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Archive for January, 2014

Well, ol’ Bill finally woke up.

Ol’ Bill use to come to our little fellowship in the Pizza place in Maypearl.  His son-in-law, Harry, was the pastor there – I say pastor, but it was just a little fellowship where a handful us gather on Sunday morning to praise the Lord and share the Word.  I don’t know if most folks would consider it church ’cause there’s no steeple or fancy pews with a choir and a pulpit.  We used to just sit around the table and eat Breakfast Pizza while we allowed the Lord to speak to us through each other.  They didn’t even label us as a church in the local newspaper – just a Bible study.  But that’s okay.  We had more church going on there on Sunday morning than  a whole lot of them bigger cathedrals had all week.

Well, ol’ Bill got himself a parasite overseas back in the ’60s, and 17 years later they cut it out of him, all 20 lbs of it … ‘cept they missed some.   Well, all these years later, it was back and all plumped up again.

They said they could get it out of him this time, but something went wrong in surgery and after a day and a half and 100 units of blood, they couldn’t get Bill to wake up again.  Three weeks later, it wasn’t looking too good for ol’ Bill.  His nervous system was doing this thing called “storming” where his whole body would raise up off the pillow over and over in what looked like a seizure .  Looked like he was constipated or something, but Bill wasn’t awake.  He’d just settle back, eyes half open with a blank stare until the next seizure took him.

The surgeons said he was brain-dead.  “Storming” meant that, because of the loss of blood, Bill’s brain got fried, and he wasn’t coming back.  100% sure, they said.  Both of them guaranteed it.  Vegetable for life.  Time to pull the plug.

Well, we didn’t think so.  Harry wasn’t going to let him go without a fight.  It was too tough for Bill’s wife and daughter to handle. All that high sounding talk about God, faith, and miracles was starting to seem a little thin.  When’s the last time there’d been any miracles like that?  Anybody ever seen them?  How many of your neighbors ever get raised from the dead.  Yeah, I know some of ’em look like they came back from the dead, but the real thing? 

But Harry knew he had to see this all the way through.  It wasn’t just for Bill’s sake and his family, but the honor of the faith that Harry had preached and claimed was true was at stake.  We really needed God to come through on this one.

A bunch of us went up one night and prayed over him.  It didn’t matter that nothing happened that night.  It just mattered that we were taking the battle to the Throne. 

Me and Harry went up there one night by ourselves at 11 pm.  Don’t ask me why they had visiting hours at 11 pm at night, but we were there and started praying like warriors.  Now, I gotta tell you, I never learned how to pray like a Baptist; I was taught that if you really wanted to get something from God, you gotta go get it.  So we commenced to go getting it … at the top of our lungs for an hour.  I was worried that they was going to kick us out, because if God didn’t raise the dead on that hospital floor, our loud praying was liable to do something real close to it.  But nobody said nothing – they just let us pray.

I expected Bill to jump up and start dancing around the room at one point, and if he did, I would have been inclined to join him, but nothing happened.  I knew, however, that we had broken through something and had touched the Throne of God.  We had done everything humanly possible, and our faith wasn’t about how much we believed or how many times we repeated a bunch of words, but in the fact that we had busted through to touch the hem of His garment.  God was going to heal Bill in His own time so that God got all the glory, not the ones making all the noise in that hospital room, and sure not the doctors who had given up on him.

The deadline was Wednesday to pull the plug, and on Wednesday morning,  Bill was still laying there storming away.  Millie, Bill’s wife, sat there beside his bed asking God for one last time to show her what to do.  We had showed up, but where was God?

And then Bill woke up.  Just like that.  Popped out of the coma and said he was hungry. 

Yeah, it was a big commotion that happened after that, all the way from the nurses to the President of Harris Methodist Hospital.  God showed everyone that He is still there, and He really does hear the prayers of his saints.

But what about the rest of us?  America has gone through a spiritual drought for so long that we don’t even know how to believe anymore.  And when something like this happens, we still question it.  We say we believe, but we make sure we have a doctor’s appointment in our hand as we raise it up to pray. We call it being prudent; I call it unbelief.

Unbelief doesn’t come by choice. It comes from years of letting the raw fires of revival die down to embers so we can get comfortable in church. We’ve turned God Almighty into a teddy bear and  have lost our fear of God so we’re no longer scared of Hell, neither are we driven to warn others about it. We have lost our burden to witness to lost souls.  Oh, excuse me, it’s not “lost souls” anymore is it?  It’s “unchurched” nowadays.  We don’t even have the guts to tell them they’re lost.

No more all-night prayer meetings anymore.  No more foot-washings.  No more fire in our churches.  And please, no more hellfire and brimstone messages!  We’re too comfortable and too lazy to do the things that our forefathers did. Besides, we might offend someone if we stood up during our “moment of silence” at  football games to pray to the God in Heaven.  Yeah, “moment of silence”  That’s one term we got right. 

If we have lost our courage to stand up and pray at a football game, how do we think we will be able to stand against the Antichrist?  If we are no longer burdened to pray with intensity all night until we get an answer, why do we think God will hear us?  If we no longer fear God, how will we be fearless before the enemy?  If we no longer witness to others, why would God send lost souls to our church?

We no longer believe in miracles because we have chosen not to. 

But you can ask ol’ Bill sometime.  He believes.

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Home of Hope Orphanage is located in Mbarara, Uganda and is part of Noah and Diana Kamanzi’s church group, which also includes the 

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Ladies of Hope, which is the group of ex-prostitutes from which these children have come.  Each of these kids has his or her own heartbreaking story.  Their situation is doubly oppressive because while their mothers were alive, they experienced so much shame and degradation from the men that abused their mothers and the distain they found in the local bars where they grew up, and then they had to face their own hell after their mothers had died.

Their alternative was to run the streets and garbage dumps of the city, always running from the police and the more respectable me

mbers of society. They had to develop a severe defensive mentality from the tender ages of 4 and 5 years old. Prostitution for 10 to 12 year old girls was expected.  Violence, drugs, disease and despair ruled their lives until they met the usual early death.

Let me give you just one example of what these kids are like.  Benon’s mother was a prostitute and died of AIDS. Benon had a 7-year old brother and a 4-year old sister.  He had to leave the house they had been staying in and take his siblings with him to the the dump to find a place to stay. He would then go out to the street corners and sing and dance, making up his own songs and dance moves to get people to throw change so he could get something to eat for his brother and sister.  Benon was 9 years old.

Almost all of their mothers contract AIDS/HIV, and some pass it on to their children, so many die and leave these kids abandoned.  No one wants them.  They are considered the seed of a whore and are therefore defiled and rejected as so much human refuse.  Relatives do not want to share their family’s inheritance with them, grandparents will not take them in, and their fathers are unknown and missing.  It was bad before for them; now it is worse. They are on their own with no place to go and with no hope.

If you have ever gone down into one of these wretched slums in Africa and gotten a whiff of what it means to have no hope, y

ou will shudder from its’ cold desolate grip. No hope.  That’s what these babies have been thrust into.  And it is endemic across Africa.

You can’t help everyone and fix every problem, but you can do something that will make a difference in someone’s life.  Home of Hope is small right now but we expect to be growing in time because so many of the Ladies of Hope are infected with AIDS and will probably die and leave us their children.  We are just beginning and have just purchased a former hostel with 9 rooms.  There is no organization, denomination, or church supporting us.  In fact, it is only a small handful of people who have felt the burden to do something.  I pray that the Lord would touch your heart so that you would join us and help us meet the challenges that face us.

Come visit the website and at least read their stories. The websites will tell you lots more than I can.  The Home of Home is at www.OrphansofHope.com and the Ladies of Hope are at www.LadiesofHope.com.  If you can’t help sponsor someone, maybe you can send us a hundred bucks or so.  Maybe a thousand. It’s all tax deductible.

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Image“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” (Joel 2:15-18)

Some time ago, I was asked to bring a series of revival messages to a church that was hungry for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God. They wanted revival but didn’t know how to go about getting one.  They had heard about the incredible things that were happening in Africa when I brought these messages over there and hoped that the same thing might happen here.

But wishful thinking and good intentions only work when they are backed up by action.  It is not the hearers of the Word…

The secret to revival lies in understanding that revival is all about winning souls. While that may seem elementary, in order for that to work, it must be established by serious corporate prayer.  Nothing happens without prayer.  Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing”.  But how do we put that into play so that the wheels of revival can start turning?

Most modern Christians (notice I said “modern”?) have their little “quiet time with Jesus”.  Some have it almost every morning.  Some just say they do.  Or they wander through the day tossing up casual requests every now and then.  But is this the kind of laid-back prayer that God calls for?  Does He not call for a passion like Elijah and a determined desperation like the widow with the unjust judge?  Have we forgotten how to “storm the Throne of God” like our grandparents did? Does not the Throne of God suffer violence, and the violent take it by force?  Have we allowed our comforts to cast a spirit of slumber upon us, easing us into a lukewarm Gospel which is no Gospel at all?

Regardless of the issues about passionate personal prayer, God calls for whole church – EVERYBODY – to come together to pray in a serious, solemn assembly of desperate corporate prayer.  We’re talking about prayer meetings that will lift the roof off the foundations!   You want revival? You gotta come get it!  Those are the rules.  As I have always said, God is a Jew. He makes deals and this is the deal. Take it or leave it.

And yet months later, there is still no strong drive in this church to come together as a body to cry out to God for revival. The church’s prayer meeting consists of a small handful of people relegated to a back room so that is out of the way of all the other things that are going on at that same time – things that are much more fun and exciting – and they sit and speak their prayers for a half hour or so, and go home.

The desperation is not there … yet.  It may still come, but the manner in which it will come may not be pretty.  Remember, when the Children of Israel got comfortable with their slavery in Egypt, God made them cry out by raising up a Pharaoh who murdered their children.  Like it not, agree with it or not, that is what God can and will do to bring us to repentance so that a full Holy Ghost revival can ignite.

God is not fooling around.  I have noticed that God will give you a certain space of time to do what He has commanded you.  And then He will move on and find someone else who will.

“And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness.

And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”  (Ezekiel 33:31-32)

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