When God Answers Prayer…

He doesn’t do it halfway!  I have to share with you an opportunity that has been “given” to me.  But first, a little history.

I have had the privilege of participating in a lot of overseas trips in my lifetime.  From the ones I can remember, I’ve been to the following countries:  England, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, South America, Canada and Japan.  There might be more, but my brain doesn’t remember like it used to.  On all of those trips I was also involved in music ventures in some way.

Ever since my double-lung transplant in 2008, I’ve wondered if I’d ever be able to travel internationally again.  I really had a desire to, and have had a couple of opportunities to since transplant, but either the timing didn’t work out or my health didn’t cooperate.  Another thought was in my head about a year and a half ago, I really had a desire to visit the Middle East.  There were a lot of reasons, some obvious and others not, but I had what you might say was a “burning desire” to go.  I looked at several opportunities, but most were too expensive, so I shelved the idea thinking, “Lord, if you want me to go, you’ll have to provide the way.”

After several months of this desire I received a call from a friend of mine here in town.  He and his wife had spent some time in the Middle East and had recently returned to live here.  My friend contacted me about a possible invitation to go with him, and other musicians, to the Middle East as part of a concert series!  All expenses paid and, WE get paid as well for participating!  My heart jumped, and then I jumped at the opportunity!

So, after almost a year of schedule changes and formatting of the group, etc. it’s official, I’ll be leaving for the Middle East on Saturday, May 19!  I can’t share all the details with you about this trip right now, I can do that after we return.  But for now, I do covet your prayers for protection and “opportunities.”  Duke has cleared me for travel and I’m still feeling great, so off we go!

Wow!  Like I said, when God answers prayer, He doesn’t mess around!

True or False?

How do you know if a minister’s  life, or their teaching is full of truth?

I believe the Bible teaches that we will know teachers, or pastors, or leaders, by the fruit they bear.  It is not my place to judge, only God’s, when it comes to salvation.  It’s not judging to point out that someone’s teaching does not line up with God’s Word.  What do you think Paul did during most of his ministry?  There were a lot of teachers during the early New Testament church period that were teaching false a false doctrine, and he was charged with pointing them out to the new believer’s, so that they wouldn’t stumble.

Too many Chrisitan’s today are unwilling to stand up for the Truth of the Word of God and we know that the Bible teaches that in the latter days, which we’ve been in since Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, there will be many who will teach a message that is contrary to Scripture.  You don’t have to” judge” them to know that, just listen.  Does everything they preach line up with God’s Word?  If it doesn’t then we must question it or be led down a path that is contrary to Scripture.  Pointing it out isn’t judging, it’s making sure they are rightly dividing the Word of Truth!

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (I Timothy 2:15 NKJV)

Jesus said it, he talked about the leaven of the Pharisees, it only takes a little leaven.  Am I perfected in my belief, heck no!  I’m desperately trying to understand ALL the time and attempting to learn!  God is still weeding out the stuff in me that is not lining up with His Word!  I’m trying to cling to His grace every day!  In fact, fighting for it!  I need all of the grace and mercy I can receive just to survive!

The other side of this is that the church I believe, and so do others I respect, has lost its way concerning the whole truth of God’s Word.  Too many denominations and church movements, and by association church leaders, have stopped preaching ALL of the attributes of God.  They have created a theology that does nothing but scratch the itch of their constituents  I call this, “Drive-Thru Gospel.”   This is dangerous, especially when persecution, trials and tribulations come.  What are you going to hang your core beliefs on when life gets ugly and messy and all you’ve been told is that God is loving and kind and wants to bless you and only wants to give you warm and fuzzy feelings or fill up your bank account?

Yes, He IS loving and kind but a lot of people think that when things go wrong He’s not loving or kind any longer and tend to abandon their belief in Him.  And that, I believe, is because they don’t have anything in their spiritual “boat” that can balance them, or provide the spiritual ballast they need, when the storms of life hit, and they will come.

Persecution is coming the Western Church, and we must walk wisely in this world.  At the same time, we must be be on our guard and lookout for those who want to water down, distort, subvert or misrepresent the Truth of the Word of God.  Jesus said, 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16 NKJV)

When the tests of life come we must be ready to mark true of false for our “answer.”  I want to get it right now before the Final Test!