Tuesday, June 20, 2017

87. Growing in Prayer – Hate (III of Series)

19 We love because He loved us first. 20 Suppose someone claims to love God but hates a brother or sister. Then they are a liar. They don’t love their brother or sister, whom they have seen. So they can’t love God, whom they haven’t seen.  –I John 4:19-20

“Applying Unchanging Truth in a Changing World”   -- Wisdom Hunters Devotionals

“When a baby is born, biologically he has everything he needs for adulthood”.[1]   We are created in God’s image, his character (Exodus 34:6-7).  We grow in stages as we develop into the person God created.  We are born with a seed of faith.   It is also true in our Spiritual growth, we grow in stages.

We are also given free will and choice.  We express our first free will as young babes.  A baby’s first words are “NO” and “MINE”.....right?   In our early years as infants and little children, if we are fortunate, we have loving parents who have been raised with loving parents and we are taught God’s character (Exodus34:6-7):  Merciful (unfailing love, kindness, tenderness); Gracious (compassion, favor, kindness); Long Suffering (slow to anger); Abounding in goodness (great in steadfast love); Truth (faithfulness) and Forgiving transgressions (sin, wrongful conduct).  In Christian families we are taught God’s Word.

In love and respect of our parents’ teachings, we grow in stages to self-independence where we begin to think for ourselves and make decisions based on what we have learned as a child.  In some families a child is not given the opportunity of this loving environment to grow. 

Some children grow in the environment of past prejudices, hate, and ill experiences of adults in their life; or circumstances and environments contributed in life by no choice of their own.  Children brought up in this kind of growth stages are taught a mind-set that is judgmental, selfish, and critical which becomes anger and anger will become hate.  Scripture calls this walking in darkness.  Darkness is derived from error, ignorance, disobedience, willful blindness and rebellion.  The result of this darkness is a hard heart (Jeremiah 16:12; Romans 2:5).

The Scripture even refers to hate as murder.  “We are referred to I John 3:15, Whoever hates his brother/sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in Him.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:21, 21 You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’

I can understand because of my own life’s experiences how a person can be so consumed in a harden heart to have intense dislike for a person, thing, ideology or even life itself.  I can understand how someone can be so blinded to what is good and righteous they cannot see the light that is Jesus Christ (John 8:12).

But I can’t understand staying, living, and wallowing in hate.  How utterly miserable….I can’t help but think of Ephesians 4:31-32; 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

One cannot hate if they live in God’s Word.  “The miracle of Christ’s indwelling power is that the love He revealed is exactly the love He will communicate to others through us”.[2]

We learn to love through God’s Word, Prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Never underestimate the power of prayer.

[1] Kenneth C. Ulmer, B.A., M.A., PhD., D. Min.
[2] Lloyd John Ogilvie, Chaplain, the United States Senate, Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

86. Growing in Prayer – Hate (II of Series)

17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”  - Leviticus 19:17

“Jesus came to heal the broken hearted and to use the broken hearted to bring other broken hearts to Jesus”.  – Wisdom Hunters

I think to begin this series we should really have the definition clearly, “what is hate”.  We know it is the opposite of love, but like the word love we throw it around like sprinkles of rain on a summer day.  I hate broccoli, I hate the heat, I hate him; I hate to go to school, I hate that and . . . . so on and so on.  Leviticus says “You shall not hate your brother [sister] in your heart”.  We think that is the defining statement.  We are not to hate in our heart.  When hate reaches the heart, one is in big, double dog trouble for God looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7).  According to my parents teachings “hate” isn’t even in the English Dictionary!!!

A primitive root the Hebrew word sane’ (saw-nay) is a transliteration meaning hate; to detest, enmity, hated intensely, and turned against, not loved.  It is also used as “rejected” as in Malachi 1:2-3 (as in chose or rejected) and in Genesis 29:31 (unloved). 

Webster says:  Hate is an intense hostility and aversion - a feeling of repugnance toward something [or person], usually deriving from fear, anger, [self] or sense of injury; extreme dislike or disgust:  a strong feeling of dislike, loathing. 

These are definitions of hate.  Scripture has a much broader meaning to words.  Scripture gives imagery.  One word can make a full image or mind-set to the consciousness.  How does God’s Word give His meaning to one word and how does it affect our life?

Leviticus 19:17 refers us to I John 2:9-11.  These passages describe hate to light and darkness.  If you say you walk in light (John 8:12) but one who carries hate in their heart, they are in darkness.  According to vs. 10, one who loves his brother [sister] walks in light and there is no cause for stumbling.  Those who walk in darkness do not know where they go because they are blinded.

Strong’s #4655, scotia, darkness is used literally for physical darkness and metaphorically for spiritual, moral, and intellectual darkness.  The darkness arises from error, ignorance, disobedience, willful blindness and rebellion.  Darkness is an evil system absolutely opposed to the light.

John 8:12 tells us Jesus is light.  Jesus tells us if we follow Him we will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.   Also I John 4:7-8 says God is love”. 

We are born in the image of God.  To me that means His attributes, His character and if we live according to His Living Word, Jesus Christ, in and through Him; we cannot hate for God is love.  If anyone carries hate in his heart, he is not of God.

If one grows in prayer it would stand to reason we are most effective when we go before the throne of God with a pure and clean heart without the darkness of hate.  We ask for prayers as we continue to stand in the Gap for many.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

85. Growing in Prayer – Hate (I of Series)

 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord (Adonay – Lord – Title, spoken in place of YAHWEH in Jewish display of reverence has anointed Me (Jehovah = “the existing One” – {Jesus}) To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.  - Isaiah 61:1-3

“Jesus came to heal the broken hearted and to use the broken hearted to bring other broken hearts to Jesus”.  – Wisdom Hunters

We begin our study of “Hate” with these verses from Isaiah 61.  This prophecy was realized in Luke 4:18.  To be a Christian is paramount to have faith in these words for we are sinners and to reach the freedom that God promises, we live in faith of His written word.  16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  – 2 Timothy 3:16-17. 

So in saying these words we begin our study of “Hate”.  In the past and the beginning of our Blogs, we have written our journey into a prayer life.  We have written regarding Faith, Love, Grace, Submission, Doubt, Spirit, and many, many others, but we never touched on Hate!!  I strongly believe there is no hate in either of us and that is the reason we never thought of writing about “HATE”.   Hate is of the world and it says in I John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  That brings shudders down my spine.

Today we are made aware of the hate that surrounds us.  The countries that prescribe to an ideology that exudes hate; listening to the news we often shudder at the remarks of people who have lost all consciousness of good.  What are we becoming in this Nation that we would grow in hatred for one another to magnitudes that consume life here on earth?  We see families torn apart in their hatred of one another.  Individuals who prescribe to the mindset, “if you don’t think as I do; you do not have the right to speak”. 

In Jesus’ time when He entered into Jerusalem the scripture tells us he wept (Luke 19:41-44).  We imagine our Lord God is weeping today for the hate that lies in the hearts of peoples.  Leviticus 19:17 tells us, “17 You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him”.

Folks we need prayer for our Nation, and the people who carry hate in their heart.  As we begin this series of our Blog, we ask for your prayers that God will reveal His truth to us and as those who have broken hearts heal us to His perfection.

All of you intercessors pray . . . pray . . .  pray!

Next week we will continue our study of hate as God reveals His truth through His Word.  Our basis for study will be Leviticus 19:17.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

84. Growing in Prayer – Tribute to My Mother

28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”

It will be Mother’s Day this coming weekend, May 14, 2017.   The Bible tells us to honor our father and mother that it may go well with you (Ephesians 6:1-3).  Mothers are irreplaceable….good, bad or indifferent . . . . They are irreplaceable.   I know my Mother is to me.  She was my friend, soul-mate, and confidant.  She was my Mother. 

She exemplified my Heavenly Father’s forgiveness.   She would fight a circle saw for me when I was right and when I was in the wrong she let me know in uncertain terms.  We didn’t always get along through the years, but we loved each other through it all.  When the chips were down she stood in defense of me and carried my banner.

Mother was a lady with great dignity often showing her stoic English bearing and her physical stature of the Dutch.  She often called herself the Dutch woman.  Meaning she was short and stout.  To me she was beautiful.

My first memory of Mother was when I was about two.  We were in church and I was standing in the pew beside her….her arm was around me, and she was singing to the roof tops.  Mother was a presence of warmth and security.  It seems she was light.

Most of all I remember her hands.  She had very large hands as soft as velvet.  When I was a little girl her hand covered my back as she rubbed Grandma Freeman’s miracle cure for congestion, sore throats, and what “ails you”. 

She worked constantly for the comfort of her family.  She literally loved and patted her cooking on to the table for us.  Her hands cleaned, washed our clothes in black wash pots in the back yard, yet those big hands made the delicate embroidery, tucking, and smocking on the beautiful clothes I wore.  She always sang or hummed while she worked.  She worked outside the home and I remember waking in the dark of the night, she at her peddle sewing machine making my beautiful clothes.

Mother was very mischievous and such a tease!  She laughed freely and brought great joy to our family. 

She cast over me an influence which has lasted all my life. The good effects of her early training I can never lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and her faith in me at a critical time in my life, I would have never met life’s trials with the trust and faith that I survive in my Lord Jesus.

I realize in my now ancient years, I had a beautiful, secure with no fear and tender childhood that lives in me today.  The greatest gift my Mother and Daddy gave me was their love for each other….they adored each other and it permeated my brother and me.

After her 98th Birthday, she told me she was tired and was ready to go home.  A week before she breathed her last, she went to sleep…peaceably and quietly.  In the early morning hours of September 15, 2004 as I held her hand she slipped away.  I have never been as sure of anything in life as she slipped from my hand; Jesus took my Mother’s hand and led her into His Glory.  My Mother was truly a Proverbs 31 woman.

We honor our Mother’s this Sunday, May 14, 2017.  They are God’s gift to us all.  Pray for your Mother.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

82. Growing in Prayer – Real Love

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters I John 3:16

We can’t think of anytime of the year that we feel more humble as the time we celebrate our risen Christ Jesus.  Usually it is a beautiful time of year in Texas…the red buds burst forth and the pear trees burst with all their lacey blossoms.  The pansies refresh after winter and some folks jump the gun with their summer bedding plants.  I say jump the gun for there is that cold snap before Easter.  The air is shouting spring.  I think of Isaiah 55:12; You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

God in all His love for His creation as it says in John 3:16; For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  Out of God’s love we are able to enjoy this promise.  Not for any work we have done, money given or service but by God’s grace, the shed blood of Jesus Christ we live in eternity.

Have we ever thought if those who lived at that time had received Jesus in all His intent and love, we would not have had the “Via Dolorosa”.  It would not have been.  Life would be different today if people would give up their selfish desires; we could live in the peace that is Jesus Christ.  Our Nations would not be in chaos today.

We have the promise of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Because He died and shed His blood for us….for you and me….for our sins.  Because he suffered for our sins, we have the promise of seeing God in all eternity.  All we have to do is receive this glorious death and resurrection.  Move our faith to action receiving Jesus Christ in faith believing He is the way to righteousness (right relation) with God the Father. 

How can we not celebrate this Easter with shouts of joy as the spring of our year burst into glorious blooms of promise? 

It is in God’s love, a love beyond anything we can comprehend, we celebrate Jesus the risen Christ in our choice to live according to His Will. 

Jesus taught us to pray…why do we hesitate…why are we timid….why is our faith so lax we fail to pray?  Glorify our God and Father.  We encourage you to pray for our Nation, live according to God’s teachings, pray for those who are hurting.  We encourage you to celebrate joy and happiness.  We will be praying from the depths of our heart for God looks at the heart this fantastic, glorious, Easter season.  This Easter Sunday is a celebration of God’s real love (I John3:16) and we give our lives in love to our brothers and sisters.   Amen

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

81. Growing in Prayer – JUST a Folded Napkin??

And the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.  John 20:7 (NKJ)

And the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.  John 20:7 (NRSV)

I recently read a story about the “folded napkin” at Jesus’ resurrection left in the tomb.  It was an uplifting story and brought great confirmation of Jesus’ return.  As always or most times, I decided to research the story because it had such an effect on me, I wanted to share.  What I discovered was truth.  I share this with you.

The story was on Facebook that so inspired me.  Mary Magdalene went to the tomb before sun rise and found Jesus was gone and in His place were the burial wrappings tossed aside and the napkin on His face had been folded and laid to the side.  (John 20:1-10).  The story goes on to give a Hebrew custom that is not found anywhere.  The custom cited is that if the Master of the house tosses his unfolded, rumpled napkin aside he is finished eating.  If the Master folds his napkin neatly and lays it beside his plate he is returning.  So the story goes that Jesus’ folded napkin has significance that He will return.  At first I was somewhat deflated on hearing this beautiful story was not true.

On researching the story I found, a Jewish rabbi who has been a life-long Orthodox Jew, a Jewish scholar, and lives in Jerusalem, Israel, and he said he’d never heard of the custom.  I read further the only references to this story that I found are from Internet postings and emails that seem to have originated in 2007.

I mention this little experience to convey how easily it is to be deceived.  The beauty of this story is the confirmation that Jesus will return, but the danger of this story is how easily we can be lined up and directed like sheep in the wrong direction.  This story had a beautiful connotation, but what about those stories that are as infiltrating as this but have an evil connotation.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6).  If we stay in the living word and allow the Holy Spirit to give us truth, we will always be able to discern God’s truth.  If we pray the living word back to God our Father, we will be in His Will.

Does it matter whether “just a napkin” story is true?  I would say be careful who you believe.  I rest in Jesus’ Words, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”.  (John 14:1-3)

Jesus said He would return to take us to Himself and I believe.  Until then I will  pray His Word, live in His Word and rest in His Word.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

80. Growing in Prayer – Why Do We Have Trials?

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.   –Romans 5:3-5

My husband, Doyle, and I have been through many trials in our life of eighty-six and eighty-four years.  Many times we have asked God why?  This is too much to bear.  Always by the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s love we seem to make just one more hurdle for God does not give us more than we can bear.

We pray for those each day who asks for prayers on Compass’ Prayer Wall.  Our hearts go out to each one in their suffering….it may be finances; family; children; loss; fear; and many more causes for strength in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Scripture tells us to “glory in tribulations” knowing it will produce patience, character, and hope that does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:3-5).

God takes our tribulations for His purpose to grow us more and more into the image of His Son.  We are in a sinful world and sin may come by collateral damage (choices of others) or by our own choices.  When we act, do, or think in opposition of God’s Will, one can be sure there are consequences.  The one thing we must consider when we make a bad choice the innocent may suffer even greater....it may be a husband, wife, child or extended family, etc.   Sometimes the innocent suffer because of their faithfulness to God.  In their faith through suffering they demonstrate the character of Jesus who suffered greatly so that we would know eternal life.  In our faith believing in the mighty God, trails produce Godly Character, and we are able to rejoice in our sufferings because we grow in the image of Christ Jesus.

We must be careful never to make excuses for our “trials and tribulations” if they are a result of our own wrongdoing.  We cannot justify, excuse, and clamor we had reason for our sinfulness for God looks into our Heart.  I John 1:9 says; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.  Through all of life’s trials and tribulations, we have the victory.  In faith we have Gods goodness, mercy and love to carry us through all things for Jesus Christ is all sufficient.

We have in our believing and faith in the One Living God, the Holy Spirit Who guides us through prayer anywhere, at any time about anything.  Doyle and I could not have endured our losses without PRAYER and God’s guidance.  James 1:2-5 gives us this assurance; “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  All things work for good (Romans8:28).  

Trust, pray, believe in the God of all wisdom.