Never Stop Praying!

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One of the most precious gifts God has given us is prayer. Continue to pray for those nearest and dearest, those far away and nearby, those in ministry and those who come to be ministered to. This is our privilege

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Waiting is Hard!

wait on God2Waiting is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. In fact, I find exasperating. If truth be known I tend to fret, fume and frame my words to show exactly how I am handling this when answers do not come as quickly as I  think they should. Can you relate? Perhaps the psalmist had this problem and why he begins his prayer with these words and echoes them again later: “Wait in silence—For God alone I patiently wait.”

How does one wait? What do you do while you wait? Is silence hard for you as it is for me?

The psalmist began to meditate upon the God whom he knew and trusted. “He alone is my protector and deliverer.” The Apostle Paul knew how to wait in times of distress; persecution; famine and all other kinds of things that the archenemy planned for his destruction. Both the psalmist and Paul counted on this truth: “in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us.”

We can wait because God is immoveable as a rock, steadfastly implanted in our frame. Yet often, like Elijah, I am so impatient to know God’s plans. I must remind myself to be still and know that until I hear the still small voice of God I will not know His plans for me.

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” He was sovereign at the beginning and he has not ceased to be. He is rock,  salvation, defender, refuge and  glory because all power belongs to Him.

 

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

James 4 mirror2If you are not too old you  remember the fairytale story of Snow White  depicting good and evil. The evil part is played by, you guessed it, a prominent queen, much like Queen Athaliah of OT fame; obsessed with beauty and power. To be sure she was always the most beautiful she would stand before the magical mirror each day and ask: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” and would hear “Thou, O Queen art the fairest of them all,’—that is—-until the day it responded: “Snow White is the fairest of them all.” Immediately her false façade was shattered and her pride was revealed.  The reader sees the real queen, beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside. Both the fictional queen and the real queen Athaliah were intent upon proving the mirror wrong, Both set out to destroy their rivals.

Sometimes we are like the queen. When God’s mirror,  His Word,  reveals our true person,  we seek to cover our warts, scars. and imperfections because we don’t like what God’s Word reveals. We do not want to admit our imperfections and we seek to cover them through works without faith much like the Laodicean church.  But, the fact remains, we still have imperfections, called sin,  because God’s mirror does not lie. He still sees us as we truly are.

On the one hand we say, yes I am a believer but we live as if we are not. But if we want the mirror to say we are ‘perfect, wanting nothing,’ then we must submit to God and stop saying we haven’t sinned.  To say we have no sin is essentially saying God is a liar for He hath said: “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”   Could that be a reason God does not answer our prayers?  Could it be that our motives and our inner person  are like the queen’s? We want to hear we are the fairest of them all  but fail to admit our shortcomings and change our ways.

God’s mirror answers who is the fairest of them all. It is the ABC’s: One who admits their sin, believes that God’s plan for sin redemption is through His son and confesses their sin seeking forgiveness and cleansing from God.

The question remains: Are you like the queen or Snow White? What is God’s mirror revealing about you?

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James 2 “WWJD?”

James 2 WWJD Blog pictureHave you ever encountered someone who said: “You are a hypocrite and churches are filled with hypocrites—that is why I do not go there.” That word hypocrite conjures up and inflame emotions. As we hear that we are hypocrites we must stop and ask:

How did they come to that conclusion and is their conclusion right?

Christ ministered to a Canaanite woman; asked for a drink from a Samaritan woman and answered questions of a prominent Pharisee, Nicodemus. Do we offer mercy, love and the Fruit of the Spirit to all we meet without favoritism or partiality as Jesus did?  We are to follow his example because we must not be just hearers of the word but doers as well. God in His love sent His Son to redeem us and he did not do it based upon race, gender or national heritage. God is not only impartial but he loves the world—not just you and me.

“Favoritism is not compatible with the Christian faith.”[B. Deffinbaugh].

James is asking his readers do you truly want to show the world that God has saved and transformed you?. If so, they, as we, must fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”

Ever wonder who you will stand next to in eternity? Take a look at those you pass by each day….it could be one of them. Remember this WWJD?

 

 

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The Voice and the Echo

Hebrews 13 voice and echo2God’s Word is true and timely. A reader asked for help in trusting and knowing God was with them. As we finish Hebrews the answer is before us: timely, for today as we finish Hebrews,
our answer is before us.

Vs 5: [God] has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you …therefore: we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can people do to me?

Again Ps 27 “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” and Psalm 56:4 “in God I have put my trust, I will not fear what flesh can do to me” Continuing on to vs 11 “in God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid what man can do to me.” This concept is repeated again in Psalm 118:6 and Romans 8:31-39 and again in 2Tim 1:7. In John 14 Jesus promised to send them another comfort. Because we know that God’s Word is true and amen we can echo as the Hebrews author what “he hath said.” God told Joshua “as I was with Moses, I will be with you, I will not abandon you or leave you alone.”

We must not doubt or become faithless for God is true to His Word. When He says “I will,” He means it. We must then echo “I will trust and obey.” How simple is that?

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Are You a Marathoner?

hebrews 12 run race2The word “endure” is repeated as a reminder to lose our focus on the heavenly rewards awaiting us. The faithful of chapter 11 are reminders that, although frail and weak as we, they remained focused on the reward, a better land, that is a heavenly one. They line the sidelines as onlookers of a marathon cheering us onward and like them we also have a race perfectly ordained by our heavenly Father. Now we toil all night not realizing that our Master has a breakfast prepared for us. We stand at the edge of the field of harvest and hear the Master say, look up, the fields are white for harvest reminding us “The one who sows and the one who reaps can rejoice together.” The Master’s yoke is easy and his burden is light so run as a soldier who has trained outfitted in spiritual armor.

Job was blameless by God’s standards and yet he faced struggles unknowing what had transpired in heaven between our adversary and God. Consider this, he endured even though God was silent from chapter 3 to 38. Know this—most of us are only at chapter 23! Job trusted God just as Jesus trusted God. Christ is our pre-eminent example of endurance.

The key is endurance; the reward and our rewarder is Christ.

Photo: Nastassia Yakushevich: Dreamstime + Author’s caption

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Are You a Marathoner?

hebrews 12 run race2In Hebrews 12 the word “endure” is repeated as a reminder to not lose our focus on the heavenly rewards awaiting us. The faithful of chapter 11 were frail and weak as we, yet they were steadfastly focused on the reward, a better land, that is a heavenly one. Now, they line the sidelines as onlookers of a marathon cheering us onward. They ran their race perfectly ordained by our heavenly Father.We too have a perfectly designed and ordered race just for us. Some of us are toiling all night not realizing that our Master has a breakfast prepared for us at the seashore. Some of us stand at the edge of the field of harvest. We hear the Master say, look up, the fields are white for harvest for  “The one who sows and the one who reaps can rejoice together.” The Master’s yoke is easy and his burden is light so run as a soldier who has trained outfitted in spiritual armor.

Job was blameless by God’s standards and yet he faced struggles unknowing what had transpired in heaven between our adversary and God. Consider this, he endured even though God was silent from chapter 3 to 38. Know this—most of us are only at chapter 23! Job trusted God just as Jesus trusted God. Christ is our pre-eminent example of endurance.

The key is endurance; the reward and our rewarder is Christ.

Photo: Nastassia Yakushevich: Dreamstime + Author’s caption

 

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What is Your Legacy?

Hebrews 11 legacy.2. jpgThis past Sunday, being Father’s Day, there were scores of FB posts with pictures of many who have “gone on before us.” It was notable that few if any noted the words we hear in Hebrews 11 “his faith he still speaks, though he is dead.” Many remarked how sweet the father had been, how he spent time with them etc. But, where was the affirmation of their faith? Note that Abel had no descendants and no one to recall his works and deeds but it was his faith alone that spoke for him and speaks for him now because vs 6 ‘God rewards those who seek him.” This was Abel’s legacy as he sought the favor and blessing from God recognizing that he was a sinner in need of cleansing.

Moving on we read that Enoch pleased God; Abraham was obedient and submitted to God. Even in her barrenness Sarah is commended for her trust in God. The Hebrews author did not mention her use of Hagar but only her trust in God. This one trait of trusting God alone is echoed in the life of Moses’ parents. Again it is Rahab’s faith in a God whom she had not seen but yet believed as Peter said centuries later.

Stop and ponder what people will say about you after you are gone and your image has faded from their memories. Will it be your works or your faith?

 

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Privilege and Responsibility

hebrews 9 worship godGod presented the Tabernacle to be a symbol of His love, His forgiveness but “The Holy Spirit is making clear that the way into the holy place had not yet appeared as long as the old tabernacle was standing.” It was a symbol, a picture of what was to come. The old had regulations and only the High Priest could enter within. But, when Christ uttered those words, “It is finished”  He entered the most holy place by his own blood, not the blood of lambs and goats. By doing this He secured our eternal redemption. The curtain that separated and restricted our movement towards God was torn asunder! Now the new has come and with it the freedom to move towards God and enter into the holy of holies.  We are encouraged to “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace”  [Heb 4]

However, as with each gift there comes not only privilege but also responsibility: “worship the living God.” As regenerated born again believers we are saved to worship and to serve. Salvation is a freedom from the tyranny of sin, a relationship of faith, obedience and service and it was paid by the precious blood of our Savior.

Consider the privilege which has been bestowed upon you to worship not an unknown god as Paul found in Athens but the living God whose throne is in heaven.

 

 

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Those Pesky Deadly D’s

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As we continue through the letter titled simply Hebrews we are noting the fatherly yet teacher  character.  He has not been remiss to remind the reader that even though they might be like those  who are facing almost daily  persecution and difficulty in their lives, these readers should beware of drifting and disbelief which are part of the disease of the deadly d’s. Our archenemy has his arsenal complete with just the one for today it seems–like distraction. You are on your way only to be distracted from your appointed round by it! And then there is discouragement. Add to that list any more that begin with “dis..” and you get the picture.

But, Christ is supremely appointed as our high priest and he is greater than any “dis…” The author of Hebrews reminds us that we need to focus on Christ who is and was the perfect Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. As the Son, Jesus is superior to angels, superior to Moses and now superior to Aaron. And yet in his humanity he suffered, prayed deeply, was tempted yet without sin. This is why he could “[become] the source of [our] eternal salvation.”

It is why Jesus said about himself “I AM the Way, The Truth, the Life” and no one, not a single person alive now or before or in the future will  come before the God of the universe apart from Jesus Christ. Many say that is so narrow-minded. I didn’t say it Jesus did. He is the one who died on that cross and rose again to new life. Consider then the source.

Think of being on a deserted island with no provisions. A rescuer comes. You have a choice, will you choose to trust him even though he is a stranger when he says, “if you trust me I will take you to safety.” You have a choice to follow or stay. The one who follows is just like the one who trusts the words of Jesus and is saved for eternity. The one who says no I won’t trust him has just lost their ticket to salvation/freedom, rescue and a life with God in eternity.

Have you believed and trusted God’s plan or are you thinking if I just love God it is enough? James said  “Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear” yet they are not saved for eternity. God’s plan may be narrow-minded in your eyes but that is His way, will you trust him? The blessings are out of this world!

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