Waiting. Not My Strong Suit!

I don’t like to wait!

“Do return, O LORD; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants. O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants And Your majesty to their children. Let the favor of the LORD our GOD be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.” – Psalms 90:13‭-‬17 NASB

I’m ready. SO ready for Jesus to show up! I mean, sure, there are unchecked boxes on my bucket list, and someone I really want to meet; things to do, foods to eat, places to go….. but, I’m ready. The absolute evil and insanity that is pervading our world makes me cringe and want to run away from it all, straight into heaven. Even the Psalmist asked God to hurry! And check out the wording here: Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil. Yikes. Make us glad for our afflictions. Make us glad for the years of evil!

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 NASB

Today, this is how this reads to me: Rejoice in the waiting. Give thanks for the opportunity to wait. I won’t pray for patience. God in His infinite wisdom already gives me plenty of opportunities to learn it and practice it. What I will do is pray. Thank You, LORD, for the waiting; for all of the opportunities to rejoice in the anticipation of what is to come, both here on earth and later, with You, in Paradise.

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Motives

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” – James 4:3 NASB

Ouch. That one feels a bit like James is moving past advising us and is starting to meddle…..

I found this post from 7 September 2017 on http://www.EverydaySalt.com by Antoniell Saravio.

The first time I heard about the Law of Attraction I felt a rush of anxiety. What if even if I stopped now, I could not stop all that I had already attracted? Had I doomed myself for years to come?

Luckily, getting to know God has soothed over this fear of mine. It’s true the deception creeps into our prayers, but not to worry–God has a handle on things! The Lord is good about ignoring our wrongly placed motives. He knows what you need, even when you don’t.

What we can do is continue to work our relationship with God to better understand our heart’s desires rather than our ego’s need to be satisfied. We must stop believing so blindly in our ego and its demands. It knows not how to be happy or peaceful, it seeks to “win” an “unwinnable game.”

The prayers in our hearts will be rooted in unconditional love, spiritual growth, and complete faith that God is with us at all times. The more we open up to God, the more our prayers will change to reflect these gifts.

I wonder – are we trying to manipulate God in order to bend Him to what we want? Or are we engaging with Him, waiting on Him, and allowing Him to orchestrate what happens in our lives? I fear that my prayers run more towards the manipulating kind. As I lift my voice in prayer, may I look to my motives for all of my requests and wait on the LORD to answer.

The End Is Coming!

“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 PETER 4:7‭-‬11 NASB

How many times has the end of the world been predicted? Hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands? Over the centuries, many leaders have convinced their followers that Jesus is returning at a certain time and a certain date. The Jehovah Witnesses have predicted at least 5 different dates, and we are still here. Nostradamus predicted 1999 (Still here). Google “end-of-the-world predictions” – it’s interesting to me that so many people seem to want the world to simply go away. Matthew, Luke, and John all recorded Jesus saying that no one would know when He was to return.

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. …. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” – MATTHEW 24:42‭, ‬44 NASB

Peter wrote 1 Peter 4 as a guide of how to live in the end times; to live in the knowledge that our Lord is coming to see us at some point, and to take care of His people as if we expect Him now. In the Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis, as Aslan prepares to leave Lucy he tells her he will return soon. I love her reply, because it is what we all want to ask: “What do you call “soon”?”

Are we living our lives like Jesus will return “soon”? Like there is no tomorrow? It is especially important as Christians to keep sound judgement and a clear head – don’t succumb to the panic of the end times. (Remember Y2K?) One way to avoid the panic is through a dedicated prayer life – sustained and energized, aware of the immenence of Christ. We have the only Love that can be stretched and strained to the max, but will never reach a breaking point, because it is a unique Love that comes only from the Father.

We need to be more fervent in our love of others, and let our love cover their sins…. not condoning the sins, but not broadcasting or highlighting and exposing them. We can be gracious putting up with other’s weaknesses – because we have so many weaknesses ourselves! Less isolation of ourselves, because hospitality is sharing the message that “you matter to me.” Finally, using our spiritual gifts shouldn’t be hard for us, because it will be natural act and will serve other people.

The end is coming. Just don’t get too excited about putting a time or date on it. Only the Father knows when it will be.

Have You Prayed About It?

“Have you prayed about it?”

Whenever we have a question or concern, or we are worried about something, that phrase should be the first thing that pops into our mind.

“Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the LORD; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the LORD will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” – JAMES 5:13‭-‬18 NASB

Billy Graham wrote: “Faith pleases God more than anything else. The Christian life is dependent upon faith. We stand on faith; we live on faith. Faith is loved and honored by God more than any other single thing.

The Bible teaches that faith is the only approach that we have to God. No man has sins forgiven, no man goes to heaven, no man has assurance of peace and happiness, until he has faith in Jesus Christ.

You may be saying, “God, I believe you are a great person, but I do not believe your Word; I do not believe what you say.” In order to please God, you must believe Him. Perhaps your faith is small and weak.

It does not matter how big your faith is, but rather, where your faith is. Is it in Christ, the Son of God, who died on the cross for your sins?”

I especially appreciate the last 2 sentences, because for years my faith was small… tiny, almost nonexistent. Because my faith was so small, my constant search for peace & happiness did not yield anything. Oh, I could sense them! I knew they were within reach ….. but I couldn’t quite get there. I knew, because of my parents teaching us while we were children, that true peace only comes thru JESUS. Scripture is quite clear on that:

“Without faith it isn’t possible to please GOD. Those who come to God must believe that He exists. And they must believe that He rewards those who look to Him.” – Hebrews 11:6

Without faith, it is difficult to pray, and without prayer, it is difficult – maybe even impossible – to have faith. The thing I most hope to get across is this: No matter what is going on in your life, whether mental or physical, there is HOPE. There can be PEACE. Regardless of what anyone else says or does to us, JESUS is the answer. Claim it – claim HIM. Pray about it. Hold a conversation with God!

See that tiny flicker of faith that is hiding deep in your soul? Fan the flames. Let GOD supply the fuel!

Have you prayed about it?

I Just Don’t Get It

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” – JOHN 21:25 NASB

There are other, similar statements in the scriptures, stating that Jesus did innumerable unrecorded miracles. These miracles were witnessed by hundreds of people. Yet we still don’t believe? I just don’t get it. Millions follow Buddha. He never did a miracle, he never claimed to be sent by the Creator of the Universe, and he didn’t arise from the grave after he died. Research “great religions of man”. Belief in Jesus in not a religion. It is a way of life. There is no dictated behavior. I found this from the C.S. Lewis Institute, and it says what I mean to say much better than I am able to.

“When we look carefully at the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, the call to “follow me” takes on much greater clarity and specificity. It is indeed a call to “walk as Jesus walked,” to live a life of radical faith and love. Once we truly grasp this, our first reaction is likely to be one of dismay. If we are at all aware of the depth of indwelling sin and the dysfunctions that plague our lives, we know it is impossible for us to fulfill such a call. Yet this reaction is actually healthy, because it is based in reality. It is indeed impossible for us to live this way. And that is precisely the point.

Jesus knows we cannot follow him without a power beyond ourselves. And that is why he sent the Holy Spirit to empower us.

It is only through the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can obey the teaching of Jesus and follow his example. He assures us of the Father’s love, he makes the things of Christ real to us; he makes the gospel precious to us; he convicts us of sin and assures of forgiveness when we repent; he transforms us from glory to glory, into the likeness of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:16–18). That is why we are taught to earnestly seek to be filled with the Spirit each day (Eph. 5:18) and to be led by him in all our ways (Gal. 5:16–25). When we do, we will find that we can live in newness of life. Not perfectly and not immediately. But day by day, as we walk in faith and obedience, the Spirit will produce in us the character of Jesus: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23).” – Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D.Min. Director of Ministry, C.S. Lewis Institute

(http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/Following_Jesus_Christ_Tarrants_Single-Page_Full_Article)

I’m grateful to have access to study such diverse sources! Study for yourself and determine the truth. I don’t believe that anyone who diligently and honestly searches for the Truth won’t find it. I know where it lies, and it is in the Person of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that you will discover the Truth – and accept the Truth – as well! Amen!!

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – JAMES 1:5 NASB

And When You Pray …..

AND WHEN YOU PRAY, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:5‭-‬15 ESV

In verses 7-8, it seems to me that JESUS is rather condemning of us Gentiles here for being wordy and full of ourselves, but I don’t believe He’d want me to focus on that. In fact, as a young person growing up in church, there were a couple of people that, when called on to pray, caused me to cringe inside. Why? Because they were exactly as JESUS describes: using many words and heaping their prayers with empty phrases. Looking back, I feel sure that these people meant well in their prayers, and I’m certain they were sincere in their pleas before GOD. This is not a condemnation of their prayers. I am also certain that they would not have been called on for the benediction or any other time, had they not been in love with our LORD.

When we do pray in public, it seems imperative to be cognizant of the Words of JESUS. I believe it is important to have someone to lead in us prayer during worship services for a couple of reasons. First is our Focus: we are so easily distracted from the reason we gather together that is good to have someone remind us where our minds should be. Second is having no words: there have been many times when I wasn’t able to form my own prayer, and the guidance provided by the pastor or other leader was just what I needed. There are also times when the opportunity to pray for someone (in public) comes up, and I believe that when that happens, we are to seize the moment. Praying quietly and privately with or for someone in public is a mighty witness. Simply bowing our heads and whispering a prayer goes a very long way towards defeating the enemy. He hates – with a passion – those moments when we call on JESUS and utter His Name out loud, even in the quietest voice.

Conclusion: pray often. In public, pray quietly and to the point. In private, pray softly, pray loudly, pray constantly. It’s a conversation with the CREATOR. I know, it’s mind-boggling that the LORD of the Universe wants to talk with me! And when you cannot say a word, just say JESUS. He knows.

Image from https://www.beliefnet.com

Misled; Sleeping From Sorrow

Oh, come worship with me! The radio is playing Christmas songs interspersed with gospel and contemporary Christian songs – Living Hope, All Is Well, Carol of the Bells, Chain Breaker ….. How can we not worship the SAVIOUR?

JESUS spoke to those gathered around Him, “And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My Name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them.” ….. Later, when He arrived at the Mount of Olives, He said to the three Apostles who had accompanied Him, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “FATHER, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” – Luke 21:8; 22:40‭-‬43‭, ‬45‭-‬46 NASB

Misled, lied to, misrepresented. We have all experienced these things, just as JESUS was. Authority figures; politicians, mislead and lie to us constantly, and that is a sorry fact. Worse, though, are those people who claim to represent the Promise of the Messiah; to be the fulfillment of GOD’s Word. They make it all sound so good and true, and we are often duped by it all. How depressing! When we can’t trust the people who lead us, who then can we believe? Test them. As Paul said: “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good …..” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NASB

We bow our heads to pray, and fall asleep from the exhaustion of trying to discern Truth. Let the Holy Spirit guide our words. Scripture tells that even when we don’t have words, He will carry our groans to the FATHER OF ALL and translate for us. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the Will of GOD.” – Romans 8:26‭-‬27 NASB

Sometimes I feel like I am sleeping more than I am praying, but ‘sleeping’ can mean more than closing our eyes and being in an unconscious or less than conscious state. Metaphorically, it refers to our hearts, and how we become unresponsive to the LORD and His prompting. In forgetting to pray, we are allowing ourselves to be drawn into temptation and sin. One way to pray is to listen to Christian music. It doesn’t matter if it is old time gospel, hymns, Praise and Worship, rap, contemporary, pop, or bluesy and rockin’. By hearing the Message in the songs, our spirits are put into a better alignment with the LORD. Reading and studying His Word is also a way to pray. Singing – making a joyful noise – is a beautiful conduit to GOD’s ears. “Joy to the world, the LORD has come, the SAVIOUR reigns!”

LORD, we pray for Your discernment in showing us False Prophets and teachers. We ask for the strength only You can provide to keep us emotionally and spiritually awake. In JESUS’ Name, we pray that we will not be misled and that we will not sleep the sleep of sorrow. I love this Truth that Hillsong sings, “In my Father’s House, there’s a place for me; I’m a child of GOD …..” AMEN.

http://www.graspinggod.com/jesus-praying-in-the-garden.html