HOLD ON

Familiar with the story of Abraham? He was a man that lived by faith.
God told him to go to a mountain-top with his son and place him on the alter. This was a test of Abraham’s faith. Still, it was more than that. It was a shadow of things to come. God provided him with an unblemished lamb to replace Abraham’s son on the alter. Jehovah Jireh; God Provides. We can look back today and know this was a foreshadowing of things to come, the Lamb symbolizes Jesus. As a people, we need to learn to hold fast in our faith like Abraham. I pray this song may be a blessing to you. – Listen to Hold On by clicking here.

A PUMPKIN FOR A HOUND

Fort Hood, Texas – I once prayed to the Lord for a dog, a lab mix, like I used to have when I was a little boy. I made that prayer almost a year before I found my dog. I was heading home for lunch. As I pulled into the driveway I saw a silhouette; solid black with long pointy ears, an Anubis-like dog. I don’t know what made me think it was okay to get out of my car with a strange dog in the driveway. It was not till I got out of my car that I thought to myself,

a strange dog is approaching me and I got outside of the car, what am I thinking?!

I was a little uneasy, uncertain of her temperament. The dog approached me and fell to my feet wanting her belly rubbed. She is a sweet dog. Although, at the time I didn’t know she was a she.

My wife and I inspected the dog. We agreed she was a good dog and we would not mind keeping her. She had no tags. We were sure she had no owner. We placed her in our backyard, gave her food and water. My wife and I called Animal Control to get her scanned for a chip and make sure nobody was looking for her. We gave Animal Control our name and number. We said,

if the dog did not have an owner, we would be interested in having the dog. – They did not get back with us.

A month or so went by, my wife and I decided to go to the Oktoberfest that was on the installation. They were selling pumpkins and my wife wanted to get pumpkins. Upon our arrival, we saw the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). We approached the animals, lo-and-behold! There was that Anubis headed dog, but less spirited than when I had met her the first time. She seemed lethargic in her cage. The SPCA volunteer said she had been recently spayed and chipped. I had to have her. But now she needed a name. My mind flipped to pop-culture reference mode.

I will call her Ladybird.

We left for a pumpkin and ended up with a dog. We should have named her Pumpkin – se la vie. Dear reader, stop underestimating the power of prayer. Stop expecting prayers to be fulfilled on your timetable. This is not the only time I have seen prayer fulfilled, nor do I expect it to be the last. I thank the Lord for giving what I wanted that day. It may seem a childish outlook, but I choose to believe God heard my prayer. More importantly, I think He knew my heart. The Lord worked what I wanted within his will. I thank Jesus.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15

Often, prayer requires persistence. Jesus told his disciples about a persistent widow and a judge. The judge said;

‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?’”

Luke 18:1-8

Dear reader, more than likely, you want to pray for something more serious than my simple request for a dog. Don’t think your request is to small to ask.

#1 rule for getting exactly what you ask for; ask for nothing. – OX

Don’t expect to get what you want if you never ask for it. There are many more important things than my request. I believe the Lord wants to answer your prayers too. We know that the enemy can cause the answers to our prayers to be delayed or hindered.

Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,

– Daniel 10:12-14

Daniel prayed and God sent the angel. It took 21 days for the angel to get to Daniel because of a spiritual conflict. Daniel’s approach to prayer was simple;

  1. Seek God’s understanding and not your own.
  2. Humble yourself before God.
  3. PERSISTENCE!

Worship is humbling. Dear reader, I challenge you to find some worship music that moves you. Worship Jesus and make your request in humility. God bless.

BE HAPPY YOU ARE LOVED

It was November 2018 when I arrived home from the military. I didn’t have a whole lot of clothes with me. A few days pass, I was out and about with my parents for the holidays. My mother decided to buy me a sweater, not a Christmas sweater. The sweater she bought me was a John Wayne classic wool sweater, I liked it. I never considered myself a John Wayne fan. Not that I do not like John Wayne. Honestly, I didn’t know much about him. He was before my time. Sure, True Grit was a good film. – Not to be confused with the 2010 remake.

On a ranch style porch, I sat in reflection wearing my John Wayne sweater. Tears came down my face as I prayed to God. I had been feeling depressed and beaten by life. “Lord, I don’t know what to do or what I am doing. I miss my little boys. My wife does not love me.” – My wife wanted a separation and now she had it. My mother walked onto the porch. Son, what is wrong?”

Everything.

A teenager might walk around the mall after school to kill time and hang out. In Florida, retirement capital U.S.A., senior-citizens do the the same before schools get out. – I do not live in Florida, but I have witnessed this. My father however, enjoys walking around the Habitat For Humanity store. He was a volunteer before his health started declining. Now he is loosing his sight to diabetes. As my father and myself looked around, I approached some book shelves. I was wearing my John Wayne sweater. A book caught my attention. I noticed the Nelson Publishers logo on the spin. With finger across the spin, I snatched the book from its place. Opening the cover, you can see someone had written in it. It reads;

Crystal Cathedral

Garden Grove, Cal. 1988 

I flipped to the beginning of the book.

The call came late in the evening. John Wayne was facing surgery the next morning. It could be serious. He asked me to come and pray with him. I had met him socially on more than one occasion, but now “the Duke” wanted my prayers as a pastor and friend. He was fighting a recurring battle with cancer. As I drove alone the next morning through the early darkness, I mentally checked through all the possibilities and prayed, “Dear God, what should I say to him? What can I tell him? Ask him? What prayer shall I pray with him?”

I was shocked by the irony, standing there in my John Wayne sweater I had received only a few days before. Not only that, somehow this book made its way from California to North Carolina. Dear reader, I was born in California and now standing in North Carolina. Needless to say, I bought that book. The name of the book was Be Happy You Are Loved by Robert H. Schuller. What I took away from the experience is this; Jesus sees me and loves me. In all the hardship, the sadness, depression, Jesus sees and loves.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

– Matthew 5:3