Grace (20)



My father sent me to the market that morning. I was in no hurry. He left at the same time to sail for Athens on business. My mother and sisters left the week before to visit family in Troas. They took the house servants with them. I was the only one left at home. As I came near the market I saw a group of my friends going somewhere together.

Timothy, who was leading them, called out to me. “Jason, come with us! We are going to meet Paul and Barnabus. Have you heard of them?” I had not, and neither had the others in the group before that day. 

As I joined them, Timothy began to explain. “Barnabus and Paul are Jews like my mother’s family. They came to Asia to tell people about Jesus, who rose from the dead after being crucified.” I did not know what to say about this. He continued as we walked along, “They came to Antioch and told about Jesus in the synagogue there. The people begged them to speak again the next week. Evidently the power of God was with them to heal people in the town as they told about Jesus through the week. 

“Nearly the whole city showed up at the synagogue the next Sabbath. The synagogue leaders were jealous. They began to oppose Barnabas and Paul before the crowd. Still, many Jews and Greeks from the city believed what Paul and Barnabas taught about Jesus. I have heard that they intend to come this way and I am hoping they will get here this morning.” As we came to the edge of town we saw men coming toward us on the road from Antioch. Timothy called to them, certain they were Barnabas and Paul. Sure enough, they were the apostles. When they saw us they decided we were the audience they were looking for. They led us off the road and began teaching. 

We were all stunned at their message. They told us Jesus was the Son of the only true God. This was strange to our ears, but somehow what they were saying rang true. They did not sound like trained orators. That was part of why they were so convincing. I was moved as Barnabas spoke. There was no question that he cared deeply about us. I found myself hoping that what he said was indeed true. After Barnabas finished, Paul stood to speak. As he spoke about true righteousness and faith and the love of God, I fell to my knees and cried out for the forgiveness and grace bought for me by Jesus on a Roman cross. 

We all followed the apostles back into the city. We had not seen any miraculous signs while they preached to us on the outskirts of town. But I was not surprised when Barnabas prayed for a sickly child who was wistfully watching the other children play. Immediately the child grinned and rose up to join the others. 

Just outside the market at the center of town they gathered a crowd and began to preach. As Paul preached he moved through the throng. He came near the young man that we have always called Solus. I am not sure if that is really his name, but like everyone else in the crowd, I knew his story. He was born lame. His feet and legs were shriveled. He could not walk at all. Paul reached out and took him by the hand to raise him to his feet. Right there in front of everyone his feet and legs were restored. All the people were amazed.

By then, a group had arrived from Antioch to stop Paul and Barnabas from teaching about Jesus. They had already been stirring up people to oppose Paul and Barnabas. They were enraged that the man was publicly healed. They immediately seized Paul. We managed to hustle Barnabus away as they dragged Paul out of town. Adonis and his younger brother took Barnabas to their home to save him from the same fate as Paul.

To the rest of us Timothy said, “We need to follow them and see what they have done to Paul.” When we caught up to the crowd they were throwing stones at the apostle. We watched in horror as several stones struck his head. He crumpled to the ground. We were fairly certain that they had killed him. They congratulated one another as they turned back toward the city.

Timothy led the way to Paul before they were out of sight. We were not going to leave his body out there on the side of the road. But when Timothy laid his hand on his body, Paul moved and shook his head. His head was bleeding profusely. After a moment he stood and began trudging back into town. I rushed to his side to support him. The rest of us surrounded him and would have fought anyone who tried to attack, but the men who stoned him had disappeared up the road. We didn't see them as we came into town. They may have started back to Antioch lest the magistrate question them. We took Paul to the home of Adonis where Barnabus was waiting anxiously. After his wounds had been dressed, Paul gathered us all together to encourage us to remain faithful to Jesus.

Leonides, who was older than the rest of us, asked why those people had been so angry. I was wondering the same thing. We listened intently as Paul explained.

“You all need to understand this. We follow a crucified Savior. As people hated him, they will hate us. Our speaking to them about Jesus will be a kind of judgment. It will reveal what is in their hearts. Some will gladly receive you and repent. Some will be enraged because they hate the true God and His Son Jesus. But Jesus has given the Holy Spirit of God to His followers. This includes you. The Spirit strengthens all of us and will empower us to be faithful.” I asked if that was how he recovered from being stoned. Paul thought for a moment and said, “Possibly.”

Hector, standing behind the rest of us, asked, “Is that how you healed the lame man?”

“In a way,” Paul answered. Then he said, “Actually, I did not heal him at all. Jesus did that. I saw that the man had faith to be healed. But yes, Jesus works through the Holy Spirit.

“God’s Spirit will bear witness of Jesus. The Spirit will speak through you. Sometimes he will even break the hearts of those who oppose Jesus. I was one of those people. I thought I was serving the God of my fathers by arresting and charging those who followed the way. I was on my way to another city to arrest the followers of Jesus who had fled there. On my way Jesus appeared to me in a light brighter than the sun. He called me to repent. By this undeserved grace everything in my life was changed. I now preach the One whom I hated and blasphemed.


This story is based on what Jesus said in John 15:18-27.



Father, make us faithful even in the face of fierce opposition.




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Christmas in Arabia

During the Christmas season, many believers throughout the Arabian Peninsula host parties, gatherings, and events to share the true meaning of Christ's birth to their Muslim friends. It is also a time when many Muslims have opportunity to ask questions about Jesus if they are seeking and encounter the Christmas story on social media. 

Let's pray for boldness, discernment, and wisdom as believers invite their Muslim friends to celebrate Christmas together and share the Christmas account. 

Let's pray that this will be a first Christmas as sons and daughters of God for many Muslims as they discover the true meaning of the celebration of Christmas.

"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." Gal 4:4-5
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Children are a gift from the Lord and parents want the best for their children. Thankfully, the wealth of the oil-rich countries in the Arabian Peninsula has helped children not to be in want. Unfortunately, it has also created a generation of boys and girls who struggle with health issues due to unhealthy fast foods and a sedentary lifestyle. Childhood obesity and diabetes are on the rise at an alarming rate. In contrast, children in Yemen are starving because of the effects of civil war. "Save the Children" reports that about 130 children could easily die each day from starvation and illness.
More information on the children of the Arabian Peninsula can be found in the link at the bottom of this blog.
and in this video:
Dear Lord, we pray for the children in the AP who are suffering because of the excesses in their lives. We pray that they will get the help they need to be physically disciplined with exercise and healthy eating. We especially pray for the children of Yemen who desperately need food and medicine. Oh God, have mercy on them! Even more importantly, we pray that those with excess and those who have nothing will hear about your great love for them. May they hear the Gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ and embrace the forgiveness of sins and the eternal life which you offer.
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I fear many Christians have the notion that we are saved by grace, but we are trained for righteousness by legalism. This is a serious mistake for Christians and it misses one of the most wonderful truths of scripture. In Titus Chapter 2 Paul tells us the grace of God trains us for Godly living. Look with me at these verses.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

Titus 2:22-14

Let me point out for you several ways that God uses His grace to train us to live Godly lives.

First, We Are Trained In The Gratitude of Grace.

We do not develop self control and godliness so we will be saved. We obey God out of gratitude that He has already saved us. This gratitude brings great devotion. “Look what  He has done for me!” It also produces humility in us that is foundational to a changed life. And focusing on His grace frees us defensiveness about our sin. Our sins were paid for on the cross.

We Are Trained In The Hope of Grace.

We are like a bride being adorned for our bridegroom. We love Him. And we are preparing our hearts to be ushered into His presence. We desire God's grace to be worked  into our lives more and more because we are looking forward to seeing Jesus face-to-face.

We Are Trained In The Transformation of Grace.

When we begin to follow Christ God brings about a radical change in our desires. But we still have habits of mind and behavior that must be changed on a deep level. Because the penalty for them has been paid we have freedom to deal with the root motivations of our pride, greed, lust, or whatever sin we would avoid dealing with if we were still being defensive. And God is planting more and more of His thinking and His holiness into our lives. The more we read His word, and live in fellowship with Him, the more like Him we become.

We Are Trained In The Fellowship of Grace.

God's Grace has appeared so that He might make us a people who are zealous for good works. We cannot do this, or be this, alone. We stand together. As we are united with Him by God's grace, we are united with others in the family. We love one another and encourage one another every day while it is still called today. (Hebrews 3:13)



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9651031660?profile=originalFor even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. -Mark 10:45

This saying of Jesus comes close to giving us our job description for earthly life. It occurs in a context of some wanting special standing and privilege. Jesus responds by pointing out that if the Son of Man himself came into the world to be a servant of all—in other words, to be a person living and dying for others—then his followers must see that as their vocation as well. The apostle Paul makes much the same point in Philippians 2:9-11.

Jesus, the Man for others, gave his life for us. He died in our place for our sins; he paid the price that we couldn’t pay. In doing so, he lived out his teaching that this is the key to human life in general. And this is exactly what millions have discovered over the centuries: true joy and fulfillment on this earth lie not in doing our own will and accumulating more and more things for ourselves, but in giving them and ourselves away to others.

Who are those who come to the end of life with a sense of really having lived well and to the fullest? Who among us have the fewest hang-ups and neuroses, the least guilt, and fewest regrets? It’s those who have willingly and joyfully given up the heavy burden of trying to fulfill themselves first and moved full steam ahead into the task of helping, feeding, sheltering, rescuing, and loving others. This fact is the easiest thing in the world to prove.

Some of the happiest people you will ever meet are those whose lives are spent in some form of sacrifice for others, who give their time and energies to the Gospel and to the work of lifting up those on the bottom rung of the ladder—physically, materially, or emotionally. More and greater joy is found in giving rather than taking. This is one of life’s greatest secrets. This truth gives us a key to how we are actually built. This may seem to most people upside down, because it goes against everything our culture tells us about the key to happiness and success, but it is the consistent testimony of all who’ve tried it.

This is also a good guide to our practice of prayer. Perhaps we would receive more answers to prayer if we spent more time interceding for the needs and welfare of others and less on ourselves. What many have found is that if we live this type of cheerful, God-dependent, self-forgetfulness many of our needs and desires will be met in the process, even without asking.

So if you're grieving or in pain, how does this help you? It’s counter-intuitive, but true: our pain starts to heal when we invest our lives in the pain of others. When all our instincts tell us to hide somewhere and nurse our sorrow in solitude, the best medicine is to turn outward toward the brokenhearted around us and assist in helping them with their suffering. Try it—it works. And what enables us to get close to them and to truly care for (and feel) their pain is what we’re now going through.

Father, I’m unable to turn from my own pain to that of others unless you grant me the grace and power to do it. It’s not in me, so you must do it through me. Amen.

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"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of them are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, and to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."

The gospel is not something that wise men thought about and conceived through eons of time. It is the good news of Jesus. And the witness of the gospel is essential. Hundreds of people saw Him alive, followers, enemies, family, and strangers. To this day people say Jesus has forgiven me. He has embraced me with the gospel of His love and grace. He is alive! I have experienced Him in my life too.

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How do we look at radical Muslims? Shortly after 9/11 a child in our church said, "We need to pray for the terrorists!"

Without thinking, I answered, "Pray that they will be caught and killed." Because of that 4 or 5 year-old boy, I had to examine my heart and my thinking in this matter. I have come to some thoughts that I would like to share with you.

Is it wrong to pray for judgment to come on our enemies? God is a God of judgment. He could not be good, holy or even loving, if He did not judge the wickedness of men.

Many skeptics point at the command of God for the people to destroy the city of Jericho killing men, women, children and livestock, saying the Bible endorses genocide. However, this incident did not take place in a vacuum. First, God had told Abraham in Genesis 15 that He was going to bring judgment on the Amorites. But he said they had not filled up their iniquity. Who knows how long God had already shown His patience toward this wicked people, calling them again and again to repent. And yet, another four hundred years passed before the Children of Israel came through the wilderness to encircle the city of Jericho. Many have argued that the Atomic Bomb that killed all living creatures in the Japanese cities, ended World War II and prevented many more deaths for many years. So the destruction of Jericho caused many of the Amorites to flee rather than being killed in the ensuing war.

But you may ask why the Lord employed Israel in this judgment. I certainly don't know all of God’s reasons. I do know the people of Israel knew not to do such a thing without God's direct command. This is a crucial point that I want get back to.

Interestingly enough, this is not the only time God put His judgment into the hands of men. King Saul wickedly brought the judgment that had been foretold upon the house of Eli. God used the ungodly Assyrians to carry His people into captivity for rejecting Him. And most strikingly, God used the imperfect judgment of a Roman tribunal to sentence and crucify Jesus. That judgment of God was upon my sins and yours. God took my sin upon Himself as Jesus died for us. Nothing shows the measure of God's love for us as powerfully as Jesus taking our judgment on Himself at the cross.

I have prayed for God to bring judgment on wickedness in our world. But the Bible, Old and New Testament, clearly teaches that God prefers repentance and forgiveness to judgment and destruction. One of the most apropos stories of this is the book of Jonah. Jonah was sent to preach to Nineveh. Nineveh was the enemy of Israel. Jonah tried to flee from God's call. But he only proved you can't run from God. When he finally went to preach to the city he made no reference to repentance as he proclaimed judgment would come in forty days. However, the people did repent in sackcloth and ashes. The point of that book is God's compassion for people and our New Testament mission to love even our enemies with the gospel. The final day of judgment is coming. But until God tells us it is time to pray for judgment temporary or ultimate, we need to pray for it not to be too late for His grace even for our enemies.

I am praying and rejoicing to see Muslim people turning to Christ by the thousands all across the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere. Some of them had indeed been radical Muslims. I pray for their sin and threat against us to be condemned and come under the terrible wrath of God as Jesus died in their place and mine.


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Manipulation or Faith

The subject of my blog this week sounds a little like it belongs in my other blog, rather than watchininprayer. But in fact, this deals with the attitude that must drive our prayers. Is your life, are your prayers, driven by faith or by the need to manipulate circumstances, people or even God?

Do you approach Your Circumstances in Faith or the desire to Manipulate?

When you face painful circumstances, it is difficult if not impossible not to ask God to change them. In Fact, prayer can be a statement that you are trusting God to improve your circumstances. Can you imagine Joseph in the Old Testament not praying for his release as He languished in prison? I'm sure he cried out to God for relief. But instead God used him in the prison. And God chose to use his situation to promote him to the highest position in the land.

In Philippians 2:5 and following Paul says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Jesus voluntarily left heaven and all its glory to be born in a manger, to have no place to lay His head, to be rejected by men, to be unjustly condemned and crucified for you. In John 12:27,28 He said, "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason that I came to this hour." God has also determined your circumstances, however painful. Can you trust God to use you in the situations where He has planted you?

Do you trust God to work in Other People's lives rather than trying to manipulate them? When you and I are driven to change someone else, we need to ask ourselves if we are trying to manipulate them for their benefit or for ourselves. This may be difficult to determine because we are so quick to justify our behavior. Even if our motives are always pure, we must trust other people to God. Have you noticed that God gives people the freedom to sin and even to reject Him? Without such freedom there could be no true righteousness? It is difficult to watch someone you love ruin their life. And realizing that you cannot manipulate them to do what you want becomes a motivation to pray. Faith trusts and cries out to God to speak to their hearts to draw them to repent and voluntarily turn to Him. Only God can do what needs to be done in someone's heart.

Are you seeking to Manipulate God?

When our prayers are driven by wants and fears rather than faith in our Heavenly Father, we fall into praying and doing anything else we do to put God in our debt, so He will have to give us what we want. We are trying to pray against God's will. Philippians 4:6 calls us to lift our prayers with thanksgiving. You can exercise your faith in God's grace by giving thanks before you see how God will answer your prayers. He is your Father. And you can trust Him to give you what you need. Our children don't always understand what we are trying to do for them. But in the long run they come to appreciate their parents' love. You can trust God to give you what you ask for or to give you what you would ask for if you knew everything He knows.


I need to let all of you who read my blog know, that the Kindle edition of Home In The Wilderness, my latest novel will be free Tuesday, August 16 through Friday, August 19, 2016.


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You occasionally hear God blamed for the condition of the world because He created Adam and Eve already knowing they would sin and plunge all of us into darkness.

Of course you have to consider that God also knew the hope set before us in creation. In Romans 8:18-20 Paul says, "I consider our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that shall be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope."

Let's consider the possible worlds God could have created. He could have abstained from creating any world at all. He was eternally self-sufficient. He could have created a world without sentient beings. He could have created intelligent beings who could not choose to reject Him. But in none of these worlds would we have the choice to love him, the challenge of true devotion, the chance to obey in the face of temptation. And none of these options would give us the possibility of repentance, redemption, or the wonder of grace as we know it.

When Jesus commanded the stone to be removed from the tomb of Lazarus in John 11, Martha protested, "Lord, by this time he will stink."

I too stink. Our world stinks of sin and corruption. Jesus answered Martha and me, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"

That day they saw a pantomimed foretaste of what we hope for. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

Romans 8 continues with verses 22-25.

"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

Suppose two people were given an odious task. One is told, “At the end of one year you will be paid $10,000 and be sent on your way.” The other is told, “At the end of one year you will be rewarded with forty million dollars and be revered by the entire world for the rest of your life.”

Which one will be better able to endure? In a hard world you can have a great hope.

In his book 10 Philosophical Mistakes, Mortimer Adler posed this question. If you were asked in the middle of a ball game with your favorite team so far behind that they could never catch up, "Is this a good game?", what would you say?

But suppose your team comes back at the very end and to win against impossible odds. That would be a better game than you could have imagined while your team was behind.

We are hoping against sight and smell in the promise of the Sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth that we will see glory beyond anything anyone can imagine!


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Certainly the most disturbing words in the Lord's Prayer are found in verse 12.

"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."

We sometimes flit like a butterfly over these words without letting them shock us to the core of our relationship with God. Jesus calls us to surrender all of our resentments, all unforgiveness, as we ask for His forgiveness.

As with all of the Lord's Prayer, these words can be expanded. You understand calling on God as Father better when you tell Him all that calling Him Father means to you. Your praise will be more exhilarating when you take time to hallow His name in every way you can think of. And you will receive a far greater blessing from this prayer when you let its seriousness wash over you, struggling to forgive people who are hard to forgive.  

Let me show you two steps of spiritual growth that this part of The Lord's Prayer helps us take. By spending time praying this facet of the model prayer (1)we come to accept the mindset of forgiveness and (2)we surrender our hearts to God in the struggle of forgiveness.

In Matthew 18 beginning with verse 23 Jesus taught something crucial to the kingdom of heaven. He told the story of a king who decided to settle his accounts. He was reminded that one of his servants owed him ten thousand talents. A talent represented a fortune in those days. Ten thousand talents would be like a billion dollars today. It would have been impossible for a servant ever to repay such a sum. So the king arranged to sell the servant along with his wife and children and simply call the debt lost. But the servant came before him and pleaded for time to pay the impossible debt. The king showed him compassion and forgave the entire amount. The servant went away with great relief. But a fellow servant owed him a hundred denari. He went to him and demanded payment. When the other man pleaded with him for more time he grabbed him by the throat and began to choke him. He had him thrown into prison until he paid the full amount. The other servants were upset and told their master. The king summoned his servant and rebuked him. "You wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant as I had mercy on you?" In anger the king commanded that he be turned over to the tormentors until he paid all his debt. Jesus then concluded, "So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

Does that mean God will resend your salvation if you will not forgive someone? I do not believe it does. In John 10:28 Jesus clearly said about those who are His sheep, "No one will snatch them out of my hand." But this parable, The Lord's Prayer and other passages like Ephesians 4:32, teach that God's forgiveness is inextricably connected to our forgiving others. Forgiving others should be the natural and supernatural overflow of a forgiven heart. When we pour ourselves into this prayer we immerse ourselves in the mindset of forgiveness. I will be honest there are times that I have had to ask God to forgive someone, still confessing that I was not yet forgiving from my heart. And I had to ask God to do the painful work in my inner being that would bring me to forgive as He so painfully purchased my forgiveness on the cross.

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It is hard to overestimate the gospel. It is the key to our forgiveness and redemption. It is the only hope of eternal life. And it is the passport to fellowship with God in prayer.The first chapter of Romans reveals the corruption of our hearts and our separation from God. From there Romans leads us to the gospel. Jesus died for our sins. Romans 5 declares that we now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have access into this grace. We can have fellowship with God.The gospel is the central message of God in the Bible. It is the purpose of God in history and eternity. And through it we have access into God's embrace in prayer.
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For several reasons I have decided to suspend my blog during the month of August,2015. I am praying about some special future blog entries. So I will see you in September.

Last week I wrote about praying in or from the gospel. We could never plumb the depths or mount the heights of this subject. And I wish to pen just a few more lines specifically on the grace unleashed by the good news of Jesus Christ.

First note that we come to prayer In the Confession of The Gospel. There is a power here to kill the selfishness, self-centeredness and independence that separate us from God and others. The Son of God had to die in my place to redeem me. I did not just need a little correction or improvement. I was totally lost.

Next we come to pray In the Communion of The Gospel. The gospel brings far more to us than forgiveness. Forgiveness says, "You are pardoned. You may go. The grace of the gospel says, "You are forgiven. Come in to my presence."

And imagine the Confidence of Prayer from The Gospel. We now come to God in the love and approval of the Son of God! He became our sin so we might become His righteousness. We pray in the applause of our Heavenly Father!

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" Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren"....Deuteronomy 4:9
Oh most merciful and loving God in Heaven, we worship You in spirit and in truth and in gratitude for Who You are and What You have done. We have seen Your Hands, the Work of Your Hands, the Wonder of Your Love and the Grace from Your Heart, as the winter of our discontent, the wickedness of our hearts and the wandering lost nature of our souls were rescued from sin, death and hell. You did that, oh Lord. We are living proof, I am living proof, of the unseen Hand of God, Whose Arm is never too short, to reach into the depths of depravity and despair and pull us out by the root to replant us in the Garden of Grace.
We know, in every fiber of our very being, what You have done in protecting us from danger, keeping us from falling and from the wolves and sure death out there as the angels You sent, kept us from "dashing our foot up against a stone". Father, I remember those days. I remember the fields of dirt, thirst and hopelessness You took me out of....just like You took the little shepherd boy away from the flocks who slew great giants and became king David of Israel. As Your Faithful servant, meek yet strong, Moses urged all believers for all times, I purpose to "take heed" and wear Your salvation of my soul on my sleeve that others may gain. I take particular, punctilious, painstaking, rigorous, care in, as Your Apostle Paul says "working out" that salvation....not to be "saved again" but to build on what You have given me, in Grace through Faith, to a daily maturing in that the spirit of boldness, power, love and a sound mind!
It is only by staying, abiding and walking close to You, Abba Father, that I can be, that we can be, of any use to the Kingdom of Your Great Son, King Jesus the Lord of Heaven's Armies and the real Commander in Chief of the world! It is only by constant prayer, intercession, and letting the Word of God, the Bible richly dwelling in us day after day, month after month, year after year,  that Your servants can be effective in leaving a legacy of Lordship not just to our children from their birth to their maturity, but from their teenage years until they themselves become parents and then, if we are blessed with clarity of mind and good old age, we too can share what God, through Christ has done for us.  Lord, give us this day, not just our daily bread, but the daily power, strength, boldness, discernment and wisdom to execute every statute You laid out in this Scripture from this verse above, so that we will be able to do just as You commanded,  to not just leave but LIVE a legacy of love, and the Knowledge of the Goodness and Wonderful Works of our Lord, to those whom we will one day temporarily leave behind. We ask this in the Precious Name above all names - Jesus, our Lord, amen.
Holy Bible, Book Divine
Precious Treasure, Thou art mine!!!
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The New Year - 2015


                              2015 – Crowned With Blessings

Dear Friends,
First of all, I convey my very sincere Greetings and blessings to you in THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD, for the New Year – 2015. As I waited on the Lord and sought Him like Daniel in 9th Chapter, and asked Him to give me His word for us and for the people to whom I will be sharing the word, the Lord gave me His word which I declared in some churches and will be declaring here with you.

1. I am not a “soothsayer”, “predictor” Prophet” (or) a “Time setter
There are people who are called to do this and let them do it. The church to-day is cultivated in such a dangerous way that “Every one wants a word (or) a “Prophesy”! They are bent to believe men then HIS INFALLIBLE WORDS AND PROPHECIES ALREADY IN THE WORD!

2. The times are going to be hard and difficult and we all know it. It will be like in the days of Noah, full of sins and violence! Yes it is! That is one side of the coin. The other side is, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.(Gen.6:8). On the one side sin abounds but on the other side GRACE ABOUNDS.” Amen! But How did he found grace in the eyes of the Lord? “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.(Gen.6:9)
Those days were primitive, and there was no printed bible, no church or prayer fellowships, there were no preachers, he had never ever had any encounter with the Lord, and yet he was righteous and blameless before God. How much more the Lord will expect from us, as we now have all which Noah did not have in his time? Grace will be bountiful to people who separate from this crocked and wicked generation and walk in righteousness.

3. The creator God was hurt deeply and He was saddened for cresting the human race on earth. KNOW FOR SURE, THAT GOD IS WATCHING HUMAN RACE AND HIS HEART BLEED WHEN SIN AND VIOLENCE INCREASE ON EARTH. He is hurt as much we are hurt. The injustice, wars, crimes, debauchery and sins are known to Him. And the only way to cleanse this is to destroy the human race and make them to pray for its sins. God provided the means of escape for free in the person of LORD JESUS CHRIST, but HE HAS BEEN MOCKED AND REJECTED, and his CHURCH IS PERSECUTED CONTINUALLY. Then comes the judgment and this is His option and not ours.

4. The Living God takes the initiative and the first step of “Revealing His plan to Noah”. This is the reward for his righteous and blameless walk with the Lord. We call it Supernatural encounters in the life of believers and in the body of Christ. Every one who walked upright and prayed were honoured with “Supernatural visitations”! And this is the promise for the last day generations. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”(Joel.2:28). On the one side satan may do all that he can to damage “ His Eckklesia’ but on the other hand the LORD, will be liberal in pouring out HIS MIGHTY SPIRIT in to His People. His Church will have supernatural! Another classical example is that the enemies of the Gospel were killing St. Stephan, by throwing stones. At that moment ,” But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,(Acts.7:55). This unfortunately is not for cold hearted, lukewarm, and compromising christians; but for people who would rather “point blank gunshots” and die for the Lord Jesus as his mighty witnesses.
How did Noah recognize God when He Communed with Him? What an instinct and perception! This explains how Noah walked with His creator. His 500 years of walk with His “YEHWEH was so certain and so sure and familiar that when God Spoke He recognized His Voice. There are millions of Voices across the world. Some voices are from “wolves in sheep Clothing’. Some say, “I am He”. Others say,” He is in the Chamber”. But Lord Jesus Said,” My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:(Jn.10:27)” And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.(Jn.10:5)

5. The Lord said that He will save Noah and his family. The Lord God said,” But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.(Gen.6:18). Totally Eight individuals. GOD MADE A COVENANT WITH NOAH AND HIS FAMILY.

A. How mindful God is! over His Children and how great is His Compassion. Noah will be saved from TOTAL annihilation.

B. A pact to save Noah’s 3 sons, their wives (3) and His wife. Life insured in Jesus!

As husbands and as fathers, our greatest concern is running and maintaining the family. I am glad that when God encountered Noah at his 500th year, he found with his wife. (he had not divorced her and it’s part of God’s righteousness). Families are important to raise godly generation. (And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.(Mal.2:15))And Noah’s wife was a female who can bear children. I am writing this purposely to make us realize the way satan perverted God’s plan of raising “Godly generation” on earth.not only in 2015 but eternally God, has chosen our family with a Covenant. The chosen one’s were a minority.

6. The Lord instructed to build an Ark and gather pair of animals and birds and gather food water for them all. The Ark is a place where Noah and His family will abide in safe and secure INSIDE, when the anger of God poured out in the world in the form of natural calamity, rain, thunder shower and a great deluge!
The Ark of Noah is symbolically “Depict” Christ’s Eckklesia” , which is the future Kingdom of God, and His Governance! The best and most secured place to be in is IN HIS CHURCH, which is the body of redeemed ones; also known as HIS BRIDE. A bride is always kept in the “Beloved’s Chamber”. Let us be glad and rejoice! THERE WAS ONLY ONE ARK AND THERE IS ONLY ONE CHURCH. And He is building His church. When it starts raining, the Ark will arise! Above the waters it will set sail. The powers of Hell will never be able to overcome it or destroy it! ARE WE FOUND IN THIS ARK?

7. The Ark finally be moored on mount Ararat. There is a meaning for this name as, “Curse Reversed”. Hallelujah! God’s ark the redeemed will be always be kept on the hill top and our curses were reversed on Mount Golgotha and takes us to mount Zion! “They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.(Ps.84:7), That’s our destiny and none can stop us!

8. There will be “Go Global” situation. Noah and his family were the seed to replenish and multiply the new world and earth. The Lord said, “And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.


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You are God of all (1).

I confess that I often approach both You, and Your gift of prayer, with too small of a mindset.  Sometimes, I imagine the things I have the ability to accomplish or dream up, and then ask You to do only that much.  Yet, You're able to do immeasurably more, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 3 (2).  Other times, I only pray thinking of the things of which I want or desire.  While it's not wrong or bad to do so, I confess that I often forget or neglect to worship, praise, and thank You for who You are, what You've done, and are doing (3).  I often fail to pray for others' concerns, joys, and for the lost (4).  I confess that I mostly consider Your actions and provisions ahead of You, Yourself.  Forgive me and continue to grow my trust, joy, and understanding in/of You (5).

Thank You for Your grace, forgiveness, compassion, and care (6).  Thank You for giving Your Holy Spirit to dwell within me (7).  Change my thinking, understanding, compassion for others, and more (8).  Continue to fill me with Your Spirit, that I may see others, and their situations, through Your eyes (9); that I may hear what they say, and don't say, accurately, as with Your ears (10); and that I may read, take to heart, and apply what Your Word says (11).

Help me to pray from Your Word and heart (12); think Your thoughts; see myself, people around me, and our matters of agreement and disagreement accurately and lovingly as You do.  I am not capable of any of these things on my own.  I yield to You.  You're the Rock that I stand upon (13).  You are my Joy and Strength (14), (15).  You are the Light of my life in this dark world (16), (17).  You are the Lifter of my head when I become discouraged, distraught, and even self-centered (18).  You are the Corrector of my vision; helping me to see You, myself, people, and matters with far greater accuracy than I could ever imagine or attempt to understand on my own (19). 

You are Lord of All.  Some try to convince me and others that You are not Lord at all (20).  Help me to love and pray for them with Your perfect love, compassion, and care.  Also, quicken the hearts and minds of other Christians to meet these people where they're at, to pray for them, and with them as Your Spirit leads and prompts.  Increase my sensitivity to Your Holy Spirit's promptings.  I desire to be obedient to bring You, and Your Name, glory; fulfilling things You've prepared for me to do since before You created time (21). 

I worry not about what's to come because You are there (22), (23).  I worry not about the things of the past: for You are my perfect Redeemer (24) (25).  I worry not about the present (26), because You are near, and Your Spirit and Word are guiding, sharpening, correcting, and renewing me; providing light to my feet and a lamp for the path before me (27).

I worship You, Jesus; Lord of All.  Nothing is too great or small; for You created and care for it all.  Continue to shepherd me through this day and night ahead (28) for Your glory alone.  In Jesus' name, and in increasing and endless praise, (29) Amen.

(Numbered Scripture references).  Their links, within the prayer, will take you to the verse(s), online.

1. Isaiah 37:16
2. Ephesians 3:20-21
3. Revelation 1:8
4. James 5:15-20
5. Nehemiah 8:10
6. 2 Corinthians 12:9
7. Acts 5:32
8. Luke 11:13
9. Psalm 33:13-14
10. Psalm 34:17
11. Psalm 119:105
12. Luke 11:1-10
13. 1 Samuel 2:2
14. 1 Chronicles 16:27
15. Psalm 28:7
16. 2 Samuel 22:29
17. John 1:5
18. Psalm 3:3
19. Exodus 4:11-12
20. 1 Thessalonians 4:8
21. Ephesians 2:10
22. Mark 13:11
23. Matthew 6:34
24. Job 19:25
25. Psalm 19:14
26. Matthew 6:27
27. Psalm 119:105
28. Psalm 23
29. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
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Prayer is not simply mouthing a few words spoken in the morning or at the dinner table. That us of course an important part  prayer. But prayer is the opportunity to live our whole lives in God’s grace. Early this morning I read the story of the raising of Lazarus in John chapter 11. This passage gives us a vivid picture of living in God’s grace. While Jesus and His disciples were in Galilee they received word from Martha and Mary that their brother Lazarus was seriously ill. The message simply read, “He whom you love is ill.” Let me point out two simple yet difficult perspectives of living in God’s grace.

  1. Waiting in His love

John 11:5-6 reads,

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”[1]

You can be sure that God loves you no matter what you are going through. To us these verses seem to be a terrible paradox. Jesus loved them, so He waited. We who have read the story know that something far greater came from the Lord’s delay. But we have also felt like it was too late for God to answer our prayers. It is difficult for us to get the principle into our hearts that the world’s deadlines are not necessarily God’s timing. Keep praying even when it seems to be too late. You may well see the glory of God through it.

         2. Walking in His light

In this passage the disciples of Jesus faced an entirely different dilemma. They were terrified when Jesus announced that He was going back to Judea where the people had tried to stone Him. Jesus answered their concerns with a sort of parable.

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”[2]

If you want to understand what God is up to, walk in the light He has already given. Stepping out in faith is a powerful principle of answered prayer. What God calls us to do is often impossible. I remember Moses before the Red Sea. The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.[3]

I love the response of Thomas in this situation.

“Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

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Grace Momentum

"Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back!" my father used to say. So how did the turtle get on such a lofty perch on that fence post?

“There is a Power whose care / Teaches the way along that pathless coast.

The desert and illimitable air / Lone wandering, but not lost.”

                                            - William Cullen Bryant, “To a Waterfowl” (1818)


Taking a break from the hectic human race to review our life is beneficial—

Looking back, we realize God’s faithfulness in meeting all of our needs.

Skeptics question God’s care, but experience has taught us better.

All of our lifelong odyssey, to this day, God has been our Pastor.

When we were exhausted, He let us rest in green meadows.

When we were distressed, He steered us to serene havens.

When devastated by our guilt, He helped us to our feet.

When disoriented, He charted a course in our  mind.

When we trembled in the dark, He was our light.

Surrounded by enemies, He was our shield.

Discouraged, His goodness reinforced us.

Grace momentum inspired our journey.

Jesus is gently shepherding us home.

Taking His hand, we learn to dance.


“The God who shepherded me through life to this moment…”

Genesis 48:15 MLB


                                                                        Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Colonial Beach Baptist Church, Virginia

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

[This devotion based on/adapted from Day 34 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]

GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized  (copy & paste to browser for blog & book info)

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Who's In Charge?

Are you taking a do-it-yourself approach, or trusting the Master?

It is for men to choose whether they will govern themselves or be governed.”

- Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit (1887)


Who would you say is in charge of your life?

Whoever controls your heart controls everything.

All facets of your personality are dominated by your will. 


If you live by self-rule, anarchy will confuse you and misguide you.

If you live by majority-rule opinion polls, you’ll find the crowd is wrong.

The only perfect government in the world is the monarchy of the King of hearts.


Jesus reigns as Emperor of the soul, annexing His subjects to His out-of-this-world empire.

One day an angel will incarcerate hell’s despot-dragon, and paradise will dawn over new Jerusalem.

Until the golden day, storms hide stars, making it hard to find your bearings; high seas may disorient you.

Do not merely use Christ as a figurehead on the bow—

surrender the ship’s wheel to the Captain and He will make sense of it all.


“These are the kings who reigned in Edom before an Israelite king reigned over them.”

Genesis 36:31 NLT


Johnny R. Almond

                Pastor, Colonial Beach Baptist Church, Virginia

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

Available on-line; author’s blog

[This devotion based on/adapted from Day 25 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]

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Praying for New Orleans

On the Wednesday morning of Isaac’s landfall into Louisiana, I prayed. Not for judgment and destruction. Not for God’s wrath against New Orleans to be displayed. I prayed that God would be merciful and that the distraught people, whose lives were in one way or another affected by the hurricane would turn to Him with all their hearts and find strength through faith in Christ. Desiring calamity and retribution upon others for their sin, regardless of the nature and enormity, is not the heart of God and exposes a wrong spirit. In the Old Testament, the prophet Jonah displayed unrighteous anger towards God and the people of Ninevah when he was commanded the second time to preach judgment to Israel’s fierce enemies. He knew that if they repented of their evil, God would forgive them. Jonah wanted them annihilated. That was not the heart of God. In the New Testament, Jesus rebuked James and John, His own faithful disciples when they requested to call down fire upon the Samaritans to which Jesus replied, “You don’t know what spirit you are of”.  In other words, that was not His Spirit working in them, but the devil’s. We need to be careful not to play God’s advocate, in the sense that we know how He should act towards those we detest. In Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, both the priest and the Levite passed by the wounded traveller as he lay dying on the Jericho road, assaulted by thieves. It was a despised Samaritan who showed compassion and came to the helpless man’s aid. Perhaps their religious minds convinced them that “He must have got what he deserved, sinner that he is!”

Years ago, when I would read the account of David and Nathan the prophet, who finally confronted the King of his covered up sin with Bathsheba, I read it imagining that fire and brimstone were pouring out of Nathan’s nostrils as he pronounced God’s judgment against David’s wickedness with lightning bolts shooting out from his smoking mouth. I saw him absolutely hostile, red in the face and full of rage in his fierce indictment, “Thou art the man!” Thank God, I don’t believe that anymore. Psalm 145:8 reveals God’s true heart and nature towards sinful man. “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy”. And so once again, with Isaac, mercy triumphed over judgment. I believe the prayers of God’s people had much to do with the reprieve of judgment upon New Orleans. But what will they do with that mercy? Will they acknowledge their sin and turn to God in repentance? Let’s go further-- Will we, as God’s people, acknowledge our sin and turn to God in repentance? Remember that judgment begins in the house of God. The only safe place is to be living clean in daily repentance under the shadow of His wing. Hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, wars and diseases will continue to increase upon the earth in the remaining four months of 2012 with more intensity and frequency all in an effort to turn wicked hearts back to God’s grace, mercy, love and forgiveness.

And so we pray with the prophets of old, “In Thy wrath, O God, remember mercy!” That is His constant heart. Yes, we reap what we sow and there will be present and eternal consequences to our unrepentant sin—but pray that mercy will still triumph over judgment according to God’s heart while the door of grace remains opened. In the end, the Judge of all the earth will do right according to His justice and His unchanging Word for which at that point, we will be without excuse.

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Deliverance For The Righteous



Today's Gospel Truth ~  "But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble."  Psalm 37:39



Holding firm to our Salvation as we live each day for God we grow in our relationship with Him.  When days of uncertainty come our way it is in our relationship with Him that we can  acquire the strength and foresight we need to intelligently manage what we face.  Growing in Christ is the greatest, well rounded investment we can ever have in life as it  gives both parties a sound, secure, loving relationship. It not only help us with life here on earth but it also secures our place with Christ in heaven. Holding firm to our Salvation also approves us to be counted as the Righteous Seed who deserves God's Delivering Grace.  Indeed God is our strength and because our life of freedom is from Him it is also protected and safe in Him.  Praise God for in Him we have Deliverance for the Righteous! AMEN



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