Is God Really Hearing our Prayers?

In the movie, ‘Greater,’ about Brandon Burlsworth’s short life, it ended with a wonderful message. Despite Brandon’s dreams for his family ending at age 22, they trusted God.

In all these tragedies lately, I have read such cynical posts in response to people of faith, trying to offer hope, love and prayers to victims.

‘Where’s your God in this?’ ‘Why even bother to pray it only makes it worse.’ ‘Wow, you call your God a God of love and He allows this to happen?’ ‘There is no God, just an imaginary crutch’ for weak-minded people.’ I could go on, but I think you get the gist.

I do not do well in conflict or confrontation, so I usually ‘watch and pray’ from the sidelines. All this to say, ‘Matthew 5:44-45 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.’ In other words, believers are NOT exempt from suffering, sickness, heartbreak, storms, or even death (to name a few).

SPOILER ALERT…at the memorial service for Brandon Burlworth, his brother battled with faith and the ‘why God, why Brandon?’ The answer from Faith members in response to Brandon’s life and death, “WE TRUST!!’

So even if we lose our things in an earthquake, flood, tornado, fire, if the person we are praying for dies, even if our answer to pray is ‘no,’ we WILL TRUST that God is good all the time.

God doesn’t fit in a our box. As humans there is no way to explain why things happen or don’t happen. We must put our faith and trust that God knows the entire picture and regardless of what happens, He loves and cares for us. TRUST HIM, when all about you seems to be falling, Trust Him.

Here is a response from a woman on the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church FB page to a woman angry as why a dry spot on a prayer room rug would be a praise when there were so many seemingly unanswered prayers during the flood in Louisiana 2016.

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Fear Not!!! I read the back of the book and we WON!!

We are in the battle of our lives. The war started in a beautiful garden when Adam and Eve took a bite of that forbidden fruit. Our foe is powerful, the enemy of your very soul. He cursed this world from near the beginning of creation. He wants you to believe God is nothing but what you make Him to be, for your own purposes, and God is powerless to help. 
The good news, death and the enemy have been defeated, we ALL are redeemed from that curse by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, the Christ, the redeemer. Jesus came to redeem the ENTIRE world. He is the conqueror of the enemy of our soul (eos). He is God come down in human form. 
As believers in Christ, we must not fear anyone who is in the enemies camp, what can they do, kill us? What can they do but reunite us with the Father and those who have gone on ahead? Many, many times, the Word of God says,’Stand firm, fear not, we have won!’  
We may suffer from sickness, financial woes, mistreatment, even unto death, but death is defeated. Read these words of hope:
Romans 8:31, 35, 37-39 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Ephesians 6:10, 13 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out

The Threat

Over 2 millennia ago, a baby was born to a poor family away from home. Almost from the moment of His birth, the powers that be considered Him a threat, and He was. His life, His teaching, His death and resurrection changed the world. Today, the powers that be still consider Him a threat, and He is, because His return is near.  On that day, all that is not love, all that is not good, all that is not peace, and all that is not justice, will no longer have a place to be. 

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. This Christmas, we truly hope that your hope is anchored in THIS hope. 

Mike (and Sandy) Shockley

Christmas 2015

Christian in ‘Name Only’

As a committed follower of Christ, I no longer use the term ‘Christian’ to identify myself because it has been stained by those who call themselves ‘Christian,’ but are ‘Christian in name only.’ There’s a difference in people who call themselves ‘Christians’ and those who are committed followers of Jesus.

I believe US Representative Ted Cruz was speaking about that difference. Let me give some examples that give a bad name to followers of Jesus. The crusaders were misguided people, who wrongly thought they were following Jesus by killing Jews and Muslims, to take the holy land for the Catholic Church. The inquisition was the same misguided program thinking you can torture non-believers into believing in Christ. Early Missionaries went overseas feeling the need to take away culture and heritage and westernize the masses to bring them to Jesus The KKK may go to a church somewhere, but sitting in a pew doesn’t make them a Christian anymore than sitting in a garage makes you a car. There are so many people, who may have claimed to do acts in Jesus’ name, but they harmed His loving witness.

Any killing done in Jesus’ name is wrong!! He is THE PRINCE OF PEACE. It’s sin!! It’s against everything He taught. Love our neighbor, even when they don’t love you. Do good to those who intend evil. Pray for those people who intend to use or abuse, even kill you. Nope. If the people were true followers of Jesus, these heinous acts would not have been done at all.

I believe what I’m reading in the news is that many Muslims disdain the actions of ISIS. We as Christians, Followers of Jesus, should be disdaining any acts of violence done in His name.

The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Know

 FChrist Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God.  Romans 8:34 In the world of biology, all organisms are classed or grouped together by certain similarities and separated by differences in their cellular makeup.  These grouping are known as “kingdoms,” such as the “plant kingdom,” and the […]

https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/the-most-important-thing-youll-ever-know/

While You Wait

Beth, my dear sister in Christ, my Blessed friend, my teacher…

Deeper Roots

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:6

I sat in the doctor’s office and grew more frustrated every minute I waited past my appointment time. “Why do they schedule me for 2:00 if they’re not going to call me back before 3:00?” I fumed in my head. I had things to do, important things, yet there I sat seething inside and  impatiently flipping through a 3-year old issue of People magazine. After I was finally called back, it was another 45-minute wait in a lovely paper gown before the doctor breezed into the room. I am a pretty patient person most of the time, but long drawn out waits really do me in. Whether we’re waiting for an appointment, for a…

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A prayer From my soul

Father, my Master, Mighty Lord, Creator of this universe, my Savior, my Friend, thank You for this empathetic heart, this heart that feels the pain and sadness of others. Thank You for giving me deep love for Your creation. This love overflows as a spring, from my soul, to my heart, to my eyes. At times, this great love overwhelms me with great sorrow. I grieve for their souls. That they have hardened their hearts, blinded their eyes to Your love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. How I pray that they seek Your face, Your peace, Your forgiveness, Your salvation. We ask ‘How long Lord must we wait on Your return?’ He waits, but someday the Bible says: 

Revelation 1:7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him.Yes! Amen! 
Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God,to receive glory and honor and power.For you created all things,and they exist because you created what you pleased.” 

Save us, oh Lord, I pray
In Jesus Name 
Amen 
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus