Tag Archive | followers of Christ

Who do you turn to for advice?

When you find yourself needing advice who do you turn to? Do you rely solely on others for their wisdom? Do you pick up the phone and call your Mom, brother, friend, boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse?  There are times when we find ourselves in need of some sound advice and yet we need to be so careful who we turn to for advice. There are those people who may be promoting  their own agenda or may try and manipulate us for their own personal gain. Than again, there are those who wish to help us but they really don’t know what or how God wants to move in our life and may offer us advice that goes contrary to that plan.

I am learning that when a thing is important enough to seek advice, before I pick up the phone to call another I need to bring it before God in prayer.  Taking the time to ask God to guide me with my decision making should not be done as a last resort.  I need to seek Him first and then as He leads, go from there.

Too often we look for  quick resolutions or pat answers and in many cases neither will  bring about the long term results God wants for us in our lives.  When we find ourselves having to make a  decision about anything or anyone that requires another’s opinion, it should be our first instinct to bring it before God. He is always looking out for our best long term interests. His advice will never lead us astray or down the wrong path.

Sadly, friends may come and go. Family, though it may believe it, may not always know what is best for us in our walk with Christ. We need to depend on and trust in the lover of our soul, Jesus.  Ultimately we will one day stand before Christ and either hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21) or “Depart from me for I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23). The choices we make, here on earth, will determine which response we will hear. Regardless of what another tells us, we are ultimately responsible to Christ for working out our own salvation and therefore we have to be very careful who we turn to for advice.

The next time you are unsure about a decision, take the time to ask God to provide the wisdom to make the right choice. There will be times you may have to wait on an answer for a time, but seek Him first. He will never lead us astray!

Psalm 118:8 NIV 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Psalm 146:3-5 NIV 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;  on that very day their plans come to nothing. 5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.

Proverbs 3:5 NIV 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Be RELENTLESS in prayer

images (1)

Ephesians 6:18 NIV 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

A few months back I was in prayer and I believe the Lord gave me a word. The word was that I was to be RELENTLESS in prayer.

So what exactly does that mean?  I looked up the word in the Oxford Dictionary and here is the definition..

Relentless:
never stopping or weakening, harsh or inflexible.

Keeping this in mind, during one of our evening Church services, I was asked to pray for a gentleman in our church that had been suffering with bursitis. I did as asked and remember saying , “Lord, we don’t ask this because we deserve it but simply because of the price Jesus paid we are able to come before your throne and ask and you will hear our prayers.”  The gentleman had been in pain for a long time and been unable to lift his arm due to the pain and therefore it was really limiting his physical abilities. At the time we prayed I believe God heard our prayer but we didn’t see any instant miracle. The next day when I was driving to work the Lord reminded me that I was to continue to pray for this man. I was not to relent until I no longer had the burden of prayer for him. So I did. I held him up in prayer during my morning prayer time for about a week and a half and then the burden was gone.  I no longer thought about it or prayed about it but believed I had done what I was to do,and left the rest to Christ.

A few months later I was leaving the Church and this gentleman approached me and took me aside. He mentioned he wanted to talk to me about something. He asked if I remembered that I had prayed for him for his bursitis problem?  I let him know that I did. He had no way of knowing that the Lord had told me to continue to hold him in prayer until the tug of prayer for him was gone. He then told me that that Sunday he went home and didn’t feel any different, the pain was still there.  Then he said about a week later he noticed that when he went to do something physical he had not been able to do prior, because of the pain and reduced mobility, the pain was completely gone! He began to move his arm all over and realized the bursitis was gone! Needless to say he was thankful to God and relieved!

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Christ could have healed him instantly but He didn’t. He had given me the word that I was to continue in prayer until the prayer tug was gone. I did and it would seem that the bursitis was healed around the same time I no longer felt the tug. I don’t know why this gentleman wasn’t healed instantly but I do know that I obeyed the Spirit’s leading and continued to pray until I was released of that prayer. Perhaps the lesson was something both myself and my brother in Christ were both to learn. We are to be RELENTLESS when it comes to praying a matter through until we no longer have the burden to pray.

I have since wondered how many prayers are not answered simply because we get lazy and don’t press through?  If you are praying for a job, lost loved ones, a difficult marriage etc. go to God and ask for His Spirit to guide you as to how to pray and then do so relentlessly. If you offer or are asked to pray for someone else and you agree to do so then do it!  Don’t neglect to fulfill the responsibility because you don’t receive an instant answer, persevere. George Muller had  it right when he said, “It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in  prayer until we obtain an answer.”

I am not suggesting you pray RELENTLESSLY for things that don’t line up with the word of God. Regardless of how often and how much you pray, if it goes against the nature of God or His word, being relentless in prayer will not get you your answer. James 4:3 NIV  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  Be sure that what you are asking for is in line with God’s word and His nature and then be bold.  The word of God says in James 5:15 NIV And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned they will be forgiven.  We were able to boldly ask God to heal our brother because His word says so.  Be sure what you are praying for is not something against God’s laws or against another.

When you bring your needs, or the needs of others before God make sure what you are asking for lines up with the word of God and if it does pray it through. As followers of Christ, our walk is not one of instant gratification. There are times the Lord requires us to persevere. While you wait on your answer don’t grumble and complain but remain steadfast and thank Him for what He is doing and what He is going to do. Make 2013 your year to be RELENTLESS in prayer and then thank Him for the answers as they come!

Hebrews 6:11-15 NIV 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. 13 When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, ” I will surely bless you and give you many descendants”. 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Romans 12:12 NIV 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer

Keep-praying-until-God-answers

The best Christmas gift to give

As followers of Christ, we are so blessed to live under God’s mercy and grace through Christ. We are given access to the throne of God. We are provided for and given the wonderful gifts of the Spirit to move in. We are the King’s kids. What a privilege and blessing. Nothing is too difficult or challenging for God to hear and answer on our behalf.  Do we deserve it? No, but we have been adopted into the King’s family through Jesus, thereby making us His own. We are truly blessed and highly favored!

My hope is that I will not take that for granted as I have at various times in the past. I want to remember daily, just what Christ has done for each and everyone of us willing to invite Him into our lives. He is no respecter of persons. What is available to me is available to everyone else that asks Christ into their lives.  John 3:16 NIV 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This Christmas season I want to share the “good news” with others. There are so many hurting, broken people that are looking in all the wrong places for help to their problems. I want my life to demonstrate the love of Christ to those around me. I want to be able to help others in a tangible way but most of all I want to let them know that the same God that loves and cares for me is available to them. The only real solution for this hurting, broken world is to lead them to the One that is able to do all things. Though we can help and be a blessing, there are things we are not equipped or able to do. This is where God excels, in miracles!

Remember this Christmas season that the gospel is only good news to those that hear it! Share the love of Christ this year with those who are looking for answers. After all, He is the answer. Though He came as a baby, He now reigns as the King of Kings and  is available to all that seek Him. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 NIV For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 

During all our gift giving this season, let’s not forget to share the one gift that truly keeps on giving, the gift of Christ to a dying world.

1 Timothy2:5,6 NIV 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

1 Timothy2:5,6 NIV 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

Utilize your access to the throne!

This old world of ours is quite the mess these days. There are rumors of wars in the air. Society as a whole has decided that good is bad and bad is good and anyone that questions that is quite simply politically incorrect. At times it’s tempting for followers of Christ to just tune it all out and live in our own little spiritual cocoons.

Our calling however is not to ignore the plight of others. We need to do what we can to help when and who we can. This doesn’t mean enabling but assisting. We need to contribute to charities or activities that are a blessing to others that have less than we do. We are to reach out in tangible ways when we can and in ways that we are able. Most importantly, however, we are called to pray! Prayer DOES change things. It changes people, circumstances and brings God’s infinite wisdom into some pretty messed up situations. People can laugh and mock believers for their “blind faith” but as the saying goes, a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument. I have  seen first hand God move in my life and the lives of those around me in supernatural ways. This year alone I have seen God provide supernaturally in many ways…financially, in healing, with  jobs and in answering heart cries from many people that have sought Him. Prayer is a precious gift from God Himself. As followers of Christ, we can go boldly before the throne of God and make our requests known. This is not done on our own merit, thankfully, but on the saving blood and redemption of Jesus. He has opened the door for us to the throne room!

There are a few things we need to be mindful of however, as we come before the throne of God in prayer. We are to confess our sin before God and ask for forgiveness through Christ. As shown in 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   

Sin should never keep us away from God, it should motivate us to ask for forgiveness and humbly come before Him. He will hear our prayers. We are also warned about coming to God in prayer with bitterness or resentment against someone. We need to confess and rid ourselves of bitterness and unforgiveness if we want Him to hear our prayer.  Matthew 6:14-15 NIV 14  For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  This statement is very clear and doesn’t leave any wiggle room for holding onto bitterness. Sometimes it is only by an act of will that we are able to forgive, we may not feel it but we do it as an act of obedience knowing that we too need forgiveness for our own weaknesses and sins.

As we confess our own sins and forgive others of theirs against us, we are able to boldly come before God, through Christ.  Hebrews 10:19-23 KJV says19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;21 And having an high priest over the house of God;22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised). When God looks down at us He sees a child that has been washed in the blood of His precious Son and delights to hear our prayers. Through the blood of His Son we are given exclusive rights to come before Him and make our requests known.

We need to take advantage of this amazing opportunity God has provided for us. Instead of worrying and complaining, we need to be bringing our needs and the needs of others to Him and allowing Him to work in us and through us.  He not only loves us but He wants us to come to Him with these needs.

Phillipians 4:5-7 NIV Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1Peter 3:12 NIV 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Matthew 7:7 NIV “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

John sums things up beautifully in the following verse,  1John 5:14-15 NIV 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.

Spend more time talking to the “lover of your soul” and less time worrying and complaining about things.  He longs to have the intimacy with you that prayer provides.  Finally, don’t forget to thank Him for all the answers to your prayers!

MEDION DIGITAL CAMERA

The Importance of Praise

I attend a church where praise and  worship are very important. We have a Pastor that has the heart of a worshipper and therefore encourages praise and worship.  It is such a beautiful part of our services. I also love to listen to worship music outside the walls of the church. It is a big part of my life. Today there are so many amazing singers/bands/groups that love to worship so we don’t have to look far to find music to worship alongside of. Some wonder why we would want to spend time singing praises to God?

David gives us plenty of reasons in the next 5 verses….Psalm 100:1-5 NIVShout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.    Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Though we all need some down time relaxing from work etc., many of us waste a lot of time doing things that really don’t bring about any positive changes in our lives. We may watch too much  mindless t.v., listen to radio programs that may have very little long term positive impact on our lives or read articles that clog the mind with useless facts.

As followers of Christ spending time in our Bibles and prayer are vital and so is praise and worship.  Spending time in God’s presence in an atmosphere of praise and worship draws us closer to Him. We focus on who God is and the reasons we love Him so much.  I always come away from a time of worship and praise spiritually recharged!

If you haven’t made praise and worship a part of your life, it just may be time to do so.  You will grow deeper in your love for Christ as you spend time in His beautiful presence!

Long to Worship You

Long to Worship You (Photo credit: loswl)  Psalm 92:1 NIV 1 It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High.

Related Articles: