Saturday In The Psalms—Blessings For The Obedient

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments (Psalm 112:1).

For the one who loves God and wants to obey Him, check out these blessings—

  • blessed, powerful descendants
  • blessing the current generation
  • taking care of his household
  • keeping his righteousness intact
  • giving him light in dark times
  • multiplying his graciousness, compassion, and righteousness
  • blessing him to be a blessing to others
  • giving him discretion
  • a solid, unshakable foundation
  • a legacy to pass on to his children
  • no fear of evil
  • steadfastness
  • more than enough to share with others in need
  • exalted on earth and in heaven

Bring it on!

The American Patriot’s Almanac (book review)

The American Patriot’s AlmanacI feel so blessed to live in the United States of America! With the blessing of living in this great country comes the responsibility of knowing as much as I can about our country’s founding and guiding principles. A wonderful help on this journey of discovery is The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily readings on America by William Bennett and John Cribb.

I am now on my second time through this book, and I’m still discovering how much there is to love about the USA. Each day Bennett and Cribb present a snapshot of a notable event in our nation’s history, that makes me so proud of our heritage all over again. There are cool stories about both the well-known and little-known folks who sacrificed and invested to make this country what it is.

At only a page a day, there’s no excuse for American patriots not to read this book through over the course of a year, and re-discover what a privilege it is to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We all owe it to our future generations to keep these memories alive, so that no one forgets our amazing heritage.

Like A River

AG founding [1914]I am proud of my Pentecostal heritage. Both my parents and grandparents grew up in the Assemblies of God, and saw firsthand powerful moves of God. This year (2014) marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the A/G fellowship. Check out this video from 1964 when the A/G was celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some informative reading for today…

On May 28, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the Congressional Act (Joint Resolution 243), which added the words “Under God” to the pledge of allegiance. In a speech given soon after, President Eisenhower said, “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future.”

“God is concerned that His people are being shaken in their faith—that they won’t trust Him in their crisis. Beloved, our worst sin is our unwillingness to believe He will do what He promised. That offends Him more than adultery, fornication, drug and alcohol abuse or any other sin of the flesh.” —David Wilkerson

Scary, indeed: 8 Scary Statements Said By Abortion Activists.

“If today is the day I will be born into heaven—I sure want to make it worth while. If I die today, I want today to be full of the glory of God. I want everything I do today to be worthy of Jesus. If I could die any moment then let every moment count. A healthy view of dying helps us live well. Dying is the only way to live.” —Dick Brogden

We must SPEAK OUT about this: Global slavery is a big money-maker.

Mark Steyn wants to know why President Barak Obama doesn’t use his phone and his pen to help free Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag from her Sudanese prison, where she is awaiting execution for the crime of (gasp!) being a Christian.

Study: Homosexual culture will affect monogamous marriage, not the other way around. This is why we need a counter culture view—a biblical view—of sex.

The Incense Of Prayer

E.M. Bounds has challenged and inspired my prayer life probably more than any other author. Check out these words from his book Purpose In Prayer

Purpose In Prayer“God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. The lips that utter them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.

“That man is the most immortal who has done the most and the best praying. They are God’s heroes, God’s saints, God’s servants, God’s deputies. A man can pray better because of the prayers of the past; a man can live holier because of the prayers of the past, the man of many and acceptable prayers has done the truest and greatest service to the incoming generation. The prayers of God’s saints strengthen the unborn generation against the desolating waves of sin and evil. Woe to the generation of sons who find their censors empty of the rich incense of prayer; whose fathers have been too busy or too unbelieving to pray, and perils inexpressible and consequences untold are their unhappy heritage. Fortunate are they whose fathers and mothers have left them a wealthy patrimony of prayer.” (emphasis added)

When God gave Moses instructions for building the tabernacle, the altar of incense was placed before the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. The Bible does not tell us how the high priest passed through or by the curtain, so many believe that as he worshiped God, his prayers mingled with the incense, and God translated him through the curtain and into His presence.

There are other verses to support this:

  • Let my prayer be set forth as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:2)
  • The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse into Heaven, and twice we see the prayers of the saints being linked with the incense of worship (see Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-4).

Notice what E.M. Bounds says … our prayers TODAY are providing the incense the NEXT GENERATION will need! If we fail to pray now, we’re not only hurting ourselves, but we’re putting our children and grandchildren on a path toward “perils inexpressible and consequences untold.”

Instead, let’s leave them “a wealthy patrimony of prayer”! Will you pray? Today?

Firsthand (book review)

FirsthandWhile I was reading Firsthand by Ryan & Josh Shook, I felt a little bit like I was reading my own autobiography. Ryan & Josh write about their journey to embrace faith in God as something personal for them—something firsthand. Prior to this point in their lives, these brothers felt like they were living and believing in a secondhand relationship with God.

I can relate. I’m a fourth-generation Christian, with my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents professing a relationship with Jesus Christ. I remember vividly my “crisis of faith” as I wrestled with my burning questions: Do I believe what the Bible says about God just because my parents believed it, or do I believe it because it’s true?

I would encourage all Christian parents to purchase a copy of this book for their kids. Ryan & Josh’s words will resonate with them, and will prepare them for their own journey of discovery. We Christian parents must do all we can to help our children successfully navigate this crucial time in their lives, and Firsthand will be an invaluable resource.

Here’s a video review I did for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers—

I am a WaterBrook book reviewer.

9 Quotes From “Praying Circles Around Your Children”

Attention parents and grandparents: You need to read Praying Circles Around Your Children! To help whet your appetite, here are nine quotes from this outstanding book by Mark Batterson (you can read my full review here) that caught my heart:

“Make sure your heavenly Father hears about your kids daily!”

“You’ll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent. Prayer is your highest privilege as a parent. …Prayer turns ordinary parents into prophets who shape the destinies of their children, grandchildren, and every generation that follows. …Your prayers for your children are the greatest legacy you can leave.” 

“We instinctively attach an ASAP to every prayer and ask God to answer as soon as possible. We need a paradigm shift. We need to start praying ALAT prayers—as long as it takes.”

“Please listen to me, parents: you are prophets to your children. Jewish philosophers did not believe the prophetic gift was reserved for a few select individuals. They believed that becoming a prophetic was the crowning point of mental and spiritual development. It was the natural by-product of spiritual development. It was the natural by-product of spiritual development. The more one grows in grace, the more prophetic one becomes. This doesn’t mean you will start predicting the future. It means you’ll start creating it. How? Through your prayers! Prayer is the way we write the future. It’s the difference between letting things happen and making things happen.” 

“One of your chief responsibilities as a parent is to be a student of your child.”

“Pray about what to pray about. …The purpose of prayer is not to outline our agenda for God; the purpose is to get into the presence of God and get God’s agenda for us.”

“One of our primary responsibilities as parents is helping our children identify their life themes. We need to help them find the sweet spot where their God-given gifts and God-ordained passions overlap.”

“Great parenting doesn’t just mean teaching your kids; it also means learning from them. Think of it as reverse mentoring.” 

“Your prayers will shape the destiny of your family for generations to come.”

Keep On Keeping On

I was challenged by the message “Grandpa George” (also known as Tom Amrozowicz) shared with our church yesterday morning. This coming from a man who is a third generation Pentecostal, and has walked with Jesus for over 70 years. The Bible text he shared was —

O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things You do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. (Psalm 71:17, 18)

I am also a third generational Pentecostal, and I have walked with Jesus for over 40 years (I know, I’m a rookie compared to Tom!). Tom’s words and God’s Word challenged me.

O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood. I never want to take this for granted!

I constantly tell others about the wonderful things You do. Constantly? I hope my life is always showing how I am grateful for God’s blessings, but I know I needed that reminder to also be telling others how grateful I am.

Now that I am old and gray. Gray? Yes. Old? Well, let’s just say older.

Do not abandon me, O God. I don’t believe God would abandon me, but I need to ask myself, “Am I more attentive to following Him as I was a year ago?” You might ask, “Why ‘more attentive’? Don’t you just need to be as attentive?” When I was a teenager, there were things I ate that I never gave a second thought to, but I would never consider eating those things now because I know they aren’t the healthiest diet choices. In others words, as I’ve gotten older, I’m paying more attention to my physical health. Shouldn’t I pay more attention to my spiritual health too?

Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation. I want to make sure my kids, who are fourth generation Pentecostals, know about the power of God that can be theirs.

Let me proclaim… Your mighty miracles to all who come after me. I also want to find relevant ways to tell younger generations about all that God has done for me, and all He wants to do for them too.

So if I were to sum up what the Holy Spirit was saying to me yesterday morning, it would be this:

I need to keep on keeping on. Don’t rest on the past, but use the past as a launching pad for even greater things in the future!

Making Choices

The unusual or out-of-the-ordinary always seems to grab my attention. So when I was reading through a long, long (long!) list of names in 1 Chronicles, I stopped when I read, “Their sister was named Hazzelelponi.”

My first thought: What parent names their little girl Hazzelelponi?!?

My second thought: Why does the biblical writer mention her? First off, there are scarcely any other women mentioned in these genealogies. And then to mention such an unusual name without any other commentary seems weird.

Her name is a compound of two words: to turn toward + shadows.

The Hebrew word for shadows can have two meanings: (1) The cool, protected place; or (2) Something which is transitory or short-lived. One positive definition, and one negative definition. Since all the other times this word is used in the Bible the second definition is used, we can assume that the negative usage is meant here too.

Since I doubt that anyone makes a decision to turn to the shadowy “dark side” all at once, Hazzelelponi made small choices day after day after day.

Small choices every day to rely in things that would not last. And now her history is nothing but a single line: “Their sister was named Hazzelelponi.” No descendants, no heritage, no legacy; just a footnote because of the small choices she made.

“There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.” – John Wooden

What choices are you making today?

Guard These Bones

Here’s an odd one. The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for a long, long time. God does these miraculous things, culminating in the death of every firstborn child in Egypt who’s not in a house covered by lamb’s blood. Pharaoh has finally had enough, “Quick!” he shouts, “Get out of here now. Leave this country.”

So the Israelites pack up as quick as they can to leave before Pharaoh changes his mind. And then this odd statement appears, “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him.”

Seriously? Bones? We’re kinda in a rush here!

Well, they’re not just any bones. It’s not like they’re just loose bones lying around. They’re in a mummy case.

Yeah, and…?

They were the bones of Joseph. The one who foresaw the coming famine. The one whom Pharaoh put as second-in-command to make preparations for the famine. The one who saved the Israelites from starvation. That Joseph. Just before he died he made his family take an oath than when they left Egypt, they would take his bones with them.

They took the oath. And for the next 430 years someone had to watch over the bones. Through about twelve generations, from father to son, from son to grandson, from grandson to great-grandson, the oath was passed: “Guard these bones. When we leave, the bones go with us.”

So when they left Egypt, Moses took the bones with him. But then the Israelites sinned and had to wander in the wilderness for another 40 years. Another whole generation died, and still the oath was passed: “Guard these bones.”

The Israelites finally re-entered their home land, but had to defeat their enemies that had taken possession of their land while they were in Egypt. For about 30 years the Israelites fought. And still the oath was passed: “Guard these bones.”

Finally as a postscript to Joshua’s account we finally see Joseph’s bones being buried in Shechem… nearly 500 years after Joseph died!

For 500 years they kept the oath; they guarded the bones.

Do you realize that the way you are living today could be the answer to a 500-year-old prayer? Just like the Israelites who kept their eyes on God, you and I must live today with a purpose and with a mission. When we live godly lives, we are guarding the bones of prayers that were prayed, the bones of petitions that were made, the bones of oaths that were requested.

What are you doing today to guard the bones of your ancestor’s prayers?

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