New Life Sunday – Every prayer counts

I hope you had a super Thanksgiving holiday yesterday. If you are like me, you probably ate way too much.
We had a feast of epic proportions with several great friends. Then we decided that since we ate so much, and since the weather was so incredibly beautiful, we should take a walk.
After we returned from our excursion, we were ready for dessert.
There was a point where I had to get down from the couch to sit on the floor for the simple reason that I needed to be able to stretch out a bit more in order to finish up the ice cream and pie.
My eating (or should I say over-eating) has reminded me of a verse from Proverbs 27:7 “One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.”
While I was working on my plate of apple and pecan pie, someone asked me if I wanted some pumpkin cheesecake. The mere thought of that turned my stomach. Not because I don’t like pumpkin cheesecake (I love it) but because I was so full.
I am confident that you could have put any food in the world in front of me and I would not have eaten it. There was simply no room. My stomach has its limits…and that’s a good thing.
Often, I have used this Proverb to help when someone is dealing with temptation. The application is that if we are full of the Spirit, the temptations of the flesh will not tempt us.
However, as I consider the sermon text for Sunday, I would like to take this Proverb in a different direction. Revelation 8 is about the effect of the prayers of the saints. The picture is that each prayer that is offered up to God is kept and then poured out in His timing. There is no limit to the prayers that can be stored in God’s presence.
In other words, every prayer counts.
No prayer is lost or forgotten.
There is never a time when God’s capacity to remember prayers is full.
There are some pretty amazing applications that can be drawn from this truth that make a difference in your life and mine today. I hope you can take some time to read through Revelation 8 and consider the silence, the prayers and then the judgments as a result of the prayers offered up by the saints as recorded in Revelation 6:9-10.
God answers the prayers of the saints in epic form…not one prayer is lost and in His time the prayers add up to accomplish his great purposes of judgment and redemption.
As we consider our many blessings, Revelation 8 reminds us that we should be thankful that God remembers the prayers of the saints.
In the spirit of thanksgiving!
Troy

spilled rice and Revelation 7

This morning I have been working on my sermon for Sunday and just a few minutes ago I realized that I was getting pretty hungry. I have a hard time focusing on anything when my stomach is growling. So I walked over to the kitchen and found my leftovers that I had to warm up, put them in a bowl that was nearly overflowing and started the microwave.   After two minutes the temp seemed almost perfect and believe it or not, every one of the 1,000’s of grains of rice stayed in the bowl. And I was feeling pretty good…   As I was walking away with my lunch I realized that I may need a napkin, so I carefully reached in the cupboard for the napkin and then it happened….   The bowl slipped in my hand and rice spilled everywhere….at least that’s what it looked like. As soon as I felt it slip, my mind began to race and in a millisecond, I thought about the huge mess and the loss of my lunch.   It took only a few seconds to assess the situation and realize that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had just imagined. So, I set the bowl on the counter (I have attached a pic…b/c its worth a 1,000 words =)) and decided that I better clean up the mess.   There was rice on the counter and rice on the floor, however there was a lot more rice still in the bowl. Granted, I had to take a minute or so to clean it up, but all in all it was not really a big deal at all.   As I look back over the “accidents” that have happened in my life, this lunchtime story seems to relate. Often when the situation is revealed, I immediately imagine the worst case scenario and then allow the facts to reconcile my reality.   In my lunchtime story, it wasn’t a total loss and the worst case scenario was a big mess to clean up. However, sometimes in life, we have more to lose than a bowl of rice and so we have more anxiety.   So how do you deal with the accidents of life?   Last week we looked at Revelation 6 which reveals the first 6 of 7 seals that communicate a  time of unprecedented disaster and terror that is yet to come in the future. In fact the term “accident” doesn’t come close to describing the intensity of the situations.   This week we will see that Revelation 7 forms a parenthesis between the 6th and 7th seal to answer the question, “Who can stand?” This chapter demonstrates that even in the midst of this awesome display of God’s wrath, the mercy of God is still present.   People from every nation, tribe, people and language (this includes us) who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will stand. In fact, we will be singing and worshipping as we stand. It will be an incredible time of proclaim unashamedly that “salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”  When it comes to splattered rice or other problems in life that can raise our level of anxiety, we have hope!   When it comes to natural disaster and wars, we have hope!   When it comes to our future destiny, we have hope! For now, clean up your spills and cool your jets, God is in control!   I hope your day is great! Troy

 

Who is in charge?

Earlier Leigh-Ann called to tell me about life from the eyes of a 2 year old. Truthfully, it’s pretty much dead on…

Dallas and Z were playing in the house and Dallas said to Z, “Z- wanna pwetend? I be Daddy and go to work, and you be mommy and do everyfing else, k?”

Now, there is a goodchance that he has been brainwashed, however, in the unlikely event that this is honest observation and in the likely event that Leigh-Ann will be reading this email, I must say that Dallas pretty much has life figured out.

It is significant to consider how much can be learned from observation. For example, I can look out the window and see sunshine and assume that it is pretty warm out, however, in order to be most accurate, it is necessary for me to actually walk outside and feel the temperature as a part of my sensory observation.

We continue our study of Revelation into chapter 6 this week. There is much to learn from the text and much to observe in the current events around us. My plan for interpreting the text is for us to understand what John is writing from a historical and cultural perspective and then draw some conclusions based on our understanding.

Once we have a fair grasp of what John isattempting to communicate, we then should be able to make some observations from the world around us in order to connect the dots. Ultimately, there is much to apply for our spiritual lives today and even more to consider as we look to the future.

Take it from a 2 year old, life is pretty simple when you figure out who is in charge!

I hope your weekend is great!

Troy