Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

Hold Fast

August 29, 2012

Here are the notes from Sunday August 26th.

I.  Give Heed:    Hebrews 2:1-4

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

Those who rejected the Law of Moses were punished.  It is even more important that we give heed to the message we have received through the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must give heed, lest we drift away.  Christianity is not about a single moment when we give ourselves to the Lord, but it is about a lifetime of walking with the Lord.

II.  Hold Fast:  Hebrews 3:5-6

And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Moses was faithful throughout his life as a servant of the Lord.  We too, are to be faithful in our service.  As we continue in faithful service we can remain filled with the confidence and hope that God gives to us.  In this world life can be uncertain.  I am very glad that in Christ we can have both confidence and hope.

III.  Hear His Voice:  Hebrews 3:7-11

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”

May God help us to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit as He directs us through this life.  May our spiritual ears be open and may we be obedient to God as He directs our steps.

IV.  Exhort One Another Hebrews 3:12-14

 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

Let us be careful to continue in our walk with God, and may we also encourage one another to continue steadfast in our commitment to Christ.  We are not alone, we are a part of the people of God and we should look out, not only for ourselves, but also for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

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Tragedy

March 1, 2012

There has been tragic news recently.  The school shootings in Ohio and the deadly storms in the mid-west are two examples of bad things that can happen to unsuspecting people.  It is my firm belief that God is able to help people face whatever problems, or tragedies, may come their way.  The Spirit of God can bring comfort, wisdom and strength to face any situation.

My prayers are with those people who have suffered loss in this past week.

 

Holy Fear

January 9, 2012

Here is the sermon outline from yesterday. I encourage you to look up the Bible references.

Introduction:  We had a lot of answered prayers in 2011.  It is good to know that we can bring our requests to God.  (Philippians 4:6)  We also enjoyed spending time in the presence of God this morning in worship.  We have come a long way as the people of God.

I.  Exodus 19:16-20 & Exodus 20:18-21  The Fear of the Lord

This is an account of when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai.  There was thunder, lightening, fire, smoke and the sound of a trumpet.  It was very frightening.  The people’s response was to tell Moses to speak to God for them.  For a long time, priests went to God on behalf of the people.

II.  Hebrews 10:19-22  We Can Enter the Presence of God with Confidence

Because of Jesus we can come into the presence of God.  It is no longer necessary to go through a priest.  This dramatically changes the relationship that we have with God.

III.  Extremes

There are two extremes in our relationship with God.  On one hand, we could be afraid of God to the point that we are not willing, or able to come before Him with our requests.   This is not desirable.  God wants us to come into His presence.

The other extreme is to treat God as if He was an equal, a good friend.  It is possible to become too casual in our approach to God, to forget who He is, and what is our place.  I have even heard it said, that we are to “tell God what to do”.   This attitude of casual contempt is very wrong.

American Christianity, in general, leans to the  casual side  in its’ approach to God.  We should, as individuals, evaluate our own attitude, and maintain a healthy respect for the power, and majesty, the glory, and the honor of our Lord.

Ask Anything

June 13, 2011

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”  John 14:13-14

When we read these verses, it sounds like we are being given a blank check.  We can have whatever we ask for in the name of Jesus.

It is not that simple.  The phrase “in My name”  refers to asking on behalf of Christ.  It is similar to the phrase “Dad, said…” that we may have used as children when dealing with our siblings.  When used properly, it was powerful.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”   I John 5:14 & 15

The phrase “according to His will” is critical.  Do we know the will of God?  God’s ways are not our ways.  If we are honest, we will acknowledge that God may use ways that we do not like, nor understand, to accomplish His purposes.

“Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”James 4:2b-3

We can, and should, ask for anything that we desire, but we should recognize that not all things are according to His will.  We must always be willing to submit to the will of God.  It is not all about us, and our happiness or desires.  It is about living out “thy will be done”.

God and Modern Medicine

December 7, 2010

A few months ago,  I made the comment to a friend that “Modern medicine hadn’t done anything for me.”

That has changed.

After months of tests and appointments, I have been placed on medicine for my heart.

I started to feel better within hours.  It has been four days now and I can say with confidence that the medicine appears to be doing its’ job.  The symptoms that had been concerning me have pretty well disappeared.

One little pill, twice a day.  It is a good thing.

I also acknowledge all the prayers that have been said on my behalf.  I am profoundly thankful, that all that is needed at this time is a little medicine, and that there are no side effects at this time.  I believe that God is able to work supernaturally, but that at times He works through doctors and modern medicine.  We pray, we seek medical attention when necessary, and we pray some more.  We recognize that all healing is a gift of God, whether it comes through the laying on of hands, or a little pill.

Speaking in Tongues

September 20, 2010

There are three different purposes for the gift of speaking in tongues.  The gift can be a sign to unbelievers,  used for the edification of a group of believers, or for individual edification.  Edification basically means to strengthen our faith.

The sign to unbelievers is when an individual is given a message in a human language that the speaker does not known, but the listener, does know.  This is a powerful sign of God’s working.  It does not happen often, but there are still stories of it occurring from time to time.  (Acts 2:5-11)

The edification of a group of believers is when the gift of tongues is manifested in a group setting.  One person gives a message in tongues, then the same person, or someone else, gives a message in the common language, that is the interpretation of the tongues.  This is effectively two separate gifts, the gift of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.  This gift is far more common than the first gift, but its frequency varies from group to group. (I Corinthians 14:26-28)

The edification of the individual is the most common form of this gift.  Although not all Christians do speak in tongues, I believe that it is a gift that is available to all who desire to receive it.  It is basically used as a prayer language, where we have the opportunity to pray with, or in, the Holy Spirit.   (I Corinthians 14:4)

Speaking in tongues is a wonderful gift of God that is still experienced by believers today even as it was in New Testament times.

Keep Praying for Our Country!

May 3, 2010

I have just heard about the attempted bombing in Times Square.  I understand that smoke was noticed coming from an SUV.  Upon further investigation, the vehicle was found to contain explosive elements.  They were able to prevent the explosion thanks to observant by-standers and courageous individuals who got involved and put themselves at risk.

We should also say thank you to God.  After all, this is the second bombing attempt that failed to detonate properly.  The second time that there was smoke, when there should have been a bang.  Is it luck?  Or is it an answer to the prayers of thousands of people who pray for our country?

This Thursday is the National Day of Prayer.  I would encourage everyone to continue to pray for our country.  I understand that not everyone is a believer.  That’s ok.  We will pray for you as well.

Censor Public Prayer?

January 21, 2010

On Thursday January 14th, 2010 Pastor Brad Cranston of Heritage Baptist Church, Burlington, Iowa; said the opening prayer for the Iowa House of Representatives.  Later that day, a ruling was made that all future opening prayers that will be said in the House be written out and submitted for approval before usage. 

Whose approval?

What criteria?

Isn’t that opening a rather sticky mess of coercing religious leaders to become politically correct?

Of course, the reference in the prayer to marriage being between a man and a woman; in a state that allows gay marriage, may have created a stir.

Is prayer the time to address issues?  Or to address God???

When I had the opportunity to open the House in prayer a few years ago, I asked God’s forgiveness for our sins, and asked for wisdom to make right choices.  ( I pray regularly that God will guide our leaders in their decisions.) No one seemed upset in the least.  Most of us recognize that we fall short, and that we could all use some divine guidance or help.

Should public prayer be censored?        No.

Should public prayers be carefully worded?     Yes.

Are public prayers an invitation to preach?    No.

I do not believe that prayers should need to be pre-approved.  I also believe that religious leaders who are asked to pray for public events, balance the need for religious integrity, with a sensitivity to the diverse views of others.

Faith, Presumption and Ignorance

October 13, 2009

Faith is the belief that God exists.  It is believing that God hears us when we pray, and that prayer can make a difference.  Faith believes that He is willing, and able, to intervene on our behalf.  Faith is a very good thing.

Presumption is when we assume that God will grant our requests.  It is when we treat God like an ordering service.  I want this, this and that; and if we don’t get what we have ordered, in timely fashion,  we immediately call the complaint department.    I have even heard it said that we are supposed to tell God what to do.  That goes beyond presumption to audacity!

Ignorance is when we believe that God must answer our prayers in a certain way. That God only acts in supernatural fashion.  That we must wait for a miracle, or it isn’t faith. That an answer to a problem; rooted in the natural realm,  that involves human action and involvement, is not an answer to prayer.      

Faith is very beneficial to living an abundant life.  The blessings of God upon people of faith are rich and varied.  Presumption and ignorance however, are harmful, both to individuals, and to the cause of Christ.  May God open our eyes to the merits of faith, and may we recognize, and turn away from presumption and ignorance.

Spiritual Disciplines

July 9, 2009

It has been said that the church today neglects spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are an important part of personal, spiritual growth.  The basics are scripture, prayer, and fellowship.

Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments should be read regularly.  It is also good to do more in depth study in addition to casual reading.  The memorization of meaningful passages is also a helpful practice. 

Prayer is talking with God.  It includes worship, supplication, listening, meditation, and fasting.  Worship is giving praise and thanks to God.  Supplication is bringing our requests for assistance or intervention to God.  Listening is being quiet before God and being open to the voice of His Spirit.  Meditation is quieting our minds and bodies and focusing on the an aspect of God’s Word or character.  Fasting is depriving ourselves of some material substance for a time to focus our attention on the spiritual.

Fellowship is gathering together with other believers.  It should be both formally, at church services and events; and informally, in a variety of ways and places.  It may be for worship, instruction, study,  prayer or simply recreation.  Christians are meant to be in community, not in isolation. 

These spiritual disciplines are necessary for spiritual health and should not be neglected.