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Monday, August 29, 2016

PRAYING FOR FRUITFULNESS

Modern Americans often have the strangest notion of prayer. Much prayer in these days is an extension of our materialist convictions. You can hear preaching, here and in many countries around the world, that poses provision as the primary purpose of prayer. This is often taken to the extremes. "God give me a Cadillac." "God let me win the lottery."
But according to Jesus, the primary purpose of prayer is fruitfulness. In John 15:7 Jesus gave us a wonderful promise of prayer. He said, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. 
But Jesus continued in verse 8, "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." The purpose of prayer is fruitfulness. Today I read day 10 in the little booklet, 40 Days of Prayer, on the fruit of the Spirit. It reminded me that bearing fruit begins with my character and continues in the significance of my life. God is planting His seeds in my life to touch others and impact the world.
The provision of the Father is a foundational assumption of prayer. You don't need to spend much time praying for provisions. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. But fulfillment and joy do not come from worldly possessions, pleasure, or success.
Jesus continues in John 15:11, "I have told you this that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full. Joy comes from purpose and usefulness. Are you praying for fruitfulness? Or are you praying junk?


Monday, August 15, 2016

MANIPULATION or FAITH

The subject of my blog this week sounds a little like it belongs in my other blog, thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/ rather than watchininprayer. But in fact, this deals with the attitude that must drive our prayers. Is your life, are your prayers, driven by faith or by the need to manipulate circumstances, people or even God?
Do you approach Your Circumstances in Faith or the desire to Manipulate?
When you face painful circumstances, it is difficult if not impossible not to ask God to change them. In Fact, prayer can be a statement that you are trusting God to improve your circumstances. Can you imagine Joseph in the Old Testament not praying for his release as He languished in prison? I'm sure he cried out to God for relief. But instead God used him in the prison. And God chose to use his situation to promote him to the highest position in the land.
In Philippians 2:5 and following Paul says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Jesus voluntarily left heaven and all its glory to be born in a manger, to have no place to lay His head, to be rejected by men, to be unjustly condemned and crucified for you. In John 12:27,28 He said, "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason that I came to this hour." God has also determined your circumstances, however painful. Can you trust God to use you in the situations where He has planted you?
Do you trust God to work in Other People's lives rather than trying to manipulate them? When you and I are driven to change someone else, we need to ask ourselves if we are trying to manipulate them for their benefit or for ourselves. This may be difficult to determine because we are so quick to justify our behavior. Even if our motives are always pure, we must trust other people to God. Have you noticed that God gives people the freedom to sin and even to reject Him? Without such freedom there could be no true righteousness? It is difficult to watch someone you love ruin their life. And realizing that you cannot manipulate them to do what you want becomes a motivation to pray. Faith trusts and cries out to God to speak to their hearts to draw them to repent and voluntarily turn to Him. Only God can do what needs to be done in someone's heart.
Are you seeking to Manipulate God?
When our prayers are driven by wants and fears rather than faith in our Heavenly Father, we fall into praying and doing anything else we do to put God in our debt, so He will have to give us what we want. We are trying to pray against God's will. Philippians 4:6 calls us to lift our prayers with thanksgiving. You can exercise your faith in God's grace by giving thanks before you see how God will answer your prayers. He is your Father. And you can trust Him to give you what you need. Our children don't always understand what we are trying to do for them. But in the long run they come to appreciate their parents' love. You can trust God to give you what you ask for or to give you what you would ask for if you knew everything He knows.

I need to let all of you who read my blog know, that the Kindle edition of Home In The Wilderness, my latest novel will be free Tuesday, August 16 through Friday, August 19, 2016. https://goo.gl/X3IFQT



Monday, August 1, 2016

PRAY FOR THE COURT

Many of us are, or should be, alarmed about rulings by the supreme court in these days. Our founding Fathers set up a balance of power between three somewhat independent branches of government. But now the Supreme Court of the United States has begun to trump the law and the will of the people apparently without precedent in law or the constitution. They have begun to short-cut our representative government by legislating from the bench. Hence we are losing government of the people by the people and for the people.
I need to say the court has opposed righteousness and the constitution before. In 1858 the Supreme Court ruled that negroes whose ancestors were brought here as slaves had no access to American courts.[1] That ungodly decision helped to throw us into a bloody civil war. On the other hand, I have to admit that I thank God for civil rights decisions that went against the will of voters in southern states in the 1950s. They were on the side of the angels.
I have some crucial advice that those who care about righteousness in our country.
Trust God!
That surely means being confident that He is still sovereign over history. I do not mean to say bad things will not come upon our nation as a result of our sin. Sin is still a disgrace to any people. And the way of the transgressor is hard. But even as terrible things come, God will draw people to His grace, and He will see us through our trials.
Trusting God will also mean standing for what is right even when our laws or judicial rulings tend to normalize evil. We must do our best to stand firm even when all of society seems to be turning against God.
Most importantly people who trust God, will pray. We will pray for our neighbors and neighborhoods. We will pray for the power of holiness in our churches. We will pray for our government and our laws. We will pray for our president and congress as they appoint and approve judges. And yes we will pray for The Supreme Court of The United States. Have you prayed for the court? It is more important to ask, if you will pray for the court. Here are the names of the current Supreme Court Justices. I encourage you to write them in your Bible and pray regularly for each of them.
Justice Clarence Thomas
Chief Justice John G. Roberts
Justice Anthony Kennedy,
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Justice Elena Kagan
Of course there are only eight justices since the untimely death of Antonin Scalia. We also need to pray for the appointment of the ninth justice who will be brought up from a lower court. I believe God will work mightily through our prayers.




[1] http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/dred-scott-case