Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms (James 5:13b)
Most people I know only pray or ask for prayer in times of sickness, sadness and horrible tragedy. This is when all the calls for “thoughts and prayers” cometh forth. But do you know that God, our loving Heavenly Father, wishes to hear from us too when something good happens? There is nothing that happens to the believer which the Father hath not ordained. James says “every good gift  and every perfect gift is from above, and comes from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). This means “EVERY”.

The life we have, He gave it. The home we live in, He gave it. The spouse, children, parents and family we have, He gave it. The job, finances and automobiles we have, He gave. Our health, our joy, our peace of mind, our Salvation – all from Him. Why would we, therefore, not thank Him for any and all of this every single day?!

It is not the first time Scripture uses the word “cheerful”. When the Bible says “God loves a cheerful giver”, it means He loves someone who gives ungrudgingly, and  with a gracious attitude, or (attitude of gratitude).  The word also implies hilarity – jocularity and sheer joy which one is so filled with that it should burst forth to those around you, being grateful.

James not only brings up joy but directs us to the only true prayer book directly written by God – the Book of Psalms! Most of these psalms – all 150 of them – were written down by the great Biblical poet, King David but they emanated from the Spirit of God. This is so, for a reason – we are to pray them, learn them, sing them, read them, study them and simply  grow our faith through them.  A lot of modern contemporary worship singers like Third Day or Jeremy Camp have turned parts of psalms into amazing worship music. Third Day’s King of Glory is based on Psalm 24. But when James wrote this, all he had were the cantors in the Jerusalem Temple where Christians were not allowed (called “Followers of the Way” at that time). 

The closest you will ever come these days to what the psalms may have sounded like in Bible days can be listened to in these Messianic worship videos by Marty Goetz. Marty, like the Apostle Paul, was high up in Judaism as a Cantor, butwhen the Lord Jesus – Yeshua – saved him, Marty Goetz brought his brilliant talent, authentic synagogue background from the last 3500 years and his brilliant gift to singing Scripture.

Not all prayers are petitions asking something of our Great God in Heaven, through Jesus Christ. Some of them are designed to be just prayers of heartfelt praise and worship to our Creator and the King of the Universe!  Listen to part of Psalm 118 here, sung in original Hebrew, as recommended by James in Chapter 5, verse 13b. Some of what is being sung is from Psalm 118:25-26 "Save now, I pray, O Lord; O
 Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord....."

Thursday, December 24, 2015


The half-brother of the Lord Jesus – James the great winds up his five chapters of Instruction on Prayer with a huge punctuation mark.  The rapid fire teaching on corporate prayer is designed to build up the individual Christian’s prayer life by ordaining the proper role of corporate prayer, in the Body of Christ.  Here is the Power List for the Church of Prayer Concerns, which will survive  until Christ calls the Church home (the Rapture)”

- Hardship (Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray....James 5:13a)
- Happy (Verse 13b)
- Healing and Bodily Restoration (Verse 14-15)
- Confession of sin (Verse 16)
- Prayer for the Community…or nation (Verse17)

The good Lord addresses Hardship many different ways in Scripture. He does so for our edification, illumination, our application and then our that order. In this significant tutorial from the entire Book of James, we have an Apostle who knows precisely that of which he speaks. The man was persecuted (and then killed) by the religious authorities in Jerusalem and did not have an easy time even living day to day. So he not only spoke truth, he lived truth

A lot of Christians do not need to have someone describe hardship because it is their current state. What can we tell someone who is physically limited and/or in horrible pain and cannot cope with it spiritually and emotionally? What can we tell someone who is economically challenged and even in dire straits with apparently nowhere to turn? We do not need to teach hardship. People live it. They live it here in the West and in the persecuted Church of the third world countries.  We have all gone through hardship in our lives, in many different forms and at many different times. It is the universal condition since the Fall of Mankind (in Genesis 3).

However, what qualifies us to offer assistance to a fellow traveler here is what we learned while emerging victorious through these hardships and how the Lord did it. If we are wise and open to listening to the Spirit of God in these trying times, we will submit to God, lay our lives bare before Him and He will fortify us as we walk through these valleys, but will teach us hope to persevere. This perseverance through prayer and obedience is what James is instructing us towards maturity in Christ and being stronger in prayer, just like he was.

An obedient, repentant Christian, under duress, will keep clean hands or prayers will not be heard. Through it all, God has not left us alone but He has given us His Word to buffet our spirits, and soothe our souls. So as we come to Him in prayer, let us press in on these few of many powerful verses of Scripture, which zone in on Hardship and what God has to say. Our ability to make it through, rests solely on our availability to His Guidance and the reality of His dependability. The sooner we believe these promises and embed them in our minds and souls, the more confident we become of direction of victory in any matter. Therefore, pray through these verses in humility and surrender and then watch God move in a mighty way!

The Premise: 2 Corinthians 8:9 - "you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich" (Jesus knows our fears, cares and pains).

The Prescription: Philippians 4:11-14 "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. read more."

The Promise: "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:3) "It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7) and "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9)

Monday, December 14, 2015


IN CONTEXT: 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
There is a tendency among Christians, even praying ones, to appropriate our own actions and thoughts to the Will, plans and purposes of God. A lot of times, when we do that, we can find ourselves in a place we never expected to be. I have made that same mistake and gotten out ahead of God, only to see Him having to send an angel of mercy, to take me to a better place when my own plans failed.

This exhortation to pray first and act later is so critically important, if we want to really follow, submit and live in the Will of God. It is easy to understand why James is giving this real life application. I have seen too many people make and execute many life-altering decisions only to see them come crashing down on them. Some have moved out of state, only to struggle and even move back home. Some have changed perfectly fine jobs, to buy into something nice and shiny, only to ask their bosses later on, if they can return. Some so-called Christians have even walked out on their spouses and families, justify it as "God wants me to be happy". Later on, they find themselves in a painful world of hurt, wishing they could have things "the way they used to be".

Let us be perfectly clear - God is NOT the Author of Chaos and God would NEVER lead someone to sin and break vows made before Him.  However, He will allow us to have our own way and do what James is talking about in Verse 13 above ("today we will....."). God will do that until we learn the lesson we are supposed to learn.

Next the Lord (through James in verse 14) is gently warning us that we are not the ultimate master of our destiny. As in everything, nothing is guaranteed us past this moment of life we are in right now. The next breath is not, the next day is not...and most definitely the next year(s) is not. So this MUST spur us to continuous prayer. 

There is a reason the Apostle Paul exhorts us to "pray without ceasing" in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. He was not speaking of four hours of prayer before you go out the door each morning but a lifestyle of prayer and intimate conversation with the One Who created us. This is actually the best way to know the Will of God for our lives - through a closer walk with Him.  Once we have that have this close relationship with the Father, through prayer, only then we can experience His leading in our lives when we need to make a really important decision in life.

This is the gist of James 4:15 "Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” When James says that we "ought to say", he is really saying that it behooves us to pray!  The original word for "ought" is literally "anti-" ...where we got our prefixes for words like "anti-dote" "anti-type" etc. The Bible really giving us great advice here for our own benefit. God is saying "why don't you substitute your own thoughts and actions and consult Me first....ask Me -what is My Will for your life in this decision. I know the beginning from the end. Do you think I would withhold good things from you? You think this is the right course due to your own limited reasoning and planning. But I have a better course for you. I have a plan that will bless you, and bless others. All you have to do is to ask Me in prayer and then wait on Me! Can you do that? Great! It is better if you do!!" 

Sunday, December 6, 2015


James 4:8b 
 "Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded".
No one has clean hands. We are all sinners and in the case of the Christian – sinners saved completely by the Grace of God. The Sacrifice of Christ, on the Cross of Calvary and the Precious Supernatural Blood of the Lamb made washed our souls clean, at the point of rejuvenation and rebirth into the Kingdom of God. We, who are saved in the only manner proscribed by the Word of God thus, are still capable of sin despite some pretty incredibly bad things. Sins Christians commit can range from little white lies all the way to adultery or even worse. Still,  the born-again believer has a way back to fellowship with God through repentance and spiritual sackcloth and ashes (seeking forgiveness for those wronged).

James instructs us to actively cleanse our hands. David showed us the exact prayer of repentance, thus, in Psalm 51:7 "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow".

James instructs us to “purify our hearts”, because we humans really can be double-minded! Since we are unable to remove the organ in our chest that pumps blood and keeps us alive, it is obvious James is speaking about the “spiritual heart”. This is where the spirit of man resides and if born again, where the Holy Spirit of God co-exists to be our Counselor, Teacher, Guide and friend. If there is any sin in the Christian, the spiritual heart immediately pings into it. Holy Spirit and a temporary mindset of lust and more cannot co-exist in one accord with sin. In this event, the Christian is operating with two minds or is double-minded and one will step aside. We are given a directive in Scripture to not grieve the Holy Spirit and this is why. He WILL step aside until the Christian comes to his/her senses; thereby proving that God is a gentleman and will never force His Will on anyone.

Of all the exhortations to correct living, through prayer which James lays out here, this is probably the most crucial.  Being doubleminded is being disloyal to God. As a sinner saved by Grace, I know exactly what that means and on the other hand, knowing the joy of living in peace with God’s Spirit abiding in our Spiritual Hearts is an amazing reality – minute by minute! How, therefore do we avoid being double-minded, so that we do not offend God?

It is easier than one would think, yet requires self-discipline and vigilance to maintain. There is no big secret to this simple form of “purification”, if you will. There is no chest beating or sackcloth and ashes. Simply pray this daily from Psalm 139: 23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting". 

You can guarantee all our sin and weak points will soon be discovered and then exposed. Then after that washing of the Scripture, ask the Lord in true sincerity and humility daily, to REMOVE that dross which He has found. This is not primarily about obvious sin, but from personal experience, it could be even the good things in life (ministry, family etc.) which would be drawing us away from that vital, intense relationship with Abba. That’s it! If we have a cancer or a problem spot – we remove and root it out and dispose of it. It is the same with being a double-minded man or woman of God.

This one phrase or sentence from James packs that kind of power because he is showing us - ONCE AGAIN - God's preferred method of being aligned with the Mind of Christ. The key here is to stay cleansed through the Word and obedience and just in case we are not sure how to do that, we go back to - you guessed it - the Word to discover exactly what we say in pray to accomplish this perfect alignment. God is good, all the time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


In recent years, since the Supreme Court stepped into the arena of outlawing
First in the Nation Nativity Scene, since 2008
certain basic traditions, like prayer in school and Bible reading, this same cultural/religious conflict has extended to Christmas traditions.

Every year we hear about "The War on Christmas". Before going any further, two things should be clear - there has always been a War on Christ. Secondly, since the enemies of God can never AND WILL NEVER get to Christ, the proxy war has always been against true followers of His since 33 AD, when Jesus has been confirmed as crucified by both Roman documents, Josephus the secular historian and of course, the Bible.

Nativity Scenes or "creches" or the "Manger Scene"  are the biggest bone of contention among those pebbles thrown against those who celebrate the Birth of the Savior. But how did we actually get a "Nativity Scene", which is really nowhere in the Bible? Believe it or not, this goes back about 800 years to the great Francis of Assisi who in 1223 observed the same lack of love for the Savior and commercialism we see in modern times. He was stunned by the fact that gift giving was taking precedence (yes also in 1220's!!) over Jesus!

Francis was known for his love of animals and did not just create the first Nativity Scene, but the very first "Living Nativity Scene".  He had live animals in the cave and based his creation on his concept of the atmospherics in the birthplace of Christ in Bethlehem. We know from historical conditions around 4 BC to 2 BC, and from my conversations from centuries old families in the Bethlehem and fields of Boaz area, that Jesus was most likely born in a cave or grotto there. The well known shepherds of Bethlehem are still around in those ragged hills where the Choirs of Heaven sang the Saviors birth to the Shepherds in Luke 2. Visitors to the Holy Land can still experience the timeless authenticity of what the Bible spoke of two thousand years ago.

First Responder Chaplain, director of the Illinois Chapter of Wreaths
America at the Dedication to the United States Military
Over the years, it became obviously impossible to have live animals in every manger scene, every where. Therefore, all variations of nativity scenes have been created and many centuries old ones still survive to this day. For the last 8 years, a full size Italian Marble Nativity Scene has been placed in the Rotunda of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. How is this possible when it is obviously a 100% Christian expression of Faith in a country increasingly hostile to Jesus and Christianity? 

Quite simply, the first in the Nation State Capitol Nativity Scene is a privately-funded expression idea of the late Daniel and Julie Zanoza of Lincoln, Illinois. Together with the
Thomas More Society of Chicago, a religious liberty-defending Christian organization and the Illinois Family Institute, the Zanozas were able to form a committee of like-minded Christians to bring the Nativity Scene inside the "People's House" of the state of Illinois! Not just that, but it passed the test of the ACLU as it was one of many such expressions in the beginning, such as the Hanukkah Menorah and others. These others included Seinfeld's imaginary celebration of "Festivus" and its pole. There was an atheist's letter denouncing the existence of God and some others. Side by side, they all co-existed with the beautifully ordained and adorned Nativity Scene outshining them all. Not just that, they sat around the hugest Christmas tree I have ever seen - in the middle of the state capitol rotunda. This sort of religious expression would have made the Founders of this Great Condition smile with pride, as it was what America is all about - Freedom.

Over the years, only the Jewish Festive Menorah and our Nativity Scene have persevered and this is perfect as Christianity is actually a Judeo-Christian religion. Even Jesus celebrated Hanukkah in 29 AD! ("Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. John 10:22-23). Since Illinois has led the way in how to legally celebrate the Savior's birth in the public square (from 2008), ten other American states have followed, from Arkansas to Florida and Mississippi, under the counsel of the American Nativity Scene Committee of suburban Illinois. The Thomas More Society's Founder Thomas Brejcha is one of the leaders of this wonderful group.

In the last three years, Wreaths Across America has now joined us at the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee to partner in remembering and honoring the great United States Military with Christmas wreaths at National Cemeteries. In Springfield, this would be Camp Butler, which as been around since the Union fought the Civil War.  Representing Wreaths Across America, which places tens of thousands of these same sweet smelling natural wreaths at Arlington Cemetery, is Chaplain Steve Holden, of the United States Emergency Services Chaplains Corps. 

Each year, this first in the nation historical event, is celebrated with a full Christmas launch service with speakers and Christmas singers as well as the dedication of the wreaths with full military honors, on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The Springfield Nativity Scene remains inside the state capitol in Springfield, Illinois, until Christmas Eve, for free public viewing. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015


(James 4:7-8a)
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
In the previous post on prayer (#3) we examined the Protocols of Prayer, where the absolute foundation was built on the twin pillars of humility and repentance. But Transformation only begins there as intentional ACTION must follow. 

Again, we have to look at the Model of The Man who is teaching these truths on behalf of God. We know James, the head of the Christianity's "head office" in Jerusalem, is speaking for God and the only way James knows how to listen, teach and obey - (L.T.O.) is to pray. His very instructions in today's passage from James 4 are predicated on wit:
- Submit to God (verse 7): How do we submit to God unless we surrender directly to Him. This can ONLY be done in direct conversation or as we call it - prayer! To submit to the Will of God, we have to know Him intimately, His Word inherently and His plans instinctively. There is not getting around it. This has to be done through Prayer and reading the Bible. Morphing into the image of Christ starts when we say, in earnest prayer, we are nothing without Him, and we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

- Resist the Devil (verse 7): Nobrainer here! The devil hates us and any shiny or tempting object he sets before us is to aid us in life, but to completely ruin everything we are, say, think do. He wants to destroy our testimonies, our marriages, our families, churches, communities and countries. He has succeeded tremendously in every single one of them. Why should he succeed with us? He is a filthy destructive being and we resist in prayer by reminding him of his destiny; his defeat at the Cross and his lack of any hold over you and I. God has already told us how wise it is to literally RUN away from Temptation and Evil. That's it - resist by running and resist by rebuking in the Name of Jesus, in prayer, fast thinking and surrender to the Lordship of Christ.

- Draw near to God (verse 8): Another nobrainer here! Can you and I hear the skeptics now? "How can you draw near to someone you can't see?"...and some such configuration? First of all, a person can only draw NEAR to God, whom God has called near to Him! This is an explicit reminder of the special dispensation granted the Redeemed who are saved by His Grace and called to eternal life by the King! So we already have positional salvation in the Kingdom. Therefore the power, richness and intensity of that Walk with Him, depends on us alone. 

How much we want to look, sound, walk, talk and love like Jesus depends on how close and strong we want our relationship with God to be and this means - you guessed it - prayer! Draw, come close to Him in prayer, know His thoughts, Amazing Mind, Heart and His Word and He will reveal more and more and more and more to you in one verse or one month than ever thought possible in a lifetime. This may sound challenging to many Christians but in over a decade into a more intentional prayer life, what has worked for me is regular fasting and prayer. Many are not pro-fasting, as it is not a command or requirement for Salvation. which is true. However, I can't begin to tell of the incredible power, insight, awe and inspiration which Fasting has brought into my life. Fasting is a topic for another time, but I choose to follow the Words of Jesus and His Lordship here when He said in Matthew 6:
16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Emphasis mine).

Thursday, November 26, 2015


During the Civil War, in October 1863, the greatest American President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens", to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.. Thus, began one of the most important observances in western civilization, where citizens of an entire country give thanks to the One and Only True God in Heaven, for the blessings He has bestowed upon us all. President Lincoln knew the power of God, of prayer and of giving thanks where it was due. 

The fourth Thursday of every November is now the official day of Thanksgiving in America. For us Christians, every moment of every hour of every day of our lives, is the opportunity to give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, and His mercy, kindness and long-suffering, endure and last a lifetime to us! Amen. We also give thanks, on this glorious day (and each day) to our Great God in Heaven who saves us by His Grace, through His Son and His Sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary - Jesus Christ. To Him we declare "Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!  Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! (1 Chronicles 16:8-10)

Here is the official proclamation from President Lincoln, on the day he declared as our first Thanksgiving:

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.
Proclamation by President Lincoln.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of
fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. 

They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Thanksgiving Photo: "Thanksgiving-Brownscombe" by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe - Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal 

Thanksgiving Meal: "TraditionalThanksgiving" by Ben Franske - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons - 
President Lincoln Photo: Public Domain (over 100 years old)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


If one is looking for an actual “prayer” by a man or woman of God in the Book of James, it will be a fruitless search. The reason is that God has given something even more beneficial to us, direct from Him, through the writings of the Lord’s half-brother – Old Camel Knees! There are literally dozens and dozens of prayers in all the books of the Bible, apart from all the Psalms, which is the actual Prayer Book of the Bible! The average Christian can use the Book of Psalms, as written, to pray the Scriptures and enrich an already maturing Christian life.

But what James teaches mines the depths and sheer width of the Kingdom of God, through Prayer, which basically can hardly be found anywhere else.  To that end, I selected three verses to show this magnificent oration and illumination which embosses the already shining prayer warrior we are becoming, through “The Prayers of the Bible”. James 1:21 right off the bat, after he tells us to ask for wisdom from God when we need discernment, correction and direction, points us to the protocols of Prayer.
Protocol #1:
Practice Humility and Repentance.
"Therefore, lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). 

This is almost verbatim, similar to 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God says of wayward Israel (and therefore ALL His people) if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land".

So the first protocol of prayer is humility....meekness (as James says). All he is teaching here, on behalf of the Savior, is that we MUST be like the humble suffering and meek Savior – Jesus Christ. Meekness is not weakness as we, who are called by His Name, instinctively know.  God resists the proud but gives Grace to the Humble. This is not just words, but Truth. Almighty God will not allow ANYONE, not even Billy Graham or your lovely praying grandmother, to approach His Throne with an angry, arrogant and prideful attitude. Just like meeting the highest official of any country on earth, one must observe the same type of protocols when approaching the Supreme Judge and Jury of the Universe – Almighty God. Repentance, the mechanism for forgiveness, cannot even come into play until a humble spirit exists in the Christian.

Protocol #2:
Prescribed:  Faith and Friendship
 “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says “Abraham believed God and it was accounted for him as righteousness”  And he (Abraham) was called a friend of God” (James 2:23)

This is a great illustration from James. Abraham, the father of Judeo-Christian faith, is called the friend of God more than one in Scripture. The great Webster’s Dictionary defines a friend as “a person who you like and enjoy being with”. What a perfect call on Abraham’s relationship with God! But think just who Abraham was BEFORE God called him out of his pagan homeland on the other side of the river in modern day Iraq! Abraham’s ancestral home, Ur of the Chaldeans, is on the southwestern bank of the great Euphrates River and was home to the moon god Nanna….the forerunner of another moon god religion today. 

Abraham is known as the first Hebrew which means “crossing over”. This crossing over has nothing to do with crossing rivers or dangerous terrain, but a purposeful leaving of the old godless system behind and stepping out in the unknown adventure, BY FAITH, trusting fully in the One Who called you to do this in the first place. The lesson for us who are grafted into the Tree of the Hebrews, as those who have “crossed over” or “born again into the Kingdom of His Marvelous Light” is this – He Who calls you to step out in Faith wants to be your Friend, and mine, if we fully trust Him in constant conversation (or Prayer), just like Abraham did!
Protocol #3:
Practice Self-control (in prayer)
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10).

There are several protocols in a believer’s prayer life, which can be more accurately described as sub-sets of the two which we just looked at above. There is almost none more important than self-control in what we think or verbalize in our conversations with Abba Father. What comes into our heads and hearts while we are praying to the Lord that is either distracting or completely ungodly is not from God or us. Those are the machinations of the evil one, bent on throwing us off course. What experience in spiritual warfare will teach us is how to combat those distractions. We either ignore them and move on or rebuke the evil one, taking those thoughts captive and presenting them to the Lord to dispose of them.

What we must guard against is actively praying against a person who is against us or even against God. We certainly never pray a curse upon anyone. This is absolutely not our job. Discipline, judgment and removing His protection over another person is all God’s business. There is nothing wrong with praying a troublesome person into God’s Hands to change their hearts and actions or barring that, for His protection from them. I have done that with one of my own supervisors from a couple decades ago who hated the way I looked, hated my family and all I did in ministry. For almost a decade that person was Jekyll and Hyde from day to day, spitting fire like a dragon at me one day, and acting normal the next. That sort of conduct only strengthened my prayer life as it was not a good thing to face such a person each and every day. What started happening was an increasing frequency of this particular supervisor coming around to my desk to ask for pray for this or that member of her family! Of course, that was perfectly in order and done, as requested. Eventually, after she moved on and began another life, a pastor friend of mine reported he led her to the Lord and she was a member of his church. 

This is what James is speaking about – out of the mouth proceeds blessing if we stay silent in persecution like Jesus and pray situations and people into the more than capable Hands of the Lord….which can ultimately lead to their own salvation or we can double down and get on the wrong side of God. The Lord, through James, is telling us "hey, listen to this Word - this is how it should you approach Me, and how I respond"! There is nothing easier than following these simple Protocols of Prayer. We have not even mentioned the actual blessings which pour down from Heaven if these are observed, even a fraction of the time! So let us press on!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:12-15)
The second important prayer of the Book of James follows immediately after the directive to pray for Wisdom. If any more evidence is needed of James’ concern for the sanctification of the believer, look no further than his Prayer Directives. First, the Lord’s half-brother exhorts us to “ask our generous God” if we are in need of Wisdom.  This need will cover 100% of all Christians. However, immediately following that, James moves from the foundation of Wisdom to the Perseverance of the Saints.

His teaching on patiently enduring “testing and temptation”  illumines us on the sources of both while driving us to our knees. Indirectly, James shows us God’s plan for us to be able to successfully maneuver through these treacherous times in the Christian life. We can grasp this truth easily.  It is based on the knowledge that everything James, the head of the Christian church in ground zero of Judeo-Christianity – Jerusalem- taught, pointed us to a closer relationship with God. He accomplished that in what the English translators put as five chapters of the Book of James.

There is no doubt that testing is from the Lord and temptation from the devil. Please do not confuse both by thinking they have the same sources, when Biblical Truth says otherwise. If it were not for the testing and discipline of the Lord, none of His Elect – true Christians – would grow in maturity and sanctification to be more like Christ.  How we respond to this testing leads to either more and intense radical testing of our faith and commitment to Christ, or a higher level of knowledge of the Holy. Either scenario depends, in full measure, on our positional relationship to prayer.

Testing leads to perseverance which leads to spiritual maturity and the reward of the Christian life well lived. Temptation had better lead us to prayer or we will fall, as too many Godly people have, in human history. Temptation should lead us to pray Scripture immediately while RUNNING AWAY from it.

Jesus Himself gave 
the order in Matthew 26:41 ~~Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!"

Sometimes we cannot see the tempter or the temptress and are blindsided. As far as humanly possible, flee and depart from it, her or him – IMMEDIATELY. Reject it as from the devil and pray the situation at once into the Hands of the Lord, knowing that we are mortal flesh under demonic attack. The Lord will honor that and deliver from all evil.

Knowing Scripture is a powerful weapon against temptation as Jesus Himself demonstrated three times when the devil tempted the hungry and thirsty Messiah in the desert. Three statements dismissed the evil one as Jesus responded “IT IS WRITTEN” to every single temptation. The great Martin Luther wrote in “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” that “one little word shall fell him (the devil”). That Word is the Name of JESUS. Sometimes our prayers are simply the confident recitation of God’s Word back at the tempting situation or person and the command to “be gone, in the Name of Jesus”. When possible, speak it out loud! That will not only preach, but will pray!

Psalm 119:11 says “Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against thee”.  A follower of Christ who is read up, prayed up and stayed up on Jehovah is absolutely less likely to fall if the Word of God richly dwells and abides in such a one! 2 Peter 2:9 (
the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment)is therefore what we stand on as our promise and the REASON we have to pray or say the Word for victory over Temptation. It says:”

This is unorthodox in method, but it is a level of prayer which the man or woman of God has to mature into, if we wish to live in the victory which is promised the believer. What an exciting thing James has led us to, as we blow open the Word, from his inspired words, to expand our universe of how indeed, we grow deeper in relationship with our Lord!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


James is the half- brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was born of the marriage of Joseph and Mary after the Lord Himself was born of a virgin. Jude is the other well known half-brother of Jesus (as in the Book of Jude). The Savior also had another half brother and three sisters. None of the Messiah's half-sisters are mentioned by name. The Word of God (the Bible) tells us that none of these brothers and sisters believed in Him. So God made a point to say in 1 Corinthians 15:7 to point out that after the Resurrected Christ appeared to 500 people at one time, He appeared to JAMES! This confirmed the Lordship of Jesus to His half-brother. Here is the relevant passage, written by the Apostle Paul: "After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles." (1 Corinthians 15:6-7)

James became such a prayer warrior that he spent a vast majority of time on his knees praying to God. His prayer life overflows in his writing in the Book of James which reads, in total, like an extension (and exposition) of Jesus' Sermon the Mount! When James died and they were about to place him in his coffin, it is recorded that his knees were so calloused and covered with rough skin, that it "resembled a Camel's knees". 

(Read my post on "OLD CAMEL KNEES HERE).
His focus on prayer are not actual prayers themselves, but INSTRUCTION about how to pray and to Whom we should go. When James speaks, he is "E.F. Hutton" - we listen, as it is direct from God. In presenting this instruction, the goal is to point to other prayers in the Bible or unpack the instruction themselves (as in Chapter 5), in order to derive the knowledge and benefit which God wishes us to have.

James 1:5-6 says "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind". 

The instruction here is Wisdom (which begins with the Fear of the Lord), ONLY comes from God. The great and wonderful thing is- we can ask it is given to the point of overflowing! There is a caveat to asking God for wisdom. If we ask in doubt, we remain without. If we ask with the full measure of Faith, it would be great. 

To this end, let us look at King Solomon's prayer at the Dedication of the Greatest Temple in History, almost 2900 years ago and how he prayed. This is Solomon at his best, when he followed the Holy One of Israel and Him alone before easy living corrupted him.  God had offered Solomon ANYTHING he wanted, as He favored David's son. All Solomon had to do was ask. Solomon could have asked for money and fame and fortune. Instead, he asked for "BIYN" (Hebrew for a discerning heart - true Wisdom).

The encouragement here is for us to study how Solomon prayed and then follow the Word of God and do likewise. Praying for Wisdom in any circumstance is something God never refuses those of us who belong to Christians - born again believers.  Read the following passage and meditate on it from 1 Kings 3:5-12a:
 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”

6 And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

10 The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart.

THANKSGIVING:You have shown great mercy (VERSE 6A)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF OUR OWN HELPLESSNESS: And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. (VERSE 8)
NEED: Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. (VERSE 9)

Therefore, as the brother of the Lord - James - says...if we lack wisdom, "ask of God"!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Indonesian church torched by extremists (Open Doors photo)
Two days have been set aside recently for as International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church in 2015 - November 1 and November 8. As mentioned last Sunday, the main request of persecuted Christians is to "please pray for us". Most western Christians completely ignore their own lost neighbors and friends, to begin with, and therefore, have no thought for those who are under the gun or the desert sword of another religion.  

It is imperative that we go to the Scriptures for them in prayer and supplication today and for the rest of this week....not to mention everyday or as much as we can. Please read these short devotionals, at your convenience as to the importance. One in particular should be read above all (halfway down the web-page) called "DON'T STAND IN SILENCE". God will hold us accountable for our actions one day, one of this is the sin of omission, when the cost was just a prayer in the comfort of our homes.

To that effect, here are some more prayer points to add on to those supplied last week to consider and prayer for our persecuted brethren, around the world. 


1. That God would give them the right words and that they would fearlessly make Christ known. Here Paul tells how to pray for him when he was suffering for Christ in jail -- notice his prayer was not for release. Ephesians 6:19-20 "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Colossians 4:2-4 "Devote yourselves to prayer... praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak." 

2. That they will see God's grace as sufficient and God's power perfected in their weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) Many of the pastors, evangelists and workers who are beaten and imprisoned for their bold witness leave behind sons, daughters and spouses to fend for themselves. Pray for wives of those imprisoned. With the absence of the breadwinner, the responsibility for caring and feeding of the family falls on the wife. Sometimes the wife is also forced to provide for her husband in prison (often the case in Vietnam). If she is also arrested, then together they have to bear the anguish of leaving often quite young children to fend for themselves. Pray for them. 

3. That they would love Christ's appearing all the more. 2 Timothy 4:5-8 "I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." Hebrews 11:35 "...others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection". 

4. That they will rejoice in sharing the sufferings of Jesus so that they will rejoice even more when Christ is revealed. Hebrews 10:34 "...accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one." Matthew 5:12 "Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." I Peter 4:13 "but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation." 

5. That they will endure. Hebrews 10:36 "For you have need of endurance". Hebrews 5:8 "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." Pray for Christian work among refugees. Pray that as the refugees are led to Christ, they will be willing to return to their countries to take the Gospel back with them. 

6. That they will love Christ far more than life itself. Revelation 12:10-11 "they overcame (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death." Philippians 1:21 "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." 
(Prayer points supplied by Voice of the Martyrs. Visit for more information)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


As we observe the personal, emotional and physical angst of a man in spiritual agony – Job – it is becoming obvious that the lessons of his life are meant for all mankind, for all time.  Everything Job has experienced said, prayed or complained about, has been done by just about everybody alive now or forever! As we move on towards the end of the prayers of this amazing chronologically first book of the Bible,  Chapter 30 of Job and verses 20-23 shows us a very desperate man who is about near the end of his “rope”.

I chose this passage in the New Living Translation which accurately translates it directly into understandable modern language:
“I cry out to you, O God, but You don’t answer. I stand before You, but You don’t even look. You have become cruel to me. You use Your Power to persecute me. You throw me to the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm and I know You are sending me to my death – the destination of all who live.” (Job 30:20-23).

This is one bold prayer! Not just that, but it is almost a blasphemous accusation against God! Job says “I have been going in and on, crying out in pain and suffering for so long, but You (God) will not even pay attention to me….Here I am God…it’s me…You are not even trying to look at me and it is almost as if You don’t care about me or my troubles….deep, deep troubles and loss. In fact God, I think You’re trying to destroy me and send me to the grave!”

Have you ever prayed something like that? Let us hope not and may it never be! Just eight chapters later, when God has had enough of this and finally responds to Job with the most intelligent flurry of facts on His side, the Almighty Himself uses Job’s own words to challenge his incorrect doctrines, rants and ramblings! Here is the LORD Himself as He throws the full force of His Wisdom, His Whereabouts at His Creation of the World and His Withering verbal discipline of Job at this great hero of the Bible. By the way, before we think that Job deserves and we don’t – think again!

What is absolutely incredible about God’s response to Job in Chapters 38-41 is in His Own  Mighty Way, HIS Creation Account! The Holy Spirit of God Who had Moses wrote down the Genesis account of the DAYS of Creation some 500-700 years after Job, had Genesis written that way for a reason- so as to get directly to the Fall of Mankind (Sin in the Garden), so that the Redemption plan of God, through Christ could have been immediately presented to the world in Genesis 3:15.

The filling out of the Creation story in full scientific details – from the galaxy systems to details on animals and physics of the earth’s axis – is an amazing thing to behold, in the readings of Chapters 38-41. What God the Almighty did there, in His own way, set Job’s obviously horrid problems, in perspective. The God, the Creator, Who can set all of this in motion, is powerfully demonstrating this modus operandi about how He answers prayer.

We examined this particular Book of the Bible and its prayers for a reason - they are difficult prayers and full of human contradictions in such a way, which is both hard and easy to comprehend. In a sense, the prayers of Job are "everyman's" prayer and "only one man's" prayer.Both would be correct but there are applications for us who are looking at this ancient text, over 4000 years after it was written for our edification in Truth. As we will see in the Final Prayer of Job (upcoming from Chapter 42), all error and blasphemy should point us urgently towards repentance!

God answered Job's ramblings, aka prayers, not in the way Job expected or we would expect, but in the grandest way possible.  God answered Job as God would - by talking about God; re: His Power, His Purpose, His Perspective and His Presence.
--- HIS POWER: There is no denying His omnipotence after reading His almost angry response "where were you when I....and where were you when I....etc". He is the Most Powerful Being in the Universe, EVER!
---HIS PURPOSE: By answering insolent questions with unanswerable questions Himself, God shows His plans for EVERYTHING He created, from the hail for battle and the behemoth (dinosaur) or Leviathan, the great fish of the sea.
---HIS PERSPECTIVE: God actually gives us a glimpse of how He thinks and actually created every living thing...and actually embedding in them personalities and even quirks (see the Ostrich)!  Those chapters of Job (from 38 to 41), literally gives us planet earth from God's point of view and we are seeing, observing and in wondrous amazement at just HOW He viewed the landscape before He created in detail. This belies HUGE the falsehood of random explosions and all the big bang fiction!
---HIS PRESENCE: There was no doubting God's Presence as He showed up suddenly and with awesome and fearsome in a mighty whirlwind and out of the storm. This is a picture of us at times, when we are in the depths of despair, trial or tribulation, God is in the storm with us. He will never leave us or forsake us and He is ever present, as Job discovered.