Sunday, December 14, 2008
To make a perfect world would take something superhuman. Something like maybe, a Perfect God. A perfect world run by a Perfect God would only be inhabited by perfect people.
Can you be perfect and therefore qualify? Me neither.
Then how could I possibly get in? GRACE!
The Grace of a Perfect God bestowing undeserved blessings upon me.
What does He want in return for such a wonderful gift? Just believe that He exists, that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die as payment for your sin, and to TRUST Jesus to cloth you in His Righteousness so that you can be perfect in the eyes of The Perfect God.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Let's talk about what to do to relieve stress.
The first step in solving any problem is to accurately define what the problem is!
My favorite definition of stress is the difference between what you can do and what is required of you to do.
So how do I apply this for stress relief?
When I feel stressed, instead of being overwhelmed by it, I define it.
Example: I am traveling in my car and I can't get where I need to be in the time I need to be there.
What is required? Me be some place on time.
What can I do? Get there later than that.
The difference is my stress.
Solution: I call whoever is waiting on me and change the time that I will be there and the stress goes away!
Way too simple? Sometimes the simpliest solution is the best.
Lets apply this to money. Instead of just being stressed over the money let's define the problem.
Define the money going out.
Define the money coming in.
The difference is your stress level.
Now attack the stress by finding out how to either increase the coming in or decreaseing the going out.
The solution is not always easy to apply, but at least now we have defined it and know where to attack it, instead of just sitting there and being attacked by the stress.
Now that you know what to do to relieve stress, go and give it a try.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Four years is a long time and the issues will change, but the values of the candidate should not change. Decisions on the current issues and the emerging issues should be guided by the same value system.
So I have decided to announce today that I will NOT be running for the office of President of the United States, but if I did, these are the values in American society today that I would take with me.
1. Jesus is the ONLY way to God!
2. Life begins at conception.
3. Don't spend more than you make.
4. Walk softly and carry the biggest stick.
5. The Consitution is the law of the land. If you don't like it, then change it, BUT don't ignore it.
Now, those seem pretty obvious to me, but for some reason Washington D.C. (on BOTH sides of the isle) keeps making laws and rules that violate all of the above values in American Society.
I have read the end of The Book and it says that we as a people fail miserably. So far I think we are right on track to do just that.
So what are your values in American society?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The problem is due to the way the negative connotation of the word "jealous" is predominate in our society today. However, there is a positive and a negative side to the word. Both sides are noted in scripture.
In Gal 5:20 jealousy is listed as an act of a sinful nature.
In 2 Cor 11:2 Paul refers to a jealousy for others, indicating a relationship that he is zealous to keep.
So the word "jealous" actually means an exclusive single-mindedness of emotion which may be morally blameworthy or praiseworthy.
The good or the bad connotation is dependent upon whether the object of the jealousy is the self or a cause beyond the self.
If the object is the self then envy is the rusult.
If the object is a cause beyond the self then the result is a single-minded persuit of a good end.
An example would be the marriage covenant, where a jealousy for the exclusiveness of the relationship is a necessary condition of its permanence.
Howie53's response on YouTube says it way better than I.
Howie53 Gets It Right
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
You might immediately think this is the story of the rich young ruler, but it is not. If you go back to verse 22, you will see Jesus is addressing His disciples.
If He is addressing His disciples and I want to be a disciple then He is addressing me. So I began to think, what do I possess? I own a coat, a car, my kid's clothes, etc. These are things we need. Renting them is not an option.
On the surface this looks like a stupid statement, but the Jesus I know does not make stupid statements. There must be more to this than I am seeing.
I began to read commentaries and really try to think this through, but nothing could resolve this statement into a logical, meaningful message.
I ran across the story of Tolstoy, who was a wealthy Russian who converted to Christianity and sold all his stuff and gave it to the poor. After a short while the poor had consumed everything and all was gone. Also, the employees of his old farm were all miserable because the new owners were not as benevolent as Tolstoy.
I did not find meaning, I found proof! This is a stupid statement!
Jesus with the poor.
So I yelled at the Holy Spirit. He is supposed to be my teacher and I needed teaching. Immediately this thought came into my mind (not words in my ears, but a thought in my head), "God owns everything, we merely manage."
Putting these two thoughts together brings us a new question. If I am living as if God owns everything and I merely manage, then what is it I own that I need to sell? Nothing!
And if I am not living this way, then what is my instruction?
Sell what you think you own, because it has become an idol to you.
What do I do with the proceeds of the sale?
Give it away, so that you don't get tempted to buy something else that you think you own and fall back into the same idolatrous trap.
It is all about ownership. Who is in charge? Looking at the following verse Jesus says, "by doing this we will lay up treasure in Heaven." This is not a one for one exchange where the people who give the most on earth will get the most in Heaven. It is an attitude of how to live, which is equally available and equally beneficial to us all.
Jesus with the poor has educated me on the correct attitude toward giving.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Summary of the Bible, Genesis to Revelation
This Summary of the Bible, Genesis to Revelation was written to give a “big picture” view of the story of the Bible. In order to put all of the stories that you have already heard into one comprehensible story. I do not intend to tell the individual stories, but to tell the major story line of God’s chosen people. I will also include things not in the Bible itself that I think are interesting and also some memory tricks that I use.
“In the beginning God...” Then God created Adam and Eve. They had Cain, Able, and Seth. After a long period of time comes Enoch. After another long period of time, comes Noah. The story of the Tower of Babel is next. More than 1000 years later, comes Abraham.
Abraham is promised to be the father of a great nation. So it is from Abraham that the story of God’s chosen people began. Abraham had Isaac. Isaac had Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which means “wrestles with God.” Israel had 12 sons, which become the 12 tribes of Israel. The most famous son is Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery, taken to Egypt, rose to number two, and brings the whole family of Israel (66 people) to Egypt to save them from the famine. Then Joseph dies and this concludes the book of Genesis.
The book of Exodus opens some 400 years later. We find the family of Israel no longer in a prestigious status. They have been taken as slaves. Now this next part is not in the Bible. I read it from a Jewish author, but it does explain the story somewhat. We know that the family of Israel was brought to Egypt in order to be saved from the famine, but where did they come from? They were living in the land that was promised and given to Abraham. So the Jewish people felt that the reason they were taken as slaves in Egypt was a punishment from God because they failed to return to the Promised Land after the famine was over.
Back to the story. Up to this time God has dealt with individual people, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. But now we have for the first time (after a period of 400 years of silence), God revealing Himself to the masses in signs and wonders. Remember this, you will see it again. The signs and wonders are the plagues that God did to Egypt in order to get the Pharaoh to let His people go. Once released into the desert, God gives them laws, directions on how to build the tabernacle, how to do sacrifices, etc. Then they build all this stuff and we end the book of Exodus.
Leviticus has a bad reputation for being filled with laws. It deserves every bit of that reputation because that is exactly what it is.
Numbers has a bad reputation for being filled with census numbers. It does not deserve this reputation. There is a lot of plot development in Numbers. Numbers begins with a census that not only counts the men (estimates put the full number of people, including women and children, somewhere between 2 and 3 million) but organizes them into a cohesive group, capable of moving as one. Then they move from where God gave them the laws to the Jordan River and ready to enter the Promised Land in 11 days. They send out 12 spies. Ten of the spies come back too afraid to proceed. Two come back with confidence to proceed. The two are Joshua and Caleb. The penalty for not going into the Promised Land is to wander around in the desert for 40 years. They wandered for 40 years in a space that took them only 11 days to cross in the first place. They wandered until all persons over the age of 20 had died, with two exceptions, Joshua and Caleb. At the end of Numbers they have returned to the Jordan River and are ready to try it again.
Deuteronomy covers a period of 60 days. Thirty days Moses was giving speeches. He reminded the people what they have been through and encouraging them not to repeat the mistake that their fore fathers made. Moses dies and 30 days of mourning then Joshua takes the lead. This is the last of the five books of Moses, also called the Torah, the Law, or the Pentateuch. The rest of the Old Testament was mostly written by the Prophets. So when you see, in the New Testament, references to the Law and the Prophets, you will know they are referring to the Old Testament.
The book of Joshua is then the story of Joshua leading the people into the Promised Land and driving out those who lived there. Here is a little known fact. The purpose of God’s chosen people was so that God could be revealed to other people through His chosen people. You can see this happen in stories like Rahab. She makes it clear that all were aware that God was with the Israelites and they were very afraid. Also, the Israelites were to convert other people from their pagan gods to following the Creator God. These converts were called Proselytes.
After they are settled in the Promised Land, they then need to be ruled over. This is done by a series of Judges. The first of the most memorable Judges is Deborah, because she is a woman in a male dominated society.
Then comes Gideon. Gideon is listed in the study Bible as a Judge for 40 years, but if you read the text you will find that he led a revolt against those oppressing Israel at that time. When the wars were over they offer Gideon a Judgeship and he turns it down. So how do we resolve this obvious contradiction? The answer lies in the translation of the word Judge. It more appropriately should be translated “leader”. So a Judge could have been a mayor, governor, general, etc. So after Gideon had finished being a general, they offered him the position of Governor and he turned that down.
The last famous Judge (in the book of Judges) was Samson.
Next comes the story of Ruth, who was alive during the time of the Judges.
Next come the stories in 1& 2 Samuel. Samuel is the last good Judge. One interesting thing about Samuel is that he dies in 1 Samuel 25. So why would they name 2 Samuel after Samuel? Well, the full text of Samuel was found on one scroll. So the whole document was referred to as Samuel. Because it was so big they decided to split it in half. Just as a memory trick, if it hadn’t been found on one scroll they would probably have named them the book of Samuel and the book of David.
The Israelites came to Samuel and pleaded for a king. So Samuel asked God for a king and God said that He wanted to be their King. But they continued to press Samuel for a king, so God finally says OK, I will give you a king, but you are not going to like it. So He told Samuel to anoint Saul of the tribe of Benjamin (you will hear this again later too) as king. Saul didn’t work out so good so God told Samuel to go anoint a son of Jesse. This turned out to be David. After Saul died in battle, David was made king. On his deathbed David handed the Kingdom over to Solomon, his son. When Solomon died the Kingdom of Israel was splint into a divided Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel and the Southern Kingdom was Judah. So there were only three Kings that ever ruled over a united Israel.
More memory tricks. This is not exact but is useful for remembering where people are in which book. Mentally split 1 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles into halves. In the first half of 1 Samuel the major character is Samuel. In the second half the major character is Saul. 2 Samuel is all about the reign of King David. In the first half of 1 Kings the major character is Solomon. In the second half of 1 Kings the major character is Elijah. In the first half of 2 Kings the major character is Elisha. In the second half of 2 Kings there is a list of kings both in the north and in the south, but no major character.
The end of 2 Kings has a lot of plot development. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was sacked and dispersed to other nations and intermarried with other races. They became known as the half-breeds or the Samaritans of Jesus’ day. That is why they were so despised by the Jews. The Southern Kingdom of Judah was sacked by Babylon and taken captive for 70 years. Then King Cyrus became king and allowed them to return to Jerusalem and Judah. An event that was prophesied by Isaiah (including the name Cyrus) about 150 years before it happened. You will find it in Isaiah 44:24-28. Thus ends 2 Kings.
Now we enter into 1 & 2 Chronicles. 1 & 2 Chronicles is a snapshot of everything we have talked about to this point. Back to the memory trick. The first half of 1 Chronicles is genealogy. Hidden in this genealogy is the Prayer of Jabez (Chapter 4). The genealogy ends with Saul. And then the second half of 1 Chronicles is about the reign of King David. So the first half of 2 Chronicles is about the reign of King Solomon. The second half of 2 Chronicles is about the divided Kingdoms and ends with King Cyrus releasing Judah.
Interesting to note is that after Solomon both the Northern and the Southern Kingdoms had 19 kings before being sacked. The Northern Kingdom almost exclusively had one King rise up and over throw the reigning king; killing the king and his family. The southern kingship almost exclusively was passed down from father to son.
Next comes Ezra. Ezra was a high priest who reinstituted the procedures used in Temple worship.
Next Nehemiah was more like a governor who rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem in order to protect the people and the newly rebuilt temple.
This ends the chronological story of the chosen people of God. The rest of the books in the Old Testament are located somewhere in this story.
Esther lived during the Babylonian exile.
Job is probably a contemporary of Abraham or a grandson of Israel.
Psalms is a collection of songs written mostly by David.
Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings mostly by Solomon.
Ecclessiastes and Song of Solomon were more writings by Solomon.
Now we come to the prophets. There are 16 prophets; four Major Prophets and twelve Minor Prophets. The Major Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. They are called Major Prophets merely for the amount of material they wrote.
The Major Prophets are split in half by a book called Lamentations. This book is composed of 5 poems that were recited by the people during the Babylonian Exile. Basically, they say, “We have sinned against God, please forgive us and restore us to the Promised Land.” These poems follow the book of Jeremiah, which will help you remember that Jeremiah wrote Lamentations.
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel all prophesied during the Babylonian Exile. Daniel had 3 friends named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, so the book of Daniel is where you find their story.
These Minor Prophets were all before the Babylonian Exile: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. The last 3 Minor Prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) were the only ones that prophesied after they had returned from the Babylonian Exile.
This ends the Old Testament.
Now comes 400 years of silence followed by God revealing Himself to the masses through signs and wonders (sound familiar); which are the miracles of Jesus Christ. There are many things in this book that give one the impression that this book (which was written by over 40 authors over a period of 1500+ years) was written by one Person; which it was. It was written by the Holy Spirit. This is one of my favorites. Consider this. Did 12 individuals (who would not normally associate with each other) come together and recognize that it had been 400 years since Malachi? Therefore the timing would be perfect for them to write about a messiah that would reveal Himself through signs and wonders. Also, they would have this fictional messiah fulfill all the O.T. prophecies in a way that absolutely nobody was expecting. Finally, all of them would go to their death professing this truth, without one of them recanting. This seems extremely unlikely to me.
The New Testament opens with 4 Gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John). They tell the story of the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus corrected the definition of “God’s chosen people” from the descendents of Abraham to anyone who has a love for God and a love for other people, all other people. A careful read of the Old Testament will show that this was the true message of the Old Testament. Still the purpose of God’s people remains the same, to Glorify God and to encourage others to follow the Creator God, now made known to us through Jesus Christ.
Then Acts tells the story of how the Gospel spread from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and to all the earth. It is in Acts that we get the story of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin (sound familiar, I don’t know that it means anything, but interesting). It is chapter 9 where Saul has his conversion experience. An interesting note is Saul’s name change to Paul. It is not the same kind of change like Abram to Abraham or Jacob to Israel. Those names were actually changes from one to the other. Saul to Paul was more of a cultural name change. Like someone named Jacque coming to live in the states and now going by the name James. It is the same name in two different cultures. It is not like Saul has a Jesus experience and Jesus changes his name, like what happened to Abram and Jacob.
After Acts we have 13 letters written by Paul. It is from these letters that we get most of our doctrine. These letters are arranged in order of size: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Hebrews is next. We don’t know who wrote Hebrews, which made the canonizing process interesting because Hebrews did not have the backing of an apostle.
James was written by the half brother of Jesus. Jesus’ brother was very active in leading the church in Jerusalem. James the apostle had already been martyred by this time. He was the first disciple to be martyred, but Stephen was the first martyr.
1 and 2 Peter were written by Peter.
1, 2, and 3 John were written most likely by the Apostle John. When reading the Gospel of John you see the word “believe” repeated several times. In 1 John the dominant word is “know”.
Jude was written by the brother of James, half brother of Jesus.
Revelation was written by the Apostle John and is the prophecy describing the return of Jesus Christ and the setting up of His eternal kingdom.
That is the story of God’s chosen people. Throughout this story there is a thread that runs continuously, which gives us the feeling that this is all one book. One book written by One hand. That thread is the Messiah. I will give but a few examples.
I will pick up the thread at Genesis 3:15. God gives us the first promise of a Messiah that will suffer (be struck on the heal) but will deliver a deathblow (crush his head) to satan. We are painted a beautiful and unforgettable picture of the substitutionary nature of the Messiah in the story of Abraham laying Isaac on the altar as a sacrifice. Jacob refers to the Messiah as the Redeeming Angel when he gives the blessing to Joseph’s sons. The Israelites are instructed to construct an Ark of the Covenant. The law was kept inside it and the lid on the Ark was called “the Mercy Seat.” During the ceremony the High Priest would sprinkle blood from the perfect lamb onto the Mercy Seat. Such beautiful imagery is already given that through the blood of the Perfect One comes mercy that will cover the law. Moses refers to Him as “a prophet like me.” David refers to Him as “my Redeemer.” Job calls Him, “my Vindicator.” Isaiah has 4 sections in his book called Servant Songs, where he talks about a suffering Messiah. Half of the book of Daniel is end time prophecies of the conquering Messiah setting up His eternal kingdom here on earth.
The Gospels of New Testament tells the story of the suffering Messiah in the flesh. Which is followed by how His story was spread throughout the world. The letters give us the “truths that we are to know” about the Messiah. The word doctrine means “teachings.” Then the Revelation tells us of the return of the same Messiah, this time as a Conqueror that will set up His eternal kingdom here on earth. The whole Bible then is about our Messiah, who is Jesus Christ.
If Jesus is the fulfillment of this Messiah, why is it that the Jews don’t recognize Him? Near as I can tell the only reason they reject Jesus is because He did not set up His eternal kingdom. I learned something interesting when I audited a New Testament course at Campbellsville University. They said that before Jesus arrived on the scene, some of the Jewish Priests were beginning to teach that they were to look for two Messiahs. Their understanding of the scriptures was such that there must be a suffering Messiah and a conquering Messiah and they could not resolve the two into one Messiah. They were just too different. They did not understand the purpose of the suffering Messiah and would therefore look only for the conquering Messiah, the One that would set up His eternal kingdom here on earth.
How close they were to getting it. The New Testament then is the story of one Messiah and two comings. I heard one Jewish Priest put it this way. When the Messiah comes and sets up His eternal kingdom here on earth, we will ask Him, “Have you been here before?” Then we will know what to believe.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick Summary of the Bible, Gensis to Revelation.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Does God Really Cause Disasters?
Here are some verses to consider, then you decide.
7 I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.'
11 So the LORD said to him,"Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?
34 "When you have come into the land of Canaan, which I give you as a possession, and I put the leprous plague in a house in the land of your possession,
39'Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal;
1 Sam 2:6-7
6 "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. 7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men. 34 To crush under one's feet All the prisoners of the earth, 35 To turn aside the justice due a man Before the face of the Most High, 36 Or subvert a man in his cause — The Lord does not approve. 37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, When the Lord has not commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Why Would God Cause Disasters?
Well, if you came to the same conclusion as I did then the next question is “Why does God cause Disasters?” The writter of Hebrews gives us the answer.
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The NIV puts verse 7 this way: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.” So the hardships of this world are the things which we struggle against and by struggling we grow. If we had nothing to struggle against, then how would we ever grow. Why would a basketball team ever want to get better if they don’t have another basketball team with which to struggle against? How could you measure how good a basketball team is unless they have another team with which to compare?
Therefore, consider the hardships of this life as the measuring stick with which to measure your confidence in your Creator.
Jeanne Guyon in the book “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ” says that we should treat everything that happens to us as if it comes from God. Maybe we should treat it that way because that is the way it is!
Don’t forget Paul’s wonderful words on suffering. Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Jesus answer's the question, "Why does God allow suffering in the world?" In John 9:3, Jesus says that the man was born blind so that the power of God may be demonstrated in his life. So when a disaster happens in your life, your job is to ask the question, "How do I demonstrate the power of God in this situation?" His Spirit is demonstrated through Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.
May God bless you even in times of trouble.
That is why God Causes Disasters.
Friday, August 29, 2008
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ,
as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Do unto others as you would have them do to you: for this is the law and the prophets.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
2 Thess 2:13
Through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
1 John 5:6 The Spirit is Truth.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
OK, it is 12, so sue me.
Monday, February 11, 2008
14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
1 John 5:14-15
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
That is somekind of promise. We have the promise that we can have whatever we want. All we need do is to comply with the conditional side of these verses. So we need to understand what “in My name,” “you abide in Me and My words abide in you,” and “ask according to His will” mean.
Let’s start with “in My name.” When we get together for Christmas we don’t normally hear about Pilgrims, Indians and Turkeys. We do very specific Christmas activities. So when we get together in Jesus’ name, then we need to be doing things that are specific to His name. We need to know what His name means.
“Jesus” is from the Greek for the Hebrew “Jeshua” which means “YHWH Saves.” “Christ” is from the Greek for the Hebrew “Meshiah” which means “the anointed one.” If I may interject an english word in between the two to make it sound like a sentence, then we have Jesus Christ means YHWH Saves through the anointed one.
Therefore, if we are asking in His name then we would be asking for someone’s salvation through Jesus Christ.
Next is “you abide in Me.” I would take that to mean that we are being obedient to Jesus’ teachings. Basically sumed up by, Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, both in word and in deed.
Then, “My words abide in you.” Seems simple enough. I would think this means reading, studying and memorizing scripture.
Therefore, if we are abiding in Him and His word abides in us then we are asking for His help so that we or others may be obedient to His word and we pray the scriptures. Beth Moore has a wonderful book on this called, “Praying God’s Word.”
Lastly, “ask according to His will.” I found 4 passages in the Bible that specifically define God’s will.
40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
1 Thess 4:3-8
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
1 Thess 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Peter 2:15-17
15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men — 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Summing up these 4 passages we have believe in Jesus, be sanctified, don’t sin, rejoice, pray without ceasing, be thankful and do good works.
Therefore, if we are asking according to God’s will then we are asking for a deeper faith in Jesus, asking to be recreated in His image, asking for help against sin, giving praise, constantly being mindful of God in our lives, giving thanks, or asking for help in doing good works.
How does this look in practical application?
If you desire to be the MVP of the Superbowl then your prayer may look like this. Dear Lord, I want to be the MVP of the Superbowl so that I may give testimony of your saving grace in my life and help others to come to a saving faith as well.
Whatever your current heart’s desire is, is where you should start. Just remember to tie you heart’s desire to one of God’s desires. Now what will happen? As you continue to pray this prayer and to read, study, and memorize God’s word you will most likely notice a change. That is the sanctification part taking place. Your desire may begin to change.
How do I know this? I have experienced it myself and seen it in others. Good example is the Superbowl. I saw TBN interview about 20 players that played in the Superbowl this year. Not one of them said winning the Superbowl would be an answered prayer. Not one of them said playing in the Superbowl was an answered prayer. Everyone of them said they were so thankful to have the strength and the skill to play football at the level they had obtained. They gave Glory to God for being the source of that ability and said all the rest of this stuff was nice, but it is merely gravy to the meat that Jesus Christ had already filled them with.
Scripture and prayer sometimes change situations, but they always change you. Making you desire what He desires.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Some comedienne just made some comment about there being no more Saints because Saints are just people who heard voices and now we have medicine to cure that.
I hear many people on TV are all upset and the Catholic Church is all offended.
Why be offended?
We should not feel offended, we should expect such things as this from people who do not know Jesus Christ.
People who do not know Jesus Christ are destined for an eternal existence separated from their Creator.
We should not feel offended by them. We should feel sorry for them. We should pray for them.
Instead of fighting back, we should be loving them back.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
If I am boasting, then let me boast about the Lord and what He has done, is doing, and continues to do in me.
Friday Dec 7, ’07; a day that will live in infamy. I was showing Aaron (age 15) some wrestling moves in the basement. Kateleigh (age 9) was watching. Each time we got up to start again Kateleigh would tell us we should take off our shoes. I was allowing Aaron to practice a takedown (not even struggling against him) when my shoe stuck to the carpet so my foot did not move as my body went to the floor and snapped my right leg, three inches above the ankle.
My first thought was a flashback to a college health class. The teacher told us if we wondered whether or not we have broken a bone then we probably did not. When you break a bone you feel and hear it “snap.” I knew I had broken my leg because I felt and heard it “snap.”
I grabbed my leg at the point of pain and felt my hand move the bone approximately 2” back into place. Broken was confirmed.
At this point I realized (second thought) I did not swear when the leg broke nor did a swear word even enter my mind. I think this is a grand example of the “renewal of the mind.” Before beginning to read the Bible on a regular basis, swearing was a very natural reaction for me. Just by reading the bible and spending much time in prayer, I find that I have changed from the inside out. I gauge this by observing what my initial (natural) response is to a traumatic or unexpected event; such as breaking a bone.
My third significant thought was not a natural one either. It comes from reaffirming, on a daily basis, a lesson I learned from Isaiah 45:7 “… I bring prosperity and create disaster: I, the LORD, do all these things.” Also Job 2:10 says, “…shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” Lastly, from the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Only because I had affirmed this for years, now that bad had come my way, I was able to quickly say, “OK Lord, how are you going to bring glory to yourself from my broken leg. I thank you for my broken leg, please make me aware of how I may bring glory to You from this situation.”
Of course the natural question arises, “Why does God cause disasters?” The answer comes from John 9:3. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” Now my job is to display the work of God in my life.
Preparation during the good times is key to being open to God’s will in the bad times. I highly suspect that giving this difficult teaching to someone who is going through tough times would cause it to not be well received.
I was able to speak the name of Jesus to the 2 emergency techs who rescued me from the basement. I was able to crack jokes in the ER and make the people in there laugh.
I was in the ER when my cell phone rang and it was my friend from Ghana, Africa. He said he felt something was wrong with us and so he needed to call. WOW! I handed the phone to Cindy and let her talk to him.
While talking with the ER doctor I asked if they were going to put me to sleep before they reset the leg because I knew it was going to be very painful. She said, “Of course, that was standard procedure.” Another doctor came in and was looking at my leg when all of a sudden he pulls the leg, turns my foot back into alignment with my leg and shoved it back into place.
My body was in full pain. I could feel my toenails, I could feel my hair, and I could feel pain surrounding my body out to about 3 inches from my skin. I sat up and screamed at the top of my lungs.
My mind however was still having fun. My first thought was, “I wonder what the people down the hall are thinking about all this noise I am making.” Then, “Cindy will never be able to hold that ‘birth pain’ thing over my head again.” At this point the doctor says, “the pain should begin to subside in about 10 to 15 minutes.” Now I am thinking, “that is a piece of information I really didn’t need.”
At some point they brought the x-rays in for us to look at. The Tibia was broken in two, very clean break. The Fibula was broken in two places. I was admitted to the hospital for surgery the next day.
At 6 am, the surgeon came in. I was awake but not expecting anyone. He says, “How are you doing today?” I replied, “I am good.” He said in a very shocked voice, “that is not what I heard.” Then proceeded to tell me all the things wrong with my leg. My mental response, this is a guy who doesn’t understand the concept of Peace during adversity. Then he told me about the things he was going to do to fix my leg. My mental response, this is a guy who needs to hear about Jesus as the Healer.
When he finished speaking he ended with, “Do you have any questions?” I said, “Yes, could we pray over this?”
I might as well have taken both hands, and with the full force of my body, shoved him in the chest. He flung backwards and had to take a step backward to keep from falling down. He stuttered to find words to say and finally ended with, “I guess so.”
I placed my hand on his and prayed. I don’t remember what came out of my mouth, but I remember praying in my head that God would give me the words that this man needed to hear.
When I finished, he said the surgery was scheduled for 9 pm and sometimes it gets moved up. The thought flashed through my mind to say, don’t worry the Lord will move it up. Within 2 seconds he had bolted for the door and my chance was gone. I have never given a word of prophecy before and don’t know that I should have that time. Within 2 minutes he stuck his head back in the door and told me they had moved it up and I would be going in at 5. Then gone again. Then the thought came to me that I had been given another chance, but the thought didn’t come to me until after he left. One minute later the nurse came in and told me that it was moved up again and I was going down in one hour. My first chance at prophecy and I was a total “no show.”
The rest of my stay I focused on being the best patient I could possibly be. Unfortunately, the IV I had kept running right through me and every two hours I had to call the nurse’s aid to help me go to the bath room. I felt like such a burden. Then I noticed that they started checking on me every hour or so. I can’t prove it but I got the feeling they enjoyed being in the room with me and were looking for reasons to help me because there were other people on the floor they really didn’t want to go see. Don’t know for sure, but I do know that I got great service from the nurses and the nurse’s aids.