Friday, February 24, 2017

Answered Prayer

Christians offer up many prayers to our Heavenly Father. I believe all prayers are answered but not necessarily in the timing we want or the way we intended for God to act on our behalf or for others. We look at matters with a finite mind, we do not see the big picture as God's plan unfolds. My friend Norma went to her heavenly home almost 2 1/2 years ago, but in my mind, I can hear her say, "God answers yes, no, or wait."

Wait - that can be a problem with our western mindset - we want answers now, faster than the blink of an eye in this TV on Demand world. Sometimes we lift a person or issue up to God for years, we are like the persistent widow, we keep praying in faith. We stand in the gap, we are watchmen on the wall.

My friend's mother prayed for over 25 years for her husband to come into the Kingdom, he had no idea she prayed for his Salvation. When I was 19 or so, he woke up one day, confessed Christ as his Savior, called the church and scheduled his baptism. He has served the Lord ever since and is still going strong at 82. Persistence was the key.

I still pray for people and issues I've lifted up in prayer for 5 years, for 10 years, for 15 years. I wait patiently at times and impatiently at others. I've climbed on God's throne and told Him how to answer and when. As if He needed my advice. When I realize I am praying my will in Jesus' Name by telling Him how and when, I repent, and get back to praying in faith.

This week, I've received quick answers to prayer. In January, I prayed for a relationship to grow between myself and young members of my family if it is the Lord's will. Due to a family situation, I did not get to know them as children Now through Facebook, I am getting to know them. Later in January, I asked the Lord if it His will to arrange for me to mentor a young lady. With my caretaking responsibilities, there is not much spare time, but He knows that. A couple of weeks ago, I began lifting a friend up in prayer because a sizeable mass was discovered in her liver. She could feel something swollen and thought it was her gallbladder.

Over the last 3 weeks, I've received emails from one of the young family members, our relationship is growing leaps and bounds through helping her with Bible Study and I am mentoring her, the mass in my friend's liver is shrinking and yesterday was discovered to be benign. Due to the size and location, it may have to be removed. We are praying for it to disappear.

Quick answers, of course, are my favorite, but I will not give up on the prayers I've prayed for great lengths of time and neither should you.

Jesus tells us in Luke 18:

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Paul tells us in Thessalonians 5:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

He also tells us in Philippians 4:

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Keep praying ladies, God is faithful!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pharisees R Us

Listening to a few friends I love, talk about world events, I would never know by the conversation they are members of a faith which calls for forgiveness, love, dying to self and mercy. Instead of contemplating prayer and dare I mention it fasting, they want to call thunder down on people with a differing opinion. We all say sinful things and think sinful thoughts at one time or another. We all need to repent and confess our sins. We all need a Savior.

Legalism and self-righteousness will never lead people to Christ. We do not need modern day Pharisees is the church. Sadly, it can be easy to cross the line and become a self-righteous, legalistic member and president of the local chapter of Pharisees R Us. Ask the Lord to show you if you are perilously close to the line or have crossed it. We don't want to be like Saul, we want to be like Paul and bring Christ to the hurting and lost.

We must not put God in a box and make Him be all-American and patriotic. Yes, we are fortunate to live in America, the land of the somewhat free and home of the brave. I love America, but it is not my real home, Philippians 3:20 tells us our citizenship is in heaven, and from heaven we await our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save everyone not one nation.

Our behavior in public is evangelism (Especially behind the wheel if your car is plastered with Christian stickers!). Our behavior online is evangelism. What are we evangelizing? The Saving Grace of Christ or our personal views of ______________ (fill in the blank)?

Let the following verses be fresh and impact you today because they sum up the message we are to live:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

SSMT Verse 3

WOW! 2017 is moving right along, it is time for memory verse 3. I've chosen Isa 53:4-5 in the ESV:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

With the turmoil, the cruelty, poverty, sickness, the perversion of truth, and violence in the world it can be easy to forget every bit of this was settled on the Cross. None of this is a surprise to God, as we say in Texas, He has not dropped us in the grease yet and He's not going to.

Jesus died for you, for me, for everyone that has ever lived and ever will live. We must remember the Lord God Almighty is sovereign. Nothing can shake Him. Our foundation is sure in Him.

Turn off the TV News, limit your screen time with Facebook and Twitter, no need to go tit for tat to praise Trump, dis Trump, praise Obama, dis Obama, instead meditate on the Word and PRAY. Read a good book...about anything other than politics, go outside, take a look at God's creation and the beauty all around you because, from the look of Facebook posts, there is a whole lot of judging going on instead of expressing opinions. Stop the murmuring and complaining and start praising the Lord!