Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

Hey…Over Here! Distracted?

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Ever ponder what Satan might personally be doing to you as enemy #1?  I have.  I mean, I know there are those weaknesses that we all have.  Might as well put a K-Mart flashing light on top of them and loudspeakers around them because everyone else knows them too.  But what about those things that we don’t see?  What about those subtle things?  What about the little things that keeps us from serving and glorifying God every day?  What about distraction?

 

Here’s a quote from a man who cut a guy’s ear off in a passionate attempt to protect his King, and then late that same night denied he even knew this King…3 times.  Peter says this in his first letter, 5:8, “Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.”  I think Peter knew a thing or two about how sneaky Satan can be and how weak we are in our flesh and bones.

 

So what might this prowling lion like to do with you?  How could he take you down?  How could he easily keep you busy or distracted so you don’t hear God well or see His direction?  How could he, Satan, cause us to think we’re doing “good” things yet neglect the “better” things God wants us to do?

 

Distraction is huge!  It doesn’t seem ‘evil’ does it?  Sometimes we’re distracted with things that seem very worthy in our eyes.  But remember, the devil doesn’t need us evil…he just needs us separated from our God.

 

 

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

 

Pray For Those In Authority Over You

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

1 Timothy 2:1-6

Go to any of the main-line or even lesser known news websites or magazines and you’ll find a plethora of unbiased and biased writing about our currently political situation…election year.  Not only is this considered a historic election cycle, but one that has the attention of most all the nation and world.  I’m not only talking about the presidency…but also congress and state and local elections.  To most of us living in the states, this is huge!  It’s mammoth no matter what side you stand on.

I’m trying to gain perspective.  Each commercial and advertisement and billboard vies for our attention and commitment.  But that’s because to me, right now in 2012, it’s very personal.  I am living in the here and now.  My kids are growing up in the here and now.  The parents and students I work with are living in the here and now.  I’m thinking about the rest of my life as well as the 70+/- years of all those I work with.  Sure, I’m thinking of my future and theirs as well.  I want the best and safest for all.

But….yes, here comes the big but…if I pulled back 6000+ years of human history, this is nothing new.  Parents like me worried about their kids growing up in the culture and political environment at all points along the big timeline.  My fears are not new.  My hopes are not new.  But they are very personal to me.

What does God think about our present day worries?  Well, for one, worry is a sin.  Just saying.  Jesus said in Matthew not to do it because it causes fractures in our relationship with the Father.  Jesus didn’t worry…he had hope that overcame worry.  So I have to say, I’m trying really hard not to worry about this election cycle.  I’ll do my part.  I’ll study the situations at hand and the philosophies of those wanting to be elected.  But, no matter what, my hope in an eternity will not be taken away.  On the extreme side of things, a communistic/atheistic regime could overthrow the USA and my hope in an eternity still could not be taken away.  In the end Jesus wins…no matter who sits on an earthly throne locally, statewide, nationally or globally.

Here’s where the main verse comes into play.  Paul writes to Timothy, instructing him how to teach leaders to pray.  Paul encourages Timothy to pray and lead others in prayer for “all men, for kings and all who are in authority.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)  Why?  I mean, Paul could have encouraged people to fight for their rights and picket and vote (all good things when done with the right spirit), but he didn’t.  In this day and time, Rome was without a doubt pressing its own culture and philosophy of life as well as its religion.  Christianity was not thought of highly and even held under thumb.  So…politically, there have been people and currently are people in rougher situations than us…but God’s plan for man still isn’t thwarted and narrowed.  We see this in verse 3.  Paul instructs people to pray for ALL those in authority…for their best!  Verse three says, “…it is good and acceptable in God’s sight” that we do this.  Again…why?  Because, as God’s plan holds, He wants ALL men to be saved.  It’s not about us.  It’s all about eternity.

Can you imagine what might happen if we all put aside our political sway, and put away the prayers that ask God to save us from those opposite of our political philosophies, and simply prayed for our leaders to see God…so they could have the hope we have…so they could see Jesus crucified and risen…no politics involved?  I’d call that a continuation of the Movement Jesus started when He sent the disciples out to start the Church.  Are you all in?

Let’s pray for those we oppose.  Let’s pray for those that we agree with.  Let’s pray for our current situations, but let’s pray for God’s will…that those men and women would be saved.  Who knows, in Heaven you may very well be surprised who accepted Jesus and now stands beside you worshiping the Lamb.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

Picturesque Examples:  (…this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior)

  • Student prays for Teacher
  • Jailed prays for Jailer
  • Player prays Coach
  • Worker prays for Boss
  • Slave prays for Owner
  • Child prays for Parent
  • Ticketed prays for Officer
  • Citizen prays for President
  • Homeowner prays for Township Trustee

“God’s man in God’s place, doing God’s will to God’s glory, will never lack God’s support.” ~Hudson Taylor

Catalyst

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Prayer is the difference between us fighting for God and God fighting for us.  –  mark batterson. #cat11

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

See You At The Pole

Wednesday, Sept 28, 2011

Students:

Mark the date and plan to attend…invite friends!  And pray for them on the spot!  🙂

Parents:

Support your students.  Wake them up early.  Get them there.  Stand with them…but maybe not right beside them (Wouldn’t want to embarrass them too much:).

Community:

Show up at your local school’s SYATP event and pray for your community’s kids.  Make sure to call ahead so you know where and when.

Daily Needs – Daily Bread


Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:11

A salesman from KFC walked up to the Pope and offers him a million dollars if he would change “The Lord’s Prayer” from “give us this day our daily bread” to “give us this day our daily chicken.” The Pope refused his offer.

Two weeks later, the man offered the pope 10 million dollars to change it from “give us this day our daily bread” to “give us this day our daily chicken” and again the Pope refused the man’s generous offer. Another week later, the man offered the Pope 20 million dollars and finally the Pope accepted. The following day, the Pope said to all his officials, “I have some good news and some bad news. ‘The good news is, that we have just received a check for 20 million dollars. The bad news is, we lost the Wonder Bread account!”’

Ok…this is a tough one.  “Give us this day our daily bread” is verse 11 of Jesus’ model prayer.  If you’ve noticed, Jesus starts out his prayer using the words “us” and “our.”  He continues in verse 11 in the same manner.  It’s true that he was talking to a crowd.  But I wonder if He is also addressing the Kingdom, His church.  If this is true, then this is a prayer for the each member of the group to use “daily.”  He wants us to be on the same page moving together with the same goals and values….His Father’s goals and His Father’s values.

With that said, we need to figure out what this “bread” means.  The more I want to say that it is a spiritual request…the more I lean towards it meaning our daily ‘needs.’  Yes, I just said it.  I’ve been talking with a couple co-workers about how hard this lesson is to swallow being a born and bread “American Dream” type of person.  I also just came back from Haiti where I met and ministered to people who, when they prayed this prayer, knew exactly what it meant.  They lived in a maybe 10×10 wooden box built for them after being displace from their 15×15 cement/dirt floor home.

The question is, what do we truly need?  If Christ’s church shows the world that we need anything more than Christ, don’t we do a disservice to His message?  So let’s look at what we know from Scripture first.  Jesus said in John 6, in an extensive way, that He is the bread of life.  He told Satan during his 40 day fast that the Word of God was His bread to live on.  When telling 72 of His followers to go out on their first missionary mission trip, He said not to take anything except the clothes they were wearing.  They would be taken care of…workers deserve fair wages…God would provide (Luke 10).  In Matthew 6, beginning with verse 24, Jesus says that we can’t serve two masters…then the big word “therefore” comes into play as He says, don’t worry about your food, clothes or anything else that you think you need.  Why?  Because the Father knows what you need, and if you focus on Kingdom work, then He will supply your needs.

That’s what we know. Were the 72 taken care of?  Yes.  Did Jesus make it through His fast? Yes.  Are the birds of the air watched over by their creator?  Yes.  Can God clothe us like the lilies of the fields?  Yes.  Should we have any worry about these things?  No.  Reason?  Because when we truly rely on God for our needs, then people will see Him…and want to have Him…and be with Him for eternity.  Our wanting to supply our own felt needs points back to us.  Our relying on God for our daily bread always points back to Him.  One of those tip toes really close to sin…unintentional or not.  The other walks “humbly with our God” as the Lord points out through the prophet Micah in his book, chapter 6 verse 8.

Ok….what do we do with this?  I’m struggling with this one.  As a reasonable person, I can see how huge this could be to pointing people to see God.  But boy is it hard to let go of “self sufficiency!”  Let’s look for a modern day example of this really happening…not just a fairy tale sermon illustration.

George Mueller is a man we can look to for such an example.  He built and ran an orphanage for many, many, years.  He said, in an interview at age 91, “No man can ever say I asked him for a penny.”  When he needed something for the sometimes 2000 orphans under his care….he gathered his staff together and prayed.  God would send food, money, supplies and workers when needed…sometimes immediately before the prayer was finished.  This man truly relied only on what God felt He and his orphans needed.  Who is glorified in this example?  Mr. Mueller?  Well, his is a life to be patterned after.  But we know who supplied every need….no human.  Through humans, yes….but because of any human?  No.

So, can we live like in this manner?  It has been shown that we can.  Now…the question simply remains…will we choose to do so?…Individually and as a group of people who claim Christ their King and God their Father who supplies all things?

I’m not sure what to add here.  I’m sufficiently guilty right now and need to process where I’m at with this one little life changing verse.  I do know this.  I like to take care of things by myself…and therein lies the problem.  When we take care of things ourselves, we are lifted up.  When we fully and completely rely on God…only He can receive credit and fame.

Questions for thought:

  • What do you really need?  List here……
  • What things do we strive for that aren’t necessary, and sometimes place glory on us?
  • How do we change this?  Why would we even attempt to change this?
  • In the end, who get’s all the glory for our life?…all the glory…all

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

Approaching God


Approaching God

***

An elderly gentleman passed his granddaughter’s room one night and overheard her repeating the alphabet in an oddly reverent way. What on earth are you up to?” he asked.
“I’m saying my prayers,” explained the little girl.
“But I can’t think of exactly the right words tonight, so I’m just saying all the letters. God will put them together for me, because He knows what I’m thinking.”

***

Who is God?  Jesus, when was talking to the disciples…and curious onlookers…He started right off with our approach.  Let’s define the word approach.  The dictionary says this, “…to come near or nearer to.”  That makes sense.  Jesus starts this section of His Sermon on the Mount with the assumption that the listeners already pray to God…want to get closer to Him…believe in Him.  He starts with, “And when you pray…” (Matthew 6).  Do you think it’s safe to say that Jesus instinctively knows that we want to get close or near to God?  I think so.  So he starts this model prayer with that in mind…our approach.

This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name…’

I divide chapter 6 verse 9 into 3 parts.  First things first.  He invites us to call His father by the same way He does.  Simply “Father.”  This is personal.  We know from Scripture that Jesus really is from Mary and God the Father, but He says we can call His own Father the same way.  I think this fact is easily glossed over.   Many of us have memorized this verse to the point that we don’t think about it.  We talk about the trilogy without thinking what the phrase “God the Father” really means.  We hear or say, “…in the name of the Father…the Son…and the Holy Spirit” during baptisms and don’t think twice that we’re actually saying that word…Father.  He is our Dad.  Jesus could easily say something different.  But He invites us to be his brother and sister when He invites us to call God our dad as well.

Second.  God is as close as a prayer…but for now, its not as close as He would like it to be.  It’s not “Our Father on Earth”…it is “in Heaven.”  There is a separation.  The separation had a cause.  The cause was and is sin.  Our Father is in a perfect place.  We are not.  God has a home that Jesus has already talked about throughout this message beginning in chapter 5.  From here on till His death and Resurrection, Jesus’ followers will hear so much more about Heaven.  It’s where our Dad is, and it’s where He wants us to be someday.  Ironically, the One speaking these words will become the way for us to get to the place where the phrase “Our Father in Heaven…” will change to “Our Father before us.”

Third.  God is our Father, but He is holy and His deserves to be feared.  Now, many of you will look at the word ‘fear’ and hear something that I’m not sure is Biblical.  Jesus does not want us to cower before our Father.  Jesus wants us to respect who He is.  In the Old Testament, God tells Moses His name.  It is simply ‘I Am.’  The Hebrews thought this name so Holy they didn’t even speak it.  They had seen God’s punishments against Pharaoh.  They had seen His fire and smoke on the mountain.  They daily saw the tower of fire and smoke when they camped around the tabernacle.  They knew…felt…and visibly saw the separation.  They knew God was holy and deserved respect.  Our approach to God, our Father, should be humble…knowing that we are creation and not creator, that we are sinful and He is perfect, that He is powerful and we are weak, and that He is judge and we need pardoned.  His name deserves honor, praise, dignity and respect.

Think about it.  Jesus, who was previously with the Father before His birth on this planet, is telling us the best and most wise and perfect way to come before God.  We should take note.  This approach that Christ gives us it not just in ‘form,’ it is for us to understand in our heart and mind.  Jesus wants us to know who God the Father really is.  This prayer defines God, us, and our basic need.

 

Questions for Growth:

  • How do you approach your Creator?  Humbly?  Sporadically?  Like Santa Clause?  Like one who holds your future?
  • After possibly seeing this verse in a new or expanded way, how do you plan to approach God?  Me…personally…I’m going to start with this model.  I can add to it, but if this is how Jesus said to do it, I think I’m starting with His plan.
  • Are there times when you pray that you feel closer to God?  What are you doing then that helps you?  What is your heart’s stance?
  • How will you approach the One you’re praying to next?
  • When will you start a different approach if you feel it’s necessary?  Tonight?

 

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

edbarnes

How Did I Get Here!

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

You know you are in deep trouble when…

* The stewardess on your American Airlines flight tells you NOT to fasten your seatbelt.

* Your accountant’s letter of resignation is postmarked Panama.

* You have to hitch hike to the bank to make your late car payment.

* The little league puts you on waivers.

* Your suggestion box starts ticking.

* Your secretary tells you the FBI is on line 1, the DEA is on line 2, and CBS is on line 3.

* You see the cruise captain running toward the railing wearing a life jacket.

* They pay your wages out of petty cash.

* A black cat crosses you path and drops dead.

* You take an assertiveness training course and you’re afraid to tell your wife.

* Your pacemaker has only a thirty day guarantee.

* The candles on your cake set off your smoke alarm.

* The pest exterminator crawls under your house and never comes out.

So how many of you have ever found yourself in a spot that you didn’t want to be, and then wondered how you got there. It might be with your job. It might be with your debt. It might be with your health. It might be with a hobbie…or lack of one. It might be with a relationship. Whatever it might be, you got there and would really like to know how. The other thing you want to know is how to get out of it and get back to what you really wanted in the first place.

I ask that you read the scripture reference Steve is preaching from this weak as I’m only going to make references to it rather than retell the storyline.

Jacob found himself in a place that he didn’t intend to be. A bunch of things happened in a seemingly short amount of time that led his family name to be questioned. It seems as though he is wondering if he actually made the right decision surrounding events involving his daughter. His sons seemed to be caught up in a violent and vengeful reaction that was planned without his knowledge. He could have made many decisions at this point. He could have reacted to his sons and his daughter in many different ways. He could have … well, you fill in the blanks. We all might have had different emotional drives if in the same situation. I know I would have. I’m sorry to say that I might have been out of line with legalities too. It is also alluded to that his family and servants have walked away from believing in the one true God. They are worshipping idols. I’m not sure how, but Jacob does make a choice. He listened to God’s whisper.

Do you ever have that whisper in your ear or in your heart? You know, the whisper you get when you know you’re in a jam. The one you get when you’ve done something wrong, or about to do something wrong. That whisper that you get when you lay down at night and are contemplating the realities of the day, the ones you don’t want to remember. Jacob heard. Jacob obeyed…and for good reason.

Jacob’s response to all of this is, “I’m going to Bethel to build an altar to God, the one who answered me in my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

While in Atlanta a couple weeks ago, I heard a church leader from D.C. speak of something he does to help him when he gets those feelings of, “How in the world did I get here?” He went back to Illinois, where he grew up, took a photographer with him, and traveled to the farming area where he was walking one day in the past. This was the place where God spoke some very significant words to him. It was the place where he heard God in a big and changing way. The photographer snapped a shot of the field and blew it up to poster size, framed it. Mark Batterson now has this framed picture hanging right behind his desk in his office. You know the rest of the story. It’s his reminder of God’s direction for life.

Author and church leader Andy Stanley wrote a book titled, The Principle of the Path. He said that we all end up in places where we did not intend to be. But, no matter where we end up, it started with us beginning down a path and staying on it. Sure, there are exit signs along the way, decisions we probably should have made, but at the end, it was the path we chose to follow. If the path I’m on leads me to eat 5 Snickers Bars a day and drink 5 Dr. Peppers a day, then we can all figure out where that path is going to take me. If you don’t put effort into relationships around you that are important, that path will lead somewhere…probably a place you don’t want to go. Jacob listened to God’s voice and stopped. He then chose a path that would lead he and his family and his household to a place different than where they were currently headed. He went back to where He met God in a big way.

Have you ever gone back to where you met God? Have you ever heard God asking you to take some time to stop and rethink what you’re doing? It might be that you’re hearing God whisper, “…you’re on the wrong path. Come back to me and let me help you start over again.” As one of my favorite groups of spiritual teachers say, “God is the God of second chances” (Veggie Tales – Jonah and the Big Fish). Jacob was beginning to know just how big God’s forgiveness and grace is. We can know too.

Categories: trust Tags: , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: