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Archive for March, 2012

21 Days of Prayer: Day 4

Before Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he taught them how not to pray. In Matthew 6, he warned them about being hypocritical, vain, and selfish in their prayers. Prayer is about fanning the flame of intimacy with God. This is the reason Jesus told them to go to their closets and close the door. In the midst of life’s busyness, it is so important that we have uninterrupted alone time with God. Away from the noise. Away from distractions. Just us and our Maker.

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For The Bridge’s 21 Days of Prayer, today’s Scriptural passage of focus is 1 John 1:14-15. The key to answered prayer isn’t my faith, but God’s will. The confidence that we have is that God is attentive and responds to prayers that align with His will. I cringe every time I hear some one say that praying “Lord, if it be your will” demonstrates a lack of faith. Jesus Himself said, “Lord, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me, yet not my will but thine be done.” Recognizing God’s will is not a sign that we lack faith, but rather a sign of reverence. It reminds us that the only privilege we have to the throne of God are those He has allowed us to have. The object our faith should always be our God, not our desires.

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Jesus set a pattern that all His followers should follow. He often pulled away from the multitudes to be alone with the Father (Luke 5:16, 6:12.) If we are going to be in tuned to God’s voice, we have to pull away from everything and spend time with our Father. Spending time with God is the spiritual discipline to often falls through the cracks the most in our lives. God whispers to get our attention, while other things scream for it. It is easy to respond to the screams and ignore the whisper. We ignore what’s most important for what seems urgent. Yet, apart from Christ we can do nothing.

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ImageYesterday, we began 21 Days of Prayer at The Bridge in conjuction with our series, The Voice: Recognizing the Voice of God.  Our goal is to spend time with God every single day for 21 days.  Being in God’s presence is enables us to walk closer with God.  The closer we are to God, the more we are able to discern His voice. It is difficult to understand God from afar.  He desires for His people to be intimate with Him.  I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”  God wants us to maintain an attitude of prayer.  A prayerful posture keeps the communication lines with God open.  Not only do we speak, but God speaks to us.

 

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ImageYesterday, we began 21 Days of Prayer at The Bridge in conjuction with our series, The Voice: Recognizing the Voice of God.  Our goal is to spend time with God every single day for 21 days.  Being in God’s presence is enables us to walk closer with God.  The closer we are to God, the more we are able to discern His voice. It is difficult to understand God from afar.  He desires for His people to be intimate with Him.  I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”  God wants us to maintain an attitude of prayer.  A prayerful posture keeps the communication lines with God open.  Not only do we speak, but God speaks to us.

 

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On the television show, The Voice, the judges backs are turned towards contestants during their auditions.  The judges must choose the contestant based simply on their voice. Once the judges are convinced, they push a button that turns their chair enabling them to see the performer. You can often see as the judges struggle to push the button.  “Should I push the button? Do they have the voice? I think I’ll push…no…Ok…no….yes!”  Discerning God’s voice is like deciding whether or not to push that button.  We get an idea, thought, or desire and we wonder, “Is that God or me? Is that God speaking through my friend or is that just their opinions?” The scary thing is pushing the button on something only to realize that it was not the voice of God.  Here are several challenges when it comes to hearing God’s voice:

1.  Our voice tends to sound alot like God.  We have a tendency of making our own ideas sound very spiritual, regardless of how fleshly and self-centered they are at the core.

2. Sometimes God is mistaken to be the devil.  Sometimes, God’s voice interrupts our agenda and can be very annoying, offensive, and heartbreaking.

3.  The devil often sounds alot like God.  The Bible says that Satan comes as an angel of light.  Most cult leaders claim to receive visions and messages from God.

4.  Sometimes God is silent.  This often leave room for other voices to begin filling in the blank.  It becomes difficult not to listen to these voices in the midst of desperation.

God not only wants us to know that He speaks, but to recognize when He does.  The Voice begins this Sunday at The Bridge.

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God Speaks

Recognizing God’s voice can often be a difficult task.  Without question, many believers are convinced that God speaks.  The challenge is being able to realize when He’s speaking to us.  There have been times when I thought that I heard from God only to discover I was dead wrong.  At other times, I was thought God was not speaking to me only to realize that it was indeed the voice of God.  Even though we cannot box God into a formula, there is a way that we can detect God’s voice from among the other voices that are around us.  This is the subject I will be addressing in the new series, The Voice, at The Bridge beginning this Sunday.

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