Saturday, December 2, 2017

SOMETIMES

I Was Just Thinking About – SOMETIMES.

For the child of God, are we exempt from the sometime moments as or when they occur? My son would often remind me about situations for which there seemed no resolve: “Dad, sometimes stuff just happens.” That thought occurred to me yesterday as I spent several hours moving from place to place in the Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham, AL. Inasmuch as I was there as a patient rather than an observer, and as I was hearing the diagnoses and treatment plan, I could not avoid that which my son had so often shared – “Stuff” is not happening but is happening to me - NOW! As I reflected upon the “stuff”, an old Hymn came to mind:
Sometimes when my faith would falter
And no sunlight I can see;
I just lift my eyes to Jesus
And I whisper, "Pilot me."

Often when my soul is weary
And the days seem oh so long
I just look up to my Pilot
And I hear this blessed song.
    Refrain:

Fear thou not for I'll be with thee
I will still thy Pilot be
Never mind the tossing billows
Take My hand and trust in Me.

When I come to Jordan's river
And its troubled waters see
On the brink I'll see my Savior
And I know He'll pilot me.



When hearing about that which I did not want to hear, and weighed the potential possibilities of what I was being told, my heart became heavy. Sitting in that bust waiting area, I said to my wife: “I was hoping we would have several more years together.” Peggy, in and with her wisdom, touched my hand and replied: “We’ll just put this in the Lord’s hands. He’ll do what is right and best.”

Two verses we have often shared together came to mind. Psalm 37:23-25, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken…” Then, Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

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Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

TIME ASSESSMENT & ALLOCATION

I Was Just Thinking About – TIME ASSESSMENT and ALLOCATION.

How many times have you had a sense of frustration and uneasiness when you are unable to arrive at a specified goal? I suspect all of us have had such a moment. We don’t know why certain realities have crossed our paths. All we know is that they have appeared without our anticipation and absent of any personal invitation. A verse of Scripture that has been on my mind and heart the past few weeks is Colossians 4:12 where it is reported that Epaphras has embraced a burden for his brothers and sisters in the Church at Colossae. Paul notes: “He is always wrestling in prayer for you, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in the full will of God.” His twofold focus is their spiritual maturity and their knowledge and embrace of all the will of God for them. He knew that once these matters were settle in one’s life, there would be deliverance from fear, doubt and anxieties.

I read a devotional where the area of peace in one’s life was being discussed. The basic point being made was: “Peace is the ability to wait patiently in spite of panic brought on by uncertainty.” The writer goes on to say: “Portrayed here is the panic of getting you from here to there in time. Relax! God knows just the vehicle and He's got the timetable put together so that you can watch Him work.” Why do we panic? It’s because we’re limited in our knowledge of God’s precise plan. We get caught up in: “What will I do? How will I handle tomorrow? We need to remember what is available to us who are in Christ. Isaiah 26:3-4, assures us: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” In Philippians 4:6-7, we are reminded: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Those things about which we panic are unfulfilled dreams; unpleasant circumstances; and an uncertain future. A lesson often forgotten but one that is vital to us having peace rather than panic is James 4:13-15, “Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit -  yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say: If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 

This brings us back to Colossians 4:12 and the focus upon spiritual maturity as well as the knowledge of his will for all areas of one’s life. This can mean difficult moments can suddenly occur in one’s life. The moments were not anticipated or planned. They came more as a surprise (or shock). However, the peace reality and the contentment factor will see one through the greatest of challenges. Whatever awaits on the other side of the difficult and challenging moment. His grace is promised as being more than sufficient to overcome the greatest need.

Prayerfully – Consider these things with me!                                                                    

Monday, November 27, 2017

PRAYER FOCUS

I Was Just Thinking About – PRAYER FOCUS.

Yesterday, I posted in a FB panel the following: “The only valid way to pray is, I Timothy 2:5, For there is ONE GOD and ONE MEDIATOR between God and man, the man Jesus Christ.” In response to this was the following: “Question, (asked by a person named Jessica), “if someone is dead does that mean we can’t ask them to pray for us? Asking for prayers is only ok if the person we are asking is alive?” 

Today, I responded with the following: Jesus said: "If you ask anything in MY NAME, I will do it." See: John 14:13-14. Praying in a dead person's name is both disobedience and blasphemy. It is substituting a person, or elevating a person, to the status of the Godhead, Is this a serious matter? Absolutely! “To address Jessica's statement, you should not be praying in a dead or living person’s name, is this, too, a serious matter? Absolutely.

Many Scriptures state that. One of them is Isaiah 48:11 where the Lord indicated, "For my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another." Then, you also have the sticky wicket known as the Ten Commandments - Exodus 20:3-6, "You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." There's more - but these are some foundational truths that should never be compromised or disobeyed.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shared this prayer perspective, Matthew 7:7-11, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? So, if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” In Matthew 6:5-11 (The Lord's Prayer), there are these points of emphasis: “This, then, is how you should pray: OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, YOUR WILL BE DONE, on earth as it is in heaven…”

When you pray, you have a choice. You either follow God’s Word and pray to The Father in Heaven through Jesus Christ the Redeemer, Advocate, Intercessor, Mediator – or – some living or dead person designated by tradition or ritual and blaspheme and/or disobey the Godhead and Scriptures. Make the correct and wise choice. A familiar Hymn, To God Be The Glory summarizes these points in its refrain: “O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, and give Him the glory, great things he has done.”

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Friday, November 24, 2017

HOPE AND HELP

I Was Just Thinking About – HOPE AND HELP.

Almost three years ago, I authored and published the book: Realizing Significance. The gist of it is: “Christians may feel a sense of insignificance in the church world of religious celebrities. Little people tend to estimate their own sense of worth based on the mistaken notion that they are failures or their ministry is not important. Their accomplishments fade in the light of great and famous people.” This month (November 10, 2017), World Magazine wrote a lengthy article on the life of Joni Eareckson Tada and “the remarkable life she’s led as a quadriplegic and disabilities advocate since her diving accident 50 years ago.” At the outset of the accident, Joni passed through times of depression, awareness of her helplessness, and the moments where she felt the weight of hopelessness.

Realizing Significance also touched upon the lives of others, such as. A college President being unable to continue in his work because of the excruciating back pain he was experiencing that limited his work responsibilities; the gifted Musician (Piano and Organ) and composer who lost an arm due to an automobile accident during a severe rain storm; etc. There are others mentioned whose live were changed unalterably. Each one who was illustrated in the book pressed on as best they could with ministry efforts despite their pain and disability.

I also commented about the “unknown” people. Using the text in Mark 4:35-41, “Jesus said: “Let us go across to the other side. And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other little boats were with him.” Using that idea of “little boats”, that thought was expanded to include “little people, little sheep, insignificant people.”
When a violent storm broke out, the disciples in the big boat awakened Jesus because they were frightened to the point that if He did not intervene they would perish. In their panic, they seemingly forgot about the other “little boats” that were tagging along as they sought to follow Jesus.

In life, there is a lot of that occurring. People get focused upon the big vessel, the more important people and the celebrity and forget/neglect the little people, the little sheep and the insignificant people. I appreciate the statement made by Francis Schaeffer: “There are no little people nor are there big people – just consecrated people or non-consecrated people.” For you who may feel as though you are unnoticed, unimportant or insignificant, find hope and help in the words of Psalm 119:49-50, “Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” These words are true and valid for you just as they were for the Psalmist.

Prayerfully – Consider these things with me.