Tag Archives: Trust in the Lord

Sticks and Stones….

Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!

As a child growing up in the 60’s this was a mantra used when kids would, well be kids. We didn’t call it “Bullying” then even though we knew who the bully’s were. We knew how to avoid them and we knew how to deal with them. But weather you ran from a bully or stood up to one, we always said that “names will never hurt us.”

Truth be told, they did hurt. Even more than the cuts, bruises or broken bones that may have been caused by sticks and stones. That’s because words, and name-calling, have power. Maybe even more then we can know.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit                                                                                                                                                             Pr. 18:21 NKJV

Death and Life! Really?!

Yes. Words really do have that much of an effect, both on us and those whom we speak to. What would you give in order to have someone speak positively to you? How much would it mean to you to have your father speak to you about your future?

Two brothers were born into a family. The firstborn son was in line to inherit from the father. The second son wanted his brothers inheritance. Desperately! So much so that he tried to take advantage of his older brother in a moment of weakness and trade him for it. The older brother half-heartedly agreed to the trade not thinking anything of it. Still not sure that he obtained the inheritance, the younger son impersonated the older brother and stood before his near blind and dying father to get the coveted gift. He did indeed receive the fortune.

Here it is –

“Surely, the smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field
Which the Lord has blessed.
 Therefore may God give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and wine.
 Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”

Yup! That’s it! The coveted inheritance that Jacob tried to steal from his brother and deceived his own father, Isaac,  for was a blessing – words. Words spoken over him by the man in authority over him that he allowed into his heart. Words that sealed his future and set the course of his destiny.

If only we were not so advanced a civilization and would remember these lessons from the Old Testament. The lesson that a father or a mother or a teacher or any authority figure,  real or perceived, can speak into the heart of a child and shape their future. Like it or not. Believe it or not. Words are that powerful.

Romans 10:9-10 tells us how powerful our words are –

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat it’s fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

What does that mean? It means that your words affect your life. Whatever you have, or don’t have in your life today is a result of yesterday’s speech. How can our speech have such a significant impact on the reality of our circumstance?   Because it’s a reflection of ourselves brought about by our own creative ability working in conjunction with one of the forces around us. God or evil.

For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks Luke 6:45 NKJV

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved Romans 10:9 NKJV

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 11:23 NKJV

So, here we have examples of how powerful what we think/believe and say has on our lives. Luke, Paul and Jesus all showed us how important it is to “guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” Proverbs 4:23 HCSB

Isaac blessed Jacob and Jacob believed in his heart that those things would come true. I’m sure he even told people that they would come true. God told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations in spite of his old age. God even changed his name from Abram to Abraham which means “father of many” so when ever he told someone his name he was saying “Hi, I’m a father of many!” Imagine that! It is recorded that  “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” He was “in-right-standing” with God because he believed what God said to him about being the Father of many nations.

He believed it and spoke it and it came to pass. He co-operated with God in the creative process and it came to pass.

There’s examples of how unbelief and doubt stopped or could have stopped the hand of God. Yes, it’s true – when the angel came to Zacharias to tell him that he would have a son in spite of his obvious age he doubted and questioned it’s possibility.

And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” Luke 1:19-20 NKJV

Shutting Zacharias up did not change his heart but it stopped him from speaking against the plan of God. Once the child was born his mouth was opened and his heart was changed. God’s will was done.

Likewise, even Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in His hometown because they did not believe He could.

He went to His hometown and began to teach them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “How did this wisdom and these miracles come to Him?    Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Mary, and His brothers James, Joseph,  Simon, and Judas?  And His sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does He get all these things?”  And they were offended by Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:54-58 NKJV

Imagine that! And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief!! They tied the hands of God!

If only God would shut our mouths sometimes so that we do not tie His hands with our doubt filled words and unbelief. What do you believe about yourself? Your life? Your God? Your Savior? Search your heart or better yet, look around you? Do you have a medicine cabinet full of drugs? Do you stress out over your checkbook balance? Do you shake your head at the promises of God found in His Word because you don’t think they apply to you? Just how far does your faith in Jesus go? How much do you believe? Does your words agree with His?

He loves you and died for you and has a future and a hope for you not just to live this life but to have it more abundantly. But you have to believe. The Word of God tells us that God Himself asks us to remind Him of His promises!

I, even I am He that blotted out thy transgressions for Mine Own sake and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Isaiah 43:25-26 KJV

Trust in Him Who died for thee and shed His blood to set you free. Be blessed, Al

*This post is dedicated to the memory of one of the gentlest, most compassionate and humorous men of God that I have ever known. While at The Word Of Life Ministries in Freeport, NY I had the pleasure of knowing Brother James Orr who lived from January 12, 1934 – until he went home to be with the Lord on February 21, 2001. Along with his love of God and His Word, Brother James had an infectious smile, and a answer for “Hey, Brother, how are you?” “How am I doing?!? Is that the question? Why I’m blessed and highly favored! I am a child of the Most High God! I’m a child of the King! How am I doing!!!”

I laugh at the memory of how many times he stopped me to answer that question – which, I asked in passing as easy as saying “Hi”

Brother James Orr understood the power of the tongue and I will always remember that lesson he taught me.

The Problem With Instant Coffee

Who doesn’t like a nice hot cup of coffee?!?!

Cup of hot coffee with steam on dark background. Toned image.

   The problem with instant coffee, or the K-cup generation, is that it gets us used to the idea of instant gratification.  Now this isn’t a new concept by any means. Quick and easy coffee has been here for years but there is a whole generation of young adults who probably don’t know what a percolator looks like never mind how laborious it was to prepare the coffee and then wait for it to perk!

    Yes, I know that I sound like some old-timer harping on about the good old days and bemoaning these new fangled ideas! I am aware and I do have the grey hair that goes with it. But, stay with me for a moment please.

    Fast food and fast coffee and oil changes in 30 minutes or less along with next day shipping and so on and so on can have a real affect on how we think or expect things to be. Not everything is quick and easy. You can’t speed everything up. You shouldn’t be able to hasten the development of a baby inside the womb and you can’t attain years of experience in a particular field of study overnight either. Some things just take time.

    As many of you may know I am a contractor. I have worked with tile and marble for over 30 years now and in that time I have gone threw my share of young apprentices. One in particular comes to mind because he fits in our discussion here. A young guy just out of high school and looking for work, I hired him as a helper, a go-for if you understand that expression. He had no experience and would have to be taught everything. Side note – it wasn’t that many years ago that such a young person would have paid to learn the trade – but I digress.

    About the third day of basically carting this and handing me that and other boring mundane  stuff he turned to me to say “I thought I was going to set marble, not be your slave! I turned down the chance to go run with the bulls in Pamplona for this!” Needless to say, I for one wasn’t going to stand in his way of getting gored in Spain – I let him go that day.

    Somethings just take time. The Bible tells us not to despise the days of small beginnings and that in our patience we win our souls. James speak of us letting patience have its work in us so that we will be whole, complete and lack nothing. James 1:4.  I have a niece who along with her newlywed husband finally were able to buy a little home in Georgia.  “It’s a cute little house” my sister told me in a phone conversation. “They need to do a lot of work to it and there’s not much furniture to speak of now, but they’ll manage.” I was grinning from ear to ear as my sister told me about the young couples new place because I knew that they would make it their own. Sure it will be hard work and it will take sacrifice and sweat but in the end it will not just be a house – it will be their home that they made.

      So, this post may have been a grey-haired old man going on about the good old days after all but if anyone can take away anything from this I hope it’s the idea to slow down and enjoy where you are rather than where you hope to be.

He has us all where He wants us and will use us to His Glory – Here and now!

     Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.         Ps. 46:10 KJV

Warning! Unstable conditions ahead!

Scared to Death on the Bridge

How do we react to instability in our lives? Do we frightfully hang on for dear life, as I did while crossing this rope bridge in Ireland, or do we rest easy knowing we are in the Fathers arms?

I never have been much for heights. Although I have been to the top of the Empire State building without a care and if needed I can walk most roofs but  you couldn’t get me on a roller coaster until recently.  I think the reason behind my fear of certain heights was control. If I felt like I was in control of the situation I wasn’t afraid no matter how high I was.

But we aren’t always in control of our environment or the conditions of the road ahead of us. What then? Fearfully clinging? Or resting easy? What would the Word of God encourage us to do? How would Jesus hope to see us react? I am reminded of a circumstance that Peter found himself in. Matthew records the event here.

While in a storm swept boat with the disciples Peter calls out to Jesus Who is walking on the water towards them. Peter asks Jesus to let him come to Jesus on the water and Jesus calls for him to come. Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the water to Jesus – UNTIL he takes his eyes off of Jesus and looks at the storm – THEN HE SINKS LIKE A ROCK! The disciples were fighting that storm for hours. Truly an unstable environment. Yet when Peter saw Jesus and kept his eyes on Him he overcame the circumstances around him and did the impossible – he walked on water. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink (vs. 30 TLB). But, remember, the high waves and rough seas were there before he stepped out onto the sea, they just weren’t the focus of his attention.

So, clearly we all need to remember that when the waves and storms and instabilities of life arise, we can rise above them if we focus on Jesus and not the circumstance. The following is a short list of encouraging words found in Gods Word for us all to hide in our hearts for a rainy day.

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. Mark 11:22

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:1 and 27 NIV

  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love 1 John 4:18 NKJV

 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,that He may exalt you in due time, 

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6

 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Eph 3:17-21 KJV

 

My Friends please hold His words close to your hearts because the Word tells us that there will be a time of unprecedented instability in the future (maybe our future, maybe in some distant time) but we can stand the times of emotional, economic or social instability if we stand in HIM Whom first placed our feet on solid ground.

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ Philippians 1:6 KJV

Rope bridgeCarrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 meters (66 ft) and is 30 meters (98 ft) above the rocks below. The bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and is owned and maintained by the National Trust. In 2009 it had 247,000 visitors. The bridge is open all year round (subject to weather) and people may cross it for a fee.

The Lord Reigns!!!

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns!!

 

Regardless of what we think

The Lord Reigns!

Regardless of what we see

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of what we feel

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of the nations on earth

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of the troubles we face

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns

and He will be magnified in all the earth

and will show His love to you

No matter whatever you may be going threw today please take refuge under His wings and know that He reigns over all the earth and He will save you because He loves you.

What in the World is going on?

Political unrest and wars in multiple parts of the world. Sickness and diseases like the Ebola outbreak and the MERS virus are killing people in large numbers and causing concerns worldwide. Earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes and huge swings in weather patterns producing violent rains, stifling heat with droughts as well record breaking blankets of snow with freezing temps.

In just the past few years the globe has seen all of these and more. Some site Global warming for climate change and the weather related problems.

With respect to the political upheavals some say its time for a change of the old regimes to the new. The Arab Spring saw protests and changes in nearly 20 countries across the north of Africa and the middle east. In Iraq a civil war rages long after America pulled its troops out. Russia is in the Ukraine and fierce fighting going on in Israel and Palestine. Isis is growing and fears are raised in the west.

All of this can cause one to wonder – “What in the World is going on?” But who can know what is going on? Is there anywhere to turn to find answers?

Obviously, the answer is Yes. There is somewhere you can go to get answers to the question of what in the world is going on –

Gods’ Word

– The Bible tells us about all these things and those things which are still to come.

It is God who controls the countries of the earth. He causes one to rise and another to fall. History shows us how Alexander the Great rose to power and how he built institutions of learning all around the known world. He caused everyone to learn the Greek language and when the time was right his empire fell. Later the Roman empire rose to control the known world and built highways and connected the various pieces of the empire with better trade routes. Soon after that we see our Lord ( and His followers) using these roads and the common language to Preach the Gospel. So we see that God orchestrated the rise and fall of these nations to His glory by setting the stage for the Ministry of Jesus Christ as well as the spreading of the Gospel by His followers.

Likewise, Jesus told us  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8KJV

So, these things are not a series of unrelated hysterical happens but simply a part of the plan. Yet with all that is and will be coming let us be encouraged –

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,  whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.

Heb 12:25-29 KJV

 

He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. Job 12:23 KJV

 

Tribulatios Escape

Finally, let all of us be encouraging and loving towards each other and reach out to those who have not yet found the love and grace of Jesus especially as we see these things come to pass.

Be blessed today by His Love for you!

 

Summers End

Empty Boardwalk Long Beach, NYHello friends.

Its been a busy fast moving Summer and I really wish the days didn’t go by so quickly. I hope that everyone had a wonderful vacation season and that you are all settling back into the routine of back to school or back to work.

In the near future I hope to inspire and challenge us all to discuss our faith and trust in the Lord.

Until then let me simply say that no matter where you are or what you are going threw –

JESUS IS THE ANSWER

But what if it were an easy thing to do?

But his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?

2 Kings 5:13 HCSB

Oh, sorry, I almost skipped ahead to the end of the story. Let me go back to the beginning and please, read along if you like (2Kings 5:1-14). Naaman, a commander of the Syrian army was a leaper. As a result of his many raids into Israel, he had a maid servant for his wife. This girl, who was taken from her home against her will, to be a salve in this mans home, took pity on him and suggested that he travel to see the prophet Elisha. (talk about love your enemies! but that was the point of last post not this one).

So, Naaman went to his King and told him what the servant girl said. The King told Naaman to go and even wrote a letter to the King of Israel for Naaman to take on the trip along with a great deal of Silver and Gold and other gifts. When Naaman arrived at the home of the Prophet Elisha he was met by Elisha messenger who told him – “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.”

Well! How dare he!?!? Naaman was angry and insulted. He expected the Prophet to come out and perform some intense prayer or sacrifice or something. Additionally, the Prophet didn’t even come out to greet Naaman – he sent a messenger! Finally, Naaman believed that there were several “better” rivers in Damascus compared to the Jordan. Rejected, Naaman was determined to ignore the Prophets instructions and go home. His servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great (difficult) thing, would you not have done it? Reluctantly Naaman yields and dips seven times in the Jordan River. When he finishes his skin looks fresh as a new born baby.

The moral of the story is this – Naaman went to the Prophet with an expectation of what would happen and how he would be healed. He was prepared to pay a large sum of money and do whatever was asked of him (assuming it was logical to him to do it). When faced with the humiliation of having an errand boy address him and instruct him to do such a seemingly simple task Naaman balked. In the end what was expected of Naaman wasn’t difficult to do – only humbling.

IMG_5225

Isn’t that just like so many people? We expect to have to pay our way. Some recite endless strings of prayers or abstain from certain foods at special times. Some believe that they must punish themselves physically so as to be purged of sins or deprive themselves of companionship to get closer to God. There’s a need inside us to feel that we “earned” what we have. Unfortunately, or fortunately, God’s ways are not our ways.

In the book of Acts chapter 16 we see Paul and Silas in jail and singing songs of praise. When a great earthquake shook their doors open and their shackles free. The jailer thinking that Paul and Silas had escaped was going to fall on his sword but they stopped him. The jailer asked them – Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved

It really is that easy. No Penance, No flogging. No Fasting. No Pilgrimages. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero!

Have Faith in God. Trust in the Lord. Call out to Jesus.