Tag Archives: prayer

Judas

I was the treasurer of this little band of men

I need to find a way to fill the kitty up again.

 

I had been with Jesus for many weeks and days

I was in charge of the money that we spent in many ways.

 

I had observed Jesus action when the Pharisees attack.

He would ask a question, but the answers they would lack.

 

He said he would build a kingdom down here on this earth.

And if you know the scriptures, He was born of virgin birth.

 

The money’s running low now; we gave so much to the poor.

He is to build a kingdom but we couldn’t even buy a door!

 

The high priests wanted Jesus and I knew where he would be.

If I showed them where to go, thirty shekels they’d give me

 

With this money in the kitty we could really help the poor.

But if we’re to build a kingdom we will still need to have some more.

 

Before, when men attack him He would always get away.

So I assumed that’s what would happen on that fateful day.

 

They gave to me the money, so the plan would work that day.

But when I kissed the Savior, He didn’t get away.

 

Peter tried to protect him and cut off the servant ear.

But Jesus then rebuked him: “The scripture’s fulfilled here.”

 

What on earth has happened to my carefully, thought out plan?

Those servants just arrested Him like any common man.

 

Those servants took the master as off to court they go.

Were they really going to kill Him? I really didn’t know.

 

It was then that I realized that my plans had really failed.

They took away the Master and to a tree they nailed.

 

What can I do with this money? Can I deal with all this strife?

I will return the money and then I’ll take my life.

 

So many times we have a plan and then to prayer we go.

We ask that He will bless it, no faith in Him we show.

 

Are you like this man named Judas, as your future you will plan?

Do you trust the Savior? Or do you trust in man?

 

“For Better or For Worse” is a decision

When couples say their wedding vows, they will frequently include the statement “for better or for worse. What does this statement mean?

In the modern marriage, there is an expectation that everything will be done ‘my way’. So what the statement is saying is for ‘my way’ or for ‘your way’. As long as you do things my way, the marriage will get better. But if you do things ‘your way’ the marriage will get worse.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 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. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3(NIV)

Could ‘for better or for worse’ refer to a decision? Suppose that your spouse does something that seems offensive to you or perhaps they have a habit or an addiction that is offensive. When that offensive condition takes place, we will continue to look for actions that will support our belief that our spouse has a ‘problem’. As we seek information to support our beliefs against our spouse, the marriage relation becomes worse. We often start looking for additional offensive actions just to prove our point.

On the other hand, when our spouse does something offensive, we can pray that God will forgive our spouse of the offense and help our spouse to change in a way that will bring glory to God. Rather than looking for more examples to show support your belief, look for examples of how God is changing your spouse. Look for the way that your spouse is glorifying God.

Too often, we pray that God will change our spouse then turn around and continue to look for ways to support the idea that God cannot change our spouse. When we pray we must also believe that we will receive what we pray for.

 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18(NIV)

To have a better marriage, chose ‘the wisdom that comes from heaven’ Stopping looking for situations where you spouse may be offending you. Start praying for Godly wisdom for you and your spouse. Look for the wisdom from heaven, not to the wisdom of this world.

NOTE: scriptures used in this blog were downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Ways to becoming a true Christian

How many ways can we become a ‘true’ Christian?

  • Being born into a Christian family? – NO
  • Saying a certain prayer as long as you know the date, time, and place? – NO
  • Going to a certain church or denomination? – NO
  • Being tolerant of other people? – NO
  • Taking care of sick and elderly? – NO
  • Be a good person? – NO
  • Try real hard to live a good life? – NO
  • Have a lot of Christian friends? – NO

We become a ‘true’ Christian only by having the faith to believe that Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for death and no one else can pay that price.

When we believe in Christ, we are once again united with God in the same way Adam and Eve were with God in the garden. By faith in Christ, we are adopted into God’s family. We are true followers of Christ—we are Christians.

Acts 16:30-31(NIV)

 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

 They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

John 3:16-21(NIV) tells us the same thing when it says:

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:16-21(NIV)

People have the right to believe whatever they want to believe but there is only one way to heaven. People can believe whatever they want to believe that will make them feel better about themselves, or feel that they have accomplished something but it still will not get them into heaven.

Salvation is a gift from God, made available through Jesus death and resurrection. There is nothing that we can do to deserve it. God is not going to force it on us or have us jump through all kinds of hoops to get to it. We either accept it or reject it.

Salvation is not dependent on Karma, a certain Horoscope readings, our tolerance of others, nor energy therapy. It is about believing that Christ died on the cross and rose again for you. The gift of salvation is brought about by our faith in an eternal God. There is no other way.

However, when we accept God’s gift of salvation, we also receive a bonus. We receive an advocate to help us and to be with us for eternity. We will never be lonely again.

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21(NIV)

Salvation does not require a certain prayer be prayed or that certain words are used in a prayer, it is simply communicating with God that you accept His gift of salvation that was made available through Christ’s died and resurrection. You can do it right now, right where you are. God loves you.

 

NOTE: Scriptures used in this blog was downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com.

Why are you carrying your burden of sin?

Over my lifetime, I have had many opportunities to counsel believers regarding struggles they were having with various sins that had burdened them. Often they will tell me they have prayed about the struggle and have asked God to help them overcome the sin several times, but the struggle does not go away.

We need to understand something about God. In our present world, people tend to be selfish. If they want something, they get it by whatever means necessary. However, God is a ‘giving’ God and not a ‘taking’ God even though He has the power to have whatever He wants.

In fact, God even gave is only son so you and I could have eternal life. Because He loves us, He will give us what we need. God does not give us everything we want. He does not spoil his children. He matures his children through showing genuine love.

God will not take our burdens away from without our permission. If we want God to take our burden away, we need to give it to him permission. He wants our permission to take the burden away from us. If we want to get rid of our burden, we need to give it to Him.

Frequently when God does not seem answer our prayers about sin, there are other sins associated with the burden. The sin could be the sin of pride or self-worth that prevents us from fully giving the burden to God. On the other hand, maybe we just enjoy entertaining the sin occasionally. Or maybe, it is an unhealthy habit that God is having us deal with.

If God is not answering your prayer regarding your struggle, we must examine our lives to determine if there is sin in our heart that prevents God from hearing our prayer.

Isaiah 59:1-2(NIV) says:

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

If God has hidden his face because of your sin, the first step to having your prayers heard is to be sure the lines of communication are open between you and God. In other words, you need to take care of the sins that are causing the bondage before we can be freed from the bondage itself.

If the communication lines between you and God are open, then you can give your burden to God knowing that He will hear your prayer. However, He is not going to take your burden away unless you give Him permission.

When you pray about your burden, give God permission to remove the burden. Every time you are tempted to sin, give it to God, and then thank Him for what he has done. Do not dwell on the sin, but rather on God’s answer to your prayer. It may be helpful to read passages of scripture that affirm God’s love for you and his promise to hear our prayers. On the other hand, read passages about Bible characters who have had similar burdens.

Do not be selfish; let God have your burden. Do not let it destroy your joy by being burdened with sin. Exchange your burden of sin with God’s burden: it is much lighter!

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com

How Christ-like are You?

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:1-4 (NIV)

When people think about being like Christ, they frequently look at the thing Jesus did early in his ministry and not his whole ministry. What did Jesus do?

  • Fed the poor and homeless
  • Cared for widows
  • Healed the sick
  • Loved the unlovely
  • Prayed
  • Sacrificed fleshly pleasure

We frequently do the first four things on our list, but fail to do the last two. Several times in the Bible it records that Jesus prayed:

During busy days, he prayed.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:6(NIV)

Jesus prayed before he began  the day.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35(NIV)

Jesus prayed for other people

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32(NIV)

Jesus prayed for all believers:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:20-26(NIV)

Jesus prayed that God would be glorified

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. John 17:1(NIV)

But the most important prayer was when Jesus sacrificed his fleshly desire to do the Father’s will. In fact, this was so important that he prayed the same prayer three times. Jesus was struggling with his fleshly desire.

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 (NIV)

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26:42(NIV)

So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Matthew 26:44(NIV)

The primary thing that Jesus did was to glorify the Father. To glorify the father, Jesus had to sacrifice his fleshly desire and do what the Father asked him to do.

If we are going to glorify the Father as Jesus did, we also need to pray for God’s will.  We need to sacrifice our fleshly desire so we can do the will of the Father.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

If we are going to feed the poor and homeless, care for widows, heal the sick, love the unloved; we cannot follow our fleshly desires. When we do these things in our own way, we are only doing a legalistic act to show God how much we love him but in reality we are seeking our glory…not the Father’s glory; we a providing an inferior  love, an inferior  joy, an inferior  peace, an inferior  forbearance, an inferior  kindness, an inferior  goodness, an inferior  faithfulness, and an inferior  gentleness, and an inferior  demonstration of self-control.

The only way that we can provide genuine, spiritual fruit is when we have sacrificed our fleshly desire and determined to do the Father’s will. Do you really want to do the Father’s will or do you want people to see how “Christ-like” you are?

NOTE: Scripture verses in this article were downloaded from Biblegateway.com.

 

Whose Battle are You Fighting?

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, we have the details of a battle that was fought against the enemies of God’s children. This is how the chapter starts:

After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites  came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.

 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi).  Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.    2 Chronicles 20:1-4(NIV)

ALARMED

Being alarmed does not mean that you are scared to death. Being alarmed means that God is waking you up for a purpose. Being alarmed is what a person is in the morning when their alarm clock goes off. It is waking you up to do the things you need to do that day.

The Holy Spirit still alarms people. He wakes them in the middle of the night with a burden for someone in need. Or He may alert us to dangers that we are facing. He causes people and ideas to ‘pop’ into our mind so we can minister to them.

When we are ‘alarmed’, the first thing we need to do is pray. We need to ask God what his plan is for that situation that he has called to our attention. This is what Jehoshaphat did, He prayed.

Here is what Jehoshaphat prayed:

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  2 Chronicles 20:6-12 (NIV)

Sixteen times, Jehoshaphat referenced God saying ‘you’ or ‘your’.  When we are alarmed, we need to remember who God is. Jehoshaphat we remembering all the things that God had done for his people in the past. He was remembering God for who he is and what he has done.

When we pray, do with think about what God has done or do we just keep worrying and complaining about our situation? Are we afraid of what will happen or do we really believe God will take care of us?

After Jehoshaphat, remembered who God was, he began to ask God about his situation.  He reminded God that God he had told his people not to destroy the very people who have now come to try to destroy them.

The situation is such that they cannot survive without God’s intervention. They are in a hopeless situation according to man’s thinking. From his hopeless situation he says “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (v. 20)

Jehoshaphat is giving his hopeless situation to God. He is looking for God to protect his children as he had done in the past. Jehoshaphat did not have the power to win this war, but God did. He was trusting God for deliverance.

After Jehoshaphat finished praying, God spoke to him and encouraged him.

He (The Spirit of the Lord) said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.  You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17(NIV)

God reminded Jehoshaphat that the battle they were facing was not their battle. It was God’s battle. He didn’t ask them to come up with a program or plan on how they would do it. But what God told them was:  Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

We need to recognize that we do not have the power to fight our situation, but God does! When we surrender our lives to God, our battles become His battles, not ours! What God wants us to do is to trust Him completely in our situation. He wants us to set back and watch what He is going to do.

Jehoshaphat had the assurance that God was going to fight the battle for them, He told the people to have faith in God and God would see them through.  Then he appointed men to ‘sing to the Lord’.

The songs they were to sing were meant to praise God ‘for the splendor of his holiness.’ They had a praise service! They, in faith,  believed God and gave him thanks for a battle that He was going to be won.

The results was that the people watched God win the battle!

After the battle was won, they returned home joyfully because God had given them victory. And because they gave God the credit, they had peace. The people around them developed a fear for the Lord because of the battle He won.

Today

We have a society today that is without hope. We are facing addictions, poverty, loneliness, persecution, failure, etc. We do not know what to do. We ask God for help but continue trying to win the battles by ourselves.

Do we really believe that God can win the battle for us? Or, Are we so important that God needs us worrying about the future?

When we surrender our hopelessness to God, He will provide hope and peace. When we fully believe that our hopelessness is God’s we can begin to sing praise and trust God for the victory.

As humans, we want to take the credit for God’s success.  We think it is because of our ‘program’, God was successful but he couldn’t do it without us. We brag about all the programs our church has.  We call all of the attention to ourselves or our church. We fail to recognize who God is.

Today, Christians are worried about what is going to happen to God’s children in Israel. The truth of the matter is that the battle is God’s and He is going to win.

Today, God has promised Christians that the battles we face are not ours! God wants us to have faith in Him and to trust those battles to Him. God wants us to praise him and watch him win the battle.

Our salvation is not based on what we do or don’t do, it is based on the fact that God has already won the battle. Jesus Christ became victorious over death! We don’t have to fight that battle again. It has been won! Let us praise God for the victory!

 

Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIVunless otherwise noted.