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When Hannah Mother Of Samuel Prophesied Of Jesus Christ

Posted by Job on November 11, 2011

1 Samuel 2:1-10 reads:

And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. [There is] none holy as the LORD: for [there is] none beside thee: neither [is there] any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let [not] arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD [is] a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men [are] broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. [They that were] full have hired out themselves for bread; and [they that were] hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

This prayer of Hannah is fascinating in ways that are almost too many to count. I will focus on some things that struck me about it as it read this text this morning.

1. How God uses adversity to bring about His purposes in His elect. This was a time of spiritual crisis among God’s people, during the time of the Judges. In these days Eli was the high priest charged with service of the tabernacle, as were his sons Phinehas and Hophni. However, Phinehas and Hophni were exceedingly wicked, and Eli, though he went through the motions of being outwardly righteous, refused to act to stop his sons, and also was willing to personally benefit from their evil deeds. God does not leave His people without a shepherd, however, so it was his purpose to raise up new spiritual leadership; a special child chosen from before his birth and set apart for this purpose.

In order to bring this about, God selected a righteous man, Elkanah the son of Jeroham, and his righteous wife Hannah. God temporarily closed the womb of this righteous woman, and permitted Peninnah, the other wife of Elkanah and who was bearing children, to vex and torment Hannah over her condition. Now this is yet another occurrence of rivalries between wives that the Bible tells us occurs with polygamy, including to the point of a woman using her children to gain status in the eyes of her husband at the expense of the other wives. However, also remember that during this time, childbearing was associated with God’s blessing and favor being with a woman, so a barren woman was often presumed to be disfavored by God, perhaps due to some sinfulness on her part. When you consider the very strong language that the Bible uses concerning Peninnah’s treatment of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:6 – and her adversary vexed her sore, forasmuch as she upbraided her, because the Lord made her barren – it appears that some very strong accusations were involved, and should make one consider the charges against Job by his friends: that Job’s sins were the cause of his condition.

But rather than her trials and tribulations being evidence of her sinfulness or her not being smiled upon by God, they were instead evidence of the work that God desired to work both within and through her (James 1:2-4)! For God wanted to use the seed of Hannah and Elkanah to raise up new spiritual leadership. God wanted the child of Hannah and Elkanah to be given totally over to Him; to learn about God’s laws and ways to that this child would be able to use this knowledge to execute his leadership more effectively and perfectly. God allowed – or caused! – the affliction of His servant Hannah so that – in her grief – Hannah would make a prayer to the Lord that was acceptable to the Lord. Now of course, this prayer was not of Hannah, meaning of her own flesh and carnal nature, but came as she was carried along by the Holy Spirit. But the point is that the trials and tribulations that God saw fit to have Hannah experience plowed and tilled the ground of her heart, to create the conditions for her to be carried along by the Holy Spirit to make this prayer. She prayed for a man-child (for the spiritual leader had to be male) and dedicated the child to lifetime service to God (thereby renouncing parental or familial rights that were very important in that culture for legal, economic and social status reasons) in her prayer, including the vow that her child would be a Nazerite. Remember the Lord’s Prayer, where we are supposed to petition that God’s will in heaven be done on earth. It was the will of God in heaven for such a child as this to be born and dedicated to Him, so God created the conditions whereby this woman would pray for the birth of this child, and sacrificially offer up her son – and herself – as vessels for this divine service. That Hannah’s motivation may have been to remove her own reproach, take away the ability of her rival wife to torment and provoke her, and thereby gain the peace of her own mind is of little consequence. The main thing is that through her trials, she offered up a prayer that was acceptable to God because it was the will of God, and thus God granted what she requested. And it should be pointed out that by Hannah’s giving the child to God – as opposed to her desiring to hold onto the child herself for the purposes of getting back at her rival Peninnah, the natural thing to do – was evidence of this woman’s righteousness and Godly heart. So, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ that is currently enduring hardships, heartaches, persecution and tribulation, then do not despair but rejoice, because God will use these things to bring about His purposes in you as He did with Hannah! On the other hand, if you are mocker and persecutor of God’s people like Peninnah, well beware! Please note that the Biblical record treats Hannah much more favorably than Peninnah, and moreover just as the evil behavior of Peninnah was recorded for posterity, God is keeping inventory of our behavior in His book!

2. Let us not ignore the positive role and influence that Hannah’s husband, Elkanah played. Though many men did mistreat their barren wives in that day and time, Elkanah did the opposite: he comforted, elevated, loved and had compassion on her! Unlike Peninnah, 1 Samuel 1:5 hints that Elkanah knew that Hannah’s being barren was not any indictment against her value or character, but was of the Lord’s doing. So, rather than despising and rejecting his wife after the worldly manner that his wife took, Elkanah respected and submitted himself to the will of God – to the right and prerogative of God to make his wife barren – and instead loved his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). Rejecting his wife because God decreed her to be barren would have been akin to rejecting the decree of God, and thus rejecting God. But by honoring the will of God through loving his wife, Elkanah honored God. Now perhaps one can fault Elkanah for not intervening when Peninnah persecuted Hannah, but the Biblical evidence in such instances like Abraham dealing with Sarah and Hagar and Jacob dealing with Rachel and Leah leads one to believe that the custom of the day was for men to generally refrain themselves from disputes among their wives.

Elkanah did not merely behave righteously with his wife, but also with his son. Imagine if your wife has a son, and she tells you “No, this is not going to be your child to love, raise, be proud of and carry on your name. No, I am going to give this child – your child – to the church. You are not going to have anything to do with raising this child … you aren’t even going to SEE this child. Instead, I am giving him away.” Even in our modern culture, that would be a difficult, almost unthinkable thing to do: the equivalent of a wife deciding to give up the child – the husband’s child – for adoption. In that culture, where men had almost absolute rights over their wives and children, and where male children gave great honor and esteem to their fathers before society, it was even more pronounced. Yet Elkanah willingly gave up his fatherly rights and privileges and consented to the designs of his wife. Why? Because he knew that the child was the result of God’s blessing his barren wife! He knew that this child came as the result of God’s honoring his wife’s petition, and that this petition included Hannah’s promise to give the child to God’s service. So, just as Elkanah submitted himself to God’s will when his wife was barren, he did the same when his wife was fruitful. This means that Elkanah’s love and obedience to God was not conditional! Instead, he honored and obeyed God regardless of the circumstances. Whether the Lord giveth (allowing his wife to bear children) or the Lord taketh away (causing his wife to be barren), Elkanah honored – or blessed – the Name of the Lord! In this manner, Elkanah reminds us of Joseph, earthly father of Jesus Christ, when he submitted to God’s will in taking Mary as his wife and raising Jesus Christ as his adopted son. Both Elkanah and Joseph chose sacrificial giving over behaving selfishly according to the interests of their own flesh. The union of Hannah and Elkanah was definitely that of a believing, obedient, faithful man and spouse, and such things are blessed indeed. Blessed is the man who has a believing, righteous woman. Blessed is the woman who has a believing, righteous man. And blessed is the God who providently brings the two of them together for His service and to His glory! In this case, God brought together a holy husband and a holy wife for the purpose of producing a child that would lead His people.

3. The angel of the Lord told Joseph in Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus, or Joshua, or Yeshua, means “God saves.” In the opening of her prayer, Hannah rejoiced in her salvation by this same Jesus spoken of in Matthew 1:21. Let no doctrine or teacher deceive you concerning this fact. The Hebrew word used by Hannah was “yĕshuw`ah“, which means salvation by God. Later in this prayer, she states “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up” … a reference to death and resurrection by the will of God, just as the death and resurrection of God the Son Jesus Christ occurred according to the will of God the Father. Further: “He will keep the feet of his saints …” that is none other than a reference to the perseverance of the saints doctrine where Jesus Christ said concerning the redeemed that none could take them out of His hand (John 10:28-29). Instead, “the wicked shall be silent in darkness” which is exactly where the Lord Jesus Christ said that they would be cast (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). As for “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them” recall when our Lord said “the spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” in Luke 4:18? Also when Jesus Christ said “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” in the Beatitudes? Further, “The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth” is a summary of “the day of the judgment of the Lord” teachings both given by Jesus Christ and revealed to John in the apocalypse. Thus, this prayer of Hannah was packed with a startling amount of things that Jesus Christ would later teach. By the Holy Spirit, Hannah revealed some of the very things that Jesus Christ would preach many hundreds of years later. But that is not all.

“And he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed!” Keep in mind that this prayer of Hannah was given generations before Saul, generations before David, long before Israel asked for the king or the establishment of the monarchy. Yet here Hannah prophesies concerning the coming king – God’s king – whom she also calls God’s anointed! Christ, or Christos in Greek means the same as Hannah’s term mashiyach (Moshiach or Messiah) in Hebrew: anointed. In this prophecy song of praise, Hannah reveals Jesus Christ as king, savior, and Messiah. And again, as the monarchy had not been instituted and was not even on the horizon or thought process of the Hebrews at the time of the Judges, the context points to a UNIQUE king, savior and Messiah that God will pour out HIS strength upon and that God would uniquely empower, exalt and glorify to the point that through this king God the Father would subdue, rule and judge the entire earth. When one adds the reference to death and resurrection, the only major doctrine apparently absent in Hannah’s Messianic prophecy song is an explicit reference to Christ’s Sonship, and hence His divinity, whereby this anointed king of the latter verse would also provide the salvation of the Lord spoken of in the former verse. Yet by virtue of both being included in Hannah’s song – and one prominently in the beginning and the other prominently in the end, and please remember the nature of Hebrew poetry where ideas that are in the beginning and end of a poem go together, a type of parallelism or harmony – the concept of the divine Saviour and the Messianic king being one and the same is still contained within the prophecy even if it is not yet explicitly given at this point in progressive revelation.

It is amazing to read God’s Word and see how He used His handmaid Hannah to both bear the child Samuel that would lead His people in that time, but also to prophecy of Jesus Christ, who would save and lead His people for eternity! Thus Samuel, the child that Hannah had was the prefigure or the type of the child that Mary would later have. And this came after God created the circumstances for this event by making Hannah (temporarily) barren and having her suffer persecution in her own home for this condition, yet not leaving her alone during this time of affliction but providing her with a believing husband as her minister to comfort her and help her endure it (and view this in the context of the promise of God given to believers in 1 Corinthians 10:13 concerning God’s giving us the ability to bear trials).

The wisdom and might of God knows no end, and neither does His blessings! For these reasons and an infinite multitude of others, let us not be slack in giving God His due praise!

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Posted in Bible, Christianity, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Messianic Prophecy, Moshiach, prayer, prophecy, religion, Ruach Hakadosh, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

John MacArthur: Giving Thanks To The Holy Spirit

Posted by Job on November 11, 2011

http://gty.org

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, prayer, Ruach Hakadosh | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Prayer: The Most Effective Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance Weapon And Tactic

Posted by Job on July 3, 2010

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a [certain] man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:14-21

Much has been written in the area of spiritual warfare and deliverance. Some of it is based on scripture, some on experience, some on things taught and handed down, some on what purports to be revelation, some on conjecture, and usually the final product is some combination of these things. I do not deny that these techniques cannot yield results, because that would be denying what I have seen with my own eyes and borne witness to with my own testimony. However, “whatever works” cannot be the basis of sound Christian belief and practice. A good reason for this is simple: “results may vary!” In the scientific community, one of the major tests used to establish and verify a theory using experiments or observation is repeatable results. Since the results of the various spiritual warfare techniques, strategies and methods do in fact vary – a fact that the teachers and proponents of these methods freely admit – we cannot rely on unreliable experientialism for our Christian doctrine and practice. Instead, we must rely on the Bible. The Bible is God’s unique, Holy Spirit inspired revelation that is inerrant, infallible and the final authority in all things. So, even though the varying results is enough to justify being suspect of a lot of the spiritual warfare and deliverance teachings, the truth is that the doctrine of scripture means that Christians should not rely on practices and beliefs not supported in scripture even if they did work every time. So even if it does work, then what profit is it if the “work” is not of God and does not glorify God? The purpose of Christian living is to serve and glorify God, not to do the things that we want to do and believe that should be done ourselves. As the Bible is the final authority and is 100% infallible, then the Bible gives us perfect instructions on how to live to serve and glorify God in all areas. The Bible is what teaches us, and the Bible is what we must use to teach others.

So, based on the revelation of Jesus Christ as given to us in the Bible – and the purpose of the entirety of scripture is to reveal Jesus Christ – the best, surest way and the starting point for all spiritual warfare and deliverance is prayer. Prayer is the first and best weapon against the evil one and his forces. Consider, for instance, the Lord’s prayer.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors 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. Matthew 6:9-13 and also Luke 11:2-4

How many of you knew that this was a spiritual warfare and deliverance prayer? It is. For one thing, it deals with forgiveness of sin, as it asks that our own sins be forgiven by God AND that we forgive the sins of others. Failure to forgive the sins of others, especially against us, leads to anger and resentment that Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us “gives a place to the devil.” For another, it asks that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and it is certainly God’s will for evil spirits and their influence to be bound, hindered, cast out and defeated (Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20). But there is also a more direct reference. “Deliver us from evil” in the Lord’s prayer not only means “keep us from sin” (with all the spiritual warfare things that go along with sinning) but many expert theologians and Bible scholars follow Martin Luther in asserting that “deliver us from evil” should read “deliver us from the evil one”, which is Satan.

Now Martin Luther was not one to deny that Christians in our time need to directly confront unclean spirits. Quite the contrary, Luther claimed to have seen Satan and thrown a bottle of ink at him! (Small wonder that a current popular trend – or evil spirit – of deception moving through modern Christianity is to attack Martin Luther and claim that the Reformation, the exodus from the darkness of Roman Catholicism, was a mistake!) So, the Lord’s Prayer is quite literally and unquestionably a direct, powerful spiritual warfare and deliverance prayer. It petitions that God would overcome the presence and effects of sin and evil spirits in our lives. It even addresses the area most often neglected by spiritual warfare teachers, which is the flesh or the old man which still exerts a negative influence on born again Christians as described in Romans 5-7 when asking God to help us to forgive others, and in particular not to view the transgressions of others against us personally more prominently than we view our own transgressions against God. What stronger impulses of the flesh are there than hypocrisy and self-centeredness? And this prayer also explicitly directly asks for protection from all evil spirits through a reference to their leader, Satan. And as Jesus Christ explained in Matthew 12:24-30, being protected from Satan means being protected from all evil spirits.

However, the importance and primacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is often overlooked. Instead, the commonly advised and emulated strategy is to imitate the actions of Jesus Christ and His apostles during their spectacular encounters with evil spirits, and also to mix in things learned from other teachings and our own experiences. In doing so, we ignore that the most repeated and striking thing concerning the ministry of Jesus Christ was His prayer life. His ministry began with 40 days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness, and the gospels make it clear that seeking the will of God the Father in prayer was far more prominent in the ministry of Jesus Christ than all the sermons, exorcisms and miracles put together. To put it better, Jesus Christ came not so much to preach and perform miracles and exorcisms as He did to do the will of God the Father, and so Jesus Christ only preached, performed miracles and did exorcisms when it was the will of God the Father that He do so. When it was not the will of God the Father for Him to do so, Jesus Christ did no sermons, miracles or exorcisms, because even being God in the flesh with power and being deserving of praise and glory Himself, had Jesus Christ done those things of His own accord or on His own initiative, God the Father would not have been glorified, and Jesus Christ would have thereby sinned. (Of course, we know that Jesus Christ, being God, cannot sin.) And this was how Satan tempted Jesus Christ during His time of fast … by attempting to get Jesus Christ to take an action apart from the will and direction of God. It was the same temptation that Satan gave to Adam. Where Adam failed, Jesus Christ succeeded. And Christians are to follow Jesus Christ’s success and not Adam’s failure. Follow Adam, and man is glorified. Follow Jesus Christ and God is glorified. To God alone be the glory!

That is why spiritual warfare and deliverance must begin with and be dominated by prayer. We cannot take initiative or authority upon ourselves. We cannot presume to know, for instance, if the issue that we are addressing is motivated by evil spirits in the first place. We also cannot presume the manner and time in which God desires the evil spirit to be cast out. Further, we cannot even presume that God wants the evil spirit to be driven off in the first place! A powerful example of this is the thorn in the flesh described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Now there has been a lot of needless conjecture as to what exactly the “thorn in the flesh” was, but this is only because people have such difficulty believing what the text plainly says, often for doctrinal reasons. But it is clear: “the messenger of Satan” is clearly in the Greek “the angel of Satan”, and we all know that angels of Satan are evil, unclean spirits, or demons. Now for some people, the idea that a born again Christian, an apostle no less, would be tormented by a demon is doctrinally troublesome. For others, the wording of the passage makes it appear as “there was given to me” means that God gave the demon to Paul, which would seem to charge God with being responsible for temptation or evil where scripture tells us that God cannot be the author of evil. However, this stunning passage does recall how God allowed and used Satan in His dealings with Job in the Old Testament. Just as God allowed Satan to attack Job in the Old Testament for purposes that glorified God and ultimately were a blessing to Job, God allowed one of Satan’s demons to do the same regarding the apostle of Jesus Christ Paul. So then, it would not have been to the will of God or glory of God to drive this evil spirit from oppressing or tormenting Paul. Please recall: the evil spirit could not possess Paul because Christians are possessed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. So, the demon could only afflict Paul.

And please note that Paul first sought the Lord in prayer concerning the evil spirit. Scripture does not record failed attempts at spiritual warfare and deliverance by Paul concerning the demon, and we cannot presume that these failed attempts existed because the Bible does not record them. Instead, it records Paul’s asking God three times for permission to drive the demon away, and God denying this permission for His own sovereign, God-glorifying purposes which were in service to God’s plan to conform Paul into the image of Jesus Christ! So let us not be deceived. These are not matters to be trifled with. Christians in the spiritual warfare and deliverance ministries must not act according to presumption, self-will and self-initiative. Instead, we must be guided and directed by God’s Holy Spirit. Being Holy Spirit-led and Holy Spirit-filled requires much preparation in ways that include prayer, Bible study, fellowship and good works which are conducive to spiritual maturity in advance (Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting) and also seeking God’s will during the necessary time. Note that I did not say during the time of spiritual confrontation with the forces of evil, for God must permit and instruct us when and whether He wants us to participate in such spiritual confrontations to begin with. Again, it is God’s will that is being done, not ours. It is God that is being glorified, not us. And we are acting in accordance to God’s sovereign will and not our own desires or feelings. This is why we must rely on prayer. We must humble ourselves and submit ourselves to God’s design, God’s plan, and God’s actions through prayer. Otherwise, we take rash actions of self-interest and self-will as did King Saul, who failed to wait on the Lord and found his kingdom and life – and those of his sons – taken from him.

Returning to apostle Paul, spiritual warfare and deliverance ministers have centered on the Ephesians 6:10-17 as one of their favorites for study and practice.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Regrettably, one of the reasons for this is that this passage, when taken incautiously, can invite the flesh to imagine oneself in the manner of this strong, mighty righteous and powerful HUMAN warrior image against the forces of evil, an image that we have seen reinforced time and time again in secular Hollywood movies and TV shows. Incautious and out of contexts readings and applications of this passage may cause us to think that in the Name of Jesus Christ WE have the power, WE have the authority, WE have the dominion, WE can challenge and take over strongholds and defeat the enemy, and that in doing so God’s will shall be done and He shall be glorified. This is indeed the doctrines of many popular spiritual warfare and deliverance teachers. However, such self-seeking presumption is not coming in the Name of Jesus Christ at all, but instead coming in our own name. It is so tempting to reject the counsel of those who actually do come in the Name of Jesus Christ and instead come in their own names (see John 5:43), but reject it we must. For Jesus Christ said that all who call on His Name, even all who cast out devils and do great works using His Name are not truly His. People who use the Name of Jesus Christ in accordance with self-seeking are not Jesus Christ’s sheep, because though they call on the Name of God, like Adam they are following after their own hearts. Instead, Jesus Christ’s sheep will be people who are after God’s heart, so they will seek direction from God and patiently wait on God before they act. The identifying fruit of the spiritual warfare and deliverance minister who is God’s sheep is one who exhibits patience, humility and submission in seeking the will of God lest he sin and lead others into sin, and not one who rushes in according to his own human desires and limited knowledge and misuses and misappropriates the Name of Jesus Christ carelessly, recklessly, proudly and selfishly. Instead of seeking to take authority and power after the manner of human rulers, we should be seeking to submit ourselves to, rely upon and glorify God after the manner of God’s humble servants, including the one Jesus Christ who emptied Himself, came to earth as a man, suffered humiliation and rejection, and was slain for our sins in our place on the cross, and was raised for our justification. It is the manner of the humble Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead and is blessed forever that we should emulate and identify with, and not the manner of proud, presumptive, arrogant and self-willed humanity, or for that manner of the tempter and deceiver of humanity Satan, who in his presumption decided that he would be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). Make no mistake, but in doing anything, including spiritual warfare, without first making certain that we are doing God’s will and not man’s, we are emulating not Jesus Christ in His submission and sacrifice  to the glory of God, but Satan in his mad and failed attempt at being a usurper of God’s glory. From such, spiritual warfare and deliverance minister, turn away!

Instead, turn your attention to the oft-neglected end of the “put on the whole armor of God” passage, which is verse 18, which reads “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” It clearly shows that the primary and main ingredient to spiritual warfare, to putting on the whole armor of God for confrontations against the enemy, is “praying always in asking to the Holy Spirit.” We are to always pray so that we can ask of the Holy Spirit that indwells all Christians concerning the Will of God. Without receiving and submitting to the will of God in spiritual warfare (or anything else) we aren’t performing spiritual warfare at all, but instead proud, self-seeking and harmful bombast that resists the Holy Spirit, misuses the Name of Jesus Christ, dishonors His sacrifice on the cross and refuses to glorify God the Father.  Thus, so-called spiritual warfare that rejects prayer in supplication to the Holy Spirit before, during and after is nothing more than an abomination against the Holy Trinity in clear, explicit ways.

One should note that the primacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is given at the end of both Matthew 17:14-21 and of Ephesians 6:10-18. One also notes that no explicit references to prayer seem to be made in many of the New Testament exorcism narrative accounts and references. That is indeed curious, as one would think that in Matthew 17:14-21 and Ephesians 6:10-18 that the most important thing would come first as a lead instead of coming last, and also that there would be a stronger correlation depicted between prayer and spiritual warfare. This is still more evidence of how spiritual things often do not conform to our human expectations. It is a test of our faith, of our faithfulness, of our humility and submission to see if we will study the whole counsel of God as revealed in scripture. To see if we will seek God in spirit and in truth as He commanded us to so. To answer the door of our hearts when He stands and knocks so that He will come in, sup with us, and teach us the truth. Those of us truly interested in knowing and serving God will search, notice and find these things so that we can go about performing spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry – and please recall that ministry means service, and that it is service to God first and then to man – God’s way. Those who are not will cut corners, interpret passages out of context and selectively, and do whatever we can in order to claim to be serving God in God’s way when they will really be serving themselves in their own way.

So I ask and challenge you spiritual deliverance and warfare minister. In what way have you been serving in your ministry before now? And in what way will you serve in your ministry in the future?

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Christians Please Pray And Intercede For Children

Posted by Job on March 9, 2009

I have noticed a rash of shocking violent crimes against children – as well as violent crimes by children – lately. Perhaps the most amazing thing is how little attention it is attracting. A mere 20 – 25 years ago, crimes against children or by children were national news. Now, there are entire families getting murdered in their homes on back to back days and it is only mentioned in a single local news cycle. Nor has there seemed to be much notice in the trend of preteens committing murders against their own family members.

The world may not be noticing, but Christians need to stand up and take notice. And we also need to take action. What action should this be? Pray and intercede for these children and families. The Bible says that prayer changes things. Bible – believing Christians need to start living up to our name and start praying in the Name of Jesus Christ that the hand of evil that is afflicting our nation’s children be stayed and removed! I encourage all Bible – believing Christians who read this to post their prayers in the comments below in the chance that some people who do not have a prayer response readily available can read them and repeat them. It can be an Internet prayer meeting of sorts!

And no, we cannot merely stop at praying for children. We need to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with children so that they may be born again through Him, and do it urgently. We can speculate Biblically on the cause of this great evil another day (or on another thread) but now is not the time for words but for action in the form of prayer, intercession, evangelism, and spiritual warfare. I ask that all Christians take some of their time and participate.

Thank you.

Posted in child abuse, child evangelism, child molestation, Christianity, family breakdown, prayer, sex crime, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, social breakdown, societal decline | 2 Comments »

When Unanswered Prayer Is An Answer To Prayer

Posted by Job on October 2, 2008

From Fancied Freedom

Is unanswered prayer an answer to prayer?

A funny thing happened to me tonight…as I was cleaning the kitchen I began to pray about a situation. I came down with some kind of flu-bug or maybe just a bad cold, and will be unable to cover a meeting Monday night for my writing job like I usually do (but I’m obviously not sick enough to forgo blogging!). So, my editor said she’d try to find someone to fill in for me. Well, I prayed that this guy would be available, and after cleaning, I went to the computer, checked my e-mail and my editor replied with a message saying he can cover for me! Praise God!

That was definitely a fast answer to prayer. And there have been several others like that happen to me. But there have also been plenty of times when the answer or response from God is nowhere to be seen. I’ve even wondered if He heard me or if I forgot to say,”In Jesus’ Name,” at the end of the prayer.

After reading a devotional on prayer by Amy Carmichael several years ago, I realized that oftentimes God’s silence to our prayers is not always an unanswer (is that word? If not, I’m still using it.) Oftentimes His answer could be, “No,” “Not now,” or “Wait.” But aren’t these still answers? Scripture shows us numerous times where God has prolonged responding to His people’s prayers (Job, anyone?) for numerous reasons.

A specific time in my life when God left me wondering about my future only helped increase my faith and understanding in God’s awesome plan. He knows best, truly He does. But even during those times of uncertainty, when I’m wondering when or if the prayer will ever be answered, I am quickly reminded of one of the most encouraging stories in the Bible about prayer. It’s a parable Jesus told about a persistent widow and is way too good to not include in its entirety:

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8

Enough said.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ, prayer | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Take It to the Lord in Prayer Job 22:27

Posted by Job on March 27, 2008

Listen Watch

BIBLE MEDITATION: “Thou shalt make thy prayer unto Him, and He shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.” Job 22:27

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: Have you ever disagreed with someone and felt you were in the right? I have. What started out as a conversation turns into a confrontation, and the tension becomes so thick you can cut it with a knife. At that point, it’s time to separate before things disintegrate. Then when you separate, it’s time to communicate with the Lord. It’s when you get alone with God that the communion of conviction comes and what seemed to be confusion becomes crystal clear in His light. More often than not, the Holy Spirit has shown me that I was in the wrong and needed to ask forgiveness.

ACTION POINT: Have you had a disagreement with someone lately? It’s time to retreat, reflect, and receive what the Lord wants to tell you. Enter your prayer closet today.  share devotional with a friend   visit lwf.org

Do you know Jesus?

Posted in Christianity, devotional, prayer, religion | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Can Just Any Christian Interpret The Bible?

Posted by Job on March 2, 2008

Some Roman Catholics allege that the sola scriptura emphasis of the Reformation is wrong because it is not given to all men to be able to interpret the Bible, and as such there is a need for an official body – the church – with properly qualified and ordained individuals charged with reading and interpreting the Bible for everyone else. Proof of this, in the eyes of Roman Catholics, is the many differing doctrines espoused by the thousands of Protestant Christian denominations (by doing this they ignore the many doctrinal divisions and orders that exist within the Roman Catholic Church).

Well for the sake of arguing, let us presume that the Roman Catholics are correct in that not all born again Christians are capable of interpreting the Bible for themselves (Roman Catholics derisively refer to it as “special private interpretations” in a similar fashion that “special revelations” go to certain false prophets) . Let us say that it is, a gift of the Holy Spirit? If it is the case, and a Christian regards himself to be deficient in this area, all that he needs to do is obey John 14:13: ask God in the Name of Jesus Christ for the ability to interpret the Bible, and it, being a good thing, shall be granted to him!

An even better illustration of this point is Luke 11:1-13. In it, Jesus Christ states that if even a wicked evil sinner will not give his child a serpent, stone, or scorpion when asked by that child for a fish, egg, or bread but instead will give him the item asked for, how much more will God not withhold any good thing from a person? Verse 10 says “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” And who can deny that this is a good thing that God wants to grant for us when God Himself repeatedly commands us to study, learn, meditate upon, live, and UNDERSTAND His Word. (By contrast, where does it say that we are to have others do this for us, and to rely on them in this matter other than Him?) Why would God command us to do something and then not equip us to obey Him?

People, this really is not that hard. It is only a matter of receiving correct doctrine. And this is not just a problem in Roman Catholicism. In Protestant churches, there are these high and lifted up on a pedestal (by man) personalities – and not all of them celebrity megapreachers or renowned theologians! – that we feel we must put ourselves under and pledge ourselves to because of their alleged ability to comprehend the secret mysteries of the Word of God that God has seen fit to reveal only to them because of some special status before God that they possess. People, what is this but gnosticism, the heretical system based on the acquisition of secret knowledge? (This means, then, that the Roman Catholic system that claims that only church officials are capable of interpreting the Bible, is an institution built entirely on gnosticism, because in their estimation the church alone holds the secret knowledge that are the keys to salvation. So it is a bigger issue than their merely transgressing the specific commandment of God given to all Christians that they should diligently study the Bible.)

And then there is this prosperity/Word of Faith doctrine. The former encourages us to go to God and ask Him continually for our own desires. Even if it is not cars, money, homes, jobs, or someone else’s spouse, it is often some “spiritual gift” that we desire for our own purposes. The Bible did say that there would be those with the offices and gifts of prophecy, apostle, preaching, teaching, healing, tongues, etc., not that we would all be prophets, apostles, preachers, and teachers or have gifts of healing or speak in tongues. The closest that the Bible comes in that regard – and not close at all I might add – is that WE SHOULD SEEK THE BEST GIFTS. What better gift is there than being able to interpret God’s Word so that you might live an obedient Godly life and edify others with your knowledge of God’s Word and by your example? But those that teach the prosperity doctrine urge us to seek carnal things, not spiritual ones, and even when it technically is a spiritual gift, we make them carnal with our corrupt desires to want to be able to speak in tongues or heal people so that we might make a name for ourselves just as did the rebels at the Tower of Babel.

And the Word of Faith? Well, that doctrine does not even teach you to go to GOD and ask for things that you should not have and do not desire to use in your obedience and service to Him. That heretical doctrine based on selective out of context Bible snippets (Word of Faith people tell you that Abraham called things that were no as though they were, when the Bible specifically says that it was GOD who did such a thing, because when PEOPLE call things that are not as though they were it is called LYING which is a SIN, and God does not tempt us with SIN!) teaches you to create your own blessings, create your own miracles, based on some spiritual power that you allegedly possess. Now this power allegedly comes from 1) the Holy Spirit and 2) your portion of the power that was given to Adam to take dominion over the earth. Now the first, what fool regards Himself the master of God? If the Holy Spirit is God, then you are to be governed by the God that indwells you if you are indeed a born – again believer. God is not ruled by you, He does not bow down before you. The second: well you do realize that Adam fell don’t you? Do you wish to fall as he did? Further, the notion that we are all little gods (another verse that the Word of Faithers take out of context) all controlling our own little piece of nature is (Mormon) PANTHEISM. Now since everyone, including Christians, SIN, can you imagine the CHAOS that would result if we were all little gods running around controlling our own piece of creation? We would be starting earthquakes, tornadoes, sending lightning bolts, causing plagues and famines, etc. every time we were involved in minor traffic mishaps. Or more likely whenever we saw something that we weren’t supposed to have and coveted it. Now have any of you ever studied the pantheistic systems of Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, Babylonian, etc. mythology? One of the nature “gods” was always getting upset or jealous and chaos would ensue. If Word of Faith were true, Christians would have wiped out the human race during the apostolic period.

So Christian, if you are born again, God wishes for you to read and interpret the Bible and give your interpretation to others through your words and actions. If you are currently incapable of doing this, just ask God to help you and He will do so. (God is not a genie with a magic wand that will instantly make the knowledge appear in your head at your command; you will still have to labor and work at it, and the Bible makes it clear that studying God’s Word is a lifelong investment of time and sincere dedicated effort.) But here is an unsubtle hint to help you out: the Bible means what it says, and when all else fails adhere to the literal interpretation. If that is not good enough for you, then what you are lacking is not some spiritual gift, but rather the faith to believe what you are reading and the obedience to act on it.
If that is the case, actual salvation is what you are in need of. Please remedy that need today by following The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in apostasy, Bible, blasphemy, Christianity, false doctrine, false preacher, false preachers, false prophet, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, heresy, prayer, prosperity doctrine, Word of Faith | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christians Worldwide To Pray For Burmese Christians Facing Extreme Persecution

Posted by Job on March 2, 2008

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) will co-host a Day of Prayer for Burma in central London on Saturday 8 March as part of an international initiative to end the oppression of Burma’s minority populations, particularly the largely Christian Karen group.

The Global Day of Prayer for Burma is an annual event initiated in 1997 by Christians Concerned for Burma at the request of Burma’s democracy leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

It is hoped that several hundred people will join in the prayer day hosted by CSW, Partners Relief and Development, Karen Aid and the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People (CIDKP).

Speakers include Oddny Gumaer, author of a new book on Burma called Displaced Reflections and co-founder of Partners Relief and Development, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) working with Internally Displaced People in eastern Burma.

Benedict Rogers, CSW’s Advocacy Officer for South Asia and author of A Land Without Evil: Stopping the Genocide of Burma’s Karen People, will also speak.

Mr Rogers has made over 20 visits to Burma and its borderlands, including the Karen, Karenni, Shan and Mon peoples on the Thai-Burmese border, the Chin people on the India-Burma border and the Kachin on the China-Burma border. He has recently returned from visiting the Thai-Burmese border and Burmese refugees in Malaysia.

CSW’s Advocacy Director Tina Lambert said: “The Global Day of Prayer for Burma is a crucial event for focusing people’s thoughts and hearts on the crisis in Burma.

“With recent events including the regime’s brutal crackdown on protests last September, continuing offensives against civilians in Karen State and further human rights violations in all parts of the country, prayer for Burma is now even more vital than ever.”

CSW condemned the recent assassination of the Karen leader Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, and the regime’s efforts to rubber-stamp its rule by introducing a “sham constitution through a sham referendum which would exclude Burma’s major democratic and ethnic representatives”.

These developments combined “make it so important for churches around the world to remember Burma, and we hope many people will be able to join us in this important event in London”, she added.

On Sunday 9 March churches around the world are urged to pray for Burma during their services.

The Global Day of Prayer for Burma will take place at the Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW (nearest tubes: Victoria and Westminster) from 10am-4pm.

Posted in Burma, Christian Persecution, Christianity, prayer | Leave a Comment »

Praying With Hands Outspread

Posted by Job on March 2, 2008

When the first delegation of Jews returned to the [Promised Land],
they met discouragement. It is at times like this that you let down. It
has happened to many Christians. Someone has said that discouragement
is the devil’s greatest weapons. The Jews let down their guard and
intermarried with the surrounding heathen and enemies of God and
Israel. That in turn led to a practice of the abomination of the
heathen. The lack of separation plunged them into immorality and
idolatry. The returned remnant is in a sad, sordid, and squalid
condition.

Now there are several things Ezra could have done in this situation.
He could have broadcast a program on patriotism, run up the Israeli
flag, displayed the Star of David, and held great rallies on
patriotism. But he did not do that. He might have delivered a withering
blow against the intermarriage and immorality and idolatry by making
speeches, but Ezra did not do that either. Or he could have followed
another procedure: he could have formed an organization and become
involved in trying to recover these couples who had gone into this
immorality. That, my friend, is how we do it today. But I want you to
notice what he did. It is something that we don’t see much of in our
day.

And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my
mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat
down astonied.
(Ezra 9:3)

When all of this was brought to Ezra’s attention, and he found that it
was accurate, he was absolutely overwhelmed and chagrined that God’s
people would drop to such a low level.

Today we talk about the apostasy of the church – at least I do. But
I wonder if we are as exercised about it as we should be. Friends, it
is so easy for you and me to point an accusing finger at that which is
wrong, but notice what Ezra did. He was so overwhelmed by the sin of
his people that he tore his clothes and tore out his hair. Instead of
beginning a tirade against them (which would have been characteristic
of many people today), notice the next step Ezra took.

Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the
words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that
had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.
(Ezra 9:4)

There are many who profess to have a love for the Word of God, and they
have notebooks and marked-up Bibles to prove it. The interesting thing
is that their own lives are marked up and fouled up, and they are doing
nothing about it. They say that they believe the Word of God, but it
has no effect upon their lives whatsoever. They do not tremble at the
Bible. Like the man of the world, they say, “God is love.” And He is –
it is wonderful to know that God is love. But He is more than that. Our
God is a holy God. He will punish sin, and that is the thing that is
troubling Ezra.

Ezra sat astonished “until the evening sacrifice” because of the
transgression of those who had been carried away. Ezra was shocked by
this. Does this concern us? Really, today, how much are we involved?
How much do we believe the Word of God? My Christian friend, it would
pay you and me to go to a solitary place and ask ourselves these
questions: “Do I really believe God’s Word? Do I really obey it?”

And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness;
and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and
spread out my hands unto the Lord my God.
(Ezra 9:5)

What does it mean to spread out your hands to God? It means that you
are not concealing anything. It means when you go to God in prayer,
friend, that your mind and soul stand absolutely naked before Him. Ezra
went to God with his hands outspread. He was holding nothing at all
back from God. The apostle Paul put it this way, “I will therefore that
men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and
doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). We need to remember that in our prayer lives.

–From Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s Edited Messages on Ezra

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On The Prayer Of Jesus Christ In John 17:20-26

Posted by Job on February 11, 2008

Original Link: A Powerful Prayer

As I was reading the book of John the other day, God hit me upside the head with an amazing realization. Jesus prayed for me while He was on earth. In fact, He prayed for all of His followers:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” ~ John 17:20-26

Is anyone else taken aback by this? Prayer can be a powerful thing, but how powerful are the prayers of God Himself? The more I read scripture, the more I feel like I had become immune to seeing the beauty and glory of God in things that I’ve always known. The Holy Spirit has been restoring a sense of wonder in me. Lord, help me to not err on the side of know about You, but not knowing You.

Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ, prayer | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The Necessity Of Prayer By E. M. Bounds

Posted by Job on February 2, 2008

healtheland.bravehost.com/Docs/TheNecessityofPrayer.htm

Posted in Christianity, prayer | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Gospel For Asia: New India Believer Turns Successful Islands Evangelist!

Posted by Job on January 29, 2008

Giri, a new believer in West Bengal, brought more than 100 people to a saving knowledge of Jesus through his testimony. Read how the Lord used this believer to pave the way for Gospel for Asia missionaries to disciple the people.

I think you’ll agree with me when I say it is a blessing to hear how Asian believers
are so faithfully sharing the Gospel. They are excited because the Lord
has transformed their lives.

Yours for the lost,
K.P. Yohannan
K.P. Yohannan
Founder & President

Dashing along the waves in a small motorboat, Rasul Layak, Gospel
for Asia’s island ministry leader in West Bengal, India, traveled to
meet a small group of local believers for a prayer meeting. When he
stepped onto the shore he was shocked: There stood Giri Banke with 150
believers to greet him.

Giri, a criminal investigator, had received the love of Christ in
his life and was faithfully following the Lord, but Rasul had no idea
that Giri was involved in ministry as well. Since his transformation,
Giri had been sharing the Gospel in five surrounding villages, and many
people had come to Christ as a result.

Seeing that the number of believers had grown so large, Giri
realized they needed a full-time pastor to conduct worship services and
disciple the people. So he had called Rasul to come to a prayer meeting
to see the need for himself.

After the prayer meeting, Rasul went to visit Giri’s cousin, Priti
Rajat, who was also involved in outreach in a nearby area. She hosts
five prayer groups of about 50 people each who have recently come to
know the Lord through her witness. She also leads several women’s Bible
study groups.

As Rasul saw how the Lord was working through Giri and his family,
he knew it was time to send missionaries who could help minister to the
people’s long-term needs. When he returned home, he found three young
men who felt called to serve on the islands. They all had recently
graduated from GFA Bible colleges and were eager to begin ministry.

Gospel for Asia native missionaries provided relief for flood victims in West Bengal.

Learn more about the Indian state that is home to the islands where Giri and Priti live.

Posted in Asia, buddhism, Christianity, evangelism, Hinduism, India, Jesus Christ, missionary, prayer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Does It Mean To Pray Without Ceasing?

Posted by Job on January 23, 2008

(By John MacArthur) What does it mean to pray without ceasing?

Unceasing, incessant prayer is essential to the
vitality of your relationship to the Lord and your ability to function
in the world. But exactly what does it mean to pray without ceasing?

The first time someone hears about the concept of
praying without ceasing it may conjure up the image of Christians
walking around with their hands folded, heads bowed, and eyes closed,
bumping into things. While certain postures and specific times set
aside for prayer have an important bearing on our communication with
God, to “pray at all times” obviously does not mean we are to pray in
formal or noticeable ways every waking moment. And it does not mean
you’re supposed to devote yourself to reciting ritualistic patterns and
forms of prayer.

To “pray without ceasing” refers to recurring prayer,
not nonstop talking. Prayer is to be a way of life — you’re to be
continually in an attitude of prayer. It is living in continual
God-consciousness, where everything you see and experience becomes a
kind of prayer, lived in deep awareness of and surrender to Him. It
should be instant and intimate communication — not unlike that which we
enjoy with our best friend.

To “pray without ceasing” means when you are tempted,
you hold the temptation before God and ask for His help. When you
experience something good and beautiful, you immediately thank the Lord
for it. When you see evil around you, you ask God to make it right and
to use you toward that end, if that is His will. When you meet someone
who does not know Christ, you pray for God to draw that person to
Himself and to use you to be a faithful witness. When you encounter
trouble, you turn to God as your Deliverer.

Thus life becomes a continually ascending prayer: all
life’s thoughts, deeds, and circumstances become an opportunity to
commune with your Heavenly Father. In that way you constantly set your
mind “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth”
(Colossians 3:2).

(Today’s post is adapted from John’s book Alone With God [Victor, 1995], pp. 15-17)

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