Tag Archives: prayer

The Mega Millions Jackpot is now……

Does your shopping list include bread, milk, cold cuts, lotto tickets and scratch offs? Many people do. Many Christians do too. After all as a Christian we could do so much good with alllllllll that money. Right? Where’s the harm in that?

From cover to cover The Word of God tells us how much God loves us. In the Old Testament we learn the Names of God as He revealed Himself to the children of Israel. He is the God our Provider, The God our Healer, He is God Almighty, The God Who goes before us and so on.  In the New Testament we see God incarnate – God with us. The Creator of the universe left heaven to walk amongst us and even suffer unbearable things and die for us. We need to grasp just how much we are loved and be humbled at the thought of it.

But don’t forget to check your numbers! You gotta be in it to win! Today might be your lucky day! Someday my ship will come in!

But seriously brothers and sisters look at what the Word says about God’s provisions for your life and the trap of riches. God has no problem with wealth. Look at Solomon – the richest man ever – past, present and future.  That’s just one example of people God has blessed with great wealth because He wants to bless us. God promises to open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on us that we can not contain – if we are good stewards of what He has already given us. If we fall into the trap of thinking that we don’t have enough or that we would be better off winning the sweepstakes what we are doing is telling God He is not enough or worse – He lied!

Thou shall not covet! It’s one of the Big Ten! Covet. Such an Old Testament word. Covet – to desire, be envious of, want or lust for. Now I know that none of us do that but there’s plenty of opportunity to if you did. The TV, Magazines, Billboards, Social Media all flash images of things we don’t have, or newer, bigger, nicer, better versions of what we do have, in our face. So naturally we want the newest, bigger, best, whatever. After all look at what we do have! ugh! It’s  old, it’s dull, boring, outdated.

It’s a trap. A trap to get you to devalue the blessings that God has given you – spouse, job, money, home, stuff, etc.,  and lust after something you don’t have and can’t afford to have. But, if I could just win the Lotto my problems would be solved. No they wouldn’t!

Goggle lotto winners and you’ll find many have lost it all. Spent it, gave some away, got robbed, whatever that case. The sweepstakes did not solve their problems. Only God can do that. He may be doing that already and you just don’t see it.

If you are working – you’re blessed! Many people aren’t.

If you’re working but unable to make ends meet. Look at what you spend your money (God’s Blessing) on.

If you are not working ask yourself why. If you’re health prevents you from working – Pray for strength or assistance.

If you are healthy enough to work but aren’t ask yourself why. Pride is a big hindrance to getting a job. “I’m a college educated ________ and I’m not going to work for anything less than $_____ an hour/day/week. Get a job. Any job and pray that God blesses your humility. I have countless stories of people I know who are in great positions but started at the bottom.

Instead of wishing you could win the jackpot and get all those new, bigger, brighter, better things, thank God for what you have right now. Because either God loves you and has provided for you and will continue to provide for you. Or He is a LIAR!

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.                                                                                                                      Phil 4:19 NKJV

God is NOT a Liar. But He told us about one and we should be careful not to fall into the traps set by that liar. He (the devil) comes to kill, steal and destroy.

Give thanks and be blessed, Al

 

Counting the Cost – Part 2 of the Hard Words Hard Work Series

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

Matthew 5:44 KJV

Really? How? Why? The answer to these questions can be found in the next verse recorded during our Lords’ address which came to be called – The Beatitudes.

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (vs 45-48)

This is also where we find the famous “turn the other cheek” quote as well as “go the extra mile” and, as we see from the verse shown above, if you do these things we will be perfect! Ok, so maybe this doesn’t answer the question of How? and Why? But it does put to rest any doubt that this is a commend from God. Jesus said it and He meant it. Elsewhere our Lord tells us that if someone steal our coat we should find him and give him our shirt also. Yes. Really. Just such an example is illustrated in Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel in which an ex con (Valjean) is taken in by a benevolent Bishop (Myriel) and returns the hospitality by stealing the silver that night.   When the police capture Valjean, Myriel pretends that he has given the silverware to Valjean and presses him to take two silver candlesticks as well, as if he had forgotten to take them. This act of Christian kindness is the catalyst for Valjean to change his life and live for God. This is a fictitious example of what our Lord admonished us to do but an example nonetheless.

So, How do we do such a thing? Well, the answer may be found in the acceptance of the truth that we are incapable of doing such things. Yup, that’s what I said. Hard as it is for us to hear, we are limited in our ability to do anything that the Lord has asked us to do – BUT that’s because we try to do it in our own strength.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Without Me (Jesus) you can do nothing. Nothing. Hard to hear that isn’t it? So how have we done whatever it is we have accomplished so far? Well, perhaps, with the help of God you have done things you thought you couldn’t do even if you didn’t ask for his help. But to answer angry with love, to give to someone who stole from you and to love those who hate you takes help. Help that is available 24/7 and is only a breath away.

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But what about the question – Why? That’s an easy one – because He said so. But if it helps, try to remember that we battle not against flesh and blood. Meaning, our fight is not with the people we see. It is a spiritual fight against the invisible forces behind them. Spirits of fear, addiction, anger, poverty, perversion and such can influence and control people to do things that can hurt us. Jesus knew this and encourages us to love because Love will conquer all.

If we can love them we will be the children of your Father which is in heaven

How wonderful is that???

Ashes to Ashes

Ash Wednesday 2014 to millions (or more) Christians today mark the beginning of Lent

  Wikipedia says – Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

OK, So we have 6 weeks of prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial.

   I have two problems with this concept. The first is the obvious one – just six weeks? What about the other 46 weeks? But I think it’s a given that we should be a witness of God’s love all year long so I’ll leave that there – for now. Likewise, prayer, repentance of sins, alms giving and self-denial (also referred to as self-control) are all good things for a true believer to do year round. But, its the reason that these things are done that align them with the misguided concept of penance and atonement. I am not saying that millions of people are wrong for following their hearts during these next 6 weeks. I am saying that the goals or ideals of such an exercise is not Biblical and misleading. Unfortunately, the evidence of this misguided adventure is heralded at the end of it all – Jesus Christs’ trial, death and resurrection!!

 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:But this man (Jesus Christ), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:11-22 KJV

after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God vs 12

   Jesus carried out the ultimate “self-denial” by suffering and dieing on the cross that WE deserved to be put upon. Furthermore, having done this He put an end to the sacrifices of the Temple and the old way –Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  Heb 9:12 KJV. The veil of separation in the Temple was ripped in two down the middle from top to bottom when He died on that cross signifying the end of the old and the beginning of the new. As if that wasn’t enough – Jesus’ own last words from the cross should quiet the debate – It is finished. John 19:30 KJV

Still, Paul addresses this –  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:8-10 KJV or otherwise put this way in the Living Bible – Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves;it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it. It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others

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Finally, We can not EARN our salvation. If we could do that Jesus would not have had to come and die for our sins. Having done that though, lets not insult the gift of God by trying to earn it. That would be like trying to pay me for a the present I gave you for your birthday even though you have no money or source of income. As I mentioned before,  prayer,repentance of sins and alms giving are all good things that every Christian should do daily out of a thankful heart towards God but atonement, penance and self-denial as a way of earning salvation is futile because its already been done and can not be added to. Celebrate the fact that Jesus Loved YOU enough to hang on a cross so that you don’t have to and be grateful. Truly, deeply and sincerely grateful.

To obey is better than sacrifice 1 Sam 15:22 KJV

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifice as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Sam 15:22 HCSB