A New Season

Posted in Learnings with tags , on March 25, 2015 by mikekeaton

The wisdom of the sage is this…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted, a time to kill and a time to heal…

I am reminded of the song sang by the Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn” which was their way of saying the same thing…to everything there is a season!

Spring is on its way here in Georgia and its always beautiful!  I love it when the trees bloom!  The Dogwood trees will be blooming soon and I will be reminded of my mother, who always loved the Dogwoods and Spring in Georgia.  She is with the Lord now which makes these memories even more  special to me.  I felt I was moved to take this is a picture of a cherry tree in our yard in full bloom.  I wish these blooms would grow into fruit, but this tree is just for looks, but while in full bloom it is beautiful!  IMG_0309However, just as fast as the blooms were there, they are now gone.  There are some on the tree still but most have fallen to the ground, and to be honest, the beauty is almost all passed.

This is just an example of how quickly seasons come and go and a reminder to live in the here and now and enjoy God and all His  provisions.  This is not to say we should not look back or should not plan ahead.  The thing I am learning is to look back less, and to look forward more!  Even though, from a seasonal point of view, I prefer the Winter’s and the Holidays of that Season more than the heat and humidity of Summer in Georgia. Ugh!!

Me and my family are in a new season of life and ministry.  So much has changed in our lives.  The people that surround us are different, the community we live in is different, the jobs we have are different…to everything there is a season!

Our new season is just like the Cherry Tree, bright and beautiful, not just because of the new things, but because our Lord is Faithful and Good.  The new Season of Spring and the new season’s we find ourselves in life have this one constant…the Lord is with us!  He provides all we need, even the simple beauty of a tree in bloom to remind us of His Presence and Beauty, His Faithfulness and Goodness, and A New Season.  And, if the season we are experiencing is, by our determination, not so good, then it too, will soon pass, because…to everything there is a season!  Thanks to our LORD for this Hope!!

My challenge to myself and encouragement to others is…

look back less,

look ahead more,

and enjoy looking around constantly!!   🙂

Enjoy this Season!!

 

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How to handle opposition from others!

Posted in Learnings with tags , on March 4, 2014 by mikekeaton

I am sure you have experienced opposition at some point in your journey from others.  Either a boss, or coworker, or a friend (or someone you thought was your friend), a family member or sometimes it just seems like the whole world is against you.

What do you do?

Well, you could just get angry and flick everybody off and say, “who needs em?”, but that really doesn’t help because that just leads to more pain in you.  Bitterness develops and that is a hard root to pull up entirely.

So, what do you do?

I was reading this morning in Psalm 109.  The Biblical patriarch, King David, was one who experienced more than his share of opposition.  In fact, when I consider the opposition he faced to my own circumstances, I am usually encouraged a bit.  🙂

David said that deceitful mouths were opened against him.  Ever feel like people are telling lies about you?  David said people were speaking against him.  Ever feel like people are talking about you and what they are saying is not good?  David said people were surrounding him with words of hate.  Ever feel like people are hatin on you?  David said people were attacking him without cause.  Ever feel like you wondered what it was you did?  David said that people were accusing him even though all he did was love them.  Ever feel like you can’t ever do enough good for folks?

What are you to do?  What did David do?

David prayed!  He said, “I give myself to prayer”

In other words, David looked to the Lord.  Jesus did the same thing.  They both model for us how we should handle opposition.  Look to the Lord, cry out to the one who judges righteously.

Pray David’s prayer: “But you, O God, my Lord, deal on my behalf, for your name’s sake, because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!…help me O Lord, my God, save me according to your steadfast love!”

David then praised the Lord!  “with my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord, I will praise him in the midst of the throng”  We too must be careful to praise the Lord and give not just thanks, but GREAT thanks!  After all, its for His name’s sake!!

Hard to do I know and hard to conceive how this helps us deal with opposition, but we must believe the Lord see’s, hear’s, and will act in righteous judgement on our behalf, not out of pride for ourselves, but for HIS NAME’S SAKE!!

blessings,

mk

Daniel Fast 2014

Posted in 21 Day Fast, Discipleship with tags , , , , on January 10, 2014 by mikekeaton

Tomorrow kicks off our church‘s Daniel Fast.  We’ve tried, as a church, to seek the Lord together through prayer and fasting by way of the Daniel Fast now for 3-4 years.  So, we’ve selected these last 21 days of January to seek the Lord together through prayer and fasting.

The big idea is just to draw near to our Lord, to grow closer to Him, to discipline our selves for spiritual growth.  Spiritual discipline is essential for spiritual growth!  I have always loved practicing the disciplines in my own life.  I can remember back even as a young man, even as a pre-teen, doing what I could do to draw near.  If the spiritual disciplines are new to you, then I suggest some reading…maybe Whitney’s, “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life”, or Foster’s, “Celebration of the Disciplines“.

So, what is the Daniel Fast?  That is a big question!  I won’t answer it fully here in this post, but I encourage you to do some searching online.  Simply, just google Daniel Fast, and you will get many results that provide a wealth of information.  The simple idea is taken from the book of Daniel, the prophet in the Bible.  It is found here in this citation from the Scriptures:  parenthesis mine

Daniel 10:2-3
2 When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning (fasting) for three whole weeks.
3 All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions      until those three weeks had passed. -NLT

Other translations use the word “savory” for rich.  So, the idea is basically, a fruit and vegetables fast, no meat,  alcohol, or other “savory/rich” delights! 🙂

I am not a legalist, so I have told our church to pray and ask the Lord how He would lead them to fast.  I suggested other things than food, like, fasting from social media, TV, Internet, or certain foods like sugar & sweets.  Truthfully, the sky is the limit.  If one is to follow the Daniel Fast to the “T”, then they will only eat bland foods, primarily fruits and veggies.  Otherwise, they can just fast from things.

We don’t need to get caught up in the details and mechanics of it so much that we forget its purpose.  We are trying by Ascetism to draw near to our Lord and Savior.  We desire to fulfill 1 Timothy 4:7 in the Bible, which says, “discipline yourself for godliness”. When someone is fasting from food, the idea is clear, you will get hungry or have cravings…so, instead of satisfying those cravings, go to the Lord in prayer and read scripture…seek Him for the needs in your life.  When someone is fasting from things, the idea is when you would normally spend that time doing that thing, replace it with prayer and scripture reading, drawing near to God.

I am praying for all of us as a church to experience the mighty hand of the Lord in each of our lives over these next 21 days!!

blessings…

Mike

P.S.- almost forgot…I recommend keeping a journal during this time of seeking the Lord so, find a notebook or go to the store and get something to write down what God says to you and how God reveals Himself to you. 🙂

True Discipling

Posted in Discipleship with tags , , on November 7, 2013 by mikekeaton

The other day I read an article about what is the measure of true discipleship?  check it out here

For the record I use the word ‘discipling’ for discipleship. I feel there are many views on discipleship and it might be just me but I feel the word discipling is unique and may convey the idea that is in my heart and minds eye.

Anyway, back to true discipling.  What is true discipling?  That’s a huge question.  I do think that discipleship is “THE” mission of the local church.  We should always be asking, “are we making disciples?” How do we know we are making true disciples?  The article referenced above suggests, when that disciple begins to make other disciples…in other words, when reproduction occurs.

That might be the measurement for the outcome or result and there could be others.  But how do I know when I am truly discipling?   Well, for me this question is being fleshed out in front of me right now.  The church where I am privileged to serve has experienced many changes.  There are many people that I have had the blessing to disciple that have moved on to other missions, churches, and cities.  Many of those individuals, in fact all of them, were quality people and great leaders.

The people that are here now, which include some who have hung around and many new ones, are the new crop of disciples that need to be discipled.  So the measure for me and true discipling is whether or not I am going to roll up my sleeves and get to work on developing them into who God wants them to become.  Actually, that is my calling, to make disciples.  I am guessing if I do my job and get others to join me in this calling, then in about 8-10 years, we will send those out and then there will be another brand new crop.

So, for me, the measurement of whether I am a true discipler is based on my faithfulness to the call and the mission of the church, no matter who is in front of me.

what’s your thoughts?

Why you should read your Bible

Posted in Discipleship with tags , , , , on February 22, 2013 by mikekeaton

Proverbs 22:17-21
17 “Listen” to the words of the wise; “apply” your heart to my instruction.  18 For it is good to “keep” these sayings in your heart and always “ready” on your lips.  19 I am teaching you today—yes, you— so you will trust in the Lord.  20 I have written thirty sayings for you, filled with advice and knowledge.  21 In this way, you may “know” the truth and take an accurate report to those who sent you. (Holy Bible, New Living Translation)

I have been troubled lately at how many people do not read their Bibles.  I don’t know if I have too high of an expectation or if I am being judgmental (I hope neither), but I just think that if someone says they are a believer…a Christian, then they should read their Bible.

I know some people don’t know how, or where to begin because maybe they are a fairly new Christian and they need some guidance.  Others probably have been a Christian for a longer time but never really had any help either.  So, for them, I would be more understanding and give them a pass.  But, for those who have been a Christian for a while, or a long time, then, honestly, I just don’t get it.

I was reading in Proverbs 22 today and the above verses stood out to me.  There are many reasons why anyone should read the Bible but these verses clearly showed me something that is soooooooo beneficial to me and all others from intaking the Word of God-the Bible:

Advice, Knowledge, Trust and Truth!

Some very important and needed things for me and others everyday!  Advice, Knowledge, Trust and Truth.  Here’s the idea…”Listen to these words”, “apply my instruction”, “keep these sayings ready in your hearts and on your lips”…

“so you will Trust in the Lord”, “so you may know the truth”, “filled with Advice and knowledge”

We all need more faith and to trust more in the Lord, in who He is and what He can and will do in us and for us.

We all need to know what actually is “the” truth, so we can discern all the errors, fakes, counterfeits and deceptions that the world throws at us everyday.

We all need advice and knowledge on how to live each day.

The Bible tells us, if we will listen to it, keep it, apply it, then we can have all these things…but we must “INTAKE” the bible!!

READ YOUR BIBLE TODAY!  You’ll be glad you did!  God’s Word is Good!!!! 🙂

Peace on Earth!! ??? Yeah Right!!

Posted in Advent with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2012 by mikekeaton

Peace on Earth!!  ???  Yeah Right!!

Have you been watching the news lately?  not much peace in the world, in Washington, or in Newtown, CT.  Everything but Peace!!

One of the many themes of Christmas is Peace!  This comes from many sources but probably the main source, at least from my viewpoint, is from the story of the birth of Jesus!

In the Bible in the book of Luke, chapter 2, verses 1-20, tell us a great story about the night that the baby Jesus was born.  In this story, there is a scene where the shepherds get a heavenly visit with a great promise…

Peace on Earth, good will to men!!

-Peace on earth…peace…on…earth…YEAH RIGHT!!

However!!

What the Angels and heavenly host were announcing, was that peace was on the earth in the person of Jesus who is the Christ child- He is the long awaited Messiah and “HE” will be…PEACE, for all mankind!!

another passage in the Bible is found in Ephesians 2, consider its truth…

12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,-ESV

Here are a couple more…

Colossians 1:20 – “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross”.-ESV

Isa 53:5 – “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed”.

Jesus was on the earth, He is our peace…Peace on earth!

Peace is possible, but, we must look “to Him”!  Not legislation, not gun control, not anything else….He, Jesus,  is the only source of real, true, lasting, eternal, everyday peace!!

Any questions?  feel free to write me and I will be glad to expound and offer any help I can.  Most importantly, just cry out to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to be your Peace!!

Stay tuned for some practical suggestions in tomorrow’s post on how to have or experience peace!!

 

Advent Readings – (a 2nd option)

Posted in Advent, Discipleship, Spiritual Intake with tags on December 3, 2012 by mikekeaton

I hope you are off to a good start celebrating and observing Advent!!  if not, then its not too late to start!!  Saturday night I posted some daily Advent readings, but here is a 2nd option of readings in case you want to expand or just like these better…

Blessings…

First Week of Advent

Sunday Romans 13:11-14

Monday 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Tuesday Mark 13:33-37

Wednesday John 1:1-5

Thursday John 1:6-9

Friday Jeremiah 33:14-16

Saturday Isaiah 6

 

Second Week of Advent

Sunday Romans 15:4-13

Monday Psalms 43:3-6

Tuesday Psalms 27:1-4

Wednesday Psalms 119:105-106

Thursday John 12:35-36

Friday Ephesians 5:6-14

Saturday 1 Peter 2:5-9

Third Week of Advent

Sunday Isaiah 60:1-3

Monday 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Tuesday 1 John 1:4-7

Wednesday John 3:16-21

Thursday Isaiah 40:1-11

Friday John 9:1-7

Saturday Luke 3:1-6

Fourth Week of Advent

Sunday Isaiah 11:1-10

Monday Zephaniah 3:14-17

Tuesday Matthew 1:18-25

Wednesday Luke 2:8-20

Thursday Matthew 4:14-16

Friday Isaiah 2:1-5

Saturday Luke 2:25-33