Father hear my prayer

Are you in distress? 
Are you at your wits’ end? 
Is your heart heavy? 



Alone Sunset Water Silhouette Sunrise Man Ocean

You are not alone in your troubles. Please, cry out to God. God will comfort you and give you rest. By his grace, he will answer when we call. He does not sleep, He does not slumber, He loves us more than we could imagine. He is waiting. Look at these verses where we are reminded and invited to call out to our Lord:

Psalm 18:6  “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ear”

Psalm 34:17  “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” 

Matthew 11:28   “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”

Jeremiah 33:3   “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” 

Romans 15:13   “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Please call on God today. May you feel the arms of Jesus surrounding you today and always. May God’s comfort and love overwhelm you, amaze you, and bring you to a place of doubtless faith. May His name be glorified in all our lives, Amen.

Father hear my prayer.

The Temple

On one of Jesus’ visits to the Temple, he expressed His anger as to what the Temple had become. The gospel of Matthew tells us, “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21:13).

He was frustrated that Temple had become a place of business, rather than a place of worship and that the hustle and bustle were drowning out God’s voice.

The world around us is noisy, and there seems no escape from its noise. Even our churches are loud. However, that does not mean we can’t hear God or find Him, or that we condemn church facilities. What it means is we need to be more intentional in our efforts to seek and praise Him. Maybe today, you can isolate yourself and spend some quiet time to hear God whisper to you. But if that is not possible, be comforted in knowing that as a follower of Christ, He is with us no matter where we are.


Let your body/temple, become a house of prayer today.


The Shield – download PDF

THE SHIELD 2020

Sept. 2020

August 2020                 July 2020

June 2020                     May 2020

April 2020                    March 2020

February 2020             January 2020

LE BOUCLIER

Septembre 2020

Aout 2020                  Juillet 2020

 

_______________________

December 2019            November 2019         October 2019

September 2019           August 2019

June 2019                     May 2019                     April 2019

March 2019                 February 2019             January 2019

______________________

December 2018        November 2018          October 2018

September 2018       August 2018                July 2018

Hear our Prayer

“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer”
Psalm 17:6



David was a shepherd lad who became King of Israel. When he became king, he ruled righteously in accordance with God’s WILL; Israel enjoyed the golden years of their history during David’s reign. Yet, as a man, David sinned. However, as a sinner, he was aware of his need for God’s forgiveness. He courageously accepted God’s punishment; as one who suffered the consequence of sinning against God, he also took the challenge of rebuilding his life for God. David prayed.


God taught David that he worships
a God who answers prayer. 


When we consider all the power that is available to us today – for example, flip a switch and the light will come on – there is none that is as powerful as prayer. The unfortunate aspect of it is that so few of us know how to use it. Electricity was there for discovery in the days of Abraham, but he and the people of that time missed out on the use of it because they did not know how to harness it.

What was the essential aspect of effective prayer that David, no doubt, learned during his life? He alludes to it when he says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”(Psalm 66:18). He learned that a surrendered will was the secret that opened the door of access to the heavenly Father. Unless we are willing to surrender our will to the WILL of God, there will be no answer to prayer.

The best part of prayer is the new sense of God that comes to those whose prayers are answered. Not every prayer is answered in the way that we thought it would be or in the way we wanted it to be; but when we realize that our prayer was answered in God’s way, in accordance with His WILL, we cannot help but rejoice and be glad because of our new sense of awareness of who God is.


He is a God who listens to our petitions and
takes notice of our praise.


David had cried out to God with his mouth; he had praised God with his tongue; God heard his plea; God took notice of his praise, and the result was that God blessed him with peace of mind and heart.

You and I shall know the peace of God when we cry out to Him in prayer and offer words of praise to Him with our lips. Afterwards, we shall realize that God has answered our prayers in His way, according to His WILL; and that realization will cause us to exclaim:


“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or
withheld his love from me.” Psalm 66:20.


Create a web of prayers

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way,
  you will fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2.



Have you ever looked carefully at a spider’s web and marvelled at its construction? The spider web has several purposes, including gathering food or safely moving its young from one place to another. The web is made from a silk material produced inside its body. When the spider begins to build its web, it releases a single strand of silt. It needs a strong foundation to create the web, so it may use the strand to lower itself to a solid foundation, or it may throw a strand into the wind expecting it to attach something substantial. The spider continues to produce these threads from within until it creates a web. As the spider waits for the web to perform its intended purpose, it does not stop working on the web and continually reinforces it with more strands so it will not fail.

We all need strong support to hold us up in this incredibly confusing world. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has been given to those who believe in Jesus’ message, and we can use this power within us to help change our lives and those around us. Like a spider, we should start our day building and reinforcing our foundation. Through prayer, we can throw out pieces of ourselves to the Holy Spirit, wait and watch. As we pray, the Holy Spirit will remind us of circumstances in our community and family that are causing anxiety, worry and lack of hope. So, we drop another prayer. Your heart has been breaking as you think about your child who no longer goes to church or believes in Jesus. So, you let loose with another prayer. As you pray, you are encouraged, and you begin to pray for your neighbour’s son, the staff at your local coffee shop and you begin to add strands to the ones that are already in place.


After a while, you have a web of overlapping prayers, and as you sit, watch and pray, you are comforted, knowing God answers all prayers.


Each moment, prayer stands are fluttering in the wind; the Holy Spirit breathes meaning into them as they go to our Father in heaven. We are strengthened, knowing that we are not alone in our prayers. Maybe members of our church family have been praying similar prayers to ours, ensuring many prayer webs are being spread around the city. Scripture share that united, we can become stronger; stronger in our faith and our relationships. (“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4;12.). We should not be shy to ask others to pray with us; in fact, we should have a prayer partner so that we, not our prayers, can become more robust.


Prayer works. It feeds the Church body and the soul.

Pray often, and don’t give up.


 

What is TRUTH?

“You say that I (Jesus) am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” (John 18:38) 



History records tensions existed between Pontius Pilate and the Jewish community. When Jesus stood before Pilate awaiting punishment, Pilate was uncertain as to the crime Jesus had committed and tried to get answers. The gospel of John records a back and forth interaction between Pilate – the leaders – and Jesus. Getting nowhere with his conversations, Pilate seemed to exclaim in exasperation, “What is truth.” 

Today the words FAKE NEWS has become a common phrase for many who disagree with what they are reading or hearing and somehow the truth has been set aside. Wikipedia defines fake news as deliberate disinformation or hoaxes  spread via print, broadcast or online social media; it is not news we don’t like. FAKE NEWS is not news that shows the flaws and weaknesses of an individual. When an individual speaks in front of cameras and makes inappropriate statements, repeating those statements is not fake news. However, there is a lot of fake news being spread by people who are not in the media business. Destructive fake news about COVID 19 cures, political agendas, or social causes are being shared by our family, friends, and neighbours. Even though much of this news can be quickly verified, many don’t bother to do so or are uncertain how to check the information. They spread this disinformation, creating anxiety and worry for many. It is so prevalent that many ask, “what is the truth.”

When Jesus confronted religious leaders about their teachings, He was not condemning them for FAKE NEWS. Jesus’ teachings, like the Sermon on the mount, was not spoken to squash fake news, but to realign people’s thinking to THE TRUTH. This truth was available to them but somehow got lost in the legalism of the age. He did not call them to ignore God’s laws but called them to repentance, to turn back to God and His truths. He reminded people to focus on loving God with all their heart, soul and mind and to love their neighbours. (Matthew 22:37-39).

So, what is THE TRUTH that Jesus came to share? It is a truth that all should believe. This truth comes from outside the world and gives meaning to the world. It is unchanging and absolute. It is THE TRUTH that there is a God who created everything and wants those who believe in His Son’s message, to spend eternity with Him. Today if we try to claim that there is absolute truth, a truth that everyone should believe and follow, we will very likely be considered misguided and immoral. People will say we are mistaken because they think there is no God to give absoluteness to the truth, or, if there is a God, there is no way of knowing him and what he thinks. Not only would you be considered mistaken and misguided, you would also be considered by many to be immoral if you insist on absolute truth. Why? Because to claim that there is absolute truth leads to intolerance and prejudice against what others think.

People don’t think about absolute truth anymore. They are not looking for THE TRUTH that can give meaning and purpose to all of life and history. Instead, people are trying to experience life to the full and call this experience truth for them, not absolute truth, just truth for them. Jesus was not born to keep secret the truth of God. He was born and came into the world to bear witness to THE TRUTH, the unchanging absolute truth of God. That is not FAKE News but Good News.

Are you a disciple of Jesus?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23



Do you realize what Jesus is saying – there are many people who are emotional about their faith, who are active in ministry, and who in fact perform miracles, but their hearts have never been transformed by the gospel of grace. They are believers in Jesus who are not disciples of Jesus.

Is there a difference between believers and disciples? Believers and disciples appear to do many of the same activities, but their motives are miles apart. Many believers try to impress God and those around them by being involved in church and service, but disciples do the same things to know God better and reflect His goodness and greatness to everyone. Believers serve God if it’s convenient, while disciples serve God based on conviction.


Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14


Jesus compared the way to heaven as a path and suggested that many have intentionally widened that path by pushing aside the boundaries God placed before us in scripture. Believers focus on the passages that promise what God will do for them, but disciples take the whole counsel of God seriously. Disciples follow God whether they agree with God’s word or not, whether they understand or not, whether obeying is comfortable or not. Believers elevate their opinions, feelings, and thoughts above the Word of God while disciples elevate the Word of God above their opinions, feelings, and thoughts. Jesus says that because so many have created a wider path, they will miss the gate that leads to eternal life with Him. Many will miss eternity with Him because they think they are playing the game properly. But it is not a game, or a performance God seeks but a relationship with Him. The creator of the universe wants us to spend eternity with Him, He has given us the Holy Spirit, prayer and scripture to guide us to Him.

Have you ever considered whether you are just a part-time follower of Christ? Do you only trust God when everything is going well? Disciples follow God regardless of the circumstance. Part-time followers stick around if God seems to be blessing them, and life is easy, but disciples keep pursuing God and trusting in Him even when their world is falling apart. God asks us to believe in Him, repent and turn away from our desire to be a follower under our terms. He asks us to acknowledge His grace and forgiveness, repent and turn from activities we know are offensive to Him, to those around us, and even to ourselves. He wants us to turn from being a weekend follower to a 24/7 disciple.

Instead of starting your day with a coffee, breakfast, a quick check of the news, or whatever you habitually do, start your day by saying: “You are my God, and I want to be on the path that leads to you. Help me honour and love you this day and every day”. It’s a start on the discipleship path.

Which path are you on?

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14



Christian blogs, magazines and even friends often offer advice on ways to improve ourselves so we can become “better” Christians. They list activities or actions that, if followed, could lead us closer to God. Although the advice comes from the heart and is meant for good, it often leaves out a key component of the change; the needed influence of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, many tend to analyze these suggestions, even if they are biblically sound, to decide whether to accept them or not. The Holy Spirit stimulates us to think of Jesus not ourselves.

We don’t become Christians unless God chooses us, and we don’t change unless the Holy Spirit transforms us. It is not about will power, but God’s power. Although God chooses whose eyes and hearts He will open, He does not take control over followers unless they allow it. Scripture tells us that we have choices including whether we want to follow Jesus or not. Being a Christ-follower requires a mindset that points to God. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans that we have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (see Romans 12:2). We have to intentionally choose to become followers so that we can honour and glorify God. We have to purposefully seek to love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength and we can’t do that without the Holy Spirit’s help.

There is an expression that states, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. God does not want us to imitate Jesus or flatter Him as flattery can also suggest an insincere act or word used to impress the recipient.


God wants our action to be sincere and pure.
God wants us to be as Jesus is
.


When the Holy Spirit gets involved, our actions and behaviours should become Christ-like. They then should become immediate responses to the Holy Sprit’s activity in our lives, not responses motivated by our personal preferences of even a desire to please God or get something from Him. We do what is right to honour God.

During a gathering, referred to as “The Sermon on The Mount”, Jesus presented guidance on becoming His disciple. He spoke about disciple attributes but did not suggest these were steps or checkpoints we must achieve to climb a ladder to get to heaven. He proposes these as behavioural boundaries which guides us on a path that leads to God. A path that can become wide as we judge whether these words are relevant, whether we understand them, or even whether we agree with them. The wider we make the path the greater chance we have in missing the gate to life.


Our desire to be Christ-like should be for no reason
other than to seek and worship God. 


We must look to scripture to find God’s boundary markers pointing to Him. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit as a guide and we must respond to His prompting. Prayer, reading scripture and responding to the Holy Spirit keeps us on the path to God.

Blessings for a True Disciple



We often hear people speak of the cost of being a disciple of Christ however, when we follow Jesus, numerous blessings help us live a life focused on God.



Below is a shortlist of scripture that speaks of the abundant life that God offers. These are given to those who learn to love God and obey His commandments above all else:

  1. PURPOSE – “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” (Jeremiah 29:11).

  2. DIRECTION – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your understanding in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

  3. STRENGTH – I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).

  4. COMPETENCE – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

  5. PEACE – Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).

  6. SATISFACTION – Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

  7. POWER – Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and will do even greater things than these (John 14:12).

  8. RELATIONSHIP – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).

  9. ETERNAL LIFE – And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3).

  10. LEGACY – Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Not retired yet!

“Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40: 30-31)



Since moving to the city of Miramichi New Brunswick, I’ve noticed there are a lot of silver-haired people in the community. At one point, I thought Miramichi was the staging area for the snowbirds preparing to go south for the winter. Regardless of the hair colour and slower lines in the grocery store, my wife and I love it here and are blessed. This past Wednesday, I spent some time sitting on a bench in the Newcastle Town Square; this seemed to be a popular hangout for the elderly. As I sat enjoying the rest, many antique cars drove around the square, with the occupants honking their horns or shouting hellos to those sitting in the park. As I looked over the crowded benches, felt the warm sun and cool breeze, and listened to the oldie’s music playing in the background, I imagined I was in a Norman Rockwell painting. Although I was just people watching, I could not help but overhear a group of seniors nearby chatting and telling stories. During the twenty or so minutes I was there, I must have heard the statement “I remember when...” at least thirty times. I don’t mean to sound judgemental, but these retirees seemed content just to sit and reminisce about their past glories and seemed uninterested in what they still might accomplish.

When Caleb was forty years old, Moses sent him and eleven others into the promised land to recce the area. The scouts came back singing the praises of the fruitful earth. However, all of them, but Caleb and Hoshea (Joshua), shared a message implying they could not defeat its occupants. They stood at the edge of the land promised them by God, and only Caleb dared to say, “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30). Caleb and Joshua, who were most likely older than the other scouts, trusted God’s promises and wanted the people to take what God had given them. However, the people were afraid and did not trust God and chose not to enter, and as a result, they wandered in the desert for forty years.

When it came time to settle the promised land, only Caleb and Joshua remained from the original Israelites freed from Egypt. They had trusted God and were blessed. Flash forward forty-five years after the recce when Joshua and Caleb are senior citizens discussing the new land they have conquered. Caleb, who is eighty-five, said to Joshua, “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:10-12). Caleb, who is well beyond what we consider to be retirement age in our country, had not retired from God’s work. He knew that because God was with Him, He could still serve God.

Although I know very little about the people sitting in the Newcastle Square benches, their conversations told me they seemed to have no vision for their future beyond their seats. Caleb spent his life trusting God and was full of energy to do His work, regardless of his age. We do retire from our jobs, but there is no retirement from Christian service to God. We are employees of heaven 24/7, and we must not act as if our best years are behind us. We must consider that the most significant work we can do for God is yet to come. We may not have the physical stamina of Caleb to fight wars for our countries, or build wells in foreign lands, or be part of a community-building project, but we can still serve God. While we still have breath in our lungs, and a pulse in our chest, God wants to use us to glorify Him and share the Gospel to the lost. Talk with God on how you can be used and spread your wing and be ready to soar.