New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve preparations and celebrations across the globe are underway. Cooking, cleaning, selecting just the right table setting, beverages, clothes for a night of feasting and celebrating. Folks will be filling up New York City, and at different homes the host or hostess is busy preparing for the arrival of friends and family. There are also preparations for another kind.  At some African-American churches, Watch Night Services will be held this night to praise, pray and give thanks to God for His mercy and grace. There will be singing, and a message of hope shared. This tradition dates back to the Civil War era when slaves gathered together waiting for news of their freedom.  We are no longer waiting for that news.  Believers have been freed through the gift of Christ.  What believers are watching for now is the return of our glorious King.  So these gathered hearts will sing joyously in triumphant to the risen Lord for the blessing of another moment, another hour, another day upon earth.
Whatever way you choose to “bring in the new year” take time to say thank you to our Lord for His blessings. And resolve to do the work He has called us to do. As Keith E. Eggert said, “So we must work hard now, live at our peak, serve and love those around us, help the church grow, heal someone’s wounds, write a good poem, clean up our spaces, do our best at school or work, but always with one eye toward heaven.” Because a better day is coming.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Happy New Year.

The Lord Has Helped Us

“Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, hitherto hath the Lord helped us!” 1 Samuel 7:12

The loving kindness and faithfulness of our Lord is immeasurable. Even in our deepest pains and darkest days He has helped us. During the brightest days when all the world seemed poised to shower us with riches untold, we recognize the Lord’s help.  The heavens declare his glory and the works of His hands.

Think about that last sin. The one just committed. Didn’t the Lord help you? What about that problem? Wasn’t grace and mercy right there? And what about that temptation you almost fell into? Wasn’t it his hand of love that lead you away? And when clarity returned, didn’t the arms of restoration race joyously towards you?

In each and every circumstance, our amazing God has helped us, and will continue to  through more trials, more joys, more temptations, and more triumphs. As preparations to celebrate the new year begin, remember The Lord has helped us.

Just Another Day

Just Another Day

Just another day for millions around the globe. But for believers it is another opportunity to praise the living God.  Another day to love your fellowmen. Another day to engage in loving service. Another day show the world your talents and fulfill those divine instructions.  Another day to be imitators of Christ.  Another day to love ourselves as Christ loves us.  Another day to heal the sick, bring sight to the blind. Another day to comfort the broken-hearted and wounded.  Another day to find the lost and lonely and show them the way to Christ.  Another day to fight the forces of darkness with the light of Christ. Another day to show the world the beauty around us, and celebrate the joy of the Lord which is our strength. Just another day to show mercy and grace. Another day to say “yes” to Him. No matter how many times predictions are made about the end of all days, the day nor the hour will not be revealed until the Son of Man appears in His glory.  But we have a blessed assurance; “My people shall dwell in quiet resting places.” Isaiah 32:18

No panic, no hysteria, no hoarding up on supplies for believers, because we dwell in the quiet resting places of the most high God.  And in his arms we are sheltered from the storms of life.

Yes, it is just another day, but what a wonderful day for us to show Him to the world.
Glory to God in the highest. Peace and goodwill to all mankind.  Just another day!

Why Not Pray

Why Not Pray?
How distracted or preoccupied are you, that you could not or would not take a moment out of the day to pray? Prayer is our way of saying thank you, and seeking help and comfort for those we know and know not. “Each hour we think of others more than self, that hour we live again…” Prayer is the sweet language of love and life. Prayer offers hope to the soul. It communicates to God our desires for family, and for ourselves. It is said as one prays, the heart opens to God in such as way that one clearly hear His voice – that still small voice reaching beyond the heavens.  Prayer bring joys and peace to the soul. It lifts burdens and puts into perspective who is our true enemy.  Prayer allows us to speak grace and mercy to those who mistreat, injure or cause us sleepless nights. Prayer changes the person who prays. So why not pray?

The benefits of prayer are worth noting. For one, it clears the mind and brings into focus our relationship and need for God. It is easy to fall prey to our fleshly state and forget there is more to us than this earthly package. Prayer open our hearts to want to seek God. There is an internal GPS, that in difficult or perplexing times desires nothing more than to be HOME. When lost, God’s amazing grace directs us to him. Prayer is power.  The Holy Scriptures shares lots of examples of the power of prayer. Changing water into wine, calming raging seas, healing physical and emotional infirmities, raising the dead. Why would you not pray, if these experiences are possible?

Finally, prayer is divine communication with God. We talk with our Creator and to our surprise He communicates back. The ways God chooses to reveal himself are different for the person and situation. I often chuckle at the ways God chooses to reveal answers to questions or challenges I’m facing.  Those answers arrive not in the manner nor method I would not have expected, but I receive them with delight and humility.

Today, I arose and immediately knew I had to go into warfare prayer.  However, before, I could begin I was given the title for this blog.  It became clear that this was not only the message, but also the admonition to pray for others, since our primary prayer focus oftentimes stop at our front door.
We are told to pray without ceasing not only for family, friends, ourselves, but also for our leaders, and for nations. When we pray for others our souls experience great spiritual beauty and powerful efficacy. We change into vessels of light, love, power; clearing ourselves of the impure desires, weak self-pity, degrading self praise, vanity and pride; all things which deform our hearts and spirits.

As these prayers (heart offerings) are uttered, we experience the beauty of holiness, and His will being done on earth, as it is in heaven. Prayer gives us this day, our daily bread and leads us not into temptation, but delivers us from evil, and brings peace on earth and goodwill towards mankind.  So why not pray?

Yea, thou I walk

The events of December 14th have touched the hearts and souls of the world.  Sorrow, anguish, horror, sadness and pain for those lost, and for those left behind to cope with their journey through the valley of the shadow of death.

Lord, paint our souls with a picture of you, so Your divine light can be seen in this dark world. Paint our hearts with your love to enable us to show what real love really is. Paint our spirits with your peace so we become vessels of calm in troubled waters.  Paint our minds with your wisdom, and our bodies with your strength and mercy, so that we show your amazing grace to the world.

Help us Lord, to walk with these families and others through this time.  Their journey through these dark days are beyond comprehension.  And like others before them, remind us all that our personal journeys intersect with theirs right now, and as your servants we have a work to do them.

Lord, let them know they are not alone, for you are with them.  Your rod and staff will comfort them, and the table you’ve prepared is anointed with your healing oil.  Remind them You are filling their cups with your loving comfort, like the gates of heaven.

Lord, be with these families whose children, and loved ones are gone and with those who are providing care, comfort, support, aid.  Give us the strength and courage as a nation to help, really help those who need it.  Amen

Detours, Distractions,Dilemmas

Detours, distractions and dilemmas–in this season of joy, happiness, gift-giving, celebrations you or someone who know may be facing a season of trial, and tragedy.  The brightest season for them has becomes covered in blight and despair, hardly a time of laughter and fun.   Even if you are not facing a personal challenge, or someone who know, you must be aware of the nurse who killed herself after being the victim of a hoax by two DJ’s, or perhaps you’ve been following the two NFL tragedies committed by young men who appeared to have everything.

Increasingly more and more individuals are foregoing the joys of “true life” for horror and mayhem, for tragic detours and futile distractions that land head first into their families, thereby creating lasting dilemmas and damages.

This should be a time of learning about the real reason for the season.  It should be times of love, sharing and serving others.  These days should be spent in reflection, and living life with intention and divine purpose.  With only 20 days left in 2012, we need to take note of those who have become twisted and tangled in the superficiality of life, and not with the substance; with those who are suffering and not serving; those who are taking detours instead of staying focused on the high calling of the mark in Christ Jesus.   These days should be times of helping others to find their way back home.

If you are facing a personal trial, stay centered on and in Christ.  Let Him clarify your thinking and show you your purpose.  Don’t become distracted by the storm and the clouds.  These are temporary.  Focus on Christ, and not on the circumstance.  You probably saying, sure that’s easy for you to say.  You don’t know what I’m going through.  Well you’re right.  I don’t.  But Christ does, and there is nothing, no circumstance, situation, challenge, detour, distraction, or dilemma He can’t fix.   Give Him a chance.  Christ came so we can experience fullness in this life, even in the midst of the storms. So whether it’s you or someone you care about, share that detours, distractions and dilemmas are temporary, and Christ is eternal.   That’s good news.