Archive for February, 2010

Fearful News?–Turn the TV OFF!

Posted in Faith on February 25, 2010 by waggtagg

Powerful prayers are those where two or more gather together and pray, agreeing upon any given subject.

This is not to diminish the power of the prayer closet.  For it is in there, that we learn who we are in Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  It is in the prayer closet that we build our relationship with Christ.  It’s where we bear our souls, and we know that it is safe to shed tears.  If truth were told, no one wants to hear anyone cry during prayer.  It upsets people because they usually have no idea how to respond or what to say.  It takes a seasoned Christian with lots of discernment to deal with tears. 

Two or more.  Now, that’s where we come when we are finished in the prayer closet.  We strengthen the bonds that hold us together as Christians through community prayer.  We bless one another with our steadfast love for God and for the fellowship of kindred spirits.  Many times one very strong Christian will bring several together, teach them the art of prayer, and it becomes so comfortable.  Too comfortable in fact because we tend to enjoy it more than the prayer closet.

We learn to Affirm

  1. Our faith 
  2. One another
  3. Our love for each other
  4. The love of the Father for us

As married couples, the Sacrament of Marriage is a blessing – See Ephesians 5:22.  How else could we make it through such a close relationship with another human being, kiddos and their needs, heartaches, and trials?  If it weren’t for the love of God and the blessings found in the Sacrament of Marriage we’d probably hit the seven-year itch, throw in the towel, and move on.

But we are children of God, and we hold on tightly to his abiding love for us.  We pray that our lives reflect his grace and loving kindness.

Now, all that said.  Do you pray together as a couple?  I am amazed to find that too many Christians do not pray together as husband and wife.  Is it that painful?  Is it that hard to find a time?  Is it because we don’t know how to do conversational prayer?  Is it because we are afraid of being embarrassed?  It is probably all the above and some more.

Under Pages on this blog, you will see a Prayer for Tough Times.  This is a work that took several years to put together.  It covers all the bases, and then some.  Prayer is a very powerful tool to bring blessing, protection, love, and hope to our lives.  When this particular prayer is prayed alone it is great.  When prayed with a friend it is great.  When, however, it is prayed as a couple under the Lord’s covering of the marriage, it is the single most powerful thing you can do as a married man and woman.

With our lives and this nation in such turmoil, we need couples praying. 

Praying for Protection and Healing for our:

  1. Families
  2. Jobs and finances
  3. Homes
  4. Good ealth or restored health
  5. Pastors
  6. The nation and our elected officials 

And the list goes on. 

Too many are sitting in front of the TV, wringing their hands, and worrying about tomorrow.  Get up, wipe off that spirit of despair.  Put on the garments of praise, joy, and love regardless of your circumstances.  God is in control, and the evil spirits that would have you think otherwise quiver in fear when you stand and praise the name of JESUS.

Yes, it’s that easy.  Praise, worship and prayer.  The King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Almighty God our Father is right there, waiting to hear your shouts of joy, and your prayerful petitions.   

JUST PRAY, and  PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.

Hallelujah!  Sweet Victory in JESUS!

Shhhh!

Posted in Faith on February 19, 2010 by waggtagg

Thanks to Mary, my sister, who always knows how to nudge – gently.

I thought I was ready for the Lenten Season, however, I find that I am only three days in and I am lost.  Not from a lack of looking and making notes, but from a lack of discernment.

Here I sit at 2 p.m. Central European Time – that’s about 7 a.m. U.S. Central, and I am having an “Ah Ha’ moment.

I thought I had prayed for guidance in writing this piece, but obviously I wasn’t listening.  Sooooo.  I sat myself down, prayed another short prayer, and began to write.  Here is what I have for you.

Be Still And KNOW!  Hmm, I thought I did that! 

Know that He loves us.  John 15:9  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.  

  1. Did you ever really read this?  If you think about it, Jesus is saying He loved us first.  Have you ever been praying and heard Jesus says, “I love you?”  Have you ever said back, “I love you too?”  Even if you have not heard his audible voice just try saying, “I love you!”
  2. Have you kept up your prayer closet since last week?  Or have you missed a few days?  Count me in on that.  It’s hard, but it is so doable, and the graces abound there.
  3. Have you caught yourself in a fit of whatevers?  Yea, that sour word that slices to the bone.  Yes slice – that sends cold chills through my body.  But multiply that times 1000 and you might just understand how that affects Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit and his holy angels.  Makes you want to jump up and down and whine “OVERS! OVERS!! OVERRRRRRS!!!” 
  4. Never fear – just be still and KNOW.  Jesus loved us before we even knew his name.  Isn’t that amazing. . .

Well to help your Lenten Season along try this on for size.  This will put you in the right place, at the right time, for the right reason.

Footage from BBC’s Award-Winning Nature film; Earth

Gregorio Allegri’s – Miserere mei, Deus – Performed by the Oxford Camerata conducted by Jeremy Summerly

Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.  Taken from Psalm 51
By Italian composer Gregorio Allegri

Psalm 51  RSV

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.

O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.

For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,

Then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

Courage Christians!

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO?

Posted in Faith with tags , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2010 by waggtagg

Mardi Gras is a raucous time of fun, but close on the heels of all that merriment comes 40 days of prayer, fasting, reflection, submission, and anticipation of the Passion of Christ and the joy of Easter Sunday. 

Are we ready to bare all and become like Daniel – beloved of God?

Where does our nation and our church stand today on prayer?  Do we personally pray once or twice a day, or maybe less?  Are the prayers we say tidbits thrown up to the throne in a fit of desperation?  How effective are those prayers? 

When was the last time we took a hard look at the Our Father, or as some say the Lord’s Prayer?  I mean really looked at it?  It is not so much the prayer of Christ, as it is an example that Christ set before his followers that taught them how to pray.

The prayer is made up of several parts. 

  • The first is worship.  In worship we tell God who he is and how we love him. 
  • The second is Praise.  Praise is how we tell God what he does for us and how much we love him.  Praise also scatters the devil and his minions from our presence. 
  • The third is correction.  In Psalms 23 we see that the shepherd carries a staff.  That staff has a crook and is used to haul us out of the puddles we fall into along the path of life.  When we come before Christ in prayer and we hit the correction phase, we must be ready to listen and determine in our hearts that we will work hard to avoid life’s little “temptations” to fall and sin.  We have a litany of hidden faults, and as soon as we overcome one there is always a second that slides into first place.
  • The fourth is protection.  We look again to the good shepherd and see how he leads us by still waters.  Sheep will not drink by running water, so the shepherd leads – he does not ask – he leads us to streams and green pastures.  He always knows what is best for us.  It’s up to us to listen, follow, and obey.
  • The fifth is again worship.  God wants our hearts and love.  Those are two things he cannot do for himself and he will not take them from us, but he waits for us to bring them to him.
  • The sixth is petition.  Here we bring our hearts desires, our fears, and our needs before our Lord. 

In Matthew 5:3 we have the Sermon on the Mount.  The very first of the blessings are for the poor in spirit.  This is a metaphor meaning that the poor always come with humbleness.  Why?  They have nothing to boast about.  Why is God looking for humility?  He knows that souls who have lived the depths and heights of life will come with hearts to hear truth.  Today’s street people are extremely savvy and can read the eyes of men and recognize a lie.  They turn away from false teachings and social gospel.  They have had a nose full of people who use and abuse them.  But when they hear truth, they open their eyes and their hearts to that truth.  We must take a lesson from the poor in spirit and come with humility before the Lord.

Where should be pray?  At church – yes.  With others – yes.  But the most effective place for prayer is in that hidden place where only you and God are welcome.  It must be a place where we can kneel or fall upon our face before God.  It must be a quiet place where the TV, the radio, or music will not distract from God’s presence.  It is a place where we can be alone with God.  The search for that perfect prayer “closet” leads us to Psalms 91.  There we find another metaphor – finding shelter under the wing of God.  But it is in that hidden place where God will reveal his love and his desires for us.

Prayer Closet.  Now that we have that idea out in the open, what happens there?  Whatever God wants.  That is why God seeks humble hearts to partake in his Kingdom.  God tells us that his strength is made perfect in our weakness.

The rewards are many, and we need only look to the examples of Christ.  He was always in prayer.  All his miracles and healings came after hours of prayer.

But do not be deceived.  Prayer is sometimes arduous.  In Matt 26:39 the garden of Gethsemane becomes Christ’s prayer closet.  Christ left the disciples and went off to a place where they could not hear him and he would not be disturbed by them.  He wanted to be alone with his Father.  Three times he prayed that he would not need to die.  Finally, he knew that his fate was the cross.  The hard part of Christ’s Passion was his time spent in prayer in that garden.

The Lenten Season is fast approaching.  Ask these questions and answer truthfully:  Do I have a quiet prayer closet?  Am I willing to spend time each day alone with God?  Can I in all honesty remove the mask I wear that helps me hide from God and man?  Can I humble myself to be weak so that God may become my strength?

Enter in to that holy prayer closet and ask that God make himself known to you in a way you have never thought about, and in that knowledge be the instrument of Christ’s grace and peace to all those who cross your path.

Courage Christians!

Hallelujah

Posted in Faith on February 5, 2010 by waggtagg

To my cousin Barbara in Levelland, thank you for the idea, and God bless!

“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever. Take heed now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.”

Then David gave Solomon his son the plan of the vestibule of the temple, and of its houses, its treasuries, its upper rooms, and its inner chambers,and of the room for the mercy seat;    1Chronicles 28:9-11

 This passage of Holy Scripture comes from the soul of a man who understood God’s mercy and forgiveness.  King David tells Solomon to be faithful to God because Solomon has been chosen to build the Temple.  He specifically speaks of the mercy seat – the throne of God.

King David had his days, and when we look closely at his life we see sin, but we also see a repentant soul.  God loved David as he loves all mankind, and he pours his mercy forth with love and kindness upon those who seek, know, and serve him.

Look around.  Today the world is full of hatred, anger, frustration, death, and hopelessness.  An ideology of cruelty, hatred, and murder leaves little room for forgiveness and thankfulness.  Nations that abandon hope, love, caring, and a faithful love of God, become nations of dry brittle bones lost in a desert. 

Actual headlines today tell about a 16-year-old Turkish girl who “talked to boys,” and was punished – with death.  Her father and grandfather determined that the honor of the family was more important than the life of their daughter.  They bound her hands behind her back, dug a hole, placed her in a sitting position, and buried her alive.  There was never a word spoken about forgiveness, hope for a better tomorrow.  Murder was the only answer for the one who allegedly sinned and brought shame upon the family.

Travelling by train from Finland into Russia was an amazing awakening to the difference between a god-fearing nation and a godless nation.  Finland’s countryside was green, lush, and fertile, but upon crossing the border into Russia the countryside became brown and dirty.  The forests were a drab green color.  The stone fences were in ruins.  The train stations were all in need of repair.  The country roads were nothing more than ruts through fields of overgrown weeds.  In a word, it was grim.  God had indeed removed his hand from a nation whose government forbade them to love God and replaced the warmth and care of a loving God with enslavement to the state. 

I can only imagine how the people failed to see this transition. Yes, they were starving and terrorized, and I suppose it is much like the proverbial frog in the beaker of water over the Bunsen burner.  You just don’t get it until it’s too late. But is it indeed “too late?”  Never!  God is always there and always ready to heal our wasted land and forgive. 

Many in the Middle East are turning away from the oppressive tyranny of the ideology of death.  In Iran alone, there are men, women and children who worship the True Living God, and face the penalty of death if caught.

We must pray not only for our own needs, but for those held in bondage to an ideology of death.  Pray that God would give them courage, faith, and hope.

Leonard Cohen, a Jewish author and poet, wrote the song he called Hallelujah.  It’s about David, his sins, his brokenness, his cry for help to the Lord of Hosts, and God’s healing and forgiving touch. It’s a song about David’s cry of remorse, but more importantly it is about David’s shout for joy and thanksgiving.  God is always there, waiting, listening for our sobs, tasting our tears, and offering healing.  There is one verse that refers to Samson and Delilah.  And we know that Samson was indeed forgiven, and many wonder if Delilah too didn’t repent as she hid and watched while Samson pulled down the walls.

No more tears and no more crying.  For the love of God snatches us from the fears of tomorrow and never turns away from those who are his faithful.

 Watch Video performance of   Hallelujah  <– here.

 

 Hallelujah

By Leonard Cohen

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah what a Savior! 

Courage Christians!

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