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Archive for the ‘intercession’ Category

As a kid on the playground, I couldn’t stand it when a bully was picking on another kid.

Sometimes, I even got into trouble because I invited the bully to leave the kid alone and pick on me instead.

It didn’t turn out well for either of us at such moments.

Even as an adult in ministry, I’ve had occasions when I interceded in situations where one person was being treated unfairly and the attacker’s guns were then directed at me.

That’s OK. I just didn’t want the weaker person to be suffering unjustly and I knew that the Lord would sustain me during the attacks.

Part of being a Christian involves helping the weaker, whether emotional or physical or financial.

If we see someone hurting — particularly if from unfair treatment — our hearts should be moved to intercede in some way.

It’s not just about helping them, but also about confronting those who trample the rights of others.

Not everybody is able or willing to stand up for the weak person’s rights.

Those of us who can should do just that.

“The godly care about the rights of the poor;
 the wicked don’t care at all.” (Proverbs 29:7)

It’s like dealing with the bully on the playground.

If there are no boundaries drawn against attacks on the weaker, other wannabe bullies surface and chaos ensues whether in the workplace, the school, the church or the extended family.

If you have a friend or relative needing help in dealing with a corrupt mortgage lender or a neglectful landlord or an exploitative employer or a vindictive, manipulative relative, please pray for wisdom on how to pray with that person and perhaps even coach that person into better strategies for response.

It’s the godly thing to do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We’re all wired to be heroes.

Not like with the movies and the recurring rescues from beasts or thugs or natural disasters, but with real-life crisis threats.

I’m talking about the threat of emotional collapse when someone we know feels that nobody cares about him or her.

I’m talking about the threat of financial collapse when one is desperately needing help in finding a job.

I’m talking about the threat of physical calamity when one is in need of a kidney or bone marrow transplant or donated funds for a vital medical procedure.

We can all be heroes in one setting or another.

The greatest way we can be heroes involves the eternal soul.

The book of James shows us how:

My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.” (5:19-20)

If you have a relative or friend whose faith once burned brightly yet it is now barely flickering in the winds of worldly living, please ask God to show you how to take heroic action for that person.

Communicate your love.

Communicate God’s love.

Communicate what’s at the end of the road he or she is walking.

Remind them of the joy they once felt in Christ’s arms.

Remind them that Christ’s arms are still open and that His blood still cleanses.

Remind them that the father wanted the Prodigal son to come home and that God wants every wandering soul to come home.

There won’t be a whoopin’ for the one who returns, but instead a lot of Woo-Hoo!!!

God is a Daddy who wants His children to come home.

Let’s be children who want our wandering spiritual siblings to come home.

Let’s be heroes.

Let’s start looking for people to rescue.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Imagine having a friend who NEVER lets you down.

Imagine having a friend who not only never lets you down, but goes beyond that in looking for ways to make your life more fulfilling.

I want a friend like that and so do you.

All we have to do is just ask and we will.

I’m talking about the One mentioned in the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Yes, we know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we can accept the gift of eternal life when we confess Him with our words and baptism.

But His desire is not just to save us.

He also desires to help us.

Check out this verse from today’s reading in the One-Year Bible.

“He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” (Hebrews 7:25)

Wow.

At the top of Jesus’ agenda today is interceding with God on your behalf.

That is an amazing promise.

Whatever prayer you speak in Jesus’ name, guess what’s going to happen to it?

Jesus is taking it to God.

Whatever scheme Satan is cooking up to trip you up, guess who is asking God to draw the boundary for how much Satan can tempt?

Jesus, that’s whom.

Like Job said in chapter 16 of his book, we have an advocate on high.

I like that fact.

It comforts me in knowing that I’m not alone.

Ever.

Please make sure Jesus is on the throne of your heart. That way, you’ll be sure to have Him taking all of your needs to the throne of God.

As always, I love you
Martin

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When there’s no one to stick up for us during a workplace hassle, it’s discouraging.

When there’s no kid who will stand with us when the playground bully comes around, it’s discouraging.

When there’s no friend or relative to sit with us in the oncologist’s office, it’s discouraging.

I’m SO grateful that we don’t have to be alone when it comes to our greatest threat — the eternal status of our souls.

The fact is that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The companion fact is that our sin has earned us the wages of eternal separation from God in the place called hell. (Romans 6:23)

The encouraging fact, however — the redeeming fact — is that we CAN have someone stand with us when this greatest threat looms large.

Actually, He sits rather than stands.

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” (Romans 8:34)

I don’t need anybody to remind me that I’d be toast without Jesus interceding for me with Jehovah God.

I’m quite aware of my sinful nature and periodic failures.

Of course, God is, too.

God didn’t want me to become an eternal shish-ka-bob and that’s why He sent Jesus.

It’s amazing to think about the fact that when we’ve sinned, Jesus has pleaded our case before the Father. If the books of Job and Zechariah have any application to our lives, it’s entirely possible that Satan also pleaded before God about us, but in a condemning way.

Despite our failures, God continues wanting us to spend forever with Him and that’s why Jesus has the task of interceding for believers like us who need Him to say something like this, “Abba Father, ____________ has confessed faith in Me and is covered in my blood. He/she is one of ours. Please send blessing and wisdom through Your Holy Spirit to help ______________ learn to love and serve you more.”

Please make sure that you have a confessed, personal, saving faith in Jesus Christ. Please make sure that you’ve been covered by His blood in baptism.

For Jesus said this in Matthew 10:32: “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”

Stand with Jesus, my friend. Even if it means seemingly standing alone at work or school or at home.

That way, you’ll have the greatest Friend of all standing up for you in heaven from His seat next to the Father.

As always, I love you
Martin

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When you see trouble coming and you warn somebody, how do you react when they ignore you?

And then how do you react when your warning was proven valid and a storm of trouble is growing in one way or another?

There is frustration all around at such times.

The ignored person is naturally tempted to shout “I told you so” and perhaps make other disparaging remarks about the decision-makers.

The neglectful person is naturally tempted to look for others to blame or simply say he or she did nothing wrong.

What matters in such storms is not holding a trial as to who is guilty but instead focusing on getting through it to a more settled place.

We’ve all experienced this scenario in relationships, with the health status of ourselves or relatives or friends, with financial calamities or with vocational crises.

At such times, the best thing to do is pray and encourage.

That’s what the Apostle Paul did in Acts 27 in the midst of a lengthy, terrible storm battering a ship upon which he and 273 other men were riding.

Paul, a prisoner enroute to Rome to appear before Caesar, warned those in charge of the ship before leaving port, telling them to sail with winter approaching was unwise.

He was ignored.

And all hell broke loose meteorogically.

You’ll want to read Acts 27 here when you get a chance.

Significantly, Paul didn’t start pointing fingers and wagging his tongue when he was proven right. He started praying and encouraging.

It took two weeks before Paul’s prayers were answered — but they were.

Nobody died.

The Gospel was exalted, actually, because of the storm.

People were saved as a by-product of the storm.

Here’s the point — when people ignore your wisdom, don’t accuse.

Instead, pray.

When your warning is borne out by events, don’t insult.

Instead, pray.

And encourage.

Wagging tongues and fingers don’t stop storms and don’t inspire people to do better.

And they certainly don’t promote the Gospel.

Prayer and encouragement do.

When people ignore your warnings, pray. Encourage.

Before and during the storm.

They just might start praying with you after the storm.

And that will be good for the Gospel.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’ a wonderful thing when in the midst of a terribly difficult season in our lives, there is someone who intentionally does all he or she can to help us with encouragement, with prayers, with advocacy comments toward others or perhaps a combination of all three.

The load of stress and despair seems less because of such intercessory efforts and we are very grateful.

It’s likely that we’ve also experienced the opposite unfortunately, either because the involvement of some others only made things worse or because no intercessory efforts were made in our behalf.

When people in your circle of influence are going through tough times, how do you respond?

Are they quietly hoping you’ll try to help?

Are they overtly asking for your help?

Are they receiving that help?

Are you encouraging? Praying? Serving as their advocate toward those who need to stop hurting them or to start helping them?

Are you a God-hearted, God-empowered, Spirit-guided intercessor? Or are you a disinterested observer who doesn’t want to get involved because it would cost you something?

God calls us to help others because it’s the Christlike thing to do. It’s also the Golden Rule thing to do.

Let’s not be the person described in a passage from today’s reading in the One-Year Bible:

Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.” (Proverbs 25:19)

Let’s be imitators of God when it comes to helping those in our lives. Let’s be everpresent helpers in times of trouble.

It’s what we want from others. And it’s what we’re called to offer to others.

The huting, frustrated friends and family around us already have enough broken teeth and lame feet without us adding to the list.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Since my elementary school playground days, I’ve had a problem with people who picked on others.

On more than one occasion, I’ve found trouble because I confronted a bully’s abusive behavior toward somebody weaker.

Perhaps you also feel your blood beginning to boil when you see an abuser.

This emotional response is a faint reflection of the intercessory passion that God has for those who suffer because they are seen as worthless.

God knows better.

In fact, He asked His only Son Jesus to die for those “worthless” people on the cross, so anyone who thinks another human being has little or no value is actually calling God a liar.

And that, my friends, is not a smart thing to do.

In Isaiah 1, God is very clear in His disgust for people who treat others as meaningless garbage. His most pointed words are for the leaders of Jerusalem who were gripped by greed and blinded by bribes. Corruption was rampant in the judicial system, meaning that honest and humble people needing help were receiving none.

“Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.” (Isaiah 1:23)

The content of chapter makes it quite clear that these corrupted rulers were going to receive the justice from God that they deserved.

This serves as a reminder to us to be ever-vigilant in looking for people who need our help. Particularly those with nobody to speak up for them in the schools or in the workplace or in the neighborhood or in the extended family.

Perhaps you don’t know any orphans. But you could send some monthly financial support to an overseas orphanage associated with your congregation.

Perhaps you don’t have any widows in your extended family. But you could help a widow in your congregation who is frustrated by an ongoing billing problem or you could buy some grocery gift cards to share with a low-income widow in your neighborhood.

Perhaps you could even take her out for a nice breakfast or dinner now and then.

She’d love it.

God would, too.

As always, I love you
Martin

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