Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prayer and Faith

Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3

I admit...I am not great at praying, in fact, to be honest, probably my greatest sin is prayerlessness. I don't know why I struggle with it so much. Is it laziness to put the time aside? Is it that I don't believe my prayers will get answered? It is because I don't want to really do it? I don't know. But I am constantly searching for truths about prayer. To me, prayer is such a fine balance of acceptance of God's will and boldness of faith that it will happen. I don't know if I can quite put it into words, but what I mean is, that I know God answers prayer; I know He can answer prayer, but I also know that sometimes my requests are not His will, so He will not answer it the way that I want---not because I don't have faith, but because His will is perfect. So, I guess, sometimes I hesitate to ask or beseech Him because I know He will ultimately do what is best. But maybe that is my job....to seek Him, ask Him, and then His will is done.

I see an example of prayer here in Mark 1 when a leper comes to him...

1:40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

What if that leper would have never kneeled down and asked? He may have never been healed, even though Jesus was fully able to. I am sure there were other lepers that were never healed because they never asked.

I see the leper's sense of prayer...he kneeled down; he was humble. Beseeching him. To me that is different than just asking...it's an urgent plea.

His words are so important "If thou WILST, thou CANST make me clean." If it's Your will, I know You can, Jesus.

So things, I've learned from this leper about prayer...

1. I need to ask (pray).

2. I need to be humble.

3. I need to be urgent about it.

4. I need to acknowledge His will is best.

5. I need to have faith that He can!

Thank You, Abba, for teaching me this since it was just yesterday that I was discussing the struggle I was having with prayer and faith.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Right Time

Matthew 2

I just read about how the wise men came to see Jesus after his birth. Through the wise men, King Herod heard about Jesus and sought to destroy him, so an angel told Joseph to take his family and go to Egypt until Herod's death, so that Jesus' life would be spared from Herod's destruction.

Holy Spirit, You called to my attention of wondering why didn't God let Jesus die then? He was still perfect at that time...a seeming satisfying perfect, undeserving sacrifice to pay for our sins as was required. A few reasons came to mind...

1. There were still prophesies to be fulfilled. The pieces of the puzzle had to all be put together about who the Messiah was that God talked about so often in the Old Testament.

2. Even Jesus was chosen to go through trials to make Your will done...then it should be no surprise when my life is the same.

3. All the miracles would have never been done...He wouldn't have touched the lives He did. While I enjoy the journey and sometimes endure what life has in store for me, I may be here to help someone along the way.

4. The fellowship of His suffering wouldn't be real if He would have never endured the things He did. Because He went through a lot, I know He understands when I go through things too.

Abba your timing is always so perfect...always right on time...and to EVERYTHING there is a purpose...a plan. Thank You. I love You, Abba!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How To Face Critics

Nehemiah 1-7

Poor Nehemiah, he was just trying to do right by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and helping to solve the injustice that was happening inside those gates. You would think that everyone would be praising him for his good deeds, but instead from some he faced criticism. Those fools Sanballat and Tobiah tried everything they could to get him to stop working.

1. First, they mocked him to his face.

2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?

Nehemiah's reaction: Boldness of God's Presence and His Enemies Worth

2:20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will rise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.
Hahahaha, I love it! Nehemiah put those fools in their place! "God's with us, his servants, and not you...now leave me alone!"

2. They mocked him behind his back.

4:1-3 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And the spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make and end in a day? will they revive the stones out of heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.

Nehemiah's reaction: Prayer that God Would Take Care of Them

4:4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.

He just took it to God and asked Him to take care of them.

3. They planned physical attack.

4:8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
Nehemiah's reaction: Prayed again, prepared to defend themselves, and encouraged his followers.

4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night because of them.

Nehemiah was prepared for a fight, and even had to stop for a little bit to defend themselves against these people. He reminded the Jews who was fighting for them and who they were fighting for.

4:14 "Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

The enemies found out that their plans were known, so they couldn't surprise attack them like they planned, but Nehemiah and the builders continued the work...a hammer in one hand and a weapon in the other...always ready for a fight.

4. They tried the "buddy" approach.

6:2 ...let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.

Nehemiah's reaction: Remembered they were the enemies and continued working

6:3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto me four times after his sort; and I answered them after the same manner.

Nehemiah still continued working away and wouldn't be fooled by their antics.

5. They made up lies about him.

6:6 It is reported among the heathen....that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.

Nehemiah's reaction: He called him out.

6:8 There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart

I think what I learn the most out of all this is that critics....are constant and they will constantly try to play on my emotions. But my work and mission (whatever it may be) is not decided on emotion, so therefore it cannot be swayed by emotion (fear, anger, jealousy, etc.). Nehemiah wouldn't have been able to stand against his critics if he wasn't sure that God had sent him to do the work. So actually it wasn't Nehemiah's reaction that was so important (other than I see that he never had an emotional reaction); it was his providence. He knew what God wanted him to do, and no matter what challenges he faced or critics he had to stand against; it did not waiver him.
Critics are sure to come when I try to do something for the Lord. Whether it's principles in which I have in raising children, how I dress, how I spend my time, etc. I must not let my critics play into my emotions. Emotions didn't cause me to believe what I believe so therefore emotions should not cause me to stop!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bunch of Dimwits!


The prophet Haggai is talking to the governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of the high priest. The temple of the Lord had been destroyed by the Babylonians. Now it was time to rebuild it. I guess the people of Judah were saying, "It's not time to build the Lord's house."

Haggai reminds them of the low estate they have put themselves into...
1:5-6 Now therefore thus said the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages [to put in] into a bag with holes.

In other words, "Hey you, Dimwits! The path you're headed down isn't working for you! Why not try obeying the Lord and quit putting it off!"

The spirits of these men that Haggai spoke with were stirred up and all the people, so they decided to build the house of the Lord.

At the end God reminds them of where they were before...the trials they endured and the troubles because of their disobedience. But He also promises that He with be with them and will conquer the kingdoms of the heathen if they continue to obey.

At first, I must admit, I get out my pointer finger and think of all THOSE PEOPLE who are SO stupid and keep bucking against the Lord and keep putting off doing right. I look at them and see their lives in ruin and waste and common sense wants to scream at them and say, "You Dimwit! Obviously the direction you are taking isn't working out so well! Why not live for the LORD!!" (Whew! That felt kinda good to get that off my chest!)

But I have really tried to not so much focus on what other people's faults are as I read the Bible this year, but to look inside myself. What sort of "dimwit" things am I doing? The people of Judah were "waiting" to obey, probably wanting for things to be convenient before they obeyed. Never gonna happen! I think of the times that I thought, "If I had my own little quiet spot and a nice comfy chair, I would pray more." Let me testify, that's not true. (I've played that game.) If I won't obey and do the things I know to do when it's not convenient; I won't do it when it is. "Oh, if I had lots of money, I could save it and get ahead." Nope! (I have since learned from that last one, and doing so much better thanks to the principles on money in Your Word.)

Excuse me while I stir myself up, "Bridgett, quit making excuses and do those things you know to do! Obey God. You know when you do it, it always makes things a lot easier! Pray more consistently, Bridgett. Obey the Holy Spirit right away when He prompts you to witness to someone. Shut your mouth when you have a negative thought in your head. Let encouraging words flow freely from your lips and quit being stingy with them."

Ahh... that felt good. The best part of it all, that when I obey Him---I get to enjoy His presence and blessing. And that feels soooooo much better than going my way and being on my own.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Prov 8:36 "But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death."
Self-inflicting wounds...that's what I think of when I read this verse. Self-bondage...masochistic (had to look up how to spell that one. :) ) christians.
It seems silly to choose to do wrong, I am not just hurting my heavenly Father and rgose around me, but truly I am hurting myself.
Ezek 41-46
Lots of proof in these scriptures that God believes in order and having a plan. Every measurement of the temple was exact and the requirements for the holiness of the priests were exact too. Why? I figure because everything stood for something. The sacrifices were pictures of Jesus and his perfection...a bad picture would mar the true meaning.
I think of that in my own life...I am supposed to be a little picture of Jesus...ouch! Sometimes I don't do so well. My lack of compassion, my prayerlessness certainly don't represent Him well. Abba, forgive me for falling behind so bad this month on my Bible meditating. Even though the reading of Ezekiel can seem boring an uninspiring at times...if I just think and meditate like today, I can certainly get something challenging from Your word. I love You, Abba!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ezekiel 21-22
It's obvious God, that with You things are black and white. So often we try to grey the lonesd lines of right and wrong. This is so against Your character. The priests of Israel were being destroyed because they put no difference between the holy and profane...the clean and the unclean. I was just thinking that it didn't explain their reasons for doing that, so I guess truth be told that it matters not that if I am trying to "reach out" to someone by being like them...there should be a distinct difference between a saved and unsaved person. Not just in my dress, but also in my attitude (ouch need that conviction) and in my spirit. Abba thats what I am going to focus on today. Help me to have an obvious difference in my attitude as a saved person today. The joy of the LORD is my strength!