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 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.

Monday, February 6, 2017

79. Growing in Prayer – God’s Perfection

And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."  --Exodus 33:19
We started a new Bible Study January 2017.  Our study book is “Devotional Classics” by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith.  We are now in Week 4 and our assignment for this week “Gregory of Nyssa – Running the Race”.  Gregory of Nyssa lived from 331-396.  .  Gregory has been called “one of the most powerful and most original thinkers ever known in the history of the Church”.  In this devotional he uses excerpts from “The Life of Moses”; he speaks of God’s perfection.  Gregory makes this statement, “I said that it is also impossible for those who pursue the life of virtue to attain perfection”.

Let’s think about that for a moment!  If we cannot achieve perfection in pursuing virtue then why try?  We know many people who don’t pray, pursue God’s Word or try to grow more like Jesus because they feel unworthy.  God does not choose perfect people to do His service.  Look at Moses….he murdered (Exodus 2:11-12), made excuses (Exodus3:11-4:17) and disobeyed (Numbers 20:8-12).  David committed adultery (2 Samuel 11:1-5) and murder (2 Samuel 11:6-24).  Paul killed Christians (Acts 22:1-5).  We all sin.  It says in I John 1:10; 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.  We all are imperfect.  “God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called”.

Gregory says God is Divine; He is good whose very nature is goodness.  He is known by His nature.  The opposite of good is evil.  God does not admit to the opposite; we hold the divine nature to be unlimited and infinite.  Since the Christian pursues good, and God is absolute virtue and is unlimited and infinite goodness, His goodness has no limit.  Gregory says and I quote, “Since those who know what is good by nature desire participation in it, and this good has no limit, the participant’s desire has no stopping place but stretches out with the limitless.”

I cannot read Gregory’s devotional without thinking of Psalm 119:96; I have seen the consummation of all perfection, But Your commandment is exceedingly broad.  The study note in my Bible regarding this passage says; “Consummation of all perfection:  Probably the sum total of all that is perfect from an earthly perspective, but God’s Word has no limits”.  In other words, it says God’s Word is beyond perfect.

Also I think of the scripture, Luke 18:19; "Why do you call me  good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.

We live our lives the best we can striving for goodness, pray daily sharing an intimate relationship with our God and Father, choosing to make Jesus Christ Lord of our life, and treat each other as we would like to be treated.  We live toward a limitless perfection until the day of Glorification.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

78. Growing In Prayer – A New Year 2017

35 You ·protect me with your saving shield [ have given me the shield of your salvation/victory].  You support me with your right hand.  You have stooped to make [Your help makes] me great.  36 You ·give me a better way to live [broaden my path; [widen my steps beneath me], so ·I live as you want me to [my feet do not slip;  my ankles do not weaken].  –Psalm 18:35-36 (EXB)

We have begun a New Year….new beginnings….a new start so to speak.  New resolutions and most are broken if I know people.  As for us we do not make New Year resolutions …… because we usually break them…Comme ci, comme ├ža.

We have celebrated the birth of Christ Jesus.  All of our church services were great and beautiful.  We had a wonderful cantata by our choir.  We spent our New Year with a couple we dearly love….had dinner and played Train.  They went home early to miss all the “kooks” out on New Year’s Eve.  Doyle watched the New Year arrive alone while I snoozed it away.  As a whole, we had a good holiday season just loving our Lord, friends and each other.

I want to speak to all those who did not have a wonderful Christmas season and New Year.  As proof our Compass Prayer Wall tells the story of the hurting.  God’s Word has promises that sustain us through any worldly experience as in Romans 15:13, 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   As Jack Hayford says that I have often quoted, “The Grace of God by the operational Power of the Holy Spirit ….. Power beyond what we could generate.  Our hope is in the eternal God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We do not give up the hope that is given to us each day….each day is new and carries the blessings of Christ Jesus in each new sun rise.  Even when the clouds cover the sun the sun rises each morning and brings light into our world.  As the scripture above states so well God is with us and He makes us great!  35 You ·protect me with your saving shield [ have given me the shield of your salvation/victory].  You support me with your right hand.  You have stooped to make [Your help makes] me great.  36 You ·give me a better way to live [broaden my path; [widen my steps beneath me], so ·I live as you want me to [my feet do not slip;  my ankles do not weaken].  –Psalm 18:35-36 (EXB)

How do I know?  In prayer I fall to my knees to “live as You (God) want me to [live] (my feet do not slip, my ankles do not weaken)”.

I have often said my earthly Daddy gave me the image of my Heavenly Father.  My Daddy was 6’4” tall and he took every life circumstance to teach me.  When he talked to me, he always came to my level which means he stooped or squatted Indian style.  Always the lesson he taught was to build my character….make me great.  Because of him, I can envision my Heavenly Father “stooping to make me great” for I am made, and so are you, in His image.  The love He feels for us when we suffer the earthly hurts is incomprehensible, but in His Word there is hope.  The sun rises each new day and He gives us the New Day with His protection in His salvation, broaden paths, widen steps beneath us and our steps do not slip to live in His light and His promises.  We find this relationship with God through prayer!

Friday, December 2, 2016

77. Growing In Prayer – According to Your Word……

21 Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.  –Joshua 2:21

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1-38

We trust you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Ours was great and it is with thankfulness we acknowledge the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving ushers in the Christmas season as we begin the festivities of Christ’s birth.   We celebrated the first Sunday of Advent last Sunday; our service was especially rewarding.

We acknowledge with sorrowful hearts that these upcoming celebrations don’t always bring joy to all.  They have sorrow in life; to name a few:  losses, difficult situations and family disagreements, health and financial.

Jesus gave us hope in all things.  As I have mentioned my favorite life verse is Romans 8:28.

This morning as I was reading scripture one of those “light bulb moments” appeared.  Though we had read about Rehab, the prostitute, many times these words struck me. “According to your words, so be it”. (Joshua 2:21) They instantly brought to mind, Mary’s words, Mother of Jesus.  “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)    One woman, Rahab, was dubbed a harlot.  One woman was a virgin and considered beautifully pure. 

Each woman exhibited a profound faith in the One Living God….God Almighty, Lord of Lords.  Their faith in the promises given to them was a living hope for things better to come.  In an act of faith Rahab hid and helped the two Israelites escape the city.  The Israelites promised to save her family during the battle of Jericho.  Mary acted in faith when she was told she would bear God’s Son which He would lead us into possession of eternal life. 

Joshua testifies at the end of his life:  “…….not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you……”  Joshua 23:14.  We can have faith in God’s Word and His promises.  Let us tie the scarlet cord around our hearts reminding us God gives hope in our faith to follow Him.

All this to say there is hope and joy in Jesus Christ.  Regardless of what life brings there is a living hope in our faith of the One Who gave His life that we may live.

Glory, Hallelujah to the God above!  We celebrate this Season knowing we have a Savior who loves us beyond comprehension.   It is in prayer that we sustain and grow in an intimate, close relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord as the Holy Spirit prays to the Father.  (Romans 8:26)

This Christmas Season, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (Faith moved to action), so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”.  Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Growing In Prayer – Faith Acts

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  -- Ephesians 2:8-9 AND, John 17:22-23, 22 And the glory which You (God and Father) gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

The Electoral College has spoken.  The founding fathers established the Electoral College  in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.   We have a new President Elect and according to our democratic process the winner leads the United States of America.  The democratic process begins with all peoples standing behind him/her to become one Nation under God with liberty and justice for all.

We have a great Nation, good people and people come to this Nation to experience freedom to worship, live, and pursue happiness during their lifetime here on earth.  Hundreds of people stood on their faith and prayed for God’s choice to lead this country.  

We just finished a study in our Church, “What Christians Believe”.  It was a good study and we had a very good group of all ages.  One of the questions in the Class what Christians believe regarding faith was, “What is the relationship between faith and feelings?”  My short answer without explanation was:  Faith acts in believing; Feelings respond in fear.

We can both have faith given to us by God’s grace and move our faith to action believing in the promise of Jesus Christ in His prayer to be one in Him as He is one in the Father.  We can move our faith to action believing in the new leadership of our Nation.  We can stand with and support each leader in the promises they made to all people of this Nation.

We see what feelings responding in fear are.  Our large cities reverberate in feelings and emotions in what they consider loss, acting in fear and anger.  It is a paradox in that they act in chaos and destruction claiming the very freedom that brings honor and justice.  Those who feel fear, anger, and demonstrate their disillusionment move in a chaotic disruption and destruction to property and destroying their individual honor, dignity and character in their humanness to what they feel is their right.  What is right about evil?

We lift Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 for this Nation.
14-15 When I think of the wisdom and scope of his plan, I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God—some of them already in heaven and some down here on earth— 16 that out of his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; 18-19 and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.  20 Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. 21 May he be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of his master plan of salvation for the Church through Jesus Christ.

Pray Christians, Pray!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Growing In Prayer – Seek God and His Statutes

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!
They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.  You have commanded us
to keep Your precepts diligently.  --Psalm 119:1-4 (NKJV)

Welllll…… the election process is coming to a close.  November 8 is the final day to vote for this 2016 presidential election.  It has been a rough ride this past year.  Words spoken I have never heard between candidates have smothered the dignity of our great Presidential Office of these United States.  And, if you have forgotten, it is OUR office.

Our Founder of Compass, Howard Dayton, expressed these words, “For my wife, Bev, and me, our first filter is this: Is the candidate committed to protecting the most vulnerable and helpless among us – the unborn? If the answer is no, we will not vote for them. Part of the reason we are so passionate about this as our first filter, is that we adopted both of our children as newborn babies, and three of our four grandchildren were also adopted as babies. We cannot imagine life without them and are so grateful that our children love Jesus and follow Him. God is all about life!”
My husband, Doyle and I have prayed for God’s person to fill this very important Presidential Office, as many of the Compass family across this Nation have prayed.  It is equally important to fill the House and Senate with those who will bow their knees and seek God’s direction.  This is a time that the Christians of this Nation stand in unity and be counted for God’s truth.  This Nation was founded on Christian beliefs and our Constitution was written by some of the most brilliant minds that have come together at one time in faith that this country would be free and devoted to equality and rights to life and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Nation is in the balance and it is time we all commit to pray for the divine hand of God to bring us together as in Acts 4:1-31  When Peter and John were told they could not speak the name of Jesus they went immediately to their companions in Christ Jesus and Prayed.  They prayed in one accord with praise and thanksgiving to the One Living God.  They quoted the words of King David:  ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?  26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

Then Peter, John and their Christian companions prayed:  29 Now, Lord, look on their threats (the priest and Sadducees), and grant to Your servants (followers of Christ) that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.

I love this part of Acts 4.  31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.

I have always wanted to shake a building with prayer!!  Let all Christians join together and shake this Nation to its God given roots.   

John 8:12, When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

God is life for all even for the most vulnerable and helpless among us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

74. Growing In Prayer – Blessed Be the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  –Matthew 5:9

We have been gone a while now, three months to be exact.  We will have to admit we have been in what writers call “a dry spell”.  Our last Blog if you have been visiting our site from time to time was on God’s wisdom.

Scripture tells us that the wisdom from God is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality and without hypocrisy. 

Our hearts have been hurting over the condition of our country.  My Women’s group has been studying Nehemiah 9:1-37 this month.  In verse sixteen it says, “But they (Israel) and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey Your commandments”.    That sounds so familiar to today’s events.  What is that old adage, “History repeats itself”, or something similar?  Are we today repeating History of old?  Are we being presumptuous and stiffing our necks.  In the Biblical sense stiffing our necks means "hard of neck"; “stubborn," "intractable," "not to be led."   Have we become a people of presumption and stiffing our necks? 

God made a covenant with Israel to give them a promise land.  In Nehemiah 9:25 it tells us, “And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance.  So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in Your great goodness”.

BUT in Nehemiah 9:26, it says, “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against You (God) and cast Your law behind their back and killed Your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to You, and they committed great blasphemies”.

America became the promise land to millions of people searching for freedom to worship, speak and live their lives in obedience to our mighty God.  America became great because of our Christian faith and that this faith was the very foundation of our beginnings…the good, honest, hard-working grass roots of this country.  Let us return to our roots and become the Nation we once were.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.  Let us become the children of God making peace where there is chaos, where there are murders, bombings, disingenuous people and leaders of our Nation.  Let us stand in Godly unity and rebuild this Nation through our prayers and faithfulness to God’s wisdom.

Nehemiah 9:17 tells us, "But You are a God ready to forgive,......".  America is still the greatest Nation on this earth because of the faithful.  The Church is not a building; it is the people, the Body of Christ.  We have a forgiving God Who is mighty in power to return us to our roots.  Praise God!!  It happens through prayer, confession and obedience.

It tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

When we are in right relationship with our Mighty God and Father our Nation flourishes and only when we are in prayer does our relationship stay intimate.