Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jesus' habit of prayer

One passage which always speaks to me is from Luke 22, beginning with verse 39:

Jesus went out as usual (some versions say as was his habit) to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, Jesus said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

Two things always strike me about this passage:

Jesus prayed for the cup to be taken from Him, but not my will but Yours be done. Ultimately Jesus wanted His Father's will to be done. He knew what was about to transpire, not only would he be beaten and scorned, put through the mockery of a trial, and then suffer the excruciating physical death on the Cross, he would be separated from His Father until He was resurrected. He had never been separated from His Father....never

Secondly, the disciples were sleeping, exhausted from sorrow. Most of us know the type of exhaustion they were experiencing. I took my father to the St. Luke's ER 01/08/08 and he was just released to a skilled care center and should be home in another 2 weeks. I am exhausted. So many times when I needed to be in serious prayer over the last few weeks, not just for him but other people and issues as well, I was so tired, I could barely pray, would lose my focus, or fall asleep. It's normal, we are human beings...there are limits to our endurance.

When we are faced with a situation of complete physical and mental exhaustion which may or may not be accompanied by spiritual exhaustion as well, we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us. We are to lift each other up in prayer.

I Thess 5:10-11 says:

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Do not be afraid to ask trusted friends to pray. You are not supposed to "have it all together" all the time. We are not lone rangers...we are members of the Body of Christ.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I know John 10:10 is true, Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I also believe with every fiber of my being
I Peter 2:24:

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed

I know numerous people who have received healing from the Lord, whether it's healing of their emotions, their bodies, their spirits, or a combination of all 3. Many people ask me why their loved one was not healed. I don't know. But I do know it was not because:
1. Miracles were only for the early church
2. Their faith was not strong enough
3. God wants to teach us something by giving them a disease

God can take evil and use if for His glory, but to give us a disease would be cruel and contrary to His nature. In Him there is no darkness or evil.

The world is sick, fallen, and evil. I ask you to keep up your shield of faith, stay in the Word and prayer. Use the weapons the Lord has given each one of us. Evil was crushed at Calvary. The Blood of Jesus was spilled for us, the Lord God Almighty raised Jesus from the dead. Victory came over 2000 years ago. Press in...Jesus is Lord!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Bride of Christ

The Gospel of John says the church is to be the bride of Christ...I am so thankful that Scripture says Christ returns for a church without spot or blemish (see Eph 5) because many in the church (we are all sinners saved by grace) never hear the Gospel proclaimed in truth and love. They hear a diluted feel good message that never mentions sin, repentence, or the need for our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. God's power will transform us into this holy bride.

To fully understand what the Bible is talking about when it tells us that Christians will be the bride of Christ, we need to grasp the Jewish wedding custom of Jesus' time on earth.
The Jewish wedding process started with an agreement between 2 fathers, 1 deciding to allow his daughter to marry the other’s son. In a public ceremony, the couple announced their intentions to get married, initiating the betrothal period.

This betrothal period lasted about a year, during which the groom returned to his father’s house and began preparing a room for his new bride. When the room was completed, a priest inspected the room to ensure it was better than the current living conditions for the bride. (Can you imagine the average American man building the room and waiting to pass inspection?)

Meanwhile, the bride prepared herself for the wedding ceremony. She knew the ceremony would begin approximately a year after declaring their intentions to get married, but the exact day or hour was unknown. As the bride, she and her wedding party attendants were to be prepared on a moment’s notice. (Can you imagine the average American woman being thrilled with this custom? My make manicure....)

At last the anticipated day arrives, the wedding feast and ceremony started with one of the groomsmen leading the bridegroom through the streets, yelling, “Behold, the bridegroom comes!” After a shofar sounded, the entire wedding party went to the bride’s house. And she had to be ready, for her new husband would immediately take her to a wedding feast that would last seven days.

The preparation process for marriage in the Jewish tradition was as critical as the wedding ceremony and feast. Likewise, being the bride of Christ isn’t about standing at the altar in a white dress; it’s about waiting and preparing for His presence in our lives on daily, focusing on our relationship with Christ instead of spending all our time wondering when He will come, is there a pre-trib, mid-trib, or post trib Rapture, is the Anti Christ alive, etc...

Waiting is difficult, but we learn waiting is essential to becoming passionate followers of God. To wait for God means that we put our heart and soul into being prepared for Him and His calling on our life.

Once we understand the traditional Jewish customs involved in a marriage, the parable in Matthew 25:1-13 takes on a new light. Those bridesmaids who weren’t ready missed the feast. Jesus explained, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (v. 13).
Though this verse is specifically refers to Christ’s triumphant return to earth, it can also be applied to the way we live daily. While we as believers have the Holy Spirit with us at all times, there are times when we are thrown into situations where we must be ready to impact our world for Christ. We are prompted by the Holy Spirit to encourage, challenge, or share with someone. If we are serious about our faith, we must be ready to respond in obedience to His voice. To do this, we must know His word and know the Voice of God. As sheep, we must know the voice of our Shepherd.

Behold, our Bridegroom comes! Let's wait in anticipation for the sound of the heavenly shofar.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Lamb

I Peter 1:18-19 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

The people of Israel had observed the Passover for roughly fifteen centuries when Jesus had His last supper with the disciples. Christ not only observed the ancient memorial of Passover, He instituted something new, a Covenant by which we are reconciled to our Heavenly Father. Luke 22:15 tells us that Jesus had given much thought to the Passover meal "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." I wonder if we can fully grasp the significance of the evening with our finite minds. Our perception can be deeply marked by how we perceive Jesus. Is He a name which means nothing significant to us, is Jesus the name of a teacher who lived 2000 years ago, or is He our Risen Lord & Savior. Our Messiah...our Deliverer...our Healer.....our Passover Lamb? Does it astound you that when we drink of the cup and eat the bread, we are dining with our Lord & Savior. Many times as I receive Communion I am reduced to tears at the magnitude of it all.

Christ sent Peter and John to prepare the Passover meal in the room He had chosen. He told them they would find the room by following a man who carried a water jar (Luke 22:10-11). Nothing about the evening was trivial or accidental.

I don't believe Christ simply looked up, saw Peter and John, and decided they'd be as good a choice as anyone to prepare for the Passover. I wonder if they thought they were doing women's work? The Passover involved a fairly elaborate meal with a very specific setting. I wonder if they complained? They had no idea the significance of the supper that was to come. Like them, we may have no idea as to the significance of the work God has called us to do.
Give some thought to what they did, you can read about the original Passover in Exodus 12:1-14.
The bitter herbs represented the bitterness of suffering memorialized in the Passover observance: the bitterness of slavery, the bitterness of death, and the bitterness of an innocent lamb's substitution. The herbs, eaten intermittently during the meal, would bring tears to their eyes as a reminder of the associated grief.
While every part of the meal was highly symbolic, it had no meaning at all without the lamb. The most important preparation Peter and John made was the procuring and preparing of the Passover lamb.

I have not done an exhaustive search, but to my knowledge Peter and John are the only two of the disciples who referred to Jesus as the Lamb. Many years later Peter would write of Jesus that we were redeemed "with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake" (1 Pet. 1:19-20). For John's part, you can read Revelation 5, about the Lamb of God.
Is it coincidence that these two apostles wrote about Jesus as the Lamb? No way. Christ's goal in any work He assigns us is to reveal Himself, either through or to us. Keep in mind the sacrifice of our Passover Lamb as He calls you to serve on behalf of the Kingdom.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Psalm 103:1-4

Take a few minutes to absorb verses 1-4 of Psalm 103:

1 My soul, praise the LORD, and all that is within me, praise His holy name.
2 My soul, praise the LORD, and do not forget all His benefits.
3 He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases.
4 He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion.

The Lord forgives all of our sin, He heals all of our diseases, He redeems us from the pit, and He crowns us with faithful love and compassion...some versions say loving kindness and compassion. Do we believe this with every fiber of our being? If so, are we praising Him? Praise is a powerful weapon as we go through our daily walk with the Lord. Try praising Him through out the day. It will not only bless the Lord, it will bless you too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Valet Parking

As I waited at St. Luke's valet parking last night, I watched many families waiting for their cars as well. One thing struck me, as soon as the children saw their car pull into the drive way they were so excited. Their parents cautioned them to stand on the sidewalk. It made me think about 2 things:

1) How excited as Christians are we about our Salvation on any given day? Is Jesus our 1st love or is it time to return to our 1st love and do the things we used to do? Are you still excited to get into God's Word? Rev 2 says:

You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

2) How many times has our Father cautioned us lately and we have disregarded the Holy Spirit? We were busy doing our thing and not listening to the prompting of the Spirit. Remember a large part of our Christian walk should be listening. As someone who is rarely quiet, I know how difficult this can be, but I also know with God all things are possible!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7).
We are supposed to experience lots of answered prayer. John 15:7 is not some little Bible verse, it is reality. If it’s familiar to you, read it as if you’ve never heard it before, maybe try another version of the Bible. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7).
At one point in my liife on a scale of one to ten based on my perception of His response, I could have rated my prayer life a 1.5 for content but 8.9 for form because as an Episcopalan I knew lots of pretty prayer words. I prayed all the usual bless and protect us prayers, the laundry list of prayers, and let's not forget my teenage years...Lord curfew is in 5 minutes, please don't let any lights turn red or I will be late and then I will be grounded. I never asked for the big stuff...are you kidding, she has stage 4 cancer, you want me to pray for her. (The Lord is so funny, I am in the healing ministry now and pray with seriously ill people all the time and expect healing!)
My prayer life changed through the years as I sought God through His Word and heard very sound teaching on prayer from Father Steven Pope. He is a man of prayer. I learned so much about prayer from his wife April. I began to pray all the time for big things and little things such as a parking place. I noticed I suddenly "found" great parking places at the mall on the Saturday before Christmas and wherever I went, I was receiving answers to big requests. I was then on a prayer team at church praying with people for all kinds of issues in their lives. I realized then I really better stay grounded in the Word or I would not have a clue as to how to pray and I needed to listen to the prayer recipient with one ear and the Holy Spirit with the other ear.
John 15:17 states the key to answered prayer is sharing the mind of Christ over any given matter through His words actively abiding in us. The more His words are in our heads, the more likely we are to think with them. I think a few believers will know the mind of Christ so well, they will also receive affirmative answer, but I don't think that is the "norm". We can, however, mature in our prayer life enough to see far more affirmative answers than we have. I love to pray Scripture over situations and people. I E, I pray By Jesus' stripe my father is healed. I also like to pray Scripture over situations that I will be praying for over a long period of time. As satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus answered with Scripture every time. If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.
If I am in a season where I do not see much affirmatively answered prayer, I ask the Lord to show me what is out of balance. I have prayed with people who are practicing new age concepts and are not aware of it. It may be reading horoscopes, reading material by mediums, watching occultic TV programs and they have no idea this type of entertainment can block them in their Christian walk. They repent of these things and they see a huge change in their prayer lives and walk with the Lord.
So again, I say - pray pray pray - He loves you, He answers prayer, in His perfect timing in His perfect way.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Emergency Rooms

Unfortunately I have been to the St Luke's Episcopal Hospital's ER twice in the last 6 weeks because my father has been very ill. He was re-admitted after being released 3 days earlier to a skilled care facility which did not take care of his medical needs. Occasionally I find myself (after 4 or 5 hours) listening to other people's conversations whether it's medical staff or family members in the waiting room. I don't mean to do so, but I suppose I am bored and have lost focus. I have heard some of the most glorious Christian testimonies as well as some of the poorest theology known to man. I have conversed with some of the dearest people and listened to people blashpeme the Lord and thought Lord, get ready I am going to ask You to bind that guy's mouth because I am tired of the curse words. Then I feel the conviction to pray for the person because the Lord is not real to the person, He is their favorite curse word.

Many people pray in faith and expect miracles. Many people pray without faith and expect nothing from the Lord. I have also heard people say miracles are not for today they were for the early church. I don't believe that for a minute as my family and I have received miracles numerous times.

Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." He also said this about the persistent widow, "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
4"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "
6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

He also spent time with His Father in prayer. These are just a few reasons I believe the Lord answers prayer. He may not answer the way we expect and or advised Him to answer, but He answers. He knows what He is doing, He really really does not need our advice. He was after all able to create the heavens and the earth without us. The point of all this is - Pray Pray Pray, He loves us, He answers prayer.

Monday, February 11, 2008


“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

It is hard for saved Christians to avoid the pitfalls of idolatry upon occasion much less those who do not know Jesus. But it seems young people today are exceptionally vulnerable as they are bombarded with images all the time. It seems the idolator and the idolized human self destruct. I am thinking of young celebrities in Hollywood who begin their careers on track and become so used to being told yes they do not see their behavior spinning out of control. Many young people try to emulate the behavior of the starlets and end up emotionally, spiritually, and mentally empty and sin sick, addicted to drugs and alcohol, weighed down by the guilt of unholy relationships.

In Romans 1, the apostle Paul condemns the human race for dumping the truth of God; he says that we should have seen God’s invisible attributes which are displayed in the created world. He goes on to declare that we didn’t honor God, but exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corrupted man. We failed and continue to fail to rightly worship the Creator, our Heavenly father and instead we worship and serve the creatures that he has created. When we gaze upon the beauty or marvel at the talent of another and we fail to recognize that it is God alone who is the author and the source, we are not only lying to ourselves but we are doing a great disservice to our fellow man.

Isa 40:6-8 says:

6 A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."

We cannot feed our brokeness and insecurities with the things of the world. Instead we must worship our Creator and know He is God. We must allow Him in to deal with our broken, hurt, empty, and wounded areas.

Am I guilty of idolatry, yes...of course I am. But thankfully, God forgives me...He made it possible through Jesus Christ to be reconciled with Him. My sins are washed away by the Blood of the Lamb. The Lord wants to set you free from idolatry. He gives you a fresh start, He will deliver you from the consequences of idolatry. He will cut you free from all unholy relationships. Return to the set free.

Lord, I repent of idolatry. I pray for forgiveness for the times I have looked at the created instead of the Creator. You are the Source of all talent and beauty. Forgive me for making idols of people and things. Forgive me for contributing to the downfall of people I idolized. Please convict me if I begin to idolize anything ever again. In Jesus Name I pray.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Episcopal Church

I have attended the Episcopal Church nearly all my life, was baptized into it as an infant...what many Episcopalians boast as being a cradle Episcopalian, though I don't comprehend the boast, I mean really who cares. The denomination is in such uproar because we are straying from the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. What's so great about being Episcopalian. It's great being a Christian saved by grace. Our Presiding Bishop (leader of church in America) does not believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, nor does much of the leadership and many do not believe the word of God is divine. It has recently come to my attention the Presiding Bishop does not want women of other denominations to be members of the Daughters of the King. I don't get it. With her belief system, why would she care if a kangaroo is a member of the Episcopal Church or the Daughters of the King.

The Archbishop of Canterbury wants to establish Sharia law in the UK to help with social cohesion. Social cohesion will never come. The Bible makes it quite clear, there will be clashes and wars between ethnic groups and countries. I wonder if he has read the Bible since he left seminary.

People wonder what is going on...I believe we are seeing the end times unfolding before our eyes. The Bible tells us about the state of the church and how many will fall for the one world religion. We must wear our armor as instructed in Ephesians 6.

11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

I encourage people to participate in a good Revelation study as well as read a good book by Anne Graham Lotz called The Vision of His Glory. Revelation is not doom and gloom, Revelation gives us hope, tells us how the story ends, The Bridegroom is coming for His church (emphasis mine), it's not our church, we can make the all the changes we want to conform to society and negate sin, we can make church a very happy place and drive out the Holy Spirit, but when it's all said and done The Prince of Peace is coming on a horse for HIS church! Ladies..maybe you dreamt of a Prince on a white horse coming for you...He is, His name is Faithful and True. He loves you...He loves me, He loves all of us and wants us to spend eternity with Him.

If you have not already done so, make Jesus the Lord of your life and your Savior. His blood cleanses all your sins. His death and resurrection redeemed you from hell. Grab the phone and tell someone.

Here is a model prayer for you:

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”

Monday, February 4, 2008

Golden Streets

For the 2nd time since I took my father to the ER at St. Luke's 01/08 I am very fatigued. Part of me wants to go to bed now and not get up for several days, though I know this is not the answer. I know I need to get into the Word and be refreshed. I know cranking up the praise music will refresh me. I also know our Lord is ever faithful, He never fails us, I stand on covnenant promises He made to me when I received salvation.

I am so thankful my father is saved. I am thankful for the 3 huge miracles my father received when he had surgery 01/09. I know there are more miracles to come. He will live at home with my mother again in good health. The attacks against him have been fierce...but the battle was won on the Cross. Sickness and disease were defeated when the Lord God Almighty, Yaweh resurrected His Son Jesus Christ from the grave.

I know the Joy of the Lord is our strength. I know that no matter what happens here on earth, our real home is heaven and one day we will dance on streets that are golden with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us join with heaven and say:

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

Hallelujah! He is Lord!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Self Help

I am amazed at the self help section in bookstores...what a lucrative industry, especially if a celebrity endorses a book or self help method.

I often hear Christians say God helps those who help themselves...You would think this was the the 11th commandment or maybe the final beatitude because so many people think that line is in the Bible.

We can clean up our attitudes and actions temporarily (think resolutions), but lasting change is possible only through Jesus Christ. When His Spirit is living in us, we can be shaped into successful followers of God.

Romans 4:14-18 gives us the promise and hope that through Christ we are changed.

14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Spend some quality time with the Lord today. Feast on His word. Spend time in prayer...remember prayer is not all about talking to Him, it is also about listening to Him as well.