A Prayer About Faith

Dear Heavenly Father

Your word in Hebrews 11:1 tell us that: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

And while I have seen the faith of my Grandmother move mountains, my faith despite seminar training, preaching and reading of the word remains complex.

Dear Heavenly Father

My faith takes many forms, from church practice to personal spirituality to honest questioning, to struggle, and even doubt.  Sin is a constant companion to my faith urging me to return to a lifestyle where lustful desires are the norm, lying is acceptable and selfless acts are tolerated.

Dear Heavenly Father

As I navigate this world I humbly ask that you would

  • Strengthen my faith and keep me away from sin
  • Inform my faith with a deeper understanding of your Word
  • Use my faith to do your will not mine to reach the saved and the lost

Dear Heavenly Father

Your servant Martin Luther King, Jr. said this about faith: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”   Father today:

  • I don’t see the whole staircase about my mother’s health… but I walking up anyway because I have faith
  • I don’t see the whole staircase about paying for seminar while paying the bills…. but I walking up anyway because I have faith
  • I don’t see the whole staircase about the presidential election… but I walking up anyway because I have faith

Dear Heavenly Father

This time spent with you in prayer has helped me realize that I do not have to understand my faith.  All I must do is to have it and you Lord will bring the understanding by and by.

Dear Heavenly Father

Thank you for this time with you today.  I hope that the words of my private prayer to you bring some meaning to the public that might read it today.

And it is in Jesus name that I pray… Amen, Amen and Amen

 

 

 

CARINGFULNESSLESS

Caringfulnessless. Of course, there is no such word!

However, one January morning, when I woke up, that word was envisioned in my spirit. I had absolutely no idea what it meant; yet, I couldn’t erase it from my mind. So I did what I do best. I begin to analyze and research.

I broke the word that had been placed into my spirit in parts; hoping to gain understanding of what was happening. I knew God was trying to tell me something. So, I analyzed and researched every element of the word “Care”.

The word “Care” simply mean to have a concern or interest about something or someone. The feeling can be affectionate; …I care deeply for my husband, wife or friend. It can also be used to explain our actions; …I care for my ailing mother, sister or aunt.

The immediate scripture that came to mind was Philippians 4:6; “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” KJV

I continued on to the next word, “Careful”. God does not want His people to make mistakes. However, should we allow hesitation to prevent us from moving when God say move? When we are careful we exhibit cautious, watchful or protective behavior. What are we protecting? God is always there for us. We serve a God that cannot fail or lie.

The next word was “Carelessness”. Can a sold out Christian display carelessness? Yes, we can! Carelessness is identified as having a lack of awareness that may cause unintentional and undesirable results. Perhaps, that is why there are so many people in the church that are hurting. They haven’t let go of their past mistakes; even though God has forgiven them. In Matthew 11:28 KJV the Word says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We no longer have to worry. We have Jesus!

Philippians 4: 4-11 KJV

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

You see, the night before, I went to bed feeling frustrated. I felt overworked, used and forgotten. Even when I woke up in the middle of the night, I continued to feel sorry for myself; and before drifting off to sleep again, I thought “Lord, I am your child. I am tired. Why, Lord?” Yes, I was having a good old fashioned pity party, with streamers and all.

How many of you know that God knows our every thought? Psalm 139:2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” God heard and knew it all. He let me return to sleep. However, He was waiting for me in the morning. He rebuked me with my own little mystery word; and had me search myself. The greater rebuke was in verse 8 of Philippians. Basically, He told me to get over myself. The Lord spoke to me that morning and reprimanded me for my selfishness.

God’s people should care! We need to be concerned about our brothers, sisters, neighbors and enemies too. We should be careful for nothing; when we are providing God’s service. God is not selfish with His love for us. Therefore, we have to cast our personal cares aside and just obey His Word and do His work. Caringfulnessless – – -God is Sovereign!

Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times.” Even when my flesh flares and make me think it is about me.

Brenda J. Moore lives in Connecticut; and she is the Youth Pastor at Ebenezer Holy Temple, Inc., in Hartford. She is also the founder of Faith, Joy & Peace Ministries. “I believe my purpose is to heal through teaching.” Brenda has a heart for the community and is currently developing social programs for families with special attention towards women and children.

Mercy, Mercy, Me

Jesus teaches us the most important commandment; in this exchange in Luke 10: 25-28.

One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

The teaching continues in verse 29 as “The religious law expert wanted to justify his actions. So he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Jesus responds with one of his most beloved parables, the story of the Good Samaritan Luke 10: 30-37

In the parable Jesus spoke of a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers attacked him, took his possessions and clothes, beat him, and left him half dead.

A priest came down the road; saw the injured man, and passed by him on the other side. A Levite passing by did the same.

A Samaritan, from a race hated by the Jews, saw the hurt man and had compassion on him. He poured oil and wine on his wounds. He bound them up; then, put the man on his donkey. The Samaritan took him to an inn and cared for him.

The next morning, the Samaritan gave two denarii to the innkeeper for the man’s care and promised to repay him on his way back for any other expenses.

Jesus then asked the expert in religious law which of the three men had been a neighbor. The expert answered that the man who showed mercy was a neighbor.

Then, Jesus told him, “Now go out and do the same”.

In this parable Jesus is telling us that showing mercy to each other is the key to obeying the commandment of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

What is Mercy? 

Mercy is defined as “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion; withholding of the punishment or judgment our sins deserve.”

Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:29 “No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it”. Living Bible (TLB). And in our loving care for ourselves we show ourselves mercy. We withhold for ourselves the punishment and judgment that our sins deserve. In other words in showing mercy we are simply cutting ourselves a “break.”

Therefore, as we extend mercy to ourselves we must heed the commandment of Jesus and “go out and do the same” by extending mercy to others.

Extending Mercy Is Difficult

Without question extending mercy to others can be difficult; especially to those who have done us wrong or to people we have deemed does not deserve it. However, we are commanded by God to “go out and do the same” by extending mercy to others.

If you are like me and giving mercy is difficult; the Reverend Martin G. Collins in his sermon Mercy and Justice provides five excellent reasons for us to be merciful.

  1. Our sins are great.
  2. God abundantly forgives.
  3. The offenses committed against us by our brethren are comparatively small.
  4. We should abundantly forgive as our Master does.
  5. If we do not, God will be justly angry with us and punish us.

Living a Life of Mercy

Jesus calls us to live a life of extending mercy. Not for punitive reasons; but, to build a kingdom where love for ourselves, our neighbor and God is the way of life.  When we “Love your neighbor as yourself” as God has commanded; Jesus promises, that we will live!

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

Marben Bland is a born again Christian studying to become an ordained minister. The intent of these blogs is to spread the gospel in support of the Great Commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Sins, Mistakes, Misunderstandings, and Forgiveness

As a Christian, I am acutely aware that I am still a sinner and remain a sinner. However, I stand on the words of Psalm 25:8: “Good and upright is the Lord: therefore, will he teach sinners in the way.”Also as a Christian, I am acutely, aware that I am not perfect. However, as the Psalmist tell us in Psalm 27:3-5, we can seek to bask in the Lord’s perfection: ‘The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in His Temple, living in His presence every day of my life, delighting in His incomparable perfections and glory.’

As sinful, imperfect humans who also happen to be Christians, often the mistakes we make are misunderstood to be sins because of the higher status we seek in our service to God. Our mistakes or “sins” will provoke reactions of undo proportion, often by longtime allies, jeopardizing years of goodwill, friendship, and fellowship, ultimately limiting the goodness we both can do in service to the Lord.

This is the trap that the devil has set for us. He knows that as sinful, imperfect humans, who also are Christians, we will make mistakes in our everyday dealings with each other. He knows that these mistakes often made with the best intentions will be viewed as “sins”, and that the misunderstandings that will accrue, are enough to get God’s people off the Lord’s mission and on to the devil’s game of misunderstandings, confusion, and misery.

Yet, as Christians, we have a powerful weapon that can bring clarity to the misunderstanding, peace to the confusion, and healing to the misery. That weapon is forgiveness.

Yes, we all know that Jesus will make all things right when he returns. Revelation 22:1-2 (The Message) gives us this healing vision of the future: “Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed.”

In the meantime before the leaves of healing arrive, we still need to heal the brokenness of our relationships caused by our mistakes, our misunderstandings, and our sin. We need to do it right now!! Jesus taught, “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.”

My heart is heavy as I write this post because of a broken relationship that I value greatly. A relationship that has spanned over three decades in good and bad times is in jeopardy because a mistake that I made has been misunderstood and judged to be a sin.

Here and now I express my heartfelt sorrow for my mistake. I have reached out to the parties privately, and now I do it publicly, asking forgiveness for hurt, harm, and sorrow my actions surely have caused.

I have asked the Lord whom I serve for forgiveness and wisdom to go about being of service to you and others in a different way. So that my attempts at kindness, charity, and love will not be misunderstood, I am reaching out to you in this blog. It is my hope that it will not be interpreted differently than I intended. Misinterpretation has been the chief cause of this dustup that has caused my heart and soul to weep bitterly.

My personal mission statement posted for the world to see on my webpage calls for me to live an extraordinary life as a servant leader, humbly using my God given talents to enhance the lives of others.

None of us can achieve the missions that God has set for us as long as we stay stuck in the trap of sin, mistakes, and misunderstanding that the Devil has set for everyone, but especially set for Christians.

While this event will call for a reset of our relationship, it also gives us the opportunity to seek God’s grace, help, and healing to move forward.

I offer you my forgiveness, and I humbly ask for yours. For I know with forgiveness, God has made us to be bigger than sin, mistakes, and misunderstandings. In the final analysis, it is not what I have done or will do, but it is what He did for each one of us when He gave His life as a ransom for your sins, my sin, and the sins of the whole world.    Since Jesus has paid that price for us the least we can do is to forgive our mistakes and misunderstandings before we label them as unforgivable sins.

A Slave for Jesus Christ

I am humbly

Marben

 

Maggie Black: A Faithful Woman

Regular readers of these posts know of my affection for the people of Clinton, Georgia, my home town. On Saturday, June 8, 2014, one of the mothers of our community, Maggie Black died two months shy of her 102nd birthday.

While many individuals who knew Maggie Black may focus on the length of her life and, yes, she was blessed, but I would rather focus on the basics of her longevity which is her faith. Like Abraham and Sarah, Maggie Black’s life modeled the goodness of God through the power of her faith. God promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have descendants of influence produced from their seed. As Maggie Black is laid to rest, she leaves behind a large multi-generational family, with diverse influence and a powerful faith, all produced from William and Maggie Black’s seed of faith.

Worship and obedience were such a part of Maggie Black’s life that it produced a faith that allowed her to navigate the difficulties of Jim Crow that gave her ability to birth, raise, and love a large, smart, and accomplished family; and then gave her the strength in later years to survive the deaths of her husband and two of her beloved children.

Hebrews 11:1-3, tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It has been an honor and pleasure to see and learn about faith firsthand from a faithful woman, Maggie Black.

My Legacy To God

I can see it in my face; the once smooth youthful look is now lined with experience.

I can feel it in my body; that I once commanded at will but now it is slow to move.

I can understand it in my thought; youthful dreams have given way to hard truths.

I am a man in the winter of his life; while I do not dwell on death, I do think about legacy.

  • The legacy I want to leave my child and grandchildren.
  • The legacy I want to leave my family and friends.
  • The legacy I want to leave the world for the time that I spent on earth.

Everything I have done, however, will mean nothing unless I leave a legacy to God.

  • A legacy of being faithful to His teaching.
  • A legacy of using the talents He has given me for His good.
  • A legacy of making disciples.

For when I am working in His legacy:

  • The look on my face does not matter.
  • My body feels new, active, and ready to move. My mind is creative, nimble and ready to share His goodness, grace and love

Some people may think the winter is a time of coldness, darkness, and hardships; however, God has showed me, a maturing man, the glories of winter and the legacy of the spring. And on the day when my life is over I hope with all my heart that He will greet my legacy as His humble follower, with the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

40 Days of A.I.R Time With Jesus

Today is Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent.  These 40 days before Easter are to remind us of the suffering, temptation and triumph of Jesus.  Like many Christians I observe the days of Lent in reflection, prayer and fasting.

My friend and fellow Career Coach Marc Miller has written an insightful book entitled Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers.  As boomers repurpose their careers Marc recommends getting “A.I.R.” time with experts to gather:

A – Advice

I – Information

R – Recommendations

As we seek penance, reflection, and fasting in preparation for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, we should seek “A.I.R.” time with Jesus.  Christ wants us to be in a growing vibrant and loving relationship with Him.   Jesus spoke to all the people, saying, “I am the Light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will not walk in darkness.” John 8:12

This is how my 40 Days of A.I.R. Time With Jesus for this season of Lent will look.

A – Admiration:  Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.  For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. Psalm 47: 1-2

During these 40 days of “A.I.R.” time with Jesus we should spend time in praise and joy of God and His power, His goodness, and His mercy to us.

I – Involvement: Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.  A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.    2nd Timothy 2:23-25

During these 40 days of “A.I.R.” time with Jesus we should reflect on our involvement with the world and the nature of our service to the Lord.  We would be wise to use these 40 days to reflect and follow the advice of James: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. James 1:19-21

R – Resiliency: “The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits… When they fall, they shall be aided with a little help Daniel 11:32

If you desire to walk righteously before the Lord, rest assured you will be tested. In fact, the deeper your walk with Christ the more intense your testing will be.   During these 40 days of “A.I.R.” time with Jesus we can learn to lean on Jesus for resiliency in our times of testing. We can lean Jesus because as we find in Hebrews 2:18 He has been tested:  Jesus was tempted as we are and suffered as we do, He understands us and He is able to help us when we are tempted.

40 Days of A.I.R. Time With Jesus is an opportunity to take our relationship to with Jesus to the next level.  My prayer for you is that this season of Lent will be will fill with Admiration, Involvement and Resiliency or simply put AIR.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 1 Thessalonians 5:28

Marben Bland writes about the passions of his life Faith, Family, Leadership, Financial Security, Accountability, Baseball and Fun