FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


Leave a comment

Peace on Earth (Part 1)

WATCH:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8OYvHPpGDY

Before we can have peace on earth, we must have peace within our communities. Before we can have peace within our communities, we must have peace within our families. Before we can have peace within our families, we must have peace within.

Ourselves!

Unfortunately, instead of Christmas being a time of peace, it is a time of great stress for many. Overfilled calendars and planners, strapped budgets and strained family relationships often come along with the holidays. How, then, do we overcome the accompanying anxiety and dwell in peace? Let’s look to Paul.

While confined in a Roman prison he penned the text of Philippians proclaiming his contentment in whatever situations (including prison) he found himself (4:11).   How? How could he be content, at peace in prison? His “secret” comes in the preceding text, verses 4-8.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV)

There are three key words in this text, and they provide us somewhat of a formula for peace. Prayer. Supplication. Thanksgiving.

In this stressful season and throughout life, pray. About what? Everything! Don’t get caught up in the theology of prayer – what it is, what it isn’t, how to, how not to… Prayer is talking to God. Whatever is robbing you of your peace, talk to Him about it.

Supplication is the fifty cent word for asking earnestly and humbly. Praying is not about laying out a list of requests before God. (Do not confuse God with Santa Claus.) In prayer we come humbly before our Father, and in that relationship of child and Father, we share with Him all that is on our hearts – our frustrations, our confusion, our fears, our angst, our sorrows our disappointments… Whatever you are feeling, tell Him.

Thanksgiving is synonymous with gratitude. “But God hasn’t answered my prayer yet,” you might say. Thank Him for loving you, for hearing you and for accepting the burden that is troubling you. Psalm 55:22 tells us to cast our burden on the Lord and, in the words of Charles Tindley’s 1916 hymn, leave them there! That alone is enough to be thankful for – not only can we give our troubles to the Lord, we are commanded to do so, and He will take care of each one. What else can you be thankful for? Past faithfulness. God’s love. God’s grace. Salvation! Thank Him when you pray expecting that He will answer!

In 1955 Jill Jackson Miller and her husband, Sy Miller, penned another familiar song that shares a powerful lesson for us. The opening line is “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Pray in earnest humility thanking God for what He can do, has done and will do – then let peace begin with you!

THIS WEEK: What action can you take each day this week to bring peace to someone or to some situation?

Leave It There:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyxQZQjLaC4

Let There Be Peace on Earth:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXFeeJ6LSMc


Leave a comment

That’s What Friends Are For

I was all prepared to post something else.

Then yesterday I received a prayer request from a friend – actually a series of requests for various individuals with various needs.  There is a group of us, some known and others unknown, who somewhat regularly intercede for each other as well as for friends, family and acquaintances of each other.  It’s powerful.

At the end of yesterday’s requests my friend wrote, “Pray for each other because that’s what friends are for.”

She’s right.

The Bible provides many examples of individuals, including our Lord Jesus, praying and interceding for friends.  We are even commanded to pray for our enemies.

Consider these Scriptures:

~ “The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.”   (Job 42:10)

~ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”  (Matthew 5:44)

~ “…bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  (Luke 6:28)

~ “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…”  (Ephesians 6:18)

~ “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority…”  (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Do you?

Do you pray for your friends?  And your enemies?

In our church when individuals come forward at the invitation, our pastor asks us to commit to pray for them.  He also says, “If you’re not going to pray for them, don’t say that you will.”  Sounds a little harsh, but how often do we tell people that we will pray for them then in the next 15 minutes we’ve forgotten not only about them but about our promise to pray?

I remember participating in a Beth Moore study that included a live webcast.  Beth shared a humorous story about her mother praying for her.  She said that her mother would pray petitioning the Lord for Wanda Elizabeth Green Moore who lived on _Blank _ Street in _Blank _ City.  She said that she laughed and told her mother that she was sure the Lord knew who she was, but her mom was insistent that she didn’t want any mix-ups.

Hey, laugh if you want, but that is how we ought to pray for our friends and our enemies.  When we ask the Lord to “bless” our friends (or enemies), well, He already did.  If they woke up, they were blessed.  If they had food, they were blessed.  If they were able to walk, they were blessed.  Praying for the Lord to “bless” seems somewhat banal to me.  I like being able to clearly document when a prayer has been answered.  (Yes, I often write my prayers and I write and date the answers.)  In seasons when the Lord seems quiet, I am encouraged when I read past prayers AND answers.  I like reading what the Lord did in the lives of Joseph and Abraham and David and Daniel…, but I LOVE reading what He has done in Debbie’s life!

Clearly, specifically, passionately, persistently, pray for your friends and enemies.

That’s what friends are for!

ps Remember this?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdHFElOHQzs