30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 19

In these last 19 posts, I have whined and opined how our boys have been our greatest challenge; they see through eyes that don’t see God in everything or anything, even the bad stuff. If we did not see and experience trouble and tribulation, how would we seek God?

I have been putting off one of our fervent prayer targets regarding our adult kids. She is THE epitome of a warrior of Jesus Christ. She really does bring sunshine on a cloudy day. Even her ‘bad days’ are never bad enough to not be that ray of sunshine WE may need. She’s faced adversity from all angles, she has been hurt and tread upon. But NEVER has she EVER hated God.

She knows that it’s sin that has brought her to where she’s at and it’s JESUS that will deliver her. She knows the devil can’t have her because she is a true child of God. She has real Joy in the Lord and PRAYS.

She is a great mom that has a great big mushy heart for her children but rules with a firm, Godly hand.

When she cries our whole world stops. When she is hurt, we hurt. But through it all, she has never stopped loving God no matter how hard her day, week, month or years has gotten.

She gives freely and with love, with her hard earned money or with her time. She wants everyone to know Jesus as their Savior.

And she has a chronic illness, one that can take her life.

NO EXCUSES: So, when our boys act like the overgrown insipid monkeys they are [I am being sooooo kind here :)], we remind ourselves of that ray of sunshine that lives way too far away for us to hold and calm in her times of trouble or when pain goes through her frail body like a cat 5 hurricane. We cannot say enough how much we are humbled that God gave us such a creature to behold and learn from.

v18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. v19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, v20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. [Matthew 28:18-20]

We are forever grateful to God for each of our children; each one has qualities I adore. Our prayer today is that they will understand deliverance and the true nature of who God is – our Friend, our Deliverer and our Father: “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God“, [James 2:23].

Intention, Prayer & FAITH

PRAYER. Prayer is an interesting thing; it’s free, it’s easy…it’s POWERFUL and we make more time NOT to pray rather than using this great discipline to move mountains:

v22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
v23 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.
v24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” [Mark 11:22-24]

When I go to  the sidewalk of abortion facilities, I go to PRAY. If I am asked or led to counsel, I will…but my intention is to pray and stand as a faithful witness. Christians with great intentions hardly ever come citing many things; not enough time, not ‘my’ ministry, etc. That, Mr. & Mrs. Christian, is an EXCUSE, not ‘intention’.

Don’t be too discouraged…even Jesus had a time with His own disciples:

v40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?
v41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Matthew 26:40-41]

ONE HOUR. That’s all Jesus asked of them but knew they could do much more. Why didn’t they?

v19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
v20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
v21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Intention is what the Apostles had, but FAITH moves mountains and heals; lack of faith makes what was alive to be dead.  Some Christians believe that abortion will not be defeated so why bother praying? Even in these ‘last days’ we have given up…but let me assure you of this: We do not know this side of Heaven who we have effected by being faithful. Just seeing you on the sidewalk praying can change someone’s life!

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Heb 11:1]

How will they know there is a war if they don’t see the army? I would not ask anyone to do something I won’t. And being post-abortive I have the best excuse of all…but that’s not how God sees it. He takes our fears and turns them into ministry.

ONE HOUR. I CHALLENGE YOU TO ONE HOUR OF PRAYER AT A LOCAL ABORTION FACILITY TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR UNBORN LIFE. THIS ONE SELFLESS ACT CAN CHANGE SOMEONE’S WORLD AND SAVE LIVES!

Find a local prayer vigil here.

Wednesday Night Bible Study: ANGER.

We are continuing with the Sermon on the Mount, tonight touching on a common sin among Christians: ANGER.

Did you know that no sin is without consequence, especially anger? We are called children of God, not the crowd at a cage fight. We are required to keep it together, learn and relearn how to battle what our mind wants to do before it falls out of our mouths and through our fists.

At Church

Jesus equates anger and hate to murder. Murder is different than killing; murder has intent. Then our anger, our HATE, has intent toward the person we are cross with. Some of us quietly plot the demise in our heads to that person that has wronged us. We are human…free will. But with the gift of free will comes responsibility to govern it in a GODLY way, not murderous.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is trying to reteach us how to consider what we do with our minds before we act upon them, such as lust. How many of us have lusted in the heart? ALL OF US. Jesus tells us that what we DO in our minds is precariously close to acting upon them.

Matthew 5:21-26 says, “21You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”

Yep, it’s that ‘turn the other cheek‘ stuff. But the explanation is much better than that. How do we turn the other cheek? How do we discern what is righteous anger? Having righteous anger is not a bad thing, we should be angry with sin! But only AT sin, not the sinner. In other words, being angry at the sin  of abortion or homosexuality is okay, but slinging it at the sinner is NOT.

We need to consider righteous anger versus relative anger:

Ephesians 4:26-32 says, “26Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil. 28Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

And there it is: FORGIVENESS. We have to forgive or we will be bound in a way that is not of God to continue in a spirit of anger and hate.

The Ten Commandments given by God to Moses spoke of our shortcomings as humans since the fall of Man in the Garden; critical thinking put the apple in the hands of Eve rather than trusting God. So, understanding that we had free will in the Garden, how much more do we need to renew our minds now? Not just daily, but but every minute!

Romans 12:1-2 says, 12I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

There it is: The Sin Nature. In this passage in Romans, Paul directed it to the ‘brethren’, or Christians, not the guy on the street. The church was young then and was going in a way that was unseemly. The Apostle Paul understood the sin nature because he also had to battle it. Remember, PAUL WAS A MURDERER. Paul need a Savior, Paul needed to learn how to rewire his mind to be GODLY. Paul struggled with the sin nature just like we all do.

Renewing our mind, rewiring it from what it was, is key to not having a murderous heart and replacing it with ‘what is good for necessary edification‘ and ‘acceptable to God‘.

Be the Christian you want others to be.

A year in the Christian Life

As this year comes to a close, most people will look back with disappointment for many reasons. I think that when we do that we have judged God to be wrong and imperfect. Our perception of what our life has been thus far is just that: Perception. God does not lie [Heb 6:18] and His way is always perfect…but He is dealing with an imperfect bunch of people that don’t want to obey the things of God but to things of the world. We misplace our faith from God toward our family and friends thinking they will make us happy and fruitful. People lie, God does not; people will fail you, God WILL NOT:

“For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)

Sometimes I think we go to our family and friends because we think there is safety in numbers, that they will protect us. Again, even they are an imperfect people that God is personally dealing with and your faith has been in them instead of God. It’s like depending on the weather when it can change anytime.

There is good news! We have refuge in His covering, in His love for us. We are a work that He has molded into what He wants us to be. Accept His covering, accept His assignment because He is perfect and His plan for us is perfect. Do not be afraid or suspicious – just be His willing vessel:

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4

AND “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) BECAUSE “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:7)

Consider this New Year to be a year of transformation, a year of faith; a year of letting God be GOD in your life. We are a woefully inadequate people that need direction; El Shaddai, GOD Almighty – you are my shield and my strength [Psalm 28:7]…I pray that all will come to know YOU as GOD, El Shaddai.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

Happy New Year.

 

The Divine Appointment, Part One.

Jesus had many divine appointments, especially with the down trodden, disappointed, and the discouraged. His ministry was to everyone, not just the religious. In the Gospel of John, the Samaritan Woman would meet the Son of God where she was, not in the best parts of town or the elite temples. Divine Appointments catch us unaware and where we live.

Jesus is the AnswerA lot of women think they are too damaged to be good enough for Jesus and His Gift of Salvation. The Samaritan Woman succumbed to her life the way it was because she knew no other way. Maybe she saw the way better women lived – I don’t know, but usually we see from a required distance how the ‘other half’ lives as we go about our invisible lives. The world only see us as an example of what NOT to do instead of trying to reach us where we are…unfortunately, such…

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The Resistant Christian

If I gave you a brand new car, would you accept it? Or, if you found a car on the side of the road with the keys in it, would you look to see if anyone can see you and take it?

In the new car scenario, a person that was handed the keys of the brand new car would ask if there are any strings attached, but the car on the side of the road is almost always taken swiftly…essentially stolen. Most people want to be the one that accepts the new car and says ‘Thank You’ but that is hardly ever the case; they know they do not deserve this brand new car and feel suspicious for doing nothing and guilty for accepting this free gift.

People want what they think is the easy ‘no strings’ way of having something for nothing…the car on the side of the road waiting to be stolen.

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

People are calling themselves Christians having done nothing to actually ‘become’ a Christian, effectually stealing the car on the side of the road when they could have accepted Christ as Savior and had that brand new car for having just accepted it.

Take the stolen car back to who it belongs and accept the keys to the brand new car…I promise you that this new car will take you to where you need to go – ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Rom 3:23).

Are you ready for a real heart change? Are you tired of driving the stolen car?

Accept the keys – ask Jesus into your heart, ‘But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.’

The Spirit-filled Christian & Church

People seek to be complete as a person, a parent, an employee, a citizen, etc. – but do we seek to be a complete Christian and Church?

“If you then, being evil [original sin], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those [His children] who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an interesting thing in the Church today, mostly because a whole lot of Christians have no idea what the Baptism is or have been taught to ignore it because their salvation does not depend on the Baptism. This is partially true, BUT if you had the opportunity to be better and fulfilled and complete, wouldn’t you want that? And if the Pulpit does not teach this, how can you know?

“He [Paul] said to them [Disciples in Christ], “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19:2)

Just as in the Church today, the Apostle Paul sensed a deficiency, or better said, a lack of knowledge pertaining to not just being baptized in the Holy Spirit but who He is and His POWER. The people Paul is addressing are disciples in Christ but were not taught the fullness of what they can or should be as Christians:

Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper [Holy Spirit], that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive [without knowing Christ as Savior], because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18)

Some would suggest that the scripture referenced previously in Acts 19:2 means that to be saved you must be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), as the Apostolic sect maintains. Others will say that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not for today….if that were true, why then would Christ’s last words before he was taken up, be:

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem [keep in prayer and supplication], but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5)

AND: “For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39)

The Greatest Gift: We cannot repay the debt for what Christ did for us, and in spite of that, Jesus gives us the Gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and we don’t accept it or seek it? How He must grieve our disobedience and lack of faith besides the reluctance of fulfilling what He has for us. However, even those that are baptized in the Holy Spirit – spirit filled Christians – have one more step to take, one that is seldom thought of…and that one step is SO important to maintain a Christian’s walk:

“Though I [Paul] speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not LOVE, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, BUT HAVE NOT LOVE, I AM NOTHING.” (1Corinthians 13:1-2)

We can’t keep glossing over the fundamentals of Christianity 101 BECAUSE we are Spirit-filled: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing,” (1Corinthians 13:3). When the Apostle Paul spoke this, he was a Spirit Filled Christian that had to learn to LOVE just as we do. The order is this:

  1. Paul was a sinner
  2. Paul had to be born-again
  3. Paul needed to be Baptized in the Holy Spirit
  4. Paul realized he needed to learn to LOVE both the brethren AND the unsaved
  5. Paul preached as Christ commanded (Mark 16:15).

 

As you can see, just as Paul, we have to follow the same order or we cannot be effective as Christians, Ministers, Preachers and Pastors.

How can I get this precious Gift? Seek for it in prayer and supplication, “And when Paul [the Apostle] had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)

SUMMARY: Pastors and Preachers that are preaching only part of the Bible are not going to affect the Body of Christ as a whole body. The body has many members as noted in 1Corinthians 12:12-31, and every member has a 1)function, 2)needs Christ as their Savior AND 3)the Baptism of the Holy Spirit so that the Nine Gifts (1Cor 12:8-11) of the Spirit can work and flow FREELY…Paul said that he would not have us ignorant! But ignorance of what, who and how the Holy Spirit works is prevalent in the Modern Church even though the Bible says otherwise which can border on being blasphemous. The Church today is much like the lame man at the Gate called Beautiful (Acts 3:2-11); expecting alms but nothing to show for it.

 

*Notes in [ ] and emphasis in bold and italics are mine.

The JUST shall live by FAITH, or Happy Reformation Day!

What the heck does that title mean, you say…let me explain. I have never said I was not an Evangelical Born-Again Spirit-Filled Bible-believing Christian even though I share the prolife circle with Catholics and Protestants. But there is one thing I cannot let go or deviate from: The Word of God.

Yesterday was ‘Reformation Day’, the day when Martin Luther saw that the ‘just shall live by Faith’. And while that may not mean much to most, it is the basis for Evangelical Christianity [the Doctrine of the Bible] because it points to what Christ did at the Cross instead of trusting in organized religion and its man-appointed leaders. I know this does not bode well with my Catholic, Protestant or even some wayward Evangelical friends and family, but the Word of God supersedes anything that man says or does.

This is why there is such a thing as ‘Nondenominational Christian’. While organized religion thinks we run with scissors, I assure you that if one reads and understands the Canon of Scripture in the intent it was written [from the original texts of Hebrew & Greek] and understands that it is THE inspired Word of God without the opinion of man, you would see that Nondenoms are actually ON the Roman Road by way of His leading.

Let me get back to why I write this. In my prolife ministry circle, I hold my doctrinal truths to be Holy Spirit inspired and keep to my Nondenominationalism, regardless of anything. However, there are times when in the course of prolife meetings and rallies, my patience is stretched with organized religion’s (which is dominate in the prolife circle) doctrinal differences from the Cross of Christ. Yesterday was such a day. Yes, someone poked the bear and I’d bet the farm it was on purpose. Actually, I should take that as a compliment. Besides stretching my patience, it also stretches my ability to understand and appreciate God’s Word.

While Martin Luther was not a perfect man nor lived a perfect life, he did do this one thing: caused division from the Catholic Church of the day and showed that Christians needed to put their Faith in Jesus Christ alone and not organized religion or man. We needed a Saviour, not a figurehead, general superintendent, presiding bishop, general overseer, general conference, self-appointed prophet & apostles or even the Pope: ‘The just shall live by Faith’. [Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:7, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38]

JESUS SAID: ‘Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division’ [Luke 12:51] AND ‘Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword’ [Matthew 10:34].

We forget that organized religion killed Jesus on that day, and most certainly do not read the entire Bible to see what Christ himself said and did. If organized religion says they will decipher scripture for you, run FAST. Asking an opinion is one thing, but someone dictating from opinion of an organization is frightening. However, I do like sharing ideas about Scripture; it makes for great conversation BUT getting away from the Finished Work of Christ can change your Eternal destination. Always back up what you say with Scripture because if you don’t, then the point is moot.

‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.’ [John 5:24]

In the Heart of the Christian

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

I wish you could see inside my heart. But who can know it? How would you know it? Do you see joy or sorrow?

I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:10

I wish I could explain the warmth in my heart. I wish I knew how I can possibly explain its contents so that you can understand. The very breath of the Lord is within me.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

All day we listen to the radio and television, tap away on the computer. We listen to the opinions of others. We walk against the wind; our thoughts are like a swirling squall of uncertainty.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

Our heart is meant to encapsulate God within it; to shield us from a cold, evil world. God protects our hearts with His Word.

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:18-19

In the heart of the Christian, you should see God.

Precious Christian, be still and listen to God. He wishes to speak to you about all the things He wants to be made known to you.

 

As I went down to the River to pray

As I went down in the river to pray, Studying about that good old way. And who shall wear the starry crown? Good Lord, show me the way.

We decided to go swimming today at a public ‘beach’ at a local lake early this morning. We like to get there early so that we can leave by the time the ‘bar crowd’ shows up, around 1pm-ish. We don’t like watching people drink alcohol and doing questionable things. But it’s nice to have it all to yourself for a while. About an hour and a half later, an Islamic family came. Interestingly, as the matron wore her head-to-toe burka in 90 degree heat, another woman wore a full head garment and a costume of long pants and long sleeves in all black to swim in – while her little 2-3 year old daughter wore a bikini. Her husband wore just swim trunks, of course.

O sisters let’s go down, Let’s go down, come on down, O sisters let’s go down, Down in the river to pray. 

About 15 minutes later, 40-50 people were making their way single file from the parking lot to the beach, walking within a couple of feet of the Islamic family. Most of them appeared to be Hispanic and were wearing clothes not meant for the beach. Their little children were with them and everyone seemed very focused; they didn’t seem the least bit deterred, as if no one else was there. It was like they were on a mission of some kind. It was hard to tell what was going on from where I was, which was at least 100 feet away. My husband walked over to see what was going on. In my mind I thought this just might be of God.

As I went down in the river to pray, Studying about that good old way. And who shall wear the robe and crown? Good Lord, show me the way.

It was remarkable what we saw. I knew in my heart what it might be – from that distance away I waited for my husband to gesture what was going on before I went over there. He turned to look at me and his arms were in the air praising God. I was right…it was a baptism service.

O brothers let’s go down, Let’s go down, come on down, Come on brothers let’s go down, Down in the river to pray.

 While others looked on in awe, the Islamic family seemed a bit confused at first. It didn’t take long at all for them to be disgusted and revolted by this wonderful spectacle that was going on. You could feel the hatred from them. From what I could see, two men and a woman were baptized in the warm lake water for everyone to witness. What a sweet savor in the nostrils of God.

When we first got there this morning, we wondered what it would be like if we had church there…and church showed up.

God is in control.