May I Give You a Little Advice About “Storm Chasing Contractors?”: Part One

Most recently, I have come across people who are being taken advantage of by contractors who are “storm chasers.” I have studied insurance and I know quite a bit about the subject. May I give you some helpful advice? Read the following story so you will understand the ramifications of not using a local and reputable contractor.

Last year, on May 27, 2017, our area had a severe hail storm. The thunderstorms were so severe that it hailed on homes as well as automobiles. All of a sudden, “Storm Chasing Contractors” started appearing out of the woodwork, coming from as far as North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, as well as the North East and even Arkansas. These contractors were not local companies. They showed up at people’s doors and told customers that if they filed a claim, they would handle the claim for them. Unfortunately, many of these contractors did not tell the homeowner exactly what would be done for that money. Many did not even give a written estimate. They only used the insurance company’s Claim Estimate for the damages. These types of contractors should be avoided if possible.

For instance, I heard of one lady who got a legitimate estimate to replace her entire roof for $10,500 from a local company. But instead of using the local, well known company, who was a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and who was accredited with an A+ rating, the highest rating the BBB gives, she went with a “Storm Chaser Contractor” who was not local and who charged her $16,800 to repair the roof. According to the claims adjuster that was telling me about this case, the insurance company paid the “Storm Chaser Contractor” $16,800 for the roof as well as other damages. They just learned of the $10,500 estimate from the local company within the last two weeks. The lady also had other damages that was written in the estimate, but the “Storm Chaser Contractor” did not repair those items. Now according to this adjuster, the lady wants the insurance company to pay for those damages. This lady has learned a very hard lesson that insurance companies will only pay ONE TIME for a claim, not twice for the same loss.

So here is the issue and the problem. When you use “Storm Chasing Contractors,” you may not be getting a good deal. In this example, the Storm Chaser over-charged roughly $6,300 more for a $10,500 job. Not only this, but the contractor told her that they would take care of everything, which he did not! His company has moved on to another area and is not reachable. She still has work to be done, but must now pay for it out of her own money because she “TRUSTED” an out-of-State “Storm Chasing Contractor” with her insurance claim. Another problem here is that she did not get her contractor to give what they were going to do in writing. Not only has she lost out on the money paid to the contractor, but she really has nothing in writing to prove what they verbally promised to do.

Here are some tips to remember:

 

  1. Always use a local, well established company, one that has been in business for a while.

 

  1. Use a company that has a Better Business Bureau Accredited Rating of A+. The BBB has vetted them as to how they will handle customer disputes.

 

  1. NEVER, EVER, sign your claim check over to any contractor until all the work is completed.

 

  1. Get an estimate to exactly what is going to be done. Get the contractor to sign the estimate. If they will not give you an estimate, then walk away.

 

  1. DO NOT tell the contractor what the Insurance Claims Adjustor has estimated. If the contractor is professional, he or she will look at the damages and give an independent appraisal of what it will take to fix your property.

 

  1. Never pay any one up front for materials. If they are legitimate, they will be able to obtain the supplies prior to working the job. One exception is if you are using a reputable local company and you know where to find them.

 

  1. Do Not use a handyman. Use a specialist, someone who has replaced many roofs.

 

  1. Remember, it is YOUR HOME! Make wise decisions and good choices. Do your homework and do not settle on the first person, especially if they come to your door going house to house.

 

Hopefully, these tips will help you secure reputable contractors. We have seen many times in the past where these “Storm Chasers” will come to town, take deposits, and then leave with your money. Unfortunately, these types of people have ruined it for the legitimate contractors who work hard to build a successful and honest business.

If you want to investigate a contractor, I highly recommend going to the Better Business Bureau website at www.BBB.org and in the SEARCH field, type in the company name or their telephone number. Also, GOOGLE has become one of my business tools in researching contractors. If a roofing contractor appears to be a “storm chaser,” GOOGLE the name of the company and their telephone number. If they have stiffed someone before, most likely people have filed complaints against them or their company. Please don’t be the next story! Do your research and check these contractors out. It is your home and your insurance claim. Guard them carefully.

This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without express written permission.

Copyright © January 26, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Profanity and Foul Language Should Never Be Used

Profanity and foul language should never be used in a public setting whether business or in everyday life. It is offensive to many people. It seems that the liberal left has now become the moral police where they criticize President Donald Trump with using offensive language and yet Trump’s accusers use language that is very similar.

To me, as an American Christian, I find it very offensive to hear people saying my God’s name in vain, GD, Holy S***, MF, Sh**, as well as other foul words. Yet many of those who accuse President Trump has used the very same language. I find it very offensive that any one use that language. If the President did use the language that he was accused of using calling poor countries S*** Holes, then that is unacceptable. That is very offensive!

But folks, here is the problem. When God and prayer have been removed from public schools and the government, and parents are no longer teaching their children the way of the Lord, with Biblical principles, then this is what we can expect. Morals are not being taught because the population does not know what is moral or immoral.

What is really ironic is that the immoral people who may become offended, are being offended by a mirror of themselves. They do not see the huge log in their own eye, only looking at the speck in their offender’s eye. You know, there is a Scripture in the Bible that addresses this, but many may not know the verse because many of the American people have fallen away from God and the Holy way of life. But for those who may want to know, the verse is found in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” What a bunch of hypocrites!

Of course, many say there should be a separation of church and state. But here is the issue for those who use that as there excuse, don’t even open your mouth in accusations until you clean up your own wretched life!

Personally, whenever I hear the President use curse words, I cringe and I do not like it! I cringe whenever I hear profanity used in public and in business. And using it towards employees is a form of abuse and is not acceptable.

Within my own business, if I have a client that uses foul language, I ask them not to use it. If they do not respect me enough to stop, then I do not need them as a client. I don’t want my mind filled with hatred and disgusting thoughts from foul language. Plus, cursing shows the true condition of the heart. For those who love the Old Testament, In Psalm 109:17, a person who delights in cursing will not be blessed. Psalm 10:7, “His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.” Proverbs 15:1, A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

If the President did call poor countries S#@* Holes, then his words did stir up anger. But for all involved who uses foul language, in order to be respected themselves, they need to have a transformation of the heart and come to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. One cannot change their own heart by themselves, it takes a spiritual and supernatural conversion only found through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I know personally because Christ changed my own black and offensive heart, who used to spew out filthy words.

Many state that the President has become a Christian. I am not judging him but wonder if this is actually true? The Bible states that we will know a Christian by their fruits. I would apply the same criteria to the President’s accusers. In Galatians 5:22, it says; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” If one does not have these fruits, I would question whether they have Christ in their heart at all?

We live in a nation where the environment is very volatile and hatred is being spewed from many different fronts. If we are to be united, then I believe that the people need to turn to God and repent of their evil ways. If they don’t, then we will never see peace in our nation. It is like the prince of this world has been released to devour what was once a great nation. This, in my opinion, is why there is so much hatred among the politicians against each other. I have never seen it so ugly in my lifetime. I pray that God will touch the hearts of our leaders and every man, woman, boy, and girl. I pray that people will turn to God. I pray that our nation will be healed.

Joseph T. Lee Copyright © January 17, 2018; The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

 

 

 

 

Make Disciples, Who Make Disciples, Who Make Disciples: Acts 1:8

In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave instructions to His disciples as well as all Christians. He said that we are to take the Gospel throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the world. So, according to Dr. Mark Becton of Grove Avenue Baptist Church, our commandment from Christ is to “make disciples, who will make disciples, who will make disciples.” If that is the case, then according to Pastor Becton, in the Richmond, VA area alone, there are 1.3 million people. Out of that 1.3 million people, 70% have no engagement with any evangelical church. Therefore, over the next 25 years, we need to birth 150 new churches to keep up with the population.

The Richmond, VA area is growing with a diverse population of immigrants from other nations. Many of these people are intermarrying within our own culture. The nations from overseas are now in our area. Considering that there are 70% of 1.3 million people who are not engaged in attending church and are probably lost without a Savior, we must birth many new churches to meet the needs of the population. This will take resources to accomplish this. Therefore, this opens a commitment of all born again Christians to stop warming the pews and get involved in the ministry of their Lord and Savior. There are few leaders and workers in the Church but many attenders. My recommendation is that the Church train these men and women to share their faith right where they are and where they live.

70% of 1.3 million is 910,000 souls who do not know Jesus as their personal savior in the Richmond, VA area. If this number is accurate, we need to do a better job as Christians in sharing our faith. We can no longer depend on just a few to do all the work. This is going to take all Christians to engage in conversation. The largest resource to use is not monetary, but for the Christian to open their hearts and open their mouths to speak and engage in conversations that can change lives.

Many times, in the past, I have referred to William Fay’s “Share Jesus Without Fear” as a tool to learn how to share your faith. This is an excellent tool that even the beginner or new Christian can learn and accomplish without any reservation. Sure, we will need monetary resources. All ministries need money as resources to function. But we are going to need human resources to go out into our neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and marketplaces; to live a life of Christ incarnate. We are to Share Jesus Without Fear when the Holy Spirit opens Divine Appointment opportunities. If you are a Christian, and you never, ever, opened your mouth to share your faith, then I would say that you are out of our Lord’s will. It is not an option but a commandment to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

This is why I started my ministry, Marketplace Evangelism, in order to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the area and the marketplace. I am a tent maker, meaning that I go to work every day. I listen out for Divine Appointment opportunities where people are searching for help and an answer. I never, ever, force my faith on anyone. But I strive to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God and I try to treat people with compassion and forgiveness. If members of congregations would do the same, they could make a huge impact with the leading of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Churches need resources, but the most important resource needed are the followers of Jesus Christ to ante up and kick in! Kick in like men and women going to war against the evil one. Our battle will not be physical, but spiritual. But many Christians are complacent with attending church on Sundays and then leaving, never thinking about the mission during the week. Many will continue to leave all the heavy lifting work to a very few. But this is not what Christ has commanded of us! Therefore, it’s imperative that men and women learn to share the Gospel so that others will come to Christ.

References:

The Victory Hour. Television. Directed by Mark Jenkins. Performed by Mark Becton. 2017.

Fay, William, and Linda Evans Shepherd. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 1999.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © January 13, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Where Are the Men of Honor?

Where Are the Men of Honor?

My heart is troubled as I have learned of a good friend whose husband left her. For what reason? Maybe he thought a young lady might be interested in him? Maybe he thought that his wife was not good enough for him anymore? Maybe he is going through some mid-life crisis? He calls himself a Christian and yet he is not acting like a Christian. He claims he loves God and yet he does not love his neighbor, his wife. And yet we see this same type of thing happening across America because Christians are not grounded in the Word of God and are caving into liberal and political correctness. The Bible is not being taught in many churches and our nation is quickly losing pastors with not enough replacements in sight. Welcome to our non-Christian nation thanks to the politically correct and the removal of prayer in our schools. We must get back to sound Biblical teaching in our churches. It’s not okay to just pick up and leave your wife, especially if she did not do anything to warrant such behavior. Where have the true men of honor gone? Where are the men who made a vow like this? To have and to hold from this day forward, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’till death us do part.

A man that leaves his wife to cleave to another is disgusting! He loved her in the beginning. What changed? Oh, you must have fallen out of love! Oh, that’s a great excuse! Maybe the problem is YOU! Maybe you are NOT a man of HONOR! Maybe you are a VOW breaker! I don’t know, but I do know this. You will have to answer for your sin against your wife! You must answer for your sin against God. I am angry about this because a man who takes a vow to love his wife and then just picks up and leaves is NOT a man of honor!

So, exactly what is love? According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV), “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Also, look at Romans 12:9-13 (ESV), “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

To say that you love someone means that you want the best for that person. Love is not always a warm, fuzzy, feeling. Love is not sex. Love is wanting the best for someone. It is placing that person before yourself, even if it means that you must make sacrifices for yourself. Love is a commitment! Men, if you are leaving your wives for what you think is better, you are acting like fools! If you think that young woman is really interested in your older version of yourself, you are sadly mistaken. You are throwing away your life and destroying your family while doing it! Those younger women that you are trying to hook up with are not interested in a long-term relationship with an old man like you! Sorry but the deceiver has led you astray! The facts are that if another woman will cause you to break your vow with your wife, she will cause another man to break his vow with his wife. Where are her morals to break up a home? Where are your morals to do the same? It’s not too late. You can turn back and ask forgiveness. You can come back to your wife and ask God to forgive you. Be the man of Honor that we all hope that you will be! Stay with your wife, love your children, and be the man that God has called you to be!

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © January 8, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

What Is In Your Cup? Love or Hate?

My sister recently sent me an analogy comparing a coffee cup to a person. The analogy goes like this, You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee? 

“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!” Wrong answer. You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you, which WILL happen, whatever is inside you will come out.

It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled. So we must ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?” When life gets tough, what spills over? Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility? Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions? 

You choose!

Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others” (Author Unknown).

Let’s examine this a bit further. We all as humans put on our best fronts when we are out in public. We have a public self and a private self. In public, we may act like we are so good and without sin or blemish. We want our friends, co-workers, and clients to think the best of us.

But in private, the real “you” comes out. Not only that, when one gets angry, just the right recipe may set someone off to say the most ghastly and hateful things. For instance, when people consume too much alcohol, then their inhibitions are lowered. If they are angered, they may curse and abuse you because they are intoxicated. Unfortunately, this is the real person. They have shown just how dark their heart really is and the hatred they have for whomever they are cursing.

Before my true conversion to Christ, I had anger and hatred inside of me. But it was through Jesus Christ’s love and forgiveness that allowed myself to forgive and move forward. My angry self was cleansed and emptied and replaced with the Holy Spirit, which started to change, transform, and shape my heart into the man that I am today.

So, are you filled with love or do you harbor anger, resentment, and hatred towards another person? I can guarantee you that whatever is harbored inside of you will come out. If you do not know or have not experienced the real and true love of Jesus Christ, please consider surrendering your life to Him. He will forgive you. If you are an existing Christian, but have anger problems, please reach out to a Christian Counselor for help.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:5-6)

If someone offends you or angers you, is it okay to be angry for days?

I do not believe that anger is a sin, but if the emotion of anger leads to an action of assault or even murder, the actions are sin. Remember in the analogy, I mentioned someone who may be intoxicated, and then cursing another brother or sister in Christ out, the alcohol lowered the inhibitions and actually allowed the sinful nature to take control.

The Bible states in Ephesians 4:26-27, “26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.” By festering anger over a period of time, it removes you from communion with God and allows the devil to have a foothold on this part of your life and character.

James 1:20 states, “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” What this means is that the anger of man is more concerned about man as opposed to God. Anger rooted in sin will produce strife. See 2 Corinthians 12:20, “For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.”

There are consequences to being angry and allowing it to fester for days. See Matthew 5:22, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Therefore, to avoid sin, we should forgive quickly. We need to forgive because if we do not, then how can we ask God to forgive us? Forgiveness of a wrong is what God has called us to do. Forgiveness is an act of love.

And speaking of love, take a look at 1 Corinthians 13. “13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Practicing love will overcome anger. How can one state they love God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their mind as well as state they love their neighbor as their selves, and yet not forgive someone and fester hate in their heart? How can one say they love God and yet curse and abuse their brother and sister in Christ? Don’t blame it on the alcohol. The alcohol just lowered the inhibitions so that the real “YOU” showed up! If you have experienced this type of behavior, seek help from a qualified counselor or clergy. Ask Jesus Christ to forgive you and move forward and sin no more. God will forgive you if your are genuine and really mean it!

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © December 3, 2018 The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

 

 

Is Prayer Mandatory or Considered a Supplement to the Christian Walk? Part 1

Is Prayer Mandatory or Considered a Supplement to the Christian Walk? Part 1

Is prayer mandatory in the Christian walk or is it supplementary? I know many Believers who are not comfortable with praying in public. I personally like to pray silently, but there are times I must take the lead and model prayer for others. We often see people requesting prayer via social media and others state that they will pray for them. But do they really pray? This article is geared to sharing some Scripture and some points in how we should be conducting prayer and how prayer does affect our walk with Christ as well as others.

I most recently wrote a short paper on a Personal Prayer Analysis. I did some simple research of the four Gospels and found the following:

“Upon investigating the Scriptures in the four Gospels, where Jesus revealed an approach to prayer, this student used a Bible Gateway word search engine of the words pray, prayer, and praying. The result returned twenty-eight verses or passages. The descriptions were given as the following seventeen topics: Pray for Enemies, Pray Alone, Pray All Night, Early Morning Prayer, Keep Watch, Humble Heart, Exorcism Prayer, Baptism, Pray in Secret, Lord’s Prayer, Children, Faith, High Priestly Prayer, Temple is House of Prayer, Temple Prayer for all Nations, and Forgiveness. Of these topics, two references were found for Pray for Enemies; Four references were found for to Pray Alone; two references were found for to Pray All Night; three references were found for to Keep Watch; two references were found for Temptation; two references were found for the Lord’s Prayer; and three references were found for Faith. The remainder topics had one reference each. Of these references, what stood out the most was to pray often such as all night prayer, to pray in secret, to pray alone, to pray for our enemies, to keep watch or else we will be tempted, to have faith in what we ask, to come to the Father like a child, and if we do not know what to pray, Christ gave instructions by example with The Lord’s Prayer” (Lee, 2017, 4-5).

Of the twenty-eight verses and passages, the following chart was constructed to determine what Scriptures referenced prayer and for what subject.

Description Reference Description Reference
Pray for Enemies Matthew 5:44 Pray in Secret Matthew 6:5-6
Luke 6:28    
Pray Alone Matthew 14:23 Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-13
Mark 6:46   Luke 11:1-4
Mark 14:32    
Luke 9:18 Children Matthew 19:13
Pray All Night Matthew 26:36
Luke 6:12
Early Morning Prayer Mark 1:35 Faith Matthew 21:22
Keep Watch Matthew 26:41 Mark 11:24
Mark 14:38 Luke 18:1
Luke 21:36 High Priestly Prayer John 17:1-26
Humble Heart Luke 18:10-14
Temptation Luke 22:40
Luke 22:46 Temple is House of Prayer Luke 19:46
Exorcism Prayer Mark 9:29 Temple Prayer for All Nations Mark 11:17
Baptism Luke 3:21 Forgiveness Mark 11:25

 

“As this student researched and read through all the Scriptures, he realized that his own prayer life needed an overhaul. Although he prays, it is not often enough. For instance, Jesus said in Matthew 6:5-6 that when we should pray, we should not pray to impress others as depicted in verse 5, but to go into our room and pray to the Father in private and in secret. This student does not spend enough time praying. While Matthew 26:36 shows Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He told His disciples to sit while he went to pray. In verse 27, He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and he began to pray. He prayed for an hour and his disciples could not even keep their eyes open. But the indication from these passages is that people should pray, in private, or even with two or three other Believers, so that they are seeking God during times of trouble. As Jesus was facing ultimate condemnation and crucifixion, his disciples could not seem to pray because of their weakness. In this student’s own life, he strives to pray and stay faithful in prayer, but has been found weak in his practices” (Lee, 2017, 5-6).

How can one start a prayer life? Look at part of my conclusion from this short paper.

“In conclusion, this student must become more disciplined in his approach to prayer. He must find a private and quite place away from technology to pray. When praying, he will start using The Lord’s Prayer and then continue to have a conversation with the Father. He must come to the Father like a child and have childlike faith. He must have a humble heart and pray for not only his forgiveness, but to pray that he will forgive others for any wrongdoing in which they have done to him. He must pray for his enemies. He must pray to keep watch so that he will not be tempted by the ways of the world or distractions from prayer. He needs to become more disciplined to get up early and pray before others rise and the day starts. At times, when he needs to get closer to God, he needs to search Scripture, pray, even if it’s all night, so that he will seek God first in his life. This regimen must be done alone, so that he will have that intimate and personal relationship with his Father. He can no longer use the excuse or procrastinate because this intimate relationship with God is needed in his life. Fasting will also be incorporated as this will bring the student closer to God. He will strive to pray multiple times each day and it should start early in the morning” (Lee, 2017, 6-7).

Now that we have discussed prayer and the types of prayers, let’s get into what John MacArthur et al. states about prayer. Donald G. McDougall states, “Prayer by individual Christians, by Christian leaders, by the corporate body of the church, by small groups, and by men are all necessary. The content of prayers should focus predominately on ultimate spiritual battles with the forces of evil rather than on the mundane affairs of everyday life. A right purpose and a proper attitude should determine the matter of prayers” (MacArthur, 2005, 144).

McDougall states that God’s people need to learn to pray. McDougall reminds us that to get a remedy for problems, you must pray. Look at James 4:2, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” Look at the latter part of the verse, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Prayer is quite the remedy (MacArthur, 2005, 145).

McDougal continues, “At the very root of it all is the need for each believer to realize that prayer is foundational; prayer is not supplemental. Believers need to pray more, to pray more often, and to pray over many more issues. The reminder to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 is just as applicable today as it ever was. If we are to experience the blessings that only God can give, we as God’s people must humble ourselves and pray” (MacArthur, 2005, 146).

In conclusion, to set up prayer time, one must know how to pray as well as what to pray for. Jesus gave us a model prayer, which is called The Lord’s Prayer. Here is the prayer:

 

Our Father, who are in Heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day, our daily bread,

And forgive our trespasses and sins,

As we forgive those who trespasses and sin against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

And the power, and the glory,

`                 Forever.

Amen.

The above prayer is an excellent prayer to start with and then start to pray for other things that will glorify God. Please look at the prayer guide and determine what you are to pray for. Read the associated Scriptures and follow the leading of the Lord Jesus in prayer.

This is the beginning of a series of articles, which are meant to help those with determining what and how to pray. The best way to start a prayer life is to read Scripture and then start a conversation with God, through prayer.

Bibliography

Lee, Joseph T. “Personal Prayer Guide.” Rawlings School of Divinity, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, 2017.

MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © December 28, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

His Unspeakable Gift

We are in the amazing season of Christmas; celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. The creator of all, the very Son of God took off His royal robes and stepped from the throne room of Heaven into the womb of a peasant girl. Instead of a myriad of the Heavenly Hosts, His birth was witnessed by lowly animals in a borrowed stable. He was delivered into the calloused hands of a carpenter and placed in a rough manger of hay. He chose to go from His place of unlimited glory and power to the pain and poverty of man. Stepping from the infinite to the finite; the Lamb of God clothed Himself in human flesh and began the painful path to the cross where the perfect Son of God would become sin for me; trading His purity and righteousness for my filthy, sinful rags so that I would never have to pay my own sin debt. The agony of the cross cast an ominous shadow over the manger as the Christ child lay sleeping that first Christmas night. His gift of life is offered to kings and beggars alike; calling us to humbly turn our hearts in wonder and thanksgiving toward the star over Bethlehem as we kneel before our Savior and Lord; born to be crucified so that we may have eternal life. How can we do anything but fall to our knees in humble praise and worship; thanking Him for His unspeakable gift?

Pamela Lee Amick,Copyright © December 25, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Grace Through Faith

I once knew of a man who stated he was looking for God but he could never seem to find Him. He struggled with how to find God and he wanted what others had, he just could not seem to find it. The reason he could not find God was because he was dead in his trespasses and his transgressions. He thought that he had to find God through works. Let’s see what Paul said about that.

If we read Ephesians 2:1-10, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

We cannot save ourselves. We cannot know God without first knowing His Son, Jesus Christ. It is through the loving GRACE of Jesus that we can have a relationship with God. Look at verse 5, “by grace you have been saved.” Not by our works.

The natural state of all human beings is spiritual death. This condition is universal; both for Gentiles (v2) and Jews (v3). The natural state of all humans is that we walk in active rebellion against God. It is because of God’s great love towards His followers in which we have forgiveness only found through Jesus. Sinners who are apart from Christ are in a hopeless condition. Only faith, not works can bring acceptance with God. It is only when the sinner recognizes that he cannot save himself is when he will hopefully believe in Jesus and turn his heart and mind over to Christ. Once he or she surrenders their life to Christ, that is when grace is granted and a relationship begins with God through Christ. In verse 8, “For by grace you have been saved through grace. And this is not by your own doing; it is the gift of God.” It is through Jesus Christ that this relationship begins.

© Copyright December 24, 2017. The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

 

 

The True Meaning of Christmas!

Have you ever wondered about what Christmas is really about? This is just the beginning of a wonderful and divine act in which God sent His Son into the world.

This is just the beginning.

Luke 2 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Birth of Jesus Christ

2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

But this is NOT the end of the story…….

Although many celebrate Christmas with a baby in a feeding trough, that baby grew up as the loving Son of God who died a horrible death in order to redeem us from our wickedness. He was beaten until his blood was spilled on the ground, crucified with nails driven into his hands and feet, and He died. After three days, He rose from the grave and this is evidence that He truly was the Son of God.

May you find the real joy of Christmas that only Jesus Christ can bring. It is through the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection that we have forgiveness of our sins. Jesus came into the world not to judge the world but to save it. It is only through Jesus that one can be saved.

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10: 9-11 ” because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

2 Corinthians 5:15 “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

Jesus stands at your hearts door and knocks. If you want to really experience the “true” meaning of Christmas, then consider inviting Jesus Christ into your heart and life and ask God to change your heart and transform you to be Christlike in all that you do. Believe with your heart and mind. Ask forgiveness of your wrongdoing and sins, and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Transformation means that you are a changed person for Christ.

Christmas is really about the Christ who came to save the world! Won’t you give your life to Christ and know the real meaning of Christmas?

© Copyright, December 23, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times, LLC.