Tag Archive: prayer


Trusting God

Genesis 15: 6-10

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.  He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”  But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”  So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”  Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.

Élias

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Michael Youssef is a wonderful pastor whose deep love for America is boundless. This article from his website gives you key points to help your prayer life become more powerful and effective:

The Key to Powerful and Effective Prayers – Feature Articles – Leading The Way.

Unquestioning Faith

   
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38, New King James Version)

The Annunciation.
That magnificent interlude where Archangel Gabriel announced to a poor Jewish teenager that she would bear the Son of the Living God. I’ve chosen this for closer study as I felt the Lord led me to it. I opened my Bible to the first page of Luke and while reading the first chapter, the last verse stood out for me.

My Prayer:
Heavenly Father,
I pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit as I delve into Your Word, to give me greater understanding and insight into Your will for my life and revelation of the mysteries of Your Word I’ve yet to discover. In Christ’s Holy Name, Amen.

As you read this account from the New King James Version, you may wonder why I titled this “Unquestioning Faith”. Indeed, Mary does ask a question. Does this mean her faith was not enough? In my opinion, no.

Mary was obviously a devout Jew, hence her selection by God to bear his Son, Jesus. We see that she knows that Gabriel was a messenger from heaven, and though his appearance was totally unexpected, she didn’t reject it in any way. However, she was perplexed that such an exalted being would manifest itself to her: 

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

For those first few moments, no doubt she wondered at his greeting and why he would be visiting her. But Gabriel gets right to the point, allaying her fears and telling her the reason for coming to her. She would concieve and give birth to the Messiah! The Son of the Lord God Almighty, Who Was and Is and Will Always Be!

Can one imagine this? Mary, undoubtedly had to be astounded by this news. A poor Jewess, betrothed to a poor carpenter, Joseph ben Heli….and now she has a question:

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

People, no matter how devout, still live in this world, a world ruled by satan. Sometimes, even those with great faith, can have questions. Mary, knowing how children are conceived, obviously was thinking along ‘fleshly’ lines. She had never lain with any man, and likely, thinking in somewhat logical terms, probably had the idea that this would be how it would happen; but she was betrothed, not yet married, and sexual relations of any kind only came after the marriage. Obviously, she didn’t entertain any idea of bedding anyone before the ceremony!

In that light, let’s examine a little more closely:

She knew how children were concieved and came into the world.  She obviously understood that this conception would happen very soon, hence her question concerning her virginity. Until THIS conception occurred, no child had ever been born of a virgin. As she stood there before Gabriel, listening to how it would happen, understanding sank in.

She remembered that this was her Lord God, Yahweh, who would father this Child.

And she remembered that with the Lord, her God, nothing was impossible.

And it made perfect sense to her:

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

I can see her, bowing her head in acceptance of God’s Will for her life. And what a will! She was the vessel, prepared and chosen by God to bring forth the Saviour of the world. In these two sentences, Mary acknowledges that she was on earth by God’s grace, and His service. God not only let her know in no uncertain terms what His will for her life would be, but also sent one of His highest ranking angels to give her this astounding message.

And in accepting God’s Will, her life was changed forever.

The Magnificat:
46 And Mary said:

      “ My soul magnifies the Lord,
       47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
       48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
      For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
       49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
      And holy is His name.
       50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
      From generation to generation.
       51 He has shown strength with His arm;
      He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
       52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
      And exalted the lowly.
       53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
      And the rich He has sent away empty.
       54 He has helped His servant Israel,
      In remembrance of His mercy,
       55 As He spoke to our fathers,
      To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

(Luke 1:46-55, New King James Version)

Most of the world knows by now about the massive earthquake in Chile, just a little over a month after the devastating quake in Haiti. In sharp contrast with Haiti, Chile, a mountainous country, and situated on a fault line, earthquakes aren’t new, and building codes, at least in the larger cities are stringent. Haiti, as we all know now, is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, racked with political unrest, corruption, and a culture that for the most part believes in pagan rituals, like voodoo.

At the outset, I want to make it clear I’m not an expert on any of these subjects; just putting forth some observations.

Many Christians, no matter how closely (or not) they walk with God, believe we are living in the End Times, and that we are coming ever closer to Christ’s return to the Earth.

In Matthew 24:4-8, Christ responds to the disciples’ queries about signs of His return and the end of the world:

4. Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.
5. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many.
6. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
7. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
8. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Birth pains.

When a woman is about to go into labor, she begins having labor pains. They start out slowly, coming rather far apart, but as birth is imminent, they come closer and closer together. This is a perfect analogy for what Christ is talking about.

The world’s economy is still in bad shape. Many nations in the Middle East are preparing for war against Israel (actually this isn’t really new, they’ve been that way for a long time); the president of Iran has vowed they will ‘wipe Israel off the face of the map’.

Quite frankly, many of the prophecies concerning Christ’s return have come to pass. Not all, but quite a few. I recently watched a sermon by Greg Laurie, senior pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship titled “Signs of the End Times”. If you wish to view this, click the Media button and it’s listed in the ‘Essentials of Our Faith’ sermons. He does a great job explaining this topic.

Just a couple of days ago, I found this at a Christian forum:

This is a perfect example of God turning a bad thing into something good. 3000 confirmed conversion, 101 of which were confirmed voodoo priests. Nothing like a little earthquake to put a healthy fear of God into an unbeliever! Sorry, I’m not making light of this country’s woes. I pray for these people and am glad to see the government itself calling for fasting and prayer from it’s people, turning from their sinful ways and accepting God’s leadership.

I say Hallelujah!!! What other country would have the guts to stand up in front of the entire world and admit the existence and sovereignty of the One True Living God? Haiti was brought to her knees with a devastating earthquake and rose from the rubble with praise on her lips and repentance in her heart. May God richly bless Haiti and those who have come to help her recover and rebuild.

One year ago

Today is the first anniversary of the departure of my mother to eternal life.

Years ago, I recall thinking it would be hard for me when my mother died. It was very hard to imagine life without her. We weren’t extremely close, but not estranged or anything. We were much alike in many ways, and I was quite independent for much of my life. She helped me when I needed help, as she did for the rest of us kids (there are six of us, I’m the oldest of 5 girls and one boy)

My sister Kathy was living with her, as was my brother, and when she retired, Kathy took care of her, as she was getting more frail (she was in her seventies). Kathy, herself, was unable to work because of health issues. Another sister, who had taken over ownership of the house when Mom became concerned that she might lose it if anything happened to her, had become extremely hostile toward Kat, for reasons unknown to the rest of us. This sister was very close to Mom and when she came to visit, would sometimes close Mom’s bedroom door during the visit. I suspected and now know that she had plotted Kat’s destruction when Mom died.

This sister was the beneficiary for the only insurance policy Mom had and since Mom had no will, she was obligated to be the administrator of her estate. Since the policy was only for $10,000, there was only enough to pay the funeral costs, with just a bit left over. There turned out to be other bills that needed to be taken care of, (I knew nothing about them). She was very angry about this and blamed Kathy for running up these bills and using up Mom’s money. Kathy said that anytime Mom needed or wanted anything, she got it, even if it required using a credit card. I agree; it was Mom’s money and her cards, and if she needed or wanted it, so be it! If Kathy needed anything and Mom knew about it, it was ok with me, since she was taking care of her.

But this other sister doesn’t see it that way. Mom had fallen (again!) and broke her hip on Halloween of ’08, and wound up in the hospital, then later into a nursing home for recovery. Mom had COPD and emphysema, along with other health issues. While in the nursing home, she required a feeding tube toward the end of her stay there. (This nursing home was in the city where my other sister worked …..at her request…so she could see to her care. It was there that the tube somehow got dislodged and some of the ‘food’ got into her lungs. She became sick from this and was transferred back to our hometown to a nursing home here. This was where she died.

Six months after Mom’s death, this first sister devised a plan to get Kat out of the house, by telling her they (she and her husband) wanted $400 a month rent or she had to get out. I was staying there at the time, but it wasn’t permanent. Since Mom was gone, her SS check, of course, was stopped. It was taking all of my money to try to keep things going (my brother only paid for what he wanted; this other sister had conspired with him to let him off the hook for rent and basically turned him against us by telling him we would ‘screw him over’!) Kathy had no income, and basically, any money would have to come from me. There was no way I could do it. She took Kat and I to court after not getting only one months rent.

Sorry, but she’ll never see a penny, as she tried to extort this from us! We are now out of there. Things are extrememly hard for us. Kathy is now in a facility to get treatment for depression and being suicidal. She’s been turned down 3 times for disablity.

And I’m trying very hard to keep my eyes toward God. But it’s very difficult when every day brings more hardship. I only make so much money and though I know all things are possible with God, I’m still having a hard time with it. I’ve prayed and given it over to him, but I guess I haven’t really let it all go. I just wish that the bad stuff will at least stop for a while, and let me have a little rest!

It’s because of this situation with my other sister that I rededicated myself to God. I know he’s working on me, refining me to his will. But, oh, how hard this is! If it was just only me, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad for me to go through; but I brought her with me to help her and I don’t know how! I really believed that God wanted me there in Mom’s house because He knew what was going to happen. I guess nothing is making sense to me and that’s causing my confusion.

In typing this, I realize I’ve gotten off God’s path for me. I’ve allowed the Father of Lies to deceive me. I’ve let him turn me every which way and gotten me confused and disoriented. This calls for some serious prayer time.

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