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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

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Jacob had a problem.

He had stolen his brother’s birthright.

Jacob was a habitual trickster and swindler.

He had gotten it naturally from his own mother and her brother Laban. It was part of his nature and his upbringing and experiences, especially with family. Blogger Sandy Kirby Quandt equates the relationship between Jacob and Laban to shifting goalposts.

He wanted to protect his family from danger.

But, aside from Jacob being human with frailties just like us all, he was a special kind of believer.

Jacob had a problem and he prayed to God about it.

Not only did he pray but he prayed for God’s protection.

Elohim Shomri or Jehovah Nissi

Elohim shomri = “God is my protector”

JEHOVAH-NISSI – Our Banner, a Banner of Love and Protection

I know that I need His protection.

I stand in the need of the protection only He can provide.

I need God to be My Protector.

I need Him to be that in my personal walk with Him, in my personal relationship with Him.

Prayer for Your Own Needs

SPOILER ALERT: God already knows what we need before we even ask for it.

@Prayer

God knows your needs.

He’s omniscient. He’s all-knowing.

God knows best.

He doesn’t need you to share what you need.

After all, Jesus shared how God knows how to meet our needs better than anyone else. He supplies all that we need.

Even if we have done wrong and stand in need of His protection, God can help us.

He just desires to hear from us. He just desires that we spoke openly with Him about our need for Him as our Father. The Father desires to hear His children say it and get it off their hearts.

Look at how He helped Nehemiah with the destroyed walls.

Pray for God’s protection today.

Pray that He guides you safely to and fro.

Pray that He watches over you throughout your comings and goings.


I haven’t just been twiddling my thumbs while praying about my ministry and business. I have been actively engaging and embarking on taking further steps with both.

I recently had a chat with Allan G from Motherland located in San Diego, California, and we discussed some things about business and building community through collaboration. Check out the video via YouTube or listen to the podcast below. Share comments or thoughts on either platform to let me know how we’re doing.

Coffee and Chat with Rev Bruce S4E1 Guest Allan G from Motherland Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce

Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce returns with a conversation with Motherland on hosting its upcoming local community event in San Diego.   MOTHERLAND MARKET September 25th @marketon8thst from 10-4pm  https://www.instagram.com/motherland.us/  The video of this interview is available via the Coffee & Chat playlist on YouTube. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/bruce-jackson3/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/bruce-jackson3/support
  1. Coffee and Chat with Rev Bruce S4E1 Guest Allan G from Motherland
  2. Season 2, Episode 00, Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce Season 2 Trailer
  3. Season 2, Episode 01, Sharif Booker (Art as a Coping Mechanism)
  4. Season 2, Episode 00, Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce Back Again
  5. Coffee & Chat Episode 8 Aldo Chavez Part 3

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The Gospels in the New Testament give us some insights into the prayer life of Jesus. Other than the model of prayer Jesus taught to His disciples and the prayer time Jesus had with His disciples the night that He was betrayed, we have multiple accounts of Jesus in prayer within the Gospels. In particular, the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) give us some key verses and passages on Jesus spending time alone with God in prayer.

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, – Matthew 14:23 (ESV)

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray. – Mark 1:35 (NIV)

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. – Luke 5:16 (NASB)

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Private Time with God

Jesus showed us by example that there is value in spending private time with God. He showed us by example that there is an importance to doing it. He showed us that private time with God can strengthen us in our spiritual walk with God along the journey of life.

The Bible says it in simple terms:

  • a solitary place to pray
  • by Himself to pray
  • to the wilderness to pray

He got away from it all to go to God in prayer.

He got away from everybody else to go to God in prayer.

Consider His example and how that might look in your daily life.

Is it a secluded part of your home, away from family and pets for a moment with God? Is it a private space at a park or on a mountainside?

Find your place for private time with God in prayer.

Personal Time with God

Your private time with God is your personal time with God.

Take a moment and think about what Jesus could have been praying about while alone with God. Think about what He might have been sharing with God after healing and feeding many people, teaching about the kingdom of God to the multitudes, and sharing lessons with His own disciples as He was tested by Pharisees and others.

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Use your private time with God to get in touch with God. Get deep and personal with God. Allow yourself to get vulnerable with God. Speak openly with God. Ask what you have to ask of God. Confess what you need to confess to God.

Confess to Him.

Call upon Him.

Cry out to Him.

Commune with Him.

It is your personal time with God and make the most of it.

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". . . we must earnestly, sacrificially, and prayerfully strive to be empowered with that same power that came upon them."
- A.W. Tozer, Life in the Spirit

Earnest, Sacrificial, and Always Prayerful

Tozer spoke of the need for constant prayer from the teachers and members of the “redeemed Body of which Christ is the Head” in an earlier passage. He was adamant about such prayer in practice in order for “any church to be a church of Christ.” He said that such a pursuit in practice must be earnest, sacrificial, and constant with prayer.

Earnest

In layman’s terms, earnest means sincere and intense conviction. According to the Bible, for one to be considered earnest means to be ardent in pursuit of an object or goal. In other words, to be earnest is to be zealous.

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“And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 217, KJV). The zeal of the faithful believer is consuming. His or her heart is filled with an intense level of conviction for God’s agenda. Such an individual desires to see the kingdom of God come about. This type of earnest individual is driven by a deep internal conviction to work towards the kingdom of God coming to fruition.

We need to be more earnest in our lives as we serve the Lord daily.

Sacrificial

What types of sacrifices have you made for the sake of the Lord?

He sacrificed for your salvation. He paid the penalty for our sins with His own life. As Isaiah reminded us through his prophecy recorded ages before the Messiah’s advent, His sacrifice healed us.

God desires you to make sacrifices. He has shown us the way.

God desires to see you make sacrifices in your life for His namesake.

Always Prayerful

I used to always wonder how in the world could Paul really expect anybody to “pray without ceasing” (1 Th. 5:17). It always baffled me how that three-word sentence just sat right there in the middle of this spiritual to-do list for believers. I just didn’t see how that could be a reasonable expectation for believers, especially for those who were just coming into the faith and a personal understanding of what it meant to be a Christian.

Then life happened.

Through the trials and tests of personal experience, I became more accustomed to having to remain in constant prayer. While under spiritual attack, you have to pray constantly.

“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)

It is not as difficult as I once thought. It is a simple practice.

It is not too much to ask. It is a personal commitment.

It isn’t a burdensome thing. It provides us communion with God.

It is a simple three-word command.

It provides us a personal connection with God.

“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)

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Ask with Belief

Matthew 21:22 can be misunderstood as to say that we automatically receive whatever we desire when we ask God for it. That is not what Jesus said.

Asking is the petition made to God from our hearts. Just simply asking isn’t the answer. Asking alone doesn’t lead to us receiving blessings from God.

Belief is the key factor in prayer.

Ask and believe.

Don’t allow your prayers to go up without believing in your heart that what you’re seeking from God is of God and within His will.

God’s answers are available. His ability is awesome and mighty. He’s awaiting our unbelief to be turned into true faithfulness churned by a high degree of belief in Him.

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Prayer is not without its own challenges.

Jesus used His parable as a teaching tool in this passage of Luke to show His followers that they should always pray and not lose heart. He wanted them to pray “at all times.” He wanted them to remain dedicated and devoted to a life of prayer without losing heart.

To Not Lose Heart

To “not lose heart” is more encouragement than eloquence. To “not lose heart” is a warning against praying and giving up. To “not lose heart” is about where we go once we have given our petitions and requests over to God.

What Jesus was saying when He said to “not lose heart” was that we need to pray and “not give up” (NIV). We need to pray and “not become discouraged” (HCSB). We need to pray and “not to faint” (KJV).

Powered by Prayer

Jesus was not just trying to encourage His followers. He was also trying to empower His followers.

We can pray and walk away without tapping into the power of our privilege of prayer.

How?

  • We pray without faith
  • We pray without any expectations
  • We pray without any genuine concern about the outcome.

Jesus said in John chapter 15 that He’s vine and we’re the branches. As the branches, we can’t bear fruit that lasts without staying connected to Him. In other words, we’re not productive without Him as our main source of power. He gives us the Helper, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, to keep us connected to Him.

Our power comes through what Jesus provides us.

Prayer.

He shares and how us how to pray.

Our power comes through who Jesus provides us.

The Holy Spirit. The Comforter. The Spirit of Truth. The Helper.

Don’t lose heart. Keep praying.

We need to “always pray” and “not lose heart” by remaining connected to the Lord through the Holy Spirit. That’s our power source.

And definitely do not lose heart along the way.

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Pray Always

When the words “at all times they ought to pray” show up, I try to imagine how much Jesus probably stressed this point. I try to picture His appearance as He started sharing the parable with an underlying intent on the concept of continual prayer. I can see its importance.

As we continue our 30-Day Prayer Challenge, focus on continuing in prayer. Focus on how Jesus stressed that prayer should be at all times. don’t give in to the temptation to go forward without. Focus on what He said. At all times as in even when we don’t necessarily feel at our best or when we just want a break from the rest of the holy and righteous folks. That’s when we need to remain in prayer the most.

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Thankful for Our Daily Bread

Thankful for Sufficiency

In the Old Testament, manna rained down from heaven. It supplied the Israelites in the Wilderness as they traveled towards the Promised Land. The caveat to the manna was that it was daily bread. It has oftentimes ben called the bread of angels. It was good for one day, and then you were to get another supply as your daily bread the next day. It was sufficient to sustain them.

In the New Testament, Jesus models prayer and includes supplication in that model. He prays a prayer of supplication, imploring the Father: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, NKJV). That God supplies us with sufficiency through daily bread means that we should focus upon thanking God for that supply of sufficiency.

God’s Supply is Endless

Just because we receive it as a daily supply doesn’t mean that God only has a limited supply. He’s just limiting what we take in for ourselves. He’s limiting the likelihood that our focus and our faith might drift.

Look at how another man of God says it. “Fresh Bread Daily” is a post online that speaks on Matthew 6:11 as well. Part of this post points out that no one on earth can give us what God supplies us, not even fresh bread baked daily at Abe’s Bakery. That’s something to hold onto and cherish all day long.

Continue to give thanks to God. Share your prayer of thanksgiving with God.

Continue following us with our daily prayer focus for our 30 Day Prayer Challenge all month.

See today’s focus for our prayer.

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Week 34 Recap

Jeremiah chapter 34 is basically a 2-part chapter:

• Part1: The Warning to King Zedekiah of the Babylonian Invasion and the Results (vv. 1-7)
• Part 2: The Relief of Debtors According to God’s Covenant (vv.8-22)

Be sure to download the Show Notes from Week 34 to get the full picture of the chapter’s discussion on the livestream this past episode.

Obedience Has Its Own Rewards

Never take your obedience as the reason God blesses you; obedience is the outcome of being rightly related to God.

Oswald Chambers
A world cloud based on the words contained in chapter 35 of Jeremiah

The Old Testament gives a clear picture of the value of obedience in the Lord’s eyes. We see God using a lesson of stark contrast here in chapter 35 with Jeremiah. The Rechabites, descendants of Jonadab, refused to touch wine, but God instructed Jeremiah to offer them wine in the house of the Lord nonetheless.

God uses the Rechabites as a living and breathing example of what Judah and Israel have not been. In a word, it is called obedient. God’s words through Jeremiah posed the question: “Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?” (v. 13, NIV). His usage of the Rechabites in comparison to both Judah and Israel showed how much God desired for dedicated and devout followers like the Rechabites were to their ancestor Jonadab.

Let the lesson sink in for you. Obedience to God has its own rewards. By responding to God with obedience, we also confirm our own understanding of what God values of ritual sacrifices like burnt offerings. Since we have the ability to look back on it and see how the sacrifice of bulls and goats could never wash away our sins.

Tune in Wednesdays at 11 AM PST

Friday Freebie

We’ve all heard some portion of the Book of Psalms in one way or another. We might have heard a worship leader use a psalm for the call to worship to kick off Sunday worship. Songs have been lifted up from the choir loft countless times with the Psalms as their foundation. And numerous prayers and sermons have been lifted from the 150 psalms contained in the Bible. In essence, the Book of Psalms is an essential part of the church and its worship as well as the believer and his or her celebration of God’s love through prayer, poetry and praise.

Watch this video NOW!!

Take on the Book of Psalms Daily Bible Reading PLan. This offers a simple strategy for diving into the Book of Psalms. This reading plan offers a daily methodology for scheduling and journaling your adventure through the Book of Psalms day by day. Sign up for our newsletter and get a FREE copy of the companion Book of Psalms Reading Plan Schedule as a FREE gift.

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"Prayer changes things, prayer changes things; if you believe, you shall receive, prayer changes things. . . " - Lyrics of "Prayer Changes Things" popularized by voices like Mahalia Jackson and the Georgia Mass Choir.

Prayer Changes Things

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I have heard it said throughout the years. I’ve heard it during testimony periods upon testimony periods in church. I have heard the choir sing it with conviction from the choir loft time and time again. Plenty of other bloggers and other online content creators have shared it in one way or another in the blogosphere, noting how much prayer can impact things powerfully. Some even question if this idea of prayer changing things is even so. It’s nothing new to me in my spiritual journey.

But as I prepare for the 30-Day Prayer Challenge coming up this September, I can’t help but reflect on the notion that prayer changes things.

“Change requires action.”

John C. Maxwell

Beyond simply expecting something to happen because you have prayed over it or on it, laying it out before the Lord, I wonder what comes along with that for you. For me, it usually paves the way for a changed outlook on my part. I am a firm believer that even if prayer doesn’t change the outcome, it will most definitely change the outlook of the one praying if it is sincere and genuine supplication and petition to God Almighty. That’s what I expect out of prayer at the bare minimum: a new way of looking at the situation that sent me to my knees in the first place.

Ask yourself: What actions do I need to add to my prayer life?

Do you need to pray more for others than yourself?

Do you need to begin to get comfortable praying with others?

Do you need to find a way to listen to God more than you speak?

Join the 30-Day Prayer Challenge

If any of these are part of what you desire to do within your prayer life, I invite you and implore you to join us this September in the 30-Day Prayer Challenge. Simply add your email via the sign-up form and receive the FREE September 2021 30-Day Prayer Challenge Calendar. In addition, you will receive weekly emails encouraging and equipping you for a stronger prayer life.

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I stated it plainly: I own some and have been gifted some Nike gear but I am not supporting a winged Greek goddess of victory

It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t scripted. It was just a little insight I was sharing based upon our discussion on what is a covenant.

I wasn’t trying to step on any toes. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone. My intention was to inform. I’m not judging anyone. I’m not condemning them either.

I am just not going to support a winged Greek goddess bearing a swoosh with my hard-earned money or the money that a local church might share with me as a guest minister in the pulpit, even the faithful believers who support my ministry with occasional free will gifts.

I just cannot do it with Nike.

What’s that about?

When I Discovered Who Nike Really Is

I was attending community college in San Diego in the late 90s and spending a lot of time at the library with my nose in all sorts of books and publications. One of my main research topics was world religions. While browsing through a book on world belief systems for empowerment, confidence and motivation, I discovered who Nike really is.

Nike: Greek Winged Goddess of Victory

  • Greek mythological goddess, child of one of the Titans
  • Symbols: wings, golden sandals, wreath
  • Known as: “the Winged Goddess”
  • Famous stone statue depicting Nike erected in ancient city of Ephesus

What God Says about Other Gods

You shall have no other gods before Me.

exodus 20:3 (NKJV)

Let me break this verse down in its context. it will make plenty of sense to you when you consider that this verse follows God introducing Himself: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

  • the Lord your God: He asserted Himself as their God, not as the God of their fathers as before with the burning bush to Moses on Mount Horeb and through Moses and Aaron in Egypt
  • who brought you out of the land of Egypt: He reminds them of His marvelous miracle at the Red Sea that allowed them to escape to freedom but also wiped out the mightiest army on the face of the earth at the time
  • out of the house of bondage: He is sure to stress that their outcries for relief from the burden of bondage that seemed to go unheard and unattended were taken care of in the deliverance that he provided them

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me

Exodus 20:5 (ESV)

God’s a jealous God. That says enough right there if we just stop where it says: “a jealous God.” Based upon this warning alone, it would seem only just to not try and play games with God in this regard.

for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

Exodus 34:14 (NKJV)

The connection to covenants comes in Exodus 34 as God makes a covenant with the children of Israel prior to driving out the inhabitants of the Promised Land. That’s where it is right there. That’s how it fits. God, “whose name is Jealous,” wants you all to Himself and that covenant makes it binding. No other gods have any place in that equation.

Determined Not to Entangle Myself with Anything Like That

Man, I was floored. I think I had tennis for P.E. coming up and I had Nike all over me, including shoes, socks, shorts, and maybe even the shirt. I felt some kind of way about it, even tried to rationalize it. That was all up until I read a little deeper and understood a little bit more about Nike’s influence in historic cities like Ephesus, a city I was familiar with from reading and studying the Bible. Finally, I just made a decision after some consideration, prayer, and quiet time.

I just couldn’t just do it with Nike anymore.

Watch the discussion on other gods as I share about Nike in last week’s livestream

Sporting But Not Supporting

Like I said before, I might own some Nike items leftover from Father’s Day and birthday gifts, even stuff from the 90s when I didn’t know any better. I think it all might amount to 4 or 5 pairs of socks, a sweatsuit, a pair of sweatpants, and maybe 2 pairs of Nike shorts. No Nike shoes. No Jordans either.

You might catch me working out or playing basketball in the Nike shorts. Occasionally, you’ll see me in the sweatsuit or sweatpants. And those socks tend to make their rounds when I wear my steel-toe boots because of their thickness (You know those socks they get you for father’s Day like an afterthought while they’re shopping in Kohl’s or JC Penney.) At worst, you’ll spot me on the Nike Run app but once Strava or Garmin, even Samsung Health, get it together a little better then I am game to switch over whether I lose followers in the community or not.


Tune in this week and watch Live @ Lunch Bible Study as we continue with the Jeremiah Journey. We study the Book of Jeremiah week by week, chapter by chapter for 2021 every Wednesday at 11 AM PST.

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