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    He hears me calling

    Thursday, December 13, 2012, 11:00 AM [General]

    He hears me calling

    The other day, while walking around the house and whistling Christmas songs, I realized, my basset hound, Freddy, was following me. Everywhere. Annoyed, I looked at him and said “What do you want Freddy and why are you following me?”  Then it hit me. I had been whistling…when I call for Freddy, I whistle. I was calling him and I didn’t even know it. But, he did. He was so happy when I finally acknowledged that he had heard my call.

    Now, I am not trying to compare Freddy to God, although sometimes Freddy thinks he is God.  But, I couldn’t help but think about how God, too, hears our call even when we are not intentionally calling out to Him.  I thought about the times I’ve cried—as a child and as a young man struggling with life. Many times I’d cried over situations without knowing that my Comforter was right beside me hearing not only my words, but the cry of my heart. How wonderful it is to know that God is with me in the midst of my trials even when I’m in too much pain or anguish to think about Him. 

    I know personally that God was with me in some of my most difficult times. Often my cry was heard, but I never looked to the Hearer. Still, I know, that God heard every word, He just waited for me to turn to Him. His awareness of my sins and His presence in my past is what launched the healing for my future. God never lets hurt, habit or afflictions go unused. Thanks be to God that even when I don’t know I am calling Him, He is with me and He is my Comforter.  He hears me calling!

     

     Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”  2 Corinthians 1:3 

     

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    Living and living well

    Friday, September 14, 2012, 10:59 AM [General]

    Living and living well…

    I am a big country music fan. One of my favorite singers is George Strait. He has a song playing on the radio called “Living and Living Well.” The chorus of the song says, “there’s a difference in living and living well, you can’t have it all, all by yourself.”  The song is not a “spiritual song” or one that might be sung in church. But these few words in the chorus carry a message of spiritual truth.  There is a big difference between living and living well. 

    These past few weeks I have been preaching in a couple Texas state prisons, with the question “do you want to get well?” This is the question Jesus asks the ill man of 38 years, in the Gospel of John, Chapter 5. 

    John 5:6  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?”

    Speaking to a room full of drug addicts, alcoholics, robbers, murderers and people struggling with anger or mental illness, it seems like there’s a pretty obvious answer to this question; “Do you want to get well?” But I think this question touches the lives of everyone. We all need to get well! Romans 3:23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.” The Greek word for “well,” in this context, is more than a physical healing. The word means to be whole, pure and complete, a sound body. 

    Living well is to be one with Jesus, to be complete. It is so easy to look at how great you are living based upon what you have gained from this world. We often hear the measurement of ones life based upon their worldly possessions. Years ago, I was a Director of a successful company and making large sums of money. I was living in the nicest neighborhood, with the million-dollar lifestyle. I recall being on the lake, with a beer in hand sitting in a nice boat and raising my arms as I yelled out “this is the life!”  Years later I would find out the hard way that I was not living well. I was simply living and having as much fun as I could along the way.  Eventually all the fun was ending, as I accumulated more stuff and fell further away from the Lord.  I have nothing against nice houses, boats and making lots of money. But building a life on those things alone is just living and it is not living well. In order to live well you must have a relationship with Jesus Christ and you must trust Him to complete in you who God originally intended you to be. 

    Jesus asks the ill man, “do you want to get well?” Maybe we should just put ourselves in the position of this man and hear these words from Jesus, “do we want to get well?”

    Do we define living well from what we can take from this world or what we can receive from Christ?  Are we living or living well?  As George Strait sings it; there is a difference!

    Philippians 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

     

    Travis Gray

    XRTZO Ministry

    @graytravis

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Hide and Seek

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 12:06 AM [General]

    Hide and Seek

     

    This morning my 6-year-old daughter was playing hide-and-seek with a couple friends.  One of the girls was hiding very well and could not be found.  The girls doing the seeking were running around yelling her name as they looked for the girl hiding.  I suddenly started getting this empty feeling in my gut as I began to wonder if she was really missing.  My mind began to get more and more negative thoughts as time went on.  I started wondering if perhaps she decided to try and go home without telling me.  Or maybe she went down to the creek.  Just about the time I was going to start looking for her myself one of the girls laughed out loud and yelled, “I found you!!”  Oh yes! How happy I was when I heard the searching little girl say, “I found you”. 

    One of the reasons I was so happy about hearing “I found you” is because as time went on I began asking myself the question “is she here or is she gone?”   This is a question I think many people ask themselves about God.  Is He really here or is He gone?  

    Couple things came to mind as I pondered this incident this morning and I applied it to my spiritual life.

    1)                  Unlike hide-and seek; God does not hide from us but sometimes we can’t find Him because we are looking in the wrong place. 

    2)                  The voice of the one searching can have an effect on your belief if you do not stand on the truth.  Knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us gives me great comfort as I look at a world full of people searching for Jesus.  I believe that every man and woman in the world is looking for Jesus; some just don’t know it yet.  Let us not be distracted by those who search, but let us help them open their eyes to the omnipresent God.

    3)                  Unlike hide-and seek; When God is found, the game is not over, it has just begun.

     

    Blessings,

    Travis Gray - XRTZO Ministry

    @graytravis

     

    3.7 (2 Ratings)

    Watering Hole- Trusting God Today For Tomorrow

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 6:25 PM [General]

     Trusting God Today For Tomorrow

    I remember when my daughter was real little and I wanted her to jump in my arms, she was very reluctant.  It was more of a lean forward until I grabbed her kind of jump.  Then after a few times she was comfortable standing on a wall and jumping in my arms as long as it wasn’t too high.  Today, at five years old, she is fearless when it comes to jumping in my arms.

    The more she threw herself forward into my arms, the more she trusted me.   I have never dropped her and though her first leap of faith was leaning forward on a 2 foot bench, she is now willing to jump in my arms without fear and smile with joy.  When she saw that it was good and safe to jump in my arms she started trusting me more.   When she surges forward she is surrendering at the moment and relying on me.

    Every year I learn more and more about surrendering to God.  Even though I know I can leap out to God in any situation, why is it that I sometimes feel like a child who just wants to lean forward without jumping?   In the past I have not been real big on “New Years resolutions”, probably because I have failed most of them and the ones I was able to keep the battle started far before January 1st.    This year, on New Years Day, as I walked down to the creek and prayed, I said to God I want to trust you more in 2011 than I did in 2010.  If I trust in the Lord with all my heart, as it states in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight”, I know my life will be far more abundant and peaceful.  I will experience the great Joy from the good news of Christ our Lord as stated in Luke 2:10. 

    “But the angel said to them, ‘do not be afraid for I bring you great news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior had been born to you, he is Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:10)

    I will be free from my financial insecurities knowing that God is with me and will not fail or forsake me as stated in 1 Chronicles 28:20.  Knowing He will guide my paths to prosperity and hope.

    Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. . ." (1 Chronicles 28:20).

    And I will be content and have more peace with the things going on in this world.  Knowing that God is with me and He is my strength as it is written in Isaiah 41:10. 

    Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' (Isaiah 41:10)

    Trusting God more today requires action on my part.  I cannot sit idle in my spiritual walk with God, I must continue to seek spiritual growth.   Not taking action in my spiritual growth is like running on a treadmill and expecting not to fall back when I quit running.  If I am not taking action and moving forward, I am falling back. 

    Below are three things you can do to trust God more in 2011 than you did in 2010:

    1- Study and read the scriptures in the Bible:  If I look at the people I trust most in my life today; it is the people that I am closest to. A way to get closer to God is to read and study His word, the Bible.    The Bible itself declares, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). In another place, we read: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16).    Reading the Bible is equivalent to having God speak to you.  When we study the Bible we see God is loving, compassionate, knows everything about us and wants us to live abundantly.  Knowing Him helps me trust Him.

    2-  Recall what God has done for you in the past:  There is nobody old enough who can read this document who is unable to recognize a God given miracle in their life.  Remembering what God has done for us in the past helps us to trust him in the future.   In the Bible we can read the story of David defeating the giant Goliath.  David came to King Saul and said he would fight against Goliath. 

    Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth." (1Samuel 17:33) 

    But David recalls his past, when he was a shepherd tending to sheep and he rescued the sheep from a lion and a bear.  

    The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." (1Samuel 17:37)  

    David remembered what God did for Him in the past, to help him trust God for the future.

    3- Acknowledge how much God loves you:  I accepted Christ into my heart on October 10, 1998.  I remember Franklin Graham speaking at a Promise Keepers event and he talked about God’s love for me and His plan of salvation.  How God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son.  Most my life, I believed there was a God, but I wasn’t sure He wanted anything to do with me for I had done many things wrong. I thought God only wanted good people and I had committed so many sins.  I wondered how God could want me in heaven.  Later in life, as I have grown in the understanding of God’s love for me, I have come to understand how much He loves me.  Today, I know that I cannot make God love many any less by doing wrong, and I cannot make Him love me any more by doing right.  He just loves me--for He is love!

    1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

    God’s love is not based upon me, it is based upon Him.  We tend to trust those we know love us most.  God loves you more than you could ever imagine.  I am sure we can trust him more than we could ever imagine as well.

     

    God bless you and Happy New Year!

     

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    Watering Hole - Everyone's looking for Jesus

    Monday, November 29, 2010, 11:19 PM [General]

    EVERYONE IS LOOKING FOR JESUS

     

    In America we sure are real big on the word “happy”.  Every Month we have a happy something, January – Happy New Year; February – Happy Valentines Day; March Happy St. Patrick’s Day; April- Happy Easter; May- Happy Cinco-de mayo and so on.  By the way did you all have a happy Thanksgiving this week?  I sure did, I even had me a happy birthday the day after.  Well I think we are all pretty hung up on being happy.    

     

    One comment we hear allot around this time of year is Happy Holidays.   I remember 15 years ago companies used to give out Merry Christmas cards, but due to people being offended by the focus on Christ, it became politically incorrect and we had to start signing cards that said, “Happy Holidays” instead.  Happy Holidays is very appropriate because everybody is okay with the word “happy”.  In fact second to the word “love” it is probably one of the most sought after words in our vocabulary.  Everyone is pursuing happiness.  At least most people will admit to pursuing happiness.  

     

    Many relationships are started because men and women are looking for happiness.  Many relationships are also ending due to lack of happiness.  In my dealings with ministry and Christ centered encouragement, I often hear people say, we are just not happy anymore.  He used to make me happy, but now all he does is work.  He is saying, we used to be happy but during these economical times I have to work more.  Therefore, she is not happy and I am not happy and there is no hope in this marriage.  

     

    The problem with pursuing Happiness is that there is no hope in happiness, because happiness is based upon your circumstance.  You see the woman in the scenario above is blaming him for her lack of happiness and he is blaming the economy.  Both of these are guaranteed to change.  Why is it we can be totally happy one minute and the next upset because of something some one else did?  Below is a perfect example from the book of Esther in the Bible.

     

    Est 5:9 Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai.

     

    Here you have a man that was happy and Mordecai did not acknowledge his presence, or should I say he felt disrespected and suddenly he became filled with rage.  One minute happy the next rage, a perfect example of happiness being based upon circumstance.  The other problem with pursuing happiness is being happy is not always the right thing to do.  All I really need to say on this one is “Happy Hour”.  There are many things we can do that can make us happy, but it may also be the very thing that puts you in jail. 

     

    I do not believe everyone is looking for happiness.  But I do believe everyone is looking for Jesus.  Many people just don’t know that the Lord is the very thing they are looking for.  We should not settle for mere happiness, we should be filled with the Joy of the Lord.  Happiness is circumstantial, but Joy can be obtained in any circumstance.  Wrongdoing can make a person happy, but the Joy of the Lord does not come with wrongdoing for it convicts one to do that which is right.  You cannot be happy and sad at the same time, but you can be filled with Joy in the midst of your sadness. 

     

    In Jesus we find Joy.  Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and those who have accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts have direct access to an abundant amount of Joy.  Happiness is not a bad thing to have, but you can have much more in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Don’t just settle for happy let your Joy be complete.  Doesn’t everyone want his or her Joy to be complete? Yes, everyone is looking for Jesus!

     

    Jesus spoke these words:

    John 15:11-- I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete

     

    Have you received this incredible gift of Joy?   Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive the king…

     

    Receive Christ… Rejoice!

     

     

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