping through the darkness and declaring, confessing, decreeing and commanding prayer with confidence and boldness.

I once spent a day at a seminar discussing what organizations and families really need most to bring about successful change. While having the right skills and improving on your strengths is important, what is most needed is leadership with strong character. What is needed is people who will show up when it is easy, and when it is hard. What is needed is holding onto heaven when everything around you seems to be coming apart.

In scripture days are counted from evening until morning, very different from how we count time in our culture. The day ends with the light, not with the dark. The spiritual lesson is clear. We should seek and find the same for our faith, that with prayer and strength we live day to day, walking in the light as he is in the light, knowing it truly is darkest before the dawn.

Done For You Affiliate Marketing System Magic Submitter by Alexandr Krulik



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