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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

Patience and Perseverance

July 14th, 2017

 Perseverance promises blessings but includes trials and trouble.

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

My thoughts and comments today are about, Patience and Perseverance.”

Worthy goals and great dreams come true when you determine to do more than endure; choose to thrive! Good things come to those who continue steadfast and faithful. Success comes to those who prevail over obstacles and challenges. When things get tougher than planned and they will, or take longer than hoped and they do, or cost more effort and sacrifice than anticipated and it does, plenty of reasons to give up and quit will be found. Many people won’t persevere, and then they wonder why life doesn’t work as they hoped.

Though the words are used somewhat interchangeably, there is a practical distinction between patience and perseverance. Patience deals with delays. Perseverance deals with problems. Few enjoy waiting through unwanted delays and unexpected difficulties. I have heard it said, “Good comes to those who wait.” I would add this qualifier – if you stay busy, hopeful, and faithful meanwhile. Consider God’s testimony of faithful Job in his travail and triumph. “Even in all this suffering, Job said nothing against God.” Job 2:10 TEV. Patience has to be exercised in the middle of a mess. No whining. No blame. No regret.

It is always too soon to quit. Being patient is difficult enough, but perseverance introduces the added elements of trials and trouble. From experience, Paul wrote, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us. They help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” Read Romans 5:3-5 NLT. Both patience and perseverance require the added discomfort of enduring some troubling circumstance during an inconvenient time. In such times, don’t lose sight of your goal, nor lose faith in your God.

The Bible tells inspiring stories of people who exemplify today’s verse. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 NIV. Abraham persevered, waiting for God’s promise of a son. See Romans 4:18-25 NIV. Daniel persevered righteously while captive in Godless Babylon. See Daniel 6:25-28 NIV. Paul persevered for years while imprisoned for his faith. See 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV. Paul’s example underscored his counsel, “Keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:11-12 NIV. Perseverance promises blessings but includes trials and trouble. Read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NIV.

Jesus sacred life and ultimate sacrifice is our supreme example. “Never quit . . keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 MSG. Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15 NLT.

If Jesus could, and would, persevere for you, won’t you do that for Him? His promise is that you will be blessed, when you patiently persevere. “Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person receives the prize. You must also run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to value eternal blessings above earthly difficulties.

Christian Communications 2017-0937

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Stand Fast

January 19th, 2017

Posture evidences inner attitude

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand.” Ephesians 6:11 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today urge that you, “stand fast.”

Posture reveals a lot about a person with or without their awareness: intimating comfort or discomfort, confidence or reluctance, humility or arrogance, benevolence or malice. Posture evidences inner attitude. But consider a different, more important facet of posture, more spiritual than physical. The Bible distinguishes between the outward man of the flesh and the inward man of the Spirit. “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NKJV. Time spent on your knees empowers faith and obedience. Standing is a posture of faith, expressing preparedness and availability. God’s Word has much to say about the Christian’s spiritual posture.

Stand fast in faith. Circumstances will challenge your posture of faith. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong . . And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV/Romans 14:4 NIV.

Stand strong in adversity. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil . . Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore . .” Read Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV.

Stand strong in righteousness. The opposition and persecution of the religious leaders could not dissuade Paul, “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand.” Acts 26:22 NKJV. Trust in God’s strength, not your own. “My help comes from the Lord.” Psalm 121:2 NKJV.

Stand steadfast in prayer. “Always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12 NKJV.

Stand sure in grace. “We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 NKJV. God’s grace is the singularly strong place to stand. Stand fast in Christ and His finished work on Calvary.

Stand fast in freedom. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 NKJV.

Stand in awe of God. Your view of God determines and supports everything else about your personal faith. “Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” Psalm 33:8 NKJV.

Stand still in God’s promise. Before an uncrossable sea and an invincible army behind, and with the promise of God in his heart, “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.’” Exodus 14:13 NKJV. God has a great victory for you if you will reject your fear and stand fast in His promises. “That [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man . . that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Read Ephesians 3:16-19 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to always stand in the strength of the God’s Word and Holy Spirit.

Christian Communications 2016

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The Practice of Prayer

December 1st, 2016

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the practice of prayer.”

Prayer is asking God for only what is His will to provide.

Friendships do not grow without some sincere measure of communication. Why would that be any different between you and God? In the exchange of thought and heart you know God and become known by Him. Think about this: if God does not speak to you any more than you speak with Him, will you ever know Him as well as you could? And if that be true of you, for all intents and purposes you will be living your life without Heaven’s help. That seems to me a needless risk and a frightening possibility.

Prayer is neither mystery nor magic, though it is sometimes treated as both. The Bible clearly teaches the importance of prayer and assures the power of prayer, yet prayer seems not to be the most consistent practice for many. Some are content to keep prayer as a practice to be used only in case of an emergency. If you neglect the practice of prayer at regular times I am not sure how confident or convincingly you will pray in an emergency.

Prayer is a divine conversation, the most important conversation of your day, the communication of your own heart to God and the corresponding knowledge of God’s heart to you. Prayer involves making time for both speaking and listening. And listening may be the more useful and beneficent part of true prayer. When I was a young boy, my father suggested that I consider the fact that God may have given me one mouth but two ears so that I would listen twice as much as I speak, and learn much more in the process. I think that is good advice in life, and especially in the matter of prayer.

Let’s be practical about this incomparable spiritual discipline. Prayer is not primarily for getting your needs met; prayer is not an occasional list of things you need from God. Prayer is about your needs, but that is not its first or more important value. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV. Prayer is your opportunity for personal discourse with your Heavenly Father that enhances your communication and relationship with Him.

Prayer is asking God for only what is His will to provide. “This is the confidence that we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV. Effective prayer is neither mystery nor magic. Your prayers are answered when you pray as Jesus taught us to pray, “Not my will but Yours be done.” Such prayer discovers and releases God’s will. The single thing that makes your prayer most effective is your asking God in alignment with His will.

You can know what the will of God is in any situation. But how? On your own, you cannot fully comprehend the scope and magnitude of God’s will, but you can develop a better understanding of His will by a growing knowledge of God’s Word, the regular exercise of knowing God’s heart through prayer, and by inviting the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer. “And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” See Romans 8:26-28 NLT.

A confident relationship clarifies your requests and emboldens your assurance. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16 NLT. Intimidated by the requirement of righteousness? Only Jesus can deem you righteous. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 NKJV. What a wondrous God we serve.

Today, I pray for you to make prayer your joyful practice in all things large or small.

Christian Communications 2016

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About God and Governments

July 1st, 2016

Above pride of nation, be a servant and soldier of the Lord Jesus.

“Are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations?“ 2 Chronicles 20:6 NAS.

My thoughts and comments today are “about God and governments.”

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday and heritage, it seems an appropriate time to consider present world realities. You cannot listen to the news even a little without wondering and worrying about the things happening around the globe.

And what is happening? Global politics, accusations and threats from world leaders, heads of governments strutting across the world stage with boast and bravado, bitter political and religious differences, growing terrorism and brutal violence, ideological alliances and fearful attempts to balance military powers, international rivalries and jealousies, lust for power with the threat of nuclear and biological weapons, apparent impotence of most treaties, truces, and international sanctions, as well as angry, military hostilities in too many diverse locations – all combine to create concern for today and uncertainty for the days ahead. Can governments provide the remedy?

Conflicting voices and partisan opinions tell you the solution to all of this is your vote for their candidate or political party, each one promising you greater security and prosperity for yourself and family. Isn’t that what every citizen wants, whatever their nationality, language, religion, economy, or governmental system? But has that ever worked yet?

Where is God in all of this? Here’s what the Bible says. “He made from one man every nation . . having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.” Acts 17:26. Ultimately political summits do not shape the geography of countries. Nor do political leaders alone determine the future of nations. God does. Your informed vote in the political process is important; your faith in God and fervent prayer is yet more consequential and powerful – more far reaching to influence the fate of nations. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV. See 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV.

God caused Israel’s oppressors to fund their exodus from captivity with Moses. Exodus 3:21. Generations later, God opened the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia, to return Israel’s captives to Jerusalem. Ezra 1:1.  In more recent history, was it the world’s nations that carved out territory and national boundaries for Israel in 1948, again returning the Jewish people to their homeland? Or was that the hand of God, and His promise to Israel from centuries before? Job confidently declared, “God makes nations great, and He destroys them; He enlarges nations, and disperses them.” Job 12:23-25 NIV.

Here is the sum of this matter of security and prosperity in this day and world. “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8. God promised every generation, “For unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder . . of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end . . the passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!” Isaiah 9:6-7. Is it God, or governments? I will go with God. See Philippians 3:20.

My prayer for you today is that above pride of nation, be loyal as a servant and soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christian Communications 2016

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Today’s comments were originally written in 2009. As I considered this upcoming weekend for our nation’s celebration of Independence, the words remain a relevant reminder today for freedom loving people in every nation. God’s Truth is timeless and applies broadly. Blessings to all of our EDL readers across more than 120 nations.

The Washington National Cathedral, Washington DC

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Fragile Hearts and God’s Comfort

May 28th, 2016

“May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise.” Psalm 119:76 NIV.

Comfort expresses God’s character even more than describes His compassion.

My thoughts today are about, “fragile hearts and God’s comfort.”

There are times when life should come with a warning, “Fragile, handle with prayer.” Life can be painful; people can be fragile. Life will hold its share of bumps and bruises. When your heart is breaking, when difficulties multiply, when problems overwhelm, when you think you cannot make another day, you can know and trust the God of all comfort. God always handles people with care. You or someone near you needs God’s comfort today.

If you have seen a mother comfort a sick or fussy child, or a father gather a frightened toddler into his arms, you were watching God at work. Nothing comforts a child like its mother’s arms, held close to her heart, and hearing her familiar, comforting voice. The crying stops and the child settles, resting quietly and safely in familiar arms. That’s a practical and tender picture of what God does for any child of His. God comforts them.

I have watched elderly saints struggling with pain that no medication seems to ease until God invisibly takes them in His arms and whispers His words of peace and assurance. I have witnessed families gathering at a graveside where hearts are aching and tears flow, until God touches broken hearts and they begin to heal. Remember, “The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.” Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT.

Jesus said, “I will pray to the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever . . the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name.” John 14:16-17/26. The word is also translated, “helper, counselor, encourager.” Comfort expresses God’s character even more than describes His compassion.

Run quickly to, “the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV. His comfort to you is to overflow to others. “May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, Who loved us and in His special favor gave us everlasting comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do and say.2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT. God’s heals your hurt to empower you to bring healing to others. A simple prayer, word of encouragement, or expression of practical care can be an immeasurable comfort to others.

Today, I pray for you to experience God’s loving care and healing comfort.

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Christian Communications 2016

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