A Prayer Launch

“Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Romans 12:19 b

I’m sure you have heard these words, or may even have said them: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me.” I remember shouting those words to some kids who were making fun of me on the playground. I use to come home and tell my mother about it and she would repeat those very words to me. I understand now that she wanted me to rise above their meanness and see the truth that I had worth.

But the truth is, words do matter, they do hurt, and they do leave an unseen scar on our soul. So what are we to do? Once words are said, there is not taking them back. They are like arrows streaking through the air aimed at a target and they always seem to hit the bullseye. Again, what can we do?

Well, first of all, do not be the one shooting the arrow. Second of all, if you are the target, remember who you are—more importantly, whose you are. The most important answer is prayer. Launch into prayer as a ship is launched into the sea. With diligence and determination that this voyage you are on is guided and directed by the Captain. And, He will make sure you will get to your destination safely, maybe not without some scratches or bruises, but He will bring you safely home.

You see, God is the Judge. He has said, “Vengeance is mine!” You do not need to waste your energy on retaliating, only pray that those who do not seem to know better, will gain some wisdom through your loving responses. Stephen (Acts 7:60) in the midst of being stoned to death by a crowd of angry, misled people, cried out to the Lord, “Do not charge them with this sin!” Just as Jesus cried from the cross (Luke 23:34) “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing!” Can we—who believe—do any less?

Let us pray: Father, give me words that sow peace and dispel anger.

In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Further study–Matthew 5:44   Luke 6:27/23:34   Acts 7:60   Romans 12:20 

 I Cor. 4:12-13   I Peter 2:23

OUT OF CONTROL

“…the one who believes will be unshakable.” Isaiah 28:16

The whole world seems to be out of control. Where do you go for help? When your pet is sick or has gotten hurt, you take them to the Vet. When you are sick you go to your doctor. When the Air Conditioner breaks you call in an A C technician. When your drain gets clogged you call a plumber. When your electricity goes off or one of your appliances quits working, you call an electrician. But, where do you go when your world doesn’t work anymore?

Well, I think you know what I am going to say next. And, if the truth be told, you already know the answer. But, these are times when our whole world seems to be crashing down on us and we lose perspective. We need to be reminded of the things we already know. So, I know you will forgive me if I tell you something you already know—there is only One whom we can go to in such times as these—that is the One who died that we might live life abundantly—Jesus our Savior.

I know you are probably saying, “Well. This doesn’t seem like an abundant life!” But, He doesn’t mean a life free of stress or of strife. He doesn’t mean a life without pain or struggle or grief. There are just too many variables. Yes, Jesus performs miracles, but He is not a magician! What I believe He does mean by “an abundant life,” is one in which we—the believer—know from whence our help comes. We know that no matter what is happening in this life, we have a Helper, a Comforter, One who knows the answer and the way out. Will it be easy? Probably not! But, if you keep your eye on Him you will get through this maze that you are living in and you will be saved. The best is yet to come!

Here are some reminders to help you feel God’s peace:

  1. Listen to the messages that God gives you through nature; through others; through His Word.
  2. Look for the positives and eliminate any negatives.
  3. Look up and see the mountains, in other words, keep your eyes looking up to God.
  4. Read His Word daily—every day—several times a day, at least, morning and evening.
  5. Seek His will, and His way in all things.
  6. Pray at all times, before you speak, before you act, before you make a decision.
  7. Don’t beat yourself up if you begin to fret—take a deep breath, and go back to the beginning and focus on the promises of God.

Finally, read the scriptures at the end of this meditation over and over again. Copy them on a card and place it in various places where you can see it at every turn. Soon the attitude of faith will replace your attitude of fear and fear can no longer live in you. The temple of your soul will totally belong to the Holy Spirit of God your Father in heaven.

This is the promise of God:

“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Dear Lord, help me hear your voice. I want to climb up into your lap and feel the comfort of Your love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

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I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

His foundation is on the holy mountains.

Therefore the Lord God said: “Look I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation, the one who believes will be unshakable.”

I lift my eyes to You, the One enthroned in heaven.

May you be blessed by the Lord …

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1, 2— Psalm 87:1— Isaiah 28:16— Psalm 123:1

Psalm 115:15— Psalm 124:8

Believe it and go in peace!

Lord Have Mercy

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God.” Romans 8:28a

 

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

 With love we can accomplish all things, for God is love. (I John 4:7-14) The word love is the most misused and misunderstood word in the English language. The dictionary tells us the meaning of love is an intense feeling of deep affection. This could mean that if love is a feeling, it is prone to change depending on the circumstances.

God, in His great mercy is true to His Word. He loves us in spite of our neglect of loving Him. In His great mercy He speaks through the writer of Hebrews, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Also, God knew that this love business is not something that we human beings could execute—not completely. So He came to earth to show us through the teaching of Jesus Christ and, when it was time, brought Him back to heaven not leaving us to cope on our own, but leaving us a Counselor, Advocate, Comforter, known as the  Holy Spirit…His Spirit…the third person of God. You might say, “Well, where is He when I need Him?” And God says, “Right there within you. All you have to do is recognize Me and call upon Me.”

In the end, love is not an emotion—for it can change—love is an action. Love is a relationship. Love is a commitment. Love never fails. Lord, have mercy upon us that we may love You and one another—until we do there can be no peace.

Let us pray—Dear Lord, I pray that I will be endowed with the greatest power on earth and in heaven—love. Make me aware of You Holy Spirit for without You there can be no love and, likewise, no peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

“Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life.”  John 14:6

Further reading

Jude 20-22   Romans 8:15-16   Romans 8:26-27   John 15:9-10   I John 4:7-14

 

Is This The End?

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1

photo of person holding a bible

We have been hearing a lot about “the talk” these days. There is an erupting of unrest through-out the country. It is bringing up old wounds and exposing an under-lying current of hurt and feelings of discrimination that has been, not only in this nation, but through-out the world, for decades, unrecognized by many—some by choice. Because of this, fathers of black Americans have had “the talk” with their sons. “This is what you must be aware of out there in the world. Be on your guard. Mind your “P’s and Q’s,” they said. How sad! Many have not felt free to live up to their potential. It is sad for the individual and sad for the nation.

However, in the midst of all this chaos there is one uniting factor that many have overlooked. Jesus was telling His disciples about it when He was having “the talk” with them. He told them about the evils of the world and that right now they were depending upon Him to protect them, but in a little while He would be leaving them. Can you imagine how they must have felt?

Jesus had called them to come to Him, and having called them He gave them power to follow Him and learn from Him. He gave them His glory, as well. (Romans 8:30) Nothing could separate them from the love of God. He told them He was going to send them the Advocate to help them through the rough patches. (John 15:26)

So Jesus’ leaving was not the end for the disciples—it was the beginning. You and I have the same promises today. There are things we cannot see, but with faith we can believe. We can have confidence that what God’s Word tells us is true. In fact, it is the only truth that lives forever! The Holy Spirit is alive and active even in the midst of chaos. He can even defeat the evil virus that lurks yet none can see. He can even make it so those fathers do not have to have “the talk” with their sons.

Even if this is the end of life as we have known it, it is the beginning of forever for those who have faith and believe. The hope of new life in Christ gives you confidence and, therefore, victory over evil. In the end, we will all come to understand that when God said,

“Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us,” (Genesis 1:26) He didn’t specify color, race, or creed, but ALL human beings. There is only one race—the human race!

Let us open the eyes of our heart and see the beauty of what God has planned for His children. We are like a beautiful bouquet of many colored flowers. We all live and breathe the same air and drink the same water. Let us live in the peace of the living Lord and the love of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray—Dear Lord, let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. To You be all honor and glory. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Amen

Further reading

John 16:33   John 14:27   Romans 5:1   I John 5:4

In The Shadows

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“Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  John 14:13

 

Anyone who has ever attended a Prayer and Praise worship service can tell you that they were inspired and filled with peace and joy. It is an amazing thing when there is no other agenda but to give praise to God. It happens when we take our eyes off ourselves and put them on the One who made the heavens and the earth and all that is contained therein.

During my years of Pastoral Ministry, I conducted several such worship services. Many times they were in the shadow of dire circumstances—when we needed to focus on God instead of the grief and sorrow all around us. For instance, in the shadow of 9-11; terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the Twin Towers in New York City and crashed a plane load of people in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania that was on its way to destroy the Capitol in Washington, D.C. We needed to re-focus at that time toward the only One who could give us wisdom and understanding and lift us up from our grief—thus, Prayer and Praise.

There was another just as devastating a time for the small village in which I lived. A little boy was brutally murdered and left lying on a picnic table in the yard of the house where he “lived.” (I use the word “living” loosely) The whole town was in shock. There were two churches in town— the United Methodist Church, which I served, and the Catholic Church —we came together, threw aside our doctrinal differences and planned a Prayer and Praise Worship service. We had to focus not on our grief, but on the One who could give us direction.

Today is such a time; we need to get our eyes off ourselves and put them on the One who knows the future. Jeremiah wrote: “For I know the plans I have for you—this is, the Lord’s direction—plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (29:11); and the Lord also speaks to us through the words of Isaiah:–“Lord, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?”(43:19) Only when we take our eyes off ourselves will we be able to truly see.

What if we planned a Prayer and Praise Worship service? My vision is it would include a quiet time with the Lord, singing hymns of praise to His Holy name; silent prayer, in which time, the Holy Spirit would be free to touch the hearts of God’s people; all of which would be against the backdrop of soothing music to which the angels sing. We would come away with a true sense that Someone bigger than you and I is in control and He will make all things well.

Dear Lord, this is my prayer.

For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saint’s inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14 Holman Bible)

In Jesus’ name. AMEN

For further reflection read:

John 14:13   James 1:5   Proverbs 2:6   Colossians 3:10

2 Corinthians 9:8   Galatians 3:10

Forty + Days

high angle shot of a person walking alone in the desert

“…the man who is in the field must not turn back.” Luke 17:31

The Israelites were living in exile in Egypt. It’s a long story how they happened to be there. They had experienced hardship, war, and famine. Their ancestors were fighting wars before many of these people were born. They wound up in Egypt because they had experienced a famine in the land of Israel. They began to cry out to the Lord. The Lord heard the cry of His people and sent Moses and Aaron to rescue them.

This is a very entangled story because Moses (a Jew by birth) had been brought up by the daughter of Pharaoh and raised as an Egyptian. But, God had never left him nor lost sight of him. He called Moses to rescue the people, thinking Pharaoh would listen. However, he didn’t. A very strong series of plagues was thrust upon the Egyptians until finally Pharaoh begged Moses to take the people out of Egypt along with all their belongings. (The Book of Exodus)

Now, this is where we can relate to the story of the Israelites. They wandered 40 days and nights in the desert. It took them that long to make a trip that could have taken them far less time. The nearest route was through the land of the Philistines, but this would have meant they would have to fight their way through and God knew this wouldn’t work. “God said, the people will change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war.” (Ex. 13:17) They traveled the long way—grumbling and complaining and rising up in protest. Sounds like today, right?

white and gray camper trailer under starry night

We have been grumbling and complaining, rising up in protest for we have been in isolation for 80 days to fight this unseen enemy that is plaguing us. We are crying out “Lord save us!” He has heard our cry, but are we willing to do what we have to do in order to win this battle? Based on what we see on the news broadcasts, it looks like the answer is a resounding, “NO.” But, I would venture to say that isn’t the clear picture. Meanwhile, there are many, many more who are remaining faithful to God bowing in prayer and being compliant to the rules set before them. You see, all we need is to have the faith of a mustard seed. Jesus said, “If you have the faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be rooted and planted in the sea and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:6) Now, that’s pretty powerful, I’d say!

What we are facing today is a spiritual warfare. Paul says to the church at Ephesus and it holds true for today. “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Eph. 6:12) God tells us through the words of Isaiah, “I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” (40:10)

The trip [Isolation] may feel long, but this too shall pass. You and I—everyone—need to do our part.

Dear God, help those who have lost loved ones; help those who have contracted this virus; and God help those who are struggling to do the right thing. God help us to be strong and courageous. We cry out “God help us!” In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Isaiah 41:10   Exodus 13:17/14:11   Philippians 3:13,14   Luke 17:31

This Day

cheerful young couple in black medical masks resting on plaid on sunny meadow in countryside

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Sometimes you wonder, “How much more can I take?” It seems that we have been under attack since the year 2020 began. It is supposed to be a year of vision. A year of being able to see what God is going to do in the lives of His people! But, you see, our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways. And we have been trying to do life our way for a long, long time. So, perhaps, the trouble we’re seeing and experiencing is being allowed to happen to bring us to the place that God has planned for us to be—worthy of standing in His presence.

You see, a diamond, before it became that beautiful stone you have in the ring on your finger, was just a lump of coal. It had to be cast into the fire several times and put under extreme pressure before it reached perfection. In the same way, our lives are perfected. You are that diamond!

Today people are suffering. First, we had the Coronavirus that seemed to spread like wildfire. Not only in the United States, but all over the world. Millions of people have died and are still dying. We’ve had to close businesses, plants that supply our food, churches—every place where people gather for work and recreation. We’ve had to stay in our homes. It worked for a while, but then people began to get agitated. They got bored. They couldn’t seem to be able to stand their own company. Many had forgotten their first Love. They had forgotten—or possibly had never known—that God has said He loves you and will never leave you nor forsake you. Many became afraid because they did not understand

Then a second wave hit! This one was violence. It began when the nation saw the killing of a man by the police. The man was black, the police were white, but no matter, it was a senseless murder that should never have happened. It caused waves of violence all across the United States and the world. What is this violence meant to accomplish? It is just exasperating the injustice of a senseless act by someone who should have known better.

In the midst of all this is evil. The author of evil and fear and violence is not God. Therefore, in the midst stands Satan who is having a field day at the expense of the lives of men and women. He is the author of fear which is the driving force behind all the anger and frustration and hate of the people who do not know what to do. Are you willing to let Satan stand there and laugh at you?

Every day belongs to the Lord who made heaven and earth. He tells us in the words of the Psalmist and the writer of Hebrews: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Psalm 56:11/Hebrews 13:6) The anecdote for fear is faith. Place in your mind words that assure you of God’s presence from the moment you awake to carry you through the day. Use these words as a mantra: “This is the day the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Then walk through your day knowing that you are not alone, being guided by His Holy Spirit. Then when you lay your head down upon your pillow, thank the Lord for your day and say, “I will both lie down and sleep in peace, [I] am not alone, for You Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8) Fear cannot stand being around such faith!!

The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” (Hebrew 13:5)

Lord, make me a blessing not a curse. Show me Your way—the way of love not hate. May my life bring glory to Your Holy name. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Psalm 31:7   Psalm 10:14   Psalm 118:24   Hebrews 13:5b,6

 

A Change of Heart

A Change of Heart

art beach beautiful clouds

“…forgiving one another just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32

 

Forgiveness must be the ultimate stumbling block to peace. It certainly is the primary factor in claiming your salvation. We seem to be programmed to always have the need to be right or we could humble ourselves to live in peace with one another. I mean look at the world today! It seems to be a contest between me and the other fellow, my way is better than your kind of living. This only leads to failure on all sides, let alone chaos.

Where would you and I be today if God hadn’t provided the way for our forgiveness? Even in the face of all that’s going on today—God forgives. He sent His Son—His own flesh—to teach us the way to forgiveness. He gave Himself up on the cross saying; “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He pronounced forgiveness for the very people who nailed Him to the cross. And, might I also say, He extends that forgiveness to you and me. Yes, from the cross, two thousand plus years ago, He forgave us!

Yes, I know it is hard! Believe me, I walk that road also. But, I also know how rewarding it is to finally let go of the burden of remembering that so-n-so that was mean to me and hurt me deeply. Remember how Jesus looked as He carried that heavy cross on His back up through the Via Delarosa toward the hill of Mt. Calvary? He could hardly stand, in fact, He fell to His knees a couple of times. That is the weight that we feel when carrying the cross of Unforgiveness on our backs. Just as the man from Cyrene lifted the heavy cross from Jesus’ back, Jesus wants to lift the burden of Unforgiveness from your back and mine. Jesus’ says, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

Think about it, what are you gaining by holding on to your anger—not forgiving your spouse, your friend, your neighbor, your brother or sister or whomever? You are losing. Losing your peace, your health, and most of all your relationship with your Heavenly Father. There is only one way out of this terrible dilemma you have gotten yourself in—yes, you no one else—bow your head; get down on your knees; look up to the heavens—however, you feel it’s best for you. But, in any case, open your mouth and speak to God saying:

“Father, change my heart that it may be in tune with Yours. Forgive me and help my Unforgiveness. I want to be free to love and be loved. Let me put aside my Unforgiveness and never walk this way again. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

 

God will hear you in your sincerity.

Now go in peace! And remember God loves you.

Ephesians 4:32   Matthew 11:30   Romans 2:4   Psalm 25:11

 Mark 2:5   Colossians 3:12-13

A Change of Heart

“…forgiving one another just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32

broken heart love sad

Forgiveness must be the ultimate stumbling block to peace. It certainly is the primary factor in claiming your salvation. We seem to be programmed to always have the need to be right or we could humble ourselves to live in peace with one another. I mean look at the world today! It seems to be a contest between me and the other fellow, my way is better than your kind of living. This only leads to failure on all sides, let alone chaos.

Where would you and I be today if God hadn’t provided the way for our forgiveness? Even in the face of all that’s going on today—God forgives. He sent His Son—His own flesh—to teach us the way to forgiveness. He gave Himself up on the cross saying; “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He pronounced forgiveness for the very people who nailed Him to the cross. And, might I also say, He extends that forgiveness to you and me. Yes, from the cross, two thousand plus years ago, He forgave us!

Yes, I know it is hard! Believe me, I walk that road also. But, I also know how rewarding it is to finally let go of the burden of remembering that so-n-so that was mean to me and hurt me deeply. Remember how Jesus looked as He carried that heavy cross on His back up through the Via Dolorosa toward the hill of Mt. Calvary? He could hardly stand, in fact, He fell to His knees a couple of times. That is the weight that we feel when carrying the cross of unforgiving on our backs. Just as Simon of Cyrene lifted the heavy cross from Jesus’ back, Jesus wants to lift the burden of unforgiving from your back and mine. Jesus’ says, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

Think about it, what are you gaining by holding on to your anger—not forgiving your spouse, your friend, your neighbor, your brother or sister or whomever? You are losing. Losing your peace, your health, and most of all your relationship with your Heavenly Father. There is only one way out of this terrible dilemma you have gotten yourself in—yes, you no one else—bow your head; get down on your knees; look up to the heavens—however, you feel it’s best for you. But, in any case, open your mouth and speak to God saying:

 

“Father, change my heart that it may be in tune with Yours. Forgive me and help my unforgiving. I want to be free to love and be loved. Let me put aside my unforgiving and never walk this way again. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

 

God will hear you in your sincerity.

Now go in peace! And remember God loves you.

 

Ephesians 4:32   Matthew 11:30   Romans 2:4   Psalm 25:11

 Mark 2:5   Colossians 3:12-13

Changing Times

“…pain will exist no longer…” Revelation 21:4

close up of hands holding baby feet

Change sometimes happens slowly and sometimes quickly, but change is inevitable. Many of us are most comfortable with the “same old, same old,” but things cannot stay the same forever! For one thing, from the time of your birth you are growing and with the growing comes change. You change from a baby that cannot sit, stand, walk or even feed yourself—totally dependent upon another human being—you are changing from total dependence to independence. As you get older, change becomes more difficult, but it still happens.

Today change has come upon us in a blink of an eye. One day we were all rushing around going to work, shopping, partying, and going pretty much where we wanted. And the next day we are ordered to stay in our homes and keep our distance from one another. All because of an unseen enemy, an evil force that no one can see. It feels good for a while; it gives us a time to rest and re-connect with our families and with God. But, this too is only temporary—it will pass.

The one unchangeable element in our lives is “love.” God has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and loves us in spite of our sin and disobedience to His word. In this time of change—the likes of which none of us has seen before—know that you are not alone. God is right there with you and light will come out of the darkness. God always works all things for good (Romans 8:28). Open the eyes of your heart and wait patiently for the Lord—blessings are on the horizon. God’s love is the one thing that is unchangeable in this life and the next. The best is yet to come.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving me—undeserved as I am. I do not know what you have planned for me today, but whatever it is, help me to walk confidently knowing that You love me and will NEVER leave me nor forsake me. I am not alone! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

[Nothing] will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

2 Corinthians 13:12   Genesis 1:27   I John 3:2