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Find Extreme Favor

  
This year at our Fresh Oil New Wine Conference, our theme is EXTREME FAVOR. In the tough times in which we live, with political and social unrest in our world, and terror and uncertainty on every side…

What does it take to have extreme favor in your life?

How can we have extreme favor with God?

Join me March 6-10 as I welcome some very special guests… Perry Stone, Rabbi Curt Landry, Tommy Bates, Randy Caldwell, Ronnie Phillips, Jr., Dwain Miller and more.

We also welcome back Susanne Cox for our Women’s Luncheon on March 9.

It’s time to get off the sidelines and into EXTREME FAVOR!!!

You can register online by clicking here.

For more information, please visit http://www.abbashouse.com/fonw

I hope to see YOU at Fresh Oil New Wine 2016!

Drunken Generals and the Spirit of David

GenUSGrantOne of the greatest generals from the North during the Civil War was Ulysses S. Grant. Although a brilliant tactician, he was considered by some to be a drunk. In the face of requests to dismiss him, Abraham Lincoln replied…

I cannot spare this man… He fights.

King David was the greatest king Israel had ever known. A renowned warrior… an extravagant worshiper — David became trapped in a web of deceit and manipulation. What started as an illicit affair ended in murder and cover-up. He was plunged into a place of emotional darkness and despair. Yet in spite of all of his mistakes, God restored David, and referred to him as “a man after My own heart“.

A while back, one of my staff wrote an essay about David. I thought I’d share it with you…

The Spirit of David

“Small, ruddy faced… sings good though…”

In so many words, that was David’s introduction to Samuel and the world. The prophet was sent by Jehovah to the house of Jesse to find and anoint the one who would replace the disobedient Saul as king of Israel. God chose the smallest and most unassuming of many brothers to lead His people, and true to His form, God took “the least of these” and made him the greatest king in Israel’s history.

In modern times we refer to the Spirit of Praise as “The Spirit of David”. There are songs by that title, and it is alluded to in countless others. After all, David was “the sweet singer of Israel”, know probably as well for his harp picking as his rock slinging. At least in certain spear-hurling circles, he was loved and despised for both. But let’s face it… when it came to worship, David knew how. He threw off tradition and trappings, and set out to worship God Almighty, no matter what it cost him. At times in his life, I believe that nothing mattered more to him that knowing he was right with his Creator.

But there is more to the Spirit of David than meets the eye. Afer all, how can you just take the good and forget the rest. There was the dark side of David’s life as well…

There was David the adulterer…

David the murderer…

David the hypocrite…

David the lousy dad…

David the ineffective leader.

Yessir, it is a package deal. His imperfections were obvious. Can good praise and worship overlook a life that had that many and that glaring of sins? Can good harp playing cover a life marked by repeated failure and turmoil?

“…As far as the east is from the west.”

That’s how far God promises to throw the sins of those who turn their hearts to Him. He promises to remember them no more. It was good enough for David. It’s good enough for us. We don’t understand… we don’t have to. It is an unconditional promise of God, a promise rooted in mercy and grace. It is a promise that transcends our thought process. Sure, I don’t understand it… I’m not God. He does, however.

So let’s set the record straight:

David was an adulterer… but he was a man after God’s own heart.

David was a murderer… but his desire was toward God. (Don’t believe me? Read any Psalm he wrote).

David was a lousy dad… but he had a Heavenly Father who never gave up on him.

And as hard as it may be for us to believe, He’ll never give up on us either. Ever.

The Spirit of David is the Spirit of Praise. Praise out of an imperfect heart that understands vertical praise in spite of horizontal failure.

UPDATE: SNOWMAGEDDON 2015!!!

WeatherApparently, the moniker for last night’s snow fall in the south is either Snowmageddon or Snowpocalypse. (If you’ve heard of another, I’d love to hear it).

Either one sounds pretty ominous. Either one is probably descriptive overkill for the 6 – 8″ of snow we received overnight. But regardless, as pretty as it is, it will soon be gone. By all accounts, things will probably be back to normal by Saturday morning around here, with warmer temperatures moving in rapidly. Actually, as I write this, it is already well above freezing, the snow is already quickly melting, and I’m seeing more and more vehicles braving the slushy streets. By Saturday, the temps will be well into the 40’s, with 60’s by Tuesday.

So… why am I playing “armchair weatherman” today?

We’ve already had several calls regarding how the weather will affect Fresh Oil New Wine 2015.

The truth is… it won’t. Fresh Oil New Wine will proceed as planned, and as I said, by all reports, the roads will be clear well before the Sunday morning kickoff.

Don’t let fear of the weather keep you from the incredible things God is going to do at Fresh Oil New Wine this year!

Join us this Sunday through Thursday
for Fresh Oil New Wine 2015!

For Such A Time As This.

For those of you who saw my last blog post (As The World Burns), I referenced a Scripture in Esther…

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” ~ Esther 4:14

The children of Israel were in danger of being slaughtered by the evil Haman, and Mordecai was encouraging Esther to stand up for her people and expose Haman’s wicked plan to the king (which could potentially cost Esther her very life). Esther trusted God to take care of her, spoke to the king, and her people were miraculously spared.

We are at a critical time in world history. Evil and darkness are running rampant in our nation and in our world. However…

We are called to be a light in the darkness.

We are commanded to be salt in this world.

We are meant to make a difference.

We are destined to overcome.

We are here for such a time as this.

What does that mean for you? What does it mean for your family, your church, your community?

What does it mean to our nation and our world?

Watch this video clip, and join me March 1-5 for Fresh Oil New Wine.

Come find out what it means for you!

As The World Burns…

Burning EarthAs I sit here watching the Middle East and Europe burn in a blaze that is rapidly moving this direction, I am baffled…

It is beyond my understanding how any Christian of any race could support the leaders of our government who refuse to acknowledge the Islamic fanatics and their fiendish goals toward the world.

When a Muslim with ties to Al-Qaeda opened fire in Fort Hood, killing 13 brave servicemen-and-women, this administration categorized it as “workplace violence.”

When a kosher deli in Paris was viciously attacked, and four Jews were murdered by a shooter who had pledged support to ISIS, our president referred to it as an “act of random violence.”

Recently, at a press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder sarcastically chastised Fox News for its criticism of the administration’s unwillingness to invoke the terms “Islamic” or “radical Islam” when discussing terror attacks. He said…

“The terminology has, it seems to me, little or no impact on ultimately what we have to do.”

Well, Mr. Holder, I think any military strategist (or second-grade football coach, for that matter) will tell you that properly identifying your enemy is the first step in defeating him. Correctly diagnosing any problem is the first step to solving it. You are going to have a hard time getting healed of cancer if, when you go to the doctor, he refers to your condition as a “broken toe”, and treats you according to that diagnosis. Ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu said…

If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril… If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.

And now, as the president’s Summit on Extremism gets under way, the phrases that have, basically, been discouraged from the summit???

Radical Islam and Islamic Extremism.

Coptic ChristiansThis White House has been immune to criticism because its critics are wrongly called racists — those who point out the president’s refusal to defend Christians, Jews, or their values. Whether citing climate change as the greatest threat against our world, or rushing in to talk about street crime in America’s cities, this administration has done precious little about the threat of groups like ISIS and their horrific acts — like the recent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians (Christians, Mr. President — not citizens). Dare we speak of the slaughter of tens of thousands of black Christians in the Sudan, Libya, and Somalia. And while this administration supports abortion on demand, gay marriage, and just about every other ungodly, liberal cause you can imagine, the world continues to burn.

In the Book of Esther, there was an ungodly man named Haman in a position of power whose desire it was to slaughter the Jewish people. Yet, in the face of this evil, a young queen named Esther risked everything to defend her people. When faced with the decision whether or not to take a stand, her cousin Mordecai told her…

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” ~ Esther 4:14

As our leaders stand in Washington, wringing their hands and mincing their words, leaders in countries like Jordan and Egypt are taking decisive action against these acts of terror. Leaders in countries like France are making bold declarations with regard to the growing threat of anti-Semitism.

However, more than on the political stage…

RP & PauletteHow silent can the pulpits of America remain in the face of war looming in Russia and the Middle East? Pastors white, African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic must stand on the side of the Bible in opposing evil, abortion, homosexuality, and the genocide of Christians, as well as stand in unwavering solidarity with God’s people – Israel.

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. ~ James 4:17

We as Christians — pastors and laymen alike — will give an account to God for how we live, and upon what side of the issues we stand. Pastors, however, will be held to a higher standard…

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. ~ James 3:1


CrossFor pastors, the time is long past for complacency and “milk-toast” Christianity. It is time to stand squarely on the Word of God, rightly-divide His Word, and be a voice of salvation, truth, and hope instead of political correctness and cowardice. Pastors – if you are more concerned with being relevant than righteous, or “hip” than holy, you are probably in the wrong line of work. We don’t preach from the book of the month… we are guided by the Book of the Ages!

It takes courage to stand in the face of overwhelming evil.

It takes courage to say no when everyone else is saying yes.

It takes courage to face off against the giant.

It takes courage to stare into the mouth of the angry furnace.

You, my friends, have been put here for such a time as this.

It is time to stand.

Pastor Ron

Lessons from an Eagle

How do you expect me to soar with eagles
when I’m surrounded by turkeys??? ~ Anon

Ever the symbol of nobility, eagles have, in our society, come to represent freedom, liberty, integrity, stature, loyalty, and strength. In Scripture, the eagle is alluded to many times, one of the most quoted being Isaiah 40:31…

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

So how do we “mount up with wings like eagles?” How do we rise up above the fray of “turkeydom”, and take our place in the heights as God intended? Here are three characteristics about eagles that may give you some insight into why this beautiful creature is held up as such a majestic symbol…

The Eagle Knows Commitment.

eagle_stare_down

Eagle Stare Down by Julie Gentry

A male eagle, when he sees a female, thrusts out his chest and struts. If she accepts his proposal, she soars thousands of feet in the air and he follows her. When they are way up high — thousands of feet — they interlock their talons and they begin to fall toward the treetops. He is stroking the back of her neck with his beak on the way down. Right before they hit the treetops they spread their wings and they go back up a second time. This time she strokes the back of his neck with her beak. They go way up farther the third time, and on the third drop they mate for life. Just before they hit the ground after mating, they spread those wings. They’ve set their course in that relationship. An eagle will stay with it’s mate until one or the other of them dies.

What a beautiful picture for the way God intended marriage to be. Jesus explained it this way…

 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” ~ Matthew 19:4-6

The Eagle Exhibits Wise Use of Energy.

Eagle at the Beach by Debbie Waumsley

Eagle at the Beach by Debbie Waumsley

Unlike other birds that we see fluttering about our yards on a day-to-day basis, when eagles fly, they actually flap their wings very little. Eagles rise above, fly to grand heights, and utilize the atmosphere to simply spread their wings and soar. From that vantage point, the eagle can identify potential danger, food, and conserve its energy for hunting and defense against enemies.

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus says…

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Learn to utilize your energy wisely. Don’t spend your time “flapping your wings” over things that don’t matter.

The Eagle Understands Humility and Dependence.

Although most do not live that long, eagles can live up to 120 years. After the 60th year, if it lives that long, the male eagle returns to the rock where it was born. The female, especially if she is younger, nourishes her husband because he strips all of his feathers off, he beats his beak off, and she tears every claw out of him. He is laying there helpless, a spectacle, humiliated, stripped of glory and helpless. The only thing you can see are the wounds of previous battles that now appear on his skin. He is taken by the mother eagle to the nearby rushing water and drinks the running water and allows it to bathe him. She brings him honey and he eats honey. He returns to the rock and is warmed by it. He remains there 30 days, protected by his mate. By the 30th day, all feathers, talons, and the beak grow back. The eagle never fully matures until he has been through this process. However, once it goes through it, the eagle is literally dead to what it had been before.

Now, let’s look at Isaiah 40:31 again…

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Eagle headCan you see the eagle laying there 30 days with no feathers, no claws, totally defenseless, with only the female to protect him? Let me tell you, sometimes you’ve got to get defenseless and let the bride (the church) take care of you. But on that 30th day, you’re looking young again — strong again. They that wait on the Lord shall be like the re-molted eagle, shall be like the renewed eagle that’s been through the process of death, that’s been wounded, and hurt and broken, but is renewed and ready to mount up and soar to new heights.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time. ~ 1 Peter 5:6

 

So how about you?

Do you struggle with commitment?

Do you spend too much energy on the wrong things?

Are you in a season of humility and dependence?

Take a lesson from the eagle.

Burning Down the House

Oklahoma

On one of my travels, I stayed in a lovely home with a beautiful stacked-stone fireplace in the living room. The craftsmanship was wonderful, and the stones themselves were exquisite, with veins of black running through each stone, adding to the beauty of the design.

A year or so later, I was back in the same town, and we passed by the home, only to find that it had burned to the ground. It was explained to me that the beautiful stones that comprised the fireplace were actually the cause. The black veins that ran through each stone were actually veins of petroleum that would ignite when the temperature of the stone reached a certain temperature. On one cold winter’s day, the fire reached the ignition temperature, and BOOM… the fireplace exploded into flame, burning the house to the ground.

Christian, what does the house of your life look like?

Are you so intent on doing good things, you may not be doing the right things?

Are the things you are doing driven out of selfish motivation, or the motivation of the love of Christ?

Are you building a seemingly beautiful house of good works out of incendiary materials?

How has what you have done with your life impacted the world for Jesus?

In 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, Paul tells us…

… Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

When we enter eternity, we will ALL be judged. For the believer, when our works are put through the purifying fire of His holy judgement, only what was done for Christ will last.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:10

We will all have to give an answer for what we as individuals have done. We will all have to take responsibility for our own attitudes and actions. In light of that, we should all examine ourselves, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us those areas that we need to surrender to Him, and pray as David did when he said…

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ~ Psalm 139:23-24

I close with a thought from British missionary C. T. Studd…

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

— from the poem Only One Life, ‘Twill Soon Be Past
written by C. T. Studd