God’s Strength Tuesday, Jun 6 2017 

The verse that comes to mind when I set out to write to you about God’s Strength comes from the book of Philippians: Philippians 4:12-14New International Version (NIV)

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Another verse that comes to mind is : John 16:33New International Version (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In Philippians 4:13 we are told where our strength comes from; through him. And in John it does not say you might have trouble it says, “you will have trouble.”

Just look about you: everywhere you look….trouble.

Paul reminds us in Philippians that we are not always in trouble every minute as he expounds by saying, “I know what it is to have plenty.” Now, we know that having plenty is not a problem. But as he continues he expounds an alternative situation; ” I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Have you ever been hungry? Unless you have been you may not know just how difficult this verse becomes. How can one be content in the midst of hunger or thirst?

It is because Paul knows the LORD Jesus Christ. He trusts him. He is completely free of worry because he knows that the LORD will provide. He was able to do “all things” through Christ.

Look at the list of what Paul suffered: 2 Corinthians 11: 23 I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

We too are going to face “troubles.” It is up to us to be prepared. To study His Word now so that when the times come we will be ready. The time to study the Word is not when we are in the middle of some trial or temptation. No! It is now. We must study to show ourselves approved. God gives us His strength for a purpose. Jesus Christ is our strength.

God’s Help Monday, Jan 30 2017 

Where do you go when you need help? Some of us go to our parents, our friends, our pastors, our teachers.

How many of us go to God? Not as a last resort, but as our first source of help.

Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

If we want God to help us, how can we get him to help us?  We call him. I don’t mean dial him up on the phone, I mean get down on your knees and pray!

Psalm 30:2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
    and you healed me.

It’s okay to ask God to hurry up. If you are in an emergency you need to speak up!

Psalm 40:16-17 16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    you are my God, do not delay.

and Psalm 70:1 Hasten, O God, to save me;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

God does not want us to be afraid to ask him for help.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

Hebrews 4:16 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

You might think your situation is impossible today. Nothing is impossible with God.

Psalm 46:4-6 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

God says in his word over and over that he will help us.

Isaiah 49:10 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

1 Timothy 5:5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.

God even helps those who tell you about him in their blogs every day. (like me)

1 Thessalonians 2:2 but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel.

God’s Energy Sunday, Jan 29 2017 

After winter comes spring.

People in Christ have new life. Just like the cactus flower they have new beauty and new fragrance. Spring brings new sounds: Chirping of new birds, the trickling sound of water moving as the snow melts away.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.”

That is how it is with us when we are converted.  All things become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

We have new energy.

Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

We have new life.

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

He was the first to live the resurrected life.

Colossians 1:18-20

18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;

20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Strength of God Tuesday, Nov 29 2016 

Strength

1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

1 Chronicles 16:27 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.

1 Chronicles 16:28 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

1 Chronicles 29:12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Nehemiah 1:10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.”

Psalm 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 59:9 You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress,

Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

Psalm 68:35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!

Psalm 84:7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

Isaiah 12:2 “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 33:2 Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 45:5 I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me,

Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

God’s People Wednesday, Oct 26 2016 

[I am writing] to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called to be saints (God’s people) and set apart for a sanctified life, [that is, set apart for God and His purpose]: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith [your trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] is being proclaimed in all the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by preaching the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how continuously I mention you 10 in my prayers; always pleading that somehow, by God’s will, I may now at last come to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift, to strengthen and establish you; 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, [c]brothers and sisters, that many times I have planned to come to you, (and have been prevented so far) so that I may have some fruit [of my labors] among you, even as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I have a duty to perform and a debt to pay both to Greeks and to barbarians [the cultured and the uncultured], both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am ready and eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith.”

Power of God Wednesday, Jan 20 2016 

Power of God

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

Exodus 15:Your right hand, Lord,     was majestic in power. Your right hand, Lord,     shattered the enemy.

11 Who among the gods     is like you, Lord? Who is like you—     majestic in holiness, awesome in glory,     working wonders?

13 In your unfailing love you will lead     the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them     to your holy dwelling.

14 The nations will hear and tremble;     anguish will grip the people of Philistia. 15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,     the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people[c] of Canaan will melt away; 16     terror and dread will fall on them. By the power of your arm     they will be as still as a stone— until your people pass by, Lord,     until the people you bought[d] pass by. 17 You will bring them in and plant them     on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling,     the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.

Philistia is Palestine

Edom means “stillness” or “Red Dawn”.

It is a response to something stupefying, physically motionless.

Refers to edge of a sword which was known as its mouth. Likewise, the greatness of the LORD’s arm makes people still as stones.

Moab means “my father.”

Canaan means “land of purple.” Purple is often related to royalty.

Micah 5:4 He will stand and shepherd his flock     in the strength of the Lord,     in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness     will reach to the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 63:1 Who is this coming from Edom,     from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor,     striding forward in the greatness of his strength?

“It is I, proclaiming victory,     mighty to save.”

Why are your garments red,     like those of one treading the winepress?

 

Bozrah means fortified city.

The root verb בצר (basar) describes the act of separating something from its maternal environment, with the purpose of letting that something mature in peace until the final result can be extracted. This act is usually achieved by building a strong wall around the something (some scholars suggest that our English word bazaar derives from this root).

Job 27:10-12New International Version (NIV)

10 Will they find delight in the Almighty?     Will they call on God at all times?

11 “I will teach you about the power of God;     the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal. 12 You have all seen this yourselves.     Why then this meaningless talk?

Psalm 68:33-35New International Version (NIV)

33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,     who thunders with mighty voice. 34 Proclaim the power of God,     whose majesty is over Israel,     whose power is in the heavens. 35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;     the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!

Matthew 22:28-30New International Version (NIV)

28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

1 Corinthians 1:17-19New International Version (NIV)

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;     the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[a]

1 Corinthians 1:23-25New International Version (NIV)

23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

6 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,

“In the time of my favor I heard you,     and in the day of salvation I helped you.”[a]

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Paul’s Hardships

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.

Warning Against Idolatry

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[b]? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will live with them     and walk among them, and I will be their God,     and they will be my people.”[c]

17 Therefore,

“Come out from them     and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,     and I will receive you.”[d]

18 And,

“I will be a Father to you,     and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”[e]

 

2 Timothy 1:7-9New International Version (NIV)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

Nightwatch Sunday, Feb 16 2014 

The rules for the nightwatch are fairly simple. Pray. Listen. Wait. Be still.

Pray:

Almost always a list of people will come to mind but it is good to begin with the big picture. So at the beginning of the nightwatch the LORD’s Prayer will set the mood and bring your focus to the tasks at hand. It is like priming a pump. Then beginning with those closest to your heart pray for well-being, health, specific needs, and prayer requests. Then pray for those you have authority over. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct them in their daily duties, for Him to direct you in leading them and helping them in their tasks. Pray for those who have authority over you. Include the president and governor. Pray for God to grant them wisdom in their roles as leaders, to walk with them, and guide them in their important decisions. Pray to keep them safe from harm. Then pray for your community, friends, and church. Pray for your pastor specifically and his family. Pray that God inspires his message, meets his every need, and keeps him safe and well. Pray for the needs of friends both the prayer requests they have given you and also for needs you see that they may not ask about. Pray for their health, their families, and their safety. Finally, pray for your own needs, safety, and wisdom.

Take it to the LORD in prayer. Don’t be afraid to tell Him everything even though you know he already knows. Tell Him how you feel, your hearts desires, confess and pray forgiveness.

Listen:

During the listening time you are listening for specific answers to prayers you have just prayed. Perhaps there is something you can do to help a situation. Listen for specific guidance and instruction on what God wants you to do with your day ahead. Respond quickly with action. This is your opportunity to live your faith. Be a blessing. Help someone. Listen for encouragement and comfort from the Holy Spirit. Listen for answers to problems, solutions that you may not have thought of before. Prayer is a two way conversation. God cares for you. He has a lot to say about your life. His input is invaluable. Ask God to open your spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit says.

 

Wait:

The bible tells us to wait upon the LORD. This can be hard to do sometimes. Answers to prayers may not come right away. It may take some time. The wait may be for His timing of an issue. The wait may be so that others can come into line with God’s plan. Those that wait upon the LORD renew their strength.

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

I have times that my waiting period is just a few minutes then it feels like hopping a train as I align my speed with the task at hand. Other times, the wait is longer and I even wonder if the train has already left the station without me. The strength that the LORD gives is not like the world sees strength. It is an inner peace, conviction, and power that grows as you wait. When you leave this step out of your prayer time you miss, God’s plan for this time. His plan is that you know He is in on it. His hand is the hand that heals. His time is the right time. His will on earth as it is in heaven. So we wait.

Be Still:

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.

Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.

This is a time that God may reason with you. And you may worship Him.

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.

Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

Over and over in the bible we are admonished to “be still”. We can’t hear God if we are always moving about and busy doing something. This stillness goes beyond the physical stillness and includes quieting your mind. Stop thinking, worrying, fretting, and surmising. Stop putting words into God’s mouth and expecting Him to answer what you want to hear. Be in awe at an awesome GOD. Praise His holy name.

Often times during this part of the prayer time, I fall asleep with a deep and restful sleep. I count it an honor to be called to the “Nightwatch”.