Continual

 

“…we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Acts 6:3, 4

 

There is a story about a woman who was a widow and was persistent about her needs as she came before the judge. However, the judge kept denying her petition. But, because of her continual asking he eventually gave in—the widow’s needs were fulfilled. (Luke 18:1-5)

There is another story about a crippled man who sat beside a pool for 38 years. It was believed that each day as the waters were disrupted those, who were able to get in the water as they stirred, would be healed of their infirmity. They believed it was an angel of the Lord that stirred the water. The man’s act, of day after day being brought and placed on his mat beside the pool—his continual search for healing, brought to him a visit from the Lord Himself. (John 5:2-15)

Mary, the sister of Lazarus, continually sat at the feet of Jesus, even though she was chastised by her sister, Martha. Also, another Mary, the Virgin Mary, continually kept herself pure and was honored by being chosen to birth the Baby Jesus—the Christ Child—an honor given to no other. (Luke 10:38-42/Matthew 1:18-23)

And what about Noah? The continuation of the building of the Ark, even though there had been no rain, nor was there any in sight, had saved he and his family when the rains did come. (Genesis 6:14-22)

These stories that are found in the oldest and most possessed book—the Holy Bible—are not just for entertainment, but are there to teach us about life. From them we can learn what our life is with God as part of it, and how it is without Him. The continual reading of His Word—of praying that your heart and mind will be enlightened with wisdom and understanding, and loving God and your neighbor, will lead you down the path which God has planned for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

God calls you and me to continue on our journey. The storms will come, but as God is your refuge and fortress, He will deliver you from all harm. He will command His angels to guard you. Many will fall around you, but the snare of the pestilence will not harm you, neither shall you be afraid, your God will come and save you. (Psalm 91)

Continuation means that you will not give up. Again and again you must make your requests known to God. He will answer you at the right time in the right moment. You will have everything you need—and then some—in God’s perfect time.

Continue on—continually be in prayer, reading His word, and be ready to do His Will—the continuation of sharing the love that God has planted within you, will bring healing to your soul.

Thank you, Lord, for continually loving me.

Dear Lord, please place your love in my heart and wisdom and understanding in my mind—without ceasing—as I continue my journey. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

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CONTINUE IN WELL-DOING

Matthew 7:7   Numbers 23:19   Romans 11:29

Spend Time

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“… apart from me you ca do nothing.” John 15: 5 c

There are 24 hours in a day—60 minutes in an hour—and 60 seconds in a minute. Seven of those 24 hours make up a week and 52 weeks make a year. I have lived 80 of those years that are made up of 52 weeks each which equals 4,160 weeks, 29,120 days, and 1,747,200 minutes. Wow! That is a lot of time! How much of it have I spent with the Lord?

Just like you, I imagine, I have spent multiple hours on myself, and the rest of the time on my family. In those years I probably spent zero time with the Lord. But, looking back He has spent ALL of His time with me. There is no other explanation for the fact that I have lived 8 decades. When it is put like that it is a  l-o-o-o-n-g time!!!

God’s total purpose in sticking it out with me—and you—was to bring us to a place where He could make us hear His call upon our heart. When that happened to me—in the middle of my third decade—it was the moment I was set free and realized I no longer had to carry the heavy burdens all by myself. Jesus came into my heart and forgave me of all the time I had stolen from him. I began anew. He was doing a new thing with my life—things that I never thought possible. I could not make up the time I had lost with Him, but I could, and I did, spend time every day in His presence. You may read the whole story in my book entitled, “Embracing the Call”—God can lead you to places you never imagined.

All of this is to say, God longs for you to spend time with Him—quality time—not just give Him a lick and a promise, but just 5 minutes of your time is worth an eternity with Him. For as the Psalmist writes, “…a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past…” (90:4) And the writer of Hebrews writes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

We have divided up the time that has been allotted to us by our Creator, in such a way that is meaningless to Him. And by doing so, it has become a stumbling block to our peace. I encourage you to give every moment of every day to the worship of our Lord. Include Him in everything that you do, every step you take, and every word you utter. A new day has begun! When you do you are in Christ and have become a new creation. The old has passed away and everything—EVERYTHING—has become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) God has begun a new thing. Do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19, 19) Spending time with God and His Word is never wasted.

 

Dear Lord, I want to recognize Your presence every moment of every day. Walk with me. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN

 

John 15:4, 5   Deuteronomy 4:9   Luke 12:34

 

The Book of Life

photo of child reading holy bible

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

 

The Pastor listened to the voice of God when preparing for the message he would give. It was the right thing to do, but at the same time, he felt it was risky. He leaned totally on the strength of the Lord. And even if the congregation may throw rotten tomatoes at him, or run him out of town on a rail, or chastise him at the next board meeting, he committed himself to deliver the message, although it be with fear and trepidation.

He began with a question: “Is your name in the Book of Life?” Eyes opened wide; people squirmed in their seats; it seemed as though everyone was holding their breath. Many of them had no idea what he was talking about; those who knew smiled to themselves and said, “Finally, now we are getting some place!”

The Pastor began by talking about Paul and his journey from the Pharisaic life to living wholly and completely in the Lords’ presence. He talked of Paul’s conversion while on the road to Damascus to “do away” with those Christians who were a threat to Roman rule. (Acts 9) He told them about how Paul was imprisoned after turning his life over to the Lord, even so his heart was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he and fellow prisoner, Silas, sang hymns and prayed through-out the night. (Acts 16) As a result an Angel of the Lord threw open wide the prison doors. The jailers were filled with fear for they knew if the prisoners escaped they would be killed. But, Paul and Silas and the others turned a bad situation into a good one as they witnessed to their captors who wanted to be saved. Paul told them, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved; you and all your household. “ (Acts 16:3) At that time their names were recorded in the Book of Life.

The pastor now turned his message directly toward his congregation. “How about you?” he asked. “Is your name in the Book of Life? Are you securely grounded and ready for the Lord when He comes again? Are you ready to sit before the judgment seat: For, you see, the Lord IS coming again! He is coming to judge the world. And, whether dead in the grave or alive you will be judged! Those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ and have done everything in their power—O, we do stumble from time to time—but that is the meaning of the cross—“Forgiveness”—to follow the will and the word of God will be saved, when your name is written the Book of Life.”

“Now can you answer my opening question, is your name recorded in the Book of Life?”

As the Pastor looked over his congregation there was a deafening silence.————————————– Finally after 2 or 3 minutes, the Pastor spoke again—“You have an opportunity at this very moment to secure your salvation on judgment day. If you haven’t yet, then come present yourself at the altar and ask Jesus to come into your heart, ask for forgiveness, and turn away from that which has been keeping you prisoner. The prison doors are open waiting for you to walk through.”

What a glorious day in the life of that church, for the altar had standing room only!

 

Dear Lord, thank you for the knowing that my name is written in the Book of Life. I love you, Lord and long to see you face to face. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

 

Rev. 20:12   2 Cor. 5:10   I Thess. 4:17   Daniel 7:10/12:1   Psalm 69:28   Phil. 4:3          Matthew 16:27   Romans 2:6

The Covenant

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably upon his people and redeemed them.” Luke 1:68

women s in gray turtleneck sweater pointing white contract paper

I’m sure you have signed a contract within your lifetime. That contract bound you and the provider to a certain time frame and a certain provision. Whether it was for a cell phone, a mortgage, or a car or job. You promised to uphold your end by paying your price and the provider’s promise to provide the service. If either one reneges it is a breach of contract.

While a contract is an agreement between parties, a covenant is a pledge…you seal a covenant while you sign a contract. A contract is a mutually beneficial relationship while a covenant is something you fulfill. A contract exchanges one good for another, while a covenant is giving oneself to another. Therefore, God has pledged Himself “to be with you always even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20) and He has sealed His covenant with His blood.

In order to enter into this covenant, or be a recipient, we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and obey His commands and walk in faith. God, in order to save His people from annihilation, came to earth and dwelt among us.—He named Himself Jesus. (John 1) Jesus made himself known by living among the people and teaching them the precepts of God. He chose His disciples who would learn from Him and spread God’s word through-out the world as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then He died at the hands of those He was trying to save. His blood flowed from His body that anyone who comes to Him, now and forever, will be saved and enter into the covenant that says, “God is your God, and you are His people. And, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

Even when walking through the desert—those times when it seems all is lost—especially then, God is walking with you and may even be carrying you.  He is saying to you “Do not be afraid—be strong—be courageous I am with you.” Take refuge in the shadow of His wings. His Holy Spirit will come and save you. But, you must never give up. Do not just sit and wait; continue to make the effort and listen as you pray. All is not lost, success is just around the corner. God has a plan which He will not desert. It is a plan that promises success for His people—His children—those with whom He has made His covenant—which is a promise that cannot be broken.

This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Lord, I know you hear the prayers of Your children. Help them to hear Your answers to a successful life. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Psalm 105:8   Luke 1:72   Hebrews 6:17-18   James 1:17   Matthew 26:28   Jeremiah 31:33b

ALERT

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Hello Church,

I feel that something very significant needs to be said, even though, we may not want to hear it. I think everyone is able to acknowledge its existence. We need to get our heads out of the sand…we are not Ostriches.

Whether we like it or not we are in a battle—a spiritual battle. Paul writes in Ephesians, “…our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 MEV) Indeed, Satan has taken a foothold on all of creation.

One thing is very evident, we need to gather together in prayer to the One who holds the keys to heaven. Surely you can see the battle taking place. The question is which side are you going to be on? To not acknowledge the gravity of the situation is to be on the side of evil. All you need to do is look around you. People are shooting each other; they are coming together in mobs because of their frustration; our government is divided and would rather be seen as right than do the job they were elected to do, they fight like a bunch of children who haven’t grown up yet; and maybe worst of all, Satan has infiltrated the church causing divisions within them. Divided we fall, but united we stand.

The word Satan is not heard in very many churches today. We need to be aware of his presence. Do not give him room to work his wiles. He will charm you and court you and con you, but DO NOT fall for it. More is needed than to sit in the pew on Sunday. We need—I’ll say it once again—to gather together in prayer. We need to stop being ashamed of being seen praying in public. We need to teach our children the power of prayer at an early age. What a shame, for some that has already been lost.

Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged. Put on the full armor of God—live according to the truth; make sure your heart is right with God; spread peace not unrest; stand firm in your faith; guard your mind with the Word of God and in your hand carry the mightiest sword of all the Holy Bible. Then wrap it all together by praying in the Spirit for yourself, your family, and the world.

Remember these words spoken to Solomon conditioning him against the evil that is to come and giving him the prescription for surviving…God said,” 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 MEV)

GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!

Thank you for listening…now let’s get busy and do something about this!

II Chronicles 7:14   II Chronicles 6: 24-42

A Symbol of Forgiveness

“Father, forgive them…” Luke 23:34

man kneeling in front of cross

Confession time! After all my years, 28+, of preaching and re-searching the scriptures, I have had my eyes opened! The Cross is not simply about Jesus dying for all of us—it is about forgiveness. It was the greatest example on earth of someone being humiliated, tortured, and put to death in the cruelest, meanest way possible, and yet, some of his last words were “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Christ held no animosity against those that put Him to death—or tried to, for you see, no one can kill God—“He is, was, and always will be. His is the Alpha and the Omega.” (Rev. 1:8)

Jesus’ exclamation is not only for those who tortured Him and nailed Him to the Cross, it is for you and me—everyone. No one is excluded from His Holy words, “Father, forgive them.” Our Holy God recognizes that believing in Him, His power, His ever-presence is a process. It consists of hills and valleys and sometimes seemingly unsurmountable mountains. It is not until you get through and are on the other side, that you realize there was “Someone” who was helping you, otherwise you couldn’t have made it through the storm. Slowly your eyes are opened.

Paul finally understood all of this. He was blinded by the light of Christ (Acts 9) and saw through the blackness in which he had been living. He was never the same again. Instead of killing Christians he began calling others to Christ. He encouraged those who knew and believed Jesus to continue in spite of any rejections they may suffer. Paul knew, he had been there, the place of darkness without Christ as Lord and Savior. And now that he knew, the magnitude of forgiveness, he committed himself to follow his Savior’s lead.

Paul preached about overcoming evil with good. He said, to the church in Rome, the mega center of cruelty. “…if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink, for by doing this you will pile burning coals upon their heads.” (Romans 12:20) In other words, “Forgive them.” They will be mystified and will not be able to understand what is happening. It will take all the wind out of their sails! For you see, they are driven by the Enemy who wants to rile you into sin. By the way, this is sin of which you have already been forgiven because of the Cross! So not fall for the Enemy’s tricks!

I urge you, right now, at this very moment, throw off that grudge you’ve been carrying, “forget what is behind and strain forward to what lies ahead,” (Phil 3:13) for it is a new day, a new beginning, God is doing a new thing within you, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19) For those who have forgiven much will be forgiven even more—the Cross has made it so. Thank you, Jesus.

Dear Lord, help me to forgive and forget. You are Lord overall and will stay true to Your promise to save me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Matthew 5:44   Acts 8:60   Romans 12:14, 18   I Corinthians 4:12   I Peter 2:20-21   I Timothy 1:13, 14

 

So, whenever you see a cross be reminded to forgive as you have been forgiven.

 

Wait Patiently

“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him,” Psalm 37:7

One of the hardest things for some of us is to wait and be patient. I mean, you know what to do and when to do it—right? And sometimes, you just want to do it and get it over with! If only we could have the faith that Ruth seemed to have when she said to her mother-in-law, Naomi, “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”(Ruth 1:16) (Please take a moment and turn to the book of Ruth and read her story) And in the Book of Proverbs we read this: The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” (16:9) And, I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control, that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.”  (Jeremiah 10:23)

Again, the Psalmist cries out, “Be still and know that I am God!” (46:10) And, Isaiah writes, “…those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” (40:31) I encourage you to look up what has been referenced herein and prayerfully consider and take into your heart what you read. Ask the Holy Spirit to rise up within you and give you wisdom and understanding.

You could probably surmise by now, that I struggle with the waiting game. I tend not to have patience, but I am a work in progress. You see, I know the steps I must take to reach my goal. And some of them I could just as well skip over. But, you see, there are things that I cannot see and if I waited and had a little patience, my God would most assuredly make my way clear! He has promised that if I wait for Him that I will, “mount up with wings like eagles, [I] shall run and not be weary, [I] shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Now, I do not know what your path is; every one of us can only know their own. But, I do know this, God has a plan for you and me (Jeremiah 29:11-12) and He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) so “do not fear, for [God] is with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God.” (Isaiah 41:10)

You see, the scriptures that I have noted (and there are many more) are not just stories of people from long ago, they are your story, as well; and they are my story. God who came to earth in the flesh (John 1) and called Himself Jesus—“is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He has engraved you on the palm of his hand,( Isaiah 49:16)

person holding water in cupped hands

so do not fret, for when you do it is an invitation for Satan to tell you lies that you may act upon. Simply trust in the Lord and lean on His understanding (Proverbs 3:5, 6) for He will direct your steps and take you safely to the goal He has set before you.

I hope you will covenant with me to read and re-read this meditation until the Holy Spirit has written upon your heart that “all things are possible with God.” (Matthew 19:26)

Father, take my life and let it be consecrated with thee. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Romans 12:2   Hebrews 10:36   Romans 8:25   Psalm 37: 7-9   Ruth 2:12