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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Reflections On Christmas

Special Edition
It was a very different Christmas at the Dotson house this year.

We have four boys; two married, one in China, and one still in college. In past years, Christmas morning consisted of the boys having to be jostled out of bed to come downstairs to see what was under the tree for them. (When my brother and I were little, our parents couldn't keep us in bed!) Not so this year.

With the two married boys at home celebrating with their own families and son #3 in China, it was just Mom and me and son #4 who was sleeping pretty soundly. So the wife and I headed off to the house of grandson #1, (son #2 & wife). We had some gifts for them and spent and hour or so there.

Then we headed across town to grandaughter #1 and grandson #2, (son #1 & wife) and spent some time with them. Pretty neat stuff! At around 1:00 P.M., we arrived home to find son #4 still asleep! So we hollered for him to come down and we opened our Christmas gifts while I took pictures of everything. It took about 15 minutes. A far cry from the way it used to be. And, you know, it was sorta sad. Things are changing.

Later in the day, son #1 and #2 came over with their gifts for us and we went through it all again. We had a house full then, like in the old days, with little kids running around full of excitement. We all agreed we had spent too much and vowed to do something different next year. In 2007, son #3 will be home for Christmas and we'll have all four boys, wives, grandkids and everyone all together again. Family is a good thing.

It reminds me, however, that many families haven't been so blessed as the Dotsons are and we need to remember them. Sure, we donate to several charaties, buy Angel Tree angels, and help out wherever we can but there must be more.

Jesus is the best gift anyone could receive and He can be given all year long! Let us think about our fellow man all during the year and do more to give the gift of Jesus and His love. Here's wishing you and yours a prosperous, healthy, safe and blessed 2007.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's A Wonderful Life

Given December 21, 2006
My lovely wife gave me this revelation as we were going shopping on this day. We've all seen the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" and Mrs. D brought up a really good point from it.

Remember at the beginning of the movie you see a view from the Heavens and you hear people's voices praying for George Bailey.
Mr. Gower says, "I owe everything to George Bailey. Help him, dear Father."
Mrs. Bailey says, "Help my son George tonight."
Bert the cop says, "He never thinks about himself, God; that's why he's in trouble."
Wife Mary says, "I love him, dear Lord. Watch over him tonight."
This sounds like intercession to me, what do you think?

These people are asking God to help George Bailey so what does God do? Yes, He sends a goofy angel named Clarence Odbody to help George but who really helps him? It's his family and friends! God uses people to help old George.

In the end, all these people come to George's house bringing money to help George in his time of need. "
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38". George was a giver and people gave into his bosom, (really it was a basket).

I liked one of the lines from the gathering in the Bailey living room spoken by George's brother Harry, "A toast...to my big brother George. The richest man in town!" George thought he was ruined financially and that everyone would be better off if he were dead. But Clarence helped him see the lives he had touched and because of that, he was rich. Clarence's note to George in the end said, "No man is a failure who has friends."

During this Christmas season and beyond, think of those who have given to you, pray for them and help them out if they need it. And, be a giver yourself. "...remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35".

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Week Of Prayer 3

Special Edition
This is a continuation of testimonies that have come out of our church's prayer focus last week.

A mother told of finally getting to see her grandson Wednesday and her daughter's "hard shell was beginning to crack".

A youth said when things get hard, she usually runs from it. Wednesday night, God "put His arms around me and said everything's going to be alright". She said, "God gave me strength."

A lady said God showed her He would be her enabler. She felt she didn't need to take anti-depressant medication anymore.

One of the prayer leaders exorted us that when we pray, think bigger. Place NO LIMITS on God. He said broken hearts, joy, and hope was being restored. Things were being done in the heavenlies.

A wife asked God to let her "see" something; a vision like others speak of. She saw people standing and coffins were standing with them. God said, "They're dead spiritually." She said, "As we prayed, the coffins broke in pieces and the people's hands went up in intercession."

Another youth told of a situation where she had a hard time forgiving and letting go. The Lord said, "It's going to be alright. Lay it down and let Me handle it."

Our youth pastor said, "Prayer works!" He said he was convicted of not praying enough and that the momentum began building in youth service Thursday. The kids were crying out to God and the worship part of the service was extended. He said, "If we want to see miracles...PRAY."

Our children's pastor said God showed him friendships were under attack. He told of an old lady that comes to the church looking to get scrap cloth to make rugs from. He's building a friendship with her and she's opening up more each time she comes. He said, "People need a friend first, not a preacher."

On Saturday night I saw us, as praying people with our hands up, being like lightening rods conducting the power of God into us for service. As we are vulnerable with our hands up, God uses that position to empower us. And, the devil can't touch us even in that vulernable position.

Our pastor gave us a long list of things he asked God for during prayer, not for himself, but to make him a better person, a better shepherd, a better servant. Things like: "Cleanse me, forgive me, change me, annoint me, fill me, show me, hold me, lead me, speak to me, teach me, sanctify me, grow me, use me, strengthen me, feed me, rebuke me, inspire me, indue me with power, increase me, protect me, restore me, discipline me, free me, purge me, abide with me and in me. AMEN! It has been a powerful week and it's not over yet! "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: Joel 2:28".

Friday, December 15, 2006

Week Of Prayer 2

Special Edition
The week of prayer emphasis at our church, (see below), has been going great. Many people have been coming out at 6:00 AM each morning and at 7:00 PM to join others in unity to pray for specific needs in our community and in our individual lives. A new passion for prayer has awakened and we all feel something is stirring in the spirit realm.

An estranged adult son who has several problems in his life had a 90 minute visit with his parents. The mother has been involved in the prayer meetings. This is a major breakthrough for this family.

A young father testified that his wife passed her state board exam.

We were praying about our purpose in life this morning; that God would reveal what He has for each of us to do. Most of the people involved in today's prayer are doing several things already, working, in the church. The Holy Spirit reminded us not to get so involved in doing "church work" that we miss our purpose.

Our mid-week service attendance increased by about 70% this week. Something is happening and we expect great things to come about because of our focus on Father God and our communication with Him.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Week Of Prayer

Special Edition
My church began a Week of Prayer yesterday. At a recent Deacon's meeting, we agreed that the most needed thing in our church was an emphasis on prayer. We want our people to know what prayer is, what it can accomplish, and Who it is directed to. We want to encourage folks to pray and to direct their prayers in specific areas of need in our community.

My posts for the next several days will be related to revelations and testimonies that come out of my and our church's prayers. I know great things are going to happen!

While praying at the church at 6:oo AM this morning, I was asking God to open the Heavens and pour out a blessing on us. God has said, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Malachi 3:10 NLT". I immediately heard God say in my spirit, "It's already open, get in position to receive it."

God is pouring out His Spirit but He's not going to chase us around with it. We've got to be in the place, in Him, to receive. And, that place is at His feet, on His lap, by His side, I'm seeing it now. I pray that our church and yours gets in the receiving place. There's so much He wants to give us.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Compromise

Given December 7, 2006
As I sat doing my morning devotion the other day, I noticed all the toys in the room and began thinking about my grandkids. They come over, (a 5 year-old girl and two two-year-old wild boys), and we leave them alone to play with those toys. We're nearby and make sure they don't get hurt or that nothing bad happens. They watch Bob The Builder on TV and Noggin on the computer. We all protect them pretty well.

Now, I thought how ridiculous it'd be if the devil came to our door and asked if he could come in and play with the kids; if he could show them some good TV shows or some cool websites. Well, you know the answer. I'd command him to get off my property and slam the door in his face! And, in the name of Jesus, he'd go! Now, you'd think no one would compromise their kids welfare and let the devil in to play with them. But people do it every day.

Children who are allowed to watch TV unattended, who spend hours on the computer unsupervised, teenagers who go where they want to go, do what they want to do, with whoever. It's the same thing! The Bible says, "Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:27". We, as caretakers of the younger generation, must, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6". This is not a issue that's up for compromise.