Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Praying Without Ceasing

The older I get physically as well as the more mature and wise I become spiritually, the more people I have on my prayer list.  How about you?  My personal and private list seems to get longer as I add more people almost on a daily basis.  My prayer list consists of family members, biological relatives, spiritual family, friends, acquaintances, and others.

Whether its people who have done us wrong or whatever else, we can trust that God will take care of all of the people involved and all of the situations in our lives.  The prayers of the righteous are both powerful and effective (See James 5:15-17).  They help all of us truly accomplish God's purpose and plan (See Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28).

God tells all of us to "pray without ceasing" in His word (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

To assist you in your prayer life, two annual prayer journals are both available through CreateSpace and Amazon.

365-Day Prayer Journal: Praying Without Ceasing

366-Day Prayer Journal: Praying Without Ceasing

Copyright 2017 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Father, Forgive Them

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  (Luke 23:34, NIV)

These words that Jesus spoke to His Father have become more my own over recent months.  I know more about what the Son of God was thinking and praying for His enemies---those who had done Him wrong towards the end of His 33-year life on this earth.  (See Luke 6:27-28)

It saddens me now to think about it.  To not only think about the way people have mistreated me, abused me, hurt me, rejected me, and disappointed me but to also remember the way people mocked Jesus, persecuted Him, tortured Him, and crucified Him over 2000 years ago.  I definitely can identify more with Him, His pain, His sorrow, and His sufferings in this world.  (See Isaiah 53; John 15:18-25, 19)

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."  (Galatians 2:20, NIV - emphasis added mine)

I am not always comfortable with the physical locations He allows me to enter into in this world.  And, I don't always like receiving the harsh treatment, persecution, or whatever else.  I am doing what my Father would have me to do in this world though.  I am shining His light ever more sooo brightly.  I am speaking the truth in love.  I am preaching in and out of season.  And, whatever else He desires of me.  (See Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 4:152 Timothy 4:2)

Consequently, I can expect opposition.  [I will use an analogy in my own words that a pastor of mine used during one of his sermons a couple of years ago.]  When a fish is going downstream with the current and the other fish, there isn't anything really getting in its' way.  Sure, there may be some debris floating by in the water.  There may be some leaves and branches from the trees that have fallen into the river.  There may even be some dead fish floating in the water as you pass them by downstream.  However, there truly isn't any real opposition because they are going the same way as everything else.  When you repent and turn away from the world's systems---their mindsets, their ways, their processes, their behaviors---you will be totally going the opposite way.  You will be going against the current of the river or the world in this case.  You will experience a lot more resistance.  A lot more opposition.  You will be going upstream now.  You will be going God's way.  Doing His work and His will.  There will be debris passing you by going the opposite way.  There may be some leaves and branches from the trees overlooking the river.  You may also see some of the dead fish floating downstream as you are going upstream.  However, there will be a lot more fish coming up against you as well.  They may try to bite you.  They may attempt to drown you.  There may even be other obstacles in your way.  You keep moving forward though.  You keep persevering against the current of the river.  Knowing that on the other side---the end of that part of the journey---there will be a beautiful place for you.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."  (Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV - emphasis added mine)

Before Jesus left this world, He specifically told us we would have problems and trouble in this world.  However, He also left all of us with this reminder.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33, NIV)

Copyright 2017 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 18, 2017

What God Has Joined...

"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." (Mark 10:9, NIV)

Those are usually some of the words in wedding vows, when two people get married in this world. Many people including some Christians who attend wedding ceremonies assume, think, and/or believe that God must have been a part of the couple's dating and/or courtship beforehand. He must have placed the couples together. He must have joined them in holy matrimony. However, that is not always the case.

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NIV - emphasis added mine)

God only joins one man and one woman together in holy matrimony.

Let’s look again at Genesis 1.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28, NIV)

The first man, Adam, was all alone in the Garden of Eden. That was an issue or problem though.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18, NIV)

God’s plans included making a specific woman for him.

“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22, NIV - emphasis added mine)

Notice the way that God made the first woman, Eve, and brought her to Adam for His specific purpose.

The same is true today. God's plans normally include making specific, individual women for every man in this world. Additionally, He desires for them to be spiritually and physically brought together as one for His specific purpose and plan. (See Jeremiah 29:11-13; Matthew 19:4-6)

Copyright 2017 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.