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Sunday, September 14, 2014

What Do You Want From God?

If we were to examine the contents of our prayers, we may find that we are always telling
God what we want. Or asking Him for things. And there's nothing wrong with that really. Jesus said we are to ask and we will receive. Matthew 7 : 7. But are we following God only for what He can give us, or do for us? Sadly, some people turn away from God and from the church because they feel disappointed. They are not getting what they hoped for and they go back into the world.

I read this in The Daily Devotional recently: It's not that we do not want God. We want Him - and a house by the lake, an impressive career, a perfect spouse and whatever else catches our fancy. But what we have to remember is that God is all-wise and all-knowing. He knows what we need even before we ask Him (Matthew 6: 8). And in His wisdom and love, He will only give us those things that are good for us, at the right time and in the right amount.

James put it this way: When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures (4:3). 

So what do we really need from God? King Solomon prayed for knowledge and wisdom so he could lead the people (2 Chronicles 1 : 10). God replied, "therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have" (1: 12).

If you don't know what to ask God for, pray the Our Father prayer. Here it is:  'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one ' (Matthew 6 : 9 -13).

It has everything we need.

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And speaking of prayer, America is in dire of prayer. This month Southern Baptists are praying daily for this nation state by state.
Please join with us as we pray for Iowa and Kansas and for a spiritual awakening in the nation, that the gospel of Jesus Christ would spread across this land and that people of all ages, races and backgrounds would be drawn to Christ.  

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Where Is God?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? If you are like most of us, you have.  But
you are not alone. Other great men and women of the Bible felt that way, and later events proved them wrong.When weeks grow into months and months grow into years and your prayers are not answered, you may despair and think that
God has forgotten you.

Abram wanted an heir, but as he and his wife Sarai grew older and they did not have a child, Abram thought he would have to leave his inheritance to his servant's child. But the Lord said to Abram, "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir" (Genesis 15: 4). 

Abram believed what God told him, but he did not hear from God again, and his wife remained barren. If you know the story, you know what followed. Abram and Sarai became tired of waiting and took matters into their own hands. Sarai gave her maid Hagar to Abram so she could have a child through her. Hagar does become pregnant and has a son whom they call Ishmael. And after all this, God reappears when Abram is ninety-nine years old and his wife, now Sarah, almost ninety and once more tells him that he will have a son,

There are so many lessons in this story about Abraham and Sarah (God changed their names.) During those twenty odd years that they waited for God's promise to be fulfilled they must have asked themselves many times, "Where is God? Why doesn't He answer us?" Abraham and Sarah had a difficult wait, but for many of us, waiting can be painful. If you are ill, in need of a job or have some other pressing problem that doesn't seem to be going away, you may be tempted to give up. Or give in, as Abraham and Sarah did. 

Listen to the complaint of the prophet Habakkuk: "How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?" And he went on and on to complain about the injustices of his day. But what did the Lord say? "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. -- but the righteous will live by his faith-- (2: 2 - 4).

Let's live by faith. Don't give up and don't give in.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Do You Make Mistakes?

The inspiration for this post came from something I heard recently: People who never make mistakes never make anything. I thought it was neat, and adequately sums up the essence of this post. Do you know of someone who is so careful, so afraid of making a mistake he never ventures out? He plays it safe, never takes risks, stays close to home base. Do you think that person is happy?

I read of a man who had acres of land, but did nothing with them. Reason? He was afraid of making a mistake. On June 5, 1944 thousands of American paratroopers jumped into Normandy. Four men refused to jump. Their lives ended that day, according to playwright David Marnet.

The apostle Peter has been called a lot of names - impulsive, foolhardy etc., but no one can say he was afraid to make a mistake. And Jesus, knowing the kind of person Peter was, commanded him to come to Him on the water. I believe the reason Jesus made Peter the founder of His church is that He knew that Peter would not let fear stand in his way. Jesus knew that Peter faced a daunting task, but he would not back down because he knew God was on his side.

Do you make mistakes? Then you are in good company. We all make mistakes. None of us are perfect. Your mistakes are only stepping stones from your success. Trust God. Ask Him to guide you, and He will see you through. Here are some scriptures to help you when you make mistakes.

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.  

Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.  Psalm 37: 24

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.1 Peter 5: 6-7

Monday, August 18, 2014

Time To De-Clutter

While on vacation, I visited a friend I had not seen in a long time. After our enthusiastic greeting, my friend took me to her bedroom and showed me her closet. It was crammed from top to bottom with so many things, it was difficult to really see what was in it. In other words, it was like looking at a forest and not seeing the trees. As I stared at her closet, I recalled it had been in the same condition a couple years ago.

She shook her head in dismay. "I have to do something, but I don't know where to begin."

All I could do was nod and agree. And give her the suggestion I've heard so many times on television - if you haven't used it in a year, throw it out.

Do you have a closet like that? Packed with stuff you have forgotten you have? Do you long to throw out some of that junk, but don't know where to start? Do you wish you could just turn it over to someone who knew what to do?

Just as our closets can be clogged with things we no longer need, so can our lives. All that stuff can burden us to the point that we stagger under their weight, and feel anxious and overwhelmed. And like my friend, we may not know where to begin. How do we get rid of jealousy, pride, anger, prejudice, bad habits, bad relationships, and the myriad things that are choking out the good qualities God wants to develop in us?

My friend longs to have some order and space in her closet so she can select her items with ease, and until she begins to ruthlessly throw some things out, she will never have what she needs. As Christians, we are more fortunate. We don't have to do our internal cleaning ourselves. In fact, like my friend, we won't know where or how to begin. But thank God, we have the Holy Spirit who will cleanse us from within and help us breathe freely once more.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Do You Have A friend?

The focus of social media is getting us to establish as many friendships or connections as possible. The founders of Facebook and other social media platforms have capitalized on something the rest of us took for granted, so if you are not on Facebook, you are part of a rare minority. We all need someone to communicate with, to share our joys and sorrows with, and sometimes to vent our frustrations on.

The Bible gives us some examples of true friendships: David and Jonathan, Abraham and God, Moses and God, Ruth and Naomi, Jesus and His disciples, Paul and his disciples, and many others. God knows the value of true friendship. He has placed something in us that helps us spot a kindred spirit in unfamiliar surroundings, and if conditions are right, friendship ensues.

But sadly, in my job, I come across many people who tell me they have no friends. This always saddens me, because I can't begin to imagine my life without my friends. And I don't mean Facebook friends, although I love them as well. But there is Someone who will gladly be your Friend, if you will let Him. His name is Jesus. He is a friend of  sinners (Matthew 11: 19); one that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24); He is the One who laid down His life for His friends (John 15: 13) and the One who promises never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Do you have a friend like that? I said earlier I can't imagine my life without my friends, but none of them carry the attributes listed above. They won't be with me forever and they certainly can't die in my place. So today, whether you have tons of friends or not even one, won't you make Jesus your friend?
Just pray this prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe you died on the cross to save me from my sins. Come into my life and be my Lord, Savior and Friend. Amen.


Saturday, August 02, 2014

Why Atheists Do Not Believe In God

Major religious groups
Major religious groups (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For some unknown reason I have been getting into conversations with atheists lately - online and face to face. Needless to say, the views expressed were very painful for me to listen to and to read. My suggestion that atheists should think about what would happen if they were to die and discover that God does exist was shot down as a "fear tactic." One person called it Pascal's Wager.  I checked out Pascal's Wager and found that it "is an attempt to justify belief in God not with an appeal to evidence for his existence but rather with an appeal to self-interest." http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/theistic-proofs/pascals-wager/

The article goes on to point out that "if one believes in the Christian God then if he exists then one receives an infinitely great reward and if he does not exist then one loses little or nothing." In other words, the believer believes in God, just in case. Pascal's Wager is also based on the premise that God may or may not exist, which is not what I, or any other Christian, believe. Christians believe that God does exist based on our faith in Jesus Christ ( who, by the way, Pascal never mentions).

My suggestion that atheists should think about what would happen if they were to die without Christ is no "fear tactic." The Bible tells us, "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed" (Romans 2: 5). I don't want to have to face God's wrath, but that's not the only reason I believe. I believe because I have that conviction in my soul that God is real. The way He answers - or chooses not to answer - my prayers, the manifestation of His love in my life everyday, the infallible truth of His Holy Word and the way He has changed my life. I cannot live without Him.

There were scoffers and doubters in the Bible. They needed proof that Jesus was the Christ. Even Thomas, one of Jesus' own disciples, doubted that He had risen from the grave.  When the other disciples told him they had seen the Lord, Thomas replied, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it" (John 20: 25).

So what did Jesus do? He went back to the house just to show Thomas the wound in His side and the nail prints in his hands. Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"  Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (v 28 - 29).

An atheist I spoke with recently gave me a fantastic story about Jesus being taken off the cross by Pontius Pilate because he didn't want Jesus killed. Even though this person said he has read the Bible from cover to cover, this is what he chooses to believe. Others have made up similar stories to dispute the resurrection. Why? According to the Bible, "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts --" (John 12 : 40).

Unless God opens the eyes of the atheists and softens their hearts, they will continue to disbelieve God's existence. Therefore we as Christians should not argue with them. We can only pray that one day God will "open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light" (Acts 26: 18).




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wash Day

മലയാളം: Charcoal Iron Box for ironing the clothes
മലയാളം: Charcoal Iron Box for ironing the clothes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I was growing up, my mother had chores for each day of the week, much like in the little poem below. Some of you may have seen it before, but the words are so cute and so worthy of reflection, I couldn't help posting it on my site. The author is unknown. Read and be blessed.

Monday - Wash Day

Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and

Vanity, so I may serve you with perfect humility

Through the week ahead.

Tuesday - Ironing Day

Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles

Of prejudice I have collected through the years

So that I may see the beauty in others.

Wednesday - Mending Day

O God, help me mend my ways so I will not

Set a bad example for others

Thursday - Cleaning Day

Lord Jesus, help me to dust out all the many faults

I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart.

Friday - Shopping Day

O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may purchase

eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love.

Saturday - Cooking Day

Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly

Love and serve it with clean, sweet bread of human kindness.


Sunday - The Lord's Day

O God, I have prepared my house for you. Please

Come into my heart so I may spend the day and the

Rest of my life in your presence.