I have a question and look forward to reading your answers. I had another sleepless night and while I laid there trying to fall asleep I had this thought, ‘Why do we go to the alter for prayer at the close of a service?’ I don’t know why this thought came to me. Yes I was praying. I have a prayer board I made hanging next to my bed so when I cannot sleep I can pray for others. Then BANG! This thought just popped into my head. Why is it that we ask people to come to the front of the church with all eyes on them at the end of the service? I have served on a prayer team for the current church I am a member of and have served in this same department at previous churches and never had this thought crossed my mind. I have many times been heart broken when the alter of prayer remained empty, knowing that many are hurting lost, and have some kind of need, either for themselves or a loved one. So why am I laying in bed praying and hoping for sleep did I question why do we ask people to come to the alter with the congregation as an audience to pray? I started thinking how many do not approach because they don’t want every eye looking at them, passing judgement (this does not mean they are being judged but the fear of being judged and maybe even gossiped about). I thought about Jesus teaching us to go into our closet to pray, but then I also thought about the scriptures about going to the elders to have them lay hands on us to pray and anoint us. These thoughts may be nothing more than thoughts of a sleep deprived mind. But I would like to know if anyone knows when this part of a church service began?
This question and challenge was given to me by another blogger;
9 hoursromboughrobert.wordpress.comI wonder if you would assist me in sharing this question which is a parable the Holy Spirit shared with me. I first ask those about to ponder this to think about what the Lord offered the Samaritan woman at the well. The parable goes as such, you are a shepherd moving your flock to a new pasture. As you travel you come upon a road that goes down the middle of two lush fields one has a well the other not. The grass in both is lush and green, both have flocks grazing, the one without the well the sheep look very content and peaceful. Which of the two as a shepherd would you lead your flock too? Keep in mind no right or wrong answer, only to ponder why you chose what you did. Robert.
I pray you will pose this to your followers and observe their answers
Focus is one of my weaknesses. My mind can wander so easily. I even find this during my Bible study researching. While looking up scriptures for one subject, I read scriptures that lead me to to other subjects. This has made preparations for teachings a struggle at times. Yet because the Word is filled with so much knowledge it is understandable that my thoughts can wander from one subject to the next. Yet I work through it and manage to get my focus back on topic and finish the lesson.
It is in the other areas of my life where my focus wanders that getting back on track. It even happens during my prayer times where staying focused is important. There are many needs to be prayed for from personal to global needs. Scriptures speak of meditating on His Word. Keeping focused on what God has spoken. Not just hearing but listening carefully.
Definition of focus
1a : a center of activity, attraction, or attention the focus of the meeting was drug abuse put immigration into focus as a hot topic for commentators
b : a point of concentration
2 : directed attention : emphasis The focus is on helping the homeless.
3a : direction sense 6c the team lost focus
b : a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding tried to bring the issues into focus
c : adjustment for distinct vision also : the area that may be seen distinctly or resolved into a clear image
Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you.
One thing that the prayer boards I have made for myself and others has helped me to stay focused in my prayer time. Yet it is not the only way to focus. Keeping distractions from getting you off track is not always an easy thing to do. Horses wear blinders to keep them from being distracted during a race. Well we are in a race so to speak.
CORINTHIANS 9:23-25 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.…
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us.
Meditate : intransitive verb
1 : to engage in contemplation or reflection He meditated long and hard before announcing his decision.
2 : to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness
1 : to focus one’s thoughts on : reflect on or ponder over He was meditating his past achievements.
2 : to plan or project in the mind : intend, purpose He was meditating revenge.
Psalm 119:15-16 I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.
Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,
Psalm 119:148 My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.
Let us continue in prayer together, and to intercede for others, for loved ones, coworkers, communities, ministries, organizations, nations, and leaders to name a few things we pray for. Keeping focus on His Love, peace and directions, and for His will to be done.
How do you keep focused?
What scriptures help you?
What ministries do you support?
What do you need prayers for?
Please leave your answers in the comments, and let us continue to pray together and for each other.
God bless you and keep you safe.
Today I have been thinking about the Dead Sea. Many tourists travel to it because of the high mineral content and the buoyancy caused by the salt volume. This is supposed to have healing qualities, but it is the name that is stuck in my mind today. Water flows in but it goes no where and this is to be the reason why for the high salt and mineral content. This sea is called dead because it cannot support life. Water continues to flow in but then it under the sun it evaporates. I wonder how many of us are like the Dead Sea? His spirit and blessings are flowing into us, but what are we doing with what He is giving to us? Works do not produce faith but faith should produce works.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.(Read James 2:14-24)
Think about the parable of ‘the servants and the talents. Matthew 25:14-30. In this parable three servants are each given talents. The amounts varied, but it was what each servant did with what was given to them. The first two increased their talents, but the third one buried his talent and it produced him nothing. It is with this servant that the master was not pleased. This servant lost his talent and it was given to the first servant. This parable too, reminds of the Dead Sea. I want to be like the first two servants and do something with what God has entrusted to me.
Even though I have faced many trials and abuse in my life, I know He has been with me through it all. He kept me going when I there was nothing I could do. When I felt hopeless He gave me hope. He did not create me for the pain I have lived through but that pain inspires me to help others who are in pain. I don’t want to wallow in my self pity, but share that even when everything in the world is coming against you, He never leaves you and His love is limitless. For all that He has done for me I want to do whatever I can to be there for others. I want to be a vessel that He uses, not one that sits on a shelf collecting dust, and I don’t want to be a dead sea. Receiving but doing nothing with what He has given to me. I want to be more than a hearer of the Word, but a doer as well.
What about you? Are you using what has been given to you to further His Kingdom, or are you sitting their collecting dust?
Asking Questions You Have The Answer To.
When you were a kid did you ever answer your parents not completely truthfully because you did not think they knew the answer? I am sure a lot of us did. Why would they ask us a question if they already knew the answer? That would be pointless, right?
This makes me think when Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” He asked a second time, “Peter, do you love me?” I am sure Peter was confused and he answered yes both times. We know that Jesus knew the answer before He asked the question. So for whose benefit was the question? Sometimes the one asking the question is not looking for an answer but is trying to teach you something.
Teaching by asking a question makes you think about your answer and if you do not have an answer then you take time and put the effort into finding the answer. I will sometimes ask a question that I have my own answer, but I want to know what the other is thinking. I want their perspective and opinion. I have plenty of my own opinions and I have eyes that see good enough, but I like learning. I like seeing things through another’s eyes. How about you? Do you like learning and seeing new things? Then ask questions that you already have your own answers to. Some will give you the answers that agree with your own and others may give you a new way of seeing things. Asking questions helps us to get to know one another. There are things we will not know if we do not ask the question. So are there any questions you want to ask me?
I know there are a lot of parents out there so you will understand this question, but you do not have to have kids to answer it.
Does it bother you when you ask your child a question and they ignore you, or their response is uhuh?
I know my parents really did not like it if I did not respond to their questions, It did not matter if I did not hear them or if I just wasn’t paying attention. If I was asked to do something, the correct response was, ‘Yes sir or yes mam’. Then I did what I was told to do even if it was said in the form of a question. If I was being asked a question that required more than a yes or no, I better have had a complete sentence to answer with, especially if it was my father asking the question.
I wonder how many of us answer God in the same way our children respond to us?
Do we not hear Him because we are to distracted?
Are just ignoring Him, in hopes He will ask someone else to do what He is asking?
Do we mumble or give short answers, then put off what we have been asked to do?
I am going to have to take a good long look at myself and answer these questions as well. So read this again later because you will see my answers after I have gone through a self check myself.
I have a few questions for you and I hope that you will answer with your honest opinion.
Are laws and commands the same?
If you disobey a command does that mean you have broken a law?
If you have broken a law have you broken a command?
Really makes you think doesn’t it? Jesus fulfilled the law when He was crucified. I have been told it no longer exists because of this. So then why are the Commandments important? Jesus did say if you love Me, you will keep my commands. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and would really like to hear from others. So this post is not for me to share my opinions or point of view, but to see and listen to what others have to share.
So I hope that you will take the time and share your insights with the rest of us.
I am truly looking forward to what you have to say. So please leave your answers in the comments.
This section of Right Relations is taking a lot of thought and work and though I am not ready to share what I have so far I did want to share this and hear from you.
Right Relations / The Friends list
Friends in the Bible list
When I think of some of the friendships in the Bible the one that comes immediately to my mind is the relationship between Jonathan and David. Jonathan was the son of King Saul, and David was a shepherd boy and the youngest of his father’s sons. So how they became friends is one God had chosen. So how many friendships can you think of found in the Bible? Here is a short list of ones that I can think of. I would love to hear from you about ones that are not listed here or of ones that inspire you.
- David and Jonathan / 1 Samuel 18-20
- Elijah and Elisha
- Ruth and Naomi
- Jesus and His disciples
- Paul and Timothy
- Job and his friends
- Jesus and Judas (not all friends are friends, some will betray you the second it profits them)
I know there are other friends found in the Bible and that we all have those friends who have had an impact on our relationship with Jesus. I am looking forward to hearing from you. Please share your friendship testimonies and your favorite friends in the Bible.
Well here is the next piece in the puzzle of my project Right relations. Sometime I wonder if anything I am writing makes any sense or if I am just rambling. So I hope that those of you who are taking time to read along as I continue on this journey are finding things that are helpful to you. Please feel free to make any comments or suggestions as you feel inspired to do. This is a work in progress.
Family Relations/The Parent Child Relationship
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (NLT)
Leviticus 19:3 “Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.” (NIV)
Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (NIV)
These are only 3 verses on how children must act towards their parents, yet they show the importance of the relationship between a child and their parent. Now do we stop obeying this commandment when we become adults? The answer is no. What if you parents are not good to you as you are growing up and even when you become an adult, does this mean you do not have to keep this commandment? If you read what God has instructed us to do, you will see there is nothing said about the parent’s behavior. It simply tells us to honor our mother and our father and by doing this you add to your life. Why does God care about your relationship with your earthly parents? It is not like you were given a choice who your mother and father would be. Yet these two people made a choice and you were conceived.
I do not know what your childhood was like. Some have loving and caring parents. Then there are those of you who did not have bad parents, they made sure you had what you needed as far as food, clothes, shelter, and other things. Yet they were gone a lot, they worked long hours to provide for your needs, but had little to no time for you. Then there are those of us who grew up in unstable and abusive homes. Maybe you were not the one getting abused, but you watched one parent hurt the other repeatedly. Your house was filled with anger, hate and fear. Some knew about the affairs their mother or father was having and this made you angry but there was nothing you could do. Then there are the ones who were raised by a single parent, which used to mean you were raised by your mother, but in today’s times you could have been raised by your father. For whatever reason they were left to raise you alone, and how much they showed you they loved you, there was still something missing.
I know I have not covered the entire list of dysfunctional childhoods, but you can see by this list that there are many reasons to question this commandment. How do you honor a parent that is neglectful, abusive, absent, selfish, and cheats to name a few character flaws some parents have?
How can you respect or honor someone you are afraid of? You may love them because they are your parent and you are desperate for them to love you back. Yet they have hurt you in ways that leave your angry or depressed and feeling worthless. You may do everything right, and never speak an angry word or ever talk back. Yet you cannot trust them. You live in fear of how they are going to hurt you, your siblings, or your other parent. Where is the honor in this?
You have been raised by your single parent. Some are so loving and do twice as much to make up for the lack of the other parent not being there that you do not doubt you are loved and that they will do anything to make you happy. You have no problem loving or respecting this parent, but what about the absent parent? The one who left you behind,. Whether it was before or after you was born. How do you respect or honor them? They haven’t been any part of your life, or they just show up on rare occasions, and you don’t have a relationship with them other than a biological one. So why do we even care about this person?
Unfortunately the actions of our parents are not controlled by us or by God. They have free will to choose how they live their lives. This does not always have a positive effect on our lives. We grew up watching how our parents treated each other and then how they treated us. If it was good it had a good effect on most of us behaved ourselves. Yet there are some that no matter how good their parents were they still acted out, hurting themselves and those around them. Why I cannot tell you. Then those who grew up in the unstable and dysfunctional homes it had an effect on the person we were. Some grew up to be exactly like our parents. We became victims to others just like our parents, or we lived angry, abusive, neglectful, selfish, with no self control. Either jumping from relationship to relationship or ending up in an abusive relationship of our own. Then others who grew up in these types of homes worked harder to get away from this life and made a good life for themselves.
So whether your home was good, loving and stable or it was broken and unstable it did affect the choices you made, and the relationships you formed. For some the effect was positive and we made the best choices and learned to live happy and productive lives, but still have difficulties trusting people, and honoring your parent may seem like it is not worth the effort.
So why is this command repeated throughout the Bible? Right now it I see it as a reflection of how we are to relate to God. He is called our Heavenly Father. Yet how we relate to our earthly parents effects how we relate to Him. Even the people who have the loving and nurturing parents can still have difficulty relating to Him. Not because they had a hard life, they had wonderful childhoods, so good they cannot see beyond their parents. Yet for a large number of us who grew up abused, abandoned, neglected, etc… we have difficulties seeing a loving Heavenly Father when we got stuck with jerks for parents. You may wonder how He could love you and stick you with parents who were going to hurt you? I cannot answer for Him but I will say He did not take away their free will, and He is not responsible for their actions. They chose how they lived and how they treated others. The other thing I want to tell you is that, no matter what you lived through, both good and bad He was always there and He still is. Which reminds me of a song that even thinking about still brings tears to my eyes? “A Sad Little Girl” Look it up and listen to it, if you have never listened to it before. It will tell you about how in the darkest time of this little girl’s life Jesus was there for her.
So how can we honor and respect our Heavenly Father when we do not honor or respect our parents here on earth? We can’t. Honoring and respecting anyone does not mean we have to be there door mat or punching bag. We do not have to allow ourselves to be abused in anyway. Like the old saying goes, ‘Two wrongs do not make a right.’ Just because they have done you wrong does not mean you have to return wrong for wrong. Some ways we can honor or respect the parents who failed at being good parents is by not speaking in hateful or hurtful words about them or to them. This does not mean you have to pretend like they never did anything to hurt you, and you can share what has been done to you because this is your testimony. Just speak the truth without hate or bitterness. For those of you who think this is impossible remember this verse.’ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ I also want to let you know that I have not perfected this in my own life but I am putting in the effort, and doing as the Apostle Paul said, ‘ I have not yet finished the race but I press forward until I reach the goal.’
For me to have a good relationship with my Heavenly Father I am going to have to work on the relationships with the parents I have here. This includes the relationship with my mother who is no longer alive. Just because she is gone the relationship we had still plays a major role in my relationship with Christ.
Questions to think about;
What does honor and respect mean to you?
Do you have problems trusting people, and does this go back to your childhood?
How do you see yourself?
Are you depressed, angry, or are you happy and and at peace with yourself?
Have your need to forgive your parents?
Have you forgiven yourself?
As you read through your Bible you find that names were changed by God. In Genesis 17:5 You read that God change Abram to Abraham and in verse 15 Sarai becomes Sarah. Jacob becomes Israel, Simon becomes Peter, and Saul becomes Paul are just a few names that were changed by God.
So why the name change? When a woman marries a man she then takes on his family name which identifies her as his wife. Think about that we are called the bride of Christ. Who we were before we came into the knowledge and relationship with Jesus is now a part of our past. That is who we used to be, but now we are made new by Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Isaiah 43:18 “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.
Ezekiel 36:26″Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Most of us still identify with the person we were and still hold onto the traits of the person we were before we received Christ Jesus as our Savior and repented of our sins. When we repented, we turned from our sinful way of living and turned to Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father but through Him.
I can try to change my behavior on my own, but this is nothing more than what is called behavior modification. My actions have changed but the desire to do the things I once did is still there. There are two things that I need, but not limited to, and they are (1) The heart of Christ Jesus. James 4:8 – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded. 1 Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (2) I need the mind of Christ. For how I think and see things are not how God sees or thinks. Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I have to make the decision to submit to God and allow Him to transform me into the creation He wants me to be so that I can better share the love of Jesus and testify what God has done for me through His Son Jesus. How He changed my life in ways that I never could on my own.
If God changed your name today, what do you think He would change it to?
What part of the old you are you holding onto? (like an old pair of jeans that do not fit anymore but you hold onto because one day they might fit again)