Sunday, August 28, 2016

The King's Kindness - August 28, 2016

II Samuel 9:1-8 - Then David said, "Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, (that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, "Are you (Ziba?" And he said, "I am your servant." The king said, "Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?" And Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet." So the king said to him, "Where is he?" And Ziba said to the king, "Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel in Lo-debar." Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar. Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, "Mephibosheth." And he said, "Here is your servant!" David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly." Again he prostrated himself and said, "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?"

The story of Mephibosheth (pronounced Mah-fib-o-sheth) is a remarkable one. We are introduced to this son of Jonathan, grandson of Saul in II Samuel 4:4:

Now Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son crippled in his feet He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

This is the first mention, but as we read in the opening scripture, it is not the last. We can only assume that Mephibosheth probably led a life of privilege as the king's grandson until that fateful day. The lad was too young to realize the implications that were transpiring all around him. At five years old, it would be hard to grasp the idea that your father and grandfather were both dead, and the kingdom that you would one day rule was being given to another. One might conjecture that his father, Jonathan, had more than once told his young son of his valiant friend, David. However, on this day, a two-edged sword of fear undoubtedly struck the servants of Saul's household. One, that the Philistines might overrun the house of Saul and murder everybody within, or two, that David might do the same since it was evident that God was giving him the kingdom. As this fear seized Saul's servants, the nurse ran with the lad and he fell thereby causing the accident which made him a cripple for life.

Several years later, we find David inquiring whether anyone is left of his friend Jonathan's household, that he might show mercy toward? Most likely, when Mephibosheth was notified that King David wanted to see him he thought, "Now, he is going to kill me and be done with the house of Saul!" It was undoubtedly a tense and worrisome journey to Jerusalem to appear before the King. When Mephibosheth is brought in to David's presence, David immediately puts the young man at ease by telling him to fear not, that he desires to show him kindness for the sake of his father Jonathan. Then, Mephibosheth says something remarkable: What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me? David goes on to comfort the young man and to restore to him the fortunes of his family, and to give him a seat at the king's table for the rest of his life.

This is a wonderful metaphor regarding the life of a sinner in the hands of a merciful God. In truth, Adam was our "nurse" that caused our "falling" into sin. Every man, woman, and child is a cripple without Jesus Christ, whether they know it or not. Many continue throughout life until death not knowing or caring that they are crippled by sin. They have no understanding that their heritage began long ago as sons and daughters of the Most High, but because of Original Sin and its consequences, they have been reduced to crippled paupers. I started this writing by stating this is a remarkable story. It is remarkable in that Mephibosheth is an archetype of those of us who have come to the end of ourselves -- who see that we are spiritually and morally bankrupt and are cripples that have no ability to walk in newness of life by our own accord. King David, the archetypal Christ, is portrayed as the one who extends mercy to one that has acknowledged their own unworthiness to receive anything of goodness from the hand of the King. Jesus Christ is the one who extends the scepter of life to us, as David did to Mephibosheth, restoring us to our rightful place as heirs of the Most High God.

It is quite easy to take for granted what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross, transforming our lame spiritual legs with the ability to walk in newness of life. I have often meditated on this fact while out on one of runs. That God has given me the ability to run and enjoy the gift of my legs to carry me about is a wonderful thing. I have often related it to the wonderful gift of salvation how both are not to be taken for granted. Then, I think about the tens of millions throughout the world that are crippled and in need of a means of mobility other than dragging themselves through daily life. Just possibly, if they can experience the kindness and generosity of others through organizations like The Free Wheelchair Mission, then maybe they will see Jesus Christ in those who have made it possible for them to experience mobility for the first time in their lives. We too, like King David, have the ability to extend the "scepter of life" to the crippled throughout the world. It just takes caring enough to say, "Yes, I want to change someone's life forever by giving what I can to restore a life and to show the Living God through a simple act of kindness like giving."

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Restful Return - August 21, 2016

Psalm 116:7 - Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

Occasionally, when out running I will step on something in just the right way and in just the right place that it sends a pang of pain through my entire body. Yes, even barefoot runners such as myself that have ran thousands of miles barefoot will still experience stepping on something from time to time that is ... well, unpleasant and painful. When I was just starting out in my barefoot running pilgrimage, it was of greater consequence stepping on a sharp rock because I dwelt on the pain longer and then tightened up with fear that I would land on another. Of course, when one is tense then the journey becomes more about getting it over with rather than enjoying the run. Bottom line: One cannot successfully run barefoot by tensing up every time one steps on something unpleasant. The outcome would result in being tied up like a bundle of nerves and tensed up beyond the point of relaxation, which after all, is what barefoot running should be about.

Oh what a joy to run carefree, when one does experience something unpleasant to forget about it as quick as it happens! This becomes easier and easier the longer I run barefoot. The same can be said regarding a maturing Christian and how he or she reacts to what life may throw their way. Even as I quiet the "sole" of my foot after a stone bruise by reminding myself to relax, in the same way we as believers should remind ourselves to constantly "Return to your rest, O my soul". Even if our body cries out in pain after stepping on something uncomfortable, it is natural to experience the pain but not to have to dwell on it. The key is to minimize the discomfort by dwelling on "the joy set before me" of running carefree. In the same way, God allows us to return to our place of rest, or our "center" which will always be the resting place of the Most High. Whether we call it resting in the Everlasting Arms, or being sheltered under the Wings of His Love, these are images of resting places that truly allow us to return to our center, the place of greatest attraction for the believer.

Let me explain further about the place of greatest attraction. The place of greatest attraction for anything on earth is the center of the earth. For, if you drop something it will always fall or be attracted to the earth's center by the law of gravity. In the same way, a believer is enveloped with the Love of Christ which enables them to return to the "center" of our spiritual existence, which is Christ is us, the hope of glory. We will always fall toward our "holy center" if we don't allow anything to impede us. Just as an outside force may interrupt the law of gravity by grabbing an object before it falls to earth, so we must be diligent not to allow an impedance to interrupt our return to our spiritual rest in the Beloved.

Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon (or Madame Guyon for short) understood the importance of re-centering ones self in respect to her Maker. This 17th century Christian wrote the following in her book "A Short and Easy Method of Prayer".

As soon as anything is turned towards its centre, it is precipitated towards it with extreme rapidity, unless it be withheld by some invincible obstacle. A stone held in the hand is no sooner disengaged than by its own weight it falls to the earth as to its centre; so also water and fire, when unobstructed, flow incessantly towards their centre. Now, when the soul by its efforts to recollect itself, is brought into the influence of the central tendency, it falls gradually, without any other force than the weight of love, into its proper centre; and the more passive and tranquil it remains, and the freer from self-motion, the more rapidly it advances, because the energy of the central attractive virtue is unobstructed, and has full liberty for action.

Madame Guyon later acknowledges that distractions will come and go and that these are part of life. The difference is how we react to them. The quicker we can return to that place of rest and instinctively "fall" towards our center, the more we can enjoy that constant fellowship of the Divine Life that dwells within the spiritual core of each believer that has confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As I stated, the imagery is individual whether one visualizes themselves falling into the arms of Jesus, or whether one sees themselves resting in the Mighty Wings of the Most High. The most important thing is to understand that we have that place of refuge that we can "fall" to when the struggles of life come upon us. Even as this barefoot runner must remind his "soles" to return to their rest after an unpleasant experience, so we MUST practice returning to our "center" and that glorious place of rest that He has promised to all who would but believe.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Don't Hesitate - August 14, 2016

1 Kings 18:21 - Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word.

For whatever reason, those who begin running barefoot will often try to subsidize their running with shoes. I did this for a brief time when I first started barefoot running, but in time I realized that shoes or sandals or whatever I chose to run in besides my bare feet would only keep my feet from evolving and changing to adapt to constant barefoot running. Many might hesitate, not being sure of the outcome if they would totally give themselves to this "new" way of running. In other words, they have no clear idea or vision of the outcome. To hesitate often times means one is unsure and lacks true understanding of the end result. Sometimes, hesitation can be good in that it allows us to think clearly through a situation before blundering in to a bad decision. Often however, it is a character flaw that can be powered by fear of the unknown.

Hesitation is usually the direct result of a lack of vision, or if you like, the inability to see things beyond the present to their eventual conclusion. This is an accurate appraisal of the children of Israel as they stood before the prophet Elijah. They had lost the vision of who God truly was in their lives. They had a clouded understanding of who it was that had delivered their nation from calamity time and time again. In the same regard, If we truly understand who and what the Lord Jesus Christ is and how He sacrificed all so that we could have all, then we would either fall on our faces and worship Him for His great gift, or we would turn away and deliberately choose to live our own way. Even as in 900 B.C. Israel, it is true for us today -- we have the choice to worship the Almighty or any number of "Baals" or idols in our own lives. How does one get to this "clouded" perspective of who the true God is and what He has done and continues to do for us? The problem with most Christians is that we have never had a true vision of the Lord Jesus.. We accept the Lord into our hearts and thank God for the gift of salvation and then continue living our lives the way we see fit. We don't understand, as in the case of the woman who came to Jesus with the alabaster vial of perfume, how one could "waste" themselves on the Lord (Luke 7:37-47). Many would find it inconceivable to give up an hour of their day to read the Word of God, let alone an hour kneeling before the Lord in prayer, listening intently for His voice and His direction. No, these things are foreign to most believers because they have been wooed by the world and the many distractions that would seek to suck up their time.

When I came back to Christ in 1992 and put the "plug in the jug", I had exhausted myself between the opinion of the world and the opinion of God. I was beat to a pulp, knowing then that my running from God was futile and that I either needed to die to God and continue on my destructive course, or die to sin and destroy it once and for all in my life. It took years of backsliding to figure out that my life was rudderless and on a course of ultimate destruction. Until I had that vision of who I was, who the Lord is, and the life He desired me to live, then I was lost in my own interpretation of what I believed to be right. Once the epiphany came -- that truly I was a man that was undone and without hope outside of Jesus Christ then I realized that no longer could I halt or hesitate in my devotion to the One who saved my soul.

Today, it would be an act of betrayal and treason to the Most High to allow the world with all its seductions to woo me into a place of compromise. Double-mindedness, as created by a love for the world apart from Jesus Christ, causes a steady flow of distractions to eventually consume the worldly-minded believer. Believers that have watered down their faith with inordinate "loves" become paralyzed with indecision because their "decider" has been muffled or totally busted from misuse and neglect. It is once again time to get before the Lord and confess ...

My God, I have strayed and my resolve is unresolved because I have compromised my affections with the world. I have hesitated between worshipping You and the "idols" that distract and that I do so dearly love. But now, O Lord, I confess before you that my life is nothing without You. Therefore, take my life once again and fix my "decider" -- let me once again be strong in the Will of the Lord to fight the good fight of my Savior, Jesus Christ. In His Mighty Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Narrow Path - August 7, 2016

Matthew 7:13-14 - Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

There is nothing like a heavily painted center stripe on a road that is somewhat rough to a barefoot runner. Paint has the tendency to fill in the pits and pocks of an abused road surface. Barefoot runners will normally gravitate towards these type surfaces because of their predictable smoothness and also because of their white or yellow opaqueness which allows one to spot rocks, glass, or any other foreign object with great ease.

Ah, that life would afford us the ease of a heavily painted line that is clearly marked, giving direction for all to follow! Of course, there is such a way yet most don't heed the written Word of the Lord. Most look at the scriptures as archaic, symbolic writings that have little meaning for the present day, but of course nothing could be further from the truth. I can deduce that "most" can or will not find the way because Jesus said that "few" find the true path to eternal life. This week's verse is a cold, stark reality that there is a way that all men should follow, yet only the minority will find it. Proverbs tells us that there there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is destruction (Proverbs 14:12). All of the world's intellect and so-called wisdom will lead a person to hell as decisively as open defiance to the Almighty. I say that the former is a greater treason to the Most High because those who rely on the wisdom or the Sophism of this world have sought to define salvation other than by the blood that Jesus Christ shed on Calvary's Cross for you and me. At least with outright rebellion and defiance to the Lord, one has delineated a clear position with respect to the free gift of salvation. The other is being an accomplice of the slapping and spitting toward our Savior and the public mockery of stating through our actions that his crucifixion was not necessary. Those who would argue that there are many "roads of salvation" would defy everything the scripture says about the Lord. Jesus stated in John 8:24 that unless a person believes He is the Messiah, they will die in their sins. There is truly no other way under heaven and on earth to be saved from the wrath to come.

Christians are often defined as "narrow-minded" individuals that don't have the wherewithal to think for themselves. In the eyes of the sophists of this world, these Neanderthal, knuckle-dragging simpletons don't have the ability to think logically and rationally. The Lord gave a resounding declaration of these so called simpletons in the Sermon on the Mount or what I like to call His "State of the Kingdom on Earth" address. The Lord said more in the first few verses of the Beatitudes than in all the so-called collective wisdom of the world. In verses 11 and 12 of Matthew chapter 5, the Lord validates those who are truly traveling the "narrow way" for His name's sake: "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; ... ." Jesus qualifies in these two verses the "narrow mindedness" of the scripture that infuriate those around us if we are truly living and speaking the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Friends, let me ask this poignant question. When was the last time you were insulted, or cussed at, or slandered for the name of Christ? I will further challenge us with this: If we are not taking up our cross daily, and taking verbal abuse, or slander, or whispering behind our backs, or outright persecution then we have fallen short of the glory of God. We cannot be passive in this "passion play" that the Lord desires all of us to be players. We shall either be those who publicly hold Jesus up for shame by our mockery of not taking the narrow path that He has shown, or we will bear the marks of Jesus scorn. True discipleship will always be walking in His footsteps. Are we all ready, this day, to pick up our crosses and follow Him up that narrow way to Life Everlasting? May all who have ears to hear the voice of our Lord, hear and follow.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, July 31, 2016

God's Opportunities - July 31, 2016

Colossians 4:5 - Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

While out on a run the other day, I noticed a hawk intently soaring above but clearly following a tractor as it brush-hogged a grassy field. Surely, the bird of prey was waiting for that perfect moment when a frightened rabbit or mouse would come tearing out of its hiding place and into plain view of the raptor. It made me think also how the robins and starlings can't wait for me to finish mowing my backyard, as they are quick to take over. Opportunistic by nature, they take advantage of the mown grass and the ability to see creepy crawling things that are absolutely delicious to them.

All it takes is a little uncovering or exposure and the right set of eyes, and often the possibilities present themselves quite extraordinarily. Even as God has given birds the uncanny ability to see at great distances, there is often still the high grass and weeds that will give cover and hide their prey. However, once the cover has been destroyed, the keen eyes of those on the wing quickly move with determined force upon their booty. Too often, we can go along in our daily lives unaware of those around us even as a hawk or a falcon might not be aware of a rabbit or a mouse cowering under high grasses. We soar above the world and don't realize that there are others that are in need of our help. Our minds and our hearts can be covered by the "brush and the weeds" of this world, choking out any usefulness that we might have toward our fellow man. Truly, all of us who are in Christ Jesus have the eyes of our Lord if we would but use them. Often, it takes God to once again step in, clearing away the brush and brambles that we might see with clarity what He would have us to do.

When seeing hawks and falcons, I often think about my brother who is a licensed falconer. Through his 40+ years of "hawking", I have been a participant many times as he will take one of the birds out on a hunt. By planned purpose, he will take the bird to an area where he knows will be game, usually ducks. It's fascinating to watch as he "un-hoods" the bird and allows it to see its surroundings. The falcon will set itself up as the hunter and position itself accordingly in the sky above or on a nearby tree, because the falconer has brought it to a place of opportunity. There will come that moment of decision as the falcon sizes up its prey and takes the best opportunity to attack. The results are usually very good for the falcon and equally decisive for its prey.

In the former and latter analogy, God will similarly bring us to situations where we can be of most use to Him. Whether it is the proverbial mown field, or an area where He leads and guides us, He will make the opportunities if we will but heed. Surrendering our will is paramount in this endeavor as it is for a falcon with its falconer master. If a hawk or a falcon does not perform well for my brother, then he will "shelf" the bird and hunt one of his others. He wants the bird to be as interested in hunting as he is. Conversely, if we do not act on the opportunities then God will "shelf" us and use another. (Beware of not hearing His voice if He calls today. He will most assuredly call again, but "when" is always uncertain.) We must all be "hungry" for the work of the Lord and not be content with the pittance that we all give by our presence and our giving once a week in church. We must step out and be opportunistic, knowing that the field of humankind's souls are ripe and the harvesters are few. God will strip away every hiding place, encumbrance, and excuse for not seeing the world as He sees it, if we will but allow Him to move on our lives. He will then give us glorious opportunities to seize His work with passion and purpose, making the most of our time for assuredly the days are evil and there is much to be done.

Lord, make us all willing participants of your harvest. Opportunities abound as the fields are ripe, and the laborers are few. Allow us to put in the sickle of your love and bring those who are hurting into that hiding place under the shadow of Your wings. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Patience - July 24, 2016

I Corinthians 13:4a - Love is patient, ...

One can not be impatient when learning to run barefoot. It takes months, even years to perfect in order to run long distances injury-free. I can sometimes detect the feeling of impatience when others write or talk to me when learning. I can tell they are trying to pick my brain to see if there is not an "easier" way to accomplish what I have done. They usually want to know if it gets easier, if they will quit blistering, if they will be able to one day run as fast as they could with shoes. These are all relative questions for each individual to find out for themselves. People progress through various stages of learning to run barefoot in very different ways. Most, I have found, do not have the diligence and patience to reach the "holy grail" of barefoot running which I regard as marathon distance or beyond. There is just too much to give up to a previous shod runner such as their acquired speed and ease of running in trainers. They usually don't have the patience to re-learn how to run at a slower more deliberate pace. Many start this journey, but few finish.

When someone wants to become a long distance barefoot runner, It is difficult to explain to them what is required. One really does not know until starting and progressing for some time on the journey. Here in the Midwest, barefoot running is complicated by the changing seasons. It takes a robust soul to persevere through hot, humid summers and wet, cold winters. I always tell the aspiring barefooter, it will get easier and better if you just hang in there and have patience. In other words (as the scripture implies at the beginning of this devotional) one must understand that without a love and a passion for what they are doing they will never have the patience to continue. It is not something to be worked up -- it is either there or it's not. A lack of patience in this regard equates to a lack of love.

I John 4:8 states that God is love. This is the defining nature of God, it is not simply a characteristic. By God's very nature, His very being cannot do anything that is not love-based. One of those love-based characteristics is patience. It is not a feeling or a decision, but it is a characteristic of the very nature of God. One could just as easily state that "patience is love" just as "love is patient" for they are synonymous outflows of the divine nature. It is quite easy to say "Well, I love that person and they are the desire of my affection, but sometimes they wear on my patience". For instance, if a parent states that they love their children and yet are continually losing patience with them and becoming unduly angry, then I would question their love. Of course, no one will be 100% patient of the time with those we love, yet if we truly love the object of our affection, to the most part we will be generous with our patience and long-suffering toward that individual.

True patience is not a learned characteristic of God, but it is one of His "fruits" (Galatians 5:22-23). It is the natural outflow of a life that is connected to His love and is remonstrated by the spontaneous appearance of His attributes in situations that would baffle the world. Speaking of parents once again, I have seen mothers and fathers that have truly been gifted with the ability to patiently nurture their children with no other goal than to selflessly give themselves in order that their child will be all that they can be. Conversely, I have seen parents that have been so caught up in themselves that they have lost all vision of what God desires to rear their offspring. Consequentially, these parents display their detachment by obtuse impatience and growing anger toward their children as the little ones seem to further inconvenience the parent's selfish lives.

No matter if it is barefoot running, parenting, or any number of "passions" in our lives, the Lord desires to perfect His patience through His love in our lives. The marvelous thing about understanding whether we are truly in love with our personal ambitions is how much patience we have that is characterized in our daily dealings toward our pursuits. Only He can give us the passion to begin and the patience to finish.

Lord, As we give to You our life's pursuits, please take them and perfect your love and ultimately your patience in all our endeavors. Make us shining examples to the world how one can be passionate to pursue those things which you desire and the patience to perfect their completion. In Jesus Christ' precious name. Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

Sunday, July 17, 2016

He Knocks - July 17, 2016


Revelation 3:20 - 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.'

What does it really mean to have Jesus knocking at the door of one's heart? We are all familiar with the picture in this week's devotional of Jesus standing outside the door, looking patient and loving as he waits for the door to swing open. The context of this verse is far different than the hallowed painting of the meek and mild Jesus. The Laodicean church took the strongest rebuke of any of the seven churches in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation. If we go back to verse 17, the Lord rebukes them with the following words: 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, ... Jesus goes on to tell them that they should buy for themselves gold as refined by fire (His Holiness), white garments that they might clothe themselves (His Righteousness), and eye salve that they might see (His Wisdom). In the context of these verses, how do you now see the Lord as pictured in verse 20 ... angry, sad, mournful? Possibly all of these. However, I am quite certain that the Lord is in a forgiving frame of heart and mind. He states that He has the greatest intention of coming into the hearts of these believers and dining with them and they with Him. This is a grand picture of communion and fellowship of the greatest degree. All has been forgiven at this point as the Lord dines with the forgiven.

We can certainly personalize this picture in our own lives. There was that point where those of us who believe invited Jesus in and the fellowship and the communion was grand! Then, one day we excused ourselves and pushed Jesus out the door because we had more "pressing" matters. Once we desired His fellowship again, we might have opened the door to no avail, because the Lord was not standing there waiting, but He was grieved and had departed. There came a time, once again, when we heard the familiar knock and we opened to Him once again. Did we treat Him the same way? Did we tire of His company and excuse ourselves for more "important duties". This time, we told Him that we were busy doing the Lord's work and that He should excuse us because we had so much to do "in His name". What we didn't realize is that He wanted to be involved in His work along side of us. He didn't want us to sacrifice His fellowship and communion while serving Him -- He wanted us to live and love while walking in His sweet light.

Just as Jesus stands at the doors of our hearts and knocks, He is setting an example for us to follow. The Lord told his disciples in Luke 11:9-10 to ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, and knock and it will be opened for you. The implication in the original Greek text is to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and to keep on knocking. Even as we have allowed the Lord to stand outside the doors of our hearts and to "keep on knocking", so He desires us to do likewise when knocking on the "door of heaven" in prayer. We must be as persistent and as resolute to bring down heaven on our situations as Jesus is when awakening our hearts to His love. Are we ready and willing to allow the Lord to come and dine with us? Are we equally as ready to join with the Lord in prayer to bring down the blessings of the Lord on our circumstances, our friends, our family, our world? Let Him in, dine with Him, fellowship with Him and then join Him in His work. It will be a mighty union that will make the gates of hell shake!

Lord, here we are and we open the door once again and invite you in to fellowship with us and to build us up on your most holy love. Join with us as we beseech the Father for blessings to pour out on those here on earth -- changing minds and hearts forever. For His kingdom's sake and for Jesus' glory. Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick