Good all the Time

 by The Mad Preacherth

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (Psalm 125:1)

I believe one of the greatest truths of all time is found in a simple song written by Don Moen and Paul Overstreet. “God is good…all the time.” He is a good God and He is good all the time. And because of this undisputed fact we can trust Him… all the time! Consider this as well; because God is good all the time, whatever He allows to happen in your life is ultimately… good! What a glorious thought!

God wants to bring us to a place of absolute assurance. He wants us to be so tight with Him, that even if all Hell breaks loose around us and on us, we will not be shaken. Why? Because we KNOW that God is good, all the time! Proverbs 10:25 makes this declaration, “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” You see it’s the wicked that are blown away by storms, not the righteous.

Abraham had this kind of relationship with God. Romans Chapter 4 shows us the foundation of his faith. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, [notice this] he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead―since he was about a hundred years old―and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (Verses 18-21)

Abraham took a hard look at the situation that he was facing. He didn’t try to hide from what appeared to be obstacles to the promise, but rather, stood toe to toe with them. He made a quality decision to choose to trust a God whom he knew was good all the time. Abraham didn’t lie to himself and look for loopholes in God’s promises, as many of us are prone to do. He was personally acquainted with the integrity and goodness of the One who had promised.

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. (James 2:23)

The reason that Abraham was “fully persuaded” is simple. God was more than Abraham’s God… he was his friend. Consider this thought. God is not religious… He’s relational. God’s into the friendship thing in a big way. He wants a relationship with us, and God will do whatever it takes to obtain it and then do everything within His power to protect that relationship.

For example, God wants to remove from our life any bad habits or harmful attitudes that would interfere with our friendship with Him. So, often God lovingly allows the fires of adversity to come and purge us in order to eradicate the junk in our life. He does so in order to deliver us from the things that hurt our relationship with Him.

Romans 8:28-29 offers these profound words of comfort, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

A good father only wants what’s good for his children and will use every means at his disposal to accomplish this goal. Our Heavenly Father is no different. He’s a good Father and a good God. He only wants what’s good for those He loves. Indeed, He loves you with an immeasurable love. I encourage you to cling to this all-important truth―God is good, and He’s good all the time. Just trust Him!

Though I may not understand
All the plans You have for me
My life is in Your hands
And through the eyes of faith
I can clearly see…

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise
In this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night
His light will shine
God is good
God is good all the time *

* God is Good – All the Time, Words and music by Don Moen and Paul Overstreet © 1995 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music

Misfits

by The Mad Preacher

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of Godround_hole_square_peg_6617
And I know it’s true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God[1]

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit―fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”-Jesus (John 15:16)

I love this description of the men who would one day be called “David’s mighty men.”

All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented (the Hebrew means “to be bitter of soul”) gathered around him, and he became their leader.

About four hundred men were with him.

(1 Samuel 22:2)

Imagine this if you will. The US Marine Corps announces a snappy new recruiting slogan. “The Marines are looking for a few stressed-out, bankrupt, bitter men. The few, the losers―the Marines!” If we would be honest, most of us could be counted among those called David’s mighty men. Indeed, we’ve all had our seasons of personal difficulty. I must confess that I have experienced distress, indebtedness and bitterness from time to time. However, the US Marines are not in the market for people like those described here. No, the military may not want them. Corporate America may turn away from them. Sadly, in many cases, churches don’t want them either. Ah… but God does. God doesn’t snub them, but, rather gladly, embraces them.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Jesus (Matthew 11:28)

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things―and the things that are not―to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God―that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

What does God look for when He recruits someone? Well, to begin with, we must understand something about God. He’s not a talent scout. In other words, you can come to Him empty-handed, feeling like you have nothing special to offer. God’s not necessarily looking for one who has great personal talent, charisma or influence. Although those qualities can be used greatly when they’re submitted to God, both in the corporate world as well as the ministry, they’re not necessarily needed to qualify for God’s team of mighty men and women.

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

God is on a quest, but He’s not looking for a stone—someone who’s hard and set in his ways. God is looking for a lump of clay―one who is pliable in His hands. God desires someone He can mold and shape into the image of His son, Jesus—who was the original societal reject. God’s looking for one who is willing to put aside all claims to self-sufficiency and then put on God-sufficiency.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me[2]

He’s seeking one with the keen realization that the battle is the Lord’s and victory and success in life comes from Him alone. God’s Elite Team consists of those who make no personal claims but rather, wholly rely on the Lord. They know that whatever impact they may have in life relies solely on their desire to walk by faith and not by sight. These are the ones He seeks—God’s Elite Team of Misfits.

…who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and

who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

(Hebrews 11:33-34)

[1] Fingerprints Of God – Steven Curtis Chapman from his album, Speechless ©1999 Sparrow Song (a div. of EMI Christian Music Publishing) Peach Hill Songs

[2] Just as I Am, Without One Plea written by A.H. Brown and Charlotte Elliott, Public Domain

The Evil “I”

By The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8)Evil within

Many times I’ve felt much like the Apostle Paul. I’ve had my share of pain and rejection in my life and I’ve often had to face them without human comfort. Yet, hardships are just part of life. We all face struggles from time to time. None of us are immune. We have no choice over the cards that life deals us. However, we can choose how we play those cards. Do I sit in the corner, licking my wounds, buried in bitterness and self-pity, or do I adopt Paul’s attitude? For Paul went on to say:

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. (vs. 9-10)

It’s so easy for us to look at what we don’t have and let that overshadow the many ways God has so abundantly blessed us. He’s the “friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) He’s is the one who said, “I’ll never leave you are forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) God’s the one who said, “I’ll supply all of your needs.” (Philippians 4:19) He’s the one who has saved me completely. (Hebrews 7:25)

God has blessed us beyond measure. Everything else is icing on the cake. So, the choice is mine as to what to do when troubles beset me. Do I choose anger and bitterness or do I choose the hope and peace found in God’s Word? It’s not an easy choice and it costs you something, but anything worthwhile always cost us something. What is the price? Simple, it’s our pride. It’s the evil “I”.

Psychiatrists call it the ego. It’s that part of our psychological makeup that believes it must fight for itself in the world. Left unchecked by the Holy Spritual it devolops into a dog eat dog mentallity that leads to our distruction.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

The ego is the basis of pride. Pride, self-centeredness, is the basis of all sin. It’s the source of all negative human behavior. Not only is it the root of such things as arrogance, self-importance and religious bigotry, it also gives birth to things like fear, anger, self-debasement, self-pity and shame.

I spent most of my young life unaware of the fact that I was full of pride. It was a wicked mixture of religious arrogance and self-loathing. Thus, most of my life was spent lamenting over how cruel life had been to me. I was focused on the evil “I”. Then one day God exposed my pride to me in the form a woman in a church I use to attend.

This lady was in a terrible emotional condition. Nearly every worship service found her at the alter having one of the pastors pray with her over the same things. Then one night, after worship, I overheard her bellyaching to someone about her life. “I’m afraid of what my husband and children would think if I ….” “I’m afraid to try that because I might fail”, on and on she went voicing the same theme. As I listened the Lord revealed to me the true source of her problem.

In the past, everyone was trying to treat the symptoms–fear, self-pity, poor self-image, faithlessness, est., rather than treating the problem. “I know what your problem is.” I told her. “What?… What?!” she asked, eyes wide open and filling with tears. “It’s pride”, I answered. “PRIDE?!” she exclaimed, “PRIDE? Oh, no! What do you mean?!” “Well, it’s evident in the things you say. ‘I’m afraid of this.’ ‘I’m afraid of that.’ ‘I’m afraid of what my family will think.’ What is the middle letter in the word ‘sin’?” I asked. “‘I’”, she replied. “What’s the middle letter of the word ‘pride’?” I asked. “It’s ‘I’”, she responded. Her eyes were now fountains. Streaks of mascara were on her glistening cheeks.

“You see, all pride is self-centeredness.” I continued. “Your focus is on you and your feelings of inadequateness.” “Oh, no!” she cried. “What do I do?” “Recognize it as sin and, once for all, repent of it. Then study The Bible and see what God thinks of you as his child.” I prayed with her and walked her through as she asked for God’s forgiveness for her pride.

It’s pride, that evil “I”, that also makes us loose our cool with others ¾ be it at home or in traffic. It’s pride that makes us think that everything’s supposed to go or way. Then, it’s pride that gets us all bent out of shape when things don’t go our way. The choice is ours to make. I can’t blame anyone but myself for the bad choices I’ve made and the bitter aftermath that followed. My made my bed, I must now sleep in it. You reap what you sow and so forth.

I wasted so many years wallowing in bitterness and self-pity. I’m now choosing to do otherwise. Theses days I’m letting God’s Word be my mirror. With God’s help, I’m keeping my pride in check. Am I always successful at it? No. Do I still battle bitterness and feelings of inadequacies? Oh yes, often! However, as time goes by and my walk with God grows stronger, it becomes easier to defeat the evil “I”.

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Recognize that self-debasing is pride and pride is sin.

Repent of it!

Renounce it!

Reprogram your thinking with God’s Word.

One of the worse form of pride is to to say that your openion of yourself is more important than God’s opinion of you.

“All I need is a King James Bible and a dictionary.”

[A] variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures.” — The KJV Translators

Someone once told me, “All I need is a King James Bible and a dictionary.” As I left I was thinking about what he said and an image came to me. There were Jesus and the Apostles sitting around a big fire. Jesus was teaching and there were the Apostles passing a dictionary back and forth trying to understand what Jesus was saying!

In 2003, Merriam-Webster updated its collegiate dictionary. The dictionary’s lexicographers made more than 100,000 changes and added more than 10,000 new words and phrases that did not appear in 1993.

We don’t use Elizabethan English in 21st century America. God’s Word is much too important to leave it in antiquated terms that are no longer in use, or words that have a totally different meaning today than they did in 1611. The writers wrote the words down in the language of the day. Shouldn’t we have Gods WORD in the language of our day? We must update the language and keep God’s Word fresh and readable. We must make sure that the message remains clear. The translators of the KJV understood this. That’s why the KJV went through many revisions before we got the one we all know and love today.

 

Three Words of Freedom

   —The Hard Copy—

By Rod Davis

Do you need a miracle in you life? Do you need one in your home? Is a relationship with someone you love slowly degenerating and facing eventual destruction and only a miracle from God can turn it around? Well, I’m going to tell you how to get a miracle.

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts…” (Psalm 51:6) [I]

He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. (1 Kings 18:33)

We’ve got to “come clean” with one another. We must, if you’ll excuse the expression, cut the bull! David understood the importance of honesty in relationships. He knew that the lines of communication could be severely hampered if he let an offence remain unsettled. The same holds true for us. Every interpersonal relationship you have (including the one you have with God) demands honesty.

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” (Ephesians 4:25)

If you tie a tourniquet on one of your limbs and leave it there indefinitely something terrible will happen. That part of your body will no longer receive anything from the rest of your body. It will soon begin to whither and die. If you allow unresolved issues to cut you off from a family member or friend your relationship with them will begin to whither and die.

Do you have a relationship that is withering and dying? Maybe you feel like it’s already dead. Have you been hurt and angered by a loved one or perhaps a loved one is hurt with angry with you? You see no resolution to this painful situation? You need a miracle, right? Well, I’ve got one for you.

I have three words for you that will bring about amazing miracles in you life and bring healing to your interpersonal relationships!

We all blow it from time to time and even hurt someone we love. We’ve even searched for ways to make up for it. However, the three words I’m going to give you will help you do more to set things right than the most expensive gifts or most meaningful cards could you can offer.

No, it’s not the words “I love you” or “I am sorry” It’s not even the words “Please forgive me.” These expressions of remorse and affection may be good but nothing will break down walls and usher in healing like these three little words… “I WAS WRONG.”

“If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

It’s that simple. If we confess our sins God will forgive our sins. In other words, call a spade a spade. Admit you were wrong. Don’t make excuses. Just “fess up.” Rather than trying to explain yourself, rather than trying to excuse your behavior, just say these three words. “I was wrong.” Don’t try to justify your actions or even your reactions. Just say, “I was wrong.” Do that first. Then you can add other words like, “Please forgive me.” But first you must admit your own wrongdoing in the matter.

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” —Jesus (Luke 6:27-31)

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

It doesn’t matter to God who started the squabble. He doesn’t care who said what or did what to whom. Each of us are accountable to Almighty God for our actions and our reactions; that’s right—your reactions. “Don’t return wrong for wrong.” “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” I am not accountable for what others do to me. However, I am accountable for how I react to them.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

“In your anger do not sin Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians4:26)

In the eyes of God I am personally accountable for everything I do—everything! I can’t expect to go before God with excuses for disobeying Him, “You just don’t know what that person did to me! I was so hurt. How can I ever forgive them for what they did.” If that’s your attitude God wants to ask you a question. “How about you? How did you react to what they did? Did you get angry and say hurtful things to them?”

You may respond, “Well yes, but I was so hurt! They made me angry. What they did was wrong!”

To which God replies, “Yes, maybe so. I will hold them accountable for what they did. It was wrong and they need to apologize to you and repent before me as well. However, (and this is the part we don’t want to hear!) What about you? It takes two to tango. The way that you reacted to the offence is equally wrong. Right??

“Well… “

“Did I not say, ‘Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong…’? Did I not say ‘forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’?

“Well… yes, but…”

“There’s no buts about it. Are you reacting in a Christlike way to insults?”

“Well,… no Lord. I have not.”

“Then… say it.”

“OK, I will. I was wrong; wrong to react in anger and bitterness to them and wrong to disobey your word.”

“Good. Now, what are you going to do?”

“Go to the one who offended me and tell him I was wrong to snap back at him and to act so un-Christlike.”

  “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”—Jesus             (John 13:15)

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

“I was wrong.” What a powerful phrase! What a liberating thing to admit! “I was wrong. It doesn’t matter what you did to me, I was wrong to react the way I did! I’ve asked God to forgive me and now I’m asking you to forgive me.” Wow! That will set you free and set them free.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” — Jesus (Matthew 5:23-24)

It’s the formula for the healing of relationships with God and with others. “I was wrong.” Try it sometime. You’ll be amazed at what these three little words will do.

[I] If otherwise posted all scripture come from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Wrong Skirt original preface

Hello, friend.

This was the original preface that was to go into the front of my book The Wrong Shirt. https://www.amazon.com/WRONG-SKIRT-Quest-Avoid-Choices/dp/1935434551 My publisher thought it was not needed so we lift it out. I believe this will tell a lot about where I come from spiritually and what inspired me to write this book.

The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. (Psalm 14:2)

Since the days of Adam, God has always had a people. Examine The Bible or study Church experience. You’ll soon discover that a royal lineage of faithfuls can be traced throughout the pages of history. God has always had a remnant consisting of those who dared to forsake the norm––a people who were dissatisfied with the ordinary. There’s a breed of disenchanted saints who were fed up with the mind-numbing boredom of lifeless religion.

God has always had a band of radicals: those who have left the rank and file; a refined remnant who are no longer impressed by the world’s goods; those who resist being lured by the glitter of toys and refuse to be lulled into the common place; extremists who push beyond man-made boundaries, then press on and go for God. He has always had a crew who possessed a holy boldness in witnessing to the lost and a passion for one another.

God has always had a people who would dare to defy the traditions of men and speak the truth in spite of the cost. These are a people with-in his people––a core of sold out saints who are ready to toss aside everything for the sake of seeking their God. It is through such as these that he demonstrates his greatest works.

God is on a world wide quest. He constantly looks for that nucleus of believers within the Church that has concluded there has got to be something more to the Christian experience. His search is not limited by man’s finite grasp of truth either. It spans across denominational lines and movements. He knows that there is a caliber of people that stand head and shoulders above the rest––not so much in the eyes of their contemporaries, but in his eyes. Those who have got to know truth regardless of the price; those who want to know God at any cost. These are the ones he seeks. You know hungry people just like you!

It is to you seekers that this book addresses itself. It is for those of you who are completely dissatisfied with your spiritual walk and desperately want more. It was written to those of you who don’t want to miss what God is doing in these last days. Is this you? Then read on.

This book should have something of a Gideon effect on its readers. It was designed much like a funnel. The first two chapters are like the wide mouth of the funnel––big enough to accommodate pretty much any casual reader. However, chapters three through five begins to separate the men from the boys (so to speak). The funnel neck gets even smaller in chapter six. I start by taking my life into my own hands when I step right into the middle of a family feud––tongues and the gifts. It’s my humble attempt at peacemaking? Then after hopping up and down in that frying pan for a while, I leap into the fire in chapter seven with an appeal to my fellow so those who call themselves “Charismatics” to come back to the basics. Then the neck of the funnel narrows down to its smallest size in the remaining two chapters, as I discuss what it means to run with the big dogs.

Are you a bored believer? Are you a dissatisfied saint? Then this book is for you. However, before you begin, bear in mind that this treasure came from an earthen jar. There are controversial issues that I’ve attempted to address and chances are some may disagree or even be offended at me. It’s to you that I say please receive what you read in the spirit that it was given––in much love.

I want something to be clearly understood before you read any further. My prayer is that I will not be perceived as one who thinks he has arrived at some lofty spiritual plateau which overlooks the rest of The Church. I’m not The Bible Answer Man by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t have all of the answers, but I do believe I have discovered a few. These I wish to submit for your consideration. So please, if you will, prayerfully reflect on what answers this book may have to offer. I present them to you in the same way that I received them––in much fear and trembling.

Finally, consider this quote from Another Wave of Revival by Frank Bartleman, one of the fathers of the Azuza Street Revival. Think of it as an appetizer.

“In the various crises that have occurred in the history of the church, men have come to the front who have manifested a holy recklessness that astonished their fellows. When Luther nailed his theses to the door of the cathedral at Whittenberg, cautious men were astonished at his audacity. When John Wesley ignored all church restrictions and religious propriety and preached in the fields and byways, men declared his reputation was ruined. So it has been in all ages. When the religious condition of the times called for men [and women] who were willing to sacrifice all for Christ, the demand created the supply, and there have always been found a few who were willing to be regarded reckless for the Lord. An utter recklessness concerning men’s opinions and other consequences is the only attitude that can meet the needs of the present times.” *

Rod Davis– Chattanooga, Tennessee

 

Published October 1st 1985 by Whitaker Distribution (first published 1982) Another Wave of Revival by Frank Bartleman