Archive for November, 2008

Preparing for Prayer

Posted in Prayer with tags , , , , , on 2008/11/20 by NY4JB

My first reaction to the idea of writing out prayer in a journal was very negative, but as I thought about it more I changed my mind and realized even that wasn’t enough preparation before formal prayer time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about scheduled prayer times, there are times we should also speak freely and spontaneously to God (for example, if somebody tells us of a special need we should pray with them right then and there) but would I go to see an important person to present a request without preparing?  For example, if I was going to ask the President of a big company for a special favor would I just walk into his office and start talking without a plan?  Of course not, I would first have to get an appointment to see them and then I would plan my presentation and prepare for questions that might come up, knowing that this might be my only shot at gaining favor.  So, why would I go before God with my scribbled prayer list and expect him to wait on me while I stumble through my ill-prepared speech about what I want him to do?  Yet, many times that is exactly what I do.  God is gracious enough to let me set the time and place for our appointment and I have the nerve to show up unprepared.  I wouldn’t make a blog entry without reading it over and making sure it’s reasonably cohesive, I should do at least the same before meeting with God.

Heavenly Father,
You are great and merciful; please hear your servant’s prayer.  I am thankful that you allow me, by the blood of your son Jesus Christ who is my Lord and Saviour, to come before you at all.  Have mercy on me and forgive the arrogance of my coming before you without proper preparation.  Please give me wisdom and the patience to prepare my heart and my words before I come before you.  It is in the great name of Jesus Christ that I pray.
Amen

In These Last Days . . .

Posted in faith with tags , , on 2008/11/18 by NY4JB

I have a problem with end-time preaching; I often hear that the end is coming soon and how the Bible predicts it because of this or that, but every generation has thought that they would be the last generation.  It’s human arrogance to think we are of some special generation.  While I have no doubt that life on Earth will end at some point, after all nothing in our universe lasts forever, it is not likely to end during my lifetime.  However unlikely, we should still be prepared at all times to be judged because we don’t know when we will die.

Hebrews 9:27 “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…”

When you left your house this morning, did you lock your door?  I think I did but I have come home on several occasions finding that I had forgotten to lock my door, but nothing bad had happened.  Nobody came in and robbed me; even though they could have just walked in and taken anything they wanted.  Yet when I found the door unlocked I thought, ‘I got lucky this time; I need to be more careful.’  Why?  Because I know that I would have nobody but myself to blame if it did happen and that if I left the door unlocked all of the time eventually it would happen.  None of us lives forever and few choose the time of their passing.  Who would say, “Today is my last day; I must settle my debts so I may die with a clear conscience.”  There are a few who know they are dying and have the chance to make plans but most don’t have that opportunity.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

So what’s my problem with end-time preaching, now that I have argued myself into a corner?  The problem is that it raises an unnecessary question/debate, “are we the last generation?”  And people tend to get off-point and argue from their feelings and opinion when even the Bible warns about trying to predict this. 

Matthew 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.

We won’t know when Christ is returning until it’s too late but as Christians we do know without any doubt that each of us will die and face judgment and that should be enough information to keep us on course and encourage us to evangelize our unsaved neighbors.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Why didn’t they ask this?

Posted in Minutia with tags , , , on 2008/11/12 by NY4JB

OK – this is just me being weird but when the whole Milli Vanilli thing went down back in the 80s why did people stop liking the song?  Instead of just getting mad why didn’t they ask who the actual singers were and start liking them?

For those who don’t remember this whole thing it’s on Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milli_Vanilli

I never liked that style of music but it always annoyed me that people liked the song when it was on the radio but stopped liking it just because the people on stage were fakers.  Nobody ever said, “Hey let’s get the real singers out here…”  It’s just confirmation that most people don’t really have any taste and just like stuff because other people like it so they think it’s cool.  Imagine if they knew that many of the musicians that play on stage aren’t the ones on the record…

Thoughts anyone?

Remember Your Roots

Posted in faith with tags , , on 2008/11/05 by NY4JB

I wasn’t going to blog about the election but I think I have something to add to all the noise. 

Some perspective; I was not a fan of either candidate; my ideal/impossible ticket would have been Hillary Clinton/Rudolph Giuliani because they are pragmatic moderates.  As for the two majors; McCain, and the Republicans in general, tend to be idealists that get us into wars, this doesn’t exactly show the world Christian love, making them come off as hypocrites since their platform is generally based on their Christian values.  As an aside one comment I heard on McCain was that we shouldn’t forget his service to the country when he was a POW and since, this is just absurd, just because he suffered for the country doesn’t mean you make him President (it may even be reason to disqualify him as he may be unstable because of the torture he endured).  Obama on the other hand strikes me as a pretty boy who’s had a charmed life; he’s a great speaker but is he real?  I pray that he is but I’m not sure.  Before I get to my real point I will say that McCain’s concession speech last night was excellent he said what needed to be said and I believe he meant it, although he did go on about twice as long as he should have.

Now to get to my main point; here’s a little family history.  My Grandfather was shipped to the United States of America by his family from a small oppressed town in Ireland because the British were taking all the boys who were old enough to fight and shipping them off to war.  Most would never return.  When he arrived in the US he was among the unwelcome Irish that nobody wanted.  I don’t know the fine details of his life but he eventually became a driver for a wealthy family.  My grandmother, also Irish, was a live-in maid for a different family, only seeing her husband and children occasionally.  That was my father’s side of the family.  On the other side, my mother’s grandparents were from Poland, a nation that has been nothing but oppressed.  My grandmother actually spoke both English and Polish (a very challenging language) but refused to teach her children Polish (what a waste) because she wanted them to be all-American so they would be spared the problems being different brings.

So, now you know where I come from, what does this have to do with the election?  Well, seeing the hope that this country represents being fulfilled and the excitement in the diverse groups of faces gathered in Chicago, Atlanta, and Harlem (to borrow a line from John Bunyan’s book Pilgrim’s Progress) “made the water stand in my eyes.” 

The thing is that the next generation in my family tree will no longer have that connection to the past.  My grandparents are long gone, there is nobody left to tell the stories.  The coming generation can not understand oppression.

You might say that’s a good thing, but is it?  They will be soft for they have known nothing of oppression and suffering.  So how will they be able to withstand prosecution and stand fast for the Kingdom?

“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.”
Matthew 24:9 (NLT)

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”
John 15:18 (NLT)

I fear I already see this weakness taken to the next level in many Christians who are full of angst toward those who do not fit their idea of a Christian.

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.”
1 Peter 3:9 (NLT)

“Anyone who hates another brother or sister [Greek hates his brother.] is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”
1 John 3:15 (NLT)

Let us pray,

Heavenly Father, it is by your great mercy that we were called into your family.  Our sins are many and we are undeserving of your consideration but please hear our prayer.  We give thanks that you led our families to the United States just as you delivered your people from slavery in Egypt.  Please let us never forget where we come from and the mercy that you’ve shown us, lest we fall into great sin and be cast away.  May we remain your humble servants and always have great joy in glorifying your name.  In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen