There’s a whole lot of love in the house of the Lord

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The general area around where I live has many different businesses but it still can identify itself as a family neighborhood.  If my wife and I had children in school age, we would feel very confident to raise our children here.  There are shopping centers, grocery stores, convenience stores, department  stores, gas stations, and even a local Emergency Room.  There are doctor and dentist offices.  And we are only little ways from Lake Erie and access to recreational opportunities on the lake.  There are many places of worship to choose from and the folks around here are friendly.  They’re “good people”.  We feel safe and secure.  We’ve never had an issue.  This makes me smile a lot.

When I got married to my wife Nancy, we  wanted to find a place to worship in as we both were attending different churches.  What did we do?  We took it to the Lord in prayer.  It wasn’t long that we both came into agreement and it has been a tremendous blessing.   Oh by the way, we will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary in May.  We were  married in the church we now attend.  We have been so blessed.  We are confident this is where the Lord wants us.

What drew us to this church?  There’s a whole lot of love in the house of the Lord.  Our church is filled with the Love of God.  Our church’s mission is Connecting People to a Growing Relationship with Jesus Christ.  That being said, is the same kind of love being poured out when church is over.  What are we doing outside of the church walls?  Jesus said this, And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”” Mark 16:15 ESV  And Jesus also said this,  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 ESV   It’s a tough question.  What are we doing outside of our church walls?  It’s fine that you may attend a church full of love for you.  But what about the lost outside of church who are headed to an eternity in hell.  Yes, hell.  It’s not a pretty picture.  I hope that you are not saying or thinking that you’re ok and that’s not your problem.  That kind of  thinking is not biblical.  Jesus gave us a command.  We must be obedient to it. 

praying for the lost

Friend, I’m asking you to think about this.  Really think.  I wouldn’t want anyone to perish because we were selfish; thinking only about ourselves.  The man who told me about Jesus in 1999 was not selfish and loved me so much that he told me about Jesus.  Did you get what I just said?  The man loved me so much that he told me about Jesus.  Love isn’t only inside of the church to get people to attend.  If a church is like that they are missing the most important command of God.  The Apostle Peter said this, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 ESV  We must take the Love received by accepting Jesus into our lives and go tell a world about it.

You have a choice.  This is my challenge to  you.  I ask you to pray and listen to what God is saying to you about a lost and dying world and how you can reach them; to pour out the love that Jesus gave you when He died for you on the Cross.  He took your sins and paid the full price for them.  His death on the cross.  Jesus is our Blessed Hope.  He is the Son of God and He is coming back someday.  You have a choiice.  I will be praying for you. God bless you.

If you have never asked Jesus to be the Lord of your life, you can do that. In humble prayer ask Jesus to  forgive you  of  your sins, repent of your sins and  declare your belief that He died for you and arose from the grave to defeat sin and death for all.

Don’t believe me.  Believe God!

 

 

Our Redemption

Psalm 130_7Today I was thinking about my future.  In not too many years, I’ll be ready to retire.  I’ve worked my entire life since I was 9 years old.  The time is coming for me to say that’s it.  I’m done.  In those thoughts, I also meditated on all of what the Lord has given me.  How He redeemed me from my life of sin.  How He has healed me, restored me, poured into me His Holy Spirit.  I’m overwhelmed by all He has done and know He’s not yet finished.

As we approach the new coming year, my hope is not in what this world can provide.  There is no hope in this world and no man can convince me that I should place my hope and trust in him.  I know that things are terrible.  I know that there are those screaming for a change.  I know that some think that a new president is the answer.  I say, “No!”  Our only hope is in Jesus Christ.  Thank You Jesus for the truth and the promises of Your Word that I can confidently stand on.  Your Word will not fail.  Your Word will not break.  Hallelujah!!!

Lord it’s only through you that we are redeemed. May we place our hope in you. Father, my prayer is this. Pour out Your abundant redemption on Your children. Fill every part of them with Your love, Your healing, Your deliverance, Your provision, Your grace, Your mercy, and Your forgiveness. In the coming year Lord, may we turn toward You for all that we need. Lord, we receive this promise in Your Word and thank You in advance for a year of abundant redemption. For Your Glory, Lord. Amen.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

God Hears Our Prayers

O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come – Psalm 65:2 NKJV

Oh what a promise from God. That God is a hearer of our prayers. But many of us struggle within our own insecurities that God couldn’t possibly hear and answer “my” prayer. So instead of bringing our prayers to God with confidence, we’re covered in fear and doubt and unbelief. “How could God even care to answer my prayers? He knows me and sees what I am struggling with.” God does not see our prayers as the world sees the things we struggle with. God is ready to grant our petitions and God is ready to pour out His encouragement as we see the result of His answering our prayers.

Prayer embraces praising God for who He is, thanking Him for what He has already done, and looking forward with joy to what He has promised to do in the future. Jim Cymbala, in his book, “Breakthrough Prayer” says this, “If we really believed God’s guarantee to both hear and answer our prayer, we would pray far more than we do.”

If we can believe that prayer is an active response to the grace of God and it’s worship, than we can embrace prayer and thank God for accomplishing what we’ve prayed for in advance. That’s the question, “If we can believe?”

Belief is a hard thing to do. Just think of all of those “As Seen On TV” advertisements. How many of us have looked at the infomercial and thought it told the truth, only to find out when the products were delivered to our door, we got ripped off.

The belief we need regarding God answering prayers comes from the heart and the Holy Spirit that lives in us. The Lord wants us to be absolutely sure that “…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14 NKJV) Another incredible promise from God because God cannot fail to keep His word. He must answer every petition He hears.

If we let Him, the Holy Spirit will be our prayer partner. The Holy Spirit helps us in our times of weakness and insecurity because sometimes we do not know what to pray. (Romans 8:26 NKJV) We need to believe this and be open to the Holy Spirit.

God is a hearer and the One who answers prayers. His Word to us is a promise. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8-9 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You that You hear and answer each of our prayers. Lord, we believe, but help us with our unbelief. The things of the world are not worth believing in, but You are worthy of our belief. Forgive us Lord when we place more of our belief in the temporal things of the world. Your Word is truth and its promises are eternal. Thank You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Such simple instructions

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV)

Such simple instructions. Really, when you think about it. Jesus came right to the point. If you believe, these things will happen. The precept of this Scripture is these things will happen when you pray.

Matthew Henry, great commentator, wrote:

Ask “Pray; pray often; pray with sincerity and seriousness; pray, and pray again; make conscience of prayer, and be constant in it; make a business of prayer, and be earnest in it. Ask, as a beggar asks alms. Ask represent your wants and burdens to God, and refer yourselves to Him for support and supply, according to His promise. Ask as a traveler asks the way; to pray is to enquire of God.” I believe in having an attitude of prayer where prayer or at least the knowledge of opportunity to pray is always existent.

Seek Seek as for a thing of value that we have lost, or as the merchant man that seeks goodly pearls. Seek by prayer” Seek as Matthew Henry suggests. Seek as if what was lost is the most important thing in your life.

KnockKnock as he that desires to enter into the house knocks at the door. We would be admitted to converse with God, would be taken into His love, and favor, and kingdom; sin has shut and barred the door against us; by prayer, we knock; Lord, Lord, open to us. Christ knocks at our door.” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV)

Friend, Jesus is ready to answer your prayers. He desires to pour out His love and favor. Prayer is the key. A prayerful life is the key. Prayer offers believers a means of acknowledging the character and purposes of God and the opportunity to seek guidance concerning His will for them. Prayer is a conversation. That’s what it is. And conversation must be two-way. As you seek God in prayerful conversation, He will hear you and respond to you. What else do you need to know? The Word of God says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24 NKJV) Pray – Believe – Receive. Hallelujah!

Dear God, thank You that when we ask, You give. When we seek, we find. And when we knock, You open the door. Thank You God that Your Word is faithful and all we need to do is believe. God, prayer is simply a conversation with You. May we grow in our faith as we Ask, Seek, and Knock. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Nehemiah 1:8-10 NKJV – A place which I have chosen

Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.

If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you. But if you return to Me, I will gather you from there and bring you to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling place for My name. A conditional statement, but yet one of great love and desire from God. If you do not obey I will cause you to scatter but if you return to Me, you will be where I am. That’s really what this scripture is saying. God is our sole redeemer. Redeeming us from difficult personal circumstances, deliverance from our enemies, and Jesus is central to God’s redemptive purpose. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV)

And why would we not want to be where God resides? Jesus prepares the place in heaven for His own, and the Holy Spirit prepares the redeemed on earth for their place in heaven. That is God’s desired location of your eternal dwelling. He tells us that He desires to bring us to His place. But let me share something with you. Until the day when we stand before Jesus; when our life on this earth ends, we can still be where God is. All we need to do is desire it and ask God to lead us there.

To reside in the place where God dwells is to desire an intimate relationship with Him. It means to access God in His throne room. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV) Let us then with confidence draw near to where God is. Coming to God honors Him because it demonstrates our dependence upon Him. Coming to God brings us to the place where He resides. Where there is only Him and us. No one else. And God responds in mercy to those who call to Him. “Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today” (1 Kings 8:28 NKJV) And the path to the throne room; the path to meeting with God is prayer. Prayerfulness is an attitude by which a constant relationship between God and believers is developed. And prayerfulness is a way of life and a way to life. “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17 NKJV) What better way “of life” and “to life” than a daily time of prayer and conversation with God.

Friend, God promises that if we return to Him and obey His commands, He will gather us and bring us to His place; where He dwells. The blessings and favor of the Lord await those who come to God and seek an obedient, intimate relationship with Him. “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your promises. Thank You that You have prepared a place for us. Thank You that we can come into Your throne room to meet with You, to worship You and to pray to You. Lord, Your Word is the gift of life. Forgive us Lord when we do not obey Your commands and try to live a life outside of You. But thank You Lord that if we return to You and obey Your commands, You will gather us up and take us to the place You have chosen n matter how far we might have drifted. We love You and praise You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV – God is able. Really able.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

God is able.  Our Heavenly Father is truly able.  He spoke and all things became.  That’s pretty awe inspiring.  Now suppose we understood this truth in the deepest areas of our hearts.  Not just our mind, but in our heart.  How much more would we believe for God to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”?

Exceedingly and abundantly; words I like.  Above ALL that we ask or think. This means beyond our understanding or human capabilities to comprehend.  How?  By the power that works in us, the Holy Spirit.  For whose glory?  God’s glory.  How long?  Forever and ever and ever and ever.  Eternally.  Really, Forever?  Yes.  For all eternity, God makes this promise to us.

Now let me ask you again.  Suppose we understood the truth of our foundational verse in the deepest areas of our hearts.  What would hold us back from praying to the God of the universe, Creator of all things?  I mean really taking hold of the power of the Holy Spirit in our prayers and allowing Him to work in us.  Then believing God hears us and will answer our prayers.  How much more would we see and experience the magnitude, the glory, and the miracles of God.  I believe that we are only seeing a small fraction of what God wants to accomplish for His glory in His Church.

Scripture says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.” (Psalm 34:8 NKJV) Here the psalmist describes his personal experience of God’s goodness. God is alive. Knowledge that God is alive comes from personal encounter of the goodness of God. You might ask, “When have I had any personal encounter with God?” If you have been saved and renewed by the Holy Spirit, you have had a personal encounter. In me, that encounter was exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ask or think.

Friend, you and I are only one defining decision away from a totally different life. One decision. Will we choose to believe in the power of God to answer prayer or not? The size of our prayers should be relative to the size of our God. And if God knows no limits, then neither should our prayers. God is able to do more, provide more, heal more, equip more, restore more, renew more, and to save more than ALL that we can ask or think.  Let’s just believe.  Hallelujah!

Great and mighty God.  You are above all things and You desire to answer our prayers beyond our ability to understand or comprehend.  May we, Lord, fully take hold of this promise and allow Your Holy Spirit to work in us so that we can experience the magnitude of You.  Help us with our unbelief, God, that You are truly able to do the impossible.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 91:14 NKJV – Therefore, I will deliver him

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.

Another great promise of the Lord. Literally, this verse says that God’s promise of protection comes to those who have faith in Him. “Set his love upon Me” means you hold on to God in love. Your love of God takes a hold of Him and all He is. Your love of God takes precedence. You have made a choice to go with God or not go at all.

God is our only deliverer. God defends the weak and needy. “He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor.” (Psalm 72:4 NKJV) When we walk with God and walk in His ways, He is near. God is our personal bodyguard. God is our guaranteed safety whether natural or spiritual, from danger or loss. God is our ultimate security. Jesus said, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29 NKJV) We have to make the choice.

If we set our love upon the Lord; when we grab a hold of God there is nothing He won’t deliver us from. And the Lord will set us on high, above the struggle, above the battle, above the circumstance. High above where the danger lies. Why? Because He wants us to have faith in Him to defeat whatever we are facing.

God promises to hear the prayers of His own in our times of need. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:15 NKJV) When we call upon God about our needs, we make a very important statement. We are asking God to act, in dependence upon Him and out of a sense of sometimes desperate need. God honors prayers of love and dependence to Him. And when we honor God, He honors us.

Friend, let us always set our love upon God. Let us always call upon God and honor Him with our total dependence of Him. Let us receive then, God’s great mercy and grace when He delivers us from our troubles. And when He does, and He will, let us honor God again with our love and praise and set the cycle to begin again.

Dear Holy and Gracious Lord. Thank You that You are our ultimate deliverer. Thank You that You rescue us from our troubles. We love You and honor You, Lord. We are dependent upon You Lord and only You. We place our faith and our trust in You and no one else. Help us make the right choice and choose You for our ultimate security. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!