Thursday, March 22, 2012

Encouragment in Prayer

1.  Get alone
2.  Humble yourself
3.  Remember your position in Christ
4.  Preserve and continue
5.  Desire and accept the will of God

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed.”
- Mat_26:39
There are several instructive features in our Saviour’s prayer in his hour of trial. It was lonely prayer. He withdrew even from his three favoured disciples. Believer, be much in solitary prayer, especially in times of trial. Family prayer, social prayer, prayer in the Church, will not suffice, these are very precious, but the best beaten spice will smoke in your censer in your private devotions, where no ear hears but God’s.
It was humble prayer. Luke says he knelt, but another evangelist says he “fell on his face.” Where, then, must be THY place, thou humble servant of the great Master? What dust and ashes should cover thy head! Humility gives us good foot-hold in prayer. There is no hope of prevalence with God unless we abase ourselves that he may exalt us in due time.
It was filial prayer. “Abba, Father.” You will find it a stronghold in the day of trial to plead your adoption. You have no rights as a subject, you have forfeited them by your treason; but nothing can forfeit a child’s right to a father’s protection. Be not afraid to say, “My Father, hear my cry.”
Observe that it was persevering prayer. He prayed three times. Cease not until you prevail. Be as the importunate widow, whose continual coming earned what her first supplication could not win. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.
Lastly, it was the prayer of resignation. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Yield, and God yields. Let it be as God wills, and God will determine for the best. Be thou content to leave thy prayer in his hands, who knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to withhold. So pleading, earnestly, importunately, yet with humility and resignation, thou shalt surely prevail.
Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening Devotional

Monday, March 19, 2012

Interviewing Irene/ Standards of Goodness


This was a very good interview, revealing how wrong one can be in their standards of their goodness.  Irene was very deceived and hard hearted towards the fact that there really is right and wrong, true and false, sin and righteousness and also accepting the righteous wrath and punishment of a holy God against sinners, those practicing unrighteous.  Well worth listening to!


Video done by Living Waters ministry.  Irene was interviewed by Tony Miano. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Grace For Today, And Not A Drop More

This was a very encouraging and practical post by Stephen Altrogge on theblazingcenter.com blog.  Very well worth the read!
~
My imagination is terrible at predicting the future. I mean seriously, it really stinks.
I’ve always been prone to worry and fear. When I was little, my brother and I would pray every night that we would have “no fires, no fear, and no bad dreams”. As I’ve gotten older, my fears haven’t gone away, they’ve just gotten more sophisticated. Now I fear things like cancer, and miscarriages, my children getting seriously hurt.
When my imagination injects itself into my fears, that’s when things get really bad. Suddenly a little shortness of breath isn’t a sign that I’m out of shape, but a sign of early onset heart disease. Which means that I might die suddenly of a heart attack. Which means that I won’t be around for my kids. Which means…
It goes on and on and on. And it’s not only about health issues. My imagination can run wild with worry over just about anything, from difficult situations in the church to concerns for my children to paying the bills.
But here’s what I’m learning. First of all, my imagination would make a terrible psychic. Most of the things that I worry about never come true. I waste so much time and energy churning over things that probably won’t happen. Mark Twain hit it on the head when he said:

I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

I’m also learning that God gives grace for today. Period. I will meet troubles today and God will give me grace for those troubles. He does not give me grace today for troubles that will come tomorrow. God doesn’t give me grace for imaginary troubles, he gives me grace for real troubles. That’s why worrying is such a stupid waste of time. I don’t yet have the grace for tomorrow, and when I look at tomorrow through the lens of today, it seems overwhelming. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said:

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

When I get to tomorrow’s troubles, God will be there with sufficient grace. The problem with my imagination is that it always leaves God out of the equation. It always imagines a future in which God has forgotten to show up.
But God showed up today with enough grace to get me through the day, and he’ll show up tomorrow too. So shut up imagination.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Habit of Blaming others


Promises for Procrastination

Steve Fuller, from Living By Faith blog, shares 5 reasons for procrastination and how God promises to help us overcome them. 
 
A stubborn problem

I have a problem with procrastination.
Some tasks I love — Bible study, reading, discipleship, evangelism.
Others — revising bylaws, writing policies, organizing events — not so much.

What to do?
Spurgeon said God has a promise for every problem.
So — since procrastination is a problem, that means God has promises that will help me overcome procrastination.
But first –

What is procrastination?
Procrastination is when God calls me to do something, and I don’t do it because –
  • I won’t do it very well.
  • I’d rather do something else.
  • I don’t know where to start.
  • I feel overwhelmed.
  • I just don’t want to.
So — to overcome procrastination — we need to find promises to overcome these barriers.
Let’s take them one at a time –

I won’t do it very well.
Maybe you could delegate this to someone else.
But let’s assume God has called YOU to do this, and you don’t feel capable.
The promise God made to Moses is the same He makes to you, in Exo 4:10-12
But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”
Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?  Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
Why would God call a mumbler to speak to powerful Pharaoh?
Maybe God would heal Moses’ mumbling.  Or — persuade Pharaoh through Moses’ mumbling.
But either way — since God called Moses to do this — God would work through Moses.
So — if God has called me to revise the bylaws, God will enable me to revise the bylaws.
Same with whatever God has called you to do.
So we need to pray over this promise until we feelingly believe that God will work through us.
When we do — we won’t procrastinate.

I’d rather do something else.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  (Col 3:23-24)
Paul wrote this to slaves whose work did not exactly stir their passion.
Picture feeding pigs.  Cleaning out chamber pots.  You get the idea.
And yet they were to do it heartily.
Why?  Because ultimately they were not serving their masters.  They were serving Jesus.
Jesus calls them to feed pigs?  And clean chamber pots?  Yes.
And — Jesus will reward their pig-feeding and chamber-pot cleaning by giving them the inheritance.
So try this.  Pray over those verses until you see that it is Jesus Himself who calls you to make that phone call, fix that faucet, or put together that bid.
Then — think of the inheritance He will give you as a gracious (not-earned) reward for your labor.
Doesn’t that help your motivation?
“Here, piggy-piggy.”

I don’t know where to start.
Since Jesus has called you to this task, He will certainly give you the wisdom to do it.
That’s in James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
So if you don’t know where to start — start here –
Ask — what should I do first?  How should I begin?
Ask.  He will give you the wisdom you need.

I feel overwhelmed.
Remember the 12 spies who scoped-out the Promised Land?
Ten came back overwhelmed — “the people are greater and taller than we, and the cities are great and fortified to heaven!” (Deut 1:28).
Sounds reasonable.  If that’s true about the people and the cities — why not feel overwhelmed?
But here’s Moses’ answer –
Do not be in dread or afraid of them.  The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes.  (Deut 1:30)
Why were the ten overwhelmed?  They had forgotten God.
Yes, the people were huge and the cities were strong.  But that’s irrelevant to God.
So pray over Deuteronomy 1:30.  Ask God to help you feel that this work is not up to you.
Trust that God will go before You.  That God will fight for you.
Then head into battle.

I just don’t want to.
OK.  It’s good to be honest.
But think about it.  If you don’t want to do this task, that means you see no benefit in doing this task.
But if God has called you to do this task — then there is great benefit in doing it
The greatest benefit imaginable.
That’s what Jesus promises in John 14:21
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
If out of obedience to Jesus I revise the bylaws, that shows I love Him.
Which means the Father will love me, Jesus will love me, and Jesus will manifest Himself to me.
That’s the greatest benefit imaginable.
Imagine revising bylaws — and having the Resurrected Jesus manifest Himself to you.
That would turn an afternoon at the computer into holy ground.
Let’s get to work.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Are You a Good Person?

video

"Are you a good person?" animation produced by Cedric Hohnstadt from http://www.cedricstudio.com
Additional animators include Michael Foster & Chance Dodd
Mr. Nice Guy........................Kirk Cameron
Narrator.............................David Jeremiah
Criminal/ Judge.....Emeal ("E.Z.") Zwayne
Woman..............................Rache l Proctor

Based on Hell's Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort.
Living Waters

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hopeless Without Christ by Tim Conway

This is a powerful and challenging message by Pastor Tim Conway from Grace Community Church

"There is total hopelessness without Christ, but with Christ there is hope, and only is there hope in Christ.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28 "

I'll Be Honest 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bible Reading Help

 

I just read this excellent exhortation concerning Bible reading.  It was very encouraging.  You can read it on Living By Faith Blog by clicking HERE.

 "The reason some people find themselves wrecked, is because their gaze on Christ is no longer direct."

Don't settle for just knowing the truth -- FEEL the truth

"This may be simplistic …
But it seems there are two extremes in churches today –
Some emphasize knowing the truth of God’s Word.
Others emphasize experiencing the Holy Spirit.

But don’t these belong together?

Here’s a 4-minute video in which I (Steve Fuller on Living By Faith Blog) describes how this works."



"Scriptures to help you –
You’ll end up developing your own list of favorites.
But here’s some that I have found powerful –
  • The 12-year old Jesus wowing the Scribes and Pharisees with his answers (Luke 2:46-47).
  • The compassion of Jesus as he heals a woman who had been doubled-over by a spirit for 18 years (Luke 13:10-13).
  • The love of Jesus as He welcomes children (Matthew 19:13-15).
  • Jesus’ zeal for the Father’s glory as he overturns the money-changer’s tables (John 2:14-17).
  • Jesus crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Have Faith in God

“Have faith in God.”
- Mar_11:22
Faith is the foot of the soul by which it can march along the road of the commandments. Love can make the feet move more swiftly; but faith is the foot which carries the soul. Faith is the oil enabling the wheels of holy devotion and of earnest piety to move well; and without faith the wheels are taken from the chariot, and we drag heavily. With faith I can do all things; without faith I shall neither have the inclination nor the power to do anything in the service of God. If you would find the men who serve God the best, you must look for the men of the most faith. Little faith will save a man, but little faith cannot do great things for God. Poor Little-faith could not have fought “Apollyon;” it needed “Christian” to do that. Poor Little-faith could not have slain “Giant Despair;” it required “Great-heart’s” arm to knock that monster down. Little faith will go to heaven most certainly, but it often has to hide itself in a nut-shell, and it frequently loses all but its jewels. Little-faith says, “It is a rough road, beset with sharp thorns, and full of dangers; I am afraid to go;” but Great-faith remembers the promise, “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; as thy days, so shall thy strength be:” and so she boldly ventures. Little-faith stands desponding, mingling her tears with the flood; but Great-faith sings, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:” and she fords the stream at once. Would you be comfortable and happy? Would you enjoy religion? Would you have the religion of cheerfulness and not that of gloom? Then “have faith in God.” If you love darkness, and are satisfied to dwell in gloom and misery, then be content with little faith; but if you love the sunshine, and would sing songs of rejoicing, covet earnestly this best gift, “great faith.”
-Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Ye Must Be Born Again." -John 3:7

Regeneration is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation, and we should be very diligent to take heed that we really are “born again,” for there are many who fancy they are, who are not. Be assured that the name of a Christian is not the nature of a Christian; and that being born in a Christian land, and being recognized as professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever, unless there be something more added to it-the being “born again,” is a matter so mysterious, that human words cannot describe it. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Nevertheless, it is a change which is known and felt: known by works of holiness, and felt by a gracious experience. This great work is supernatural. It is not an operation which a man performs for himself: a new principle is infused, which works in the heart, renews the soul, and affects the entire man. It is not a change of my name, but a renewal of my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus. To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other. If you have then, been “born again,” your acknowledgment will be, “O Lord Jesus, the everlasting Father, thou art my spiritual Parent; unless thy Spirit had breathed into me the breath of a new, holy, and spiritual life, I had been to this day ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’ My heavenly life is wholly derived from thee, to thee I ascribe it. ‘My life is hid with Christ in God.’ It is no longer I who live, but Christ who liveth in me.” May the Lord enable us to be well assured on this vital point, for to be unregenerate is to be unsaved, unpardoned, without God, and without hope.
-Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditaiton

Just Some Thoughts to Meditate On

 

Recently, the Lord has been bringing to the forefront of my attention the aspect of Him being my Lover and Friend.  I don't know if I can communicate this in a way that will make sense...but I'm going to give it a shot!

Here is what was brought to my mind as an analogy:

Imagine having someone who loved you so much and desired a friendship with you so much that they were always with you, always looking out for your best interest, always protecting you from potential harm, always there to talk to, to share your deepest hurts and joys with.   You were at the forefront of their mind and attention.  No one loving you more than them.

Okay, now how would that person feel if you felt loneliness, an unsatisfied desire for love, desirous for a friend?  If you were always thinking on other things and people that you desired to achieve the satisfaction, happiness, companionship and love that you so desired?  How would that person who loved you and cared about you more than anyone else in the world feel?

Here's what I'm getting at and what the Lord has been teaching me...

He is the One who loves me far more than anyone in the world could even begin to love.  He is the One who made me, protects me, has only my good in mind, always near to me, always there to be a Companion and Guide, my Lover and Friend.  He rejoices to hear my voice as I seek Him!  He delights when I seek Him and desire Him!  He is exalted and glorified in bearing my burdens as I cast them upon Him!  He is the One who said, "I am with you always"!"

In one of Ruth Meyers books, she shares about how we were created in such a way that there are needs in our hearts and lives that only God Himself can grant and satisfy.  Created in that way, why?  Because we glorify the Lord as He delights to satisfy our deepest needs!

So, how does it make Him feel when I am desirous of human relationships and worldly things to satisfy the longings in my heart?  Am I the person feeling lonely, desirous of love and intimate friendship?  How can I walk there when I am so greatly loved and cared for?!  What great need do I have that He cannot fully satisfy?!

I desire a closer relationship with the Lord, one that is truly intimate.  Do I draw near to Him?  Do I value Him and treasure Him as my dearest and most faithful Friend and beloved Lover?  How could I not love and adore Him who gave His life for me because He loved me, while I was still loving sin and hating Him? How could I not cling to Him who gave me new life in Himself and restored me to a right relationship with the Father?  Do I love Him and seek Him, who is to be adored?  Or do I turn to worthless idols to seek satisfaction?

Oh and the many idols that we can so easily fall into! John Calvin shared that our hearts are like little idol factorys.  How sad, when we are privileged to worship and serve the One true and awesome God, the Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of heaven and earth.  And we feel inward needs?  Then we must go to Him and stop trying to run to worthless and dead idols!  We must turn to Christ, the One who said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Mat 11:28-30)

What a joy to serve and to be loved and cherished by so great a God!

I  just wanted to share these thoughts hopefully be an encouragement to you all as I have been encouraged to seek Christ with my whole heart, soul, strength and mind!

Pressing onward by God's grace~Bree