Do You Have Hope

Jer 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ( Jeremiah 29:11)

This was the promise of hope that our daughter claimed for her twin boys who were born premature, at 26 weeks. The doctors gave very little hope with many possible medical issues. They are now 14 years old. One is healthy, with a hearing disability and the other child has heart issues but otherwise they are fine.

Confession And Repentance

We often think of confession as something which is more relevant to sinners or the unsaved than to Christians.  However, many verses in the Bible about confession are directed to Christians.  It should be noted that , while confession and repentance are not synonymous, repentance should be an essential component of confession.  In 1 John 1:9  we are told ‘if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’  And in James 5:16 we are instructed to ‘confess your faults one to another and pray one for another.’  In both cases the writer is addressing Christians and their need for confession.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments confession plays an essential  role in the lives and accomplishments of some of the major players in Biblical history.1)    Before Daniel received a visit from the angel Gabriel who gave him a vision of the coming of the Messiah and the events of the end times, he  humbled himself before God and confessed ‘I was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people.’ (Daniel 9:20)2)    When Isaiah saw the majesty of the Lord in the temple he realized his own sinfulness and confessed ‘Woe is me! for I am a man of unclean        lips’. (Isaiah 6:5)  This occurred before he wrote one of the greatest  books of the Bible.3)    Job was described as a ‘perfect and upright man’, yet after a direct conversation with God he declared ‘I abhor myself, and repent in dust and          ashes.’ (Job 42:6)

Revival is something we often pray for but very few of us get to experience.  It is accepted that revival must begin within the church, or the body of Christ.  Why do we see so few revivals today? Could it be that there is a lack of confession of, or genuine repentance from sin among Christians?Although forgiven Christians will not be judged and condemned for their sins, John tells us that ‘if we say we have no sin we lie.’  Maybe we forget or overlook the fact that Christians sin in unique ways, since their thoughts and actions should be in obedience to the will of God and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. ​The Bible clearly defines ‘quenching or grieving’ the Holy Spirit  by Christians as sin.  In contrast, the unsaved are for the most part unaware of God’s will for them as they do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them.  Christians may also sin in ways that are not obvious to them.  In Psalm 19 David wrote ‘Cleanse me from secret faults’ and ‘keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins.’
Why is confession so important to Christians and what are the typical ways in which Christians sin?  Probably the majority of sins for which a Christian will have to account are sins of omission, or failure to do the things God would expect us to do.  This would include the following:
1)   do we ‘love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength?’2)   are we good stewards of the time, treasure and talents God has entrusted us with?3)   do we take advantage of the opportunities to witness that God places before us in our daily lives?4)   even in our worship do we seek to glorify God only, or are we often guilty of going through the motions?
Probably the greatest problem with unconfessed sin is that it interferes with or breaks our fellowship with God, and results in God not hearing or answering our prayers.   In light of this, David asks God to search him with the familiar words ‘Search me O God and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts.’  In this case David is not relying on his own ability to examine himself but is asking God to search his heart.  When we  pray like that we can be assured that God, Who is omniscient, will reveal even our secret or presumptuous sins and invite us to seek His forgiveness and cleansing.

Can We Control Our Thoughts

I was listening to an aquaintance and he said that we should pay attention to what we should be paying attention to. Can we control our thoughts so that we pay attention to what we should be paying attention to. This is the you tube link https://youtu.be/GsP6w6DiN8M .

There is a scripture verse that has become one of my favorites. It speaks about taking our thoughts caprtive, 2 cor 10:5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Can we control our thoughts by using the instructions found in this verse? How do we take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ? I had been using the term, censoring our thoughts, as we live the Christian life. We are told not to sin in thought word or deed. There is an article by Michelle Freeman that discusses the idea of taking thoughts captive. You can read it here.

In my own daily living, there are thoughts that invade my mind and many of them can be very entertaining. Especially those that are of a sexual nature or those that make me a dominate figure in different situations. I dream just about evary night and some of those dreams are frightening, however; many of them are invigorating, Years ago, before I began a relationship with Jesus and recognized the person that God had intended for me to be, I would be held captive by my thoughts and dreams.

However; as I studied the bible and understood that Jesus’s desire for me, as a Christian, was to be Christlike. How is this possible?  There are many verse that tell us that we should have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 – For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 – But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

Philippians 2:5 – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

The only way for me or you to have the mind of Christ and to take our thoughts captive is to get our hearts right and allow the Holy Spirit to censor what goes into our minds. We must pray, read and meditate on the word and when thoughts come into our minds, that we know not to be Christlike, let them be captured by Jesus. This is my method, I pray,” Lord this is a thought that is unacceptable to you so I’m asking you to weed this thought from my mind and if it resurfaces I will again let it be captured by you. Thank you Lord because you know my thoughts even before they become a thought in my mind and you are aware of the evil that they can cause in my life. Lord take those sexual, immoral thoughts captive. Thank you Lord for giving me a clean heart and a clean mind.  Amen

Honor The Son

As I was doing my devotions, the following verse of scripture struck me as it has never done before. The verse is found in John 5:23 “That all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.”

The following verses were spoken by  Jesus as well, as He is being questioned about his identity by the Jewish leaders. They were questioning his working on the sabbath by healing the man at the pool and Jesus’s claim that he was the son of God.

John 5-19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.

What is Jesus actually saying and teaching that is applicable to us today? What does it mean to honor someone?  According to the dictionary, when speaking of people, it is to show respect, to exalt or to give glory to a person or even to yourself. One of the ten commandments teaches or instructs us to honor our father and mother.

Scripture verses about honor.

John 4-44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.)

1 Timothy 1-17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Romans 13-7  Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Hebrews 13-4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

John12-26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

1 Peter 2:17-19 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.

Maybe The Lord’s prayer should be part of our daily prayer life. Personally, I like the traditional wording.

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

There are many more verses about honor in the bible. Take some time to do a search and meditate upon the verses. You will be blessed.

I have to ask myself the question, am I honoring God in my life today because of my faith in Jesus? Am I showing God respect and is he being exalted above all things in my life? Jesus has made it possible for each one of us to have a relationship with The Father. He who honors the Son honors the Father.

Revelation  5:13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Prayer Intercessor

Prayer can be defined as ‘simply asking God to do for us – or for others –  what He has promised to do if we ask Him.’
​ One Study Bible defines intercession as holy, believing, persevering prayer, whereby someone pleads with God on behalf of others who desperately need God’s intervention.

Are you a prayer intercessor? Oswald Chambers describes  intercession or intercessory prayer as putting oneself in God’s place by seeing a person or situation from His perspective. In other words, we see the outcome that God would desire, and we petition God that He would bring about the desired result.​​ We’ve often heard testimonies from Christians who believe that their conversion was the result of prayer.

Andrew Murray said ‘intercession is the chief element in the conversion of souls’.​​Charles Spurgeon said that many people give up on souls they consider ‘spiritually’ dead’, or those they assume will never be saved.  But he cautions that we should never give up until they are confirmed by a physician to be physically dead.

​​George Muller, was a prayer intercessor. He was a man of great faith who prayed for 52 years for some of the people on his prayer list until most were eventually saved during his lifetime.  And others were saved after his death.​​Concerning intercessory prayer, Sidlow Baxter stated that ‘men may refuse our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments and depise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers’.

​​We see many examples of the results of intercessory prayer in both the Old and New Testaments. ​​James describes Elijah as a ‘man subject to passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months’.  And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain.

.​​Another great account of intercessory prayer is found in Numbers 14, where Moses stood before God, and pleaded for God to withold His anger and not destroy his murmuring and complaining people.   We know that God answered that prayer and spared the people.​​ And of course the greatest example of intercessory prayer was, and still is Christ.  Jesus spent a whole night in prayer before choosing the twelve disciples, and before He preached the Sermon on the Mount.  And we are told in Romans that He still makes intercession before the Father’s throne on behalf of His own.

​​I’d like to finish with a true story.​​About 20 years ago, in the small city of Almolonga, Guatemala, several believers and pastors began to unite in prayer and fasting for their region.  At the time the city was plagued with prostitution, drug and alcohol addiction, bloody violence and murder, widespread corruption, and idolatry – it was a city in need of divine reformation.​​When the body of Christ  began to make their stand against these things through intense prayer and fasting, they slowly saw transformation take place in Almolonga.  Drug cartels fled the city, prostitution rings were dismembered and governmental leaders came to the Lord.  Within a short amount of time the church exploded.  It is reported that as many as 92% of the Almolongan population became Christians.​​But not only did the church thrive, so did the land.  Crop production increased dramatically.  The Lord healed the land as well as the people.​​ This is just one example of what can happen through intercessory prayer.​​ Should we expect less today?

C Hepditch

Getting Our Priorities Straight

The priorities, for most people the world over, has changed. Just stop and think of yourself and what was your priority. a month ago, a week ago or maybe yesterday. Maybe, this is a good time for us to look at gettiing our priorities straight.

Here are a few things that were foremost in my life, in my mind and in the lives of some of my friends and family. Many things on this list are still a priority for me, for my family and friends.

Christian walk,  Family, Work, Health, Recreation, The Internet, Gambling, Travel, Liquor, Accommodations. Drugs, Personal Growth, etc.

The Coronova virus has prompted or forced us to make some changes to our priorities. Thankfully. I can still live and put into practice, what is and has been my top priority in life, worshiping and serving God. Since restrictions have been put in place, I have been able to spend more time in “The Word” and people are more readily to talk about the bible and Christianity. Many people are scared and have little hope. Now is the time for those of us who profess to be Christians, live out our Christ like walk.

I had been praying for family members and friends who had forgotten about God. Their time for worship was replaced by other things that they felt was a priority in their life. With both parents working, they had to find time to be with the children. Sport, camping, shopping and other things became more important then spending time as a family, in a place of worship. There was no time for God.

People had become stressed and pressured to keep up with their friends and neighbours. We were of the opinion that what we wanted, we needed. Many of us took on debt loads to try and fulfill our desires.

It’s 3:30 am as I began writing this aricle and I had just finished my devotional. Please forgive me because I write as I think and the sentence structure may not be correct. In my opinion, the most important thing is that, I and you who are reading this post, take something from it.

I will be placing some links, below, to websites that teach us how to prioritize our life. Some will be from Christian writers and other will be from other sources.

Thank you for taking a few moments to read this post. It is sincerely appreciated. The photo  is of Sparky. He is owned by my friend Clyde and for me it is a picture of contentment and peace. Be blessed.

Links

10 Life Habits All Extremely Happy People Prioritize

The 20 minute life checkup

Biblical Prioriies 

The Priorities of God’s People

“Our first priority is to keep God central by continually coming to Christ and by offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Him.” Steven J Cole

I will be inserting more links. I would suggest doing a search online to find more info about your priorities.

Physician Heal Yourself

Have you ever had a phrase, that keeps troubling you and either you forget about it or you decide to research it further? The phrase, physician heal yourself, has been foremost in my thoughts for the past few days. The words were spoken by Jesus in Luke 4:23a -Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’.

A little background on why I think this phrase is on my mind. I received an e mail from a colleague of mine and he suggested a 30 day challenge that we should consider. Those are his words.” Resolve to follow the 2 daily meditations here for 30 days and I guarantee that you will notice beneficial changes in yourself and that others will also see these changes within you…”

Out of curiosity I decided to check the link wihich he sent me. I have to be upfront with you, I’m a Christian. Many years ago I decide to commit my life to serving Jesus. He is my saviour and my coming king and I believe that I will live with Jesus eternally. There is no doubt in my heart. I was going to put mind there, however; I recognize that the mind is enmity against God and Paul said to the church at Phillipi; Phil: 2:5- Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.

This is the link. There are two videos and it’s a scientific approach to all types of healing.

https://weshareabundance.com/dr-joe-dispenza/

I have listened to the two videos and they are inspiring and in my case led me to search scripture and research spiritual and physical healing. God, in my belief, is the creator of all things and there was nothing created without Jesus being present. We are familiar with the various healing miracles, in scripture, that were performed by Jesus. Also, there have been many credible records of physical healing within the christian church.

But, what did Jesus mean when he said physician heal yourself? Well, surprisingly the answer is not what I expected or is it?

The best and simplest explanation of those words was found in Got Questions. Here is the link.

https://www.gotquestions.org/physician-heal-thyself.html

Jesus is called The Great Physician..here are a couple of bible verses and a video of the song The Great Physicias Is Near.

Mark 5:34 ESV  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Matthew 8:2-3 ESV  And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

I believe in spiritual and physical healing…

Loving Your Enemies

How does a person get to the point of loving your enemies? It just doesn’t seem logical and as one person wrote, it is a foreign concept. From an early age, I was taught to love people and not to hate. But is there a difference between, say hating someone or a people and making or having enemies. What is an enemy?  It’s a person or a group of people who are hostile to someone or something. It is an hostile nation, it’s armies and citizens in time of war.

Personally, I’m not aware of any enemies that exist in my life; however, I’m not that naive to recognize that there are people, in the world, who hate Christians and people from North America.. Sadly we are considered their enemies. I wish it wern’t so. 

What does Jesus say about loving our enemies? The following is taken from Luke 6: 27-36. This is Jesus speaking.

27 “But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well, and from the person who takes away your coat, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your possessions back from the person who takes them away. 31 Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

There are people whom I find very difficult to love. I would like to believe that I love everybody but there are people that I do not like. Is it possible to love someone in Christ and not like that same person? 

I’m still working trough this post. Updates coming,

 

Loving Your Enemies..David Febbes

Love Your Enemies..Steve Timmis

Love Your Enemies..A Bible Devotion

Why should we love our enemies? John Piper

Open The Eyes Of My Heart

There is a popular Christian Contemporary song, written by Paul Baloche, “Open The Eyes Of My Heart” (see below) that can be sung as a prayer. It’s a personal request to God. The song is based on Paul’s writings to the Ephesians and is based on Eph 1:18-   I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.

I believe that we can refer back to Luke 24:13-35 for further ensight into the words open the eyes of my heart. To recap the story. After the resurrection of Jesus, two men were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which is about a distance of seven miles. They were discussing everything that had happened, when Jesus comes by and walks with them. Those two men did not recognize him. This is important, they were kept from recognizing Jesus, Luke 24:16.  Many people miss the significance of this verse.

Why did they not recognize Jesus? According to the verse, they should have but there eyes were blind to who he was. They were blind, physically and spiritually, to who was speaking to them.  As we read further, we find that they were surprised that this man seemed blind to what had happened in Jerusalem. They went on to tell Jesus about his death and resurrection. It would appear that they were believers.

Jesus, then said to them, Luke 24:25-27 “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

They were approaching Emmaus and it appeared that Jesus was continuing on, however; because it was near dark, they invited him to stay with them for the night. This is where it happens….Jesus opens their spiritual eyes.. Luke 24:31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight

Open the eyes of my heart should not be the prayer of just Believers but non-believers as well. Paul in 2  Cor 4:4 writes
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

A simple prayer

Father forgive me for being me. Deliver me from my spiritual blindness and from whatever enslaves me, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

Mark Twain wrote, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. I would go further and say “you cannot depend on your eyes when your spiritual eyes are out of focus.”