Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Prayer of Relationship

Mark 11:24 - "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you."

Prayer implies relationship. It is the ongoing conversation between God and man. How odd to believe that we will receive anything from the Lord if we only occasionally come to Him with our "wish list!" The reason why prayer either works or it doesn't is faith. And faith is the result of walking and talking with Jesus daily, much like the disciples experienced. The "chutzpah" of those who merely invoke their positional right as sons and daughters of God rather than their ongoing love relationship with the Father regarding praying and asking reveals their dire lack of relationship.

Our ongoing love affair with "Daddy God" will provoke two things: The first is praying only for the things we know He wants because we know Him. The second is asking with the faith of a small child that expects their daddy to give them what they ask. Beware of so-called children of God demanding from God on the basis of their "sonship." If there is not humility in faith in our asking, then it is questionable whether indeed the Holy Spirit is leading.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Justice for All

Nahum 1:3 - "The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet."

As the prophet spoke his oracle to the soon-to-be destroyed city of Nineveh, we can all learn a lesson on God's character and his promises. Many in this ancient kingdom had probably heard of Jonah's message and how God turned His wrath away from destroying Nineveh a hundred years earlier. Some may have thought after hearing Nahum, "God had mercy when Jonah prophesied our doom, so we shouldn't have to worry about judgment now!" However, Nahum's message is one of a very patient God who will ultimately display His great power against sin after much forbearance.

America has experienced several reprieves from God after various spiritual awakenings in the past. But like Nineveh, a day is soon coming when many will be surprised that God's patience is expended and there is no more mercy. The whirlwind and the storm will come against us for our "arrogance and careless ease" (Ezekiel 16:49). May the Lord, on that day, be justified regarding those of us who have disregarded the great gift of repentance He has offered through His Son's sacrifice. However, even in judgment, may He still have mercy on those who would cry out to Him.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Prosperity Through Adversity

Mark 10:29-30 - "Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life."

If we know Christ, we should desire to "receive a hundred times as much now in the present age." This is our material point of reference. While we hear about the wonderful "sweet by and by," none of us really know what heaven's reality will look like on this side of eternity. However, our prayer should be for a revelation of the eternal because that is what gives us resolve here in the temporal.

God's blessings are confirmed to His children often through fiery trials that test our resolve. We all want the Lord's prosperity, but this often goes hand in hand with adversity. If we seek only to hoard relationships and possessions for ourselves, then our increase will be negligible. However, when we give these back to the Lord for His kingdom, then we will see the hundred-fold increase. If we want the Lord's prosperity, then we must decrease in our pursuits and allow Him to multiply His will within us, even if this means through the veil of adversity and trial.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sea of Forgetfulness

Micah 7:19 - "He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."

God will always help us understand His great intent with symbolism we can understand. His metaphor is meant to give us hope and solace regarding His love for us. The prophet tells us through the Holy Spirit (and His analogy) that it is not enough to merely throw our sins into the lowest parts of the ocean. God demonstrates His great love toward us by first pulverizing our sin under His feet. The picture is one of complete dominion over sin and a thorough crushing until they are lifeless and impotent. Then, he takes this mangled mess of iniquity and buries it deep in the sea of forgetfulness.

It is quite tragic when we take our spiritual trawlers to the site of our submerged iniquities, seeking to salvage them from the depths of the sea. God has placed buoys about the place of our water burial with "No Trespassing" signs clearly marked. Just remember, God has buried our past and desires we leave it buried. We are free to sail through life without a care or bother regarding who we used to be. We are certainly new creatures in Him if we have accepted His great gift (II Corinthians 5:17).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Expectancy With Love

Micah 7:7- "But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me."

There is no substitute for expectancy in regard to hope. Without expecting God to move on our behalf is like removing all power within faith. The essence of faith will always see those things that are unseen as yet-to-be revealed substance (Hebrews 11:1). Therefore, waiting in faith becomes a labor of love rather than an impatient exercise full of fear and anxiety.

Surety of God and His promises in our lives starts with understanding God's character. Scripture tells us God is love (I John 4:8). How much do we really believe this? I would venture to say to the degree we understand God's great love for us will be the degree we rest and wait expectantly for His promises to be fulfilled. Whether it be unsaved loved ones or finances or relationships, God's promise is never to leave us or forsake us in our need (Hebrews 13:5). We must continue to rest on the Everlasting Arms until He fulfills every promise He has spoken to our respective hearts.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Respect Life

Psalm 8:6 - "You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet."

It takes a loving, merciful God to know how bad the human race would botch His creation and then to put it in His hands. His foreknowledge precluded the inescapable reality of Adam's fall from innocence and creation's plunge into sin and death. Yet, the Divine Author of life nevertheless subjected Himself to millennia of heartache until the world would once again be redeemed in righteousness.

Today, those who know God and the only Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ, must practice our behavior toward this one day reality of creation's redemption. We must work within our individual influences and be good stewards of not only the planet, but of everything within our power of influence. We must practice kindness to all, helping the weak and providing safety to all those within our responsibility. Life is a gift, beloved, in all its forms. May we steward all forms within the boundaries of time until the eternal swallows time where there are no limits.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Convenient Time

Acts 24:25 (NKJV) - "Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, 'Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.'”

How often do we send Jesus away? Do we set limits on what we will allow Him to speak to our hearts regarding obedience? Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John the Holy Spirit's main vocation – to convict of sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment (John 16:8). If we are not hearing Him speak to our hearts on these subjects on a regular basis, we have sent Him away to be called at a more "convenient time."

God is not a convenience store where we can expect Him to be open 24/7 if we have grieved Him away. However, we will find once we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in our hearts, that Jesus Christ will be available whenever we call. We will not have to search Him out, but He will be constantly involved in our inner conversations. If we are inviting Him in to dine with us (Revelation 3:20) and to speak into our lives whatever He desires, then we will have no fear regarding this life or the one to come.