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Archive for March, 2012

Most of us have been in environments where we’ve shared prayer requests.  Not only do we share ours, but people also share their requests.  Very rarely have I heard someone request the things Paul prayed for the Ephesian church in Ephesians 1:16-21.  He prayed that they may have a spirit of wisdom and revelation.  He prayed that their eyes may be enlightened and they understand the greatness of God’s power to those who believe in Him.  I few weeks ago, I stopped and prayed this specific prayer for some specific individuals.  I pray this for myself as well.  Out of all the things that Solomon could have asked for, He asked God for wisdom that He may judge righteously.  The next time you share prayer requests, wisdom, revelation, enlightenment, and understanding may be great to add to the list.

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The Bible is full of similes and comparisons..  Psalm 1 compares the righteous to the wicked.  Those that are righteous are like trees planted by water.  They are fruitful and flourish.  The wicked are like chaff.  Instead of being rooted, they are driven away by the wind.  Instead of flourishing, they are like dust.  The righteous are blessed, but the wicked perishes.  Though we are called to be righteous, we can still choose to follow the counsel and path of the wicked.  Eventually, our lives can reflect that of chaff rather than a flourishing tree.  Yet, if we remained rooted in God, we can experience God do things in and through us that we could never imagine.

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I love Psalm 119.  If you want to get a greater appreciation for God’s Word, read Psalm 119.  I remember the first time I read vs. 9.  As a single man at the time, it immediately became my key verse for moral purity. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.”  It served as the culmination for everything God had shown me about purity up to that point.  For me, sexual purity required a constant diet of Scripture.  Leaning on Him was the difference between ritualistic activity and true devotion.  God’s word serves as our light on dark and unfamiliar territory.  It’s where we find strength to endure.

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I just realize that today’s Scripture for our 21 Days of Prayer happen to be the same one I’m teaching on today.  I don’t think this was planned.  In John 14:16-17, God promised to send the disciples another parakletos.  The Spirit would be to the disciples all Jesus had been to them: a teacher, comforter, helper, advocate, encourager, rebuker, convicter, etc.  Jesus came to stay temporarily.  The Spirit would dwell within them forever.  Jesus was limited to one location.  The Spirit would dwell in multiple people at the same time and not be limited to location.  This same Holy Spirit guides us, discloses God’s truth to us, and glorifies God through our lives.  It is the Spirit that shows us the height, depth, and breadth of God.  It is the same Spirit that convicts the world of sin, even though they don’t know Him.  When a person somehow realizes that they are guilty of disobeying God and responds by placing their faith in Jesus Christ, it is the Holy Spirit who is at work.  He convicts and draws.  While God may appear to be silent and absent to us, the Holy Spirit is always at work

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Philippians 4:6-7 has become one of my favorite passages of Scripture over the years.  So much of our life is centered around wanting something.  In a life where desires are constant, we often become anxious as we eagerly hope that God would grant us the things we desire.  This passage is a reminder that God provides things that are far more valuable than material things.  One of those things is peace.  If we are willing to leave our requests at His throne, God can give us a peace that surpasses all understanding.  It’s a peace that guards our hearts and minds from materialism, self-deception, the schemes of man, Satanic influence, disappointment; anything that can attack our hears and minds when it doesn’t seem like we are receiving the things we desire in life.  I really love what verse 4 says, “The Lord is near.”  We can have an overwhelming sense of peace realizing that the presence of God is with us.

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To be honest, it’s difficult to see trials as beneficial from a human perspective.  Trials bring thoughts and memories of difficulty, struggle, and frustration.  Yet, God uses trials to test and strengthen us.  Trials are also opportunities for us to gain wisdom.  God never promises to take away our trials.  He never promises to make difficulties easier to digest.  He never promises to shorten them for our sake.  Yet, He does make a bold promise in James 1:5.  He promises to give us wisdom if we ask.  He promises to give it “generously and without reproach.”  Every so often, we meet people who are willing to give generously.  They are willing to give us as much as we need or want.  They also do without hesitation.  “How much do you need?” they ask.  When we reply with “a thank you,” their response is, “Anytime. Just let me know.” This is how God is with wisdom during trials.  “How much do you need? Anytime. Just let me know.” Instead of asking for a way out, it would be to our benefit to ask for wisdom.

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As I thought of today’s passage, Matthew 7:7-11, I thought of all the great gifts I received from my father over the years. He’s given me a video game system, stereo system, clothing, money, etc.  Yet, love has always been his greatest gift.  If my earthly father knows how to give great gifts to his children, how much more my heavenly father. Sometimes, He gives me the things I desire. Sometimes, He chooses not to give me the things I desire. Yet, everything he has given to me has turned out for my good even if it didn’t seem that way at the time. Believe it or not, God always answers every request we make of Him.  It’s either yes, no, or wait.  Regardless of His response, may we always remember His gifts are good.

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