New Influencers Video just released!
Friday, August 26, 2011
Men, this week, instead of a written devotional, we ask you to view our new video, entitled, "The Journey Testimonies" on the Home Page of this website.
You will resonate with the "meditations of our heart" and we hope you will want to share this video with other men in your life who are hungry to go on this Journey with us.
The video will soon be available to download or on DVD for use at your church or men's gathering.
Be encouraged today as you watch living fruit of The Journey!
Category: Influencers News
The Call to Love
Friday, August 19, 2011
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
John 15: 9-17
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
1 John 3:16
Have you ever given thought to the suggestion that we call ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ? Is this saying that we have a bond together serving the Christ? What is that bond? I feel the verses above are as solid as any in the Bible telling us the foundation of our connection and bond is Love. I am starting to discover the joy of what Jesus speaks of. Each day it seems that one of my brothers is facing the biggest challenge of their life. I find myself carrying the burdens of my brother as if I were facing their trial. My means of help is one that was gifted to me from the Holy Spirit- Encouragement. Some of the battles my friends are facing right now are ones that seem so big and confusing that, to be honest, I have to sit back and ask God, "ARE YOU SURE YOU GOT THIS???" I am just being honest. I watch as my friends are overwhelmed by battles as evil intends to destroy them. I have to tell you that watching my friends face cancer, court battles, marital problems, job situations, and financial crises puts me in a place that makes me desire to sit in the INNER CHAMBER on my friends’ behalf. I think the old Christian phrase is "Standing in the Gap." The only effective tool I have is to petition the Father on my friends’ behalf and stand in prayer for their strength to keep fighting no matter what.
I have seen things happen to my Journey brothers that have been enough to kill them and destroy any faith, love and hope to which they may cling. Each and every time these battles and wars present themselves, I have to say that I watch intently, I pray, and I try my very best to wrap myself around these individuals to give them whatever I can to help. Laying one's life down for another is very strong. The example was provided for us by Christ. Do we fall short? Absolutely. But because of our Love for our Lord, we have Love in our hearts to share with those that are suffering and hurting from battle. I have to tell you that, time and time again, I get to see my brothers and sisters rise and become stronger in battle because of their total dependence on the Father. Healing, victory, strength, wisdom, power, knowledge, courage and perseverance all come from the power of His Spirit.
I think back and remember the days after finding out my wife had a brain tumor. I felt weak, beaten, lost, and wounded. I vividly remember telling Rocky and Bryan that even though I was surrounded by men who loved me and were linking their shields around me, I had been hit. I was a victim of evil arrows that intended on taking me and my wonderful wife out for good. The following days, I remember thinking, “I am Walking Wounded.” Then, the model of love for one another kicked in. Those same men that surrounded me when I was hit were the inner core, sharing love and encouragement to me at the most paralyzing time of my life. What I did not expect was the strength and fortitude of the many that were surrounding the inner circle with prayers and petitions of the Father for a MIRACLE. I can tell you that there were literally thousands of people praying for my wife! There were people praying all over this planet, and and there were people in at least 10 states that had churches and families praying for us. I had many come to me and let me know that each night before their family went to bed, they gathered and children, moms, dads and entire families prayed for my precious Julie. There were so many children praying for Julie that I cannot count. CAN YOU PICTURE THIS blanket of prayer? It is humbling to us even to this day. I was amazed at the burden that many carried on our behalf. The power behind this was a Love for Christ which turned into a Love for us that I will never ever forget. I cannot prove this biblically, but I must tell you that God somehow spread our pain and suffering among our friends so they could help us carry the burden.
Guess what, God did not intend on us to Walk Wounded for the rest of our existence on this planet. He had a plan and heard the many prayers on our behalf and slowly began healing us of our afflictions. Many of the wounds seemed deep and irreparable. But as many of you know, God showed his faithfulness to us, and He answered the prayers of our brothers and sisters. I remember asking God in the middle of the battle, “Why does the pursuit of Your Glory seem so painful at times?” I remember spending one day broken and depressed like never before. One of my best friends came to me and said "GOD NEVER WASTES A TEAR." From that day on, God showed HIMSELF over a three year process that HE had every single day, every moment, every second and that we just needed to totally surrender and have absolute trust in Him.
My wife was restored to enjoy a full and healthy life, completely cancer free. She has gotten to witness to great things in life and in our children. God healed every wound and removed any and all the evil arrows that found their way through our protective barrier. God orchestrated the healing process from two people that walked wounded to two people that now have a story of the power of HIS GLORY and HIS FAITHFULNESS. What was intended to take us out and kill us (or at least one of us) was completed with a VICTORY MARCH OF HEALING.
The combination of His power, linked with the LOVE OF MANY FRIENDS, completed HIS VICTORIOUS HEALING PROCESS. This story fuels us to give whatever we have to help others who face their own GIANTS in BATTLE. I can only explain it this way. Fill your heart with the Love of Christ so much so that it overflows from your heart to help change the world. As we invest and love others in their afflictions, we will begin to understand and feel the completeness of God’s joy and His abundant life.
So in a weird way, I appreciate the opportunity as I watch my friends face trials similar to those written in the Bible because I get to show them LOVE. Right now, in front of my eyes, my friends are facing battles similar to those in the Bible. I think of Daniel, Job, David, Esther, Joseph and the many others who faced obstacles that only a friend could help them conquer. They had the loving friendship of a KING who adores them and loves them and set the ultimate example by allowing his SON CHRIST to be killed for them. He has shown us the model of friendship and the love we should have for one another. The cool thing is that HE KNOWS our needs, and He places the people in our lives to love us and carry us in HIS LOVE at the perfect time, so that we can bring Him Glory through HIS story in us. I would ask this of my Journey brothers and sisters today. If you see someone in need, show them that you Love your Christ and just do something big or little to help assist them in battle.
In His Love, your Journey brother,
P.S. Many of you know the battle our Journey brother, Frank Khalil has been fighting. The testimony is complete in the trial of his ex-partner. Frank honored God with his unwavering faith and his unquestionable truthfulness. The case will go to the Jury soon. Please pray for God’s Will to be done. One thing is for sure: God has used this trial in Frank’s ex-partner’s life to bring him closer to Christ.
Category: Influencer's Weekly Devotionals
Flesh vs. Spirit
Friday, August 12, 2011
Flesh vs. Spirit
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
“God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
“But our citizenship is in Heaven.” Philippians 3:20
“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:5-6
Have you been “born of the Spirit?” I know all of you reading this have been born of the flesh. Though you may not be able to produce your birth certificate, if you are walking around in earthly skin and bones, you were born of flesh. You know the fleshly world. You have lived in your skin long enough to watch it develop, and you know very well when your fleshly body feels hurt and when it feels good. As you look around you, you see flesh. You see others carrying the same flesh around, all dealing with some sort of fleshly struggle.
For those who do not know God, all of life is handled from the fleshly perspective. However, for those of you who have answered the Spirit’s call to surrender the flesh and the will over to God, your eyes have been opened to a new world. All of the sudden, you realize that this fleshly world is temporary and that your citizenship belongs in Heaven, this spiritual place which becomes a reality. You realize that we are spiritual beings who were made for eternity with our Maker, who is also spiritual.
The Spirit calls out to our spirit, and He begins to teach us new things. He begins to show us that the source of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control is in the spiritual world. He begins to show us that when we deny our flesh, and give ourselves to our spirit, we find power. When we read the Bible, the words are no longer ink on paper, but they are a spiritual food which energizes and strengthens our spirit. When we pray, we are bringing our spirit before the Holy Spirit, uniting the two, so that our spirit becomes like His Spirit.
Then, the real struggle begins. Our flesh reminds us that it is still there. It says, “Hey, buddy, don’t forget about me. We have a history together. Remember all the things we’ve been through together. Don’t leave me behind. You and I are still one.” And he goes on to remind you of all the things you enjoy and savor and all the things which seem natural to you. The thought of living out of our spirit and not from our flesh seems a little scary, and we feel a little conflicted.
This is why this faith life is a Journey. It is a daily walk, step by step. We must make a choice to surrender our flesh to the Lord. The Bible calls this “dying to self.” It is only after we get our flesh out of the way that the Spirit has freedom to move in us. This is why we must start each day seeking the Lord in His Word, allowing His Spirit to prepare us for each day and give us the spiritual perspective we need. We open ourselves to His plans for each day, instead of asking Him to bless our fleshly plans. This is why we Pray, so He can inspire our spirits toward the path He has for us, which most often will involve pouring our lives and our gifts into others. As we live life “in the Spirit”, obediently following His flow, we are “abiding” with Him. When we live life like this, we are getting a taste, or a glimpse, of Heaven.
We have to continue living in this flesh, which is deteriorating and fading away, and sometimes our struggle in the flesh can seem like a thorn which won’t go away. The Lord seemingly allows these thorns to keep us dependent upon His grace. Though in our flesh we deal with temptation, with emotions, with bad memories and with sickness, we must remember that “greater is the One who is us than the one who is in the world!”1 John 4:4 In Him, we find victory, even in this world, in this flesh.
Through The Journey, men are finding this life in the Spirit. They are finding the joy in living for the Lord instead of living for the flesh. We see men truly finding new life. They are not perfect, but they care more about what the Spirit wants than what they want. They are striving, pressing on in the Spirit, toward the prize awaiting them when they meet our King face to face. It’s not about “works”….it’s about love, the first fruit of the Spirit. These men love God, and out of their love for God, they walk in love for those around them. As a matter of fact, Love is a great word to describe the Spirit world. For if God is Spirit and God is Love, then the Spirit is Love.
I love the story in Mark 8:22-25, where Jesus healed a blind man. When He first touched the man’s eyes, the man said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” So, once more, Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes, and it says he then saw everything clearly. I was touched by Jesus when I was 13 years old, but no one took me on the journey to be a disciple, so my spiritual view was fuzzy. In 1996, at a Promise Keepers conference, Jesus touched me again, and then, I began to see things clearly. As I’ve learned to abide with Him, the things of the Spirit have become vivid and precious to me.
I pray that Jesus would touch you today and open your eyes to His Spirit and to the spiritual world unto which you were born when you gave your life to Him. I pray you would let His Spirit give new life to your flesh and to your world. I pray you would follow His Spirit all the way to Heaven.
In His Spirit,
Category: Influencer's Weekly Devotionals
Friday, August 05, 2011
“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in Thee.” Psalm 39:7
“My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.” Psalm 62:5
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope;” I Timothy 1:1
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement…” Romans 15:4-5
It is clear. Hope is essential to living and to life. The source of it is divine in nature, not man-made effort through will or mental discipline. It is given by God the Creator and Father. It is experienced through Christ’s presence in his faithful followers. It is explained in detail in His Holy Scriptures, which are full of examples of every kind of circumstance, challenge, fear, treachery, physical, emotional, and spiritual test and battle any of us will ever face.
So, what’s the secret to experiencing the power of hope in the midst of circumstances beyond our control…it is knowing who the source of it is, understanding the He Knows, He Cares, He is Willing, and He is Able, then believing He is at work in His time, in His ways, so that His purposes are revealed, and His glory is shown… as we wholeheartedly trust and continually seek Him.
The ‘enemies’ of hope are:
Pride...I don’t deserve to be treated this way
Disobedience…I need to take matters into my own hands
Giving up…I can’t take this anymore
Discouragement…This is never going to change, it is hopeless
My first experience with the above ‘enemies of hope’ happened after the collapse of a family business and being ready (for 12 long months) to relocate, escape, start over. I fully trusted (and had fervently prayed) that the Lord could and would open another door once one had closed. During the 12 months of enduring self-doubt, fear, terrible economic conditions, a disrupted job market, financial stress, and expanding family I experienced each one of the ‘enemies’ multiple times. During that period of testing God showed Himself to be absolutely faithful in answering prayers, guiding my steps [“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” - Proverbs 16:9], and creating unimaginable opportunities in every area of life. It has become obvious that what was truly needed was for me to realize how weak my hope was, and how amazing His process of giving hope is.
As Romans 15:4-5 speaks to, there are countless examples in Scripture ‘for our instruction,’ specifically so that we can see how to persevere and be encouraged. Here’s a short list that we may be fairly familiar with and be able to gain some divine insight from:
- Job…unexplained misery [in reality was purely spiritual warfare at its most severe] (1)
- Ruth…uncertainty due to natural losses [simply reality - loss, pain, fear, unknowns] (2)
- Joseph…victim of unjust treatment [human sinful tendencies in relatives, strangers, etc.] (3)
- Elijah…prone to fear and self-pity [in spite of amazing events, was easily immobilized] (4)
God knows we need Hope. He has provided us a ‘Living Hope’ in Christ, who is present in us and with us through the Holy Spirit. He has given us countless examples of His people in challenging circumstances that needed His Hope. He simply asks us to exercise our faith and trust in Him, believing that His promises are true. Our ability to experience the real “Power of Hope”will grow in proportion to our diligence and obedience.
So, as we find ourselves challenged by various life circumstances, let us each remember:
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
May your Journey towards intimacy with Christ continue each day!
(1.) Job 2:1-10; 3:3-11; 42:1-6, 10
(2.) Ruth 1:1-5; 2:10-12; 3:10-11
(3.) Genesis 37:2-4, 18, 23-24; 39:2-10, 19-23; 41:1, 38-40
(4.) I Kings 19:2-4, 9-14, 18
Category: Influencer's Weekly Devotionals
Links & Resources
Influencers- Bakersfield, CA
Influencers-Bayside Church, Northern California
Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest"
Tulsa Men of Christ
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