Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Luke 22:32a "...but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not..."

I have grown quite accustomed to hearing from people that during their Bible reading, they came across a passage that they just had not realized was there prior to that moment. Oh, it was there alright but for whatever reason, there was a failure to notice those choice words. The quote I opened with is one of those passages of "choice" words pregnant with application.

These words were spoken by our Lord to Peter the night before the crucifixion during what we sometimes call, the Upper Room Discourse. I am ever awed that our Lord spent so much of that time focusing on the 12 Disciples as opposed to his own personal suffering. I know that in my flesh, I would have been more worried/concerned about the suffering to be endured than the failures of others. And also in my flesh, I would have been just a tad angry over the fact that the one I was about to die for was about to deny me. Hallelujah! What a wonderful Savior!

Now to my specific point in addressing this issue. Jesus had already prayed for Peter. Such words in the context of distress would usually bring comfort but Peter in his arrogance/pride did not see the need for such, though I am quite sure that these words came back to him as great comfort. But Jesus had not just prayed a general prayer(Lord bless him) for Peter. He was specific in his prayer for Peter, that Peter's faith would not fail. Not Thomas' faith, not Matthew's faith, not John's faith but Peter's faith. Why had he prayed such for Peter? Because Satan was looking for one to devour and he had desired that Peter would be that very one.

Allow me just a line or two for speculative thinking. What would have been the outcome had Jesus not prayed for Peter? Would Satan have been successful in crushing the wheat into powder during the sifting process? Would Peter have been dealt such a blow that he would have never recovered? But the Lord HAD prayed for Peter and though the time of sifting would come, it would be just the chaff of Peter that fell by the wayside not the wheat germ itself. Our Lord's prayer had been answered.

Simple question and the point of this post. For whom have you prayed to defend them against the enemy?

Monday, November 17, 2008


John 12:42-43 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

The question was once raised, "what does a man profit if he gain the whole world but lose his soul?" The implied answer is, nothing. We often trade the permanent for the temporary as seen in Esau's trading of the prize(birthright) for pottage. We all love to be praised. Children and grandchildren bring their colorings to their parents and grandparents for the simple reason they want to be praised for their effort. As adults, we should not be seeking the praise of our peers. There are times when we should take comfort in simply knowing that we did what was right and beneficial though no one seems to have noticed. Why? God did notice and has noticed in the past and will notice in the future. His praise is genuine and His praise is perfect. And as the child that seeks the praise of his parents or grandparents, we should be seeking the praise of our spiritual parent, our Heavenly Father.

Secondly, it can be expected that if the world is praising you, God probably is not and the opposite would be true as well. If God is praising you, the world probably wants nothing to do with you. We see that in the life of Jesus. His Father was full of praise for Him but the religious leaders were full of nothing but envy and hatred.

It is true that we cannot please everyone. So the question is, who will you please; God or men? If God, open your mouth and confess Him and His Son Jesus to those around you. If men, the next question would be, why are you willing to trade the prize for mere pottage?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Conversation, Communication: Why Such a Challenge?

Having been silent for some time now, due to time restraints, it is my intention to reenter the electronic environment of the blog. My re-entrance will focus on a subject that I have been interested in as I wander through blogdom. Primarily, the ability on blogs to hold conversation, communication and why it is such a challenge.

Conversation can be as difficult face to face as it is when using the printed word on a blog. Time passes between entries and although it does not happen on my blog, on others, that passage of time may mean the entry of 20 more thoughts all challenging, agreeing or disagreeing with what was said. At least when face to face, the idea that there can only be one speaker at a time usually rules the field. It is quite difficult to hear two speakers at once and understand their points of view. But on the blogs, this oftentimes happens. Multiple views are espoused and it may end up that many threads are being chased either in respect to the main idea or not. To approach blogs with the idea that conversation will be the same as when face to face or on the telephone reveals the naivety of the one who would do such. This mode of interaction, though not here on this blog, usually involves many sub-conversations all taking place at once and even consists of a few persons who attempt to be engaged in all the conversations at once. Surely, this calls for skill and some manage to do so and do it well. But for many of us, it would be wise to stay on topic or at least on a single thread before entangling ourselves in the conversations of others. Also, wisdom would dictate that one read the prior conversation before jumping in with both feet.

But just because conversation is taking place, is it right to assume communication is taking place. Communication does not imply agreement with what is spoken but is the writer actually writing what is meant AND are the listeners hearing without rose colored glasses, the true meaning and wording. Our biases sometimes…often??? shade what is said. But we have no excuse for letting our biases distort what was written. Words on a page are what they are. If such words are vague, we would be wise in either inquiring further into their meaning or just remaining silent. Personally, I like to ask lots of questions even if I use them as a tool to expose a weakness in another’s statements. AND when words are simply heard, for example an online sermon, one would be wise to separate their assumptions about meaning from what was actually said. The hearer does have the option of inquiring of the original speaker as to what was actually intended if there is room for disputation.

Blogdom can be a very useful tool of conversation and communication provided we interact with undivided attention AND a true desire to understand and be understood. After all, God spoke to and through men and prophets, who wrote that Word in preparation for the Incarnate Word and then once again, spoke to apostles who wrote the Word about the Incarnate Word because He desires to be understood.