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Monday, August 28, 2017

PRAYING FOR FRUITFULNESS

I have been very moved lately with the promise in John 15:7,8. I started to write a blog post on praying for fruitfulness. Then I discovered that about a year ago I wrote a blog post on this but never posted it. So I am offering it to you today.
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.”
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, luxury, 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?

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http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

PRAYING YOUR PURPOSE

Do your prayers reflect your purpose in life? I suspect they usually do. If the purpose of your life is success, your prayers will be driven by your ambition. If you just want to have fun, that purpose will certainly taint your prayer life. Is your ultimate purpose luxury or comfort? Do you live for pleasure? Is your life driven by fear or avoiding pain of any kind? Is your goal to always be at peace in yourself? That was not the purpose of our Lord.
In Matthew 12:27 Jesus said,
“Now is my heart troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.”
Scripture could not declare that Jesus was tempted in every way we are, (Heb. 4:15) if He were spared inward disturbances. Does that mean we should never pray to be delivered from them? Not praying such prayers may never have occurred to you. But I think this is an important question to ask.
We know that Paul prayed for his thorn to be removed. (2 Cor. 12:8) Whatever Paul's thorn was, it disturbed him. He prayed three times for the Lord to take it away. Then he heard the Lord telling him that His power was made perfect in weakness.
Let me suggest some principles of God's purpose in our prayers.
First, you need to understand that God has a purpose for your life too. His ways are certainly as far above ours as the heavens are above the earth. (Isaiah 55:9) And we may need God to shake us pretty hard before we can can understand that pain may be an important part of His will, even His joy in us.
And we need to know that God will tell us what His will for us is. This may be too small of a way to look at this. God may be telling you His will for all the earth, for all of history or eternity. Such cosmic perspective is crucial to our prayers and even our comfort in difficult and painful situations.
We need to trust that God's will is good. But to see problems as good we have to see the larger picture. You have to cultivate a whole life view of happiness. You need to see your growing faith and promised hope to properly rejoice in God's grace. The life of Annie Johnson Flint was crushed by grief, sorrow, disease and physical pain. I am convinced that God used her suffering to show her glories the rest of us hardly glimpse. Among many others she wrote this hymn.
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater.
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving has only begun.
Here is the chorus.
His love has no limits. His grace has no measure.
His power no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again!
Is God molding your perspective and growing your prayers? Are you praying for or against God's purpose?

http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

http://daveswatch.com/

Monday, August 7, 2017

WHY THE STORM

In Mark 6:45 Jesus made His disciple get into the boat and sent them into the storm. Why did he do that? Why does God insist that we go through storms in life? It is a principle that storms will come into our lives. We are not likely to understand the reason for many of the storms that we face until we stand before our Lord in glory. But you can at least understand that this is the will of God for you. Every Christian ought to be aware of the series of commands beginning in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. There God says, “Be joyful always.” Rejoice all the time. To do this you need to be able to reason with God's reasoning. Joy does not come because everything is easy in your life. Real joy depends on considering the reality of God, the intervention of God in your life and His clear purpose for you. To do that you have to spend time in God's word, prayer and in the worship and the true fellowship of church.
When Jesus sent His disciples into the storm, He went up on the mountain and prayed for seven hours. Do you ever pray that long? Of course we are so much stronger than Jesus that we can get by with a couple of minutes. Do I need to tell you I am being facetious? The next command in 1 Thessalonians 5 is “Pray continually.” This is the key to thanksgiving and joy.
God's third instruction there is, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Here we are given the reason we can and should give thanks in or out of the storm. “For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” God is not surprised by your situation. He still has His loving hand on you.
God has strengthened me again and again from John 12. In verse 27 Jesus said, “Now is my heart 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. 'Father, glorify your name!’”
In Mark 6 Jesus came to His disciples in the storm. But they didn't recognize Him. “It's a ghost!” While storms are inevitable in life, Jesus will come to believers in the storm. And even though that storm may be no benefit to you, God will work powerfully through it. He will teach you more in the storm than He would in a hundred seminars. He will strengthen your faith in ways He could not do in the sunshine.
This relates to God's whole purpose in creation and redemption. When God created the earth He knew Satan would tempt and we would fall into sin. Why didn't He refrain from creating us. He also knew the extent He was willing to go to to redeem us.
When your sports team is far behind, you might say,”This is a terrible game.” But when they come back to win against amazing odds, your joy abounds! We have a friend who occasionally says, “I started out with a disadvantage.” In fact, we all begin life with moral, physical and spiritual disadvantages. In this God has set us up for His incomproble love and redemption. His grace in our lives is greater than it would have been had we never sinned. When we come to know Him, He receives us into the embrace of forgiveness. We have been adopted into His family. We become children of God! We are now set up to receive the glory only God knew from before creation.
When storms blow up on your sea, you can be sure Jesus will come bringing His rescue, your redemption and your ultimate joy!
http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

http://daveswatch.com/