Pray Without Ceasing

One of my favorite books of the Bible is Nehemiah. I like how he prays. He gets scared, so he prays that God will help him do the right thing through his fear.

You can tell Nehemiah prays frequently because his prayers suddenly burst out while writing about his adventures in Jerusalem.

He breaks the narrative to ask God to punish the bad guys and to remember him for all his good works. Prayer is all over the book of Nehemiah. He was in a tough spot, lots of enemies. Lots of hard work and lots of sinners to work with. He needed God’s help.

Nehemiah is an example of what our lives should be. Caught up in a larger purpose, facing the enemy, continuing the work and constantly seeing our need for God’s assistance.

I think we’ve lost much of the beauty of prayer because we rarely do things that require us to ask for help. We’re too safe and comfortable, doing our thing. Apathetically pursuing nothingness.

We read “pray without ceasing” and immediately look for some theological loophole to make it mean what we don’t want it to mean. “There’s no way we can pray all the time. This is referring to the Spirit’s intercession.” Then why does he tell us to do it if it’s already being done?

When we aren’t living our lives as continual sacrifices to the Lord we certainly won’t be praying without ceasing.

Nehemiah is alive. Nehemiah prays. I like Nehemiah.

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Ryan Schallenberger

An 18-year old straight-A student has been arrested for trying to blow up his school. His reasoning for his attempt is “He told the sheriff he wanted to die and go to heaven and once he got there, he wanted to kill Jesus.”

This backs up one of my stereotypes in life: never trust anyone who gets straight A’s.

The Dung Gate

Malchiah is an Old Testament priest I can’t help but feel a connection to. As far as I know, he is no relation to me or my family, but something tells me he should be.

Malchiah returned to Jerusalem under the Babylonian captivity to rebuild the city. He stood with Ezra when the Law was read to the people. But his true fame comes from his job: the restorer of the Dung Gate.

Sure seems like if I were a priest returning to Jerusalem to serve my Lord and rebuild the Holy City of Zion, I’d miss out on the Beautiful Gate or the Fountain Gate project and instead get stuck with the Dung Gate project. Nice. Thanks. Glad I gave up the wife and kids for this.

Interesting tidbit about the Dung Gate, this was the gate that they carried dung through. No seriously, it was. The road that left out of the Dung Gate went to the Valley of Hinnom otherwise known as Gehenna.

It was the flaming pile of garbage that Jesus compared Hell to. Without a Dung Gate there would have been no illustration for Hell. Thanks Malchiah. See ya on the flip side my brother.

Jesus Ultrasound

An Ohio woman has an ultrasound picture that appears to have an image of Christ on the cross in it. She’s not sure if she’s going to sell it on eBay yet or not. She views the image as a good sign.

“People say maybe my baby is gonna be blessed and maybe it is a good sign,” said Sledge. “I don’t know, I’ve done wrong in my life, maybe he’s forgiven me early.”

And, to fulfill one of my key points to get your own appearing of Christ, she’s been going through some hard times lately.

“Maybe it’s a sign of a good pregnancy or maybe we’ve just been through so much it’s a sign that everything is gonna be okay. After the initial shock it’s like God is here even when you don’t know it.”

People want to believe. Too bad they are more willing to believe a coincidence than God’s actual real life revelation in the Bible.

Remnants

Old Testament history illustrates New Testament doctrine. Or at least that’s how I like to view it. A consistent pattern develops in the OT: God tells Israel to do stuff and they do part of it. The part left undone comes back to bite them. Always.

*God tells them to wipe out the nations in their land
**Israel leaves some, some enlisted as servants. They always come back to attack.

*God tells them to get rid of all their idols.
**They don’t. Several high places are left and soon enough Israel is right back serving them full-force.

*God forbids marriage to foreign women.
**They marry foreign women who bring their gods with them, entangling Israel in idolatry.

This lesson serves a purpose: Flee the bad because the bad will get you. God calls His people “saints.” Saints are sanctified people. To be sanctified means to be “set apart.”

Paul repeats the OT teaching “come out from among them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). If we allow parts of our old life to stick around, little pieces of the world we cling to, they will come back later to nail us and bring us down a very bad path with very bad endings.

Sanctification will ultimately be an all or nothing deal. The more all or nothing we are now, the more God will be able to use us now.

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
2 Timothy 2:21

Jesus Mosaic

An 83-year old man is building the western hemisphere’s largest mosaic of the face of Jesus. It is being built on the ceiling of San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

The mosaic is made up of two million pieces of glass about the size of a fingernail. The face will be 23-feet from the top of his head to his chin.

When asked how he could top the massive project, Andrews responded: “You don’t. This is really primo.”

Indeed. He feels closer to God in making it and hopes everyone who sees it will feel the same way.

Genes And Noah

A new genetic study has concluded that humanity almost went extinct. The few remaining people lived near Africa. Shortly after their almost extinction they began to spread out all over the world to repopulate it!

I kid you not. It’s in our genetic code. More proof for the book of Genesis, or more proof that mankind has always been on an upward evolving process?