One thing I notice lacking in churches is togetherness and prayer. Sure, there may be some fellowship, “meet and greet” time, potlucks and things like that, but do we get together and really get to know each other? Do we get together and pray? Do we pray for each other? Do we know each other enough to know what to pray for? Not just the superficial stuff like health and “travel mercies,” but also the intimate stuff, the spiritual needs, the struggles, the battles we go through in life. I’ve always been an advocate of small groups, where we can gather together in homes and get to know one another, studying God’s word and praying for one another. It is also a time to seek and give godly advice and encouraging one another. We as a church need to be more than just a gathering on Sundays (or Saturdays), but we need to be more like a family, with unity, really, truly caring for one another and loving one another and not just one or two days a week but throughout the week. We as a church need to intercede for those outside of the church, that they would receive knowledge of Jesus Christ and believe the truth. We need to pray for the leaders and people of this country, especially with all the division, hatred, name pointing, biased accusations and covering up truth and all that we see and hear. We need to gather and pray. Together. Continue reading “Praying Together”
Last week was a stressful week. Work has already been stressful lately (which has been literally giving me headaches), but with the metal prices low, the company I worked for had to take some measures to reduce costs (I work for a zinc mine). One of those measures included some layoffs. Thank God I was not one of them, but I don’t know what the future holds in the years to come. I have been planning a mission trip to Haiti for some time now. Plans were to leave the end of this month. But, I received a call that there is some civil unrest there and demonstrations were planned for the time I would be going there. So, missionaries decided to cancel any mission trips during that time for obvious safety concerns. The good news is that they are going to have a mission team going there mid-December and they were hoping that I could go then. This was good news, but it also meant rescheduling flights and canceling hotel rooms. All in all, this would add to the cost and I will be sleeping in the airport for the overnight layover because the hotel room was non-refundable. I purchased travel insurance, but it did not cover this circumstance. I know that God always works things out for good and His timing is right, but it did leave me with doubt, frustration, discouragement and wondering what I did wrong, or if He was testing my faith or if the devil was trying to keep me from going or working on my mind to lose faith or be distracted or keep from doing what God wants me to do, or…or…or… Continue reading “When Things Don’t Go as Planned”
Nebuchadnezzar? Praising God? The great king of the Babylonian empire who had a large golden statue of himself be built to worship? Yes, that one. Babylon was one of the greatest empires in history that conquered most of the known world at the time, beginning around 626 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar ruled from 605-562 B.C., being one of the greatest emperors known. He was also ruthless. He destroyed Jerusalem and tore down it’s walls, looted the temple and brought the Israelite people into exile, killing many and enslaving many. When he has his dream, he asked his counselors not only to interpret his dreams but to tell him what it was! When they could not, he threatened to cut them all to pieces and burn down their houses. He executed any who would not bow down and worship his image of gold. But, God revealed the dream to Daniel and its interpretation giving him favor with the king. The king let his pride get the best of him, and God brought him down and showed him His majesty and power. When the king was at his lowest he realized how great God was and turned to Him. God used Daniel and used the king’s circumstances to reveal His greatness and to bring him to righteousness. I believe that Nebuchadnezzar was saved at this time. Only God knows for sure. God will use many ways to draw people to Him. He is a God of mercy. No matter what you have done in the past, where you are at in life, He seeks your love and wants you to be saved. He sent His Son to die on the cross, that our sins may be forgiven. He uses other people to be a witness so others would see the truth and turn to him. Sometimes He will allow us to stumble from our own selfishness and pride to a low point to bring us to surrender to Him, so that we can have eternal life. He uses all things for good, so that we can become His children. This is the prayer of Nebuchanezzar (or, more like a proclamation of how great God is) after he was brought down by God and restored. Continue reading “Nebuchadnezzar’s Prayer of Praise”
In our last discussion we talked about how Paul encouraged others in his prayer for them. He also never ceased to give God praise for all that He has done. This is something we all should remember in our prayers. As we talk to God, we should acknowledge how great a God He is, how good He is to us and all the things He has done for us. There are so many scriptures to choose from that have prayers of praise, particularly from the Psalms, but also many in both the Old and New Testaments. Many scriptures acknowledge God’s greatness and may not actually be part of a prayer, but I think by reading these and perhaps using some of them in our prayer will honor God. As the authors do, let us not only acknowledge Him in our prayers but share it with all those around us. Continue reading “Praise Prayers”
Pauls’ epistles, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians are some of my favorite books in the Bible. There is so much here to learn from, about life and about Jesus Christ our Lord. Within them, he shares His love for the church and other believers, as we all ought to. He encourages them by telling them the that He prays for them and what He prays for. I try to pray for my family and my church for these as well, though not as often as I should. Of course, I try to stay away from ‘recited’ prayer, but I think using scripture within your prayer is good. As believers, we need to be intercessors for others. That is what Paul is doing in His letters. These intercessory prayers encourage and guide us in our prayer life and in our life. When I read them, I also feel He was praying these prayers for all of us.