Power: How important is it, after the storm, Part 2

Photo By SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters

After the storm, I pray that all will have hope and grab hold of the visible and colorful reminder that God keeps His promise.  Like many of you, I watched the news and read about the destruction and devastation caused by Super storm Sandy throughout the eastern coast, which impacted some twenty-three states.  Sandy has been classified as an unprecedented storm by those who have covered storms in the past and weather related news for many years.

As I watched and prayed, I was saddened because many will write it off as “Mother Nature” doing her thing…it’s just something that happens.   I am certainly thankful for man’s giftedness to provide a scientific explanation of how storms are formed, to track them, and give warning to prepare and evacuate, if necessary. However, I believe preparation should go beyond the physical.  When the warning to prepare is given, it’s the perfect time to prepare spiritually— where are you in your relationship with God? Pray. Repent. Ask for forgiveness. Do you even believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? What if there’s a real heaven and hell, where do you want to spend eternity if you die in the storm? Are you ready to go, if you must? Ask God to save you, rescue your life to fulfill your life purpose if you know your heart is wicked and evil. This is the essence of spiritual preparation.

While systems are in place to track and trace a storm, no man can stop it! No one can change the course of its winds powerful enough to uproot huge trees, or stop the fifty-foot waves and floodwaters from breaking through dams and levees.  Storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes should help us put life and power in perspective.  Only God can speak to the winds and waves and they obey His voice. Psalm 107:29, “He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.” Mark 4:35-41, records this unprecedented power that Jesus demonstrated, which gripped the attention of the disciples.

Knowing this is reason enough to give greater consideration to how important is man’s power and authority in comparison to God as being all-powerful and all-knowing.  It’s something about being vulnerable or in a life or death situation that raises our awareness to what matters most.  Usually it is in times of disaster and tragedies that we personally and as a nation realize pain is not prejudice, and death does not discriminate.

Consequently, my prayer is always that people ponder and give deeper thought to the spiritual implications or supernatural aspect of storms that sends a message about power and authority. A storm reminds us of our human frailty, our vulnerability, and speaks to the power and authority that’s totally out of man’s control.   Storms should get our attention. They should make us to search within, change our actions and attitudes, look at life differently—its sacredness. After the storm, we should seize the opportunity to regroup and reevaluate our priorities.  Those greatly impacted by a storm should forever look at life differently; it should never be taken for granted, if you survived the storm or even if you lost loved ones in the storm.

Kurt Wilberding, a fashion and street photographer, snapped this Instagram photo in lower Manhattan, after Superstorm Sandy made its way through New York City.

The destruction and devastation our fellow Americans are experiencing as a result of Sandy should remind us all of what matters most—love for one another, promote justice for all, and to walk humbly with our God.

Once again, disaster reminds us that division is the greatest downfall of a nation that “supposedly” believes in democracy.  But,, even after the storm, there is hope.  The LORD God always keeps His promise amid the destruction, devastation and sorrow for the lives lost.  After the storm, I pray that all will make the decision to have hope and grab hold of the visible and colorful reminder that God keeps His promise. You are not alone.

Praying for peace after the storm,

Advertisements

Power: How important is it?

How important is power to you?  How are you keeping it in perspective? These are questions that candidates should be asked, especially during an election year for the highest office in the land. Not only should the presidential candidates be asked, but we should ask ourselves. Perspectives on positions of power and authority are critical to the influential outcome of a nation, government entity, organization, home and family environment, as well as the personal leadership role in any sphere of influence.

I’m a witness that power can go to an individual’s head, especially if they’ve never held an official or professional position of power. I say, “official” position because we all have personal power—influence—over others in our circle of friends or acquaintances. Continue reading

Help the Others

When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” That ended Paul’s discussion with them, but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

—Acts 17:32-34

 

The above Scripture passage really caught my attention and inspired this short word of encouragement and insight.

Everyone may not take what you have to say seriously, and receive it in faith.  You shouldn’t take it personal. You are the messenger carrying the Light of hope to help others. You are the bearer of “good news.” So what if they laugh in contempt at the good news of the Kingdom? Don’t be offended.  There are others who want to hear more about it, and will receive it in faith. Tell them. They will believe. Praise God for the ones who are drawn to the Light the world—Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, you don’t know who will laugh and who will listen; therefore, you should keep telling the story of hope and redemption. Don’t lose heart and stop being a witness because you fear of rejection. When people don’t receive the message of hope, they are not rejecting you. They are rejecting the Christ—the One able to rescue them from eternal torment.  

Focus on the ones who will join forces to advance the Kingdom of God. They are the others; help the others that want to hear what you have to say about Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and His unconditional love that will transform their life.

Pray for them. Encourage them. Help them. Also, pray for those who will respond negatively and in contempt and laughter. Pray for their souls; they are also the others…help them by interceding on their behalf. Why? Because all things are possible with God.

 

The Path of Peace

My faith says if I pray hard enough and believe long enough things will change.

Is it too much to hope for? Am I considered naïve to even think things could possibly be different from what they are now? Is it not my privilege to think…to believe…to pray…to hope…to expect?

Here’s what I think; here is what I believe, and pray and hope and even imagine…

Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace…

 

That’s it! The path of peace!

 

The path of peace will lead us to that blissful place of eternal rest. There’ll be no more sorrow, tears, heartache and pain.

 The path of peace will lead us to that majestic ambiance of glory unimaginable.  No natural eye can behold its brilliance and exquisite décor.

 No finite mind can comprehend its power.  No frail body made of dust can stand under its weight of glory.

 Oh! The Path of Peace.

It is a path that anyone can take to find their way to the Father.  He has been waiting since before the foundation of the world to welcome you into the family.

 

Do you want to know how to get on this path of peace?  Because I sense, you’re tired and weary from the burdens you bear. Your life is spinning out of control. Your mind is tormented by nightmares. The daily challenges you face are daunting; they leave you drained of strength to survive.  You’re restless although you take sleeping pills. Your system has become immune to Prozac. You feel hopeless; you’re exhausted because your days are spent worrying about anything…everything. You don’t have the power to sustain yourself.  You are tired of suffering from sickness and diseases. The substance abuse and sexual promiscuity are no longer gratifying.  You feel used and cheap. Your “pint-sized” self-esteem has evaporated into thin air. There is no satisfaction in anything you do. You are emotionally and mentally stressed by the pressures and cares of a life you’ve concluded is unfair and hopeless.  

 

The voice in your head is screaming louder and louder, “Kill yourself! It’s your only way out!”

 

NO! WAIT! Do not listen! It’s lie!  Suicide is NOT the way out! STOP!  Your solution is here!

 

TODAY, RIGHT NOW You CAN start the journey on the path of peace by accepting Jesus Christ into your heart as Savior and Lord.

 

Jesus was punished for our sins so that we may have peace (Isaiah 53:5).

Christ gives peace and rest to all who come to him in faith (Matthew 11:28-30).

Peace comes through justification by faith in Jesus (Romans 5:1).

Jesus gives peace (John 14:27).

 

I’m praying for you….Now

 Heavenly Father,

 Thank You for sending this word for that special individual who has no hope. It is because of Your unfailing love that You’re reaching out to them now. I pray that Your calming Presence embrace them now. Let Your peace overshadow and Your love uphold them.  Open their eyes to see beyond present chaos and calamities of life, and let them envision the beauty and tranquil place of glorious hope.  Father, it’s Your desire that we all have peace that exceeds our understanding.  And thank You, that You made provision by sending Your Son Jesus Christ as the Light to breakthrough like the majestic sunrise. Let the warmth of the Light shine and dispel the darkness that lurks in the soul of that beloved whose weary, battered and bruised. Mend their broken heart. Restore. Renew their mind. Change their life and make them new in Christ.

To start your journey on the path of peace, pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father,

 I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is Your Son; that He died on the cross and You raised Him from the dead. I confess that I am a sinner in need of salvation. Lord Jesus, come into my heart. I repent; I turn away from a life of sin and turn to You. Forgive me of my sins and make me whole. I receive You as my Savior and Lord.  Thank You, Father, for rescuing me from a destructive lifestyle and eternal damnation. Thank you for eternal life. I receive Your peace with thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

If you prayed this prayer in sincerity, you are saved! You are now on the path of peace. Make sure you pray daily, and read the Bible. Get connected with a local church where the Bible is taught, and you can fellowship with other believers. This practice will help you grow and become knowledgeable about the teachings of Christ, and the Word of God.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

 

Visit Prayer Principles & Podcasts for more teaching resources, prayer coaching tips and sample prayers. 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be naive

It’s perplexing to keep hearing the bizarre and senseless behavior of people in the news.  But then, I’m reminded of what the Bible (God’s Word) says. The letter Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy is relevant to our society and culture today, now that we’re closer to the end times, whether you believe it or not.  Here’s what he wrote (2 Timothy 3:1-5):

“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.”

When I call to mind what Apostle Paul said, it helps me see things from a spiritual perspective.  As burdensome as it is to hear and see the fulfillment of Scripture, I have to stay grounded in my belief that God’s Word is the ultimate truth, and that the hope for all mankind is a “true” relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  I must be consistent in my call to do what I’ve been empowered to do, namely because God predestined me to be born for such a time as this. I understand that I can’t save the world, but with the attitude of Esther, I am committed to doing my part and trusting God to hear my prayer…”Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Luke 11:2).

In case you are also perplexed by the bizarre and senseless behavior of people, just remember we’re living in the difficult times Apostle Paul warned Timothy about. Hopefully, you will stand firmly on the solid foundation of God’s Word, and enjoy the abundant life that Christ promised to all that would accept Him as Lord—don’t be naive.

Don’t fret over the guilty

The book of Nahum is not a popular Old Testament and the author is not one of the Major Prophets because the book is very short in length—only three (3) chapters. However, there is a powerful message that can build our confidence in the character and power of God. Nahum predicts and describes Nineveh’s fall. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, a powerful empire during ancient times. The Assyrians were cruel and ruthless enemies of God’s people. But Nahum said:

 “The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.” -Nahum 1:3

Few people can stare into the face of such raw power as that of the Assyrian empire and come away unimpressed. Nahum did so only because he had seen a far greater power—the power of a God whose wrath could shatter rocks. If God was angry, how could Nineveh stand? Nahum’s absolute confidence in God is underlined throughout his book. Nahum sounds unintimidated, almost lordly. He spoke with confidence because he knew God’s character.1

Like Nahum, there’s a sense of boldness and unintimidating confidence when you know a far greater power—the power of a God that spoke the Universe into existence, which we marvel at to this day. Yet, this same powerful God is a loving Father who delights in caring for us and obligates Himself to protect and provide for His people…those who trust and obey Him as their Lord and Savior.

Those who are confident in God’s power and love are not intimidated by others who parade themselves as equal in power to the only living and true God of the Universe. So, like Nahum, we can speak with confidence because we know God’s character.

Too often we fret over the guilty—those who take advantage of others—exploitation, extortion, and oppression. Too often we give up and retreat disheartened by the pain caused when the guilty go free. Too often we compromise our values and succumb to the influence of those guilty of promoting immorality, hatred and injustice. Too often we are guilty of being entertained by the slanderous remarks about those trying to enhance the quality of life for the poor and disadvantaged. Too often we are guilty of joining forces with those who devise plans to set themselves up as the great powers that be—do not fret over the guilty, neither be afraid. Trust in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Remember, the LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. Therefore, make sure you’re not among the “guilty.”

More important, if you find yourself among the guilty, there’s a way out. Jesus Christ.  He died on the Cross among the “guilty” although He was innocent. He was crucified with the guilty so that everyone could be declared “not guilty” although we all deserve the penalty of sin. Yet, God’s love is so incomprehensible that He made it as easy as ABC for us…. Admit/Acknowledge your guilt (I am a sinner). Believe in your heart that His Son, Jesus Christ died for our sin, and that He rose from the dead. Confess (declare) with thanksgiving by faith He is your Savior and Lord by asking Him to come into heart,  take control of your life and change you from the inside out.  It’s that simple to start your journey to learn more about God and become confident in His character just as Nahum.  As a result, you won’t have to fret over the guilty.

1NIV Student Bible Journal

Hard, But Not Impossible

“Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” But looking at them, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          —Mark 10:23, 27

One of God’s greatest demonstrations of power is when those we least expect to accept God’s plan of salvation are saved, delivered and freed from sin’s imprisonment. Truth is, no one can be written off as hopeless and beyond God’s reach when it comes to their eternal destiny, especially the rich.

This is exactly the message Jesus wanted to convey to his disciples in this particular dialogue with the rich young ruler. This was another object lesson for the disciples during their hands-on training with the Master Teacher.

Let’s take a closer look at this lesson to see what insight we can gain that will help us today.

In our society there is a tendency to shy away from witnessing (sharing the good news of faith in Jesus Christ) to the rich and/or famous, especially if they are considered “good people who do good deeds.” Perhaps it is because we hold to the idea that doing “good” deeds and living morally good get you into the kingdom. While philanthropic acts and moral living have rewards, these alone cannot secure one’s eternal destiny. Yes, helping others is the right thing to do. It’s certainly fulfilling. Sure, moral living is also right. It provides a sense of security and protection against the many the ills of society that are consequential to immoral living—disease, injustices, crime and violence to name a few.

However, here’s the dilemma for us humans. One of the hardest things for us to do is to let go of tangible things that we trust in for security and delusive success, or things we feel are essential to our well being and comfortable lifestyle. This was the rich young ruler’s dilemma. He had great wealth. In other words, he had a lot of stuff. And, he did not want to give it all up.
First, what I find interesting about the rich young ruler is how he addressed Jesus. He addressed Him as “good Teacher.” But Jesus replied: “Why do you call me [essentially and perfectly morally] good? (Amplified). There is no one [essentially and perfectly morally] good—except God alone. In essence, Jesus asked him are you acknowledging and accepting me as the Anointed One (Messiah) sent from God? Are you recognizing me as God, and willing to obey my commands?

Now my question is, if Jesus said there is no one good but One that is God, then where does that leave all the “good” people we know that have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah, Savior of the world? Hmmmm…

No reply to Jesus’ question is recorded. Nevertheless, his answer, whether recorded or not, would be the deciding factor in the revealed outcome—did he believe Jesus to be who he addressed him as, and would he trust him as such.

The second point that I find interesting is the young ruler’s approach. He asked him what should he do to inherit eternal life. It is obvious that he equated works as being essential to inheriting eternal life. After all, this had become the religious tradition among the Pharisees. It’s apparent the young man was astute in Jewish law and tradition because he was a ruler. Therefore, Jesus appealed to his knowledge of the Law, and its moral requirements. No doubt, he gloated with a sense of fulfillment and self righteousness in saying he’d kept these laws since his boyhood. It’s obvious that he lived a moral life. Unfortunately, there was something he lacked. In fact, Jesus narrowed it down to one thing.

No matter how good we are, or how much good we do, I’m confident there is at least one thing we lack. Yet, God is compassionate toward when we think that we measure up to His standards by living and doing good, but not acknowledging Him as LORD and receiving Him into our hearts as SAVIOR.

Amazingly, since the rich young ruler approached Jesus with the question what must he do to inherit eternal life, Jesus presented him with opportunity. Actually Jesus instructed him to do three (3) things that would compensate for the one (1) thing that he lacked (v. 21). And as a bonus with these instructions was a promise—treasure in heaven.
The “one” thing that the rich young ruler lacked, like many today, is faith—faith in Jesus as the Christ. His lack of faith (belief, confidence, trust, and assurance) hindered him from doing what Jesus said (obeying His word). Basically, Jesus asked him to sell all his possessions (give up/let go of everything; deny himself), give the money from selling everything to the poor (invest in the lives of others; you’ll be rewarded with heavenly treasure), come and follow me (submit to my leadership and authority).

The bible says this man went away grieved and sorrowing, for he was holding great possessions. Sadly, he chose to keep his possessions rather that put his confidence in Jesus. Why? Here’s the point Jesus emphasizes to his disciples, and is relevant today. There is a group of people that it will be hard to persuade into the kingdom of God because they place their confidence, their sense of security in possessing things (wealth) rather than exercise faith in the unknown or unseen.

It is noteworthy to mention that wealth is not always limited to money. Some people possess a wealth of knowledge and intellect; while others possess relational wealth. The rich young ruler could not place his confidence in the invisible or the promise of unseen treasure.
Although the rich young ruler asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, but when told, he chose not to do it. Of course, doing these things would not earn him eternal life; they would be the manifestation of his faith in Jesus as the Messiah sent from God. Jesus gave him the opportunity to exercise his faith by doing something in the natural to activate the supernatural based on the Word of God.

Today, many are just like the young ruler. They inquire about the kingdom of God, and even express an interest, but are not willing to pay the cost. Although we never consider exercising faith as paying a cost, it is. The greatest price we will ever pay is to give up the visible along with logical reasoning to believe the illogical and the invisible.

The truth: The just (righteous) shall live by his faith (Romans 1:17). And without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Our lifestyle as followers of Christ is to walk by faith and not by sight.
Having great wealth pleases whom? Self, of course. Possessions are the substance that many hope for; therefore no evidence of the unseen is required. Please don’t misunderstand me! It’s God’s desire that we have great wealth, but the difficulty is when you trust in the riches rather than the giver of the wealth—GOD.

How many people today make the decision not to trust Jesus and the promise He’s made because they cannot deny themselves, or let go of things they believe are absolute essentials for their quality of life on earth. Oh, they don’t mind giving to others as long as it’s not everything they possess. Their giving is conveniently and proportionately distributed. These are classified as “good’ people. They donate millions to charitable organizations. They are philanthropists who establish foundations for the sole purpose of helping others. Many feel it their purpose in life, and for others it’s just best business practice with taxable deductions. Yet, their contributions are limited to keeping enough for themselves. If asked to give it all up on the word or promise of Jesus, they would make a decision just as the rich young ruler—walk away. In essence, they trust in their wealth rather than put their trust in God, the only One that can give them an eternal reward.

Nevertheless, there is hope. After Jesus said it’s hard for a rich man holding on to wealth to enter the kingdom of God, the disciples asked, ho then can be saved. Jesus made it very plain. It’s hard, but not impossible. It’s hard for man to let go, totally trust and obey God, but it’s not impossible. In fact, what’s impossible with man is possible with God. Truth is, all things are possible with God. It is God alone who can change man’s heart and his circumstances.

Remember the gospel of Jesus Christ is power unto salvation to everyone that believes (Romans 1:16). Therefore, preach the Truth. Proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Do not write anyone off as hopeless and beyond God’s reach when it comes to their eternal destiny, especially the rich.

Keep praying that their eyes be opened to see God and confess their real need—salvation through faith in Jesus the Christ. When they recognize their need for God, know and receive His love, then doing these three things will become easier: denying self, loving others and submitting to authority—the Lord Jesus Christ first and following the godly leadership He places you under.

©Queen Phillips. All rights reserved.  Permission granted to reprint, repost for nonprofit purposes only with credit given to copyright owner.