Christian

Prayers for the Week – Why I’m a Christian

Christian

11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14 (ESV)

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s prayers for the week post.  Today I’m taking a moment to talk to you about why I’m a Christian.  It’s something that I feel strongly about, and pray that it may lead you to examine your own reasons for why you are a Christian — or if you aren’t one, to reach out to us and ask any questions you have about how you become one.

When I was a child, my family really didn’t go to church very often.  Most of the times we did go to church were for weddings or funerals, so not very often at all.  I don’t write that as a way of judging why my parents didn’t take us to church.  I write it because to me it shows all the more the plans God has for me, and how He is going to see them through to fulfillment regardless of me.

One of the reasons I’m a Christian is because God’s Word speaks to us today just as it did to others thousands of years ago. Jeremiah recorded the words of God to His people, the Israelites, when they were exiled to Babylon. Although those words were spoken thousands of years ago to a people that was disobedient and ended up in exile, still God tells His people that He hasn’t given up on them, that He will restore them, and it will be because they turned back to Him.

In the same vein, those words are written for us in today’s day. We are often just as disobedient as the Israelites were, and with the state of the world today, you can certainly make an argument that God has turned His back on us. But despite that, God’s promise from yesteryear is very much in evidence today.

When I lost my job at UNC-TV because management decided to outsource to an out of state company two years ago, I really had a sense of fear. How was I going to support my family? How were we going to be able to keep our home? What was going to happen with Sophie’s plans for school? Well, what I know is that the plans I had to accomplish those things really weren’t my plans at all, they were God’s plans. God knew and God knows what we need in our lives.

The short answer to this long-winded discussion is that the reason I’m a Christian is that God provides me and my family with the hope we need each and every day. God knows — and we have learned — that our time on this fallen world is short, and that our real home is Heaven. The hope we have in Jesus is a hope like none other, and it is in that hope that I am a Christian.

Now, please put your hope in Jesus as well, and please pray with me these prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests and Praises

  • Mikel starts us off with a prayer request: I would ask for your prayers for my husband Bruce. He has some difficult decisions to make at work that not only affect him, but the people that he manages.
  • Dennis needs immediate prayers for a family member. Please lift up Dennis and his family today. Thanks!
  • Amanda has a prayer request for her husband’s aunt, Diane is her name: My husband’s aunt needs prayers. They have found a mass on her liver and are concerned it is advanced pancreatic cancer. They are currently awaiting a biopsy and further scans.
  • Hiro has a prayer request for her father-in-law: Please pray for my Father-in-Law. He is getting surgery on his eyes tomorrow morning. He is worried about losing his sight.
  • Lastly, Jo has a prayer request for financial blessings for her family.

Now, please close with us by praying the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples and us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

Faith

Prayers for the Week: What is Faith?

Faith

What is Faith?

To the Christian, our Faith is a trademark of who we are. It is by our faith that we are identified, it is by our faith that we have our strength of conviction, and it is ultimately by our faith that we are judged. Our faith is everything. As a result, let’s take a look at the importance of faith by reading Hebrews 11 together:

1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
4By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
29By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. ~ Hebrews 11 (ESV)

The words of Hebrews 11 are many, but they are necessary for us all to read.  It is in these words that we understand just how much faith the men and women of the Bible had in God.  When I read these words, I was reminded that all of these men and women faced a multitude of success and failure in their lives, and that there were times when their faith kept them whole.  Abraham was told to go off with Isaac and sacrifice him to God.  Abraham went off to do just that, knowing by faith that God would not let him down, and would not take the son he had waited 100 years for from him and Sarah. And God acknowledged that faith by staying Abraham’s hand and providing a lamb for the sacrifice.

That faith is hard to quantify at times in our lives.  When we lose a job, or lose a family member, or have some unexpected bad news hit us, it can be hard to remember that we need that faith. It is important to remember the words in Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6, when we are not sure what or who to trust:

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

Do you count yourself as a Christian? If so, how is your faith? More importantly, how is your faith when the bad times roll around? Remember the words of Hebrews 11 and look to the heroes of the Bible for how and where they placed their faith. Now, please continue reading and praying our prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Vonni starts us off with a series of prayer requests for a friend of hers and his son Brandon: This is not my son but my friend, Randy’s son. It’s terrible. Thank you, friends.
    PLEASE PRAY FOR MY SON BRANDON! He was involved in a near fatal car accident this morning on his way to work at Costco. He was run off the road on a blind curve. He lost control of his car and hit a tree. He is currently in Neuro ICU at Spartanburg Regional Hospital. He has extensive damage to his spinal cord. He is paralyzed from his chest down. He needs a miracle right now. Please help him receive one by keeping him in your Prayers and good thoughts. Bless you. A heartbroken Dad, –Randy

    • From Randy, update on Brandon this morning.UPDATE ON BRANDON’s CONDITION
      I am currently at Spartanburg Regional Hospital Neuro ICU. Brandon is undergoing some extensive testing and an MRI. He can move his arms and hands. But cannot feel anything below his chest. More as soon as I know something. Thank you one and all for your Outpouring of Love , Support and Prayers
    • Update on Brandon:*BRANDON’S SURGERY SCHEDULED
      We just received a call from the Hospital. Brandon’s SURGERY IS Tomorrow, Thursday (9/28/17) at 1:30 P.M., 1ST Floor WAITING ROOM. No One will be able to see Brandon BEFORE OR AFTER SURGERY. I know you understand that it’s going to be an intense day for Brandon, Doctors Nurses entrusted with his Surgery and Care. His Recovery Time in the Neuro ICU is approximately 2 weeks. No idea as to when ANYONE can visit. Please Pray and look for my posts. I will not be taking individual calls or texts Tomorrow regarding Brandon’s Progress. I hope you can understand. Its going to be a tough emotional day. Thank you one and all for your love and support! —Randy
    • Update on Brandon:
      BRANDON had Surgery yesterday. He survived and is holding his own. He is back in Neuro ICU where he is sedated and resting. Thank you for every Prayer and dollar towards his care. —RandyThank you all for continuing prayers.
      Vonni
  • Lynn’s uncle had an accident, fell, and needed hip replacement surgery.  The surgery went well but he’s experiencing complications, please pray for Lynn’s uncle to recover completely.
  • Please pray for my friend Lindsey, yesterday was the one year anniversary of her sister passing away. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to walk forward but remember their loved one.
  • Please pray for all of those that are lost, for those that need to regain their walk, and for those that don’t know what to pray or who to pray to. Please pray for all of the unsaved, for those that don’t think they need this salvation, and please pray for all of us that have salvation but are under attack from the evil one.  Thank you all!

Now, please close with us by praying the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples and us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

Love

Prayers for the Week: Fruit of the Spirit – Love

Love

Image ©SincerelySaraD.com

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22 (ESV)

Hello my friends, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post.  Today I’m starting a small series on the fruits of the Spirit that we find in Galatians 5.  Over the next nine weeks starting today I will be focusing on one of those fruits.  Today we focus on love.

Love

The concept of love is discussed throughout the Bible, and there are many examples of love that we can draw on in our quest to understand what it means.  There is the concept of being “in love” with someone, such as how a husband loves his wife and vice versa. We find a very powerful set of verses pertaining to love of a couple found in 1 Corinthians 13:

4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (ESV)

Those verses are often quoted in wedding ceremonies.

Other ways love can be found in the Bible exist throughout — even in situations where God disciplined His children because they didn’t listen to Him and commit to Him.  Just look at all of the times that the Israelites were exiled because they turned away from God.  But then, of course, God sent us Jesus — the greatest act of love that has ever been known in this world.  God sent His Son to us so that we might believe in Him, and in doing so, gain eternal life and forgiveness for all of the unpardonable sins that we have committed.  God sent Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sin — and Jesus loves us so much that He died on that cross for me.  And for you.  And for all of us.  All He asks of us is that we would turn to Him, that we would believe in Him and His sacrifice, that we would pray to Him, telling Him that we have realized that we are sinners, and ask Him for forgiveness and to create in us a new spirit, a new life.  That salvation that we speak of is open to each and every one of us, from the meekest, most gentle person to the killer on death row that has shown no remorse for their actions.  That, my friends, is what Love is.  Love is dying on the Cross for each and every one of us when you didn’t deserve that fate.  If you don’t have John 3:16 memorized, go look it up, and memorize it, and do me a favor and leave it in the Facebook comments below.

Love — it is the first of the fruits of the Spirit, and it is an outward sign that you are one with Christ.  Do you show love?  Do people know it? That is the question.

Now, please continue reading with our Prayer Requests and Praises below.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Please pray for all of those that are having struggles with anxiety and panic.  Please pray for all of those, that God would send his Peaceful, Calming, Comforting touch to them, that they would know true Peace, and that their anxiety and panic would drift away.
  • Amanda has a prayer request: I need more prayers! My husband’s oncologist is requesting a test on his already removed tumor tissue to see if he might be a candidate for immunotherapy. This is huge because that’s where all of the research is. If it comes back as no, we only have one more drug after the one we are on to use. Not many clinical trials exist that don’t involve immunotherapy. Please pray it comes back that he is a candidate. We will be scheduling another scan in the next week or so. I’ll be requesting more prayers for that – better than last time with no new cancer, none of the resolved tumors active again and the active tumors less active, resolved or gone. But I’ll bother you with those later!
    Also, our friend Jaime has been put on hospice care. She has a husband and 2 small children. Please pray for them as well. Thanks, guys!
  • Please keep praying for my cousin Barb and her husband Tim. The results were not what we had hoped. The chemo is not working anymore, and the doctor is looking for clinical trials for him. Need prayers now, more than ever.
  • Carol has a prayer request: Pray for my son Jeff. He is having Very difficult time.
  • Please pray for my friend Clint and his family.
  • Please pray for Paul and his broken toe.

Thank you all for praying, and please don’t forget to send us your own prayer requests!  Now, please pray the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray together:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

 

Trust in the Lord

Prayers for the Week: Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones. ~ Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)

Brothers and Sisters, welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post.  We continue our exploration of the Proverbs, those wonderful words of wisdom that form one of my favorite Books in the Bible.  Today we are focusing on our need to trust in the Lord.

Far too often I think that we believe that we need to make sure we are doing our part in our daily lives.  While this is absolutely true, we do need to shoulder our burden, we need to make sure that we aren’t putting the emphasis entirely on ourselves to take care of things.  Simply put, we need to trust in the Lord to take care of the things that He wants to do for us.

So much has been written and discussed lately on repealing and replacing Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.  This past week, the House of Representatives passed their own healthcare bill, and immediately many went on the offensive about just how bad it is.  Is it bad legislation?  Perhaps it is.  I don’t know as I haven’t read the bill.  What I do know though is that the current law is bad legislation.  It hasn’t helped my family one bit.  It has meant nothing but heartache for a lot of people.  But I’m not hear to talk about politics.  What I’m here to talk about is how yes, the laws of the land we live in do affect us, but more importantly, our relationship with God affects us even more.  So many of my “religious” friends were talking about how this law is bad, and about how no Christian should ever have a smile on their face knowing that people are losing their insurance.  Well, what I know is this: I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, and I will not lean on my own understanding!

Could this new bill (which, by the way, is not even a law yet) be bad for the country?  Perhaps.  Is there likely to be changes to the makeup of the bill that may help make it better?  Perhaps.  Will this bill help everyone out?  Probably not.  But in the end, does any of that really matter?  Our journey on this earth is just a small path on our way to our true home in Heaven.  If you are a true Christian, if you are a true follower of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, then you are not of this world.  Jesus told us in the book of John: In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 – ESV)

My prayers always go out to those that suffer, those that face persecution, those that are downtrodden, those that are taken advantage of, and that will not change.  More and more, though, I turn my gaze towards God, towards Jesus, and more and more I give thanks to Him for all that He has done for me.  Do you do that?  I urge you to start doing so if you don’t already.

Now, I’m sorry for talking so much about politics, it was not my intention to do so.  Please join us in praying for our prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Paul has a prayer request regarding his mother: I just got a report on my Mom. The stroke was severe. There is basically nothing they can do. We will take her home and keep her as comfortable as possible for the short time she has left. Possibly a few weeks, maybe less. Thank-you so much for your prayers and friendship!
    Now, the good news! My Mom has known Jesus for many years. She will have an eternity with Him and I will join her one day! Praise God!
  • Prayers for Creecy and her family: Her Mom recently passed away.
  • Lastly, pray for all of those that are afraid to mention their prayer requests.  Pray for the anonymous requests, that they would be heard and answered by God, and pray for the Peace of the world.

Now, please join us in praying the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

Easter Message

Prayers for the Week: The Easter Message

Easter Message

34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:34-35 (ESV)

My friends, Happy Easter to each and every one of you!  Today is the day when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was resurrected from the death after being arrested, tortured, and crucified on the cruel cross.  But while today is the day when we realize that He is Risen, and that Jesus has conquered death for Himself and for us that believe in Him, today I want to remember one of the greatest truths Jesus delivered to us.  This is what I believe the Easter Message is this year: Love one another, just as Jesus has loved us.

Love can be a hard thing for some of us.  Oh sure, it’s easy to love those that are close to you; your parents, your spouse, your children, and so forth.  But love can be a very hard thing when the focus of that love is someone that has done something to harm you.

Love like that can be very hard.  How do you love someone that was directly responsible for you losing your job?  How do you love someone that caused grave harm to your child?  How do you love someone that claims to be a Christian, but all they do is cause grief and heartache for your wife?  Those are just three examples.  How do you love someone that wrote a threatening letter describing all of the things that they would do to your family?  And how do you love someone that hurts you so deeply that all you want to do is withdraw from society and not have anything to do with anyone?

Quite simply, my friends, it is impossible to love — if left to our own will to do so.  What makes it possible to love when faced with those circumstances is to turn to Jesus, turn to God, and ask Him to help you love those that have caused you harm.  Look at Holy Week, the week where our Easter Message was composed from.  Look at all that happened to Jesus during this week:

  • He was betrayed by Judas.
  • He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • He was beaten.
  • He was tortured.
  • He was accused of things He didn’t do.
  • He was found innocent, yet He was sentenced to crucifixion anyway.
  • He was crucified.
  • He was given sour wine.
  • He was spit on.
  • He was stabbed.
  • He had a crown of thorns put on his head.
  • He had nails hammered in his hands and feet.
  • He died despite being innocent.

Despite all of that, and even more that I haven’t listed, despite all of that, what was it that Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Jesus would have us show that kind of love, but I think He knows that it is only possible to do when we have the Holy Spirit within us.  Then, and only then, can we love those that harm us.  That, my brothers and sisters, is what the Easter Message this year is for me.  Now, please pray with me our prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Lori has a prayer request: I’d selfishly like to ask a prayer for myself tonight and over the weekend. I need to find job that can support me and fulfill me. I have an application in at a company that is about 10 minutes from my house. My girls, Thelma Louise, are about my whole life right now; this job would allow me time to come home to them during the day and at least let me let them out for a bit.I completed an application on-line and got a very positive response from their home office in NJ within 30 minutes & did an over the phone interview. God willing the local HR Manager will see me as good of a fit and call me in for a personal interview.Thank you in advance for your prayers.
  • Jodi has an update on her brother Ken: My brother Ken is moving to a rehab facility this afternoon! Hooray! Probably will be there about 3 weeks. Please continue prayers. Thank you!
  • Jodi also has another prayer request: My friend Amanda was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Please keep her & her family in prayer. Thank you!
  • Please continue praying for Kelly’s Godfather.  Here’s her original prayer request, I’ll post an update when we learn more: Please pray for my GodFather – Uncle Alan. Went to the doctor about a week ago and he will be having a quadruple bypass next Wednesday. Thank you.
  • Please pray for my Dad, Joe, he has cataract surgery on Tuesday the 18th. Thanks!
  • Please pray for those that are afraid to ask for prayers, pray that God would hear the prayers from their hearts.
  • Please also pray for those that don’t know God, please pray that they would find out what life with Jesus in their lives really is all about.

Now, please pray with us the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.