Archive for February, 2019

Your Key Unlocks Other Doors

February 22, 2019

If this title doesn’t grab you nothing will.  What a strange concept.  We certainly expect our key to unlock our door, not someone else’s door.  Apparently, some explanation is required…

Let’s start with my definition of these terms.  The term ‘key’ or ‘keys’ refers to your prayers you make to God.  The ‘doors’ refers to the needs you, or someone else has.  So, we could rephrase the title to this blog posting to something like this, “Your prayers should be directed to the needs of others, not to your own.”

This concept goes against the grain, as it is common to think we would prayer first for our own needs, and then if time permits prayer for the needs of others.  After all, we all have needs we need God to meet.

But, there is a problem….

My experience has been that the more I pray for my own needs, the fewer answers I seem to get.  In fact, it might be said that my prayers only go as high as the ceiling and no further.  What is going on here?

The answer lies in our ability to train ourselves to look beyond our own world and see the needs of others.  I do say ‘train’ as it is not a natural thing to put other’s needs above our own.  We are born with a sense of self-preservation, and looking out for our own needs comes naturally.  It requires discipline and training and self-denial to think of the needs of others.

All of this is great, but what happens to us if we spend our time praying for others?  How are our own needs going to be met?  Aren’t they important, too?  Yes, they are, and as we learn to practice the effort to pray for others God will meet our own needs, Himself.

Does this mean we should not pray for our own needs?  No, not at all.  It simply means that if you want achieve the greatest success in your own life, the majority of your prayers need to be directed to the needs of others, and let God take care of your own needs.  If everyone does this, then we have others who are praying for our needs, just like we are praying for their needs.

But, what if we don’t know what their needs are?  That’s ok, God knows, and as you grow your prayer life He will provide guidance into what to pray for.  You don’t need to know the specific items.  There are basic needs every human being needs – health, strength, mental stability, emotional stability, employment, security, the means to provide for their families, relief from fear, stress, and comfort during times of grief, loss, and relationship difficulties.  There needs of feeling accepted, feeling wanted, feeling useful, feeling loved.  There needs that require miracles, and needs that require wisdom and understanding.  There needs for people in despair, loss of hope, and have feelings of giving up.  There are needs of being over-worked, under-worked, and indecision.

There are needs for those individuals who are suffering pain, who are facing disease, or who are enduring war, famine, or being tortured.  There are those who have no future, no opportunity, who have no reason to keep putting one foot in front of another.

Spend your time praying for those, and I think you will find God will find a way (or make a way) for your door to be opened.

In closing, let me finish with two prayer items I do think are appropriate for you to pray for yourself, and often:

  1. Forgiveness of our own sins – I suggest this to be your first prayer item, as it is important to be on right terms with God, before we begin asking Him for things.  We must gain a status of holiness in order to gain an audience with God, and there is really only one way to do that – we must be forgiven.
  2. Thanksgiving – in the midst of our requests and petitions we make of God, we sometimes forget to be thankful for what He has already done, and what He is currently doing.

 

Advertisements

The Natural Order

February 17, 2019

I’m not sure I can explain in a few short sentences the concept of what I’m calling ‘Natural Order’, and how Natural Order can be changed or altered.  But, once again, here we go….

First of all, I need to put a definition to what I’m calling ‘Natural Order’, as I think there may be all kinds of different ideas about what that term means.  In this blog, I define ‘Natural Order’ thus – “Natural Order is a system of rules and laws that have been put in place by God, that largely govern how things work in our earthly existence.  It describes the normal rules of nature, physics, how we are born, how we age, and how we die.  Although, there are differences in individual lives and experiences, overall the Natural Order God has put in place prevails.”

In other words, God has placed certain things into a sphere of operation that has changed little from the beginning.  For example, gravity doesn’t come and go on a random basis.  Seasons generally follow certain basic rules.

Now for the interesting part….

For the most part God does not alter or change the Natural Order of things.  But, there are exceptions.  These exceptions create what we call ‘miracles’.  When Jesus walked on the water, this act changed the Natural Order of things, at least for a short season.  When Jesus raised the dead, this act altered the Natural Order associated with disease, age, and death.  When Jesus healed the blind, this changed the Natural Order.

Now more than ever we need God to change the Natural Order of things.  We might even call this ‘intervention’.  We need God to change the Natural Order of things, in order for miracles to continue to take place.

Now, I believe God doesn’t just change the Natural Order on a whim, or without reason.  I also believe it is the fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous that engages God in changing the Natural Order of things.  In other words, someone somewhere is praying for God to intervene and change things.

Yes, it is a mystery that it appears some prayers are answered and some are not.  I say ‘appears’ because we do not yet have all the answers as to why God seems to answer some prayers and not others.  We may yet find that all prayers of faith God answers, although the answers may not be what we want or expect.

Without God’s intervention we can expect the Natural Order will continue as it has for thousands of years, and thousands of generations.  But, with God’s intervention the Natural Order of things can be changed.

The Bible is full of examples of where God changed the Natural Order of things, and He did it mostly by the prayers of His people.  I have every confidence He is still in the business of changing the Natural Order, but it is not going to just happen because we wish it to happen.  It will happen through our persistent and fervent prayers, and the exercise of our God-given faith.

Relationship

February 12, 2019

There are as many views about God, who He is, what He does, etc… as there are people in the world.  But, if we use the Bible as our baseline then there is really only one way to ‘know’ God, that is by having a relationship with Him.

It is quite different knowing about God, and having a relationship with Him.  To make matters more interesting, everyone’s relationship is unique and a bit different, although there are some common characteristics.

To add even more to the conversation, it is clear you cannot have a relationship with God that contradicts the Word.  Of course, that doesn’t stop people from saying something different, or believing something different.  In fact, there are people who claim to have a close relationship with God who want nothing to do with the Word or with Jesus Christ.  But, according to the Word this is impossible.

In the Book of John there is quite a series of arguments and disagreements Jesus had with the religious leaders of the time about this very subject.  They did not accept that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior of the world, the Son of God.  Jesus tried to tell them that if they did not accept Him they did not know the Father, either, because Jesus was sent by the Father to the world.  If we take this as our base then it is clear a rejection of Jesus as the Savior also means a rejection of the Father who sent Him.

Look at it this way – God had a plan.  The plan was to send His Son to be the Savior of the world, and to be the supreme sacrifice for sin.  When we reject Christ we are not rejecting only Christ, but the Father who put the plan into action.  There is no Plan B, or Plan C, or alternate option.

Actually the plan is quite old.  After Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden of Eden, there was only one way to gain access to God, and that was through faith.  We see this in Noah, and we see it in Abraham who was the Father of Faith for all who would follow.

Faith has always been the blade that separates believers from unbelievers.  It is also the basis on which a relationship with God can be established.  Since the Father has put all into the hands of the Son, the first step is whether we accept (believe) God’s plan of salvation that involves His Son.  Rejection of this first step, or trying to insert some sort of substitute (good works), is simply not going to work.  It is fundamental.

Of course, not everyone believes this.  But, we shouldn’t be surprised, because they didn’t even believe it when it came straight out of the mouth of God.

The world is moving in a general direction of a ‘universal God’.  A God who accepts all religions and beliefs, and puts no boundaries or rules between people or their belief systems.  In this ‘universal world’ there are many paths to God, and to heaven.  While this sounds quite good, it is not borne out in the scriptures.  They actually say something different.  They say God had a plan for the redemption of mankind, and that plan included sending His Son to die for the sins of the world and to reconcile man to Himself via this sacrifice.  He (the Father) did not set up alternate plans.  One plan.  One Savior.  Period.

This seems harsh to some.  It also puts fundamental Christianity in conflict with the prevailing world view.  But, understand, at some point it will be the prevailing world view the Anti-Christ will use in controlling the world and pushing the world to war with God in the final conflict that is revealed in the scriptures for the end times.

Believing in Christ is the ‘beginning’ of the relationship, and doesn’t stop there.  It must continue through prayer, reading the Word, and service.  It is the beginning of a journey that will only be completed when we pass from this life to eternal life.