Archive for March, 2013

Adopt a Mother for Mother’s Day

 Mother-Daughter Banquets and Mother’s Day

A Mother-Daughter Banquet and a special Mother’s Day service are two great activities which can bond mothers and daughters together and create wonderful memories for them.

Although a Mother-Daughter Banquet can be great, do not lock yourself into having the same kind of banquet every year. Maybe one year, have a Mother-Daughter Banquet, and the next year have a Mother-Son Banquet.

 Mother’s Day is always a good time for members to invite visitors to services. If  a member is not able to invite his own mother, encourage him to adopt a mother for the day. Promote the day by telling  members that every mother present on that day will be given a gift.  You can order inexpensive mothers’ gifts for all mothers through http://www.ctainc.com.

Mother’s Day is also a good day to recognize the oldest mother, the youngest mother, the mother with the most children present in services, and the mother who traveled the longest distance to be in services. Choose your own criteria for recognizing special mothers. Small plants or books make great gifts to give these special mothers on that day.

Doesn’t it seem strange that our government and society does not want us to mention Jesus in our prayers today? It is politically incorrect to use His name. We must be careful not to offend our Muslim brothers when we pray.

In 2004, a Navy chaplain, was downgraded in his evaluation because he quoted ‘exclusive’ Bible verses including John 3:36 in the chapel during an optionally attended Saturday Christian memorial service. Eventually he faced a court-martial over the issue of praying in Jesus name in his uniform in public.

In 2011, a U.S. Navy chaplain, Klingenschmitt, was removed from the service for disobeying a “lawful” order banning prayer “in Jesus’ name” . He was booted after 16 years, short of the 20 needed for his retirement, and eventually evicted from his housing.

Here is an article by David Reagan concerning Praying in the Name of Jesus.

Do you close your prayers with something like, “in Jesus’ name, Amen?” You may word it a little differently. But many of you will use some formula to indicate that your prayer is in the name of Jesus. Where do we get this? Is it biblical? What does it mean to pray in Jesus name?

First, let us establish that it is scriptural to pray in the name of Jesus. Consider the following verses:

John 14:13 – And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:14 – If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
John 15:16 – Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
John 16:23 – And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
John 16:24 – Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
John 16:26 – At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you.
You will notice that in all of them Jesus tells His disciples to pray to the Father in His (Jesus’) name. But is this just a formula or is there something more to it? In order to get to the bottom of praying in the name of Jesus, we need to consider three things: (1) the biblical concept of name, (2) the importance of God’s name, and (3) what it means to act in someone else’s name. Then, we will be ready to look at praying in Jesus’ name.

The Biblical Concept of Name

We must first realize that the concept of name in scripture involves much more than a tag that identifies that person and distinguishes him or her from other people. Although it does do that, it also has a much deeper meaning. Name in scripture represents the very essence of the person. A person’s personality, character, reputation and authority are all wrapped up in his name.

Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 – A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
Notice the extraordinary value of a good name. Besides a man’s soul, this is the most important possession a man has. We should cherish a good name because it refers to virtue and integrity. It must be nurtured and respected as a most precious possession.

The Importance of God’s Name

That also explains why God’s name is so often exalted in scripture. God’s name is a declaration of the greatness of His person. Consider these verses:

Psalm 8:1 – O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Psalm 103:1 – Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Psalm 113:1-3 – Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.
Psalm 148:13 – Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
Because God’s name is excellent, we are to exalt it in our prayer and in our praise. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9). One day every knee shall bow at the feet of Jesus (Romans 14:11). Why? “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9). His exalted name brings worship and praise.

We now understand the importance of a name in Scripture. We also know that God’s name is exalted above all other names. Now, what does it mean to do something in the name of someone else?

Acting in the Name of Another

Doing something in someone else’s name has two implications.

First, you come by the authority of the other person. You are not coming in your own authority but because someone else authorized you to take these actions. When David fought Goliath, he came unto him “in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (1 Samuel 17:45)Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. He was not coming in his own power or authority but in that which belonged to God alone. This gave David the authority and ability to fight against the giant Goliath…and win.

Second, when you come in someone’s name, you come in his stead. The person to whom you come is expected to react to you, not on the basis of who you are, but as if the person who sent you was there himself. They are to treat you as they would treat the one who authorized you to come. When David sent servants to Nabal to ask for food, “they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David” (1 Samuel 25:9). Therefore, when Nabal insulted David’s servants (who came in David’s name), he insulted David just as directly as if he had spoken to him to his face.

APPLICATION: Praying in the Name of Jesus

Now, let’s apply this to praying in the name of Jesus. What is the significance of this?

First, it means that when we come to the Father, we come because Jesus sent us. It is not simply our own idea to speak to the God of heaven and earth. We are sent to Him by His own Son. No wonder we walk into the throne of grace in boldness (Hebrews 4:16). If one of the angels were to ask us on the way in, “What are you doing here?”…We can reply, “The Son sent me.” What a glorious commission! We are sent by the Son to seek help from the Father!

Second, the Father is obligated to treat us as He would His own Son because we come in His stead. We represent the Son when we come to the Father. You don’t believe this? You say that this is just too much? Then listen to these verses.

Ephesians 1:5-6 – Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Romans 8:17 – And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
We are adopted into the family of God as children. We are accepted in the beloved. Since Christ is the beloved Son, that means that the Father accepts us as He would His own Son. Finally, we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ. We share in the same inheritance. The Father looks upon the redeemed as if He were looking on His Son Jesus Christ. What a blessing that Christ has told us to approach the Father in His name! What a glorious heritage!

You see the benefit of coming to the Father in the Son’s name. However, is this just referring to adding a phrase to the end of our prayers? No. It is much more than that. It means that you come to the Father with the knowledge that your only right in approaching Him is that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and that He Himself has sent you to the Father. It means that you know that you are totally unworthy of receiving anything from God and that the only reason God should grant your requests is that you come in Jesus’ name. It is not a magic formula, but a heart attitude.

Often, in my times of serious prayer about a particular need, I will spell this out. I acknowledge that I am unworthy to receive anything from God. I affirm that I come only in the name of God’s Son Jesus Christ. I remind God of what He said in Romans 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”. I remind Him that He did not withhold His own Son from me and that He promised not to withhold any good thing from me. I declare that I only ask for these things in the name of His Son.

In all my prayers, I try to say, “in Jesus’ name.” However, I know that the phrase means nothing without the heart attitude. I am nothing. Therefore, who I am makes no difference. But, when I come in the name of Jesus–that is authority and that is power!

One final word of warning: this is not a secret mystery or magical way to get your way with God. This is simply a reminder that the right we have to approach God is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The authority we have to ask requests from God is in the favor of the risen Christ. Many have had the attitude of humility and trust without the formula: “in Jesus’ name.” My concern is that many use the right formula without having the right attitude.

 

I have heard  dedicated Christian parents say, “We started praying for our child’s future mate the day  that  we brought our child home from the hospital.”  I have to say, “Praise the Lord for godly parents who take their responsibility so serious that they spend hours praying for their children’s future mates.”

Here are a few  suggestions you might include in your prayers as you begin praying  for your children’s future mates.

1.            Help (him/her) to remain pure and chaste until (his/her) wedding  date.

2.           Help (him/her) to grow up  to be a mature Christian who will encourage my child toward spiritual values.

3.            Help (him/her) to understand the basics of spiritual warfare;  how to flee temptation, how to take thoughts captive, and how to stand firm    against the devil’s false lies of love.  Please protect   his eyes from pornography.

4.            Help (him/her) to master good, uplifting communication.  Protect him from using God’s name in vain or any other foul language.

5.            Help this child to have godly parents who will teach (him/her) good parenting skills and will be  a godly role model to (him/her).

6.           Help (him/her) to have  a hunger for God. Encourage (him/her) to have (his/her) own personal  prayer,  Bible study, and relationship with the Lord.

7.            Help (him/her) to have a commitment to always be truthful  and  honest through every situation  of (his/her) life.

8.            Help (him/her) to have a   proper attitude toward money. Help (him/her) to be honest with others and with the Lord.

9.            Help (him/her) to be a considerate and sensitive  person.

10.          Help (him/her) not to be selfish. Help (him/her) to be a giving and loving Christian who places the needs of others before (his/her) own needs or wants.

Rules of Holy Living by Adoniram Judson

The rules of living which follow are copied from a paper in the handwriting of Dr. Judson. These rules  illustrate the earnestness with which he strove after personal holiness, whilst engrossed with the labors of his missionary calling. He well knew that no external services could purify the heart; that this work could be done in no other way than by practically subjecting the whole soul to the commandments of Christ.

Rules adopted on Sunday, April 4, 1819, the era of commencing public ministrations among the Burmans; revised and re-adopted on Saturday, December 9, 1820, and on Wednesday, April 25, 1821.

1. Be diligent in secret prayer, every morning and evening.

2. Never spend a moment in mere idleness.

3. Restrain natural appetites within the bounds of temperance and purity. “Keep thyself pure.”

4. Suppress every emotion of anger and ill will.

5. Undertake nothing from motives of ambition, or love of fame.

6. Never do that which, at the moment, appears to be displeasing to God.

7. Seek opportunities of making some sacrifice for the good of others, especially of believers, provided the sacrifice is not inconsistent with some duty.

8. Endeavor to rejoice in every loss and suffering incurred for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s, remembering that though, like death, they are not to be wilfully incurred, yet, like death, they are great gain.

Re-adopted the above rules, particularly the 4th, on Sunday, August 31, 1823.

Re-adopted the above rules, particularly the 1st, on Sunday, October 29, 1826, and adopted the following minor rules:

1. Rise with the sun.

2. Read a certain portion of Burman every day, Sundays excepted.

3. Have the Scriptures and some devotional book in constant reading.

4. Read no book in English that has not a devotional tendency.

5. Suppress every unclean thought and look.

Revised and re-adopted all the above rules, particularly the second of the first class, on Sunday, March 11, 1827.

God grant me grace to keep the above rules, and ever live to His glory, for Jesus Christ’s sake.       ADONIRAM  JUDSON.

Thank You, Father, for Your Sacrificial Love!

The Bridge

There was once a bridge that spanned a large river. During most of the day, the bridge sat with its length running up and down the river paralleled with the banks, allowing ships to pass thru freely on both sides of the bridge. But at certain times each day, a train would come along and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river, allowing a train to cross it.

A switch man sat in a small shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock it into place as the train crossed. One evening as the switch man was waiting for the last train of the day to come; he looked off into the distance thru the dimming twilight and caught sight of the train lights. He stepped to the control and waited until the train was within a prescribed distance when he was to turn the bridge. He turned the bridge into position, but, to his horror, he found the locking control did not work. If the bridge was not securely in position, it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the train came onto it, causing the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river. This would be a passenger train with many people aboard.

He left the bridge, turned across the river, and hurried across the bridge to the other side of the river where there was a lever switch to operate the lock manually. He would have to hold the lever back firmly as the train crossed. He could hear the rumble of the train now. He took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply his weight to lever to lock the bridge. He kept applying the pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man’s strength.

Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. “Daddy, where are you?” His four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, “Run! Run!” But the train was too close; the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost left his lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to safety.

But he realized that he could not get back to the lever. Either the people on the train or his little son must die. He took a moment to make his decision. The train sped safely and swiftly on its way, and no one aboard was even aware of the tiny broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the onrushing train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of the sobbing man, still clinging tightly to the locking lever long after the train had passed. They did not see him walking home more slowly than he had ever walked: to tell his wife how their son had brutally died.

Now if you comprehend the emotions which went this man’s heart, you can begin to understand the feelings of our Father in Heaven when He sacrificed His Son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life. Can there be any wonder that He caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His Son died? How does He feel when we speed along through life without giving one thought to what was done for us through Jesus Christ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Author Unknown

Open Your Home and Make A New Friend

Hospitality is a great way to develop friendships.  You could develop some of your greatest friendships by opening your heart and your home.

As you consider developing a new friendship, consider developing a friendship with a child. Sometimes we forget how valuable our influence can be in a child’s life.

Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:33 …evil communications (companionships) corrupt good manners. Today many children are growing up in families without any moral direction. By developing a friendship with a child, you might be the very person God uses to sow seeds of faith that might encourage him to become a pastor, a pastor’s wife, or a missionary.

Friendships are very important to our lives. My daughter and son-in-law moved to Texas a few years ago. After living in New England all of their lives, they never connected with the people in their new area. Recently, they found a new church where they connected and made some wonderful new friends. These new friendships changed both of their attitudes about living in the state. These friends became a source of strength to them. They encouraged them with their prayers, gave them companionship through some difficult times, relieved their loneliness, and gave them a sense of belonging and purpose.

“A friend is someone who will give you a push when you have stopped, a guide when you are searching, a song when you are sad, a word when you are lonely, and a smile when you are glad.”

Someone once did a survey asking several different people of various ages to write a brief description: What is a good friend?

Here are a few of those descriptions:

“Someone you can bare your soul to and not be afraid it will get around.”

“Someone who has tactful truth and is not afraid to tell you.”

One who knows you well, but still loves you.

A person, who understands you, appreciates your view, and is loyal to you.

“Someone who enjoys being around you, accepts you for who you are, and is faithful to you when the chips are down.”

I came across this definition of a true friend a few years ago, and I loved it.

A friend is a trusted confident to whom I am mutually drawn as a companion and an ally, whose love for me is not dependent on my performance, and whose influence draws me closer to God.

Reach out today and make a new friend. My husband makes a funny statement when he preaches; he says “When I got saved, I lost all my friends—both of them! But today I have friends all over the world.”

Reach out today and make a new friend.  I thank the Lord for all of our wonderful friends. They are truly a blessing from the Lord!