Thursday, August 25, 2016

SHOULD WE PRAY FOR.....THOSE WHO HATE US?

27 But to those of you who will listen, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.....(Luke 6:27-29)
The Christian life is not the way of the world. In fact, God Himself, Abba Father said so in Isaiah 55:8. Thank God, for that ….that His way of thinking, doing things and dealing with matters concerning humanity is not the corrupt, narrow-minded and incorrect thinking of all mankind. By the way, thank the Good Lord also for what He has done. If it were not for His Grace, Mercy and Longsuffering and patience with us, no one on this planet would make it to adulthood. He is a good, good Father.

It is this mindset, of a loving patient Father, which allows each of us who were perishing in our sins to be even alive to be forgiven, if we ask Jesus to be the Lord and Master of our lives and to forgive of all our sins. There is a reason He said immediately in Mark 1:15: “The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel”.

This shows us the urgency of our redemption, since we who are saved can grasp this bold truth. It is this positional truth which gives us the latitude to be magnanimous towards those who hate us, who will always hate us and who will never come to faith and repentance as we have.  We are heirs of a Kingdom of the One Who forgave us and then commands us to pray for our enemies.

There are those who will never like us on a personal level and as human beings. There are those who offend us in the world of the corrupt culture; media; academia and political leadership. We are called to pray for them, even those who promote abortion and every abhorrent anti-God thing out there. We are in the age where every man does what is right in their own eyes. God will deal with those things and its by-product. Our job is to pray for them especially for those who harm us.

It is not easy, to be perfectly honest. I had one of my supervisors who hated me for almost a decade. This person hated how I looked, the color of my skin, my wife and my lifestyle.  I had to put up with blood-curdling rants with eyes building and spittle flying and not respond with a single word of anger or self-defense. Instead I prayed this person constantly into the most capable Hands of the Lord. The end result of all of this, turned out to be a rare positive. The super used to asked me to pray for her family whenever there was an emergency. She ended up getting saved after her husband passed away and is now a regular church goer. This is a rare occurrence resulting from “praying for those who hate you”. A broken widow coming to the Lord after a  life of hate and bitterness is a rare and wonderful thing. However it is not so for the majority. They perish in their sin and apparently seem to prefer this, rather than submit to the Lord of creation.

What is beneficial to the Christian is this – obey the Lord and pray for those who hate us. We do so not because we want “burning coals" on their heads,  but because He says so and we want to be obedient. No matter how disgusting and evil those who have wronged us may be, when we pray for those kinds of people, we are being Christ –like just like our Lord Who looked down from the Cross and said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Our enemies know what they’re doing….but so does God and unless they eventually find His forgiveness and grace, they will have been storing up wrath for themselves, for a Day to come, while we remain above the fray, safe in the Arms of our God.

Father, in the Mighty Name of Jesus, help us to see beyond the immediate, even the hurt and pain caused by those who despise us, destroy us, degrade and deny us. Give us the wisdom to know that it is better to follow Your Word and Your counsel completely and to pray for the salvation and forgiveness of those who have done us wrong,  no matter what they have done. 


We pray that by doing so, You will give us a true peace which passeth ALL understanding and bring us to a place where we can rest under the shadow of Your wings, knowing that our position in You is not only secure, but that You, in Your Power, Might and Sovereignty – have this situation under control. We can rest in this, my God and my King. Thank You. We bless and praise Your Holy Name and ask for the strength and courage and yes, unconditional love to love like You love us, so that many will see, including our enemies and come to the Knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and it is in His Name, we pray, amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

SHOULD WE PRAY FOR.....WEALTH?

"For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" 1 Timothy 6:10
There is no one in this world who wants to be destitute, flat broke or maxed out with bills and stress. No, not one. In this lifetime, no matter which system of government  under which a person lives around the world, we need money to survive. Money is the currency (so to speak) that fuels an economy based on the multiplier effect created by God. If you have ever studied how economies, communities and even countries grow with a sane and balanced mind, it will established economies and markets to work. 

This is different than the pursuit of wealth for wealth’s sake, for which many have lost their minds, sold their souls, destroyed their families and even worse – damaged their testimony about the Goodness, Greatness and Holiness of God. The Bible tells us that the “LOVE  of money is the root of all evil”. NOT money in itself. It is like the age old debate on guns.  A firearm is a dormant weapon. A car is a machine on four wheels and a fighter jet is just a fast plane until a human being gets behind it and sends it into operation.

There are examples of people in the Bible and over the years who were just plain greedy and short-sighted in their pursuit of temporal and temporary wealth over what matters most – true riches in heaven. Nabal is a good example of a fat, disgusting man of greed, whose wealth was more important to him than sharing even a morsel of food to King David, who was on the run at the time from Saul. (Click this sentence to read full account of Nabal).

Then there was the man who desired to pursue wealth and business outside the will of God, and God replied to him "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'" (Luke 12:20). James warns us to be careful of this sort of conduct, in the pursuit and even our prayers for wealth, outside of the Will of God. James says: "You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:15)

Neither Jesus nor the Bible says that being financially secure, having money, or even money itself was a bad thing.  God tells us in His scriptures that it is the LOVE of money which is the root of all evil. Jesus created a gold coin in a fish’s mouth so that Peter could pay taxes for both him and Jesus. Jesus Himself proved the importance of Wisdom and Stewardship in personal financial management when He presented the importance of responsibility being fully equipped to start, finance and complete a construction job here in 

So, God’s economy is practical, honorable and sensible. He will provide for us to build that deck to have our children’s friends over so they’re not going off in strange places to be unaccountable. He will provide the mortgage financing for a new couple to buy their first starter home or  good working automobile, for us to get to work. This is how our God rolls. He is Yahweh Jireh – our God Who supplies all our needs- housing, food, transport and clothing.

So should we pray to be wealthy – yes – but only in Godly wisdom. Godly wisdom will then allow us to approach Almighty God in the proper manner to pray for the financial means to live, pay bills and even have enough left over for recreation and to help others.

Heavenly Father You have given us riches whose currency cannot be measured in terms of this present life, but whose value extend way beyond into Eternity. Thank You for the Gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ the Messiah, Who became poor that we may become rich and this is the wealth we desire. This is the treasure which is more worthy and more lasting than any flim flam jam this dying age could offer. Thank You for not just giving us our daily bread, clothing, transport, homes, cars, vacations, jobs, health care and more but for blessing us, Your ungrateful people, more than we deserve. You even bless those who hate You without a cause. Even though they belong to their father the devil, You provide the same blessings, opportunity, good healthy and food for them as well as for Your eternal children.

So now, oh Lord, instead of praying for more and more possessions in this world, we pray that if it is Thy will to bless us more, in a certain way, may the overflow be used for the furtherance of Thy Kingdom, which is coming soon and whose ruler is Jesus. May the wealth which is provided, be used as a means to an end for provision to bring many to repentance and to the Knowledge of You - the One True God in Heaven, through Jesus Christ the King of all and Ruler and owner of all, amen and amen and amen.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

BEN-HUR 2016 ....#FAST-PACED, #AUTHENTIC, #GRITTY ( MOVIE REVIEW)

THIS REVIEW IS WRITTEN BY A TICKET-PURCHASING MOVIE-GOER
Having anticipated the MGM big studio $100 million production of the Lew Wallace classic "Ben-
hur" all summer, it was quite an experience watching it in 3D on opening weekend at an AMC theater. This comes amid all kinds of doom and gloom estimates from the mainstream entertainment press as to the earning capacity of this remake of the Charlton Heston-powered 1959 classic.

As always, most of us in the evangelical Christian community with our own marketing culture, never pay attention to what the mainline media and its cultural offshoots say. In the past few years, atheists in Hollywood have tried to give us mega-productions like "Noah" and "Exodus", with screenplays written and performed by people who literally hate and do not believe in God. People who read the Bible obviously know when we are being conned. Hence, we do not support that stuff.

This is NOT the case with Ben-hur and therefore, slow beginnings do not necessarily mean box office disasters. Christians have showed that Word of Mouth in the Evangelical community means more than what's in the Hollywood Reporter or Entertainment Tonight, or today or whatever. It has been proven it with Passion of the Christ; Courageous; War Room and God's Not Dead. Therefore, as a ticket-buying viewer,  there is no pressure but objectivity to see if the great Mark Burnett and his producer wife Roma Downey (The Bible; Son of God etc.) did as great a job as hands on Christian producers in the 2016 remake of Ben-hur.

Right off the bat here is what is obvious to people who are immersed in the text, flavor and culture of the Bible:
        - The 2016 Ben-hur (with Jack Huston as Judah Ben-hur) appears on screen in all the color and feel of First century Jerusalem with it's location as a walled city and ancient homes hewed out of a craftsmanship which stands the time better than anything made today.  The producers created authenticity of location (filmed in Italy) so immediate that the viewer is transported into a land we only read about in the Bible and see in those grainy Bible stories late on Sunday nights on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network).
        - Because of the authentic backdrop, costuming and flavoring even down to the marketing of produce in the markets, there is a grittiness which tells me, as a viewer that this is indeed Bible times! We know from Scripture that there were those in the higher ups in Jerusalem, from the princes to the priests, who were more than peaceful and friendly to the occupying brutal Romans. It was from a wealthy princely family like this, from whence the movie's hero Judah Ben-hur comes. The contrast between his happy and well-fed family and the poor majority out there, confused by the Jewish zealots (where Judas the betrayer came from) could not be more evidence of the grit and grime of an occupied, oppressed people.
        - The pace is fast. From the opening scene of  Ben-hur and his Roman, former orphan half-brother Messala to the closing race, the two hours and 15 minutes of movie fly by so quickly, you do not need that $20 caffeinated soda to keep your eyes open! The chariot race is one of the best and most professionally filmed piece of camera work I have ever seen. Seeing it in 3D even makes it more thrilling!
What distinguishes this movie from its 1959 version is that Burnett and Downey had tremendous
influence on the screenplay. We know that Ben-hur is a fictional character created by Lew Wallace, the great Union Civil War General who wrote Ben-hur in1880 while searching for his own faith. What that search led him to was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who is the unspoken backdrop for this entire movie. In the 1959 version, Jesus was off in the background making a cameo appearance. In the 2016 version, He IS there first as a nondescript yet powerful carpenter....then a few more times during the 135 minute movie leading up to the final testimonial by the Morgan Freeman character who recited  2 Timothy 4:7.

While He is not the lead character in this film, Jesus' Words, teaching and influence undergird the entire message. All the talk of love, forgiveness, grace and mercy point to only One Person. The declaration by the Pontius Pilate character, after he observed the peacefully wise Jesus stop the stoning of a man, that "Jesus is more dangerous than all the zealots (combined)" is both priceless and true! Finally the closing scenes where miracles, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation are played out seamlessly, reflect the Savior's Message with simplicity and peace, without becoming soapy.

This may not have the same star quality of say the 1959 Heston epic, but it has more Gospel and Bible in it.  A new Christian-based movie release cannot be judged by its first weekends box offices, because the word takes a few weeks to go through the small groups, church social media and family connections or even little people like me, writing about it, before it has any noticeable impact.

Ben-hur is the story of Prince Judah Ben-hur of Jerusalem, who is unfortunately falsely accused by his adopted half-brother Messala, of treason against Roman in the Jerusalem of Jesus' time. His entire family is ruined as Ben-hur is sentenced to be a galley slave in Roman ship for the rest of his life. Freed during a sea battle with the Greeks, Ben-hur, full of hate and vengeance lands close to Judah's Meditterean coast where he runs into the Morgan Freeman wise old character, Ilderim. Given his skill with horses and Ilderim's ways of the world, knowing how to buy off Romans, Judah Ben-hur gets into the Chariot Race of all film history, which buys his freedom.  As a layman, I still give it Five Stars, for quality writing, acting, casting and cinematography.
(All photos and trailer credits: GOOGLE, YouTube)

SHOULD WE PRAY FOR.....A SPOUSE? ( NEW SERIES)

1. Genesis 2:18 "And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 
2. Ruth 1:9a "The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” (The prayer of Naomi on behalf of her widowed daughter-in-laws Ruth and Orpah).
There are some things where we need to use experience, guided by wisdom  or self-interest as well as just plain common-sense.  For instance, we know that if we get that second huge helping of spaghetti and meatballs, we will bloat up and our clothes will become uncomfortable.  But there are some really important decisions in life for which we do need divine guidance.  Those who do not believe in God will consult their “inner person” or a close friend, who knows as much about the future than some psychic conman. We, who belong to Christ, pray to God. We pray.

We pray to God, not just for an answer to a specific question, dilemma or proposal, but we also pray for clarity of thinking. Thinking biblically will always lead to common sense solutions and accurate decisions. The first issue we plan to examine here,  is very crucial to anyone who has contemplated marriage. The burning question for any person, young or older is “am I about to marry the right person?” or better yet “is he or she THE ONE?”

The very first recorded instance of a person asking God for a spouse and the Lord provided the right one is the account of Abraham’s son, Isaac. Here is what the Lord Himself said occurred, from Genesis 24:12-14a  12 Then he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac". 

So prayed, so answered as the Lord lined up the entire divine appointment. Isaac then married this same young woman - Rebekah - from whom the Lord brought forth Jacob and Esau. Jacob became Israel.

But what about us 4000 years after Isaac and the Old Testament?  Does that work? Can we or SHOULD we still pray for God to give us the right spouse?  The answer is YES….from firsthand experience. After a visit with my future fiancĂ©e in 1988, I felt the huge tug in both the pit of my stomach and my heart that something could be amiss.  I then proceeded to pray daily for hours for about six weeks straight looking up into the cold winter sky, from my favorite park bench on the end of a frozen lake.  
There comes a point in every person’s life when, if you are thinking right, questions need to be answered as to the direction a certain potential relationship should be going.  When that point is reached, only God can provide clear and accurate guidance. He is the Only Being in any universe Who can see the end from the beginning and thus, why shouldn’t we pray to Him?

In my case, the answer came after 6-7 weeks of intense prayer for hours on end.  Most times, God uses people to give answers to prayers.  The answer to my prayer came in the form of a phone call, just about the time I was close to being late for the subway downtown to work which floored me with what God ordained.  Arriving late to work that morning was suddenly not as important as what I was hearing at the other end of the phone. Wasting no time, I proposed over the telephone and we have been married going on 28 years. Yes, God does answer prayer for a prospective spouse, if this person you are praying for and about, lines up with His Perfect Will. The opposite is also true. If you remain completely submitted to the will of God and surrender the decision to Him, He WILL show you if this person is NOT the one He has in mind for you! The choice is then with you to trust and obey, or to go your own way

Oh kind gracious and most merciful God, Giver of Life and Creator of all thing, I thank You and am so humbled, grateful and amazed that You, the God of the Universe would even listen when I call, I prayer, even pain and always in supplication. My God and my Father, You know what we need before we even ask and You see everything – not just the end from the beginning, but everything in between and all the variables which affect our lives and more. Lord, knowing all this, I trust You fully with my life, surrender to Your Lordship and Sovereignty over my life and accept the choice which You have ordained as far as the special person, with whom I will spend the rest of my days, until You call me home. Thank You, oh God, that You have ordained marriage in Genesis 2:24 as a reflection of the Messiah Jesus’ relationship to those whom He calls the church. You ordained marriage as the nucleus of the family from creation until the End of the Age. We graciously thank You for that and for giving us families and societal systems, throughout all time, which will stand the test of time in the Age to come. We love, praise, magnify and adore Your precious and Holy Name, in the Name above ALL the other names, we pray. Amen

Monday, August 15, 2016

PRAY FOR .....THOSE IN AUTHORITY

1First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men 2for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. 3This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
It is getting more and more difficult to pray for those in authority in governments of all levels, due to the condition of the world. Most of these institutions run by man have become not just cesspools of corruption and incompetence, but act contrary to the wishes of those who elected them. In places huge land masses like Asia and the Middle East where hundreds of millions of Christians are persecuted, it is even harder to pray for those in authority as commanded above in Scripture. Yet, I suspect that these wonderful persecuted saints pray even more for their persecutors than we would do in the west. In fact, I heard that they have, after listening to some of their missionaries who travel to the west.

So how does a Christian, in these uncertain times, balance belief in the Pure Word of Jesus Christ and in the hard truths of His Teaching against the Judges 6 environment we see today where “everyone does what is right in their own eyes”? How does a committed and passionate for the real things of the Kingdom even attempt to survive joyfully when the once-Christian west is now upending everything that is good, pure and wholesome and calling it normal? How do we walk this out when up is down and down is up? 

Well, we do what we are supposed to do – pray for those in authority.  Many are tempted to pray Psalm 109:8 “may their days is office be short and another take their place”. This is not what we should be doing no matter how bad a certain leader is. What we should be doing is lifting up leaders, rulers, governors, mayors, congressmen and presidents and prime ministers to the Lord as much as possible. We should do this in keeping with Scripture. Should we agree with a political leader who supports unfettered abortion or teaching ungodly things to little children in school? Absolutely not. We cannot change the hearts of those who have different theologies and philosophies than us, only the Real God can so do. What we do is pray for that….such as “Lord, we pray for Leader XYZ and lift him/her up to You in prayer as well as their families. I pray that You continue to watch over them personally and grant them Godly wisdom and discernment in their daily duties. Lord we pray for their staff and advisors that good counsel is offered from them, even if they are ignored. They will all be accountable for their decisions before You, oh Lord, so we pray that they listen to wisdom and even spiritual advisors, if they have any.

Lord we know and it is obvious that almost every decision on a national level is not in accordance with Your Word. We know that almost no one, except a few state governors, mayors and people’s representatives even follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of their Lives. We know that ungodly decisions are put into law which force Your people to live under ungodly judicial decisions. We know that laws have caused more lives to be lost to abortion than Hitler, Mao and Stalin combined, but we also pray for those who suffer under unjust and unrighteous laws, having to violate the Word of God to obey these laws. We pray for a change of hearts in those people who cause this persecution that they will see the error of their ways and turn to You in repentance. 

Lord we know the Heart of the King or leader or president and prime minister is in Your Hands….that You alone ordain governments. We also know that where there are free and fair elections, most times the people choose people who reject You, just as Israel chose a king over You and the Prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 8:6-8).  Keep us focused on what Your Word commands so that we do not violate Your statutes and thus sin, just like those who are disobeying You. Until the time You bring in the Millennial and Eternal Governments with King Jesus as the Commander in Chief forever, help us to continue to pray for ALL in Authority, especially in these difficult times.

We pray for ALL Law enforcement who are under duress these days. We pray for their safety and their jobs and their return to their families, safe and sound at the end of every work day.
We pray for border agents charged with keeping evil elements out and guarding each nation’s sovereignty and for the thankless job they do. Watch over their families and communities.
We pray for all local officials, from the lowest elected official to mayors, state reps and governors of all states everywhere.
We pray for all national leaders and those running for elected office that their speech will be tempered with salt and their reflect the peace and joy of the Lord.
We pray for those who protect the country – the soldiers and their families and those who have command over them on the ground that protection of lives will be key in their portfolio.

Thank You Lord, for allowing us to pray for all these folks and our communities and we do so gladly that it will go well with us, in accordance to Thy Holy and Precious Word, in the Mighty and Sovereign Lord of the Universe – Jesus Christ, in His Name amen.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

PRAY FOR .....OTHERS

1. Job 42: 7-8: And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.
2. 1 Timothy 2:1-2: Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions,and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
One of the greatest honors and privileges in life is to be asked to pray for someone.  This discussion is not about the usual “thoughts and prayers” we hear from the secular world, which is neither thinking or praying to the only Real God in Heaven – Yahweh – Who only listens to the prayers of those who are saved. What we are called to is an intentional and meaningful lifestyle of intercession or praying on behalf of others.

Two verses are selected here for a reason. First, the account of God rebuking Job’s friends in Job 42:7-8 shows that God Himself commanding His flawed servant Job to pray for this three annoying friends (Eliphaz, Bildad and Elihu) so He (God) would not punish them for not just incorrect theology, but for all the incorrect things they kept attributing to God.
The lesson we need to take from this, can be summed up with the following:
-          God places such a high priority on prayer for others that He intervene to prevent three obvious sinners from certain extreme discipline, which believers sometimes face.
-          God uses even flawed people, who hold incorrect views at time. Job himself said he knew OF God, but did not KNOW Him (Job 42:5-6)…as in have a relationship with the Father, until he was quizzed by Yahweh in Job chapters 38-41. However, while he said some incorrect things about the attributes of God, Job remained faithful . He refused to curse God “and die”, as his own wife told him to and he made a statement which still rings over the millennia. In his distress, Job said about this dire health and personal tragedy “though He slay me, I will trust in Him”!(Job 13:15)….and the immortal lines which became a great worship song “I  know that my Redeemerlives”. God loved this faithful man, warts and all,  just as He loves us in our sad estate…and God made him  (Job) an intercessor to pray for the well-being of others. Job is our example of the saint who perseveres to the end, against all odds and ends up being the go-to-guy when the Lord needs a man (or woman or child) to step up and prayer for somebody else. We should go and do likewise.

The second chosen verse above “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings (or praise reports) be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1) is very clear and does not need more analysis. This exhortation comes from the Apostle Paul who was personally appointed by Jesus to take the Good News, the Truth and the Word of Life to the rest of the world outside Jerusalem.  His words, teachings and lectures were already considered to be Scripture by the time Peter was writing His books (1 and 2 Peter). Peter explicitly spoke of this in 2 Peter  3:16. So it would be very wise for Christians to listen, read and believe EVERYTHING the Apostle Paul believes. Therefore what we glean from this is that one of the duties of the Christian – is to pray for others! This is one duty we should never shy away from....so let us now pray:


Our Great Father and God in Heaven,  we are so stunned, humbled, privileged and grateful that You, the Ancient of Days, would call even the most lowly like us, to pray for Your saints. What an amazing thing and paradigm to be called one of the intercessors You would listen to, just as You listed to Job when You called on him to pray for his three wayward friends (in that entire book).  Lord, help us to stay focused on the meaningful things of life, which can only be found in  Your Word of Truth; help us to avoid sin and temptation that we may be able to approach Your Holy Altar with the critical requests of others that we may not be disqualified in our prayers, but be heard by You, for the benefit of others. 

Keep us from the evil one. Keep us from all distractions in this convoluted daily noise and corruption of a perishing world. Keep us from our own selves and our tendencies to go off on rabbit trails and being lost in the weeds, sometimes even when we are praying, so that the wiles of the evil one and the Flesh will not keep us from our appointed time with You. Lord may all that we do be for both Your Glory and benefit of others.  

We can live in this world if You sanctify us in Your Truth and keep us from ourselves. We need You Father because we are our own worst enemy. The evil one has no hold on us if we don’t give him an opening. So help us to help others and by that, ourselves remain fixed on the straight and narrow and by doing so, bring Glory to Your Holy and Mighty Name, and we pray all of this in the Name that is above ALL the other names – Jesus the Messiah, amen.

Friday, August 12, 2016

PRAY FOR.....GREATER FAITH

21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe;help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21-24)
Can a believer NOT believe? Sure we can. It’s the frail human nature, which though replaced as a perishing soul at regeneration (or born-again) still continues to live in a mortal body, in a corrupt and evil world. But it is more than just our present temporary environment in this life.  We don’t believe completely sometimes because we just don’t know! We do not know because we do not read His Word and we are not led to read His Words because of a stunning lack of discipleship. We have a lack of the latter because we don’t know His Power and His Presence completely in our lives.

We do the same thing to Jesus and our Heavenly Father, which this father of the demon-possessed boy did in the verses above.  To wit, he actually said to Jesus (as translated into modern English in the New Living Translation) “have mercy on us  and help us IF YOU CAN”! Should we then be surprised when Jesus’ immediate response is “What do you mean, ‘IF I CAN’?” (verse 23a,  Mark chapter 9).

And we do the same thing: we approach God in prayer with our most serious needs, lay them before Him, then pick them right back up and go back to our corners with them. Then we call up all friends and family asking them to pray for us.  All along, Jesus stands with His Arms wide open waiting for His children to come to Him.  Is the Arm of the Lord too short?  Not it is not. He is our Prophet – He orders and ordains our past, present and future. He is our High Priest Who prays and intercedes for this who are His, and lifts us up in prayer to the Father when we ask in Faith!

Look at what Jesus said to the boy’s father here again in Mark 9:23b “anything is possible for he who believes” (NLT)! The response from the father is just so great. He has enough faith to believe Jesus can heal his son, but it appears to be the kind of faith which was just enough to look at the Lord as a “drive-up clinic”….without knowing Who Jesus really is! Thus when the boy’s father said “Lord, I believe, help my  unbelief”, he is asking for such a bump up in the measure of Faith he currently possessed that we, in this century 2000 years later, need to sit up and take notice.  

No matter how spiritually mature we think we are, we must always be pressing into and on to our higher calling in Christ. We can never know even 10% of what we should know. In fact,  after we’ve been in heaven there for 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we will not know half of Who the Lord is. This is why we have Eternity. But for this current life, it behooves us to be humble enough to realize we are still not as strong in our Faith as we should be, could be or would be. So why not ask  as this man did of Jesus: “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” There is no simpler expression of Faith in God than this – simple, to the point, with full clarity in recognition of the paucity of our frailty before the Almighty!

Father in the Mighty and strong Name of Jesus, I believe, I trust, I have faith….but not enough.  Help me to understand the breadth and width and depth of the great mystery of our Faith, so that I may begin to comprehend just how great a God You are, Lord. Assist us in acquiring a modicum of supernatural Faith which is way beyond what is common.  Father, many have accepted You as Lord and Master of our lives, yet we do now know, nor do some even venture to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of just Who You really are beyond the baseline of the Christian Faith. Lord, we want more. 

We want to know more of You, see more of You, be more in Your Presence. We want to desire to walk fully in the knowledge of the Holy and travel in the paths of Your Righteousness, but first oh God, give us the capacity to dispatch with our incorrect notions. 

These wrong assertions about You, have come from a lifetime of traveling in the wisdom of the world or in the works of Christian authors and teachers who do not fully grasp the Power and Position You have always occupied at the Throne Room of all Time in the Universe. Lord as we get rid of our error, replace with Truth and Revelation, as much as we can handle, process and then walk out in our daily lives, helping as many as we can to come to that same place of knowing the Real God and Your amazing wonderful self.  Lord, we believe….take away any unbelief and replace it with more of You, in Jesus all Wise and Power Name, amen

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

PRAY FOR.....HEALING

Heal me and  I shall be healed. Save me and I shall be saved. For You are my praise (Jeremiah 17:14)
Psalm 103:1 exhorts us to “bless the Lord, oh my soul” (and yours) and the Word of God then proceeds to tell us why – “Who heals all our diseases” and a long list of other blessings. In another place, the Word tell us that “many are the afflictions of the righteous (we who are being saved), but the Lord delivers from them all”.

So we see our Heavenly Father Who heals. He is the Great Physician Who has our next breath in the Palm of His Hands. Therefore it is incumbent upon  us to pray to Him for our health and healing when we hurt and are in distress. Not just that, there is no greater honor than to be called upon and more importantly, to be relied on as a true prayer warrior who would intercede for another in distress.

Now, should we pray for ourselves when we are not feeling well or there is a question  mark on our weight; our blood pressure or even a pain in our hands and feet?  Do not be like King Asa, of whom the Bible made a point of showing as a man of so much false pride about himself and the secular people around him, that he would rather die than ask the Lord for help! Here is the account from 2 Chronicles 16:12

This is serious and stunning example for us who call ourselves Christians. King Asa is credited with not just allowing worship of the One True God of Heaven to return to the Kingdom of Judah, but he even got rid of his own grandmother who bowed down to the perverted Asherah poles – a foul practice before our Holy God.  (See 2 Chronicles 15). Verse 17b of that chapter tells us that “Asa’s heart remained completely faithful throughout his entire life”…..that is….until the end when he not only made a treaty with a pagan king to defend Jerusalem and its surroundings, instead of praying for God’s protection as he always did, but he went further. When (as we see in 2 Chronicles 16:12),  he developed a serious foot disease, Asa sought not the Lord, as his predecessor Hezekiah did for healing, but his own doctors.  This led to his death.

Lessons to be learned from Asa’s Folly:
-          God is always there and He is a good, good God.
-          We are frail, weak and completely dependent on Him for our very breath.
-          Past successes do not guarantee present victories. Asa was 100% faithful to God not just that – he acted powerfully on reform his country. But in his later prideful state, he turned and looked inward not upward to the God Who saves and wins every battle He steps into.
-          We have access to the One Who heals, let nothing keep us from Him, from asking Him, from laying our case for healing

Dear Most Holy and Heavenly Father, thank You for caring for weak sinners such as we are. We are nothing without You. We have nothing  without You. We have no breath, life, health or semblance of a life without You and in no way, can we survive without You! Who among us can repay anything You do for us, Lord? You are the God Who heals us when we hurt; cures our colds; comforts us in our pain and restores, redeems and regenerates our tired souls when we are in despair.  Lord help us in our despair. Release us in our pain.  

We pray against the spirit of affliction and any infection which inhabit the body to bring us low. We pray that though we may suffer for a season and that weeping may endure for a night, that Your joy, Your peace, Your release cometh in the morning. Help us to persevere in sickness and to travail and triumph in prayer through it all, oh God. Thank You dear kind, gracious and most merciful Father, in Jesus’ Strong and Mighty Name, the Name of Yahweh Rophe, amen .

Thursday, August 4, 2016

PRAY FOR.....PROTECTION

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
No one has to remind us that we are surrounded by evil. No one has to point out that the times are evil and the wicked rule the world.  We just have to wake up in the morning and walk out the front door. Evil is all around us, and for some, even in their own homes.  Idolatry is worse now than it was from the days of the Philistines and their monster god Dagon to Christians engaging in New Age activities or Eastern Mysticism. There is even an oxymoron called “Christian Yoga” (oxymoron because yoga is Hinduism with its gazillions of ‘gods’ and Christianity only has Yahweh, the Triune God of Heaven). So the existence of evil is something we will live with until the End of the Age, and the Return of Christ.

But God, knowing all of this, has already prepared the way for us to be able to handle and again – it comes back to Prayer.  There is no other way to communicate with our Heavenly Father than through prayer. Singing worship songs in an emotional way, going on retreats and meeting in small groups to talk out life’s problems and even bible reading are all good facets of the Christian life.  However,  if all of this is done without application and supplication we will be one deserted sad population.

The Truth is God has literally shown us in His Word how we are able to and have the right to pray for His protection. He says "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them" (Psalm 34:7). The more we know His Word, as given in the Bible, then spend time discerning and learning how to interpret and apply, the easier it becomes to believe His promise and claim them as our own. He Who says in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 that “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one”, will send His same angels to watch over us. (See video clip below for illustration).
Why are we able to do this? Because Scripture proves that “… are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). God has said and I believe it that He is “my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 4 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies (2 Samuel 22:3-4).

We pray thus: "Heavenly Father, we thank You that You send Your angels to guard over us so that we may not dash our feet against the sharp rocks and stumbling blocks out there. Thank You for keeping us from danger from things we never even saw or expected but Your Hands of protection covered us from danger.  

When Your Holy Spirit of Power directed us away from a certain area at the right time; when He kept us away from potentially bad situations and people; when He opened this door and shut that one, because it would have been detrimental for us to take what looked good at the time but was not from You; when Your Spirit guided us into the path of all Truth that we may not sin against You. When You and Your Holy Spirit from Heaven, Whom You embedded in my spirit kept us m from lust, evil and temptation that would have destroyed lives and families – when You did all that and more, Oh Great God of Heaven, Yahweh Shammah – You were there for us- THANK YOU! Thank You for Your Loving Arms of Protection. 

Thank You for fighting for us, for delivering us from all evil so that absolutely no weapon formed against us will prosper or even stand. Even the times You allowed us to go through deep dark and dangerous valleys, You were with us. We were never alone. So Father now, in complete gratitude we adore and worship Your Holy Name and pray that You will continue to go before us, to defeat the daily demons who threaten to depress/disgust and defeat us. Go before us, oh God and then spread Your Wings that not just us, but our families, loved ones and friends will be drawn under the Shadow of Your Mighty Countenance, in Jesus’ Strong and Mighty Name, Amen.