Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Faith in God- Part 2

Why We Must Believe God

Why must we believe God? Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to Godmust believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

"Whatever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23) and God hates sin. When we don't believe God, we treat Him like He is a liar. Remember that He is everywhere and sees all things. He is hurt when we act like He doesn't exist, or that He will not do what He promised to do. Only when we have confidence in God and His Word can we please Him.

Lack of faith leads to lack of obedience. God's commands can only really be fulfilled through faith. Without confidence in God's promises a man will never really do what God says. Lack of obedience in God's eyes is rebellion. Such lack of obedience dishonors God and surely deserves to be punished.

"The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). We must live by faith in order to be considered by God "right" and "correct". Otherwise we stand condemned.

Those who don't believe God inevitably believe in something else. Either religious tradition, or their understanding of science, or what the women's magazine says, or what their next door neighbour tells them, the education system, the mass-media or a combination of all these things. God is not impressed. "Professing to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22) In fact, those who don't fully believing God end up believing the devil somewhere along the track. It is very possible to believe what the devil says without even believing that he exists! Satan is speaking through so many philosophies and religions without openly declaring himself. Not too many actually know they are trusting the words of satan and his demons.

God is therefore righteous in expecting us to believe in Him and what He says. Who is better qualified to tell us the truth and help us to find answers for life and eternity?

Benefits of Faith.

The Bible teaches us that genuine faith is "more precious than gold that perishes" (1 Peter 1:7). Indeed such faith is going to be "tested by fire". You can expect difficulties and persecutions in your life of faith, as well as blessings. Therefore to encourage you to hold onto and develop your faith, we will consider some of the benefits of faith.

1. Faith brings salvation. (Ephesians 2:8,9). Whosever believes in Him has eternal life. (John 3:16), and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24). The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17)

2. Faith brings answers to prayer. "And whatever things you ask in prayer, really believing, you will receive." (Matthew 21:22). Since God tells us to pray for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11), faith is therefore a key to our material provision.

3. Faith brings all the benefits of salvation into our lives (Ephesians 2:8,9). This includes healing, prosperity, peace, love, joy (1 Peter 1:8), deliverance from demons and the curse, sanctification of the mind and emotions (the salvation of the soul) and any other benefit which the word of God promises to us.

4. Faith is a spiritual force through which our ministry for Christ becomes effective. (Mark 11:23; Matthew 17:19,20). Faith is a major key to ministry success. It brings to you what you need for your ministry, and by imparting it to others through your life and your ministry of God's Word, you enable them to receive the blessings of God's grace mentioned above.

5. In particular, faith is the major key for an effective healing and deliverance ministry. Jesus Christ "the same yesterday, today and forever" lives in the Christian (Hebrews 13:8, Galatians 2:20), and through the Christian wants to reveal the power of salvation to men in a way they can see and feel. In this way, our evangelism concerning the Kingdom of God will not be in talk, but in power (1 Corinthians 4:20).

Remain blessed

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Faith in God- Part 1

We have seen that God has provided a marvellous salvation from all the consequences of man's rebellion. This salvation is to be received through repentance and faith. God expects us to change our allegiance. We must now love Him and serve Him - not our old selfish and corrupt desires. He wants to set us free from every oppression. But as well as this change of allegiance or repentance we need to believe God and His promises with a living faith. In this lesson we will consider what it means to have faith in God.

What Faith is not

Faith is not religion. Many times people say "We have our faith". What they mean is this: "We have our religious ideas and doctrines, our traditions, our ways of doing things passed down through the generations. Don't you try to change them." This is not the Biblical idea of faith.

Faith is not mental assent. It is not agreeing with your mind, "Yes, that is true." Many professing Christians believe mentally that the Bible is the Word of God, but this faith does not change the way they live. It is not a faith that can save. (James 2:14)

Even demons have that kind of faith. They know and believe that God exists (James 2:19) - and tremble. They have no lovingconfidence in God.

Faith is not a way to manipulate God. It is not a power by which we make God do what WE want when otherwise He would be unwilling to do that thing. It is not a kind of magic through which we make God into our servant!

Faith is not hope, nor positive desire. Hope is good, and relates to the future. Faith, however, takes the promise as done NOW. Many people have hope and are anxiously looking for results, but they lack the settled confidence and present assurance which faith has.

What Faith Is

In the general sense of the word, to have faith is to believe in something or someone, to fully trust, to be so confident that you base your actions on what you believe. To have faith is to be fully convinced of the truthfulness and reliability of that in which you believe.

Faith in God then, is having the kind of trust and confidence in God and in Christ that leads you to commit your whole soul to Him as Saviour (Justifier, Cleanser, Healer, Deliverer) and Lord (Master, King).

The NIV translation says, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).

The NKJV of the Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith is a spiritual substance. When you have this spiritual substance in you, it communicates to you a certain inner knowing that the thing you are hoping for is certainly established, even before you see any material evidence that it has happened.

Faith is a spiritual force. Faith in God is a response to God's Word which moves God to act. Jesus said in Mark 11:23, "For assuredly I say to you, whoever SAYS to this mountain, 'Be removed and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but BELIEVES that those things he SAYS will be done, he will HAVE whatever he SAYS." Words mixed with the real, pure faith can and will move mountains or any other problem that we face.

Faith in God must be from the heart. It is not merely intellectual. It is spiritual. "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:10)

Faith causes you to know in your heart before you see with your eyes. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2Cor 5.7)

Some say, "Seeing is believing." Once you see the thing hoped for already existing in the natural order, you don't need faith.

Hope is a condition for faith. Hope is "a positive unwavering expectation of good". Hope is for the mind (1 Thessalonians 5:8; Hebrews 6:19), an anchor for the soul. It keeps us in the place where we can believe, but it is not in itself "faith". Yet, without hope there are no "things hoped for", and therefore there cannot be faith.

Through faith we can know we have the answer to our prayer before we see anything change in the natural order (1 John 5:14,15). Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mk 11:24). God expects us, even commands us, to believe that our petitions are answered by God AT THE MOMENT WE MAKE THEM. We must believe that the response is immediately sent WHEN we pray. Faith is like the confirmation slip in our hearts that the goods are on the way. We have that confirmation slip instantly from God. We sense it in our hearts. The manifestation of those goods, the answer received, comes later as long as we are patient and do not throw away our confidence. (Hebrews 10:35-39; Hebrews 6:12)

Faith is like a cheque. All you have to do is hold on to the cheque, go to the bank to present it and you can confidently expect the money to appear in your account after a certain time. If you throw the cheque away the money will not be put in your account. God is trustworthy and always has resources to back his promises.

Living faith always has corresponding actions. We talk what we really believe, and we act according to what we really believe. The heroes of faith like Abraham were considered men of faith because they acted on what God showed them. They acted on their faith. (Hebrews 11:17-38, James 2:21-23).

To live in faith means to do and say what you believe is right, without doubting.

Faith is a rest. It is compatible with inner peace. It is not "trying to believe". To say that you are "trying to believe" God is to say that you don't believe Him. The man who is "trying to believe" may be sincere, but he does not have faith in that area yet.

Remain blessed

Monday, September 28, 2009

Effective vs Ineffective practice routines [for piano players]

"Perfect Practice Makes Perfect"
One of the most common things I hear when talking with other musicians is that, "I practice and practice, but I don't seem to be going anywhere..." This is the unfortunate case for many musicians. They spend hours and hours trying to get better only to realize that they aren't growing much at all. I myself have gone through that same thing and it can be very frustrating. I have since made a few modifications to my practice habits that have allowed me to see growth QUICKER with LESS practice time. After all there are only so many hours in the day and if you have a day job and kids you know that those hours can get filled up pretty quickly. It's no big secret but it will require you to break some old habits. The answer is NOT "Practice Makes Perfect", but "PERFECT Practice Makes Perfect".

Now you may be asking yourself what you can be doing more than you already are to get the most out of your practice time. Well let me describe two musicians to you so you can see the difference. Instead of using Musician A and Musician B, I am going to give them names. Musician A = Curtis and Musician B = Charlene.

Let's take a look at how Curtis practices:

Curtis sits down at the piano and starts to play some scales. He starts on the C Major Scale and works his way up chromatically (by Half Steps) to G. After he finishes the G Major scale, he starts to think of the song that he heard on the radio. He hums the melody and tries to remember the chords. He is able to pick some of them out but not all.
He then gets frustrated after 45min and starts working on some hot progressions that a friend taught him. He spends another 45min working out these progressions and trying to see where else he can take them. After he gets bored with that, he then starts working on a song he has been writing for 3 years, but just never got around to finishing. This lasts for about 1 hour. He then doodles on the piano for an hour and calls it a night. Curtis' total practice time is 3.5 hours.

Now let's take a look at Charlene:

Charlene sits down at the piano with her practice journal and metronome in hand. She opens the journal and looks to see if there is anything left over from her previous practice session that she needs to work on. There is nothing. So she writes the current date in her journal signifying the start of this session. She then writes "Major Scales around the Circle of Fourths" and sets her metronome at 80 bpm (Beats per Minute). She then proceeds to practice her major scales around the Circle of Fourths first at normal time and again at double time. When she's done, she writes down the time it took her to complete the scales and the tempo which was 5min. Now that she is warmed up, she writes in her journal "Progression Exercises". With the metronome still set to 80 bpm, she works though Major 2-5-1, Minor 2-5-1, 1-4, 1-6-2-5-1, 6-2-5-1, 3-6-2-5-1, and 7-3-6-2-5-1 progressions ALL around the Circle of Fourths. She then writes in her journal 20 min. She also makes a note that she was having some problems with Minor 2-5-1 progressions. She will ask someone about that later. Now that she has the fundamentals out of the way, she pulls out her choir book. (Charlene plays for the church choir) She writes in her journal "Practice choir song (Awesome God) for Sunday". She puts the CD into the CD player and listens to it one time all the way through. While she is listening, she identifies the key and any key changes that may occur in the song. She then sets it back to the beginning and plays again and begins learning the song. When she is done, she writes 35 min. She reflects on the practice and feels good about it. She knows she will need to work on the song more, but she has 6 more days until Sunday. She feels that she will be ready by Wednesday, but right now she has to get dinner ready for the kids. Charlene's total practice time is 1 hour.

So we have seen two individuals and how they both practice. Which one do you think would get the most out of their practice time? Charlene is very focused in her practice time. She has a journal and is able to review what she did in her last practice session so she knows not to spend too much time on it in the current session. Curtis on the other hand, lacks focus in his practice session and ends up all over the place. He doesn't really identify any areas that he needs to work on. He just kind of goes with whatever.

It is very important to be extremely focused in your practice time. You should always have these aspects included:

Warm-ups Scales or Finger exercises

Fundamentals Scales and Progressions (Also reading, even if it's at a basic level)

Ear Training Playing a song by ear, learning intervals, chord qualities (Major vs Minor)

Extra stuff Learning a song, Improvisation

Having these elements will allow you to get the most out of your time so that you can achieve great results quicker. Since I started doing this, I have noticed a tremendous increase in my ability to play. Remember that FOCUS and CONSISTENCY is the key to getting where you want musically. Try it and let me know your results. Always remember "PERFECT Practice Makes Perfect".

Here's some helpful site to help you perfect your gift [Basics and fundamentals of playing piano] [How to play worship progressions/songs] [Interactive Musician Community...membership is free]

Standing on the promises

I recently found a quote that said, "Many Christians that are singing Standing on the Promises, are just sitting on the premises." How true that is, many times in our Christian life we decide to stay back and not fulfill what God would have us do because we do not really believe that God is going to keep up His side of the bargain.

You now maybe it is time that we as Christians start taking God at His word.

Sometimes its not us living a life of distrust, sometimes its just that we have been through so much that we just can’t take it anymore; when you are going through a tough time just tell God about it, don’t hold it all inside you, because that will just make things worse.

"Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."Philippians 4:6,7

Just tell God about it, let Him known what is troubling you and ask him to help you, as you can see, in the Bible verse I gave above peace that passes all understanding will come to us…but you first have to get God involved before He can help you.

When you are going through trouble or other issues, remember the fact that God will never tempt us, but that does not mean that he will not allow the Devil to tempt us; most of the time, our own flesh comes along and tries to make a big mess out of our lives, again. Tell God about it and trust him to help you through the temptation, read your Bible and take a look at I Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is commune to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

This not only promises us peace in times of trial but He also promises that we won’t be tempted above what we are able to bear. Some might say that is not true, that they were tempted and no matter how much they fought they still failed…my question is this, did they fight it with their own power or the power that we have through Jesus Christ. Remember that if you try to stand on the promises with whatever strength that you think you might have in yourself, then you will most certainly fail; the key is living through the temptation with the power that is in us through Jesus Christ.

Sometimes there will be somebody that refuses to admit to the fact there is no real power in our puny little bodies, it is a shame to see such christens because they are being governed by pride. Here are some verses that talk about pride.

I Peter 5:5-7.
Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves into the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to the other, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and give grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all you care upon Him, for He careth for you.

God has no reason to help a person that is too proud to ask for or even accept help, on the other hand, God might let even more trials and temptations come so that the proud person will realize what he is doing and turn his life over to God.

God resists the proud, he will not make a deal with any person that is proud, you have be humble and give God the praise and humble obedient love that God deserves, and it is then that the power of the most high God will start working in us and through us, it is then that we can truly say that we are standing on the promises.

It is only when we give God true control over our lives that triumphant Christian living can begin, then again, it will not be us living, but the One that saved us will be living in us.

Remain blessed

Sunday, September 27, 2009

God's love-The Gift

God's love towards us, His estranged creation, is graphically depicted in the sacrifice He made on our behalf. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13 NIV).

Jesus Christ, is God's unique and eternal Son.1 He is the Alpha and Omega,2 the Great I AM,3 the "Mighty God"4 by whom all things were created5 and in whom all things consist.6 Jesus, who is the head of all things,7 humbled Himself in such a way that the human mind couldn't even bare the thought of it. He came into this sin-cursed world and actively partook in our sufferings. Even as we are flesh and blood, He shared in the same.8 He became a man and dwelt among us.9 He shared in the sufferings we brought upon ourselves through our rejection of His holy precepts.10 And as if that were not enough to convince us of His love and concern for us, Jesus, the immortal God and the Giver of Life, gave up His own life upon the cross in the greatest act of love the world has ever known! In doing so He took our sins away, effectively nailing them to the cross with Himself. Thus, He who knew no sin became sin for us11 and He who gave life to all, tasted death for those condemned to it.12

This is God's love! "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17). Jesus Christ loved the world so much that He gave everything for it, from His rights and privileges as the unique eternal Son of God, to His very life! If you want to see the love of God, look to the cross. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10). "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

God's love has been made known to us and now He stands at the door and knocks.13 It's up to every individual to either pursue a personal relationship with God or else reject Him outright. The only barrier between us and God's love is our own freewill and Jesus Christ is the door.14"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6). Salvation is a free gift bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. There is no other way. "…Do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2:21). You can't earn God's forgiveness through good works. How will doing the good works that you should have done all your life make up for the countless times you've failed? God's no fool. You can "use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before Me…" (Jeremiah 2:22).

A man once fell on his knees before Christ and begged, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." Christ, "filled with compassion" replied, "I am willing; be clean" (Mark 1:40-41). We too can fall on our knees and acknowledge God's only provision for our sins. We too can hear, "I am willing; be clean." Christ willingly took God's righteous indignation upon Himself so that you don't have to; whoever accepts His death upon the cross as payment for their sins will be reconciled to the God whom they've offended. "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them…God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:18-19, 21). Will you accept God's love today?

Bible References:
1John 1:1-3; 3:16; 2Revelation 1:8; cf. Revelation 1:13-18, 21:4-7; 22:6-7, 12-16, 20; 3John 8:56-59; cf. Exodus 3:13-14; 4Isaiah 9:6; 5Colossians 1:16; 6Colossians 1:17; 7Colossians 1:17; 2:10;8Hebrews 2:14; 9John 1:14; cf. John 1:1-3; 10Galatians 6:7; 1 Peter 3:18;112 Corinthians 5:21; 12Hebrews 2:9; 13Revelation 3:20; 14John 10:1-7.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Fruit of the Spirit

"Fruit of the Spirit" is a biblical term that sums up the nine visible attributes of a true Christian life. Using the King James Version of Galatians 5:22-23, these attributes are: love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. We learn from scripture that these are not individual "fruits" from which we pick and choose. Rather, the fruit of the Spirit is one ninefold "fruit" that characterizes all who truly walk in the Holy Spirit. Collectively, these are the fruits that all Christians should be producing in their new lives with Jesus Christ.

Fruit of the Spirit - The Nine Biblical Attributes
The fruit of the Spirit is a physical manifestation of a Christian's transformed life. In order to mature as believers, we should study and understand the attributes of the ninefold fruit:

Love - "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16). Through Jesus Christ, our greatest goal is to do all things in love. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Joy - "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

Peace - "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).

Long suffering (patience) -- We are "strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness" (Colossians 1:11). "With all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2).

Gentleness (kindness) -- We should live "in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left" (2 Corinthians 6:6-7).

Goodness - "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power" (2 Thessalonians 1:11). "For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth" (Ephesians 5:9).

Faith (faithfulness) - "O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth" (Isaiah 25:1). "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" (Ephesians 3:16-17).

Meekness - "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). "With all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2).

Temperance (self-control) - "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love" (2 Peter 1:5-7).

Remain blessed

Friday, September 25, 2009

Intercessory Prayer- The Model of Christ

Intercessory Prayer - What is it?
Intercessory prayer is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another's case. One study Bible defines intercession as "holy, believing, persevering prayer whereby someone pleads with God on behalf of another or others who desperately need God's intervention."

Intercessory Prayer - The Biblical Foundation
The Biblical basis for the New Testament believer's ministry of intercessory prayer is our calling as priests unto God. The Word of God declares that we are a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), and a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:5).

The background for understanding this calling to priestly intercession is found in the Old Testament example of the Levitical priesthood. The priest's responsibility was to stand before and between. He stood before God to minister to Him with sacrifices and offerings. The priests also stood between a righteous God and sinful man bringing them together at the place of the blood sacrifice.

Hebrews 7:11-19 explains the difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the priest. The Old Testament Levitical priesthood was passed on from generation to generation through the descendants of the tribe of Levi. "The Melchizedek priesthood" spoken of in this passage, is the "new order" of spiritual priests of whom the Lord Jesus is the High Priest. It is passed on to us through His blood and our spiritual birth as new creatures in Christ.

Intercessory Prayer - Our Model Intercessor
Jesus Christ is our model for intercessory prayer. Jesus stands before God and between Him and sinful man, just as the Old Testament priests did: For there is one God, and one mediator (intercessor) between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34). Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).

Jesus brings sinful man and a righteous God together at the place of the blood sacrifice for sin. No longer is the blood of animals necessary as it was in the Old Testament. We can now approach God on the basis of the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross of Calvary for the remission of sins. Because of the blood of Jesus, we can approach God boldly without timidity (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Jesus was an intercessor while He was here on earth. He prayed for those who were sick and possessed by demons. He prayed for His disciples. He even prayed for you and me when He interceded for all those who would believe on Him. Jesus continued His ministry of intercession after His death and resurrection when He returned to Heaven. He now serves as our intercessor in Heaven.

Intercessory Prayer - Effective Intercession
In intercessory prayer, we follow the Old Testament priestly function and the New Testament pattern of Jesus - standing before God and between a righteous God and sinful man. In order to be effective standing "between" we must first stand "before" God to develop the intimacy necessary to fulfill this role. Numbers 14 is one of the greatest accounts of intercessory prayer recorded in the Bible. Moses was able to stand between God and sinful man because he had stood "before" Him and had developed intimacy of communication. Numbers 12:8 says that God spoke with Moses as friend to friend and not through visions and dreams as He did with other prophets.

As New Testament believers, we no longer sacrifice animals as in Old Testament times. We stand before the Lord to offer up spiritual sacrifices of praise (Hebrews 13:15) and the sacrifice of our own lives (Romans 12:1). It is on the basis of this intimate relationship with God that we can then stand "between" Him and others, serving as an advocate and intercessor in their behalf.

Peter uses two words to describe this priestly ministry: "Holy" and "royal." Holiness is required to stand before the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We are able to do this only on the basis of the righteousness of Christ, not our own righteousness. Royalty is descriptive of the kingly authority that is delegated to us as members of the "royal family," so to speak, with legitimate access to the throne room of God.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to pray with confidence before God

Do some personal assessment by asking yourself this question: When I decide I want to spend time with God, do I come to Him with absolute certainty and confidence that the specific things I ask for will be given?

Some of you don't know if you can pray that way. Others might think this is a trick question, but it's not. God wants you to have absolute confidence before Him, to pray specific things in such a way that you know He will answer.

1 John 5:13-15 says: “I write these things to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according toHhis 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.”

A second issue we need to address concerns how to pray in order to know God hears our prayers. The short phrase in verse fourteen gives a condition: “if we pray according to the will of God.” If you or I pray anything according to His will, meaning that it's God's desire and intention, then He plans to fulfill it. The first thing to notice is the context. Verses 11-12 tell us that “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The message here is to God's children, to those who believe in the Name of the Son of God. The phrase “So that you may know that you have eternal life,” lets us know this letter is written to give assurance to people who are really in God's family.

Stemming logically from the idea of praying according to God's will, the third issue this passage addresses is “How do we know God's will?” At this point I hope you're thinking, “Hmm, I pray a lot of vague prayers.” I think sometimes that instead of praying in faith we usually pray in hope. For example, I'll pray, “Oh, God, I hope this happens. Oh, God, this is a good desire. Oh, God, it would be nice if You did that.” But that's not the way Jesus told us to pray. He said when you come asking in faith, “believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” Mark 11:24.

One thing I've learned as I've studied prayer is that the great men and great women of God have an open Bible before them as they pray. They don't go before God thinking, “Let's see, I need to read three chapters today to keep up with my program.” No, as they read they pray, “God show me Your will for me; show me Your will for my family; show me Your will for the future.” They ask God specifically according to His promises, and God comes through for them.

A few examples of how to pray according to the will of God and according to His promises will help us out here. First, by the promises. Suppose someone has a significant decision to make or a big problem to solve. It may be a situation in your marriage that you need to address with your spouse. You're concerned your spouse will be offended or hurt, maybe even angry when you try to address this issue. “Would You give me wisdom about how and what to say in this situation, God?”

Perhaps it's a situation involving one of your children. Emotionally you feel yourself backing off, when in reality you need to move into the situation and speak the truth. You know there may be fireworks, so you need God to give you wisdom about how to approach your child.

Or there may be a job situation. It could be with your supervisor or, if you're the employer, it could be with someone who works for you. You need wisdom about how to intervene in this delicate situation and also to know God's will so that He can work.

In situations like these we either need to know what to do, or we need to know how to do it. Basically it boils down to the fact that we need wisdom from God. The Biblical definition of wisdom is the ability and the skill to understand God's design for life and then find our part in it so it works. The good news is that if you need wisdom, God has promised to give it.

The Holy Spirit wants to teach you to pray specifically. He wants to give you the hope and certainty to pray with confidence. Start with yourself. Is there a promise God wants you to claim? Is there an area in which you need wisdom and direction for change? Whatever you really need from God, come and take His yoke.

Remain blessed

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The power of prayer!!

Power Of Prayer - How powerful is it?
The power of prayer should not be underestimated.
James 5:16-18 says, "…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." God most definitely listens to prayers, answers prayers, and moves in response to prayers.

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus taught, "…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" . 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." The Bible urges us, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" Ephesians 6:18.

Power Of Prayer - How do I tap into it?
The power of prayer is not the result of the person praying. Rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to.
1 John 5:14-15 tells us, "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." No matter the person praying, the passion behind the prayer, or the purpose of the prayer - God answers prayers that are in agreement with His will. His answers are not always yes, but are always in our best interest. When our desires line up with His will, we will come to understand that in time. When we pray passionately and purposefully, according to God's will, God responds powerfully!

We cannot access powerful prayer by using "magic formulas." Our prayers being answered is not based on the eloquence of our prayers. We don't have to use certain words or phrases to get God to answer our prayers. In fact, Jesus rebukes those who pray using repetitions, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him"
Matthew 6:7-8. Prayer is communicating with God. All you have to do is ask God for His help. Psalm 107:28-30 reminds us, "Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." There is power in prayer!

Power Of Prayer - For what kind of things should I pray?
God's help through the power of prayer is available for all kinds of requests and issues.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, "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." If you need an example of a prayer, lets look at Matthew 6:9-13

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

These verses are known as the Lord's prayer. The Lord's prayer is not a prayer we are supposed to memorize and simply recite to God. It is only an example of how to pray and the things that should go into a prayer - worship, trust in God, requests, confession, protection, etc. Pray for these kinds of things, but speak to God using your own words.

The Word of God is full of accounts describing the power of prayer in various situations. The power of prayer has overcome enemies
Psalm 6:9-10, conquered death 2 Kings 4:3-36, brought healing James 5:14-15, and defeated demons Mark 9:29. God, through prayer, opens eyes, changes hearts, heals wounds, and grants wisdom James 1:5. The power of prayer should never be underestimated because it draws on the glory and might of the infinitely powerful God of the universe! Daniel 4:35 says, "All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: 'What have you done?'"

My Testimony


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