When You Pray

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PRAY?

You must be a “heart, soul, mind and strength” believer! THEN – 

  1. God listens!
  2. He helps you in your weakness
  3. The Holy Spirit intercedes for you with wordless groans. 

If and when you don’t know how to pray or “what [you] ought to pray for, the Spirit himself intercedes for [you] through wordless groans.” – Romans‬ ‭8:26‬ ‭(niv)

4.  And after all is said and done, the Holy Spirit answers you in ways far beyond your thinking.

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“I need thee every hour,

most gracious Lord;

no tender voice like thine

can peace afford.

“I need thee, O I need thee;

every hour I need thee!

O bless me now, my Savior,

I come to thee.”

(Annie Hawks)

The Riddle of Forgiveness

SIN CONFUSES A PERSON PSYCHOLOGICALLY! 
It causes distrust, misunderstanding, uneasiness, chaos, bewilderment and embarrassment; you can but you can’t, you will but you won’t, you do but you don’t, per-turbulence, distraction and perplexity.  At the time when most sin-agitated, acknowledging sin with true repentance opens Heaven’s light of God’s compassionate forgiveness. Sin-clouds roll away!  In the midst of your hurt, and when saying yes to God, his grace intervenes, he takes your filth bringing cleanliness, hope and joy. 

In the midst of this enlightenment the mystery and miracle of a glorious riddle takes place.

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“I cannot tell thee whence it came,
This peace within my breast;
But this I know, there fills my soul
A strange and tranquil rest.
“There’s a deep, settled peace in my soul,
There’s a deep, settled peace in my soul,
Tho’ the billows of sin near me roll,
He abides, Christ abides.”
(John S. Brown)

But,  “If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:8-9‬ (ncv)

The Accuser

HAVE YOU EVER KNOWN OR DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS OR WAS EVIL; maybe profane, reprobate, unholy, irreverent and  Godless?

What if that person was also extremely smart and funny, personality plus? Let me tell you the name of a person like that.  LUCIFER!  He masquerades as one who loves happiness, a party animal, fun to be around and wants you to join in his deceit.

He will turn a lie into his truth and darkness into his light. He’s attractive.  He is a spirit being who fell from heaven because he wanted to be God. He wants God’s creation

In the New Testament, other names reveal more about Satan’s current nature.

The Devil (diabolos) meaning “false accuser, Satan, slanderer” in Greek and is the word from which the English word diabolical is formed.

Satan is called a dragon in Revelation 12:9 and 20:2, as well as the “evil one” in several places.

Revelation 12:9 calls him “that ancient serpent” or “serpent of old,” and

Matthew 4:3 calls him the “tempter.”

Other names for Satan include:

Abaddon (destruction), Apollyon – destroyer, (Revelation9:11)

Beelzebub or Beelzebul (Matthew 12:27)

Belial – (2 Corinthians 6:15).

Satan is also referred to as the god of this world/age

(2 Corinthians 4:4),

Prince of this world (John 12:31),

Father of lies (John 8:44).

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:15-16‬

Hold Steady!

INSIGNIFICANT! 
FAILURE!
Worth nothing! 
Irrelevant!
Hurt beyond words. 
Have you ever felt that way?

You may have been drinking- addicted, in fact. You’ve been a big argument with your husband/wife. 
Your son/daughter seem hopelessly alienated. 
Friends have given up on you. 
You’ve tried it all with no answer, no hope. 
What now?

“GOD heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and assigns each a name. Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does. GOD puts the fallen on their feet again ….” Psalm‬ ‭147:2-6‬ ‭(msg)

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“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
“Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.”
(Frank E. Graeff)

The Answer

Here’s the point to the 10 COMMANDMENTS:

There is a purpose behind each one. 

  1. If you don’t put God  first in your life, then you diminish who he is to your peril. 
  2. If you can carve a “god” out of something it can’t be a creator/Savior. 
  3. It is total disrespect to misuse his name. 
  4. Look, you’ve got six days to work & do stuff. Take that 7th day to rest in body, mind, spirit and to glorify the one who created you, and this wonderful world. Plus, something wonderful happens when you worship the great God of heaven. He actually makes it holy. 
  5. When you honor your mom & dad God helps you. Even if they are pea-heads, God does something good to you. 
  6. If you murder someone, common sense will tell you that it sets off a chain of destructive events and causes evil spirits to occupy your life. 
  7. If and when you allow your hormones to take over so that you lose control and steal the body of another person’s spouse (works both ways) for your own selfish pleasure,  once again, something evil takes over in your heart! Don’t commit adultery.  
  8. Keeping it short – don’t steal, and
  9. Don’t lie/deceive!
  10. Being greedy shows to you and others that it’s all about your cheapskate-self. Before long you won’t have any friends. 

“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its PURPOSE is achieved.” – ‭Matthew‬ ‭5:18‬

God made only one covenant with Adam (“don’t eat of that tree”).  Just ONE! Adam did it anyway and it set off destruction all over the place.               

Then, Moses came along and God, through Moses, had to build a whole system of laws and regulations to get people to behave themselves. All that creating more laws did was to create more creative ways people could figure out to get into trouble. 

So laws didn’t work, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE BAD but because human beings from the beginning with Adam broke one single covenant, “Don’t eat that apple!”[so to speak]

“All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. … Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.”‭‭ – Romans‬ ‭5:20-21 (msg)

“But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.” – Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭(ncv)

Unconditional Love

In his book, 

Written In Blood, 

Robert Coleman tells the story of a girl who was suffering from a disease that would soon take her life, unless… Lisa was told that without a blood transfusion her death would be imminent. Thankfully, she had a little brother who shared her blood type, which was very rare. The fact that he’d defeated this same disease three years earlier offered the doctor even greater hope for success. So the physician carefully explained all of this to Lisa’s little brother, Dennis, discretely informing him that without the transfusion his sister would surely die.

 “For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Lev. 17:11

 “Do you think you would be brave enough to give your blood to your sister?” he asked. Dennis’ lips trembled nervously as he contemplated the situation, but finally, he smiled and said, “For my sister, yes, I’ll do it.”

 As the two children were rolled into the hospital room, Lisa’s body looked enervated and pale, while Dennis appeared quite robust. The boy smiled at his sister. Together, they watched the blood make its way through the clear plastic tubing as it flowed out of Dennis’ arm and into her’s. Eventually, the smile began to fade from the boy’s little face, and he lay there feeling weak.  Looking intently up at the elderly MD, he asked, “Doctor, when am I going to die?”

 Dennis thought he would have to give all of his blood to Lisa, believing he was trading his life for his sister’s. Because of his love for her, he was prepared to pay that price.

When the Son of God became a man, coming to earth revealing God to mankind, one of the memorable truths He disclosed sheds light on that young boy’s willingness to sacrifice himself for his sister. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 That’s precisely what Jesus came to do—to be the Christ, the Savior—to offer Himself as a sacrifice to pay the terrible penalty for the sins of the whole world. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.” 

1 Peter 2:24

The SHEMA

THE JEWS of the Old Testament quoted the SHEMA many times during the day – “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Jesus never changed that. 

“And God said …, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John‬ ‭8:58‬

“I and my Father ARE ONE.”  ‭John‬ ‭10:30

“The Jews said, “We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God.” John‬ ‭10:33‬

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John‬ ‭1:1-2‬

“ … we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Titus‬ ‭2:13‬

If Jesus were not God in the flesh his sacrifice would not have been sufficient to bring forgiveness. Through the death and resurrection of the Messiah, God set in motion his Spirit who had the ability to set free wicked human activity from the evil that held the world in its grip.  So now not just Jews but all humanity can be set free to worship the one and only God. 

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John‬ ‭2:2‬

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:6‬

Not the Cowboys v. 49ers

WE ARE AT WAR!  In fact, we are living in the war zone.  We may not fully understand it but Satan is a real,  inanimate, spiritual being. ‭

There is no “poor me” in this war.  Feeling sorry for yourself will not save you. War is violent, therefore you must “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:8‬

War means imprisonment or death. It means occupation, changing your culture, your lifestyle, the way you talk and think, your worship. And since you can’t see the enemy, you can suddenly be set-upon wondering what happened. This war is spiritual.  How, then, can you win this war?

“God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, …. This is no afternoon athletic contest that you’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”‭‭(Eph.‬ ‭6:10-12‬) 

If the Devil can’t destroy you he will so weaken you as to make you ineffective. 

To pretend like Satan is not there is foolishness. He doesn’t go away. He is relentless!

How are you to win the many battles he tries to shove down your throat? Satan is behind it all, but … 

1. You must take personal responsibility. There was an old song I remember as a child: “It’s not my brother, nor my sister, but it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”

2. Know that when you love God and others you cannot be bitter.

3. You cannot be both a citizen of Satan’s world and God’s world, therefore, this is a constant fight, war. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” II Peter‬ ‭3:18‬ (niv) Inch by inch it’s a cinch. 

4. You were not designed to be occupied by evil. As a child of God by the blood sacrifice of Jesus and your repentance, you are made to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”               I John 4:4

Now, start at the very beginning – when you first sense the enemy’s presence through temptation, go on the offensive by volitionally fighting Satan through prayer to the Savior. Don’t “toy” with evil. At the very beginning bring out the big guns of prayer putting on the “whole armor of God.” Don’t wait. Fight! If need be, call your prayer partner. If you don’t have one, get one. 

PRAY!