The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17
Have you or someone you know ever asked the question, “Does God know I exist?” In other words, “Does He know what I’m going through right now?” or “With all the things God has to keep up with, how important am I in the scheme of things?”
The Bible says first of all that God created you, breathed His life into you, and you are of sacred worth to Him. (See Genesis 1:27 and Psalm 139:13-14). The Bible also says that because of SIN, you and I were born separated from God and in need of spiritual regeneration that only God can provide through His Son Jesus Christ. (See John 3:16 and Romans 3:23, 6:23).
Today’s verse was written to the Jews of Judah around 625 B.C. in which the prophet Zephaniah is speaking of God’s promise of a future blessing for the Jews after the Second Coming of Christ back to the earth. We haven’t even scratched the surface in this blog, but if today as someone unsaved or saved by the blood of the cross. Ask God to speak these verses to your heart, so that you can see how important YOU are to Him! And if you have never invited Jesus into your heart as Savior and Lord, you can do that today. “Dear Jesus, I believe that you died on a cross and rose from the dead for me. I receive you right now, as Savior. Come into my heart and make my life what you want it to be. Thank you Lord for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” And be sure and let someone know the decision you made for Jesus.
Does God care about me? “…He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17. Yes, He cares for you! He has done everything out of love in order to have a personal relationship with you!
Handle with Prayer
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. Acts 3:1
Over the years, I couldn’t begin to tell you the number of times I have seen packages marked, “Handle with Care” positioned at various locations whether it be at the post office at Christmas time or a UPS package delivered to my front door. Interestingly, I have a prized possession hanging in my office at the church which reminds me of God’s care for his fragile creation.
It is a little banner-like strip of tapestry about three feet long embroidered with flowers set against a light greet background featuring these words: “Life is Fragile, Handle with Prayer.” And positioned strategically at the bottom of the tapestry is a little bird’s nest housing 3 white eggs in perfect condition.
In Peter and John’s day, “the ninth hour of prayer” was 3 p.m. in the afternoon and associated with the evening sacrifice held at the temple. My friend, life is fragile. We all watched closely as Hurricane Matthew hugged the eastern coast of the United States this past weekend. Do you have a time and place to pray? God eagerly waits to hear from you.
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! that calls me from a world of care, and bids me at my Father’s throne make all my wants and wishes known. In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief, and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy return, sweet hour of prayer! (William Walford, 1845).
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. Paul, Colossians 4:2
Prayer in the Face of a Crisis
But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its window opened toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10
When given the Book of Daniel, most likely the episode with the Lion’s Den (Chapter Six), or Daniel’s three friend’s deliverance from the fiery furnace (Chapter Three), will surface as a point of conversation. In either case you have: (1) a certain crisis at hand, (2) a defining moment in which a decision must be made, and (3) a call to pray!
Historically, Darius the Mede had been tricked by a group of administrators who were jealous of Daniel’s rise to power in the king’s court, into signing a law condemning anyone who prayed to any god or any person other than Darius to the lion’s den! But notice what Daniel did. He didn’t panic although I’m sure he was frightened by in the face of impending danger. He did what he had been doing the many, many years ago when he had first been exiled to Babylon (now controlled by the Medes) under King Nebuchadnezzar, He turned his face toward Jerusalem, and He prayed.
And you know the rest of the story! He was delivered from the mouths of the lions (who by the way weren’t old and wearing dentures, but real and ravenous), by the hand of the Lord!
Are you standing before a lion’s den? Will you complain, compromise, or will you trust God all the way?
A Wood Pile Conversion!
They only heard the report: ‘The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they praised God because of me. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, 1:23-24
My mother’s brother, my Uncle Jerry, tells of man he knew of personally when he was a little boy, who used to stand upon a woodpile outside a Northeastern Alabama town and publicly make fun or preachers. The interesting thing is that Uncle Jerry said that same man fell off the wood pile one day in the midst of his mockery, and when he arose, he began preaching, and ever since that day, he preached the gospel of Christ to anyone and everyone who would listen to him!
WOW! Hard to believe isn’t it? But think of Saul to whom the Holy Spirit inspired to pen three-quarters of the New Testament! The one who God had to get his attention by knocking him off his horse via the resplendency of the risen Christ as he traveled the road to Damascus in order to capture and bind Christians so as to bring them to Jerusalem and put them to death! Read the Galatian Scripture listed above once again!
Whether a wood pile conversion or something on the softer side; the good news is that God loves you and has a plan for your life, and He will do whatever it takes to get your attention if you are only willing to have a heart open to His love waiting for you at the cross of His Son, Jesus Christ! And note that Paul the Christian’s desire was that God would be glorified through his conversion!
If you feel there is no hope for you or you’ve sinned a sin so terrible God could never possibly forgive you, check out the life of Saul who became known as Paul in the Scriptures, and invite the Holy Spirit to transform your life by The Great Transformer, Jesus Christ! (See Acts 9:1-22; Galatians 1:11-24).
A Very Thankful Pastor Louie
Call the Doctor!
And it happened that as He was reclining at the table in the house, behold many tax-gatherers and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, ‘Why is your Teacher eating with tax-gatherers and sinners?’ But when He heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy that need a physician, but those who are sick.’ Matthew 9:10-12
My mother was never one who loved to bake, especially cakes. But one day one of her friends said to her, ‘Jeanine, I have something for you called “The Never Fail Cake Icing Recipe” which is sure to be a success.’ Well, one Saturday afternoon in 1976, mom poured the recipe onto a chocolate cake which she had placed on one of those vintage cake pedestals, but most of the icing proceeded to immediately run off the top of the cake and onto the kitchen table below, to the point that mother had to chisel it off! Immediately she put a cake cover over the poor little cake and placed it on the kitchen stove. Then she walked into the den to watch the Yankees play ball!
Well, as one would have it, in the meantime, a dear nervous neighbor one street over, thought she saw smoke coming out of our front windows and called the fire chief who was a friend of my parents. I was in the back of the house studying for a test I was to take at the Jr. College I was attending, when all-of-the sudden I heard two fire trucks pulling in the front yard. Mom and I came to the door and let the fire chief and a couple of firemen into the house to only discover there was no fire! As they were leaving, mom felt so bad they had come for nothing that she said to Guy Campbell the Fire Chief, “Guy, would you and your men like a piece of cake?” And he said, “We sure would!” But when she slid the cover off, Guy said, “Jeanine, Skeeter (my dad) doesn’t need a fire department, he needs a doctor!”
Do you need the Great Physician? Jesus came to seek the sick and the lost? If you haven’t already, would you trust Him today to cure you of your Sin disease by His precious blood, and make you right with the Father now and forever? Jesus loves you! (See I John 4:14-15). Pastor Louie