Sunday, April 05, 2009
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son that who so ever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
The Duck & the Devil (Author Unknown)
There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it.
He was shocked and grieved! In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile; only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch the next day Grandma said, 'Sally, let's wash the dishes' But Sally said, 'Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.' Then she whispered to him, 'Remember the duck?' So Johnny did the dishes.
Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, 'I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.' Sally just smiled and said, 'Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help' She whispered again, 'Remember the duck?'
So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help. After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's; he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, 'Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.'
Thought for the day and every day thereafter:
Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done... And the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.)...whatever it is...
You need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing. He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.
The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness; He not only forgives you, but He forgets. It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved. When Jesus died on the cross; he was thinking of you!
* For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor 5:21 KJV
* But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Phil 2:7, 8 KJV
Thank God for the Cross!
"God...reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 5:18 NKJV
Tim Miller writes: "My nine-year-old daughter Jennifer was looking forward to our family holiday. But she became ill, and a long anticipated day at Sea World was replaced by an all-night series of CT scans, X-rays and blood tests at the hospital. As morning approached the doctor told my exhausted little girl that she would need to have one more test, a spinal tap. The procedure would be painful, they said. The doctor then asked me if I planned to stay in the room. I nodded, knowing I couldn't leave Jennifer alone during the ordeal. The doctor gently asked Jennifer to remove all her clothing. She looked at me with child-like modesty as if to ask if that were alright. They had her curl up into a tiny ball. I buried my face in hers and hugged her. When the needle went in, Jennifer cried. As the searing pain increased, she sobbed repeatedly, 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,' her voice becoming more earnest with each word. It was as if she were saying 'Oh Daddy, please, can't you do something?' My tears mingled with hers. My heart was broken, I felt nauseated. Because I loved her, I was allowing her to go through the most agonising experience of her life.
In the middle of that spinal tap my thoughts went to the Cross. What unspeakable pain both the Son and the Father went through - for our sake."
But because of the Cross of Christ we have:
(1) Reconciliation. "God...reconciled us to Himself" (2 Cor 5:18 NKJV).
(2) Regeneration. "Having been born again" (1 Pet 1:23 NKJV).
(3) Resurrection. "Everyone who...believes...I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40 NKJV).
Jesus conquered death for you! "He has given us...a living hope." 1 Peter 1:3 NIV
Ernest Becker wrote a book called The Denial of Death. In it he said we live our lives ignoring, avoiding and repressing the truth that we are mortal, and sooner or later we are all going to die. He pointed out that it's the reason for our workaholism, approval addictions and obsession with money and security. Becker published his book in 1973 with great acclaim, and in 1974 he won the Pulitzer Prize and became famous. That year he found out he had cancer. That year he turned to God. That year he died.
It's said that Arizona has the largest cryonics foundation in the world. For a healthy fee your blood can be filled with anti-coagulants, your body frozen and stored in a capsule of liquid nitrogen at minus 160ºc until you can be reheated later. At that point advanced medical technology can cure whatever disease killed you and you can live again. Or if you don't like being cold, another company offers "eternity in a paperweight". For a small fee your DNA is put in a little box for the next 10,000 years so that you can be cloned whenever it's convenient. They also offer a 10,000-year money-back guarantee, though it's hard to say who will collect it if things go wrong.
John Ortberg writes, "We try to outsmart death in more subtle ways; health clubs, skin creams, surgical techniques, new diets, warmer climates, better medication, smarter doctors and more. Perhaps science will help us live forever, like Gulliver's toothless, hairless, memoryless race of Struldbrugs."
Rejoice, Jesus conquered death, and His resurrection guaranteed yours:
"He has given us...a living hope through the resurrection...into an inheritance that can never perish" (1 Pet 1:3-4 NIV).
Mount Auburn, America's first cemetery, was so beautiful it became the number one tourist attraction in Boston. When they created Central Park in New York they modelled it after Mount Auburn. The rallying cry was, "Why not have it all, but without the graves?" We keep trying to have it all, but without the graves! But we can't. We live only a heartbeat from eternity.
So here are two truths you must keep in mind:
(1) God put you on this earth for a specific purpose. Have you found yours yet?
Are you pouring your life into it and making every moment count?
Paul did, and he ended up writing: "The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim 4:6-8 NKJV).
(2) When you know Christ as your Saviour, the best is yet to be. It is said that on his deathbed, D.L. Moody suddenly sat upright, opened his arms as though embracing something wonderful, declared that earth was receding, Heaven was near, and that it was his coronation day. What a way to go!
You don't need to fear death because Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26 NKJV). Believe it, it's true!
Written Bob Gass Ministries Used with Permission from "The Word For Today": April 2009 http://www.blogger.com/
Jesus as someone has said passed from gory to glory in a short space of time; from tragedy to triumph; from the cross to the crown; from despair to delight, from rejection to rejoicing, from villain to victor. Isn't that wonderful. May our hearts be glad because of all that He has done. But please don't take my word for it - look beyond the cross to the crown, beyond the grave to the skies. Be blessed and have a wonderful Easter.
If you do not know Jesus & would like to know more please write to me Jan Lyall at email: firstname.lastname@example.org & I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Whilst tidying the "Reflection Archives" I became aware of one consistant theme that the Lord has impressed upon me over over the years - Abba wants us to spend more time with Him so that we can know Him at a deeper level may this message bless You!
The Secret to Knowing God - How to walk in deeper intimacy with your Creator (Bayless Conley)
Deep down, I truly believe every Christian wants to experience a deeply personal and intimate relationship with God. And I also believe each and every believer in Christ can have this kind of relationship with their Creator.
But there is often a problem in how we approach God. We often go to Him looking for rewards… or we’re constantly asking Him for things. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go to God with our cares and burdens. In fact, He tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to tell Him about our concerns because He cares so much for us.
But if you want to know God… I mean, really know Him… there is another prayer He wants to hear from you. It’s a prayer like the one we hear Moses pray in Exodus 33:13. In my mind, this is one of the greatest prayers in all of Scripture:
“Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.” Moses didn’t just say, “Come with us, God” but he said, “Show me Your way because, God, I want to know You.” And then Moses added to it in verse 18, when He said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
The Hebrew word for “glory” literally means “weight, mass, or substance.” So in essence Moses is saying, “God, I want to know what You’re made of. I don’t just want to know about You. I want to know You. I want to know who You are.”
The word that Moses used when he said he wanted to know God is the same word that’s used in Genesis 4:1 where it says, “Adam knew Eve his wife.” Moses is requesting to have the most personal, intimate relationship with God. He wants to draw close to God.
Friend, prayers like that touch the heart of God because not too many people pray them!
I read a story about Abraham Lincoln that took place during the Civil War. A woman actually came to the White House and somehow got in with a plate full of cookies. When she finally got through to the president, she said, “Mr. President, I don’t want anything at all. I was just thinking about you today and the load that you are carrying… and I just thought maybe some cookies would brighten up your day.”
Lincoln began to weep and said, “Madam, I see a great many people every day, and they want a great many things from me. But of all the people I’ve seen since being in office, you are the first one that has ever come not asking something of me but wanting to bring something to me.”
While God delights in answering our prayer, He also desires for us to bring something to Him. But how often do we... do you… come just to bring Him something?
It’s the kind of prayer that says,
“God, I want to know You. I just want to hang out. I want to find out who You are. Show me what You are made of.”
Friend, I think we can all know God in a personal and intimate way… just like Moses did… the way Paul did… even the way Abraham did.
Paul cried out in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”
And Abraham discovered what God meant when He said in Genesis 15:1, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
Life is about knowing God! So let me challenge you today to pray a prayer like this:
God, show me who You are. I’m not coming with a request. I’ve got a long list, but I’ll leave it outside the door for now. God, I’m just coming to You because I want to know You. I just want to make Your heart happy. I want to make You smile. God, show me Your ways.
Doing this will delight the heart of God! And you’ll be surprised at some of the things that begin to happen within your life when you pray this prayer. Because I truly believe God is crying out, saying “Oh, that they walk in My ways!” He wants you to know Him today!
When You Speak, God Hears
Those who pray keep alive the watch fires of faith. For the most part we don't even know their names. Such is the case of someone who prayed on a day long ago. His name is not important. He is important not because of who he was, but because of what he did.
He went to Jesus on behalf of a friend. His friend was sick, and Jesus could help, and someone needed to go to Jesus, so someone went. Others cared for the sick man in other ways. Some brought food; others provided treatment; still others comforted the family. Each role was crucial. Each person was helpful, but no one was more vital than the one who went to Jesus.
John writes: "So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, 'Lord, the one you love is sick'" (John 11:3, emphasis mine). Someone carried the request. Someone walked the trail. Someone went to Jesus on behalf of Lazarus. And because someone went, Jesus responded.
In the economy of heaven, the prayers of saints are a valued commodity. John the apostle would agree. He wrote the story of Lazarus and was careful to show the sequence: The healing began when the request was made.
The phrase the friend of Lazarus used is worth noting. When he told Jesus of the illness, he said, "The one you love is sick."
The power of the prayer, in other words, does not depend on the one who makes the prayer but on the one who hears the prayer.
We can and must repeat the phrase in manifold ways. "The one you love is tired, sad, hungry, lonely, fearful, depressed." The words of the prayer vary, but the response never changes. The Savoir hears the prayer. He silences heaven so he won't miss a word. The Master heard the request. Jesus stopped whatever he was doing and took note of the man's words. This anonymous courier was heard by God.
John's message is critical. You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God--and he listens. Intently. Carefully.
The prayers are honoured as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord. "The smoke from the incense went up from the angel's hand to God" (Rev. 8:4). Incredible.
Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God. One call and heaven's fleet appears. Your prayer on earth activates God's power in heaven. You are the someone of God's kingdom. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don't need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought!
When you speak, Jesus hears. And when Jesus hears, the world is changed. All because someone prayed.
Source: UpWords with Max Lucado Feb 6th 2009
Keys To Effective Prayer
1. - Being Specific in what you request of God
In Mark 10:46-52 we find a very intriguing story.
Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, "Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you." And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, "What do you want Me to do for you?" The blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, that I may receive my sight." Then Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
The question Jesus asked, "What do you want Me to do for you?", seemed obvious, didn't it? Everybody present knew Bartimaeus needed his eyes to be healed. Why would Jesus ask this question? He wanted us to understand how important it is to be specific when we ask something of God. Bartimaeus' faith had to become specific before it made him well. It was after he said, "Lord, that I might receive my sight," that Jesus said, "Your faith has made you well."
2. -- Being Connected - The need to have a close relationship with God.
In John 15:5, Jesus says, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
God wants every part of our life to be connected to Him. And He tells us that as that happens, as we have our lives connected with Him, we bear much fruit. A few verses later Jesus directly connected that fruit to prayer.
In John 15:16, Jesus goes on to say, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
If we are connected to God and we abide in Him, Jesus says we will bear much fruit--prayer fruit.
Think about a fruit tree for a moment. The leaves come out because the branches are attached to the tree. In the spring the branch will blossom, and from those blossoms comes the fruit. But if something happens and the branch is not solidly connected to the tree, it will probably not bear any fruit at all. There may be a few leaves, but the blossoms won't come and there won't be any fruit. The blossoms and healthy fruit will only come if the branch is fully connected. God wants us connected to Him in every part of our lives. When that happens, our prayers will be in line with His desires, and we can be confident that He will answer.
How to Stay Connected - While there are many things we can do, I want to focus on two things.
First of all, if you want to have a close relationship with God, it is important to realize just how much He desires to have a close relationship with you.
This is an amazing truth when you stop to think about it. He is Almighty God, and yet He wants to have a close relationship with you.
Romans 5:11 in the New Living Translation says, Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Through Jesus, God made us to be His friends! So connecting with God starts with remembering He desires to be your closest friend.
Second, you need to practice His presence. Right now God is with you. He is everywhere you go. He is at your job; He is at your home; He is with you wherever you might be, even in the hardest time of your life.
The last part of Hebrews 13:5 says, For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
There was a monk in the seventeenth century named Brother Lawrence who wrote a book called The Practice of the Presence of God. In the monastery there were chimes that rang every hour, and Brother Lawrence would use that as a reminder to connect with God. If you have a PDA or a wristwatch or a cell phone, you might consider setting it to go off throughout the day to remind you that God is with you. Each time it goes off, spend a few moments communing with Him. Practice His presence. That will help you stay connected to God
3. -- Praying From the Heart
Romans 10:9-10 says, If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Prayer must come from the heart. These verses in particular teach us that if a person is going to pray a prayer of salvation, the heart and the mouth must get together. It is not good enough to just have the words. Your heart and mouth must be in agreement.
I believe this truth applies to every kind of prayer. It is not good enough to just use eloquent words. There has to be heart behind them if you are going to realize results from your prayers. I think only those things that burn brightly within our hearts truly touch the heart of God.
When I was young, I would go fishing with my cousins. At night, the bats would come out and my cousins would take a lure, and they would cast it up in the air. Every once in a great while one of the bats would hit the lure and get snagged. I think when we pray, it is like casting lines up into the heavens. But it is only the prayers that come from our heart that ever hook onto anything in heaven.
4. -- Consistent with God's Will -
Effective prayers are those that are in line with God's Word and will. This means you must have knowledge of God's Word.
In John 15:7, Jesus says, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you."
If you abide in God and His words abide in you, your desires will line up with His will. How important it is for us to know the Word of God!
As Hebrews 4 reminds us, the Word of God is living and active and powerful. It is spirit; it is life. It's not just pages on a piece of paper. And as you are in the Word of God, I believe the Holy Spirit will paint heaven's pictures, heaven's thoughts, and heaven's ideas on the canvas of your heart and your mind.
As you read the Word of God, you will have confidence in your prayers because you will have God's heart. And when you have God's heart, He is going to answer your prayers because that is what He desires.
I also want to point you to 1 John 5:14 which says,
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. His will, of course, is His Word. So if you ask anything according to His Word, He will hear you. And if you know that He hears whatever you ask, you know you have the petitions you have asked of Him. This means you and I need to know what the Bible says so that our prayers will be answered.
5. -- Endurance - Whatever you are praying for, patiently endure.
Hebrews 6:11-15 says, And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
Do you realize that once God gave Abraham and Sarah the promise of having a child, it was 25 years before Isaac was born? There was some patient enduring that took place before they obtained the reality of God's promise in their lives. And so it must be with us.
Perhaps you have been praying for things in your life, and you are getting discouraged.
You must remember that God does not always work things on our timetable. He works according to His. I just want to encourage you today: Be patient. Patience is that long-lasting quality of your faith.
A number of years ago I heard one person say that faith is like your hand and patience is like your arm. When you exercise faith, it is like holding up your hand against the problem, and as you do, things are being worked out. But if you take your patience down, your faith comes down with it. Patience is the thing that keeps your faith applied until the answer comes.
6. -- Humility - God resists the proud. He gives grace to the humble.
In 1 Peter 5:5-6 we read this, Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
Humility, more than anything else, is an attitude of the heart that says, "I recognize I am not self-sufficient. I am open, I am teachable, I am thankful. God, I am willing to bow my heart before You and confess that I am in utter need of Your assistance."
Contrary to what some people say and think, humility is not to be equated with lack of courage. in fact, it takes great courage for a person to admit they have need. Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is a sign of strength.
King David said in Psalm 18:35, Your gentleness (or Your meekness) has made me great. Moses was called the meekest or the humblest man on the face of the earth, and yet we don't think of him as a weak person. He is one of the greatest leaders to ever step out of the pages of the Bible, and very few people in history have had power with God in the place of prayer like Moses did.
Jesus, our Savoir, said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart" (KJV).
Friend, that ought to be one of the hallmark qualities of our lives-- especially when we are praying.
7. -- The Holy Spirit's Help - Take time to praise God today for His provision of the Holy Spirit.
In John 16, Jesus is talking to His disciples, and He is trying to prepare them and let them know that He is going away. In John 16:7 He tells them, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."
Do you know who the Helper is? It is the Holy Spirit. Earlier in John 14:26 he had told His disciples this, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, has been sent to come alongside and teach us all things. He will teach you how to pray; He will teach you things about prayer. The Holy Spirit will help you in that way.
Then He said, "[He will] bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." The Holy Spirit will help us remember the promises. The things that God has taught us He will bring to our remembrance, so we can pray effectively.
The Holy Spirit is like having a personal assistant. A personal assistant will help you remember your appointments or show you something you do not know. Every moment of every day He is there for us.
8. -- Forgiveness - Jesus cited unforgiveness as the number one reason for unanswered prayer.
In Mark 11:24-26 Jesus says, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Pretty strong, isn't it? If my prayers were not being answered, this would be the first place I would look--into my own heart, to see whether I had allowed bitterness toward another human being to reside there. Whether I was harbouring a grudge or had strife in my heart toward anyone else.
Jesus said if you have anything against anyone, anything--big or small, new or old--or anyone--yourself, your husband, your wife, a family member, a loved one, a neighbour, a co-worker, a relative, an enemy--if you have anything against anyone, it will lead to unanswered prayer.
Sometimes people hold things against themselves. They do not forgive themselves, even after God has forgiven them and after others have forgiven them. They just want to whip themselves for their stupidity for falling into the same stupid sin again, or for whatever they have done, and they don't release themselves!
There are others too, including those closest to us, whom we must forgive. If your prayers are not being answered, then look there.
Perhaps you have searched the Scriptures, filled your heart with the Word, you are praying from the bottom of your heart, and you are expectant of answers; but before you can partake of the fruit of your prayers, you must forgive if you have anything against anyone!
1 Peter 3:7 says, Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Notice it says, "Husbands, likewise," which means, gals, you are not off the hook. The following truth applies to you as much as it does to the boys. That truth is simply this: If there is bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart toward your spouse, your prayers will be hindered. That word hindered literally means to be cut down in the same way one would cut down a tree.
I once had this incredible tree called a cherimoya tree. One of the things about a cherimoya tree is that it is not indigenous to our country, and the insects that pollinate it do not exist here.
In order for the tree to bear fruit, I needed to pollinate it by hand with my little artist paintbrush. I would get pollen on the brush from one flower and pollinate other flowers. Eventually the little buds I had pollinated began to turn into fruit. I was so excited! They were getting close to the time to be harvested. Then I came home one afternoon to find my whole tree hacked to pieces. Every branch and piece of fruit was in the trash. The gardener had cut my tree down!
I believe that can happen with our prayers.
You can be intensely committed spiritually, searching the Scriptures, filling your heart with the Word, praying from the bottom of your heart, but if you are not honouring your spouse or you are treating them in a bad way, the devil has the authority to waltz right in and chop your prayer tree down. Let's keep the axe out of the devil's hand by honouring and forgiving and valuing our marriage partner.
The Power to Forgive
There are times when we need to forgive someone for something they have done. On occasion it can seem so difficult...almost impossible. But forgiveness is not an option for you and me as followers of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is an act of the will. You can forgive. In fact, Jesus said that we even need to love our enemies, those who may not want peace with us.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
How can you do that? Because God has done the same thing for you.
In Romans 5:10 it says, When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. When you and I embrace salvation through Jesus Christ, that same love of God is poured out in our hearts. (See Romans 5:1 and 5). As a result, we can forgive those who have wronged us.
Once you have forgiven someone, it can still affect your emotions. I like what Corrie ten Boom shared. She went through several sleepless weeks over something that someone had done to her. She tried to forgive the person; but, still, when she would think about it, she would respond emotionally.
When she shared this with her pastor, he had her look up at the bell tower of the church. He reminded her that the bell would continue to ring even after the person ringing it had let go of the rope. But given a little time, the bell would slow down until it was silent. It may take time for your emotions to settle even when you have let go of the rope. Just let go of the rope and forgive. You can do it!
Source: By Janet Conley - From Answers For Each Day - Dec 2008
12 Steps to Change Your Prayer Life -
1. “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” (Prov. 21:1)
If your thoughts wander during your prayer time, instead of trying to force them back into your pre-set agenda, try following them. Perhaps the Lord has another agenda.
2. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matt. 6:5-6).
Set a time for daily prayer. Consider it an unbreakable commitment. Keep your set appointment every day for one week. For one solid week, let your scheduled prayer time be the centrepiece of your day: arrange everything else to fit around it.
3. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Give God the first fruits of your day. For one week, give the very first 30 minutes of your day to prayer.
4. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)
Find a place in your home where you can be alone and undistracted during your prayer time. Keep your Bible, prayer journal, pen, and whatever tools you use in that place so that everything is ready. During your prayer time each day, this is a sacred place.
5. “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah. 6:1)
As you start your prayer time, before you say anything, let your mind’s eye see Him, high and exalted, and yourself in a position of worship before Him. Stay in that inner posture until His glory fills your thoughts as the train of His robe fills the temple.
6. “But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’” (Luke 8:46 )
Take time to become truly alive to His presence with you. Be aware that as you touch Him through prayer, His power is released into your life.
7. “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.” (Ps. 78:1)
Read your Bible this morning with the awareness that you are listening to the words of His mouth. Stop at the first word, phrase, or thought that captures your attention and let the Father speak to you about it and let it shape your prayers.
8. “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isa. 64:8)
This week, practice the prayer of pliability. Instead of focusing on what you want God to do for you, focus on allowing Him to shape your desires until they match His. Accept each situation in your life as His hand shaping your thoughts, character, and longings.
9. “Not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
This week, let these words be the only prayer you pray about situations that confront you. Focus on relinquishing every situation to Him to be a platform for His power.
10. “I will remember the deeds of the LORD.” (Ps. 77:11)
This week, try writing out your prayers. It will help you stay focused and will create a record of God’s work in your life.
11. “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.” (Ps. 35:28)
This week, practice praying out loud during your private prayer time. It will make your prayer experience more concrete and will help you keep your mind focused.
12. “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; …talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 11:18-20)
This week, try walking as you pray. Walk through your neighbourhood or around your yard. You will be more able to keep your mind open to new thoughts the Lord might introduce. You are likely to find yourself spending more time with Him.
Author: Jennifer Kennedy Dean - Right to the Heart of Women