Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No Place to Go But Up

When you hit bottom, the only way you can go is up. I know. I have been there and know the place very well.

David knew what it was like to be on top, and unfortunately, he also knew what it was like to hit bottom. Listen to how he describes it in Psalms 40:2. “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay…” Notice the phraseology. He brought me up. Up from defeat; up from despair; up from humiliation; up from a miry mess and up from suicidal inclinations. If you have ever been down, you know how thrilling it is to get back on top again.

But it’s when you are down, and you don’t know if you will ever be on top again that severe depression sets in. Elizabeth Wurtzel asserts that “a human being can survive almost anything, as long as (they) see the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.”

As serious as depression is, I chuckled when I remembered a comic strip involving Snoopy the dog in Peanuts. There he sat mopping, droopy eyes, ears flopping at the door of his dog house. “Yesterday,” he said, “I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. There is so little hope for advancement.”

For dogs that’s true, but for people who are down it’s different. There’s room for advancement. Jesus said, “I am the way…” (John 14:6) Depression is a dispute with God- intentionally or unintentionally. Depression says, “There’s no way out.” Jesus says, “I am the way out.” Its truth versus lies, hope versus despair and walking in victory over defeat.

It basically boils down to who and what you believe. Albert Ellis summarized it in these simple words. “You largely construct your depression. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, you can deconstruct it.” Depression is a condition that you develop based upon what you believe unless it is chemically induced. It is a form of faith turned upside down. Some people believe the Bible is a lie, Jesus is a fraud, and miracles are air castles built by mentally deranged individuals.

They believe the worst not the best. It’s like the lady who was trying on shoes in a shoe store. She believed she could wear a size 5 1/2 shoe, or at least that is what she said. Finally the weary clerk told her that what she believed was hurting her. The startled woman replied, “Why do you say that?” The clerk replied, “Because you believe you can cram your size 8 foot into a 5 ½ shoe.” The clerk knew that she must begin to believe that she must wear a properly sized shoe or her feet would always be hurting. She had to change what she believed before she would change her shoes.

As amazing as it is, Jesus used the same strategy. He said to a man who had hit rock bottom, “Do you believe I can do this?” (Mark 9:23) Do you believe I can turn this horrible problem around? Do you believe I am the way out? Do you believe that health and happiness can be restored? Do you believe that you are not doomed to spend the rest of your life in this dungeon?

Hear what the man who had hit bottom said, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24-25) He climbed out of his pit on the ladder of his beliefs!

We can all learn a much needed lesson from this incident. It is simply this. When you hit bottom, you must change the way you think and what you believe. You must believe that a mole hill is a mole hill not a mountain and that Jesus is a way Maker not a trouble maker.

The infamous guy in the Luke 15 story illustrates some timeless principles that we can cling to when we hit bottom, and there is no way to go but up.

#1: Recognize where you are.

(Luke 15:15 – And he began to be in want…and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”)

He may have known little or nothing about animal husbandry, but he knew tons about human depravity. He may not have known the going price for hogs in the stock market, but he knew when he had hit rock bottom and there was no place to go but up. It was a long fall from having it all to having nothing, from being someone to becoming a no one and from being in a penthouse to sleeping in a pig pen. But he had to recognize where he was before he would be trying to find a way out.

#2: Redefine your objectives.

(Luke 15:18 – “I will arise and go to my father…”)

Principles do not change, but objectives do. Principles can’t be redefined and rewritten. They are permanent and irrevocable, but objectives can be overhauled by urgency and demand. Urgency prompted the Prodigal to redefine his objectives. The objective that headed his list was “to arise and go to my father.” He had to go from the trouble making crowd to a problem solving, dependable source. It meant a change of direction. Peter Druker defined objectives like this. “Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are commands; they are commitments. They do not determine future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.” Your objectives have the potential of turning your gutter days to better days. Going to the Father was the new beginning.

#3: Rectify your errors.

(Luke 15:18 – “I have sinned…”)

Hitting the bottom doesn’t necessarily constitute out right sin in the sight of God. It can be a colossal error of judgment. I read what Forence King had to say on this subject, and it is good enough to share with you. “People are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what they could be or have a right to be, that they’re all asleep at the switch and a living in the Age of Human Error”

Making a bad investment in the stock market may not be a sin, but it is an error in human judgment that bears painful consequence. Rectifying your error will not get your money back, but it will be a hedge against future such mistakes.

The Prodigal’s errors were compounded one right after another. He was in bad error of fiscal responsibility, in the crowd he ran with, in the disrespect he had for his father, and luxurious living which lead to his financial down fall.

“I have sinned” was an admission of error and the beginning of rectifying it. Repeating your errors is insanity. Rectifying them is prelude to turning things around.

#4: Return as you were but different.

(Luke 15:19 – “Make me as one of thy hired servants.”)

He had the same DNA but a changed man was inside the old skin. Position meant nothing to him. Having peace of mind did. Appearance was no longer important, but appreciation was. The boy who hit bottom and made it back to the top had appreciation for a warm, clean bed to sleep in; food on the table from a pantry not a pig pen; a ring from his daddy on his finger and not hocked in a pond shop; bills paid and money left over; and duds from a haberdashery not hand me downs from a garage sale rack.

Sadly enough, we don’t appreciate being on top until we hit bottom or appreciate what we have until we lose it. Frederick Keoing explained it so beautifully like this. “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”

The man in our text who occupied one of the poorest seats in the house did so knowing that the only way he could go from there was up. In quiet confidence he waited until he heard the master say, “Friend go up higher.” May you hear those words today.

Going Up!

Pastor Jimmy & Bob

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Cup Is Full And Running Over

I’ve soaked up so much joy in the sunshine of life that my soul may be sun burned.

Dwain Jones shares this philosophy and has a unique way of expressing it. He often says, “I am so happy that I have to sit on my hands to keep them from clapping.”

In Psalms 47:1-2, the Sweet Singing Psalmist urged us to clap our hands and shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

Full cup Christians are easy to pick out in a crowd and hard to silence. They rejoice with joy unspeakable. They praise God enthusiastically. They love God passionately. They pray expectantly. They worship adoringly. They sing spontaneously. It’s like having a little of heaven to go to heaven in.

Praise be to the Father, my cup is full and running over for the goodness of His grace, the marvel of His mercy, the plentitude of His power and the lavishness of His love.

As a matter of fact, my cup is so full today that I am looking for a bigger cup. This general principle permeates the Bible from cover to cover. Isaiah wrote to us about “enlarging a tent” to accommodate the blessings of God to follow. (Isaiah 54:2) Elisha encouraged the destitute widow who had bill collectors knocking on her door to go borrow some pots and pans to contain the provisions of God. (II Kings 4:3) When Jesus performed the miracle of the bread and fish, the supply was so abundant that 12 baskets were needed to carry away the leftovers.

And it gets even better. Jesus declared, “He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also and GREATER WORKS THAN THESE SHALL HE DO…” (John 14:12) Let’s face it. God is not running out of blessings to give. He is just running out of vessels to fill.

Malachi propounded the generosity of God in Malachi 3:10. “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and PROVE ME now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, IF I WILL NOT OPEN THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN, AND POUR YOU OUT A BLESSING, THAT THERE SHALL NOT BE ROOM ENOUGH TO RECEIVE IT.”

Again our Master Teacher, Jesus, said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, AND RUNNING OVER…” (Luke 6:38)

The general consensus of the world is that God is running out of miracles, but I believe that God wants to give us “running over” miracles---more than enough to go around supplying all of our needs.

Jesus never alluded to a diminishing supply of Heaven’s resources. In John 15:11 he said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be FULL.” Full!! May I remind you that the word “full” according to Mr. Webster means having in it all there is space for. That’s what God has for us. Full joy; full favors; and full forgiveness are in God’s plan for our lives.

Number 1: My Cup Is Full Of Gratitude.

(Deuteronomy 8:10 – “When you have eaten and are full, then you should bless the Lord thy God for the good….”)

I am full of gratitude for the things I have received that I did not deserve and for the things I did not receive which I deserved. In a sense, gratitude is my gift to the Giver for what He has done for me. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words of gratitude are applicable and fitting for the gratitude that is pouring out of my heart. He said, “For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, and for everything Thy goodness sends.” For these and much more, I give God thanks.

Number 2: My Cup Is Full Of Awe.

(Psalms 95:3, 6-7 – “For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods….O come, let us worship and bow down…for he is our God…”)

I am so full of awe when I contemplate the incredible God we call our Heavenly Father. Words seem to fail me so I will borrow the words from Hillsong United from the song, I stand in Awe of You. I pray the words will fill you heart to overflowing.

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful of comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp you infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you.

In the spirit of true humility and awe, I will conclude by saying, “Selah,”and remind you that one man suggested that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. This is one of those moments.

In The Journey Together,

Pastor Jimmy & Bob

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All Shook Up

Don’t say you are not if you are. That’s what psychologist would probably identify as denial, and denial will only make bad matters worse. The way out is to fess up and look up.

Athletes get all shook up before the big game begins. Brides have a tendency to do so on their wedding day. Politicians have it on election night, and job hunters have it when they are having a decisive interview. It means to be nervous, upset or even agitated. Jesus saw this tension in the disciples, and said, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1)

Paul alludes to it as being “shaken in mind.” (II Thessalonians 2:2) You know the feeling when it’s time to make the mortgage payment and you don’t have the money; when it’s exam day in the chemistry class and you failed to prepare; when you sit across the desk from the doctor and he tells you the bad news that you never wanted to hear; when the bottom of the stock market falls out and with it goes your retirement fund and when the phone rings in the dead hours of the night and the caller tells you your child has been in an accident.

We get all shook up by unpaid bills, unplanned emergencies, unfair criticism and our uncertain future.

Experience has taught me 4 basic reasons why people get all shook up. Try them on for size and see if any one or more of them fit your situation.

First of all, we get shook up when our fondest expectations get buried in a deep grave of disappointment.

Proverbs 13:12 – The Message: “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.”

I HATE disappointments, but I have discovered that my disappointments can be God’s appointment. William Carey, the great man of God of by gone days, sized up disappointments like this for a believer. He said, “All I can say in this affair is that, however mysterious the leadings of Providence are, I have no doubt but they are superintended by an infinitely wise God.” Martin Luther King, Jr. declared, “We must accept finite disappointments, but never lose infinite hope.”

In the second place, we get all shook up when we interpret divine delays as divine denials.

Habakkuk 2:3 – The Message: “If it seems slow in coming, wait; Its on the way. It will come right on time.”

Delays are devastating and frustrating. I get all shook up when my ship doesn’t come in, and my prayers are put on hold. The simple fact is that God’s timetable is not synchronized with mine. I get in a hurry, but He doesn’t. He uses the “W” word far more often than I want to hear. He’s says, “Wait” when I don’t want to and at times don’t feel like I can. The man who was born two months early expressed his hurry mode like this. “I was in such a hurry that I was born two months early and have been in a hurry ever since.”

The hurry madness will get you all messed up until you discover what Martha Reeves did. These are her words not mine, but I subscribe to them. “I don’t worry about being in a hurry any more, BECAUSE MY FAITH IN GOD WILL ALWAYS DELIVER ME ON TIME.” Delays are His problems not mine. He will always be on time.

In the third place, we get all shook up when we confuse a single defeat as a final defeat.

Proverbs 16:33 – The Message: “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.”

Perhaps we need to look at defeats differently. In reality, “defeat is usually a temporary condition. Giving up makes it permanent”, so said Marilyn Vos Savant.

I was greatly inspired when I read what William A. Ward had to say about defeat. “Defeat, he said, “is a temporary detour not a dead end street.” Don’t go to pieces. Go to prayer. Don’t fold up. Fight! Heroes are not people who never lose. They are people who never give up. They know God has the final word.

And in the fourth place, we get all shook up when we try our best and it isn’t good enough to get our desired result.

Proverbs 16:3 – The Message: “Put God in charge of your work, then what you have planned will take place.

Nothing is more disgusting and discouraging than to try your hardest but end up holding an empty bag for your efforts. Simon Peter, the big fisherman, had a good track record of catching fish, but he also knew what it was like to fish all night and come up with NOTHING….not a minnow in the net…not an eel flopping around like a snake in the boat…NOTHING. It was not for a lack of effort. It was the sum total of lacking effectiveness. (John 21:3)

All that hard work for nothing. Not enough catch to pay their bills, feed their kids or erase the embarrassment that a professional fisherman would experience. He had reason to be all shook up. He tried hard but his plan didn’t work.

That’s what experience has taught me. I see the problem and empathize with the pain. But what is the solution? The Bible teaches me that there is only one solution: J E S U S! You must not deny Him. He is real. You must not despise Him because He loves you. You dare not attempt to demonize Him because He is divine.

Worship Him passionately. Love Him intensely. Trust Him completely.

  1. He can neutralize any negative impact that failure has had in my life.
  2. He can finalize delays.
  3. He can minimize the pain of disappointments.
  4. He can authorize light to glow in the darkness signaling the end of the tunnel is nearer than I think.
  5. He can immunize me to the paralysis of fear.
  6. And he can subsidize my efforts to succeed when I have done my best and it is not good enough to accomplish what I desire. Don’t be all shook up. Just look up. Jesus is the difference maker for your life.
Walking Together,

Pastor Jimmy & Bob

Sunday, March 6, 2011

CORRECTED VISION

THE WORLD WILL LOOK UGLY IF YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE CITY GARBAGE DUMP, BUT IT IS BEAUTIFUL IF YOU ARE GAZING AT THE STARS STRUNG OUT ACROSS THE HEAVENS AT NIGHT.

IT ALL DEPENDS UPON WHICH WAY YOU ARE LOOKING AND WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.

AN UNKNOWN WRITER EXPLAINED IT LIKE THIS.

  • TO BE DISTRESSED, LOOK WITHIN;
  • TO BE DEFEATED, LOOK BACK;
  • TO BE DISTRACTED, LOOK AROUND;
  • TO BE DISMAYED, LOOK BEFORE;
  • TO BE DELIVERED, LOOK TO CHRIST; AND
  • TO BE DELIGHTED, LOOK UP.

JESUS, THE MASTER TEACHER, SAID, “YOU HAVE EYES TO SEE, BUT YOU DON’T SEE WHAT YOU NEED TO BE SEEING.”

YOU SEE NOT

  • THE GOOD FOR BAD
  • GOD FOR GREED
  • BEAUTY FOR BRUTALITY
  • HARMONY FOR HOSTILITY
  • AND FAIRNESS FOR FOUL PLAY

YOU SEE NOT DECENCY BECAUSE OF THE MASSIVE SPREAD OF DEGENERACY THAT DAILY LOOMS BEFORE OUR EYES.

THE NEED FOR CORRECTIVE VISION WAS ILLUSTRATED TO ME SO CLEARLY BY A YOUNG MAN WHO FOUND A FIVE DOLLAR BILL LYING BY THE SIDE OF A RODE.

ACCORDING TO A WELL KNOWN WRITER, WILLIAM FEATHER, THE YOUNG MAN WAS SO IMPACTED BY WHAT HE SAW IN THE DIRT AND GRIM BESIDE THE RODE THAT HE NEVER LIFTED HIS EYES AGAIN AS HE WALKED.

AS A RESULT, IN THE YEARS TO COME HE ACCUMULATED

  • 29,516 LOST BUTTONS
  • 54,172 PREVIOUSLY OWNED PINS
  • 12 CENTS
  • A BENT BACK AND
  • A POOR DISPOSITION.

IN THIS PROCESS, HE LOST

  • THE GLORY OF THE SUNLIGHT
  • THE SHEEN OF THE STARS
  • THE SMILES OF HIS FRIENDS
  • TREE BLOSSOMS IN THE SPRING
  • THE BLUE SKIES, AND
  • THE ENTIRE JOY OF LIVING.

HE IGNORED THE BEST AND FOCUSED ON THE REST.

WHAT A TRAGEDY TO HAVE EYES TO SEE AND SEE NOT OR AT LEAST NOT SEEING WHAT YOU NEED TO SEE.

IT WILL

  • DECIMATE YOUR DISPOSITION
  • MESS WITH YOU MIND
  • HARPOON YOUR HAPPINESS
  • OPPRESS YOUR OPTIMISM.

JOHN THE REVELATOR WAS NOT ONLY A PROGNOSTICATOR OF UNKNOWN FUTURE EVENTS BUT A SPIRITUAL OPTOMETRIST PRESCRIBING CORRECTIVE VISION FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE BLIND AS A BAT TO THE ACTIVITY OF GOD IN THE SPIRIT REALM.

HIS ADVICE IS RECORDED IN REVELATION 3:18. “ANOINT YOUR EYES WITH EYE SALVE THAT YOU MAY SEE.”

HELEN KELLER SUGGESTED THAT “THE MOST PATHETIC PERSON IN THE WORLD IS SOMEONE WHO HAS SIGHT BUT HAS NO VISION.”

RALPH WALDO EMERSON RECOGNIZED THAT THE PROBLEM LIES WITH THE INDIVIDUAL. HE DECLARED, “PEOPLE ONLY SEE WHAT THEY ARE PREPARED TO SEE.”

MY PRAYER FOR EACH OF US THIS WEEK IS THE PRAYER THAT ELISHA PRAYED FOR HIS SERVANT. “LORD, I PRAY THEE, OPEN HIS EYES THAT HE MAY SEE.”

THIS EYE OPENING EXPERIENCE WILL LEAD US TO DISCOVER NO LESS THAN THREE GLORIOUS FACTS.

NUMBER 1: THE GOODNESS OF GOD IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN ANYTHING THE DEVIL CAN THROW AT US.

II KINGS 6:16 – “THEY THAT BE WITH US ARE MORE THAN THEY THAT BE WITH THEM.”

THE TROUBLED, FEARFUL SERVANT COULD NOT SEE OR COMPREHEND WHAT GOD WAS DOING IN THE REALM OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD.

HIS VISION WENT NO FARTHER THAN THE END OF HIS NOSE UNTIL THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT THE LORD OPENED HIS EYES.

WHAT A REVELATION. WHAT A COMFORT. WHAT A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE.

GOD OPENED HIS EYES AND HE SAW

  • OUR ADVOCATE IS GREATER THAN OUR ADVERSARY.
  • OUR BENEFACTOR IS NOT BANKRUPT BY OUR BUDGET DEFICIT.
  • OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS BIGGER, BOLDER AND BETTER THAN OUR FOE DOWN HERE ON EARTH.
  • OUR LORD IS NOT THREATENED BY THE RULERS OF DARKNESS.

FROM WHERE YOU ARE STANDING, IT MAY LOOK LIKE YOU ARE FIGHTING A LOPSIDED BATTLE THAT YOU CAN’T WIN, AND YOU ARE RIGHT IF YOU ARE SEEING IT THROUGH THE NATURAL EYE.

BUT NOT WHEN YOUR VISION IS CORRECTED.

SUDDENLY YOU WILL REALIZE WHAT DR. ROLLS REALIZED.

HIS

  • COVENANT HAS NOT BEEN CANCELLED
  • KINGDOM IS NOT CRUMBLING
  • DOMINION IS NOT DECLINING
  • FAITHFULNESS IS NOT FAILING

I SPEAK TO YOU IN THE NAME OF THE LORD TO CONFESS THAT

  • HIS EMINENCE IS NOT ERODED BY HIS ENEMIES
  • HIS TRUSTWORTHINESS HAS NOT BEEN TORPEDOED BY DEMONIC TERRORIST

WE ARE ON THE WINNING TEAM.

“GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD.” (I JOHN 4:4)

NUMBER 2: CORRECTED VISION ALLOWS YOU TO SEE POSSIBILITIES IN EVERY IMPOSSIBILITY.

LUKE 1:26 – “THE ANGEL GABRIEL WAS SENT FROM GOD…TO A VIRGIN …”

THIS APPEARED TO BE A MIX UP TO MARY.

THE ANGEL MUST HAVE STUMBLED ON TO THE WRONG ADDRESS AND BY ALL MEANS THE WRONG INDIVIDUAL.

SHE KNEW THAT VIRGINS AND PREGNANCY AND HAVING BABIES DON’T MIX.

THIS IS AN EVENT FOR MARRIED COUPLES WHO HAVE ENGAGED IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY.

THAT’S THE WAY IT WORKED FROM DAY ONE.

AGES HAD NOT CHANGED IT, AND ONLY A MIRACLE COULD ALTER THAT ARRANGEMENT.

IS IT ANY WONDER THAT SHE SAID, “HOW CAN THIS BE SEEING I KNOW NOT A MAN?”

SHE WAS RIGHT IF LOOKING AT IT THROUGH EARTHLY VISION.

IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE, BUT THEN GOD GAVE HER CORRECTED VISION.

HE RESPONDED TO HER IN THESE MEMORABLE, EXTRA ORDINARY WORDS. “FOR WITH GOD NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE.” (LUKE 1:37)

PLEASE LISTEN TO MARY’S RESPONSE TO CORRECTED VISION.

“YES, I SEE IT ALL NOW: I’M THE LORD’S MAID, READY TO SERVE. LET IT BE WITH ME JUST AS YOU SAY…

IN TEXAS LANGUAGE IT WOULD HAVE SOUNDED LIKE, "I’M BURSTING WITH GOD-NEWS; I’M DANCING THE SONG OF MY SAVIOR GOD. GOD TOOK ONE GOOD LOOK AT ME, AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED---I’M THE MOST FORTUNATE WOMAN ON EARTH.”

SEEING THINGS FROM GODS POINT OF VIEW CHANGED HER PERCEPTION OF HERSELF FROM BEING A FORLORN FEMALE TO BECOMING THE MOST FORTUNATE WOMAN ON THE FACE OF GOD’S EARTH.

GOD CAN CHANGE YOUR MISFORTUNE INTO A MAGNIFICENT FORTUNE TODAY.

NUMBER 3: CORRECTED VISION ALLOWS YOU TO DISCOVER THAT GOD WILL IMPROVISE WHEN MEN OSTRACIZE YOU.

ACTS 7:56 – “BEHOLD, I SEE THE HEAVENS OPENED, AND THE SON OF MAN STANDING ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.”

THIS IS A PAGE FROM THE DIARY OF STEPHEN.

HE AND HIS WORLD WERE IN A MESS. THE MOOD OF THAT DAY WAS AN UGLY MIXTURE OF MADNESS AND MEANNESS.

GOD SEEMED TO BE A MILLION MILES AWAY AND JUSTICE WAS BLIND FOLDED.

IN SUCH TIMES AS THAT, WE SURMISE THAT THE GATES OF HEAVEN ARE LOCKED AND THE KEY THROWN AWAY.

IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO CONCLUDE GOD HAS GONE OUT OF BUSINESS, PRAYERS GO UNANSWERED AND HOPE DIES A SLOW DEATH.

DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THAT STEPHEN WAS A HURTING MAN.

ROCKS WERE BOUNCING OFF HIS HEAD.

SOME OF HIS TEETH MAY WELL HAVE BEEN KNOCKED OUT.

HIS EYES MAY HAVE BEEN RED WITH BLOOD FROM THE PELTING HE WAS TAKING, BUT WATCH THIS CLOSELY.

THE RECORD SAYS, “BEING FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST, (HE) LOOKED UP AND SAW…THE HEAVENS OPENED…” (ACTS 7:55, 56)

THE HEAVEN OPENED NOT BECAUSE GOD WAS SUFFERING FROM CLOSTER PHOBIA, BUT BECAUSE HE WANTED STEPHEN TO BE ABLE TO SEE INSIDE THE PEARLY GATES.

TO DO SO, GOD REARRANGED THE ATMOSPHERE AND RIPPED A HOLE IN THE STRATOSPHERE. GOD IMPROVISES WHEN MEN OSTRACIZE.

HE THROWS THE GATES OF HEAVEN OPEN WIDE FOR US TO BE ABLE TO SEE WHAT’S GOING ON IN HEAVEN.

THE DISCOVERY IS SIMPLE BUT INSPIRING.

  • GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE WHEN TROUBLE RAGES DOWN HERE.
  • JESUS IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL.
  • GOD WAS ACCEPTING PRAYER TO STEPHEN’S LAST BREATH. HIS LAST PRAYER WAS NOT FOR HIMSELF. IT WAS FOR HIS TORMENTORS.

GOD IS STILL IMPROVISING TODAY.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU NEED, BUT I DO BELIEVE THIS. GOD CAN IMPROVISE TO MEET YOUR NEED.

Open Our Eyes!


Pastor Jimmy & Bob