Archive for glory

I can never get ahead…I’m just saying.

Posted in Bible Study, faith, Minutia, Observations, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/10/26 by NY4JB

How many times have we said something like this?  “Every time I get ahead something breaks and I end up behind again.”  As if we are being kept down rather than being provided for.  The Lord tells us that he will provide for us daily yet how many of us trust him?  I’m already thinking of my excuses…

Exodus 16:4-5 (English Standard Version)
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

Just like when Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream (see Genesis 41) and determines that the Lord is going to provide an exceptional harvest for seven years before seven years of famine.  The Lord provided for the hard time to come so they would be ready.  So maybe if we find we have more than we need there is a reason and when we find we are short it is our own fault and not God’s.  And maybe we should give thanks more and complain less…I’m just saying.

Passing these along…

Posted in faith, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/10/22 by NY4JB

I didn’t write these but they are worth passing along…

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.  It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.  The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.  The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.  Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.  As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church…”

And

A woman’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her mother. When the minister arrived, he found the woman lying in bed with her head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside her bed. The minister assumed that the woman had been informed of his visit… ‘I guess you were expecting me, he said.

‘No, who are you?’ said the mother.

The minister told her his name and then remarked, ‘I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up…’

‘Oh yeah, the chair,’ said the bedridden woman ‘Would you mind closing the door?’

Puzzled, the minister shut the door.

‘I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,’ said the woman. ‘But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head…’ I abandoned any attempt at prayer,’ the old woman continued, ‘ until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘ Prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest; sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I will be with you always’.  ‘Then just speak to him in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’  So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.’ 

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old woman to continue on the journey.  Then he prayed with her, anointed her with oil, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her mama had died that afternoon. Did she die in peace?’ he asked. Yes, when I left the house about two o’clock, she called me over to her bedside, told me she loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found her. But there was something strange about her death. Apparently, just before Mom died, she leaned over and rested her head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?’

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, ‘I wish we could all go like that.’

Why Worry

Posted in Bible Study, faith, Minutia, Observations, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/06/15 by NY4JB

Matthew 11:25 (ESV)
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;

Matthew 18:3 (ESV)
and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I need to remember this when I start thinking of all of the stuff I have to do. As it says in the Dire Straits song, “so why worry now…”

God is my father, he adopted me when I accepted His Son, Jesus, as my personal Lord and Saviour, so I’ve got nothing to worry about.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you.

That Guy…

Posted in Bible Study, faith, Minutia, Observations, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/06/01 by NY4JB

We often let our surroundings dictate our state of mind but that is not what the Bible tells us to do.

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Genesis 39:20-23 (English Standard Version)
20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.

Here we see that Joseph, who was wrongfully imprisoned, does not lament this injustice.  Instead he becomes the model prisoner, a trustee of the warden.  This does not change the fact that he is physically in prison but it shows that spiritually he is free despite the injustice of his situation.

Titus 2:9-10 (English Standard Version)
9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Once again in the New Testament we are ordered to “be well-pleasing, not argumentative,” but you may say you are not a slave, in which case it should be even easier to maintain a good state of mind.

Lord, we ask to be made aware of your steadfast love in our lives, so that we may be at peace in all situations and that you help each of us reflect your love to those around us that they may see and believe as well, for Jesus sake we pray.
Amen

Did the enemy get him?

Posted in Bible Study with tags , , , , , , , on 2009/03/24 by NY4JB

I used to think highly of Gordon McDonald until I read this, http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/currenttrendscolumns/leadershipweekly/theshackbykingdavid.html

How he can talk about God the Father in this way “I found myself wanting to sit at her kitchen table and to enjoy her cooking, her conversation, and her maternal affection.”

I find no reference in the Bible to God’s “maternal affection” but I have heard that “…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:17 (ESV)

That is where we need to start, with the Bible; any book that takes liberties and rewrites what the Bible says is dangerous.

Revelation 22:17-19 (ESV)

 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Heavenly Father,
You are great and merciful and we are weak and needy.  Thank you for giving us your word; please protect us from those who would twist and distort it for intentions other than your will.  We know that all will be shaken so we ask for great strength from you that we may be good witnesses to your glory, for Jesus’ sake we pray.
Amen

Suffering

Posted in Observations with tags , , , , , , , on 2009/03/20 by NY4JB

Romans 8:16-18 (ESV)
16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

For those who haven’t heard, my wife’s sister passed away a couple of days ago after being in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit for the last seven months.  I’ve watched my wife ride the day to day ups and downs and take every wave hard even though I would try to warn her not to get too excited when things looked better and not to get too down when things looked bad.  A couple of weeks ago the doctors called her sister’s husband in and told him there was nothing left for them to do.  A week ago, we drove the six hours and the entire family met with the doctors because decisions had to be made.  She was suffering and the doctors had nothing left to offer, they were keeping her alive with no hope of recovery.  This was a painful realization for some who were living with false hope; everyone was in some level of denial; there was debate and concern, was removing what was keeping her failed body alive murder?  Finally, all agreed that she should be made comfortable.

The hospital on the other hand has seen this scenario all too often and even has a dedicated team to handle what they call comfort care.  The family gathered at the hospital again and was granted the use of a conference room inside the ward so they would be close and wouldn’t be sitting out with the other families in the waiting room.  Visiting hours and rules were waived and all were given as much time to say goodbye as they needed.  Then those who wanted to be present gathered in the room and the nurse was informed that we were ready.  The comfort care team was called in and her pain medicine was turned up just to make sure she would not feel any pain or anxiety as the life support was reduced.  They slowly reduced the life support and twenty minutes later her heart stopped.  Her suffering was over and she headed out to see God’s glory.

The family’s suffering continues; arrangements must be made; phone calls; grieving.  I should mention that in some ways I’m almost an outside observer as I’ve not spent a great deal of time with my wife’s sister.  I did not grow up with her, we would see her at Thanksgiving and Christmas and once in a while in between but I’ve only been part of this family for a relatively short time, not quite twelve years.  The nurses who have been taking care of her for the last seven months may have spent more time with her than I have.  Also, my family handles death in a much less emotional manner.  That being said I am also still in shock that a young, active woman is now gone and it is very hard for me to see my wife in so much pain.

Yesterday, we went to the funeral home.  I was only there to help comfort and possibly carry out my wife or her mother if they needed support.  The arrangements were made, pretty much standard for the area, you just pick your colors and verses and tell them about any special items you want.  Again, my family is very different as we don’t put any value on the empty shell we each will leave behind, for example when my father died his body was sent directly from the hospital to be cremated while we had his wake at my brother’s house.  We saw the relatives you only see at weddings and funerals, had a meal together, passed some pictures around (this was a little hard for my mom to handle) and talked about anything but death.  A week later there was a second gathering at the beach for friends of the family where the ashes were disposed.  I did not feel any need to attend although I would like to have seen some of the people that were there.

Last night we had a meal with my wife’s family at her sister’s mother-in-law’s house.  Now, we wait in the hotel for the next couple of days while the funeral home gets everything in order.  A quick service and trip to the cemetery next week is all that’s left of the formal process.  The grieving will go on for much longer and I suspect next Thanksgiving will be very different and difficult.  There’s so much more that I could say about each step of this process but this is where I will leave off for now.

Heavenly Father,
You are merciful and I know that you are comforting us this very hour and we give thanks.  Please, give us all strength, comfort and confidence to know that our sister is with you now.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit and make us witnesses to your truth for Jesus’ sake I pray.
Amen

Job 1:13-22

Posted in Bible Study with tags , , , , , , , , on 2009/01/19 by NY4JB

Job 1:13-19 (ESV)
13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

A couple of years ago there were wildfires burning all over the island of Crete.  There are many hills there and as the fire was coming toward a village on one of those hills a man packed his family in their car and sent them away to safety while he stayed behind with the other men in the village to try to save their houses.  There was only one road leaving the village and the fire came and killed the man’s family while they were stuck in traffic trying to get to safety.  Can you imagine what this man must have gone through knowing that he sent his family to their death when he was trying to save them.  There is a saying on Crete, to “drink from the cup of sorrow.”  What a large cup it must be and how bitter.  This is essentially what happened to Job, he lost his children, his livestock, his servants, everything except his own house, his wife and the four servants that escaped to tell him.  Surely he would speak bitterly about all this but no.

Job 1:20-22 (ESV)
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

How many of us keep our composure this well when little things go wrong; I have said worse after stubbing my toe yet Job “fell on the ground and worshiped.”  He understood that everything he had was never his and really belonged to God all along.  “The LORD gave…” and there will come a time that the Lord will take everything away.

So, this was Job’s first test and a very harsh test at that.  What can we learn from Job?

Heavenly Father,
You are the creator of the heavens and the earth; and all belongs to you; there is nothing that we can give to you that isn’t already yours.  We are sinful, selfish people who believe that we have earned what we have, yet it is all given to us by you.  In your great mercy you provide the jobs we have and decide if we are to be weak or strong; sick or healthy; live or die.  Let us learn from your word and the example that you give us in Job to worship you in good times and bad.  For nothing on earth really matters, for in your mercy you have offered us life everlsting and our salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.  And it is in His great name that we pray.
Amen