Monday, April 30, 2007

What Kind of Fool Are You?

“The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 14:1

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 53:1

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Romans 1:21-23


“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

Men are not born fools; they become fools. These fools think that believers are fools and God declares that they themselves are fools.

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Because of this truth “a fool says in his heart there is no God” he also says it with his mouth.

In which group of “fools” do you belong?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Our Lack of Understanding

“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13, 14

“Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-8

Here are three wonderful scriptures on our lack of understanding. Each of them has to do with our physical birth and our spiritual birth. Both are acts of God. One is temporal and the other is eternal.

We praise God.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Murder Charges: Teachers and Clerics

Some of the motives are known. They include hatred and envy for nations and peoples who are more advanced economically and free. There is also hatred for Jews and Christians.

Those are the negative motives. The positive motives are the certainty of Heaven by dying in Holy War.

If “deranged” people were being taught by the hundreds in this country to mass murder/suicide we would go after the teachers. If in the process we found that teachers were clergy-men in an otherwise respected denomination we would hesitate a second, but not much longer. We would bring the teachers to trial on murder charges.

The first amendment would not protect this kind of freedom of religion.

The President of the United States should tell nations that have such clerics to take similar action. If not, we should recall our ambassador to that nation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Suggested Solutions for Citizens

Nations who protect, encourage or do not prosecute the teachers of murderers should in turn have pressure brought to bear on them. Here are a few suggestions which an individual or groups of people can implement.

1) Write letters to the president or king of that nation telling him that this teaching in his nation is morally reprehensible in the site of man, a crime in his country, and sin in the eyes of God. He, personally, will stand in judgment before God.

2) Boycott
1. all products from those countries
2. all products of companies that do business in those countries

3) Write to the president of your own country to bring pressure on those nations by
1. Trade embargos
2. Breaking diplomatic relations.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Prayer and Evangelism

There are two mandates in the scriptures to all Christians. Obedience to these commands is the primary solution for suicide murderers.

1)—Prayer

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.” 1 Timothy 2:1-7

Notice that the text says “First of all”. The encouragement is to pray for all men including kings and “all those in authority”.

There are two results of this prayer:

1) Peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness
2) Salvation for all men

2)—Evangelism

“Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 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 28:18-20

These commands may be disobeyed but they are not options presented for disobedience.

Here is a suggestion to citizens who may not be Christian who want to participate in a solution. Boycott U.S. businesses who do business in nations which allow teachers in mosques and schools to teach murder/suicide to young men and boys.

Tommorow's Roots will be suggested solutions for citizens of the world.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Motive for the Massacre?

We are very upset about the mass murder/suicide at Virginia Tech.

We are not upset at all about the mass murder/suicides that take place almost daily in Iraq.

We wondered about the motive for the massacre. A few days later we found out the motive because Mr. Cho made his testimony to the country via NBC. He was deranged but that did not make him innocent. He was an evil man.

We do not wonder about the motives of the mass murderers, suiciders in Iraq. These murderers are not leaving DVD’s giving their reasons. Perhaps we know their motives or perhaps we do not care. The difference is that these mass murderers/suiciders are not isolated cases of derangement. They are hundreds, thousands of trained, deranged people. They are trained by hysteric clerics in many mosques and schools around the world. They are waiting in line for a time and place that someone else assigns to them to murder.

If we knew that a certain pastor trained Mr. Cho to be deranged he would be prosecuted. If someone else directed Mr. Cho when and where he should make an attack he also would be prosecuted.

Tomorrow's Roots by the River will give a Christian answer.

Friday, April 20, 2007

If There Were No Sin

If there were no sin in the world the following would be true.

1) There would be no crime.
2) There would be no police forces
3) There would be no armies or navies.
4) There would be no banks.
5) There would be no locks.
6) There would be no safes.
7) There would be no attorneys.
8) There would be no law schools.
9) There would be no judges.

Our economy, as it now exists, would be ruined.

Our economy has adjusted to sin. It is based on sin.

There will be a future, in the new Heaven and new earth, when and where there will be no sin.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech is No Surprise

We are hearing people say over and over that people are basically good. We are also hearing from the same people, wondering out loud, “How could this Virginia Tech murder happen?”

Here are some answers from the Bible. The first child born on this earth was a murderer.

“Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?” Genesis 4:9

Jesus said in John 8:44, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

St. Paul said in Romans 6:17, 20:

“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.” Romans 6:17

“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.” Romans 6:20

“As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” Ephesians 2:1-3

“and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.” Galatians 4:8

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:21-32

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Jesus came as the solution to the problem. If there was no sin he would not have come.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

If you are not ungodly Christ did not die for you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting

“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13

“Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.” Exodus 21:12

We have just heard of the murder of 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Not only is a murderer to be put to death he also suffers the second death.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelation 22:14-16

Our whole nation is shaken in many ways, shock, grief, fear, sympathy, and anger. We have no place to express our anger. The murderer committed suicide so we can’t take it out on him.

There are a few things we can learn from this tragedy.

Concerning Ourselves:

1. Life is short
2. Death is certain and may be imminent
3. Are we ready to die
4. How can we get ready?
5. Are we afraid to die?

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27, 28

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14, 15

Concerning Others:

1. This tragedy, mass murder and suicide, is a weekly occurrence in Baghdad.
2. Are we as shocked, grief stricken, sympathetic, and angry as we are about Virginia Tech?
Why Not?
3. Those of us who have had the fear of death removed from us, are we ready to help others
here or in Baghdad or any place else, who are afraid to die?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Witness in the Spirit: Peace

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… (Galatians 5:22 NIV)

Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. When you enter a house, first say, “Peace to this house.” If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. (Luke 10:3, 5, 6 NIV)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… (Romans 5:1 NIV)

The result of justification is peace with God. The fruit of the Spirit is peace, and the first words we are to use in house-to-house evangelism are “Peace to this house.”

It may sound funny to say that we fight the spiritual war with peace, but that is just the way we do it. Jesus said to Pilate,

“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36 NIV)

We, as evangelical Christians, have long ago abandoned the idea of evangelism associated with the Conquistadors or the Crusades. We are convinced of 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (NIV)

We do not use weapons of war in evangelism. But neither do we consistently present the good news in peace, as we should. We are all aware of evangelists, mass and personal, who seem to present the Gospel with a belligerent attitude. We must avoid this. The Prince of Peace went to the cross peacefully. The message of the cross should be presented peacefully.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:2 NIV)

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Reminder, Fix Your Eyes

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. (2 Thessalonians 3:5 NIV)

We have all known of God’s love and that our hearts should be directed into it. But we may not have known or thought of the “steadfastness” (RSV) or “perseverance” (NIV) of Christ. What is it? And how was it shown, and how should our hearts be directed into it? Hebrews 12:1-4 answers all three questions:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV)

He “endured” the cross by keeping His eyes fixed on the joy beyond the cross. We consider Him who “endured.” We lay aside everything that hinders and entangles, and we persevere, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gracious Uncompromisers

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused... (Daniel 1:8-9 NIV)

...Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king’s officer... (Daniel 2:14-15 NIV)

Daniel was uncompromising and gracious. God honored his position. Daniel was graciously uncompromising as a teenager, and he was still that way in his eighties. In fact he was that way as an old man because he was that way as a young man. If we start out compromising, it is very difficult to change.

We all know people who are uncompromising of truth, but who seem to be belligerent and ungracious. In fact, we probably know enough so that it is hard to think of being uncompromising without thinking of a bad attitude.

The converse is also true. We all know gracious, loving people, whom if we inspect closely, we find are compromisers of truth. Not to compromise is to ask for a confrontation, and confrontation might mean conflict. It may be that the former love conflict more than they love the truth. This is why the attitude shows more than the truth shows. The latter hate conflict more than they love the truth. Again the attitude shows more than the truth shows.

We seem to have two kinds of Christians: gracious compromisers and ungracious uncompromisers. We do not have many Daniels--people who are very gracious and do not compromise. These days the vote seems to be going for graciousness rather than ungraciousness. This is good if graciousness is not afraid of, or divorced from, truth.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 NIV)

If it is God’s grace, there will not be a fear of confrontation or conflict. If it is God’s grace, it will not be divorced from truth.

We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NIV)

We should not make a choice between grace and truth.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hypocrisy

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:25-28 NIV)

One of the first things I notice in this paragraph is that Jesus said this to the hypocrites, not about them. For forty years (and it probably has been going on for hundreds of years) I have heard people talk about the hypocrites, saying that churches were full of hypocrites and that is why they do not go to church. Jesus said earlier, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach but do not practice.” There is no virtue in avoiding church because of hypocrites.

The second thing I notice is that a hypocrite is someone who is pretending to be cleaner on the outside than he is on the inside. He spends more effort in appearing clean than he does in being clean, so he paints the outside. Most people do this. Hypocrites are everywhere. Churches may be full of hypocrites, but so are prisons and so are homes. Very few people want to be known as they are on the inside. Wicked people do not want to be known as wicked. There are a few who say, “At least I’m not a hypocrite.” What they are saying is, “I’m dirty on the inside and outside.” True, they are not hypocrites, but they are no cleaner than the hypocrites. Jesus said the way to avoid hypocrisy is “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Don Imus and Rutger's Women's Basketball Team

“So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him.” Luke 17:3, 4

Don Imus seems to have a reputation of being a repeat offender with his mouth. In this case he is a repeat apologizer for the same event. He might not have apologized at all if there had not been so much noise and his two week suspension.

The text here is talking about forgiveness for the repeat offender.

This is, I think, a perfect example of how the world thinks and acts, different from Jesus.

Mr. Imus does not expect to be forgiven by the women.

And the women seem to think it is virtuous not to forgive. If they did forgive there would be a howl around the country. I am not defending Mr. Imus but the women are hurting themselves if they do not forgive. As role models in being basketball champs they would be a very good model if they forgave.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Deep Love

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)

I’m quite sure that this is not saying that love overlooks sin. Love sees sin, then covers it—in this case, lots of them, “a multitude of sins.” We know that this is true of the love of God, but is it true of us? The imperative is directed toward us¾“love each other deeply.” I think it must be true of us. 1 Corinthians tells us that love…

keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV)

The opposite of covering sins may be keeping a record of them.

“Love each other deeply.” “Deeply” has to do with the quality of the cover. Perhaps deep love provides deep cover as in Micah 7:19:

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (NIV)

This cover is not speaking of our own sins, but of others’ sins, for two reasons:

1) Proverbs 28:13
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (NIV)

2) 1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (NIV)

This love is the love that forgives others. Let us love each other deeply, regardless of the quantity or quality of sins committed. Love covers. Love forgives.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Gentle Answer

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:9 NIV)

This sentence is part of a list of the qualifications for elders in a church in a town in Crete. The elder is to “encourage” and “refute.” In order to do this properly the elders must hold firmly to the message.

We find other qualifications in 1Timothy 3:2 like “gentle” and “not quarrelsome.” The reason I bring this up is the requirement to refute the opposition and yet not be quarrelsome. We see a statement in 2 Timothy 2:4 which confirms this teaching, “and the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him, he must gently instruct…”

There is increasing opposition today to sound doctrine and to Christians. Christians must refute those in opposition, but they must do it gently, kindly, and without quarreling.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The God of Glory

Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of Glory appeared to our father Abraham. (Acts 7:2 NIV)

One of the wonderful things about the Bible is that God is not described in adjectives or in likenesses. He is described in characteristics of who He is and in terms of what He does. He is the God of glory; He is the God of hope and the God of peace. Daniel described Him to Nebuchadnezzar this way: “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” Jonah spoke of Him, “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” God is, and God acts. In Hebrews 11:6 we read,

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (NIV)

Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. (Isaiah 12:5 NIV)

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Judgment

They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. (Habakkuk 1:7 NIV)

God is speaking of the Babylonians. In fact, earlier (v. 6) God said that He was “raising up the Babylonians.” This was in answer to Habakkuk’s complaint that God did not listen (v. 2) and tolerated wrong (v. 3). God was going to punish evil nations with an evil nation. Habakkuk further complains:

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? (Habakkuk 1:13 NIV)

In chapter 2, vs. 2-12, God gives several answers to these questions, but in the end they are moot questions because verse 13 gives a comprehensive answer:

Has not the LORD Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:13, 14 NIV)

God takes the long view. No one will get away with anything. Psalms 37 and 73 raise some of the same questions and give answers.

This is short to encourage you to read and meditate on these Scriptures.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Confident Prayer

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14 NIV)

Much of prayer is wishful, hopeful, anxious or desperate praying. The following texts are God’s conditions for answered prayer.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NIV)

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:24 NIV)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: love each other. (John 15:16, 17 NIV)

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord... (James 1:6, 7 NIV)

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3 NIV)

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! (Psalm 66:18-20 NIV)

Here are the explanations for unanswered prayer: doubting, anxiety, wrong motives, iniquity in our hearts. Here are the conditions for answered prayer: confidence, will of God, thanksgiving, believing, abiding and fruitfulness, in Jesus’ name.

We have all experienced answered prayer when we violated all of the conditions but the last one: “in Jesus’ name.” If God is that faithful to us, then we can lean on His faithfulness. That is what faith is¾trusting in the faithfulness of God. The preparation for believing prayer is 1) a clean heart, and 2) being saturated in meditation with Scripture (faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ). Then answered prayer will not be a surprise to us, as it was to the believers in Acts 12.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)