Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2. Growing In Prayer – The Inspired, Authoritative, Inerrant Word of God

16 All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; 17 so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.  --2 Timothy 3:16-17 (AM)

I love my God and Father—Jesus Christ—and the Holy Spirit.  I can’t remember when I didn’t love the Lord.  I grew in an environment of love; strong discipline, sternness, obedience and the very gentle love of my family.  I grew in simple faith, family tradition and a child’s total belief that was taught to me by the adults in my life.  When I married in 1982 a Godly man steeped in God’s Word, I began a life of transformation.

I am now 85.  In the past 36 years I have studied the Word of God…..not just reading it, but studied and I have only begun.  The mysteries of God are tantalizing, invigorating, inspiring and filled with promises that bring peace, comfort and when Jesus speaks of His joy; I am filled with the beautiful fragrance of His love.

As I studied God’s Word, books, television and radio I began to claim I John 2:27.  I am confident the anointing of the Holy Spirit, whose illuminating power will enable me to distinguish truth from error.  The Holy Spirit began to reveal God’s truth to me.  I began to understand His character (Exodus 34:6-7), I began to claim His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), I understood his power (Acts 4:33), and most of all I began to understand His love (I John4:7-8).  As imperfect as I am, lack of knowledge and understanding, sinful, poor choices and mistakes I have made; He loves me.  In spite of all my imperfections His Word reassures me.  He loves me when I am unlovable. 

God’s Word has brought me from a time I could not pray to praying ceaselessly and I live in the power of prayer.  When He doesn’t seem to answer, I believe it is not His timing or He is teaching me in the way of His truth.  I never doubt my God.  When He does not heal the wracking pain of my body (degenerative scoliosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis and heart valves), I remember how Jesus suffered to give me salvation.

The life of a Christian is not easy.  There are many who have suffered the ultimate to believe and serve the one living God, creator of all things and eternal life with HIM.  He is always with us (Isaiah 41:10)

The inspired Word of God, the Bible, reveals God’s glorious plan for sinful mankind and his salvation.  God is sovereign and this truth is firmly established in the inerrant Word of God.  We grow in confidence of this truth through prayer and the relationship we grow with HIM.   Jesus said in John 14:6; Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.  The Bible is abundantly clear that God provides the One True Way. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

1. Growing In Prayer – A Clean Sheet of Paper

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.   –I Peter 5:6-7

Happy New Year!  It is a New Year and I have come to think on a New Year as a clean sheet of paper.  Casting the year I have just lived behind and seeking in all things this Glorious, magnificent New Beginnings to write on this wonderful “Clean Sheet of Paper”.  I once read something like this, it is not as important what we are at this moment in time; it is what we are becoming.

You may have had a marvelous year, with joys, excitement and all things falling into place as you walked through the year.  Or, according to our Compass Prayer Wall things may not have gone so well and you felt like the World is out of control, families are out of control, life is out of control and most of all you may feel if your finances were only fixed everything else would be fine.

That’s why, at least in my thinking, to visualize a clean sheet of paper… beginnings.  The past is past; it cannot be changed whether it was joyous or down trodden.  In faith God takes care of our yesterdays; in hope He takes care of our tomorrows.  We only have to live today!  As Goethe, the German philosopher put it:  “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least”.

Life is a process.  We either grow in the upper realm to become more like Jesus or we choose the world around us.  I have been seeking a life for Jesus since I was a small child.  I am not perfect and I have made many mistakes; foolish, dumb, and insensitive but never calculating.  As I walked this journey now for 85 years, I have discovered many truths.

God has given us over 3,000 promises in scripture.  All the provisions of God are in the promises of God.  Faith believes, Hope anticipates, and patience quietly waits.  Why do we worry about yesterday?  If we had joy yesterday, we worry whether we will have joy tomorrow.  If we have troubles today, we implant those worries on tomorrow.  The French philosopher Montaigne said, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.”  Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.[1]  

I have decided, once again, to claim the promise of I Peter 5:6-7.  We so often forget verse 6, “humbling ourselves under the sovereign, mighty hand of God.”  I want to live my clean sheet of paper, my new beginnings humbly with verse 7; “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”.

I close with one of my favorite verses, I John 4:7-8 (AMP); Beloved, let us [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience]. The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.]

What are you going to do with your Clean Sheet of Paper . . . . . your New Beginnings? 

 Happy New Year!

[1] Calm My Anxious Heart, by Linda Dillow, p. 129