Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pray

Paul opens his letters with a prayer and ends his letters with a prayer.

These sentences are not just salutations. They are prayers to God to give grace, peace, love, and mercy to the saints from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a real happening.

Here are several prayers of salvation:

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty… For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:35, 40)

For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)

At the end of his letters, Paul asked for prayer.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:18-20)

Notice how often: at all times, with perseverance.
How? In the Spirit.
For whom? For all the saints and for himself.
What about? Whenever he opens his mouth.
The content: mystery of the gospel.
How? With boldness.
Proclaiming the gospel: with boldness, as he ought to speak.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:2-4)

The Colossian saints were to be devoted in prayer, staying awake with an attitude of thanksgiving. They were also to pray for Paul and Timothy that God would open a door for the word so that they might speak of the mystery of Christ. He wants to make the gospel very clear in the way God wants him to speak.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Prayer

In recent months I have attempted to record some of the instances of answered prayer in my life, along with Scriptures also on prayer. This will hopefully result in a book on prayer. Since I am now 88 years old, I may not be able to finish it before I go to be with the Lord, so I have decided to post what I have already written on my blog. Very little has been posted on my blog recently, but I will be using it for that now as I write portions of the book.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Witness in the Spirit

"The fruit of the Spirit is...goodness." (Galatians 5:22)

"He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord." (Acts 11:24)

Barnabas was full of the Holy Spirit. He was also a good man. This is not surprising, since the fruit of the Spirit is goodness. The text says that a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Barnabas was in a witnessing, evangelizing situation. Goodness is a necessary characteristic of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. It is also a necessary characteristic of effective witnessing.

To witness with the content of the good news without being good is to contradict with our life that which we are saying with our mouth. "Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did" (1 John 2:6). If we are going to talk good news, we must walk good news. Witnessing in the Holy Spirit is an assurance that there will be no contradiction between our walk and our talk.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Every Good Work Part 2

Here is another way. This time it is a prayer for the Christians at Philippi.

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:9-11)

It is also by prayer with some differences.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Every Good Work

There are better ways to obey the commands of God than try, effort or will power.

Here is one of the ways:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
(Colossians 1:9-12)


The Colossians end up having all of the characteristics simply because Paul had prayed for them to have them. They had no means of obeying them. They could not be filled with the knowledge of His will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding by any act of obedience.

Have your friends pray for you using this text. You will find yourself bearing fruit in every good work with no effort.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Commands of Jesus

Please pay clear attention to the words of Jesus.

“If you love me, keep my commands...Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
(John 14:15;21)


“...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20)


Loving Jesus requires obedience to his commands. Discipleship requires obeying everything he commands his disciples. Here are a few of many commands:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
(John 13:34)


“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
(Luke 6:38)


“So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
(Matthew 6:31-34)


“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
(Matthew 5:44)


“Then Jesus said to his host, 'When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'”
(Luke 14:12-14


Have you obeyed any or all of them?
Do you love Jesus?
Are you his disciple?

Please write out every command of Jesus and answer the question, “Have you obeyed this command?”

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Ever Hearing



“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' and I said, 'Here am I. Send me!' He said, 'Go and tell this people: 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.'”
(Isaiah 6:8-10)


These few verses are quoted in the New Testament. The first is in Matthew 13 when Jesus says why he uses parables so that people would not understand.

“This is why I speak to them in parables: 'Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.' In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ''You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
(Matthew 13:13-16)


Jesus quotes it again in John 12:29-41 and Jesus said that they would not believe and also that they could not believe. John also tells us that the one who appeared to Isaiah was the Lord Jesus.

“Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.”
(John 12:41)


Finally, Paul quotes it to the Jews who came to him when he was under house arrest (Acts 28:16a) in Rome. Here he is; verse 25-29.

“They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: 'The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet: “Go to this people and say, 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” 'Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”
(Acts 28:25-29)


He says that they don't want to believe.