prayer

Prayers (A Few Thoughts and Discernments)

1st Thessalonians:5:17: Pray without ceasing.

We are instructed to pray. There should be a point in time where our prayer life begins, and continues without end. Our prayers are our communication with God. Prayer should not become a one-way conversation. We are quick to speak and make our needs known, yet, slow to receive, slow to hear, and quick to dismiss that small, still voice.

Prayer is a wonderful tool (for lack of a better word in this instance). It is an entrance into the presence of God. There are times it is a solemn, introspective experience, when mourning, confessing, or pleading for His helping hand. Other times it is informal, such as giving thanks, giving praise.

Prayer is not just an individual experience. There are times we enter prayer as a group, in agreement. This is sometimes referred to as corporate prayer. Many have gathered together and recited the Lord’s prayer, prayed in agreement at the opening of a church service, or even at the close of a church service.

A question came to mind during prayer and it is a question I must share and ask: What if all your prayers were answered instantly? My immediate reaction was surprise, wonder, awe, and excitement. I know God is able to do all I can ask and more.

Ephesians:3:20: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us

I also know there are times we ask amiss. There are times when our faith waivers, times when we are weak, times when His will must be done, because our requests are contrary to His way. I know He hears the prayers of the righteous. The thought that really came to mind was: “What if all your prayers were answered instantly, all you need to do is ask”?

As this question became clearer, the big picture came into focus. This is where I began to see some shortcomings of my own prayer life. Should all my prayers that evening have been answered, me and my family would have been blessed abundantly, our debts would be gone, our health would have been assured, our church would be blessed and grow in number and would have reached the lost of our community, just to name a few. These are great things and I still pray these things will come to pass.

The problem was not in what I was asking. The problem is, my prayer life would have shown the deficiencies of my prayer life. My neighbors would not have prospered as I did, and we are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. My enemies, or those who are against me would not have received any type of blessing, there would have been no reconciliation between us. The other area churches would not have received as our church would have. Those that I work with would not have been any better off. There would still be nations at war, our state and national leaders would still be untouched, and our brothers and sisters in other nations would still be suffering persecution without relief or any sign of comfort.

As complete as our prayer life may seem at any time, there will always be more that we can do. Our reach must exceed the boundaries of our home, our state, and our nation. We must not be guilty any longer of praying in manner that resembles “bless me and my four and no more”. Through the gift of prayer and the blood of Christ we are able to go boldly before the throne of Almighty God and make our petitions known to Him. We have the ability to ask not only for ourselves, but many others in need, faces you may never see or meet. We must pray for our enemies and our neighbors.

Let me end with this thought: If your prayers were answered instantly, what would your deficiency be? What would everyone else see? Who would be left out? Who would still be in need? I hope to encourage you as I have been encouraged, during a simple prayer where I not only spoke but listened as well. May God bless and keep you, and as always, to Jesus be the glory!

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Failing

Prior to salvation through Jesus Christ, we fail. We fail Him, we fail to see, we fail to hear, we fail to understand, we fail to seek His word. Instead, we seek the advice of friends, we look for a better relationship from the world, our time is spent on self. God is neglected.

Romans:3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Failing God is not just for those who have not yet accepted Jesus as Savior. Failure is only permanent for those who die in their sin, those who do not confess and turn from their sin, those who do not accept a relationship with Christ. Those who proclaim Jesus, confess Jesus is Lord, have faithful church attendance, do good for others, they fail too. The difference is, there is grace for the believer. For the unbeliever there is forgiveness. Thank God that we all have a way, through Jesus and His work to be cleansed.

1st John:1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1st John:1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1st John:1:10: If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

While this could be a broad generalization suited for many, I am directing this article at myself. Often, Christians are called hypocrites, holier than thou, and two-faced. Let me confess to all who take the time to read this, I fail. Everyday it seems I find a new way to fail. There are times I fall flat on my face, inconvenient times when I have to “practice what I preach”. Still, I fail.

Recently, I realized a new way I have failed. I have failed to reach those close to me, my friends. I have not taken opportunities to present the gospel, instead, I have made the assumption they know my life, what I believe, and considered it enough. There are friends I have not spoken to in a very long time, friends I have lost touch with, people I may not have another chance to present the gospel to. Failure to take every chance to present the gospel can have eternal consequences, especially for those who do not have a relationship with Jesus and never knowing if we have a tomorrow.

As much as this article is for me, it is just as much for my friends, family, and anyone else who cares to read this. We all fail, in different ways. We all fail to different degrees. One thing that does not fail is the salvation offered by God through Jesus Christ. Today, I will try harder, and even harder the following days. Even on the days I do not feel as though I have failed, I will bow before the Lord in prayer, confess my sin, ask forgiveness and the strength to do better with every day I am given. Time is short, with no guarantee. I am sorry for the times I have failed, so now I will do better to rectify the situation.

I have set up an email account for this blog. If I can be of help to you, if you need prayer, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me: prophetic.steps@yahoo.com or you can comment or send a message to the facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/propheticsteps

We have all failed, we have all fallen short of God’s glory. We must cast those things aside and carry on that His strength be seen, that He be given the glory, for when we are weak, then He is strong.

I Stand with Israel

We all have opinions, and we base those opinions on our beliefs, don’t we? As a professing Christian your beliefs must stem from the Bible, the Word of God. Accepting Jesus as your Savior is an act of salvation, yet, there is more to it than “just salvation”. If you are born again, you (the old man) has died to this world and your new life is found in Jesus. You are transformed, made new, and begin a new walk, not for yourself but for the One who died for you. Old things have passed away. This should include old habits, thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs. Unless it is found in the Bible, what is the basis for your belief?

Your Savior, Jesus Christ, is the Son of God. Do you understand He was also a Jew? Not only was He a Jew, He was crucified as King of the Jews. If you have a prejudice against the Jewish people, how can you profess a Savior who is also Jewish? I know there is a school of thought called “Replacement Theology” that attempts (poorly I might add) to remove “Israel” and replace it with the “church”. This is another anti-semitic tactic used to attack the Jewish people and their land, Israel.

In the book of Matthew you can trace the Jewish heritage of Jesus, and be assured that He is Jewish. It is written He and His family participated in Jewish feasts, He taught in the Jewish temple, was born in Bethlehem (a town in Israel), and was referred to as the Passover Lamb. It does not get more Jewish than that. The Bible further states that Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

God, from the very beginning, chose a sacred place where His Son would give a sacrifice that all who believed on Him would be saved. Of all the lands in the world, God chose the land of Israel. He gave that land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their seed (the Jewish people) forever. History will tell you the Jewish people have been taken into captivity, have been scattered from that land, and the land has been divided, which is true. Many people have inhabited that land, have ruled over that land, but the land has never belonged to anyone but the Jewish people. It is there in that land of Israel, from the capital city of Jerusalem, where the King of kings, Jesus will rule and reign. This is why we should continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

God stated in His Word whoever touches the Jewish people touches the apple of His eye. He also said though the land would appear to be dead, He would once again bring His people into their own land. That happened in 1948. This should be enough to show that Israel and the Jewish people are important to God and they are still in His plans. Some of those plans include wars. There is the Psalm 83 war. There is the war of Gog/Magog. There is the battle of Armageddon. War has been a very real part of their history and a very sure part of their future. All of these wars will work to accomplish God’s purpose, not just for Israel, but the world also.

Israel is becoming a cup of trembling to the nations of the world. They are becoming a burdensome stone, not just to the world, but their allies also. All of this has been foretold in the Word of God. So, it should be no surprise to see the lack of support they are receiving. What is surprising, to me, is the swiftness in which Israels allies are distancing themselves and the boldness many people are showing by supporting the enemies of Israel. There is a very important verse from Genesis each person should keep in mind:

Genesis:12:3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

For me, it does not matter what the worlds opinions of Israel are. Throughout the Bible you find that God favors Israel and the Jewish people. God said in His Word that He is married to the nation Israel. God also says the Jewish people are His chosen people. These reasons alone should be enough for you to support Israel. The plans God has for His people, and their land should tell you where your support should be. Today, I tell you that I stand with Israel and the Jewish people, do you?

Where Do You Stand?

There are so many issues within the church today. I am referring to the church in a general sense. As the times change, so do the people within the church. The most important thing is this: The message must remain the same. The Word of God cannot be infringed upon, it is perfect and perfection does not change.

The people in the church change, they grow older, new people come, some people go, others pass from this life to the next. As the church experiences a generational change, which has been occurring for quite some time now, one should expect to see some differences. For example, the implementation of technology, a change in music, a change in the way a physical church building looks on the inside and the outside. Even the order of the services change, the times of service change, but again, the message must remain the same; the message must be the gospel of Christ Jesus.

Mark:16:15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

We see the church changing in many ways, but do we see or sense the change within the church? I will not suggest this applies to every church, but I will infer that it applies to many. Maybe one of the most important questions that can be asked is “why do YOU go to church”? Do you go because it is expected from you? Do you go to make someone else happy? Do you go to keep up your appearance? Has the church become your social club? Do you attend so you can sing, so you can feel better, to be seen, so you can lead? What is your true motive?

You see, many people go to church, but not everyone goes for the same reason. This question came to me several days ago, and initially I was shocked that I would ask myself “why are you going to church”. My answer, and I hope many of you who read this can agree, was “to worship my Lord, Jesus”. As much as I go to learn, first and foremost is to worship and praise the One who has offered salvation, to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Secondly, I go to learn of Him, to receive instruction in righteousness, to receive His word.

You see, there is a definite divide within the church. There are those who have a relationship with Jesus, who hunger and thirst after Him. This is where I hope to always be until the day I am with Him. This is what the church should be, in my very humble opinion. A place of worship, instruction, prayer, and praise.

On the other side of this divide are those who have religion. They are there for the ritual. They are there in body, performing tasks as though it is a menial job. Though the body is found in the pew, the heart is off doing other things. Often their joy is found outside the doors of the church, and their pained grimace on the inside. There is a spirit of religion that says “I am here, I am doing my job, I never miss a service which makes me better than most of the others here”.

Religion, by appearance, resembles a relationship with Jesus. Religion is a dangerous game. We must be honest about our intents and reasons.

Proverbs:21:2: Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

If you have read this and asked yourself the same questions, please take the time to prayerfully think on these things and seek the truth. Find where you stand, then let the Lord order your steps. It can be easy to slide into a rut, but staying there becomes a decision. There is nothing more important than our relationship with Jesus. We must pursue this relationship, truthfully, sincerely, and prayerfully.

One Mind, One Accord

How often do you find total agreement with other people? I often find myself in agreement with others, but not always for the same reason. There are times I can see someone else’s point of view, but I do not agree with their assessment. Just because people laugh at the same joke does not mean they find the same thing funny.

This is one of the many problems plaguing the body of Christ today. I have found myself in different congregations, in different denominations, among friends and strangers, and have discussed some of those differences. If this were a solvable problem, the many denominations of churches would be reduced to one.

Here are some of the more simple separations: Do you believe the Bible is literal, mostly literal, allegorical, or simply spiritual? Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God or do you believe it is a good book, written by men with God in mind, or is it a collection of religious writings meant to inspire, guide, or put people into a position of servitude as a means of control? Do you believe the Bible begins with Genesis and end with Revelation? Do you believe the Apocrypha must be inserted? You see, these questions have already began to separate you from many others. Just as you may believe one of those answers, there are many others who will vehemently disagree with you.

Now you begin to see the importance of the following verses:

Philippians:1:27: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Philippians:2:2: Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

The church has become divided on homosexuality, abortion, marriage, and race. These are simple concepts in light of God’s word, yet we as the body of Christ fail to get it right. These issues and degrees of separation will not get better with time. As a matter of fact, they continue to get worse and the separation becomes greater. The only answer, in my very humble opinion, must be submission to God’s Word. That seems like a simple enough answer, yet, without proper understanding it cannot be achieved.

Today I simply ask that you pray for the churches. Prayerfully ask for Godly knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Pray for strength to stand strong on truth. Pray for humble submission to God’s word, God’s will and the Holy Spirit. Pray for discernment. Pray for the leaders of the body of Christ, the burden is great for those in positions of authority, as is the judgment they assume in taking positions of leadership.

Proverbs:14:12: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs:16:25: There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

When you make a decision, do not seek worldly wisdom. Let God be your guide and seek His wisdom, prayerfully, in His word. If it glorifies God, if it agrees with His word, if it magnifies Jesus, if it separates you from this world, you are on the right track. Seek Him and you will find, ask and it shall be given. To Jesus be the glory!

Seeking Him

How do we seek God? The easiest answer, of course, is by praying. We also seek Him in His word. As Christians these are two of greatest things we can be doing, praying and reading the Bible. These should be a part of our daily lives. If this is part of your daily life, the question must then become, are we really seeking Him?

All too often our daily rituals become habit which then turn from routine to mundane. It is easy for prayer to become a one-sided conversation, a monotone speech with little or no urgency, not differing much from the repetition of the previous days. We should not be so complacent. Do we pick up the Bible and read verse after verse with much the same attitude? Are we just going through the motions? If there were not times this described me perfectly, I would be afraid to ask these questions, but I have been guilty. If you are falling or have fallen into this type of pattern, let today be the day of change.

Hebrews:11:6: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

This verse is a great reminder and motivator. He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. Diligently means to be attentive, persistent, constant in effort. This should be the description of our pursuit. We must be actively looking for Him and to Him.

If you go looking for a dry well, there is a good chance you will find a dry well. Yet, according to the verse we must be faithful when seeking Him. Without faith it is impossible to please God. If you seek Him in prayer and in His word with faith believing, you will be rewarded! You have His word on that. What a joyous occasion to go expecting, to go seeking, to go faithfully and to be rewarded by the Master. Let the beauty of the day be your thanks to Him, let the love of family become His goodness toward you, let the coming storms be an opportunity for Him to be your shelter and strength. He can always be found, when you search, diligently!