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Showing posts from May, 2014

God Hears Prayers

For you answer our prayers.
All of us must come to you.
-Psalm 65:2 (NLT)

Have you ever pondered how awesome it is, that God hears our prayers.  God is the hearer.  He hears.  When he hears, he answers.  He has answered all my prayers.  That is something hard to understand, but it is true.

Where we get into trouble is when we demand our answer to prayer, the answer we want now.  We have to train ourselves to be able to ask for an outcome, but stay deeply engaged to God while that outcome is not happening.

God hears and God answers the prayers of those who are in covenant with him, who worship him and have sought his mercy for their sins.  God never ignores his children, who are living a life of seeking him.  Hearer of prayers, that is God, all the time.

He is listening.  He hears you when you talk to him.  You also do not have to pray out loud for him to hear you.  God can hear your silent prayers as well, even when you do not use words.  This is something we need to know and it will…

Love and Joy Come To You

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
-John 15:9-12 (NLT)
As Christians, we experience joy and blessing.  But there is also an emptiness, because we seem to leak so much.  So we end up going from meeting to meeting or experience to experience, in order to fill up again.  We can be back to feeling empty within hours or days.

I imagine that there could be many reasons for this, but one key from the Master, Jesus, is found here in John, chapter fifteen.  All Christians have a measure of joy, but there is a life available of overflowing joy, that Jesus declares.
Jesus has just told us about remaining in him.  He says that he is the vine and we are the branches.  The Fathe…

The Helper

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of all that I have told you.
-John 14:26 (ISV)
My question is, "do you know the Helper?"  We all need help, to follow Jesus, to obey his commands; and to live the life.  The Father already has sent help for us, to do that, in the Holy Spirit.  Every Christian needs to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a person and he is God.  He is not just power or an ethereal force, but a person.  He is all about Christ, the Lord Jesus.  He is the one who leads all Christians to be Christlike.  He helps us to walk in Christ.
The way that the Helper helps us is to teach us.  He teaches us in our lives, together and alone, with him.  Our lives are his class room.  He is a teacher who gives special attention to each learner, like a mentor, or a counselor.  
He can also be called the Comforter.  As he helps, guides, and counsels each one of us, he is comfo…

Walk In Integrity, Dwell With The Lord

Eternal One, who is invited to stay in Your dwelling?
Who is granted passage to Your holy mountain?
Here is the answer: The one who lives with integrity, does what is right,
and speaks honestly with truth from the heart.

Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? Who shall rest upon thy holy hill?
Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life, and doeth the thing which is right, and speaketh the truth from his heart.
-Psalm 15:1-2 (The Voice, MSTC(1))
Someone might say to you, that you really need to live a blameless life.  You look back, turning your head sideways in a 'huh?' sort of way and your friend clarifies and says, "I mean walk uprightly!"  You then scrunch your brow, still unsure what they mean.  Is the person telling me to not be the guy who gets blamed and to walk with my head high?
That is the trouble with translations, sometimes.  They use words that we do not use is normal life.  The translators are trying to get to what the meaning is of the original word.  …

Vindication

From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right!
-Psalm 17:2 (ESV)
I want to let God vindicate me. If I have suffered short shrift, I would rather have God set things straight, than fight back myself. An early Church Father wrote, "O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” About this, Oswald Chambers said,
Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul’s faith in God. Don’t say, “I must explain myself,” or, “I must get people to understand.” Our Lord never explained anything— He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves. The Jesus Way is not to retaliate and also not to criticize, dismiss, or give up on people who are out-of-line with God.  The Jesus Way is to be in God's presence as a life-style and then receive all from God.

When we live in a self-vindication posture, we are focused on self and on pushing others back.  The alternative is to live in God's presence and take yo…

See The Harvest

“Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”  So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”  But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”  “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.
-John 4:29-35

People want to see Jesus.  The lady who proclaimed, "come and see",  had seen Jesus herself.  Before she saw the Lord, he saw her, when they were together at the well, in the common place.

He saw things about her and spoke them to her.  She was an outsider, but she was also looking for God.  She would probably never go looking for God at a worship…

Sarcasm

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!   -James 1:26, 3:10 (NLT)

Sarcasm is something I was curious about.  I use sarcasm.  I have heard it often.  Sarcasm seems to be normal, although annoying, in our culture.  I have been asking why we are sarcastic.  My culture is rich, compared to most of the world, yet sarcasm abounds.
Sarcasm is sugar coated anger.  It is like killing, with a smile.  It is an insult, couched in humor.  Rather than words being used to connect with others, sarcasm pushes others away.  It is the "porcupine hug".

Since the insults and contempt of sarcasm are wrapped up in humor, our guard is down, and the nasty words penetrate deeper, before they release their toxic venom.  We commonly say, "just kidding", or, "I was only joking"; after the da…

Sky Links 5-15-14

Sudden Change Words For Now

Doug Addison wrote:
May 14, 2014
May is a time when new things will spring forth and begin to come together. Watch for doors and opportunities to open suddenly. We are entering into a new time of things happening suddenly. Webster’s dictionary defines the word suddenly as “happening quickly without warning.” It is time to be prepared for “Sudden Change.” Marsha Burns wrote:
May 14, 2014: The changes that have seemed long in coming will now take place in rapid succession. Be flexible. I will carry you through the things that are beyond your ability to control. Go with the flow, says the Lord. There is no need to worry or to be afraid because I am with you to speak to your heart and to give you direction. Yours is only to surrender in obedience. Job 36:11 If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. Gene Redlin Wrote (May 15):
Dime Turns..
I hear the Lord Say.... you don't know what will happe…

Sky Links, 5-14-14

Ministry Trips 


J.D. Greear wrote about the value of short term mission trips.  He is right.  Just do it.  You will never
be the same.
Seeing God at work in the world is one of the strongest motivators to join what he’s doing right here at home.  I don’t know what God will let you experience over there, but I guarantee that once you put your foot on foreign soil you will never be the same. The rest is here.


Take Up the Towel


Are you an idealist about the church?  Are you frustrated with other Christians seemingly not getting it about adopting the life-style that you see in the New Testament?  Joe Miller wrote a post for those who are ready to "throw in the towel" and just sit on the back row.  Joe's advice:
...your only hope is to extend to those with whom you disagree the same grace that Christ gave you. We are saved by grace and we learn new things by grace.  Are you the knowledgeable, arguing person; or the gracious person?  We don't want to be codependents, demandi…

Faithful Trustee

So the men of Kiriath-jearim came to get the Ark of the Lord. They took it to the hillside home of Abinadab and ordained Eleazar, his son, to be in charge of it.
-1 Samuel 7:1 (NLT)
Eleazar got an assignment to be in charge of the Ark of the Lord.  What is your  assignment?  God has an assignment for everyone in the kingdom.  You will be happy doing what God has created you for and assigned you to do.  We all want to find out what our assignment is now and be faithful to that.
Long before the Ark came to their house, God had been preparing or setting apart Eleazar for this important task.  When the time came, there he was.  The ordination, consecration, or setting aside of Eleazar for this task was the "yes and amen" to the preparation he already had, from God.

Today is preparation for tomorrow, even when we do not realize it.  God is developing you.  God is refining you.  If you are a son or daughter, God has been causing you to learn his ways, through discipline.

The Ark …

They Will Prophesy

In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy.
-Acts 2:18
The church has the birthright to be a people who prophesy.  We are meant to be a people who forth tell the good news and foretell revelations from God.  Secrets from God, will be told by God's people, in this time.
In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God would come upon individuals, under certain conditions.  There were a few times when groups of people had the power of God come upon them and they all prophesied, and one of these instances is recorded in Numbers 11.  Joshua came to Moses in alarm and Moses made a telling remark: "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them all!" -Numbers 11:29 This is what the prophet Joel predicted that would happen in the last days, that God would pour his spirit out on all people, who would all prophesy.  Joel saw that in the last days,…

Return

She will go after her lovers, but she won’t catch up with them;
she will seek them, but she won’t find them.
Then she will say,
“I will return to my first husband, for I had it better then than now.”
-Hosea 2:7 (CEB)

There is at truth that may seem paradoxical to some people.  It is that to return to God, we do not have to first clean up our act and that we return to God out of pure self-interest.

These were, pretty much, the motivations of the prodigal son (Luke 15).  What is really interesting is that we call it the prodigal son story, but it really is the story of lost and found, with the emphasis on the finding.  If you want to try to exegete a title from Jesus, for that story, it would be, "the two sons".

When Jesus told the parable of the two sons, who do you really think the story was designed for, and where was the 'punch-line' section, in which the listener was supposed to have an 'ah-ha' / 'eureka' / 'epiphany' moment?  I will tell …

The Desolation of Self-Indulgence

The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
“Surely many houses shall be desolate,
large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant."
-Isaiah 5:9 (ESV)
This verse is an indictment from God on some of the large houses and the people who own them.  Some of these houses that were large and beautiful, will become empty and in desolation.  Desolation means ruined, appalling, horrible, destroyed, and wasted.  Desolation is also astonishing.
Prophets have visions they write down that require taking a picture and putting it into words.  Here we have direct words, from God, that came to the prophet's ears.  These words of outrage are ringing in Isaiah's ears.
We usually look at large houses with curiosity and a bit of jealousy.  We think of how good it would be if we were living there.  But, in Isaiah's day, God told him that many houses were in trouble because of the sins of the people who owned them.

People who were at least supposed to be part of the community of God, who wer…

In Christ, Not Shaken

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
-Psalm 16:8 (ESV)
It is a discipline for every Christian to learn to lead the way of their lives with the Lord.  Jesus is Lord, but we have to make him Lord and walk with him as Lord, every day in every situation.  
We have to set the Lord in front in our lives continually.  Jesus is the great counterbalance to all the challenges in your life.
"Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
-Matt. 11:28-30 When you reach for strength in your life, draw on Christ.  You are weak and he is strong.  He is not shaken and you in him will not be shaken.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
-John 15:5 Abiding in Jesus Christ is the Christian's life.  To live in and by…