This Little Light is None of Your Business!

December 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Alan Mowbray –

As a child, I remember singing the words,

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine! (Verse 3X)
(Chorus)…Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine.

The next verse started,

Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m gonna let it shine…

We sang this in Sunday School. We sang it in Vacation Bible School. We sang it at summer camp. We sang it on the road to…. everywhere.

So what happened?

We don’t sing this song anymore. We, as a people in this country, claim that our faith is a – ahem (holy clearing of the throat) – private matter. Shhhhhhhh. Let’s all whisper in the glory of our private, personal holiness. From politicians, fellow employees, friends, family, we’ve all heard the phrase, “My faith is a private matter.”

Puleeeze! This is a deception from the pit of hell!

As people who worship the Most High God, the King of kings, our Creator, and our Father, Who loves us and Whose thoughts of each of us number greater than the sands on the shore… isn’t a bit strange that we feel the need to hide behind an excuse as weak as privacy?

Isn’t this the same God Who sent His Son to live as man, sinless, and without fault? A Son who then took a beating for our bodies’ healing, while bearing all our sins and paying the ultimate price for those sins – DEATH? Isn’t this the same Saviour who, prior to ascending into heaven, told His disciples – and ultimately, all professing Christians as well – to go forth and preach the gospel to all nations?

In The Message, the Great Commission (remember that?) goes like this:

‘“Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”’ Matthew 28:16-20 (The Message)

Where did we get the idea that faith is a private matter? And, if you profess to be a Christian and claim that, shame on you! Why profess to be a follower of Christ Jesus at all? Don’t you find it odd today, that the “private Christians” are applauded by the world, while those who stand by their beliefs and refuse to hide behind a “Privacy Please” sign hanging from their spiritual doorknobs are vilified?

Revelation 3:16 (NKJV) states, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

That’s a pretty hard statement. It describes an involuntary reaction to the taste of something that is unpleasing to God. How does your life, your fruit, taste to your Father God?
I look at myself. I’m guilty in this as well. There are times I have hid behind the privacy excuse as well. Not by saying “It’s a private matter,” but, rather, by not saying anything at all…
…when I should have spoken up.

Lord, forgive me for hiding behind this lie of privacy. I repent. Help me to stand boldly and steadfast, honoring Your Name. Thank You for Your grace. Amen.

DIY Guy Learns a Valuable Lesson

November 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Alan Mowbray –

A few days ago, I was in a panic.

I had been working on my MINI Cooper–installing control arm bushings and other parts that, when I had the car at the shop a couple months ago, the dealer had recommended replacing. With a $2500+ price tag on the parts and labor, I figured it was time for DIYGuy!

Dun Dun Duuuuuuuuuuuuuun!

Well, everything was going great for DIYGuy until he realized that when he popped the ball joints loose on the lower front control arms, he had damaged the threads beyond repair. Even worse, in trying to extract the ball joints, DIYGUY discovered that the dastardly RustMonster had attacked and welded them into place with his deterioration ray.

Things were not looking good for our plucky superhero…

What would happen if he had to admit that he had bitten off more than he could chew, requiring him to call the dreaded AAA, tow the MINI to the dealer, and kowtow to the eeeevil masterminds of S.E.R.V.I.C.E. D.E.P.A.R.T.M.E.N.T., the sworn enemy of his credit card and his secret organization, B.U.D.G.E.T.???

Sensing defeat, DIYGuy decided to go in the house, get a drink of ice cold H2O and collect his thoughts while leaving his sidekick for the day, FriendGuy, in the garage alone–still banging away at the stuck joints.

As DIYGuy sat on a stool in the kitchen pouting, his wife, a superhero herself (on-call basis only) noted his demeanor and asked him how things were going.

Dejected, he poured out his heart.

“I think I took on more than I can handle. Whatever we do, we can’t get the ball joints out of the steering knuckles. RustMonster has frozen them in place and without some sort of miracle, I’m gonna have to call a tow truck and haul this car off to the dealer to finish the job! I don’t know if I can handle the humiliation!”

His wife–Proverbs31Girl, as she is known in circles that know such things–put her arm around her man softly.

“Why don’t we pray about it?”

Inwardly, kicking himself for not thinking of going to his Lord and Master to begin with, DIYGuy agreed.

And pray she did! Without warning, she attacked Discouragement in the name of the King of all Kings! Spinning around, she ground Doubt under her feet, claiming the authority given to her by her Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Screaming in fear, Frustration and the rest of his cowering minions ran away in defeat, stunned at the brutal assault sustained just by the mere mention of the protection given to Proverbs31Girl and DIYGuy by God Almighty–all because of their sworn acceptance of his Son and the sacrifice He had made for them on the cross.

When the battle was over, DIYGuy raised his head and kissed her softly.

“Thank you, my love, for reminding me to whom I should call on in times of trouble.”

She smiled at him.

CRASH! THUNK! The noise came from the garage.

“Got ‘em!” FriendGuy hollered. Even the evil RustMonster couldn’t stand in the face of the promises of God.

Later that night, after test-driving the repaired, upgraded, and smooth-as-silk MINI around the neighborhood, I crawled into bed with a thankful, humbled heart. Once again I had been reminded why God had matched me up with a woman such as my wife. She was a complement to my weaknesses and vice versa.

“Goodnight, Proverbs31Girl.”

“Goodnight, DIYGuy.”

As I drifted off to sleep, I thanked God one more time for blessing me with this woman.

“My pleasure, son. Sleep well.”

The Restful Life

September 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Alan Mowbray –

I tend to focus on things that are life enhancing. Part of it is probably personality, but there is a real benefit and purpose behind this: it’s restful.

When life happens, it seems so easy to focus on money woes, car maintenance bills, the broken transmission on the lawnmower, children who have to be told a million times to do something, politics, politicians, the plot line of a favorite TV show, that pain in your shoulder… no. Stop. I have control in this situation.

Why are people who focus on the positive always happy, even in adversity? Are they just happy people? Are they immune to sadness? Are they incapable of taking anything seriously? Hardly. It’s because they don’t focus on the bad. They make a choice to look to positive things. And in doing so, they do not walk alone when dealing with what life hands them. They’re living what I call The Restful Life.

In the Book of Philippians, Paul writes—while in prison mind you—“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies” (Philippians 4:6-9 MESSAGE).

When your situation is at the center of your life, you open yourself up—handing over control to your emotions. Paul learned a better way—let Christ displace worry at the center of your life. He said it was wonderful living a restful life. Where did he learn this? Because Jesus said it, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:23 NKJV).

Jesus Christ is our rest. He encourages us to lay our worries, concerns, burdens, habits, and etc. at His feet. When we have a problem, it’s not time to dwell on it; it’s time to go to God.

Always. Try to make it a habit in your life.

Remember, He is your Savior, your Father and your Helpmeet. Instead of being discouraged, ask for His wisdom. Rather than ruminating on your circumstances, remind yourself of what He has done for you. In the midst of it all, thank Him for His guidance. Once the situation is resolved, don’t forget to give Him the glory and tell others about what He did for you. Always tell someone… their faith will be built up because of your successes in Him.

Here’s Jesus’ words again, this time in the Message translation. I just love this:  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:23 MESSAGE).

Yeah… living the restful life. That’s my choice.

How ‘bout you?

Who Am I?

August 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Alan Mowbray –

Who am I?

Who are you?

There comes a time in life when we all ask ourselves this question. The answer we get is based on who we listen to—man or God? Listening to man can be dangerous. On occasion, I‘ve had the opportunity to minister to those with a terrible burden on their hearts because of names they have been called by those around them.

Oooohh, names? Seriously?

Okay. We’re not talking about the playground name calling ritual we all grew up with. Look deeper. It’s more about the words behind the words. Those phrases of blame that say—you’re lazy, inconsiderate, fat, ugly, stupid, loud, ignorant, boring and a loser—without actually saying those words. Most of the time, the name callers don’t even know what they are doing; yet, deliberate or not, the wound is still inflicted and, unchecked, may fester for a lifetime.

“Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I don’t know how or when that rhyme originated, but it is wrong. Words can hurt. I could discuss how we should watch what we say to others, but no, let’s go in a different direction. When I encounter one of these broken individuals and listen to them for a while, I hear one thing—they don’t really know who they are in Christ. They think that they do, but it’s only head knowledge, not heart knowledge.

You have got to know the difference! When the situation arises, I ask each person to research and physically write down who they are in Christ. It seems like such a small thing, but part of knowing what you know, is knowing why you know it. That’s where faith comes from. It’s not enough to be told; you must research it yourself, get into the Word and discover who God says you really are.

Because I have received what Jesus Christ did for me, I know that I am more than a conqueror! I know that I am the head and not the tail! I know that I am a child of the Most High God, His ambassador, His precious jewel, His possession, His beloved and His heritage. I have been redeemed by the blood, given access to God, forgiven, washed clean, adopted into God’s family, justified in the eyes of God and set free!

Because of this, I have the mind of Christ, the tongue of the learned, boldness, peace, authority, and a hope that is sure and steadfast! I know who I am in Christ. Nobody else can name me now because only God has the authority to name me. Since I know this, I am not moved by disparaging words or condemnation from others. By naming and describing me Himself, God has provided me with a shield of protection against the tongue of the enemy. I know this without a doubt.

Possessing the knowledge of who you are in Christ is faith building. It is life enhancing. It is freedom!

If life circumstances have been tossing you about and left you rudderless and wounded, take the time to get to know yourself through God’s eyes. I did this myself about 9 years ago and the knowledge and faith that grew—from knowing who I am in Christ—have been a rock-solid part of my spiritual foundation. Once you turn from believing what man says about you to believing what God says about you, life is positively different!

Try it.

You’re worth it.

Grieving the Giver

January 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Alan Mowbray –

A hypothetical man—let’s just call him Alan for the sake of expediency—was praying to God one day.

“Father God, why is it that You never give me any really cool spiritual gifts? I do what You ask. I go to church Sundays, Wednesdays, Men’s meetings, Father/Son events, Couple’s Group. My wife and I even lead a small group in our home. I understand You don’t give all gifts to everyone, but I just want things to be more exciting, purposeful, and worthwhile.”

The man waited for a reply.

What he got was silence.

In fact, Alan heard nothing from God the rest of the day. He went to bed that night, with the same prayer on his mind. Then he dreamed. Of Christmas morning.

In the dream, Alan and his wife stayed up the night before finishing some last-minute present wrapping. They craftily hid these gifts from curious eyes and hardy box shakers. Satisfied their surprise was set, they turned in, and set their alarm clock to be up and ready with cameras when their children awoke the next morning. Their anticipation in giving these hard-earned presents to their beloved easily equaled that felt by the children waiting impatiently for the Wonderful Day to arrive.

When the alarm sounded, Alan and his lovely wife kissed each other good-morning and rolled out of bed to get prepared. The kids would be awake soon.

As they pulled on their robes, they made final plans—she would take pictures and he would kneel by the tree calling to the kids to wake up and see the awesome toys and things awaiting them. Soon they were ready. “Merrrrrrrrrrrry Christmas!!!” Alan hollered with joy.

Seconds later, feet thumped the bedroom floor and squeals of happiness came down the hall. In the corner of the living room, the dog raised his head in the direction of the increasing ruckus. His little people were awake and on the way.

The youngest popped out of her bedroom first. As her small bare feet gained traction on the tile floor, her brother appeared from across the hall—hot on her heels. It was a drag race now. They skidded into the living room and saw their father in front of the tree, arms open to receive their morning hugs, and behind him, the tree. And what a tree it was—loaded with many more gifts than the night before, prior to going to bed.

Alan braced himself for the onslaught of two small bodies hitting him at full speed, ready to grab them, kiss them, and love on them. But when they reached him, they ducked under his arms and fell to their knees in front of the tree, searching frantically for gifts with their name on them, oblivious to their slightly less-excited parents.

The sounds of ripping paper faded and at that moment, Alan awoke. His wife was sleeping soundly beside him. Everything was quiet, except for his spirit—which was broken.

“Now you understand.”

“Yes, Lord.”

“All those gifts I have already given you, are they worn out? Broken? Useless?”

“No, Father.”

“As long as you seek My gifts, but do not seek Me, the gifts I have already given you will lose their luster and shine. All the gifts I have ever given are the same in My eyes. No single gift is greater than the other. But when you seek My gifts and not My heart I am grieved.”

“I’m so sorry, Father. Please forgive my selfish attitude.”

When you seek His gifts without seeking His heart, God is grieved. I am as guilty of this as anyone.

Lord, forgive me for grieving You, the Giver. Holy Spirit, help me to seek the Father’s heart more and what I can get from Him a little less. Amen.

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