Archives For God

The Power of Perseverance

October 21, 2013

Here is another great guest post by Dr. Ed Hird:

Winston Churchill is famous for his advice during the Battle of Britain: “Never, ever, ever give up. Never give up. Never give up.”  It is so easy to let setbacks set us back, to let disappointments discourage us.  We can lose our first love, our original passion, our vision and focus.

Perseverance is the key to breakthrough in our lives, our marriages, our families and our work.  Without perseverance, we don’t finish well, we don’t fight the good fight, we don’t keep the faith.  The Good Shepherd once told a story in Luke 18:1-8 about a widow who was being exploited by a corrupt judge.  Widows have historically been some of the most powerless people, lacking protection and financial resources.  In some countries around the world, widows were even burned alive (Sati) on their husband’s funeral pyre.   This widow had no bribe to pay off the judge, so instead she wore him out with her pleading.

The Good Shepherd Jesus commended this persevering widow, and encouraged us to be preserving, especially in our prayer lives, never giving up.  Why are many people tempted to give up in their prayer lives? Sometimes the answers to our prayers often seem to take too long. Sometimes God says slow, or grow, or even no.   When there is great grief in our lives, our prayer lives can take a hit.  Our experience of tragedy can embitter us, and rob us of hope.  Jesus commended the persevering widow as a model for all of us.  God wants us to persevere.

Andrew Murray, a famous 19th Century South African write, once said “Of all the mysteries of the prayer world, the need for persevering prayer is one of the greatest.”  A Facebook friend of mine, Matthew Lee Smith, sent me this note: “This Sunday, preach like Jesus is coming Monday! I am praying for you right now my friend!”  I am so encouraged when I know that people are praying for me. People can gossip about you, or they can pray for you.  It is a radical choice.  It is so easy to get discouraged and cut back in our praying for certain people. We may not even want to think about them, let alone pray for them.  It’s too painful.  God wants us to persevere.

Jesus was a man of prayer. The closer Jesus came to the cross, the more he prayed. Jesus prayed like no one else did.  He ever got a prayer named after him: The Lord’s Prayer.   This is a challenging time to be a Christian, to attend Church, to be a worshiper. Without prayer, we will get taken out, distracted, knocked off course.  If you are discouraged, pray. If you have lost heart, pray. If you don’t know the way forward, pray.  Prayer is the way forward. God always makes a way when it seems that there is no way forward.

God loves to keep his promises.  He loves to answer prayer.  Prayer is about leaning on the everlasting arms.  It is about trusting that He’s got the whole world in his hands, his faithfulness is great, and all that I have needed his hand has provided.  Prayer is about practicing God’s presence.  Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. He loves us with an everlasting love.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we will learn from the persevering widow to never give up, to always persist, and to always keep on praying.

(Please give your comments below to this article – Zach)

Hello and welcome back!

It’s good to see you again, however, I would prefer better circumstances!

I am writing this post during my second day in ICU at Lincoln County Medical Center (LCMC) in Ruidoso, New Mexico.  I was stricken by what appeared to be a heart attack and later on found to be an Ileus (intestinal obstruction) and possible internal bleeding.

Heart attack or intestinal obstruction and internal bleeding?  Hmmm, let me think.

I think I will choose bowel obstruction and internal bleeding, thank you very much! 🙂

I apologize for being away from posting for so long, but daily duties of ministry have kept me inordinately busy. Now that I am resting comfortably (finally!) here in the hospital on my vacation, I am on my trusty iPad again! I must say, winding up in the hospital this past Sunday morning at 8:30 was unexpected to say the least!

What happened?

It started with a disoriented feeling, followed by an intense and increasing dull pain behind my breast bone.  In a few seconds, the pain had moved a little lower and I began to sweat profusely (more like I had just climbed out of a swimming pool dressed in my suit!). Then, the nausea hit like a ton of bricks from a two story building! When I arrived at the hospital, the doctor took the proper precautions for a heart attack.

After many tests and xrays, it was discovered not the be heart involvement but, rather, an intestinal blockage.  Thankfully it wasn’t a heart attack but an intestinal obstruction – so they have been treating me for that.

Enter, the fever.

After all seemed to be going well, I was found to be experiencing a low grade fever that managed to become middle grade within a few hours.  This led to more blood test which turned up a problem with my blood.  I was losing it! My blood volume had dropped significantly in a short period of time.  Tests did not reveal any occult blood so the mystery continues this Tuesday, June 4th, 2013.

My third day in hospital continuing, I am asking for prayer from my readers that the doctors discover the cause and repair it unless God decides to handle it supernaturally, as we all know He can do! At this point, it would be foolish to presume and say that I will be posting on topic soon, so I will just say, “If it’s Almighty God’s will, I shall be posting on topic soon!”

I , God willing, am looking forward to sharing many posts and spiritual edifications for years to come. As I was lying here in bed last night and the nurse had just finished drawing another series of blood draws, I formulated the title for this post and prepared a brief outline.

Below, are three main things a Christian needs to do when the unexpected happens:

1.  TURN TO GOD IN PRAYER – Don’t forget to praise Him and worship Him.  It is so easy to slip into the me,me,me asking for things and forgetting that we were created for the express purpose of worshiping and praising our God.

2.  BE A POSITIVE WITNESS – Remember who you belong to and who you are representing.  Be the reflection of Jesus the Christ.  Regardless of your unexpected situation, you represent the King of Kings, The Lord of Lords!  He is in total control so reflect His image and show a lost world your complete faith and complete confidence in His work on the cross and His promises!

3.  BE CONCERNED FOR OTHERS OVER YOURSELF – remember to care about and pray unceasingly for others.  When we put others above ourselves, we are truly walking closer in our relationship to Jesus!

Here’s thanking you all in advance for your prayers!

God willing, until next time!

Zach

Question:  Are you putting the needs of others above yourself?

How to Poison a Disciple!

March 14, 2013

Hello!

I don’t know about you, but I often ponder the mystery of eternal life with Jesus.  I remember when I was young; I had different visuals in my mind’s eye than I do now.  Over the years, I have come to understand the deeper meaning of our permanent, eternal home with Christ and Father God.

What used to appear to be a place longed for by the dying and despondent has now been clarified in my mind to represent the place that true Christians long for regardless of age or how great life on earth is going for them or not.

In other words, I mean that this has been our destination ever since the journey began at creation back in the Garden!  The end goal has always been to arrive at the end of our earthly sojourn to eternal life in the paradise that heaven is and that was promised by Christ himself.

Let’s take a trip!  No, not a journey by automobile or plane!  Let’s take a journey in our minds and discover what it is we, as Christians, need to realize: regardless of what takes place around us in this life.  Are you ready?  Let’s go!

The Portrait of True Discipleship

Here we are!  We have safely arrived in the Garden where it all started for mankind (us).  There is Adam and Eve over there.  Wow!  What a time to arrive!  Eve just wandered off and Adam is following her.  What is she doing?  She is talking with someone!   No, not someone but some-THING!  What is it?  Oh my, it’s a snake — a talking snake!  Let’s sneak up behind that bush there and see if we can hear what they are talking about:

“You will be as smart as God and He just can’t stand the thought of that!”

“Whaaaat!” giggled the snake, “God told you what?”  He then rolled his eyes and let out a belly laugh, “If you believe that, let me sell you a bridge in the far, distant future for a song!” he replied and began to coil slowly down the tree trunk and onto the ground.

“What we got here, missy, is a lack of communication!” he exclaimed with glee as he ran his forked tongue in and out of his mouth with a flicking motion.  “Psssssst,” he whispered to Eve.   Becoming wary,  she slowly approached the Serpent.

“What do you want?” Eve questioned in response to the Serpent’s attempt to gain her attention.  “God told me not to talk to strangers,” she informed.

“Hey!” the Serpent replied.  “I’m no stranger!” he bleated in false anger, “I have been around here longer than you!”

“Oh, Eve responded,” then she offered, “Ok, then what is it you want?”

“Wellll,” the snake replied, “It’s not really about what I want — it’s all about what God wants!  He knows that if you eat of that tree over there you will not surely die but will obtain the knowledge of God and will become a God yourself!” he gleefully shrieked as his eyes darted back and forth, making sure that God was not already walking in the cool of the evening.

“You will be as smart as God and He just can’t stand the thought of that!” he happily informed the confused Eve.  “Go ahead, trust me, why would I lie about something as fantastic as that!” he stated with a look of innocence on his evil countenance.

“Well, God told us not to even touch it, that we would surely die!” she responded, “was he just telling me that to keep me from being smart?” Eve said, looking around at the tree that stood there in the middle of the Garden.

“Exactly!”  Satan said, coming towards her, herding her towards the tree, “Go ahead, eat — become a god!” Satan glowers, offering the poison of deceit.

Eve reaches out, grasps the fruit in her hand, and… (continued)

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION: IF YOU KNOW HOW THIS SCENE TURNS OUT—THAT’S GOOD—THAT’S VERY, VERY GOOD!    IF YOU WERE IN EVE’S PLACE, WOULD YOU HAVE DISOBEYED GOD’S COMMAND?