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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

BEING ALERT TO BEAR WITNESS

Have you ever realized too late that you missed an opportunity to witness? Most of us have done that. What do you do about it? I suggest that you pray.
Of course, the enemy of our souls is doing everything he can to debilitate you with guilt feelings. You need to confess that as sin. Agree with God and thank Him for His forgiveness. Then ask Him to help you be alert for the next opportunity. The enemy may be telling you that God will never trust you again. But Satan is a liar. In fact, I have noticed that God uses missed chances to bear witness, to alert me to another opportunity coming up.
Another important factor in being alert for opportunities to share a witness for Christ is regularly praying for lost people. Have you made a prayer list of lost people God has brought into your life. This will help you be ready the next time God opens a door for you to tell someone about Jesus. 
But the most important thing you can do to be ready to give a witness is to pray without ceasing. There are a number of applications to this command given us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. But the most pertinent to this point is praying for people all around you. Develop the habit of praying for everyone you see when you walk down the street, into a store, into your office or the bank, when you are filling your car with gas or returning books to the library. As you pray you will begin to see people as God sees them. You will be more alert to their longings and hurts and needs. And you will be more in tune with the Holy Spirit as He prompts you to speak and gives you the words to say.




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

THE MOTIVATION OF PRAYER

There are many legitimate motives for praying. But it is important for us to remember that the ultimate purpose of prayer is the purpose of life for a believer. I have written before on Psalm 27:4. It has been a powerful encouragement in my life. This is one of the Scriptures that shines light on the purpose of prayer. It reads,
"One thing have I asked of the Lord. That will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple."
The first purpose of prayer is life-long intimacy with God. David asked to live in the house of the Lord. Even when we come to God with needs, we must first seek God's nearness in our suffering, in distress, in need. His promised nearness, intimate fellowship with Him in Jesus, is better than the relief of our suffering. Recognizing God's presence erupts into worship. We are not to come to God simply because we desire good things He may give us. We come to gaze in wonder at His beauty. He is the heart and focus of joy."
And we come to inquire of God. Inquiring in His temple does not mean we listen to God so we can decide if we want to follow Him. We seek God's wisdom so our thinking, and indeed our lives, will be transformed in His presence. This may be something you struggle with. What is the point of prayer if I am to pray for His will rather than mine? But self-centered prayer misses all that is ultimately good and right and satisfying in life.

Let me ask you who read, to pray for my blog. I believe what I have written today and on other days is crucial for your prayer life. Next week I will write on being prayerfully alert for opportunities to speak about Christ. And I have begun writing a blog for the week after that, on praying about things we cannot understand or accept about God. This is actually part of the book Spiritual Intelligence that I hope to publish this year. Pray that God will use these truths in our lives.

Monday, January 11, 2016

PRAYING FOR BOOKS AND AUTHORS

I remember hearing Roy Fish, Evangelism Professor at Southwestern Seminary, speak at an Evangelism Conference. In the middle of his message he said something that struck home for many of us in a way we had not really thought about before. He said, "One of the most powerful witnesses you can ever give to someone is giving them a good book to read.”
Have you ever thought about books as a tool for preparing people to receive a witness of the gospel? In one of the essays in his book, God In The Dock, C.S. Lewis said, "The young atheist needs to be careful what he reads, if he wants to maintain his faith."
I have a list of writers that I pray for every day. My list includes some of those authors who have written books that have powerfully impacted my life. I pray every day for Davis Bunn, Phillip Yancey, Tim Keller, Bodie and Brock Thoene and others. I also pray for God to use books whose authors are no longer alive. I need to add to this list. I also have some writers who are just beginning to write. What is God preparing to do through them?

And now I have a personal and practical prayer request for you. I just finished the first draft of a third novel in a series. And a non-fiction book I have been working on for several years about ready to be released. Pray with me that God's Spirit will move on and through these books.
And in preparation for the release of these books the Kindle edition of my other books are being offered free this weekend, beginning Thursday, January 14, 2016. Share this with your friends and family. Pray for many to take advantage of this. And pray for God to use these books in the lives of many people. These books can be accessed at Amazon.com on the book page of my website.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

PRAYING HISTORY

At the beginning of a new year it is worthwhile to consider God's perspective of time. While we indeed pray to the God who cares about you every day and every moment, we also pray to God who holds all of history in his hands.
In Isaiah 46:10,11 God says, "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose. . .  I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.’"
God sits above time. And He hears and answers prayer from that perspective. Look with me at Romans 8:26-30.
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."
This is a powerful passage to meditate on at this or any time of year. I am convinced that you will get more out of this by memorizing these verses and praying over them than by anything I can write here.
But let me point out some important truths about prayer in this passage. When does God hear and answer your prayers? God who is omniscient heard your prayer before the beginning of time. In His great love God invited you to pray before the foundation of the universe. God planted you as a prayer warrior in this moment of history. And He does whatever needs to be done down through the tapestry of history to answer your prayer.
God created beings that could love Him by giving us choice. But angels and men have chosen evil over God. And now we live in a broken world. Yet God has promised to weave His goodness into a tapestry of good in the lives of His own people. A poem on John 8:32 from my book I AM has the lines
"Then you will come to know and understand
All that you longed for, but you couldn’t be."
God is working everything together in your life for good.
And God is weaving the glorious tapestry of your eternal destiny. The final verse that I printed from Romans 8 tells us that God has justified those whom He has called. And everyone whom He has justified, He has already glorified. God also hears your prayer from the end of time. And He sees His completed glory in your life and in all of history.  

http://daveswatch.com/