God is  no man's debtor.

     Is the money yours or is it His?

     He absolutely promised to take care of you.

     Money seems to be such an obstacle for so many.   He has set it up this way to allow us to walk by faith, while we are at the same time  being obedient to His Word with regard to money.

     Let's get this one out of the way now:  tithe.   This is not hard.  I would never consider  holding back tithe, and I have many months when tin income cannot possibly meet the outgo.  

     I am a lawyer and a symphony musician, but I do staggering hours of pro bono.  There is never enough to meet the bills.  I was a professor for 41 years and all of what would have been retirement has gone to missions.  Every cent.

     Every bill is met every month.

     The One who multiplied the flour and oil in the story of Elijah and the widow, is still able to do that for you.

     This is not a health and wealth spiel.  It is a simple matter of obedience.  The New Testament also teaches us about the use of money.  Remember the widow's mite?

     You hear things on television about giving lots of money and getting lots back.  I am not so sure about that.  I don't tithe because I want money back.   I tithe out of obedience. 

     The New Testament only mentions tithe once, and the other references are about giving.

     Soldier, the issue is whose money is it?  Why is it a problem for you? 
     It is pretty clear in the New Testament.  First you give to your local assembly. Then after that, you give to other things as you are led.
     Today, the believer is bombarded with emotional reasons to give to all sorts of seemingly noble and Christian efforts.    First you must support the local church even if there are thing you want to change.  Then you will be led of the Lord if there are other thing you need to support.

     Soldier, it is about obedience.   Everything is about obedience, and then the rest is up  The One Who Holds The Stars in Place.

     So,  Soldier of The Cross, take your financial concerns to Him, and talk to Him aloud.  If you are withholding tithe,  you'd better take thta up with Him.

     I promise He will answer you.  Tell Him today.



It's Not Over Yet::

     What a blessing it is to have Someone to whom we can go: 

     Someone who change circumstances;
     Someone who can heal;
     Someone who can make something out of nothing;
     Someone who can set the prisoner free;
     Someone who can comfort beyond description.

     Why then is it that when things appear to go wrong and then even more wrong, we tend to go from distressed to frantic?

     Was He absent when John and Betty Stam were beheaded?
     Did He fail to realize Watchman Nee was imprisoned for many years and died there because he was set up and convicted for adultery by the government?
     What about the Jim  Elliot and the other four who were martyred in Ecuador?
     Consider what Paul went through:

       23. . . . I am talking like one beside himself,   [but] I am more, with far more extensive and abundant labors, with far more imprisonments, [beaten] with countless stripes, and frequently [at the point of] death.
       24.  Five times I received from [the hands of] the Jews forty [lashes all] but one; [Deut. 25:3.] 
       25. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been aboard a ship wrecked at sea; a [whole] night and a day I have spent [adrift] on the deep; 
       26.  Many times on journeys, [exposed to] perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the desert places, perils in the sea, perils from those posing as believers [but destitute of Christian knowledge and piety];   
       27. In toil and hardship, watching often [through sleepless nights], in hunger and thirst, frequently driven to fasting by want, in cold and exposure and lack of clothing.
       28 And besides those things that are without, there is the daily [inescapable pressure] of my care and anxiety for all the churches!
       29 Who is weak, and I do not feel [his] weakness? Who is made to stumble and fall and have his faith hurt, and I am not on fire [with sorrow or indignation]?
       30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that [show] my infirmity [of the things by which I am made weak and contemptible in the eyes of my opponents].
       31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ knows, He Who is blessed and to be praised forevermore, that I do not lie.
(II Corinthians 11: 23-31, Amplified Bible)
     We must take it all to Him.  Of course we ask for relief and rescue unless we have a witness of the Spirit to the contrary.

     Of course we ask others to pray. We weep.  We suffer
     In the end, it is a matter of agreeing with God no matter what. 
     I know what it is like to be in a situation where a loved one might be killed or worse.   I've had the compulsion to beg Him every several seconds.  To think of nothing else.
     He understands that.   But for the Soldier of The Cross, there comes a whisper of the Holy Spirit who reminds that Soldier that he or she must agree with God no matter what.   Even when tragedy strikes, there is no release or deep healing without agreeing with God.
     When He does not answer in a way that lines up with our desires, we must remember that this is not the end.   The end is in our real Home.
     That is when we will be allowed to see how He not only answered prayer, but far, far more magnificently that we could have imagined.
     It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!  

More of Him and Less of Me:

     Oh Lord, as I stand before you tonight, I ask again to be changed.

     Only you know what needs to be done.  I want to agree with you in everything.  As I grow older, I want to be more and more available and not retreat. 

     I long to be a Soldier of The Cross until my dying breath, and I know that means your work in the deepest places.  Wanting you means yielding to the death of the flesh, and the flesh seems so sticky.

     But Lord, I trust you.  I predetermine to deal with things in prayer, and I know your deepest work is divine surgery.

     I'm so grateful you haven't let me see all that needs to be done by your Hand, as I probably couldn't handle it.

     I do love you, Lord, and want to be more like you.  I want to recognizes you more quickly.  I want to love more unconditionally.   So many things about you I love.

     I love your people.

     Please change me, whatever it takes.   Do anything with my life that honors you.

     My Lord and my God.

The Interpreter:

     Before I met the Lord,  I had a library most pastors would envy, and I could quote hundreds of verses.

     I had been raised in a missionary home, and knew all the right answers.

     But the day I met Christ at twenty-nine years old, I was in for a shock.   I was alone, and had just finished  accepting Him as my Savior and Lord.   As I raised my knees up from the fake red tile kitchen floor in Waterville, Maine, I  grabbed my old Bible that just  "happened" to open it to the passage in John about the man blind from birth.   If you remember the story, the man was healed and suddenly, he could see.

     I could hardly contain myself, because everything was different. 

     I knew the story.  I could have quoted the story.  I had told the story.   But now, the
Indwelling Holy Spirit was interpreting.  It was no longer information, it was the Living Word and was burning oin my being.   I'll never forget it.  And, I had been that blind man.

     Soldier of The Cross,  we who have our being in Him, must be immersed in His Word.  Not for information's sake, but for revelation and to hear from the One who is The Word.

     Yes, you have time.  Otherwise, He would not have commanded you to make it a priority.

     Take the matter to Him afresh.  Memorize something each day, even if just a sentence from your regular reading.   Read the Bible straight through, as opposed to hopping around according to plans that are popular, but avoid the way He intended it to be read.

     And always come to Him before and after.
     And do it aloud.

Moving on:

      Soldier,  this world is not your home.

       This is something that has to be brought to Him in prayer daily.  Otherwise, it is simply a teaching rather than a reality.  The fact is, we are Sojourners and Pilgrims, and you must not forget this critical truth..

        This fact puts it all in perspective.

        According to His Word, we are headed somewhere.  Why then, are the immediate issues that seem so crucial,  demanding all of our thought life and emotional energy?

         Are you a Soldier of The Cross or not?  Have you crossed that line?   Have you made the decision to agree with God no matter what?

         It doesn't make you a spiritual giant, it just mean you know   where you are headed.  And Soldier, when it comes to the daily thought life,  agreeing with God no matter what means you have access to Peace, even when you are in pain.  There is such a thing.

         So, agree with Him.  Tell Him.

         You must tell Him aloud unless you are in a physical situation such as prison, where  you have no privacy to do so.

        You can tell Him an infinite number of times for your own assurance, but be sure to do it aloud.



The Other Guy:

     Soldier, this is not about the other person.  This is about you.

     No exceptions, and  no excuses.

     You have  no control over the other party, but in prayer, you certaibnly have a biblical obligation to submit to the Lover of Your Soul.

     This is not about making sure that the other party is exposed, or that there is what you consider to be justice.  It is about God's Word.  God's Promises.

     His reality.  His Sovereignty.  Is He in charge or not?  If in fact He is, according to His Word, that means that the One who holds the stars in place gets it.

     Oh, Soldier.  If you would agree with God, that means that He is free to work through  prayer that lines up with His Word.

     You are not wrong.  You see what is happening.  The issue is His Wisdom, His tmiing, and His solutuon.

     His ruling is nothing you could ever imagine.  He who rules over Kingdoms is able to see clearly what is happpening in your circumstances.

     Oh, Soldier of The Cross, please, please, tell Him He can do anything, and tell Him aloud.



     Remember the chidlrens' somg, "Why Worry When You Can Pray?"

     If only we could get into the habit of recognizing worry and turn to the Lord.  We would say aloud that we trust Him, and that we will  roll our burden on Him.  We would talk to Him about the details, and we wold be careful to choose wwords that are in line with His Word.

     The problem is, that rarely happens.

     Soldier of The Cross, the battle is in the mind.   The enemy is real and he loves to taunt and create scenarios. 

     Do we have a Lord or don't we?  Can He be trusted, or is He somehow susceptible to inconsistency?

     What is the primary way we lose the moment?  Writhing and flapping over something that plays itself out over and over on the screen of the mind.

     While we have the privilege of profound peace, we are at the same time, at war.

     Dedicate your thought life to the Lord.  This should happen on a regular basis.  We simply cannot be crippled now and then because of circumstances.     Not only are we carefully watched by those who scrutinize our daily walk, but we are also observed by the unseen powers, both good and evil.

      We are Children of The Light.
      Let us live and walk in that Light.

     Tell Him.  now
     Then, look up and move on.


What Does it Take?

    What does it mean to be a Soldier of The Cross?

     First, there has to be an agreement with God that we are engaged in spiritual warfare.   Secondly, there has to be a response to His call to take up The Cross and Follow Him.

     What does that mean?

     It means a daily walk that consciously and affirmatively ackowledges the beauty of the death of the flesh. 
     It means the recognition that you are not of this world, and that your Home is in Eternity with Him.  
     It means the submission of your knowing nothing and His knowing all.

     Soldier of The Cross,  there is nothing else.  How foolish is it that we so often writhe and whine about things that are not in line with His Word?

     Consider His Word:

     There is not one word about you owning your own home;       
     There is  not one word about you being understood by all and avoiding slander;
     There is not one word about your having financial security oustide of His Promise to provide.  Are you avoiding faith?

     Are you avialable to live by faith?  Or must you see it all in advance.

     Is there a real Sabbath Rest as indicated in Hebrews 4, or is it just a myth?

     Oh, Soldier, give in to Peace.  Give in to the One who holds the stars in place.   Agree with God.

     Ask Him what it means to take up The Cross and follow after Him.

     Ask him now - aloud. 
     Right  now.


What is Normal?

     Soldier of The Cross, there is nothing in God's Word that indicates what your life should be like in terms of what others consider to be normal.

     All you know is that you are to be a Living Sacrifice, and that when you take up The Cross and follow Him, it is an adventure into the frontier of transformation and submission.

     Others have no idea what is going on inside you.   They can only interpret what they see based on their own experience,  and often the best of intentions are aimed at slowing down your walk of faith.

     Once more.  This world is not our home.  We are not from here.    

     Stop trying to be from here.

     We are His and we are not our own.   Oh, soldier, please, pleaese memorize God's Word.  Even if you don't remember it in a few hours, the Lord Jesus wil be so much more real to you, and the Holy Spirit more audible if you will only absorb His Word.  Even one or two sentences from your quiet time reading.

     There cannot be passivity.    What is normal?   Hanging out?   Dealing with the immediate all the time?

     Time is pasing and millions are without Christ.  Start with the person next door.  Your chidlren.  Your husband.  Minister.  Minister.  Minister.

     Oh, Soldier, do not put your roots down here.    Invest in eternity.  It's the only way you have wisdom to see the things right in front of you.   It's the only way to live.

     Take it up with Him.  Aloud


The Cost:

     So, Soldier, what is your bottom line?

     How much are you willing to pay for His Presence?

      Wiling to give up what others think?
      Willing to give up money?
      Willing to give up position?
      Wiling to let go of children if He asks?

     Is there something He cannot have?

     Let Him know, and do it asap.

     Aloud.  Right  now.