Friday, February 22, 2013

Prayer for Peace and Love

Lord, we're filled with grief that another human being has been butchered in the name of peace. I have claimed Allentown as a place of peace, yet I still see murders both inside and outside of the law. I would ask now in Jesus' name that you send peace again to our city and let murders become a thing of the past. I pray that we would stop trying to solve our problems by putting more armed "peacekeepers" on the streets and instead in love address the real issues.

I pray that institutional racist with be obliterated in Jesus' name and that there will be a new wave of freedom and hope for those in the inner-city. I pray that the violence will stop here and that the friends and family of this man recently murdered by police will not use this incident as justification for more violence.

Please fill our churches so full of love that it literally bursts out of our hearts in torrents both day and night. Lets those of us who claim the name of Jesus be known as those who love and live for the benefit of those around us. Please replace confusion with understanding, and lies with truth. The next time a person raises a loaded gun towards another, let that person become overwhelmed with the value of the life that he or she is about to take.

No one has the right to take another human's life and I pray that we will all come to understand that down to the deepest parts of our souls. Please speak your truth about the value of life and the joy of peace to those who believe violence is the best means of dealing with sin. We know that You, Lord, took the punishment for all of our sins so we can be free. We have been redeemed and given new lives of love, joy and peace through Jesus. Let us all live out of this truth and let the same flow out into our streets in Jesus' name.

Allentown is my city and in Jesus' name it is a city of peace.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Living Love, Making Friends and Doing What's Right

God has been impressing two verses on me for quite some time. Taken individually, the verses are very powerful; but taken together, they are explosive. When we grasp the truth in these, life cannot continue as usual. The two verses are:

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he
ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
James 4:17

"Give to everyone who asks you, and if
anyone takes what belongs to you, do
not demand it back."
Luke 6:30

If we really take these verses to heart, it means we can never pass someone in need. This is not the standard response of people in our culture but it should always be the standard response of those of us who follow Jesus. These are not commands to be lived out of legalism, they are the response of love in the hearts of those who have been loved and saved by Jesus. Out of love we give food to every hungry person we see, we help every stranded traveler, we laugh with those who laugh and cry with those who cry. Jesus always did what was right, so I know that he lived love every moment of every day and gave to every single person who asked of him and many who did not.

I am reminded of the popular story in John 5 where Jesus heals the man at the pool of Bethesda. Immediately after the man was healed we read that Jesus withdrew because of the multitude. People often say, "See, Jesus was at the pool and just healed one person. That means that Jesus only heals some and not others." I have to heartily disagree. From what I know about Jesus, I know that he quickly moved past the man because of the multitude that needed healing. Jesus was a busy man because he was the perfect manifestation of love, giving to everyone who had need.

My city, Allentown, is full of wonderful people who are in need and I am joining the ranks of those who always stop for them. The wonderful part is that I and my daughters have made some wonderful friends through this. One of our good friends in the city is a homeless man named Michael. We love him and he knows it. If we had never stopped to show him that love, we would never have known the joy of his friendship.

So let us always stop for those in need and never give up an opportunity to love. That's the model Jesus left us and there is more joy in it than you could ever imagine!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kings and Queens

I recently heard the new single from Audio Adrenaline and absolutely loved it. "Kings and Queens" is a song about seeing people as God sees them (the song focuses on Hatian children, but the principle is universal). We have a God who has adopted us at the price of his own Son so that we can become his sons and daughters too. Now, if God is the king of the universe, then our adoption makes us sons and daughters of the King! The destiny of a king's children is to become kings and queens themselves. The Bible tells us that Jesus has already made us into kings (Rev. 1.6), yet we have not all embraced that truth and begun living out that reality.

Imagine if we could see everyone for their fullest potential as kings and queens in the eyes of Jesus, imagine how it would affect our lives! Watch the video below and be encouraged. Let us commit together to pray for a new filling of God's love for each and every one of us so that we will have his eyes to see everybody in our neighborhood, city and world as He does. "Kings and Queens" is my theme for 2013, maybe it could be yours too!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Jesus Heals Vans

I write this as an encouragement to those out there who wonder if Jesus really answers prayer. I am happy to say that from the following experience and others, He most certainly does!

My wife and I own a Dodge Caravan, almost a decade old, and it has been having some trouble. We could hear the trouble start with the brakes quite a while back. As the pads wore down we began to hear squealing as we applies the brakes. That steadily grew and grew. We could tell that both the front and rear on the driver's side and at least the front on the passenger side were going bad. Unable to afford to fix them, we let them go. Recently, we found that if we put the brakes on hard, we would hear a grinding noise. We knew that we needed to take care of the brakes soon.

But the major problem came when my wife was driving and began hearing a tremendous thumping sound when she applied the brakes. That was enough, and we took the van to the shop. We did not have money to have them look at it, so it sat there for over a week. During this time we prayed at home and at church and thanked Jesus for his abundant provision. Sometimes it's hard to thank Jesus for that which we cannot yet see, but I find those prayers are the kind that build faith. I want to always pray in faith rather than just begging God to fix things for me.

So then the time came when we had a little money which we could use for them to look at the van. We knew we would not have enough to fix it, but we were praying and trusting for provision.

I got a call that afternoon from the mechanic and was surprised at the question he asked me, "Why, exactly, did you bring your van in here?" I was confused and explained about all the obvious brake problems. He told me that they looked everything over and found a small piece of metal stuck in one brake which was causing minor squealing sometimes, but that was it! He then told me the van was absolutely perfect and safe and we could come by and get it any time!

So what's the point of this story? JESUS HEALS VANS! There is no problem too large for his power, or too small for his love. Jesus said in Matthew 7.7-9, "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."

God does not get annoyed when we ask Him for what we need, He is pleased to have the opportunity to show us love! So let us follow Jesus wholeheartedly in bringing our requests to our loving God and then praising Him when we see them answered.