Did You Know?

Seven men and no women have been

executed in the United States in 2017.

The Bible passage for prayer, meditation, and reflection for the week of November 8-14, 2015, is 1 Peter 4:1-5.  As you read this passage, keep in mind that the author, Peter, witnessed Jesus’ life and His suffering.

 

So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills. For the time that is past already suffices for doing what the Gentiles like to do—living [as you have done] in shameless, insolent wantonness, in lustful desires, drunkenness, reveling, drinking bouts and abominable, lawless idolatries. They are astonished and think it very queer that you do not now run hand in hand with them in the same excesses of dissipation, and they abuse [you]. But they will have to give an account to Him Who is ready to judge and pass sentence on the living and the dead.  (1 Peter 4:1-5, AMP)

 

Are you sure this was written by Peter nearly 2,000 years ago?!  Are you sure?!  Peter’s words are just as applicable today as they were then.  As a fairly recent college graduate, Peter seems to be describing the college scene perfectly.  Unfortunately such behavior is not limited to colleges.  Many continue such behavior once graduated.  Christian ideas and values are smirked at and called old-fashioned, but we are not to concern ourselves with what other’s think.  We need only consider the Lord.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your life.  With what is it filled?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of November 1-7, 2015, is Psalm 129:1-4.  Psalm 129 is a song of ascent, sung on the way to Jerusalem, where the Israelites would celebrate and feast before the Lord.  On their journey to Jerusalem, they are reminded of their struggles and trials, and how they overcame them.

 

Many a time and much have they afflicted me from my youth up—let Israel now say—Many a time and much have they afflicted me from my youth up, yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows. The Lord is [uncompromisingly] righteous; He has cut asunder the thick cords by which the wicked [enslaved us].  (Psalm 129:1-4, AMP)

 

Like the author of this psalm, we have all experienced times of trial and affliction.  We have all been beaten down, yet we must also rise, remembering that the Lord is always with us.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider the trials you have faced.  How have you succeeded?  What trials are you facing now?  How can the Lord help?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 25-31, 2015, is James 4:1-3.  James, rather bluntly, shows the problem many of us have with our pray life.  We cling to the promise that all our prayers will be answered, yet we are not satisfied until they are answered in the way that we want them to be answered.

 

What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.  (James 4:1-3, AMP)

 

We have become a generation who expects to get what we want, when we want, simply because we want.  But that is not God’s way.  Sometimes, God requires that we wait for Him to answer our pray in the way that we want, and, sometimes, God will not give us the answer we want.  Our example for prayer should come from Jesus.  Jesus did not want to die on the cross.  He asked that the burden be lifted from Him, however, He also acknowledged that God’s will, not His, should be done.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your daily prayer life.  For what are you praying?  God’s will or yours?

The Bible passage for mediation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 18-24, 2015, is Deuteronomy 6:4-8.  The Israelites are preparing to enter into the Promised Land, but Moses will not be going with them.  This week’s passage is part of his final instructions to the Israelites.

 

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then] you shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes.  (Deuteronomy 6:4-8, AMP)

  

What is the greatest commandment?  When asked this question, Jesus referred back to this passage.  Some things never change!  This passage should be written on your heart, engraved in your life, saturated in your actions.  Loving the Lord with all your heart and mind.  Nothing is more important.  We are to share this love with our children, our family, our friends, our coworkers, and our enemies.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s passage, consider how your love for the Lord affects your daily life.  What changes do you need to make?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of October 11-17, 2015, is Hebrews 11:1-13.  This week’s passage deals with faith.  You will notice the frequent use of the word.  In the book of Hebrews, the word “faith” is used more times than in any other New Testament book, except Romans.

 

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

For by [faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.

 

By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.

 

[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking.

 

Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.

 

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].

 

[Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world’s unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness (that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith).

 

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.

 

[Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise.

 

For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.

Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.

 

So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore.

 

These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. (Hebrews 11:1-13, AMP)

  

How many times is the word “faith” used in this passage?  Go on!  Count!  Christians today are often ridiculed for their faith in an unseen God, but this is nothing new.  Individuals have been ridiculed for their faith for thousands of years!  It is not likely to change until Jesus returns to this earth.  Do you ever pause to consider the faith required of the individuals mentioned in this passage.  We know their stories, their outcomes, so their faith may not seem great, but place yourself in their position.  Like you now, they did not know how their story would end, how they would be remembered.  They made mistakes, mistakes which they probably wished the entire world would not know.  But we do know.  We can take comfort in their faith and in their mistakes.  They too struggled with their faith, but we remember them because they pushed on and kept their faith.  As you mediate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider your own faith.  How do you show it to the world around you?  How can your faith motivate those around you?

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