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We Know God Hears Us and Will Answer Us

We Know God Hears Us and Will Answer Us

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” I John 5:14-15 NASB

Once again we are reminded of the confidence we have, through Christ, to approach God. This time we are told that we can have confidence to ask God for anything that is according to His will and it will be done. When we enter into fellowship with God, we are in a relationship with Him. As in any relationship there must be clear communication. God has given to us His word, the bible, that clearly expresses His will. God communicates to His children trough the means of His word and we communicate to God through the means of prayer.

What is the will of God? It is clearly God’s will to save sinners from their sins. In fact when we hold this text of scripture into its context we see salvation as being the central focus of John’s words of assurance that God will answer any request that is of His will. He wrote in the verse prior to these, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Then he basically said, if you ask God for salvation, He will give it to you, since that is the will of God.

Is it God’s will to save you? He sent His Son to die for you. Clearly it is His will. In the context of this scripture we see John saying, I wrote these things to assure you of salvation, now if you ask in faith you can have confidence that God will hear you, and answer you. What an amazing promise.

Once we become a Christian we abide in Christ. We are of Christ and seek His will. Jesus explained in the fourteenth chapter of John that He and the Father are one. Then in the next chapter He declared Himself as the vine and his disciples as the branches. He said if we abide in Him we will bear fruit. If we are abiding in Him we will be one with Him. Just as Jesus exclusively sought the Fathers will, we will exclusively seek Jesus will, if we abide in Him and are one with Him. Jesus said in John 14:13, again in 15:7, and again in 16:23 that whatever we ask of the Father in His name will be given. Since we abide in Christ, we can directly call to the Father in Jesus name.

There are many promises in the Word of God. Salvation is one of those promises. We have the full assurance, and promise of God, that if we ask God for those promises to be fulfilled within our lives, they will. John said, “This is the confidence we have.” Confidence in God is faith. If we have faith in God, and believe His word is true, we can ask Him for anything according to His will. Having a gold plated Rolls Royce is probably not in God’s will. That would be your selfish will that is probably not intended to honor God. Yet when we ask in faith, and according to His will, the promise is, that He hears us, and will grant the request.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 11 Praying for Revival

Day 11 Praying for Revival

The Plagues and Pestilence

When the church fails to be the church, it lays a wake of devastating consequence within society. It doesn’t take the most spiritually discerning individual to see that society is rapidly becoming hardened toward Christianity. I dare say that in the United States, a nation that was founded upon Judeo/Christian principles and has been known since its founding as a Christian nation is becoming increasingly hostile to true biblical Christianity. Sometimes we use the excuse, “These are the signs of the times”, or “Our nation is undergoing judgment.”

There may be truth in both of those statements; however, I am firmly convinced the reason society is becoming increasingly hardened toward Christianity is for the simple fact that the church is not being the church. Paul urged the church in Ephesians 6:19, “and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.”

Paul’s simple request of the church was to pray for him as he proclaims the gospel. The sad reality is that Satan has convinced the majority of all Christians not to proclaim/share the gospel although the Bible clearly teaches that it is every Christian’s call and duty.  What is even more frightening is the fact that so few are willing to take the time to till the ground through the power of prayer for those who are sowing the seeds of the gospel. A prayerless church is a powerless church.

In Matthew 13 we find Jesus telling the parable of the seed and the sower. Jesus tells of one who is casting seed everywhere he goes. As a farmer, he would be a bad steward of the seed. However Jesus tells us that the seed He speaks of is the Word of God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. In other words as you go, cast your seed everywhere and to everyone making disciples and teaching God’s Word. The result is not ours but God’s. We are simply being good stewards of the gospel seed, casting it as we go and leaving the result to God.

Although the end result is God’s, Paul told the church of Ephesus to pray as he proclaims the gospel. The sower of the seed sowed seed on the roadside, on the rocky places, in the thorns, and on the good soil. As we begin to pray, we begin the process of tilling up the soil for the seed to be sown in the good soil.

A farmer who does not prepare the soil prior to the sowing of the seed is not only foolish but also a bad steward of the seed. Every farmer knows that preparing the ground is the most vital element in producing a good crop. When the church fails to prepare the spiritual soil by refusing to pray, they are likewise foolishly being bad stewards of the gospel seed.

The stony, thistled spiritual soil of this modern day has proven difficult to sow the seed in. However this should encourage us all the more to pray. Our hearts should be so stirred with the compassion that Jesus had when He cried out to the stony-hearted inhabitants of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”

            Untilled land unsown with the gospel seed that has the power unto salvation will only produce a crop of pestilence. The pestilence of sin plagues the unevangelized land leaving the citizens hopelessly lost to live out their lives in the immorality and the lusts of their flesh. So often we fuss about the ways of the unevangelized, but how should a lost person act other than as a lost person? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14,15).

The condition of the spiritual soil within the land is no doubt a direct result of the spiritual drought within our churches that has opened the door wide for the devourer leaving the land desolate for the pestilence of sin to settle in. We fuss about the immorality and sin that has plagued our society. Sexual perversions of all sorts have become the norm; families are being torn apart; and drugs, crime, violence, and overall disregard for humanity are now a part of daily life. However, the plague of sin is simply the symptom and not the cause. It is the fever that allows us to know our bodies are sick. Clearly, the biblical cause is the spiritual drought that has gripped so many of our churches. The time for revival is now! The fields are white unto harvest. Let’s stand up and reclaim this land in the name that is above all names, Jesus.

Day 11 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Ask yourself why you serve God. If it’s not out of love, repent.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
  • Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
  • Pray that our churches understand spiritual warfare and engage in it.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that our churches will be a house of prayer.
  • Pray that our churches will be a shining light upon the hill.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that the church would stand up to their calling and loose heaven on this earth.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray as a result that the plagues and pestilences in society will be reversed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 5 Praying for Revival

Day 5 Praying for Revival

Seek My Face

In Solomon’s prayer he asked God in verses 34 and 35, “When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.” Solomon was asking God to answer their prayers when they look towards His city and His house seeking Him. The Bible tells us in Daniel 6:10 that when Daniel prayed, he faced Jerusalem. The Psalmist also wrote in Psalms 5:7, “but as for me, by Your abundant loving-kindness I will enter Your house,
at (toward) Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.” The significance of facing the temple was to face the very presence of God. Today, we no longer worship God in the temple, we worship God in Spirit; therefore, we seek His presence in Spirit.

Words of wisdom were spoken to Solomon many years prior to this great day by Solomon’s father, King David. He said to Solomon in I Chronicles 28:9, “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.” David, the man after God’s own heart, was speaking to his son about God. God said that He wants us to seek His face. To seek one’s face is to know the person. God created us for the purpose of having a relationship with Him. He loves us and wants us to love Him back. He has not hidden His face from us. He has made Himself available. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

The greatest act of love ever committed was God sending His Son Jesus to the cross. The purpose in this is that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Sin cannot come into the presence of God because He is perfectly righteous and holy. However, God desires a relationship with us so much that He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. The Bible says in John 14:13, “This is love, that one would lay down his life for another.” Through the cross God has done everything necessary for us to have a relationship with Him. The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23, “for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” For this reason alone we should be willing to respond to the Gospel laying down our lives in full pursuit of the fullness of God.

Growing up I was taught that when you speak to a person or they are speaking to you, you look the individual in the eye. If they are unwilling to look you in the eye, then they must be hiding something from you. Now that simply is the culture in which I was raised, and other cultures may think differently. However, God wants us to look Him in the eye. He wants us to seek His face because He has nothing to hide from us. He wants us to know Him. Psalm 31:16 says, “Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; Save me in Your loving-kindness.” I am thoroughly convinced that to know God is to love Him. Paul said in Ephesians 3:14-19, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

Day 5 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray for the people of God that they would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray that the people of God would have a desire and stand in anticipation for God to pour out the fires of revival upon churches and a great awakening in our land.
  • Pray that God’s people will seek the heart of God and desire His will and not their own.
  • Pray that the people of God will seek the presence of God in their lives and their churches life.
  • Ask God to align His people and prepare them for a mighty revival and a great awakening.
  • Pray that the people of God would hunger and thirst for Him and therefore, seek His face.
  • Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches will be a house of prayer.
  • Pray that the people of God will be living representations of Jesus.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on February 22, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 2 Praying for Revival

Day 2 Praying for Revival

Day 2

My People Who are Called by My Name

King Solomon stood on a bronze stage in the midst of his people to dedicate the newly constructed Temple to God. The Temple was a demonstration to the nation of Israel and to the world that the one true God of glory had chosen them as a people and that his hand of anointing and blessing and provisions would be upon them. God was showing the world that they were His people and that He was their God.

In II Samuel 7 God made a covenant with King David that one of his descendants would build for Him a permanent dwelling. Solomon was the one called to be the king of God’s people, those called by God’s very own name. God told Solomon, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice,” (II Chronicles 7:12). God also said, in verse 16 of the same chapter, “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”

Solomon knew who he was a man-called by God. He knew the calling God had placed upon his life-to build the temple. He also knew and fully understood that this was not his plan in the making it was God’s plan. A plan that had been at work even before the light was commanded to illuminate the darkness of the earth that still laid formless and void. In Solomon’s prayer of dedication in II Chronicles 6:3-11, he repeated back to God the promises that he knew in faith would come to fulfillment long before the first stone of the temple had ever been laid.

Far too often we fall short of God’s glory because we fail to realize who God is, who we are and who God has called us to be. God said in His word in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD.” Apart from the scriptures how do we know the plans and promises God has declared and set aside for us? Apart from the scriptures, we become guilty of conforming God into our image and turning His calling into our personal desires.

Solomon knew the God of the Bible and the calling the God of the Bible placed upon him because he knew God’s word. Jesus said in John 14:14, “If you ask me anything in My name I will do it.” Wow! That is an awesome promise. However, this is a greatly misunderstood promise. Asking something in someone’s name means, that you represent the very nature and character of that individual. Asking something in Jesus name is to ask what honors, glorifies and reflects the very character of Jesus.

God said, “If My people who are called by My name.” That is the starting point. To be one called after one’s name is to be a living representation of the other. Jesus said in John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Eternal life is to know God. God has given to us His word and the Power of His Holy Spirit to understand His word in order to know Him. We must search the scripture to discover who He is, who we are, and who He has called us to be. Apart from the knowledge of God’s word, we can never truly know God. If we don’t know Him, how then can we represent Him?

Solomon knew the day of the dedication of the temple was not about him. It was all about God. As he stood to offer the prayer to God, he represented God as the man called of God giving glory to the name of God. The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:20, “we are ambassadors for Christ.” If we truly want God’s hand of blessing upon our lives we must be willing to lose our life and come to the realization that it is not about us; it’s all about Him. It’s not about who we are; it’s about who He is. It’s not about what we want; it’s about discovering what He has already set in motion and getting on board with God’s plan. It’s about being God’s people called by His name. The prayer that God heard was a prayer with full intentions of honoring the very name and character of God.

Day 2 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray for the people of God that they would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray that the people of God would have a desire and stand in anticipation for God to pour out the fires of revival upon churches and a great awakening in our land.
  • Pray that God’s people will seek the heart of God and desire His will and not their own.
  • Pray that God’s people will align themselves with Him that He will hear their prayers.
  • Ask God to align His people and prepare them for a mighty revival and a great awakening.
  • Ask God to reveal to you how He would have you serve Him. Seek Him for strength to live it out in obedience.
  • Ask God to raise up His people to live in obedience to Him by serving Him in the capacity that He has called them to. Pray that they would know their calling.
  • Pray that we would not conform God to our image and if we have that He would lead us into repentance.
  • Pray that the people of God would know God’s word and stand on the principles of His word.
  • Pray that the people of God will be living representations of Jesus.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation
 
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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 1 Praying for Revival

Day 1 Praying for Revival

The Prayer that God Heard

            A generation had passed since the promise of God came to King David that his son Solomon would build God’s Temple. With years of anticipation the people of God’s choosing, Israel, were gathered at the city of God’s choosing, Jerusalem, with the king of God’s choosing, Solomon, to celebrate the completion of the place of God’s choosing, the Temple. A place God said in II Chronicles 7:16, “For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”

Great sacrifices were given during this dedication that lasted twenty-four days with 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep offered up to God. God showed up and consumed the first of the offerings in one of the most spectacular demonstrations of God’s glory seen in the entirety of God’s Word. Although God accepted this phenomenal offering, the offering is not what captured God’s heart. God honored the prayer that was offered up as a sacrifice on that day. At the conclusion of the prayer, God’s Shekinah Glory, the manifest presence of God, filled the Temple.

God told Solomon after the completion of the dedication, “I have heard your prayer.” (II Chronicles 7:12). In this chapter we will examine this prayer and ask ourselves: “What’s so special about this prayer?” Many people have told me through the years, “I don’t know how to pray”. Even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, in Luke 11:1.  For this reason we search the scriptures to discover prayers that were offered up to God, particularly the prayers that God honors. That being said, these prayers offered up to God are not magic formulas or things we simply quote to conjure up the presence of God. They are tools to teach us what touches the heart of God so we too can pray with confidence that God hears our prayer.

God honors the attitude of prayer more than the words or actions themselves. God began to explain to Solomon that if Israel wanted to see the continual anointing of His hand upon them, they must do things His way. God told them to pay attention to the signs of His presence; and when they saw the evidence of His blessings and provisions being removed, He gave not only the greatest formula for revival but also the only formula for revival. God told Solomon in II Chronicles 7:14, that if “My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Solomon’s prayer that day resulted in one of the most magnificent manifestations of God found in all the Word of God and set in motion the hand of God’s blessing falling on the nation of Israel for years to come as they sought the face of God. As we examine Solomon’s prayer, the prayer that God heard, we realize that everything God said He required for His hand of blessing to be upon His people in II Chronicles 7:14 is found within Solomon’s prayer. I believe that not only was God giving a formula for revival, but He was also giving His approval of Solomon’s prayer. As we look at the prayer that God heard, we will see II Chronicles 7:14 demonstrated in Solomon not only through his words but also through his actions and attitude.

Day 1 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sins or mindsets that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrances and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray for the people of God that they would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray that the people of God would have a desire and stand in anticipation for God to pour out the fires of revival upon churches and send a great awakening in our land.
  • Pray that God’s people will seek the heart of God and desire His will and not their own.
  • Pray that God’s people will align themselves with Him that He will hear their prayers.
  • Ask God to align His people and prepare them for a mighty revival and a great awakening.
  • Ask God to rise up leaders like Solomon that will lead the people for God’s glory.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
  • Thank God for hearing you and thank Him in advance for answering these petitions.
 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Do You Believe?

“ And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 NASB

The ninth chapter of Mark begins with the remarkable account of Jesus taking Peter, James, and John atop a high mountain where Elijah and Moses appeared and Jesus along with them was majestically transfigured into a heavenly appearance. Meanwhile, the other disciples remained at the bottom waiting for Jesus and the other disciples to return. While they were waiting, a desperately hurting father brought to them his son who was possessed by a spirit that was trying to destroy him.

When Jesus returned instead of finding His disciples ministering to a hurting father or praying for a demonically possessed boy He found them arguing with some Sadducees. The topic of their argument was so important that the Bible doesn’t even bother to tell us what it was. This shows us how easily we can be distracted from real ministry. When Jesus asked what was going on the father of the boy stepped up and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” When Jesus heard this He said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?” Jesus didn’t speak these words to the father, rather, to the disciples who were distracted from prevailing in prayer and ministry. When we truly believe, we will prevail despite the immediate outcome.

The father then brought his son to Jesus and said, “If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” Jesus responded, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Jesus said all things are possible, we just need to believe. The key ingredient to prayer is faith. Faith is believing God can despite how humanly impossible the situation is. The Bible then says, “Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” The father demonstrated genuine faith. He was saying to Jesus, “I believe you can help my son, and I believe you can help me in my shortcomings of faith.” Jesus then cast the demon out.

Later the disciples, who had cast demons out in Jesus name before, asked why this one wouldn’t come out. Jesus said, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.” Jesus isn’t talking about quickie generic prayers. He is talking about specific, focused, prevailing prayer. Again, if we truly believe the promises of God, and that He can, we will prevail in prayer. We are now setting our heart to prevail in prayer for revival and a great awakening. That’s what our petition will be. Recently I have heard a multitude of Christians say things like, “We just have to get use to the way things are,” or, “We will have to learn to accept society for the way it is.” NO WE DO NOT! God forgive this unbelieving generation. Do they not believe? Is God not almighty and all-powerful? Didn’t Jesus say “All things are possible to him who believes?” Last time I checked all means all all the time.

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We are prevailing in prayer for revival and a great awakening so we pray in faith that He can. When doubt arises ask God to help you in your unbelief. He’s not only able, He is more than able. Let us join together and believe in God for the restoration of our churches, and for the salvation and transformation of our nation. He can!

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Lord, Teach us to Pray

“It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 NASB

Do we know how to pray as we ought? According to the bible we don’t. Since we don’t know how to pray as we should the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. The fact is, no one can teach us to pray but God. Others can give suggestions and advice, but no one can truly teach us to pray; except the one to which we pray.

In this verse, we see one of the disciples first listening to Jesus pray. When Jesus finished praying it was as if the disciple came to Jesus and said, I want to pray like that, just like you did. I have been in the presence of some mighty men of God and stood in awe of their prayer. It was as if they were calling fire down from heaven. D.L. Moody gave testimony of traveling to England to visit with Charles Spurgeon. When Moody attended the Metropolitan Tabernacles service he said it wasn’t the heavenly choir that impressed him, nor was it Spurgeon’s masterful preaching, rather, he was impressed with the prayer.  Could you imaging being with Jesus while He prayed? These Jewish disciples of Jesus had no doubt been taught to pray from childhood. More than likely they prayed daily. However, they never prayed as Jesus prayed, but they wanted to.

Jesus asked the disciples to do many tasks. He asks of us the same. The greatest of tasks is to go and preach the gospel to all creation. Of the many tasks Jesus asked of us we never find in scripture anyone asking Jesus how to do them. The only request of any sort is how to pray. The fact is, the tasks Jesus calls us to do are empowered by prayer. If we don’t pray we shouldn’t expect any power or provision.

Yet, we so often do not know what to pray for. So, where do we start? Lord, teach is to pray. I don’t know how to pray as I should. Will You guide me? I have my own agenda and my own goals. Will you lead me to Yours? I am week and easily distracted. Will You keep me focused and on track. Prayer begins and ends with Jesus. Our level of dependency upon Him will determine the level of power in our prayer. We don’t put faith in our faith, nor do we put faith in prayer in and of itself; we put faith in Christ alone. For this reason, the beginning of all is, Lord, teach us to pray. Make that your daily prayer.

gethsemane

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Repentance Required

              After the resurrection of Jesus He spent forty day’s with His disciples opening their eyes to the scriptures teaching them the reason He came so they could proclaim the gospel to all creation. Jesus told them that one of the requirements of accepting the gospel message was repentance from sin. Jesus said in Luke 24:47-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

What did Jesus mean when He said “repentance for forgiveness of sin?” When we believe on Jesus we believe on all of who He is, all of what He has done, and all of what He has taught. Jesus preached repentance of sin and holy living. True faith in Christ requires repentance from sin, for we believe what he taught.

After Peter preached the first gospel message just after he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit the crowd was pierced to the heart and asked Peter what shall we do. They wanted to know how they were to respond to the gospel. Peter said they needed to repent. (Acts 2:38).

Sin hinders our relationship with God. It was our sins that Jesus went to the cross to pay for. When we chose not to repent we are telling God that we are not truly interested in a relationship with Him and that we would rather live our lives our own way through our own strength and wisdom. Make no mistake people who refuse to repent refuse relationship and fellowship with God. John said in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words, if we say we are walking with God yet we are living in open rebellious unrepented sin we are liars. However, I John 1:6 says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” We walk in the light when we have repented of our sin and received the cleansing power of the blood of Christ that paid for our sin.

Paul went so far as to tell us not to associate with any “so-called” believer who is unrepented and living in sin. He said not to even eat with such a one. (I Corinthians 5:11). Associating with an unrepented individual only gives them a false since of salvation. If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

In the next chapter he gives a non-comprehensive list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul said, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” Does this mean that anyone who has ever been drunk or stolen anything will not be saved? Of course not. Paul is declaring their identity. This is who they are and how they live. This is the identifying mark of their lives. They are identified as a drunkard or a thief or whatever the life of sin is that they have not repented of. Paul went on to say in the next verse, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Such were some of you, but not anymore, for they had repented and were washed with the blood of Christ. The Christians identity is found in Christ-not sin.

Does this mean that those who slip into sin from time to time are not saved? Galatians 2:11 tells us that Paul opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned. Peter was being a hypocrite acting one way in front of the gentiles and another way in front of the Jews. Was he condemned to hell for his hypocrisy? Of course not. Peter was very much a saved man that loved Jesus with his whole heart. He was eventually martyred for his faith. He however, slipped into sin and needed someone like Paul to help set him straight. Those who are indentified with sin due to their lack of repentance are not saved. Christians can and will slip into sin from time to time. They however, will be convicted of their sin and repent. An unsaved person however, will live in sin with absolutely no conviction or remorse and be perfectly happy it.

When we share our faith with sinners we must preach repentance. A gospel proclaimed without repentance is no gospel at all. We are setting the hearer up for failure if we do not proclaim the need to repent. Not preaching repentance is as foolish as a patient going to see a doctor for a chronic cough and the doctor not wanting to pry into the patient’s personal life by telling him he needs to stop smoking and simply gives him cough syrup instead. Smoking is clearly the root of his problem, just as sin is the root of our separation from God.

When preaching repentance we must do so with the love and compaction of Christ. While preaching repentance we must have a heart of love desiring the sinner to turn from his sin and trust in Jesus. God will not bless the efforts of the self righteous who simply want to condemn the sinner for his sin. We must get the log out of our eye before we can get the spec out of others. Remember, such were some of us. We once were sinners in need of salvation. Who are we to condemn others for their sins? We repented and received grace. This too should be our heart. It most certainly is Gods.  For this reason out of an act of love and compassion knowing the destructive power of sin, we preach repentance.

true_repentance

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Not Everyone Who Say’s to Me Lord, Lord.

Let’s be clear, not everyone who calls himself a Christian is truly a Christian. One of the most freighting statements that Jesus ever made is found in Matthew 7:21-23 where He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform manymiracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

First Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord. Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.” These are people who are calling Jesus Lord. Then Jesus said that they are doing works in His name. Why would these people not be saved? Jesus gave us a better understanding of why these people are not truly disciples of Jesus when He quoted the prophet Isaiah in Matthew 15:8, “THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.”

Much like the Pharisees who honored God with their lips they don’t truly know God or follow Him with their heart. They are too consumed in the accomplishment of self to serve God. They are more interested in the rules and rituals of religion than they are with seeking a relationship with the Lord. They are more concerned with the pat on the back than they are with the praise of the Lord. They are more in love with the idea of heaven than they are with the King of Glory and are more interested in building their kingdom than His. Their actions point to self rather than the Savior therefore, they honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. Jesus said that they “practice lawlessness.” Where is your heart today?

Jesus said that He will say to these people on the day of judgment, “I never knew you.” Not that He once knew them and they slipped away but, He never knew them, therefore, they never truly knew Him. Since their heart was set on serving self rather than the savior they never knew Jesus nor served Him. They never had a genuine relationship with Jesus.

Another frightening statement that Jesus made in this scripture was, “many will say to me Lord, Lord,” Many! Just before Jesus made this statement He said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mathew 7:13-14.) According to Jesus only a few will be saved while many reject Him and are lost.

It is abundantly clear that the people out in the world who live lives in absolute rebellion against God are not saved. However, Jesus is now telling us that there are many who are serving in ministries that are not saved; teachers, deacons, pastors, and the faithful who sit in the pew week after week; yes, even tithers. They look Christian, they act Christian, they talk Christian, they do Christian acts, but Jesus said their walk is not genuine. There is no doubt that they think their walk is genuine. However, they fall under the category of people who believed in vain. (I Corinthians 15:1.)

Let me give a strong warning here. It is not our job to sit on the judgment seat and try to figure out who these folks are. Remember, they look and act Christian and because they are trying to be saved by their works and religion rather than a genuine relationship with Jesus they may act more Christian than some of the genuine Christians sitting in the pews. If God opened our eyes to the spiritual realm and allowed us to see who was saved and who wasn’t we would more than likely be astounded.

Our job is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember the seed sewer? We are to be like him sewing seed everywhere we go. This is one of the reasons the gospel should regularly be preached in the church. Along with our seed sewing we pray for the power of God to draw people unto salvation. God knows their heart. We don’t. I pray for every service that God would not allow one lost soul to leave without knowing Him. If we do our part, God will be faithful to do His part.

 

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Born Again

In the third chapter of the book of John we see a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night seeking answers as to who He was. Nicodemus recognized Jesus was from God but wanted to know more. Jesus then startled Nicodemus with a statement he had difficulty understanding. Jesus said in John 3:3 to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus not understanding Jesus statement asked in the next verse, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus then answered in verses five and six, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

At first Jesus said unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Then Jesus said, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. I believe Jesus was basically making the same statement, but rewording it a little for Nicodemus to better understand.

If we are alive today we were delivered from the water from the flesh as flesh. In other words we were conceived and formed into flesh in our mother’s womb and thus we were born. If we are born again we have been born of the Spirit of God. If we are not born of the Spirit of God we cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God.

The question that is now before us is, “How do I become born again?” The simple answer is, we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior by believing in who He is and the works He has done on the cross to purchase redemption. By grace we are saved by faith and not by works. (Ephesians 2:9-10).

Paul said in Romans 5:20, “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” In other words, regardless of how much sin we have had in our lives, God has more grace. Therefore, all our sins, regardless of how much, will be washed away if we place our faith in Jesus.

Paul then asks in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” Since God has more grace than we have sin should we just keep on sinning so God’s grace can increase? If we ever see yelling in writing we see it in Romans 6:2 when Paul said, “May it never be!” He then goes on to explain through the remainder of this chapter that those who are in Christ are dead to sin. They have died and have been buried with Christ.

For one to be born again he must first die; not physically but spiritually. One must die to his flesh, his hopes, his dreams, his goals, his ways, his ideas, his thoughts, and basically everything that has made him, him. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Jesus said that the requirement of following Him was denying yourself and taking up your cross. Remember that the cross is an instrument of death.

Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Paul’s hopes, dreams, goals, ways, ideas, thoughts, and everything that made Paul, Paul was no longer about him, for he denied himself, it was about Jesus. He was born again. He died to Paul and came alive to Jesus. How did he do this? He explained how in the second part of Galatians 2:20 where he wrote, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Far too many people have a fire insurance type of faith. They don’t want to go to hell but they don’t want to live for Jesus either. They are unwilling to turn from their sinful, fleshly, self-centered, and self-serving ways to truly live for Jesus. Remember, Jesus said, unless you are born again you cannot see, nor enter, the kingdom of Heaven.

To be born again we must die to the flesh and come alive to Jesus. Paul saw the love that Jesus had for him and the actions of the cross that demonstrated His love. With this in mind Paul said in Colossians 3:8, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” Paul realized that he, Paul, was not worthy to live for, but Christ was more than worthy.

Have you been born again? Jesus died for you to give you life. He gave up all so you could have all; all that matters anyway. Have you died to you and come alive to Jesus, or do you simply have a fire insurance policy? Romans 8:12-13 says, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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