Back Porch Psalms - Psalm 5

Are you prepared to pray?

God's Ungrateful Guest

His language towards me is that of a father to a child. I treat Him like an ungrageful guest.

Happy Birthday to My Bride

I'm an insider to a gorgeous soul.

How to make millions.

If you follow Jesus, you should not want less, but more.

Why Does God Stop?

Have you ever wondered why it is when you need God the most, He's in no hurry. In fact, He just stops.

How to Help When Mother's Day Hurts (Part 1)

Sometimes life is not made for a holiday.

May 28, 2015

Back Porch Psalms - Psalm 6

Psalm 6 is our prayer after a sleepless, tear filled night.  It is the petition from our pain that seeks an answer from God of why life is so unfair and how long He will allow it to go on.  

Join me each morning for Back Porch Psalms live on Periscope.  


May 27, 2015

Back Porch Psalms - Psalm 5

Prayer is to be honest, but not careless; spontaneous but not thoughtless.  A day well prepared in prayer helps one to remain in the presence of God even in times of deep distress. 

Join me each morning on Periscope for Back Porch Psalms. 


May 26, 2015

Back Porch Psalms - Psalm 4

How do we pray in times of distress?  Our prayers in distress are important, but so are our actions.  How do we respond in times of distress?  Learn how as we take some time to meditate and pray through Psalm 4.


If you want to be notified when Back Porch Psalms go live, follow me on Periscope.

May 21, 2015

God's Ungrateful Guest

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  (1 John 3:1 ESV)
How often do I respond to God’s grace as if I am an ungrateful guest rather than His son?
The language of the gospel offers the invitation for me to abide in Him, enjoy communion with Him, to be guided and guarded by Him, to be loved.  God says I am His child.
Yet I only want to leave.  I do not want a place to dwell, I only want a place to stay.  In His grace He opens to me His home, yet I use it like a cheap hotel room.  I have no intent to connect with Him, I just need the password to the wifi.  I have no intent to commune.  I am staying here because I can get a free breakfast.  And then I’ll be on my way.
The gospel calls me to be a citizen of Heaven.  I go through the day more like someone staying at Hampton Inn.
Hey God, when I need you, I’ll call you.  I’ll make a reservation along the way - what’s the rate?  It’s all on my terms, in my time - can you help me with my luggage?  Whoops, I sinned.  Will you forgive me.  Thanks.  I’ll be on my way.  I have no intent to stay.
I’ll be back.  And when I return, I expect the same kind of service.  I’ll let you know.  See you soon.
I act like an honors member entitled to points.  I act nothing like a son.
This is not the language of a child to a father.  Our language to Him in prayer sounds more like the things we say to a clerk at a hotel.  We are His children, not His guests.  
His language to us is that of a Father who opens to us His home.  He does not intend for us to stop by.  He intends for us to stay.  The gospel is not an invitation to use a nice room, it is an invitation to dwell in the presence of God.  
Christ did not suffer the crucifixion so we could check-in and check-out.  He died so we could stay.  If I am as close to God as I am a hotel counter clerk, I have cheapened grace.  
Good morning.  Thanks for the newspaper.  I switched my door hanger from “do not disturb” to “housekeeping” so they can now clean up my mess.  I’ll be gone all day.
God bless me today.  I read my devotion, thanks for the encouragement.  Forgive me of my sins - because that’s what you do.  And now I will walk away from this prayer, AMEN, as if it doesn’t matter what I do all day. 
Never a word to the Almighty the rest of the way.  Tomorrow morning - same routine, same lack of intimacy.  It is more like the interactions we see in the breakfast nook at a hotel lobby than it is like children in communion with God.  
Each day should be lived like I know I am home.  I have been with God.  I have heard His voice.  He is impacting my life.  I am accountable to Him.  He defends me.  He provides for me.  He is my father - He is not room service.

His intent is to connect with me as a father to a child.  He does not consider me His guest.

May 18, 2015

Happy Birthday to My Bride

We fell in love in college.  You were finishing your freshman year.  I was finishing my college career.  We dated for two months before we spent the next 22 hardly ever within five hours of one another.  I was in seminary, then an interim youth pastor, then a pastor.  The snippets of time we salvaged together were usually late on a Friday night or a shortened Saturday afternoon.  Why?  I have always been crazy about you.  I would drive every hour of the distance to spend what seemed like just five minutes with you, but you always understood why I had to end every date early - Sunday’s coming.
You never saw it as a chore.  You were always proud that this was us.  
Youth lock-in.
Valentine banquet.
Worship service that morning, a meeting that afternoon, worship again that night.
Some people had steak, we had casserole.  Who needs to go out to eat so much when you have potluck?  Even though it should have been your night, you sat there with me at a napkin-paper cloth covered table in a Baptist fellowship hall and gave everything to every person who wanted to talk.  And you gave me to every person who wanted the same.  You never complained.  You knew this was our call. 
We didn’t do a lot of things young couples do.  Even though it was hectic, every minute we spent together during those days was special.  I always hated leaving you.  Now I never will.
You left Charlotte a bride.  You arrived in Crossville, TN one week later the pastor’s wife.  Very few understand what that really means.  With grace you embraced it.  My admiration for you is immense.
For those whose lives are given to ministry there is no such thing as a weekend.  The church demands your all.  Christ deserves even more.  Pointing people to Jesus, serving them in loss, meeting them in crisis, writing the next sermon, making sure you do not lead someone astray - there is no end.  There is no time for a late movie, a Saturday night concert - what’s a 3 day weekend?  There are so many parties we have missed for one simple reason - the sermon was not finished.  Yet you have counted all of it gain, never a loss.  Because you are so sacrificial for Christ and so in love with me, in your eyes, you never missed a thing.  Don’t ever think I haven’t noticed.  You have never taken your eyes off of Christ.  I can’t keep my eyes off of you.  
For some the week ends.  For us, it never does.  You have yet to even realize how much we haven’t missed.  I guess it is true, love is blind.
Even though our early dates may have consisted of three hours of Saturday morning door to door visitation, you loved me.  You did what you did and you continue to do what you do because you love Jesus.  Because of Him, you have sacrificed everything you are for what we do.
You are so much more than people realize - sacrificial, beautiful, teachable, humble, special, stable, flexible, available.  I think the hardest thing about being a pastor and a pastor’s wife is that it demands everything you are, but at the same time the grind and expectations of it all make it nearly impossible to be who you are.    
But I know you.  I know the things we laugh at that no one will ever know we said.  You know I love it when you’re sassy - but be careful with the choir.  You are dead on right about that - but you can’t say it.  The things you have forgiven in me and protected about me, making sure no one will ever see - you are soft for me when I need your comfort you are a shield for me when I need your strength.  You are beautiful to everyone, but I am gifted most when you are simply mine and I get all of you.
Life in ministry makes friendship complicated.  Every connection is complex, every person tied to someone else, every relationship intricate and delicately balanced between what you may be going through as a person and what must be done for the sake of The Kingdom.  The personal side is always slaughtered on the altar of Romans 12:1-2.  The most beautiful thing about you, Shannon is your life of sacrifice.  You love Jesus way more than you love me and that makes me crazy in love with you.  Every friendship, every decision, every word, every choice, every weekend, every day you somehow bring it back to Christ.  You are His treasure and that makes it so much more precious that you are also mine.  You are my bride, but I am blessed that you are my most uncomplicated, take me as I am, yep - I really said that, friend.
Today is your birthday.  All I can say is that as wonderful as you are in the eyes of so many, I only wish that the world could know you like I do.  But that is my privilege and delight as your husband.  I’m an insider to a gorgeous soul.  
Happy birthday to my bride.     

May 14, 2015

How To Make Millions

From God’s Word I am going to show you not only how to plug the drain, but to turn on the faucet.  We need to stop the drain, but we also need to make some gain.
If you could, would you not only be willing to stop the drain, but would you be willing to make millions?  What I am about to say may shock you, but if you follow Jesus you should not want less, but more - millions!

How to Make Millions from Brian Branam on Vimeo.
Are you making an investment with God's resources or simply holding on and just trying to plug the drain. Learn how to not only stop the drain in your finances, but how to turn on the faucet to true wealth.

Brian Branam is the Lead Pastor of 
Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA 
and the author of #TheWalk, now on Kindle for just $3.49.

May 13, 2015

Jesus Just Stops (An Excerpt from #TheWalk)

God is the prime mover, but He is not a fast mover.  As prime mover, God set all things in motion.  As a general mover, God is frustratingly slow.  Two stories serve to demonstrate.
The pace of Luke 8 seems fast and furious.  Jesus is healing.  He is teaching.  His family is looking for Him.  He is caught in a turbulent storm that He calms while crossing the sea.  He casts demons out of a maniac man who lives in a graveyard.  There is a lot happening.  The more He does, the more attention He draws and the crowd grows.
When it seems like the stories have reached fever pitch, Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue falls at Jesus‘ feet and asks Jesus to accompany him to his house.  His twelve-year-old daughter is sick and dying.  Jairus is desperate for Jesus to heal her.  Jairus thinks he needs Jesus to move fast.  Jesus is more interested in helping Jairus go far. 
As much as Jesus has going on, He complies and begins the walk toward Jairus‘ home.  The next part of the verse sets the scene, “As Jesus went, the people pressed around him” (Luke 8:42).  Imagine a throng of people, each of whom has needs, vying for Jesus‘ attention as He walks.  The scene is loud and chaotic.
All of the sudden, Jesus stops.  Unknown to the crowd, a woman with a blood issue has touched the hem of Jesus‘ garment and is healed.  She has dealt with this problem for twelve years and had spent all of her money on physicians who all failed to help her.  Like Jairus, she is also desperate.  
Her problem probably caused her to have a constant menstrual flow.  An issue of blood in Jewish culture was not merely a physical problem, but a spiritually crippling one.  Because of the flow of blood, she was constantly unclean and would not have been allowed to enter into the Temple for worship.  
Jesus stops.  Though the crowd has no idea of what happened, Jesus knows.  With all that is going on, Jesus is able somehow to focus on one thing.  The Master is not a multi-tasker.
In the midst of a throng of people that is described by Luke as a “press”, Jesus addresses the crowd and asks a question:  “Who was it that touched me?”  
The Bible says that everyone in the crowd denied it, yet Jesus must have persisted to know.  Peter, wanting to bring some logic to the situation, tells Jesus that it is impossible to know who touched Him.  It is a press of people.  A press is a group so large you have to keep moving, but you are stopping.  Who touched You?  Everyone is touching You!
Yet someone touched Jesus in a way that power came out of Him and He knew it.  Eventually, the woman reveals herself, and Jesus simply says to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” - Luke 8:48 (ESV)
Luke records nothing of Jairus’ reaction in this moment.  As the father of two daughters, I cannot ignore the man.  Luke says little of him in the scene at this point, but I can see him.  Time is running out.  In his mind the solution is in hand, but far from where it really needs to be.  We must keep moving.
For a man who needs Jesus to move fast, walking would be difficult enough; stopping and taking the time to poll the crowd for a mystery toucher would have been excruciating.  In Jairus’ mind his total focus must have been on the fact that it appeared by stopping for the woman, Jesus was going nowhere.  
It is inexplicable, but there are times in walking with God, that when it seems we need Him to move the most, He stops.
The progression to the next part of the scene is heartbreaking.  The Bible says while Jesus was still speaking, as if He is putting the final touches on His statements about the triumph of the woman’s faith, Jairus receives the most devastating news.  A nameless woman in the crowd may have been healed, but “Jairus, your daughter is dead.”  The bearer of the bad news follows up his statement: “do not trouble the Teacher anymore.”
Too late.
Too slow.

For the nameless woman, the stop was the beginning of new life.  For Jairus, the stop appeared to be the end of life.  Don’t trouble the Teacher anymore.  He’s too busy dealing with other things. 

Read the rest - #THEWALK, now on Kindle for just $3.49.  Get your copy today.

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