Today, the United States Supreme Court has officially released its decision on the Mississippi case, which jeopardizes the infamous Roe versus Wade decision of January 22, 1973. I would certainly like to put out blogs that I know up front would be without controversy and be a place where people will see that they will receive thought-provoking Bible-based inspiration and knowledge from which they can gain wisdom. I desire to "Inspire Excellence."
As a Christian, I understand that I exist in this world but should not be of the world. Meaning that my life follows a higher standard of being, which I believe to be God's Word (The Bible). Yes, I am to submit to Governing authorities. However, when the Governing authority runs counter to the ultimate source, I am not required to submit to worldly mandates. The Government does not determine for me what is right or wrong. The Lord does that for me. Christians need to become clear on that point. Just because something is legal does not make it moral or righteous.
In considering what many would consider a momentous decision from our Supreme Court today, I prioritize it with the scriptures that ultimately direct my life. I am often asked my opinion about various matters of life and living. My best answers are not what I think but what I clearly articulate from God's Word. If I can effectively speak for God without addition or subtraction, I have done my fellow man an excellent service. I have done a disservice to my fellow man when I muddy up the waters by not being clear, choosing to convey my personal opinion, or not standing up for the truth.
God has already settled the abortion issue. If we know what the Bible says about abortion, then we know how we are to respond when it shows up in our lives. Not doing what is right in the sight of God is sin, no matter the excuses. Before you parade your sentiment about the decision today:
I can not imagine a scenario where God would advise abortion. Therefore my advice must be like His. If God suggested abortion, I would have to do the same in those cases. Today's decision will not eliminate abortion, so Christians still have to decide for themselves what is right or wrong. Now, if you continue to look to the Supreme Court for your moral compass, your compass will point in opposite directions depending on when you look at it. That's a big difference; God is the same today as He was yesterday. He does not change His mind based on the climate of the political situation.
My advice to you is to turn to God and His ways. He will light your path to righteousness. Follow Him all the days of your life. Then you will not be tossed to and fro with every change from men's courts. As for me and my house, we know and trust the Lord. The Supreme Court does not get to decide what is right and wrong in my home. Only the Lord can do that. He has given me His Word that I might walk with Him and avoid the world's foolishness.
There is a quick 5 question form you can fill out to help determine your thoughts on Roe V Wade. Click the link below to submit your responses.
What are your thoughts, and leave me your comments?
Reading Time 4 min 41 sec - Speaking Time 9 min 1 sec
What are the traditional Christian activities? Assemble, communion, fellowship, evangelism, and baptism, to name a few. Of all the Christian "things" we do, however, the thing we probably do most often is prayer. We pray when we eat, worship, when we're alone, when visiting sick people, during times of trouble and despair, or when we are pleased.
We probably rack up more time praying than any other spiritual "exercise" we do as Christians. For this reason, the prayer activity sometimes gets a little stale and boring. Like anything else, if you repeat it often enough, it begins to feel old and ineffective.
Never stop praying, and let's consider some reasons why we should persevere. You should persevere in prayer because:
Prayer is Needed For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
In Ephesians 6:12, Paul tells us that the true struggle in this world is not between countries or economic systems (these only reflect the actual battle). Work is "..against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." The battle is against Satan and his evil forces continually trying to destroy the church and spread the word of God.
Some people have wisdom from below and can only see the small picture of human wars, politics, and power. God has given through His word the ability to see the bigger picture, which is that the battle in the spiritual realm creates the struggle in the physical realm. Some choose to fight with guns and diplomacy and financial wheeling and dealing - the local battles for territory, money, and temporary power. Others choose to fight the war on the first front, the spiritual front against the true enemies, and they fight this battle with the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and prayer.
Paul says that the "wages of sin are death" in Romans 6:23. Peter says that Satan continually prowls around to devour. In other words, he constantly tries to seduce people into sin to create death and its symptoms in their lives. Prayer is needed to counteract his attacks in many ways:
Continue to pray because it is needed, but also because:
Prayer is the Basic Ministry of the Church.We know the ministry system in the church: Education, Evangelism, Fellowship, Service, and Worship. These activities allow individuals and the congregation growth. But each of these individual ministry groups needs prayer to be effective. We need to:
Never stop praying because:
Prayer is PowerfulSometimes I hear people say things like, "We could always pray" or "Let's pray; it can't hurt." Statements like this reveal that we don't recognize the power of prayer. Prayer is not wishful thinking or desperation! Prayer is powerful for several reasons:
We have not covered every aspect of prayer, the types of prayers to be made, or examples of how we should pray. This June, we will give more information about renewed faith and prayer - why and how to do it effectively. For now, I remind you not to give up on praying as part of your Christian life and encourage those who do not pray regularly to begin making it part of their daily walk with the Lord because:
Take the very short 5 question quiz on this blog below.
Leave your comments or suggestion.
Reading time - 3min 31sec Speaking time 6min 46 secs Words 881
We have begun the year intending to renew our faith. The effort in June to achieve that objective is "Prayer." It would probably be helpful for us to consider what prayer is not.
Prayer is Not
Each person complete in their own mind the following sentence: "For me, prayer is ___________________. "
What prayer needs to be
In developing a godly character, prayer needs to be the following:
- I Timothy 2:1-2
And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
- Matthew 6:7
Godly mature Christians replace worry with prayer in their lives. We seek God's solutions for our troubles through prayer instead of more worry.
As human beings, we are naturally concerned about illness and trials, but the concern is different than worry. Respect treats matters seriously, relying on God to provide through prayer. Worry is choosing to fret and review the problem without giving it to God in prayer. The problem with anxiety is that it has no faith attached to it, so it is a nonspiritual action that does not affect the situation other than weakening the individual.
The perils and promises of prayer
Here are a few tips for those ready to devote more time and energy to prayer. Remember:
7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
- II Corinthians 12:7-10
Note that God gave Paul what he needed (humility) and not what he wanted (healing). God required glory through Paul's weakness rather than by his strength.
Adapted from: Prayer, 10 Steps to the New Spiritual You - BibleTalkTV
Reading Time 4 min 58 sec - Speaking Time 9 min 34 sec
For June, efforts to "Renew our Faith" continue with considering prayer. There are many approaches to discussing the subject of "Prayer." For example:
Church leaders say that prayer is the action in life that we need most to do but do the least. Therefore, before we study how to pray, who to pray to, and what to say, it would be prudent first to understand some of the important reasons we ought to pray.
First, let's define prayer as communication and communion with God. We should also be aware that prayer does not have to be verbal. You can pray in silence; man can do prayer with his body; man can pray with his life. The more ways we can learn to pray, the better it will be for our souls.
Here are three reasons why we should pray:
1. Prayer is how we unburden our hearts of the anxiety and guilt that plagues us because of sin. Amazingly, people will try everything under the sun to deal with their worries and fears (drugs, self-help methods, escapes, and devices) before finally coming to God in prayer.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.- I Peter 5:6-7
Notice that Peter doesn't say that we have to work out our problems and give them to God for approval, nor does he suggest that we pray and ask God for the solutions so we can take care of the problems with His divine help (e.g., "God, give me the plan…!"). He says to take the burden off of your heart and give it to God — that's it! I'm not saying that this absolves us of the responsibility for our lives and problems, but through prayer, we can detach ourselves from the anxiety, fear, and stress caused by these things.
Prayer serves us the same way when we use it to deal with the problems we have due to the sin in our lives. As Christians, we often sin and fail in living as we ought. God knows this and has given us the avenue of prayer as the starting point in addressing these issues. Yes, we must resist temptation and secure the help we need to do away with sinful behavior. John writes the first action in combatting sinfulness is to acknowledge it as such and appeal to God for help and forgiveness in sincere prayer.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - I John 1:8-9
For the non-Christian, forgiveness comes through baptism (Acts 2:38). However, for the Christian, God has provided the spiritual exercise of prayer to accomplish spiritual healing. We need to pray because we leave with God the worry caused by trials and the guilt due to our sins through this action. No other method is more effective to these ends than prayer. Prayer is a vital rhythm in the health of the soul.
2. We need to pray because prayer initiates spiritual and physical blessings for ourselves and others (Matthew 6:31-32).
In Matthew 7:7, Jesus tells us that we should ask for the things we need, and God (who knows what we need) will provide according to His will and purpose.
Our society prides itself on being independent. The world admires the self-made man/woman, and we strive to be fully self-sufficient or at least the dominant partner in any cooperative enterprise we undertake. As Americans, it goes against our training, history, and character to be dependent, yet, in reality, this is what we are — totally reliant on God!
Prayer is our expression of dependence on God. We cannot think of or enumerate everything needed to sustain our daily lives, but in prayer, we express our dependence on God to supply everything we need. In addition to the physical things required, prayer is also the way we access the "spiritual" blessings necessary for growth in the kingdom of God.
Paul describes specific blessings only obtainable through prayer in his letter to the Ephesian church. There are no physical ways to generate things like spiritual wisdom, a more precise knowledge of God, and an understanding of eternal life through Jesus Christ other than through an active prayer life.
For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
- Ephesians 1:15-18
3. Prayer is necessary because, through prayer, we sanctify (purify) everything that we have to consume or use with a clear conscience and a joyful heart.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. - I Timothy 4:4-5
Is there anything in this world that is not imperfect because of sin? Are we not compromised in some way no matter what we do? For example:
Join us at the Brookfield Church of Christ, where we will present four sermons on "Prayer" for your consumption and spiritual benefit.
Barry G. Johnson, Sr.
An Evangelist at the Church of Christ which meets in Brookfield, IL.