Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, Prayer

A Call to Prayer

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You feel a sense of grief, a heavy heart; yet, you are not suffering the loss of a loved one.

It is a persistent burden over a personal problem or a sense of real need in the life of someone else. Maybe you have the condition of your church, city, state, nation or world grieving you.

You might have a strong impression of someone come to mind during the day or even awake you from a sound sleep.

It is a call to prayer.

Walk with me through scriptures.

Meet Abraham…

He cried out for Sodom.

“Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to Me. If not, I will find out.’

The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Abraham stepped forward and said, ‘Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are 50 righteous people in the city? Will You really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people who are in it? You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’

The Lord said, ‘If I find 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’

Then Abraham answered, ‘Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord—even though I am dust and ashes— suppose the 50 righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?’

He replied, ‘I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.’

Then he spoke to Him again, ‘Suppose 40 are found there?’

He answered, ‘I will not do it on account of 40.’

Then he said, ‘Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose 30 are found there?’

He answered, ‘I will not do it if I find 30 there.’

Then he said, ‘Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord, suppose 20 are found there?’

He replied, ‘I will not destroy it on account of 20.’

Then he said, ‘Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose 10 are found there?’

He answered, ‘I will not destroy it on account of 10.’ When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, He departed, and Abraham returned to his place (Genesis 18:20-33 HCSB).”

The LORD finished the time of communing with Abraham.

Abraham witnessed God’s intervention.

“Early in the morning Abraham went to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the plain, and he saw that smoke was going up from the land like the smoke of a furnace. So it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, He remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the middle of the upheaval when He demolished the cities where Lot had lived (Genesis 19:27-29 HCSB).”  

Concerned about the spiritual welfare of those you know? The LORD compels us to pray.

 “As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way (1 Samuel 12:23 HCSB).”

Christ followers have a responsibility and privilege to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18 HCSB).”

Christ set the example. He interceded for us. (John Chapter 17)

He intercedes now.

“Who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus is the One who died,
but even more, has been raised;
He also is at the right hand of God
and intercedes for us (Romans 8:34 HCSB).”

 

 

 

 

Christian Growth, Devotionals

The Family Resemblance

GUEST WRITER:Emily Swanson

In my quiet time of worship I said to God, “I want to enter your presence with praise. Sometimes I long to know what you look like. I know you are holy and attended by angels; but I long to know you!”

My Father replied, “I sent my Son that you might know me. ‘He who has seen the Son has seen the Father’, and you can see my character in My Son. Remember His commitment in the temple as a little boy; His commitment as a man when He ‘set His face toward Jerusalem and the cross’. Also remember His communion with others; His disciples, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, the wedding feast, Nicodemus, the many people who stopped Him along the way to talk. He was never too busy; neither am I.”

Healing is another attribute of God as expressed by Jesus on many occasions. The gentleness of those strong hands that made a “mud-pack’ with clay and spittle and applied it to the eyes of a blind man. See his compassion for the woman in adultery as she was dragged before Him. I see His forgiveness even to the cross as He looked upon His accusers and His own disciples who had forsaken Him. He knows rejection…the families and friends of Nazareth rejected Him; there was a moment on the cross when He felt rejection of the Father as He took on the sin of the world. Still He is rejected of men even after His sacrifice. He is the ultimate of love (AGAPE). He laid down His life willingly. He is patient and longsuffering. I see Him teaching His disciples and yet see their misunderstanding of what He was really about. (They squabbled over first place in the kingdom like children squabbling over “who’s first at bat”.)

He was gentle and kind as He took the little children to Him and as He fed the hungry multitudes. He was powerful as He called Lazarus forth from the grave and when He calmed the story sea. He cast demons out which recognized Him as the Son of God. He was concerned as He gave His mother over to John’s care at His death on the cross. He was sorrowful and compassionate…He wept. He showed righteous anger as He ran off the moneychangers from the temple. He showed grace even on the soldier whose ear was cut off by Peter. He was totally unprejudiced. He ate with publicans and sinners; communed with Sadducees and Pharisees, Roman Soldiers, Jews and Greeks. He was merciful…see the widow whom Jesus gave back her son. He was faithful to keep His promises,

The Father said, you have seen My Face in the person of Jesus. My Character is there in My Son. See ‘Family Resemblance”.

Christian Growth, Devotionals

I’m A Little Tea Pot!

Tea pots are very special to me! The children’s song, “I’m A Little Tea Pot” is a tune I remember clearly from kindergarten. Even the motions involved to act out the song remain in my memories. The lyrics have a profound message within the simple words:

“I’m a little tea pot, short and stout,

Here is my handle, [place one hand on hip] here is my spout [other arm held out straight]

When I get all steamed up, hear me shout

Just tip me over and pour me out! [Bending over, arm bent, as pouring from spout]

At home my mom often offered a fresh pot of tea on the kitchen table during meal times. The pot held no monetary value, constructed from simple aluminum, practicality made it appreciated. The tea pot brought out special feelings of comfort and relaxation.

As an adult I became a contented tea drinker. When I reached my mid life years, I began to collect tea pots, starting my collection with a gift from my daughter. She later lived in England, with her husband and sons at Lakenheath AFB, near Cambridge. During two visits with her family I had the treat of enjoying the most delicious tea I ever tasted!            

 I am blessed to own a gold trimmed white porcelain tea set, given as a 50th wedding anniversary gift to Grandma and Grandpa Ford. It is a center piece attraction on my dining room table, and cherished in my heart.      

Now, back to our song… As a Christian I can be a vessel for service, “God’s Little Tea Pot.” I am “little,” at five feet tall; that is a match. Am I “stout?” I’m trying to avoid middle age spread; so, I’ll skip that one! I guess the “handle” would represent my hands to be reaching out, to touch, and give to others. What about my “spout?” That would represent a life open, and free of sin, allowing God to work through me. The “steam” is a picture of God’s glory, just as smoke filled the temple. What do we hear when the tea begins to boil? A whistle is our signal, to remove the pot from the stove. I desire my life to express the melody of joy, praise and music. Those around me may be led to “give a little whistle!”

Now, for the finished product, it is time to “pour me out!” Our lives should be a living sacrifice. “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1 NAS).” We should be poured out and empty of selfishness, allowing the Holy Spirit to take control, flowing into the lives of others. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering (2 Timothy 4:6a NAS).”  I’m a “Little Tea Pot;” and it is always tea time! Won’t you join me?

Devotionals

Audit the Books

The holiday classic “It’s a wonderful life” pulls at our heart strings each Christmas. We can identify with the life problems and the characters involved. The crisis at the family operated savings and loan mushroomed with the arrival of the bank examiner. The audit of the books revealed missing cash. If the books don’t balance every penny must be accounted for!         

Many times we feel like our entire life is under the scrutiny of an audit. Do we add up? Have the stresses of life subtracted from our plus column? In a ledger do we show up in the red or in the black? It can be very unsettling to imagine the books opened for inspection!

A good auditor uncovers even small errors, if recorded intentionally or in carelessness. If we were to audit the open books of others, what would we find?…   (Love) “does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered (1 Corinthians 13:5 NAS).” The accounts would balance; and no errors would be found! In love we would not keep track, or take into account any errors against us! Love not only looks over errors; it covers them up! “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8 NAS).” Dust off the books and begin a new chapter today!