Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Still worrying about what to pray for...

This is such a interesting topic, I tend to go on about it but I often get "stuck" on what to pray for and how to pray, what to say, have i prayed for everything i needed to etc...
Have you ever closed your eyes, ready to pray and speak to the Lord, and then.......... you go blank!   Now what?
Well, try this. Try seek Gods face in that silence. You don't have to say anything. Just close your eyes and be in silence, and try to seek Gods face. By seeking His face, a certain peace will come over you as you sit in silence. A peace of God!
Now this is often a stage where your 'over-productive' mind wants to take you on a journey through your past day or future....it doesn't matter.
Call His name. Do this silently, loudly, whatever is your choice. The Lord had many names in the Bible.Yahweh, Immanuel, El Shaddai, The Lord of the whole world, The Lamb that was slain etc etc..
Pray for yourself. Have you confessed all your sin? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit into your life and obeying Him? And one of the hardest things I certainly deal with is, Are you holding any bitterness in your life against someone or something?
Pray for unsaved family/friends. Name them to God, ask His Spirit over them and His breath of peace over them. Pray for their salvation.

Pray for your church (if appropriate). Pray that your church fulfills the great commission and that they "DO" the work of God to Gods will. Ask God to restore the relationships between churches so that they all work together for one purpose.

Pray for own needs. This is often the most common part of our prayers, is praying for ourselves. Praying to God about things happening in our lives, things effecting us, things that we need to help better our lives. Friends, Work, cars, family issues, belongings etc. Use this time to pray for our own salvation and that God will always watch over us and protect us and save us from a certain death in hell.

Listen for God. This is a time that you don't say anything. Be silent, listen for Gods voice. It may be audible, it may be a feeling you get, you may feel like it is 'just right'. How do you know its from God, because you will be at peace with the idea and also that it is agreed to His Word.

Pray for the world and governments. Pray for leaders and their decisions, pray for governments around the world to make decisions with integrity and for the good of its people and not themselves.Pray against witchcraft, the onset of AIDS/HIV, pray against war and bloodshed which is so rife in our world currently.
Pray for reconciliation. This is between God and His people. Pray that Gods people will pray to Him everyday, that they would live a life of Christ, that families would forgive others and breakdown strongholds against each other.
End your prayer in worship and thanksgiving. Praise God for what He has given you, your family, done in your life, blessed you with etc.
These are guidelines, you don't have to do any of them or all of them. Its all up to you.
Praise you and bless you while to speak to our Lord!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Living like Christ.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just live like Christ did? Peace, harmony, no back stabbing, no gossip, trust, LOVE and friendship.

How many times have you not felt these things in your daily lives? I
nstead we often experience fighting, arguing, slander against us, swearing, war, families torn apart and I can go on and on. Yes, we often do have love and goods things in our lives, but imagine an earth or a live where it was just good and no evil or bad things.

"Is this Possible?", you ask....Well, Yes it is, through living a life of Christ.

We are not going to get away from having evil all around us. Earth is being dominated by evil activities, it’s been like that since the beginning (since the sin of Adam and Eve), what we are called to do though, is to live a life apart from this world. God wants us not to confirm to the activities and evil of this world, but to confirm to His good ways.

"...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.... Romans 12:2

How do we do this? Well, in the New Testament, there are many things that are mentioned which we can do, conform to and live for. Look at 1 Thessalonians 5 12-22 for example:

Dear brothers and sisters, honour those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

Let’s break it down:

  Respect those…over you in the Lord....
  Live in peace with each other....
  Warn those who are idle, (those who are lazy do not earn their keep)
  encourage the timid,
  help the weak, (This doesnt mean just money - We can use time!)
  be patient with everyone….
  always try to be kind....
  Be joyful always;
  pray continually; (no specific way, talk to God, always, eyes open/closed doesn’t matter)
  give thanks in all circumstances...
  Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; (The Holy Spirit, God in us)
  do not treat prophecies with contempt. (But also don’t trust any false prophets)
  Test everything. (Does it align with the Word of God?)
  Hold on to the good.
  Avoid every kind of evil.

The commands of Christ are real. They are not commands like in the Old Testament that when not followed, they led to punishment. Commands from Christ are how He wants us to live. The Spirit of God leads us to become more like Him. This Spirit, which is God in us, will help us do all the things that we are commanded to do BUT we have to want to follow Christ. We have to want Him in our lives, we have to believe that the commands that Jesus laid down are real and most of all, we have to really believe that Jesus Christ is our one and only Saviour.

We need to invite the Spirit into our hearts. Do it today, do it everyday, do it for Christ, do it for yourselves, do it for your families, do it for your salvation and do it because that is what is right.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23). This is the product of a heart devoted to God. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires" (v. 24).

Pray now to God and invite His Spirit!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Praying for your Wife..

We need to pray for every person in our families. A few days ago I blogged about praying for your children, but I also have a beautiful whom I love very much, and I should be praying for her everyday as well.

Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Notice above, if you have faith! Pray to God and earnestly know that He is listening and He will do what you ask, if it is in His will.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
So, what do you say when you pray for your wife. Well here is some points that I think would be considered as good options:

·         Pray that she will submit to her husband in everything as the church is submissive to
Christ (Eph.5:22-24). "Wives in the same way be submissive to your jusbands”. Their beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes" (1 Pe.3:1-3) "...the wife must respect her husband" (Eph.5:33). (This does not mean that husbands don’t have to respect their wife's or love them – It is a 2 way street!)
·         Pray for a quiet and gentle spirit, and that she will know when to keep quiet and calm her husband. Pray for the wife for patience with her husband.
·         Pray that she will respect her husband and that she will not try to dominate or prescribe to him. (I the same means, husbands cannot dominate their wives unnecessarily or in an aggressive fashion).
·         Pray that she will not complain about her husband but will respect him and try to meet his needs.
·         Pray that the wife will accept her husband's leadership and control of the family.
·         Pray that the wife will realise that her husband is a fellow sinner, that she will have patience with his faults, and that she will allow him the freedom to be himself.
·         Specifically pray against a domineering attitude in the wife (especially in cases where she is spiritually stronger than her husband), because this can cause endless damage to the children. Also pray against any form of manipulation on the part of the wife. Manipulation is always negative.

My wife is very important in my life, I love her dearly, I respect her decision. Yes, we argue and disagree over many things in our marriage, but we try stick together on most decisions and work as a team. All we need to remember to do is to bring God into these decisions and keep Him the head of all decisions and the Head of our household.

Happy praying and know that God is always there, as the Head, listening to your prayers and always willing to help....if you allow Him to.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Praying for our Children

For those people that have children, do you often go to bed at night wondering what to say about them and what to ask God about them.

Do you just say a one liner about your family, something like “Thank you Lord for my children, Please keep them safe and protect them.”?

I often lie in bed and wonder if I have forgotten something with regards my little girl, Cailyn. When I pray for her, what do I say, How do I say it?

God doesn’t need eloquent prayers, but surely we should pray for the right things!

Often children are not converted because parents leave their work to others. Although as valuable as Sunday school teachers are, no parent can be released from the obligation of striving by his own personal efforts to lead his children to Christ. We are commanded to bring our children up "in the fear and nurture of the Lord." In the case of the children of believers, parental training should be the first and usual means of their salvation. The work to be done by parents includes:
a. Instructing them in the faith.
b. Setting them a holy example.
c. Restraining them.
d. Praying for them. (Our concentration here)
Here are some ways to pray the Word of God into the lives of your children or grandchildren:

1. Mind: Read Rom.8:5-8: Pray that their minds will be controlled by the Holy Spirit so they will live a life pleasing to God and filled with joy and peace.

2. Will: Read Ps. 26:2-3, 139:2, 23-24: If they are of age to do so, Pray that they will continually be open and ask the Lord to show them the true state of their heart and mind so they will walk in truth and purity.

3. Seeking His face: Read Eccl.7:25:7Pray that they will become hungry and thirsty to understand and search out the wisdom of God. That they will be able to discern the foolishness of a life apart without God.

4. Trust: Read Isa.26:3-4: Pray that their minds will be steadfast as they trust in the Lord. Also that they will really learn to trust God completely.

5. God first: Read Matt.22:37: Pray that they will love the Lord with all of their heart, soul and mind. That God will be real to them and their greatest hero!

6. Renewed: Read Rom.12:2:7 Pray that they will not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but will be transformed by the renewing of their mind through spending time with the Word. If they are too small, it is our responsibility as parents to spend time with them with a children’s bible or similar

7. Christ in them: Read 1 Cor.2:16b, 2 Cor.10:5, Phil.4:8-9: Pray that they will always have the mind of Christ. That the persuasions of friends and the media will not sway them when they are older.

8. Peace: Read Phil.4:7: Pray that the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard the hearts and minds of your children in Christ Jesus. That they will be free from fear. (and that there is no such thing as the “bogeyman” J)

10. Time-out: Read Ps.27:4-8: Pray that they will hear God’s voice and love to read their Bible and spend time alone with God from a very young age. Ask for their friends to notice their love for the Word and to join them and do the same. This will only create a positive attitude within a family.

Some of these are valid for older children, but you can ’mould’ them to fit into your situation and your kids ages.

Bless you as you pray for you children and bring them to God.

Acts 19:20- I thank you Father that your Word prevails over our children.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Listening to Others

How often do you listen to people?
This is a real problem that I have, I don't listen enough. I am always quick to talk and very slow to listen.
It says in James 1:19-
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

We are also called, as Christians, to minister to others and lead them to Christ if they are struggling in their lives or are far from God or are looking for purpose etc.

Its always easy to tell people that they should talk to God, pray, confess, repent etc etc,but is it easy to actually sit down and LISTEN to what they have to say.
Its like you give them the answer before they have asked the question!

Often, people are very private about their feelings and don't really want to speak about what is bothering them. Sometimes, some of these people want to to speak to someone but they just don't know who, when or how. You may be that person!
People also have different ways of approaching the issue. Some will just start talking, others will only open up over a beer when they are relaxed and often most people will only talk to you if they trust you not to tell the whole world about their issues.

How will they trust you? - They will be able to see how you live your life and how you handle problems and issues. If you are an aggressive person that talks a lot and is always first to speak, Would you speak to you about your issues! I would want to speak to someone who is slow to talk and quick to listen, someone who is at peace with their lives and I can see has a certain "happiness" in their lives.
I may not know what that happiness may be and where it comes from,and possibly that is exactly why I would speak to a person like this - to find out more and why they are so at peace.

What James is saying is that if we listen instead of lambasting people with talk, we are slow to anger and slow to show aggression.
I took this out of Adam Clarke's Commentary -
Those who are hasty in speech are generally of a peevish or angry disposition. A person who is careful to consider what he says, is not likely to be soon angry.

How do we just listen? Well, Keep quiet. Be a person that people can trust to speak to. Don't put the other person in a situation where they may feel uncomfortable. Most people will talk to you in an environment where they feel comfortable. Perhaps a pub, gym, church, running a race, whatever. These are some situations where we least expect people to talk to us about what worries them and we are totally unprepared, but we need to be expectant of this and be inviting when someone wants to open up to you.
Affirm with them that everything is confidential.

After you have "listened", depending on the situation, maybe then try and direct them to a place or thought when you experienced God. We have all had those, and some people just want affirmation that there is a God who cares and wants to know them intimately and who loves them.
AFTER they have spoken, then talk!

Bless you as you learn to listen. Listening is a direct gift from God through His Holy Spirit.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I sin over and over, Am i still saved?

Well what did God say?

Titus 3:5-7 - he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal.
I certainly think sometimes, sorry often, that I am just sinning over and over and over. I am a converted Christian, I have received the Holy Spirit, I have prayed to God for His forgiveness, His mercy, His peace in my life, His guidance in my life. After doing this frequently, I still sin, use bad language, gossip about others, have envy, have anger, short tempered....and I could go on and on.

With all of these things that I know I am doing, and they are against the will of God, am I still saved. Does God still love me? Am I good enough to have eternal life with God in heaven?
Sort of gets me down, like I cant stop doing these things. The word to think about here is

Through Gods grace, He sent His son Jesus to save us from sin. Yes, we sin, we all do, but we are saved. Then I ask the question, Is it right that after I have prayed, confessed, asked for forgiveness and then repented (turning away from a sin), and I still remain committing that sin, what is my stance with God then?
Lets start here. In Psalm 103:12, It says “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed the transgressions from us”.
Matthew 18:21-22 where Peter asked Jesus how many times he needs to forgive his brother. He said “Should I forgive him 7 times?”. Jesus said “forgive him 77 times”.

No matter how many times we sin, God forgives us! Through His grace.
But then I read 1 John 3:9 - No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
But I am a born again Christian, am i Not??

Its the devils tactic to sow a seed in our heart to make us believe that there is no hope. That we are doomed for hell and that God is not strong enough to forgive us. And often, He wins.
The problem comes in where, when we commit the same sin over and over and you don’t feel guilty, I think then we are in major trouble. If you fell guilty about committing these sins over and over, that is Gods Spirit in your heart telling you so. The devil loves it when you commit sins over and over and he would never tell you that they are bad...He is the one saying it is OK. (Who would know? Is it important? Etc).

If we are expected to forgive 77 times, then how many more times will God forgive us! I think that when you repent, you should really try and commit the sin less and less, which means you are winning against evil. After awhile, the sin will disappear!
Don't try and do this alone. Our human strength is not strong enough. You NEED God in your life. You NEED to pray and ask for Gods intervention and you NEED His grace to help you along the way.
Praise our Lord for His grace and Mercy, which we don’t deserve!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Worrying about how to pray?

Have you ever wondered how you should be praying?
Do you ask the questions:
  • What must I say?
  • How must I say it?
  • Is God even listening to me?
  • Do I need to think of stuff to pray for or must I pray for myself or others?
Often,when I lay in bed to pray or if I have a quiet time where I pray or want to talk to God, I sort of think, well, I wonder if He is even listening or am I being selfish by praying about my family and myself and not anyone else.
The first direction we can look in is at the Lords prayer. In that prayer or loads of "subjects" we can pray for. Deliverance from evil, prayer against temptation, Let Gods kingdom reflect here on earth, asking God for forgiveness etc etc.

I was taught to learn the following code when praying:
A - Adoration - praise God for who God is
C - Confession - own up to our sins
T - Thanksgiving - thank God for all God has done
S - Supplication - make requests for ourselves and others

This is a simple guideline. Prayers don't have to be an hour long where you have to explain your whole life to God, elaborate language, eloquent words...You just need to spend time with God. You can close you eyes and say nothing. Feel yourself drawing closer to God, spending time close to Him, allowing His Spirit to testify to you. You can do this for as long as you feel. Sometimes nothing happens, but sometimes "ideas" or "subjects" will pop into your head which have been given to you by God.....and there is a start.
This is one kind of way to pray.

Another code that you may want to remember is this:
Thumb - pray for those closest to me
Pointing finger - pray for those who guide us: teachers, doctors, clergy, counselors, social workers, mentors
Middle finger (tallest one) - pray for those who stand tall: government, civic, and business leaders, police and firefighters
Ring finger (your weakest finger) - pray for those who are weak: the poor, sick, infirm, infants, homeless, and the powerless
Pinkie (the smallest, the least) - pray for me and my needs

I like this one, because it just sometimes helps me remember who I should pray for. IT IS NOT A RULE! If you forget someone, it doesn't matter. If you forget someone and later on you remember when not praying, quickly just close your eye or bow your head or if you cant just pray in your head.

Praying is about spending time with God, not thinking of some careful bunch of words. God already knows what is on your mind. He knows what concerns you, He just wants you to spend quite time with Him and get to KNOW HIM better.
There is no rule that we need to stand or sit or close our eyes or kneel by our beds. Those are just ideas or guidelines. You can pray in your car, at your desk at work, eyes open, drinking coffee, meeting a teller at your local shop.

John 14:13-14 declares, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” According to these and many other Scriptures, God answers prayer requests based on whether they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to Jesus).

So any which way you choose is fine to pray. Spend time with God, talk to Him, wherever, whenever, however you like, just as long as your attention is on God and not on something else while you pray!
Bless you and I pray that your time with God is special!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The way we want God to be!

I enjoy the story of Jonah because it rings so many bells in my head.

Jonah refused to do Gods will. Remember, he was the guy that was swallowed up by the whale...that old story we heard as kids in Sunday school.
Because Jonah refused to listen to God and turned the other way, God punished him.

Here's the story in a nutshell:
  • God told Jonah to go and preach to the people of Nineveh that they should turn from their bad ways. Jonah didn't like the people in Nineveh and wanted them to suffer the wrath of God
  • Jonah turned the other way and sailed to another town. God created a huge storm, Jonah was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a whale where He realised it was from God and then prayed.
  • God, again told Him to go to Nineveh. Jonah went, preached, the people of Nineveh turned from their evil ways and then Jonah got angry with God
Well Jonah didn't like them, and he wanted an angry God to take out His anger on evil people. Jonah got in between the people of Nineveh and Gods grace to forgive sin.
Bad Idea!
Don't you often meet a person or be in a situation where someone has done something so bad to irritate you, harm you or even abuse you where you would want something really bad to happen to them to "teach them a lesson"? I certainly have.

Jonah wanted to teach the people of Nineveh a lesson (His will) and not allow God to forgive them and let them live (Gods will).

We are called by God to forgive anyone who repents. We are called by God to love anyone who turns from their bad ways and take them into our lives again.
Impossible....NO, Extremely Difficult...YES. (or does it have to be).
Well doesn't it depend on the harm that another person has caused you?
I don't know the answer. But I find a little more heartening and helps me understand a little better is the story of God is like.

No matter what we have done in our lives, is NOT unforgivable in Gods eyes. Maybe as humans we cannot forgive one another, but God forgives us, for anything, anytime, anywhere....and we are called to be the same.
Matthew 6:14 - For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Ephisians 4:32 - Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Read the short book of Jonah, It takes around 10 min, but has a very strong message about what kind of God we really worship, and not the kind of God we want Him to be sometimes! Do not go against Gods will, you will fail.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter, what is it?

This past weekend we celebrated easter. Really?

Many people went on holiday, many people bought thousands of chocolate easter bunnies for their kids for themselves and had a whole bunch of fun going away.
And there is nothing wrong with this, of course we can have fun. Thats what was meant to happen.

We most definitely enjoyed ourselves, bought chocolate bunnies and went on holiday.
BUT, do we still remember the real reason for easter? Yes, Jesus dies, He rose again. But is that all? Does it mean anything to you?
I just think sometimes that we get so involves in our own lives, chocolate bunnies, exciting holidays etc, that we dont spend even 10 minutes with God, thanking Him for what He did, and spend 10 minutes with Jesus and thank Him for what He did.

Jesus suffered the most gruesome and un-human death, what for? He didnt have to. He did it out of His love for us!
If it wasnt for Jesus dying this death (and dying as a human), We wouldnt have any reason to live, any reason to HOPE and certainly nothing to have FAITH in.
Imagine sending your son or daughter to death, crucified, naked, embarresed, soaking in His own blood, all this for someone else.
3 days later, Jesus ascended to Heaven, He defeated evil, he defeated satans grip. Satan is death, satan wants us all to die, live a life in hell forever and this is where we would go if to wasnt for the ascension of Jesus, deafetaing satan once and for all.
Isnt is great that we serve a loving God, so loving that He died for us FOR US!

What does this mean now. Well, it doesnt mean that all is good and that we can keep on sinning "because we are saved".
It means that we are saved if we choose to be saved. How? We believe in the Easter story, We believe that Jesus did infact die and more importantly ascend to heaven after death. If we beleive that Jesus is our Saviour!

We are sinners, yes, we always will be. But with Gods help, confessing our sin to God, beleiving that Jesus went through this pain for us and repenting from our sin...This life will be so exciting and positive and we will have HOPE.
Hope in the one and living God!

I would love your thoughts.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Countdown to being saved!

What an important week this is for Christians!
Well, only for Christians I ask. Of course not!

This week is the lead up to Jesus death on the cross. This week is where Jesus 'prepared' His disciples for an occasion which has had and will have lifelong consequences for every single person on this earth.

Jesus knew this. He knew what His Father God wanted and needed Him to do.

On Friday, Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion.....FOR US!
He didn't die because He did anything wrong. Jesus didn't do anything wrong, He was perfect! But if Jesus didn't die for us on the cross on that Friday, We would be destined for hell, forever!
We were saved from sin. We were saved from Satan hold on us! We were saved, by giving us the decision to choose between Good and Evil.

Why its not only for Christians,. is because Jesus died for ALL OF US! The difference between a Christian and a non-christian is what the believe and who they have accepted as their saviour and who they are going to follow.
But if a person does not take up the offer of Jesus life for us, they will be destined for hell. If a person decides to accept Jesus, what He did for us, that He died for us, that He saved us from evil and more importantly...That He ascended back to heaven in 3 days time.
He ascended...which means that death did not defeat Him.
Satan's hold was non existent, Gods power is so much more effective.

Jesus broke the hold of sin/death, and went to sit at the right hand of His Father in heaven until He meets us again.
Our short time on earth here (and it is a very short time compared to eternity in heaven or hell), we have been given the choice to walk in 2 directions...
  • one of goodness, peace, love and grace - Gods direction
  • one of evil, sin, hate and unhappiness - satan's direction
Which direction have you chosen? Which direction will you decide to choose if you haven't made a decision?

Its as easy as kneeling down, and asking God to come into your life forever. Asking God to forgive your sins, Confessing your sins and turning from them.
Will you do that today,in this Holy time?
Will you speak to God and ask Him for His Spirit to fill you?
Will you choose the way of goodness and love?

Will you believe what Jesus did this week, on the cross, for us, forever?

Bless you in Jesus name, forever and ever!