intimacy

So, What Is Prayer?

Prayer is seeking to experience Jesus in ALL that we do.  Driving on the interstate, shoveling dirt, changing diapers are all opportunities to be praying without ceasing because they are all opportunities to live in the Spirit at the same time we are living in this physical world.

Prayer is seeking to experience Jesus in ALL that we do. Driving on the interstate, shoveling dirt, changing diapers are all opportunities to be praying without ceasing because they are all opportunities to live in the Spirit at the same time we are living in this physical world.

PRAYER!

I don't know about you, but that instantly puts an image in my brain of heads bowed and eyes closed, but I do not believe that is what the New Testament teaches prayer really is. Paul said we should be "praying always" - if we did that, how could we ever get anything done? It would be kind of hard to drive to work with our eyes closed and our head bowed, don't you think?

Further, have you ever read the account in the Gospels where the disciples were unable to cast out a demon, then Jesus Himself cast out the demon? When the disciples asked Him why they could not cast the demon out, Jesus told them that this kind of demon is cast out only by prayer.

BUT READ THE PASSAGE CAREFULLY! Jesus Himself DID NOT PRAY when He cast the demon out! The event is recorded in three different gospels and none of the writers says Jesus prayed first. (But I think He was praying...)

So, what is prayer?

It is an attitude of humble and intimate sharing of the relationship
we have with God as we go through our daily lives. 

It is simply remembering we are not in this life, facing the circumstances of life, by ourselves and with our own resources. We are in union with God.

My personal conviction is that the disciples could not cast out the demon because they were using "prayer" or the name of "Jesus" as a formula or method (which we are all prone to do).  Ours is a journey of faith in a Person. We do not reduce this incredible reality to a question of "what works" but "Who works".  Prayer is seeking to experience Jesus in ALL that we do. Driving on the interstate, shoveling dirt, changing diapers are all opportunities to be praying without ceasing because they are all opportunities to live in the Spirit at the same time we are living in this physical world.

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After the Cross, Now What?

...and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

...and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

I was listening to a famous Bible teacher this morning. He is a good guy and greatly respected. He shared how he wanted to be known as a herald of the Gospel - the Good News that God has brought to us! And what is the good news? He shared this: The Good News is that Jesus was crucified for our sins, died and was buried, and rose again the third day! Isn't that good news? Our sins have been forgiven and we are going to heaven! Yes, my dear friend. You are correct! Our sins have been forgiven and we are going to heaven. Please know, that my heart would NEVER be to throw stones at that glorious good news, but I do want people to know that it is even "GOODER" than that!

If that was all there is to the Gospel, then that is not really going to
encourage us in the dark days we encounter in a fallen world.

I am going to heaven, but I am experiencing hell right now! If all the Gospel is, is that I get to go to heaven someday, then what happens in the meantime? Well, in the meantime it is going to be a MEAN TIME! I will be left to slug it out in this fallen world with my own resources, which are simply not sufficient to overcome the death that is on my plate on a daily basis.

Thankfully, there is more to the Gospel. The "finished work" of the Gospel was not finished at the cross! There was more for Jesus to do! First, He ascended to the throne to sit down. It was then, and only then that He could send the other Comforter - by the way the Greek word for "another" is another of the same kind! It is the coming of the Holy Spirit that allows the finished work of Jesus to continually be worked out in our own lives as we trust Him by faith to be our everything.

As we live on this planet, we exchange our strength for His strength, our knowledge for His wisdom, our independence for His guidance, our affections for His love.... and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

Now, that is really good news! We must take care to understand and help others understand, that the Gospel is not just a set of historical facts, but the experience of a relationship with God because those historical facts bring me to a Person who offers to be all that He is to all that I need as I trust Him.

Now that is GOOD NEWS!

We Were Never Designed to Live by Doing Good, and not Doing Evil.

One of the most amazing verses I have ever read is Romans 5:20. Before you read it though, let's think together.

When as a parent you made a rule: "There will be no running in the house!" Why did you make that rule? Because you intended that this new rule would stop the kids from running in the house, right? How did that work for you?

When our government made a rule, "There shall be no murder" - why did our government make that rule? They did it of course to stop murder. They did it to stop the faulty behavior. How did that work?

So when we as humanity make a law, we do it to curb behavior... our motive is to alter behavior, right? Otherwise, why would be make a law?

Now let's read Romans 5:20. "... the law came in that sin might INCREASE!" Did you see it? God made the law, knowing full well, that the law would NOT alter behavior, and that in fact through the giving of the law our behavior as human beings would in fact --- GET WORSE!

This happens because as Romans 7 says, "the power of sin uses the law to stir up more sin!" The problem is not with the law, for the law is "holy, perfect, and good." The problem is with the power of sin that thrives on law like gasoline poured on a fire."

Don't look at the wall behind your computer screen! Do you hear me? You better not look at the wall behind your computer screen! Most of you have already looked at the wall as soon as the command came forth. Others of you are pondering why it is so wrong to look at the wall and will soon join your other wall viewers! Some of you will now stare at the wall all day!!! This is how the power of sin works!

And yet, still God gave "the law" knowing full well that this would happen to us. God gave the law knowing that "sin would INCREASE!"

That tells us that God is not afraid of sin! He is more powerful than sin. It can increase and He will still take care of it! WOW! We have a big God.

That begs a question however, and that is "Why?". Why would God give the law knowing full well that we were going to sin and sin and sin in the giving of the law?

My friends, I believe it was so we would get sick of that law system and pursue God for another economy. I believe it was so we would get sick of sinning and cry out for another way. You do know, that we were NEVER designed to live by doing good and not doing evil. That is an economy that Adam plunged us into when he ate from that tree. We were NEVER intended to live by right and wrong.

We were created to live in an intimate and dependent relationship with God! We were designed to live by a Person, the Spirit of God, not by an outside, lifeless, economy of demand! Praise God, through the Person and Work of Jesus, God established a New Covenant... a covenant of relationship with a Person, none other than God Himself Who now lives in and through us as we trust Him by faith.

It is this glorious new way of life that allows us to fulfill our intended design to be experiencers and expressers of God to His own glory. This is true worship and a life that is satisfying and rewarding.

Prayer: What It Is - and Is Not

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PRAYER!

I don't know about you, but that word instantly puts an image in my brain of heads bowed and eyes closed, but I do not believe that is what the New Testament teaches prayer really is. Paul said we should be "praying always" - if we did that, how could we ever get anything done? It would be kind of hard to drive to work with our eyes closed and our head bowed, don't you think?

Further, have you ever read the account in the Gospels where the disciples were unable to cast out a demon, then Jesus Himself cast out the demon? When the disciples asked Him why they could not cast the demon out, Jesus told them that this kind of demon is cast out only by prayer.

BUT READ THE PASSAGE CAREFULLY! Jesus Himself DID NOT PRAY when He cast the demon out! The event is recorded in three different gospels and none of the writers says Jesus prayed first. (But i think He was praying...)

So, what is prayer? It is an attitude of humble and intimate sharing of the relationship we have with God as we go through our daily lives... it is simply remembering we are not in this life, facing the circumstances of life, by ourselves and with our own resources. We are in union with God.

My personal conviction is that the disciples could not cast out the demon because they were using "prayer" or the name of "Jesus" as a formula or method (which we are all prone to do)... Ours is a journey of faith in a Person. We do not reduce this incredible reality to a question of "what works" but "Who works"... Prayer is seeking to experience Jesus in ALL that we do. Driving on the interstate, shovelling dirt, changing diapers; these are all opportunities to be praying without ceasing because they are all opportunities to live in the Spirit at the same time we are living in this physical world.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

In the various tasks of life, there are usually many different ways that we can accomplish the tasks at hand. For example, when mowing my lawn. I can edge first, then, weed-eat and trim, and then mow... or I could mow first, then weed-eat and trim, and then edge... or - you get the idea!

When God created man, there are of course many various ways that He could have done so. When He created the birds, and the sky, and the earth the method He chose was "to speak" those things into being.

But when it came to man, God chose a very different method. He made man with His own hands. Significant? I think so. God made our bodies special and unique. As such, we are to treat them with respect and dignity. The human spine, if you have ever studied it, is a hugely powerful apologetic for the existence of God. We are truly, as Ps 139 says, "Fearfully and wonderfully made."

But let's go further.... that fearfully and wonderfully made body was not yet alive. Here again, God could have just spoke life AT US and we would have been alive. Instead, He chose to "breathe the breath of life into us." Significant? Absolutely, and missed by so many of us. God never does anything without meaning and purpose.

May I suggest to you that you ponder how intimate this method of bringing us to life was? He literally "kissed us into life." And what is a kiss? It is an intimate expression of love. God did not speak us into life, He kissed us into life with a kiss of love. He wanted us to know from the very beginning of our existence, that our purpose in being created was that we were created to be loved by God! HE LOVED YOU FROM THE VERY BEGINNING AND LOVES YOU STILL TODAY! His intention in our very creation was that we would literally breathe His love. WOW!