Archive for Salvation

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.

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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.’

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

My Grace is Sufficient

Posted in Bible Study, faith, Observations, Prayer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/03/22 by NY4JB

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (English Standard Version)
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I am troubled by those who think that prayer heals anything and everything. While it’s true that prayer is extremely powerful, when we ask for something that is not in God’s will, the answer will be no. It is clear from the above scripture that even the Apostle Paul struggled with matters of the flesh and was denied. God clearly does not view our physical pains in the same way that we do and will at times allow us to suffer, just as a parent must allow a child to experience disappointment, in order that we might grow in the spirit.

In fact, from God’s perspective even physical death is just a calling home of one of his children (assuming the child is ‘saved’) yet from a human point of view it is a sad loss even when the person has lived a long, full life. I believe the following scripture is often misinterpreted as meaning that Jesus was mourning the death of his friend Lazarus but I believe “Jesus wept “ and was “greatly troubled” because of the lack of faith of his friends and followers. Jesus would not be troubled in the human sense because a saved man had died, knowing that they would soon be together again in Heaven.

John 11:32-35 (English Standard Version)
32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.

Caution must be exercised here not to confuse human mourning with the spiritual truth, for as humans we will grieve the loss of a friend or family member from our earthly life.  It is a very real loss and as long as we live in this world we will feel grief for those who go on ahead of us. We will even feel sorrow at the loss of friends or times that are no longer at hand as a parent is both excited to see a child grow up and head out on their own, while missing the child’s presence in their own home.

So, we should pray for those who have needs but we should understand that we have no knowledge of God’s plan and he may answer a prayer with “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Phases…

Posted in faith, Observations, Radio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2010/02/12 by NY4JB

I seem to be going through one of my HAM radio phases at the moment (besides work being really busy). I’m going to try to regulate my time a little better than in the past when I would go radio crazy for 6 months and then stop totally for a couple of years. I know God is in control and there is a reason for these phases so I pray that God is glorified in my seemingly earthly pursuit of working all States in 2010…

PAID IN FULL

Posted in Prayer with tags , , , , , , on 2009/02/04 by NY4JB

I was looking through some old receipts today and on one was stamped in big red letters PAID IN FULL.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for showing mercy on me by sending your son to pay my debt, for I am a sinner who could not have paid otherwise.  Oh Lord, give me the courage to tell others about him for Jesus’ sake I pray.
Amen

Become Like Children

Posted in Bible Study with tags , , , , , , , on 2009/02/03 by NY4JB

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 don’t believe it would be wise for me to attempt to address woman with regards to this verse as I am unfamiliar with the workings of relationships among the female gender.  Therefore, I will address it based on three stages males go through.  When Jesus refers to children I believe we should look at how an eight year old boy looks up to men and particularly his father.  To a child at that age his father is the ultimate man; he can do no wrong; the child’s greatest desire is to spend time with him; whatever he is doing the child is interested and wants to be involved.  I have been a witness to this from many angles, starting with being an eight year old and looking up to my own father.  Although, I never had kids of my own I had friends who did and I saw that gleam in the child’s eye, even doing things that would bore an adult the child is happy to tag along just to be part of the event.  It is a shame for a boy to go through this age without a father in the house.

By the age of twelve something begins to happen, what good old dad is doing just doesn’t seem important anymore; at fifteen, sixteen and seventeen, somehow dad becomes an idiot.  My step-son was fifteen when I met my wife; I was cool when I was giving him money to go to the game room but other than that we both knew the deal.  Of course, I knew that someday he would grow out of thinking that I’m an idiot, he didn’t know that yet.  These teenage years are time spent wandering in the wilderness, thinking we know everything and not looking up to anyone, except maybe peers who are in the same phase of life.  We would never bring our problems to our father during this phase; we would rather ask our friends because our father just doesn’t know what it’s like to go through whatever it is that’s going on.

Once again a change is coming, at least for most men, right after they move out on their own, running up into their thirties.  They start to notice that they don’t know everything and dad was right about a few things; maybe he wasn’t an idiot after all.  Once they have kids of their own they will really start to see the pattern and may even ask their father how to handle different situations.

So what is Jesus saying to us?  It seems that so many of us are stuck in the teenage phase when it comes to God; we know everything and think in terms of earthly wisdom.  God’s word is nice but not practical in the real world.  Our hearts are hard, we won’t listen to anybody other than our peers and we wouldn’t even think to bring our problems to God.  It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit softening our hearts that we can even consider listening to our Heavenly Father.  And this is the stage that Jesus is addressing, can we go back to when we were eight only this time look up to God as our Heavenly Father, for He is truly the ultimate father.  Can we admit that we don’t really know much at all and that earthly wisdom has done little for our souls.

If we are to see the kingdom of heaven we must start as a child, knowing that God is our father and holds all the cards.  Avoiding the teenage years, which would be filled with spiritual pride, can we make the jump from child to mature Christian; humble, yet able to help others on their pilgrimage.  Even if we stay as children forever and just adore God we will certainly be in better shape than those who refuse to yield their will.

Heavenly Father,
Your wisdom, patience and mercy are beyond human measure and yet we are a proud, impatient people.  Please, help us to be humble and to adore you as a child adores his human father.  Let the lesson be gentle while you teach us that our pride is misplaced and as a boy grows to be a man, let us grow in spirit to glorify you as our Lord.  As Jesus died on the cross we must die to ourselves that our foolish pride can no longer block us from receiving your wisdom.  And just as Jesus was raised from the dead, let us live again for your glory, for it is in His great name that we pray.
Amen