Monthly Archives: June 2009

Need New Screensavers? Here’s Some From BASECO

Mark Pedder has just posted some pictures which would be perfect screensavers for us western Christians. Maybe, if we saw them over and over again, our hearts would be softened a little bit.

Mark is not good about asking for financial aid, but he and Christine certainly would welcome more money from us believers. Actually, why not a lot more?

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A Slave’s Awesome Answered Prayer

This story was told by Kenneth Hagin in one of his books. It still makes me tear up when I think about it:

In the 1850’s, a slave woman watched in agony as her husband was led to the auction block. She knew her husband would be sold to another plantation and they would never see each other again. Life without him would be horrible, she thought.

As she stood there, she prayed, “Lord, if I could help You right now as easily as You can help me, I would.”

As the slave husband slowly trudged up to the auctioneer, a young boy in the audience turned to his father. “Dad, could I have ten dollars to buy a slave?” he asked.

“Sure, son,” said his father,  knowing that each slave would sell for hundreds of dollars. He handed his son the money.

“Let’s begin the bidding on this young, strong slave,” said the auctioneer. “Who’ll start it off?”

The young boy raised his hand. “I’ll bid ten dollars,” he said in a loud voice.

The crowd turned to look at the young boy and laughed in unison at the ridiculousness of the boy’s bid. Each shook his head.

And yet, there were no other bids. The boy’s bid bought the slave husband.

The young boy walked to the cashier, paid his money, signed the papers and took possession of his slave.

Then, he took the slave husband over to the wife and said, “Here, you can have him. He’s yours.”

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)

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Swimming Upstream: “What’d You Think of the Lakeland, Brownsville and Toronto Revivals?”

Did you wrinkle your nose at the recent Lakeland Revival? Or what about the Toronto Revival of 1994? Or the Brownsville Revival of 1995? How did you respond to these three revivals?

It may seem silly to ask these questions, but it is important. Your answers will determine whether you will settle for respectability or the anointing in the next move of God

Paul Cain proclaimed at a National Leadership Conference in 1991:

We will soon lose it all if we do not get up and go for it again with THE ABANDON that we had in the beginning, regardless of how MESSY it gets. Let’s go for it! No matter how BAD it LOOKS, let’s go for it! Sometimes it gets messy because of the anointing…

God has made it so that the anointing does create a certain kind of mess. This is to deal with our pride… When we have already become too proud for the mess, we have already come to the place where God is resisting us. If we want the grace of God we must be willing to LOOK foolish to the NATURAL man…

The warning from the Holy Spirit is that we have allowed RESPECTABILITY to compete with the ANOINTING. It sneaks in so subtly, seemingly harmless, but it has killed and murdered many of the great spiritual movements in church history. The early Pentecostals were not very respected, BUT THEY HAD POWER. The desirability of respectability, the danger of respectability, the deceit of respectability can be deadly. It’s blinding and binding. It’s so blinding that it will make you see yourself as rich and in need of nothing when you are really poor, miserable, blind and naked.”

The good thing about our past attitudes is we can change them so that they do not affect our future ones. Because when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, what do you really want? Respectability or the anointing.

The choice is yours.

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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The Writing of Jonah

Copy of Untitled-Scanned-01

“This really stinks!” proclaimed Honey after reading the original draft of Jonah. “I don’t believe anyone will ever read it.” She handed the forty-five page manuscript back to me.

I was crushed and destroyed. Her words were like machine gun bullets, ripping through my heart.

Oh well, I thought, I never really wanted to write fiction anyway. Maybe, I can write something else with my limited abilities.

Two days later, I had a dream and explained it to Honey. She interpreted it in this fashion: “Oops! God likes Jonah. You need to keep working on it until it’s good enough to be published.”

I was befuddled. What can I do?

So, in 2004, I began reading mysteries, hundreds of them. Michael Connelly. James Lee Burke. Peter Robinson. Elmore Leonard. Ian Rankin. And countless others.

I read magazines for writers. In one issue, an article showed how to take a book apart and learn the author’s secrets. I followed their directions.

While I was doing all this, I was rewriting Jonah, over and over and over again. It eventually became two short novels, 240 pages in total length.

Then, I hired an editor with an attitude. “This makes me want to throw-up,” she said about one of my sentences.

Oh boy! Good editors are not what you call fluffy-types. They don’t have nicknames like Bambi. They are picky, vicious…and needed.

So, Jonah was finished and ready to go to the printer in January, 2008. It’s ISBN number is 978-0-615-17911-7.

To be honest, I never believed that Jonah would be much more than a first novel by a new author. You know, good enough for an opening salvo, with the promise of better stuff to come. Most of my attention had been directed more toward two other novels that I’ve been working on and New Wind Blowing.

But some things have happened since January, 2008, to change my mind about Jonah. Barack Obama was elected president. California and the West Coast have become gay-rights’ battle grounds. San Francisco is in the middle of the melee. Hate Crimes legislation. And Jonah has not been published as yet.

Hmm! If Jonah finally gets published now, some of the story within its pages will provide me with more than enough excitement in the days ahead.

(More on this in the future.)

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Swimming Upstream: “Is God Really A Good God?”

In a back and forth conversation, I finally sighed and  said, “I know God is a good Father.”

“Oh yeah,” she spit out, “then where was He when my dad raped me? Can you answer that?”

Tough question, right?

And what’s really tough is that the person is a Christian. But yet, the person has always struggled with believing God loves her… and that He really is a good God.

This is not a unique situation.  In fact, a large percentage of Christians have had terrible things happen to them which hinder their relationships with the Father. They may attend great churches. They may know the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit.  They may say all the right things at the right time. They may even wear picture-perfect Christian smiles on their public faces.

But yet, in their heart of hearts, they don’t really believe God is a good God or that He loves them. For after all, why did He allow my dad to rape me? Or my baby to die? Or my spouse to reject me? Or why am I hungry? Or why am I penniless?

Sometimes, there are just no easy answers for why terrible things happen to people. A book or ministry may help a little bit, but let’s be honest, okay?

These believers need a first-hand revelation from the throne of God that the Father is head over heels in love with them. That He absolutely, positively loves each one of them.

And guess what?

Without the help of a ministry or church, the Father is going to reveal Himself and His love through dreams, visions and divine appearances to countless thousands of such hurting people.

One moment, they will have nagging doubts about the Father; and the next, they will be testimonies of the Father’s goodness and lovingkindness.

It will be a sovereign move of deliverance straight out of the Father’s heart.

For thus says the Lord: “… I will seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. (Ezekiel 34:11-12)

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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Just Joined The Twenty-First Century With Facebook

Just eleven years ago, we bought a computer and began sending emails. “Hey, Honey, we don’t need stamps anymore,” I proclaimed with an Illinois twang.

“Aw shucks,” she said, scratching her head. “Don’t that beat all? What will they think of next?”

Five years ago, in the midst of a tight presidential election, we discovered blogging. I signed up and wrote my first post. Then I hit publish.

“Sure hope nobody gets mad at me,” I said through clenched teeth with my fingers crossed.

“Aw shucks,” whispered Honey into my ear. “Ain’t nobody going to get mad at you! You’re too nice.”

Honey was wrong as lots of people disagreed with me over the years. As in lots of people.

But yesterday, I joined the Twenty-First Century. I opened an account on Facebook.

“Honey, you just gotta look at this,” I shouted. “I have friends. Two or three of them, I think.”

“Aw shucks,” she said. “Maybe, you oughta slow down for a spell. Let this new-fangled stuff settle a little bit before trying something new, huh?”

I grinned sheepishly and began searching for MySpace. And what’s this Podcast stuff all about, I thought to myself.

If you need a friend, check out my Facebook site. I need one, too.

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Swimming Upstream: “How Does This ‘Just Love-Em’ Stuff Work?”

My head hurts from the biblical logic displayed at various Christian anti-war sites.

Invariably, this mantra is repeated over and over: “Love your enemies. Just love-em.”

Sounds great, right? But what about this very possible scenario?

Let’s say, you have just bought a new rifle and some ammunition at a sporting goods store for a planned hunting trip to Alaska. As you walk through the mall toward your auto, you hear AK-47 shots being fired. You sneak behind a pillar, and peak around at the mall lobby.

There you see a terrorist shooting innocent shoppers. Bodies are lying on the floor. People are pleading for their lives. What do you do?

Do you unwrap your rifle, load some shells in it and then, shoot the sucker? Or do you just stand there oozing love-waves all over the terrorist?

Jesus did say, “Love  your enemies (Matt. 5:44)”, but He also said, “Love your neighbors as yourself (Mark 12:31).”

And in this case, your neighbors are being killed by your enemy. So, which verse, will you obey?

A possible spiritual dilemma?

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was any place found for them in heaven any longer. (Revelation 12: 7-8)

Notice how the Lord handled His enemy, the one He called a murderer and a destroyer. There was no peace conference to air Satan’s complaints. There was no compromise or excuses accepted. Instead, there was an all-out war.

Now, to be honest, each believer has to decide on his own what he will do if this type of situation ever arises, but I know what I”ll do.

I’ll load the rifle’s chamber with shells, look down the sights and squeeze the trigger.

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian journeys.

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