…it’s how you play the game.
These guys know how to play the game!
…it’s how you play the game.
These guys know how to play the game!
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
When you are worked up to a pitch emotionally, read some of the Psalms, and the Spirit of God will gradually teach you how to form a spiritual nous*, a mind whereby you will not only understand but will slowly and surely get to the place where you can express your spirit, you will have a totally new language.
* To read what Chambers means by the Greek word nous, click here.
From Biblical Psychology
Sometimes we’re too timid in our prayers. We think we need to hold back, or not really say what’s on our mind. After all, some of the language we may use might be too offensive for God’s ears.
Have you ever read some of the Psalms? As Oswald Chambers suggests, this is a great place to form your prayer vocabulary. David really “lets loose” in some of his prayers, calling his enemies all sorts of names, and basically saying, “Go get ‘em, God!”
So you don’t want to say those kinds of things to God? Don’t you think He already knows what you’re thinking? Wouldn’t it be much more effective to “vent” in prayer—in the safe presence of your loving Heavenly Father? It’s really only after you “get it out” that the Holy Spirit can help you work it out.
Express yourself—vent in God’s presence instead of the presence of those who are troubling you—and then listen to how God’s Spirit will help you slowly and surely get a brand new perspective on your situation.
Despite what people call Him, and as much as people claim to know about Jesus, there are still so many questions that swirl around—
As we approach this Easter season, more and more people’s thoughts will be turning toward this Man. Please join me beginning this Sunday as we consider this simple, yet profound question: Who Is Jesus? The answer to that one simple question will be life-changing!
Jack Hayford’s latest book is reenergizing the way I pray for my family members. If you want to know why prayer for your family is so powerful, if you’re feeling a bit discouraged in the seemingly unanswered prayers for your family, or if you just want to “take it up a notch” as you pray, The Secrets Of Intercessory Prayer is for you (you can read my full book review by clicking here). These are a few quotes that especially caught my eye from this book…
“Prayer in all regards takes a new frame of reference when we understand the war between God’s Kingdom and satan’s dark hordes. This battle, insofar as it involves earth, is one in which God has called us to engage, enlisting us as ‘knee-soldiers’ whose prayer-call for the ‘incoming’ of God’s Kingdom will welcome a barrage of God’s power to break through the darkness and bring deliverance to people we know.”
“Let this truth grip you with hope: If the promise of God concerning His coming Messiah, His own Son, was interrupted by the failure of humanity (in this case, the later generations of David’s offspring) and God bridged and reconnected that ‘cut-off,’ then He wants us to understand this as a power-principle for prayer. Just as God navigated that failure and brought the tender plant out of the stump that had been cut off, so He is inviting you to pray and believe that He will do the same in your relationships.”
“Let the Holy Spirit shine a searchlight in your own heart and cleanse anything that restricts the power and liberty of your intercessory role in the family. I know that I am neutralized for effective prayer to the degree that negativity characterizes my attitude toward anyone for whom I pray.”
“We refuse to sustain that spirit of death and separation through any kind of ‘labeling.’ …Without such integrity of heart before God we may unwittingly be preventing our families and friends from receiving the flow of God’s life and love.”
“Praying for those we love is not a substitute for their need to hear God’s Word of truth—the Gospel. But many of those we find resisting already know it, and for them the ‘pushiness’ of a relative deepens resistance. On the other hand—as you abide in continual prayer—the truth that they may most need at the present is a sense of your acceptance of them, even as they understand that acceptance is not approval of sinful behavior. While it is painful to see a loved one persist in sin, especially if it is self-destructive, God’s Spirit has spoken or is speaking to them about their need to turn to Him. Our prayer for them is pivotal in this regard. But it is also our job to leave God’s part for Him to achieve, as only He can.”
“The greatest tool of evangelism when it comes to loved ones is to be genuinely loving and friendly to them without the taint of manipulation. …Winning people to Christ is not conquering them or verifying yourself. It is about showing so much of Jesus that they cannot resist Him.”
“The deeper we move into the last days, the greater the need for our young people to have the shelter and the shield, the presence and the power, the wisdom and the discernment of the Holy Spirit! …The literal word for perilous used in the Greek text of 2 Timothy 3:1 describes the last days as ‘evil, ferocious, lion-like and demon-filled.’”
“Here is a key point for us to embrace as we persevere in prayer for our loved ones: Jesus wants to minister through us.”
“We are capable of compromising our discipleship under Jesus’ Lordship, not by the values we hold but by the spirit in which we respond to those whose values offend Him. …If I am unwilling to pray with a heart of passion for sinners who indulge in the perverse, the shameful and the corrupt and who do it with glee, will my passion be driven by my anger or by my sense of God’s broken heart for such warping of one of His own creation, for such satanic bondage in a being He longs to know the beauty of His original purpose?”
“Instead of yielding to fatalism, hear the call: ‘Keep praying, even when tough stuff happens,’ and do this by invading the difficult with thanksgiving, because the truth larger than the problem is that God’s power can transform any mess when He is invited into it.”
“That is what the will of God is for us: to lift up praise to Him with gratitude for His nature, which does not plan the evil, the injurious or the painful, but who—in these things—is the only One able to address them in love, resolve them in wisdom, provide for them in grace and transform then by His power. Give thanks in song for that!”
Have you ever experienced this? You are certain that God has spoken to you. You’ve launched out in obedience, things are sailing along smoothly, and then <wham!> a storm threatens to swamp you. And you begin to second-guess what you thought God said to you. You begin to wonder if perhaps you misunderstood the directions God spoke: “Did God send me into this?!?”
Ever been there?
The disciples of Jesus must have felt that way. Jesus says, “Let’s get into the boat and head over to the other side of the lake.” The disciples obeyed Jesus only to have a huge storm come crashing down on them, to the point that their boat was about to be swamped (see Luke 8:22-25).
What were they thinking then? What would you have been thinking? Perhaps you might have thought, “Did I miss something God said?”
I love this thought from Oswald Chambers—
You say, “If I had not obeyed Jesus I should not have got into this complication.” Exactly. The problems in our walk with God are to be accounted for along this line, and the temptation is to say, “God could have never told me to go there, if He had done so this would not have happened.” We discover then whether we are going to trust God’s integrity or listen to our own expressed skepticism.
God knows what He’s doing. He knows what He needs to accomplish.
Too many times I get focused on the destination, while God is focusing on the process. I often will learn more about my faith, and about the power and faithfulness and love of my God, during these storms than I will in an incident-free journey.
If you are on a journey on which God sent you and your boat’s rocking, don’t second-guess what God said. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and watch to see what He’s developing in you during your stormy trip.
I have always appreciated Jack Hayford’s heart of compassion. No matter the topic he is addressing, I always feel like his words are soaked in God’s love. In The Secrets Of Intercessory Prayer, Pastor Hayford lovingly addresses a topic that weighs heavily on so many people’s hearts: the eternal destination of our family members.
As a pastor myself, one of the most frequently requested prayer need people share with me is the salvation of their loved ones. It can be so gut-wrenching to feel like someone you love is on a path toward destruction, and seemingly all of your efforts to get them off that path are ineffective. The subtitle of this book is Unleashing God’s Power In The Lives Of Those You Love. What a powerful thought!
I, too, have family members for which I pray on a daily basis, and I found this book to be so encouraging and invigorating. Not only did Pastor Hayford help me see what my prayers are accomplishing in the lives of my loved ones, but his challenging words reengaged me to pray with even greater purpose and intensity.
This book is not so much a how to pray book as it is a why to pray book. If your heart is burdened to pray for your children, grandchildren, parents, or other loved ones, I am confident that The Secrets Of Intercessory Prayer will reignite your prayers and refuel your faith.
I am a Chosen Books book reviewer.
True love—or the Greek word agape—is a hard-working verb. It’s not mushy. It’s not puppy love. It’s not even romantic. It’s a love that is determined to love another no matter what! It’s the kind of love God extended toward us when we weren’t doing anything worthy of His love, and it’s the kind of love Jesus told we as us His disciples would be known for.
We just wrapped up a series called Loving The Unloveable where we explored what the Bible says about how we are to live out this agape love, especially to those who seem “unloveable.” We went through a list of 15 facets of this love spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13.
You can read about the first five facets by clicking here.
You can read about the second set of attributes by clicking here.
Here are the final five—
Here’s where the real test comes in: How will you apply these attributes of love to someone in your life? More specifically: to someone you think is “unloveable”?
I know you have someone in your life that you think is unloveable. With that person’s face clearly in mind, how will you fill in the blanks:
If you would like a downloadable PDF of this worksheet, click here -–> Love Is… worsheet 3
It’s extremely rare that a 19th-century pastor, Jesus Christ, and a noted atheist would all agree on something. But as we wrapped up our series on love today, I had to share these quotes (the added emphasis in the quotes is mine)—
“Never offer men a thimbleful of gospel. Do not offer them merely joy, or merely peace, or merely rest, or merely safety; tell them how Christ came to give men a more abundant life than they have, a life abundant in love, and therefore abundant in salvation for themselves, and large in enterprise for the alleviation and redemption of the world. …Only this fuller love can compete with the love of the world.” —Henry Drummond
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! …By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you truly love one another.” —Jesus (Luke 6:32-33; John 13:35)
“Nothing can penetrate the loneliness of the human heart except the highest intensity of the sort of love the religious teachers have preached.” —Bertrand Russell
One of these things is not like the other things
One of these things just doesn’t belong
Can you guess which thing is not like the other thing
Before I finish my song
I sort of feel like that when I consider this list:
If you’re a pastor/priest to your congregation, perhaps you feel like you don’t belong on this list either. But consider this verse of Scripture—
No one takes this honor [of being a priest] upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. (Hebrews 5:4)
God called Melchizedek. God called Aaron. God called Jesus. God called me. God called you, my fellow pastor. It’s honor to be called by God to serve in this role!
We have the honor to represent the people to God, and represent God to the people.
We have the honor to instruct people in the ways of God.
We have the honor of living our lives transparently before people, so they can see a living example of one who sins, confesses, repents, and receives forgiveness; one who is growing in his/her knowledge of Jesus Christ; one who is becoming more Christ-like.
We have the honor of offering up loud cries of petition and intercession for others (see Hebrews 5:7).
We have the honor of humbly and reverently submitting ourselves before God; of learning obedience through suffering (v. 8).
We have the honor of sharing Christ—THE best and perfect priest—with others. He alone is the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him (v. 9) and we have the honor of telling others this amazing news!
My friend, if God has called you, you belong on that list. Discharge your priestly duties with all reverence and humility to God. It is your HONOR to serve God and others this way.