Practicing the Presence of God through Prayer

Prayer gets a bad rap among some of God’s kids who think it is only for the spiritual elite.

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Some practice it on an “emergency only basis.  Others “seem” to be close to ” super saints” who use such erudite, spiritual language that you wonder what planet they have been on the last ten years!

Between those two very extreme caricatures are those who honestly struggle to adopt a lifestyle that carries with it the aroma of prayer.  These are those people, like you and I, who have a God-given passion in their hearts to bring every matter in their lives to the Lord’s attention through prayer. But, the question is, how can we adopt the lifestyle where prayer is the predominant theme of our lives? With your permission, I would like to take you on a journey through the pages of the Bible to witness those people from the past who came to grips with prayer’s importance, some failed and some passed with flying colours.

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The Gift of Presence

two-friends-wallpapers“He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:24).

It is very special to have “found” the Gospel of Jesus Christ when I was without purpose and no hope of every finding it on my own. I grew up in a home where the things of God were given only intellectual assent and never personally applied or taken serious. It was like knowing it was indeed true but pretending to live like it wasn’t.  Continue reading

If you knew…

They come in all shapes, sizes and intensity.  The innocuous thing about them is that they sneak up on us when weResults least suspect them like carbon monoxide on the unsuspecting homeowner. Before we realize it, we are left gasping for air as the life is sucked right out of us!

King David experienced it on a day that began like all the others he had every lived  (2 Samuel 11). He would go to sleep (if he could sleep) that night a changed man with a totally different future than he had when he woke up that day. And so does every one of us who yield to the tempting picture that sin paints for us without considering its deadly consequences. Continue reading

Roadblocks to Peace

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The older I get, and I am getting there fast…the more I am beginning to understand, notice I said “beginning!”  There was a time not so long ago that I thought being a Christian was all about following carefully crafted rules. Those rules, I thought, triumphed relationships every single time! My “Damascus Road”  experience came as I thought about the conflict I have experienced as a Pastor. That conflict was mostly over methodology and control.  Some people want both no matter the cost, even at the cost of relationships.  Continue reading

Unparalleled Love

IMG_0927“When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, thy richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride..”

“See from his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flowed mingled down, did err such love and sorrow meet or thorns compose so rich a crown.”

These are powerful lyrics that point to the greatest need that every human being on the planet has, that of redemption from sin and divine love that took our rightful place of sin’s penalty. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was born at just the right time to redeem mankind (Galatians 4:4), gave his life for sinners like you and I. Undeserved grace was ours because of his willingness to submit himself to the eternal plan of God.

The words of Jesus in John 10 present the stark truth; Jesus willingly was tortured at the hands of those he had created and loved in order for the transaction of salvation to be completed. Stop and think about that for a minute! How unreal that is! Read these words slowly and meditatively, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18)

Let the full impact of these verses find their way into your heart this season of the year, and all year-long actually! The bottom line here is that Jesus loved you and I so much that he died the death of a criminal for us! What are the implications? They are life-changing! We quite literally not sit on the fence here. Because he gave his life for you, he loves you! He loves you more than you could ever imagine.

I will never forget when I first heard as a young Christian the full price that Jesus paid for my sin! I was moved by his willingness to be subjected to the cruelty of the crucifixion for me because of his love! Despite of my sin, my rebellion and my wanting nothing to do with him, he still showed his love for me.

Today, I live in gratitude for this divine love that would not let me go. It has grasped my heart with such tenacity that it changed the direction of my life. As a non-Christian, I used the excuse that if I received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour that I could not have as much fun! But, oh how wrong I was! The life that God has now given me because of the cross of Jesus is more satisfying, more peaceful and more meaningful that I could ever have imagined.

Friend, God loved you so much that Jesus gave his life for you! That statement if applied to your heart, soul and mind will change you forever. The world tries to match it but fails every time with its cheap, momentary thrills and shows. Sometimes believers can get their eyes off the cross and shift their sight to the world hoping to find something else but do so in vain.

Embracing the full weight and significance of the cross defines all of life. God’s love demonstrated that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Once we do so, the rest of life is altered forever, we can’t shake it and we live in gratitude forever.

A Faithful Life

How do you put into words the impact that this one man has had on my generation and the one previous to mine?  He served Jesus Christ with faithfulness to the message of the gospel. He was faithful to his wife, his family and to God’s Word. He was willing to do what ever it took to get that message to as many people as he could. He was critiqued by many from within the church but he was more interested in reaching those lost in sin than in placating people who would never be satisfied with him or his style of ministry. 

Many times I sat with my Dad watching the Billy Graham crusades. Dad would never go to church but he would watch and listen to Billy. As a young person who was trying to find  out what was true, I would listen attentively to the message of salvation.  I would not come to Christ until a few years later but the seed was sown.

I thank God for the life and legacy of Billy Graham. His life’s work was to share the message of eternal life in Christ to as many as possible and to live his life for God’s glory ought to be something every person who claims to know Jesus ought to emulate.  

May the words of the Apostle Paul encourage us to be faithful, like Billy, in sharing and living the message of Jesus

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…”

Colossians 4:2

The Path to Growth

Growing to be all that God desires you be is the result of many strands, or decisions that you make on a daily basis. To grow spiritually does not happen by chance or as the result of good genes. To grow into maturity is not the end of the process but rather it is part of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in you. The goal is to experience a “transformed” life that has so radically changed that the result is a new set of values and purposes. We live to the glory of God through difficult circumstances and heart-wrenching suffering.

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