Wednesday, April 19, 2017


An old standard hymn that is sung in many Baptist churches in our nation is "Just a Little Talk with Jesus,” which was penned by Minister Cleavant Derricks and published in 1937. In this song, the writer is telling his story about being in sin, then being saved or taken in by Jesus and experiencing the light of heaven in his soul. This same light bathed his heart in love. His ‘little’ talk with Jesus made him whole. Scripture tells us that the love of God is shed abroad in the hearts of all believers by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5b). This song is about prayer; and just as the writer talked with Jesus, we too can tell Jesus about our troubles and He will hear our faintest cry and answer us. Isaiah 65:24 is a prophetic word to God’s people that assures us of His faithfulness to hear our prayers and answer them: “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” We don’t have to be overwhelmed by the cares of this life; we can cast them on the Lord, because He cares for us more than we know (1 Peter 5:7).

Although, Minister Derricks called prayer ‘having a little talk with Jesus,’ we know there are other definitions for prayer. Let’s examine the Merriam-Webster definition: Prayer is defined as: (1) an address (as a petition) to God (or a god) in word or thought; (2) the act or practice of praying to God (or a god) < kneeling in prayer>.

Those in Christ know prayer as the means Christians use to communicate with and offer petitions to God, who is the ‘only One Supreme Creator and Sovereign Lord.’  Jesus made a way through Calvary for us to go the Father and that is through Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son. We can be assured by Scripture that tells us God alone hears and answers our prayers.’ Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  (Philippians 4:6-7 Mess.)

Here are some important things to know about prayer:

1. Like Jesus’ Disciples, we need to ask the Lord to teach us the manner in which we should pray   (being persistent, but not repetitious).  Jesus instructed the Disciples to pray – The Model or Lord's Prayer (Mt. 7:7; Luke 11:1b – 4; Matthew 6:9-13); 

2. Because, we don't know how to pray as we ought, the Holy Spirit helps us in our [physical] weaknesses and makes intercession for us with deep, inarticulate sounds, which cannot be uttered, according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27);

3. Prayer needs practice therefore, the more we pray, the more able and powerful, we will become in communicating with our Father, hearing His voice and getting results. (Galatians 6:9);

4. Don’t expect God to answer prayers that are not offered from a sincere heart and in [believing] faith. The effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous avail much (produce the best results). (Mark 11: 22-26; James 5:16b; Hebrews 11:6); and

5. Whenever we approach God’s throne of grace, we are to pray with reverence.  (Psalm 95:6; Hebrews 4:16)

In Ephesians, Chapter 6, prayer  is mentioned as a weapon of God's Whole Armor, which empowers us to wage war against the devil.  God wants us to be thoroughly equipped and able to stand against the wiles of the devil therefore; we are to PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD DAILY (Ephesians 6:10-11).

·       WHICH way are we to use this weapon of prayer? We are exhorted to provide a spiritual covering by “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for ALL saints.” (Eph. 6:18_KJV)

·       WHO should we pray for?  We should pray for everyone and especially for those who are of the household of faith. We are also to pray for one for another to receive healing, when there is illness. (Galatians 6:10; James 5:16a) Although, it can be painful, we are also to pray for those who express malice or hatred toward us and intend us harm. (Matthew 5:44)

·       WHERE should we go to pray? Instead of being like the biblical hypocrites, who liked to be seen when they prayed, we should enter our closet and pray to God in secret. (Matthew 6:5-6)

·       HOW often are we to pray? We are to pray without ceasing but surely, not on our knees for 24 hours per day. Instead, we are to maintain a prayerful attitude (offering prayers from the altar of our hearts) and focus on God by practicing His presence wherever and whenever we can. For those in the workplace, taking a ‘prayer and praise’ break will provide God’s peace and freedom from excess stress or stressors! Daily protection and power require sincere daily prayer. (i.e. ‘Watch and pray, so you won't enter into temptation’) (1Thessalonians 5:17; Matthews 26:41_KJV)

In closing, let's remember that prayer is personal, an awesome privilege, and should be practiced daily (and even throughout the day). We have the God-given opportunity to come boldly to the throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16)  We are not to come to Him with only our petitions, but we should also come with praise, worship, and adoration as we let Him know how much we love Him. There is nothing better than spending quality time with the one you love and being able to express that love. We can express our love to God any time through simple and sincere prayer. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017


“Mirror, Mirror upon the wall, who’s the fairest of all?” The Mirror answered "Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all," 'and the Queen was contented because, she knew the Mirror could speak nothing but the truth.’ 

Most of us remember this fairy tale from our childhood, yet even today some people desire to be the most striking and beautiful above all others.  How you and I see ourselves is important but, how others see us should also be considered.  We're on the outside looking in, but people can sometimes see things about us that we can’t or won’t accept.  Without a mirror, how would we know how we looked in the morning or the image that we portray from day to day?  When you take a good look in a mirror, do you always believe what you see?  Whether you do or not, a mirror doesn’t lie, nor does God’s Word.  While we all have at least one mirror in our possession, let’s consider the Word of God as a heavenly looking glass (God’s Mirror), which allows us to see the reflection of our soul (inner character, nature).  When was the last time you took a good look in the mirror of God’s Word?  If it’s been a while, use this time to take a look! Let’s first review the word mirror as both a noun and a verb. Secondly, we will consider the terms below with: what the Word of God is (a true representation of God) and what the Word instructs us to do in our personal lives (represent God, imitate Christ):

Mirror (n): 1. A polished or smooth surface (as of glass) that forms images by reflection; 2 a: something that gives a true representation b: an exemplary model.

Mirror (v): 1. Reflect: echo, copy, emulate, parallel, imitate; 2. Represent: To represent, epitomize, illustrate, symbolize, typify, or signify.


·       We use MIRRORS to SEE (observe, perceive, distinguish, make out) our physical appearance which can be either good or bad (satisfactory or unacceptable) and we make adjustments based on our perception of how we see ourselves and what we think is best for our lives. There is one concern, which could be a problem: Our perception is not always realistic or biblical (the way God sees us or desires for us to be). We do not normally use anything to see or monitor our behavior (actions, deeds, activities). Without a mirror or gauge, we cannot really see ourselves and do not know how we or our actions look, but others can see in us what we cannot.  Also, others see things that we refuse to acknowledge, accept or believe about ourselves.  We do not always want to know or receive the truth about ourselves. And sometimes, we are not always receptive to the opinion or evaluation others have about our actions – especially if we consider them negative. Consider this verse: “Jesus said . . ., ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-32 NLT) How can we determine or measure our spiritual persona (appearance) without a gauge or mirror?  We cannot!  Also, we should not ignore our spiritual condition if and when it is in need of correction or a remedy.  Jesus is the answer for not only our spiritual condition; but also the spiritual malady of those in the world today! 

·       The Word of God is a spiritual barometer that when used properly and consistently will help us to: avoid unacceptable and destructive behavior, as well as sin. We cannot change what is wrong in ourselves unless it is revealed to us (by God’s Spirit or another person).  How do we handle the facts we receive? If we truly desire to change, we should have an open mind and not take offense.  God expects us to be holy as He is holy and imitators of Jesus Christ.  We should MIRROR what we read and hear from the Word of God so that our images, words, and actions are a true representation that demonstrate Christ to others. 

·       We cannot change or grow spiritually in God without practicing some fundamental things: Let’s look at some ABC’s:

1.     We must ACKNOWLEDGE what is revealed to us and be reconciled with the truth (of God’s Word). ”We cannot conquer what we do not confront and we cannot confront what we do not identify.” For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

2.     We must BELIEVE in Jesus and that He is our only hope for deliverance and salvation. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life. (John 14:6; Romans 10:9)

3.     We must CONFESS our sins and imperfections to God as well as to those we have offended so that, we can be forgiven and cleansed of our unrighteousness.  An important element of confession is REPENTANCE which involves true contrition and a change of mind.  With repentance, we decide to turn away completely from all habitual behavior and any ungodly lifestyle that hinders our spiritual growth in God.  (1 John 1:8-9)

Sometimes, we become accustomed to seeing ourselves in a way that makes us feel comfortable; however our complacent ways are not always conformable to God’s way.  Remember, God’s ways are higher than ours and His thoughts than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)  God is holy and expects us to be holy. (1 Peter 1:16)  As we consistently look into the mirror of God’s Word, we will be renewed in the spirit of our minds and when our minds are renewed, we can prove what is that good, perfect and acceptable will of God. (Romans 12:2)   As we mirror God’s Word and hide it in our hearts, our likeness, words and actions will be a true reflection of Jesus Christ and His love.