Archive – 03/06/15 to 05/22/15
How’s Your Foundation?
You’ve found the perfect location and are now ready to build the house you plan to live in for the rest of your life. What’s the most critical part of your house? I’d say, “the foundation.”
You want to be certain your foundation is built in such a way that it will be permanent. Built so that it cannot sink, crack, or shift in any way. No matter what nature might throw at it, your foundation must stand firm.
After it is built, you will inspect it looking for flaws, cracks, and any potential failure points. If you find them, what will you do? Ignore them and you may very well lose your entire home at some future date. So, if you are wise, you will take quick action to correct any problem areas.
Now, read God’s words, found in Exodus 20:3. “You must not have any other god but me.” (nlt)
You’ve just read the first verse – the “foundational verse” – of the Ten Commandments. It is, arguably, the foundational verse of the entire Bible. It is certainly critical to our faith – and our walk with Jesus.
Let me encourage you to examine your foundation. What is Satan using to attack it? He has a very long list of “tools.” We, yes, I’m including myself, tend to put things ahead of God from time to time. Pride, money, sex, doubt, fear, lust, jealousy, …oh, the list goes on and on. The point is, any one of these things, let alone multiples of these things, will chip away at our foundation – our relationship with God.
We must recognize them, repent of them, and ask God to remove them from our life. That is how we protect and repair our foundation.
Yes, our walk with God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) is a process. Yes, that means it takes place over time. And, yes, it also means that what we fix today may again come under attack tomorrow. Or, Satan may find a whole new way to launch an attack.
That, folks, is just life on planet earth. It is our responsibility to stay vigilant and pro-active in the maintenance of our “foundation”. Doing this, our walk with God will grow stronger over time. Unfortunately, we will not become perfect before we are called home. But, we will have greater faith, greater joy, a more humble attitude, and more love to share with our neighbors. And, we will have God’s favor, …for Eternity.
Lord, too often I see flaws in others. My pride makes it easy to look down on them and elevate myself. I know that disappoints you. Yet, even then, you stand ready with your arms open wide to me . Lord, forgive me, and take away the pride that places me above any other person. Help me to love others, and see them as you see them. Thank you, Jesus.
… Avery Goodday
In the Book of Luke, we read a story about Jesus being welcomed into the home of Martha. Martha’s sister Mary, sat at Jesus’ feet listening to His every word. Meanwhile, Martha was working in the kitchen preparing the evening meal for her guests. And, at some point it became too much. Mary was not helping. So, Martha went to Jesus and pointed out that she was doing all the work while Mary sat on her butt. It wasn’t fair, and Jesus should tell Mary to get up and help her!
O.K. I’m paraphrasing. Anyway, Jesus had an interesting answer. He replied, “…My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” [Luke 10:38-42.]
How often have you started a conversation with Jesus about what your day (or the next day, week, etc.) is going to bring, and the next thing you know you’re mentally already in the meeting, or discussion, or argument? Your working on problems that haven’t occurred, and arguing points that haven’t been raised. Then, suddenly you realize you’re out of time and you have to get to your first appointment; start dinner; you’ve fallen asleep; or whatever.
Well, it happens to everyone. And, yes, we do have real problems, issues, and concerns. They are interwoven into life on earth. But, remember this: Jesus not only knows that life brings problems, He knows every exact problem, issue, boo-boo, or anything else you are going to face.
So, please allow me to make a suggestion. Make. Time. For. Jesus!
Time with Jesus is “everything.” We must not let our thoughts jump ahead of us. Jesus is our source of love, peace, contentment, renewal and power. We are designed to need Him; and, He covets our time with Him. There is no better source for advice and instruction. So, I repeat: Make. Time. For. Jesus!
Jesus, how many times a day do I disappoint you? Yet, every time I finally get around to you, you hear my prayers. I know you want more from me; and Lord, I really want to give more of me to you. My biggest problem is keeping my mind focused on you rather than on my issues. That, and learning to sit (or lay) quietly; and, clear my mind while I listen for you. Lord, I need help with this, and when you see me struggling, I hope you will give me a sign of encouragement – even a figurative boot to my butt would help me realize I’m “drifting”. Thank you Jesus,
… Avery Goodday
Awhile back, in our small group, we got into a discussion of just how far off track our culture is – compared to God’s desire for us; and, what it’s doing to our Nation. Also, how rapidly it is getting worse! Think about all the un-biblical (even anti-Christian) messages being spread by our government through laws and rulings. Then consider our pop culture: TV, movies, books, music, colleges, universities, our local public schools, popular entertainers and sports figures. How are we as individuals, who believe in Christ and the Bible, going to compete? How do we make a difference? Can we make a difference?
It seems almost impossible. And, the Bible seems to tell us, at least on the macro level, that things are only going to get worse. If you haven’t read the “Book of Revelation” you should. Not, so you can have an excuse to give up and say, “…well I’m saved and know where I,m going. If this is how it’s going to go, I’m just going with the flow until I’m called home, or Christ returns.” That would be the worst response you could have.
God wanted us to know what will happen, so that we can work as hard as possible to save as many others, as possible. Read Matthew 28:18-20. Today, those verses apply to us. We leave the work at the macro level to God. And, with God’s help, we work on the micro level. That work should start within our own family and then extend to our neighbors and beyond. It’s (also) part of that “…love God… and, love your neighbor….”, thing. (Matt 22:36-40).
To answer that question, “Can we make a difference?” The Answer is a resounding, YES!
How do we make a difference? We always, always, stand up for righteousness. Change has to start somewhere. Why not with you and me. At least take a stand on one particular issue you feel strongly about!
Remember, you are never truly alone – which answers that question about, “…competing as individuals” – we don’t. Also, keep in mind that your “stand” must be as Jesus would do it. If it’s not, you’re working outside God’s plan for you.
Lord, I know that this great Nation which was established through your providence, must seem ungrateful and worse, rebellious. I also know that over recorded history, nations that have turned from you, … at best, have not prospered. I believe our nation is in great peril. I pray you will not withdraw your protection and providence from it; and that, as a people, we will return to your Word, your ways. I pray you will raise up your church to bring about the necessary change. In your name I pray, …Amen.
After every natural disaster, and every man-made disaster, for that matter, it is common to hear the question, “Why did God do this?” Or, “Why did God allow this to happen?” I think both questions are asked for the same reason. Because it helps us to deal with things if we at least know who to blame.
The first question mistakenly assumes that God is to blame. After all, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, etc., are natural acts. However, what we must remember is that God created a perfect world. It was only after Adam and Eve decided to listen to Satan instead of God, that sin entered the world and the earth became, …well, less-than-perfect. God is not responsible for man’s sin and the broken-state of the world we live in. Satan deserves 100% of the credit for that.
The second question is more difficult. “Why did God allow it to happen?” My answer is, I don’t know. Could He have stopped it? I have to say, “Yes”. God is God. And that, gives me my first clue to the answer.
God spoke the Universe into creation and breathed life into the first man (and woman). Now, we are trying to understand His mind!? Isn’t that just a bit of over-reach? I know I will never be able to fully wrap my mind around such events as the above, let alone the senseless killing of an infant. In these situations something much larger than what I can understand is at work.
And, that makes absolutely critical one of the things I do know about how God thinks.
In the worst moments imaginable, God will be with me. He is always with me. The outcome of any particular circumstance may not be what I would consider optimal. But, I accept That outcome knowing that it was optimal in God’s mind. God knows my past, present and future. He is there in my blessings and He is there in my trials… whatever they may be. He is as close as an unspoken prayer. We need to take advantage of it, …regularly.
Thank you, Jesus. You made me the way I am. Always seeking answers that frequently aren’t there. And, maybe, sometimes, that’s because I ask either the wrong questions or questions whose answers are not within my understanding or “need to know”. Never-the-less, you’re always with me, loving me and guiding me. And, I think I’m getting better at knowing when to stop “asking”. Is that You, telling me it’s time to simply lay it at your feet, and turn confidently in a new direction? I’m thinking it is. I get it. Thank you Lord.
On this Good Friday – so named because it commemorates the day Christ died for our sins (which is a very good thing) – let me say only the following.
Remember, Easter truly is all about Christ and what He offers each and every one of us. It makes no difference who we are: who our parents were; what color we are; what nationality we are; what church we go to; how much power we have – or how little; how much wealth we have – or how little; how many charities we support with our money, or with our time; how good – or evil our past behavior; or, how dirty we may feel from past victimization. It all makes no difference!
All of us do, however, have four things in common We, …every single one of us, are God’s creation. We are all eternal beings. And, we are sinful – about which we can do nothing.
The truly amazing fourth thing we share is that Christ would like nothing better than to give us a new life on Earth through a personal relationship with Him. He will approach us. We will hear Him convicting us of His presence and our sin. When we hear it, we will make a choice. God will NOT force Himself on us. We either accept what He is offering, or we reject it. It is free – we cannot buy it. We cannot earn it. It is as simple as truly believing in Jesus Christ; asking Him to forgive our sins; and making Him Lord of our Life.
Oh, there is one more thing all people of Earth have in common. The day will come when we will stand in Judgment before the one true God. On that day we will enter either into God’s Kingdom (Heaven), or into eternal separation from God (aka, hell). The only way into God’s Kingdom is if we individually, have made that decision to believe in Jesus, asked for forgiveness, and made Him Lord of our lives.
Lord, I look forward to that day when I pass through judgment; and, into my eternal reward in Heaven. I try to imagine Heaven. All I can come up with is perfect, …plus. I try to imagine colors, music, or even how we will perceive things, and others, in general. I get overwhelmed. I just have to trust you Lord, that it will be perfect – and I’ll let you show me what that means. Lord, I truly love you, even if I’m not perfect in showing it. And I wish everyone on earth would “believe, ask and follow” you. Yes, I know the Bible tells me that won’t happen. So, thank you Father, for your plan of salvation and redemption. You sacrificed your son so that I could stand in judgment, my sins invisible, covered by the shed blood of Jesus. Lord, I ask that you help me to spread the “Good News” to all you call out. In Jesus name, Amen.
Wonder – part1
Wonder: amazed admiration or awe, especially at something very beautiful or new—a miracle or other cause of intense admiration. …Encarta World English Dictionary
I often find myself focusing on the wonder of what we, as Christians, believe. So, with Easter just past, I decided I’d share what amazes, and awes me, about Christianity. The logical starting point is in the book of Genesis.
For three of the major religions on this planet (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), Genesis tells us how we got started. And, try as they might, skeptics have been unable to prove the Genesis account false. At the beginning of the last century the best scientific minds said the Universe (and time) had no beginning—it had, simply, always existed. Then, when we learned the Universe was expanding, the obvious question was, expanding from what? The most generally accepted answer to that question is (currently) – the Expansion/Big Bang Theory.
I’m not going through all the scientific arguments, nor am I going to discuss whether a “day” in Genesis is 24 hours or symbolic of a longer period of time. I’ll just say, “the Big Bang” actually works for me. In the Bible, God ‘spoke’ creation. So, God spoke; and BANG! The entire Universe (and time, as we understand it) instantly came into being. Try to get your mind around that cataclysmic event. The energy and matter that was released in that instant. Every. Single. Thing. Created in less time than we can measure! It isn’t there. God speaks. It’s there! Big Bang? Colossal under-statement!
Likewise, God’s fingerprints are all over the creation of planet Earth. One has to go out of their way to avoid recognizing His design. It actually takes more faith to believe that this planet, and all that lives upon it, are just the happenings of chance. Even Darwin came to believe that his theory could not stand. So, I’ll go with God. And, if you can’t step out, on any part of this planet, and see something that will fill you with awe and wonder… well, you just aren’t trying.
Next, I wonder at the Old Testament, itself. Thirty-nine books by 29± scribes who wrote over a period of several thousands of years. The history, the prophesy (that later happened exactly as foretold—or is yet to happen), the poetry, the stories, the lessons, and the over-arching continuity…. There may have been multiple writers; but, there was only one author!
The big thing that awes me in the Old Testament is all the prophesy about Jesus Christ. Time and time again, clear references are made to the one who would later be named: Jesus. I find reading the Old Testament to be fascinating and inspiring. If you’re not reading the Old Testament you’re missing the beginning of The Story. The very foundations of Christianity—which bring us to the birth of Jesus and the New Testament. I’ve saved that for next week.
Father, I’m speechless when I consider you, your power and your love. This one thing I know, only you are worthy of our praise, worship and service. Thank you Father for all that you have done; and, have yet to do. Amen.
Wonder …Part 2
Amazed admiration or awe, especially at something very beautiful or new—a miracle or other cause of intense admiration. …Encarta World English Dictionary
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the wonder of wonders. All the old Testament prophesies fulfilled. A redeemer. More than a redeemer—a personal savior. And, the plan was in place before God even created the Universe. The most awesome part of all this is, the plan includes us. Now, eons later He knits us together in our mother’s womb. Us! And, like the most loving father imaginable, He keeps us safe in the palm of His hand. (And, I haven’t make that part easy). Even when I turned my back on Him and did hateful, horrible things… He called me back. Me. Back to Him. For no other reason than, His great love.
Does God, who created all of space and time, who breathed life into Adam, need us? Are you serious? Of course not. He wants us. And, there are things He expects of us. Yes, He knows we’ll screw-up a fair percentage of them. But, and here’s the really, really important thing. He will NOT give up on us. Ever.
So, why does God care about us? What are we compared to God? What are we compared to so many other people who have certainly led better lives and/or accomplished truly great things? Well, I’ve got the answer to that too—and that’s what fills me with the most wonder of all. God is Love. He loves all of his creation. But, He loves us – the creation He made in his image so that we could walk and talk and commune with Him, …He loves us, the most. All we have to do is accept His love.
Now think about this. When we accepted the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and gave our life to Him, we became an adopted heir of the Being who created the Universe. We are part of The Family, for crying out loud. That makes you the son or daughter of the King. Whoa! Let that sink in. We can approach the throne of God, …right now, …this minute, in prayer. We can be confident that our prayers are heard and will be answered – in God’s perfect way, with God’s perfect timing. We know God wants for us only what is best for us. If things aren’t apparently going our way, there is a good chance that we are being trained-up for a mission for our Father. Kinda’ puts a whole new slant on things, doesn’t it?
Important: We do not need to really get our brains wrapped around all this. Actually, we can’t. What we need to do instead, is accept it all on faith. Bury it deep in our hearts. Give it to the Holy Spirit. Oh, that’s another of those wonder thingies. As a Christian, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. He intercedes for us, interprets our prayers, and God’s answers, when we need it. And when we get outside of God’s will, it’s the Holy Spirit we hear convicting us, and calling us to repent.
And, then there is the promise of eternity with God…. Talk about AWESOME. But, that’s for another day.
Yahway (Father, Son, Spirit), …Thank you. Amen,
Talking to God
Talking to God is most often called “praying”. And, as soon as that word is mentioned, many people start talking in “thee’s” and “thou’s”. Unless that’s your normal pattern of speech, forget it. Think of talking to God as talking to the best friend you’ve ever had; because, … He is. Read: Philippians 4:6-7. I’ll wait, because it’s important.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why would God do that for little ol’ me?” Well, you are loved by God beyond your understanding. Think what He has already done for you! Think of the price He was willing to pay to get you where you are right now. Yes “little ol’ you (and me) are obviously, very important to God. And out of His great love for us, He wants an intimate relationship. God loves it when His people talk to Him, …about anything and everything.
But then, aren’t we just telling God what He already knows? (After all, we can’t hide from God). Well, when we accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord, we became adopted sons and daughters of God! [Romans 8:14-15]. So, I think of God (Abba)* as a parent who knows their child has broken a rule. Before the parent can say anything about it, the child comes to them, pours out their heart, and asks for help – or apologizes for doing wrong. Then there are the times our kids just want us to know whats going on in their lives. Oh, we may already know, but we just love hearing it directly from them. And, who doesn’t like hearing thank-you? Or, have you ever been really happy when someone asks for your help, because you really, really want to help them? And then, I’m sure God has reasons I can’t even begin to fathom. I guess the simplest answer is: He Loves it, because He loves us, unconditionally; and, He wants our trust.
Abba, thank you for adopting me as your Son. I know I can’t begin to imagine everything that means for me. But, I do know that I can bring anything to you. And, because you know my past, present and future, and love me so deeply, you will help me through every triumph and every trial. Abba, please take my pride, and replace it with humility. Open my eyes, ears and heart, Abba; that I can recognize your voice and follow your guidance.
* Abba – Aramaic for “dad” or “daddy” – an intimate form of the word, “father”. [Gal 4:5-7]
God Answers Prayers
Five-hundred words or less? You’ve got to be kidding! OK, here it is. Get out your Bible, go to the dictionary/concordance and read every reference to prayer. That would be a good start, (and it only took 17 words); but, it might also leave you a bit confused. So, let me give you another view.
God is faithful, and His love is unfailing. If we are asking for something that is in accordance with God’s plan for us, we will get it—unless we block it. If it is contrary to God’s will for us, we won’t get it. God does say, “No.” He also says, “Yes, but not right now”. Or, He might say, “I have a better plan.”
God knows our past, present, and future. Our goals may or may not be God’s goals for us. Therefore, what we think we need, in the form we think we need it, when we think we need it; may not fit God’s Will for us. Sometimes, God has a fascinating way of giving us exactly what we need, in the exact form we need it, at the exact right time. And, we don’t even recognize it—perhaps for years.
Therefore, we must be faithful, confident, humble and patient. When we begin to doubt that God will answer our prayers, that doubt will block God’s ability to help us. Remember God is faithful, and He wants us to be faithful to Him.
When we assert our free-will, we block God’s ability to help us. If our pride causes us to become impatient or unhappy with the way things seem to be going; and we decide to take matters into our own hands—get ready for problems, …if not disaster.
In all these situations we must call on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to restore our faith, confidence, humility and patience. We need to get into our Bibles. Very often God speaks to us through it’s familiar words. Find quiet time and spend time silently in God’s presence. Pray again, and again. Don’t whine or nag. Just repeat your request(s), why you are making them, that you’re confident God will provide, and that you are willing to accept whatever response you get. That’s the scary part; but surely you are willing to let God do what He knows is best for you, aren’t you?
So, to summarize: Watch (with your eyes, ears and heart) for answers to your prayers. Don’t expect they will always be obvious, or on your schedule. God sees things (including time) differently than we do. However, being the perfect parent—and God has an absolute ‘lock’ on that title—He will always be working for what’s best for us. [Rom 8:28]. Be aware that what you think would be the best outcome, is very often not the best. And above all, don’t get discouraged. God knows everything and has infinite power. Be confident in His willingness and ability to work for your good. Trust God!
Our emotions can be beautiful things or, they can be flat-out dangerous. And, you probably don’t have to think too long to come up with examples of both. Yes, they are pretty much constantly with us, …whether we like it or not. Actually, we should like it.
Our positive emotions are gifts from God; and, here is a short list of the most common (good and bad): happiness, love, anger, confidence, anxiety, stress, and contentment. Yes, there are many, many more. But most of those are variations – both positive and negative, of these seven. For example: happy (+ variation = elated), (- variation = depressed). But this is not the point.
The point is, our emotions are not good or bad, per se. What we do with our emotions (or what we let happen to our emotions) will make all the difference. I said our emotions are gifts from God. But like many of Gods gifts, Satan will use them against us anyway, anytime he can. He especially looks for negative emotions. Do little things “tick-you-off”? Satan can take that small foothold and turn it into a major fortress. Without realizing it, you may end up with severe anger management issues. You get recognized for work you did. You feel proud. You did a good thing. But, be careful. Pride can lead to all sorts of very bad things like superiority or entitlement issues. Yes, it happens. So, how do we keep it from happening?
We must not allow Satan to control our emotions. Nothing good will come of that. God does not use condemnation or guilt as motivation. If that’s eating at you, be assured it is Satan. Seek God’s peace. Back off. Slow down. A simple quick prayer like, “Jesus, I need your help!” can work wonders. Take control of your emotions. Use them to your benefit. Anger can lead to a really bad reaction – such as an argument or fight. Or, it can be controlled and used to motivate positive action to repair a relationship, or find a path around whatever is causing your anger. Every time you recognize Satan’s deceit, and turn to God for help, it will be easier and quicker to diagnose the next time. Remember, God is always with you. Allow Him to work in you, and through you.
Lord, Your Word tells us that because we belong to you, the power of the Holy Spirit has freed us from the power of sin. In fact, sin has no control over us because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.* Yet, our free will allows us to get our lives terribly entangled and confused. Give us the wisdom to recognize what is happening, and the strength to step back and seek your peace, love, encouragement and guidance. Above all, Lord, keep me centered in your will where I am protected from those who would do me evil. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
* Romans 8:1-3
The Lord’s Prayer
Paul certainly understood our need for constant prayer when He told the church in Philippi: “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything”. [Phil 4:6]
When Jesus was teaching the Sermon on the Mount [Mt 5, 6 & 7], He gave an example of how to pray. It is now known as, “The Lord’s Prayer”. This prayer is recorded in Mt 6:9-13. And, I think it is too often “used and abused” in our churches – when we just mumble the words as part of a service, with no thought at all to their real meaning. So, let’s look at The Lords Prayer; and, see what we are truly saying to, and asking of, our God.
Matthew 6: 9…Our Father in Heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 11Give us today the food we need, 12and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. 13And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. (NLT)
Verse 9: We recognize our personal relationship to God. He is our loving father (Abba). What does that mean to you? Next, we commit to honor His holy name. Think about how you honor God’s holy name.
Verse 10: We are asking God to bring His Kingdom to earth. [Rev 21:1-5] And, we are saying until then, we want His will to prevail on earth. But, God is not (yet) physically present on earth; so, how is that going to happen? Well, we are God’s representatives on earth. Therefore, it is up to us to bring about what we are asking for. We do that by placing ourselves under God’s will. Are we truly following in Christ’s footsteps, and working to do His will for us?
Verse 11: This is not so much a petition as it is an affirmation that we recognize God as our provider and sustainer. And beyond that, by only asking for today’s need, we are affirming our faith in God. Yesterday is past – and, we can’t change it. Tomorrow is the future – and, only God knows what tomorrow will bring. Therefore, we must live in, and trust God to provide what we need for, today. Have you ever thought about how much easier that makes it to stay inside God’s will for your life? Worry about tomorrow causes all sorts of problems.
Verse 12: Ouch! All I’m going to point out is this: Jesus said it here, and He said it again in 6:15, even more plainly. So, listen up! You will never experience the true freedom of Christianity until you align yourself with this verse.
Verse 13: Being a Christian does not exempt us from temptation. But, God will not allow Satan to tempt us beyond what we can bear. Ask God to help you recognize Satan’s deceit; and, give you the strength to overcome it.
Now, that’s the example of prayer Jesus gave us. Pray it, if you mean it.
Grudges… A Personal Journey
This is a follow-up on a verse from last week – Mt 6:12. And, while you’re there, please read 6:15; and then read the story found in Mt 18:23-35.
Now, do you have any doubt about what God thinks of unforgiveness? Yet, I’d guess we have all carried grudges from time to time. And, if you are harboring one or more grudges right now, you need to realize that you have likely given Satan a stronghold in your life. But, there is something you can (must) do about it. I can testify to that!
I carried three, what I’d call, “true grudges,” for many years. One was against a family member; another, was the result of a divorce; and, one with a workplace supervisor. In each case I felt that my pain, anguish, suffering, animosity, hatred, anger, hurt, self-pity, superiority, and (in one case) the desire to do major physical harm, were all absolutely justified. Hey! These people had done UNFORGIVABLE things to me, and in two of the cases, also to my wife. They were on my list!
Finally, (in that one case mentioned above), and where my wife and I were dealing with a truly evil person, we went to see our pastor. We poured out our story. We told him that we were afraid of our own thoughts. But, even then, we could not forgive this evil person. We were becoming mental wrecks. Brother Joe listened patiently to every word. He agreed that the subject of our wrath was evil, …and sick. And then he simply said, “…you must forgive h–”.
I wasn’t really surprised by his response; but, I think we were expecting more. My wife was quicker on the trigger. She, by this time in tears, said, “But, Brother Joe, I can’t! How can I forgive someone like that?”
I think her response was expected. Brother Joe, pushed back in His chair. With a loving smile on His face, and the calmest and most peaceful demeanor I’ve ever seen, he said, “…just like Christ forgives you. Go home and pray. Ask Jesus for help, and then pray for h–. And, keep at it.” Brother Joe prayed over us, and we went home.
It was no problem praying to Jesus, asking for help – for ourselves. We’d done that plenty of times. Now, we were asking for help in praying for our enemy. That was NOT easy, at first. But, we recognized we had to do this, as much for us, as for h–. The more we prayed the more insight we gained into our problem; and, we realized we weren’t praying so that we could affect change in this situation, …only God could do that.
Many months had passed since our meeting with Brother Joe when we realized WE were the ones changing. We could actually forgive this person. We discussed our feelings and then shared them with God. After our prayer we felt truly free of our bondage. We had shed hundreds of pounds of emotional baggage. (The list in paragraph three).
Grudges can start small and quickly grow into 800-pound gorillas. But now, our attitudes about everything became more positive. Jesus had saved us from ourselves, and from Satan. He had made a way, where we thought there was no way. (Yes, just like the old hymn says).
And, He had given us another project. We started praying for the Holy Spirit to convict h–, and lead h– to Christ. This would be the ultimate victory.
Did we ever become bosom buddies, and friends forever. No. Too much history. But, we kept praying for h–. We didn’t give up. And, eventually we learned that the subject of our prayers had indeed accepted Christ as h– savior. Thank you, Jesus.
Now, please read Mt. 5:43-48 and Rom. 12:17-21. It can change your life, FOREVER!
P.S. Brother Joe’s advice worked for my other two grudges, as well. Yea! And, again, thank you, Jesus.
This is the end of the second installment of posts from the archives of my previous posting site: “From the Beanfield.” The last transfer will be on next Thursday. Again, I’m sorry for any confusion. And, new posts (on this site only) will continue on Fridays.