If You Will Ask

If [web]Prayer is powerful. Ask anyone who has ever had answer from God in prayer, and they will quickly tell you just how valuable and powerful that prayer was to them.

With that in mind here’s a simple question: why don’t we pray more? It seems like prayer is often the thing we turn to when everything else we have tried has failed. Or we pray after we have messed something up, instead of before we attempted it.

The Bible says this—

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14, emphasis added)

Notice that key qualifier: IF we will ask there is an incredible confidence in God’s answer. 

Prayer should be first and continual. That’s why l like beginning each year with a renewed emphasis on prayer. This Sunday is part one in our series If You Will Ask, where we will be exploring the mind-blowing things God gives to His children who ask Him … things like insight, patience, power and initiative.

Please join me at 10:30am this Sunday as we begin our reinvigorating look at the power of prayer.

The 13th Resolution (book review)

The 13th ResolutionAlthough The 13th Resolution was originally written by Charles Sheldon in 1928, it’s an excellent book to read (or re-read) if you are thinking about making New Year’s resolutions.

This book is short, but Sheldon’s writing quickly endears the Blaisdell family to us. We get to listen in as Mr. Blaisdell is reading his list of resolutions to his family. Some of the resolutions pertain just to him, and some involve the entire family. We then get to see a brief glimpse as these resolutions are put into effect in their first couple of days, but quickly the story jumps to the family gathering on New Year’s Day one year later. We hear the Blaisdells telling what changed over the past year, what resolutions stuck, and what resolutions flopped, but we are left to fill in the details of how that transpired.

You can read this book aloud to your family in less time that it would take to watch a sitcom on TV, and then see what sort of discussion it sparks in your home. Very enjoyable!

It’s Good When God Says, “No, Never, Certainly Not!”

No!My friend, God is fully aware of the situation you are facing. He knows what is happening in your life. Here’s the good news—the great news: you are not going down, but you are going through!

“What does God want from you in your difficult time? He wants you to believe His Word—His promises! He wants you to fully trust that He is with you in your struggle. It does not matter if all hell is coming at you, His presence will never be taken from you, even in the midst of your fears and tears. No dart of the devil—no powerful attack against you—will destroy you. Your Father already has a plan of deliverance in place. God is waiting for you to cling to Him in blind trust. He wants you to be able to face all your ferocious temptations, and say, ‘I may not understand this but I know my Lord will not forsake me. I am trusting Him to see me through!’ … God is saying, ‘You’re not going down. I am with you through all of this! If you will just seek My face and trust Me, I will bring you through—because I am always with you!’” —David Wilkerson

In Hebrews 13:5 God says, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

But in English this isn’t quite strong enough. In this short phrase the Greek language uses five negatives. Let me try to state God’s words as they are literally written—

I will never, certainly not, by no means ever loosen My grip on you, and I will never, certainly not, by no means ever leave you behind, nor leave you helpless, nor leave you abandoned. 

Commenting on this verse, Charles Spurgeon wrote—

“This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our Lord’s company, assistance, and provision. … Come, my heart; if God says He will never leave you nor forsake you, be much in prayer for grace that you may never leave the Lord, nor even for a moment forsake His ways.”

Oh my, what a word of hope! God has not abandoned you, friend. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that He is close to the brokenhearted and the beat-up. He will never, certainly not, by no means ever leave you, so don’t leave Him but cling even more tightly to His unshakable promise!

No Self-Made Men

I get so tired of people calling themselves “a self-made man.” There is no such thing! It is equally as distasteful when pastors pat themselves on the back talking about “the ministry I have built.”

Dick Brogden

Dick Brogden

Here are important words to remember—

“Wherever we go in ministry and mission, we either benefit from the labor of others or we contribute to the future benefit of those that will follow. If we see fruit, we can be assured that it is not solely due to our dedication or vision but because others went ahead of us and did the hard work. Often prayer accomplishes this hard work. Regularly those on the ground preceding us did this hard work.” (Dick Brogden)

And this—

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

What do you think?

Year-End Review (2013 Edition)

Year-End ReviewThe Apostle Peter wrote this to the church—

I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. (2 Peter 1:12-13)

On the last Sunday of each calendar year I like to take time to remind myself and our congregation about what God has taught us in the year that has just past. This is not only healthy for us to remember together, but it is also beneficial for us to be able to step forward into the new year in unity.

If we don’t look back to remember where we’ve come from, it will be very hard for us to remember where we are going and why we are going there. And as an added bonus for those who weren’t with us for all of 2013, you will get caught up to speed with everyone else.

Please join me at 10:30am this Sunday as we not only review 2013, but we get a glimpse of what God wants to do in us and through us in 2014.

The Morning Star

John 3-17This is part three of a 3-part series called The Star Of CHRISTmas. I was going to deliver this message at Calvary Assembly of God yesterday morning, but due to the terrible weather, we had to cancel our services. I hope this message will be a blessing to you. Please leave me some feedback in the comments section below.

Merry Christmas!

Thursdays With Oswald—Solitude

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.

Oswald Chambers

Solitude 

     Solitude with God repairs the damage done by the fret and noise and clamor of the world. … The disaster of shallowness ultimately follows the spiritual life that takes not the shining way upon the Mount of God. Power from on high has the Highest as its source, and the solitudes of the Highest must never be departed from, else that power will cease. 

From Christian Disciplines 

We live in a go, go faster, then go some more world. Everything is urgency and immediacy. It is vital for Christians to find times of solitude to tune out the clamor and tune in to God’s Voice.

The prophet Elijah was one who learned that God was not in the noise, but in the still, small Voice (see 1 Kings 19:1-13). Are we quieting ourselves enough to hear His Voice? If we don’t, we run the risk of spiritual burnout, just as Elijah experienced. Find Make some time for solitude this week.

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