A. C. T. S. 

PRAYER IS NOT  A LITTLE BOOST TO YOUR PSYCHE!

It is NOT that childhood remark, “Cross your heart and hope to die and stick a needle in your eye.”

Prayer is talking with God in humility through Jesus Christ, the Messiah!  It is a spiritual exercise.  It is simple, direct.

You may want to pray using

an acronym – A. C. T. S.

A – adore him

C – confess to him

T – thank him

S – seek, or supplicate, (a petition, ask him to answer you in his way, not your way)

Sometimes it may explode out of your heart and other times it may be a quiet pleading, a ductile hunger in your soul.

Throughout the Bible it tells of those who sang their prayer or danced, or bowed their head, were thankful in prayer, who worshipped, who praised to the glory of God.

Getting alone when no one can hear is amazing. At first, you may feel kind of funny, but in your heart of hearts he will impress you with his thoughts, his ways. You may want to raise your hands, kneel, sing, sit quietly – who knows? It’s your time with the Lord! God loves it!

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭(kjv)

When you are suffering you may want to thank him, knowing that “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭(nlt)

Jesus is a beautiful example of prayer.

“Then he told them, ‘Pray that you will not give in to temptation.’  He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’  Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:40-44‬ ‭(nlt)

I can’t think of anyone who had my back when all hell broke loose in my life.  O, I presume there were those who, from time to time, thought of me, but ….

On the other hand, the prayers of my mom and dad were always there pulling me through the fires of heartbreak, confusion and temptation.  God gets involved in our life when we pray a fervent prayer. The power of prayer set me free!

As a child I remember my mother singing:

🎼🎶🎹

“Spirit of the Living God,

fall afresh on me

Spirit of the Living God,

fall afresh on me

Melt me, mold me

Fill me, use me

Spirit of the Living God,

Fall fresh on me.”

(Phil Wickham)

GOD ANSWERS PRAYER!

BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND NOON – GOOD AND EVIL

BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND NOON – GOOD AND EVIL

How can you tell the difference between an evil spirit and a good spirit?  At first blush it seems an easy task.  Not so!

An evil spirit is tricky. It is the same spirit that worked on the mind of Eve, making good seem bad and bad seem good. An evil spirit will make you scared with sad, anxious and angry feelings while at the same time dominating your emotions, anticipating excitement. Whispering, the evil one says, “Go ahead. Eat this fruit. You’ll become just like God!” (Genesis 3:5)

You have a choice!

Vaunting itself as a frolicking angel of fun, he captures your desires, giving you the sense that you are something special. “Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light.” Even priests, pastors, professors, politicians and others can be suckered in, taking advantage of the vulnerable; “Give me your money and you’ll be healthy, wealthy and wise; “Give me your body, because God is love, isn’t he?”

“It shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They’ll pay for it in the end.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭11:12-15‬

The true Holy Spirit will indwell when the human heart is offered to God following  repentance. Jesus was a human being having been sent as God in the flesh, the Son of God!  When Jesus voluntarily died for our sins,  arose from the grave and ascended back to Heaven He gave those who hunger to be pure and holy THE COMFORTER, THE HOLY  SPIRIT.  The Holy Spirit becomes a Guide to your spirit; an Enabler.  Therefore, He never forces you into a corner. He is your COMFORTER!  He is the One who follows you, loves you, is the “little red light in your soul.” He, the Holy One gives you that clean feeling.

He is the One who tells you the difference between good and evil.  As long as you walk in His light, His glory, the joy of the Lord will be your Companion, your Comforter!

Unseen Spirit

I WAS ON THE ISLAND of TRINIDAD IN 1975, in the jungle preaching to a small group of hungry aboriginal Christians in a thatched-roof church; about 75 indigenous people and another 30 or so missionaries.  Toward the end of my sermon as I made the invitation to accept Christ as personal Savior, an angry young man,  son of a missionary,  jumped up angrily yelling running toward me.

The muscular young man screamed at me as he hurled his fist at my face. I was so shocked- actually stunned  – I had no time to protect myself.  I watched as his huge fist propelled with lightning speed to my face. Shockingly, it didn’t matter.  His fighter’s fist seemed to miraculously disappear. How could this happen?  He followed through again.  It was as though an unseen, supernatural being of some sort [perhaps an angel of God] made his fist disappear into a nonhuman nothingness.

Immediately, his dad jumped from his seat trying to pull him away.  The angry young man turned quickly and with a clenched fist hit his father so hard that blood splattered all over those nearby. For over 20 minutes they fought, knocking chairs over, wrestling as though they were MMA fighters.  People were crying and praying as the huge men fought; the father trying to protect himself and others from his son.

I made an urgent invitation for those who wanted to follow Christ should come forward. The blessed Holy Spirit was there. So was an evil demonic unseen spirit! There are the same unclean spirits today spoken of in the Bible.

Be careful, my friend. You cannot violate the Holy Spirit!

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭(kjv)

BEYOND LUXURY

LUXURY,  NICE THINGS, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, HIGH CLASS, UPSCALE, FASHIONABLE, RICH, …

I grew up in an ecclesiastical culture where money was not glorified.  Even as a teenager I was puzzled as to why we didn’t have what other kids had; big homes, etc., etc.  A few years of my childhood we lived with my grandpa.  He was rich, but no one knew it. My dad was an evangelist and most of the time, pastored a church.  It seemed as though we were “pore” as Job’s turkey.  Grandpa gave my folks money from time to time, but my mom and dad gave it to the church.

When in college I yearned for nice things and I worked my way through by singing/entertaining, meeting people with unbelievable wealth; met and stayed in the home of the largest school bus manufacturer in America, sang at Winston Rockefeller’s ranch, R. G. LeTourneau (inventor and builder of huge earth-moving machines), and met old Sam Walton.  I wanted to “be somebody.” In recent years I’ve stayed in the homes of the internationally famous – wealth beyond what the mind can conceive.

SO WHAT!!!

“‘Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.’” (Luke‬ ‭9:58‬) If Jesus was poor, why did he say so much about money and the things money can buy?  In fact, there are more than 2,000 places in the Bible where money and stuff-stuff is mentioned.  A rich kid came to Jesus and asked him what he should do to be saved. Jesus told him to sell his stuff. “Ooooooh nonono!”

You see, Jesus is challenging us the get our PRIORITIES straight!

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (esv)

When You Hurt

YOU’RE HUMAN. YOU BEG, YOU CRY, YOU PLEAD WITH GOD FOR RELIEF. Yes, you are flesh and blood and that’s why you hurt. Did you know that you are allowed to question? Go ahead, talk to Him. Ask Him. He wants to hear from you. I did. Oh my goodness! Waywayway down deep in my soul somewhere, He spoke. I had two kids who needed food; had no money, nothing! Our duplex rent was only paid until the end of the month and then we would be homeless. I applied for unemployment and the bureaucrat said, “No.”  I can’t describe the laceration of soul that Satan superimposed on me.  I could almost hear the demons of hell laughing, tantalizing me, making fun. It was more like toxic poison injected into the veins of my heart. Perhaps you have been there.  On Wednesday the banker for the church called me to meet with him and a client. The client owned 78 Skilled Nursing Facilities plus-plus-plus. The story is too long to detail here. The Lord God of Heaven opened the door. I became this very wealthy man’s executive assistant!

“In this world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – Jesus

John 16:33

“I praise God for his word. I trust God, so I am not afraid.”

Psalms 56:4

 

🎼🎶

“No one understands like Jesus;

He’s a Friend beyond compare.

Meet Him at the throne of mercy;

He is waiting for you there.

“No one understands like Jesus

When the days are dark and grim.

No one is so near, so dear as Jesus;

Cast Your every care on Him.

“No understands like Jesus;

Every woe He sees and feels.

Tenderly He whispers comfort,

And the broken heart He heals.

“No one understands like Jesus

When the foes of life assail.

You should never be discouraged;

Jesus cares and will not fail.”

(John W. Peterson)

OUT OF BONDAGE

I PRESUME YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.   

“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot be in God’s kingdom.’”  ‭‭John‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭(ncv)

“’There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.’”  ‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭4:12‬ (nlt)

  1. Believe that God loves you, gave His Son for you, and didn’t come to judge you.

John 3:16-17

2. Believe that you have a problem called sin! And sin causes eternal death                                separation from God. “The payment for sin is death.”  Romans 6:23

3. Believe  “that Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures, that he was                    buried, that he was raised on the third day ….”   1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:3-4‬ ‭(niv)

4. You must accept that you are a sinner. You can’t buy your way in. You can’t earn                your way in.

5. You must believe by faith that although you are a sinner, Christ died for you,                       confess with great sorrow, and that you are willing to give up on the sin life. That’s             called repentance! Surrender!

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”  ‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8-9‬ ‭

“‘Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.’”  ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭(nlt)

“Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,

Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;

Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my sickness into Thy health,

Out of my want and into Thy wealth,

Out of my sin and into Thyself,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

“Out of my shameful failure and loss,

Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;

Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,

Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,

Out of distress to jubilant psalm,

Jesus, I come to Thee.”

(William T. Sleeper – 1819-1904)

CHANGE

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS when you surrender to God through Christ.

  1. You get sick and tired of sin’s filth; the smell, the hurt, the guilt.
  2. You notice that your desires have changed.
  3. You make a conscious, volitional approach to God through Christ Jesus.
  4. With sincere desire you pray, “Lord God, I’m in desperate need of you. Get rid of the “whatever” in my life. I surrender. Come into my heart.”
  5. Strange, but as you live in that attitude of surrender, you get more and more hungry for His wonderful peace and purity.
  6. You realize you don’t know it all, but you get more and more hungry in your heart. You desire to be holy!
  7. Sometimes, the desire to be like Jesus, to have His presence , is so overpowering you may cry.
  8. Then, all hell breaks loose. You may fall back a little; seems Satan gets ahold of you, but that strong hunger speaks deep in your soul again and again. You do not give up.
  9. You struggle. You question. You pray. You hurt. You ask why. You’re still hungry. You’re tempted. You want to give up. You’re ready to give up … again.
  10. Then He speaks softly. You start to sing:  🎼🎶🎹

“Come to my soul, blessed Jesus.

Hear me, O Savior Divine

Open the fountain and cleanse me.

Give me a heart like Thine.”

11.  The hunger returns. His Spirit speaks. You repent. You believe. You give up. You surrender. That astonishing, breathtaking, overwhelming, eye-opening joy expands your heart.

12.  Peace.

RULES! RULES! RULES! 

Is that what following Christ is all about?  Maybe a teeny, tiny bit, but if you love the Lord with ALL your heart, and soul, with ALL your mind, and with ALL your strength, rules will find their place.

“So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:16-17‬ ‭(nlt)

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’  Also, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Jesus said this, ‘Do this and you will live.’”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:27-28‬ ‭(ncv)

I once climbed a mountain. It was not quite perpendicular, but straight up enough to scare the living daylights out of me as I turned to look down.  My hiking partner had already made it encouraging me saying, “Come on man!  Don’t look down. Just keep climbing. Look up here. You’re gonna make it.”  Rock by rock, foothold by foothold I made it!

“Then Jesus said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭9:23‬ ‭(niv)

Row, Row Your Boat

DO YOU KNOW HOW TIRED YOU WOULD BE IF YOU ROWED A BOAT FOR 3 to 4 MILES IN CHOPPY WATERS?  That was the dilemma in which Jesus’ followers found themselves. Oh how they were aching for the Prince of Peace! They were yearning, longing for His Presence- but when? When? Will He ever show up again?!  They were carrying around the beauty of His message in weakened bodies. You’ve been there. The hurts, the questions! Are you destined for a watery grave, an eternity of hopelessness? But by faith you didn’t give up. Like the Apostle Paul you kept looking into the darkness –

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-17‬ 

Isn’t it amazing!  Jesus always shows up “when we have exhausted our hoarded resources.”

“When they had rowed the boat about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water, coming toward the boat. The followers were afraid, but Jesus said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.””

‭‭John‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭(ncv)  

“‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on Thee.’

When the shadows come and darkness falls,

He giveth inward peace.

Oh, He is the only perfect Resting Place!

He giveth perfect peace.

‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,

Whose mind is stayed on Thee.’”

(Vivian A. Kretz)