Monthly Archives: January 2015

Please Lord Jesus. Please, please, please….

   How many times have I prayed a prayer that started and ended with these words? Pleading with God as if my begging would move Him to compassion. Not to say that God is not compassionate. He is. He is, however, more moved by our faith than He is by our fear. Isn’t that where I was coming from all those times that I pleaded with Him out of desperation and fear of what would happen unless He intervened? I think so.

   Jesus taught many times about prayer. Luke records an example of a friend going to a neighbors house in the middle of the night to borrow three loaves of bread. Although the man initially resists disrupting his entire household to give the bread, he does so because of the persistence (the King James calls it importunity) of the borrower. The moral of this story is where we get the famous – Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Luke 11:5-9

   Closer to home, our congregation laid hands on and prayed for a jet pilot that was due to ship off for the first Desert Storm Operation in the late ’80’s. He gave a testimony of his revelation regarding prayer. He said that during many of the training missions He would pray before, during and afterwards something similar to my type of prayer outlined earlier. Then it dawned on him – Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen!! Today, we would call that and “ah-ha moment.”

   He changed his prayer and also his outlook by praying a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for giving him the strength and courage to perform his mission. The Word of God tells us to pray and that we should pray with expectancy and gratitude.

 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Phil 4:6-8 HCSB

   The Gospels are full of examples of how Jesus was moved by the faith some people had in Him. One lady only had to touch the hem of His garment to be healed. My favorite part of that scripture is the reaction Jesus and His disciples had to the whole thing. While throngs of people pushed and pressed Jesus like a herd of commuters getting on the 5:35 out of Penn Station, He felt one person’s touch as being different – because it was a faith-filled touch. When He asked about who touched Him the disciples said – Man. have you lost your mind? Do yo not see how many people are grabbing at you here? (paraphrase mine). They didn’t get it. Her importunity got the attention of the Lord and results that 12 years of effort could not get. Luke8:42-48

   There are numerous other examples of how Faith got results by capturing the Lords’ attention. Conversely, there is an example of how unbelief can handcuff God. Mark records how Jesus returned to His home town and was unable to perform many miracles because they saw him as that carpenters son. Mark 6:2-5 They basically said – Who does he think he is teaching in the synagogue and how has he done the things we have heard of?

  I also find it interesting that John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias,  was silenced until after his son was born so as to not speak unbelief and doubt on the plan of God. Peter was also chastised for speaking out against the plan of God. Our words are powerful and we can either agree with God or oppose God by the words we speak.

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:22-23 

Have Faith In God

Believe in God

Trust God

Thank you all as always for stopping by. Be blessed, Al

 

Please note that I am not endorsing any kind of “faith-based” recklessness nor do I adhere to the doctrines that some refer to as “name it – claim it”. I believe that there is so much written and spoken of by our Lord regarding having faith that it bears mentioning even if extremists have tried to misuse it. Ultimately Jesus is Lord and we must trust in His wisdom for our lives. Al

“Well, are you ready?”

   The silence of the bedroom was suddenly broken as he started coughing violently. Throwing back the covers he jumped to his feet and headed out of the room down the hall and into the living room. Both he and his wife had been sick for days now but she was on the mend and he didn’t want to disturb her sleep. By the time he reached the living room the spasms of coughs subsided but his head hurt and his eyes were burning. A growing pressure in the center of his chest made taking a deep breath impossible. It concerned him that this constriction might not be related to the bronchitis that he was diagnosed with yesterday.

   With head in hands he sat on the edge of the couch and prayed for relief as his mind raced. The pain in his chest was growing and expanding in all directions increasing his concern and causing him to fear the next spasm of coughs. “Dear God, what is going on?”He prayed,” Could this be it? I am nearly 60 and Dad didn’t even live to this age. My heart was supposed to be in good shape. Regular visits to the cardiologist and exercise were meant to thwart off any heart problems – right? Maybe this is it in spite of all my efforts!”
Although the living room lights were off there were a few beams of brightness that irritated his aching eyes. The glow of charging devices and the light from his neighbors back yard acted like tiny needles.  Unplugging the devices and drawing the blinds removed the brightness of those little offenders. But, as a car drove past the house it activated the motion-detector porch light which shone threw the front door like a floodlight into the living room. Blindly stumbling over to the door he flipped off the switch for the porch light and glanced out the window. His eyes, offended by the incident, squinted out to see a shadowy figure at the end of the walk in the driveway. Looking again, after his eyes adjusted, there clearly wasn’t anything there. Shrugging it off he headed back to the couch still praying that his chest pain would subside.
But now, inside the darkened living room, seemed to be that same tall slender figure he saw in the driveway, right there in front of him. He stood breathless and in pain staring at the form thinking to himself that he either had died or was about to die. Before he could speak he heard an inaudible voice ask him “Well, are you ready?” and then it was gone.

   Nothing about his circumstances changed after that brief encounter. He could barely take a full breath. His chest was still suffering from a growing sharp pain/pressure and his eyes were burning so badly that they helped him to dismiss what he thought he saw. His burning eyes had to be due to a high fever and that too would explain the delusion.
He returned to the couch only this time he prayed with a new found purpose. Was he ready? Well, if he wasn’t he would be. He fell asleep there, on the couch, praying to Jesus, without realizing that the pain went away and the coughing stopped.

    The next thing he knew she was waking him up and asking him if he was alright? “Yes”, he said. “Yes, I am okay. Now.”

What’s In A Name ?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II,ii,1-2) Shakespeare

   If I understand Mr. Shakespeare correctly it doesn’t really matter what we call something because the “name” doesn’t change the “it”. A rose will still smell wonderfully regardless of what we call it. So, then the name only means something to us. A name makes it possible for us to understand each other when discussing – a rose – for example. When, in conversation, I mention my rose garden, you will have a very good idea of what I am referring to. Maybe not the actual size, type or color roses, but you will know that we are not talking about oranges. Even then, the name Orange brought something to mind – didn’t it?

    Wikipedia says that “a name is a word or term used for identification. Names can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context. A personal name identifies, not necessarily uniquely, a specific individual human. The name of a specific entity is sometimes called a proper name

   Another site defines “name” similarly “Generally a name is a label for a noun – a person, place or thing. More specifically a name is a label for a specific person, place or thing.”

   Gods’ Word tells us “A good name is rather to be chosen than great richesProverb 22:1 KJV

   What then, does the names of God tell us? When, in conversation, I mention my belief in God what do you see in your minds eye? Do you see the white-bearded figure painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Or, maybe the Name God brings to mind a vengeful figure who rains fire and brimstone upon those who defied Him? Do you see a young child sitting beside His Sainted Mother? Maybe the name God causes you to think of the suffering Savior nailed to a cross? Or the victorious Lord Who rose on the third day and ascended into Heaven?
   For everyone the answer will be different. Say the name God or Jesus and people will conjure up what they will based on their beliefs. But God can be a vague and general term and Jesus is not limited by what that one name refers to – Jesus means God Saves!
   Our God has many names and each one tells us about His character and nature so that we aren’t left doubting or disputing about Him. In this series I hope to shed some light on the many names of God and hope to pull back the curtain to reveal a little bit more about Who He is based on His Word.

The Old Testament Names of God and their meaning

Jah or Yah – LORD (King/Master/Head) Ps.68:4

Jehovah or Yahweh – I AM/The eternal One/Unchangeable Ex 3:13-14

Jehovah Adon (singular) Jehovah Adonai (plural) –  LORD of lords Ps. 109:21

Jehovah El – LORD God (singular form) Ps. 31:5

Jehovah Elohim – Uni-plural form (3-in-1) – LORD Gods/Strong or mighty an object of fear/God as creator, governing and redeeming man/God of Israel Gen 2:4

Jehovah Elyon – The LORD most high Ps. 7:17

Jehovah Jireh – The LORD will provide Gen 22:13-14 / Phil 4:19

Jehovah Makeh – The LORD smites, punishes sin Ezk 7:9

Jehovah Mekaddishkem – The LORD our sanctifer Lev 20:7-8

Jehovah Nissi – The LORD my banner or ensign Ex. 17:10-12

Jehovah Rapha – The LORD who heals Ps. 103:3; 107:20

Jehovah Roi – The LORD my shepherd Ps. 23:1 / Mk. 6:34; Heb 13:20

Jehovah Saboath – The LORD of hosts (angelic armies) 1Sam 1:3 /James 5:4

Jehovah Shalom – The LORD our peace – Judges 6:24 / Jn 14:27

Jehovah Shammah – The LORD is present Ezk 48:35

Jehovah Tsidkenu – The LORD our righteousness Jer 23:6; 33:16 / 1Cor 1:30

EL Elyon – Most high God, Exalted, elevated Ps. 21:7

 El Olam – Everlasting God Isa 40:28

EL Roi – The God of sight, who keeps watch Gen 16:13

EL Shaddai – God Almighty both powerful and nourishes, sustains Gen 17:1

   Wow! What a resume. These are the very impressive characteristics of our God as revealed to us by His own words. He wants you to know Him intimately. Even as He knows YOU.

   Now, when, in conversation, I say God, I am talking about the great and mighty Everlasting God Who is Creator, Lord and Master of all. The One who sits on high and watches to see everything. The One who punishes sin but nourishes and sustains His people. He Who gives His righteousness to those He sanctifies and shepherds to a place of safety under His banner and provides for. One Who is ever present and ready to send healing and peace.

Can you see Him?

   The next post in this series will be on the New Testament names of God. Thank you for stopping by. Please come back soon and be blessed, AL

This World Is Not Our Home

You know, we’re only just passing thru…

and as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in worldly affairs, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.  2 Tim 2:4

My brother-in-law, Matthew, was an MP in the Army stationed in England for many years. I asked him once, while trying to make a point, if he bought a home there or voted in the local elections. Did he seek to hold a political office or any civic position. All these questions were met with a resounding “No”! and a curious stare. That’s because he was an American citizen not a member of the United Kingdom and therefor not able to participate in any of the elections. As a matter of fact he didn’t even concern himself with the affairs of the government around him. He simply did as he was told to by those in authority over him.

You probably already know where I’m going with this but here goes anyway.

This world that we live is is no more our home than the UK was to Matthew. Sure we live here and work here and were born here and will most likely die here but this is not our home. After all this is not our point of origin and it will not be our final destination. We truly are just passing thru. Jesus told us that we, who believe, will live even if we die. Just like walking through your own front door we will pass from this sin-filled cursed world into an eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. No, this world is not our home by a long shot. When you compare the 70, 80, 90 or even 100 years we walk around here to a never-ending eternity that awaits us, this life is like a blink of an eye.

So, what am I saying? Should we not get involved here? Should we not try to have a positive impact while walking this earth? Should we just do whatever we like regardless of laws or rules? Well, no, of course not. As a matter of fact the Word of God calls us to be good stewards of the things we have around us and to obey those in authority over us. Furthermore we are called to be light and salt and a city on a hill – setting an example of the goodness of God within us. We are called to be good to our spouses and children. Fair and upright in our business practices especially how we treat those in our employ or under us. he list goes on and on.

Truly the list of responsibilities for Christians while on this earth are long and worth reviewing from time to time. Conversely, Jesus told us that the world hates Him because He was not of this world and that if we are His the world will hate us too. Further we are called to not love this world. So I am not advocating anarchy or revolt just perspective. Just like a tenant who is renting an apartment has legal right to occupy that space that tenancy doesn’t give them the right to destroy it. Yet, you wouldn’t be likely to under take major remodeling of a place you did not own.

We should look at this world and all that we may have in it as a tenancy. It’s our to use with responsibility and care but hold on loosely because one day, perhaps soon, it will all be gone.

One day it will all be left behind as we effortlessly step across that threshold into a brand new world of wonder for all eternity.

It is then, that we will be able to say, with joy in our hearts –

Home at last!

Home at last

Thank You Jesus!

I am Home at Last

 

 

 

Start at the very beginning….

A Very Good Place to Start

As a contractor with 30 years of experience I have learned a lot about my trade and others around me. Its safe to say that I have seen my share of mistakes made during those early years. But I give my thanks to a good teacher. One, who may not have always been patient but always thorough in his explanations of how to do something and why.

In my years I have had the opportunity to train helpers to work beside me and always observed one thing. Teaching is the best way to keep things fresh in my own mind. Somewhere in the relating of the process there is a reliving that revives me. I am taken back to where I was when I learned it and can relate the truth of the process to another with passion.

It is this reason that I want my first post of the year to be about “contending for the faith” that was first inside of us all at conversion. Jude tells us that he wanted to write about the shared salvation of the saints but was moved to respond to false teachers and ungodly people.

But lets review the Basics that we all do know –

Very simply put – Christ came to save sinners of which we are all (1 Timothy 1:15 and Romans 3:23). If we repent and trust in Jesus we will be saved (Romans 10:9-13)

I guess the only question now is – Have you been saved? If not. Why Not?

All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. He knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart and your honesty. Although there’s no special way to ask to be saved we suggest praying the following prayer to accept Christ as your Savior:

“Dear Lord Jesus,

I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead.  I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will.

In Jesus name, amen.”

If you prayed this prayer congratulations, you are a Child of God now and your sins have been forgiven, never to be remembered. We encourage you , if you do not already attend a church, to find one that believes in Bible study. One that teaches the whole Word of God and proclaims the Good News that Salvation is available to all. We encourage you to get a Bible and begin reading it. If you don’t know where to start we suggest you read the Gospel of John first but you can find many Bible study reading lists online also. Consider Bible Gateway or some of the other links from our home page.

Whatever you do read the Bible daily and pray to our Lord for guidance because He is not dead but alive and ready to talk with you. Congratulations as you start a new life in this new year! Be blessed. Al and Betty