Still, You Can Pray

Praise – images from pixabay.com

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Tranquil Waters – images from pixabay.com

Reality: One side wonderful the other dreadful.

When Storms Come – images from pixabay.com
Praying Hands – images from pixabay.com

Easy to count our blessings in good times and times of plenty but, in times of lacking, trials and painful destructive experience what can we do?  We may feel helpless and tired and impotent . . . what can we do? Pray. No matter what, we have, a GOD of Love to pray to, in The Name of Jesus Christ.  GOD hears and GOD answers according to GOD’s will. There is always an answer from GOD: No; Yes; Not Now. Remember GOD is not human and we are not gods.

Prayer Calms Us – images from pixabay.com

Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

If an answer to our prayer is yes there is little room for doubt but if it is no:

SONG: Andrea Bocelli – The Lord’s Prayer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEplqV0scyo

Song: Unanswered Prayers – Garth Brooks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze4gFWuYh50

Psalm 66:18 ESV

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

When GOD says maybe (not now later) how do we respond?

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Like the soldier’s motto, “Ours is not to reason why; ours is just to do or die”. Leave it to GOD.

Jesus Pays for Sin – images from pixabay.com

Mark 14:36 ESV

And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Jesus paid the price for sin including ours and believing in Him achieves an eternity in Heaven. Yet until in the fullness of time the things of Revelation come to pass and Jesus returns, the world we live in remains flawed. Still, you can pray.

Church revival and church growth starts with you and, you will make a difference in a troubled world if you do; demonstrate the Love of GOD teach others about Jesus and Salvation.

Next Week: Can You Escape from Reality?

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Who is Your Shepherd?

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String instrument – images from pixabay.com
Shepherd – images from pixabay.com

 

Secular Leaders – images from pixabay.com

 


Matthew 6:24 ESV

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Whom do you follow?

Seek God – images from pixabay.com

Will he or she lead you to good, evil, life or death? Do they appeal to this temporal life: pleasure, riches and luxury. Or, do they lead you to eternal life with GOD? There is much wisdom accumulated from the most ancient of times but not all pertains to your eternal welfare.  Maybe it is just good for a time ; the time of our lifetime.

SONG: Chris Tomlin – I Will Follow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ohvhmGSfxI

 

1 Corinthians 10:21 ESV

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

Pray for Guidance – images from pixabay.com

What seems good to a child will not seem good when you are an adult . . . we all live an learn.

1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

Sands of Time – images from pixabay.com

Why not avoid some of life’s painful lessons by giving your parents,  teachers, elders and religious mentors a listening to.  Why not closely pay attention to the wisdom of the Bible – GOD’s Word. Stories, parables, allegorical example and literal truth from thousands of years of experience but, more important, from GOD.

 

My first extensive reading of the Bible was Proverbs and followed by Ecclesiastes.

Bible Wisdom – images from pixabay.com

Proverbs 12:15 ESV

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 19:20 ESV

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

No, at first I did not understand it well nor did I get the messages however, when calamity overwhelmed me and GOD got my attention I accepted Jesus.  From that moment The Holy Spirit helped me to understand and change.  Christians seemed to appear from nowhere and they helped me is so many ways.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 ESV

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …

Facing the End – images from pixabay.com
New Life – images from pixabay.com

Church revival and church growth starts with you and, you will make a difference in a troubled world if you do so, by demonstrating love and good to a troubled world.

Next Week: The Love of GOD vs. Human Love

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Cults, Evil and Destruction

Ensemble – images from pixabay.com

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Cults distort truth and lead people astray

The Battle – images from pixabay.com
Cult Example – images from pixabay.com

Small percentages take the headlines but the vast number of people and events are lumped in as just ordinary people and events; this is the same for Christians. When Jim Jones “Peoples Temple” and David Koresh “Branch Davidians sect” came to a horrific demise along with many of their followers the news headlines around the world provided the details, editorials and religious implications.  While these tragic events commanded our attention millions upon millions of Christians went on about their lives without being noticed. Cults distort the reality of being a Christian.

Brutal Myan Cults – images from pixabay.com

2 Peter 2:1 ESV

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Evil defies the good of GOD and is the opposite . . .

 

War and Strife – images from pixabay.com

Instead of love, empathy and assistance, evil is hate, uncaring and provides no good. Just the recent news stories report  rapes,murders, home invasions, pushing elderly people down stairs, hostage taking and a great deal of stealing.  The most insidious may be killings over parking spaces, road rage or for thrills.  I find understanding and great comfort from the truth revealed in GOD’s Word The Holy Bible.

1 John 4:8 ESV

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

Destruction undoes GOD’s creation, beauty and wonderful places and things . . .

Great Sorrow – images from pixabay.com

Killing, defacing, marring and annihilation of the good and beautiful; human nature without GOD destroys the wonderful things GOD has created and pronounced good.

Lush World – image from pixabay.com

Genesis 1:31 (NIV)

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day

Jesus Suffered – images from pixabay.com

The torture, disrespect and murder by Crucifixion of  Jesus Christ is the most hideous example of all that is evil.

DO NOT LOOSE HOPE. WE STILL LIVE IN GOD’S BEAUTIFUL CREATION

SONG: God Speaking by Mandisa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jUqkjDA4CA

God’s Beautiful Creation

Church revival and church growth starts with you and, you will make a difference in a troubled world if you do so, by demonstrating love and good to a troubled world.

Next Week: Who is Your Shepherd?

 THE BIBLE SHOULD BE STUDIED AS A SINGLE UNIT; UNITED IN CONCEPT AND CONSISTENT WHEN CONTEXT IS UNDERSTOOD. 

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Sudden Death

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String instrument – images from pixabay.com

 


 

Your tomorrow is not guaranteed . . .

 

Lightning Strike – images from pixabay.com
From: Luke 12:13-21 (ESV) The Parable of the Rich Fool
Gone in an Instant – images from pixabay.com

. . . “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, ‘ ‘ ‘

Sudden Death Goal – images from pixabay.com

In sports there are conditions when the team that scores wins immediately: Sudden Death This in American Football overtime for example.

You can secure your eternal destiny “right” now and know you will always be with GOD because of what Jesus has done. Your personal spiritual insurance policy.

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Endless – images from pixabay.com

Mighty to Save – Hillsong United

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR8rlTIU8_Y

A long struggle with an illness or injury may afford

. . . ample time to prepare for our demise, but what if we fall victim to a violent death: accident, natural disaster, explosion or even at the hands of another? Would you be confident of your eternal future? Sometime in this world GOD allows a physical struggle because our response can illustrate to others our faith. We are in this world but not of this world; we in our own abilities cannot correct the evil and the wrongs; only GOD can.  We can demonstrate GOD’s Love and teach others to share the hope we have and, the assured eternal salvation.

Apostle Paul (ST Paul) atests to this condition:

2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV

Thorns are Painful – images from pixabay.com

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

 

As a Christian we believe Jesus and know what our eternity will be like and where.

Glorious Light – images from pixabay.com

John 14:3 ESV 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Mansion – images from pixabay.com

 

If you have any doubt accept Jesus as your Lord and savior . . . if you need help seek it from a believer . . . a christian.

 

 

Church revival and church growth starts with you and, you will make a difference in a troubled world if you do so, by demonstrating love and good to a troubled world.

Next Week: Christians in Society

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AMEN

Nothing New Under the Sun

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Orchestra – images from pixabay.com

The Sun has Seen it All


Glorious Sun – images from pixabay.com

Some people may think that what humans do and experience is new or part of modern life. Wrong.

Line of David – images from pixabay.com

King Solomon wrote about life in his time and though some may question his wisdom, his keen perception concerning humans and the human condition transcends the ages.  My favorite Bible Book is the book of Ecclesiastes most often attributed to King Solomon the Son of David.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesiastes

Pete Seeger – images from pixabay.com

As a “Baby Boomer” who paid particular attention to the “Folk Music” in the late “50’s” and early “60’s” Pete Seeger used part of Chapter 3: 1-8 for his song Turn, Turn Turn (1959) (others also recorded it including the Byrds)

Byrds – images from pixabay.com

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Seeger

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Byrds

Ecclesiastes 3 (ESV)

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Newborn – images from pixabay.com

AMEN

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Generations


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“Music” is a Link to Christian Music – images from pixabay.com

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Family Reunion 1920 – images from pixabay.com

Is Family Important to You?

Most people value their family and heritage to one degree or another but, some to excess and, some not at all.  A “bell curve” perhaps.  Maybe you were like me when I was younger, I took for granted my family would always be there. Now? Very few relatives remain and not much in the way of progeny as well.  The importance of family grew with time for me and, my sense of how much time I had to maintain the relationships was woefully innacurate.

Colossians 3:20 ESV 

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Obedient – images from pixabay.com

Exodus 20:12 ESV 

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Parents – images from pixabay.com

1 Timothy 5:8 ESV

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Greed – images from pixabay.com

Think Carefully about that.

Nativity – images from pixabay.com

The Bible expresses the importance family in several ways: allegence, place in the community, inheritance, and royal linage to mention a few. One vital aspect of placing importance on family (past, present, future) is the value you place on human life.  This sense of worth increases when you share empathy and not just symapthy; when you can experience the loss with someone; when you value another as much or more than yourself.

Acts 16:31-34 ESV

And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

Today the technology of DNA can help identify your lineage and extensive digitized records also.

I the time of Jesus linage was crucial in identifying royalty and the Son of GOD: Luke and Matthew. A comparison can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogy_of_Jesus

The detailed study is beyond the scope of this blog; whole books have been written on the subject easily found at a Christian Book Store. The Bible references are here:

Matthew 1:17 ESV

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Luke 3:23-38 ESV

Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, …

Family – images from pixabay.com

 

 

 

AMEN

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Have You Reached Your Last Straw?


Music” is a Link to Christian Music – images from pixabay.com

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Destruction – images from pixabay.com

Universal Suffering

Nothing Left – images from pixabay.com

Homeless, Jobless, Severe Injury or Illness, Addiction, Loss of a Loved One or Loved Ones?

Slave to Booze – images from pixabay.com
Even RX Drugs – images from pixabay.com

All of us have faced challenges or will in our lifetime, how will you cope with them?

Drug Addiction – images from pixabay.com

Christians are not immune to calamity, injury, loss, illness and death, why? How do Christians claim to be at peace in the most trying circumstances? How is it that some Christians are able to even face death without loosing their faith? (all Christians are saved even if they falter in their last hours.)

 

Jesus – images from pixabay.com

First: They (Christians) have eternity guaranteed by Jesus.

John 5:24 ESV

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

 

Wisdom

Second: God uses worldly challenges in order to demonstrate grace and faith to the unsaved; the power of Christians when tempted to yield has a limit.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me

 

Prostitution- image from pixabay.com

Last: All people are tempted to sin in the same way – this includes Christians denying Christ under threat – this is why everyone needs GOD and can see GOD in eternity when trusting in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

GOD is Good – images from pixabay.com

Having Christ sets you on a path to recovery now and for eternity. Life will not be perfect but it will be better.

Romans 8:28 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

We are Free – images from pixabay.com

 

 

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Whom shall You Trust

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Trust but Verify – images from pixabay.com

“Trust, but verify (RussianДоверяй, но проверяйDoveryai, no proveryai) is a Russian proverb. The phrase became well known in English when used by President Ronald Reagan on multiple occasions in the context of nuclear disarmament.”*

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust,_but_verify

All humans will fail you eventually – at least statiscically.

Psalm 40:4 ESV 

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

In God We Trust – images from pixabay.com

In our daily lives there are some tips on trust:

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

You will do well if you trust GOD and others  who trust GOD.

Trust in those who uphold GOD’s Standard
Bible Study – image from pixabay.com

People who honor GOD’s standards are less likely to disappoint you or violate your trust.  Christians know they can stumble so they are willing to make corrections and admit errors.

 

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Who will you trust today?

Why not start with trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Mark 5:36 ESV 

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

 

 

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Persecution and Martyrs Still Exists

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Martyred 2 – images from pixabay.com

Why are Christians persecuted?

Heros – images from pixabay.com

Fire purifies precious metals . . . There is an old saying “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Persecuted, people for race, creed, religion or political view only makes them more determined to defy their persecutors.

 

2 Timothy 3:12 ESV

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Still Heros – images from pixabay.com

Many books, movies and television programs rely on this trait of human nature for dramatic plots. While unlike the movies the hero and the underdog do not always emerge victorious in this life.

Acts 7:59 ESV 

And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Persecution in the Colosseum – images from pixabay.com

The Christian Experience is one story where the people overcame the hostilities and not only survived but became one of the worlds most successful religions.

 

 

Map of Christianity:   https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christian_world_map.png

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

Yes we all are subject to worldly SUFFERING but being a CHRISTIAN helps

GOD has alluded to good results if people are obedient but the Bible also depicts humans as not capable of perfect obedience; the history of the Hebrews offers examples of success and good fortune but then, failure and calamity.

1 John 1:8 ESV 

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The new testament makes it clear how to gain eternal life and, how to have a life as good as possible right now. But,

A World Religion – images from pixabay.com

There is no guarantee that all will go well all the time.  There is no such thing as a prosperity Gospel. The suffering of Christians is most often an opportunity for demonstrating we maintain our faith because our hope is in eternity with GOD. Our testimony can, and does, show non Christians how our faith works here and now because we hold fast to it though we are in the world with its imperfection as we yearn to be with Jesus in Heaven in GOD’s presence.

Many Christians – images from pixabay.com

Romans 5:3-4 ESV

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

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The Nature of Rebellion

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Cain and Abel
Doing Wrong like His Parents – images from pixabay.com

It is a common expectation that as humans leave childhood behind and approach adulthood we question, test and often rebel.

Rebellion: Day One – images from pixabay.com

The quest to influence life from our emerging person-hood based on what we know (or think we know) is natural; the questioning and expressing what we believe to be correct and even new is good as long as it is done with respect for our elders and GOD.

Older People Can Advise Best – images from pixabay.com

Ignoring what our elders know and, have drawn from life’s experiences may seem trite, incorrect, motivated by blind obedience or just passe’ but remember they have learned from actual experience. In the best situations the adolescent soon to become an adult, emerges with little harm to him or her self or to others but, that is not always so:

1 Kings 12:6 ESV

Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?”  …

He Rejected the advice of the old men; instead relied on advice of young men (his peers).

1 Kings 12:8

But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. …

Wave of Rejection – images from pixabay.com
If you read the whole story you will learn his decision ended up being a disaster.

 

Change Before Wisdom – images from pixabay.com
Many times it seems we humans rather learn from the mistakes we ourselves make (the hard way), then from the wisdom given by our elders (the easy way).

The Old Testament Book of Judges Reveals this pattern clearly: Ignore GOD suffer consequences then return to GOD;

Ignore GOD suffer consequences then return to GOD;

Ignore GOD suffer consequences then return to GOD;

over and over . . . .

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