What happens when the regular evening Bible study is replaced by a special prayer meeting? Years ago I remember one particular person saying that she would not be attending because it was just a prayer meeting.
From what he wrote to Timothy, it seems Paul would not have regarded God’s people gathering for the express purpose of praying as “just a prayer meeting.” Consider his instructions for Timothy. Continue reading “Just a prayer meeting?”
Christianity cannot be practiced mindlessly. It is not a habit to be formed, forgotten, and inattentively fulfilled – like washing your hands. Rather, serving God by living as a Christian is a purposeful life lived intently.
Routines are helpful in maintaining a godly lifestyle. Cambridge defines routine as “a usual or fixed way of doing things.”
Scripture hints at the value of purposeful routines by showing us the extraordinary daily life of Jesus. Continue reading “On ruts and routines”
What do we do when life seems to be tumbling in on us? Do we refuse to do anything? Are we paralysed with fear? Or is there a better way?
Consider Hezekiah, king of Judah. He had implemented reforms which had brought his country back to God. But all was not going well politically. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had attacked and taken the fortified cities of Judah including Lachish. Jerusalem was the next city in his sights. He sent a message to the people of Judah. Continue reading “Take it to the Lord in prayer”
Our prayers are important to God, though there are those whose prayers sometimes target human ears, not God’s.
It seems absurd in the extreme that some people pray to be seen and heard by others when prayer is specifically for God. The Lord Jesus talked about this type of person in Matthew chapter 6. He told his listeners that prayer should not imitate “the hypocrites.” The word “hypocrite” in the New Testament hearkened back to the days of Greek theatre. Actors would wear a mask depicting their character. A hypocrite is someone who wears a false face. Continue reading “Impress God with prayer”
When Paul visited Thessalonica he did what he did wherever he went – he went first to the Jews to tell them the good news of Jesus. For three straight weeks he taught in the synagogue from the Jewish scriptures – the Old Testament – about the Messiah, that he would suffer, and that he would rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah” (Acts 17:3 NIV).
The reaction he received was both positive and negative. “Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the market-place, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.” (Acts 17:4-5). It got so bad that Paul and Silas had to be sent away from Thessalonica – they went initially to Berea and then Paul ended up in Athens. Continue reading “Concern … and answered prayer”
The first letter of John comes as a breath of fresh air to those who are trying to live for Jesus. People around us tell us so much that simply isn’t true. It seems many think if they say something often enough and loud enough that it becomes true! Let’s notice some of the truths that John gives us in the last chapter of this short letter.
“For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith” (1 John 5:3-4 CSB).
Sometimes we hear people complaining that doing what God wants is difficult. Obedience, we are told, is just too hard! So does it really matter, they think, if we obey God or not? Continue reading “Our confidence as Christians”
Back in the early days of our work in Brazil, we did research into the culture and religion of the area where we worked. Among other things we did, several of our mission team visited different religions and denominations for a better sense of their teachings and practices.
One day several of us visited a large denominational church near the downtown area of our city. I think I sustained permanent hearing impairment there.
At one point, I recall all of the denomination’s adherents praying at the same time. Four hundred people speaking simultaneously — and most of them did not speak in a low volume — made it impossible to understand anything. Continue reading “One at a time, please”
I have prayed prayers, waited years, and never have been able to recognize empirically that they were answered. Your mileage may vary, but I suspect we all have put our concerns and needs before the Lord without seeing an identifiable answer.
But I believe the good Heavenly Father answers all the supplications, petitions, and intercessions of his faithful children. I believe it because the Bible affirms it, and I believe it because he has answered enough of my prayers to convince me of that truth.
Just this morning I asked the Lord about a subject. Within an hour’s time I had an answer. The answer was not a natural outflow of events. It came, atheists and skeptics might say, out of nowhere. But it actually came from heaven. Now that’s not a divine rule, as if he were a fast-food server working on a timer to get out the burger-answer to the drive-through
customer Christian. Continue reading “Thankful for answered prayer”
By Johnny O. Trail — Mickey and Linda were married for around 60 years./1 Linda was immersed into Christ from an early age, but Mickey was not a member of the church. For many, many years she and others patiently prayed for him and engaged him in various Bible studies.
When I started at the congregation where Mickey and Linda attended, I was blessed to become friends with them early in the work. Since my grandmother’s maiden name was “Jacobs” and Linda’s was too, I always called her “Cousin” when she came into the building. As I watched them over the 10 years that I was a part of their congregation, their love for one another was very apparent. There was always a twinkle in his eyes and in hers when they were together. Still, she had a persistent fear—”would Mickey obey the gospel before his life was over?” Continue reading “Nine steps and 45 minutes to salvation”
It might seem a strange thing to consider the subject of power in the letter of James, since the principal word for it (Greek, dunamis) does not appear in the document at all. But there are other signs of James’s interest.
This servant of the Lord is not interested in power in any pure, static form, but in the effective working of God in a saint’s life. Continue reading “Power in the epistle of James”