Bulldog

bulldog prayersDennis Bradley shares:

In the first part of Luke chapter 11, Jesus gives us the “model prayer” the Lord’s Prayer as it’s called, in response to the disciple’s request “teach us to pray. “

And then in a powerful parable he proceeds to teach us how to implement our prayers ….. i.e. how to get them answered. What’s the use of praying if we don’t get an answer? Remember, this is God telling us how things work in his kingdom.

Luke 11:5-13 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’ 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Bold, persistent, never give up, are some of the ways we can describe the way Jesus is recommending for us to pray. I personally conclude that Jesus is looking for forceful partners in getting things done. Wimpy little prayers thrown up in passing just won’t cut it.

We must conclude that God is looking for people whose prayer lives are like that- daring, bold, and persistent! What is needed is Bulldog prayers.

So what is it about Bulldogs? Bulldogs were originally bred for baiting bulls – that ‘s how they got the name. Bull baiting was a common blood sport back in the early 13th century. Bulldogs were sent in to grab bulls by the nose and once they grabbed on they wouldn’t turn loose no matter what. The bulldog was sent in and would grasp the fleshy nose of the bull and pin it to the ground. The short muzzle and undershot jaw were necessary to enable a viselike grip. The nose is placed far back on the face to allow the dog to breathe while holding a bull by the fleshy nose. Once they grabbed on they would not turn loose. Their owners had to pry their jaws loose to get them off the bull.

It’s the same thing that happens to football teams that encounter the University of Georgia Bulldogs. They won’t turn loose till they win.

Jesus says…Pray like that!

(Previously shared on Facebook.)

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Dennis Bradley is a semi-retired pastor, banjo player, and aspiring chef. Stay tuned for more…

Seek God First

Prayer Garden

Finding flowers in the prayer garden was a nice surprise. I’d been seeking solutions, a way to deal with current issues, and a place to find that needed peace. But I wasn’t expecting the flowers in the garden to bring this kind of peace and rest to my heart.

I needed rest for my heart.

I felt bruised, damaged, and injured by recent events, but I knew the answer would come from prayer.

New in the community, new in the house, and I felt so totally alone. I felt as if I couldn’t deal with one more thing, and every day had been one more disaster.

Until this night.

I sat in the garden, on a small bench left by previous owners, appreciating the flowers sprinkled through overgrown evergreens. I hadn’t even had time to stroll through the garden. I hadn’t known they were there.

But now… I sat quietly appreciating the aroma of pretty flowers, delightful pine scents, and slowly dripping rain.

I felt the rain.

The thought of my mother wiping God’s blessings from her face, as she rested near the window, where she passed a few days later, came to mind. Blessings. God’s blessings came as rain, dripping from scattered clouds in the sky.

I closed my eyes to consider…

missingyouI thought about those moments, remembered the blessings that had been ours during that time, and knew… I would survive these days of struggle, and once again the sun would shine. The sun would shine.

Meanwhile, in these days of learning, I needed to experience the rain.

2 Chronicles 10:6-7
Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you counsel me to answer this people?” They spoke to him, saying, “If you will be kind to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

I knew how to lead, and I had a tender heart, but how could I continue to lead, if they did not listen. I leaned back against the tree that grew in the garden, a tree dying from lack of care over the years, but a tree that still offered comfort, and a few leaves sparsely scattered amid the branches. I looked up and realized it also housed a squirrel, and provided perches for birds.

Psalm 16:11
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

There, my path was known, his presence in fullness of joy, and I knew God would provide his pleasures forever to my life. All I had to do was seek Him, and He would provide.

There in the garden, where flowers grew, a tree withered, and shrubs outlined the paths, I learned the secret of life. Seek God.

Seek God First

Before He Made The World

chosen for God

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
– Ephesians 1:4

Before God laid the foundations of the earth, before sin entered into the world, you were predestined by God. You were chosen to be his child.

In all cases, God chose us, before we chose Him.

In John 15:16, Jesus told us “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you.”

You see, being one of God’s chosen is not due to anything we have done or will do. God knew exactly what would happen in our lives, before any of it took place. God knew exactly how you would turn out. He knew exactly what decision you would make regarding Him. He knew all this and made selections which would work best in His favor for the plan and end that He had in mind. God’s choosing us had nothing to do with our own merit. He chose you from the foundation of the world.

Even though you may sometimes feel like a ‘loser’ and worry that God may have made a mistake in choosing you, you must remember that God chose you to win. If you will allow Him, God will make you into something special. God sees through all your flaws and imperfections and sees a work in progress.

God is not finished with you, yet. As long as your heart is beating and your lungs draw breathe, you can rejoice in knowing that God will complete what He has begun in your life.

After all, you were chosen from the foundations of the world.

Think about it!

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Don Stephens writes messages of empowerment based on the Bible.

One memory stands out…

end of the ride

Never a day goes by that I don’t remember where I came from… The valley is a part of my soul, and fifty years living there has provided a lifetime of memories. No matter how far away I roam, those memories remain dear.

One memory from when I was a little girl, we’d gone to the ranch to help with branding, and while the little ones played in the back of the truck, I asked if I could ride with a cousin. I’d already ask him, and he said, “Check with your mom.”

At her nod, I stretched my arms up and he swung me onto the back of his saddle. I wrapped both arms around him and we took off like the wind. I know now, he probably wasn’t running the horse, perhaps a trot, but back then… wind in my hair, and the constant rhythm of the ride, I felt as if we’d never stop. We rode fence most of the afternoon, looking for breaks, or cattle that might have been missed in the round up.

Whenever he’d jump off to fix a bad spot, or check a fence fastener, or whatever he was doing, I’d pick wild flowers, or hold the reigns. If we gathered  a cow or a steer along the way, we keep him with us moving him along slowly until we either got back close enough to the herd to run him in with others, or back to the corrals for branding.

Headed in from the last fence run, I wrapped my arms around him and held on tight. The ride was slower. We were both tired. The horse was worn out from the work day.  I drifted off to sleep with my arms wrapped around him on the back of that horse. I was the city kid who got to go play cowgirl now and then…

The last time I saw him, he said, “Hey, Rustler. How’s it goin’.” It had been years since he’d called me that name, but I remembered… A time…

Proverbs 27: 23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds; 24 for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.

Growing up, I learned from my family, solid work ethics, values, and principles of living. Those treasures of life last forever, they are the riches that endure, because when you know the value of principled living, you NEVER forget.

Blessed are those who mourn

I’ll miss that cowboy when I go home next…

He was one in a million.

 

Patience… Lord?

praying for patienceDid you ever wonder why your patience are tested?

I live in an area where there are small children, and small children scream. A lot. In fact, they scream even when there’s no reason to scream.

That usually isn’t a big deal, unless I’m on the phone, or tired from a long day of working… Then, my patience wear thin rather fast.

I’m not a mom who tolerated screaming a lot. My kids knew when I said, “Shhhh…” it meant they needed to quiet down.

So, recently when I mentioned that I really wasn’t doing well with all the screaming tantrums, my son reminded me, “Don’t pray for patience.”

His mischievous grin deserved to be noted, if not wiped off his face with sandpaper… lol

bible and coffeeYou’d think he’d been listening to my prayers as I prayed for God to expand my territory, bless me with patience, and grace to remember that I was once a young mother too…

You’d think…

God, about that patience… I don’t remember praying for patience, Lord?

But if I was, it was because I already had reason to need them, and needed more patience to get through those moments. Please Lord, I need help with these moments. And Grace to remember that this too will pass.

God bless.

Thank you Veterans!