Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Watch Your Step

And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in concordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:27-28

Sometimes I find praying akin to navigating an active mine field. I'm not sure where to go. Fortunately prayer doesn't cause explosions that could rip me to shreds. It is, however, a more powerful weapon than many realize. Have you needed to pray about a situation and your mind went blank? You didn't have a clue where to begin or what direction to take? Help is on the way.

We can bypass our confused minds when we pray in the Spirit. According to the Apostle Paul, when we pray this way, Holy Spirit Himself intercedes on our behalf. He knows the perfect will of God. He sees all the details of the situation: past, present and future. When we pray in the Spirit God has permission to open and close doors as He sees fit; something only He can do. We give Him free reign to work things out for our best interests.

Here’s another benefit. When we pray in the Spirit, we remove ourselves from the equation. This isn't always easy. We think we know how to help God accomplish His plans and purposes so why bother Him? We've got this all figured out. Truth is, we may not like His answer. His way to get from Point A to Point B may cover territory we'd rather avoid. This problem is eliminated when we pray in the Spirit. We really don't know what's best but Holy Spirit does.

When you have impossible problems; pray in the Spirit. Do you have questions and need answers? Pray in the Spirit. When things are falling apart or even more so, when everything's coming up roses, pray in the Spirit. You'll not only build up your spirit, but also have confidence that you prayed the perfect will of God.

Life can be a mine field. You need to watch your step. Pray in the Spirit and you'll navigate difficult paths safely as you follow God's road map. You'll know for sure that the prayers you prayed are the ones God will answer. Pray in the Spirit.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

You Just Never Know What God's Gonna Do...Really?

For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord, so as to guide and instruct (Him) and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ, the Messiah, and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart. 1 Corinthians 2:16 Amp.

“You just never know what God’s gonna do!” I’ve heard this from both the pulpit and the pew and bought the lie hook, line and sinker. What God’s going to do will remain a mystery if one never bothers to crack open a bible and find out. The Apostle Paul wrote that believers have the mind of Christ, right now. In Heaven we’ll possess greater understanding of the totality of God’s plans and purposes. We don’t need to wait until we get there to take advantage of the mind of Christ. We can do that now.

God gave us this gift to help us comprehend how He operates. Paul wrote in the verse above that no one is in the position to tell God how to do anything. The mind of Christ helps us align our thought processes with His. It’s easier to get on board with a program when you understand the rationale behind it.

We can know beyond a shadow of a doubt what God will do. What we don’t know is how and when He’ll do it. This is where we get tripped up. If we knew everything in advance (my preference) we would go through life and never exert one ounce of faith. Having things spelled out in intricate detail ahead of time eliminates the one thing that pleases God - faith.

As children, when situations arose, our parents assured us that they’d handle them. They didn’t bother to bore us with details we wouldn’t understand. We’d take their word at face value and consider it done. This is how childlike faith in God operates. The mind of Christ helps us really know personally our Heavenly Father, His character and how He operates. We know what He’ll do and are pleasantly surprised with how He does it.

Don’t believe the religious mumbo-jumbo that God’s ways are beyond comprehension. Dig into His word and discover for yourself how He works. The next time someone tries to tell you that, “You just never know what God’s gonna do,” you can respond, “Really?”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What If?

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. Luke 21:25

Recently I watched an interview of Perry Stone by Sid Roth. The topic discussed was the book of Revelation. Perry Stone stated that one needs a good grasp of the Old Testament in order to understand this most unusual book of the bible. As an example he used the woman clothed with the sun, crowned with twelve stars with the moon beneath her feet. According to Perry Stone this is a reference to the Jewish people. How did he draw that conclusion?

Genesis 37:9 describes one of Joseph’s dreams. In it the sun, moon and stars bowed down before him. His family particularly his father Jacob understood the dream’s meaning and they were less than excited about this prospect. As nomadic herdsmen the idea was preposterous but that’s not the end of the story.

Circumstances beyond his control placed Joseph as a slave in an Egyptian prison, hardly a place to rule and reign. With Divine intervention, overnight Joseph went from the prison to the palace. He became second in command of Egypt; only pharaoh was higher in authority. At this time there were bountiful harvests but things were about to change. God warned Pharaoh in a series of dreams and Joseph was the only one able to interpret their meanings. Now he was in charge of preparing Egypt for what lay ahead.

When the famine hit, Joseph oversaw the food distribution. People from all over came to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph’s family was affected and eventually his brothers made the trek to purchase supplies. They found themselves in the presence of Egypt’s second most powerful man and paid him the appropriate respect by bowing down. Joseph’s dream was now coming to pass.

God hides nuggets of truth often in plain sight. Scriptures have several layers of meaning so I’ll throw out a “what if” here. What if the scripture in Luke doesn’t just refer to signs in the natural heavenly bodies? What is if it also a reference to the Jewish people?

Revelation eleven describes two witnesses who will appear for 1260 days in Jerusalem. They’ll possess supernatural, wonder working power which won’t endear them to earth’s residents. Some scholars believe they are Moses and Elijah – the law and the prophets. Others think they may be Elijah and Enoch, the only two men in Heaven who didn’t die a physical death. No matter whom they may be, they will be an attention getting sign.

Revelation seven and fourteen tells of 144,000 Jewish witnesses who will also appear. They’ll be radical and capture people’s focus. They’d qualify as signs too.

My purpose isn’t to provide an exhaustive Bible study, but an admonition to us all to pay more attention to what we read. So much is woven into God’s Word that just a casual reading could cause us to miss those instances where we’d say… “what if?”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Excuse For A New Wardrobe

He wore cursing as his garment; it entered his body like water, into his bones like oil. Psalm 109:18

This is a picture of the effects of careless speech. We’ve met people like this and may even be one of them. Cursing here isn’t limited to the four plus letter words that earned us a mouthful of Lava soap (or something equally distasteful). The meaning here is much broader. To curse is to accuse, vilify and denigrate, in other words, trash talk. The persons described in this verse aren't limited to those who are fountains of negativity. To say something nice is a foreign concept. They wear their stinging remarks and acerbic attitudes as badges of honor. We may occasionally fit the bill also. Our words, just like theirs more negatively effect the lives of the speaker than the objects of their scorn.

Dr. Frederick K. C. Price, pastor emeritus of Crenshaw Christian Center would often look at the opposite side of a scripture in order to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning. Suppose the person mentioned above wore blessing as his clothing? What if he/she continually poured out words of encouragement, praise and commendation? What if they used their words to build others up and not tear them down? What impact would that have on their lives personally and of those around them? Those positive words would infiltrate their physical bodies as easily as water integrates into our natural beings. The final result would be very different from the one who curses.

Our words have consequences in our own lives. We alone determine what we say so we have a great measure of control over our well being. I’m not suggesting we adopt a Pollyanna approach to life. There is a difference between speaking the truth in love and verbally lambasting someone. The psalmist talks about a lifestyle of critical, negative words directed at others that boomerangs back on the speaker. Our words shape our lives.

As we enter the new and murky world of healthcare “reform”, being well is more important than ever. Isolation from others isn’t the solution. We should take measures to maintain a healthy lifestyle and speaking words that encourage and edify costs nothing. This takes discipline to retrain our speech patterns but it’s not impossible. Now’s the time to trade in those worn out clothes of cursing for a new wardrobe created by blessings. We’ll look AND feel so much better when we do.