Saturday, November 26, 2005

50th Birthday Celebration
November 26, 2005
Part 1
by Shirley Cuda

"Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land."
Proverbs 31:23

On this day, at 5:31 in the early morning hours, a half century ago --- yes, 50 years! --- a tiny baby boy was born.

Weighing in at 7 lbs. 8 oz. and 21 inches long, his given name was Joseph Michael Cuda, who would one day become an anointed worship leader taking people "behind the veil into the Holy of Holies" and now the founder of Love and Fire Ministries.

But let's go back a bit, because this was truly a "miracle child". His parents, Charlie and Alberta, had just become newborn Christians a few years earlier. At that time, they had 2 children, Rick and Sandy, and their family was complete -- as far as they figured. But after their salvation, God put a desire in their heart to have more children and dedicate them (along with the other two) to the Kingdom of God.

When Alberta was 4 months pregnant with baby #4, she got up one morning and was preparing to drive to town, but Charlie said he didn't think she should go because he'd had a dream the night before that she'd been in a car crash. However being a young Christian, she didn't really take the warning too seriously -- not realizing it was from God.

Later that day, as she was driving with 2 of their children, a truck pulled out in her lane and was fast approaching for a head-on collision. There was traffic on her left and a yard full of people on her right side and she knew if she swerved to get out of the truck's path, she would hit that family. So the lives of her and her children were in God's hand.

The oldest daughter was in the back seat holding and singing to her younger sister when the truck hit. The steering wheel was jammed into Alberta's stomach and the doctor feared for several days that she would miscarry. But even way back then, Alberta knew the power of prayer of prayer. She totally recovered, ad by the grace of God nobody else was seriously injured in the car crash. Five months later, a healthy baby boy, Joseph (Michael) was born. Praise God!

Joseph was (according to his mother) as close to a "perfect" child as any could get. (As his wife I'm inclined to agree that had to be the case because he's so absolutely close to "perfect" now!)

He was an adorable child, with a head full of thick blond curls and wide-open clear blue eyes and a winning smile.

At a very young age -- 2 years or younger -- Joe showed great delight in music and his mother remembers from that time on he was always drumming on something! He took drum and guitar lessons at age 11.

Joe was a studious child -- loved school and was a perfectionist. He was never finished with a project until he got it exactly right. (I still see that trait today!)

When Joe was about 11 years old, God got hold of his heart through the life and teaching of the Apostle Paul. He began to carry his Bible to school and I believe that is when God began to develop the heart of evangelism in him.

By the time he was 15 years old, Joe and 2 of his sisters, Debbie (16) and Maria (13), were traveling to various churches in the Northeast region and singing as "The True Happiness Trio". The name of the trio came from the first song Joe wrote called "True Happiness" and it speaks of the love of Jesus being the only "true happiness" in this world. With the backing of their parents, the sibling trio were able to record their first album with that title song at a studio in Virginia Beach, VA. I thank God for those foundational years and all the training and prayers of his parents, and I know that carried him through some rough years ahead.

As the enemy of our soul will always attempt, satan began laying a trap for this "would-be warrior" for God's Kingdom. Joe's revelation of "true happiness" began to grow dim in the light and lure of a bright future in the music arena. He'd met up with a few other guys, long-time friend Tim Chamberlain being one of them, and formed a secular band and began to play first at school events which then led to other gigs. He and the others began to dream of a music studio and writing and recording their own music -- hopefully a major contract with a major record label.

In the meantime, his course was set -- set on college..... first to Berklee College of Music in Boston for 4 years, after which he emerged with a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition. From there he was offered a teaching associate position at the University of Massachusettes in the jazz department. There he pursued his Master's Degree while teaching undergrads to help fund his tuition.

The cost was great not only to his Dad's pocketbook, but to his future as well. Many precious years were lost -- although I won't say wasted, because God is able to redeem lost time. More about that later.....


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Powerlessness: Unnecessary and Unbalanced part 3

"So how do we walk in the power of God? First, we must pursue Him. The life of power is a life of abiding in Christ... The hunger for the demonstration of power must not be separated from our passion for Him. But realize this, our hunger for Him in part must be seen in our lustful pursuit of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 14:1). That is His command!" Bill Johnson

We must be in and stay in pursuit of an encounter with God. No one's live has ever been truly changed without an encounter. This is clearly seen throughout the Scriptures. We must be willing to do whatever it takes to receive these kind of life-changing encounters over and over again. We must be willing to go wherever we need to go.

Bill Johnson tells of an encounter he had in Toronto in 1995 and how it has changed his life and his ministry forever. You've got to get this book and read it if you don't have it yet. It is a powerful testimony of what pusuing God with all your heart can lead too -- even changing the world.

"Jesus healed everyone who came to Him," Pastor Johnson states. "To accept any other standard is to bring the Bible down to our level of experience, and deny the nature of the One who changes not.

"... If the average Christian life around me falls short of the Biblical standard, I must pursue against the grain. If people are not being healed... I will pursue the healing until it comes or the individual goes to be with the Lord. I will not lower the standard of the Bible to my level of experience."

I need more of this tenacity in my life Lord. I'm beginning to awaken to it, but I'm not there yet. Holy Spirit lead me into a life of obedience and power.

The author goes on to give some more practical advice about how to walk in the power of God but I don't have time to go into it right now.

I did want to mention one more thing that Bill Johnson mentions in Chapter 10, he says, "If we teach, preach, or witness and nothing happens, we must go back to the drawing board -- our kness. Do not make excuses for powerlessness. For decades the Church has been guilty of creating doctrine to justify their lack of power, instead of crying out to God until He changed them. The lie they came to believe has given rise to an entire branch of theology that has infected the Body of Christ with a fear of the Holy Spirit. It deceives under the guise of staying undeceived. The Word must go forth with power... Without question, walking with God in power will cost all who give themselves to this mandate. But the absence of power is even more costly."

The Holy Spirit is so important. He is living water to our thirsty souls. He is our comforter and our teacher. He is the very breath that we breathe. He came on the day of Pentecost in power and we still need that power today. I, for one, do not want to settle for any thing less than the power of the Holy Ghost being active in my life. And in order to keep it I know I must give it away. We must not settle for a powerless life or a powerless Church.

You can find "WHEN HEAVEN INVADES EARTH" by Bill Johnson at the MUSIC AND BOOKSTORE link on our website -- It is being offered at a 21% discount.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Powerlessness: Unnecessary and Unbalanced part 2

"A counterfeit hundred dollar bill does not nullify the value of the real thing. Likewise, a counterfeit, abused, or abandoned gift does not invalidate our need for the Holy Spirit's power to live as Jesus did... the abuses of one person never justify the neglect of another." Bill Johnson

I have seen this happen before. A man who ministers in faith and power fell. So what happens next? The baby gets thrown out with the bath water. We get leary of those who flow in faith and power. The mear mention of the mans name causes fear of what would happen if we allow that to happen again. We start shutting down ministries such as those that flow in the gifts of miracles and prophecy because we are afraid of their might be character issues in those that are gifted that way. That fear leads the way to powerlessness. It's a sad thing when that happens and I believe it grieves the heart of the One who gives us those gifts to bring life to the people He loves so much.

Bill Johnson said in his book in Chapter 10, "Many of those who are embarrassed over the abuses of power, and the subsequent blemishes upon the Church, are seldom offended over the absence of signs and wonders... For every charlatan there are a thousand good citizens who accomplish little or nothing for the Kingdom."

God help us! What an indictment and how accurate. How many of us are actually making a difference in our community? But yet we can use someone elses failings as an excuse for our disobedience.

Bill goes on to say, "If I focus on my need to protect myself from deception, I will always be overwhelmingly aware of the power of the devil. If my heart is completely turned to the One who is 'able to keep me from falling,' He is the only One I become impressed with. My life reflects what I see with my heart."

We become like what we behold. O, we've got to stay in love with Jesus -- we've got to spend time with Him. It is crucial to our very existence. We can't let go of that. If we do, we will be powerless.

More on Chapter 10 next time.

We have been reading this book during our family reading times. You can find it at the MUSIC AND BOOKSTORE link on our website -- It is being offered at a 21% discount and, I believe, would be of great benefit to all who want more of God in their lives.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Powerlessness: Unnecessary and Unbalanced part 1

"Some Christians actually have considered it to be more noble to choose character over power. But we must not seperate the two. It is an unjustafiable, illigitimate choice. Together they bring us to the only real issue -- obedience." Bill Johnson

We have been reading this book during our family reading times called "WHEN HEAVEN INVADES EARTH" by Bill Johnson. You can find it at the MUSIC AND BOOKSTORE link on our website -- It is being offered at a 21% discount and could start you on the road to "A Life of Miracles".

At the end of chapter 9, the author states, "In the next chapter we'll discover which is more important, character or power. The answer may surprise you". This is a "teaser" that drives you to go on to the next chapter even though it's late at night and you're very tired. That is exactly what it did to me. There are some very key thoughts on "character or power". There is much that is noteworthy, but I won't get to it all, I'm sure.

The idea of powerlessness in the church today runs throughout the chapter. There are some hard-hitting words that will either shake us into obedience or harden our hearts toward the truth Pastor Johnson is presenting.

It's a religious mindset that says, "I'll pursue signs and wonders when I know I have more of the character of Christ in me." Without the power of God, Christians are just like any other good/nice citizens. It is only a form of Godliness, without power. Bills says, "Every believer should be highly respected AND MORE. It's the and more part that we're often lacking.

"Does anyone think that God is impressed with us when we tell Him, 'I'll obey You when I have more character?' Character is shaped through obedience. Isn't it ironic that Christians will disobey God by not diligently seeking spiritual gifts -- they won't lay hands on the sick or seek to deliver the demonized -- because they realize their need for more character? In none of the commissions of Jesus to his disciples did He deal specifically with character."

I'm sure that that teaching alone will probably make a good evangelical shake in their shoes. How many of us have thought that we have to become better Christians before we can be used by God? Johnson says, "That single lie has kept us in perpetual immaturity because it protects us from the power-encounter that transforms us. The result is we have converts trained and over trained until they have no life, vision, or ingenuity left."

Sometimes our "wisdom" that comes from experiences such as Bible school and the like, can be more of a hinderance to the works of the Father than a help. Just last Sunday a gentlman testified that he used to be radical -- he used to pray for people in wheelchairs and believe for healing. What happened to that zeal? Was it "life"? Too much teaching? I don't know, but I know I would rather be on the street witnessing with a "baby" Christian who has the fire of God on them, than be with a "seasoned" Christian who is stuck in his ways and has no zeal for God or faith to believe for the impossible to be accomplished! I'm sick AND tired of powerlessness!

Oh God, continue to move in our hearts to stay near your. You are the power source. Without You we have no power to do the works of our Father. Help us to stay plugged into You. Charge us up Lord with your power so that we can change the world.

More on this chapter next time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


"Jason noticed a man on the other side of the room in a wheelchair... Jason encouraged him with God's promises... They held hands and prayed. Strength came into the man's body as the pain left. Jason told him to stand.

The gentleman asked, "What if I fall?"

To which jason responded, "What if you don't?

... in plain sight of all the others in the room this man stood to his feet... Jason turned to the crowd and declared, "God is here to heal!" Quoted from "When Heaven Invades Earth" by Bill Johnson.

What a powerful testimony of what the Holy Spirit can do through an obedient servant. One who fears God more than man and is willing to step out and take a "risk".

Do you want those things to happen in your life? I know I do! Not to receive the glory for myself, but for God to receive the glory and to reveal His heart to all who see... His heart is for people.

"Bill Johnson states, "It is much more than doing miracles, or even getting conversions. The supernatural interventions of God were done to reveal the extravagant heart of the Father for people. Every miracle is a revelation of His nature. And in that revelation is embedded an invitation for relationship... That is the Father's business, and every believer has a part to play in carrying out this priviledged assignment."

This is the honor of all the saints, to carry out the works of the Father and destroy all the works of the evil one. What a joy when sickness and disease is overcome with healing... when death is swallowed up in victory as a sinner receives new life! What a pleasure to see the devil lose again as peoples lives are changed! This is our great priviledge as a child of the Father!

Chapter 9 ends with six practical steps for those who "must pursue God with reckless abandon". I'm going to let you get the book to find out what they are in detail... but here are the heading... don't let the headings fool you, some will surprise you when you find out the deatils contained under each topic:

1. Prayer
2. Study
3. Read
4. Laying on of Hands
5. Associations
6. Obedience

Pick up a copy of this book at the MUSIC AND BOOKSTORE link on our website -- This book is only for those who are serious about doing the works of the Father!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I'm continuing pointing out a few other things that spoke to me in chapter 9 from Bill Johnson's book, "When Heaven Invades Earth". We're reading this book right now during our family reading times. It is subtitled "A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles" and it is packed full of nuggets of truth that will change us if we will begin to do THE WORKS OF THE FATHER in our daily lives. Pick up a copy of this book at the MUSIC AND BOOKSTORE link on our website -- God is preparing us for REVIVAL and I believe this is a must message from the heart of God. We must be operating in the works of the Father like Jesus did in order to accomplish His Kingdom work here on earth.

"Most of the Pharisees spent their lives serving God without ever discovering the Father's heart! Jesus offended these religious leaders most because He demonstrated what the Father wanted. While the Pharasees thought God was concerned about the Sabbeth, Jesus worked to help the ones the Sabbath was created for. These leaders were accustumed to the miracles of the Scriptures remaining in the past. But Jesus broke into their comfort zones by ushering the supernatural into their cities. With every miracle He showed the entire religious community the Father's business. For them to adapt, everything would have to be overhauled. It was easier to brand Him a liar, declaring His works to be of the devil and eventually killing this One who reminded them of what had to be changed." Quoted from "When Heaven Invades Earth" by Bill Johnson.

How mindful we must be of this lesson as we continue to press into God, crying out for revival in our lives and our community. We've got to put our "religiousity" to death and allow the Holy Spirit to bring life any way He desires. As leaders, we must stop steadying the "Ark" by putting our hands on it and trying to control it out of fear or some twisted sense of duty to God's Word. Instead we must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and obedient to follow Him wherever He takes us 24/7.

Continuing on with another quote from the book... "The Pharisee's error is a very easy one for us to repeat. They had no undertanding of the Father's heart. And much Christian activity exists that has no relationship to that supreme value. In this present hour we need much more than to learn how to identify our personal gifts or discover ways to be more successful in ministry. We need the Father Himself. We need His presence -- His alone. The gospel is the story of the Father wooing the hearts of mankind through His love. All the other stuff we do overflows from that discovery." Bill Johnson

"WE NEED THE FATHER HIMSELF -- WE NEED HIS PRESENCE ALONE." Everything we do for Him must be out of His heart or it is in vain. Jesus didn't waste a moment on His things, but only did that which He saw His Father do. How did He see what His Father did? He spent time with Him... in His presence... just "being" with Him... no other agenda. How else would Jesus know His Father?

If I never spent time with my son... how would he know me? That time is not always doing things, sometimes it only involves arms on each others shoulders and just smiling at each other. Resting, knowing that all is well between us and that we truly love each other and care for each other!

That's how it should be with our heavenly Father. It is in those times that we will truly know the Fathers heart... and rest assured, His heart is for people. He is in the people business and so should we be. We must be doing the works of the Father but that does not mean we no longer have to be attached to the vine. It's in the "vine-time" that we draw our nourishment that we need for the "doing-time".

God, may we realize it is not one without the other. They both are neccesary for the Kingdom to be manifested here on earth through us.

I'm going to finish out this chapter the next time I write. Have a day filled with the Works of the Father being a major part of your day... seek out such opportunities.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Since Joel, our son, reached 12 years old back in March, occassionally I will mention to him where Jesus was found and what He was doing at the age of 12. Joel has been a "Samuel" in the House of God since he was born. Much of our time is spent at the church and for most of that time, he was (and is) right there with us.

Little by little he is beginning to mature. It is such a pleasure watching this transformation. Although still loving the child play, we can see the changes that are bringing him toward becoming a young man.

Over the past 7 or 8 years Joel has played drums in an occasional service when he was needed and also filled in on the soundboard in "emergency" situations. Like Samuel, he has always been willing to serve when asked. Yesterday, due to an out-of-town youth conference where all of our sound personel were out of town, he was called upon to do sound (by himself) in the Sunday morning service. Although filling in many times before, I had never had to ask him to do it in a Sunday morning service when I wouldn't be there (I had to be at the prison).

As we talked about it throughout the week leading up to yesterday, I could sense that Joel was feeling some of the weight of the responsibility. I reminded him that Jesus was teaching the Scriptures in the temple when He was 12 -- He was doing His Father's business. I said to him that he too would be doing the works of his father (me) and of his heavenly Father by serving in the Body of Christ on Sunday in that position. Our talk seemed to put his mind at rest as he considered it in light of what Jesus was doing at age 12.

The reports I received when I got back to the church yesterday was that he did a very good job. Shirley was nearby in case something major happened, but by God's grace nothing major did go wrong. There were some minor problems, but everything was solved and I believe it was yet another step toward maturity for Joel.

I wrote about that incident because it goes along with chapter 9 from Bill Johnson's book, "When Heaven Invades Earth". We're reading this book right now during our family reading times. It is "A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles" and it is packed full of nuggets of truth that will change us if we will begin to do THE WORKS OF THE FATHER in our daily lives. I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book at the MUSIC AND BOOKSTORE link on our website -- It will be well worth your time and money.

So what's chapter 9 about? I'm glad you asked.

Jesus said, "Unless I do the works of the Father, do not believe me." John 10:37 What a bold statement! If I don't demonstrate in power what I am saying, you don't have to believe me. Bill Johnson says, "I hunger for the day when the church will make the same statements to the world. If we're not doing the miracles that Jesus did, you don't have to believe us."

That's risky business! That's laying it all on the line for the Father's business! Your ministry... your reputation... the call God has put on your life to follow Him... everything is linked to doing what we "see" the Father do. Jesus' passion in life was to please the Father and that should be ours.

By the way, Pastor Jim Pierce preached a powerful message yesterday about the "Milk and the Meat" that was along the same lines as this chapter. The meat is the doing of the Father's business. (If you would like a copy on CD, let me know and I'll get you one.)

This chapter is all about purpose. Jesus' purpose, or assignment, was to do the works of the Father and to destroy the works of the devil. These should be our purposes as well.

So, this 12 year old boy named Jesus gives us insight into His purpose on earth with the first and only recorded words he spoke, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" Bill says in the book, "Obeying the Father was His whole ambition. Those words were sufficient. Later in adulthood He confessed that obeying the Father remained His priority. It actually brought Him nourishment -- 'My food (meat) is to do the will of Him who sent me'".

Jesus said, "I can of myself do nothing," "I do not seek my own will but the will of my Father, and "I always do things that please Him".

Lord, let those thoughts be upon us. Let them be in our speech and let them be in our actions. Let them become such a part of us that we will never go back to "life as usual" but our passion will be to please the Father and do His works!

I've got some more on this chapter tomorrow.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


My son, Joel, gets an e-subscription to Nasa News. One of the big news stories for Oct. 31 was the great FIREBALL that occurred that night. When we saw the article the next day with the photos, Shirley mentioned that perhaps that was something to consider as a possible sign referenced in the prophetic word from Kim Clement... I agreed. And then we also mentioned the President's new nominee to the Supreme Court was named Oct. 31.

Today I recieved an article from the elijalist that has even more to add to those two items. It's very easy to follow if you are looking for how the word of the Lord about Oct 31st was fulfilled (at least what we know to this point -- because God often speaks on many levels).

Here is a link to the article:

Here is a little bit from the article by Jon & Jolene Hamill, you can find the rest at the above link.

"In writing this prophetic perspective, I am keenly aware that we "see in part and prophesy in part." So let the witness of the Spirit guide you as we examine together recent events that indicate a major shift into a season of national awakening and revival.

"In mid-October, Kim Clement prophesied there would be an "unusual occurrence" on October 31, which would be followed by a four year season of harvest and the greatest move of the Spirit our nation has ever seen.

"Just after 9:00 p.m., while we were worshipping and praying, we experienced an "unusual occurrence." A few of the intercessors saw a huge fireball passing through the skies of Frederick!

"During the conference, Kim also reiterated a prophetic word he shared early in October that America would be mourning on October 31 and that within the dates of October 31 through November 1, our nation would be moving from death to life.

"First, America truly mourned on October 31-- though not due to a terrorist attack or a hurricane. Instead, America mourned the loss of the great civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. A devoted Christian, Parks' act of gentle defiance brought new meaning to our pledge of "liberty and justice for all." As one political leader noted, Rosa Parks wasn't just the mother of the civil rights movement, but she was "the mother of the America we grew to be."

"Her passing was bittersweet. From October 30 through October 31, Parks became the first woman and the second African American to lie in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

"Also on October 31, President Bush nominated Samuel Alito to serve as the next justice on the Supreme Court. Many speculate that Judge Alito, who currently presides over the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, could be key in overthrowing legalized abortion in our land.

"Is it possible that, on October 31, Bush nominated a man called by God to shift America from a legacy of death to the empowerment of life? His very name caught our attention, as we had been praying for a nominee with the qualities of the biblical Samuel, who served in Israel as both prophet and judge. "Clearly, we have entered into a season where a "Third Great Awakening," promised by the Lord, is now being released."

Go to the link for the rest of this story on REVIVAL.

The above photo of the FIREBALL is from

Thursday, November 03, 2005


"He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord." Proverbs 18:22

I am so blessed that ZA and Olive Farmer brought you into this world... so you could be brought into my world... and our two individual worlds would become a brand new world, created just for our love... We became one on March 11, 1988 and I truly did obtain the FAVOR OF THE LORD!



















I Love You with All My Heart,


Have a Wonderful Birthday!

PS - Let's go on a safari...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mom I love you and hope you have a great time on your Birthday.
I thought you would like this picture that I drew on the computer
for your Birthday.
You are the best Mom in the whole world.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I believe I am beginning to experience a new level of The Holy Spirit's anointing in my life. As I have been endeavoring to spend more time with Jesus and be more obedient to Him, He is showing up with power to minister life to people I come into contact with. This was made clearly evident to me Sunday at the Chemung county Jail.

I have been going to the Jail to minister to the inmates for the past 8 years, but never in that time have I experienced a more "open heaven" than Sunday. It wasn't like giving an invitation and having guys raise their hands, then repeat the "sinners prayer" with no tears ever coming from them. Instead, the convicting -- drawing power of the Holy Spirit was bringing tears (many tears) to the prisoners. They were not tears of remorse but tears of true repentance. They realized the sin in their lives and genuinely wanted God to forgive them.

After singing, sharing, and testifying, the presence of the Holy Spirit was thick. I remember saying, "I have never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in this jail as I do right now. I believe whatever you want from God you can have it... right now. Whether it's healing of sickness, pain or disease, or deliverance from drugs, alcohol, or pornography... whatever you need from Him, He is here for it. RIGHT NOW!"

We began to pray for different needs of the men with the anointing of God on us. I could sense that freedom was coming to many.

At one point I asked if there was anyone who had never received Jesus before but would like to now. A young man named Will raised his hand. As he was looking at me, his eyes began to fill with tears, a flood of tears. He came running up to the front of the room. I knew this was different.

I explained to him very briefly what was happening and then asked him to talk to God in his own words (not a repeat after me prayer). It was beautiful. With tears running down his cheeks he asked God to forgive him. It wasn't the typical Christian lingo, but was truly from Will's heart straight to the heart of the Father. We joined with the heavens and rejoiced as this sinner was being saved by grace.

After Will, several men came up to rededicate their lives to Jesus. They had fallen away and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit drew them back with tears.

It was an incredible day. Great victory for the Kingdom of God that day. I believe it is only the beginning of what is ahead if we will stay in His presence and do what we see Him doing!

"And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh..." Joel 2:28

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