Friday, November 20, 2009

Praying in Jesus' Name

John 14:13,14
“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

To ask in Jesus’ name does not mean to tack such an expression on the end of a prayer as a mere formula. It means:

1. The believer’s prayer should be for Christ’s purpose.
2. The believer’s prayers should be on the merit of Christ and not any personal merit of worthiness.
3. The believer’s prayer should be in pursuit of Christ’s glory alone.

Pray without ceasing and petition in faith and without doubting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Trial of Faith

It's been refreshing to take a step back to assess my goals as a preacher of the Bible yet alone a 'finishing believer.' Today's devotional, courtesy of Oswald Chambers, found me in Matthew 17:14-21 and taking serious stock of the true essence of the kind of faith God has called us to. Wow I fall short.

OC states the following regarding faith:

"We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages. Faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives him His opportunity to work. Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of our experience as His saint to get us in direct contact with Himself. God wants us to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings."

For many of us:

"The beginning of our life of faith was very narrow and intense, centered around a small amount of experience that had as much emotion as faith in it, and it was full of light and sweetness. Then God withdrew his conscious blessing to teach us to 'walk by faith' (2 Cor 5:7)."

"Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God's character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out in reality must experience times of unbroken isolation."

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Read Proverbs

From: How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart

For convenience, listed below in summary form are some rules that will help make proper use of Proverbs and be true to theri divinley inspired intent.
1. Proverbs are often parabolic (i.e., figurtive, pointing beyond themselves).
2. Proverbs are intensely practical, not theoretically theological.
3. Proverbs are worded to be memorable, not technically precise.
4. Proverbs are not designed to support selfish behavior - just the opposite!
5. Proverbs strongly reflecting ancient culture may need sensible "translation" so as not to lose their meaning.
6. Proverbs are not guarantees from God but poetic guidelines for good behavior.
7. Proverbs may use highly specific language, exaggeration, or any of a variey of literary techniques to make their point.
8. Proverbs give good advice for wise approaches to certain aspects of life but are not exhaustive in their coverage.
9. Wrongly used, proverbs may justify a crass, materialistic lifestyle. Rightly used, proverbs will provide practical advice for daily living.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Maiden Post

"...the gospel...
...of first importance..."
1 Corinthians 15:1-3

If there's anything in life that we should be passionate about, it's the gospel. And I don't mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate about thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world. Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us. And only the gospel ought to be."

C.J. Mahaney, The Cross Centered Life, 20-21