[by Dean Smith] Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is considering seeking the Republican nomination for the American 2016 Presidential elections. Speaking to the National Religious Broadcasters in February, Walker confided he is still trying to decide God’s direction on this decision. Walker said: “I’m still trying to decipher if this is God’s calling. You’ve got to be crazy to want to be President of the United States … To look at what it does to a person and a family you have got to be crazy. But you should only do it if you feel God’s called you to get in there and make a difference. We’re still trying to decide and we’re going to ask you for your prayers in that regard.” This statement was picked up by a number of media types, including the Wallstreet Journal. But perhaps the most odd response came from a series of tweets made by Political Wire publisher Taegan Goddard.
[by Dean Smith] In an earlier post, I discussed Jesus’ parable on prayer. It involved a woman’s run-in with a corrupt judge (Luke 18:2-8). It was an interesting passage as the Greek words portrayed intercession as little more than a street fight. As Jesus wraps up this teaching, He clearly wants to separate our Heavenly Father from the character of the Judge and says: “Now will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry [boao] to Him day and night, and will he delay long over them.” (v 7 NASV) Where the judge was selling justice to the highest bidder, God wants to bring justice to those who cry out for help. Where corrupt judges delay justice as a subtle hint money is needed to open doors, God wants to answer quickly.
We all struggle for answered prayer. Sometimes we wonder if God even heard us. When we look at the Gospels, Jesus used a variety of parables to teach on prayer. One found in Luke 18:1-8 involves a widow who was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous person and went before a judge seeking legal help. We are told the judge did not fear God and did not respect man (v 2). It was a simple way of saying he was corrupt. Justice was for sale in this town. The widow apparently didn’t have the means to buy the justice she needed, so the judge put her off, but she kept coming back. Using this story, Jesus showed one of the keys to successful prayer is praying until you prevail. The widow came back again and again seeking help. The phrase “for a while” (v 4) that Jesus used to describe the length of her struggle implies a considerable period of time — days for certain, probably weeks. For the intercessor, the prayer battle may extend …
[by Dean Smith] Attending emergency physician, Dr Jeremy Garrett, called it a ‘bonafide miracle.’ On Martin Luther Day (January 19, 2015), John Smith, 14, along with two friends were out on the frozen waters of Missouri’s Lake Saint Louise when the three fell through the ice. According to KDSK TV, by the time rescuers from the St. Louis Fire Department arrived, one of the two friends had dragged himself out and the other was hanging on to the ice. John, however, could not be seen. After being under water for about 15 minutes, rescuers found John and dragged him out. With no pulse, paramedics performed CPR as they rushed the boy to the hospital but believed there was little hope of recovery.
[by Dean Smith] A recent article in the National Journal reports that Harry Flynt, the founder of the porn magazine Hustler, has been sending unsolicited copies of the publication to American politicians in Washington DC since 1983. It arrives every month in an unmarked manilla envelope. And every month staffers open it. Who knows why Flynt does it? We can only guess. But many assume he is trying to influence them.
[by Barb Smith] Lately, I have been thinking back to the days when my husband and I looked to adoption as a way to have children we could not produce on our own. We had gone for prayer and then went through a battery of fertility tests and procedures to no avail, because God had a different plan. After two years of pursuing adoption through private and government agencies, our hopes for a child faded. As a final option, we considered international adoption and pursued various avenues.
[by Dean Smith] When Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro, 40, entered Boca Baton Regional hospital in Boca Raton, Florida, for a typical C-section she was not expecting a few hours later that her name would be broadcast across the country because of a miracle. According to a report in the Sun Sentinel, after her baby’s safe delivery, Ruby stopped breathing and then a short time later her heart stopped beating. A medical team, numbering over 12, frantically worked to revive her. Team members alternated doing CPR as they tired, others applied shock treatments to restart Ruby’s heart. But after 45 minutes doctors realized there was nothing more they could do. Ruby had died.
Several years back, my wife and I attended a camp meeting in the U.S. God was moving in the services through the Toronto revival and both of us were impacted by God’s Spirit.
One night, I felt the Lord say He wanted me to stay in the tabernacle and pray for three hours after the service. The meetings were going late, so it would be about three in the morning before my head hit the pillow. My preference was to go to bed. But it seemed like God, so I decided to do it. Now to be honest, I was very legalistic about the time and I looked at my watch every 15 minutes or so to see how much time had passed.
I was a true watchman. God was going to get three hours and not a minute more.
When the pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NASV) Can anyone be commanded to love God or love anyone for that matter? Yet we are told this is the greatest commandment for a believer. How do we do it? The Apostle John provides the answer: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NASV) The key to being able to love God is first understanding and believing that God loves you and this is our “great” struggle to obeying the “greatest” commandment. A study by Baylor University, published in the journal Sociology of Religion, concluded that understanding God loves us is even an important key to successful prayer.
A few year’s back, my wife was talking to a woman who told of struggles with her oldest son. He was having problems at school and teachers were constantly asking his mother to come in to deal with behavioral issues. As they discussed what was happening, the woman shared that the boy was her only child from a previous marriage. Divorced, she had remarried and now she and her new husband had children of their own. However, the step-father was finding it difficult accepting the oldest son. He found it hard to praise him and easy to criticize.
My wife heard the story, saw the need and decided to pray about it. For the next two and half weeks, this became the focus of her prayers.
Researchers from the Intermountain Heart Institute in Murray, Utah have concluded there are health benefits to fasting. In particular, they pointed to its benefits with those struggling with diabetes. The researchers said an occasional one-day, water-only fast, can help those in a pre-diabetic stage. This is the stage where people have high glucose or sugar levels, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. They stated by occasionally fasting a person can lower their glucose levels. It should not surprise us an important spiritual activity comes with a physical benefit.
Why doesn’t God answer my prayer? This question plagues many Christians. We pray and not only are there no answers, we wonder if God even heard us. When we look at the Gospels, we read a number of parables Jesus used to teach on prayer. I want to specifically look at one of them and draw out a key principle to successful prayer. The account is found in Luke 11:5-13. This parable– following on the heels of Jesus’ teaching on the Lord’s prayer –is about a man who unexpectedly had visitors show up at his home late at night. Without food to offer them, the man pops next door to a friend’s place to borrow some bread.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26 NASV) In the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel peering into the future saw a day when God would give people new spiritual hearts. This promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2, when God poured out His Holy Spirit on the early church. That move was accompanied by many miraculous healings. But for Jon Funderburg, this promise of a new heart took on a very literal meaning. On February 2, 2006, Jon, 32, went to his doctor in Hot Springs, Arkansas complaining of a flu. With his symptoms worsening and an added complaint of stomach pain, the doctor ordered tests.
This is the last article in my series on the Hebrew word “paga” — translated intercessor or intercession in the Old Testament. The word is used in many ways and each I believe describe a unique aspect of prayer. In my earlier article I talked about the intercessor as one who negotiates with God. In this article, I want to discuss how intercession is a burden that God wants us to carry. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, one of the meanings of the word “paga” is “‘to lay, burden’ (Isa 53:6, ‘the Lord has ‘laid’ upon him all our iniquity’).”
I am writing a series of articles on the Hebrew word “paga” commonly translated intercessor or intercession in the Old Testament. It is an unusual word that has a wide-range of meanings and each describes a particular attribute of intercession. In my earlier article, I discussed how “paga” referred to claiming territory for the Kingdom of God. In this post, I want to discuss the word “paga” and its meaning of negotiating with God on behalf of others.
This article is part of a series I am doing on the Hebrew word ‘paga’ translated intercession in the Old Testament. The word has a broad range of meanings that offer unique perspectives on intercession. In my earlier article, I discussed how the word was used to describe the spiritual warfare associated with intercession. Another one of the unusual ways ‘paga’ is used in the Old Testament is in staking out and claiming territory. After Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave each tribe an inheritance of land. In Joshua 16:5-7, we have a record of the territory given the tribe of Ephraim described as “the border of their inheritance.” “It went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, then reached (paga) Jericho and came out at the Jordan.” (v 7 NASV) The word ‘paga’ is used in this passage to mark the territory or boundaries of each tribe’s inheritance. In almost every instance “paga’ described the outward border (see also Joshua 17:10, 19:11, 22, 26-27 etc). Paga is translated in this context as …
I have been doing a study on the Hebrew word ‘paga’ translated as intercessor or intercession in the Old Testament. This word has a large range of meanings and each of these help us better understand intercessory prayer. In my previous article, we saw ‘paga’ meant hitting the mark and discussed how God wants to guide the prayer of the intercessor. In this post, I want to look at a third usage of the word ‘paga’ — it means conflict or war. The word is used 15 times in the Old Testament to describe battle. In fact, it became synonymous for “falling upon” people or attacking them. (1 Samuel 22:17, Judges 8:21; Judges 15:12, 2 Samuel 1:15).
In my previous article on the Hebrew word “paga,” translated intercession in the Old Testament, I discussed one of its primary meanings which is “making contact” with God. This is what differentiates prayer and intercession. While prayer is one way communication — us talking to God, in intercession we make contact with God which leads to Him communicating with us. In the Old Testament, “paga” has many usages which give us different understandings of intercession. In this article, I want to look at the unusual way the word is used in Job 36:32. Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible and would certainly offer one of the earliest meanings of the word. This passage also suffers a horrid chapter break, as the discussion continues into chapter 37: 32 “He covers His hands with the lightning, And commands it to strike (paga) the mark … 2 “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth. 3 “Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, And His lightning to the ends of the earth. 4 “After it, a …
Prayer warriors have written many books on prayer, but this statement was not from any of these writers. It came from the driest of all — The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament . Yet, this quote from an article written by Dr. Victor Hamilton is extremely profound: “An intercessor is one who makes contact with God as opposed to many who simply dabble in prayer.” He made it while discussing the Hebrew word “paga” often translated “intercessor” or “intercession” in the Old Testament. I want to talk about intercession as defined by the word “paga.” It has a wide range of meanings and usages. Each of these shades serve up a fuller understanding of the word.
Taking a page out of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror flick, The Birds, a seagull and a crow attacked two doves released by the Vatican on January 26, 2014 before tens of thousands of people in Vatican Square. Referred to as the Pope’s caravan of peace, two children, a boy and a girl, released the doves as part of the Angelus Prayer. The Pope was calling for peace in the Ukraine where violence has erupted from people protesting the countries growing ties with Russia. The dove often portrays the Holy Spirit in Scripture and the two were set free from a window in the Vatican as a symbolic gesture of the prayer. Almost immediately, the two doves were viciously attacked.
In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, German psychologists Malte Friese and Michaela Wanke state prayer helps an individual with self-control. The two researchers said, “a brief period of prayer buffered the self-control depletion effect.” They added, “These results are consistent with and contribute to a growing body of work attesting to the beneficial effects of praying on self-control.”
Was a potential mass murder at a McDonald’s restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas averted because of a mother’s prayer? I will let you decide. 24-year-old Jestin Anthony Joseph called his mother saying he was hearing voices. He said that people were trying to kill him and Jestin told his mom he was going to die tonight. His desperate mother did the only thing she could do for her distraught son — she and friends began to pray for her son.
When Hal Hart was told in 2012 his cancer was inoperable by an oncologist in Jackson, MS, Hal turned to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, Texas — a renown specialist in cancer treatment — in one last desperate attempt for a cure. Though he never smoked, in 2008 Hal was diagnosed with Lung cancer. He immediately had surgery, but by 2011, the cancer had returned and was rapidly spreading through his body. In 2012, doctors told Hal to prepare for the worst. At this point, Hal was was diagnosed with