Friday, January 23, 2015

Precision Decision

Romans 16: 25  "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past...

The chatter this week seems to be on two things, an American sniper and a quarterback and his football. I find one thing with both these participants and their "controversy," in common:  both are  trained to be precise.

 Bradley Cooper
 from the movie "American Sniper"

One protected us; one entertains us.  Both are heroes to some, to many.
Tom Brady, QB for The Patriots 

Any U. S. military man or woman serving in harm's way is a brave hero to me, no doubt for a minute here. 

In this verse, the Apostle Paul uses the word "according," meaning to be harmonious or consistent with.  A trained sniper has to be consistent, his life as well as others is on the line. He is serving his country, maybe even rescuing a hostage. A quarterback has to be consistent in his efforts to score, for his receivers to trust him, for his fans to approve of him. 

To be consistent, means to hit the mark every time. They rely on their training, their weapons and or equipment, and know their target. It takes training, planning and skill. Both have obstacles to overcome. 

The Gospel is consistent, precise, a revelation of a mystery we can only get a glimpse of. It is precise because it is Perfect. The Gospel is the Good News of Redemption and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ  who precisely and perfectly loves you and me. 

As human beings, we are flawed, imperfect and may not always hit our target. 
As human beings, we may manipulate things, make a bad judgment, not hold true to our words, bring disappointment, cause controversy. 

Jesus caused controversy, still does. Truth does that. 

God's desire for us is to surrender. Quite the opposite of what we think of as heroic. In doing that, He longs to reestablish harmony between Him and the world, to personally bring hope into our lives in Him; peace. It doesn't mean we'll never see trouble again. He desires for us to practice and train towards sanctification, the willingness to seek to know Him more, with calculated, thought out precision. How can we do that when we are surrounded by the enemy, under stress and worry, unsure of our own capabilities and skills, under pressure to win, be a winner? 

We can't. The mystery is in the surrendering, for sometimes the obstacle in our way is ourselves. God reveals to us a helper, the Holy Spirit, who precisely and lovingly directs our efforts, our prayers, our desire towards the target of God's own heart. At the precise moment we prayed for forgiveness, God's precise and perfect redemption saved us and then leads us towards the goal line. There is nothing we can do or manipulate to gain God's favor. 

Lord, thank you for allowing us to be the precise target for Your love.  We do not deserve it. Your Word provides for us the training we need to grow. Our skills, our birth-given qualities, our horrendous sad stories all can be used for Your glory; no need to manipulate. At precisely the right time, in our availability, in our trust and obedience, You establish us, help us through our fears and into heroics, giving us the courage to stand true, confidant in You for all our needs. Help us Lord to keep our eyes on the Target and trust in Your plan. Now to Him who is able, Amen. 

An American Hero 

Friday, January 9, 2015


Psalm 65: 5     "By awesome deeds Thou dost answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, Thou who art the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea." 

As part of a few prayer circles and the "official prayer-chain" through church, I receive many opportunities--privileges to pray for many people, most I do not know.

...but God does.  

Some of the time, I hear an update and can see where God's Hand touches lives. A lot of the time,  answers do not come right away and many times, God answers in such amazing ways,  magnifying His omniscience and sovereignty. To God Be the Glory! Many ongoing situations require God's guidance and waiting on Him. As we bow our heads, we are not giving God permission to work "His magic." It is simply a time for us to connect to Him and draw closer in petition and support for another's need. It also gets us out of the "me" mode and into the "others" mode. Prayer shapes us into His will, allows us to see His glory, His power.

A few days ago, another prayer warrior sent me an e-mail asking me for some updates on prayer requests I myself placed before friends in e-mails. She had 11 names listed!  I knew this would take me awhile to type out a reply.

I did that yesterday, and although in my mind and heart, I knew all the updates, all the answers to these prayers--the listing of each person and the writing of at least a paragraph update on what the Lord had done or is currently doing in each life, gave me such a rich perspective and gratefulness of how He  moves and works in His beloved; in my own life as well. Spending more time in sincere prayer before Him brings proven results and I am glad I can document His goodness!  Look what the Lord has done! Look what He is doing, what He is continuing to do!  Never cease praying!

Lord God, your scripture says we can trust you to all the ends of the earth, to all the farthest of seas! You have given us the Holy Spirit in which to call upon for ourselves, for others, for a broken, needing of your love world. You give us testimony! Whether we write it down in pen, chat about it to our neighbors, shout it from the rooftops, or repeat and list all Your goodness in a follow-up e-mail, You remain a faithful God in our prayers for righteousness. Thank you Lord for the privilege to pray and to see Your answers and record it on my heart. Amen.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
  Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge—  Take it to the Lord in prayer; Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?  Take it to the Lord in prayer; In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,  Thou wilt find a solace there.

Journal entry/comment/ or thought: Start a prayer journal of your own.
Reflect on your own prayertime. How has the Lord answered; how has the prayer from other's encouraged you?