NUGGETS FROM GOD

The Holy Bible is awesome. I am sometimes deeply saddened when a member of the clergy tells me that the Bible is not always true. What is particularly sad, is these leaders, pastors, preachers, priests, chaplains, etc., are being taught these lies in their respected seminaries. It is frightening to think Satan might have influence in major seminaries around the world. We know Satan attacks the church and the saints, but is he deceiving the seminary too. In 1 Timothy 4: 1-5 the Word of God says:
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Some people might say that this scripture only applies to the foods we eat and the people we marry, but I feel it applies to many today. Thank You God for leading us in triumph in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

Cast, Praise, Receive

I wrote a short letter on Ask, Seek and Knock that told us that for any question placed in our heart, we should seek the word of God for the answer, and then we should present our case boldly before the throne of God. Cast, Praise and Receive is along the same lines. We should cast our cares on the Lord, Praise God for taking care of all our cares, and prepare to receive the blessings for having the faith to put those cares at God’s feet. Cast, Praise and Receive. Glory to God.

Participate in Life

I joined the army in 1973 and went to Germany. I was twenty years old stationed in Wurzburg, Germany with the 3rd Finance Company. Early in 1974 I heard my first word from the Lord. Having been raised in the sixties and early seventies, I was taught that you never show any emotion and you never smile, because you can't trust people who smile. My dad is a loving man, but not always correct. So I was one of these people who looked after myself and had a noncommittal look on my face at all times. However, this particular morning I got up and went into the shower room to shave. There were fourteen men in the shower room of the barracks where I lived, and when I stepped in, there was a death knoll hanging over the place. Fourteen men shaving, all frowning, and heaviness you could cut with a knife. So I stepped back out into the hallway and exhaled deeply. God then said, "You have to participate in life." So totally out of character for me, I stepped back into the area where everyone was shaving and said in a loud voice, "What's the matter with everyone in here?" And instantly, everyone was laughing and talking amongst themselves. My grandfather, mother's father, had once told me when I was a boy that the best tip he ever left for a waitress when he went out to dinner was a smile. I remember thinking at the time, "Wow Papa, the waitresses must think you are cheap!" But that morning I realized what my grandfather had meant. The best thing you can give a person, besides Jesus of course is a smile. In a world grown cold, a smile is very often the best thing you can give to a stranger, friend or family member.

Jesus - Hand from the Sky

The summer of 1990, I was driving down Highway 620 in Austin, Texas. Suddenly, I saw the hand of Jesus descending from the sky. He was reaching out to shake my hand because I had stopped smoking, and was saying congratulations and thank you. Now it might seem like a pretty small thing to some of you, because why would Jesus care? Some of you might think I was suffering from Post Traumatic Nicotine Withdrawal Syndrome. However, I was smoking a cigarette when this occurred. I had no intentions of stopping smoking. But the anointing of God was so powerful I flicked the cigarette out the window and threw the pack of cigarettes out too. Tears were streaming down my face and I did not care if I was littering or not. I had no withdrawal symptoms, and no desire to smoke. And God proceeded to anoint my life. In the months that followed I landed a contract to produce an awards show in Hollywood, and was finalizing an investment package for two scientists with whom I was working. I was going to bring God into the devil’s stronghold, and the technology these two brothers had developed would revolutionize the world. We had one hundred million dollars on the table with investors from around the world waiting to preview this technology, and they all had their socks knocked off as they saw and heard the most exciting product they had ever seen. The patent search was progressing smoothly, when one little eastern European country did not give the same patent protection to the scientists that they wanted. (I believe this country has finally come to agreement on their standards.) The twin brothers decided not to push their package forward because they did not feel their patent was protected, and they thought this was God’s will in saving this technology for the millennium. As this deal was crumbling before our eyes, everyone else working on the deal was chain smoking, not including the brothers. I finally picked up a cigarette, and did not put them down for over three years. The Lord had me quit smoking in January 1996. Within weeks, I was talking to my oldest son on the phone for the first time in over five years.

Retarded Girl Swimming

One day my wife Mauri had taken Jennifer and Jonathan swimming (Jamie was not yet born) at the local community swimming pool. There was a group of retarded children swimming in the pool that day and one of the teenage girls was swimming in the children’s pool. She was large and very loud. Every time she spoke, everyone in the pool could hear her. She spoke to Mauri, but Mauri just answered her and turned away to ignore further conversation. One boy around the age of three or four was swimming without any hair and this girl asked the boy’s mother if something was wrong her son. The mother told that her son had cancer, and was not expected to live much longer. The retarded girl replied in her very loud voice, “I will pray to Jesus for him”. Everyone in the pool heard her. It was then that my wife realized that this retarded girl was more sensitive to other people and to our heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ than most normal people. Most of us would have thought about praying, or said we would pray, but this young girl knew how important praying is, and she did not care if the whole world heard her. My wife said there was an instant silence at the pool during this conversation. Most of the people probably were thinking the same things my wife was thinking; oh no, this retarded girl should have not asked such a personal question in such an abrupt and loud way, what is this poor mother going to say...” The mother then thanked the girl for praying for her son. She said that God was the only hope they had.

Mind Travel

As I was driving down the highway one day, I had an open vision. I saw three trees in the distance. As I looked at these trees, I saw how they were situated and related to one another. I then saw myself in the midst of the trees. I knew I could be transfigured to the location where the trees were. I wonder: If we follow and serve Jesus with all of our heart and pray tirelessly, can God use us as prayer warriors and men and women of faith around the world? Wouldn’t it be neat if anytime there was a need for mighty warriors of God, and we were walking in the spirit, we could be transfigured to that particular point of need. I guess it was just a silly vision? I don’t know anyone who would want to be available to be on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week just to serve God. We go to church one, two and sometimes three times per week, how much can He expect out of us? Twenty-four hours a day, sold out for God? Take me where You will Lord, anytime You want Lord. I’ll serve You!!!

Jewish Lady

A lady came into my bookstore one day looking for a gift for a Christian lady she had met on a trip to Israel. The lady told me she was Jewish, and had never had any Christian friends before, but she had met this nice lady on her trip and wanted to get her a small gift. She asked me if I was a Christian and I told her I was. She told me she did not know anything about Christianity and asked me to explain our beliefs. I told her about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and how He was a Jewish man that was the Son of God. I told her that the Jewish people and Christians were both waiting for the same Messiah. They believe He is coming for the first time, and we know He is coming back. I went on to explain that Jewish leaders in the days of Jesus had to believe He was the Messiah or they had to persecute Him if they did not believe He was the Messiah. Of course there was a lot of jealousy from the Pharisees, but I did not get into all of that. I explained that when Jesus came the first time, and was crucified, He fulfilled prophecy in the process. But, He was coming back as the roaring Lion and Jews and Christians alike would glory in His presence. I told her that the Jewish people were God’s chosen people and that Christians were God’s too, bought with the Blood of Jesus. She told me she thought all Christians hated Jews, and she had believed this for over sixty years. I told her that no one with any sense at all should hate anyone, especially God’s chosen people. I referenced the fall of many empires due to the idiocy associated with the persecution of Jews. I believe we are brothers and sisters in the select family of God. I think she was blessed, to have not been hated, and we found a nice gift for her new friend.

As she was leaving, she reached into her purse and gave me a small packet. Inside the packet was a Cross and sand from Jerusalem. She told me that this was a fairly common souvenir that was sold in Jerusalem, but she had obtained this Cross under unusual circumstances. She told me that one of the stops on her tour was the Tomb of Jesus. She had departed from inside the tomb where everyone was, and had gone outside. While outside a monk approached her who had taken her around back and had shown her an entrance to the tomb. While everyone was inside no closer than the glass encasement would allow, she said she was allowed the opportunity to touch the tomb from the opposite side of the encasement. The monk told her that this particular order of monks had guarded the tomb and he gave her the Cross and sand which she proceeded to give to me. I have never been to Israel, but I have no reason to doubt her story. I know I was blessed just having this wonderful, sweet spirited lady in my store. Thank You Lord for allowing me the opportunity to show Your love to one of Your chosen children. I know You love the Jewish people, and I do too. I love You Lord.

Bugs are Drawn to the Light

A young lady once worked for me in the Christian bookstore. She was a very attractive young lady and she and her husband were wonderful Christian people. Her prayers to God were so pure, and so intimate; that I marveled in the relationship she had with the Lord. I always enjoyed asking her to pray for the store and our customers because she seemed to bring us with her when she entered into the presence of God. I haven’t seen her in years, but I pray God is still using her mightily. One day she came to me and asked me if the dress she was wearing was to revealing. She had an attractive figure, however the dress came down very low in the front. She asked me if I thought it was to revealing. I thought it was, but I did not want to hurt the feelings of this beautiful child of God. So I explained my answer to her this way. I told her when we are anointed by God, and walk in His presence, the closer we get to God, and then the more we reflect His glory. I said people are attracted to the light within us in much the same way that bugs are drawn to a light when it is dark outside. I told her that when people are drawn to the light, we have a responsibility to ensure that anyone drawn to the light has no dark thoughts because of something we might say or do wrong. I explained that if someone approaches her because of the light within her, and then becomes attracted to her physically because she reveals too much of her full figure, then is she being all she is supposed to be for God. We have a responsibility as children of light to not lead anyone into darkness. She understood and agreed, and started dressing more conservatively. She continued to exude the love of Christ that shown from within her. May she continue to do mighty works for God.

Do you think you are smarter than Me?

Once Jennifer, my youngest stepdaughter was testing me to my limits. As I talked to her she would stare at me as if I was stupid or something. I was trying to explain something to her that she had just done wrong, and the look on her face made me think I was talking to a blank wall. She was making me so mad that I was grinding my teeth so hard with anger that I broke one of the caps on my tooth. This was a porcelain cap, and they are not too easy to break. To say I was a little perturbed would be an understatement. And then God spoke to me. He said, “You are pretty mad at her aren’t you?” I said, “I sure am Lord, talking to her is like talking to a brick wall.” God then said, “You don’t like her very much right now, do you?” And I said, “No Lord, I really don’t.” Then God said, “You don’t even love her very much right now, do you?” And I said, “No Lord, I really don’t.” And God said, “I LOVE HER!” And I then proceeded to tell the Lord, “Yes Lord, I know You love her because You are Love, and You love all of us. But she makes me so mad I just cannot contain myself sometimes. She is disobedient, disrespectful and on and on and on. So even though You love her Lord, I just can’t bring myself to love her right now.” And God asked, “Craig, do you think you are smarter than I am?” No way Lord. I went over to Jennifer and gave her a big hug. Of course she had know idea what I meant when I told her that God just told me He loved her, but I know God is always right. Even though Jennifer has many times stressed me to my limits, I always remember that God loves her, and I do too. Thanks for reminding me Lord.

Smile

One morning prior to my divorce, I was taking my oldest daughter to school. I worked most evenings at the time and liked taking Jennifer and Jeffrey to school because it gave me an opportunity to see them in the mornings. However, this particular morning Jennifer looked tired. I asked her if something was the matter and she told me she had been taking placement tests to see what classes she would be in when she transferred to middle school for the sixth grade. She told me she was just overly tired as we pulled up in front of the school. I looked at her and told her to trust me in what I was going to tell her. I said I don’t have time to explain it because the first school bell was ringing but I asked her if she would trust me in what I was about to tell her. As I got her commitment I told her, “Every time you feel tired today, smile.” She said, “What?” And I said, “Every time you feel tired today, smile.” I said, “You told me you would trust me in this, right.” She said okay, and started to get out of the car. I said give me a smile. She gave me a weak smile, and I said give me a big smile and show me some teeth. Her fatigue seemed to lift as she smiled beautifully. The next morning we were running late and all were rushing around, so we did not have an opportunity to talk. But the next morning she was glowing. She looked like the cat that had just swallowed the canary. I asked her what was up? She reminded me that I had told her two days before to smile every time she felt tired. Of course, brain dead daddy had forgotten, but my beautiful princess was glowing. She told me she had been doing what I had told her to do for the past two days and smiling energized her. She told me all of her classmates had asked her yesterday, with a tired look on their little faces, what was happening to her. She said she felt great, and everyone in her class had noticed. She told me smiling really works dad. Thanks. Thank you Jennifer for trusting me. I love you so much. I don’t know how or why it works, but it does. Try smiling and sharing your happiness with others, and you will be the one who is blessed.

I was really pumped up

This isn’t really a nugget from God, however it does involve being your best in all that you do, and it is one of those memories that live with you forever. When Jeffrey was seven I had been selected to manage/coach his coach pitch baseball team. Jeffrey was an intense baseball player and a true joy to coach. We got into the middle of the season and we had seven wins and no losses, and we were playing a team that had six wins and one loss. We were the visiting team and went into the bottom half of the last inning leading by four runs. The first three batters scored and the opposing team had a man on second base with no outs, and the three, four and five hitters coming up to bat. With their power hitters coming up to bat, I looked at Jeffrey standing on the pitcher’s mound. Even though a coach pitches to his team, in coach pitch you still have a player to field the position. As I looked at Jeffrey he pulled his hat down over his eyes because they were brimming with tears. I called time out and went to talk to Jeffrey. I asked him what was the matter? He looked up at me and said, “We’re going to lose.” I said, “So what. What have I always told you to do?” He looked at me and said, “You have always told me to do my best.” I smiled as I said, “Well, get out there and do it.” The next batter hits a line shot at Jeffrey on the pitcher’s mound. He catches the ball on the first bounce and turns to throw the ball to the third baseman. My third baseman was watching the runner instead of Jeffrey, so Jeffrey had to run over to third base and tag the runner going into third. The first base coach is waving the batter to run for second and Jeffrey sees that the second baseman is watching the runner, (my second baseman was the third baseman’s twin brother), so he runs over and tags the runner going into second base for the double play. The next batter hits a little dribbler down the first base line and Jeffrey swoops over and fields the ball and tags the runner as he is heading for first. The game is over, and we have won by one run. The parents of my team rush out onto the field and lift Jeffrey to their shoulders as they carry him from the field. The moment was indescribable. As we were driving home, Jeffrey leans forward between the bucket seats and says, “You know what dad? And I said, “What, son?” He says, “I was really pumped up that last inning.” I choked back the tears and all I could do was smile. God I love that boy. My peace, my strength, blessed with Your wisdom, my son.

I am in the midst of you

One of the first things God ever shared with me was when he told me He was in the midst of us. This did not make a lot of sense to me at the time because I had never read this, in the midst of you, before. Since then I have found in scripture where God talks about being in our midst. But at the time it was Greek to me. The way he explained it to me was like this. He said that if there were two groups of people, three people in one group and three people in the other group, He would be in the midst of both of the groups. He went on to say that if one group was talking about the things of the world and one group was talking about Him, who is He more likely to bless. He said He would bless the ones talking about Him, naturally. Maybe we ought to share Him more often. Huh?

Anointing - Jezebel

There once was a young black man in the store and he truly was filled with the love of the Lord. I was thrilled to speak with him as I prayed with him and asked God to anoint his ministry. He came in the store often and each time I would share a nugget with him that God had recently shared with me. I bought him a book on how to fulfill his role of an evangelist and pastor and really knew God was going to use him in a mighty way. One evening he came into the store and a woman was with him. You could see the Jezebel spirit on her, and I knew she was one to drink the blood of the saints. She had the right talk, but her spirit was not right. I gave this young man a book about how to protect ones self from the Jezebel attacks, but I do not know if he read it or not. I had tried to warn him, but I probably should have been more direct with my comments. I never saw him again. If I could talk to this young man now, I would apologize for not being more blunt. God forgives everything. Ask Him to renew His Holy Spirit within you. When we ask, God forgives and blesses.

Lady’s prayer for 21 years

I had a lady in the store that had prayed for twenty-one years that her husband would come to know the Lord. I prayed with her in the store, and together we asked the Lord to draw her husband to Him. A few weeks later she came into the store and told me her husband had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I said Praise God. However, she then proceeded to tell me the rest of the story. It was not long after she and I had prayed that her husband was diagnosed as having cancer. It was not until he had been through surgery that he had finally accepted Jesus. Better late than never, but to bad he had to get cancer for him to come to the glorious saving grace of Jesus. Thank You God for making him a part of Your family.

TEARS IN THE SPIRIT

It is hard to explain how it feels, when your insides feel as if they are crying. Your body is not crying, but your spirit is crying. When you walk into the grocery store, or you walk into the mall, and your spirit wells up with tears as you pass someone you know is hurting. You reach out to a total stranger and give them a hug and they burst into tears. How do you explain these things? The Spirit of God that dwells within us mourns for a hurting world. If we listen to our inner spirit, and the Spirit of God, then we mourn too. I once was sitting in the backroom of my bookstore and my spirit was full of tears. I knew someone in my store was hurting. As I opened the door and walked into the store, I asked God to show me who He wanted me to minister to. He showed me a young man. I went up to the young man and when he turned around I recognized him. He was a young pastor who was a friend of mine. I asked him how he was doing and he said fine. I asked him again how he was doing, and he looked at me strangely as he said he was doing fine. I asked him a third time, “How are you really doing?” He told me he and his wife were going through a divorce. We talked for a long time, and I told him what God wanted me to say, which was not what he wanted to hear. But God had caused the tears in my spirit to let me know this young man was hurting. I had tears in my spirit once when an elderly woman first walked into my store. I had never met this lady before, she was a total stranger. Within five seconds of me walking up to her, God told me to give her a hug. She immediately had started crying. She told me she had just left the doctor’s office and found out her husband had cancer. She was wandering aimlessly, when she was prompted to come into the store. She told me God knew what she needed at that moment, and that was a holy hug. But how did I know to do that? I knew what to do by acknowledging tears in my spirit, and listening to God.

I had a person tell me once upon a time that I was to compassionate. Maybe so. I believe my compassion comes from God, because it does not come from my upbringing. I wonder some times; if compassion comes from God, is it because we have passion for God? Perhaps when our first passion is God, He gives us the compassion for others. If we don’t care about a sick and dying world, have we lost our first love? Is God our first love? If my strength comes from the Lord, does He want me to be a sissy, crybaby for the hurting of the world? Without compassion, do we really have passion? Turn to God with your whole heart and entire being, and find out for yourself.

God doesn’t speak

I had someone tell me a couple of days ago that God does not speak to people. If this older lady’s comment weren’t so sad, it would probably be funny. I resisted the urge to ask why God doesn’t speak to anyone any more. Does He not know our complicated language, or does He just not like us anymore? I was saddened as I looked into her eyes, the windows to her soul. Was it just me, or was there anything there besides darkness? Yet, she was a Christian, and had been all of her life. Does she not spend enough time with God, that she would know His voice if she heard it? I guess it would be like me hearing from an old friend I went to high school with thirty years ago. I would remember my friend, but I probably would not recognize his voice. If I haven’t talked to him in thirty years, do I know anything about him? If he and I haven’t stayed in touch, I probably wouldn’t know very much about him at all. I think that is why most people would say God doesn’t talk to us today. Do we spend any time with Him? Does He know our voice, and do we know His? Unfortunately, most of the time, no we don’t. How can we hear Him speak, if we never call Him? And how can we hear Him speak, if we never listen for Him to say hello?

I know God does speak to us now and forever. He wants to hear from us, and He wants to whisper to us to go right or left, or stop if need be. It is frightening to me to know we are in the times of the end, and so few people even listen to hear His voice. It is sad to think we are similar to a frog being cooked on the stove. Supposedly, if you put a frog into hot water, he will immediately jump out. However, if you put the frog into cold water and heat the water with the frog in it, he will never notice the increase in the heat until he is cooked. Are we reacting the same way to life around us? If we were thrown into a pot without God, wouldn’t we be quick to want to jump out? However, are we so lukewarm already, that we don’t notice the heat rising around us? It is sad to think we might be cooked before we realize we should have jumped out of the pot.

I know God is real and moving mightily in these last days. Please spend time with Him. As you do spend time with God, He will comfort you through the fire. Get to know God and spend time with Him. You will be glad you did, and so will He. You might even come to the knowledge of the glory of God, and realize He does speak today too.

Best friend--Worst enemy

A friend once asked my advice concerning a Moslem man he had been witnessing to. My friend said he had done and said everything he knew to say; yet the Moslem man still had not given his life to Jesus. My friend knew this Moslem loved God, but he was not ready to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. My friend said he believed this Moslem man believed in Jesus, but he was not ready to give his life to Jesus. My friend said the main reason this Moslem man was not willing to become a Christian, was because he did not think most Christians loved God as much as this Moslem man did. He said most Christians he knew took God for granted.

The days that followed had my friend coming into the store daily to ask what else he could say that might help him lead this man to Jesus. Finally one day God put it in my spirit to tell my friend to tell the Moslem man this. I told my friend to tell this Moslem man that either my fried was his best friend in the entire world, or he was his worst enemy. My friend was the Moslem man’s best friend if he accepted Jesus, yet he was the Moslem’s worst enemy if the Moslem man did not accept Jesus. The Moslem had heard the word of the Son of God, now he was accountable for his own soul. He later did accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, but I think it was sad to think he initially did not want to become a Christian because his religion loved God more than ours. What kind of example are we setting? Are we lukewarm? Does the photo of everyone in church show no one smiling? Do we scare away more people than we bring to Jesus? Do we love Jesus as much as He deserves to be loved? What if the knowledge of the Glory of God covered the whole earth, would we still be lukewarm? I think not. Maybe we should give ourselves to Jesus, clean up our act, and move forward in our relationship with God. We can’t go wrong. We become more joyous as we enter into this relationship, and maybe others will see our joy for Jesus too. Maybe more people will want to get to know our Savior too.

One foot in the world — One foot in church

Picture a barbed-wire fence and it is only one foot high. You are straddling this fence with one foot on one side of the fence (the side of light) and one foot on the other side of the fence (the side of darkness). In the past it has been very easy to do this because there was a lot of gray area people could hide in. However the darkness is getting darker and the light is getting lighter. When the fence between light and darkness is only one foot high, it is fairly easy to keep one foot on both sides of the fence. But the fence is getting taller and taller as the difference between light and darkness becomes more pronounced. For those who want to keep one foot in light and one foot in darkness the time is coming when you will topple to one side or the other, and everyone will know. Maybe it is time to pull that foot out of darkness while you still have the choice. Once the fence gets to high the choice will no longer be easy and you might fall where you may. Get right with God, and get on the light side. Light is right.

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