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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

The Promise of Prayer

 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. – 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Prayer is a promising exercise.  Aside from its ability to help believers release tension and pressure as well as express themselves openly to God directly, prayer comes with a simple promise.

Prayer may not change the outcome.

The promise of prayer is that it can change our own outlook.

Prayer can change our outlook on matters both big and small.  It can actually alter our own perspective on our position within the midst of misery or the precipice of a problem.

“Prayers never die.” – E.M. Bounds

Once we pray, the promise still holds true.  The promise is all about change.

You may not God’s mind or His intention like the prayer of Hezekiah when called out to get his house in order through the prophet Isaiah.  Yet, prayer offers us power to change our walk along this journey of life.  You can make changes in your life due to your prayer life.

Here is how to tap into the ever-changing power and promise of prayer:

  • Put prayer into effect.
  • Take advantage of what God can offers you through prayer.
  • Always stay connected to God through an active and responsive prayer life.

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Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. – Jude 1:3 (NIV)

God’s people have been entrusted with “the faith.”

The ability to contend for the faith is based on commitment to the faith.  However, there is cause for concern in Christendom.

The Prop. 8 Debate: Arguing about What We are Against Rather Than for What We Believe

Homosexuality is a sin.  That’s biblical and sound.  However, adultery, lying, murder and a load of other things are sinful, too.  In church, we are to speak out against sin and speak up about salvation.  We cannot attack one group of sinners and turn a blind eye to others.  That type of soap box ministry feeds the media frenzy, but does little for the kingdom of heaven.

Preach the truth and teach how to live by the truth.

Denominational Divisions and Disunity 

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Corinthians 13:3 (KJV)

We are divided over doctrine.  We are divided over religious practices.  We are divided over women and their roles in the ministry.  We are divided over heaven and hell.  We are even divided over Christ, His deity, and His miracles, even His messages.

We are just plain divided.

Return to the Word and resubmit to His Spirit.

Let the Lord lead you in how to go forward with brothers and sisters in the faith.

Lackluster and Lost Leadership

I oftentimes contemplate whether we are part of that generation that was led astray, destroying the landmark left by our ancestors and removing the reminders of God’s faithfulness to us and those who came before us.

Are we the generation who did not know the Lord of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob?

Have we forgotten the Law of Moses?

Have we neglected the work and ministry of Jesus Christ?

Our leaders are leading us in the wrong direction.  They are leading us down the road away from God, where many of us have fallen away.  They have led us down a path that has led to our demise, all the while losing their own sense of calling and making their followers lose faith in them and the Christian faith that they represent.

Truth trumps everything else.  Let’s stick to the truth.  Let’s teach truth.  Let’s preach truth.  Let’s uphold the truth.

It may not cure everything at once, but it sure can cure a lot of things immediately.

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Then the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said,

Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.

– 2 Kings 5:5

Sometimes, our problems will cause us to go to extreme measures to get relief.  We will be so desperate for a solution that we will take advice from unlikely sources and end up in unlikely places in hope of a healing.

11 But Naaman became furious, and went away . . .’ 12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

– 2 Kings 5:11-12

What Naaman received did not meet his expectations.  For all of his high hopes for a healing, he received some simplistic instructions.  In fact, he was not even granted an audience with the prophet.  According to verse 10, “And Elisha sent a messenger to him. . .” as he stood outside of Elisha’s doorway.  Naaman had expected some form of royal reception after all that he had gone through to get there.

13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

-2 Kings 5:13-14

Although Naaman was hardened by the reception and the proposed remedy, he responded accordingly after some prodding and pleading by his own servants.  He did as instructed.  His flesh was restored.  he received his healing after all.

What can we learn from this?

God can bless us with something simple that we might try to complicate.  God may not want us to jump through hoops for what He has for us.  He may just want to see our faith in action.

We have a choice today.  We can be hardened or we can be healed.

What will be your choice today?

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But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

– Jeremiah 20:9

Let’s be honest.  Better yet, let’s be frank.

Many times, we just want to quit.

We want to give up and get away from the whole burden of responsibility.

Why?

We might be burnt out.

Ministry can wear you thin, even if you have thick skin.  If you watch closely what the Scriptures reveal, then look at what you experience personally in ministry.  You can get worn out with the whole idea of serving people who accept it but don’t necessarily appreciate it.

We might be broken down.

Serving with the wrong focus can leave us with a broken spirit.  We can find ourselves chasing accolades rather than seeking His face.  We can find ourselves looking for recognition rather than offering Him reverence.  We can desire the praise, the very praise that He deserves for all that we do.

Such conditions can lead to us being more frustrated than faithful, more likely to quit than keep going.

Let these words sink into your heart and keep you on fire for the Lord.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – Galatians 6:9

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Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. – 1 John 2:7

John was pretty clear.  He wasn’t writing about anything new.  It wasn’t anything that the believers had not already heard, either directly from Jesus or quoted by one of the followers who had walked with Him during His earthly ministry.

It was the same as it was in the beginning.

There was already an “old commandment” and that was “no new commandment.” It all was the same.

Nothing was new.

Jesus said what needed to be said.  He said it all from the onset of His ministry.  He continued with it throughout His ministry.  He wrapped up His ministry with the same thing.

His disciples and apostles were to continue in what He taught them from the beginning.  New followers were to do so also.  No one was to add anything to it.  No one was to compel others to get circumcised or recognize new moons or other feasts to become at one with Christ.  All that it took was a faithful belief in Him as the Son of God, the Savior, and the propitiation of our sins.

Nothing was added.

We have all that we need in Him.  We have all that we are to follow in His Word.  There is nothing new to it.  There is to be nothing added to it.  It is totally complete.

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There isn’t much to worry about it.  It is already taken care of by Christ.  He’s done all of the heavy lifting.  We just have to accept it as so.

You see, we were once lost.  We were “slaves to sin” as Paul so eloquently depicts us all (Romans 6:20).  In other words, we were not just lost.  We were so lost that we were headed in the wrong direction and playing for the wrong team.  We were utterly living as “enemies of God.”

But isn’t God’s plan good?

Right when we were at our worst, Christ died for us and reconciled us with God.  He stood in as the propitiation of our sins.  He suffered and sacrificed for our salvation.  He saved us.  He took us from lost to liberated by grace as the atonement for our sins.

Christ has set us free for freedom.

Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to

the bondage of slavery again.

– Galatians 5:1 (CEV)

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I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. – Psalm 69:30

I can publish praise of God openly with my voice.  However, I begin to wonder about the effectiveness of that praise in light of good works that reflect in the shadow of His wondrous works.  My works, no matter how much good that they actually do for God or others, are totally eclipsed and overshadowed by His great works.

This Thanksgiving say a prayer for those who seek to do good works.  Many will feed the homeless.  Some will offer them clothing and shelter.  Others will open their homes to them.  Some will go and spend volunteer time with wounded veterans while others will read to children in the cancer unit of the local hospital or wash feet at the neighborhood hospice.

Offer a prayer for those who offer their service.  Join the ranks of men and women who make Christ come alive for some people who will never set foot in a church’s sanctuary or crack open a Bible to find an inspirational passage.

Thank God as you give the world a glimpse of Him in action.  Remember, He could choose anyone.

It did not have to be you.  The least becomes greatest and the last becomes first in God’s economy and on His balance sheet.  We should be thankful to have been chosen and in a position to give back.

 


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