Pray Without Ceasing

Hi there!

Today I added the following excerpt as an ‘update’ to my Categories/Posts  “Pray On The Potty” and “Dry Prayer And Monkey Chatter”.  The full article from which the excerpt was taken can be found at http://utmost.org/thinking-of-prayer-as-jesus-taught/ . Here goes:

“The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts. Our blood flows and our breathing continues “without ceasing”; we are not even conscious of it, but it never stops.

Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the saint. Beware of anything that stops the offering up of prayer. “Pray without ceasing…”— maintain the childlike habit of offering up prayer in your heart to God all the time.”

End of excerpt. The “pray without ceasing” quote came from 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Until later,

Fred

Advertisements

We Have Two Of The Greatest Allies And Best Friends Possible

Greetings!

Not only do we have a Father Who loves us beyond all human comprehension, even sending His Son to die for us (Romans 8:32), we also have 2 of the most powerful and loving Allies and Friends (John 15:14) CONSTANTLY working for us and Who NEVER FAIL, if we trust Them with childlike faith.

Christ Jesus is the Friend and Ally Who never ceases to intercede to the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:34). Further still, this Friend and Ally enables us to do “ALL things” by His strength within us (Philippians 4:13).

The Holy Spirit within us is our Friend and Ally Who  “Himself ALWAYS intercedes on our behalf with groanings that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26) when we are looking to and going to God. And this Friend and Ally is Someone we can fellowship with (2 Corinthians 13:14) and can lead us MOMENT by MOMENT in our daily lives (Romans 8:14)….IF WE LET HIM! He also enables us to enjoy the  “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22) as brought out in the Post “Fruit Of The Spirit”. And, last but not least, He is our ever present SUPERNATURAL Comforter (John 14:16,26).

Our Friends and Allies DEEPLY DESIRE and are prepared to do what is the absolute best for us….but we hinder Them by our lack of faith as well as our unnecessary concerns with the things of this world. (Please reference the Posts “Absolute Surrender”, “Practicing The Presence Of God” and “Why Isn’t God More Real To Me?”)

Truly, “if God (as well as Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit) be for us,who can be against us” (Romans 8:31….parenthetical insertion mine).

Take care, in Christ.

Fred

Fruit Of The Spirit

Greetings!

Our greatest inheritance (‘treasure’….2 Corinthians 4:7) as believers while we are still on this earth is the Holy Spirit and His ‘fruit’ (Galatians 5:22). Let’s take a look at some of the aspects of these.

‘Fruit’ is used to describe the qualities listed in Galatians because they take time to develop, especially to their full potential. Our progress as Christians is described as a growing process in the New Testament.

When we were first called and were given the Holy Spirit in our hearts we obviously did not automatically receive a boatload full of ‘love’, ‘peace’, etc., especially of the quality that is of a superior, ‘Holy’ nature. This will take time and is the growing process already mentioned.. In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul speaks of how their ‘faith’  “grows exceedingly” (Green’s “Literal Translation Of the HOLY BIBLE” and Rotherham’s)….even our faith has much room to grow.

Each individual believer’s share of her or his ‘fruit’ will depend on at least three endeavors, which is like a ‘nourishing’ of the ‘fruit’ as it grows (just as earthly fruit needs proper ‘nourishment’ as it grows): (1) prayer….BOTH formal and informal….please reference the Posts “Pray on the Potty” and “Practicing The Presence Of God”, (2) heartfelt Bible study (2 Timothy 3:16) and (3) to the degree there is ABSOLUTE SURRENDER to God and Christ Jesus (please reference the Post “Absolute Surrender”).

Number 3 is very important and the Post  “Bible Study Is Good…”If”…”But”…” discusses this. Being ‘lukewarm’ does not cut it with God and Jesus, as indicated in Revelation 3:16. An excellent article on ‘the lukewarm Christian’ can be found at http://chrismarlow.me/2008/06/are-you-a-lukewarm-christian/ .

Even though experiencing the FULL measure of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ will take time, we can nevertheless enjoy lesser degrees of each quality of the ‘fruit’ as it ripens to ‘fullness’. This follows the example used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 telling how he was receiving knowledge by “installments” or in “part” until the ‘fullness’ has come. Likewise with the ‘fruit of the Spirit’, we can receive and enjoy in “part” of the ‘fruit’, in stages, until we finally partake of its ‘fullness’.

However, there are benefits from the Holy Spirit within us that are IMMEDIATE! We can INSTANTLY begin to utilize the power of the Spirit to change our lives for the better. We can INSTANTLY be comforted by the Spirit when the need arises. We can INSTANTLY be led by the Spirit in every aspect of lives. We can INSTANTLY rejoice in what we have received because of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. And, the list goes on.

The ‘fruit of the Spirit’ is as different from its human equivalent as is the Holy Spirit from the human spirit. In other words, it will EXCEED it in QUALITY beyond measure! For instance, consider the ‘peace’ from the Spirit’s ‘fruit’. Philippians 4:7 says this ‘peace’ is “surpassing all understanding”! The ‘love’ of the Spirit’s ‘fruit’ will likewise far EXCEED the quality of human love. This is a HOLY ‘love’, a HOLY peace’, a HOLY ‘joy’, etc. because it is the product of the Holy Spirit.

Notice, as well, that the verse does not say ‘fruits’, but rather, “fruit”. To the degree that we possess one aspect of the “fruit” we will proportionally experience ALL  the other aspects of the “fruit”….they come as a ‘package deal’! For instance, we will not experience Holy “love” to a considerable degree but yet be lacking in Holy “patience”….they will both mature at the same rate.

How blessed we are to have the opportunity to enjoy this ‘fruit’ while we are waiting for the presence of our Lord and Savior and to be glorified with Him (Colossians 3:4).

All the best in Him.

Fred

Good Morning

Good afternoon from here!

This is just a reminder that we should be continually making the effort to cultivate our relationship with our Father and Savior into a more personal bond. Here are a few suggestions.

A good start is to FIRST THING in the morning, moments after we wake up, while still lying in bed, greet Them with a GOOD MORNING!!, and wholeheartedly thank Them for being there. Of course, other ‘conversation’ can continue with Them as you see fit. This has absolutely nothing to do with formal prayer and is just our way of acknowledging our appreciation for Them being there as we begin our day.

Then, we silently ‘chat’ with Them throughout the day….again, there is not formal prayer, just casual ‘conversation’ as described in the Posts “Pray On The Potty” and “Practicing The Presence Of God”. While not ‘chatting’, our gaze should be continually towards Them.

If (I should say ‘when’!!) we mess up and sin during the day, we apologize and  say we are sorry and thank Them for the awaiting forgiveness that is there because of Christ’s sacrifice. Brother Lawrence wrote that he would add something to this effect when addressing Them after his sinning:”this is what happens when I am left to depend on myself without You”.

When we see, hear or experience nice things during the day that are a delight then we simply say “Thank you”.

When we see, hear or experience the bad, the mean and the tragic that is all about us during the day we silently thank Them for Their plan to make ALL things right in the end. (Please reference the Posts on “Suffering” and “All Creation Will Be Saved”)

We should ask for Their advice when confronted with options during the day. They will respond in the appropriate way depending on the status of each ones’ individual, personal faith and what is best for each of us in that situation. Keep in mind, They are not there to merely be our “rainy day”  source of help, and we may need to learn this lesson.

So, in all we do, we should seek that personal relationship with God and Christ Jesus and not settle for just a religious acknowledgement of Them being there.

Take care and hope to see you later.

Fred

Why Isn’t God More Real To Me?

Hi, there!

Let’s face it, to many, if not most, Christians God and Christ Jesus are not all that ‘real’ to us in a truly personal sense. Real, in that we actually ‘feel’ Their presence with us continually throughout the day (as Brother Lawrence did as illustrated in the book “Practicing the Presence of God”….please reference the Post by this title.). Real, in that we know Them so personally as to be continually and constantly looking at everything we encounter daily through Them. Real, in that we continually ask Them throughout the day as to what to say, what to do and how to handle situations we encounter during that day.

In the last Post “God And Christ Jesus Are In Us ALL THE TIME!!!”, Scriptures clearly show that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are within us. So, we “know”, then, that we have a reservoir of Holy Presence in us that defies human imagination! However, how much do we “realize” this Holy Presence as true reality? (Please reference the Post on “Knowledge vs Realization”). Paul knew that there was a difference between the two when he wrote in Ephesians 1:17-20 (Concordant Literal New Testament) that he prayed for  all saints to come to a “realization” (vs. mere “knowledge”) of what we have as believers because of the power of God and sacrifice of our Lord Christ Jesus.

The Bible shows quite clearly how we achieve this “realization” and thus be able to depend on and experience the Father and Christ Jesus in a personal way daily. It is revealed in James 4:8: “ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”. That’s it….pure and simple! Let’s explore this a little further.

Regimented Bible study, ‘mechanical’ prayer and attending church, although beneficial to some degree, DOES NOT qualify as “drawing near to God” (Please see the Post on “Bible Study Is Good…IF…BUT”).

Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, was highly proficient in performing the 3 above noted practices. In addition to this, as to observing the Law in a physical sense, Saul was “blameless” (Philippians 3:6), which was quite an achievement in a ‘religious’, human sort of way. And yet, in spite of all this, Saul would become the “foremost” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:16) and the chief persecutor of God’s saints!! So, obviously, these 3 ‘religious’ practices BY THEMSELVES  will not do the trick in getting us closer to the Father or our Lord in a PERSONAL way.

Believing,in itself, DOES NOT qualify as “drawing near to God” either….even the devils believe! (James 2:19)

What DOES qualify as “drawing near to God” is “practicing the presence of God” (Please see the Posts “Practicing The Presence Of God” and “Letters By A Modern Mystic”). It means to start looking to God and Christ Jesus MORE and MORE in our thoughts and needs. Continually, as best we can at first, conversing with Them (Please reference the Post “Pray On The Potty”) and keeping Them before us at ALL times throughout the day….not only hourly, but eventually minute by minute, as is practical. In this way, we are “going to God” or, if you will, “drawing near to God”….and, in turn, God (and Jesus) will draw closer to us, as a reality.

Oswald Chambers wrote in  MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST (please reference the Post by the same name) that ” ‘Why does God not reveal Himself to me?’ It is not that He will not, it is that He cannot, because you are in the road as long as you won’t abandon absolutely to Him.”

At first, it will be difficult to focus on and go to God and Jesus with such ABANDONMENT because it will be going against our human nature and the ‘flesh’, which opposes the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:17). Ridding our minds of useless and frivolous thoughts to focus on God and Christ Jesus MAY ACTUALLY SEEM AS IF WE ARE GOING AGAINST WHAT IS NATURAL….because we have so constantly entertained these vain thoughts for so long as part of our normal lives (Galatians 4:17,23). Even Brother Lawrence admitted it was difficult for him at first to LEARN how to FULLY focus on the Father and Christ Jesus in his waking moments.

However, he went on to say “we must at first apply to Him with some diligence. Then, after a little care, we would find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.”. (Again, please reference the Post “Practicing The Presence Of God”.)

And, of course, it takes time. God may need to remove some human barriers within us, and in doing so, it may seem as if we are digressing rather than making progress. However,DON’T give in to this FALSE line of reasoning nor to apparent failure….God and Jesus know our hearts and They will continually work with us as long as we keep trying and are willing to submit to Them.

Please don’t misunderstand me, a believer can have a fulfilling and rewarding Christian journey to varying degrees without achieving this deep, personal relationship with the Father and our Lord….however, I am merely presenting the better and far richer way.

Hope to see you again soon.

Fred

Answered Prayer

Greetings….we have heard that if we have enough faith  we can have anything we want through prayer.  Well, who doesn’t remember these Words of our Lord:

“but even if to this mount ye may say, Be lifted up and be cast into the sea, it shall come to pass; 22. and all — as much as ye may ask in the prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”  (Matthew 21:21-22) (Young’s Literal Version)

But, wait a second! Didn’t Jesus pray 3 times that His crucifixion be taken away from Him? Didn’t Jesus have faith?…..well, of course. Didn’t Paul pray 3 times that his “thorn in the flesh” be taken away from him? Didn’t Paul have faith?…..well, of course.  And, of course, neither received their prayer request.

Fortunately, we have the whole New Testament so that we can clarify what is said in one place by what is said in another. This is called “rightly dividing the word” (2 Timothy 2:15…Young’s Literal Version), or, putting all truth in its proper place or perspective. One or two verses sometimes do not stand alone regarding a truth and they need to be understood in their proper context based on what is said elsewhere. This is the case here.

Regarding answered prayer, then, there is another verse in 1 John 5:14 (New American Standard Bible) which brings Matthew 21: 21-22 into balance : “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us.” (Emphasis mine). Also, have we in James 4:3: “you ask and do no receive because you ask amiss”.

Actually, Jesus acknowledges this also in Matthew 26:39 (New American Standard): “yet not as I will, BUT AS YOU WILL.” (Emphasis mine) Answered prayer always depends on whether it is according to God’s will and whether we do ask amiss.

Thank goodness God and Christ Jesus are there to pan out what we ask for from what we really need. Much of the time, we have no clue as to what we really need, and how blessed we are to have a Father and Savior who know our necessities to the nth degree and beyond.

So, if you don’t get what you want in prayer, even though you may have the faith, be thankful that your prayers were not answered AS YOU WANTED THEM TO….because God and Christ Jesus know best as to what we really NEED, and this in itself, is their answer to our prayer.

See you later, in Christ.

Fred

(If you wish to leave a comment rest assured your email information is never shared)

Pray On The Potty

……..OR ANYWHERE! So true, “prayer” is not limited to a special session during which a certain posture is assumed (usually on the knees), along with maybe having the hands together in a pious manner. This is good……sometimes, and formal prayer certainly has its beneficial place.

But, we need to get away from identifying prayer with some once, twice, maybe 3 times a day RITUAL! Prayer is simply going to God and Christ…..period. Whether on the toilet, in a prayer closet, washing dishes, fixing the car, etc, it is important for us to learn to look to and converse with God and Christ  and “pray in the Spirit  on all occasions” (Ephesians 6:18). This means talking (silently or out loud) to Them as if They were right there  in  a natural, conversational manner…….anytime and anywhere!  Or, just let your spiritual gaze be towards Them without any words whatsoever.

This was and is the way of the ‘mystics’, who developed a deeply personal relationship with God and Christ….they continually, moment by moment when possible, conversed (“prayed”) with Them. Brother Lawrence in PRACTICING THE PRESENCE OF GOD is an excellent example of this (a free online copy is available at http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=2701994).

Oswald Chambers writes in his book “My Utmost For His Highest” these thoughts about prayer (this and all of his 365 daily entries can be found for FREE at ( http://utmost.org/thinking-of-prayer-as-jesus-taught/ ):

“The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts. Our blood flows and our breathing continues “without ceasing”; we are not even conscious of it, but it never stops.

Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the saint. Beware of anything that stops the offering up of prayer. “Pray without ceasing…”— maintain the childlike habit of offering up prayer in your heart to God all the time.”

End of excerpt.

And, actually, this is what the scripture “draw near to Me and I will draw near to you” (James 4:8) means….the more often we converse/pray (formally and informally) the more we “draw near to” God and Christ….we are going towards Them.

Until later,

Fred