Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Encouraging Word from a Friend

I recently sent out a letter to Christian friends requesting that they pray for me, for the Lord’s direction and guidance in my life, and that I would fulfill that which was in God’s heart when He called me into His service. I received many gracious and encouraging responses. The article posted below is from a dear friend, Bill Barnette. I am posting his word to me because it is an encouraging word, and because Bill is a servant who has remained faithful to the Lord during the good times and the difficult times. –Billy Long

An Encouraging Word from Bill Barnette
Brother, as always it is great to hear from you. I want you to know that you are prayed for daily and at times hourly. I know the depth of your cry, the passion of your longing, and the brokenness before God, the Father. I too share similarly such. I have always respected, admired, and listened to you and your counsel through the years. Thank you for being a faithful servant of the LORD Jesus Christ. May I share with you a word of encouragement?
There are several lessons God has shown and taught me over my ministry experience (though I know you probably already know these, it may be a good reminder.)

1. God revealed to me that when the battle seems overwhelming, walls are closing in, and the tempter's voice is louder than the soft voice of the Spirit, stop and pray this simple prayer: "LORD, please alert the prayer warriors." Billy I cannot prove it scientifically, but within a nano-second there is a shield placed around me, a peace floods my soul, and strength arises within. I know and believe that when I pray that prayer, people all around the world are dropping to their knees to pray, intercede for me though they do not know me. You may have in the past been one of those people. Maybe this will be of value to you. It has for me and many others I have shared this with.

2. The ministry God has called me to over the years has not proceeded as "I thought" nor as "cultural Christianity measures" or "as others deem of value." I know I have some unanswered "Why's." But one thing I know— God has called be beyond personal circumstances and situations. My call was one of being faithful during the good times of ministry and the difficult times of ministry. I know the same is true for you. I have longed for the harvest of ministry efforts, the daily presence of the power of God, and the rivers of living water.  There has been one thing through it all that I know is truth: it's not the "starting but the finishing that matters." Through the years no matter what, I have continued seeking the Lord, being faithful to do all that He has commanded, while waiting with tears. I'm not sharing something with you that you have not set a standard for me and others to follow. I just wanted to remind you of the faithfulness of God and to continue being that faithful servant.

3. I will be the first to confess to you that I would love to be at a place of ministry among a growing group of people, watching them grow, seeing God move in their hearts, etc. But that is not where I am, and where I am I am thankful because He is there. As time moves on, there is a sense of urgency and shortness of time. I truly believe the time is drawing nigh for the people of God. Apathetic, motionless, unresponsive, luke warmness worship abounds in the body and I sense the call deep with my heart for the body to return to…
 …its first love (Rev. 2: 4), 
 …the authority of God's Word (Rev. 2: 14-15, 20-22),
 …being broken in our hearts and repenting of our sins (Rev. 2: 5, 16, 22,      
 …expecting Jesus to return (Rev. 2:5, 10, 16)
 …faithfully living out worship daily in our lives! (Rev. 2:25)

Thank you for being faithful in all you say and do!

Bill Barnette

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Parable:The Bald-tail, Nubby-butt, Plucked Peacock

I strutted around thinking I was really something, pleased with myself as I showed off the tail-feathers of my talents and abilities.

Then the Lord gently spoke to my heart as He placed His finger on certain areas of my life, and asked me to humble myself and obey His leading.

But I closed my ear and did not listen. So He quietly plucked a feather.

I did not notice the plucking, and so went on in my sense of self-importance.

Soon He returned, and placed His finger again on the area of my heart that He wanted me to surrender.

Again, I ignored Him.

So He plucked another feather. And I, unaware of it, continued on my way.

In His lovingkindness and patience He continued to visit me and point out the area of my need. But I kept strutting around in my self-satisfaction.

Then one day, my tail-feathers were all gone.

But amazingly, I kept strutting about thinking I was as beautiful as ever.

 When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth. Surely every man is a vapor.    Psalm 39: 11