I have a question, well actually more like several questions. Have you ever been in a church and at the end of the service they have an altar call? First they announce an invitation to all who do not know Jesus and would like Him to come into their lives. Then they ask everyone to bow their heads and to close their eyes while the music plays, giving an opportunity for those to come forward and proclaim their belief in Jesus and confess themselves as being sinners. Then after someone does come forward and they pray with them, they have that person stand up in front of the church announcing what they have just done.
Now my first question is, “Why do people bow their heads and close their eyes”? Is the act of believing in Jesus, confessing you are a sinner, and accepting His gift of eternal life an embarrassment? Is it fear of being noticed that grips at the heart of these people, so in order to bring them out of the crowd, the crowd must not initially know who they are? In the end all know, but in the beginning no one is to know. Are we not suppose to approach the throne of God boldly?
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)
The gift of eternal life is given to us by grace, it is not something we can earn.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14)
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8)
Is the act of bowing the head and closing the eyes so that the church becomes blind to those who are sinners and are coming forward to receive Jesus’ gift to them? We all are sinners.
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:9-10)
Doesn’t this encourage people to be ashamed if they have not yet accepted the gift of Jesus, as a result of all heads being bowed and eyes closed? What does this tell the person about followers of Jesus, that they cannot look upon a sinner, that being one who does not know Jesus is disgraceful. Are we not to show love to the rejected, to those who do not know Jesus, to those who society casts aside. Is bowing our heads and closing our eyes showing love. Should not the church show that is it alright to boldly come forth, that no one will judge you, and that we are all sinners.
Is bowing the heads and closing the eyes a tradition taught by Jesus or is this a tradition taught by man? Did not the Pharisees hold to the traditions of man?
Not only is the church something to be respected, but we ourselves are temples of the living God.
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (2 Corinthians 6:16)
How are we treating our bodies? How do we treat the church? Since our bodies are God’s temple are we treating our bodies as we treat the church.
Let’s take it a step further. God dwells within His temple, His temple is our bodies, He dwells within our bodies. That means we are carrying God around with us wherever we go. Where do you bring God every day? Do you bring God to places that He would approve of or do you bring Him to places which you would be ashamed for Him to see.
Our bodies are not our own, they belong to the most high God, our Father in Heaven.
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:18)
How are you treating and caring for your body today? What things have you exposed your body to today?
How we treat and care for our body is how we treat and care for God’s temple, where God dwells.
This morning I was reading through Exodus 7-9, concerning the plagues of Egypt. Moses was sent to the Pharaoh to show him God’s power and ask that he let Israel go. Each plague was directed at an Egyptian God, which was a display of their God’s lack of power against the one and only true God.
However, there was something else that I noticed in these chapters, how Pharaoh handled the plagues. Whenever Pharaoh was afflicted with a plague, he pleaded with Moses to get rid of it. He also agreed to do what Moses wanted, anything just to get rid of and stop the plague. After the plague was gone, Pharaoh changed his mind and was no longer in a pleading position. Pharaoh’s heart became hardened and he would not let Israel go.
So when Pharaoh was faced with a problem he could not solve on his own, he pleaded for it to be resolved and agreed to anything in order to quicken the process. Whenever things were normal and fine, he took back all of his agreements, as there was nothing troubling that he could not handle.
Do we ever become like that? When things are looking bad and we are in the midst of the storm, we plead to God for him to help us and take away the storm. When the sun is out, all is good, and there is nothing too great for us to handle, do we forget our promises. Do we not go to God then, but only when things look out of control.
God keeps all of his problems to us, no matter what the weather looks like. God wants a relationship with us where we come to Him in the good and bad times. We are not only to follow Christ when things aren’t looking all that great, but we are to continue to follow Christ in all moments of our life. Let us not be like Pharaoh, who rejected God. Let us be true followers of Christ in the storm and when the sun is shining its golden beams down upon us.
Now is the time for healing; for ourselves, our land, and our families. It is a time to let go of our selfishness and pride, a time to let go of the past and rejoice in the present. There are many things in my life of which need healing. There are many wounds which I have obtained throughout my years on this earth. I would like to share with you my healing experiences as I go through them, that some with similar experiences may be able to heal along with me. Initially, I was a bit skeptical of sharing such things consisting of a personal nature within my life, but why keep things hidden from the world which must know they are not alone in their hurts. As much as some may need to read the words I write, it is as much as I need to write the words which will be read.
I will start out with my mother, for it was through the passage of my mother of which I entered this world (and also since it is approaching Mother’s Day). I was not one who was expected to be entering into this world seven years after my mother gave birth to my brother. All baby items had been cast out and given away by the time the notice of my surprise arrival was declared. Now they had to re-obtain all of the previous baby items all over again. God was watching over me from the very beginning of my life, He had a plan for me.
My mother was a non-educated woman. However, she was a hard worker and not afraid to serve others. She would do whatever labor she had to without complaint. She married a man 22 years her senior (my dad). Things were not exactly smooth going there either. My mother handled life in the best way which she knew how. She had a submissive/passive character to her. She did not have a lot of confidence in herself and high-esteem, therefore she endured things which otherwise she may not have if her voice was made known. The only things which my mother could give to me and my brother, were things which were already given to her in her lifetime….everything else was unknown and foreign to her. There were decisions I made for myself at a very young age, fears I held within, privacy was non-existent, a voice which was not heard, and various other accounts of which I will not go into.
I was no angel either. I disrespected and took advantage of my mother from the age of 13 and on. I disregarded all of her warnings and instructions. I thought I knew the better answers more than she did. (There was no innocence in my life, it was all taken away from me at an extremely early age.) It was like my life was polluted and from that pollution, instead of staying on the path to cleanse it from me, I chose to pollute it even more. My mother tried as she could to keep me on the right path in life. Unfortunately I did not step into my mother’s shoes until much later in life. God showed me so many things about my mother, which led to my heart pouring out for her. I am blessed with a mother that loves Jesus and puts Him first above all things. Regardless of what happened in my past and what I went through, involving my mother, I forgive her. I forgive you mom! I am blessed to have you as my mother and I am so sorry for the countless times which I have not showed you honor and respect. I apologize for the times which I have not shown you the love of Jesus. I am sorry that you had to wait all these years to feel my forgiveness.
It is not about what my mother did or did not do, it is about how I did not show her the due respect and honor which is instructed of children to give to their parents.
I ask that on this Mother’s Day everyone show the honor and respect that is due your mother regardless of the past…follow the instructions of God and honor your mother…God will take care of the rest…making it a new beginning and a more loving future. Show your mom Jesus today and everyday! I love you Mom!!!
Personal Thoughts From My World
Throughout these past 5 weeks I have seen a lot of different views on God and Christian beliefs. I have read from textbooks various views contrasting to the truth of God and the Bible. It has been extremely hard to push myself forward without stating the truth of God, while viewing morals, ethics, theories, and what is right or wrong. How can God not be included in it. God is the one who directs us to what is right, He alerts us to what is wrong, and gives us commandments to follow. Philosophy does not seem to include this information within it. In my view, I see philosophy as man made thinking which was created by analyzing thoughts, behaviors, and actions. I do not see philosophy as something that has come from God or that includes God.
From what I have read and seen these past 5 weeks, it has formed a strong in-my-face realization of how much God has been deliberately taken out of many areas of life. God has been taken out of logical ways of thinking, out of schools, out of government, and out of freedom to speak. I am starting to have an inkling of how God grieves for us, His children. How each untrue remark must bring Him sadness for us. Each time I see something that is in contrast to the Bible or God, I feel like someone is throwing darts at me and my Lord. I want to rise up and defend Him; to say you cannot say those things about my Lord…they are untrue. Like I believe what I know to be true, they also have a strong belief in what they know to be true. I am sure they are seeing my views in the same way that I may be seeing theirs, they see mine is being untrue and theirs as being true. It is not easy to live in the world, while not being of the world. It is like being an alien in a strange world, you know you weren’t made for that world.
I know that there is only one true God. How I know this I am not exactly sure, but I do know it to be true. I believe it with all of my heart, mind, and soul. I know that Jesus was God come in the flesh to save us from debt we owed according to the law. I know that Jesus knew no sin and all of our sin was upon Him at the cross. Jesus was the true and perfect sacrifice for us, that we may live and have eternal life with the Father and a relationship. I know that Jesus died and rose from the dead 3 days later, then ascended into Heaven, leaving with us a comforter; the Holy Spirit. I know that there is only one way to Heaven and to eternal life in Heaven, that is believing upon Jesus and what He had done. Recognizing Him as Lord and Savior, then repenting of all our sinful ways and accepting His ways. I know all of this to be true, in my heart, mind, and soul. My prayer and desire is for the whole world to know this as well. They have free will to choose what they wish, but I just want them to know.
Look not at what you lack, like those who remained in the wilderness for 40 years. They were lacking something, but it was not material needs. What they were lacking was true Faith in God for all things. Throughout their travels they constantly pointed out what they did not have. Once they were given, what they whined for, they became very grateful. However, it would not be long after they received what they wanted, then they would find something else to complain and whine about. They repeatedly accused God of bringing them into the wilderness to die, rather than letting them die in Egypt. Something they did not realize was that if God leads you somewhere, He will provide for all your needs along the way.
For us it would be better to turn our eyes to the blessings which we have already obtained and received from God. By keeping your eyes on your sorrows, all that you reap will be sorrows. Instead let us turn our gaze to our merciful and loving God. Let our eyes not depart from the Lord and the Lord’s blessings will not depart from us.
“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:28).
“They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh” (Leviticus 21:5).
“Ye are the children of the Lord your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead” (Deuteronomy 14:1).
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19)?
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).
Our God delivers mercy…
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Psalms 103:8).
“And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50).
“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Romans 9:15).
“And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments” (Deuteronomy 5:10).
“For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalms 100:5).
“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
“Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy” (Romans 11:31).
All mighty God who is in Heaven, I ask that you grant this nation and people mercy.
For we are a wicked people
We have forsaken your ways
We have turned towards our own desires
We no longer look to you for answers,
but rather we look unto our own selves for the answers
We are blinded by the world’s truth and ways
We have become desensitized to the wrong in this world
We see the wrong as right and the right as wrong
Oh Lord please have mercy upon us
We have puffed ourselves up with pride
We no longer acknowledge our neighbor,
rather we only acknowledge ourselves
We are greedy, aspiring to gain it all
I ask you God that you may shed your light upon us
That your light may erase the darkness
and the unrighteousness it holds
Shower us with your love and comfort
For you are our Father
Help us to remember who we are
Help us to remember who you are
All powerful creator Jehovah
We need your mercy
We need you
Show us your mercy today,
that we may show mercy to others
as you show mercy to us
Forgive us our trespasses
Help us to forgive ourselves
May we forgive others as we are forgiven
To pierce or not to pierce…To adorn oneself with jewelry or to not adorn oneself with jewelry…You decide.
“And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem” (Genesis 35:4).
“And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever” (Exodus 21:5-6).
“Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise” (Deuteronomy 15:17).
“Awl; a small pointed tool used for making holes” (Awl, 2006, p.42)
“And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the Lord” (Exodus 35:22).
“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:28).
“We have therefore brought an oblation for the Lord, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the Lord” (Numbers 31:50).
“And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)” (Judges 8:34)
“And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head” (Ezekiel 16:12).
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Philippians 2:15)
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” (1 Timothy 2:9)
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-7).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
Awl.(2006).Color oxford english dictionary.New York, NY: Oxford University Press Inc.
Daily we perform our vows.
“So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows” (Psalms 61:8).
Daily we pray.
“Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily” (Psalms 86:3).
“Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: Lord, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee” (Psalms 88:9).
“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
Daily we seek God.
“Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God” (Isaiah 58:2).
“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:1-8)?
Daily we praise God.
“They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations” (Psalms 72:5).
Daily we take up our cross.
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Daily we live in holiness.
“In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life” (Luke 1:75).
Daily we are in one accord.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:46)
Daily we read God’s Word.
“Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner” (Nehemiah 8:18).
Daily we search God’s Word.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Daily we strongly urge one another.
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).