Happy New Year!!
What better way to start the New Year than in prayer.
As you pray – how do you start? I often start like this,
“Lord, I want You… Lord, would You… Lord, I need…”
I am seeking to start in a new way – “Lord – You Are!”
Our prayer times are best when started with Him and not with us.
There are many names of God. I had this thought, “Could Jehovah of the Old
Testament be seen in Jesus in the New Testament?” It would make
sense because Jesus said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the
Father.” Consider this list and you can begin your prayers, “Lord You Are…”
Jehovah-Jireh – My provider
Genesis 22:14 – “The Lord will Provide.”
Jesus – Philippians 4:19 “My God will supply every need of yours according to
His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Jehovah–Rapha – My healer
Exodus 15:26 “I AM the Lord, your healer.”
Jesus – Luke 4:40 “All those who had any who were sick with various diseases
brought them to Him, and He healed them.”
Jehovah-Rohi – My Shepherd
Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
Jesus – John 10:11 “I AM the Good Shepherd.”
Jehovah-Sabaoth – My Victor
1 Samuel 17:45 – “I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts.”
Jesus – 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jehovah-Shalom – My peace
Judges 6:24 – “The Lord is Peace.”
Jesus – John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.”
Jehovah-Shammah – My Presence –
Ezekiel 48:35 – “The Lord is There.”
Jesus – Matthew 28:20 “I am with you always.”
Jehovah-Tsidkenu – My righteousness
Jeremiah 23:6 – The Lord our Righteousness
Jesus – 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “In Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Consider changing your focus in prayer to Him and say – “Lord You Are!!”
> It’s Christmas time!
> Look at this Christmas passage;
> “A man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife;
> and the two shall become one flesh.This mystery is great;
> but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. “Ephesians 5:31-32
> Is that really a Christmas passage?Jesus left His Father and the Holy
> Spirit to come to earth to get His bride.We are that bride!
> In some mysterious sense the Father had arranged this marriage
> as was the Jewish custom.
> Eph. 1:4 “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.”
> He came and paid the price for His bride on the cross.
> We can now be set free from the family of satan.
> We have trusted Christ to be our Savior.
> Therefore the devil can no longer accuse us and torment us
> with our sinful past.Christ has cleansed us with His blood.
> We are now His engaged Bride.
> He has given us the Holy Spirit like our engagement ring. Eph. 1:13-14
> He is now preparing a place for us to spend eternity with Him.
> Just as in Jesus day the groom would go to his parent’s home and add a
> room for his bride. This could take up to a year.
> When everything is ready He will come back.
> This time he will receive His bride and take us to heaven to have a
> wonderful wedding feast.
> Then we will live with our glorious groom forever.
> Praise God for His plan of salvation and choosing us to be His bride!
> It all started with His coming to earth!
>> Rejoice this Christmas that He came for you!
How do you pray for people in need? We often pray that God will deliver them out of their needs.
Have we ever prayed like Paul does in Ephesians 1:17-20?
He prays for these things:
1. That God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Why?
2. So that we would know the HOPE we have of a glorious inheritance in the future.
3. So that we would know the POWER we have for the present situation.
I am praying differently. It sounds like this,
“Lord, I care about my friend who has this need.
I want them to be delivered from the financial, physical or relational pain.
I don’t want them to feel the pain.
However, I ask that You will give them the Spirit of wisdom and reveal Yourself to them.
Let them come to know You better because of this need.
Show them the HOPE they can have for the future.
They are experiencing pain now.
I ask that they begin to see that their ultimate hope is living with You in Your painless presence forever.
I also pray that they will experience your present POWER for their current need.
Remind them of Your power that raised Jesus from the dead.
They have the same power available to them for this need.”
Hope for the future and Power for the present.
What a great way to pray for people.
OK, so the 2012 Olympics are finished. Team USA did very well winning 104 medals.
China had 87 and Russia had 82.
Were you impressed by the dedication of the athletes?
They trained for years to be able to do what they did on the world’s largest stage.
I remember the two little 6 year old girls who were in a gymnastic class together.
They had been training for the past 10 years! Serious training pays off in GOLD.
Consider what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 in The Message Bible
“I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line.
I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition.
I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”
Can we allow these athletes to encourage us in our Christian lives?
Do we have sloppy living?
Are we alert to Satan’s efforts to trip us up in our race?
Can we get caught napping?
We may not be able to run like Usain Bolt or stick the landing like McKayla Maroney or
slice through the water like Michael Phelps.
However, we can run to Jesus when we are in need,
we can stand firmly on God’s truth when tempted and
we can swim in the ocean of God’s deep love for us.
Let’s keep our eye on the goal where God is beckoning us onward to Jesus.
We are off and running and we are not turning back. Philippians 3:14 Message
I remember living next door to a man who had this bumper sticker on the back of his truck,
“Never Satisfied!” I think it had something to do with sex.
It was a clear message of how many people feel today.
They have tried many things and are still not satisfied.
What does Jesus say? Right in the middle of His nine beatitudes In Matthew 5:6 He says,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
People hunger and thirst for love, security, happiness, money, and acceptance.
They all are supposed to satisfy.
Definition: “to fulfill the desires, expectations, needs, or demands of a person.”
Are you seeking to be satisfied or do you love someone who is trying to be satisfied?
Where is it found? Some popular sources include: drugs, sex, money, possessions,
appearance, food and entertainment.
All of these are an illusion and often produce more frustration not satisfaction.
As a young boy I remember asking my mother if Pall Mall cigarettes satisfied.
She asked me why I asked.
I said that the big red and white sign said, “Pall Mall, They Satisfy!”
I said that if they did satisfy then why did she buy them by the carton!
It is time to get hungry – to be unsatisfied. We should not be satisfied in this world.
Quit looking to it to satisfy. Seek Him, talk to Him, tell Him you love Him.
“I have set the Lord continually before me.” Psalm 16:8
“You open your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16
Consider these spot on quotes:
“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.” ― C.S. Lewis
“God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.” John Piper
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
- C. S. Lewis in “The Weight of Glory”
Be satisfied – In Him.
Oswald Chambers says, “The fiery furnaces are there by God’s direct permission.
It is misleading to imagine that we are developed in spite of our circumstances;
we are developed because of them.
It is mastery in circumstances that is needed, not mastery over them.”
Are you in a fiery furnace today? It could be financial, physical, relational, or emotional.
How are you dealing with it? How do we get that mastery?
One way is by trusting in the very presence of God.
We don’t go through times of suffering alone.
God wants us to allow them to draw us closer to Him and experience His love.
What was the last promise Jesus gave to His men and to us?
“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
The Lord was with Joseph…”his master (Potiphar) saw that the Lord was with him.”
“Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison…But the Lord was with Joseph.”
Genesis 39:2-3, 20-23
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you.”
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”
No matter what you: face – fear – or fight – He is with you.
He is with you actively, not passively.
He will give strength, power, help, courage, comfort and victory.
What are you facing today? He is with you and will go through it with you.
You are not alone – ever!
Call upon Him, Come to Him, Cry out to Him, Collapse upon Him,Crash upon Him, and Count upon Him.
As a Good shepherd He is with His sheep all night long.
Worship In The Heat
I had the opportunity of serving the Lord as a pastor in Arizona. I believe the Lord gave me the spiritual gift of teaching. It was fun to prepare and preach sermons. I could preach Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night.
However, Discipleship was woefully neglected. Why? I had no idea how to do it or what materials to use. People came to meet with me with various needs. I was lost with no rudder to guide me.
Several years later I discovered the discipleship materials produced by VCLi. I wanted to yell – Eureka!! I saw that I could still use my gift of teaching only now it could be guided in an excellent format. I didn’t think I could disciple someone in a one-on-one context. Now I had a rudder, a guide. God has used the SALT books to guide me to disciple many people with a variety of needs.
They have also been a primary tool to challenge me in my walk with God. I have learned the source of my negative emotions as I try to play God. Walking after the flesh is happening less frequently now. I know how to forgive others and do it quickly. My wife and I now have a clear way to enhance our communication.
It has been delightful to see how God uses these 7 books to help people in all areas of life. One man said, "It is amazing. When I have a problem or struggle all I have to do is study the next lesson and I get the answer." He said this as he was banging his head with the book for emphasis!
Now when I meet with someone I have a treasure of truth based on God’s Word that I can share. I encourage you to check out the SALT books and see how God could use them in your ministry.
God tells pastors to, “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season.” 2 Timothy 4:2
Let me tell you how my first pastor did it.
When I was 16 a friend of mine invited me to his church.
I had not gone to an evangelical church before. I still remember what the pastor preached about.
It was the subject of Faith. I understood it.
He preached the Word in season in church.
I continued to go and listen. He was not polished but he was sincere.
That summer my friend invited me to help with Vacation Bible School.
He told me we would be in the class with the older kids and be in charge of the refreshments.
I was in! Who taught the class? The Pastor did.
He preached the Word in season at VBS.
He talked about heaven and how to get there.
He said if we were sure we were going to heaven to sign a sheet.
I wasn’t sure. I asked if he would explain how to get to heaven.
He preached the Word to me in season in his 1956 Chevrolet.
Right there I opened my life to Jesus.
Sometime after that he discovered that I wanted to learn to drive – remember – I am 16.
My parents didn’t want to teach me. The pastor took many hours and taught me how to drive.
He preached the Word out of season as he taught me to drive.
He taught my friend also. On one occasion my friend started the pastor’s car and jammed
down on the gas pedal while turning the key — until the engine raced to a loud roar and died.
The engine was shot! The pastor didn’t tell his parents.
He preached the Word out of season by taking a second job driving a school bus to pay for the new engine.
I will be in heaven because of that pastor. I am a pastor now.
Pastor, you are important today to the people in your church.
Continue to preach the Word in and out of season. God is pleased with you today.
You would naturally think that our obedience to God brings His immediate blessing.
Consider Abram’s call by God. He is told to leave his home and family and move to a new country.
He is promised blessings and that he would become a great nation.
“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s home,
and go to a land that I am going to show you. I will give you many descendants,
and they will become a great nation. I will bless you and make your name famous,
so that you will be a blessing.” Genesis 12:1-2
But look what happens when he arrives at God’s new home for him.
Verse 10 says there was a famine in the land.
What?! How could God send him to a place of famine?
Where is the blessing? He decides to go down to Egypt.
Was that a good decision? Did he ask God what to do?
Some commentators have said that Egypt is a picture of the World.
Before he even gets to Egypt he tells his wife to lie about being his wife.
Why didn’t Abram stay in Canaan? Couldn’t have God taken care of him there?
Often there are problems at the beginning of a task.
William Carey went to India as a missionary from England.
His wife didn’t want to go. A few years after his arrival, his young son died.
His wife was furious and even tried to kill William. He stayed and became,
“The father of modern missions.”
Where has God placed you? Can you stay there by His power and trust His provision?
Have you asked God to do something and He didn’t do it?
Don’t be tempted to walk away from Him and go to Egypt (the world) for answers.
We can do that with our finances (take out another loan),
our appearance (this will make me look good),
our walk with God (I’m upset with God’s apparent silence so I will turn away from Him and look to the world),
or our relationships (I shouldn’t do this but I think it will bring me acceptance.)
God’s blessing will come if we stay faithful to His direction, but it may not be immediately.
He is God and we can’t make Him perform like a little puppet.
Consider the total commitment of the priests in Leviticus 8:22-23
This was the ceremony of ordination for the priests.
They were being set apart to serve the Lord.
He then presented the other ram, the ram for the ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head. Moses slaughtered the ram and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. (NIV)
What was this to demonstrate?
Could it be that the ear symbolized the head of a person.
This would include the eyes, the ears, the mind and the mouth.
All of these parts of the body were to be dedicated to the Lord.
God wants us to dedicate our conversations, looks, listening, and thoughts to Him.
Holy things are dedicated to God. They are to bring Him glory.
How will this conversation bring glory to God?
How will watching and listening to this movie or TV program bring glory to God?
Are these drifting or fantasy thoughts bringing me any closer to God?
The right thumb could indicate action or service or work with our hands.
How can I connect this job to God and ask Him for strength, wisdom and ability?
Obviously these priests were serving God in the tabernacle.
Your work at home or the office or wherever can also be for God. It can bring glory to Him.
The right toe could signify movement or direction for our life.
Where are you feet taking you? It is a place where God will be glorified?
Is God involved in this decision which will affect your future?
Remember the children’s song –
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see.
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see.
There’s a Father up above, looking down in tender love,
So be careful little eyes, what you see.
Be careful little ears what you hear
Be careful little mouth what you say…
Be careful little hands, what you touch…
Be careful little feet, where you go…
Take time today and dedicate your entire body to God.
Ask Him to use your eyes, ears, mind, mouth, hands and feet to bring Him glory.
You are His royal priest! 1 Peter 2:9