In an age of Twitter and Facebook, churches too are breaking new ground in evangelism, humanitarian aid and community development.
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Originally written 20 years ago, a pioneers message on our need for the Holy Spirits power is just as relevantand prophetictoday.
Psalm 73:1-28 Where will your focus be today? Here the psalmist looks at the people around him. He compares himself with those who are ungodly and realizes they seem to be better off than he is. He reminds God of how he has cleansed his own heart, but he cannot see the benefits of living a righteous life. His complaint to God is the same as that of many Christians today: "What's the use in trying to be good and going God's way when nothing is working out?" But then he goes into the sanctuary and draws near to God. He realizes that the wicked will eventually perish, but he will not. He thanks God for His faithfulness in holding his hand through hard times, for His guidance, counsel and strength. Then he shares this wonderful statement: "It is good to draw near to God; to put our trust in Him and to declare His works." The psalmist first sees only the people who are close to him and the circumstances around him. At the end of this psalm, he is given a supernatural pair of glasses to see beyond those things he is experiencing. He focuses on the God who is in control of all things. To receive healing for his eyesight, however, he had to go into the sanctuary and draw near to God. He had to retreat from his circumstances and the people who surrounded him and get alone with God. In the sanctuary there were no distractions and his attention was focused only on God.
Psalm 72:1-20 Vladimir, our Russian son, has been our gardener for the seven years he has lived with us. I remember the first time he cut the grass; he was so very proud of his accomplishment. Shortly after the grass was mowed, a shower came; we both stood in the carport and breathed in the elegant smell of rain on freshly mowed grass. There is nothing to compare with this smell. This psalm gives a beautiful description of what will happen to people who fear the Lord. One of the promises of God to those who fear Him is, "They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth" (vv. 5-6, KJV).
Luke 8:41-9:6 Jairus had just heard the news that his daughter was dead. Can you imagine his amazement when he heard Jesus say, "Fear not, believe only?" This story has a happy ending because Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead.
Luke 8:22-40 We have had the opportunity to cross the Sea of Galilee many times. Our guide usually points out the fact that storms can come up quite suddenly on the sea because of the Golan Heights that surround the sea. Jesus was peacefully sleeping through the storm while His disciples were frantically bailing water out of the boat. Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waters and suddenly all was calm. Then Jesus asked them, "Where is your faith?"
Luke 7:36-8:3 In response to the those who questioned His willingness to allow a woman who was a sinner to wash His feet, Jesus told a parable: "There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged" (Luke 7:41-43, KJV).
Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25 The Jewish people say this phrase, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord," whenever they are gathered together at a temple or synagogue. Jewish people and Christians do have much in common. Both are sons of Abraham, both are believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and both are chosen by God to be a special people.
Luke 6:39-7:10 So often I stand in judgment of others, and soon discover I am guilty of the very same things I see critically in others. You've heard the old expression, "When you point your finger at someone, four fingers are pointing back at you." Isaiah 58 speaks of God's chosen fast, and one of the things listed we need to fast from is the pointing of the finger. If our church could go on such a fast, we would have unity in the church.
Luke 6:12-38 Over the years I have experienced many prayer vigils. One particularly comes to mind. Our little neighborhood women's prayer group decided to spend all night in prayer at my home. We tried to pray from 8 at night to 8 in the morning. We failed miserably. We kept falling asleep, and often we talked more than we prayed simply because we knew if we closed our eyes we would be off to sleep again. Jesus, however, did not have any problem spending a whole night in prayer. This scripture says Jesus continued all night in prayer.
Psalm 66:1-20 Have you ever been through God's divine meat grinder? Some people today do not believe that God tests us, but the Bible says clearly that we are tested by the Lord. The request by God for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was clearly a test from God. God, however, is not the tempter. James tells us that we are led astray by our own lusts and then tempted. He says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil" (James 1:13).
"Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons." (Matthew 10:7-8, NLT)
Psalm 65:1-13 It was a cold wintry day, and someone was knocking violently at my door. I looked through the peephole to discover two frightened young ladies who seemed desperate. Then I heard dogs barking in the background. I opened the door, and they said, "Please let us in!! Some dogs are chasing us!!" They were going door to door selling magazines, and some neighborhood dogs were following them. I let them in quickly, and they ended up staying with me for two hours. They were so relieved to find a refuge in my home. After some conversation and some hot tea, one of the ladies asked, "Don't you get lonely in this big house?" My husband was at work, and my children were at school. I answered, "No, I never get lonely because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are always with me, and we have a tea party every day." Suddenly one of the ladies said with urgency in her voice, "We've got to go now." I guess they thought I was crazy, but at least my statement finally made them leave.
Proverbs 11:22 Today's proverb is one of my favorites. Whenever I meet a woman who lacks discretion, immediately I have this mental picture of a pig with a beautiful gold-jeweled ring in her snout. Sometimes I have to battle this image in my mind, because it does cause me to be closed to anything this woman might have to say.
Luke 4:1-32 So many in this day are seeking the anointing, but few realize that we already have the anointing. We have the same anointing for ministry that Jesus had. Isaiah lists seven aspects of this anointing of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11:1-2:
Psalm 62:1-12 David gives excellent advice in the psalm. He exhorts us to trust in the Lord at all times and to pour out our concerns and cares before Him. I learned how much God does love for us to cast our cares upon Him several years ago.
Numbers 26:52-28:14 One morning I was waking from a night's sleep, and I heard the name "Jochebed" in my spirit. I knew it was the Lord calling me Jochebed. I got up and looked up the name in the Strong's Concordance and found that Jochebed was the mother of two sons and a daughter. Both of her sons were priests. She was the mother of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. The name Jochebed in Hebrew means "the Lord glorified."
Luke 2:36-52 From the time my boys were very young I prayed they would all have the same excellent spirit that Daniel had. Daniel had favor with man, and he had much wisdom. He also lived to be an old man. In this passage we see Jesus as a young boy honoring both His heavenly Father and His earthly father. Even though He knew He had to be about His Father's business, He was willing to subject Himself to Mary and Joseph and return with them to their home when they found Him in the temple. Our pastor recently preached a good sermon about how Mary should have first looked in the temple for Jesus because it was considered the house of God. She knew Jesus was the Son of God. After looking for three days, Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus among the doctors in the temple. He was intently listening, but He also shared with them some of His thoughts. They were astonished at His wisdom. The Bible tells us that Jesus returned to Nazareth and increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.
Psalm 59:1-17 When we were in St. Petersburg, Russia, for an evangelical music festival designed to reach Jewish people, one of the musicians sang a song that I'll never forget. The phrase "He is my defense" was repeated over and over again in the song. That phrase still resounds in my spiritual ears. God truly is our defense, and David knew this even though his enemies surrounded him and used their tongues as swords against him. He knew that God was his strong defense. David said, "God shall let me see my desire upon my enemies."
Jesus' mission of revealing the kingdom could be identified with one word: righteousness. We are told, "For the kingdom of God is…righteousness" (Romans 14:17, NKJV). Jesus tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33, NKJV). To put it simply, righteousness means "right in the eyes of God."
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