Prayer thoughts - 2

Prayer thoughts 2 

James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

The righteous pray

      The words effectual fervent are one word in the Greek and it is where we get our word “energy”. So, when James says the effectual, fervent prayer, it is one that is active and one that works .It is not just saying a prayer, but really praying with vested interest and power (in the Spirit). He also says the “righteous” which indicates our standing before God (1 Jn 1:7) and our present walk in this life. We are righteous in Christ, but we also do works of righteousness. (Psa 34:15). If our prayer avails much, what then shall we pray for? As we look at the epistle of James we see several things.

What to pray for

      We will be a blessing – ask God to help us be a blessing to others especially with our speech (James 3:8, 10; Col 4:6). Solomon tells us some interesting things about the tongue (Prov 18:21; 10:19-21), so when we ask God to help us be a

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Our pillar and ground of truth

The pillar and ground of truth

1 Timothy 3:14-15  These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Three aspects

     The church has been ordained by God to be the primary instrument through which His work on earth is to be accomplished. Jesus founded the church upon His deity and authority (Matt 16:16-18) and declared that the gates of hell could not prevail against it.  Paul used three phrases to describe three aspects of the church.

The house of God

      In the text Paul uses the phrase house of God to describe an aspect of the church’s function on earth. Jesus used the idea of the tabernacle being a house of prayer (Lu 19:46; Psa 93:5; Isa 56:7) thus indicating that it is the house of God.

      When you used the phrase “house” you think of a family and the human family on earth made up of husband, wife and children is a good illustration for God’s house.

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Peter encounters Jesus

Jesus and Peter

Luke 5:1-11   And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2  And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3  And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4  Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5  And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6  And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8  When Simon Peter saw it, he

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God is perfect

The perfections of God

Matthew 5:48   Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Our perfect Creator

      Since God is Creator of the universe, all that He does is right and all He says is truth. The world He created was perfect; the Word of God is perfect, every work He accomplishes is perfect; all the ways He follows are perfect and the will He reveals is perfect.

His perfect world

        In Gen 1:31 it tells us that all that God created was good. We can only imagine what this world was like when it was first created. We can only dream of what Adam and Eve experienced before the fall. It was the perfect place to live – no rotten fruit, death, pain, sorrow or anything of that sort. Now, because of sin, it groans in pain waiting the day when the curse will be lifted and we will once again experience a perfect world (Rev 21:5).

His perfect word

      God’s word is perfect (Psa 19:7) and it is given to us that we may become perfect (2 Ti 3:16). God’s word is much to us (Psa 119:96-100) and we

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God's mercies are new every day

God’s mercies are fresh every day

(Lam 3:21-26)  This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. {22} It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. {23} They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. {24} The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. {25} The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. {26} It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

      Many people make “New Year’s Resolutions” to make changes in their life – whether it be to lose weight, be more kind, be more productive or whatever they resolve to do. So few ever follow through with these resolutions and the shame of it is that they wait until the next year to proceed any further.

      Jeremiah says that the mercies of God are new every morning. We do not have to wait until the next New Year to receive them. This has a type in the manna that God fed the nation of Israel while they wandered in the wilderness on

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Prayer

Prayer thoughts

Ephesians 6:18   Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Shortest command to pray:

      The shortest command to pray is that in 1 Thes 5:17, and probably the most difficult to obey. Can anyone possibly pray without ceasing? What about sleep or work or other necessary pursuits? Paul claimed to pray without ceasing (Ro 1:9; 1 Thes 1:2-3; 2 Tim 1:3). When we think upon this command we believe that Paul was not meaning to never stop uttering of prayers, but to always be in an attitude and relation to God that enables communication with God constantly and not stop our regular times of prayer. Jesus’ words “always pray and not faint” (Lu 18:1, 7) indicate constant times of prayer and not losing heart or hope if answers do not come when we expect them.

Special times of prayer:

      Jesus spoke of the importance of intense times of private prayer (Matt 6:6). Those times when as the song writer says, “alone with God . . .” Jesus set the example for during His walk on this earth (Mk 1:35) as He prepared for

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Forgiveness

The power of forgiveness

Acts 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

      All too often we either consider forgiveness a mysterious and spiritual transaction that has little to do with our present everyday life or we take it for granted and neglect the principles and/or qualities of it. Forgiveness has a historical setting in our Christian life, where the forgiveness of God through Christ, was granted, but its effects on our daily living it over looked.

Christ has subdued, cleansed and forgotten our sins:

      One, if not the greatest part of forgiveness, is our sins and iniquities being forgotten and cleansed (Mic 7:18-19). Our sins are blotted out from the record that stands against us (Isa 43:25; 44:22; Col 2:14; Psa 51:1, 9). In Micah God says He will subdue our iniquities – subdue means to bring into bondage or as Wesley said in his hymn – “He breaks the power of canceled sin and sets the prisoner free”. Paul relates to this fact

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The power of faith

2 Thessalonians 1:11  Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

Believing faith should never be seen as our goal, but the beginning of a wonderful growth in the Divine nature we are made partakers of as believer. Faith is a wonderful and mysterious dimension of our Christian life.

Faith preserves and protects:

      Jesus made an interesting statement about those who place their faith in Him (Jn 5:24). The Psalmist tells us that God will preserve the faithful (Psa 31:33). Paul tells us that above all else we are to take the shield of faith with us into the battle of spiritual forces (Eph 6:16). We must always keep in mind that it is not faith that does the actual keeping or fighting, but the One in Whom we have placed that faith. The writer of the song, “Faith is the Victory” tells us in the second stanza that God has set His banner over us, but he also tells us that the battle is not one of an armchair Christian, but a faithful

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Are we pleasing God?

2 Corinthians 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

Pleasing God

      The phrase “accepted” can also be translated as well pleasing. So, Paul is saying that he labors (performs works) in order to please God. This should be the desire of all Christians – to be pleasing to God. This will make a difference in where we go and what we do.

Help weaker Christians

      In Rom 15:1 Paul tells us that we are to be considerate of those weaker Christians. These may be young or even immature Christians, and we ought to conduct our self in such a manner that we deny our own self in some cases in order to accommodate the weaker believers (Rom 14:1-7; 1 Cor 9:20-22; 1 Thes 5:14). Paul says it in the negative – not pleasing our own self which can take in a wide range of things.

Faith

      We must walk by faith if we would please God. This is not an abstract idea, but refers to walking in obedience to the revealed life in His word (Eph 4:5)

Walking in the Spirit

      This is more than the idea of sanctification,

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Peace in uncertain times

Perfect peace

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Perfect peace:

      The word for perfect peace in Hebrew is shalom, shalom and is similar to Jesus' verily, verily statements in the New Testament. When God speaks something twice or even when men do this, it is for added emphasis. So, perfect peace is emphasized by the shalom, shalom of the verse. God will keep His children in perfect peace or shalom, shalom when they keep their minds fixed upon Him. There are three places that peace is promised to the believers.

Peace with God:

      Paul says that believers have  "peace" with God through the merits of our faith in Christ (Ro 5:1). We were all sinner (Ro 3:23) and guilty before God. The judgment of God's court was hanging over us (Jn 3:36). We have no defense or defense attorney to plead or intercede for us. We have only the fearful waiting of judgment (Heb 10:31). But since we have put our faith in Christ we are justified –(not guilty) and can have a peaceful relationship with the judgment court of God. The sin question

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Christmas

Luke 2:6-7  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

      Christmas Day has arrived and I can almost hear the laughter, squeals of delight and expressions of thanks as children and adults alike open presents from one another. Too often we try to enjoy this day through sleepy eyes and worn out bodies – we have exhausted ourselves trying to get ready for this day and in a few minutes it is all over.

      God laid His gift to the world in a manger in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago and that Gift is still thrilling those who find Him today. Some advertisers say their gift is one that keeps on giving, but in reality, it is God’s Gift that keeps on giving. Jesus was a man born to die – die for our sins and those of the world so that “whosoever will” may come and receive the forgiveness of sins and know they are in God’s

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The people God uses

Ezekiel 22:30  And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

People of purity:

      Purity is an aspect of Holiness and Holiness is the primary character of God. God purifies us when we consecrate and dedicate our lives to Him (Rom 12:1-2). But, the Bible also tells us to purify our own lives (1 Tim 5:22; 2 Cor 7:1). Scripture says various things about those that are pure (Isa 52:11;Psa 24:3-4; Matt 5:8). Keeping pure involves every area of our life – personal, interpersonal, business, verbal, thought life, and general living. Paul tells Timothy that there are certain things to purge from our life to be a vessel unto honor for God 2 Tim 2:21. Purity should be a way of life for Christians – it is not for a special class of Christians, all are to be holy, pure.

People of prayer:

      Hudson Taylor said, “Prayer is transacting business with God.” Jonathan Edwards said, “Prayer is storming heaven.” A. C. Dixon said, “When we depend on God, we get what God can

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Our rewards

1 Corinthians 3:13  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

Our works tried:

      While we journey thru this life we are to be fruitful and work for God (Jn 15:2-5, 7, 8, 16; Eph 2:10; 4:1). Our work is: business, employment; act, deed, thing done; so then our work can be not only our type of employment, but also the deeds that we do for Christ – toward others (Matt 10:42). In Matthew 25 Jesus tells of those who do good to others is equivalent to doing good to Him. The fruit we produce relates to seed, fruit of tree, ones fitted for the kingdom; thus it carries the idea of our sharing of the gospel to others and bringing them into the kingdom (1 Cor 3:6). Paul says that it is God that actually gives the increase or the bringing of souls to faith, but our job is to see to it that the word is sown (Matt 13:3-8; 28:19, 20; Mk 16:15; Lu 24:47, 48).

      Jesus told two parables that

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Our faithful Lord

2 Thessalonians 3:3  But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Many attributes

      Christ has many wonderful attributes and qualities, not the least of which is faithfulness. He is trustworthy and believable to do all that He has promised to do. He will keep us from the evil one and being overcome by evil (1 Cor 10:13) as we keep our self in His will and way.

      We have all gone astray and into sin and have ignored and forgotten Him, so why would He do this? Why does He care for us so?

He is our Creator

      He has created us and formed with a specific purpose in mind (Isa 43:7) and He does not desire that we live on a lower plain of life. He told Israel He had created and formed tem also (Isa 43:1). God has created man for His glory – and made man in His own image and gave him dominion over the rest of creation. It is sadness to God when any of His created beings goes away from Him and denies Him, so He loves us and because He is our loving Creator,

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Thanksgiving

(1 Th 5:18)  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

      This command seems too difficult for us today who live in the prosperity of God’s blessings upon us. We are too often complainers and whiners; not people who give thanks – especially “in everything!” I have heard people say that God does not really want or expect us to fulfill this verse literally – He is just expressing an exaggeration. But God does expect this of us just as He expected it from others in the past and, might I add, who did just that.

      Thanksgiving is one of those purely religious holidays that the world tries to ignore by-pass or exploit. But it exists today established by former generations as a wholly religious and spiritual day. It is to be a day of giving thanks to God for His blessings, protection and sustaining grace upon our nation and its people.

      We do not give thanks in everything today because we have been beguiled by liberal politicians and media to believe that we really deserve all the “free stuff” the government hands out to so many. We

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Our ability

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Paul’s postscript

      Paul has just finished his thanks to the Philippians for their gift and proclaimed his independence from situations controlling his life.  He explained that he learned how to be content in all and every situation by the experiences of his past.  Paul then makes the statement of our text, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me. It is a statement of triumph and also humility at the same time. It is one of those Christians paradoxical truths to rejoice, to make our boast and yet be humble and lowly. (Gal 6:14 and let every man glory in Christ). We are to boast only in the Lord.

      Paul is not saying that he can do all things by himself, but that he is enabled to do all things through the power of Christ. – I am strong in all things in Christ Who infuses strength into me.

      Paul said he came to the instruction of the previous verses through experience, logical reasoning of his Christian faith, and cultivating a personal and intimate knowledge of Christ. His final explanation is that he

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Open Doors

Colossians 4:3-4   Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Paul’s prayer

      Paul asked the believers at Colossae to pray for him that God would open doors for him to give his testimony and share the gospel with many others. Paul knew from experience that it was the Lord Who opened doors for him (2 Cor 2:12). The purpose of an open door is to enable us to preach/testify of the gospel and to speak the mystery of God to those who do not know or have never heard. In the Revelation, John writes that it is the Lord who opens and closes doors (Rev 3:7). Paul indicates that door of opportunity are answers to prayer, not human devices.

Criteria for open doors

      Jesus told the church of Philadelphia that there were three criteria that brought about the open door by the Lord (Rev 3:8).

1) Thou hast a little strength – it is not through our great strength or ability that Jesus opens doors, but

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God and Noah

Noah 

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Man of faith

      Noah is listed with the hall of famers who were noted for their faith. Noah faced a huge task in building the ark in a day of no electricity or power tools. He also had faith to believe God that it would rain when it had never rained before that time (Gen 2:5-6). He probably had to coin a new word that meant water coming down from the sky. Noah had faith in God to believe in something that God told him without being explained in detail.

      Noah accepted the program of God and the details of the great ship he was to build. We know little about Noah’s occupation. It may be assumed that he knew something about carpentry and working with wood. The task was very great, but there is no indication that he complained or questioned God over it.

Man of God

      Through various passages we know

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Jesus and Nicodemas

John 3:1-2  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

The background

     This may have been the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He enters Jerusalem at the feast of Passover and enters the temple and thrusts out those who bought and sold (Jn 2:13-16). The Pharisees ask for a sign for His actions and He responsed about destroying His body and He will raise it up in three days. Upon His entry into Jerusalem a number made profession of belief in Him but Jesus would not make any commitment to them because they were only superficial. Among those who witnessed these events was probably Nicodemas.

Nicodemas

      The first two verses of chapter three tells us a few things about him.

  1. He was a Pharisee. Today we have a bad view of them because of Jesus’ denouncing them and their ways. But they were the religious and respected class of people in that day. They were
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Names of God

Exodus 3:13-14  And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Three primary names:

      There are multiple names for God but they are usually a combination of the three primary names for God. Those names are: Elohim, Jehovah and Adonai.

      Elohim -- means “Mighty One” and is a uni-plural name. It is plural in form but singular in meaning and verb usage, suggesting the uni-plural nature of the triune Godhead, appearing in most English translations as “God”. It is most often used when worldwide events or attributes are discussed, including creation, judgment, sovereignty, transcendence and salvation.

      Jehovah – means “the self-existing One”, and appears as LORD in English translations. It stresses God’s holiness, nearness, and concern for man, hatred of sin, love of sinners and His revelatory nature and communication.

     

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