A Prayer For My Grandson…

I published this a year ago. I’ll start a tradition and make it an annual thing and post on every eve of his birthday. Happy Birthday Christian.

Tomorrow is a big day for the Marler Clan. Also a big day for the Bishops.

For tomorrow we welcome in the first grandchild of each family. The first grandson.

It is a time of excitement and celebration. A time of smiles and laughter. A time of kisses, handshakes and congratulations!

It is a day that I have personally looked forward to. The day I finally become a grandfather.

The Job…

Although I will be new to this job, I have seen others masterfully do it. I’ve seen my own grandfather and also my father with my sons.

I’ve seen friends and family alike dutifully execute the requirements with pleasure.

And tomorrow I start a new phase of my life as a loving grandfather.

As I ponder this responsibility, I wonder everything the job entails.

No doubt love and pride will be the order of the day. Singing his praises and showing his picture will be expected.

Bragging about his looks and athletic prowess are on the horizon.

The occasional babysitting is also a joyful anticipation.

But what else can I do to be a significant figure in this child’s life?

What is the most important thing I can do to ensure protection and a future for my grandchild?

I can pray!

I am convinced that my main responsibility to this child is prayer.

So with the help of God and His Word (and Google), I formulated a prayer using excerpts from the Bible:

Father God,

May the Spirit of the Lord rest on my grandson—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2)

Thank you, heavenly Father, that you are not willing that my grandson should be lost. I trust that he will become a believer in you. I thank you in advance that he will become a believer in you. I pray that he will be taught by you and that great will be his peace (Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9; Isaiah 54:13).

May he show aptitude for every kind of learning, be well informed and quick to understand. May he have wisdom, very great insight and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore (Daniel 1:4; 1 Kings 4:29).

May my grandson, like Jesus, grow in wisdom (mind) and stature (body), and in favor with God (spiritual) and men (social). May he live a life worthy of you, Lord, and may he please you in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of you (Luke 2:52; Colossians 1:10). 

Thank you, Lord, that you will command your angels concerning my grandson and guard him in all his ways (Psalm 91:11).

I pray, Lord, that you will deliver my grandson from wicked and evil people. May you strengthen and protect him from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:2–3).

May your favor, O Lord God, rest upon my grandson; establish the work of his hands for him (Psalm 90:17).

Lord, I thank you that you know the plans you have for my grandson—to prosper him and not to harm him, to give him hope and a future. I pray that my grandson will not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But may his delight be in your word, and may he meditate on it day and night (Jeremiah 29:11;Psalm 1:1–2).

As always, I pray in the authority given to me, In the Name of Jesus Christ!

Challenging Feminism

Okay, just had to Post this. Great article.

BeautyBeyondBones

Lately, it’s been really weird to be a woman.

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Not because of any fashion or makeup trends…although, I will say…I don’t quite understand the reemergence of the shoulder pad.

But because of all the recent hyper focus on…feminism.

The Women’s March, International Women’s Day, protests, walk outs, I mean, we get it already

But to be honest, I am confused by the whole matter.

Women are not marginalized in the United States of America. 

What are they fighting for? Why all the anger?

Now listen, I know that this post is probably going to garner a lot of backlash, but you know what, that’s okay. I would love to hear thoughts on all sides of this issue. Truly. Every person is entitled to their own viewpoints, and I respect those feelings, even if they differ from mine. And of course, there is always room for improvement in removing some lingering…

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Baffling Belief

I love this. Thanks Lady Jay…

A Necessary Pain

Not the conditional, good time, sunny day faith, but the broken, gaping deficit, sickly, challenging to the very core type. That faith that prompts growth in areas you once prided yourself on being strong in. Only to find that under pressure, the fortitude of your faith resembled an ant trying to hold on to a crumb in a tornado.

The halls are painted with horror, and the lights are broken. How often, does Satan attempt to lure us into the depths of fear. Lacking solid evidence, yet the lump in your throat and the racing of your heart cosign. The wages are missed opportunities. The benefits package is regret, doubt, and anxiety. How can we possibly combat the physiological effects of the illogical?

We must begin and end with faith. Impossible situations, gaping deficits, sickbed faith, is the air that flows under the wings of the, seemingly, dreadful situations. Strengthened from the energy derived…

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Who God Is For In The Race For President 2016…

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Who God Is For In 2016

If Jesus Christ walked the Earth in America today, which candidate would He identify himself with? Think about it. Who would God endorse for president? Would it be your candidate? Would it be any?

What platform would he choose? With whose policies would he align?

As a voter, a Christian voter, I feel the question has merit. The stakes are high for this country. We are in a battle for the very soul of the United States!

Values under attack…

Externally, there is a global terrorist Network that seeks to kill us and destroy our way of life. ISIS and the Islamic Brotherhood have proven to be formidable adversaries. We see rogue nations like Iran and North Korea getting closer to becoming nuclear capable.

Internally, there are forces that look to undermine our Christian Heritage. The institution of marriage has been assaulted as has the right to practice one’s belief. It has gotten so bad that the sanctity of where our children use the public bathroom has broken down.

So who do you think God supports to steer us out of this mess? Who gets His vote?

A Lack Of Honor…

As I follow the race, I’m appalled at the lack of civility. The name calling and leaking of untrue stories is quite nauseating. Attacking candidates and their spouses is at an all time low.

No doubt the fight is on and a scorched-earth policy is in effect. It truly makes many of us sick. We see our country being dragged through the mud, and it’s ethics and reputation tainted. To be honest, all candidates have shown a lack of decorum in their zeal to be president.

Just as shocking, is the behavior of their supporters. Scrolling Social Media, I find supporting a candidate other than ones own has caused severe rebuke and ultimate un-friending. It is divisive and ugly for candidate and supporter alike.

The aim is not to sell one’s politics, but rather assassinate the character of those who oppose it. I guess where a candidate leads, supporters will follow, and if we are not careful, we will all wind up in the ditch.

There is no question to many Americans that this country is on a road to disaster. The quality and character of our leader is of paramount importance. Something has to be done before it’s too late.

So again I ask you, who would God be for?

Joshua 5…

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”  “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”  The commander of the Lord ’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13‭-‬15 NIV)

In Joshua 5, the great leader of Israel asked this question face to face.

On one side was Israel, God’s chosen people. They had been rescued from Egypt, brought through The Wilderness and had just crossed the threshold of the land that God had promised them.

On the other side was Canaan. They had lived in the Promised Land for over 400 years. They had a different culture and worshipped different gods. They stood between God’s promise and God’s people. And their first barrier was the fortified city of Jericho.

Surely God was pulling for Israel. Surely He would follow them into the impending fight.

As Joshua was surveying the land before the battle, he noticed an armed Warrior he did not recognize. Immediately he confronted the soldier and questioned his loyalties.

“Are you friend or foe?” Joshua demanded. “Are you for us or against us? Do you side with us or with our opponent?”

Comparisons…

Can you see the comparison? Have you asked the same question during this election process?

“Who is your candidate, where do your loyalties lie? If you do not support my candidate, then you do not support me, you do not support this country. How can you call yourself a Christian by supporting him/her?”

We engage in this battle as does our candidate. We use their strategy, argue with their talking points. We are being led by flesh and we are fighting with ourselves.

Who God Supports…

The true identity of this creature was not known to Joshua, nor were his loyalties. But the answer to Joshua’s question literally floored him!

“Neither”, answer the angel. “None, nada, no! I am in no camp but that of the Lord’s.”

Theologians have commented that this occurrence could be labeled a theophany. That Joshua was indeed talking with God himself. But whether it was Christ or His Commander, Joshua experienced a Divine Encounter.

And the answer to his question was quite revealing to Joshua as it should be to us.

“No! I am commander of God’s Army, so take off your shoes cause you are on Holy Ground!”

The Real Question, The Real Answer…

The question is not who God supports but rather who supports God and is willing to remove anything that would separate them from God’s Holiness.

The problem with America is not political. The problem with America is we have lost our moral compass. We as a nation have turned our back on God. We have embraced sin and rebuked righteousness.

Righteousness Always Wins…

Righteousness will prevail no matter who becomes our president. Righteousness will prevail because God prevails.

So before we argue for who would be the best President, let’s remove our shoes to make sure that righteousness prevails in our relationship with Jesus. Before we get so passionate in fighting for our candidate, let’s get passionate in fighting for the Kingdom of God!

The answers to the problems we face in this country do not rest with any candidate or President. The answer rests with the relationship between this country and Jesus Christ and are we willing to follow Him into battle!

And that relationship starts with me and you and who we ultimately stand with for our country.

I vote for Jesus!

At Age 60, I Plan To Take This Mountain…

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In July, I turn 60.  I will be entering my 7th decade on this earth. Yikes!!

When most people my age are planning for retirement, I feel my life is just getting started. That the best of my life is yet to come. That my time, my season is here.

Although I have not accomplished anything that most would consider extraordinary, I am convinced I am destined for great things. Great experiences that will have everlasting effects on my life, the life of my family, and those of others.

I look forward to accomplish more in the latter stage of my life than I had in my former years.

How do I know this? Because it is a promise that has been given to me. Jesus promised that I will participate in accomplishing great things. So great, that they will exceed the things Jesus did while He lived on earth.

Now before you start sizing me for a straight jacket and initiating commitment papers, please read the following:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12 NIV)

So as I’m brushing off my shoulders and snapping my suspenders let me add that not only will my accomplishments be great…but also good.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Now as I said before, I have yet to accomplish greatness in my life. But I’ve had my moments. Achievements at work and also in my spiritual journey seemed great at the time. But in comparison to Nobel Prize winners and great Evangelical Missionaries, they were barely pedestrian.

Yet I know I am destined for great things.

You Might Be Skeptical…

Okay, now I hear you sighing under your breath, “who does he think he is, what makes him so different?” And my answer is…Nothing. I am no different than anyone else.

I am unique…but no better or worse than any other person. I was born flesh and blood just like everyone else. I was born with strengths and weaknesses, things I am passionate for and others not so much. I was born with a personality that pleases some but aggravates others.

So I guess you could say that I was born…ordinary. Nothing special, just a normal human being.

Then something exraordinary happened.

I was born again!

I was born into a small group where all things are possible! Through natural effort or supernatural power, I can do the extraordinary. I am part of a club where miracles, signs and wonders are a common occurrence.

That where we go, the miraculous happens. Where we go, prophecy is revealed. Where we go, fascination over takes us.

It’s not pride. It’s not that I think I’m better than others. It’s simply that I can see what God has promised and I believe it. I am convinced what God has prepared for me is Great!

One day God Promised Caleb An Inheritance…

So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’ (Joshua 14:9 NIV)

At the age of 40, Caleb was sent with Joshua and 10 others to spy out the land that God had promised Israel. What Joshua and Caleb saw was spectacular. It was truly a land of milk and honey. So fertile was the land that a cluster of grapes had to be carried by two men on a pole between them.

However, it would not be obtained without a fight. The inhabitants were formidable. Huge in stature and well equipped.

While 10 spies gave council against this fight, Caleb and Joshua argued for it. In their minds, the benefits outweighed the risk. Plus they understood, what God promises, God will deliver. Where Caleb and Joshua saw victory,  the other 10 saw defeat and convinced the people to avoid the fight.

An Ordinary Spy…

Caleb’s life was no different than the other Hebrews spies. He had been delivered from bondage in Egypt just as they had. He had witnessed the plagues, crossed over the parted sea and eaten manna just like everyone else.

As Israel wandered in the wilderness, he wandered with them. But when the time came to collect on God’s promise, only he and Joshua crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land.

The difference was Caleb saw the promise and was eager to obtain it. His vision was not obscured by the enemy, but was heightened by God’s promise. And at the age of 85, he saw his opportunity again, and he seized it.

And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses…I am this day fourscore and five years old.  As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war… Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said. (Joshua 14:10-12 KJV)

Where Are Today’s Calebs…

I cannot proclaim that today I am as physically strong as I was as a Young Man. But I can say that spiritually speaking I am stronger than I’ve ever been. And that God’s promises are just as real as the day I was delivered.

And like Caleb, there is opposition for me to obtain what God has ordained. There is an enemy entrenched between me and my destiny. But now I am fully equipped for the fight. The river is crossed and now I plan to take my inheritance. I will take my mountain!

What Is My Mountain?

Okay, this is where I need to exert some humility. My mountain is to inspire the lost toward Jesus Christ. To take territory for God’s Kingdom. Also it is to help them identity their God given purpose, so they too may take territory and bring the lost to Christ.

How will I do it? By writing. It’s what I’m passionate about. It’s what God equipped me with to advance His Kingdom.

Lately I feel I am being led to write books. Books that will impact lives and bring people to Jesus Christ. Books that will help like minded believers find their destiny. To use their God given gifts and  talents to take their mountain.

I know some will think I’m crazy. They will remind me that I have no formal training as a writer. They will warn that most wannabe writers fail to get published. That the mountain is too hard to take. The enemy too strong to conquer.

Or they might have read my blog and say, “dude, you can’t write!”

Whatever the obsticles, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

I’m not sure what it takes to write such a book, but I know what one looks like. I’ve read many and they have inspired me. I also know that if the Lord is with me, I’ll write the books and they will be effective!

So as I look at God’s promise, I’m ready to gird up my loins with the truth of my purpose, knowing that no weapons formed against me shall prosper, and that this mountain will be mine.

So the only questions left to ask is: What is your mountain? What is your promise? What is your destiny?

Would love to hear.

Why God Helped Me Fix My Lawn Mower…

Posted this a year ago. Brought it back to remind us to get those lawn mowers ready….
I serve an awesome God. A God who created the heavens and the Earth. A God who brought order into chaos. A God who parted the Red Sea, brought down the walls of Jericho and ordered the sun to stand still! He changed water into wine, gave sight to the blind and rose Lazarus from the dead.

And most recently he helped me fix my lawn mower. Continue reading “Why God Helped Me Fix My Lawn Mower…”

Who Carries The Weight Of Your Church?

sons of kohathMany of you have heard this already, but when I was a kid I had a drug problem. Every Sunday morning my mother drug me out of bed and drug me to church.

As a family, it was just what we did.

On Sunday mornings we would get up, get dressed and go to our local church.

The rest of the week we went about our lives: Dad and Mom would go to work and us kids would go to school.

About Church…

My understanding at the time was that Church is like any other enterprise. It has a boss (the Pastor) and those who worked for him.

I grew up Catholic, so aside from a few volunteers, the enterprise of our local church was done exclusively by the clergy. Having observed other denominations, that structure seemed to be pretty consistent.

Today I am a member of a Protestant congregation. It is a fairly large Church with about 700 members and we have a school with about 300 students. As you can imagine, there is a lot to do in the day to day operation of both school and church.

We have paid staff such as pastors and administration, maintenance and cafeteria staff, operational and clerical support. Some might think that is all that is needed to run a successful church.

Why Church…

Church Building

Many believe that their only responsibility to their local assembly is to show up on Sunday, put some money in the collection plate and don’t give the place another thought till next week.

Others believe that Church is like a hospital, and the only time to go is when there is something wrong. Once the trouble is resolved, Church is put on the back burner until another issue comes about.

Carry Your Weight Boy…

As I write this article, I am reading through the book of Numbers for my daily devotionals.

It is not one of my favorite Books, and to tell you the truth, when I read through it, I am usually day dreaming about other things.

However, this one scripture kind of jumped out at me the other morning:

Numbers 4:49 (NLT)- Each man was assigned his task and told what to carry, just as the LORD had commanded through Moses…

And that’s when the question came to me: Are we, as men, carrying our weight at Church?

If we claim to be Christian, if we claim to be godly men, are we about the assigned task that we were created to perform.

The Popular Concept of Church…

Now I know this will go against the grain of what has become the traditional view of church in America. We see church as a ‘part’ of our lives, varying in degrees from one person to another.

Church is necessary on the spiritual side of our culture. It is how we were raised and it is how we raise our children.

Church is important–on Sunday. The rest of the week it is left to paid staff and ordained preachers.

Sunday service gives us enough truth to make it for a week, but our responsibility stops at attendance and financial support.

Tabernacle in Wilderness

Church In The Wilderness…

In the Books of Moses, we learn that Church was a way of life for the Hebrews as they trekked through the Wilderness. It was not a weekly occurrence; it was a daily necessity.

You see, they were dependent on God for everything.

For food, they got a daily supply of Manna. Directions were provided from a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; steering them clear of danger and bringing them to water and other provisions.

After deliverance from the bondage suffered in Egypt, three million Hebrews were directed toward the Promised Land. The journey had the many pitfalls of a dangerous wilderness.

It was not an easy road, and impossible for a large community with limited expertise in trail blazing. They were slaves in Egypt. They were relegated to laborers for construction. They made bricks and hauled heavy objects.

There was not among them engineers or navigators that were necessary for this journey.

They had no means to feed their number from the limited resources available in a desert.

They were totally dependent on God.

They needed a daily miracle to survive and continue the journey.

They needed direction, provision and instruction.

God With Us…

So God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle. He instructed Moses to build a place of worship where He could reside with the people.

He gave specific instruction on how the church was to be built and how it was to operate.

Because the people were mobile, the church had to be mobile. It did not move with the people, but rather was moved by the people.

To move this tabernacle was not a small feat. Instruments such as the Altar of Sacrifice, the Laver, along with all the vessels in the Holy Place were just a few of the many articles that had to be in transport at a moment’s notice.

These articles were heavy and required strong men to carry them.

The moment the Cloud of the Lord started to move, these men had to pack every item with care and deliver them to a place where God determined.

Numbers 4:15, 19 (NKJV)- And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them…

Aaron and his sons shall go in and appoint each of them to his service and his task.

Hear me men. Just as the sons of Kohath were, we are priests (1 Peter 2:9). We are also the stronger vessel (1 Peter 3:7), equipped for the heavy lifting.

We are assigned the task of carrying the heavy weight of the church under the direction of God. Collectively, we are to carry it all.

But individually we have a specific task that is assigned to us by God.

So let me ask the question again. Are you pulling your weight? Are you fulfilling the assigned task that you were created to perform?

Perhaps you think that when you came to know Jesus it was just a random experience.

That you were lucky enough to be raised in church,hear a witness or get an invitation. You accepted Jesus and now you listen to the sermons and give your offering. You make friends and go to the banquets and special services.

But are you carrying your weight? Do you participate or do you just show up?

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Just as in the days of Moses, we are assigned a task. We are disciples. That means we not only follow Christ, we carry a burden as well.

We were assigned a task collectively by Jesus Himself. (Matthew 28:19) But you were designed to accomplish something specific. Something that can not be accomplished by anyone else.

You were created for purpose. Not just general purpose, but a particular purpose. Unique to you, working in concert with those around you. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)

As It Applies To Me…

It took me a long time to realize my specific purpose. I had been faithful in attendance with a willingness to get involved.

But I was a cookie cutter type Christian. I tried to fit into the mold of what a good Christian looks like.

And to be honest with you I played the part well. I could speak right, had a scripture at the ready and even had a bit of respect within my local assembly.

Man Building something

But I had yet to get specific. I wandered in the wilderness, picking up any stray article that needed to be carried but not assigned to me. Then one day, not too long ago, it hit me.

I figured out what it was I was designed to do. And here is the key component. It is what I am passionate about and it is what I enjoy doing.

What is it? Well your reading part of it.

From the time I could remember, I enjoyed writing. I also had a way with communicating. But when I went to college I sold out for a  career in Finance. It was a path to money.

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I hate finance. It was not part of my design. It was not what I was made to do.

I am gifted in teaching, evangelizing and have a passion for writing. Am I good? I let you be the judge of that. But here is what I know. The more I do it the better I get. The better I get at what I was made to do, the more of that burden I can carry.

 

 

What’s In It For You…?

*The following is paraphrased from: Benefits of a Purpose Driven Life…Angelfire.com

*Once you find your purpose, your life takes on meaning. We were made to have meaning. When your life has meaning, your life has hope. Your life has significance. Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. Hope comes from your specific purpose.

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For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)  

*It also simplifies your life. You can plan your life according to your purpose. It defines what you do and what you don’t do. I have come to realize that if I write three hours a day, not only am I fulfilled, but I can eliminate the unnecessary clutter that clogs up my days of useless activity.

*It gives your life focus. It concentrates your effort and energy on what’s important. You become effective by being selective. For me to be a good writer means I have to write every day. But I also need to read. Reading Christian books and book that interest me hones my knowledge and my craft and keeps me away from activities that are not useful such as television and facebook.

*It Motivates your life…Purpose promotes passion. You wake up excited about what the day holds when you are operating in your purpose. It gets you motivated to face the day and be successful.

*It prepares you for eternity…Many people look to leave a lasting legacy in this life with no thought of the next. The problem with legacy is that it rarely lasts but a generation at best. But we were built for eternity.

*One day we will stand before God to answer two questions, “What did you do with my son Jesus Christ?” and “What did you do with what I gave you?”

Men Working Sign

We all have talent at something. Perhaps it’s teaching or communications. Perhaps it is being able to manage money, Marketing ideas or clerical administration. Perhaps you are good with your hands.

Perhaps you are merciful, perhaps you recognize a healing hand within you.

Perhaps you are gifted in leading.

Whatever it is, are you using it to carry your weight for your local church? Are you using it to  carry your weight for The Kingdom of God?

The best thing about carrying weight at your church is that not only will the church and the Kingdom benefit, but you will benefit without measure.

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NKJV)

So let me encourage you man of God, get to carrying your weight and enjoy the fulfillment of a successful life!