“Account Ability”?

Absorbing God Word

“Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

Applying God’s Word

One of the most “Challenging” things I’ve ever committed to is prayer. It’s become so life-giving that I can’t imagine life without it. Here is what a few others say about prayer.

Oswald Chambers said, “We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense.” Mother Teresa said, “So few things are necessary, and prayer is one of them.” Billy Graham said, “Prayer is a conversation between us and God. Matthew Kelly says, “Prayer is the antidote for the poison of busyness.”

Matthew Kelly is the only one out of the four quoted still alive. I just read his latest book on prayer titled, I Heard God Laugh. I loved his transparency about the ups and downs of communicating with God. He shares with the reader the format for prayer that he has used over the last thirty years. I highly recommend it.

The one thing I’ve learned about any commitment is the importance of accountability. I have my wife Louise as an accountability prayer partner and I have a daily prayer journal.

Accounting of God’s Word

What do I hear God saying to me when I meet with Him? Who do I look to for account-ability?

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“Five To Ten”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

Applying God’s Word

I used to get out of bed in the morning, shower, shave, dress, grab coffee and be out the door. Every Sunday, I’d give God an hour at church, which meant that I spent the other 167 hours of the week doing something else.

I only prayed when I was desperate for God to hear me. I never even thought about the fact that God may want something from me. What could I possibly give Him that He didn’t already have? How about my heart?

On a Christian retreat for men thirty-three years ago, I discovered the gift of daily prayer. I was given a simple format for prayer to use every morning called ACTS. It stands for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication. I was asked to use the ACTS format and pray 5-10 minutes a day for 30 days. Easier said than done.

That weekend didn’t change my life but praying daily for the last 33 years has. I’ve been humbled by meeting with God each day, seeking His face and turning from old ways. God always forgives sin and that’s what has healed every area of my life.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I believe that God can still heal our land through prayer? Yes!

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“Relentless”

Absorbing God’s Word

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Applying God’s Word

There once was a man who lived in a two-story house.  The house was near a river and the river began to flood.

As the river rose, a man in a jeep offered to help the homeowner evacuate. The homeowner said, “No thanks. I want to stay with my belongings.” The water continued to rise until it was just under the second story window. A man came by in a boat and offered to take the homeowner to safety. The homeowner said, “No thanks. I want to protect my belongings.” Eventually, the homeowner ended up on his roof with most of his valuables. A helicopter pilot hovered over the homeowner offering to save him. The homeowner said, “No thanks. I have too much to lose.”

This story is a reminder of how “Relentless” God is in His pursuit of us. I was like the homeowner above. I was afraid to leave all the things I thought made me happy to follow Jesus and discover true happiness. I was focused on what I would lose instead of what I would gain.

Accounting of God’s Word

How many times has Jesus offered to save me? How many times have I said, “No thanks?” Am I afraid of what I would lose instead of what I would gain?

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“Deepest Poverty”

Absorbing God’s Word

“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” James 2.5

Applying God’s Word

This verse from James reminds me of a quote from Mother Teresa. She said, “Abandonment is an awful poverty. There are poor people everywhere, but the deepest poverty is not being loved.”

Yesterday, I drove some distance to see my friend Bob who is in a nursing home. It would only be a window visit, due to the Covid19 virus. Bob’s nurse came outside to tell me that Bob wasn’t up to the visit. At that moment, her eyes filled with tears and she broke down. It is evidence that God continues to touch others through Bob.

I know that Bob has had moments when he thinks he’s been abandoned, but I keep reminding him about how much he is truly loved, even by his nurse.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I know anyone who feels abandoned that could use a visit, a phone call or a card?

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“Crossing Over”?

Absorbing God Word

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Applying God’s Word

Once upon a time, a man attending a spiritual retreat, ended up walking along a deep gorge. He appreciated the beautiful path he was on, but the landscape on the other side of the gorge looked more appealing. Unfortunately, crossing over seemed too challenging.

Then the man spotted something peculiar. There was a stranger walking across the gorge on a tightrope. The stranger said, “I can show you around on the other side.” The man asked, “How do I cross over?” The stranger went back, grabbed a wheelbarrow and ran it across the tightrope to where the man stood and invited him to get in.

I can’t count the times Jesus had asked me to “Get In”, before I said yes. I was afraid to get in, but even more afraid when God asked me to invite others to get in, too. 

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I know anyone else who is afraid to “Get In”? Am I afraid to ask them?

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“IGNOR-ANT”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

Applying God’s Word

We live in a country that has fought to preserve freedom and liberty for 244 years. We have been one of the most generous countries in history. We have probably fed more, clothed more and educated more people than most countries, too. We’ve done all that while defending freedom and the rights of others around the world. I believe it’s all been made possible by our trust in God and through the empowerment of God’s Spirit.

People are beginning to wonder if God has forsaken us or taken His Spirit from this country. It’s not God who has pulled away from us. Our country has pulled away from God and doing life without God doesn’t work. We have placed God on the back burner and made Him a spectator. It seems American’s have become so independent that we have cut all ties with the one who gave us everything we have.

We are so sure of things that we IGNORE God.  I call that IGNOR – ANT.

Accounting of God’s Word

Does true freedom come from God or the world?

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“Before the Wrath”?

Absorbing God Word

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:36 & 44

Applying God’s Word

Over the last 2,000 years, every generation has probably thought that they were living in the end times. I don’t think we should be sitting around wondering when the world will end or when Jesus will return. Instead, we should know “Why” Jesus promised to return. He tells us to prepare ourselves for that time and to help others prepare, as well.

Recently, Louise and I watched a new (2020) documentary on Prime titled “Before The Wrath”. We thought it was well done. They didn’t try to answer the age-old question about “When” but focused on the “Why”. Saying anything more would ruin it for you.

We would like to recommend it to you, your families and friends.

Accounting of God’s Word

“Do I know “WHY” Jesus is coming back? Am I ready?

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“Love You, Dad”?

Absorbing God’s Word

”Fathers, do not provoke your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

 Applying God’s Word

My own father was moved from foster home to foster home until he joined the Navy at seventeen. Success for dad was wrapped in his commitment to mom and his five children. He wanted us to experience what being part of a good family meant and he prayed that we would value that just as much.

Like most parents, dad had his good days and bad days. He could be very intimidating and if looks could kill, I’d be long gone. He was also a hugger and a lover. He loved Jesus and wanted everyone else to do the same.

A couple days prior to his death, I asked my dad what his greatest success was. He looked at me and replied, “My children”. Then he asked me a question. “Jack. How’s your relationship with Jesus.? I smiled and told him what I thought he wanted to hear. I said, “It’s good dad”. At the time, though, I had no idea what a good relationship with Jesus even meant.

Seven years went by, before I dedicated my life to prayer and an intimate friendship with Jesus. I have both of my parents to thank for demonstrating what that looked like.

Accounting of God’s Word

How’s my relationship with Jesus? Happy Parent’s Day

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“George Floyd”?

Absorbing God’s Word

“But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” 1 John 2:11

Applying God’s Word

Like many of you, I have been wrestling with all the circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd. I find myself praying for George, his family and friends, for the officers charged with his death and for all those who are using this as an opportunity to commit their own crimes of violence and hate.

Prejudice, discrimination and hate for our brothers and sisters has been around since Cain and Abel. I’m sure each one of us would admit to having anger at one time or another toward someone who has hurt us deeply. As angry as I’ve been, I’ve never vandalized or stolen someone else’s property nor inflicted bodily harm on another person.

My anger doesn’t entitle me to take the law into my own hands, either. Those who do, like to do so in the darkness hoping not to be seen. They are blind to the fact that God sees and records it all.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I walking around in darkness? Is my heart filled with prejudice, discrimination and hate for others? How close am I to Jesus, really?

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“Where’s The Love?”

Absorbing God’s Word

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23 

Applying God’s Word

If the “Gifts” of the Holy Spirit are real, we will experience God’s love when they manifest. We will also witness God’s love in the fruit that His gifts produce.

God’s love is still very much alive, but self-centeredness and indifference continue to be major obstacles to its effectiveness. It reminds me of a story:

Once upon a time a community of loving monks lived and worked together. God’s love impacted all of them and everyone in the land. Years went by though and that loving reputation dwindled along with their numbers. The Abbot called on the wisdom of a good friend and Rabbi. He asked “What do you see as our problem?” The Rabbi told the Abbot, “Your monks have become unloving and indifferent.”

I sense that our world resembled the story above, prior to Covid19. If anything can save the day, it would be God’s love. He’s used it again and again from the beginning of time.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I loving or unloving right now? Am I indifferent?

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