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Archive for July, 2007

Who Am I

Greetings one and all! I apologize once again for not writing as much. I will do better. My Dad got a few Christian music CDs in the mail recently. One of the CDs was of a group called Casting Crowns (castingcrowns.com). Dad told me about one of their songs that really touched him and played for me on his CD player in his car. The song is called “Who Am I”. Here are some of the lyrics.
Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done.
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are.

I am a flower quickly fading.
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean.
A vapor in the wind.
Still You here me when I’m calling.
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling.
And You told me who I am.
I’m Yours. I’m Yours.
That is just the chorus. I guess I shouldn’t put the whole song on here, because of copy write laws. Something tells me they wouldn’t like that. The chorus is beautiful enough, but listening to the whole song will move you to tears. This song is a great testimony to who God is and how much He loves you and me. It is great!
Your thoughts please. Blessings!
Zack
Philippians 1:6

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Hello hello everyone! I apologize for not blogging in such a long time. It is Wednesday again, so please pray for the AIMers that are on their mission fields. Also pray for those who will start AIM in August. Pray for my friends Elijah and Kristan and their team as they continue to get ready to leave to go to Auckland, New Zealand later this year. Pray for my friends Rob and Denyce and their whole team. They are getting ready to begin Advanced Missions in August. They will do this to ready themselves for the mission field in Russia. And lastly pray also for my friends Robin and Chrissy as they get ready to start Sunset in August.
I’ll blog about Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit next time. God bless!
Zack

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Well hello and hello everyone! Sorry for the amount of time that has gone by since my last post. But here we are again.
I learned the following worship song while I was a student at Harding. It is one that personally touches my heart. Here it is:
I praise You Lord
For who You are.
And all the mighty
Things You’ve done.
You saved my soul,
You made me whole.
I praise You Lord!
I praise You Lord!
There’s another verse to this, but I can’t remember it. If anyone out there knows this song and knows the second verse (and following, if there’s more) then please tell me the rest of the song. It really is a good one.
I guess that’s all for the day folks. I’ll blog about Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit and about missionaries in tomorrow’s blog.
Take care. Have fun. Be safe. And be blessed!
Zack

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Well hello hello everyone! I pray all of you are doing well today. Let’s continue with our Bible study over the life of the Apostle Paul. Through this study I am reading Swindoll’s book Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit.
This third chapter is covering “the memorable faith of a forgotten hero”. In Acts chapter nine Saul and company were charging toward Damascus from Jerusalem. Saul had just been granted permission and been given papers from the high priest to go to Damascus to arrest any Christians he found there and take them back to Jerusalem. Apparently many Christians fled from Jerusalem to Damascus to get a way from Saul and the impending death that he would surely bring. And now their worst fears were coming their way really soon. I imagine they were scared out of their skulls. Then some time after Saul’s miraculous encounter with Jesus and his blindness, the Lord appears to a Christian named Ananias. Acts 9:10-12 says, “Now there was a certain disciple living in Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias’. And he said, ‘Behold here am I, Lord’. And the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight”. No dought he knew about Saul and what he was doing and was coming to do. Thankfully nothing like this has ever happened in the USA, but it happens a lot around the world, even to this very day. The Lord definitely knew about Saul and still told him to go. But there is no dought Ananias was scared stiff. He might of thought “who me?!”. But God said, “do it”.God needed to get Ananias from Point A to Point Be was the challenge. God had chosen Saul for a special mission. Jesus told His disciples, “you didn’t chose Me, but I have chosen you, and I have set you apart” (John 15:6). In Acts 9:15-16 we read, “But the Lord said to him, ‘go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake'”. That was God’s clear answer to Ananias’ questions that, “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake”. Through out the ages suffering is the tool God has used the most to train His followers. He transforms “raging bulls to bleating lambs” as Swindoll puts it so eloquently. Suffering is where we learn to be humble, tender hearted, compassionate, character, patience and grace. It’s true for everyone. It’s true for me, you, and as we see through out the rest of the Bible, it will be for Paul. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 we read about Paul’s “scar wars” as a good friend, Steve Singleton puts it. Swindoll talks about being the president of a major theological school here in Dallas and seeing many Bible students come through that school. Many foreigner came through and struggled to learn English and read and write in English. Many athletic students learning biblical Hebrew and Greek. But the most touching part he talked about a man and his wife. A young married couple with a new baby. Sometime later they found out the wife had leukemia. Not much time later she passed away. Certainly a devastating lose. That man must of had a load of dreams of ministry and a family. And now most of it was coming to a halt. He was a ragging bull and became a bleating lamb through suffering.
Ananias was the forgotten hero in all of this. If he hadn’t been obedient, none of this would of happened. God is full of surprises. We must always be ready for them. They always intensify our faith. They always bring clarity. And they always stimulate growth. We must always be ready for God’s calling. Who knows, but that we might encourage the next great preacher or missionary. Any comments? God’s richest blessings be on you!
Peace out! Power to the people.
Zack

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Greetings one and all! I pray all is going well for everyone out there. Today is Wednesday so please pray for the AIM students who are on their fields right now. I don’t know if the Brazil AIMers have gotten their visas yet or not, so please especially be praying for that. If any one out there wants to know more about AIM (especially any one in high school) please email me (dxddgr9800@hotmail.com) and I’ll gladly tell you about it. AIM is a great program.
Please also be praying for my friends Elijah and Kristan and their whole team as they get ready to go to Auckland, New Zealand later this year. Please be praying for my friends Rob and Denyce and their whole team as they get ready to start Advanced Missions at Sunset this Fall. They are doing that to get ready to go to Moscow, Russia as missionaries. And please pray for my friends Robin and Chrissy as they get ready to start Sunset this Fall. I know this will be an exciting time for them.
In closing, let’s all be praying that the Lord will raise up more workers for the harvest field. There are needs for missionaries all over the world, including here in the USA. There are so many churches here in the US that are struggling. So many churches here have empty pulpits and other ministry opportunities, there is no one that is stepping up to the plate. So please join me in praying for all of that.
God bless you all!
Zack

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Greetings one and all! I pray everyone had a great weekend and start to the week.
Let’s continue with the weekly study of David. This chapter in Swindoll’s book covers 1 Samuel 17:55 through 18:9. In review, David’s life changed forever when he got out there to fight Goliath. He was thrust from teenage nobody to a national hero instantly. I think David was already known by the king Saul at this moment (16:21-23), but the king still didn’t recognize him and thus inquired about him to Abner (17:55-56). When David defeated the mighty Philistine giant he gained instant popularity. Before it, he was just known as “David, the son of Jesse”; and then all of a sudden his name was being talked about by everyone. People were even saying “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (18:1-6). Even with all of this popularity he still remained humble with his faith in God. Saul, though, was stewing with all of this. He was saying “… ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’ And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on” (vv. 8-9).
Four different relationship experiences are worth noticing here. God used each of these relationships to mold him into His man for the throne. First, David was under submission to king Saul. Soon after David’s victory, Saul recruited him for service in the army soon promoting him to commander of a regiment (18:2, 13). In all of this David was faithful and didn’t attempt to usurp the throne from Saul or pull any thing hinting he was the successor either. He just went about his business at hand. Second, David’s relationship with Jonathan was one of affection. God, in His great wisdom, gave David an intimate relationship with Jonathan, who just happens to be Saul’s son (18:1). There are four key qualities that made this a deep relationship. One being a willingness to sacrifice. Apparently Jonathan was several years David’s senior (see ch.14), but Jonathan made a special covenant with David and they exchanged gifts (18:3-4). Secondly, Jonathan gave him a loyal defense. Saul tried to kill David a few times, but Jonathan defended David to his father Saul (19:4-5). Thirdly, they had accepting hearts. In chapter 20:41b we see that they wept together and kissed each other. And forthly they consistently encouraged each other. In chapter 23:16-17 we see how Jonathan encouraged David when he was on the run. Just heart to heart encouragement.
Back to the first list. David’s relationship with the people of Israel was that of exaltation. David was a star in the peoples’ eyes and they took joy in his leadership (18:5). Some even sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (v. 7b). Yet he remained humble and prospered in his new role (v. 5). In verse 30 it says that he “behaved him self … wisely”. The Hebrew word here is Sakal which is defined as “wisdom which brings success” (see Proverbs 18:19 and 21:11).
And the last one being David’s relationship with Saul was opposition. With David’s star on the rise Saul’s displeasure also rose. He had the classic case of paranoia here in 1 Samuel 18:8 where he was upset at what the people were saying about David’s accomplishments surpassing Saul’s. “… What more can he have but the kingdom” he said (v.9).
Lastly let’s look at three things about this for our lives today. Firstly, not knowing the future forces us to live one day at a time. Secondly, having a friend helps us face whatever comes our way. And the third thing, a positive attitude and wisdom are the best defense against the enemy.
More on David next week. Any thoughts or comments on this today? I’ll do another blog tomorrow. At church tomorrow evening we’re hosting an elder from the church in Benton, KY and a gentleman who works with the Preaching school in the West African nation of Benin. I’m looking forward to that. I visited Togo (which is right next to Benin) in 1999. Mission work in that part of the world is close to my heart. I’ll share some of what we learn on Thursday. Remember to let go and let God. May He bless your day today.
Zack

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Greetings one and all. Some time ago I started a series of blogs on the Apostle Paul using a book called Paul: A Man of Grace of Grit by Charles Swindoll. I wrote one post about it and some how or another I lost the book. I am currently using my dad’s copy of the book to resume the posts about Paul. Without further ado here we go.
Chapter one of the book was about introducing Paul, whom we first meet as Saul. This chapter talks about his conversion. Everyone has a story to tell about how he or she met Christ and came to believe in Him. Paul’s was seemly a lot more dramatic than even the wildest fairy tale we could come up with. The book of Acts talks a lot about Paul and his life before becoming a Christian. In Acts 22: 4 we reed, “And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prison”. In Acts 22: 5 it says, “As also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished”. And in Acts 26 Paul said that he “… had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus …” that he took many as prisoners and cast his vote against them when they were put to death ( vv. 9-10). But as he said in 1 Timothy 1:13 he “… was shown mercy”. When he was riding out to Damascus, he was in a rage of furry. His eyes were full of anger and hate and he wanted to bring Christianity to a halt. But before he got to his destination he was brought to screeching halt. There was such a bright light shinning that it made Saul blind. And he heard a voice say to him; “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:3-4). God certainly had his attention at this moment. God does this to a lot of us. We get some major tragic news and suddenly we are in such shook we can barely speak. Whatever it is, be it a bad medical emergency; news of a death of a loved one or friend, the news of a national tragedy (ie. what occurred on September 11, 2001) or something else, God can use that to bring you and I to our knees. Then God seems to say, “Now do I have your attention?”. Kind of like when Joshua and his troops were going to attack Ai and were soundly defeated and Joshua was like. “What happened here?”. At that moment Saul was fully attentive to God and He told him exactly what He wanted Saul to do to be saved. He did what God wanted him to do (ie. repent and baptized) and he was on God’s side from then on.
Another part of this deserves our attention as well. In Acts 26:14 we read; “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads”. These seem to be slender pieces of timber. They are blunt on one end and a sharp, pointy end on the other. They are used be farmers to urge a stubborn ox. The farmer would use them to get an ox going, but if the ox kicked at it , it would stab him and that would hurt. A lot, I’m sure. But Jesus likened Saul to an ox kicking goads. There are three possible goads He was referring to. One is the goad of Christ’s life and words. Saul was one of the pharisees and wanted to see Him dead. He refused to believe Jesus was a live and well and personally saw to it to end the Christian religion. But God saw to it to show Saul the error of his life and thinking.
The second one could be Stephen’s peaceful death. He didn’t curse or cry for mercy. He simply prayed for God to forgive his killers and not to remember this charge against them. Surely that replayed in Saul’s mind. And the third possibility is the Christians’ courage and faith in death. Saul arrested so many of them and voted for them to die. Perhaps a few recanted their faith, but a lot more stood firm in their faith, perhaps even prayed for their killers. If so that surely plagued him in his dreams and thoughts. In the end God wins. God won’t let the enemy win. He wins. We must listen to God before He does something dramatic to get our attention.
More blogging later. I hope each of you had a great July 4 yesterday. God bless!
Zack

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