Keep your spiritual glasses clean

2017-10-28
Isaiah 52:11 NKJV

One day a man was getting his windshield washed at a filling station. When the attendant finished, the man said, “That’s a terrible job. Redo my windshield – it’s as dirty as when you started.” So the attendant wiped it again. The man looked it over and in frustration said, “That window hasn’t changed a bit.” The man’s wife was sitting next to him in the car fuming. She reached over, pulled off his glasses, wiped them, and gave them back to him. The attendant had been doing his job correctly. The man himself was the problem all along. Spiritually speaking, the glasses you’re looking through determine what you see, and how you see it. When you look through the lens of jealousy and envy, you become resentful of the blessings of others. When you look through the lens of judgmentalism, you speak and act without mercy and grace. When you look through the lens of fear and unbelief, you limit God and forfeit what He can do for you. When you look through the lens of selfishness, you put yourself first and your loved ones suffer. When you look through the lens of negativity and cynicism, people begin to avoid you because you’re not enjoyable to be around. “Be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.” Just as your glasses need to be wiped clean from the contamination around you, so do your heart and mind. How does this happen? Jesus said, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3 KJV). Through prayer and daily Bible reading, your perspective on life is kept right.

Soul food: Isa 30-33; John 6:35-51; Ps 104:24-35; Prov 28:9-12

When Jesus prayed (5)

2017-06-30
Luke 22:41-42 NIV

Jesus prayed before He faced the greatest crisis in His life. The Bible says: “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place… He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared…and strengthened him” (vv. 39-43 NIV). Jesus didn’t wait until the hour of His greatest crisis before He prayed. For three and a half years during His earthly ministry, He had built a life of prayer. Before He raised Lazarus from the dead, we read, “Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me…that you always hear me'” (John 11:41-42 NIV). Jesus had such an intimate relationship with His Father that in times of pressure and pain He could go to God, confident He would receive His sustaining grace. Can you do that? Until you do, you’ll be vulnerable to people and situations beyond your control. Consider this question: Do you think Jesus prayed so much because He wanted to, or because He thought He should? The answer is – He wanted to! And if you want to follow in His footsteps and enjoy God’s richest blessings, you need to move from “should” to “want to.” Here’s a truth that people who pray know: The less you pray, the less you want to pray. And the more you pray, the more you want to pray. The power behind Christ’s amazing success in life was the power of prayer. Starting now, commit to praying each day.

Soul food: 1 Sam 11-13; Mat 22:23-33; Ps 98; Prov 17:1-3

When Jesus prayed (5)


Luke 22:41-42 NIV

After Jesus prayed His prayer in John 17, He then went to a garden to pray again. He was just about to face the greatest crisis in His life. The Bible says: ‘Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place…  He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared… and strengthened him’ (vv. 39-43 NIV). He didn’t wait until He was in the middle of the crisis to pray. He knew what was coming and chose to turn to prayer in advance. For three and a half years during His ministry on Earth, He had built a life of prayer. Before He raised Lazarus from the dead, ‘Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me… that you always hear me”‘ (John 11:41-42 NIV). Jesus had such an intimate relationship with His Father that in times of pressure and pain He could go to God. We can have that too. When we spend time in prayer, we develop that relationship with God. We can turn to God as soon as we see a crisis coming and know for sure that God will help us through. Yes, prayer can be hard. It can feel like an uphill climb. But the more we pray, the more we want to pray. The power behind Jesus’ amazing success in life was the power of prayer. Starting now, let’s commit to living each day powered by prayer and an increasingly intimate relationship with our Father.

1 Sam 11-13; Mat 22:23-33; Ps 98; Prov 17:1-3

When Jesus prayed (4)

2017-06-29
Luke 22:31-32 NIV

Perhaps the times we pray the most are the times the people we love and care for need our prayers. Praying pastorally, basically praying for the needs of others, is really important. Jesus often prayed when He was concerned about the people He loved. He told Peter: ‘Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you… that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ He also prayed for others just before His crucifixion. This was a time when it would be understandable to just pray about His own circumstances, but He moved His focus to other people even at this time, praying: ‘They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.I pray for them’ (John 17:8-9 NIV). Jesus knew the power of praying for other people. The Bible tells us about four men who carried their sick friend and laid him at the feet of Jesus (have a read of Mark 2:3-5). That’s what we do when we pray for someone. We take them to the feet of Jesus. It’s not always easy to pick up the weight of another person and carry them to God each day in prayer. Sometimes we promise to pray and then forget to follow through. Other times we’ve got so much going on in our lives that we don’t feel like we can carry someone else to God too. And when people disappoint us or hurt us, the last thing we can feel like doing is praying for them. But prayer is the most effective thing we can do for anyone, no matter what the circumstance.

1 Sam 8-10; Mat 22:15-22; Ps 95; Prov 16:31-33

When Jesus prayed (4)


Luke 22:31-32 NIV

Jesus prayed when He was concerned about the people He loved. He told Peter: “Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you…that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” And Peter did turn back. The disciple who denied his Lord in a moment of weakness eventually stood before a crowd of thousands and preached the gospel to them, and three thousand were won to Christ. Jesus not only taught His disciples, He warned them of danger. But ultimately He realized that the greatest thing He could do was pray for them. Unfortunately, that’s a truth we tend to arrive at later rather than sooner. We promise, we rescue, we threaten, and only when all our other efforts have failed do we pray. Prayer shouldn’t be your last resort, it should be your first response. Prayer takes the situation out of your hands and puts it into God’s. Do you remember the four men who carried their sick friend and laid him at the feet of Jesus? (See Mark 2:3-5). That’s what you do when you pray for someone. It’s not easy to pick up the weight of another person and carry them to God each day in prayer. But it’s the most effective thing you can do for them. The old-timers used to say, “Prayer moves the hand that moves the world.” And they were right! When a loved one disappoints or wounds you, instead of lashing out, lift them up in prayer. Invite God into the situation, then stand back and allow Him to work.

Soul food: 1 Sam 8-10; Mat 22:15-22; Ps 95; Prov 16:31-33