Christ’s Redemptive Work

There is a problem in our lives that we cannot do anything at all to correct.  It is a problem that if not taken care of will take away all hope that we have in our lives.  It is called sin.  Sin separates us from God.  Sin is the disease of the soul that every person who has ever been born possesses and there isn’t anything that we can do about it.  We can’t be good enough ever in our lives to get rid of sin.  It isn’t something that we can earn our way out of.  In fact, as I said earlier, there is nothing that we can do to get rid of sin.  The Bible tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  It is universal; no one is excluded; everyone who has ever been born or will be born will have to face this sin issue.  And please understand that when we talk about falling “short of the glory of God” we are talking about eternal separation from God.  So what do we do?  If we can’t change that fact, what hope is there?  I’m glad you asked! Read more…

The Story of the Nativity

Have you ever wondered how we got our Nativity scene?  The Gospels give us the story of Christ’s birth, of course, but how did we get the tradition of placing a creche on our fireplace mantle, or on the coffee table, or in the front of our churches?  When did churches start dramatizing Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, or when did choirs begin to sing about the angels’ praises to the shepherds in the field while they took care of their flocks?  Well, the answer is St. Francis! Read more…

Jesus Is The Answer

Some of you will recognize the name Andre Crouch – a gospel singer who was popular when I was a teen and young adult.  I loved to listen to his music and I loved to sing along with him, and one of those songs was entitled “Jesus is the Answer.”  I was thinking about these words in relation to my time of prayer this morning.  I’ve been praying for our nation; we are in such desperate times.  The anger, the outright hatred and venom that is being spoken; the mistrust; the lies and the blatant disregard for civility are sucking the life out of our nation and our world.  But think of these words from that song:  “Jesus is the Answer for the world today, above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the Way!”  There are too many people, even Christians, who feel like that this is trite, not helpful and a waste of time to believe this, that we need to get busy and change the world ourselves, but I hope you’ll stick with me and read the rest of this and let me tell you why I don’t believe that at all. Read more…

The Center and Heart

Perry LeFevre wrote a book entitled Understanding of Prayer.  In the book he said that prayer is “the very center and heart of theology.”  The word “theology” literally means “the study of God.”  If we are going to understand God we are going to have to understand prayer.  LeFevre also says  that prayer is the essence of our spirituality.  As we pray we learn more about God.  When we spend time in prayer, real time with God, He begins to reveal His will to us, His heart to us and His desires to us.  If we want to understand the Bible, we have to understand prayer.  If we want to learn about God we have to learn about prayer. Read more…

The Priority of Prayer

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he (Jesus) got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying” (Mark 1:35 CSB).  We know that Jesus was very focused and purposeful when He prayed.  There are a number of times in scripture when Jesus started early; He didn’t wait until His schedule was so full that He was unable to find the time.  He didn’t procrastinate in prayer.  There were times when He would send the disciples away, such as after He had fed 5000 in Mark 6 so that He could pray.  He avoided distractions, praying when no one or nothing would pull Him away from His time with the Father.  When you see Jesus’ strategy for prayer it shows us not only the practicality of prayer, but also the priority of prayer.  NO schedule should be too busy to pray!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer believed that “the best method of prayer involved being guided by the Word of Scripture.  Prayer means nothing else but the readiness and willingness to receive and appropriate the Word . . . to accept it in one’s personal situation, particular tasks, decisions, sins and temptation.”  Not only does the Word of God give us an example, but when we use it, when we keep our Bibles near our personal place of prayer, it will inform us and it will guide us as we pray.  If we want to be mature in prayer, we must have God’s Word written on our hearts and our minds.  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105 NIV).  “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11 NIV).

Is prayer a priority to you?  Do you set aside the time, purposefully to spend time with God?  In the book The Kneeling Christian written by “An Unknown Christian,” the author writes, “When we stand with Christ in glory, looking o’er life’s finished story, the most amazing feature of that life as it is looked back upon will be its prayerlessness.”  How much of a priority is prayer for you?  I believe that God wants us to pray!  I believe that God needs us to pray.  John Wesley said that He believed that there were things that God would not do unless we prayed?  Could it be that we have stymied God, that we have limited what God can do in this world because we have not prayed?

Prayer must be a priority in our lives because it is our direct communication with God.  It is our connection to the Father and what He wants to do in our lives.  When we spend time in the Word of God He will speak to us and show us how to pray.  We have to get past our concerns of the day or the week and look at the concerns of the world and ask God what His heart is in the matter.  We can’t limit our prayers to just a list of our needs, but we need to spend time praising God and trusting Him; it must be a time when we listen to the Father and hear what it is that He is saying.  Prayer becomes the place where we intimately trust God that He will do what He has promised and use us as we pray.

This past week a special friend shared a dream with me.  He had written it down and as I read it my heart leapt because not only did it resonate with me, but it was something that God had spoken to Sue’s and my hearts before.  I shared it with Sue and yesterday as we drove to Albuquerque for yet another Doctor’s appointment, we talked and shared about what God might be saying.  Our friend’s dream and his words written on those pages has challenged us and we are seeking God and praying about how we might incorporate that into our life as a Body of believers.

I would ask you to seek God with us.  What is it that God wants to do in our lives?  There are things that we are looking at for times when we come together as a Body that can help us to focus in on God and what He is saying and put aside things that would otherwise distract us and cause us to lose our focus.  Prayer must be a priority.  Prayer is practical and vital in the life of the believer and we need to seek God.  Believers, let’s pray!