Friday, November 30, 2007

Make sure you all have on your helmet of salvation

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6: 17-18)

Well, it looks like the Dallas Cowboys are going to the Super Bowl.

Granted, Favre did get injured in the second quarter of tonight's game against the Green Bay Packers so we can't know what he would have done for his team in the second half.

I read, however, the Cowboys were pretty dominant. Somehow this game got blacked out in the Houston market. I learned what I know about the game from reading Richard Justice's blog.

You know, I'm actually excited for them a little bit. Isn't that strange? In the days of the Oilers, admitting you were rooting for the Cowboys for any reason was a sacrilege.

Which brings us to Sunday's game in Nashville.

I know what your saying. John, will you just get over the Oilers?

Never. If you were alive, you remember where you were when you heard J.F.K. had been shot. Everyone remembers where they were when the O.J. verdict came in. And I remember precisely where I was the moment I heard for the very first time that Bud Adams was entertaining the idea of moving the team.

Standing at the payphone on the second floor of the barracks, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, Calif. I've never been quite the same.

No, I'll never get over the Oilers. I was crazy about the Oilers. I went through some family photos the other day and found a picture of me in a "Houston Earlers" t-shirt as a kid.

One year I dressed up as Earl Campbell for Halloween. That's tough for a 80-pound white kid to pull off, but I still insisted on trying.

Speaking of Earl and Oilers memories, I found this on YouTube.

I was just a kid and still remember this night in '78. Was this guy amazing or what? I'd been looking for a copy of this game against Miami for years on eBay, and thanks to YouTube, there are the highlights (including that amazing run at the end).

Oh, yeah, the Texans. That's right. We now have the Texans. And I am a Texans fan. And Sunday we get to see them go to Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans. That match-up will never be a regular football game to me. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens this time. Texans-Titans have been interesting to say the least.

So what's all this have to do with the helmet of salvation mentioned above? Nothing, really. I just saw the Oilers' helmet and thought of that scripture. Let's talk about that scripture for a minute.

I'm saved, I've got on the helmet. I've got my sword, the Bible. I pray in the Spirit quite frequently. You should do the same.

Bless God! That was an extremely easy devotional to write.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello there. Just wanted to say "hi" and Happy Thanksgiving to you, if we don't talk again before tomorrow. Be blessed!

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's like a freak show in your neighborhood

I hear it was quite freaky in the TobyMac freak zone this weekend. :)

Speaking of freaky, I started thinking about freaky stuff happening in my own life. I've got a list, but we'll start here...

As I sat in front of the computer the other night, a television was on unwatched in the other room, and it was a little loud. I don't know what was on the TV, but the sound of gunfire reverberated through the house.

It brought back some memories. I wanted to run something past you. I've been going over this again and again in my mind for the past several years. Maybe you can assist me in understanding how freaky it is.

Who knows, maybe it's not freaky at all.

I was living down on Galveston Island several years ago.

Something began occurring there that I haven't been able to process completely. On several occasions (maybe as many five times or more), there was the sound of gunfire right outside my condo in the middle of the night.

Once it sounded like a shotgun. But every other time it was the same. Four or five rounds from a handgun, squeezed off in rapid succession. Frankly, it sounded like someone was being executed in the courtyard.

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Trust me, that will sit you up in bed real fast.

The thing is, I didn't live in a bad neighborhood. I would venture to say that the area around The Oceanfront Apartments (then called Seaside Point) on Seawall Boulevard is what folks on the island would call a relatively nice part of town.

Gunfire in that neighborhood should be very unusual. I experienced it many times, including the very last night I stayed in Galveston, ironically. Not the kind of memories I wanted to take from a place I enjoyed so much, but I understand some people need Jesus.

Other than the gunfire in the complex, this was a fantastic place to live. Sand volleyball and tennis courts with a pool and hot tub in the center of the units, all right across the street from the crashing waves of the Gulf of Mexico.

Just look at how nice the complex is by clicking here. Doesn't look like a "gunfire" neighborhood, does it?

Please don't let anything I'm saying here dissuade you from renting there. It's wonderful. And I know for a fact that when criminals aren't firing guns, it's a civil place and a nice area to live in and visit. I used to have a bunch of people come down to the island on holidays or long weekends. We'd BBQ and get in the pool, get on the seawall and hang out all day and into the night. Good times.

Oh on another note, please check this guy out. He's got a great singing voice, and it's one of my all-time favorite songs.

Anyway, I dismissed the gunfire as a fluke (or thought perhaps someone in the neighborhood wasn't making friends and influencing people correctly), and ended up moving into southwest Houston.

Guess what? I must have a knack for ending up in areas prone to gunfire. At that residence, I encountered the same thing. On multiple occasions (at least three or four). They were always in the middle of the night. It wasn't just one or two rounds, either. Four or five rounds fired off very quickly, right outside.

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Freaky?

I'll say.

Have you ever been awaken in the middle of the night by gunfire outside your place? It's terrifying. How about 8-10 different occasions over the span of two or three years? At different residences? In neighborhoods where that shouldn't be happening over and over? It's odd. And frightening.

You tell me. Weird?

I like how Laura Elder and Leigh Jones sometimes ask questions at the end of their blog to spur conversation or get people thinking about an issue, so I'll try it here as well.

Would you find multiple gunshots outside your apartment or house, more than say, five times in a 12-18 month period, odd?

What if it occured at two different residences? When was the last time you heard gunfire at your residence? Have you ever heard shots twice in a couple months, or three or four times in a year?

Maybe you all are encountering this as well and it isn't strange at all. Please let me know how rare this really is. I'll see what you all think about it, and maybe we'll talk more about it in a later post.

Who knows, I may just do a series on "freaky."

Friday, November 9, 2007

You walk by faith, not by sight, remember?

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).

I had a great day Friday, really doing nothing. When I got up and spent time with the Lord, I felt he wanted me to tune out every voice that wasn't His.

I spent the day focusing on God and his promises. As much as I've possibly been able to, I've tried to tune out the computer, all those web site, the news, etc.

I just concentrated on being still. I don't do enough of that, really.

I highly recommend it. If you're going through something, why not spend a day just being quiet...not allowing the outside influences and voices to interfere with what God is doing in you. Keep the TV off. Keep the radio off. Stay off the web.

I find it's amazing how clear the still small voice becomes when He's not being forced to compete with everything else.

Maybe when you look out into your life today or tomorrow you don't see everything you'd like with your natural eyes. Maybe your circumstances aren't perfect. Maybe you feel like your waiting on something that will never come.

I would encourage you today to choose to walk by faith and not by sight. Just because you don't see those things coming to pass right now doesn't mean God is withholding from you.

Trust God. You're not alone. He'll never leave you or forsake you. He's always working on your behalf, even when you don't see it.

I just looked up the above scripture in The Message Bible. I love it:

"That's why we live with such good cheer. You won't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don't get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming." (2 Corinthians 5: 6-8)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Second smooth stone set for flight

The second smooth stone is ready to fly. Ya'll ready!!???!!

Here's our scripture for today:

"Instead of their shame, my people will receive a double portion, and instead of their disgrace, they will enjoy their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs" (Isaiah 61:7).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm getting sick and tired of our enemy

David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." (1 Samuel 17: 32)

David was something else, wasn't he? What gave David the boldness to do what he did when he faced Goliath? Well, there were actaully a couple things. One, he knew who was backing him up. He also had the truth on his side. The truth was that God never leaves his people and always, and I repeat, ALWAYS, gives them the victory.

Every one of us has a Goliath in our life. It might be a set of circumstances, a sickness, or even people who have declared war against God and his people. Yes, that does still happen...it's not just little stories in our Bible. Our God never changes, he's the same yesterday, today and forever, and so are his enemies.

"Come here," Goliath said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field" (1 Samuel 17: 44).

Taunting. Death threats. Stealing resources or joy from God's people. That's just like the maggot of the devil we war against. Can't fight fair so he has to threaten the people of God.

Well I've got a news flash for the devil. Our God has given us everything we need to fight our individual Goliath. Just as David reached down and grabbed those smooth stones that brought down Goliath, if you look hard enough, you can find those smooth stones in your own life.

When my thinking is fouled up, I sometimes feel I have nothing to fight with. Maybe he lies to you and says the same thing. You do have something to fight with. It may just be a scripture that you hang on to and confess. It may be a talent or gifting.

Who knows, it may be a blog that with the push of a button can publish truth to the world. Somedays I've wondered if my silly little blog is a smooth stone. Today, I can tell you without a doubt that it is.

No BACKING DOWN!! That's what the spirit of God is saying to me, and possibly that's what he's saying to you today.

Take your best shot devil. Mark my words. When this is all said and done, I'm going to feed your head to the birds of the air. That's a promise.

You can bet your bottom dollar. God will get the victory, no matter what!

Just the beginning of the story, my friend