What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is – in itself a monstrous sin – and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason, the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. “The Knowledge of the Holy” by A. W. Tozer
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
This is where I’m at. I was brought up in a Christian home with great morels and teachings. Wonderful parents with stability. Spent most of my life in church on Sundays and youth group on Wednesday nights. Been on a few missions trips over seas and did a lot of travelling ministering to hundreds of people. Seen lots of young people flood the alters for salvation and recommitments, seen miracles happen in my family that have only made me hungry for more.
All I want is see God in the now. Present Reality.
Our focus in our church these past few months has been on prayer and the importance of it for our church and the our community. It seems to me, from what I have noticed, our church has been praying. It has been great to see what God has been doing through the prayers of His people. Some of you have experienced answered prayer first hand and a lot of you have experienced it through stories you have heard.
God is real and is alive and we have access to His throne through what Jesus did for us on the cross.
I’ve just finished reading book called Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn NY.
In this book He talks about the importance of prayer in our churches. The importance of coming to God in prayer and worship before anything else.
I believe that we have not even scratched the surface of what God can do in families and individuals in our community. I also believe that until we get what it means to really come together in prayer, we will not see ‘His Kingdom and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven’.
This is important
‘Without plugging into the source, we will be striving or hungering for good sermons, we will be striving or hungering for more programs, striving or hungering to get people to come into our church building and then striving or hungering even more to keep them here. We can not do it without interrupted, intentional, unselfish, timeless, pride-less, humble prayer. This is what we need to strive for! We cannot continue without it!
As we become a ‘House of Prayer’, we will notice a shift in attitudes and direction. It will become less and less about us and what we need and what we want and more and more about God.
I sense that the church today is in the same situation that it was thousands of years ago starting with Adam and Eve and then the Israelites. God wanting a relationship with His friends but His people not willing to respond to His way. Not willing to spend time with him just wanting to do religious acts.
All God has desired of us for generations has been relationship and most important, intimacy. Oh what plans He has for us.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you.
As God speaks in Jeremiah 29:13–14 and says, “You will find me, if you seek me with all your heart … and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you.” The blessing (the restoration) is directly tied to being in right relationship with God. And being in right relationship flows from seeking “with all your heart.”
What about Deuteronomy 6 – on a another time in History
The Israelites had just been rescued from the hands of Pharaoh and God knew what they were about to face and how they would respond so He had some direction for them.
Deuteronomy 6: 1- 9
1These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates or even on your refrigerators!
How about what Jesus taught in the New Testament.
The Greatest Commandment
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment!!!!
I believe we have the answers that we are looking for. It really is simple and boils down to commitment.
This comes with a Warning!
As we approach this commitment to pray more and as we proceed to more corporate prayer, be warned that we will face many trials. God has made a way – its narrow, but it’s passable. He has gone before us and has given us everything we need.
January 18, 2017
Posted by: Nancy Stretch
Hi All. We watched this message in church last week. It was filled with a lot of good stuff that needs to be listened to a few times.
Please let us know your thoughts.
The sheep and the goats
31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 ‘Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
37 ‘Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison and go to visit you?”
40 ‘The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
When I first started to understood the ‘call’ God had on my life, it was over 35 years ago. We (Joanne and I) had been immersed in the ministry of Keith Green. His music and life had impacted our lives in ways we would have never imagined….that’s another story. Anyway, Keith Green was known for his stories in his music. One was a song called ‘Sheep and the Goats’.
Check it out below.
Please also let us know what you think of this scripture. Reply with your comments and thoughts pertaining to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you through it! Be careful, if you meditate on this too much, it might change your life!
I Love You
You are more than I desire, all my hope can rest in You
I lift my eyes to see Your face, to know the warmth of Your embrace
How I love you, yes I love you
This Your kingdom now to come, that Your will on earth be done
We give Your Spirit freedom reign, loose Your power through Jesus’ name
How I love you, yes I love you
Show Your face Oh God, release Your glory now we pray
In this place Oh God, reveal Your presence here today
The Disciples Prayer
This is a passage in Scripture from one of Jesus sermons found in the book of Mathew 6: 5-13
This is what Jesus said about prayer. Sometimes I think it would be good to strip down all what man has said over the years, all his philosophies and ideas and go back to black and white and red!
Pray with Simplicity
Matthew 6:5 – Message Bible
“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best — as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.
Let’s break it down……
Our Father in heaven
Recognize who you are praying to..
Place Him above all your situations and Humble yourself to His complete authority and spender.
2 Chronicles 7:14
Reveal who you are
Worship His Name. Give Him the place in room He deserves. Approach His Throne with confidence and ask Him with boldness to explain Himself.
Set the world right and do whats best as above, so below
Be prepared for change. This world has been turned upside down and needs to be re-set. You need to be re-set, so do I. Give Him authority to do that, give Him permission to do that. Step aside and let Him handle the things you think you need to handle, things that are not yours in the first place. Know your place and the authority He has given you as His Child and not His servant. Approach His room with confidence and expectation of answers. He will answer you, wait and open your ears. Plead with Him to move into the hearts of those who make worldly choices for our families – schools, government etc. After this, don’t just sit there act on it!
Keep us alive with three square meals
Luke 11: 10-13 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?”
If you can handle this, your stress level will decrease and you can move on to bigger prayers. Not that this is not big when He provides, but He has so much more for you and others that are around you ones He has placed in your life who need to see Jesus through you.
Please don’t beg or manipulate God through your prayers for things that He has already promised you. Check out the Word – don’t be ignorant.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others
I don’t know about you but daily and sometimes hourly I need to ask for forgiveness for the attitudes I have or thoughts I have or just plain things I do. When I don’t confess, I feel further away from my Heavenly Father. But the more I repent, the faster I am free from this sin that pulls me down and then more I am conscious the next time I sin or want to sin. It reminds me of Liam and washing his hands.
Then, what about those who have wronged you? Who does that effect more? How often have you carried that bag of poo for too long, it really begins to smell bad and effect the air around you. i believe that God will hold back the blessings and gifts He has for you when you don’t forgive.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil
What does that mean, ourselves? Sometimes we blame the devil or give him authority of a place in our lives that is not his, he might not have even thought of it for you. Sometimes we have surrounded ourselves with so much negativity and so much pride that we don’t need the devil to help us sin, we are doing fine by ourselves thank you very much! Don’t give the devil places he has no right being and places that he is even not allowed to go. Remember God has control of the good and the evil.
Now there is a devil and he is real (John 10:10) and he is out to destroy you and your family – but take heart! Christ has overcome the dark side when he gave His life for us! Do not fear! Do not run and hide! Do not pray wimpy prayers filled with doubt and second guessing. BUT remember that the devil is real and that you need to remind him of his place and where he belongs tell him to go to hell!
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
Humbly take your place. Do not go this alone. Say it to all you meet and give praise to the One who as complete control. Surrender and allow. Let in and give up! Trust and obey. Do what he says with no ‘ifs, ands, or buts’ Give complete control over everything, especially those things closest to you – your health, your family, your work place, your stuff. Then change the wording.
So, this important, very important activity needs to happen first in you! If you are the man in your household, you have a greater responsibility to take the lead on this one. It must start with you and God then spread into your home then over-flow into the church and on to the community, your work your friends etc. Powerful things will happen because of this, do not run from it it will not go away, it is a principal in your relationship with God, without this, it will not work! You will find your self weak and in trouble not knowing your place. When trouble comes, you will have a hard time making decisions. The devil will walk all over you without it. So, PRAY!
Faith Under Pressure
James 1: 2-4
‘Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.’
Last month we talked a little about faith. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about, it than to experience it or live it out!
As I read this passage this morning the phrase ‘forced into the open’ jumped off the page at me.
But we all know that without pressure, we often won’t see the end product.
O God, squeeze me please!
1 Ask God for more practical insights into scripture to help you become more godly in Character.
Train me well in your deep wisdom and help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.’ Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
2. Ask God for better understanding of what He has given you in Christ.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’
ALL the fulness!
3. Ask Him for a greater love for other people and to have a better discernment on how to love them effectively.
1 Thess. 3:12
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else just as ours does for you.’
This is my prayer that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.’
4. Ask God for opportunities to share your faith, & the courage & the wisdom to make the most of those opportunities.
And pray for us to that God may open a door for our message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains and pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should’.
Pray also for me when I speak words maybe given me so that I will fearlessly make know the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains and pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should’.
5. Ask God to expose sinful attitudes that are hurting you and others and dishonouring God and your reputation.
Search me o God and know my heart test me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.’
6. Ask God for wisdom to understand what he wants to teach you through the tough circumstances he has allowed into your life.
If any of you lacks wisdom you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you.’
It’s been a dry week! The sky hasn’t given us too much wet! There is a time for dry. A time to do the things you couldn’t do when the rain is falling, I’m sure the farmers are enjoying a break in the weather. I’m thankful for the rain but I’m also thankful for the sun, we need both!
How do you look at having a ‘dry spell’ in your walk with God? What does it mean to you? A time to rest? A time to listen?
God never leaves, sleeps or rests! He knows what you need but He needs to get your attention. Give it to Him. Quit trying so hard, rest in Him and learn to listen. Trust and obey.
A friend sent me this verse this week.
2 Corinthians 9:8
God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Take it easy on yourself!
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