Always Pray

My husband and I were discussing prayer and whether to pray over and over for the same situation or to pray believing when it’s in line with the will of God, that we would only ask once. I believe we pray to get an answer and do have to ask repeatedly for an answer at times, but to me, that is different, than if we ask something in line with the will of God. We both strongly believe in the prayer of agreement with other believers. We didn’t come to a conclusion really, on fervent prayer. He brought up the passage in Luke 18, where it speaks of the widow who continually goes before the judge. I remembered that the judge was not a just judge, but the woman was righteous. I didn’t see her praying so much, as continuing to appeal to the judge, so I studied it today and decided to share my study of the Greek words. This still doesn’t mean that I’m right, and those who ask over and over for the same thing are wrong, it is just how I view this particular situation, and where my faith is. Jesus told us to pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven… your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven… ” This is a point we feel many miss about this prayer, IF we are following after Jesus as our Savior, we Are commissioned and we Are to Call things into Earth as they Are in Heaven, not to Beg for them to be so, because it IS God’s will for earth to submit to heaven and be like heaven. We as believers are His heaven, heaven is not a place in the sky, but a place where Christ dwells. We are to bring heaven TO earth.



Luke 18:1-8 “Then he spoke a parable to them that men always (pantote – in every situation) ought to pray, and not lose heart (ekkakeo – lose courage) saying: “There was in a certain city a judge (krites – umpire appointed by people – Not God) who did not fear God nor regard (entrepo – respect) man. Now there was a widow (chera – a woman without a husband) in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me (edikeo – execute righteousness & justice) from my adversary.’ (antidikos – opponent in a lawsuit) And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles (kopos – grieves me with Christian virtue) me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming (telos – fulfillment of a matter) she weary me.’” (hupopiazo – wears someone out)

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust (adikia – unrighteous) judge said. And shall God (edikesis – who is full of righteousness & justice, who vindicates from wrong) not avenge His own elect (eklektos – chosen, preferred, selected*) who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long (makrothumeo – has patience, endures, waits) with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. (2 words here — en – amongst them & tachos – in quickness, swiftness, & with speed) Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, (erchomai – comes & goes; as in his people see Romans 15:29) will He really find faith (pistis – firm persuasion, based on hearing, not sight, reliance on the Word of God, see Hebrews 11:1) on the earth?” (ge – creation)

*Eklektos is also the root word for the word eclectic. I thought they sounded similar, so I looked up the root word for eclectic out of curiosity, knowing the meaning of the word. Of course, the body of Christ is many members, even though it says ‘chosen’ this means a variety of backgrounds grafted into one vine. The word eclectic means: selecting or choosing from various sources. A good synonym is ‘inclusive.’ When we follow Jesus’ example of Perfect Love, we are inclusive.

So let us pray in every situation claiming on earth as it is in heaven, set apart as Jesus was, one body of many members fit together to reach many. Never ceasing to seek God’s direction in everything we do, let us always pray.



Did Jesus Die for Those Without Sin?

Did Jesus only have compassion on saints and ‘good’ Christians? Or was his compassion on sinners? Was his ministry only to those who had never been saved? Did he only minister to those who lived “right?” Did the people in the Bible live a life committed fully to God, always? Rahab, Tamar, David, Bathsheba, Solomon, Saul-Paul, Zaccheus, the Kings, tax collectors, prostitutes, harlots, thiefs, murderers, (to name a few}? Who are the ones who need Jesus, the sinners and the ones not living for him, or the ones fully committed to Him? That’s a trick question, because the answer is all. We all need Jesus. 

But I’ve noticed many times that “churches & Christians” only accept a few sinners and other “Christians” based on conditions or legalities. Many times, these same churches hold their ministers up to a different standard than that of other Christians, but Matthew 23 has a good teaching on this, in that we only have one Father – God and one teacher – the Messiah. It is when we put ministers on pedestals and they accept that worship instead of turning it over to God, that they face the greatest danger of falling off the pedestal or throne. 

There are times that we, as Christians, have certain expectations for those who attend church, our fellow members, whether they are grounded in faith or not, we think that those who are converted are suddenly supposed to be without sin. Although in some cases, God does work in a very quick way to rid a person of most of the sins in their lives, it is usually a slow progression that the Holy Spirit convicts each individual of things in their lives that are not amenable to the life of a Christian. We are not instantly ‘set apart’ but it is a progressive salvation. We are gently and constantly reproved by the HOLY SPIRIT, NOT BY MAN. Sure there are times that a minister must point out repeated blatant sins that might be offensive or lead others astray; instead of allowing someone to live in a state of sin, but it isn’t a list that can be handed to someone or a church’s bylaws or legalities that can set someone on the ‘straight and narrow’ path. It is gentle reproof and love. But it is usually the churches whose doctrine is steeped in legalism, traditions, rules, and regulations, that drive away the newly converted tender hearts of  Christians, back into a life of sin. If only, these churches allowed God to be God, the Father, who is able to nurture, love, give comfort and compassion, to gently reprove, through the Holy Spirit, without a litany of laws. Bedsides, Jesus REDEEMED us FROM the law. Man has reintroduced new laws, traditions, and religion over the years and has termed them the ‘correct way to live or THE religion to follow.’ Yet the correct way to live is guided by the Holy Spirit alone. 

Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

When we are saved, we are given the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. We are given the mind of Christ. We must renew our minds by reading the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us and through those who are put in Spiritual authority in our lives, but we must choose them wisely. God is our ultimate authority and if the person we are following is not following God or the Word, we need to find someone who is. Jesus is our teacher through the Holy Spirit. May we all grow in the Word through Grace and fellowship, preferring others before ourselves. May we submit to God and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and when we are convicted; may we have the strength and desire to turn from it. May we love and accept each other in our individual walks where we are. When the Spirit leads, let those who are mature, help those who are not, in love, not condemnation, but by example. 

Prayer: I ask for you Father to touch all who read this to allow the Holy Spirit to be their ultimate inspiration and convictor. In Jesus name. Amen!

The Place of Separation and Sustainment

I shared on my Facebook page earlier this week about how God instructed Elijah, during a long drought, to go to the brook East of Jordan named Cherith. It is written in 1 Kings 17:1-7. In the Hebrew, the word Cherith, Chorath, or Kerith means “a place of separation.” If you locate where this brook is located, most modern scholars agree that it is the Wadi al-Yabis, a region that is described as one of the wildest ravines in the region. It is also so wild in terrain, that it is a place where one can easily hide from persecution and still be protected; it is a place of refuge. In this passage, God also told Elijah that he would send the ravens to bring bread and flesh to Elijah.

Cherith or Wadi al-Yabis by samdefranc
Cherith or Wadi al-Yabis by samdefranc

There are many things which need to be pointed out about Ravens. They are extremely intelligent, more than any other bird in the bird kingdom and rivaling that of the chimpanzee in the animal kingdom. They are adaptable to any habitat, mountainous, desert, rocky, grasslands, wetlands, etc., regardless of weather. Ravens can be taught to talk better than most parrots, imitating the human voice and the calls of other birds. They also communicate with each other with their beaks, such as pointing out an object to another raven. Another form of communication they use is to attract other animals to a carcass they want to feed on by their calls, because they cannot tear open with their beaks, then once other predators have opened the carcass for them, they can pick at the meat. They are not known to feed others, except their own babies. They are one of the dirtiest birds in the bird kingdom, yet they are survivors. They are scavengers, and are quite resourceful finding food by outwitting other birds and predators. They even follow the gunshots of hunters to locate a carcass to feed upon, yet ignore other equally loud sounds, showing signs of extreme intellect and recognition. They work in cooperation with each other to steal food, by distraction and/or observation. Ravens are playful and can play together, with other animals, or alone, solving intricate games and using comical behavior. They can fly upside down up to half a mile, do somersaults, and acrobatics. They are more agile than crows in flight, because they use light wingbeats and soar at times. During nesting times, they wash all their food in a nearby water source before feeding it to their nestlings. One of the facts I found to be most interesting is what a group of ravens are called, which is an ‘unkindness.’

"Corvus corax jouveniles". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -
RAVENS – Licensed under CC BY-SA

Isn’t it just like God to take an unkindness and turn it into a kindness? And wouldn’t God choose one of the smartest, cleverest, most resourceful, and unlikely animals to provide for man who is created in his image? And wouldn’t God take an unlikely raven, who is greedy and selfish, to share of the food they find to sustain mankind? The ravens brought Elijah bread and flesh it tells us in First Kings. Don’t you imagine that those ravens took Elijah in as one of their own to do this? I even wonder if they washed the food before they gave it to him. As I was thinking of this, the ravens, a most common bird, were a substitute savior for Elijah. They took on some of the characteristics of Jesus, by taking care of God’s chosen, offering redemption from starvation in the form of bread and flesh. (Jesus is our bread and flesh. He took on the flesh of a man to dwell among us. He adopted us as his own, once we submitted to him. He is our sustainment and our redeemer.)

So when we find ourselves in a desperate situation that looks like we cannot go on, or have suffered an unkindness; we must remember Elijah and how God provided for him and then look to Jesus and remember that he is our ultimate sustainment, place of refuge, and redeemer. God will provide us a place of refuge, the brook of flowing water, and sustainment, but first we must separate ourselves from the worldly things that ensnare us and keep us from Him. We must put aside encumbrances to allow God to clothe us, to feed us, to supply all our needs, and to care for us better than we can ever care for ourselves. He may take us into a ravenous situation (a place of greedy hunger) to get our attention, or into a hidden wilderness where only he can provide to remind us that he is our sustainer and has provided our ultimate redemption in Jesus Christ. What hunger do you have that the world cannot satisfy? Where is your brook of separation? Have you found it, do you need to go there to renew your heart with God or simply to be sustained and cared for? It is with Jesus. Allow him to be your place of separation and sustainment today and every day.

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? – Luke 12:24

Interesting side note on the word raven-ous: The verb to RAVEN means to devour greedily, to seize, and to prowl hungrily. The adjective RAVENOUS is traced to Old French ravener, meaning ‘to seize,’ regarding water, meaning ‘swift flowing.’ Overall meaning: “voracious, greedily hungry, and seized.”

Prayer: May God seize us to have a voracious hunger and thirst for Jesus, as our sole sustainer, refuge, bread, and flesh.