Author Archives: soulpants

About soulpants

Follower of Jesus Christ. Husband, Father, Learner, Pastor

Aaron Leatherdale: Who Is Man

Instead of a Big Bang there was a painter with a canvas! What is man? Who is man? What is man that You are mindful of Him? I love this song by my friend and fellow missionary Aaron Leatherdale. Also visit his website HERE

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Journaling Kindles Love For God

Psalm 119:105 NASB
 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

The secret to a better quiet time with God? Well, I’ve found it is different for each person, its influenced by your personality, your learning styles, and by the community of faith you regularly worship and fellowship with. Daily devotional time is crucial and one of the secrets I’ve discovered is meditating on the word of God and journaling those thoughts and conversations.

 

The benefits of Journaling as you spend time with God in prayer and His Word is that it helps me to process my thoughts, record answered prayers, and understand Scripture in new ways. Yet the greatest struggle is getting started. I discovered it is like building a fire. A successful campfire requires oxygen, tinder, kindling, and fuel wood.

Check out these 7 journaling prompts:

1. Beginnings can be exciting! What new chapter in your life are you about to begin? What have you recently started that you are excited about? What are you hopes for the future? Tell God about it—he wants to be involved in your life.

2.God has chosen and gifted you with a wonderful set of skills, knowledge, and abilities unique to you—and he wants you to use those gifts to bring him praise. What talents and skills do you possess? What knowledge would you like to grow in? How are you planning to use this to honor God?

3. Forgiveness. Is it easy or hard? That likely depends on whether you are the one doing the forgiving or receiving it. Why do you think forgiving someone can be so difficult? Who do you need to forgive? When have you received the incredible gift of forgiveness?

4. When your heart is broken, it might feel as if life cannot move forward. It can almost seem hard to breathe. But God understands. He wants to hear from you, be close to you, and save you. He loves you more than you can possibly comprehend! Pour out your heart to him, and let him comfort and love you.

5. God is like a potter, and we are like the clay. He molds us as he wills. What process does clay have to go through before it can be turned into a masterpiece? In what areas of your life do you feel God is especially hard at work right now?

6. You make decisions every day, often without thinking much about it. The average adult makes nearly 35,000 each day. Cereal or eggs for breakfast? Finish homework or hang with friends? Be grumpy or kind to the family? And some decisions are crossroads which will affect the rest of your life. What major decision do you have to make? Spend some time journaling your options; then pray about it and let god give you his peace.

7. Just as the Israelites did in Ezekiel’s day, people today sometimes say God isn’t just or life isn’t fair. They ask how God could send people to hell—especially those who try to do good. The truth is that everyone has sinned, and all deserve punishment. It is only through God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrificial death that people can ask for forgiveness and be saved. How do you define justice? How do you define grace?

What Journaling Prompts would you add to this list?

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Healing & Sickness: What About Job?

The Suffering of God’s Servant Job

Whenever we make the statement that, “God doesn’t cause people to get sick,” inevitably someone will raise the question, “What about Job? Didn’t God use sickness and disease to teach him? Didn’t God make him sick and suffer so much tragedy?”  No, that was the work of the devil. Some will say, “Wait didn’t God give Satan permission?” Asking questions is great, but if you’ve ever watched a lawyer try to get a guilty person off the hook, you’ll realize the wrong question can cause you to come to inaccurate conclusions. 

I love how one preacher answered this question: “It is true God did give the devil permission, but God didn’t commission it. You see God will permit you to rob a gas station, but He won’t commission you to do it.” K.E. Hagin

Pastor Bill Johnson says this about Job, “People ask, “What about Job?”  I tell them, “I’m not a disciple of Job; I’m a disciple of Jesus.” Job was the question; Jesus is the answer. If I read Job and it doesn’t lead me to Jesus, then I never understood the question. All the law and the prophets were to create an awareness of need. That awareness prepared Israel for a savior. To return to the standards of the law and the prophets at the expense of ignoring the perfect revelation of the Father given to us in the person of Jesus Christ is to fall to the ultimate expression of arrogance. It puts us back in the place of control where we do what is humanly possible—and call it ministry.”

JESUS REVEALS THE FATHER

 Hebrews 1:1-3

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2in these last days has spoken to us in His* Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. 

 It should read like this, “In these last days He has spoken to us literally IN SON”, because the word “His”* was an addition to the text. Jesus was the language of the Heaven. When you go to another country you’ve got to learn the language and until you do, you’ll need an interpreter. Jesus interpreted the Language of Heaven for us. His word, the Bible, is our text book. 

Jesus is the exact mirror image of God. All that Jesus did was the heart of God expressed. Now if Jesus is the mirror image of God, we can confidently assume that what He does is what God the Father does. Jesus represented the Father and we are to RE-present Christ.

John 5:19-20

I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 

If we have a view God that does not match the mirror image of Jesus, we must examine our belief to see if it is correct in light of scripture. We must be careful to not become like Job’s friends who presumed to speak for God. They may have been sincere and filled with good intentions, but they were in fact wrong. We look to the Word of God, we look at Jesus and the teachings of the Apostles, and no where do we see God putting sickness and disease upon His children to teach them a lesson. 

We never see Jesus turn people away and say to them, “It isn’t the Father’s will for you to be healed, you’ve got some lessons to learn. Jesus never turns to the disciples and says to them, “You’re gonna have a sickness, illness, or disease, in order to teach you a lesson. Now the Bible is clear God can use anything. However, it is so important that we don’t assign the works of the devil to God. Satan and sin are the origin, author, and giver of sickness and disease! God is the healer, redeemer, creator, and author of LIFE! 

 

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I Belong to You

I Belong to You 

Here Be Lions

 You called me out of darkness
And You silence every lie
And no other voice will define me
‘Cause I belong to You, I belong to You

By Your blood I’ve been adopted
And I’ve taken on Your name
And I need to be reminded
That I belong to You, I belong to You

And the enemy can’t
Take what I have
Or change who I am
I belong to You
No, the enemy can’t
Take what I have
Or change who I am
I belong to You
Yes, I belong to You

And by Your blood I’ve been adopted
I have taken on Your name
And I need to be reminded
That I belong to You, yes, I belong to You

And the enemy can’t
Take what I have
Or change who I am
I belong to You
No, the enemy can’t
Take what I have
Or change who I am
I belong to You
I belong to You
‘Cause I belong to You

Greater are You who’s in me
Than he who’s in the world
The words that You have spoken
Are stronger than the curse
Greater are You who’s in me
Than he who’s in the world
The words that You have spoken
Are stronger than the curse
Greater are You who’s in me
Than he who’s in the world
The words that You have spoken
Are stronger than the curse
Greater are You who’s in me
Than he who’s in the world
The words that You have spoken
Are stronger than the curse!

And the enemy can’t
Take what I have
Or change who I am
I belong to You
No, the enemy can’t
Take what I have
Or change who I am
I belong to You
No, the enemy can’t
Take what I have
Or change who I am
I belong to You
No, the enemy can’t
Take what I have
Or change who I am
I belong to You
Yes, I belong to You!

I belong to You
Oh right here tonight, Lord
We gather here, as sons and daughters
We are Your sons and daughters
Join with heaven singing
And all the saints
Calling on Your name, Lord
We belong to You
And join with heaven singing
With all the saints
Sing Hallelujah
Calling on Your name
We belong to You
We belong to You
We belong to You
We belong to You

You called us sons and daughters
You made us walk on waters
Your power flows right through us
‘Cause we belong to You
You called us sons and daughters
And made us walk on waters
Your power flows right through us
‘Cause we belong to You
You called us sons and daughters
You made us walk on waters
Your power flows right through us
‘Cause we belong to You
You called us sons and daughters
You made us walk on waters
Your power flows right through us
‘Cause we belong to You
‘Cause we belong to You

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Even In Our Darkness

By Jack Deere

On the morning of December 31, 2000, I watched a white cardboard coffin travel up a conveyor belt into the belly of a Boeing 757, along with the other baggage. The body in that coffin had belonged to my son. But he had gambled with it once too often.

Twenty-one years earlier, I had watched him sprint into a doorjamb. The collision rocked his blond head and knocked him on his butt. I held my breath and braced for wails. Instead, he jumped up, laughed, and galloped off to his next crash.

As Scott grew, the collisions became less physical, but they still occurred regularly. When his second-grade teacher handed him a homework assignment he didn’t like, he crumpled it up and tossed it over his shoulder.

He discovered drugs in our church parking lot about the same time he hit puberty. But he never allowed the dysfunction of addiction to steal his greatest gift: the ability to make people fall in love with him.

He swayed cops with a smile and was only warned when they caught him driving drunk or with pot. He would buy himself a place to stay for another six months with an offer to mow a friend’s lawn. His jokes brought invitations to dinner.

Not only was he charming, but he was also lucky—usually. When his car was totaled and his buddies were carried off with broken bones, Scott waltzed away without a scratch.

Scott had some clean months, but mostly he lived from one high to the next. We lived from one crisis to the next.

After he turned twenty-one, he told me about a dream in which he had died and lay in a fetal position. It was so real that he felt his spirit leaving his body, and he looked down on his corpse. He awoke, surprised that he was still alive and that he lay in the same fetal position as in the dream.

“What do you think the dream means, Dad?” he asked. “And why did I wake up in the fetal position?”

I didn’t hesitate to answer. I was familiar with warnings that come in the night to pierce the indifference of our waking hours.

“It means you will die if you don’t change,” I said.

“I want to change.”

“I know you will, Scott.”

He would get clean for a few weeks, and his mother and I would grasp for the hope that maybe it would last.

A year after that dream, he was home for Christmas. He popped his head into the TV room after dinner to tell us he was going out with his girlfriend.

It was the last time I saw him smile.

He said, “Good night, Dad.”

I said, “Good-bye, Scott.”

An odd story flitted through my mind. A few hours before his death, Abraham Lincoln told his bodyguard good-bye. A twinge of guilt passed through me. Why did I say “good-bye” to Scott instead of “good night”? The foreboding didn’t make sense. He seemed clean for the past couple of weeks. He had enrolled in college. In the morning, his mother planned to take him to Target to buy dishes, a comforter, and cleaning supplies for his new apartment in Bozeman, a mere three hundred miles east of our home in Whitefish, Montana.

The next morning, I sat downstairs in the living room by the fire. Above the mantel, two elk hung high on the wall, my first rifle kill and my first bow kill. I was writing my next book on my notebook computer, until the noise of a malfunctioning DVD player broke my concentration. It came from Scott’s room.

I walked upstairs and opened the door.

Then I turned and ran for the phone.

“Is he breathing?” the 911 operator asked.

The word no stuck in my throat. I couldn’t say it. “No” meant I couldn’t bring him back. “No” meant I had no faith. “No” was final.

But it was the truth.

“No,” I said.

Then I raced upstairs to try to bring my son back from the dead.

After the paramedics put my son into a body bag and carried him out of our home, my wife and I, along with Scott’s brother and sister, descended our mountain and checked into a local resort. We could not sleep in the same place where Scott lost his last bet spinning the cylinder of a revolver.

I woke up in our hotel room as the sun crept around the edges of the curtains. Out of habit, I started to pray the same prayer I had prayed every morning for years: “Father, pro—” Then I remembered. I choked on the word protect. I could not get it out.

I suppressed a disdainful laugh.

I wasn’t ready to give up on God, but it felt like he had given up on me. I could not reconcile my theology with the nightmare we were now living. Weren’t prodigal sons supposed to come home?

I thought I had insured Scott’s life with the promises of God and my prayers. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” King David had written. Had I not delighted enough, or was I deceived about what my heart desired?

“Ask and it will be given to you,” Jesus told his followers. I had asked every day for years. I hadn’t just asked; I had believed as well. And according to Jesus, belief in the promises is supposed to make them work for you. Had I not believed enough? Or were the promises empty?

For decades, I had preached that the mystery of suffering would always elude our understanding. It was an easy thing to say, until the weight of that mystery crushed me. I didn’t know how to get out from under it, except to flee to the place where I grew up. So with Scott’s body in the luggage bay, I sat in the Delta Airlines 757, surrounded by strangers, hurtling south through the sky. Then a voice spoke into my shock and confusion. It was so faint, so ephemeral, that I might have made it up.

Hold my hand, I thought it said.

I could hardly picture that hand.

But it was there, and always had been—guiding me through the rage-drenched home of my youth, thrusting a wrench into familial patterns of purposelessness and poverty, and blow by blow, destroying the illusion that I could earn the gifts it bears.

In the beginning, everything was formless and void, but his Spirit hovered over the deep, dark, and violent waters.

Then he spoke: “Let there be light.”

He saw that the light was good. Although the dark was not good, he allowed it to remain. But he separated the light from the dark. He called the light “day,” and the dark “night.”

And against that great vault of night, he flung stars to serve as guideposts and as a reminder that light was always pushing through the darkness.

I am old now, and my night is near. But his first commandment still resounds, gaining strength as it conquers space and time.

When I open myself up to his light, the end feels more like a beginning, a flicker at dawn that spreads until everything radiates under the noonday sun.

And all I can see is his beauty.

 

The above is the first chapter from my new book, #EvenInOurDarkness, which is now available. It’s a story of how I am finding beauty and friendship with God through many hard life circumstances.

The book is available on Amazon: bit.ly/AmazonEIOD

 

Here is Chapter 2 if you’d like to continue reading:

I am the descendant of drinkers and drifters better at passing on their love for the bottle than family history, so I have been left with few details about the soil from which I grew. Dad never spoke of his father, but he did take his name—“Jack.” His mother had named him Jewel because he was her jewel, but that name was too feminine for him.

He was born in Sabine, Texas, but was raised on a Mississippi farm during the Great Depression. Just before the start of the Second World War, he enlisted in the Navy. He transferred off a battleship a few months before the Japanese blew it up at Pearl Harbor. Dad escaped injury for the rest of the war, except for a shrapnel wound that left him with a huge knot of scar tissue in the middle of his back. The bomb exploded on the deck of his new battleship, and Chief Petty Officer Deere carried men into the sick bay for two days before a sailor told him his back was bleeding.

On leave in 1942, he visited Handley, Texas, a rural community east of Fort Worth, where howling coon dogs guarded the night and crowing roosters ushered in the morning.

Dad first laid eyes on Mom at the soda fountain in the drugstore. She was sixteen. He was twenty-one. Wanda Jean Barley also hated her first name and only answered to Jean. They married shortly thereafter.

When he was discharged after the war, he went to work at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington, and they moved into a two-room shack behind my maternal grandparents’ house. I was born two years later in the vanguard of the baby boomers.

Dad stood only five foot eight, but he had the broad shoulders of a taller man. He parted his black hair on the left side. His eyes were brown, and his complexion was dark. To me he looked like Glen Ford, the movie star of the fifties.

My first memory is Dad carrying me through the basement of the Leonard Brothers department store in downtown Fort Worth. His strong arms never put me down to rest. He smelled of the Brylcreem that made his hair shiny, Aqua Velva shaving lotion, and cigarettes. I pointed at a display of pocketknives by the cash register and begged for one that looked like the knife he carried. He bought me a huge knife, but it was rubber. When he handed it to me, I complained.
I was two-and-a-half years old.

Although he was raised in an environment that produced hard workers, not critical thinkers, Dad was both. I worshiped Dad for more than his intelligence. In the war, he taught hand-to-hand combat. He showed me how to throw a punch, how to block one, and how to take a man to the ground—valuable skills for a poor boy growing up in 1950s Texas.
“Did you kill anyone during the war?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he said.
A vacant look passed over his face, and though I pressed, he wouldn’t offer any more details. I was glad he killed the enemy. It made him seem tougher.

He was the first person to tell me about God and sin. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present, he said. God created the world out of nothing, and the devil, a fallen angel named Lucifer, introduced evil into our world by tempting Adam and Eve to sin. In my own life, it didn’t take long for the prohibition of sin to provoke sin. After we died, our soul would be happy in heaven forever or tormented in hell by endless fire.

But beyond saying grace before meals and reciting bedtime prayers, we did not talk to God in our family. While I believed in God’s existence, I did not believe in God. I believed in Dad, who did fine supplying our daily bread.

Mom dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to marry Dad. I never saw her read a book. She offered me tenderness in the place of knowledge.

She called me “honey” as often as she called me Jackie.
At naps and bedtimes, she dragged her long nails across my back, moving only her hand and not her fingers, whispering to me all the while. The heel of her palm barely touched the smooth, tan skin of my back. I wanted those back scratches to last forever. Sometimes they did, and I fell asleep.

I was proud of Mom because she was pretty. She was five foot four, with flawless, fair skin. Her waist was small, but she was not skinny. She passed her brown hair and blue eyes down to me.

Every morning, Dad hugged and kissed Mom before work. She met him at the front door when he came home, and they kissed again.

“There is not a man walking on the face of the earth that I would let hurt your mother,” he once told me. “I would put him down.”

By the time I turned six years old, my two brothers, Gary and Tommy, had joined us. We had moved out of the shack behind my grandparents’ house and into a two-bedroom rental house on Yeager Street, a gravel road north of the bowling alley.

My brothers and I sprinted through our earliest years in the stability of a simple time and place. Houses were small, and yards were large. Leaves weren’t blown; they were raked and burned. The smell of burnt leaves signaled that fall was here, not the smell of firewood, for no one had a fireplace in our neighborhood. All our houses were drab on the inside, but no one knew that, for no one had ever heard of interior decorators. Fast food and TV did not yet rule our evenings. Mom cooked our supper, and we all ate it together at the kitchen table. Every night, Dad presided over supper. He thanked the Lord for our food and then taught us how to eat the meal in courteous peace without sound effects—no clicking our teeth against the fork, no smacking our lips, no chewing food with our mouths open, and no slurping our iced tea.

My favorite picture of this happy childhood was taken on the morning of my sixth Christmas. I stood in the front yard of our rental house on Yeager Street, Tommy on my left and Gary on my right; the three of us were outfitted in our new Davy Crockett suits with coonskin caps and Jungle Jim rifles slung over our shoulders.

We smiled and squinted under a sun so bright that we could not see the clouds gathered on the horizon.

———————————————————–

Continue reading @ http://www.EvenInOurDarkness.com

***Jack Deere is not affiliated with this blog. He has been a great influence upon my life through his books and ministry with my friend Mike Bickle. I wholeheartedly endorse this book. The above text originally appeared on Jack’s Facebook page. Buy his book. 

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Beauty Arise – Misty Edwards

You said I’ll take that harlot
You said I’ll make her my bride
You said I’ll take that pauper
You said I’ll make him a king
You said I’ll take that beggar
You said, come sit beside me
You said I’ll take those ashes
You said, beauty

Beauty Arise

All I had were ashes, ashes, ashes
All I knew were ashes, ashes, ashes
All I held were ashes, ashes, ashes
All I saw were ashes, ashes, ashes
Blowing in the wind

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Knowing God Is More Than Quoting Doctrines

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