"Lord, teach us to pray." Luke 11:1
It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray. We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.
"Ask and ye shall receive." We grouse before God, we are apologetic or apathetic, but we ask very few things. Yet what a splendid audacity a childlike child has! Our Lord says - "Except ye become as little children." Ask, and God will do. Give Jesus Christ a chance, give Him elbow room, and no man will ever do this unless he is at his wits' end. When a man is at his wits' end it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way he can get into touch with Reality. Be yourself before God and present your problems, the things you know you have come to your wits' end over. As long as you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.
It is not so true that "prayer changes things" as that prayer changes me and I change things. God has so constituted things that prayer on the basis of Redemption alters the way in which a man looks at things. Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man's disposition.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Why is unity crucial?
God could have chosen to reveal Himself in a number of different ways. But He has chosen to use the body to bring people to Himself. He chose weak people, working together in relationship to show His infinite, unfailing love.
God is relationship. He is the trinity. The three working together in absolute submission and harmony makes up one holy, perfect God. Therefore, it makes sense that we must express our relational God through... relationships!
"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Relationships are crucial to express the character of God and relationships are the foundation of unity: first a persons relationship with Christ, than their relationships with other believers.
To be unified, there must be one truth, one goal, and one purpose to unite around. A body will not see anyone saved if they unite around the purpose of having fun.
The only One to unite around is Jesus Christ!
He is worth uniting around. He gives us purpose. He is our truth. Our goal is to become like Him. He is the basis for all our relationships.
Unity is crucial because it sets Christians apart.
A unified body is like 3,000 lbs of dynamite on the gates of hell. One Christian can be a firecracker maybe, but when we work together for the purpose of the Gospel, we cannot be stopped.
Unity comes when the object is Christ.
I had the privilege of being part of a Bible study last year that was extremely unified. So each person went to the activities not because we always did really sweet stuff but because we wanted to be with each other in the body. So I hate Chinese food, but I’d go with my Bible study because I wanted to be with the body! The object wasn't Chinese food it was Christ! =)
It no longer matters what activity you're doing because the purpose is to bring God glory. Your hobbies become the hobbies of the people you are around, the people you are trying to love and the ones you are serving alongside.
"When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings." 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NLT)
Unity requires thinking the best of the believers you are serving with.
Unity will grow when you choose to think the best about your brothers and sisters. Satan will attack your mind on this point. You must guard your minds from thinking badly of anyone, and especially those you are serving with. You have to believe that God is just as real in someone else’s life as He is in yours. If you do not believe God is working and convicting them are you really trusting God?
Commit your brothers and sisters to the Lord!
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
This point from Oswald Chambers daily devotional "My Utmost for His Highest" stuck with me: Sometimes God lets you know others weaknesses for the sole purpose of getting you to pray for them. You may not be able to do anything about it, but it helps your own heart to commit them to the Lord.
Unity requires taking your trials to the Lord first.
I know personally that no human being can handle the rage of emotions in my heart. The chaotic explosions in my heart can only be calmed, sorted, can only be cured and put at peace by the promises of God.
If you are asking others to handle your emotions, and be your source of comfort, you commit idolatry. Putting anyone besides Jesus Christ, between you and God is idolatry.
(See last blog for more about idolatry)
Your relationship with God does not depend on anyone else.
“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 2:5
Monday, August 10, 2009
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge."
Friday, August 7, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
He comes where He commands us to leave.
"When Jesus had made an end of commanding his disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities." Matthew 11:1.
If when God said "Go," you stayed because you were so concerned about your people at home, you robbed them of the teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all consequences to God, the Lord went into your city to teach; as long as you would not obey, you were in the way. Watch where you begin to debate and to put what you call duty in competition with your Lord's commands. "I know He told me to go, but then my duty was here;" that means you do not believe that Jesus means what He says.
He teaches where He instructs us not to.
"Master, . . . let us make three tabernacles."
Are we playing the spiritual amateur providence in other lives? Are we so noisy in our instruction of others that God cannot get anywhere near them? We have to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert. God wants to instruct us in regard to His Son, He wants to turn our times of prayer into mounts of transfiguration, and we will not let Him. When we are certain of the way God is going to work, He will never work in that way any more.
He works where He sends us to wait.
"Tarry ye . . . until . . ." Wait on God and He will work, but don't wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told.
These are phases of His ways we rarely recognize.