I was exhausted in every way. For days my time had been so fragmented, the demands almost more than I could meet. My time of private devotion to spiritual matters had been affected by a divided mind. For this, guilt was taking its toll. But faithfulness is always a winner. As usual, I went into my study early that morning. Mentally harassed, soul hungry, emotions disturbed, spiritually desperate, physically tired but willfully determined, I reached for my Bible and the comfort and consolation of David’s Psalms. Continue reading “Faithfulness Wins”
Life, with its varying seasons, brings floods as surely as it brings sunshine. Sometimes we watch as the pressure slowly builds – a rising tide – accompanied by an inner dread – and we find ourselves overwhelmed. At other times, it is the sound of a cell phone buzzing – the ding noting an incoming text message – that brings us from peaceful and calm to storm-tossed with a single sentence. A flash flood of emotion can easily overwhelm us.
As my husband says, we are both “north of eighty” years of age. In my life’s experience I have weathered more than my share of floods and want to share some simple things I’ve learned. Continue reading “Faith at Floodstage”
Do you believe a consistent study and understanding of the scripture is necessary for real spiritual growth?
Do you only quote, or do you take seriously the command to study to show yourself approved unto God, skillful in using the Word, as as to rightly understand it?
Do you know some part of your attitude, action, character, or disposition that has been significantly affected by your personal study of the scriptures in the past three months?
Are you presently involved in a consistent and continuing plan of Bible study by book, chapter, or subject?
Are you a milk-fed Christian, almost totally dependent on spiritual nourishment previously digested by a preacher and hand fed to you?
Are you serious about your personal responsibilities to study the Bible? Continue reading “DO YOU? ARE YOU? WILL YOU?”
There is a passage in Matthew 25 it seems we have often overlooked. This chapter is a part of what is called the “Olivet Discourse” of Jesus, which actually begins in Chapter 24 and continues through Chapter 25. The cause for the discourse was Jesus’ answer to the well-known question of the disciples, “…What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
We are very familiar with the first several parts of this significant portion of scripture. We are assured that wrs and rumors of wars, false prophets, the abomination of desolation, and the sun and moon being darkened, and budding fig tree are definite signs of the end of time, and know that we are seeing them fulfilled.
We are, also, sure that we should heed not only the story of the virgins who foolishly did not have enough oil but also the warning of the wicked and slothful servant who did not multiply his talents.
The question is, though, have we overlooked the last part of Matthew 25? Continue reading “Do We or Do We Not?”
They called Him “King.” They tried to make Him look like one. They even gave Him a crown.
What they called Him was a bad joke that was not funny. They were playing and pretending with the purple robe, and the crowning was not only painful, it was humiliating.
By choice He was at their mercy. The exhilaration of their own power gave them poor judgement of their attitude and actions. Would it not have been enough to simply carry out the orders to get rid of Him? Why taunt Him, teasing and humiliating? A beating and an old coat to send Him on His way to rejection would have been enough. Oh, but, no . . . they called Him something they didn’t mean, attempted to make Him appear more than what they really felt HE was, and they hurt Him. Continue reading “The Mockery Of Purple”
I first noticed it as I hurriedly turned a corner, making my way on down the walk. A tiny little plan t had sprouted in a very unlikely place. Cradles in a crevice, shaded by the corner of the building and a small shrub, it had crowned itself with a frail little bloom.
“How did you get there?” I mused out loud, noticing the strange bend of its spindly stem.
Almost daily I watched as it struggled in its shady spot. It strenuously pushed itself around the corner at an odd and difficult angle as it reached upward, ever seeking the sun. Continue reading “A Place In the Sun”
Several years ago I read an interview with Mary Crowley, the highly successful developer and owner of the Home Interiors enterprise. The question was asked, “What are some of the basic principles of how you approach your work and how you approach your life that have made you more and more successfully.” Her answer was simple: “I have a commitment to excellence, and never give up. Whatever the job is, do it the best you can, and make it shine.” With this she also imparts her deep feeling that everyone is on the team, and everyone is serving others, not just doing a job. Over a period of 25 years, her initial investment of $5,000.00 had grown to over $400 million that year. Continue reading “A Commitment To Excellence”
Man’s mind is a significant skirmish field for the emotions. The constant tug-o-war between what we ought to do and what we do, how we ought to feel and how we feel interjects confusion compounded with guilt into the maze of life. Those who are trained in the science of the mind and emotions tell us that the Christmas holiday season is one of the peak times for upset emotions. Many reasons make up the basis for this. The contrast of memories of carefree childhood holidays versus the pressure of the adult world of holidays can cause confusion by the paradox of how we would like to feel and how we feel. Peaceful and happy holiday scenes and melodious strains of “sleep in heavenly peace” contrast drastically with the hectic holiday pace, late hours, pressure and frayed nerves. However, a real look at the first Christmas reveals a great similarity between their day and ours. Continue reading “The Confusion Of Christmas”
There is something about the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one that causes a pause in life’s machinery for most of us. It provides us with just enough time for a little introspection. This affects us in various ways – from a sigh of relief that the old year is passed, hope at the promise of a new year, a creeping dread that this year may not be much different than last, or it may be a time of anticipation and hope as exciting plans are made for the future. Some of us may end up with just a good case of the “I’m so tired” blahs as we slide from one year to the next.
However, through the years, I have become increasingly aware of the fact that if I will approach this final holiday of the holiday season with faith and hope, it can truly make all the difference in the world. If my evaluation of the previous year – and my anticipation for the coming year – are both filled with thanksgiving I become more and more aware of the gifts God has given me. Continue reading “A New Year”
As Apostolics, we are firmly rooted in the Book of Acts where, in every chapter, prayer is either mentioned or alluded to. For Apostolics, there is no priority preceding prayer. Without the modern marvels of communication and travel, the book of Acts church made a global impact. This impact traveled on the wings of prayer around the corner and to the four corners of the then know world. Prayer continues to be the prerequisite for global impact in the twenty-first century. All of our extensive plans and expanded efforts will require extreme prayer to impact our world.
Without Acts 1, there would be no Acts 2. Prayer was the priority of the apostolic church. It was born in a prayer meeting and it will thrive only in an atmosphere of prayer. The back door of the prayer room will become the front door of evangelism. Evangelism without prayer is like an explosive that has no detonator. Prayer without evangelism is like a detonator that has no explosive. Together the church can blow the gates of hell off their hinges. It was said of the early church that they turned the world upside down. That is global impact.
Apostolic doctrine must be accompanied by the apostolic agenda and priority of prayer. This will produce the power for effective impact. Acts 6:4 clearly sets the apostolic agenda: “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer; and to the ministry of the word:” and please note that prayer precedes the Word. How would Acts 10 read if the apostle Peter had been too busy with plans and programs to pray in the middle of that notable day when Cornelius turned the handle on the door of the Gentile world, opening it for the gospel? The door of evangelism for the continent of Europe swung open on three hinges of prayer: Lydia’s prayer meeting by the riverside, the deliverance of the demonized girl as Paul and Silas were on their way to a prayer meeting, and the prayer meeting in the jail.
Prayer meetings were the pivotal points of the early church. It was while Peter and John were on their way to a prayer meeting that the lame man was healed, which produced a ready audience to receive the message, resulting in multitudes believing. After an earth-shaking prayer meeting, the words “multitude” and “believers” appear again. The impact of preaching is absolutely dependent on the priority of prayer.
A praying disciple by the name of Ananias was led in a vision to a praying religious leader by the name of Saul, and by praying and going, the religious system was cracked, and the greatest persecutor of the name of Jesus was turned into its greatest proponent.
The apostolic agenda of prayer (first) and the word made the early church effectively impacting:
- They affected the religious world of their day with the conversion of Saul and a great number of priests.
- They affected the business world of their day as noted by the conversion of Cornelius.
- They affected the ethnic structure of their day as noted by the conversion of Grecians, Romans, and others.
- They impacted individuals, people groups, cities, villages, nations, and continents.
They kept the priority of prayer.
Apostolic doctrine must be accompanied by the apostolic agenda of the priority of prayer. It has been said that you can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.
The fire of revival will never fall on empty altars. A sacrifice at the altar has always been required before the fire falls. It has always been so and remains so even in the twenty-first century.
Real global impact is not dependent on our preaching, singing, planning, organizing, or working. All of these will contribute, but prayer is the first essential.
Let it be said of us as it was of the early church, “…they continued . . . in prayers” (Acts 2:42).