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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Revive Us Again

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.  The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes."  Psalm 19:7-8

"The normal Christian life is one of constant and continual revival. While longing for a global revival to sweep the earth or a local revival to touch our church, we can personally nourish our soul every day. We can grow wise by the reading of God's Word, become enlightened by meditating on memorized Scripture, learn to treat others with the tenderness of agape love, and display the sweet traits of humility and confession. We can bolster our spirits with hymns and songs, and we can comfort and strengthen our hearts by reflecting on heaven and on things above." Dr. David Jeremiah

I was struck by the message in the quote above from Dr. David Jeremiah.  In our world today, perhaps this is not a subject that many would think about or even understand.  But, for those of us who are a bit more mature age-wise, there is no doubt of a memory or memories of great revivals that have swept over our world, country, state, or local church.  These were times when it was God whom we sought to please instead of ourselves; times where His Spirit flowed freely through us so that others could see the difference between a Christ follower and one who did not know Him; and times where we felt God's favor on us as a person and as a nation. 

As I write this article, the desire of my heart is that very soon a time will come when many people will abandon their own ways for the ways of God; that they will see how futile and meaningless life is if they do not have Him in their lives.  May each of us begin to pray for such a time as this.  Until then, let us continue to pray, believing that with God anything is possible and look expectantly for revival to come.  And then, may we never neglect the nourishment of our own souls on a daily basis.  We are the catalyst that God will use to accomplish His plan and purposes! 

Revive us Again

We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus who died,
And is now gone above.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory,
Hallelujah! Amen;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory,
Revive us again!

Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory,
Hallelujah! Amen;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory,
Revive us again!

Prayer:  Father, God, you know that our hearts long for revival.  Help us each day to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us to overflowing so that we might experience revival in our own soul.  Let this spark of revival begin in us and may it be the one that starts a fire of revival in places that we could not even imagine.  Do it for Your glory, Lord!  Give us the desire and ability to set only one goal in our hearts--that of sharing Your love and message with others.  We pray this in the matchless and mighty name of Jesus Christ, our wonderful Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

O, How I Love Jesus

"There is a name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth; It sounds like music in mine ear, the sweetest name on earth. O, how I love Jesus, O, how I love Jesus, O, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me." Words to an old hymn still so relevant today. Have a good Sunday everyone. If possible, go to church and have your spiritual battery recharged.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Will Never Forget

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

November 22, 1963 began as just another day for me.  As my school friends and I sat in Mrs. Nethery’s high school English class, none of us expected to receive news so shocking that we would never forget where we were when told of the events that had taken place earlier that day.  During the middle of our class period, the school principal came to the classroom door, spoke to Mrs. Nethery in a low tone and then left.  Soon afterward, she told us that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  It was a time of shock, fear, confusion, and great sadness.  In the days that followed, we felt a sense of insecurity. But, even though we mourned as a nation, America came through the terrible events of that November day.  We carried on and we survived.  But we will never forget.

On September 11, 2001, some thirty-eight years after President Kennedy’s assassination, I was once again in a school setting, but this time as an employee.  Just before 9:00 a.m., my daughter called advising me to turn the TV on because something awful was happening in New York City. With shock and sadness my co-workers and I watched in anguish, as we saw the upper floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center badly damaged and burning.  In the early stages of the story, the news media reported that some kind of plane had crashed into the building.  At that time there was no clear knowledge of what had actually happened, but we who were gathered around the TV felt that soon we would learn more details.  A few moments later, we sat watching in horror as the second plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  Then came news that an American Airlines flight had crashed into the Pentagon.  Soon we were seeing live news reports from that awful scene.  By this time, it was clear that these were not coincidences, but a deliberate and calculated attack on our country.

As the news focused back to the World Trade Center, my co-workers and I watched in silence as the first tower fell. Minutes later the other tower followed suit.  It was like a scene out of a movie that you know is not real.  Only, this was very real and unlike anything we had ever seen. Reports had already surfaced regarding the hijacking and crash of a United Airlines flight near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We later learned that were it not for a group of brave passengers determined to prevent the hijackers of this plane from completing their suicide mission, the U.S. Capitol Building or the White House would most likely have been the final target.

On September 14, 2001, at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. a memorial service was held for the victims who lost their lives in the terrorist’s attacks of September 11th. President George W. Bush said something that I firmly believe and want to share.  I quote the President: God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that His purposes are not always our own. Yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are known and heard, and understood.  There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers that give us strength for the journey. And there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own.”

As we commemorate the tenth anniversary of these horrific attacks against our country, we remember approximately 3,000 souls whose lives were lost that day. We remember and pray for each family as they continue to grieve the loss of their loved one. We pay special tribute to the first responders of September  11th who survived that day, many of whom now suffer from serious respiratory disease and other illnesses directly related to the poor air quality conditions near the site of the collapse of the buildings.  Their heroism on September 11th and in the days that followed will always be honored and appreciated.

Truly, September 11, 2001 is a day that we will never forget, nor should we. While we do not understand why tragedies like this happen, God’s Word tells us that He is always with us; that He has a purpose for each of us; and that all things work together for good to those who love Him.  Sometimes, it is through the most tragic times that we are prone to draw nearer to God and rely on Him, because we understand that we are powerless over our situation.  God loves us and will always be with us, regardless of the bad things that may happen.  May this day serve as a reminder that evil does exist in the world and that there are those who continually want to do harm to us, to our way of life, and to our country.  May we also be reminded that we are to pray for those who want to harm us, because it is only through God's Spirit that their hearts and attitudes will be changed.  Let us remember that life is short and we have no promise of tomorrow. Therefore, we should make every moment count. Live it for Christ, because life is a passing thing.

May God bless America and may each of us acknowledge Him, honor Him, and live according to His purposes, for His glory alone.  Please pray for our country, our leaders and citizens alike.  We are in great times of hardship.  Be encouraged by the scriptures below.  They are God’s promises to each of us.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness”.  Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5b (NIV)

Prayer:  Father, God, we pray that on this day you will comfort all those who mourn the loss of their loved ones on 9-11-01.  Give each person Your purpose and Your direction for their life.  We ask You to protect our country and keep us safe from those who would seek to harm us.  Help us to honor You in all things and never forget that You love us so much that you gave Your Son, Jesus, so that we might believe in Him and have eternal life.  We pray these things in Jesus name.  Amen.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Proper Boasting

"This is what the LORD says, "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness and justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight."  Jeremiah 9:23-24

Today is another day when I read a verse of scripture and took off writing.  Please know that when I write, I am always pointing a finger back at myself.  These little articles are never intended to target anyone in particular.  I believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, gives me the thoughts and words and I only put them on paper.  He knows who needs to be encouraged or convicted.  Without a doubt, it's usually me!   But, I love how He works like that and keeps me humble!!  So on with the message!

Don't you find it easy to be "turned off" by those who boast about themselves?  We’ve all had, or still have people in our lives who display these tendencies. They have become members of the "it's all about me" crowd.  Unfortunately, this type of self-centeredness can become a normal way of life. Many times the person does not even realize that he/she portrays this type of image. 

There are many examples of "worldly" boasting. Some like to boast about their accomplishments or the amount of money they have in the bank.  Still others might boast about their beautiful home, the name brand jewelry or clothes they have acquired, the places they have been or the "important" people that they know.  There is no doubt that being wrapped up in this type of mentality and materialism will bring satisfaction for short periods of time, but scripture tells us that all but God’s Word will eventually fade away. (See Isaiah 40:8)  Things are not lasting, nor will they ever be and will only bring temporary security.

In the verse of scripture listed above, it is God Himself who clearly points us to the kind of boasting that will last. He tells us it is of Him that we should always boast.  The ultimate goal, over and above anything else in our lives, should be the desire to know God more intimately and "boast" only of Him.  When we recall the many ways that God has blessed us and shown His love for us, we will automatically have the desire to tell others how He can do the same for them.

Why not begin by spending time reading God's Word. Talk to Him as you would a loving Father.  Spend time in prayer, thanking Him for who He is--all powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. Tell Him your sorrows, trials, fears and anxieties.  He understands and is there to comfort you.  Once you feel the peace that only God can bring, you cannot help but properly boast about how He has touched your life for the better. Let your thoughts dwell on Him as you go about your day and take any opportunity you are given to tell others about Him.  This is the type of boasting that He wants us to be involved in.

Prayer:  Father, God, we come before You acknowledging it is of You alone that we have the right to boast. We ask Your forgiveness if we have, in any way, ever been perceived to have boasted of worldly things and not of the lasting things that come from You.  We thank you for Your generous love, which You demonstrated by sending You Son, Jesus Christ, to bridge the gap between ourselves and You.  Thank You for Your everlasting love, the one thing that will keep our pride in check and rid us of worldly boasting.  Help us to boast of Your love to others as we are given the opportunity.  We pray these things in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How Would You Know?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  Psalm 119:105

Below you will find a series of questions, with corresponding scripture(s) to each question. For a few moments, consider that Jesus is asking you each of these questions in a personal and intimate way. It’s just you and Jesus, seated together in a room. Through these questions, He desires to show you from God’s Word, that He can be trusted to guide, direct, and give you peace as you encounter struggles, trials, or circumstances that may seem insurmountable. 

1. If you never felt pain, how would you know that I am a Healer? 
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  Revelation 21:4  
2.  If you never prayed, how would you know that I am a Deliverer?

“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.”  Psalm 17:6
“If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14
3.  If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an overcomer?      
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  Psalm 18:2
4. If you never felt sadness, how would you know that I am a Comforter?
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18
“For the LORD comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.” Isaiah 49:13b
5. If you never made a mistake, how would you know that I am a Forgiver?
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.”  Ephesians 1:7
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:12
6. If you did not call on me, how would you know that I will answer your questions?
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3
"How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you."  Isaiah 30:19b
7. If you never were in trouble, how would you know that I will come to your rescue?
 “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”  Nahum 1:7
“He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let Him deliver him, since he delights in Him.”  Psalm 22:8
8. If you were never broken, then how would you know that I can make you whole?
“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”  I Peter 5:10
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.”  Luke 4:18
9. If you never had problems, how would you know that I can solve them?
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.   In this world you will have trouble.  But, take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”  Psalm 51:12
10.  If you never had any suffering, then how would you know what I went through? 
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”  2 Corinthians 1:5
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53:5-6
11. If you never went through the fire, then how would you become pure?
“But He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”  Job 23:10
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10
12.  If I never corrected you, how would you know that I love you?
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves.”   Hebrews 12:6
13. If you had all power, then how would you learn to depend on Me?
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.”  Psalm 130:5
“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”  Colossians 1:29
14. If your life were perfect, then why would you need Me? 
“Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.”  Psalm 70:5
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28            
Through our daily life experiences, we will be confronted with the choice to respond to these same questions.  Will we fail to take God’s Word seriously? Will we dismiss God’s Word as a mere history book with no real meaning for our lives? Or, will we remember these and other verses of scripture that assure us we are able to move forward in complete trust and faith in the promises found in God’s Word?  Will we seek God’s guidance for our lives?   I pray that each of us will choose wisely.

If there are questions about God or His Word still lingering in your mind that you do not understand, I urge you to take the time to search the scriptures, to pray, and to ask God to reveal the wisdom to understand and trust Him.  You may also wish to seek the counsel of a Godly pastor or another Bible-believing Christian.  God’s Word is full of countless promises for the believer and for those who seek to find Him.  He has never failed to keep His promises, nor will He ever.

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6

Prayer:  Father, God, Your Word is truly a lamp to our feet and a light for our path.  No matter where we go—what circumstance(s) we face, You are already there.  We thank You for each promise given in Your Word, knowing that You had us in mind long before we knew You!  Help us to look to Your solutions and not to our own.   Give us wisdom to know how deeply Your love reaches into our hearts.  Help us to trust You in all things.  We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.   Amen.

*All scripture is taken from the New International Version Bible.
**Author of the above questions is unknown. I have added the verses of scripture to correspond with each question and all commentary is mine.