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Awakening?
April 21, 2018, 10:55 am
Filed under: Culture, God | Tags: , , ,

In the Bible we find these words: 2Ch 7:14 ESV  if my people who are called by my name 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.

In the last 50 years, our nation has gone from a nation of people who recognized that there was a God, that Jesus Christ had lived and died that people could come before the throne of grace and be forgiven for their sins. Now our land is full of hate for this or that group, hate for authority, hate for – you name it, killing is a pastime for many in our society. Gangs run rampant in many parts of our nation, and of course our political institutions are increasingly impotent.

In the history of our nation, many revivals have come and changed the course of our nation. Some have been called Awakenings, and they have swept across the land. As people were caught up in these revivals, our nation moved in different directions, we were people of Christ – Christians if you will. However, today, we have slid into an abyss of immorality, degradation, and hatred for Christ. We no longer see Churches growing, we see them in decline. We also see many denominations deciding that they will become relevant by becoming worldly. The United Methodist Church, has a married Lesbian Bishop, married of course to another Lesbian. The high court of the Church found that she could not be a bishop, and ordered her removal, the jurisdiction she is serving in said NO. The UMC now has given in to that jurisdiction and they continue their slide into apostasy. Of course this is not new, it is a part of the growing apostasy within the mainline denominations. All of them now celebrate abortion as something to be blessed by many of the pastors and even bishops, as well as homosexuality. The Episcopal has a “gay” Bishop.

So our society will not condemn Muslim Jihadists who kill and maim innocent people, but will claim that Christians need to shut up and do as hollywood directs. Even the Vice President of the United States has been ridiculed for believing in Jesus Christ as Lord of his life, and that he also hears God speaking to him in his prayer time. I too have conversations with my Lord and Savior, and I for one am glad to hear Vice President Pence speak of his prayer time conversations with the Lord.

In Psalm 85 the psalmist says this: Psa 85:6 ESV  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? This should be the cry of those of us who still believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. An Awakening or Revival is sorely needed in this time of chaos. A time when children can walk out of school and parents and teachers and Lawyers think it is just fine for them to protest against, whatever they want to protest. These kids are being used by those who hate, the NRA, or the Police, or, whatever the group de jour may be.

We also have a political party who is trying to sue the Republicans, the President, Julian Assange and Wikileaks, and of course the Russians, for somehow colluding with each other to defeat Hillary Clinton in the last Presidential election. Of course the evidence to the contrary is ignored. Hatred again has blinded them to their own culpability in the chaos into which our nation is plummeting.

It is time, if you are one who still believes that Jesus Christ is Lord, I pray that you will join me in praying for Awakening/Revival. If the people who are called by the name Christ are not willing to stand up and cry out to the Lord, then our nation is lost. As the Apostle Paul says: Eph 5:15-21 ESV  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  (16)  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  (17)  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  (18)  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,  (19)  addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,  (20)  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  (21)  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

And again as I started this missive: 2Ch 7:14 ESV if my people who are called by my name 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. If we do nothing, then Satan wins and this country will become a wasteland, because our God will not be mocked. Gal 6:7-8 ESV  Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.  (8)  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Choose today, will you too follow the ways of the world to your own damnation, or will you fall on your knees in supplication to our Lord and Savior, prayer for revival is sorely needed. Your choice, hell awaits all who will choose Satan over Christ.

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How should we pray? Jesus taught them.
February 2, 2016, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Church Stuff, Culture, God | Tags: ,

In many churches across our land people will pray the “Lord’s Prayer” and most of us will pray it by memory. We have recited this prayer for years in our churches, and it has become empty rote rather than a heartfelt prayer to our God. This prayer was Jesus’ answer to the disciples request to teach them to pray.
Mat 6:9-13 NRSV “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (13) And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
6:9 Our Father in heaven. Prayer should be addressed to God the Father in acknowledgment of His sovereignty over the universe. It is also to recognize that we are family, that God is our spiritual Father and therefore, notice that it is our rather than my Father. It is to be understood that God is first and foremost our sovereign, ruler of the Universe, but also a Father who is partial to the needs of His children. Next we recognize that God is in heaven, but also that he is Omnipresent, God is present everywhere and everywhen. He is always present for each of us and will hear our prayers and supplications, we acknowledge that He is in heaven and yet also with us for the Holy Spirit inhabits each of us. So God is always with us in everything we say and do. As it tells us in Psa 33:13-15 ESV The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; (14) from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, (15) he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.
God knows us better than we know ourselves, he is with us through all the trials and joys of life, knowing what we need before we do. He is also ready to act as our Father to fill the needs of His children.
Next – Hallowed be Your name. We should begin our prayers with worship, ascribing praise and honor to Him who is so worthy of it. In other words, one who is above and separate from the earth, yet rules over it. One who is to be exalted and recognized as Holy. His name is to be revered, understanding His divinity and giving voice to His holiness. Not only in our speech but also in our thoughts and actions, doing all things to God’s honor and glory.
6:10 Your kingdom come. After worship, we should pray for the advancement of God’s cause, putting His interests first. Specifically, we should pray for the day when our Savior-God, the Lord Jesus Christ, will set up His kingdom on earth and reign in righteousness. Looking forward to the day when the Kingdom of Heaven shall be made manifest on the earth, the day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Your will be done. In this petition we acknowledge that God knows what is best and that we surrender our will to His. It also expresses a longing to see His will acknowledged throughout the world. Why would we not want the will of God to be made manifest in the world, since we profess that God’s will is just and that it is His will that brings infinite wisdom, holiness and goodness into our lives.
On earth as it is in heaven. This phrase modifies all three preceding petitions. The worship of God, the sovereign rule by God, and the performance of His will are all a reality of heaven. The prayer is that these conditions might exist on earth as they do in heaven. As we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven, it means that we want the Kingdom to become a reality on earth, and that his will, which is our sanctification will happen so that our lives will reflect that which already happens in the heavenly realm. Truth be told our soul can never be truly pure until we are truly at one with God acting in concert with His will in our lives to evidence the kingdom.

6:11 Give us this day our daily bread. After putting God’s interests first, we are permitted to present our own needs. This petition acknowledges our dependence on God for daily food, both spiritual and physical. This hearkens back to the Manna in the desert, when the Israelites were dependent upon God for their daily sustenance. Our God knows our needs and more than once I have known that God was taking care of our needs. We had a dinner once at a church that I served, and our folks were surprised at how many showed up for worship and the meal afterward. They were concerned that we did not have enough food, yet when the meal was over, there was still food left for folks to take home for the evening meal.
6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. This does not refer to judicial forgiveness from the penalty of sin (that forgiveness is obtained by faith in the Son of God). Rather this refers to the parental forgiveness that is necessary if fellowship with our Father is to be maintained. If believers are unwilling to forgive those who wrong them, how can they expect to be in fellowship with their Father who has freely forgiven them for their wrongdoings? We speak of the truth that we are under grace not under the law, but, the law is still there to remind us of what sin is and what God has never changed. When we look at sin we must acknowledge that our God has set the line across which we dare not go.
Even as forgiven and reconciled persons, we are still subject to sin and must repeatedly go before the throne of grace, asking for forgiveness because of having hurt God by our sin, and therefore having a broken heart ourselves. We have sinned against he who gave his human life for our sins, and that sin hurts our father in heaven and needs to be repented of. The other side of that coin is that we are to forgive one another because if I hurt you, and then realize that I have done so, I must repent and ask for your forgiveness. Peter asked how many times must he forgive a brother, thinking 7 times was enough, Jesus said 70 times 7.
6:13 And do not lead us into temptation. God does allow His people to be tested and tried. This petition expresses a healthy distrust of one’s own ability to resist temptations or to stand up under trial. It acknowledges complete dependence on the Lord for preservation. We will from time to time be tempted, yet God always makes a way for escape. One of the most important things is that we spend time in His word, it gives us wisdom to work for God and to tell the devil to; as Jesus said to Peter, get thee behind me Satan. We must always remember that if what we think is right but it does not agree with what scripture teaches us about right and wrong, then we know not to allow ourselves to be trapped by that temptation.
But deliver us from the evil one. This is the prayer of all who desperately desire to be kept from sin by the power of God. It is the heart’s cry for daily salvation from the power of sin and Satan in one’s life.
This world will continually tempt us into sin, just look at the commercials on TV, always trying to get you buy this or that item so you will be seen to be the best guy on the block. I saw over and over again during the gift buying season, we call it Christmas, one person bought a set of reindeer to set in his yard. Of course it included Rudolph and his nose lit up. He also says he saved a couple of hundred dollars on the purchase. The neighbor says, yeah I bought something that lights up too, turns and hits the smart button and starts up his truck which of course lit the lights, and says I saved thousands.
We see other things too, that approach filth of another kind as well, all so that you will want to buy whatever they are selling. Then there is the lure of the lottery ticket, you can win millions, just buy a ticket. They neglect to tell you that your odds of winning are a few million to one. Remember folks, if you go to a casino to gamble, the odds always favor the house.

God has promised us life and that abundant, he did not promise that it would be without problems, just that he would never abandon nor forsake you. God goes with you in good and bad times, that is something that is guaranteed by his word. This prayer that we have just gone through is really not to be something you do by rote, it is an example of how to pray.
We in the church have made this prayer something that everyone learns by repeating every week, and it becomes rote, we know it by heart and we no longer know the meaning behind the words, we just repeat them each week. This however, is a teaching of Jesus, it shows us how to pray, and that is something we need to do on a regular basis. Prayer is a conversation with our Father in Heaven, we praise him and thank him for what he does and who he is and then present our needs to him, and admit that we understand that if we do not get along with our brothers and sisters in the family, we will of course seek reconciliation with them so that our sins against God can also be forgiven when we come to him for that forgiveness. Jesus taught that if we come to present our offering and yet have something wrong with a brother or sister in the faith, we are to go and make that right and then come to give our offering it means we are to be right with our brethren, before we can be right with our father.
We shall always recognize what sin is as we study the word of God. It is in the word that we learn what it is that is wrong (sinful) in His sight, lying, cheating, stealing, and murder, but also jealousy, hatred, perversions, shirking our duty to one another, to our job, and even lewd thought. So let us remember that this prayer shows us how to pray, how to speak with our God, learn from it as you go through your daily life, and spend time with God each and every day.
A good starting point for learning about prayer is to pray the psalms, these were used in worship, and sung or recited in worship at the temple in Jerusalem. Much of these are actually prayers of David and the sons of Korah and others.
There is also a wonderful book called all the prayers of the Bible.Take a look at how they prayed and what they prayed about. Here is a prayer of intercession that I think is indicative of the prayers that we ourselves should be involved in. This prayer is found in Gen 18:23-33.
Gen 18:23-33 ESV Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? (24) Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? (25) Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (26) And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” (27) Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. (28) Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” (29) Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” (30) Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” (31) He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” (32) Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” (33) And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
This is intercession, coming before God to intercede for others, Jesus taught that we are to intercede for those who are in need. Prayer for the sick, for the destitute, prayers for those who do not yet know the Lord.
Prayer for those we consider enemies to have their hearts and minds changed and renewed, prayers for revival or awakening. All are intercessory in nature. Spend time with God in prayer every day. You may want to watch a movie that is out right now called War Room. It is a powerful picture of what happens when you pray, first to get your own life in order, then for the stuff around you that also needs to be made right.

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Day of Vengeance to come
January 29, 2016, 5:04 pm
Filed under: Culture, God, Politics | Tags: , , ,

As a young man I joined the Army at 17 years of age, in 1963 I went through Basic training and then advanced training. I was sent to a place called Dreux in the Normandy area of France. I was there when JFK was assassinated, we thought it was WW 3, we spent a week guarding the perimeter of the base, scared to death that the Soviet army would be coming. Of course that did not happen, but we were really scared. I can imagine that the Jews who had come with Ezra to rebuild the temple felt like that too. They had begun to rebuild the walls as well, and the people in the area around them began to make trouble for them.

Their fear made them stop working on the walls, they also began to assimilate into the people groupings around them, inter-marriage became something that they thought would lessen the animosity against them. They forgot that God had expressly forbidden that type of exercise, they were not to marry outside of their own people. They were not to worship anything other than Yahweh, God, and yet idol worship was beginning to infiltrate their society. The Levites who were the priests left the city and began to work their own farms because the people were not paying their tithes to the temple.

Nehemiah was called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and in the 2nd chapter we see how forceful he is in getting the people to do just that. In the reading today we see that the people were gathering together and they are ready to hear the word of God read. Ezra read from the book of the Law, but he read in Hebrew, the people no longer spoke Hebrew they had taken up Aramaic in its place. This was the language of the people around them and it was the common language of the day, they could not understand what Ezra was reading. So there were a number of Levites who were explaining in Aramaic what it was that was read, and what it was that Ezra was telling them.
Just an aside here, the reading was from morning until noon and the people stood to hear the words of God. They also worshiped with uplifted hands, then with their heads bowed and looking down at the ground.

As the people heard the word of God, they began to weep, realizing that they were doing wrong in the sight of God. Then they were told that this was to be a feast day to the Lord, that they were to celebrate, but note that their celebration was not only for themselves. They were to make sure that any who had need were to receive a portion from those who had plenty. Our reading ends with the words, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

In Psalm 19 we read about God, that the heavens declare His glory, the heavens is that great expanse that we can see at night. Thousands of stars, thousands of galaxies which we can’t see with just our eyes, but with a telescope we can begin to see it all. Some one once said that if it cost a penny to travel 1000 miles, it would cost $2.38 to travel to the moon, $930 to the sun, and $260 million to travel to the nearest star. The light we see from the Andromeda galaxy shows us where that galaxy was 2 million years ago, that is how long it takes the light from that galaxy to reach us. God created all of that expanse, so yes it does declare His glory.

David ends the psalm with words of praise to God and instruction for God’s people. “Psa 19:7-11 NKJV The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; (8) The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; (9) The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (10) More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (11) Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.”

Now we come to Luke 4:14-21. All that has gone before in that which we call The Old Testament, leads up to what we find in the Newer Testament. Jesus has been preaching and teaching in Galilee, and he finally arrives in Nazareth, where he grew to manhood and he goes to the Synagogue on the Sabbath Day, that is Saturday, and he stood up to read. Reading from the scroll of Isaiah “Isa 61:1-2 NKJV “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,”

Let us understand what Jesus is saying here, it is important for us to see that this which he has read is known as the Ministry of the Messiah and when Jesus says “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” He was in the clearest possible manner proclaiming that He was the Messiah of Israel. So what exactly was this mission, this ministry? He came to deal with the great problems of mankind throughout all of history.
Poverty: To preach the gospel to the poor.
Sorrow: To heal the brokenhearted.
Bondage: To proclaim liberty to the captives.
Suffering: Recovery of sight to the Blind.
Oppression: To set at liberty those who are oppressed.

He came to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

The dawning of a new era for this world and its hurting multitudes, he presents himself as the answer to all the ills of the world. No matter what you may think of the ills of the world, Jesus is the answer to them all. It is also significant that he stopped reading with the words “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” the rest of that verse is: “and the day of the vengeance of our God.” The purpose of the first coming of Christ was to proclaim the good news the acceptable year of the Lord. We are living in the present age of grace, we are still able to come before the throne of grace and receive salvation because Jesus came the first time. He came to die and to rise from death into newness of life, so that you and I could see that there was and is a newness of life for us.

The second part of that verse is not yet here, and so we have time to become children of God, it is still the acceptable year of the Lord, but the day is coming when that will end, and then comes the day of the vengeance of our God. None of us knows when that Day of Vengeance will come, but, if we truly believe that Jesus is who he said he is, then it will come! What does this mean for you and I in the time of acceptance? It means we have a job to do, it means that we are to stand in the gap against the forces of darkness, and proclaim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, that sin leads to death, and Christ leads to life.

How can we stand, how can we come against the forces of darkness? We stand in the power of God, we have been promised the Holy Spirit and the gifts of ability to do the work that God has called each of us into. In 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit. 1Co 12:27-30 NKJV Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (28) And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. (29) Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? (30) Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

In the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, individuals would receive the Holy Spirit to help them do the tasks they needed to do, so we see these men and many prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, working to bring the the people of God to understand that they were moving in wrong directions and needed to work for God not against God. We see the miraculous building of the walls under Nehemiah, and the preaching of the prophets as they struggled with the sins of the people. In today’s reading in the book of Nehemiah, we see that the people are grief stricken by the reading and teaching of the scriptures by Ezra and the Levites.

In the time of Jesus the Spirit still only came upon men as needed and left after the job was done. Today, and since the first Pentecost after the resurrection, the Spirit inhabits each of us as we become believers, children of God. The Spirit helps us and guides us into all righteousness, and away from that which is sinful. Helping to mold and shape us into all that God has for us to be, and giving us the power to work against the forces of evil in the world.

Many people think that we need to kill the people who are the army of ISIS, and I suppose that some of them will have to die in battle, but Jesus himself teaches that we are to pray for our enemies. Pray that they may come to see their wrong and change their ways, and come to Jesus as Savior and Lord. We are also to pray for those who lead our nation, whatever they may be doing and no matter whether we agree or disagree with them, we are to pray for them and ask the Lord to guide and help them to see the right.

I hear a lot of folks talking about how we have to elect the right people to congress and to the state government, yet we have been doing that for many years. Has anything gotten better? The truth is, if we are not involved in the Father’s business, by being in prayer, by standing against immorality of all kinds, by using the resources that God has provided to help the poor, to bring healing to the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who are oppressed. If we are not working to bring people into the kingdom, then we are against God, that is not a good place to be.

We live in a nation that is rushing headlong into hell, can we stand and work to stop that train? If we will not then our nation is doomed to continue on a path that leads to destruction, Jesus said we are to make disciples, have you talked to anyone lately about Jesus? Our purpose is to be the light of the world because we serve the risen Savior of mankind and our lives are to be a reflection of that light. Just as Luke, Paul, Nehemiah, Ezra, Isaiah, Jeremiah and a host of others through all of time have shown the light of God in their own lives and have had an affect on those around them, we too are to shine.
We too are to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, until the time comes when there is no more acceptance, only the day of vengeance of the Lord comes upon this world. We who have come to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who have the Holy Spirit of God indwelling us, need to be standing for right, shining the light of Christ into the darkness of this world.

If there is anything in our own lives that goes against the word of God, we need to rid ourselves of that sin, asking God to cleanse us of all unrighteousness, and help us to be warriors for the kingdom. We who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, should want to share the joy of our salvation with others, so that they too might become as we are, sinners saved by the grace of God. As we look at the stealing, rape, murder and just plain hatred toward one another, we need to first pray, and then act in accordance with the will of God, as it is plainly written in the scriptures.

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