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Thursday, October 5, 2017

We are clay in the Potter's hands

Jeremiah 18:1- 4
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

As I meditated on this scripture, it occurred to me that we are all like clay in the hand of the potter, God is our creator and He knows exactly how to form us into the people He created us to be. But I often forget a key element in the process of pottery making. Not only does the potter mold the pot into the desired shape for His usage, but once it is shaped, it must then be fired. The firing is where we become useful to our maker.

We may have to endure a lot of pain to become the perfect vessel for our Heavenly Father to use. He knows the exact amount of firing needed to strengthen us for the work ahead of us. The firing process may seem as though it will never end, and yet, at just the right time, our Maker will remove us from the fire. 

How will we be used by the potter? That part is left up to Him. Does He need someone to offer refreshment to others? Does He need healers, preachers or teachers? We can't pick and choose what we will become, but we can joyfully submit to Him and let Him have His way with us. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's time for Christians to pant for the living God

What is happening in the world today? It seems that every time we watch the news there is another terrorist attack or a hate group trying to convince everyone that it's their way or the highway. Is the entire world doomed? And, as Christians, what are we supposed to do with each new crisis? How can we possibly show the world the love of Christ when it refuses to listen to us. We are ambassadors here on this earth for such a time as this - God didn't make a mistake when He created each one of us and placed us here at this particular time in history.

I've been reading the Bible through again this year and have just finished reading some of the major prophets words. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all faced similar situations, just like us. They were called to warn the Jewish people that God was about to unleash His anger toward them because they had turned their backs on Him and His commandments. Are the times we're living in so different? I don't think so. Maybe we don't bow down to idols in the same sense that the Jewish people did, but we have idols that we worship instead of the the living God. We bow down to political parties, we bow down to athletes and entertainers, we bow down to our children and pets, we bow down to our homes, our cars, our jobs, our employers, we bow down to physical fitness and endless pleasure. And we have made ourselves into gods by posting endless selfies - wanting others to see us as we see ourselves. Perfect specimens of human beings. But do we seek God every day? Do we, as Christians, pant for God?

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."  Psalm 42:1-5

I think this is the answer to the world's problems. How many people who profess to be Christians are regularly attending a church? As I read this Psalm, it breaks my heart to think of all the people I know who have abandoned their faith because they are worshiping idols. They may not admit it openly, but they give their time and attention to other things besides the living God. Church attendance is at the bottom of their to-do lists and not the top. If Christians spent even a small part of their time in praise and worship of God, if they opened their Bibles each day to seek Him and His direction for their lives, the rest of the world would take notice. But as it is, Christians just blend into the world, we don't shine like beacons and the world is hurting as a result.

The only hope of the world is Jesus, are we, His followers, being Jesus to the people that are in our pathways? As we seek God and obey His directions, we will see the world change for the better. He will hear our prayers and respond to them. We have this promise from Him: "Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him, with long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." Psalm 91:14-16

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It's time to pray for revival

The body of Christ, His precious bride, His church is being attacked by the enemy constantly around the world as never before in church history. We know that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12) Since we are in the midst of a spiritual battle, we need to invite God's Holy Spirit within us to help us fight this battle.

In 2 Chronicles 20:12-15 we discover that the nation of Israel is about to be attacked by their enemies and they realize that they do not have the physical power to face the vast army. They are in a precarious position, but under the leadership of King Jehoshaphat, they call upon God for His help and deliverance.
"All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord."
The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel as he stood in the assembly and he spoke these words from the Lord, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's... You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you."

What exactly were their positions? How were they to fight a battle while standing firm? As I read more about what they did that day, I realized that they had faith in God to do what He said He would do and they just began to praise Him for "the splendor of His holiness." The king appointed a choir to go before the army just praising and thanking God for his enduring love. In the meantime, God was doing what He said He would do, the enemy destroyed itself. By the time the people of God arrived at the battle field, it was covered by the dead bodies of their enemies. God had told them that would not have to fight the battle, it was His battle and He took care of it.

We are in a battle similar as the Israelites today, there is a vast army seeking to destroy Christianity and it's time for us to assemble and cry out to God for deliverance. He is the same God today and capable of fighting the battle for us, but the Church needs to unite and take up our positions and stand firm. We need to sing His praises and thank Him for His enduring love. Jesus wants His bride to have faith in Him, to trust in Him to fight for us. He loves us so much that He willingly died for us to be with Him and He said He would never leave us nor forsake us.

Here are some scriptures we can be speaking to God as we wait for His deliverance and restoration:
"Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation." (Psalm 85:4-7)

"Create in us a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast Spirit within us. Do not cast us from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation and grant us a willing spirit to sustain us." (Psalm 51:10-12)

May we "repent, then, and turn to God, so that our sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Christ, who has been appointed for us–even Jesus." (Acts 3:19-20)

"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)

This is what we have to look forward to: "Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: 'Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.' (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)" (Revelation 19:6-8)

Holy God, Today we, Your people, come into Your presence and ask You to renew a steadfast Spirit within us. We repent of all our sins and ask You to erase them completely. We do seek Your face and ask You to revive us and purify us so that we are ready for our wedding to the Lamb. We also ask You to deliver us from the enemy and go before us to fight this battle on our behalf. As we wait for You, we will praise and worship You because we have put our trust in You alone. We ask this in the precious name of Jesus, our King. Amen

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Study of the Names of God

In scripture we learn that God was given names for His various characteristics - it's pretty amazing and we can learn more about Him as we study the way people perceived Him throughout scripture.

The prefix El means mighty or strong and emphasizes the fact that first and foremost, He is mighty.

As He created the world and everything in it, He is called Elohim. It is a plural name depicting the Trinity as the creator. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit worked together to create the world. This name is used in Psalm 19:1, "The heavens declare the glory of 'Elohim'; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."

The name El Elyon is used in Isaiah 14:13 and depicts God as the Most High God, the giver of power, wisdom and might. The strong one.

In Genesis 16:63 we read that God is called El Roi by Haggar as she is cast into the wilderness by Sarah. She used that name because He is the God who saw her and spoke with her in her aloneness. Remember this one when you think that no one knows what you are going through. Our God is El Roi, who ever sees us and knows what we are enduring.

Another name is El Shaddai, the God Almighty, our protector, the all-sufficient one. This name is used in Psalm 91:1– "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High (El Shaddai) will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

Adonai is another name for God. It means that He is the Lord and Master, the Lord Jehovah or YHWY and depicts our relationship to Him. Malachi 1:6 puts it this way, "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the Lord Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name."

One of the most well-known names for God is Jehovah, it is used more than 6,000 times in the old testament, the first being Genesis 2:4, "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the Lord God (Jehovah) made the earth and the heavens." This name means I AM WHO I AM - God as the self-existant one - unchangeable - eternal.

We find out that He is also Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. This is the name used by Abraham when he took Isaac to Mt. Moriah to sacrifice him. "Abraham looked up and there in the thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place 'The Lord Will Provide'. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided'." Genesis 22:13-14.

God is also known as El Olam, the everlasting God, in Isaiah 40:28. "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God (El Olam), the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom."

God has many names related to the name Jehovah, He is Jehovah Nissi, the Lord my banner. "Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner (Jehovah Nissi). He said, 'For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation'." (Exodus 17:15-16)

He is also known as Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace. When Gideon was confronted by the Angel of the Lord and told he was going to save Israel out of Midian's hand, he was fearful to meet the Lord face to face. "But the Lord said to him, 'Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord is Peace." Judges 6:23-24

The Lord God Almighty is also known as Jehovah Sabbaoth, the Lord of hosts. "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord of Hosts (Jehovah Sabbaoth) seated on the throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory'." Isaiah 6:1-3

God is Jehovah Maccaddeshoem, the Lord thy sanctifier in Exodus 31:13 - "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy'." He is the one who sanctifies us, and it is only through our obedience to Him that we are sanctified.

He is also well-known as Jehovah Rohi, the Lord my shepherd. Psalm 23:1 makes this characteristic very clear to us. "The Lord is my shepherd (Jehovah Rohi), I shall not be in want."

Jehovah Tsidkenu, means the Lord our Righteousness and can be found in Jeremiah 23:6. "In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord our Righteousness."

The name Jehovah Shammah refers to the Lord who is present. Ezekiel had a vision of the temple in Jerusalem even though the Jewish people were taken into captivity by Babylon. He saw the city and the temple and heard the Lord speak to him about his vision. "And the name of the city from that time on will be The Lord is There." (Ezekiel 48:35b)

God is also the Lord our healer or Jehovah Rapha. "Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there He tested them. He said, 'If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you'." Exodus 15:25-26.

But of all these names used to describe God and His attributes in the Old Testament, the most favorite name was used by Jesus. He called God His Father. He referred to Him as "Abba" which can be interpreted by us today as "Daddy". How amazing that Jesus told His followers to pray to Our Father who art in heaven. The Lord God Almighty, the creator, the Most High God, the God who protects us, who sees us, our Lord and Master, the self-existent one, our provider, our peace, our banner, our sanctifier, our shepherd, our healer - He wants us to call Him Daddy. Why? Because that's the kind of relationship He wants to have with each one of us. That of a loving Father, who cares enough about each one of us that He provided a way for us to come into a relationship with Him. That way is Jesus  said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me." (John 14:6)

Are you looking for a loving Father? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If you have, then you've got a package deal, because the Lord God Almighty has adopted you into His family and Jesus is not only your King, but also your brother. Praise God for His provision. He truly is Jehovah Jireh!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Getting To Know God: A Prayer Journey

Getting To Know God: A Prayer Journey:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

These are a few of my favorite quotes...

Through the years, I've read many books by Christian authors and I often write some special quotes in the front of my Bible or journal. I just want to share some of those with you today.

These are a few of my favorite quotes, I hope they become your favorites too:

"Whenever a rock is mentioned in the Bible, it is a type and shadow for Jesus." Perry Stone

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." David McCasland

Chuck Swindoll explains the trinity like this: "God is the initiator, Christ is the implementor, and the Holy Spirit is the one who empowers."

"What we do in life echoes in eternity." Author Unknown

"Look for the face of Christ in the people you disagree with." W. H. Griffith-Thomas

"God pursues us in our restlessness, receives us in our sinfulness and holds us in our brokenness." Scotty Smith

"To be crucified a person is: 1) facing only one way; 2) they are not going back; and 3) they no longer have plans for their own lives. That is a disciple of Jesus Christ." Charles Stanley

"The word of God is like a lion, we don't have to defend it, we just have to let it out of its cage." Author Unknown

"Before people want to hear what you say, they want to know that you care." Author Unknown

"God is above, presiding; beneath, sustaining; within, filling." Hildebert of Lavardin

"Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
Francis of Assisi

"The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve." Albert Schweitzer

"It is permissible to pray for whatever it is permissible to desire." Thomas Aquinas

"Search your heart several times a day, and if you find something that is disturbing your peace, remember to take the proper steps to restore the calm." Francis de Sales

"The world tells us to look out for ourselves; God tells us to give ourselves away. The world tells us to rule; God tells us to serve. The world tells us to be first; God tells us to put others ahead of ourselves. The King of kings came to serve. The world will see Jesus in us when they see us serve."
Henry and Richard Blackaby

  "Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are." Mother Teresa

"Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can." John Wesley

"Trouble and perplexity drive us to prayer, and prayer driveth away trouble and perplexity." P. Melanchthon

"God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm. Deep unfathomable mines of never-failing skill, He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sovereign will..." William Cowper

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Christmas–God's gift to the world

     Just think about this–the God who created the world and everything in it, the God who made man in His image, who made us to be a reflection of His glory, the God who wanted more than anything to have a relationship with those He created–He knew the only way that could happen was through a blood sacrifice. And not just any blood, but sinless blood. God knew the only way to restore His relationship with us, was if He came to earth and sacrificed Himself on our behalf. He had to become one of us, give up His glorious home in heaven and live among us.

     As we celebrate Christmas each year, we commemorate His arrival to earth in human form, as a baby. When we sing, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” we are welcoming Christ as God with us. That’s exactly what Christmas is all about. And it is the second most important event on the Christian calendar–the first being the ultimate sacrifice, the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. But you can’t have the sacrifice without first having the birth.

     As we prepare for Christmas, we decorate with lights–which represent Christ as the light of the world. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:1-5)

     We also put up our nativity scenes based on Luke’s account of Christ’s birth. “While they were there (in Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:6-7)

     We put angels on our trees and mantels as a reminder that angels announced His birth to shepherds and angels also played an important part in announcing His birth to His earthly parents. We also decorate with stars as a reminder that the magi followed a star to the birthplace of the newborn king. And we purchase and make gifts to give to our loved ones because the wise men gave gifts to the holy one.

     There are a lot of traditions which have been added to the celebration through the years–Christmas trees, Santa Claus, sleigh rides and jingle bells, but all those things can enhance our celebrations because, after all, Christmas is one huge birthday party for Jesus. We have much to celebrate because the God of all creation has arrived on earth!

     Those who try to eliminate Jesus from Christmas have no idea that they are also eliminating themselves from God’s kingdom. Jesus came to earth for one reason–to sacrifice His sinless blood for the human race so that we could all have a restored relationship with God, our creator. He came for that specific purpose, but God has given us freewill and we can choose to believe that Jesus is God in the flesh or refuse to believe. 

     As I was decorating my mantel this year, I had such a burden in my heart for those who have never heard the good news. Maybe, just maybe, this blog will reach someone who has never heard about Christ. Maybe, just maybe, someone will view Christmas in a different light after reading this blog. And maybe, just maybe, someone who really doesn’t “feel” like celebrating this year will decide to light a candle, hang a star or set out a nativity. “O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”