Friday, January 9, 2015

Every Tongue Confess

“that every knee should bow
In heaven and on earth and under the earth,
And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord/ to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV)

               Can you imagine the scene? We will see all mankind bowing down, as a form of worship and respect, before God, our heavenly Father. For as far as we can see; people will pay homage to their Creator. Suddenly, we hear a groundswell of voices, speaking in unison. “Hallelujah, all praise belongs to You, El Shaddai.”

               I have heard it said that we Christians get more excited over a game of football, baseball, or basketball than we do over Jesus. But, when this event comes, all people of the world will praise God.   

               In order to be able to praise Him then, we need to look for small things, already given to us, to thank God for. During 2013 I started writing down things to praise Him for. I got started in May. I managed to record 1,000gifts from God. In 2014, I started on New Year’s Day. As of December 30th, I recorded 1034 special gifts for which I praise God. I am truly blessed. If I were to print them out I would have 38.4 pages of “Thank You” statements to God. This is a good exercise for me. I sometimes forget that God is with me all the time.

               My plan for this year, 2015, is to write those gifts in longhand in a daily planning journal.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Confessing Faith

“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.  But because of the Pharisees they would not confess  their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue, for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
John 12:42-43 (NIV)
               John writes of leaders who secretly believed in the Master’s teachings. These men feared being cast out of the Hebrew house of worship. He makes a bold statement about the reason these men were quiet about their thoughts “for they loved praise from men more than from God.”

               Are we in the 21st Century very different from the leaders who believed in Jesus but chose not to share their beliefs with those around them? I think not.

               I remember hearing a story about a young man who found the Lord just prior to going away to college. When he came back to church over a school break, someone asked him how his friends on campus responded to his mew faith. He hung his head and said, “They don’t know of my faith.”
               Does everyone who knows us know of our faith? A church friend of mine has a burden for a neighbor who is very seriously ill. As my friend prayed for guidance on how to reach this neighbor and her family, she received a two word answer—‘Live it.”

               This answer applies to each of us. We can say all we want to about Jesus and about God but, unless our neighbors see our faith lived out, we are ‘spinning our wheels’ and getting nowhere.
               When we confess our faith before others, we also do it before God. If we keep our faith to ourselves we impede the growth of God’s kingdom.  In my young adult years, a person who kept his or her status quiet was thought of as fence-sitters—never really taking a stand for the Lord.

Dear Father God:
                              Please give us the strength and the courage to stand for you in this broken world. Teach us to long for Your praise. Guide us to demonstrate Your love for others as we go through our daily walk. All praise belongs to You. I ask this out of Your grace and love. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. AMEN

Monday, January 5, 2015

Confess through Prayer

 “Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you.”       Nehemiah 1:6 (NIV)

               Nehemiah lived in exile in the city of Susa. Although he was a prisoner, he had an important job in the palace, that of cupbearer to the king.

               His brother Hanani journeyed to Susa. Nehemiah asked about those that survived the exile. What he heard broke his heart. He mourned and fasted and prayed for a lengthy time.

               Nehemiah prayed that his God be close so He could hear his requests concerning the people of Israel. He confessed the sins of the Israelites, including himself and his father.

               In our 21st Century, we have times when a circumstance burdens us so much that we can only fast and pray about it. Sometimes, we have to include ourselves as participators in the sins that we see around us. When we want to see a situation improve, we may have to search our hearts to see if we might be part of the problem. If we discover that, indeed, we are part of the problem, we are to confess our guilt before God.

               We confess our need for God when we approach His throne. As we pray to Him, we learn that we can confess to Him through Jesus Christ.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...