Moving Mountains: The Power of Prayer

This post was originally published in November of 2012.  I am re-publishing it – and this series – again, at the Lord’s leading.  The people and leaders of our country need prayer – effective prayer – more than ever.

For those of you who read yesterday’s blog post, you kind of know where my heart’s at today.  Man, I’ve never felt so convicted.  I never realized that among my fierce dedication to the Lord and to my family and friends sits some serious pride and selfishness.  As a brief “catch-ya’ll-up”, I was praying about my sadness over Tuesday’s election results, and the Lord spoke very clearly to me: Continue reading

Are You Of This World or Of His Flock?

There’s been a burden on my heart lately for the body of Christ.  Why?  Because I’m seeing a growing number of Christians who profess their faith in Jesus, but their actions show differently.  “Seek first the kingdom of God” has been replaced with the cares and busyness of this world.  Idolatry has come in the form of “stuff” and “activities” and social functions.  These things in and of themselves are not bad, but it’s imperative that we as Christians ask ourselves whether or not our things, activities and social functions are having a more prominent place in our lives that our relationship with Jesus Christ and the lifestyle He calls us as Christians to live.

Many Christians do not understand that they will not enter Heaven simply because they “believe” and because attend church every Sunday.  After all, Satan himself believes in Jesus Christ.  Matthew 7:21-23 states:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ “

When Jesus talks about lawlessness here, he isn’t talking about prophesying, casting out demons or doing wonders.  Jesus makes it clear in Mark 16 that He expects believers to do those things:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will be no means harm them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

Jesus is talking above about hypocrisy: those who claim to be followers of Christ but whose hearts, lives and actions show otherwise.

What does your life show Jesus?  Does it show Him that He has your full heart and your full attention, or does it show Him that you are still very much a part of this world?   Does the life you’re living imitate the virgins who were not ready for Jesus?

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight a cry was heard: Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out ‘.  But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’.  but he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to know, I do not know you.’  Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”  (Matthew 25:1-13)

Also in Luke, chapter 12:

And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find doing what he asks when he comes.  Truly I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming’ and begins to beat the servants, and to eat, drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (Luke 12:42-46)

Only you and God know whether or not Jesus truly and honestly has first place in your life, or whether the things of this world have first place in your life.

My prayer for you today and my plea to you today is that you would check your heart and your life, and be truly honest with yourselves whether you are seeking FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, or whether or not you’re trusting in your belief that you’re “in” by the skin of your nose.

May God bless you and keep you always.

The Truth About the “Word of God”

The Word of the Lord.  The Bible.   What does it mean to you?  Do you read the Bible on a regualr basis?  If so, why?  If not, why not?  What does the Word of God mean to you?  Is it an attractive decoration for your coffee table that never gets opened?  Is it a handy-dandy guide to help you here and there when the going gets too tough for you to handle on your own?  Is it simply a blur of stories from long ago that you just don’t feel you can identify with?  Continue reading

The Word or the World: Which is Your Authority?

Do you go by what you see, smell, taste, feel and hear in this world when you work to perceive God’s will, or do you go by the Word of God?  Isaiah 40:8 says The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.

One of the big problems that mainstream Christians have with the so-called “Faith Movement” is that they talk about God’s will to heal, bless, deliver, prosper or whatever, yet often times – dare I say most times – those things don’t come to pass in the lives of Christians.  So they automatically assume that the faith movement is a bunch of hooey.

I don’t pretend to believe in or agree with everything that the Faith Movement teaches, but they do have one thing very, very right: The Word of God needs to take precedence in our lives over what we see and here in the world. Continue reading

The Bible: Buffet, or Entire Meal?

If you are in the habit of conversing with Christians, and even non-Christians, you might notice a trend:

People tend to take snippets out of the Bible and base their life decisions on those snippets.

This is an issue, and it can be a huge issue.  The Bible is meant to be read, understood and followed in its entirety.  If you believe that certain parts of what God says are “for real” and other parts of His Word are simply “advice”, you are heading down a dangerous path.

The Bible, as a whole, is God’s instruction manual to His people, similarly to how you have an instruction manual for your car.

If, with your car, you follow the advice about changing your oil regularly but don’t follow the advice about replacing your brakes as needed, you are obviously headed for trouble.  The Bible works much in the same way.

It is meant to be read, understood, and followed as a whole.  This doesn’t necessarily mean you do every task listed in the Bible, as some suggestions are based on the habits of the time period, and some are based for all time.

For instance, in the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 23, verse 12-13, the Israelites are commanded to leave the camp when they have to “poo”, dig a hole, and cover it up.  This is a task instructed for the specific time and place, and is not necessary for most people in the modern world due to the blessing of the modern sewer system.

However, when God says in Proverbs 22:7 that the borrow is servant to the lender, and in Romans 13:8 that we are to “owe no man, except in love”, He is giving us instruction for all time.

My point here is that often times we take and follow the rules and instructions in the Bible that are comfortable for us, and dismiss the rest as garble.  This leads to so much destruction in life, as we see from the many people in the world who suffer from serious financial problems and life problems that have arisen from the accumulation of debt, for instance.

But, the Bible is Too Hard to Understand

Someone once told me that we each have the right to interpret the Bible as best as we see fit.  This is a lie.  The Bible is NOT subject to our interpretation – we are subject to the instructions set forth in the Bible.  It is our responsibility to work continuously to find out what God means by a specific instruction or law, and not be content to ASS-U-ME that we know what He’s talking about by hanging onto one specific verse instead of the Bible as a whole.

We learn to do this by committing to reading the ENTIRE Bible, over and over again, until we “get it”.  This is no easy task.  I’ve been reading the Bible daily for over 6 years now, and I still have lots to learn, but the puzzle pieces are starting to fit into place for me now.  When I read a section of the Bible, I’m more easily able to put it together with the rest of what the Word says because I better understand the Word in its entirety. 

If you are truly looking to get the most out of your relationship with Jesus, and are wanting to walk in His best for your life, then bless yourself by becoming a student of the Word – the entire Word - of God.

 

Who’s Serving Who?

In order to get the most out of our personal relationship with Christ, it’s important that we understand how that relationship was meant to be formatted.  In other words, we need to know how to ” seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness “. Many people view God as sort of a independent consultant.  He’s there when you need Him, to call on when trouble comes, or when you want that big raise/new house/relationship to work out, or whatever. In most people’s lives, they’re running the show, deciding what they’ll do and not do, where they’ll go and not go every day, and using God as a consultant to complete the tasks they want to complete.  Continue reading

Prayer of the Day

Dear Lord, thank you for all that you’ve done for me.  Thank you for always providing for ALL of my needs, according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Thank you that your Word is true, and that your character does not change depending on our circumstances, but that no matter what the circumstances, you are always our Healer, our Protector, our Teacher, our Father and our Creator.  Help me to gain a thorough knowledge of Your Word, Your Character and Your Will, as outlined clearly in the Bible.  In Jesus’ precious Name I pray, Amen.

Do You Want to be Right, or Do You Want to Be Pleasing in His Sight?

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21)

 

I’ve had this post on my heart for several days now, so I thought I’d better get going and write it up.

Do you ever come across those situations where you’re having a conversation with somebody who’s totally wrong about something (at least in your option :-) ), and you’re both trying fervently to prove your point?  It seems that this happens even more often when it comes to extended family and holiday gatherings, don’t you think?

In fact, I was just having a “discussion” like this with my mom yesterday.  We were having our annual cookie baking day, and talking about clean-up procedures.  She had her way, and I had mine, which of course, made much more sense and was more efficient. ;-).  After a few minutes of friendly bantering, the Lord’s words to me repeated in my mind again:

“Do you want to be right, or do you want to be pleasing in My sight?”

Then I remembered that it really doesn’t matter which of us is right.  How and when to clean up the kitchen after our baking session isn’t really a life-threatening issue that must be resolved, is it?  But making sure my mom is enveloped in the love of Christ that is (or at least, should be) radiating from me, now that’s important!!!  That’s big time, serious stuff, and for those of us with unsaved family members, showering them with that love of Christ on a consistent basis could indeed pave the way to salvation for them.

So, the next time you feel a “debate” brewing, if it’s not a topic that imposes inherent danger to someone, choose, instead of having to be right, to be pleasing in His sight.  Refuse to argue.  Change the subject, respond with polite niceties, or simply walk away, and choose to focus your emotions on something or someone else.  Choose to please God over and above pleasing those fleshly desires we all struggle with.  You’ll be glad you did. :-)