As I talk to people who are going through tough times, one of the primary problems they face is confusion. Why is this happening? And what can I do about it?
When we are under pressure, it’s hard to think clearly. Our thoughts become cloudy as we deal with the emotions of the moment.
But there are a couple of verses nearly hidden in the 5th chapter of I John which start to push back those clouds. As we ponder those verses, we remember that God is on our side – and He answers our prayers.
This is the confidence 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.I John 5:14
When I see that verse, I want to meditate on it – let its meaning saturate me.
If what we are praying is God’s will, and if we know that it is His will, then we will have that for which we pray. We’ll have faith in what we are praying and we’ll have whatever we ask.
So then next question, how do we know God’s will?
Simply put, God’s will is His Word. His will is wrapped up in the fact that Jesus came to earth and died for our sins. Then He rose again and sent His Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and restore us to the blessings He had ordained for us. Peace in our families, provision, health – all the blessings we see enumerated in scripture.
So we approach our Handbook – the Words ordained by our Creator to tell us who He is and who we are – the Book otherwise known as the Bible. Then we ask for guidance in finding just that part of His Word which applies to our present moment.
Then we pray. And we know that He hears us and answers our prayer.
To illustrate, I want to tell you about a young man who did just what we are talking about.
This young man’s country had been invaded by a brutal army. He had been captured – along with all of his relatives – and taken into a far country. The times were tough, but he knew his God and remained faithful to Him.
He prayed everyday – and he lived a holy life – even though mean spirited, unholy people were all around him.
Have you guessed by now who I’m talking about? I’m talking about Daniel who had been taken to Babylon.
We can read his story in the Book of Daniel.
After he was taken captive, many years passed, and then…
As Daniel was reading the “Books,” the Holy scrolls which eventually became part of the Bible, he saw where God had spoken to Jeremiah. God had said that the Jews would be in Babylon 70 years, and then He would bring them back to their country.
Daniel sat up straight. 70 years were almost passed. God had revealed the timing, and it was almost time for the Jews to be sent back home.
Daniel began to fast and pray. He knew God’s will because he had seen it in the scriptures. (Jeremiah 29:10) So he prayed for God to send them home just as He had promised. Daniel had great faith for this to happen because He had seen clearly that this was God’s plan. God’s will.
When Daniel prayed this prayer, Darius was king of Babylon. Yet shortly after, Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and became its king. Then God began to speak to this unbeliever named Cyrus. And Cyrus started the process of sending Jews back to rebuild the ruins of their beloved country. To restore the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. (See Ezra 1:1)
Daniel prayed for God’s Word to come to pass and it did!
What would you have done? Would you have prayed for the fulfillment of God’s Word, or would you have just sat around moping and wishing God would do what he said?
Many today are doing the latter.
But there are those who are rising up. They are not settling for status quo, but they are digging into God’s Word and they are praying it back to God. And these people are seeing many miracles.
Isaiah gave us an illustration of this.
Isaiah 55:10,11 For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
So shall My Word be which goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
His Word shall not return to Him empty – without accomplishing what He sent it for. And how does it return to Him? When you pray God’s Word back to Him – asking for its fulfillment – you are returning it to Him.
Your prayers help to accomplish God’s will in your life.
That’s what Daniel did.
Now what do you do? What do I do?
Let’s find those words our Father has spoken to us, and ask for their fulfillment. When we do that, we are agreeing with God’s will and we will see the results.
When we know that we are praying God’s will, we have faith for it, and we receive what we pray.
Enough for today, we’ll talk more about this next time.
In the meantime,
Keep on Soaring,
What can God do with someone whose life is totally His? I think that I have caught a glimpse of that.
When you think back across your life, who are the people who stand out? Who do you remember the most? Were they your parents? Your teachers? Ministers? Neighbors?
When we think deeply about this question, we can almost always come to “ah-ha” moments which pinpoint individuals. Our religious views, our character development, and our career choices probably were influenced by a person or persons who encouraged us – or enlightened us – or, well, you get the point. (more…)
A major election cycle is upon us, and after many politicians tossed their hats in and out of the ring, we have two presidential candidates ready to rumble. There will be declarations of intentions – and many surrogates will espouse their views concerning the keys to a successful future for our country.
There has been – and will be – lots of babble in the mix. Some of the babble will be about the importance of keeping religion out of government, implying that our forefathers set it up that way. But let’s not be deceived.
The United States has been the greatest country ever to be established for one reason, and only one reason. This country has been blessed by God.
Now I know that the imperfect humans who started our great nation made some horrific mistakes. The treatment of Native Americans and the practice of slavery were egregious.
Yet in the middle of those errors, there were many of the founding fathers who were true to their Christian beliefs, and they looked for God’s blessing on the entire endeavor.
One of the main reasons the first settlers endured the hardships of travel to arrive on our shores was that they were seeking religious freedom. The government of England had encroached on those freedoms to the point where these brave Christians were willing to tackle the harsh journey for the sake of having that freedom. That freedom was sacred to them.
Now, nearly 250 years later, we hear many people babbling falsehoods concerning these original intentions. And unfortunately, others begin to believe them. That’s the power of a lie. Even if it isn’t true, there will be those who believe it.
So what am I saying? I am saying that we should look for ourselves. Let’s take a look at some of the early writings of our forefathers. What did they really say? What were their intentions? As we look at these quotes from men of old, we will see for ourselves why God has blessed America.
God has blessed us. Over the years he has corrected us. And in our future, if we will turn our hearts back to Him, we will see Him continue to bless our country with His grace and peace.
Today is the first in a series of posts featuring the words of our American ancestors. May you be enlightened by these, and may you be encouraged to stand up for your God in these days ahead.
May He continue to bless America.
Now let’s hear from John Adams.
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; DIPLOMAT; ONE OF TWO SIGNERS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.1
The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost. . . . There is no authority, civil or religious – there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation.2
Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.3
The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.4
Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!5
I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.6
1, Thomas Jefferson The Writings Of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, DC: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIII, pp 292-294. In a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813. 2. Letter from John Adams to Benjamin Rush, from Quincy, Massachusetts, dated Dec 21, 1809. 3. John Adams, The Works Of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1856) Vol X, p 254, to Thomas Jefferson on April 19, 1817. 4. John Adams, Works, Vol III, p. 421, diary entry for July 26, 1796 5. John Adams, Works, Vol II, pp 6-7, diary entry for Feb 22, 1756 6. John Adams, Works, Vol X, p 85, to Thomas Jefferson on Dec 25, 1813
Have you noticed that there is a lot of “newness” around these days? It’s the new year, of course, but it’s more than that. As I have been talking to people, there is a freshness and excitement in the air.
There are new assignments and new challenges. Many have felt a fresh presence of the Lord as they have gone about their lives.
There is a sense that God is about to do some things in the earth which will demonstrate His love and His purposes.
I love it!
So what do we do to seize the moment? Several things, I think. (more…)
In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul speaks of a great mystery which has been “hidden from ages and generations, but has been revealed to the saints.” It’s this mystery which makes Christianity so totally different from any other religion in the world. Yet this mystery seems to be misunderstood even by many Christians.
So what is it? It’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” It’s the absolute indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in the inner most part of you, leading you, empowering you, changing you, and growing you to reflect the attributes of God Himself.
All other religions have laws – lists of do’s and don’ts – which, if followed, are supposed to bring people into perfection. But our faith is different. In our faith, our lives of sin are forsaken at the cross of Jesus. We accept His sacrifice for our sinful nature – and then we accept the empowerment of His Holy Spirit to walk away from sin and into the life He has for us.
That’s why we know that we have authority over sin, sickness, and poverty. The “Greater One” lives on the inside of us and causes us to overcome the evils of the world…if we are relying on Him and not ourselves. (more…)
There is a great mystery involved when we make a covenant with the Creator of the Universe. He created us, yet He wants to make a covenant with us. Isn’t that amazing? He wants to make an agreement – a sort of contract- which will benefit both of us. This is the amazing part: He lets US decide how big the partnership will be.
God’s kingdom principle of sowing and reaping is a major teaching throughout the Bible.
Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, they shall pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
Your “standard of measure” will determine your walk with the Lord. Because of your free will, YOU get to decide how much of God’s involvement you have in your life (more…)