Is Praying Ever Futile?

Is Praying Ever Futile?

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. Jeremiah 7:16 KJV

“So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. Jeremiah 7:16 NIV

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. Jeremiah 11:14 KJV

Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress. Jeremiah 11:14 NIV

Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. Jeremiah 14:11 KJV

This is what the LORD says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people. Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”  But I said, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’ ” Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. Jeremiah 14:11-14 NIV

This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14 NIV

For those who think that the answers is to always pray for some people–think again. There are times when we’re told NOT TO PRAY for those who refuse to acknowledge and obey God. That’s what Jeremiah’s thankless job was as a prophet of God. God’s messengers–those He selects–do not always have a message of “pie in the sky” and because those in positions of influencing others–they like to think their message is the only right message. It would have been redundant for me to say everything Jeremiah said to a rebellious nation, but I would encourage every Believer and those who read this blog–to read, with understanding, all Jeremiah said and see with God’ Wisdom and insight how that message then-is relevant today.

Is it possible that we are faced with the possibility of captivity (naturally and spiritually) if we continue on this path of blatant disregard for God’s Word? Can we trust any religious leader (false prophets) who proclaim messages that do align with God’s Word?

Not every person who proclaims their belief in God is telling the truth. We know by what we see and hear them do. Therefore, The Word of Lord tells us how to discern–spiritually those who truly belong to Him. Do they say what God says or they are intertwining personal feelings and opinions into The Word to convince? When we allow our feelings (which are fickle) and opinions to distort the message of The Gospel, we betray God’s trust in us. What is the message of The Gospel? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (as a sacrifice for all) so whoever believes in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (paraphrased)

“This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” I John 3:10, 11

Therefore, if the message is not about LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE, the message is not from God and the messenger is a liar.

Okay, let me clarify this for those who think this is simply a rant–it is not. If we are not saying what God says and promoting love and not hatred–we are on the path to certain captivity–opening the door to all sorts of depravity–and evil. When we see evil and won’t address it–we are condoning it. And for this reason–just like He did with Jeremiah, God is warning us–there’s no point in praying for people–either as an individual or a nation–who refuse to obey God. The better prayer is for us to be able to endure until the end.

We see the evidence, daily, at the political rallies that are simply stoking the fires of hatred and then it spills over onto the crowds and people feel empowered to hate others simply because they are different. This is not of God and we have been warned about the consequences in His Word. Now, we have a choice to make and our choice–will lead us into a place where God desires us to be–into captivity to get our attention–or to keep us on the path He has planned for us. It’s up to us. Do we listen to God or the false prophets? Will God listen to us or ignore us? When people tell us to pray that God will change a person’s heart, we miss the mark. God will not change a person’s heart who doesn’t want their heart to be changed.

I’m praying that God’s wisdom will be received into the hearts of all who know Him and overflow into the masses and we will know love as God defines love–not us.

Blinded!

Blinded!

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:1-4 NIV

There are so many things that cause blindness–other than physiological reasons–and unfortunately, those who are blinded by the tricks of the enemy–seldom realize their predicament.

Being blinded by the enemy’s distortions of truth is nothing new. All we need to do is go back to the garden to see how he blinded Eve with his distortion of truth. And he hasn’t changed his MO; he’s still distorting God’s truth to keep people out of the will of God. The distortions–about truth–are not just used by those who are influenced by the enemy about The Word–they are used to confound and confuse about issues–prevalent in our society–to sway opinions.

We see this on a daily basis in the political arena. Some are using “smidgens” of truth and blowing that out of proportion to make themselves look better than another. Quite frankly, the more people attack others on issues that have no bearing on the competence of someone to run the country, the more disgruntled I get with the entire process. It is amazing to me how political candidates will use every possible avenue to destroy another’s character when their own character leaves much to be desired.

But then–the followers of one are so blinded that they only see the truth–distorted as it is–that the candidate wants them to see. I really don’t understand how some people are blinded by the lies–but I’m also not frustrated by bias against any who don’t agree with. I am capable of discerning truth–aside from the efforts by those attempting to distort it. For any who are filled with Holy Spirit and are willing to heed His guidance–truth should never be distorted for us. We have “insight” that the average person may never understand, but will we use what we are given to make a stand for righteousness or will we cave to popular opinion and leave the door wide open for the nation’s destruction?

I’m not promoting one candidate over another–I’m encouraging people to take off the blinders, shed the scales that keep truth distorted, and allow Holy Spirit to show all that needs to be seen. Stop allowing frustrations and personal biases to interfere with ability to see truth. Listen to the candidates–carefully–not the media or their opponents–listen to them and ask Holy Spirit to allow a glimpse of their heart. Are they truly interested in serving the needs of the people–all Americans–or do they have an agenda to serve self? These are not hard questions and the answers are easily seen–when one is not blinded by frustration, confusion and bigotry.

Remember this–a lie is a lie and there is no little lie, no black lies or white lies. God hates all liars and when we speak those things that are not true–we are liars. 

Let’s stick with the facts and leave our opinions out of the equation since opinions are like other body exits–everyone has one and whether we agree or not, there is never any justification for disrespecting others for expressing their opinion about anything.

On The Journey–Aleph

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!

They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.

You have commanded us
To keep Your precepts diligently.

Oh, that my ways were directed
To keep Your statutes!

Then I would not be ashamed,
When I look into all Your commandments.

I will praise You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.

I will keep Your statutes;
Oh, do not forsake me utterly!  Psalm 119:2-8 NKJV

The first three verses of this Psalm are written–seemingly as part of a conversation–to everyone. Notice the point of view–written in third person. We are being reminded that all who keep God’s laws and live according to His Word are blessed (happy); we do nothing that is wrong, but follow The Lord with our whole hearts.

Verse four–speaks directly to God-(second person point of view) acknowledging that the writer knows who has laid the principles by which we are to live out of obedience.

And then verses five through eight--becomes a personal acknowledge of shortcomings and determination to change (written in first person point of view). Basically, what the writer is saying is, “If I was consistent in obeying Your Word, I wouldn’t be ashamed of anything I do. I will praise You with my heart ready to receive from You and learn to do all You have asked me to do. I haven’t obeyed all You want me to do, but I will, so please don’t forsake me!”

If we all faced reality with the sincerity of the writer–acknowledging where we are and how we have fallen short, but willing to hear God and learn so that nothing we did would put us to shame, what a wonderful world this would be.

Unfortunately, there are too many people–functioning in the church–as well as those outside of it–who are not willing to admit they even have any faults or shortcomings. They think they are just fine the way they are and nothing anyone says will convince them otherwise. This is a person who does not have a teachable spirit.

A person with a teachable spirit is always willing to hear–instructions and corrections–without taking offense to what is being said. They understand the only goal is help them become better–not bitter.

The purpose of The Word–is help us become better –not bitter–as we continue our journey in life. We need to know how to interact with others appropriately, but we also need to know how to correct wrongs when see them and if we can’t do it, we should direct the situation to the party who can. The Word should be our authority in life and within The Word, we are admonished to obey authority–those given positions of authority and decision-making. If we are not happy with the authority exercised by man, then we should follow the appropriate protocols to make our dissension clear and public so changes–if necessary–can be made.

Whenever we do things to circumvent authority without following protocols established to maintain order, we do ourselves a disservice and we dishonor God. If we cannot respect authority, we certainly cannot expect others to respect us in a position of authority.

Before we can lead anyone, anywhere, we must know how to follow and then demonstrate ability to lead–as a facilitator–not a dictator.

When we learn to do things God’s way, we prohibit (close the door) the opportunity for friction and chaos and if there is no chaos (no drama), then we can indeed be happy because we are walking under the authority of God’s Word.

Thinking back to twelve step programs, it would appear that this segment of scripture was used as a foundational principle–first acknowledge–truthfully–where we are and what we have done to sabotage happiness and order in our lives. Until we acknowledge where we are–no one else can help us move forward and benefit from all God wants for us.

I killed Trayvon Martin

Worth thinking about!

overbear

This infrequently used blog has awakened for a timely guest post from Eddie Hatcher.

Eddie in a hoodieI’m a racist. There is no known cure, so best I can hope for is to minimize the symptoms. I’ve struggled my whole life to do just that, but I still can’t help but feel partially responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death. I carry this guilt because nothing I do is enough to combat the system I once gladly took part in.

I grew up in a small North Carolina town surrounded by farms and factories. What I learned about racism, I learned hanging out in hunt clubs, on farms, in country stores, and in gun shops. We often talked about race, but never about racism. Everyone knew that racism stopped existing after Integration. In our minds, we were not discriminating against anyone because of their skin color; we were simply describing the way people acted, their…

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Enduring Truth

“For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures for all generations” (Psalms 100:5)

There are so many wonderful things we could say about The Lord and praise Him for, but the fact that He is good–all the time and all the time He is good–is just one aspect of who He is.  His mercy–His willingness to give us chance after chance to get things right instead of throwing us under a bus the first time we mess up, and His enduring truth–a truth that cannot be changed even though many have tried, but it has lasted from generation to generation.

Although there are many who will say that the Bible is merely a collection of word-of-mouth stories which have been interpreted in various ways time and time again; it is still a marvel that the basic premises of what has been told is still being told.  In the beginning…God–created all things.  Man broke fellowship with God through disobedience. Man’s relationship with God was reconciled through Jesus Christ.  His truth endures–the slander of non-believers; the compromising of those who proclaim belief, but don’t live the life, His truth–endures to and for all generations.  The story will still be told, long after many of us have ceased living and His truth, not man’s (because mankind’s truth changes at the whim of man) will continue to endure.  His truth–we need to be in right relationship with Him and He is the only one in whom our faith should reside. He is the only one who can save us from ourselves.

God’s enduring truth is the firm foundation on which we have established our faith and can indeed look forward to receiving the reward due us for living a godly life–our eternal resting place in Heaven. Thank God for His goodness, His mercy and His enduring truth!

Never Give Up!

encour pstr3There are sunny days, cloudy days, and Son days–don’t forget and don’t give up!

When The Lord Stands With Us!

“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth” (2 Timothy 4:17 NIV).

When The Lord stands with us, He gives us strength to do what must be done.  In this passage of scripture, Paul tells Timothy that while the Gospel was being preached, Paul knew the Lord was with Him and that knowledge gave him the strength and courage he needed to preach to the unbelieving.  If God stood with Paul, will He not stand with us, when we do as are told to do?

I am convinced that even though there are many people who would shun listening to the Gospel message, and there is evidence on a daily basis that many will attempt to refute, if I stand firm in the knowledge that the Lord is with me, I can preach the Gospel and convince others to believe without worrying about the end result.

Some people are afraid to preach the Gospel message (without compromising it) for fear that they will lose friends or people will laugh at them.  People laughed at Jesus; they refuted His attempts to get them to understand that He was the Son of God.  I’d rather be in the company of Jesus than those who would oppose Him.

Perhaps, it is because of my nature that I have never really been concerned about what people thought of me.  I know this attitude helped me to overcome the negativity of being a female preacher in many circles.  I know this attitude helped me to overcome the indifference of many who thought I was crazy to go back to school and begin teaching in public schools at 50 years old.  I know this attitude helped me to overcome the “hems and haws” when I first started writing (seriously) at a late stage in my life.  How did I overcome?  I know the Lord was with me and I was strengthened by the knowledge that He would never leave me or forsake me.  I knew that as long as I was doing what He had either asked me to do or given me permission to do that everything was going to be all right. It is because I knew then and know now, when The Lord stands with me, I can do all things above and beyond my finite expectations and if I can, so can anyone else who believes He will.

Do all things that glorify Him with Him standing by your side and you will be victorious!