“Honoring His Holy Name”

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In the Name of Jesus

My Thoughts:

As I was growing up, I distinctly remember being taught not to say the name of Jesus because I just might say it in vain. So I never said His Name except when prompted by the liturgy… Years later, after coming into a personal relationship with the Lord, I remember the first time I said His name. I waited for lightning to strike or at least some rumble of thunder to warn me not to do this. Alas, nothing so dramatic like this happened.

However, what did happen was a rather strange, yet awkward, reverential peace flooding my person. It was very quiet, but very noticeable. Then being tagged as a Jesus Freak in the early 70’s added to the preciousness of His Name. …

But then I began to notice others speak His Name as if it were some magic formula. For example, some felt unless they ended their prayers with “In Jesus’ Name,” it would not be heard, or maybe if they did, it would most definitely be answered—quickly. Then there were those who shouted at demons to “come out in the Name of Jesus!” I was deeply taken aback, not sure what to make of this.

Have You noticed this, too? Sometimes I even tag a prayer with “in the Jesus’ Name” as if this has some magical power, but I do know that if I keep the personal nature of my prayers directed toward the Father and the Son in the Spirit, He hears me regardless.

What are your thoughts on how we can honor His Holy Name without reducing it to a magical formula? Is it strictly a matter of the heart?

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Main Text: — Acts 3:6-7 — 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  [NIV84]

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.  — John 16:23-24 (NIV84)

 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.  — Acts 4:12 (NIV84)

Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.   — Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV84)

 Heavenly Father, forgive me for treating lightly or even magically Your Son’s precious Name. Guard my heart from dishonoring His Name through my words and actions. May I always honor the Holy Name of Jesus, Amen.

Pastor Mike

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“Relationships Can Be Rebuilt”

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Date: 02-24-15

The Big Idea: Relationships can be rebuilt but it will take a miracle.

We pray and pray and pray, praying to God for a miracle. Praying He will heal and restore this broken relationship, this estranged family member. And as we pray, we grow weary in the delay. Oh, we want it to be fixed—yesterday. We want things to be as they were: comfortable; innocent. And what I have found is: It is at this point many give up and quit praying because the miracle hasn’t come as quickly or as obviously as they would have liked….

Relationships can be rebuilt, but it will take a miracle. And what I have found is many are too impatience to wait for the miracle. Sadly, I have observed over the years of counseling and pastoring that many relationships stall in the second stage of a relationship: Innocence lost.  Perhaps you have noticed it, too, but I have discovered that every relationship goes through two stages, and, as I have noted, few make it to the third stage.

The first two stages are (1) innocence found and (2) innocence lost. We start out a romantic relationship or a friendship in the “innocence found” stage. It is new, refreshing, invigorating. There is a spring in our step and a lightness in our heart. But then something happens in the relationship to violate, ruin, disturb the innocence, and whoosh, innocence is lost–the second stage. It is here that everyone has a choice to make: (1) Leave the relationship and find a new, fresh one filled with that invigorating innocence; or (2) Work through the relationship until innocence is restore. Sadly, many choose the easier and, in truth, less fulfilling first option, leaving the landscape strewn with a profusion of “innocence lost” festering relationships. These continue cascading down the pinball machine of life bouncing from one frantic relationship to the next….

In choosing the second option, however, we give ourselves a chance to advance to the third stage of Innocent Restore. In this stage the relationship is rebuilt and restored and, in fact, is stronger than it was at the first. Now, at this point you might possibly be thinking, “Not in my broken relationships. It would take a miracle to repair this and restore the innocence that was deeply wounded and violated.”

And I would say you are right. It would take a miracle!

In the main text, noted below, we see Nehemiah’s servant leadership result in a miraculous rebuilding. And all those who witnessed this noted “that the work had been done by our God” (v.16). In all this, let us not miss the miracle. Period! Yes, this miracle was speed; building this wall in this short period of time is indeed miraculous. And when I note this miracle, I am not saying that your broken, fatigued or strained relationship will be fixed, repaired, or restored in 52 days—or two years, but what I am saying is: This passage gives us the hope of a miracle of rebuilding and restoring. And besides, it doesn’t depend on us. Remember the Miracle we pray for will ultimately be “done by our God.” Yes, we are co-laborers with Him in this outstanding miracle. But He does the ‘Work’!

So I have to ask myself as well as you: How’s my co-laboring going? Or have I given up? Let us pray for one another and spur one another on to complete the wall…,  and witness a Miracle!

Main Text: — Nehemiah 6:15-16 — 15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth day of Elul in 52 days.16 When all of our enemies—including the surrounding nations—heard this, they became very discouraged, since they saw that the work had been done by our God.  [ISV]

Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

— Galatians 6:9 (NIV84)

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

— 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV84)

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. — Romans 12:19-21 (NIV84)

  Lord Jesus Christ,  I put You on as my Slippers of Patience: The Right Slipper of Forgiveness and the Left Slipper of Forbearance. Let me be a peacemaker who sows in peace in the confident hope that there will be a harvest of Righteousness. In Your Name, Amen.

Coach Mike

“The First Targeted”

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Date: 02-12–15

Text: — Nehemiah 4:3-6 — 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!” 4 Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. 6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. [NIV84]

The Big Idea: Resist the enemy’s tactic by keeping the lines of communication open as we face the salvos of opposition in our daily lives.

My Thoughts: 

In any military operation, one of the first things targeted is communications. Whether it be through jamming the airwaves, shooting the RTO or bombing the HQ, the tactic is to disrupt communications so to cause confusion and isolation….

Lifestyle worshiper, has this happened to you? When was the last time you prayed to the Lord? Has this tactic been successfully used on you? I know I need to be mindful of my prayer life. When my prayer times diminish, I start to feel isolated and, frankly, confused. “What does the Lord want me to do?” Well, have I checked in with HQ to hear my orders?

Did you notice that Nehemiah kept his lines of communication open in v. 4? Yeah, his prayer is rather challenging for some of us (and perhaps we will deal with the content in later writings) but notice: He immediately goes to prayer. As a matter of fact in chapters 4 & 6, three of the four times Nehemiah prays in these chapters are recorded. He clearly did not let the enemy’s tactic of disrupting communications be successful….

So if it has been a while since you’ve prayed, or if you’ve flagged a wee bit in the last few weeks, join me in keeping our lines of communication open as we face the salvos of opposition in our daily lives.

Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  — Matthew 26:36-41 (NIV84)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.— Romans 12:12 (NIV84)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. — Ephesians 6:18 (NIV84)

  Lord Jesus Christ,  ignite in my soul a  passion for prayer. Allow me to move toward a running dialogue with You. And in the silence, let my ears be attentive to Your still, small voice. Penetrate the noise in my life with Your Words of Peace and  Joy. Direct my steps as I face the salvos of opposition in my life.  In Your Name, Amen.

Pastor Mike