Tag Archive | scripture photo

The Prayer Machinery of Heaven #3

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16).

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayers and won with thanks.
—Thomas Goodwin

I’m convinced also that the sweetness increases when it’s a prayer request granted for another person.

Prayer straddles our lives both on earth and in heaven. All week I’m focusing on prayer. It’s important. I need to do better in my life, and I can’t imagine a Christian who doesn’t think they can do better at prayer either.

Last weekend, I was thinking of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, called God’s Providence. (#3114). Spurgeon likened the cherubim’s acts near the throne and the wheels within wheels as described by Ezekiel as machinery of Providence. He described, hypothetically of course, the wheels going up and down and left and right in tandem as the machinery of Providence carrying out God’s will and decrees. It’s an interesting thought, and Spurgeon is vivid about his descriptions.

This series of ‘prayer machinery of heaven’ is inspired by that thought.

Please enjoy this scripture photo I made of the machinery of prayer. Under that will be some further resources on prayer suggestions. Monday I suggested praying for the persecuted and missionaries around the world, with some resources to check out along those lines. Tuesday I suggested praying for our elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc), again, with resources. Today’s let’s let’s pray for each other.

prayer machinery 3.jpg

Further Reading/Resources

Spurgeon quotes on Prayer

Sermon: Elements of True Prayer

Ligonier: Essay by Don Whitney, Praying for One Another

GotQuestions: What is Intercessory Prayer?

Prayer Machinery of Heaven series:

Prayer Machinery #1: Introduction and Praying for Missionaries

Prayer Machinery #2: Praying for pray for our Elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

Prayer Machinery #3: Praying for each other

Prayer Machinery #4: How to Pray

Prayer Machinery #5: A focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is

Prayer Machinery #6: Persevering in Prayer

Prayer Machinery #7: The Two ‘If’s’ and the Importance of confessing Sin

The prayer machinery of heaven #2

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7).

The purest actions of the purest men need Christ to perfume them; and this is his office. When we pray, we need to pray again for Christ to pardon the defects of our prayers. ~ The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

Isn’t that descriptive, we pray, because we can, and then pray again for Christ to pardon the prayer’s defects. I think the Romans 8:26 verse below is getting to that idea.

Prayer straddles our lives both on earth and in heaven. All week I am focusing on prayer. It’s important. I need to do better in my life, and I can’t imagine a Christian who doesn’t think they can do better at prayer either.

I was thinking of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, called God’s Providence. (#3114). Spurgeon likened the cherubim’s acts near the throne and the wheels within wheels as described by Ezekiel as machinery of Providence. He described, hypothetically of course, the wheels going up and down and left and right in tandem as the machinery of Providence carrying out God’s will and decrees. It’s an interesting thought, and Spurgeon is vivid about his descriptions.

Th is series of prayer machinery of heaven is inspired by that thought.

Please enjoy this scripture photo I made of the machinery of prayer. Under that will be some further resources on prayer suggestions. Yesterday I suggested praying for the persecuted and missionaries around the world, with some resources to check out along those lines. Today, let’s pray for our elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

prayer machinery 2

Further Reading/Resources

Revive Our Hearts: Your Pastor Challenge

Ligonier: How to Pray for Your Pastor

Challies: Pray for Your Pastor! (lots of other links inside)

Prayer Machinery of Heaven series:

Prayer Machinery #1: Introduction and Praying for Missionaries

Prayer Machinery #2: Praying for pray for our Elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

Prayer Machinery #3: Praying for each other

Prayer Machinery #4: How to Pray

Prayer Machinery #5: A focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is

Prayer Machinery #6: Persevering in Prayer

Prayer Machinery #7: The Two ‘If’s’ and the Importance of confessing Sin

Thirty Days of Jesus

Christmas is coming. It’s a blessed time of year.

We always think of the Savior, all the year, every day. (Philippians 4:8). But the Christmas season is a time when we think more pointedly about His incarnation, life, ascension, and return. Who is this Jesus? He was born, lived, died, rose again, and promised to return, to bring eternal life to those who believe and eternal death to those who reject. He tore the veil of human history, parted it into BC and AD, and changed everything.

My contributions to the faith and fellowship of the saints is tiny, but I do my best with the resources He has given me. One thing I do is I use my photographs of God’s beautiful creation and overlay a verse on them, and post to social media each day. I organize them into weekly themes, for the saints to read and perhaps be encouraged by. Some people email or tell me in real life that they enjoy the scripture photos I put up each day. I’m always surprised by this, but in the end, that’s the point of the endeavor- to keep Jesus and His aroma of life before people, to encourage, stimulate, or convict.

Last week the theme was Hospitality, in deference to Thanksgiving and the gatherings that were sure to be held. I decided instead of a weekly theme this week, that I’d do a monthly theme: Thirty Days of Jesus. Thirty verses, thirty photos that reflect His life and ministry.

The entire Bible is about Jesus of course, and it was very hard to select verses and not feel bad about the ones I was leaving out! I chose three mini-themes for this month’s scripture photos that I believe will flow.

PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE, 15 verses.

In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. That resolution will be in Christ and through Christ. Then since it’s Christmas, the beautiful verses that announce His arrival on the blessed morn. The third mini-section are verses that mention Jesus as a child and boy, before He began His ministry.

PREEMINENCE OF THE SON, HIS WORKS & MINISTRY, 10 verses

THE SON, 5 verses

Beginning with verses that declare the Son, I’ll share verses that focus Him as the Second Person of the Trinity. His sonship is integral to His ministry as the subordinate Person to God the Father. These verses reflect that reality.

Christ is preeminent. Always and forever. Let us exult in these verses which proclaim a truth that should enlarge our heart and shake our soul with wonder.

MINISTRY, 10 verses

This section will present verses that detail His attributes while He was on earth; Jesus as servant, teacher, shepherd, healer, and so on.

RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, & RETURN

Christ is unique in that He is the firstfruit of resurrection. He is unique in that He descended from heaven and ascended to heaven. As GotQuestions explains of the John 3:13 verse,

Jesus explains why He is uniquely qualified to teach of the kingdom of God—namely, because He alone came down from heaven and possesses the knowledge to teach people about heaven. Jesus alone has seen the Father, and He alone is qualified to declare God and make Him known.

Jesus was raised to life and brought back to heaven, and several verses in this section will illustrate what He is doing while we wait the long centuries for the fulfillment of the end of all things, His glorious return. The last verses will present Jesus in His glory, as He is.

The flow mirrors the Revelation 1:8 verse, where it is declared,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

This is no great project, to be sure. But I wanted to organize my thoughts ahead of the season and selecting verses that detailed the flow of Jesus’ life seemed a good way to do it. The photos are free for anyone to use and by the end, perhaps someone would like to make a bundle for their own purposes, printed out or digital.

THE PHOTOS

I enjoy using my photographs because an important-to-me aspect of His deity is Creator. Paul constantly exhorted the pagans with sermons and entreaties that distinguished his like-nature with them as man and the holy perfection of the Christ-nature Creator of all things. Paul frequently used creation as a foundation to proclaim Christ’s gospel. I came partway to Christ that way, by viewing the creation and understanding there is a God, and Romans 1 has great meaning for me. I knew there was a God, but I suppressed the truth of Jesus, just as the verse at Romans 1:18-19 says the pagans do.

Now that I’ve received grace, I’m viewing His creation through spiritual eyes and give homage to the Creator. Therefore, I enjoy photographing it with a mind of thanks for all He has made. The photos are the backdrop to this thought.

I wanted to explain a little, so that perhaps someone, somewhere might be encouraged or inspired or begin thinking along these lines too, in fellowship and joy with me throughout the month.

I also plan to allow these scripture photos to be my blog postings for most of the month.

If I write, I write. I enjoy my daily Bible readings and fill legal pads with notes, that in my excitement on learning something new, usually turn into blog essays. But I want to take a slowdown of the season and reflect on Christ without pressure of turning it all into a daily writing, so if you don’t see many essays, that’s why. I’ll decrease the pace this month and await the refreshing of the New Year. In a few weeks it will be 9 years of daily blogging. I attribute that longevity to the Holy Spirit for His illumination of biblical truths to my mind and curating in my heart the zeal I have for Christ. Lord, don’t let me stray! Writing helps me stay the course. I always want to use lots of scripture, keep things Christ-centric, and exhort with kindness wrapped in truth.

Both the illumination and the zeal are precious to me, and I dearly want to continue them both for as long as the Spirit wants me to continue this aspect of a writing ministry and not burn out. The Bible says to fulfill our ministry, and persevere over the long haul. If I die or I am raptured tomorrow, or in ten more years, I want to be found still exhorting Christ with zeal and truth.

Let’s enjoy the season. I pray that it does not become a hectic, shopping slog, frantic with focus on gifts and cleaning houses and to-do lists, though given family obligations and work colleague expectations, some of that is always inevitable. But don’t let it encroach more than it has to. Jesus is the reason for this season. If you’re a believer, this season is a gateway to a new year filled with many reasons each day to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)

Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21).

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

or you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20).

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).

morning glory imprint radiance verse

#memeHeresies on Facebook, how to spot them and how to refute them

We’re visual creatures. We love the beautiful. I don’t think there is any person who says they prefer ugliness to beauty. Beauty has allure. Satan knew that in the garden, when he incited Eve to take another look at the fruit. (Genesis 3:6). Beauty can be used to exalt God, for He made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Unfortunately, beauty can also be used as a mask for the corruption within. (Matthew 23:27).

We all know what heresy/false doctrine is. It’s a teaching about Jesus that varies with what the Bible teaches about Jesus. The Nicolaitans and the Judaizers were two groups mentioned in the Bible for going around teaching false doctrine. Alexander and Hymaneus were two named teachers in the New Testament who were teaching falsely and were rebuked by Paul. In the OT, Micaiah rebuked Zedekiah the false prophet. False teaching has been around as long as humans have been around. (Genesis 3:1)

For millennia, to hear a teaching, one went to a public venue like the Areopagus or Solomon’s Porch, and listened to the teacher like Paul, then went home and compared to scripture as the Bereans did. (Acts 17:11). Nowadays, false messages disseminated more widely and more instantly than ever before. Just think of “TBN” AKA Trinity Broadcasting Network, founded in 1973. TBN is a place called “Unholy Trinity” by John MacArthur, where “religious quacks are actually multiplying at a frightening pace.” And with the multiplying quacks comes their quackery, AKA false teaching.

Add to that, satan targets women to send his false doctrines through (Genesis 3:4), because we are weaker (1 Peter 3:7), and more vulnerable (2 Timothy 3:6) and this dissemination includes social media. I’m on Facebook a lot, I administer a page there (The End Time) as well as my personal FB page. Facebook is used mostly by women. This is an amazing statistic by Pew Research from 2015,

Fully 72% of online American adults use Facebook, a proportion unchanged from September 2014. Usage continues to be especially popular among online women, 77% of whom are users.

What this boils down to is that Facebook is a place where satan has a wonderful time propagating his lies to the faith’s most vulnerable who are rarely given oversight by husbands while she surfs among the Facebook walls and statuses riddled with beautiful false teaching. These are the meme pictures.

Many of these memes going around are satanic. When I say satanic, don’t think of a black background and a red faced man with horns and fangs in the foreground. Satan is God’s most beautiful angel, an angel of light, and his work is flowers and a cute saying and pretty colors and a Christian-y saying all aimed to seduce women. Like this:

Jessica Pickowicz ( @Jess_Pickowicz , @BeauThing146 http://beautifulthing146.com/) has created a hashtag called #memeHeresies . The above photo is a #memeHeresy. I asked her if I could write about memeheresies and use that term in this essay and she said yes.

HOW TO MAKE A #MEMEHERESY

Satan enjoys deluding women, so flowers are usually a go-to graphic. Women like those. I don’t see many #memeheresies containing golf clubs, fishing tackle, or neckties.

So the first rule when a false teacher makes a false graphic of some kind of inspirational quote, it’s to choose something beautiful as the background. Of course, that’s a no-brainer. I mentioned above that beauty carries false teaching very well. Genesis 3:6a tells us that the lust of the eyes is a major part of sin.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes,…

The second criteria for a false inspirational picture is to choose something that is human-focused but mentions God. This is tricky, but then again, Joel Osteen has made a gazillion dollar industry out of treading that thin line. The quote below usually attributed to Roman Catholic friar St. Francis, but probably did not originate with the medieval monk, is the kind I’m talking about:

“Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

The quote mentions the gospel, and preaching, so it must be good, right? Wrong. The Gospel is Good News, and we are to proclaim it. With words. We can’t BE the message. Only Jesus was ever the message. And in addition to living that perfect life, He used lots of words. That’s because He IS the Word. (John 1:1). And besides, isn’t preaching a form of using words aloud? You see the ridiculousness once you begin to think about the quote. Also, note the sly turning away from Jesus onto ourselves with that one quote? Suddenly Jesus and His Gospel isn’t the message, human beings are the message.

In that exact same vein is the picture above, attributed to Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun who hated the gospel of Jesus Christ, and lived under the delusion that her Catholic dogma was going to save her. Nonetheless, she allegedly said “I’m a pencil in the Hand of God”, which is set on a beautiful flower graphic.

The reason that #memeHeresy seems scriptural and inspirational is because it mentions God. On first look, it also seems to put the person in a humble position. You think, ‘awww, I’m just a meager tool in the hand of God.’

This would be a wrong interpretation of that meme.

The Apostles were pencils in the hand of God. The result was inspired Holy Scripture. If we put ourselves in that place, we are elevating ourselves beyond our position. Today no one is writing anything inspired by the Holy Spirit. Though, plenty of women are writing things inspired by satan. The most popular books of our day have been inspired directly by satan through the means of channeling. (For ex., When Godly People do Ungodly Things, Jesus Calling, &etc.)

If “Mother” Teresa meant that the metaphorical pencil is writing a metaphorical message through the the outward seeming goodness of our lives, then we have the same problem that we had in the St Francis quote. WE are not the message. We are ambassadors OF the message. (2 Corinthians 5:20). The message was proclaimed by Jesus. And by the way, we’re not good.

Finally, if we are but helpless tools in the Hand of God, then we are excusing our part in our own sanctification. We must press on, slay sin, submit, obey…all those are active verbs showing that we have a responsibility to Jesus while here on hearth. We’re not passive pencils, being used. We’re to be active participants in our life of obedience and usefulness.

Sometimes a meme will quote a scripture, and the scripture isn’t totally ripped from context as this one below shows. Did you know that a lot of times when you see a pretty photo with a verse over it, the verse address and the verse being quoted don’t match up? This one quoted blow is the tail end of a verse and it’s not twisted. So what’s the problem? The organization or person spreading it. The verse is OK, but She Reads Truth is not. Passing along a meme in which the verse is accurate but is promoted by a false teacher is just as bad. Double check the verse, the address, AND the teacher or organization publishing it.You don’t want to put a stumbling block in front of a sister and send her directly to a false teacher by your tacit recommendation of re-posting a good verse.

Same goes for this one below. The quote is not scripture but it’s an accurate saying. It is something I say myself. I am not familiar with the person mentioned at the bottom, but I am certainly familiar with the IF:gathering and its women. Again- avoid. Re-posting an accurate quote but from a false bunch of teachers will only confuse those less discerning sisters. Every re-post you do is tacitly giving your stamp of approval not only to the quote but to the author and organization, in this case, Mabuni and IF:gathering.

HOW TO REFUTE A #memeHeresy

I liked what Jessica did with the side by side refutation here. The stamp of the word “FALSE” across the left side states the situation in no uncertain terms, and the correct verse which refutes the false one is placed on the right. The left side is the man-oriented one and the right side is what God actually said about man.

By Jessica Pickowicz

Here is another one from Jessica. Do you see on the left, it’s man-oriented again? The scripture-y quote is supposed to makes us think, “Wow! I’m strong!” Yet the truth stated in real scripture is, “Wow, God’s gives grace!”

By Jessica Pickowicz

In sum, how to spot the false memes is to check, think, wait. Before passing it along,

1. Double check the address on the verse (if there is one).
2. Double check that the verse isn’t ripped from its context to say something it wasn’t intended to mean.
3. Check the person or organization publishing the quote.
4. STOP. THINK. Does this quote that sounds so Bible-y really reflect a true teaching of God?

To refute them you can always do what Jessica did and create a side-by-side refutation. If you’re not graphically skilled then simply post the scripture picture with a verse that refutes it and maybe a short explanation showing how one is man-oriented and the other is Jesus-oriented.

Well, some might say, doing all that checking, double checking, and investigating, at is a lot of work,. Yes. It’s work. You remember I mentioned the Bereans at the top? They heard Paul then went back and checked that these things were so. They worked, and were commended for it! Just because we’re living in a fast time doesn’t mean we have to quickly press “Post” or “Publish”. Stop. Think.

We handle the Bible’s message with care, because it is the most important message in life. You don’t toss a carton of eggs into the back seat of your car like you do your son’s soccer ball. You handle with care. We don’t toss around Bible-y sayings either. We take care, for the Word is precious. The false teachers toss around the Word carelessly, we believers don’t need to toss it around as well.