Monday, November 30, 2009


A recent Sunday was a bit unusual for me.

Without going into all of the details, risking boring you to death, I would like to share with you a message that our gracious God shared with me in a brief moment in our Church's Prayer Room.

As I was rushing around with different perceived responsibilities I caught a brief moment to pop into the Prayer Room.

Already there were several people who had gathered to pray for the morning's services. As the prayers began an individual asked God to bring independence to all of those who are locked into dependencies.

Immediately, God expanded the thought in my mind. Here is what He said:

We easily choose for ourselves to be independent:

independent from parents, independent financially, independent from rules; this leads us to dependency: dependency on drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, approval of others...

If we were to choose dependency on God, He would give to us true independence!

Galatians 5:1 says: "It is for freedom that Christ set you free; therefore keep standing strong a do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery".

So over the last couple of days I have had to ask how it is that one can turn his/her dependency toward God and away from the things that enslave.

It has occurred to me that there is a key indicator of one's dependency on God.

Prayer is the definitive indicator of one's dependency on God. Let me hasten to add that it is not just the ordinary, everyday type of prayer that most of us Christians have learned to offer; it is instead the desperate cry from a hungry heart.

You will probably be familiar with a couple of stories Jesus told that illustrate this:

The first is a brief discussion with His disciples regarding the goodness of God
Matthew 7:9&10: "what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf , will give him a stone? Or what if he shall ask you for a fish, he will not give him a snake will he?"

So often when we consider this scripture we do so from the perspective of the giver of the gift and the goodness of the giver. For a moment lets consider the requester rather than the giver.

What attitude would a son have as he approached his father to request something to eat?
I would suggest that the son has few if any other options for getting his hunger addressed. It is dad or it is no one! His request is dependent upon his dad being the good dad that he has previously proved to be.

The second story that Jesus told was about a man who received a visitor late one night but had nothing to feed his guest.(Luke 11:5-8)

The man therefore went to his neighbor's house and knocked on the door. The neighbor refused to open the door due to it being late and he and the family were already in bed. The man continued to knock and knock until the neighbor got up and gave him what he needed.

Once again I ask that you look at this story a bit differently than you usually do. We tend to think of this story as an example of persistence in prayer. However, I would like for us to consider the desperation of the man who made the request. Why bother the neighbor over and over if there were other options available?

This brings us to consider the way we pray. We live in an opulent society that has taught us the extreme value of independence and self reliance. We hold these values as precious and true.

We are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to prayer that comes out of desperate dependency. We have too many options outside of our God!

For us to approach our God in absolute dependency we must first come to understand Who He Is and allow Him to reveal Himself in us! Outside of that revelation, our trust will be more easily place in the things we know, and see and have experienced.

Desperate dependency comes at a huge cost but it brings true independence!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Wonderful Gift of Prayer

Would it seem strange to you if I were to say to you that God answers prayer for His own benefit?

For so long, I have prayed asking God to answer thinking that it was solely out of His grace that He would answer the prayer of one as undeserving as me.

This week things changed.

I was reading in the Book of Ezekiel (more on that later) and I ran across something that fascinated me.

Later while I was searching for a particular scripture for another reason I ran into John 14:13&14 "...whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."

This brought me back to the thing that caught my attention earlier in the Book of Ezekiel.

Beginning in the 20th chapter an interesting series of statements are made about God's people and God's response to what His people are involving themselves in.

verse 8 says: They rebelled against Me and were unwilling to listen to Me..
verse 9 says: But I acted for the sake of MY name...

verse 13 says: The house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness...
verse 14 says: But I acted for the sake of MY name...

verse 16 says: they rejected my ordinances...
verse 17 says: My eye spared them rather than destroying them...
verse 21 says: the children rebelled against Me...
verse 22 says: I withdrew My hand and acted for the sake of My name...

So do you see a trend here? Over and over and over God acted to protect His name!

Is there any reason why we should shy away from praying or for avoiding immediately praying for anyone that asks us for prayer?

Take heart people; your prayers are giving Almighty God the opportunity to once again glorify His wonderful name!

Monday, November 16, 2009


If you abide with Me and MY words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you. By this is MY Father glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:7& 8

Jesus never danced around the edges of any issue. He always hit every issue right on the head. There is so very much in these short words about prayer; how it glorifies God, how it evidences our faith, how it can accomplish unlimited things.

For today lets look at the "prerequisite" of abiding.

A couple of definitions to "abide: are:

VERB: def.

To remain in a place.
To continue to be sure or firm; endure. See Synonym: stay

So Jesus is stating that if we want to see the power of God in our lives we must "continually remain is His word".

This seems prohibitive. How can we "live" in His word.

In another setting Jesus told those listening that the things that come our of our mouths originate in our hearts. It is the things that come out of our mouths that indicate what is in our hearts. We can easily determine, if we are honest with ourselves, whether or not the Word of God is dwelling in us.

The first part of the above scripture is a bit more difficult to get a grip on however. What does He mean about us abiding in Him? How can one continually remain in Him?

Once again if we take a look at another encounter that Jesus had with people we might be able to better understand this opportunity.

Jesus was standing by a vineyard and said to the people. "I am the vine, you are the branches"
The picture is a little more clear. If the branch is broken off from the vine it withers and dies.

How might we know if we are separated from the vine and lacking the spiritual nourishment?

Galatians 5:22-25 discusses the look of a branch that is connected to the vine by saying:
...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control....If we live by the Spirit let us also walk by the Spirit.

There is a saying that if something walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck chances are good that it is a duck. Much like determining whether or not the Word of God dwells in us, discovering the level of our connectedness with the vine, or "abiding" with Him is indicated by the fruits that flow out from us.

SO, we can ask whatever we want and see God glorified by the answer to our request IF we have evident fruit and clear words.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Where are You?

"Genesis "means beginnings.

As everything in our world that we know and that we see was new, everything was as God intended it to be for a short while.

Sometime after the creation things began to go wrong. You know the story, Adam and Eve messed things up for the rest of us but that opened the door for the mystery of Jesus!

We pick up the story after Adam and Eve had done their act.

Genesis 3:8&9 says, "And (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden (of Eden) in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you'".

There are several points that can be made with this little scripture. I would like to call your attention to a couple of them.

First, it is clear that Adam and Eve knew the sound of God from previous experience. In fact, it is probably the case that Adam and Eve had the experience of meeting with God on a daily basis from the beginning until they removed themselves.

Secondly, God didn't leave Adam and Eve hiding in the trees. He asked, "Where are you" not because He didn't know where they were but, rather, because the question is one that Adam and Eve needed to ask themselves.

It is fascinating that Adam and Eve chose to hide themselves within the very things that God had created for them to enjoy. Sound familiar?

The very things that God has given to us to enjoy (our jobs, our family, our friends, our homes...) are the things that we use to "hide" from God.

Listen.....can you hear it?

You might have to quiet your mind and heart to hear it clearly.

If you try really, really will hear the Lord God ask, "Where are you?"

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Peak Into Heaven

Let's take a peak into heaven.

I know that it can be a bit scary to think about what you're going to see. You might think, "will I survive?" or "will I ever want to come back after seeing what I will see?"

Settle yourself around the idea that the Almighty, Holy, Inscrutable, All Powerful God has invited you personally to take a peak!

The door is opening:

I (Jesus) am the door if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved and go in and come out and find pasture. John 10:9

So let's take a short step "in" and see what is happening

And another angel came and stood at the alter... holding a golden censor... and much incense was given to him... that he might add it to the prayers of all of the saints upon the golden alter which
is before the throne.

And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints went up before God out of the angel's hand.

Stay here for a few moments and consider all that you see.

There is much to see and much to experience.

Did you notice that the angel was handed the incense for his censor but the prayers of the saints were already present before God. The angel merely "added" the smoke of the incense to the already existing and present prayers of the saints.

Have you ever considered that your prayers are enthroned with your God? Isn't it absolutely amazing that your prayers are given such a exalted postion in heaven?

Do you think that, after this brief peek, your prayers will be offered a bit differently in the future?