Posts Tagged With: Prayer

Job: Cursed Work or Blessed Service

A job is a source of great travail and trouble;
“J.ust O.ver B.roke,” by some accounts,
yet near enough to feel the pangs of hunger.
Driven on by some invisible quest for significance
or trying to work the wa up the trickster’s ladder to God’s throne room
or slaving to please the closest Eve who insists
that the land east of Eden not be left to thorns and thistles.
So the sod buster, dandelion hunter, tree trimmer
putters around his personal paradise
muttering about the myopic vision of yard maintenance.

Then the sun begins to set, evening fades, and he realizes
he has been in the presence of God.
Not quite walking in the cool of the eve as man once did,
But unashamed, he lays down his tools, washes his hands,
as he pursues some just desserts.
Quietly, he gratefully tastes ice cream
and is glad that his wishes are heard.
He whispers petitions for precipitation, prosperity, and planetary peace.
He wanders calmly home in comfortable weather,
The clouds draped over the starry portals
Yet the veil is torn.
Love is celebrated in a simple meal and evening nap.

Dreams return, age accumulates,
and all the routines must be recycled,
seasons sprinkled with grace,
and love beheld face to face.
The curse is lifted as the cross is embraced
No longer serving self
But blessed as the book of life is dusted off the shelf.
(A revelation praise song erupts that I am not permitted to record here.)

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My Father’s Love: Assurance of No Abandonment.

I have been thinking about how my father showed love for me.

One dramatic demonstration of love was when he ran after me when I tried to run away. For whatever reason, I was cranky and wanted to live in the forest. Dad knew I wouldn’t last long out there, but, as if to underscore how much his love yearned to have me at home, he ran wholeheartedly after me and caught me and pulled me kicking & screaming and brought me home and gave a whooping. Then, in that place, tears streaming down my face, I felt loved. My father would run after me and get me if I ever got lost. Every child needs a father who will do that for them. The Lord disciplines those He loves, and I am thankful that our father disciplined us.

Another time I experienced my father’s love was when we went on the journey of a lifetime. We called it our East-West-and-Crazy trip, visiting most of the states west of the Mississippi and many of the national parks in the contiguous Western USA. Many significant memories were formed on that journey. It was a family forging journey, like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Anybody who has had to zip through the west with a minivan full of a bunch of kids with no air conditioning and seeing the wonders God has performed in shaping the earth will know how suffering creates healthy, if traumatized children. We were on the journey together and experienced first hand vistas that many only see in the movies or on TV or photo books.

Years later, I fell ill. It was not fun. I was in the process of maturing from childhood to adulthood. Though I had been voted most likely to succeed in my graduating class, I suddenly felt like the biggest failure. At the worst of it, I was having seizures and could not even go to church. I was weak, tired, exhausted, nervous, anxious, scared, alone in my heart, all rolled up in one big bundle of trouble. I probably didn’t look that sick to a passerby, unless I was out walking around the neighborhood trying to get exercise by swinging a baseball bat and wearing a blanket like a kilt. I so craved to be normal again: going to school, reading regular non-children’s books, feeling alive again, feeling human again. I remember that during this season of my life there were times when I lost whole days of memory and cried when asked about things I couldn’t remember. I wanted to carry on a normal conversation and could hardly get a sentence out of my mouth. I sought medical help, but doctors only seemed to make things worse, most of the time, I sought pastoral counsel, but they didn’t know what to make of me since I couldn’t even talk and appeared to have no infectious diseases and had no apparent sin.

In the middle of that worst season of my life, I one time tried going to church, but fell into petit mal seizures once again. My dad prayed with me. Sat with me. and waited. My mom spent as much time as she could then went to her meeting. My dad lingered, then, I remember him getting up and saying, “I’m going to have to leave you, but I’m not going to abandon you. I’ll be back.” Then he went off to the prayer meeting.

However, I kept mulling over what he said. He had left with a smile, and I managed to smile back, however faintly. Most likely, the church continued to pray for me as they had since I had first developed the seizures following a medical error. I had no profound epiphany, but I felt loved. I needed a dad who would love me even when I could do nothing for him or with him or ever expect to repay him.

It was also in this season, the deepest season of depression and agony that I have ever been in, that I encountered what it means for God to pour out His Spirit of adoption again on one of His children, on one who is poor in spirit. If there ever was someone afflicted, it was me. I had seizures in church. NOT FUN. Suddenly I couldn’t talk, my muscles stiffened, I was a dead weight. It happened right after going to the single’s class at church and my last words were, “I guess I’m in the right class.” I was single, yes, but God wanted me to go home.

That day, the pastor and some elders prayed for me. They continued to pray for the weeks following. It was also that season, when I had a profound turn around. I had tried everything I knew to get better. I had even complained to God. He seemed silent. One day though, almost as if I had no place else to turn, I sat one evening in the Laz-E-Boy recliner that has since been incinerated. I would spend long hours there while I was sick. That evening though, I was alone in my thoughts until I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord.

I handed over my life to God again, “I may be an invalid the rest of my life, Lord. But I’m going to be the best invalid You ever had.” Then I got up and went to bed, ready to sleep a long time.

The next morning, I awoke. For the first time in a long time, my heart was at peace. My Mom, who had chosen to take a break from work while I recovered, greeted me in the kitchen. She said, “Mert, you look different, what happened?” I answered, “I feel different. I feel like God is my Father and He is holding me in His arms.”

Everyone needs time to come home to the Lord, when He will embrace you and receive you just as you are, with all your pain and loneliness and anger and agony and fear and rage, and He will simply embrace you. No mere human can fully mediate that grace. My Dad is the best dad a young person could ask for, but he could only be with me so much. At that moment, I needed my Father in Heaven to smile on me and embrace me as His son, well loved, accepted and approved.

If you ever feel ill and like your life is wasting away, I dare you to pray like I did, “Lord, I may be an invalid the rest of my life, but I will be the best invalid You ever had.” God will hear your prayer and prove to you that in His eyes, you are very valid and most precious, accepted in the Beloved..

Categories: Peer support, Suffering, Testimony | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Divided Loves: Love for God

For love, I take a Book off of the shelf
to read about what lasts. My tiny life,
a mere reflection of Eternity
beyond the great beyond. Where Heaven kisses
earth, what’s needed to fulfill God’s Word:
a second, from above–a brand new birth.
A love for God requires life divine,
“Lord Jesus, I am Yours, and You are mine.
I give You all I have, its what You’re worth!”
This seed-like faith emerged from what I heard
about His love and truth. His grace and wisdom
speaks unto my heart and sets me free
from fear. I now can laugh at cruel knife
or fist aimed at my former love: my self.

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Coming to the End of Myself, Again.

It’s too much, too, too much.
I long to fly to the desert and escape,
to hide in a cave, far, far away.
I dream of healing a heart that is broken, my own.
of hearing a Voice that touches my deepest wounds.

Broken legs, walk again.
Broken hands, serve again.
Broken mind, think again.
Broken heart, love again.

Chained tongue, speak, be free!
Chained ears, hear, listen!
Shackled mind, explore, discover!
Shackled heart, expand, express!

Closed eyes, see, gaze into glory!
Closed mind, ask, seek!
Closed fist, knock, open wide!
Closed door, open, let the King of Glory enter in!!

Do you see that crown of life?
It shall rest upon your head.
Do you see the Lamb upon the throne?
He is all and enough for you, risen from the dead!
Do you see the book of citizens who live?
The Lord will redeem you just as He said!!

If God is able to save the worst,
then He can save me.
If Jesus can love the least,
then He wlll also love you.
If the Lord can heal to the last,
then He defines eternity!
If the Father is calling,
then He will also listen to you.

Come & rest awhile in His arms.

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Jesus Loves Members of the Islamic State

I would encourage you to join in prayer for ISIS members. That they, like Saul turned to Paul, would bear the fruit of the Spirit and would be reached in every place of the world where they are operating.

https://files.ctctcdn.com/198b864e001/6acfa5e8-226c-4d65-ba54-a52a6a52a689.pdf

Categories: Persecution, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father, forgive them …

I continue to ponder the paradox of forgiveness and the offensiveness of the Good News of Jesus.

Today, let’s turn to the Lord’s prayer. In one petition, we say, according to one version, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.”

I particularly like this more than saying transgressions or sins because it quantifies our guilt: We have a debt towards God greater than all the taxes of the world. Our neighbor may owe us a hundred days’ wages.

Like all large numbers, infinity is hard to grasp. The offense, the debt, that our sin creates towards God is hard for the human mind to grasp.

However, when we see that our father or mother, our sister or brother, perhaps your husband or wife, your sons or daughters, your neighbors, coworkers, or fellow citizen has offended you will often have in mind particular numbers of offenses and the exact punishment which you believe is due them. Perhaps you think they owe you a dollar for the soda you purchased for them. Perhaps you think you should kill them for not comprehending that you are a person of honor and dignity and should be respected as such.

The moment we think of the offense of a transgression or sin, we humans are apt to think that we deserve X in compensation for our trouble. We seek to justify our anger.

Maybe we think they started it, and we are just exacting a just revenge, at least in our minds. Perhaps in the back of your mind, the repeated offense has become chalked up against your relationship with that person. The weight of the offense becomes tremendous. You feel you MUST execute vengeance. Your self-righteous anger rises and your virtue falls.

Lord, have mercy!!

As long as we hold onto the burden of bitterness, we are unable to release the pain of the past. As long as we hold onto past offenses, we are unable to embrace fully the future Open Door. As long as we focus on what other people have or have not done for us, we will forget what God has done for us.

Here is the offense of the Gospel, the Good News. The Good News beckons us to reorient around God’s promise of freedom which was secured on the cross and in the resurrection. 100% guaranteed … if we will accept the challenge of living by trusting God rather than seeking to defend ourselves against other people all the time. The natural human heart revolts against this acts of mercy. It cannot comprehend how the death of Jesus could pay, once for all, the sins, the transgressions, the debts of mankind.

Perhaps you will say now, Oh, but I am a nice person. I don’t get angry. I just keep track of what they have done to me and don’t let it happen again.

Are you any better? Has not hatred overtaken your heart? You love those who love you and ignore the rest. Is this nothing more than a polite ISIS? Do not even the pagans do this much?

What makes Jesus so offensive is that he commands us to look for ways to risk our comfort. He could have just said, Meet once a week and remember the good times we had. Encourage each other and get better.

Instead, he said, Go, make disciples of all nations! Preach the Good News to all creation! Repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem, wait in the city … WAIT!!

The disciples were instructed to hang out in the very city where their Lord was murdered in cold blood in the cruelest manner possible. Wait? Wouldn’t it have been wiser to run? Why not go where there were receptive crowds? Why not preach about Moses preparing the way for the Messiah and hinting at the coming kingdom? No, they were commanded by the Holy Spirit to rebuke their own people for rejecting their own King and then to invite them to follow that King in being immersed as a pledge of a good conscience towards God. They did not manipulate or maneuver, they just said it like it was in a way that the people could understand.

That is boldness. Some admire and replicate that boldness. Some shy away and become ashamed of the Good News. Some attack such witnesses. Boldness comes at a price: love. Boldness that does not love is mere cruel boasting.

We have a choice before us: follow the humble way of peace or strive in violence. One is marked with 666 the mark of the beast; the other is marked with the stigma of Jesus.

Choose whom you will serve.

I worship Jesus.

Lord, have mercy on me and all who hate me.

Categories: Cross, Good News | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barriers to Joy & Peace

This Christmas, remove any barriers to joy & peace in your life so that you can share in the Love of Christ which is shed abroad in our hearts.

See if any of the following are blocking your capacity to love:

1. Bitterness & lack of forgiveness. If so, let go and forgive.
2. Lack of gratitude. If so, count your blessings.
3. Loneliness. If so, befriend the lonely.
4. Sickness. If so, go to the Doctor.
5. Ignorance. If so, study the Bible & hear a message on Jesus & be honest.
6. Feeling poor. If so, share something you have with others.
7. Hunger. If so, work with your hands and go to a Christian to ask for help buying food.
8. Fear of death. If so, repent of your sin & return to the Lord Jesus. He conquered death.
9. Worry. If so, pray in Jesus name and read promises from the Word of God.
10. Uncertainty. If so, do the one thing you know you last knew was the right thing to do.

Categories: Holiday, Suffering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redeeming the Time – Making the Most of the Moment

In Ephesians, we are exhorted to buy back the time, or as the Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it: “making the most of the time, since the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%205:15-16&version=NKJV;CEV;HCSB;MSG;NIV

Life is not to be wasted: no frittering away time with cheap sins and silly chatter. Get to the Good News.

This need not be boring. Is God boring? Is God bored? God is interested in your life and thinks about your life all the time. Are you boring? God is constantly supervising a universe that could easily implode were it not for the fact that He sustains the constants and restrains evil.

God is active is redeeming people today. Are you?

Are you redeemed? Are you out of the slave market, or are you always looking for another dollar and another way to serve yourself? Are you confused by all the options that the modern world offers you? OR … Are you free to serve the Living God?

Jesus is calling sinners to repentance. Are you calling sinners to repentance? There are two options, sin or repent and call sinners to repentance. If you think there is such a thing as holy selfishness, you are wrong. If you want to draw near the Lord, labor to share His Name with others. It is not a heavy load.

Jesus is the root of all joy. So when you share Jesus, you are sharing joy. If someone rejects joy by rejecting Jesus, you can keep your joy because you are being honored by suffering the same rejection that they gave to the prophets. If your message of joy in Jesus is received, you have the joy of sharing the Love of your life with another and growing the family of God.

If you receive Jesus as your joy, all of heaven rejoices with you and you will probably want to share Jesus with others.

Are you happy? Are you joyful? Jesus likes it when you look to Him and when your eyes meet His in the secret place, He will smile at you. The smile of King Jesus will give you LIFE!! Oh, friend, don’t look to your own resources. Look to Jesus. Don’t waste your life on lesser things. Let every little detail of your life serve to glorify God.

If you are a carpenter, build up the Kingdom. If you are a plumber, drain away the old ways. If you are a doctor, bring healing. If you are a government employee, admininister justice with mercy. If you are a missionary, go in the power of the Lord and help others find peace with God.

You say, Oh, but you don’t know how much I have to do each day!

Let God help you through the day and you will find your load lighter.

You say, Oh, but you don’t know how much I have sinned and how far I am from God’s mercy!

Did you know that you cannot escape God’s mercy in this life. Seek Him while He may be found. Cry out for His help! He will come to you in a moment.

Do you not understand?

Pray for wisdom.

Are you sick?

Pray for healing.

DO NOT GIVE UP.

Jesus loves you.

Every moment, focus on the work God is calling you to do. In those slow times, pray for others or simply thank Jesus that you have found rest for your soul.

My heart is happy because I got to talk to someone about Jesus today. This is my mission in life: to talk to people about Jesus and to listen to God’s heart about those I see. He loves people. So I usually have something to talk to Him about. I must confess, sometimes, I find it hard to be quiet, so I will go do that now: be still and know that He is God. He will be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth.

Categories: Evangelism, Good News, Prayer, Revival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angela’s Aspirations

“God, steal the nails of rust within my heart.”

I wonder why God saves and heals
… perhaps because He works our weal.
I wonder why faith flounders, fails
… perhaps my flesh is weak and ails.
But when my heart’s aflame with trust
Then God does what He said He must:
The Lord comes near, reveals …
Christ frees us from our jails,
and lifts us from prayer’s hush.
I still my hurt
and wounded heart
in Him.

Psalm 46:10a

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Will Brunei vote for Jesus with their feet?

Brunei-PalaceGateDecember 1, 2012

Recently in Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah mandated the closing of all businesses on Fridays during prayers and urged young people not to intermingle the sexes, but to seek God. While it is a noble calling to seek God, doing so while under compulsion is usually met with a degree of dissatisfaction: people object. This is why there is teenage rebellion by some. Brunei is no different. The leader is trying to compel the citizens to follow the Creator and trying to rectify the waywardness of his earlier years by stricter compliance now, but he has forgotten that a life lived in the presence of God is better than trying to take refuge in the Law. Getting people to know God via the Law, did not work under Israelite kings, and it has not worked in any nation since. It just keeps people out of trouble, and the Law is good.

People have reportedly been voting with their feet and staying away from the Mosque on during Jumaa prayers. Some have said that Bruneians vote with their feet, though they are very respectful and would not fathom protesting their leader. I would not recommend such an action since the Bible clearly says, “Do not curse God or the king.” But how wonderful it would be if the saints would, during this holiday season, vote with their feet and carry the good news of Christ’s birth to the people around them. This would make their feet truly beautiful!!

As I was meditating on this last evening, I had a glimpse of the Crown Prince voting with his feet and establishing the future direction of his nation by walking from the palace to a Christian chapel. If I may be so bold as to say it plainly, the Sultan’s family has the opportunity to follow the example of Zerubbabel and build up the house of God, which is the church of living God, the pillar and foundation of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). For the Sultan to truly find mercy, he must reconcile with the body of Christ. Now, I say that as a foreigner who does not have to live under the Sultan’s rule, but as one who knows the Word of God. God has entrusted the keys to the Kingdom to those who are victorious like David and Peter.

This narrative, reminds me a little of the account of Henry IV who walked to reconcile with the pope and wait in the snow for mercy & forgiveness. –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walk_of_Canossa – Now I AM NOT ADVOCATING THAT THE CHURCH HUMILIATE THE SULTAN, the President or any other dignitary. But the church should indeed exercise her authority and right to pray for the Sultan and for the wisdom and salvation of Jesus to come upon the leaders of Brunei. And the leaders of the nations should humble themselves and serve the poor of the Land, even the Church of Jesus Christ of everyday saints.

Indeed, during this Christmas season, we should remember that this is what the Magi did. They left their place of comfort and went to see the King of kings: Jesus. They offered gifts. Would it not be appropriate for the Sultan, President of the United States of America, or the Prime Minister of Israel or any other nation to humbly bow before the Messiah by making a short pilgrimage to a local church fellowship and ruling with integrity and justice and mercy? This is surely the path of peace God desires.

We have the mystery of godliness, therefore, we must share it broadly (1 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, this year, how will you vote with your feet? Who will you go to to tell about Jesus who walked among us as the Prince of Peace?

In Christ, Merry Messiah-Month,
Mert Hershberger

P.S. Yesterday, I had the privilege of sharing a little of the Good News with a student of priestly bearing from Iran and a sushi waiter from China who was interested in the Name.

Hip-hop, don’t stop: Get the Word to the world.
http://pray-ap.info/

Categories: Evangelism, Good News, Missions, Prayer, Revival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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