Intercessionary Prayer

What’s interesting about American culture is we are very ethnocentric. Outside of our sphere there is often little concern. It’s not a biblical habit nor theological. It’s simply human nature. Even in prayer we decide to pray for our needs. Think about it what do you pray for the most? You pray for forgiveness as you should. However, slipped in there often is the occasional “God I can do this, my bills are stacking up I’ll have nothing extra at the end if the month.” While we should cast out our issues to the Lord, this is one facet of our prayer life. Because we are so focused on the here and now we don’t wee the trouble around us. No I don’t mean Donald Trump, but real issues of persecution, poverty, and so on. I want to take a minute to look at the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah had the sweet gig of being the king’s cup bearer. He had a gig some of us would love to have…kinda. His job was to drink the king’s wine\drink first, cool right, bad part he could have died. His job was to ensure the king’s drink wasn’t spiked. Anyways he had an important job, early secret service. In chapter 1 Nehemiah hear about issues far away. The wall of Jerusalem had fallen, Nehemiah had no real stake in the matter, but his first instinct was to pray. This process we call intercession. Nehemiah interceeded on the part of Jerusalem. He saw a neighbor who was in need and interceeded on their behalf. This word we hear a lot of around the church such as “interceeded for Ms. Mary who is in the hospital for x, y, or z” Pray for our !eaders, the sick, poor, and those being persecuted. 

    So this post is simple when was the last time you interceeded for someone or something? It should be habitual for us to do. There are plenty of things which need your prayer. While we may not be able to reach everyone at a minimum we can pray on their behalf. Now before I go too far if you can help and pray do that, but prayer is the minimum we should be doing and is something we should do early and often. Peace and blessings always. And interceeded!!!

    The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways: Behind the Scenes of a Movement

    20170513_124211For those of you who are up on US history, and I mean really up on US history know the name Peyton Randolph. For the outsider who does not know who this man is he is actually one of the most prominent colonist. He was Williamsburg, VA number one citizen and was the mentor to a number of the founding fathers. For those of you who have visited Colonial Williamsburg know that Randolph likely would have preceded George Washington as the first president of the United States had he not died of a stroke in October 1775. So who was this man that so few of us know about? He was the Speaker of the House of the Virginia House of Burgesses (kind of like the senate) and he was the first president of the continental congress. Many Americans will never know who this man was or his role in mentoring some of the most prominent names in our nations history. He passed away before the Declaration of Independence was signed. While many of us do not know about the name Peyton Randolph those who do can look back and see the impact which he had on the development of our nation. While history continues recognize the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Henry, and more very few of them would be without the whits and leadership of a one Peyton Randolph. Many figures in the Bible have been mentors, but I would argue the one whose mentorship goes the most unseen is the one of Gamaliel. Ignore the face his name screams he had an awesome beard. He was the mentor to Saul of Tarsus. History will know very little of the name Gamaliel and like Peyton Randolph his name is really only still know due to the people who lived up his legacy. Had the American Revolution of failed we would have no clue who many of those figures were including Randolph.

    Gamaliel is often brushed under the rug because one he was not a Christian, but rather the Jewish mentor of Saul of Tarsus. He is only mentioned a couple of times through out the Bible. His name appears in the book of Acts. Gamaliel was a Pharisee, and he had a notable bloodline. He was highly respected in the Jewish community as a member of the Sanhedrin. However, his impact on the early church is on that is often overlooked. While Randolph may have had the intentions to create the bigger thing and Gamaliel not so much their impacts are similar. We first see Gamaliel in Acts 5. Peter and John are on trial before the Sanhedrin for preaching the name of Jesus. The two Apostle were about to be put to death before Gamaliel stepped in.

    When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
    His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
    -Acts 5:33-39
    Two significant events occurred here, not only did Gamaliel preserve the lives and soon to be legacies of two of the most prominent Apostles. However, he said something which should be looked at by anyone as profound truth. For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. Surprise, were still standing and as time would tell they were fighting against God.
    Later in Acts we begin to see his connection to the Apostle Paul. We are able to see a brief connection between Gamaliel and his far more famous pupil in Acts 22:3. Gamaliel developed the knowledge of Hebrew scripture and developed the knowledge of Paul. It was this mentorship which made Paul a prime candidate to take the role which he would go on to have. However, his significance does not end there. Gamaliel’s name and lineage can be used to authenticate the book of Acts. The description and family line which Paul uses is consistent with the one presented by the historian Josephus. Much like Peyton Randolph our understanding of the person they were is limited, but every indication of them was one of wisdom. While we may not know the extent Mr. Randolph paid to creating this nation we know we likely would not be where we are without him. Likewise, it goes to show how great our God is and how he can use unlikely figures for His good. He used a Jewish Rabbi to teach his pupil to become a central figure in the creation of Christianity. Not only this, but he preserved the lives of many others and he helped equip the Christian movement with the steam that was needed. He largely influenced one of the most fierce missionaries of all time. Without these men who knows what the world would be like. Peace and Blessings Always my Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

    The River of the Water of Life

    You'realwayswith meFor someone who grew up along a river, I absolutely love being near them. They are so beautiful and powerful. This is something which was discussed a few post back how God is a sense is much like a river. He is flowing and can bend and shape landscapes. There is something about those muddy waters that can wash us clean. It’s a place of baptism, renewal, and restoration. The rivers which God offers can save your soul. We should all belong to this river. We should go to this river when we thirst and go there when we hurt. This river will never go dry and this river will flow on for miles and miles. This river will never let you down but will pour an abundance of blessings into your life. This river I speak of course is the Holy Spirit. While man can baptize us with water, Jesus Christ can baptize us in the Holy Spirit, the “waters of the Spirit” will wash us clean and allow us to be born again. In order to be authentic, we must all be born again. While many people debate this concept it means to be born again in spirit and to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has a freedom about Him and a movement to change. A river flows freely and goes where it needs to bring life. We have to be open to this free flow because it’s our only way to be full, it’s our only way to live. While this is a short entry challenge you to always make your way back to the river to be filled with His blessings. Peace and Blessings to you Always my Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

    May His Angels Have Charge

    For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

    Psalm 91:11-13

    What a powerful verse above, and it was one which I often heard before going to sleep on my last deployment. While the chaplain read a different translation he would always pray for the Lord to give charge to His angels over us. How powerful is this that we are now being protected by His angels. When God sends His angels to do something it’s like those law firm commercials which are mass produced its God’s wwile-e-coyoteay of saying “Tell them we mean business.” All joking I take comfort in knowing that we have the protection of the angels because God, angels, and the things of heaven are things I want on my side. If you don’t you’re likely as helpless as ole’ Wile-E-Coyote over here. You’ll be pushing a boulder up a hill and as you go it’s getting bigger and bigger. A lot of us like the concept of angels as these peaceful and magnificent creatures with some kind of magnificent glow and aura around them. However, this is really something which we have gotten wrong over the years. Pop culture as harmless as it may have intended to be; it often skews a lot of our view of doctrine and scripture. If you read about angels in the word of God they are far from the cute little creatures which we know of. Now don’t get me wrong there likely is an aura and a magnificence to them, but far too often we try to make the Bible how we like it. While there may not be too much harm in thinking as angels as culture portrays them there is a lot of harm in skewing doctrine.

    Angels are warriors and there is no question of it. They are the ultimate warriors and were created by God to fight the powers of evil. This is no easy task and there is no earthly army, navy, marine corp, or air force which could stand in their way. Ask Sodom and Gomorrah how their bout went with angels in Genesis 19. It does not go well for them, and this is only one example of the force which angels could bring to this earth. The Bible has many examples of how angels function. From a person who sees’s some of the greatest warriors this planet has to offer I take refuge that even the best of those around me could not protect me better than my God and His angels.

    However, these are not wicked creatures they are protectors and they are messengers what is to come. Nonetheless, these are frightening creatures. Roman soldiers did not spook easily. For those of you who know little about how the Romans worked they were trained killers and they were almost war machines. They feared authority and if they were to mess up their punishment would be death. When the Romans guarded the tomb of Jesus angels came to earth causing the soldiers to freeze like a stone in fright. For they knew a wrath would come against whoever resisted and they did not hear the magic words “fear not.”

    “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus. He will be a great man and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

    -Luke 1:26-38

    All indications seem to show they were nowhere near the pop culture image of an angel. Even the most blessed people had to be told do not be afraid. So this cutesy imagery is more than likely a bunch of bologna. However, this does not change anything that they are out there and they are real. They are there for our proction and we should all take refuge in this protection. Peace and Blessings Always my Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

    Seek God With Joy!

    So today I have begun video taping my thoughts as well. However, for some bonus content please read on. As the video began to discuss 1 Cor. 2:9 about chasing God with Joy. We should seek God like a kid seeks candy or a trip to Chuck E Cheeses or like one on Christmas Day. There should be nothing in our lives which impede our walk with Christ, if so it’s now an idol. Many people look around and thing idols as a physical thing which people often worship, but it’s much more than that it’s anything of the world which impedes your discipleship. I know for a little bit there even on this blog I was letting politics get in my way of my relationship with God which is why I no longer post political content unless necessary. One of my goals for this blog is to make it an arrow and arrow pointing straight to God.

    20170422_072701Were all presented a path to walk in our lives. Our spiritual walk will lead us many places. God leads us down many roads, twist, and turns. We are present with choices and are given the choice between flowing with traffic and going with the will of God, or turning the other way. When we drive into traffic at best were going to make the people around us uneasy and get honked at, but if we continue to move in that direction then the result will likely be our demise. We don’t have the ability to keep our eyes off the prize. Think of an Olympic athlete who has trained for years and years. Their goal is the gold. While they are happy with being at the Olympics very few of them will say I don’t want to medal. It’s silly to think that. A gold medal is the peak of achievement for an Olympian. We can not get stuck in the mentality of “I’m happy to just be here.” If we have that mentality with God we miss out on so much around us. God’s blessing do not stop because we have become content with our situation. We need to seek as much of God as He will give to us. We need to have the mentality of Michael Phelps who continued to go back for more and more. We have to be hungry to win with God. When it comes to God we need to say I want gold and I want more. The Holy Spirit operates by invitation our spirits are like a car in the sense we need to come back and be refilled every couple of miles. We need to continue to see more and more of God.

    If you like the video please comment and let me know. Peace and Blessings Always my Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

     

     

    The Greatest That Never Was

    800px-Josh_Gibson_HOF_PlaqueFor the purist of baseball, there are a few known facts which seem to be a consensus. The first is that Babe Ruth is the greatest player that ever was and possibly will ever be. Even people who were on steroids couldn’t reach the larger than life stature of the Great Bambino. Go back into a similar time frame and is another legend, but unfortunately, we will never know what will come of the greatest slugger in the Negro Leagues, Josh Gibson. Gibson often called the black Babe Ruth never got his chance to play in the MLB. It leaves a giant question of how good he could have been. It’s up there with such debates what would have happened if Ichiro would have played his whole career in the US? What if Prior and Wood would have not been hit by the injury bug? What if Dwight Gooden didn’t have a substance abuse problem? What if JR Richard didn’t have that stroke? Baseball if full of what if’s and the list could go on. However, the only legend which comes close to the Babe is that of Josh Gibson. He was rumored to have hit almost 800 home runs in his career. The only player who may have been better than Gibson during his time was Stachel Paige. Paige who many believe could have been one of the greatest if not the greatest pitcher of all-time but did not get his break until his 40’s. These two could have changed baseball’s history had they had the opportunity to play even by the age of 30. They will remain one of baseball’s biggest what if’s and go down as potentially the greatest ball players who never were.

    Now we can sit around and fantasize about what could have been, but we will never know. When we look back it is another example of how stupid segregation was. It also serves as an example of how many today go about their day’s with unfulfilled potential. Within each of us is a God-given calling. Some of us have a grander calling in the eyes of man, but in the eyes of God, we are all equal. For some, they are held down by what their circumstances, for other we don’t have this hurdle. While many of us are only held down by ourselves. Our dreams are often within our reach but because we fear the unknown we don’t chase them. This is a terrible tragedy because as Christians we should all strive to be the best at one thing that is love. We all have different callings, but no one has ever been held back in their true calling because of love. We can’t afford to be held back by ourselves because life already throws us enough hurdles. We would never know who the Gibson’s or Paige’s of the world were if they would have one day thought that they couldn’t do what they do. While their potential may have never been fulfilled on the big stage they would have dreamed their impact remained. They may have never reached the Major Leagues in their prime of even at all, but think about the legacy they may have left behind. How many people saw them and want to be like them. How many people watched and were inspired to be better because of them. One of the things which often is forgotten is the impact of being the one who opens the door for the future.

    During the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. never was able to see the world change as he dreamed. Nor did in the journey of the Israelites did Moses ever see the promise land. In our society, we need not only Moses’s, but we need Joshua’s as well. Not everyone will get that golden stage like Jackie Robinson did some of us will be legends in the shadows like Gibson. Just because we are not on the street we want to be on doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. While Josh Gibson might not have played in the Major Leagues his legacy was in the hearts of a number of great baseball players.

    For those of you who don’t know Josh Gibson died at the age of 35 in 1947. Four months later Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the rest was history.

    “One of the things that was disappointing and disheartening to a lot of the black players at the time was that Jack was not the best player. The best was Josh Gibson. I think that’s one of the reasons why Josh died so early – he was heartbroken.” –Larry Doby

    When I look at the story of Josh Gibson I have to wonder what he could have done and historians will forever think the same thing. He left his mark and left a legacy, but for many, that legacy could have been much greater if it were not for selfishness, greed, and racism. Still today people are struggling due to circumstances they cannot control. This is major because we first have to examine how we can make our world better by tearing down prejudicial barriers, but also shows why we need to invest. This my friends are why it is so important to invest in humanity. Support people who may not have everything which you have. One major hurdle was the reason the world never truly knew the legacy of Josh Gibson. How many people are being held back because they don’t have the means to clear a hurdle. You never know what that investment could turn into. Peace and Blessings Always My Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

    Partisan Jesus? The Man, The Myth, The Imagination

    keep-calm-and-trust-in-god-54One of the more troubling developments which is going on in out society today is this concept that our politics dictate our religion. News flash people Jesus was not this partisan buff. Let me make something clear Jesus is not a Republican. Jesus is not a Democrat. Jesus is not a Socialist. Jesus never joined the Tea Party. Jesus is not a communist. Jesus is not a Libertarian. Jesus does not lean to the Left or Right. Jesus is Jesus, Jesus is God, God is God, and to minimize God to partisan lines is heretical and despicable. It’s getting really ridiculous how our society is skewing so much. However, for some reason in America today we have this messed up reality that our politics drive our faith. Lo to you my brothers and sisters you need to stop this mentality right now. Faith should drive your politics and no this is not a call to bring faith into politics like some of you may be thinking. We cannot impede our objectivity because of politics.

    “I don’t think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses … And I’m not inextricably bound to either party.”

    -Martin Luther King Jr.

    Jesus is Not a Republican…Nor is He Part of Any Party

    I start with this one because one of the biggest lies which people in this nation believe is that the Republican party is the party of God. I mean the grand ole’ party is the party of family values right? They are pro-life and wouldn’t dare to back down to any challenge pertaining to God. I mean the party bathes in the evangelical American image. However, like every other party in the US and the world, in general, they are fatally flawed. Humans are flawed in general so granted it a double edged sword. We can look at a number of reasons why God is not a Republican, but you can make the argument for all parties. As a Christian we are best suited to remain neutral. We should not be swayed by one candidate saying they believe vs. the other. What if that candidate say they are Christian, but don’t live by the Gospel. It’s counter productive. We can have a candidate for example who says they are pro-life, but then completely reject the lives in need who are homeless, refugees, etc. The GOP is often pro-defense, pro-guns(don’t take this out of context), and pro-death penalty often.

    Now Democrats I’m not going to let you off here because you also do not live by the Gospel. However, you can be a Christian and be a Democrat like you can be Christian and be a Republican. However, you can not let these labels dictate how you live. Democrats are human and they have flaws. For example, the Democrats often lose a lot of Christians because of their pro-choice stance. If you’re a Christian you should see abortion as murder, but at the same time there should be a little budge in some extreme circumstances. Democrats too have flaws. I could go on and on and point to a number of these parties flaws, but guess what it doesn’t matter because God is control and God is God. The Bible doesn’t speak politics folks. Now I focus on the two major parties, but don’t think this means your political party aligns more. Politics are of the world and are created by man, man is flawed, and thus politics is flawed.

    Stop Saying Jesus was a Socialist…He Wasn’t

    I give this it’s own section because this heretical idea is catching steam. Around 25% of American believe this asinine concept. I get some of the connections, but Jesus Christ was not a socialist. Stop with the memes, stop with trying to connect the dots, it’s just not true. Every political party will reflect some aspect of God because we were made in His image. So yes, there will be some connections, but this does not mean that they were this, that, or the other. Socialism is a government controlled institution. Jesus did not need to make people equal or force people to be equal because we are already equal in His eyes. There is freedom in God, in socialism, there is a bit of a removal of freedom. God gave us free will and what this does it allows us to have a choice. While don’t get me wrong one powerful aspect of socialism is it advocates for it’s fellow man, but this is not the kind which Jesus advocated form. Socialism involuntarily removes money from one person and give it to another. There is a vast list on why Jesus was not a socialist so please stop with this reference.

    Wrapping Up

    Listen, I am not knocking politics, but it’s flawed we are a society far too wrapped up in it. I’m tired of hearing people say God is this, Jesus is that, you’re not Christian if you. Political ideology has not place to dictate our faith. It’s become an idol for many of us. God is God that’s the bottom-line. God supersedes politics. Christians can side with certain political issues, but they need to remain neutral. If you chose to affiliate with a party you better be prepared to be a maverick because no political system today truly honor’s the greatness of our God. In the grand scheme of things politics does not matter. Our devotion to God should come above any political system. Let’s fix this issue as Christians folks. Start by turning off the news and do your research. It begins with discernment of what God was about. It’s getting in the scripture and studying the Bible, learn about what the Bible really says.  Stop getting sways by the words of others. Stop supporting candidates which do not further the Kingdom of God. Peace and blessings always by brothers and sisters in Christ.