Category Archives: Call Encounter Notes

WomanOnTopOfMountain

CARPE DIEM: SIEZE THE DAY!

WomanOnTopOfMountain

Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts Hebrews 3:7-8

She who hesitates is lost.
She who hesitates is bewildered.
She who hesitates is unprepared for the challenges of life.
She who hesitates loses the patently great accomplishments, friendships, knowledge, that come from being pro-active.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8

Musings in my Mind

Epiphany – loosely defined as a revelatory experience when deity appears to/interacts with a person. The Old Testament records such random divine interactions as theophanies, often noting the appearance of THE Angel of the Lord [Genesis 16:7-13]. The New Testament documents the abiding presence of God in the person of Jesus the Christ. [passim]

Dr. Charles Stanley – [In Touch Magazine, January, 2014, p. 61]

What he says about a time of human exchange with each other when we experience a “face-to-face encounter, ” “a split-second epiphany” can also describe our personal interaction/encounter with Jesus. Dr. Stanley calls it “a moment of recognition, the revelation of a bond that always exists but we often fail to appreciate.” I call it a moment/minute/hour/day of Sabbath Rest. This interaction occurs – – not because of who we are, but – – because of who HE is. These moments stem from “the deep mystery of existence,” for “each of us carries a world within our one person.” Consider William Blake’s description of this powerful attribute in “Auguries of Innocence”:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower,
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Yes, Dr. Stanley, I agree: each of us has “an inner life known fully only by God.”

Music in My Ear

I woke up this morning with my mind
Stayed in Jesus
Halelu! Halelu! Halelu!

– – -And secondly – – –

Yes, God Is Real

There are some things I may not know, there are some places I can’t go
But I am sure of this one thing
That God is real, for I can feel Him deep within.

Some folk may doubt, some folk may scorn. All can desert and leave me alone,
But as for me, I’ll take God’s part.
For God is real, and I can feel Him in my heart.

I cannot tell just how you felt when Jesus took your sins away.
But since that day, yes, since that hour
God has been real for I can feel His holy power.

Yes, God is real, real in my soul!
Yes, God is real, for He has washed and made me whole.
His love for me is like pure gold.
Yes, God is real, for I can feel Him in my soul!

Matter in My Heart

Romans 10:1 [Paraphrase] – Believers, my heart’s desire for you is that you might have Sabbath Rest. For I bear you record that you may have a zeal of God /enthusiasm for God, but not according to your own personal experience/interaction. Your knowledge may be second-hand, not yours, but someone else’s whom you respect – – mother, dad, grandmother, or even a minister o another believer. I say, “Get your own!” experience with God. My heart’s desire is that you may know God for yourself and not another. [1 John 5:20]

Messages in My Spirit

I have an overly burning desire to anticipate/mitigate against/answer with the Word excuses you may have for not studying the Word.

Excuse A – “I do not understand what I read in Scripture”

Answer – The Scripture is available in several versions. You are not bound to the King James Version [KJV, 1611] with the anachronistic “thee,” “thou,” “ye,” and the “begats.” You can even find translations beyond the New King James Version. [NKJV] One of the most recent modern versions of the Bible is The Message . Whichever you choose, first pray for understanding; then study the Scripture so that you may understand and handle it correctly. [2 Timothy 2:15]

Excuse B – “I’m too busy, not enough time in my day.”

Answer – Consider this: Joshua asked God to stop the sun and moon over Aijalon Valley so that he and his army could win their battle against the Amorites – – and God did! God redeemed the time for Joshua. He will do the same thing for you. For example, you may zip through that assignment that you thought would take tedious hours. Your mind will be clear and your thinking will be innovative. Or, a person may unexpectedly postpone/cancel a scheduled appointment.

Excuse C – “I don’t see the relevance/practicality.”

Answer – The central truth gleaned from Biblical context is applicable to our current circumstances. For example, both Exodus 16:16-18 and 2 Corinthians 9:10 show us that there is no lack of God’s provision when we follow his principles of sowing and reaping.

Excuse D – “I doubt that this will happen for me, in my case.”

Answer – Pray the same prayer as did the father who sought healing for his son who suffered from demonic possession: “Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief.” [Mark 9:23, NAS] Unbelief is doubt/weakness of faith. Then, the Holy Spirit will lead you to such an empowerment of your faith that you will be able to choose to believe and declare like Paul: I am absolutely convinced that nothing – – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – – absolutely nothing can get between me and God’s love because of the way in which Jesus, my Master, has embraced me. [see Romans 8:38-39, Message ]

Finally, my spirit urges that you pray to remove whatever excuses that rob/steal your time of Sabbath Rest. PRAY, ask God to help you . Should you feel you need someone to be accountable to – – ask God to send you a friend who will stick closer than a sister in this endeavor. PRAY, ask the Holy Spirit to activate himself in your life, leading you to truth and righteousness. PRAY, Ask the Lord Jesus to come in and sup with you. Follow his example, for he often slipped away to pray alone to his Father – – sometimes all night. [Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12 and 9:28]

In fact, we find him praying on the eve of his crucifixion. [Matthew 26:36-45] His humanity screamed dreadingly against the physical/emotional/spiritual pain he must surely endure if he were to carry out God’s plan of salvation. Although his humanity was weak, his divinity was strong. Finally, he achieved peace/rest in obedient submission to his Father.

Pray right now that we will steal away often to enter our own Sabbath Rest.

God rest you on your journey!

Red Heart Bible

S&S Call Encounter Notes: Commercial for the King

Red Heart Bible

In a popular commercial,  Samuel L. Jackson asks,  “What’s in your wallet?”  The real question for the believer is “What’s in your heart?”  Your heart is the core of you, for Proverbs 23:7 teaches us that we are what we think.  What’s in your heart?  The Lord, himself, tells Samuel that man looks at the outer appearance, but He looks at the heart.  [1 Samuel 16:7]  So, what’s in your heart?

In a popular commercial,  Samuel L. Jackson asks,  “What’s in your wallet?”  The real question for the believer is “What’s in your heart?”  Your heart is the core of you, for Proverbs 23:7 teaches us that we are what we think.  What’s in your heart?  The Lord, himself, tells Samuel that man looks at the outer appearance, but He looks at the heart.  [1 Samuel 16:7]  So, what’s in your heart?

Can you answer in the tone of  Psalm 45:1?

Can you say:

My heart is inditing/overflowing with  a good matter

I speak of the things which I have made touching the king. 

My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. [ NKJ]

Can you say that your heart is so running over with the joy of encountering the Lord that you are eager to write poetry about your experience?  [NAS]

Are you excitedly ready to pour out a poem to our Lord, an extended metaphor?  One comparing the status of your heart to that of a river so full that it :  bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness . . . shaping the river into words ? [Message]

I tell you Jesus is calling you to such an encounter, one wherein you luxuriate in his presence!

What’s in your heart?  Do you have a ready answer?   Or are you slow to answer because you are fearful of the exposure?  [Psalm 78:37]   Or because  you are suspicious that the heart harbors emotions that should never be exhumed?

[ Jeremiah 17:9]  Never fear!  With forgiveness and without acrimony, our compassionate Heavenly Father will search and cleanse our hearts. [Psalm 139:23] Therefore, you can base your answer on the  assurance that  the Holy Spirit sheds the love of God abroad in every believer’s heart .  [Romans 5:5]  You can answer with the fervency of David, having a desire to seek after the Lord and  to behold his beauty.  [Psalm 27:4]  More simply, to enter His Sabbath Rest!  Consider this:   God  rested on the seventh day , after he had finished creating  the earth and its inhabitants.  Jesus is calling you to enter this blessed state of quietude and holiness.  He is calling you to rest, spiritually, in the Lord.  If you will put him first, he promises that material things  – – food, shelter, clothing – – will be added  to you.  [Matt.  6:33]

Conveniently,  Jeremy Gilmore has compiled a unique 2014 Bible Reading Plan that includes weekly Sabbath Rest.  You can easily answer Jesus’ call to enter his rest by simply committing yourself to following this plan.  Voila!  If you have the will, here is the way.   Jeremy Gilmore offers five tips to help you use the plan successfully:

1)  pray first   2)  write too  3)  use/speak the Word  4)  read with a partner for accountability and 5)  rest and reflect.  After viewing this plan, pray about how it can aid you in entering Sabbath Rest.  As you use this plan, the Holy Spirit will guide you to helpful insights.  For example, one reading from Exodus deals with Moses “down in Egypt” and repeatedly telling “old Pharaoh to let my people go,”  even as various plagues bring suffering to the Egyptians.  This passage may speak to you assuringly about how God protects the believer as he watches God demonstrate his power – -even his wrath- – to others who disbelieve.  Respond to the plan as the Holy Spirit leads you.  Make your goal to encounter Jesus through his Word at your own pace, NOT to merely read the Bible through in a record-setting period of time.  Most important, don’t neglect rest and reflection.  I pray now that God will use this plan to usher you into Sabbath Rest.

 God bless you on your journey!

2014 Bible Reading Plan

If you have been desiring to get closer to God, there is no better place to be than in the Word!  Scripture says to “Seek ye out the book of the Lord and read…” (Isaiah 34:16a) There are many calendars online that offer ways to read the Bible in a year. However, this calendar incorporates weekly times of rest (Sabbath) and lighter reading (Psalms). In addition, it includes a full month without weekday readings.

This will be a major commitment, but you can do it! Here are some tips to help:

1)     Pray first.  That the scripture gets inside of your spirit. Here is a verse that may be helpful to recite: Open my eyes that I might see the wonderful things in your law. (Psalm 119:18)

2)     Write too. Have a pen and paper handy or write in the margins of your Bible if you like. Many Bible apps also allow notes and highlighting.

3)     Use the Word.  In conversation or in your prayer life, reciting the word can get it into your spirit.

4)     Read with a partner.  Having accountability can be helpful.

5)     REST.  Let your Saturdays and month (June) be a time of rest and reflection. Maybe you could journal about what reading has felt like. You might take a trip/retreat. Perhaps read a book other than the Bible.  Whatever you decide, remember there is nothing wrong with taking intentional rest.

SundayPsalms Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sabbath

Jan. 1

Genesis 1-5

Jan. 2

Gen. 6-10

Jan. 3

Gen. 11-15

Jan. 4
Jan. 5Ps 1-2

Jan. 6

Gen. 16-20

Jan. 7

Gen. 21-25

Jan. 8

Gen. 26-30

Jan. 9

Gen. 31-35

Jan. 10

Gen. 36-40

Jan. 11
Jan. 12Ps 3-5

Jan. 13

Gen. 41-45

Jan. 14

Gen. 46-50

Jan. 15

Exodus 1-5

Jan. 16Ex. 6-10

Jan. 17

Ex. 11-15

Jan. 18
Jan. 19Ps 6-8

Jan. 20

Ex. 16-20

Jan. 21

Ex. 21-25

Jan. 22

Ex. 26-30

Jan. 23

Ex. 31-35

Jan. 24

Ex. 36-40

Jan. 25
Jan. 26Ps 9-11

Jan. 27

Leviticus 1-5

Jan. 28Lev. 6-10

Jan. 29

Lev. 11-15

Jan. 30

Lev. 16-20

Jan. 31

Lev. 21-25

Feb. 1

Feb. 2

Ps 12-14

Feb. 3

Lev.26-Num.

3

Feb. 4

Numbers 4-8

Feb. 5

Num. 9-13

Feb. 6

Num. 14-18

Feb. 7

Num. 19-23

Feb. 8

Feb. 9

Ps 15-17

Feb. 10

Num. 24-28

Feb. 11

Num. 29-33

Feb. 12Num. 34-Deut. 2 Feb. 13Deut. 3-7

Feb. 14

Deut. 8-12

Feb. 15
Feb. 16Ps 18-20

Feb. 17

Deut. 13-17

Feb. 18

Deut. 18-22

Feb. 19

Deut. 23-27

Feb. 20

Deut. 28-32

Feb. 21

Deut. 33-Jos.

3

Feb. 22
Feb. 23Ps 21-23 Feb. 24Jos. 4-8 Feb. 25Jos. 9-13

Feb. 26

Jos. 14-18

Feb. 27

Jos. 19-23

Feb. 28

Jos. 24-Judg.

4

Mar. 1
Mar. 2Ps24-26

Mar. 3

Judg. 5-9

Mar. 4

Judg. 10-14

Mar. 5

Judg. 15-19

Mar. 6

Judg. 20-21

Mar. 7Ruth 1-4 Mar. 8

 

SundayPsalms Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sabbath
Mar. 9Ps 27-29

Mar. 10

I Sam. 1-4

Mar. 11

I Sam. 5-9

Mar. 12

I Sam. 10-14

Mar. 13

I Sam. 15-19

Mar. 14

I Sam. 20-24

Mar. 15
Mar. 16Ps 30-32

Mar. 17

I Sam. 25-29

Mar. 18

I Sam. 30-II

Sam. 3

Mar. 19

II Sam. 4-8

Mar. 20

II Sam. 9-13

Mar. 21

II Sam. 14-18

Mar. 22
Mar. 23Ps 33-35

Mar. 24

II Sam. 19-24

Mar. 25

I Kings 1-4

Mar. 26

I Kings 5-9

Mar. 27

I Kings 10-14

Mar. 28

I Kings 15-19

Mar. 29
Mar. 30Ps 36-38

Mar. 31

I Kings 20-II Kings 2

Apr. 1

II Kings 3-7

Apr. 2

II Kings 8-12

Apr. 3

II Kings 13-17

Apr. 4

II Kings 18-22

Apr. 5

Apr. 6

Ps 39-41

Apr. 7

II Kings 23- I Chron. 2

Apr. 8

I Chron. 3-7

Apr. 9

I Chron. 8-12

Apr. 10

I Chron. 13-

17

Apr. 11

I Chron. 18-

22

Apr. 12
Apr. 13Ps 42-44

Apr. 14

I Chron. 23-

27

Apr. 15

I Chron. 28-II Chron. 3

Apr. 16

II Chron. 4-8

Apr. 17

II Chron. 9-13

Apr. 18

II Chron. 14-

18

Apr. 19
Apr. 20Ps 45-47

Apr. 21

II Chron. 19-

23

Apr. 22

II Chron. 24-

28

Apr. 23

II Chron. 29-

33

Apr. 24

II Chron. 34-

Ezra 2

Apr. 25Ezra 3-7 Apr. 26
Apr. 27Ps 48-50

Apr. 28

Ezra 8-Neh. 2

Apr. 29Neh. 3-7

Apr. 30

Neh. 8-13

May 1

Esther 1-4

May 2

Esther 5-10

May 3

May 4

Ps 51-53

May 5Job 1-4 May 6Job 5-9

May 7

Job 10-14

May 8

Job 15-19

May 9

Job 20-24

May 10
May 11Ps 54-56

May 12

Job 25-29

May 13

Job 30-34

May 14

Job 35-39

May 15

Job 40-42

May 16Prov. 1-3 May 17
May 18Ps 57-59 May 19Prov. 4-7

May 20

Prov. 8-12

May 21

Prov. 13-16

May 22

Prov. 17-20

May 23

Prov. 21-23

May 24
May 25Ps 60-62

May 26

Prov. 24-26

May 27

Prov. 27-28

May 28Prov. 29 May 29Prov. 30 May 30Prov. 31 May 31
June 1Ps 63-65 June 2 June 3 June 4 June 5 June 6 June 7
June 8Ps 66-68 June 9 June 10 June 11 June 12 June 13 June 14
June 15Ps 69-71 June 16 June 17 June 18 June 19 June 20 June 21
June 22Ps 72-74 June 23 June 24 June 25 June 26 June 27 June 28
June 29Ps 78-80 June 30 July 1Ecc. 1-3 July 2Ecc. 4-7

July 3

Ecc. 7-12

July 4

Song 1-4

July 5

July 6

Ps 81-83

July 7

Song 5-8

July 8

Isaiah 1-4

July 9

Isaiah 5-7

July 10

Isaiah 8-11

July 11

Isaiah 12-16

July 12
July 13Ps 84-86

July 14

Isaiah 17-21

July 15

Isaiah 22-26

July 16

Isaiah 27-31

July 17

Isaiah 32-36

July 18

Isaiah 37-41

July 19
July 20Ps 87-89

July 21

Isaiah 42-46

July 22

Isaiah 47-51

July 23

Isaiah 52-56

July 24

Isaiah 57-61

July 25

Isaiah 62-66

July 26
July 27Ps 90-92

July 28

Jeremiah 1-4

July 29Jer. 5-8 July 30Jer. 9-12

July 31

Jer. 13-16

Aug. 1

Jer. 17-20

Aug. 2

Aug. 3

Ps 93-95

Aug. 4

Jer. 21-24

Aug. 5

Jer. 25-28

Aug. 6

Jer. 29-32

Aug. 7

Jer. 33-36

Aug. 8

Jer. 37-40

Aug. 9
Aug. 10Ps 96-98

Aug. 11

Jer. 41-44

Aug. 12

Jer. 45-48

Aug. 13

Jer. 49-52

Aug. 14Lam. 1-4

Aug. 15

Lam. 5-Eze. 3

Aug. 16

 

SundayPsalms Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sabbath

Aug. 17

Ps 99-101

Aug. 18Eze. 4-7 Aug. 19Eze. 8-11

Aug. 20

Eze. 12-15

Aug. 21

Eze. 16-19

Aug. 22

Eze. 20-23

Aug. 23

Aug. 24

Ps 102-104

Aug. 25

Eze. 24-27

Aug. 26

Eze. 28-31

Aug. 27

Eze. 32-35

Aug. 28

Eze. 36-39

Aug. 29

Eze. 40-43

Aug. 30

Aug. 31

Ps 105-107

Sept. 1

Eze. 44-48

Sept. 2

Daniel 1-4

Sept. 3Dan. 5-8

Sept. 4

Dan. 9-12

Sept. 5

Hosea 1-3

Sept. 6

Sept. 7

Ps 108-110

Sept. 8Hos. 4-7

Sept. 9

Hos. 8-11

Sept. 10

Hos. 12-14

Sept. 11Joel 1-3 Sept. 12Amos 1-4 Sept. 13

Sept. 14

Ps 111-113

Sept. 15Amos 5-9

Sept. 16

Obadiah 1

Sept. 17Jonah 1-4 Sept. 18Micah 1-4 Sept. 19Micah 5-7 Sept. 20

Sept. 21

Ps 114-116

Sept. 22

Nahum 1-3

Sept. 23

Habakkuk 1-

3

Sept. 24Zeph. 1-3

Sept. 25

Haggai 1-2

Sept. 26Zech. 1-4 Sept. 27

Sept. 28

Ps 117-118

Sept. 29

Zech. 5-10

Sept. 30

Zech. 11-14

Oct. 1

Malachi 1-4

Oct. 2

Matthew 1-4

Oct. 3

Matt. 5-8

Oct. 4
Oct. 5Ps 119*

Oct. 6

Matt. 9-12

Oct. 7

Matt. 13-16

Oct. 8

Matt. 17-20

Oct. 9

Matt. 21-24

Oct. 10

Matt. 25-28

Oct. 11

Oct. 12

Ps 120-121

Oct. 13Mark 1-4 Oct. 14Mark 5-8

Oct. 15

Mark 9-12

Oct. 16

Mark 13-16

Oct. 17Luke 1-4 Oct. 18

Oct. 19

Ps 122-124

Oct. 20Luke 5-8

Oct. 21

Luke 9-12

Oct. 22

Luke 13-16

Oct. 23

Luke 17-20

Oct. 24

Luke 21-24

Oct. 25

Oct. 26

Ps 125-127

Oct. 27John 1-4 Oct. 28John 5-8

Oct. 29

John 9-12

Oct. 30

John 13-16

Oct. 31

John 17-21

Nov. 1

Nov. 2

Ps 128-130

Nov. 3Acts 1-3 Nov. 4Acts 4-7

Nov. 5

Acts 8-11

Nov. 6

Acts 12-15

Nov. 7

Acts 16-19

Nov. 8

Nov. 9

Ps 131-133

Nov. 10

Acts 20-23

Nov. 11

Acts 24-28

Nov. 12

Romans 1-3

Nov. 13Rom. 4-7

Nov. 14

Rom. 8-11

Nov. 15

Nov. 16

Ps 134-136

Nov. 17

Rom. 12-16

Nov. 18I Cor. 1-3 Nov. 19I Cor. 4-7

Nov. 20

I Cor. 8-11

Nov. 21

I Cor. 12-16

Nov. 22

Nov. 23

Ps 137-139

Nov. 24II Cor. 1-3 Nov. 25II Cor. 4-7

Nov. 26

II Cor. 8-11

Nov. 27

II Cor. 12-

Gal. 2

Nov. 28Gal. 3-6 Nov. 29

Nov. 30

Ps 140-142

Dec. 1

Ephesians 1-

4

Dec. 2Eph. 5-6

Dec. 3

Philippians 1-

4

Dec. 4

Colossians 1-

4

Dec. 5

I Thess. 1-3

Dec. 6

Dec. 7

Ps 143-145

Dec. 8

I Thess. 4-5

Dec. 9

II Thess. 1-3

Dec. 10

I Timothy 1-3

Dec. 11I Tim. 4-6

Dec. 12

II Tim. 1-4

Dec. 13

Dec. 14

Ps 146-148

Dec. 15

Titus 1-Phil. 1

Dec. 16

Hebrews 1-4

Dec. 17Heb. 5-9

Dec. 18

Heb. 10-13

Dec. 19

James 1-5

Dec. 20
Dec. 21Ps 149

Dec. 22

I Peter 1-5

Dec. 23

II Peter 1-II John 1

Dec. 24 III John – Rev. 2

Dec. 25Rev. 3-6 Dec. 26Rev. 7-10 Dec. 27
Dec. 28Ps 150

Dec. 29

Rev. 11-14

Dec. 30

Rev. 15-18

Dec. 31

Rev. 19-22

Praise God for a year of faithfulness in the WORD! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

 

 

 

Composed by Jeremy Gilmore

 

Adapted from – http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/stay-on-track.html and

http://lifeatthecrossroads.org/resources/thebibleinayear.html

 

Jesus Is Calling You to REST

spiritual rest

Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

EXPOSTULATION and REPLY

I say:        Jesus is calling you to rest.

You say:  Come again?  Say again?  What?

I say:        Jesus is calling you to rest.

You say:  What ?  Rest?

I say:        Jesus is calling you to rest.

You say:  He’s calling me to rest?  I have just begun,  just arranged my priorities and

arranged my goals for the next year.   Things are already starting to

happen for me faster than I anticipated.  I’m beginning to see the

brightness of this season of my life.   I have just begun.   Rest?

I say:        Yes, Jesus is calling you to rest, right now.

You say:  Right now?  In the beginning of my productivity? How can I understand his

calling me  to rest now?  Does he not know how I have longed to be at this

place in my life ?  This is the beginning of my wealthy season,  after so

many disappointments,  SO MANY heartaches and so many pains.  How can

I say:       Jesus is calling you to rest.

You say:  Rest?  Rest?     Oh, now I get it.  You mean W-R-E-S-T , rest.  I see,   I must

wrest, that is achieve the goals I have set for myself by forcefully usurping

them from the circumstances/people/things   that may/will rise up as

obstructions to prevent my attaining them.  Ah, so!   W-R-E-S T!

I say:       Jesus is calling you to R-E-S-T.

I say.       Same sound,  wrong word.  Drop the “W”.

You say :  Say again?  Drop the “W”?

I say:        YES, drop it.  When you drop the “W,”   you drop: worry, work, weakness,

want;  you drop wrestling with uncertainty, doubt and discomfort.

That leaves you with R-E-S-T , rest!  R-E-S-T.  Speaking anagrammatically, when you

answer his call,  you will become:

 

R  –  RELAXED    –   For you will be content.   [Philippians 4:6b]

E  –  ENTHUSIASTIC  –  For   in His presence is the fullness of JOY ! [ Psalm 16:11]

S   –  STRONG     –  The Lord will become your strength and your song! [Isaiah 12:2]

S  –   STRONG – The Lord will be the strength of your life, Whom shall  you fear?

[Psalm 27:1]

S  –  SURE   –     You will know that you win in the end, for all things will be working

together for your good because you do love the Lord and you are

operating according to his purpose.  [ Romans 8:28]

T  –   TRUSTING  –  For you will trust  in him who cannot fail.  BOTH heaven AND

earth must pass away before one jot or tittle of God’s law shall fail.

[Luke 16:17]

I say:  –    Jesus is calling you to rest; that is, he is calling you to enter the original

Sabbath rest. God  rested on the seventh day , after he had finished creating

the earth and its inhabitants. Jesus is calling you to enter this blessed state

of quietude and holiness.  He is calling you to rest, spiritually, in the Lord.

If you will put him first, he promises that things  – – food, shelter ,clothing – –

will be added  to you.  [Matt.  6:33]

Jesus is echoing the promise of God in Exodus 33:14

[I will be with you ]  My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.

And in Isaiah 65:24
It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

If you will be dedicated  to Him,  take his yoke upon you and learn of Him.

That is, make the choice to follow him, mimicking his example for living the life that pleases God, accepting the help of the Holy Spirit as you deal with the vicissitudes of your journey.  Plan encounters with him – -whisper brief messages to him [some call this praying], watch to see him working in the everyday affairs of your life and in the activities of those around you,   fellow believers – – even learn from the mistakes of non-believers.

Read, study, learn his words so that you can quote them back to him, for the power to successful living is in the promises in his Word.  God tell us to put him in remembrance  [Isaiah 43:6], and – –

You will have rest – from worry [Philippians 4:6]

You will have rest  –  from confusion   [1 Corinthians 14:33]

You will have rest  –  from anxiety  [Isaiah 26:3]

You will have rest  –  from needless waiting  [Isaiah 65:24]

You will have peace  – – for the peace of God, which passes all understanding will keep – – BOTH – – – your heart AND your mind.  [Philippians 4:6]

In essence, you will have a mind to do right, to live right, and be right according to the Word of God.

YES!  Jesus is calling you and all the people of God to rest in his perfect work of redemption on the cross  [Hebrews 4:9]  While  God’s rest was instituted  on the seventh day of creation,  Jesus’ rest was planned before the foundation of this world. The rest that Jesus invites us to enter is not our rest but his rest which he invites us to share.  Therefore, we can come boldly unto the throne of grace – – not the throne of accusations, judgment, disappointment – – where we will find mercy and grace. [Hebrews 4:16].

I say again:  Jesus is calling you to rest.  What will your answer be?

Let’s pray now that the Holy Spirit will lead you into that rest into which Jesus is inviting us:

Father, we acknowledge your greatness. You are the creator of the universe.  Having finished your creation, you entered into your rest.  Having redeemed us on the cross, Jesus also ceased his own works, just as you did.  And now he is calling us to rest.

Father in the spirit of Hebrews 4:11 – 12  –  – Let us labor to enter that rest.

For your word is living and powerful, and sharper than any two- edged sword,  piercing even unto the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and the marrow, and is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  Also, Father, we pray in the spirit of verse sixteen, let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and grace to help in our time of need.  Dear Lord,we thank you for providing this rest.  Another reason to love you the more!

 Amen

 

Friend,  God bless you on your journey!

2014: Jesus is Calling

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As  I prepare to usher us to the place of our first encounter with Jesus on the second day of this new year, 2014,  I hear the rain falling persistently on my roof.

It reminds me of the spiritual symbolism of water, a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, for  the presence of the third person of the Trinity. Randomly, the rain  makes me concentrate on the availability and involvement of the Holy Trinity in the mundane affairs of my life, of my Christian journey.  I think of God the Father, whose mercies are new every morning, for great is his faithfulness. I think of God the Father, our God of All Comfort.  I think  of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to be our guide, whose purpose is to be our default resource to lead us into all truth and righteousness.  And I think of Jesus, himself.

Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling.  Feel this sentiment of the hymnist Will L. Thompson:

“Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me . . .

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,

Mercies for you and for me”

I think of Jesus, standing  at the door  of our hearts and knocking – – gently- – offering to come in and sup with us [Revelation 3:20].   I think of Jesus, who lamented:   O, Jerusalem/Klara how often would I have gathered you under my wings,  protected you from the vagaries of your life’s journey, but you were otherwise occupied [see Luke 13:34].  How often would I have told you the many things about thriving in this life, on this journey, but you could not receive my encounter.

This steadily persistent , gentle rain reminds me that Jesus is always there/here, in my space, to help me, comfort me, and guide me.  I invite you to say with me:   Lord,  I need not feel that I must face theses coming days alone.  I resolve now to release myself from pre-occupation with questions, fears, apprehensions about  my future this year.  I release my self to trust in Jesus for my provision—in every aspect of my life, every activity, every arrangement, every circumstance.  I will anticipate his favor and expect the Holy Spirit to lead me from one good degree of grace to another.

It is as if the Father is whispering:  I will be found by you [Jeremiah 29:14]  Earlier, God tells the  prophet:  For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, . . . thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not evil, to give you hope in your final outcome [Message, Jeremiah 29:11].

Allow me to Give my personal amplification:

I hear our Father saying,

I, God, KNOW [in my omniscience]

The plans [activities, goals, purpose, experiences, achievements, tests]

I [the plans I have prepared – – not those proffered by your enemies, i.e., –the world, the flesh , the devil]

HAVE [ My plans are already figured out,  signed sealed and waiting to be delivered.

I am not making up these plans as you travel on your life’s journey; these plans are already “in the vault.”  Therefore, you CAN be easy about the vicissitudes of your life.  You CAN count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations, or in the more modern words of the Message about faith under pressure:

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.

Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  . . .

So my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course.

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.

The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.

There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.

He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as

the crown of all  his creatures  [James 1:2-5, 16-18] .

I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU – -for your individual journey, for you specifically. God is  saying to us just as he enlightened the prophet  [Jeremiah 1:7]   about his calling:

Before I formed thee in  the womb, I knew thee,  and before thou calmest forth out of  the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee.

These plans are to prosper YOU  [they will foster your individual growth, YOUR individual well-being]

My plans are are not designed to harm you.  Remember your heavenly Father knows how to give GOOD gifts;  He will not “scam” you by giving you stone for bread [Luke 11:11-13].

The Father says, my plans are customly tailored  for your specific life TO PROSPER YOU.  I want to GIVE you blessings.  Be assured these blessings will overtake you.  They will be grace gifts, unearned but merited – – only because I CHOOSE to bless you with my favor.

I WILL GIVE YOU HOPE. –not mere wishful thinking, but right believing, a confident knowing that I do all things well.

I WILL GIVE YOU a successful end, a future  [you will see my workings on your behalf  in January,  continuing through the year, cascading into a crescendo in December!

Therefore, you can go ahead now and fulfill 1Corinthians  15:58:

Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord!

Confidently, run with patience the race  – – this segment of your life’s journey – -that is set before you [Hebrews 12:1]

Heavenly Father, please help us to trust your faithfulness throughout every month, every week, every day, every minute, every second of this new year. Holy Spirit, you have our permission to lead us into the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Lord Jesus,  as much as we are able, we receive your peace and emulate your love.

Blessed be the Holy Trinity.      Amen

My friends, watch for God’s blessings to be seen as you journey in 2014!

 

Tabula Rasa

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In in this post-Christmas season, anticipation of a new calendar year in which we symbolically turn a page” on our journey /life  may be lackluster.  Feeling this way, some of us  may be anticipating, dreading, longing to quickstart, wanting to skip, the next 365 days.  In this case, I suggest that we walk around in Job 23:10 in order to regain our Godly swagger. Praying in the spirit of this scripture will transport us to a position of power:

       He knows the way that I take;

       when he has tried me,

       I shall come forth as pure gold.

In the recent pre-Christmas season, we focused on the birth of Jesus, i.e., on Joseph and Mary’s stable drama.   After three days’ travel by donkey over mountainous terrain from Nazareth to Jerusalem,  Joseph and his espoused wife, Mary, settled for a space in a stable because they found no room available in the inn.  Apparently, Joseph and Mary’s child was born into the world under circumstances where stable animals were the only available witnesses.  Their stable drama ended joyously with their showing off their new baby to  some shepherds.  Having received the annunciation and then been directed by the angels,  the shepherds  got to the stable- –  actually a cave Joseph and Mary  shared with the animals  – – and saw Baby Jesus.  These first recorded visitors  left to tell the story and spread the good news of the miraculous baby, born to be the Prince of Peace.

Now, I want to tell you “the rest of the story,”  as radio personality, Paul Harvey, would say.

TABULA RASA:  MARY’S MUSINGS about the FUTURE OF HER CHILD

According to Luke 2:12-20, Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  2000 Years later, we know as much of the rest of the story as is recorded in the Bible.  We know what future events will occur in the life of this child.

WE KNOW THAT  –  When this baby is eight days old, he will be circumcised and named Jesus [Luke 2:21].   A few weeks later, his parents will bring him to the temple to present him to the Lord [vv. 22-27].   Two witnesses at his confirmation, Simeon and Anna [vv.  28-30 and 35-37],  will confirm his divinity.

WE KNOW THAT   –  wise men  from the east will bring gifts of gold, frank incense and myrrh [Matthew 2:11].  Myrrh, a special sign of royalty, will be involved on three significant occasions in the life of Jesus.  First, the gift of myrrh at his birth suggests divinity also because this well-known gum resin extraction was used as an ingredient of the holy anointing oil.   The second gift of myrrh will occur when Jesus is suffering on the cross and is offered a  drink of wine mixed with myrrh [Mark 15:22].  Women offered this pain-killing narcotic to prisoners who were crucified.   Jesus will refuse it.  The last incident  will occur when Pilate grants the unusual request of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea for the body of Jesus after his death by crucifixion.  They will provide seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes, customary for royal burials, to embalm Jesus [John19:38-40].

 WE KNOW THAT     – At the age of twelve,  Jesus will be found in temple,  confounding the rabbis  [Luke 2:41-43]

WE KNOW THAT     –     Eighteen silent years will elapse when we can infer his normal progression from childhood into adulthood [Luke 2:52].

WE KNOW THAT     –     Jesus will begin his ministry at the age of thirty.  Between the ages of thirty-one and thirty-three, he will experience a year of inauguration, then a year of  ministry/popularity, and a final year of opposition [The Gospels, passim].

WE KNOW THAT    –   After a passion-filled week,  Jesus will be crucified on an old, rugged cross to accomplish atonement for sin and reconciliation between God and man.  He will bring peace.

Yes, we now know the rest of the story, BUT  Mary could only ponder  in her heart the events surrounding the birth of her first child [Luke 2:19].  She may have renewed her vow of submission to the angel’s annunciation [Luke 1:38].

A MOTHER’S PRAYER FOR HER NEWBORN

LORD,  I thank you for this child whom I cradle before you.  I ponder in my heart as did Mary  about  my child’s future.  Yet you assure me that this baby is fearfully and wonderfully made [Psalm 139:14].

 Teach me how to implant that same assurance in her.

Help me to keep that confidence strong in myself so that I may show  her how you will strengthen her  steps from childhood to tweenhood,  , and  through her doubting teenage years  on into adulthood.

LORD,  please let the unconditional love I lavish on her lead her to trust, then rely on the love of her heavenly Father who will not let her go—NO MATTER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES OR PEOPLE IMPINGE ON HER LIFE.

FATHER,   at the set time, cause/help me to confidently let her begin fulfilling the purpose for which she has been born.  May I have the assurance of Mary:  Whatever she says to you, do it [John2:5].

LORD, please let me me be a reliable/nourishing   asset in her life all her life—a loving, /concerned /supportive mother from this cradle for as long as we live on earth.

Father ,I thank you for your faithfulness.

Amen

God bless you on your journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

S&S Call Encounter Notes: THE Christmas Story

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Today  we focus on THE Christmas story:  The birth of our Lord and Saviour,  Jesus the Christ as recorded in Luke 2:1-8:

And it came to pass in those days,

that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus,

that all the world should be taxed/registered.

And this tax was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

And all went to be registered, everyone into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth,

into Judea,unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem,

(because he was of the house and lineage of David),

To be taxed with Mary,

his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was that , while they were there,

the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes,

and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Where do you go to hear this familiar Christmas  story?  What memories do you have of special “Christmas story time?”  I remember how my family began each Christmas morning at the 5:30 Mother Mary L. Shannon Christmas Sunrise Service at St. James Church.  We had to get up, wake up, and stay up!  We went to church to hear the Christmas story and to say happy birthday to Jesus at the live nativity on the church grounds.  [The scene was a re-enactment based on Luke 2:16]  Baby Jesus came into this world over 2000 years ago to live a perfectly sinless life and die an excruciatingly redemptive death – – for us.

Just as we observe the birth of famous/influential people like presidents, heroes humanitarians, scholars and probably Nelson Mandela the future, Christians around the world have adopted December 25 – -whether historically accurate or not – – as the chosen time to celebrate the birth of Christ – –  the entry of the Son of God into human history.

Think of someone you have met who has become a dominant force in your life:  influencing your thinking, your actions, your desires, your wishes, your likes, your dislikes.  Someone whom you trust unreservedly, who shows you unconditional love and understanding.  Someone who is available to patiently hear your “pity parties,” yet be available and ready – -without your coaxing, pleading  or cajoling – -to help you when you are ready to “quitcherbellyaching.”

I think of a church ritual from my childhood, girlhood and early adulthood when Christians reminded each other of such an encounter in their individual lives.  This monthly/quarterly event was called “testifying meeting” and was especially inspiring at Christmas time.  It was a time of worship when every believer in attendance had the opportunity –which many eagerly used -–to face the congregation and tell her/his “determination.”  That was the high point  of the liturgy for that particular worship service, which consisted of these  four parts:

  1. devotion  –  spiritual songs, lining hymns, prayers – -usually conducted by deacons.

2.   testifying time  –  a.  each person would sing her favorite  song/hymn

b. tell about the specific time when she first

met/encountered Jesus, when he came into her life to

stay

c.  express a “determination” to follow him for the rest of

her life through happy and sad times and to tell others

about the birth of the Savior. Hear the determination in

this song:

While shepherds kept their watching

o’er silent flocks by night,

behold, throughout the heavens

There shone a holy light.

Go, tell it on the mountain,

over the Hill and everywhere,

Go, tell it on the  mountain

that Jesus Christ is born.

                                  d. ask the congregation  to “pray my strength in the Lord, so

                                         that I will hold out and be the among the ones he is calling

                                        for in these last days”

3.  invitation to joiners, a time to encourage others to experience meeting this wonderful Saviour [ For persons were as zealous as were the shepherds at the Annunciation who heard the “First Noel” in Luke 2:8-18.]

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,

keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, an angel of the Lord came upon them,

and the glory of the Lord shone round about them,and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold,

I bring you tidings of great joy,which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,

who is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you:

Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host.

praising God, and saying,  Glory be to God in the Highest,

and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass,

as the angels were gone away from them into heaven,

the shepherds said one to another,

Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see that thing

which has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph

and the babe lying in the manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad

 the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things

which were told them by the shepherds.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” also captures the holy exuberance the shepherds heard:

Hark! the herald angels sing,  “Glory to the new born King;

Peace on Earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”

Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies;

with the angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,

“Glory to the new born King!”

4. benediction  – a blessing upon the congregation, releasing them to

                             proclaim the birth of Jesus the Christ

Now, you and I are modern shepherds who must herald the significance of the birth that generates our enthusiasm for this season.  For us, there is no Christmas without CHRIST.   Let us pray that our heavenly Father will fill us with the Holy Spirit who will, in turn, unloose our stammering tongues to the glory of God so that we may proclaim the significance of the birth of Jesus .

My friend, may God speed you on your journey through this Christmas season and may he redeem the time you spend with and for him!

M e r r y   C H R I S T m a s !

READ   –  LUKE 2:8-18 for this familiar precedent

READ   –  P 115  – “Hark! The herald Angels Sing”  #115

They vowed to “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,”   #122  [verses First]

LET US DO LIKEWISE.

BENEDICTION- A Blessing upon the congregants/poeple

LET US PRAY THAT OUR FATHER WILL FILL US WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

BE  PLEASED AS HE UNLOOSES OUR STAMMERING TONGUES TO  PROCLAIM THE BIRTH OF JESUS THE CHRIST.

May God speed you on your journey through this Xmas season and redeem the time you spend with him!

S&S Call Encounter Notes: THE X – FACTOR

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At this time on our annual cultural calendar, we collectively—secular and Christian alike, — recognize a special season.  For secularists, it is Xmas, i.e.,   a satiating time of astute  commercialism,  hedonic consumerism and gormandizing consumption.

For  Christians, it is  Christmas, i.e.,  Christ – mass:  a designated  time for special worship service –“mass”—to focus upon Christ.    Christians see  great and constant reminders of  “Christ”  in the word  “Xmas” that  appear prominently in media. For Christians, the X, of course, represents Christ. The  “X”  was commonly used  an abbreviation for Christ  because it is the first letter of the Greek spelling of his name : Χριστός.  Repeated use by media of  “Xmas” re-enforces the representation.

Do you have someone in your life to whom you intimately refer by the first letter of his/her name?  Dee, Kay?  Jay-Z ?  This practice suggests an intimacy that soothingly coddles the friendship between you.  It is a direct line /short cut to intimacy with a friend/loved one.  Consider the following Christmas story as a memoir of such an intimacy.

Momma’s Last Christmas

Stricken by a major stroke seven months earlier, Momma lay motionless in her home hospital bed.  She was queenly resplendent in her turquoise silk bed jacket.  Only her mouth and eyes could communicate the strength of her eighty-year old soul.  Her eyes spoke to her nine  year- old granddaughter.  They said:

I love you.  I have lavished my love upon you since your first day on earth because I know I will not see you/ help you grow into the fine young woman that you will become.  That is why I have taught you precious lessons:  how to love your parents, how to love God and rely on him in every THING that happens to you.  Because God has shown me that you will handle money, I have taught you to be my  personal banker, and  had you depositing my social security checks—all by yourself.   The tellers know you and ,  despite your youth, they respect your serious, business-like demeanor.  I have taught you to respect and obey your parents—even though sometimes behind your back I pleaded/argued/threatened for their leniency.   Behind your back, mind you!    Yes, I have spoiled you—lovingly, as is the duty of all  conscientious  grandparents.  After all, I am spoiling you for two, since your granddaddy never got to hold you in his arms before he died.  I love you, baby girl.

Momma’s eyes spoke “Thank you” to her handsome son-in-law who quickly and dutifully responded to her every need—even before her last stroke.  His caring attentiveness made some people opine mistakenly.  “No,”  they said .  “She must be HIS mother because she sits in the FRONT seat beside him in the car.  No mother-in-law would have that honored seat while the wife sat in the back seat of the car.  No way!  She’s HIS mother, not the wife’s!”  Her eyes said to him:  You are such a good son.  I could not love you more if you were my natural son. I thank God for your presence in my waning years.  I am satisfied that you will protect/provide for my daughter and my granddaughter with your very own life.

Her eyes said to her dear daughter:  I don’t want to leave you, but my Father is just about ready for me to come home.  The glimpse I have of my new home is beautiful.  Soon I must go, and I will cheer you on your journey to meet me there.  We will be together again, never to part.  I will be leaving you very soon, but my love will remain and will sustain you for as long as you live.  What I have told you will not fade from your memory, and it will help you as you face the challenges of life.  I will always love you wherever I am, even when I go to be with my Father.

Momma’s last Christmas was filled with song.  Although her mouth could not speak to us, not even to her beloved granddaughter, she sang extemporaneously with a seemingly phantom choir.  Her voice was angelic:  liltingly loud.  “Come quickly, Momma’s singing!” someone would  say.  Members of her church family, whom she had mentored so spiritually, called intermittently hoping, requesting that the telephone be placed near her bed,   just to hear her singing.

One precious family memory is that of the St. James Church Christmas Carolers who came to her home to sing for her.  The family was used to going caroling with the group:  for shut-ins, at nursing homes, at designated locations in the community.  This time the carolers came to the family’s house, gathered outside Momma’s raised front bedroom window and serenaded her through the screen.  She heard them, and her eyes smiled as they sang familiar tunes.  A playlist of Momma’s favorite songs keeps the memory fresh.  Psalm 34 reflects Momma’s Testimony.

Hear her voice:

I bless God every chance I get;

my lungs expand with his praise.

I live and breathe God;

if  things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy.

join me in spreading the news,

together   let’s get the word out.

God met me more than halfway,

he freed me from my anxious fears.

Look at him; give him your warmest smile.

never   hide your feelings from him.

When I was desperate, I called out,

and God got me out of a tight spot.

God’s angel sets up a circle

of   protection around us while we pray.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – –

how   good  God  is.

 Blessed are you who run to him.

Worship God if you want the best,

Worship opens doors to all his goodness.

Young lions on the prowl get hungry,

But God- seekers are full of God.

Come,   children,  listen closely;

I’ll give you a lesson in God-worship.

Who out there has a lust for life?

Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

Guard your tongue from profanity,

and  no more lying through your teeth.

Turn your back on sin; do something good.

Embrace peace – -don’t let it get away!

God keeps an eye on his friends,

his ears pick up every moan and groan.

God won’t put up with rebels;

he’ll  cull them from the pack.

Is anyone crying for help?  God is listening,

ready   to rescue you.

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;

if  you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Disciples so often get into trouble;

still,  God is there every time.

He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;

not even a finger gets broken.

 The wicked commit slow suicide;

they waste their lives hating the good.

God pays for each slave’s freedom;

no one who runs to him loses out.

– – Message

 

S&S Call Encounter Notes: FRIENDS

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Who are your friends?  Do you actually like them?  Do you even love them sometimes?   The Bible says we should love them at all times.  [Proverbs 17:17]  You and I are friends;  we are a special kind of friends.  We are the kind of friends that Jesus talks about, those who keep his commandments.  [John15:14]  What is his basic commandment in this context:  that we love one another as he has loved us.  [John15:12]  Remember, he gave his life for us- -the ultimate sacrifice!  In fact, in Jesus says there is no greater love than this:  that a person would give up her life for her friend.  [John 15:13]   Loving as Jesus loved- -putting your life on the line for your friends – – is the best way to love.  Although this kind of love probably will  not demand your physical life, it may demand, at various inopportune times, your talent, your time , and your treasure.  Nevertheless,  friends are unselfish; they help each other.

A friend who is strong in a certain area helps her friend who is weak — in that same area– to bear her infirmities, her burdens.  [Romans 15:1]  More poignantly, a “strong” friend discerns when a “weak” friend needs some “coming alongside” strength.  There is nothing wrong with being especially discerning about the welfare of a friend.  Apostle Paul encourages friends, as we have opportunity, to do good to all persons, especially those who are of the household of faith.  [Galatians 6:10]  According to another version of the same scripture:  Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people who are closest to us in the community of faith.  [Message]  In my own words,  As we have opportunity, as it comes to our attention, let us care for/do good unto those who are our acquaintances, especially those who travel with us on this journey, those who are believers.  The Amplified   version says it best: 

So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do

good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable

to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and

advantage].  Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of

the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with

you, the believers].

As, friends, we are sometimes strong and sometimes weak, but we are not all strong or all weak at the same time.

From this background, may I solicit your personal intercession for some friends who are weak right now?  They are “going through some thing” and they need some “come alongside” strength.  I present to you these groups of our friends:

Group #1   –  A mother and father whose exhilarated happiness upon the

birth of their first child has been tempered by learning that

their infant son faces severe developmental issues

Group #2    –  A family concerned for a seasoned educator and local doyen

who lost her house and all of its contents because of a

kitchen fire.  She was unharmed, physically.

Group #3   –   Two young entrepreneurs, each of whom has stepped out on

her faith and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to start

her own business

Group #4    –   Two friends, each working while waiting for God to move

definitively as they consider/make their career/life choices

Group #5    –   Three friends who are dealing with family issues regarding

the health and the death of treasured loved ones

Group #6    =   Friends who are dealing with addictions

[Addiction  –  any thing/ person/ activity that takes our

time,  attention, and talent away from the things of God]

Praise God for your intercession and his faithfulness!

As you walk with the Lord today,  be  a  friend !

S&S Call Encounter Notes: PRAYER

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Are you a pray-er?
Wonder Woman had her power stance.
Are you in a continuous posture of prayer? Try it! It’ll energize your life.

Prayer   is talking with  God;  it is not talking  to God.

Talking with God is a conversation that involves  two persons.

Talking with God involves two-way communication.

Talking with God involves speaking and hearing.

Talking with God involves saying what you have to say as well as

          hearing/listening to/responding to what God has to say.

Sample responses  –  listening, emotion [weeping, smiling], awe/sanctified silence, praise

                                       action [forgiving someone, feeding/responding to the needy,

                                       starting a movement]

Consider these excerpts from Unger’s Bible Dictionary:  Prayer is

  • “the heart’s converse with God”

  • “close communion with God”

  • “submission to the will of God”

Remember Luke 18:1    –     Wo/man ought to always pray, and not faint.  Then consider, further, these excerpts from  the definition in the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.  Prayer is

  • “dialogue between God and his people, especially his covenant people”

  • “dialogue is essential to prayer”

Prayer is often talking to God for/about yourself , your condition.  Whether you are burdened, carrying baggage or just weary,  God invites you to allow him to relieve you.    Listen to the Word:

             Cast all your anxiety upon him because he cares for you.      1 Peter 5:7  Message

Prayer is often talking to God for/about others, their condition. Scripture admonishes us that we, then [having gotten rid of our own impediments], that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.   [Romans 15:1]  Now from your position of strength, advocate for your weaker sister or brother.   In this regard, two of our Encounter Call friends need your intercession.  Woman #1 is undergoing the health challenges surrounding major surgery.  Intercede / pray for her in the spirit of Isaiah 53:5  [ . . .  by his stripes we are healed].   Woman #2  is dealing with the death and funeral of the dearly precious matriarch of her family.  In the spirit of  2 Corinthians 1:3,  pray for her  and her family.

***Poem in Honor of A Sainted Believer Who Died in the Lord***

THE WORD OF MY HEART

Margy Rauls

When my  situation is so

That the words of my mouth can no longer flow,

When my life is ebbing away,

My heart—alone—will have something to say.

My heart—alone—will be able to articulate,

Express my desires, and communicate.

My heart will always say, “Jesus”—

And Jehovah Jireh will intercede,

Taking care of me and my every need.

My heart will always say, “Jesus”—

And Jehovah Shalom will bring peace to me,

Allaying my fears and setting me free.

My heart will always say “Jesus”—and

El Roi’s arms will hold me tight.

El Shaddai will nourish me throughout my night.

Jehovah Rophe will bring his healing power

And Jehovah Makeddesh will wash me in his sanctified shower.

My lips need not form a word,

As long as the Word of my heart is heard.  My Deliverer will set my affairs straight,

And my Shepherd—Jehovah Rohi—will guide me through the heavenly gate.

May God  lead you to someone  you can pray for as you journey!

S&S Call Encounter Notes: On HEARING

ear-listening

WHAT’S  IN YOUR EAR?

Some people make things happen.  They deliberately arrange situations, persons and things to achieve  a desirable result.  Are you hearing what you have deliberately chosen to hear?

Other people let things happen.   They are either critically inattentive to  what they are hearing or they decide to receive/allow it unchallenged into their consciousness.  Are you merely  hearing  “white noise”?

The last group of people “don’t even know” what is happening!  They are consciously as well as subconsciously oblivious to any noise at all.   Are you unaware of subliminal messages and their effect upon your consciousness?

WHAT’S IN YOUR SPIRITUAL EAR?

Four times in Revelation, Jesus Christ issues the imperative:  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  Is he talking to you?  Yes, he is!  Scripture refers, metaphorically, to each believer as a temple/ a church.  Consider

I Corinthians 3:16:  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,  and that the Spirit dwelleth in you?  Also 1 Corinthians 6:19:  Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? [Message]  Even more convincingly,  Jesus, himself, tells us in John 6:63 that:  The words I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.  He even politely asks to converse with you, for in Revelation3: 20,  he says:  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man [a] hear my voice and [b] open the door,  I [c] will come in, and [d] will sup with him, and he with me.

Can you arrange your schedule so that you will be available and attentive to hear the  words of Jesus as you sup/dine with him?  He states in John 6:34;  I am the bread of life.  Both Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:11 imply  that the bread is available daily.  You can be assured that you will receive the amount and kind of bread each day to carry you through the circumstances/situation of that day.  For example, if you need to feel loved, hear the words of John 3:16:  For God so loved [put your name here] that he gave his only begotten son.  Or if you are feeling discouraged, encourage yourself as did David at Ziklag. [1 Samuel 30:6]   Or if you are facing dire adversity, walk around in the book of Psalms substituting your particular issue for the word  trouble [sample footings are  Psalms 9:9,   25:17,   27:5,  46:1,  119: 143-4]   Or if you need healing  [Isaiah 55:3,  Exodus 15:26,  1 Peter  2:24]  Or if you want to share your rejoicing  [Philippians 4:4,  Luke 15:6,9]

YOUR RESPONSE TO SPIRITUAL HEARING

I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth;

I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches.   I ponder every morsel of wisdom form you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it.

I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.

                                        —Psalms 119:13-16, Message

May you daily and deliberately put God’s word in your ear so that you can hear it and use it as needed to the glory of God.