Through Good and Bad?!

Praise God for whom all blessings flow. Praise the God who gives and takes away. You are Holy O God. Great is your faithfulness. 

Praises. How often do we give praise to God? Sunday? Saturday? Wednesday? When times are good? When you are blessed? When the cubs win the World Series? When? 
It is quite the thing to think about, praise. I feel that he deserves more than we give, but we don’t feel right giving it in certain times. Bad times? REALLY?! Yes. Read the Bible. Believe it or not, he will work in you, no matter what times you are going through. The path may not be so “well lit,” but he is there, ready for you to give up and lean on his faithfulness. He is sure to come-through. He is something to rely on when you need something firm and foundational. 
So how do we praise Him in the morning, praise him in the noon-time, praise him when we are young and when we are old? Habit, mostly. You start. The more you do it, the easier it will start to get for you. You will, I am sure of it, start to see the radiance in your relationship with God when you begin to revere Him, and thank Him. Go see for yourself today. Get into, not only the word, but into worship. Praise His Name. To quote a well known song…”So praaaaaaaaaaise His Holy Name. As long as I’m alive, I’ll glorify His Holy name, Holy name.”
Love and Peace to you.
EP
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No Rules

So, alright. This is it. I wouldn’t be much of a blogger if I didn’t say what was on my mind at the given moment. You all get a treat, because not only am I going to outpour what happens to be on my mind, but it just might be controversial. 

Last night could very well be the most influential night of my life period. This night goes down in history for my life as the “turning point,” the pinnacle so to speak, that changes everything…or so I hope. Last night, I was injected with the Holy Spirit. Last night, I made a decision. No Rules. Now before I explain that let me lay down some background for ya.
Two nights ago, Dana Morey, a very influential speaker within my church, gave a very compelling sermon at a Men’s Retreat in Lawton, MI about living a spiritual life with no more rules. What he first told us to do was to create a list of things that we did, every day, that made us feel like we were at our best with God. A list of things that furthered our relationship with Christ. Things like, Read the Bible, Pray, Serve others, Accountability, etc. Then he collected them. After that he read them off and asked us, “If you do everything in Dan’s list, is that it? Is this the way? Okay, how about Noel’s list? If you do everything that Noel has down, do you have it right?” Each list he crossed off as we chanted “no.”And then he asked, “About how often do you feel that you accomplish your rules to get to Christ?” We came up with a round about answer of about 15%. Fifteen percent. Surely, this is getting us the results that we desire. No? Why do you think that is? Are you happy going to your list of “must do’s” and “have to’s?” God calls us to have a relationship with him.
Now, Dana is not calling us to go screw everything that we are doing. No. What he is saying is that the rules that we are setting out for ourselves to engage in Christ are not enough. Not even close. What we need to do is One Thing. Live in the Holy Spirit. Be Christ. Our rules are thrown right out the window if we just Live in the Holy Spirit. Brothers in Christ? BE CHRIST! Be perfect? No. Walk so closely to the Rabbi that you are spotted with the dirt of his feet. Brothers, if we are living in the Holy Spirit, and I mean LIVING, THRIVING, FEEDING, the very breath you BREATHE is CHRIST, then your rules are no where to be found. Rules about how to pray and what to say in prayer, rules about how to get into the word and when to do it, rules about what is right and what is wrong, rules about what is righteous and unrighteous, rules about everything pertaining to your walk in Christ. No Rules. The free’er we are from the rules that we hold so tightly to, the more we are able to just come to God and let him work in us. The more able we are to flat out be Christ.  
If you feel this is you, if you feel that your way of coming to God has been flawed from day one, you’re not at all alone. I sat in a room with 19 to 86 year olds, all testifying to the inadequacy that was their personal walk in Christ. When we came together to make a declaration to Christ in prayer, and pray in unison that He would change us from the inside out, that He would meet us in that place and break down our rules, our conditions to follow Him (as if we had it all together on how to connect with Christ), that the Holy Spirit would descend into that room, and let me tell you guys something–The Holy Spirit is one of the only things I know that can make a grown man cry. We weeped and cried out to God, asking Him to move inside of us that night. I can honestly say to you who are reading this that I am forever changed. And I am not changed by what some men brought to the table, or by an idea that some guy had. I am changed by what God has in store for my life.
You want to know one the greatest Rule breakers of all time? It’s God. He gives unconditional love to you. No conditions. No rules. Shouldn’t we show the same love in our churches? Our Families? Our wives? Our children? Our friends? 
Guys, if you come out of this with anything, know this. I am not pining that everyone adopt this style of living, because it is a Life Action, no. I am saying that if you are feeling the gaps day after day after day in your walk with the Living God and you fall short of keeping the list of things that make you feel right with Christ, then walk a different road. I am sick of the 15% more than you’ll ever know. 15% sums up my whole life of following Christ. I want more. Do you?
Courtesy of Dana Morey, Jim Langkamp, and Steve Van Denend