Via Dolorosa (The Road to Suffering)

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Today, on Good Friday, we remember the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross as a sin offering for all people of the world.

A street on Jerusalem, part of the road to suffering.

Here is the account of the road to suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem which happened about 2000 years ago from the Gospel of Luke chapter 23

Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. 21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.

And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

Station of the Cross, Via Dolorosa.

There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.”

The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”

38 And an inscription also was [i]written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:

THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Station 12- Jesus on the Cross

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” (Luke 23)

(Thank the Lord this is not the end of the story, to be continued)

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Victory in the Garden: A Holy Land Experience

The Garden of Gethsemane

A couple of years ago, in January 2020, God blessed David and me to travel and visit the Holy Land with a tour group.  Six of us from Alabama joined a larger group of people from different parts of the country for a 10-day trip.

We visited several well-known Biblical sites such as the Upper Room and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and Bethlehem which is the birthplace of Jesus. We also visited the Garden of Gethsemane, the Sea of Galilee, the Judean Wilderness, the Dead Sea, Jericho, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Nazareth, Jericho, and other places in the Holy Land. Bible stories came alive as we saw and experienced those places. For example, when we were driving across the Judean Wilderness, I saw mountains with huge rocks and caves. In the Old Testament, David spent many years hiding in the caves in the wilderness to protect himself from his enemies (I Samuel 22-23). When I saw the huge rocks and mountains in the Judean wilderness, I remember the verse that David wrote in the book of Psalms:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

While touring the area around the Sea of Galilee, I remembered the story in the Gospels where Jesus met His disciples, and the time He walked on the waters of this huge lake.

There is so much to share about this trip.  I hope to write a book about my experiences.

Another touching and significant experience from this Holy Land trip was the visit to the Garden of Gethsemane. The modern-day Garden of Gethsemane is managed by the “Church of All Nations” or the “Basilica of the Agony.” Many churches from different countries contributed to the preservation of the site and built a beautifully magnificent cathedral adjacent to the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Church of All Nations, Jerusalem

In the Bible, the Garden of Gethsemane is the place where Jesus spent a late night praying before His arrest. According to the Gospel of Matthew, “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” (Matthew 26:36)

The Garden of Gethsemane

As soon as we entered the Garden area and saw the rows of ancient Olive trees, I felt the strong presence of the Lord. It was an awesome experience! I was in tears. I almost felt the agony of the Lord Jesus when He wrestled and prayed, “God’s will, not my will be done…” It was also surprising to see some old olive trees, hundreds or even thousands of years old, still bearing fruit.

I often hear preaching and teaching that Christ won the victory over the enemy at the cross when He gave His life on Calvary. While at the Garden, I felt a sense of revelation that Jesus had actually won the battle, not at the cross, but in the Garden of Gethsemane. There in the garden, Jesus prayed a prayer of surrender. Jesus had an absolute surrender to His loving Father, trusting Him for the best outcome. It was a time of surrender to God’s perfect will for Him, and for the salvation of many. It was Jesus’ battle against human flesh and against Satan’s final temptation. He had overcome the battle with a complete surrender to the Father. Thus, the Father made Jesus the Triumphant Winner! It was a complete Victory in the Garden.

From the Gospel of Matthew:

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will…’”

“Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.’” (Matthew 26:39, 42)

Whatever struggles and challenges you are going through in life, Jesus knows and understands. Like Jesus, as we surrender our lives and will to Father God, He will give you the victory!

When our team came back to our hotel at the end of that day, during my personal time with the Lord, the Holy Spirit gave me this poem, “Victory in the Garden:”

Victory In The Garden

There in the Garden

My Savior pled,

There in the Garden

My Savior knelt down and prayed,
“Father, not my will

But Your will be done”

There in the garden

My Lord surrendered

To His Father’s divine plan

Yet He had won

the Victor’s crown

There in the garden

My Savior wept

He cried bloody tears of surrender

There in the garden

My Savior won over sin and temptation

Death and evil no longer have dominion

There in the garden,

My Savior won Victor’s Crown.

(Matthew 26:36-45)

Other Bible Readings:  Mark 14:32-36; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1-11

All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version, NKJV.

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A Prayer of Hope

The Lord gave this message a year ago when I was struggling with the wickedness, corruption, and other evil things I see and hear in the world. May the Words of the Lord through Habakkuk encourage you also in this time of crisis and distress.

The Prayer of Habakkuk

The global pandemic, upheaval, and turmoil in the nations, people suffering for their faith, political and religious oppression, violence against innocent people, unrighteousness, godlessness, injustice, and other wicked deeds sometimes are overwhelming. One time I was praying to the Lord for His justice and righteousness. He reminded me of the prayer of a man in the Bible named, Habakkuk.

“O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”  And You will not save.
Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble?
For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises.
Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;  Therefore,  perverse judgment proceeds.

Habakkuk 1:2-4

Photo by Unsplash

Habakkuk was a man who lived during the kingdoms of Judah and Israel around 600 BCE. He wrote His prophecies before the Babylon invasion. God used Habakkuk to warn the people of Judah to repent and turned from their sinful ways.

“Habakkuk grappled with God’s economy of justice. He finds it inconceivable that God could use an evil pagan nation to judge His people. However, God uses a vision to convince Habakkuk that His ways are right.”[i]

Habakkuk was not the only one who had struggled with God’s justice. In the book of Psalms, the writer expressed his heart:

“Lord, how long will the wicked,
How long will the wicked triumph?

They utter speech, and speak insolent things;
All the workers of iniquity boast in themselves.
They break in pieces Your people, O Lord,
And afflict Your heritage.
They slay the widow and the stranger,
And murder the fatherless.
Yet they say, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob understand.”  Psalm 94:3-7[ii]

Then the writer of Psalm remembered who God was:

“Understand, you senseless among the people;
And you fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, shall He not hear?
He who formed the eye, shall He not see?
He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct,” Psalm 94: 8-10

Going back to Habakkuk, God spoke to him.  

Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.

Habakkuk 1:5

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come, It will not tarry
.”
 Habakkuk 2:2-3

Then God spoke to Habakkuk about sure judgments for the wicked:

“Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house that he may set his nest on high that he may be delivered from the power of disaster…
Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establish a city by iniquity…and nations weary themselves in vain?…
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the water covers the sea.”

Habakkuk 2:9-17

God assured Habakkuk that He would surely bring justice. When Habakkuk heard the response of the Lord and realized the horrible devastation that will come to the wicked because of God’s justice, he asked God for mercy. Habakkuk even prayed for revival.

“O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid;
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2

Then Habakkuk was at peace trusting that God will do what He said He will do – to bring judgment and justice to the wicked in His own time.

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17 -18

I also need to pray for God’s mercy to those who are involved in wickedness, corruption, deceit and unrighteousness – for God to have mercy on their souls. Surely God will bring justice to the wicked, but He is also merciful, waiting for them to repent.

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,      
Slow to anger and great in mercy.The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9

 A few months ago, we experienced a severe thunderstorm in our area here in the southeast. There was a heavy rain and very loud thunder and lightning. It was the fiercest lightning I have ever experienced in my life! I was trembling in fear and realized the awesome power of God!

 It reminded me of the experience of the people of Israel in the Old Testament when they received the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone.

Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off…” Exodus 20:18

The sharp, loud thunder and fierce lightnings were for me a demonstration of the awesome power of God! I felt as if God was saying to me, He is still sovereign and in control, and has the power to do whatever is right for Him to do. I felt like a worm, and was reminded that I’m not the judge, and should not fret about the wickedness and injustice I see in the world. The Lord God in heaven has all the power and might to bring about justice and righteousness in His own way and in His right time. My role is to intercede, do His will and pray earnestly for God’s will be done and His kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven.


[i] The Complete Jewish Study Bible

[ii] All Scriptures quotes are from the New King James Bible

Prayer: Dear Sovereign Lord, You are awesome and powerful! We praise and thank You for your mercy and grace. Send revival, in your wrath remember mercy.   

Post Script:

Currently, (March 2022) after a year the Lord gave this message; another major international crisis and conflict is going on in Eastern Europe.

If we are only looking at the news and what our naked eyes can see, it looks discouraging. It seems the bad guys are winning. But God is doing things beyond what we can see. He is changing hearts and He is saving souls. Many are turning to God in times of crisis and distress.

“For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

You may have heard the old expression, “Pay now or pay later.”

Well, the Bible says;

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:

As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God
.” Romans 14:10-11

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A Dark Night of the Soul

Reading: Psalm 42:5-11

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5 NIV


Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

A few years ago, I had an experience that some call ‘a dark night of the soul.’

The doctor told me it was a case of mild clinical depression. A friend who is a professional counselor told me that depression and burnout are common with some Christian workers who have been in the ministry for a long time. She helped me understand some of the things I was going through. I had tried to follow the advice of the doctor and the counselor – supplements, a little sunshine, and physical exercise.  I also did the spiritual routine – prayed and read the Bible and went to church. Little by little I made some progress. However, I was still struggling to feel the presence of the Lord. In the past, when I prayed and spent time in worship, I felt almost tangibly the sweet presence of the Lord. I got concerned I had lost the feeling. I used to know where and what I was supposed to do (or life’s goals and purpose). I got concerned that I lost my way. I didn’t think I lost my faith. I knew God was there and I knew He still loved me. But why couldn’t I feel His presence? I felt that I had no hope and no future. I wanted to get out of depression, but the more I tried the more I felt like I was sinking. Even though I was feeling low, every day I looked at the words that I had posted on my bedroom wall then. The words I wrote on a piece of paper and posted on the wall were, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (NIV)
 

After a few months, while I was praying and worshipping, I felt God reminding me of His words, “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Then, I sensed Him saying to me, “I am always near and here for you. Because you have allowed grief and sorrow to come between us, you could not feel nor see Me”.

Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay

Since then, I have learned to live by faith and not by feelings. And, with God’s help, I am continually learning to trust God’s Words and rely on His steadfast love.

Reflection: I could always trust God’s word, that He loves me and is always with me no matter what I feel. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank You that Your love is always with me no matter what I feel.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

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Looking forward!(2022)

Look forward to what lies ahead!

“...but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, .” Philippians 3: 14 NLT

” What are your thoughts as you look back over the last year? loss, tragedy, sorrow or happiness, joy, success, etc? …do you close the book on this year with regret, or with relief?

“No matter what your answer is, I hope you will pause and prayerfully ask yourself two important questions: First, how do you think God looks on this past year in your life? Did it bring you any closer to Him? Second, what lessons will you take from this year into next? What did God teach you?

“Don’t be bound by the past and its failures? But don’t forget is lessons either.” – by Billy Graham, “Wisdom for Each Day”

Happy New Year! New year, new blessings!

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in th
e wasteland. ” Isaiah 43:18 -19

The key of the house of David
I will lay on his shoulder;
So he shall open, and no one shall shut; ” Isaiah 22:22

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Thank You, Lord, for Christmas!

Long time ago, an angel of the Lord spoke

Behold the virgin shall be with child

And will bear a Son, and they shall

Call His name Immanuel God with us

Thank you, Lord, for Christmas

Long time ago, in the city of David

In a little town called Bethlehem

A Savior was born, who is Christ the Lord

Thank You, Lord, for Christmas

Thank You, Jesus, for coming

To save us from sins

Thank You, Jesus, for coming

As a Baby in a little manger

To save your people from sin

Thank You, Jesus, for coming

You are Immanuel, the God who is always with us

Thank You, Lord, for sending to us Your Son

For unto us a child is born

Unto us a Son is given

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to us

Our Wonderful Counselor, You are the Mighty God

You are the Everlasting Father

You are the Prince of Peace

Glory to God in the highest!

Thank You, Lord, for Christmas

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us peace,

And goodwill to all people.

Thank You, Lord, for Christmas!

Someday Jesus will come back again, not as a Baby, but as the King of kings!

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He [e]had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in [f]fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a [g]sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.” – Revelation 19: 11-16

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An Expectant Heart, Christmas Advent

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. ” V. 25

Luke 2 :25

Reading: Luke 2:21-35

Baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7). Joseph and Mary were his earthly parents. The angels of God continued to guide and watch over the family. The angels also made an announcement to the shepherds in Bethlehem.  (v.11) The shepherds followed the words spoken to them by the angels, they went and visited Baby Jesus who was with his parents, Joseph and Mary. (v.15-16). When the shepherds saw Baby Jesus with their own eyes, they rejoiced, went out, and spread the good news to their community.  (v.17-18).

After 8 days, Baby Jesus was presented to the temple in Jerusalem to follow the custom and traditions. “They brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), Luke 2:22-24.

While in the temple, there was a man named Simeon. He was a devout and righteous man according to their Law. Basically, he followed all the commandments written in the Law of Moses.  Maybe not just obeying the rules and traditions, Simeon was considered devout and righteous, as he also believed and worshipped the Lord God from his heart.

Perhaps for many years, Simeon, prayed for the coming Messiah or Savior as told in their Scriptures. It says, he eagerly waited for the salvation of God (Jewish Bible). Not just believing or having faith, but he had hope. He also had anticipation and an expectant heart for the fulfillment of God’s words.

Simeon remembered that the Lord God was faithful in keeping His words. As God spoke to Abraham, Jacob, David, and other men of God, He fulfilled His words. So, Simeon had faith, hope, and an expectant heart to wait for God to fulfill His words.

During a period of challenges, perhaps one of the most difficult times in the history of Israel because of Roman rule, Simeon kept his faith. He had hope that one day Messiah will come. Some may have lost their faith and hope as some went their own way. Others became tax collectors and some were involved in prostitution, perhaps just to survive. Others focused on keeping the tradition, following rules and regulations like the religious leaders. Simeon like the others, (Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph) kept his eyes on the Lord God and His promises. Simeon kept his devotion and pursued righteousness even in the hardest of times. Simeon was filled by the Holy Spirit.

Not just a general promise in the Scriptures, Simeon had a personal promise revealed by the Holy Spirit.  “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (v.26)

So, when Baby Jesus and his parents came to the temple for the baby dedication, Simeon knew right away, that Baby was the One!  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Simeon knew without a doubt that Baby Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise to them, the people of Israel.

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9: 6

Thus, Simeon gave praise, thanksgiving, and adoration to the Lord God. (v. 29-32)

Reflection:

The Holy Bible is filled with the promises of God for Israel and for the followers of Jesus.  The Lord God is faithful, Sovereign and has the power to fulfill them as He already did to the people of Israel- to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, etc.  As followers of Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the words of God in the Bible also speak to us personally. God gives us personal promises too. Like Simeon, who was faithful, full of faith, and full of hope, he waited eagerly for God to fulfill His Words to Israel and to him personally.

For my eyes have seen Your salvation

 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,

And the glory of Your people Israel

Luke 2: 30-32

The Bible says we are made righteous because of Jesus. We can be faithful and be filled with hope and have expectant hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions for reflection:

1. Are you faithful in your devotion to Jesus?

2. Do you have an expectant heart to wait for the promise of Jesus that He will come again?

3. Are you eager to wait upon His promises.

4. Do you have personal promises from God that you are still waiting for His fulfillment?

Prayer: Holy Spirit please help me to be faithful, and hopeful, and to wait eagerly upon the promises of God. Lord Jesus may You come soon!

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Behold He Prayeth !

from the Book “Behold He Prayeth” – by Joshua Stauffer

Reading: Acts 9:1-11

And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

Acts 9:11

If the Lord would behold many people , what would He see? If the predominating thing in their lives were recorded, it simply would be “Behold, he sleepeth,”or “Behold, he readeth the newspaper,” or “Behold, he listeneth to the radio,” or “Behold she seweth,” or “Behold she cooketh.” But of the person who makes prayer the first, greatest, and most important business in life, God and heaven will take notice that, “Behold, he prayeth.” May this be said of us.

“Intercession is prayer, but all praying is not intercession. Intercession is one type of prayer. It is petitioning, or entreating in behalf of another or others…”

The ministry of intercession is one of the greatest ministries. Someone prayed for us to know God.

1.Pray for all men & those in authority

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”  I Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)

2.Pray for Israel

“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you…”  I Samuel 12:23 (NKJV)

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”  Romans 10:1 (NKJV)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”  Romans 1:16 (NKJV)

“The Lord said to Abraham, ‘I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.’ (Genesis 12:1) This promise is true today…Christian people would court the favor of the Lord if they would pray for Israel that they might be saved. It was Paul’s policy to preach to the Jews first wherever he went. Nothing would be lost but much would be gained, if the policy “to the Jews first” were practiced by Christian people in their praying, preaching, and giving. J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission (OMF), made it his policy on the first day of each year to write out a check for the evangelization of the Jews. This would be a good practice for all Christians to follow, then they would be led to pray for them.”

3.Pray for all the saints/the church

“…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)

“The mistake many church people make is they put forth a great effort in getting sinners into church services, then when they get to church, they neglect them…and forget to pray for them.”

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The Lord’s Prayer

When Jesus was here on earth, He did many things.  He was very busy with ministry. He traveled often in Israel. He taught many people and healed people from illnesses. He also had power and authority over unclean spirits. Though He had a busy ministry schedule, He took time to pray and fellowship with His heavenly Father.  

 He (Jesus) Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. Luke 5:16

Then one day, His Disciples said to Him, “Lord teach us how to pray.”  

So, He said to them, “When you pray, say

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Luke 11:1-4

The Lord’s prayer is not really a formula. I believe it is a model prayer, David and I pray this every day, not just by rote, but with faith and trust in Jesus that He hears our prayers.

And here is another guide we also use in prayer: We use the acronym ACTS, which makes it easy remember.

A- is adoration. Like what Jesus said, “Hallowed be Your name”. We praise God for He is merciful, all powerful, sovereign, loving, gracious, etc.

C- is confession. Again, from the Lord’s prayer, Jesus said, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive others.” We can ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts if there ‘s any thing that is not pleasing to the Lord. And ask God for forgiveness. (See I John 1:9)

T- is thanksgiving. Thank God for 3 things; count your blessings.

S- is supplication – deliver us from the evil one.

For Supplication, some people use the 5-finger model.

The 5-finger-prayer

Thumb- friends & family

Pointer-Parents and Teachers

Middle-Leaders

Ring-weak and sick people

Pinky-self

Whichever prayer model you prefer, prayer is not a ceremony or a ritual. It is a personal relationship. Like with friends and others, prayer is talking, and taking time in fellowship with Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

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For the Bride of Christ

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;

(Ezekiel 36:26)

A couple of weeks ago, I took a special time with the Lord as the Jewish calendar of Ellul was closing and the head of the year was coming, Rosh Hashana (September 7th).  I asked Him what is His heart for the Church, the followers of Yeshua, the Bride of Christ. I felt the Lord said, “I will put a new spirit within you and will give you a new heart,” (Ezekiel 36:26). Then He also said, He is giving us new wine and new oil. He is also giving us fire of the Holy Ghost to burn the dross, blow away the chaff, burn old wineskin – which is old thinking, old habits, including old beliefs and tradition.

God is giving us new wineskins, to be vessels of silver and gold, (such as cup, oil lamps, etc). New wine is to refresh our souls so we can refresh others. He is giving new oil to anoint us, to give us power for new ministries He is calling us to. God is giving us new oil to be a light burning for Jesus in this dark world.

A few years ago, while praying, the Spirit of the Lord gave me a picture (vision) of earthen vessels or clay jars, of different sizes and shapes. Then I saw Jesus pouring wine into each clay jar. There were many in the room, but Jesus was waiting for those jars to be willing vessels for Him to pour His wine into. Right after that vision Lord gave me, I saw this miniature of Jesus pouring water and wine into a clay jar right in one of the cabinets in our church.

“But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Back to my prayer during this recent Ellul month, the Spirit of the Lord continued to speak as HE impressed upon my heart this word;

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

God is giving us new wine and new oil for a harvest of souls. I heard some prophetic words about a harvest of a billion souls in this new decade (2020-2030) and as we enter a new era. I felt the Spirit of the Lord is saying for the harvest of souls, God needs new vessels (new wineskins) to be vessels for this new wine and new oil.

Then God says, “I do not change, I AM, I am gracious and merciful. I hate sin and do not tolerate sin. I’m calling my people to holiness – the church- you are set apart for me to be a light in this dark world. I’m pouring fresh wine, to new wineskins, new oil to new vessel of oil lamp, I’m sending fresh manna from my Word.”

To change old wineskin to new wineskin is to change old habits and old thinking. For me personally the Lord is dealing with me about these sins and wrong ways, such as procrastination, delayed obedience, not paying careful attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading and His Words, holding on to old grudges, resentments, unforgiveness, pride, self-righteousness, etc. 

A Dream

A few weeks ago, I had another dream: In my dream, I was in my room, then my late father came to the room. He went to a clothes drawer where I keep my undergarments. He pulled out old undergarments. As he pulled some old, tattered, gray-looking undergarments one by one, he looked at me and I saw in his eyes, as if telling me, “Why are you holding onto these?” Then he showed me the other part of the drawer, with new and clean undergarments.

In that dream, I felt our Heavenly Father was telling me to throw away the old garments and He is giving me new garments, which means throw away old mindsets, old thinking, old stuff in my heart that are not pleasing to Him. And He wants to give me new garments or new heart, new spirit. Undergarments also represents things hidden and not seen by men.

Then I read this quote from “Billy Graham’s Wisdom for Each Day” Daily calendar on September 2nd:

“To ask God to search out the darkest, most secret corners of our minds and hearts take courage… if we aren’t willing to do this? Then the sins we know about remain unconfessed, and our fellowship with God remains cold and distant. Perhaps more important, the hidden sins we may not even realize we have sins- like pride, suppressed anger, lack of love, jealousy, a secret yearning for recognition- remain firmly in place, manipulating us and eventually destroying us.”

New Garments

In the Old Testament, Zechariah had a vision of the high priest of Israel, Joshua who was being accused of Satan because of their sins.  But God defended Joshua from Satan. ((Zechariah 3:1-2).

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.

 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”

And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”

So, they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.” (Zechariah 3:3-5)

Joshua was a high priest in Jerusalem was being accused by satan because of his sins and the sin of the people of Israel, but Lord God defended him. Zechariah 3:1

God forgave their sins as represented by the filthy garments, and gave him new and clean garments.

As God forgave the sin of Joshua and the people of Israel, He encouraged him.

Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘If you will walk in My ways,
And if you will keep My command,
Then you shall also judge My house,
And likewise have charge of My courts;
I will give you places to walk
Among these who stand here.

(Zechariah 3:6-7)

New Wineskins

Jesus said, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Luke 5: 37-38 NKJV 

New Wine, new oil, new wineskins to be vessels of honor (silver cup, gold cup, an oil lamp, etc) for the harvest of souls.

To have a new wineskin is to consecrate our spirit anew afresh to the Lordship of Christ, get rid of all thoughts, old habits, old ways of thinking to brin a new wine, new oil, which is fresh power and anointing of God, a new revelation of who He is.

Prayer: Holy Spirit please search my heart, see if there is anything that is not pleasing to you. Dear Jesus please forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me, make me a new wineskin, give me a new heart, and fill me with your spirit.

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