Prayer for Today

 

Diversity face

September 1, 2015

Father, it has gotten to the point I hate watching the news. Killings are mounting up daily, and every day we see citizens killing citizens, police killing citizens and citizens killing police. It is just too much!

All types of movements are springing up and saying this life matters and that life matters, as if You didn’t make all life and all life doesn’t matter to You. Forgive us Father!

Lord, for those of us in the body of Christ who have been given the charge of loving You and loving mankind, help us to see human life; which born or unborn,  Black, White, Hispanic, Asian or other, is important to You.

When Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, it wasn’t just for Jewish sinners, Muslim sinners or Christian sinners. He didn’t just die for sexual sins or moral sins. Jesus loved all sinners enough to die for all our sins. Forgive us Father for acting like, and treating others as if their sins are greater than our own. For we have all sinned and fallen short of Your glory.

You have told us to love each other to the point that we are willing to lay down our lives for theirs. You did not tell us to judge them by their lifestyle, their tattoos or their hairstyles. Your word says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Father, increase our hearts capacities to love others like You love us; without finding fault, without holding our sins against us and without treating us as outcasts. You loved us back to wholeness in You; help us do the same for someone else that needs You as much as we need You.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

Scripture references:

John 3:16 – 18

Romans 3:22 – 24

Romans 5:8

I John 3:16

I John 4:7 – 8

 

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Go With What You Know

Slingshot

 

I Samuel 17:38 – 39

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.”

In the scripture above David was going out to kill Goliath. That was his plan from the beginning; to kill the person who was bringing reproach against the God of Israel. Yes, there were other people who heard Goliath’s threats and they planned to do nothing. Yes, there were people who were better prepared, with more experience and better equipped than David to battle Goliath but they didn’t have the heart, the passion or the resolve of David to protect the name of the Lord.

Everyone is always talking about how David went out to kill Goliath with a slingshot and five smooth stones but I think David went out with much more than human eyes can see. First, David went out to kill Goliath with history. He knew what God would do in order to protect him. God had given David the strength to fight and kill a bear and a lion, two foes that were mightier and fiercer than any man.

Second, David went out against Goliath with courage. To fight a bear and a lion in order to save some sheep means David had a level of courage locked in his DNA that not everyone has at their disposal. It’s like the Marines, policemen, firemen or another first responder; while everyone else is running away from terror or a disaster, they are running towards it. Not everyone has what it takes to do these types of jobs. David had what it took to lay his life on the line for some sheep; certainly, he had what it took to lay his life on the line to protect the name and character of his God.

Third, David went out to kill Goliath with equipment he was accustomed to using when he was in battle. Saul tried to give David his equipment but David declined because Saul’s equipment didn’t fit David; it was not designed for the type of fighting David was used to doing.

There are things that God has told, or will tell, you do to that looks like someone else is better qualified to do, but they don’t have what it takes. They don’t have the heart, the passion or the resolve to do what God needs to have done. That’s why He’s asked, or will ask, you to do it!

You have everything you need to do what God has asked, or will ask, you to do. You have the history, the internal resolve and the equipment you need to get it done!

Oh yes, there is one more thing about David that should be admired and imitated; he didn’t procrastinate! He went out to kill Goliath right away. He didn’t give himself or anyone else time to talk him out of it.

When God asked us to do something we need to move out quickly and go with what we know!

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17

 

 

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The Same but Different

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James 1:13 – 15

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

I have a dozen roses in my front yard. I basically care for each of them the same way; I feed and water them at the same time, clip them when they need it and make sure the soil nutrient levels are correct. I care for them equally.

My Double Delight rose, which is pictured above, is right at my front door because it’s beautiful and has a strong honey sweet aroma. When you walk up to my door and Double Delight is in bloom, the last thing you smell before you come into my house is the sweet fragrance of the rose. YUMMY!

The problem with the Double Delight is it is susceptible to black spots and yellow leaves. It is so susceptible to the disease that I have to pay special attention to the rose all summer because if I allow the disease a little room it will destroy every leaf on the Double Delight and defoliate the rose completely.

Right next to the Double Delight I have the John F. Kennedy rose; which is beautiful too but in a very different way than the Double Delight. The John F. Kennedy rose is not susceptible to black spots or yellow leaves but, Japanese Beatles LOVE the John F. Kennedy but they don’t really care for the Double Delight. So, even though the two roses are sitting right next to each other in the garden, they have too different challenges that I have to content with in order to keep them alive and healthy.

It is the same way for us in the Body of Christ. We have been engrafted into the Body of Christ by His redemptive blood and His finished work on the cross. We have been made spiritual siblings and yet, we are all tempted and drawn away from God by our own temptations.

What tempts you to turn away from your relationship with Christ may not bother me at all and what tempts me may not cause you to think about it twice. You see, just like my roses, we are individuals with different challenges, needs and desires. Coming to Christ doesn’t make us clones, it makes us saved. We are still the people we were before our salvation.

Our struggles are the same, our issues are the same, our aptitudes are the same, and the things we are susceptible to are the same. The difference is how we handle the struggles and the issues. The difference is how we handle the temptations. We are all the same; we all have struggles, issues and temptations but we are all different in how we handle them. None of us have any room to throw stones at someone else.

This is why we can’t judge someone else’s walk in Christ. We can’t judge how God is using them, or not, when or how. We don’t know all the particulars in that person life. Only God knows that and He is the one that directs the steps of us all.

One reason I love gardening is because flowers don’t have the ability to look over at another flower and try to compare themselves, whether for better or for worse. They don’t have the ability to see what I’m doing to one plant that I may not be doing to or for them. There is no envy or jealousy between plants like there often is between people.

While we are all the same in Christ because God is not a respecter of person, we are all very different and He treats us different according to His call on our lives.

 

“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.” Galatians 6:4

 

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It’s A Virus and It Spreads – Part III (Revised)

computer virus multiple

 

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

I John 3:4 – 6

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

The virus on my computer started one place and then branched out to other parts of my computer. The virus moved so quickly and stealthily, I could barely get the system to download the remedy for the virus. Then things got worse.

I got an email from an old boss saying that I had sent him a virus. The virus sent itself out to everyone in my contact list. UGGHH!!! I had use another computer to tell people don’t open an email from me. My computer virus nightmare seemed like it would never end. Then finally, the new anti-virus software I had downloaded kicked in and my computer was virus free.

There is no way to contain a virus in one section of your computer. Once your computer is infected the virus can move freely throughout the system doing damage, collecting data or sending out messages without your knowledge. So it is with sin.

One habitual sin left in our lives can worm its way into every facet of our lives. Just like the computer virus, sin can destroy all that we’ve worked to accomplish in our spiritual lives.

First it’s just little things. We’re not praying or reading the Bible as much as we use to. We’re not attending Bible study as often. Then, another sin, we thought we were delivered from rears its ugly head and we heed the call.

Not only does the sin bring “birth to death” (James 1:15)  in us but also to the people who are watching us. Our spouses, children, friends, family members and even some people we don’t know are watching us. They are watching how we live because we say we’re Christians.

When we purpose to leave habitual sin in our lives the people who are watching us think they can live like we do because we’re following Christ so it must be okay, right? Wrong! But they don’t know it’s wrong because they are following us. Now, the virus of habitual sin has spread from us to them.

Some people will say, “They shouldn’t follow me, they should follow Jesus.” Well, if you say you’re a Christian and you’re following Jesus, why can’t they follow you? You may be the only Bible some people see or hear. Don’t you think you should represent Jesus in such a way that others can follow you?

The virus of sin never stays in one area of our lives. In fact, it doesn’t stay in our lives. Just like a computer virus can spread to other systems that are connected to the infected computer, so can sin. Our sin can spread to anyone who is watching how we live and infect their lives just like it has infected ours. But, we can download the God’s word and begin to remove the infection from our lives.

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:2 – 4

 

P.S. If you don’t want other people to follow you as you follow Christ, please stop telling people you’re a Christian. You’re messing up the testimony of Jesus Christ for the rest of us!

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It’s A Virus and It Spreads – Part II (Revised)

Computer virus spider

It’s A Virus and It Spreads – Part II

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

I John 3:4 – 6

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

The virus on my computer started turning my computer off when it wanted to and making decisions about which programs would function, when and for how long. It was as if my computer had a mind of its own even though it belonged to me. My computer was doing what it wanted to do without my permission. Even though the computer belonged to me; I bought the computer with my families funds, it was operating independent of me.

It is the same with Christians and sin. God bought us with the life of his Son. God did not purchase us with the blood of His son so we could still operate independent of Him. We are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price. Operating with sin in our lives is just like my computer trying to operate with a virus; we are trying to operate independent of the person who has purchased us.

How do we know if an activity/behavior we want to engage in is a sin? We should ask the following questions BEFORE we start the activity/behavior:

  1. Did I pray about this activity/behavior and then WAIT until I received an answer from God?
  2. Does the activity/behavior convey God’s character?
  3. Does the activity/behavior glorify God?
  4. Does the activity/behavior show the love of Christ?

If we answer “No” to any of these questions, we are operating in sin.

When we operate independent of God, we are operating by the pride of life, the lust of the eye or being able to boast about what we have or what we’ve done. We are bringing glory to ourselves and not to God.

This type of behavior doesn’t come from God. It comes from our flesh wanting to get what it wants, just like my computer was running amuck because of the virus, our flesh will run amuck if we don’t rein it in with God’s Word.

We should strive to reflect the character of God in everything we do. Showing the love of God through our lives is what brings God glory and it is what draws the spiritually lost to us so we can tell them about Christ.

Just like I had to get the virus off my computer before it would run correctly, Christians have to get sin out of our lives so we can run for God correctly.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;…” I Corinthians 6:19

 

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It’s A Virus and It Grows – Part I (Revised)

 

 

Computer virus

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

I John 3:4 – 6

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”

I have several electronic devises at my disposal on a daily basis. I have my home computers, my iPad, my Zoom tablet and my iPhone. Not to mention the electronic devises I have for work. All of my systems have different types of software installed but all systems, except my iPhone and iPad, are Window based systems. So all the electronic devises I use operate pretty much the same way.

One day I was working on my system at home when I received an email from an old friend. When I opened the email I realized it was a chain letter, so I deleted the email and continued my work. Over the next few days my computer just wasn’t acting right.

At first, it was small things that I chalked up to computer glitches. The keyboard and computer stopped communicating correctly because the computer stopped responding to my keystrokes and function keys.  Then my sound system started fading and my computer started freezing. After that, some of my programs stopped working all together. I checked my configurations and made sure all my apparatuses were hooked up correctly but no matter what I did, my computer was acting as if it had a mind of its own. My computer was running amuck! The email I opened from my old friend had a virus and it was destroying my operating system.

Sin in the life of a Christian is just like the virus that infected my computer. It will destroy the renewal of our minds, corrupt our morals and ethics and, ruin our relationship with God the Father.

One “small” sin left unchecked will cause our walk with Christ to fall into a position of not being fully functional, which means our spiritual well-being will be jeopardized. Sin left to grow and flourish will cause us to lose connection with the Holy Spirit because sin runs interference and doesn’t want us to remedy the problem. Our sinful person, our flesh, likes the sin but our spirit person is grieved when we sin.

Let’s examine our spiritual operating system. Do we have any sin that is causing disconnection between us and God? If so, let’s deal with it for the truth that it is and get rid of it!

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” Acts 3:19

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Prayer for Today

I pray that the prayers you’ve received and the scriptures you’veSacrifical lamb read throughout this Lenten Season have been a blessing to you and helped prepare you for the rest of your journey with Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God.

 

April 3, 2015

Father, I began this Lenten Season as a journey to know You better. Some days I stayed the course, other days I strayed away allowing other things to distract me from my journey. No matter what, I learned that getting and maintaining a relationship with You through Jesus Christ is a lifelong journey. I will mess up along the way, but if I stay the course, I’m still on the right path.

Along the way to finding out more about You, I found out more about me. As much as I love you, I still fall short but You knew I wasn’t going to be perfect, that’s why You sent Your Son to be my ransom; to take all my sins and carry them to the cross.

As much as I want to do everything You want me to do, my faith is lacking in so many areas. That’s why You sent Jesus, as a man, to show me the importance of prayer and obedience. In His humanity Jesus didn’t want to go to the cross, but out of obedience to You, He went anyway.

I want to be bold and courageous in the things You have purposed for me to do but I allow the things of my past to interfere with my future. That’s why You sent Your Son to be the anointment for Your forgiveness for me, one time for all time. Now, I need to forgive myself the way You forgive me.

On this Good Friday I look at the cross that Jesus died on a little differently. It wasn’t something He did for everyone; it is something He did just for me. Thank you Jesus for dying in my place and becoming sin for me so I can have everlasting life through You. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Scripture References:

Matthew 26:36 – 39                     Romans 10:8 – 11

Romans 6:12 – 14                           Hebrews 9:14 – 15

Romans 10:4                                     Hebrews 10:8 – 10

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Prayer for Today

today-forgive-yourselfLenten season challenge: Read the scriptures that are referenced at the bottom of each prayer every day during this Lenten season!

March 12, 2015

Father God, please forgive me for not being diligent and working on the assignments You have placed in my life.

Lord, You have set me free from the law of sin and death, and yet I choose to live as if I was still bound to the dead things of this world. You have freed me to walk in the fullness of Your word, and yet I’m content watching the foolishness of the world on TV and the internet rather than chasing after You.

Help me walk in the freedom that Jesus won for me. Free my mind and my spirit to have a fuller relationship with You through Christ Jesus. Free my mind and spirit to please You rather than man. Free my mind and spirit from being concerned about the world’s view. Free me to be single focused on Your view.

Father, help me walk in the freedom that comes from knowing that all my sins are forgiven. There is no guilt or shame that can control me unless I decide to remain bound to my sins that You’ve forgiven me for committing. I have been set free by the Son of God; therefore, now and forever more, I am free! In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Scripture Reference:

Proverb 10:4                     I Chronicles 4:10

Romans 8:1 – 3                 Galatians 1:10

I Timothy 4:14 – 16

Proverb 6:6-9

John 8:36

 

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It’s a Virus and It Spreads – Part III

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

I John 3:4 – 10 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.  Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

The virus on my computer started one place and then branched out to other parts of my computer. Then to make matters worse, I got an email from my old boss saying that I had sent him a virus. The virus sent itself out to everyone in my contact list. UGGHH!!! There is no way to contain a virus in one section of your computer. So it is with sin. One habitual sin left in our lives can worm its way into every facet of our lives. Just like the computer virus, sin can destroy all that you have worked to accomplish in your spiritual life.

First it’s just little things. You’re not praying or reading the Bible as much as you use to. You’re not attending Bible study as often. Then, another sin  you thought you were delivered from rears its ugly head and you heed the call. James 1:13 – 15 says it this way, When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Not only does the sin bring “birth to death” in you but also to the people who are watching you. Your spouse, your children, your friends, family members and even some people who you don’t know are watching you. They are watching how you live because you say you’re a Christian. They are watching how you live and think they can live like you because you say you’re following Christ. Now, the virus of habitual sin has spread from you to them.

The virus of sin never stays in one area of your life. In fact, it doesn’t stay in your life. Just like a computer virus can spread to other systems that are connected to the infected computer, so can sin.

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It’s a Virus and It Spreads – Part II

From the book: It’s Still Relative (The Word of God for Today’s World)

I John 3:4 – 10 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.  Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

The virus on my computer started turning my computer off when it wanted to and making decisions about which programs would function, when and for how long. It was as if my computer had a mind of its own and even though it belonged to me, it was doing what it wanted to do without my permission. There is not a computer system in the world that is designed to have virus running AND have a fully functional operating system.

It is the same with Christians and sin. God did not call us out of the darkness of the world into the light of His son Jesus, so that we could still operate independent of Him. We are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:19). Operating with sin in our lives is just like my computer trying to operate with a virus.

How do we know if the activity/behavior we’re engaged in is a sin? We should ask yourselves the following questions:

1. Did I pray about this activity/behavior and then WAIT until I received an answer from God?

2. Does the activity/behavior convey God’s character?

3. Does the activity/behavior glorify God?

If we answer “No” to any of these questions we are operating in sin.

When we operate outside and independent of God, we are operating by the pride of life, the lust of the eye and the boasting of what we have or what we’ve done. This type of behavior doesn’t come from God. It comes from Satan, who is the prince of this world (John 12:31). Satan already stands condemned, (John 16:11) and he wants to ruin the lives and testimonies of as many Christians as he can so our ministry to the world is tainted by our own behaviors and our own actions. Why does Satan want this? So we become ineffective in winning the lost to Christ!

Remember, we are in the world, but not of the world. Once we come to God through Christ, we are no longer of the world (John 17:14). We should strive to reflect the character of God in everything we do. Showing the love of God through our lives is what gives God glory and it is what draws the spiritually lost to us so we can tell them about Christ. (Ephesians 5:1 – 2)

Just like I had to get the virus off my computer before it would run correctly, Christians have to get sin out of our lives so we can run for God correctly.