Seven Prayers

At some point (I don’t know when) and somewhere (I don’t know where) I picked up a list of seven things to pray for. I jotted the list down on a prayer guide that I use and these seven prayer requests have been a part of my daily prayer ever since. I thought I would share them with you today.

1. Humility of Wisdom
I am briefly interrupting my series of posts on First Corinthians to share this with you today. If you have followed this series, you know that the Corinthians were extremely proud of their knowledge and yet they were completely lacking in love and humility. If you hold Truth, you hold a valuable possession which cannot be held in the slippery hands of pride. If you have human wisdom, it is nothing. But if you have heavenly wisdom, remember that it did not come from you. Remain humble.

2. Understanding of the Future
We are certainly living in tumultuous times. Uncertainty seems to be steering the ship. John begins his Revelation with these words, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3). We should pray that God would help us to understand the spirit of the age and how to combat it. Let us also pray that He would prepare us to live, and if necessary die, for the Gospel in the days ahead.

3. Counsel for Decisions
Try counting how many decisions you make over the course of a day. Good luck. I am fairly certain that it doesn’t matter to God if you wear the blue shirt or the red shirt today, but His council should be sought in every important decision that we must make. After all, His name is Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).

4. Power for Service
Let’s face it, serving is rarely an easy thing for our flesh to do. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians, “Be not weary in well doing” (Thessalonians 3:13). Where do we find power for service? In Jesus Christ and the power of His Spirit. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:” (Acts 1:8).

5. Knowledge of Revelation
One of the greatest battlefields for the Christian is the mind. The enemy will do anything to get you to believe a lie and be damned. Always remember, that which is closest to the truth is the most dangerous lie. Pray that God would guard your mind, protect you from every lie and false doctrine, and give you a love for Truth.

6. Respect for Holiness
It often seems that holiness is mocked and despised at worst, or defended in ignorance at best. We need to do more than practice holiness (inward and outward) because that is what our parents and grandparents did. We need develop a love and a respect for holiness. We develop a respect for holiness when we gain an understanding of the importance and benefits of living a holy life. Pray that God would give you knowledge, wisdom, and understanding in every issue of holiness.

7. Dependance on the Holy Spirit
We would be foolish to believe that we could do anything by our own talent, ability, or willpower. Paul even called the Galatians foolish for believing the same thing, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). What we need more than ever, in our church services and in our daily walk, is a move of the Holy Ghost. May we ever realize our complete dependance upon Him.

Full of Hot Air

Studies in First Corinthians – VIII

Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

1 Corinthians 4:18-21

The Corinthians boasted of their learning and knowledge, but Paul knew their religion was more a matter of head knowledge than heart understanding. They were concerned about matters of administration and policy, yet they ignored the dark stain of sin.

Look at the condition that you are in!” Paul was trying to direct their attention to the real issues in this chapter. “You are all talk and intellect; your religion is just theory without reality.” The kingdom of God is not in word, it is not just philosophy and having all the correct answers, it is power – and power was the one thing the Corinthians did not have.

Without that power, Paul tells them that all their knowledge is basically hot air. In a sense, Paul was bursting their bubble. Their heads had gotten too big for the room. They were so proud of what they thought they had, so sophisticated, and yet they were lacking the most important thing: they did not have Holy Ghost power and authority.

We all seek, and rightly so, to know all we can about truth. We certainly need knowledge, education, training, and preparation. If fact, I advocate that we pursue these, as a Church, more than ever before; however, never at the expense of the transforming power of the Holy Ghost. If we have knowledge without power, we are just full of hot air!

The faithful minister (or saint of God), full of the Holy Ghost, is a spectacle in the world (4:7-14). In his path he will face unpopularity and misunderstanding, but he does not concern himself with the judgement of men. He is not just talking the talk, he is walking the walk. I like the way that Raymond Woodward puts it, “Your relationship with God is not measured by how much you talk about Jesus, but by how much your life has been changed by his power!”

The Light of God’s Wisdom

Studies in First Corinthians – IV

Right through this first chapter of First Corinthians Paul contrasts wisdom and foolishness: the wisdom of men and the foolishness of God, then the foolishness of men and the wisdom of God. It was the wisdom of men that had seduced this church. Division was a plague that was destroying the spiritual health of the people. The remedy for the situation was not philosophy or “the wisdom of words,” but the wisdom of God given through revelation by the Holy Ghost.

The moment any Christian departs from the principle of revelation, relying rather on human intellect for understanding God’s Word, all spiritual authority is lost. If we submit the Word of God to our own intellect and refuse to believe in the possibility of absolute authoritative revelation, we lose the power and authority. It’s not in us; it’s in Him.

If the church in our day is to invade a city for God, then it must get back to a place of absolute dependence upon the wisdom of God.

-Alan Redpath

Each of us is faced with a choice every day. Will we depend upon our human intellect and education to meet the need of the day? Or will we depend on the wisdom of God? Will we trust human wisdom and reasoning? Or will we trust the Spirit to lead and guide us? Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t downplay the importance of reason and thinking. I only intend to question the source: the wisdom of God or the wisdom of man.

Alan Redpath makes a challenging statement, “The moment a man begins to put his confidence in his own mind… in his personal criticism of Scriptures, he is finished as far as divine revelation is concerned.” You must choose the principle on which you will guide your life, on which you will study the Word, and on which you will serve the LORD.

Come to the cross. Take the place of death to self. Glory in the LORD. The Holy Ghost will illuminate the Word in a way that human wisdom cannot and give you understanding.

God Wants You To Eat Your Vegetables

“If it tastes good, spit it out!” said the 70+ year old man who pulls his SUV around for a workout.  I saw his story on the news a few months back (tried to find a clip, but couldn’t come up with anything…sorry).  He and is wife are both over 70, yet they are in incredible physical shape.  They both practice a form of primitive workout and diet.  Their exercises resemble tasks that primitive man would have done; chase supper, kill supper, drag supper home.  Their diet consists only of things that primitive man would have eaten; no tv dinners, no frozen pizzas, no processed food period! (Sounds like no fun to me).

I kind of laughed when he said, “if it tastes good, spit it out,” but I think he was serious.  Now obviously this is a little extreme, but he has a point.  We always want the goodies, but we need something that is good for us (physically and spiritually).  And what is good for us is not always what tastes the best.  In fact, sometimes it tastes downright awful.  And sorry Mary Poppins fans, good lessons don’t always come with a spoon full of sugar; but they are good for us in the end.

So what’s my point?  Thanks for asking.  If you have a pastor that will preach the Truth to you in love without sugar-coating it, be thankful that someone cares enough about you to make you eat your vegetables.  If God is correcting you because of some sin in your life, don’t be angry; “for the Lord reproves him whom he loves” (Proverbs 3:12).  He is making sure you get the stuff that will make you strong.  He could just give you the stuff that tastes good, but with out good nutrition, you will die.

Now stop scooping those veggies to the dog under the table…eat up, it will make you strong! 🙂