Friday, December 24, 2010


I know this is not a Christmas song but…one of Christ’s names is Immanuel which means Christ with us. I’ve always loved the concept of abiding…”settle down and make yourself at home”…which I believe is very critical to our developing an intimate relationship with Christ. He talks about it in John 15, encouraging us to “become” comfortable with Him. This hymn also encourages closeness. It was written by Henry Lyte in 1847,shortly before his own home-going.It has been a hymn of great consolation and encouragement ever since. Pastor Lyte was a sickly man but a very spiritual one. He suffered from asthma and tuberculosis. Despite his poor health, he was a tireless worker with a reputation as a poet, musician and minister. This is the man  who coined the phase,”it is better to wear out than to rust out.” He pastored for years in Devonshire, England but the climate caused his health to deteriorate and he moved to southern Italy where it was warmer. It is said for his last sermon to his poor parishioners, he literally had to crawl to the pulpit, but he did, and exhorted them to prepare themselves for the solemn hour when they too would join their precious Lord. He stressed the concept of ABIDING IN CHRISTON A CONTINUING BASIS. It is said he wrote this beautiful hymn just before he died, was sung infrequently in England at the time. In 1855 Henry Ward Beecher wrote a collection of hymns and noted that this one should be “read and not sung.” Later, a man named William Henry Monk , a music editor of a well-known Anglican Church Hymnal and included in the first edition of that hymnal published in 1861.

William Monk personally contributed fifty original tunes for the hymnal. In addition to his work as editor of this hymnal, considered by hymnologists to be one of the most important hymnals ever published. Additionally, he was choir director and organist at King’s College, London.

Henry Lyte’s text for this hymn was taken from the account of Christ’s walk with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and their statement, “Abide with us for it is toward evening and the day is spent,” Lk 24:29. Another of his hymns is “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken.

I love the idea of God desiring us to abide with Him…not so much in a physical place but in the heart…to be so comfortable with him that we sense His nearness and we begin to “talk” with Him continually…the Scripture says to “pray without ceasing…” and I believe that is what is meant here. We abide with our spouse, we’ve gotten use to him/her and enjoy and look forward to being with him/her. Comfortable with the Lord and it CAN be attained along with contentment and rest…qualities that saints should aspire to and work toward. God desires us to be whole emotionally, and as we work on these concepts, emotional wholeness becomes a reality and we can rest in His desire and ability to care for us. Abide…what a beautiful word.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


One of the great problem in the church today is music…hymns…the younger generation does not care for hymns at all, just “praise music.” Personally, I prefer traditional hymns but I don’t mind the older chorus’ such as “Isn’t He, Jesus, Name Above All Names,” etc. A nice mixture can really enhance a worship service.

I recently received an early Christmas gift for my Kindle from my son Bill, a devotional entitled Amazing Grace, 366 Hymn Stories. As I began looking thru it I thought perhaps there are other bloggers interested in background to these hymns, so here goes.

This great hymn was written in the 18th century, in Wales. A young man named William Williams was preparing to go to medical school. He came across an itinerant preacher, Howell Harris holding evangelistic services, attended and came to Christ. One of the attractions to the services was gospel singing by the congregation. He decided to also dedicate his life to preaching the Gospel, traveled one hundred thousand miles over forty three years on horseback, preaching and singing. He wrote and sang in Welsh so that the listeners could learn the songs. He earned the title, “sweet singer of Wales.”

His inspiration for this particular hymn came from the record of the Israelites travels in the wilderness from Egypt to Canaan. Throughout all the 40 years of wandering God provided all they needed, food in the form of manna…fresh every day. Water as they needed it, their shoes never wore out and they followed a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He was always there…guiding!

Is this God of the Israelites the same God we worship today? Of course He is, problem for us is we don’t get to know him so that we can trust and wait for Him to supply our needs. We are very use to meeting our own needs by whatever means possible, sometimes without even consulting Him. It had taken me the better part of 30 years to learn some of the lessons of trusting and waiting…try it, you’ll like it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Full Thanksgiving Now We Come

In Full Thanksgiving Now We Come
To be Sung to the Tune of
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
(Alternate Tune)
O Lord our Father and our King,
Your gracious Name we gladly sing;
Our minds and hearts to Thee we raise,
And lift your Name in glorious praise!

In full Thanksgiving now we come,
Where worldly tongues are sadly dumb.
With grateful hearts for all Thy grace,
The favor of our Father's Face.

His blessings many, showered down,
The chief, to see our Master's crown!
To walk with Him, as one made pure,
Secured in mercy through God's Door

That Door is Jesus, God's blessed Son,
God's precious Lamb, His Only One!
He took our sin, and made us clean,
So we may worship unashamed.

His Kingdom here is but a taste,
Of glory all we hope will haste!
But until realized then we stay,
And work and serve, and live and pray.

We thank you Father for Thy Love,
And for all else sent from above.
But yet we long for that glad day,
When in You presence we will stay!

O Lord our Father and our King,
Your gracious Name we gladly sing;
Our minds and hearts to Thee we raise,
And lift your Name in glorious praise!
Original Words by Pastor Bill Farrow
Valley Forge Baptist Church 

Saturday, November 20, 2010



Many years ago, in the midst of one of the most troubling times of my life, I came across a very lovely verse, a verse that would sustain me many, many times over the years to come. It comes from Psalm 41:12, "Thou Lord upholds me in my integrity" The time period in my personal life way very stressful, especially financially, and I was a new Christian. I didn't know the Word very well, nor did I have any idea what the character of God was like. All I knew was that I was truly hurting and had no place to turn...I literally threw myself into God's arms, looking for mercy and leading. I realized I hadnothing financially, but integrity was something important to me.
I began to search the Word for promises, mainly because my Pastor told me God always keeps His promises because He cannot deny Himself. As I read, I journaled constantly, and wrote promises in red. I frequently memorized them, carrying a small notebook with me where I wrote them down to keep them with me. When God says HE upholds our integrity...that's's like salvation, He gives and no one can take it away. Truth, right living, learning to control my thoughts and my tongue in order to interact with people in a godly way, all became very important to me. I found verses like: "Peace I give to you, My peace I give you..."John 14:27 and in the same area of Scripture He said, "I have told you these things that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete, John 15:11. I realized that if He could have that sense of peace and joy 24 hours from the could I not lean on Him for the same experience. Reality...the promise is there, it's up to me to hold onto it for myself, and believe He does what He says. That time in my life was very hard, but I really learned WHO He was, and how much He loved me, for no reason but that He chose to. Incredible, true, precious and available to you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Want to Be a Honker

Jesus told us not to worry about our life and it’s needs. Psa 37 tells us not to “fret ourselves”…and the Apostle Peter tells us to “cast our cares on Him because He cares for you.  Good advice particularly for those of us that tend to fret or mull over things that are in our minds. The last few days I read some of this material in a devotional, thought it exceptional and would like to share it. It’s an illustration from nature.

Along with not worrying, Jesus told us to look at the birds, and how God cares for them. We may well wonder what in the heck we can learn from a bunch of birds. Well be prepared for a surprise, I was truly impressed by the following story about geese.

Winter is approaching and geese are flying south for the winter. They do this year after year. First, notice they fly united. They don’t fly separately, in random style because alone, they can’t go the distance. They are designed to flu in the usual V formation that we see in the fall and early winter. When the bird flaps it’s wings, the air movement created provides an uplift, easing the work load of the bird behind it. Together, their flight range increases about 71%. Even the youngest, weakest, and oldest geese can make the trip, because they accomplish together what they cannot accomplish separately. Here is the lesson: Scripture tells us, “let us meet together and encourage one another.” We are not called to fly solo! Occasionally a goose strays off on its own but soon becomes exhausted, loses altitude and ultimately pulls wearily back into formation. “Look at the birds,” and learn!

Every goose is a “pinch-hitter.” When one gets into a pinch, another goes to bat for him. Every formation has a “point goose.” He’s out front leading, setting the pace for the others. It’s a tough position because the point goose cuts the headwinds, meets the changing weather conditions, is the first to feel the rain in it’s face, the snow in its eyes and the ice on its wings. He keeps the formation on target whatever the situation. It’s hard, exhausting and lonely at times because there’s nobody ahead of him to be the wind beneath his wings. The formation depends on him to persevere, stay on track and get them safely to their destination.

Every church has a point goose…he’s called the pastor! Each department has a point goose, education, youth, finance evangelism, care ministries, etc.. They lead, set the pace, and give direction to those who follow. Point ministries are usually over-functioning and tend to burn out. Just before the point goose is exhausted, a space opens up in the formation and he slips back into it while another bird replaces him, seamlessly becoming the next point goose. Pinch-hitting for each other preserves the life of the formation. A great church isn’t about great staff, it’s about volunteers willing to pinch-hit whenever needed.

In the world of geese, the aged, very young and infirm are kept protected in the rear of the formation. But they aren’t isolated, discounted, or considered useless; they fulfill a vital role. They become the honking section and cheer for the leader. Inevitably bad weather threatens the mission. The going gets tough and the tough are struggling. From the rear of the formation a lone honk sounds, initiating a goose chorus honking encouragement to the point goose. We too need a “honking” section in times of stress, and that’s part of the responsibility of the church…encouraging! Speaking uplifting words, praying for us, some saying, ‘we are behind you, we’ve got your back.” Many servants of Christ have crossed there valley of discouragement because of the “honking” of an old, pock marked, battle-hardened, straggle-feathered honker, too stubborn to let a brother or sister quit on their watch! A few “honks” of encouragement can overpower a storm of complaints. So be an encouraging “honker.”

Geese have life-long relationships, fully committed to each other. When the ravages of time or circumstances make it impossible for a bird to continue the trip and it begins to lose altitude or fails to keep abreast of the formation, the gaggle provides it comfort, nurture and protection. Two strong geese leave the formation, flying with the “patient” safely between them, finding a sheltered location with food and water and make a home for the needy bird. They’ll stay with their ward until it either recovers or dies before joining another formation. For them, everything goes on hold to care for the ailing bird. What an example to us of self-sacrificing love! If a gaggle of birds can do it, surely God’s family ought to be able to do it.

Lost and stray geese are always welcomed into a formation. There is no elite club for geese. When a bird is separated from it’s gaggle by weather, accident or infirmity, it is taken into another and given full family status. Thee formation will alter it’s plans, reschedule it’s arrival time, and inconvenience itself to accommodate a straggler that needs them. Many bird newcomers arrive dirty, bedraggled, and ill fed. They are never turned away. God’s church isn’t a museum for masterpieces, its a hospital for those who have been hurt by life. Christ has no higher agenda than to welcome than to recruit, save, and adopt to adopt a stranger into the fold. We need to re-read the section in I Cor 6 that speaks to the issue of just who it is Jesus sends us out to recruit for His gaggle…we ourselves were taken into the formation, washed, sanctified, justified and given full family status! And thank God we were!!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The Scripture tells us ,”blessed is he who perseveres,” James 1:12. I’m sure I am not the only one that at times has felt like giving up, just throwing my hands up in the air and quitting…am I? Probably not. Simply because trouble comes to all of we believers, trouble that is especially designed to smooth off rough edges, teach us some valuable lesson God knows we would not learn any other way, or something along that line. I’ve been a believer for 36 years and in full time ministry for 29, believe me when I tell you I have learned some hard lessons…all at God’s hand, and looking back, I would not have missed even one. I said, “looking back.” At the time the emotion was not always positive. I’ve noticed in myself, every time God wants to make a major change/shift in my ministering, I initially fight Him…not always consciously, but a battle goes on in my heart and mind. Possibly, it would be better said the battle is in my mind. I’ve learned over the years, my mind is not reliable and neither are my emotions. My spirit is because it is controlled by the Lord. Very early on He begins to teach us discernment, some people have the spiritual gift of discernment, don’t always recognize it and frequently don’t trust it until someone much older in the Lord teaches them how and why. They are truly blessed because that gift is badly needed today within the body of Christ. There are many, many false teachers and con men coming into our churches and taking advantage of the flock. People with the gift of discernment can “sense” they are not really what they say they are. God knows this kind of thing would come about which is why He provides the church with such gifted people. They need to trust their relationship with the Lord and exercise the gift and not “feel” as if they are judging. I used those quotation marks on purpose because many times that happens…we make judgments all the time, all of us. But spiritual discernment is another whole thing…when the Spirit of God speaks in that still small voice, that’s discernment and we need to listen. Discernment needs to be exercised…trained. To do that and discern correctly, you must meditate on the Word, memorizing passages that speak to you and your gift, always compare what God is saying to your spirit with what He says in His Word. We know He will never contradict Himself so knowledge of Scripture is important. Be willing to observe and obey the conditions that go with His promises.Hebrews 5:14 tells us that “who by constant use have trained themselves and their senses to discern.” Practice means you may make mistakes, so be willing to learn from them, and grow in this area. When your head doesn’t know which way to go, trust your spirit, your Spirit trained spirit will guide you correctly. It takes faith to operate in the spiritual area, not reason, and if you are going to go for reasonable answers and guidance, you  will not develop discernment and will make many wrong choices and decisions. These times are usually when we most want to give up…we feel like a failure and are ready to quit. Don’t, just cling to God and remember this: “reasoning is a product of your head, discernment is a product of  your spirit. Your head doesn’t comprehend/understand spiritual things, you cannot count on it leading you correctly. But…God in His mercy will, and He will never let you down or leave you all alone. he will be there, especially when you want to give up because for many of us that is a “bottoming out “ experience and God meets lots of people at the bottom, and then makes great saints out of them because they have learned they can’t do it….but He can…and will.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Have you ever considered how much time you spend with the Lord???? I dare say, most of us don’t  We may be fairly serious about tithing our money, but not too serious about tithing time. It works out to 2 hours and 20 minutes a day…how do you rate? The Word tells us to learn to pray without ceasing, not to hard a task if you are in the habit of consulting God about your daily itinery…again, most of us aren’t, we go ahead and make our own decisions without bringing God into the equation. You might be surprised at how much He would have to say about the matter. That still, small voice of His can powerfully affect our hearts and minds, and change them. He always sees the bigger picture and the other people involved plus, the long term implications for all concerned. He always wants what’s best for us…all the time.

Personally, I think this present generation is so self-centered it rarely if ever thinks beyond “me” and that’s a pity. The Godhead constantly thinks of us and the outworkings of our lives. We don’t make it easy for them either…beside being selfish, we’re stubborn and don’t want to be corrected, even by God! I teach a class to prisoners on Healing For Damaged Emotions. It takes us back to the way we were raised, by whom, and how. It is pretty amazing how much the Holy Spirit can bring back to memory scenes long forgotten, or thot to be. We are all as product of our upbringing, good and bad. It is those bad habits and character traits
God wants to change by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. However, and it’s a big however, we must voluntarily give Him the time through the reading of the Word, prayer, meditation, memorization  to show us our flaws and lead us in the proper way to correct them in order for us to be whole, emotionally. Every generation that allows that to happen on a personal basis, breaks the cycle of bad character and it’s effect on the next generation. It is sin that is transmitted through the genes and causes the sin to show up in flaws. Only God can correct the mess.That’s why Christ came, paid the penalty price for us all, went back to the right hand of the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to finish what He started. The Father desires many sons for His glory, and we, as redeemed sinners are those sons…glory!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Did you ever wonder why you are here? I’m sure you have, you’d be very unusual if you didn’t. If you listen to the world and contemplate evolution, you might think there was no purpose for you, at least nothing in particular, just chance. Cultural thinking says we are totally in control of our own destiny, we make or break our own way. The popular religions today tell us life is all about “us” and what God can do for us…never what we can and should do for Him.

In reality, God made us for Himself, to be loved by Him, to learn to love Him back, to allow Him and the written Word to so change us, to “conform us to the image of Christ,” that we bring glory and pleasure to Him. Do we think about that? I doubt many of us do on any kind of regular basis, and probably rarely work on it. We are required to allow the Holy Spirit to change us morally, spiritually and even physically…we should all be aware that our inner self or character NEEDS changing…we all have trouble with self-image, our view of ourselves. We frequently put ourselves down even if it is in our own minds, and think negative thoughts about us. There is a verse I like that speaks to that: “Hear my prayer my Father, listen to my plea and answer, for my thoughts trouble me and I am distraught,” Psa 55:1-2. 

We also need to remember that it takes the Lord along time to make the changes He wants to make in us. We don’t get that way over night, and we are not going to change over night. It may take years of prayer and Bible reading for Him to get across to us the character flaws He desires to correct. Other believers can act like “sandpaper” on us, rubbing rough spots of our character with rough spots of their own until they smooth out. Lots of Christians don’t even realize they need to make changes, that it is part of our growth process to allow the Holy Spirit to change things about us that are not Christlike. And believe me, He can put His finger on problems and convict us until we see what He is driving at. Sometimes other believers will tell us flaws they see, which we should then take to the Lord and ask Him for verification and then act on it. Never ,never should we ignore the Lord. Usually He will pursue us by bringing some circumstance around again to remind us He is pointing to some change. The truly unfortunate people are the ones that go through life thinking they are perfect or nearly so, and have no need for change. They can make life very unhappy for lots of others around them and cause a lot of disruption in the church. That’s not what God wants from us, He wants us to be as loving, kind, and peaceful as Jesus and to share our loving ways with others.

So the answer to the question, “why are we here?” We are created to bring glory to God, love Him and be loved by Him forever…what  great purpose!!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010


God’s Word tells us in I Timothy 1:7, ‘God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind.”  Why do we get this spirit of anxiety from time to time?? Is it our life style, our diet, guilt, etc., There are times when I’m not sure we can really put a finger on the cause, but it seems to be a mindset that happens frequently to many people. Today, in 2010, it seems to me we have a lot to be anxious about…the state of our state, our country and world, the financial situation here in the USA. All of these situations and many more contribute to a sense of uneasiness, don’t they. Nothing seems stable anymore, and we are not sure what tomorrow will bring.

I’ve often wondered what those without Christ do to cope with this “fear.” Without God to hold onto, to lean into and be supportive…what does one do? The Scripture is full of reassuring chapters and verses that very forcibly tell us that God is in control and will never forsake us, never. Almost the entire book of
Psalms states problems, then when the author turns to God, what His solution is, to relieve our minds and hearts. When I am distraught I frequently read through the Psalms, and maybe a few of the Proverbs. John 13,14, 15, 16, and 17 are always comforting. Plus, the concept of “abiding” fascinates me, making chapter 15 my favorite. I like to memorize the Word, and carry a small notebook with me where I have recorded various verses that are meaningful when I am in a poor state of mind.

What are some of the root causes of these nasty “feelings”…my son Bill likes to remind me that I should not go by feelings but by what I know to be true, and truth only comes from Jesus…remember the Scripture where He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. “ He is saying that there is no truth without a relationship with Him…pure and simple. So, the Word puts out truth and that’s that. Think about it and I think you will agree. One of the feelings that mess us up is feeling inadequate, not measuring up…do we sometimes have unrealistic standards for ourselves and others that we cannot possibly live up to? Perhaps. And then, we “feel” inadequate. Guilt can do a number on us too…real and/or perceived. True guilt can be given over to God, forgiven and put away by memorizing Scripture that tells us just that, such as I John 1:9, “if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It doesn’t get much more explicit than that.   However, we have to believe it.  False guilt is more difficult because we don’t have the same sense of forgiveness…we are not sure God is forgiving us, so the perceiv4d guilt lingers. Many of us grew up without a sense of security, which we are supposed to get from our family. It doesn’t always happen that way, especially today, it is every man for himself these days. Mom and Dad do not convey a sense of unconditional love, so we grow up feeling we MUST measure up to what we perceive Mom and Dad expect of us, to be loved. Complicated isn’t it???? The human mind is such a sophisticated piece of us, and also happens to be the control tower of our thinking processes.


Saturday, March 27, 2010


I have been a believer for 36 years, came back to the Lord in 1974 after reading a book called, “Late, Great, Planet Earth,” by Hal Lindsey. The book vividly described end time events, and I was completely turned around spiritually. I had a fair knowledge of these events from my childhood, I had been brought up in a nominal Christian home in a small town here in South Jersey. Most of our lives revolved around events in our local Methodist Church. I had a very good knowledge of the Scripture and the book brought it all back. Since then I have read and studied, the Bible as well as paying close attention to current events. The two or three Bible teachers I consider well versed in prophecy agree we are most likely in the generation that will be “caught up” into the clouds in what is referred to as the Rapture of the church. I believe as they do that current events, beginning with the re-birth of Israel in 1948, point to the soon to happen,Tribulation, a seven year period of God’s final dealing with His people Israel, to bring them to Himself. It is also the time when His wrath will be poured out on unbelieving mankind. It will be horrible beyond imagining, but well deserved. If you have never read Revelation and Daniel, you should because you are living it. I must admit, even knowing as I do, that God is completely in control and nothing happens without His knowledge and approval…from a Christian perspective, all is well.

Even with all I know and believe to be true, I am still taken aback with what is going on right now…it fits very well into the overall picture but I have a hard time processing it all. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that the generation that sees Israel become a nation once again, will live to see Him return in power and glory, to rule and reign on earth for 1,000 years, called the Millennium. The Bible states a generation is “three score years and ten.” Close? You bet. Then we have nation alliances, Russia aligning with the Arab nations, China very big militarily, and a huge population. The EU getting bigger and bigger, controlling more and more of it’s member nation resources, borders, money and foreign policy. Daniel speaks of a great increase in knowledge, travel, gadgets and technology, world wide communication and TV. Then there is the matter of a nation such as Iran openly declaring their intention to push Israel into the Mediterranean Sea and be rid of her, and…to that end they are developing nuclear weapons. Christians are beginning to be put down and shut up, accused of hate speech and such. Jesus spoke of wars and rumors of wars, ethnic groups versus ethnic groups, religious deception, and how about weather changes, earthquakes, bigger and multiples, tsunamis, hotter summers and colder winters. We have food shortages in many places on earth and diseases that are becoming more difficult to cure. Jesus also speaks of anguish of heart and spirit, perplexity , peoples hearts failing them from stress. And now we have Obama. I have paid attention to Presidents since John Kennedy…he was the first president I voted for, fifty years ago.  I would ask anyone that reads this blog to read the Scripture I gave, Daniel, Revelation, and Matthew 24, and read them in varying translations to get the full flavor of the teaching…and then sit down and ponder where our progressive president is taking us…NOW!

We are on a dangerous course, our Constitution and Bill of Rights are being shredded and ignored completely. Congress is by and large, sold out to special interest groups, which makes them unable to do anything ethically and morally correct. We will fall to our debt, collapse from within and be part of what is happening in Europe, or worse. Mr Obama is a pied piper, and we are the mice. His disgusting behavior this past week with Benjamin Netanyahou, Prime Minister of Israel, speaks volumes to any one that knows the Scripture. Of, just has a sense of decency. Wake up America, wake up, be sure of your position in Christ and when it’s time to vote, VOTE! You may not have another opportunity.

Friday, March 26, 2010


We live in a whirlwind society…busy, busy, busy! We are never still. I am as guilty of it as anybody and God has had to deal with me harshly more than once, I am ashamed to say. I am a classic “type A” which means I picture a goal straight ahead, and heaven help you if you get in my way. It’s not a malicious thing, but a focus thing. God has taught me many interesting lessons in my 37 years as a Christian…quite a few in the category of my work.  Working as a teacher/counselor to inmates inside a state prison isn’t too high on the priority list of missionaries, but it’s where God called and placed me. Let me tell you right off, had I known then what I know now…well, I probably would have gone on and done the same. Prison ministry, especially hands-on, direct contact is difficult and challenging. I had one thing “up” on a lot of folks that put their hand to that plow…I was middle aged when I started, thus a “mother figure” and it served me well. I have since graduated to a “grandmother figure”…29 years later will do that…and being older granted me respect, and a hearing. My classes are always well attended, and I never had a discipline problem. The men knew that I had lived through many experiences, and I was willing to share them to get a point across from Scripture. They also knew I was a volunteer…no paycheck for being there. But the drawback for me was I saw the need…it was overwhelming…and unmet. It still is. Very few people have any desire to go into that setting and attempt to convert addicts, alcoholics, womanizers and thieves. But, that’s where I ended up and I wouldn’t change anything. But I would say the need made me work longer hours, more days, be more intense than I should have been…I forgot that God is NOT a hard taskmaster, HE remembers we are dust and doesn’t expect as much out of us as we think He does.We strive for goals He never gave us. Jesus said “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” It won’t destroy your health or your peace of mind. I’ve learned that the hard way. We tend to lose perspective and our priorities get out of line. And, a very important thing I learned, if I feel guilty about taking a break, time to change my way of thinking. I’m nor lazy because I’m tired. God never intends for us to take on more than we can safely handle and does intend us to know when enough is enough…the what, when, and how of our commitment. Rest, can be a state of mind. But it can also have to do with the physical, spiritual and emotional part of our lives. Listening to inmates stories, most of which I have absolutely no control over or ability to change…can and did do me in. I recovered, but it left me with a weakness emotionally that I have to watch all the time. I am good at what I do but I must be very careful about how long, intensely, and actively I do it before taking a break. Occasionally, I have to sit down with the Lord and re-prioritize my days…getting older puts limits on how much of anything I can do and I have to respect that or pay a price I won’t like! Now I said all this to try to emphasize to any who may read this blog that God doesn’t drive us…we drive ourselves…He said in Genesis 2:2 “God ended His work…and he rested” It doesn’t say it was permanent rest, but it was regular rest, according to Exodus 20. There He instituted a weekly physical rest but as you think about the physical, you must realize it also includes emotional and mainly spiritual. Humans need time out…too bad in our “modern” society we don’t realize it and honor the God that instituted it…we could and should spend the Sabbath rest with Him, and REALLY get some rest.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Have you given much thought to the concept of Godly intimacy??? Probably not, because it is not something preached or talked about, no Bible studies on the subject…but it is what God wants from each of us. the whole of John 15 is about abiding, another word for intimacy. To abide conveys the idea of “settling down and making yourself at home with another.” Marriage is supposed to create the atmosphere of abiding, leading or culminating in intimacy. How does this transfer to our relationship with God Himself??? As far as I can tell, and this is from my own experience and application, Romans 12:1-2 is the starting point…”I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present yourselves, A LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God…it is your reasonable service (spiritual act of worship, NIV). And, be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your MINDS, that you may test and approve what God’s will is… His good, perfect and acceptable will of God.” In marriage, we give ourselves to another, one we love and desire to spend the rest of our lives with. It means giving in many different ways…deferring to the others likes and dislikes in a variety of ways, changing habits that interfere with getting along well, it means respecting the others family ties and arranging your lives together in time with family plans…it means many changes because of your love for the other person. And of course the ultimate intimacy is physical, as the two become one. In Genesis the word “cleave” is used. I remember reading years ago that cleave is from the same root word as glued…imagine being glued to your partner, but it does paint a picture doesn’t it!!!! Now transfer in your mind that idea…glued to God. Can’t think of a more safe place to live, being so close to God, I’m glued. And of course that works both ways…He is glued to me! Now if that is so, and I have come to love Him so much that I don’t want any separation between us…I will WANT to be conformed to His likeness. In Romans 8:29 we are told “those whom God foreknew, he predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…whom He predestined He called, justified and glorified.” In Ephesians 4:22-24 we are told to “put off the old self, which is corrupted by our deceitful human desires, and be made new in the attitude of your minds and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” This is indeed a beautiful picture of two becoming one, but who could ever imagine that God would want to that intimate with the likes of us. But, the whole of His Word and His very character says yea, and amen. It obviously is why He created us in the first place and then had to send His Son to redeem us because of sin, in the second place. We must have great value to Him…from His point of view.

I don’t know about you, but I am very happy I have all eternity to show my gratitude, love and praise for Him…and frequently wonder if even eternity is long enough to praise our God and Father.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


In Luke 11:1, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Farther on in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul followed His lead in his own prayer life, giving us some extraordinary examples of just how we could pray for our families and friends. Along with the example, we need to remember when we pray the Word back to it’s Author, He cannot deny Himself and will answer. In John 15 Jesus tells His followers “ask ANYTHING according to My will, and it’s yours…” did you get that? According to His will???? Constant contact with Christ changes our point of view and our asking changes, because we see things from His point of view. Additio9nally, praying His own Word back to Him keeps us in His will because it’s promised in His Word! He is indeed an amazing God1

Back to Jesus and Paul’s patterns in prayer…

1. ADDRESSING GOD…Always be mindful of Who you are addressing, I have never been one to be overly familiar to the point of “Daddy”…but that’s me. I had a very dear father, one I was completely comfortable with…I carried that over into my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Not everyone is that fortunate and their relationship with God suffers for it.

2 BE BRIEF…all of Jesus and Paul’s prayers are brief and to the point. Wordy praying is usually windy praying.

3. BE DEFINITE…don’t ramble, keep focused on WHOM you are talking to…I believe strongly that our Father LOVES to give and do for us, and when we are specific, all the better. If He knows it’s not good for us, He’ll overrule…would you have it any other way????  Notice that most of Paul’s prayers were spiritual in content, sharply defined. He knew what he saw either in people’s lives or missing in their lives. He then prayed for those things. Oswald Chambers said God gives us insight into people’s lives not to criticize but to pray for God to change them…excellent to remember.

4. BE CONFIDENT…if you know you are where you should be spiritually, you can ask with confidence, especially when you are praying God’s Word back to Him…God will never deny His Word! When praying for physical issues or financial, I try not to dictate…I realize god frequently uses these very issues to “grow us up”… and won’t always answer in the manner we think He should, but it’s always answered in the BEST WAY possible for the circumstance. I have experienced both problems many times in my walk with the Lord, and must say He is faithful, but He also works to “stretch” us. I have been in the habit of deferring to God’s Omnipotence and love for me. I will use this phrase after my petition, “if it pleases You.” I’ve learned I don’t always know the best answer, but He does and I want His best more than my answer my way.  He is trustworthy!!!

Notice in the Apostolic prayers, he doesn’t petition for temporal things, rather spiritual and gracious things. Here are some of his  requests for his followers…

Ephesians 1:17-19

1. understanding

2. revelation of Himself

3. opened eyes

4. to know His calling, riches of His glory in His inheritance with us.

5. the exceeding greatness of His power toward us

Ephesians 3:16-19

1. grant us to be strengthened internally

2. to have Christ dwell in us richly, by faith

3. to know the love of Christ

4. to be filled with all of God’s fullness

Philippians 1:9=11

1. to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing

Colossians 1:10

1. to be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom

2. to walk in a manner worthy of Him

3. to please Him in all respects

4. bearing fruit in every good work

5. increasing in the knowledge of Him

6. strengthened with all power, according to His gracious might

7. attain all steadfastness and Patience, joyously


Paul’s petitions usually ended with this: “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

In praying we need to remember the concerns and interests of God come first. Whatever He is working out in your life will be for His glory first, secondly for your good. That’s what Romans 8:28 is all about. Additionally, remember worship is no substitute for service and service is no substitute for worship…true worship will inevitably find it’s expression in loving, sacrificial service.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Most of the New Testament prayers were Paul’s, for and about the Gentiles that came out of heathenism. Being their spiritual father it is natural that he also be their devotional example. His prayers are so natural, and contain so much emotion, we can safely assume he spent ALOT of time talking with the Lord about the converts and many other subjects of concern. As a contrast, statistics tell us that the average pastor spends 4 minutes a day in prayer for his people…which explains why the church today is so weak and powerless…God does not use prayerless ministers and missionaries!

Paul was concerned for his converts well being and growth, which urged him to appeal to the Father on their behalf, and to offer thanks for the opportunity to minister to them. His concerns were justified, as this was an age of superficiality, and ignorance of the True and Living God, since most of the Roman world worshipped Caesar or other Baal-type gods.

Prayer in it’s highest and fullest sense rises from a heart full of thanksgiving, from a heart filled with the wonder  of God and His working among men. Such “thinking” bears the heart and mind before God in worship and adoration. As we learn to understand  “who we are” before Him…sinful, unworthy beings, …”and “who He is”…One before whom even the Seraphim veil their faces, Isaiah 6:2. We can become aware He has us made His sons, by His grace and mercy…sons, and everything that entails including heirship, Romans 8:16-17, but creatures still. Our present age shouts  that we are all “somebody”…with a spark within us that is good, we just need education and opportunity to bring it out.
it’s the opposite of what the Bible teaches, and what God Himself declares, that we are all totally depraved because of the fall in Genesis 3, Romans 3:23. We need to be born again, John 3, with a new start, and then and only then can we begin to have value to God  because the new us. We are new because of what Christ did Colossians 2:13, not something we did on our own. If left to ourselves, none of us would come to God or even desire to do so , John 6:44. And…we would be totally and eternally lost.

Bearing in mind our standing before God, as we begin prayer we should keep three things in mind:

1. CONFESSION of sin, and recognition of who we are

2. PETITION of needs and requests

3. HOMAGE of our hearts to our Father

Blended together, these attitudes of our hearts to His become as the fragrance of incense, pleasing to Him.

The Apostle Paul gave us this example: “we will devote ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word,” Acts 6:4. We New Testament believers have a responsibility to lay hold of God and write His Word on the hearts of those listening to us. We must prevent the enemy from snatching away the seed…the only means to this end is prayer, continual, fervent prayer for those we share with and teach…and God will bless our efforts that they may bear fruit to His eternal praise.

Prayer is the appointed means of receiving spiritual communion from God…along with time in His Word in order to learn what He needs us to teach and witness to. Time spent with Him, quietly, to fit ourselves to go and tell…this is a heavy responsibility! We must learn about blessings,spiritual gifts and graces, They are recorded over and over in His Word, we must read, meditate, memorize…spend time alone with Him in order to receive our orders from Him. Romans 8:26-27 tells us that the Spirit reveals to us in quiet times, the will of the Father…and then gives directions…in quiet times! In our present day, how much quiet do we surround ourselves with…we are always on the go. God wants to communicate but He speaks in a still, small voice…we need to be quiet to hear Him! ! John 5:14-15 os one of those precious verses that give us assurance that when we “right” and quiet before Him…He WILL reveal His desires for us and will grant them. Praise His Name, He is  always THERE for us!